In an attempt to effect some social and moral reforms, the pioneers of the temperance movement convened a public meeting in Campsie Relief Hall in 1829. The purpose was to hear addresses by Mr. William Collins, and Mr. Cruickshank, known as the 'Converted Dundee Carter', whose personal appeals were effective in gaining followers.
The results of the meeting were far reaching , since 2 men became fervent converts to the new cause and threw themselves whole heartedly into the work, spreading its principles and advocating their adoption.
One of the men, who had served his apprenticeship as an engraver at Lennoxmill, went to a printwork in France, then on his return, went to university and was eventually ordained in the Congregational church, first in England, then in Glasgow. The other man became employed in home mission work by the widow of the famous Lord Byron.
Early in the 19th century many friendly societies (see Friendly Societies) were strongly associated with individual pubs or drinking dens, since these were the only venues where substantial bodies of men gathered together.
One school of thought held that the friendly societies arose directly from 'harmonious clubs' promoted by the proprietors of public houses or inns. These clubs, existed simply to facilitate drinking, but began organized welfare, by 'passing the hat' to help those in need. In time, members paid a regular subscription in return for welfare protection.
However, as ideas about temperance spread through Britain in the 19th century, activists saw an advantage in linking temperance with mutual aid. It meant that subscriptions could be lower when the effects of alcohol were removed from the benefit equation.
The International Order of Rechabites took inspiration, and their name from an eponymous biblical tribe who were commanded to 'drink no wine' by their leader, Jonadab of Recab, and successfully resisted, in order to comply with the leaders wishes.
The first Scottish Tent (or branch), was Caledonian No 73, which opened in January 1838. The 'Tents' spread quickly throughout Scotland, and one was established in Lennoxtown. They modelled their ritual, titles and structure along Biblical and tribal lines. Each Tent was ruled by a High Chief Ruler, assisted by a High Deputy Ruler, Corresponding Secretary, Sick or Tent Stewards, Inside and Outside Guardians, a 'Levite of the Tent' and a number of 'Elders. Each had their own regalia and insignia; their own place and role in the meetings, particularly in ceremonies involving induction of new members.
There was a hierarchical structure within each Tent. This coupled with the titles and rituals were deemed important because they afforded each member to identify with the organization, so counting themselves distinctive from competing organizations and other friendly societies. One such organization was the 'Independent Order of Good Templars', which arrived from America in 1869. It was a total abstinence movement for the whole family, whereas, other organizations with branch structure transmitted the temperance message in an atmosphere of mutual support.
In 1875, the Edinburgh Band of Hope Union was formed, with the aim of having a 'Band of Hope' attached to every congregation, mission hall, Sabbath School, Temperance Society. Lennoxtown, Milton-of Campsie, and Torrance all had a 'Band of Hope'.
The Rechabite Hall in Lennoxtown still stands, but has been renamed the 'Masonic Hall'.
Below is a Templar song associated with the Rechabite movement.
BE KIND TO ANE ANITHERBe kind to ane anither, lads! Be kind to ane anither! Remember as you wend through life That every man's a brither! When cares o'ertake him, dinna stan' And hum an' ha, and swither, But, like a man, put forth your han' And help a fallen brither! Chorus - Be kind to ane anither , lads! Be kind to ane anither! Remember as you wend through life That every man's a brither
Chartists were people who wanted the 'Peoples Charter ' to be adopted. The Peoples Charter was a document in which reforms that ordinary working class, and middle class people wanted the government to make, were set out.
The introduction of these reforms would provide equality and give the ordinary man a say in the way the nation was run. The Charter was widely supported, with 6 million being sent to Parliament with a petition on one occasion.
Some of the social reforms they sought had been achieved, but supporters began to be vilified and regarded as fanatics.
Perhaps the most ardent supporter in Lennoxtown was Robert Wingate. Mr. Wingate had been brought up in the UP Church, and was now a member of Mr. Harvie's church in Calton in Glasgow. One Sunday in 1832, Mr. Harvie preached a sermon denouncing chartists supporters from the pulpit. The upshot of this was that 49 members left the church that night and never returned. Wingate was one of them.
The Chartists, who were having their most cherished opinions denounced from pulpits, came to regard the clergy as hostile and unsympathetic. This feeling gradually intensified. Because of their rejection by mainstream churches, Wingate, together with a weaver James Cowan, formed a new congregation called The Christian Brotherhood.' Their Sunday meetings were held in the hall of Robertson's Inn (Commercial Inn) at 11am - the same time as those of the Relief Church, and many a good Gospel sermon was said to have been preached there.
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