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The United Scotsmen Movement

In Socialist Courier's earlier post on the 1820 Insurrection mention is made of one of its participants, James Wilson, who had earlier been a member of the United Scotsmen. This is a brief history of that organisation. While the doomed uprising of the United Irishmen in 1798 is well known to the present day, much less known are the United Scotsmen and their abortive democratic republican movement in Scotland. In Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh  stands the Martyrs Monument remembering five men, three of them English, imprisoned for campaigning for parliamentary reform. The five were accused of sedition in a series of trials and transported to Australia in 1794 and 1795 and sentenced by Scotland’s hanging judge Lord Braxfield. who had made his views plain: "A government of every country should be just like a corporation, and in this country, it is made up of the landed interest, which alone has a right to be represented".  One of those exiled was Thomas Muir, a Glasgow lawyer,…