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curia quatuor burgorum. This court assess their respective proportions was composed of certain burgesses according to their abilities. This from the towns o! Edinburgh, Stir- court also has been in use to exaling, Berwick, and Roxburgh,* who mine the conduct of magistrates in were appointed to meet annually at the administration of the borough Haddington, to deliberate and de. revenues, although this property termine in all matters respecting the falls under the jurisdiction of the common welfare of the royal bo- court of exchequer; and to give roughs. Upon the suppression of sanction, upon particular occasions, the office of chamberlain, the power to the town council of boroughs, to which he possessed, and that of the alienate a part of the borough estate. turia quatuor burgorum, was trans- The convention likewise considers ferred to the convention of royal and arranges the political setts or boroughs. This court was consti- constitutions of the different botuted in the reign of James III. and roughs, and regulates matters conwas appointed to be held at Inver- cerning elections brought before keithing; but it does not appear them.” that it met earlier than 1552. Since From this explanation of the state that period, its constitution has been of representation in Scotland, it is considerably altered, not only by evident that in no part of it are the sundry acts of parliament, but also members returned to the house of by its own decrees. At present, commons by the people at large, or the convention meets annually at even by those classes of the people Edinburgh, and consists of two de- which in most of the boroughs of puties from each borough. The England enjoy the right of election, lord provost of Edinburgh is per- It is rather surprising that the petual preses, and the city clerks of efforts of the Scotch to obtain a Edinburgh are clerks to the con- more extended and pure right vention. It commonly sits four of choosing their representatives days. From the institution of the should not have been more frequent court of four boroughs, the powers of and urgent. About thirty years the convention may in part be col- ago, indeed, this subject attracted lected. They chiefly respect the considerable attention and created establishment of regulations respect- deep and general interest in Scoting trade and manufactures; and land; but the efforts at reform were to this effect thc convention has es- then of no avail. tablished, and from time to time re- About the beginning of the newed articles of stable contract French revolution, when the with the town of Campveret. As whole of Britain was agitated and the royal boroughs pay a sixih part almost convulsed with the violent of the sum imposed as a land-tax doctrines respecting the origin and upon the counties of Scotland, the nature of

government,

-mere bo. convention is empowered to consi- rough reform seems to have been der the state of trade and revenues regarded in Scotland as an object in the individual boroughs, and to so limited in its nature, and so to

* When Berwick and Roxburgh were taken by the English, Lanark and Linlithgow were substituted in their place. + Maitland's History of Edinburgh.

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tally {ally inadequate to answer the ex- of raising them, and the mode in pectations of the most active and which they were applied. zealous reformers, as well as so far This circumstance naturally eleshort of what they deer od their vated the hopes and roused the erright, and necessary to the welfare ertions of the friends of borough reof the state, that they did not con. form in all parts of Scotland; and, descend to pay it any attention. before the end of the year 1817, After this period the question seems most of the royal boronghs themto have sunk into forgetfulness: selves had passed resolutions exnor is it probable it would have pressive of their wish to participate ever been revived, had it not been in this reform. In all the proceed. for some accidental circumstances. ings upon this subject, there was a The town council, as they are call- spirit of prudence, moderation, and ed, of the boroughs in Scotland calmne:s, which formed a strong are to be elected according to cer- and pleasing contrast to the violence tain forms, which are expressly de- that distinguished the reformers in 'termined and pointed out by the Scotland at the beginning of the particular sett or constitution of the French revolution. The advocates borough; if any of these forms are for borough reform contented themviolated or neglected, the borough selves with pointing out, in a clear becomes disfranchised. In conse. and forcible manner, the injustice quence of some neglect or violation as well as the impolicy of the bocommitted by the borough of Mon- rough representation in Scotland, trose, it lost its franchise and constic and with stating explicitly that they tution: this circumstance gave great merely wished to alter that which spirits and hopes to those who che. allowed, admitted, and required rished the idea of a borough reform alteration. in Scotland ; and the advocates and But, from the account which has friends of this cause in Montrose been given of the mode of electing used every effort and endeavour to the town council in the royal boobtain for that town a new sett or roughs of Scotland, and of the constitution, on more enlarged, lic powers which the town council posberal, and pure principles, than the sess, it will be evident that the inone which it had lost by forfeiture. ternal state of the boroughs, and The granting of a new sett depended especially their financial concerns, upon the privy council, as well as must be exposed to great mal-adthe nature of that sett; but the privy ministration; and that therefore a council would not act without the reform must be requisite, as well advice of the lord advocate of Scot. as on this account as with respect land. It was hardly expected that to representation in parliament. this law officer would give the privy Those who paid taxes in the bocouncil advice consonant to the roughs had long complained that wishes of the friends of borough re- they were not permitted either to form. However, he did so: and in controul the expenditure of the consequence a new sett was granted money so raised, or to examine the to the borough of Montrose, which accounts of those who did expend extended the right of election con. it. Great abuses were strongly susiderably, and also gave to those spected to exist in several of the bowho paid towards the town taxes, the roughs on this subject, and also right of investigating the necessity with regard to the management of

landed

landed property, where the bo- not equal to its expenditure :-at toughs happened to possess any. last, Aberdeen actually became a It was justly argued, that it was bankrupt ; and thus there was a against all principle of right, and practical exposure of the evils retotally at variance not merely with sulting from the constitution of this the spirit but also with the practice and the other boroughs in Scotland, of the British constitution, tv with- and a practical proof given that rehold from those who paid the taxes form was needed, at least so far as all information respecting the ne- the management and controul of cessity of levying them, and the the revenue was concerned. As, manner in which they were laid while the affairs of Aberdeen were out; and that strong suspicions of in this embarrassed state, the magimismanagement must attach to strates for the time being were ua. those who refused to submit their doubtedly liable for its debts, no accounts to a fair, open, and equi- one was willing to become a magitable examination. Indeed, -when strate; and thus, the election not it is considered that the ministers of taking place on the day fixed by the the country, before laying on any constitution of the borough, the tax, submit to parliament, and charter is supposed to be rendered through it to the nation at large, null and void. On the question, the grounds on which they think whether the burgesses in general them to be requisite; and that were liable to make good any defievery year the mode in which the ciency, if the property of the botaxes are expended is given in very rough should be found not to be full and minute detail, it seems adequate to the full discharge of very .presuming and unjust that its debts, the opinion of Scotch those who had the management counsel was taken ; and they gave and disposal of the revenues of the it as their opinion that the burroyal boroughs should, in the small. gesses were liable. est degree or in the most indirect Whatever may be the issue of manner, raise objections to the au. the efforts of the boroughs in Scot. diting of their accounts.

land to obtain for themselves a more About the time when the pro- extended and pure system of repre. ceedings relative to the borough of sentation, there seems little doubt Montrose agitated the public mind that the result of all the events and in Scotland, the affairs of the bo- proceedings which we have just derough of Aberdeen beça...e involv- tailed, will be a better management ed in great difficulties. It had long of their revenue, and the particibeen suspected, if not actually pation by the burgesses at large known, by the inhabitants of this of the right to select their magitown, that its revenue was laid strates, and to superintend the conout in a most imprudent and un- cerns of the boroughs. called for manner, and that it was

CHAPTER

CHAPTER X.

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Agitated and disaffected State of the Country-Causes which produced or,

trusperated this state-Distress-the Writings of Cobbett-and the
Violence of the Reformersthe Employment of Spies-Suspension of the
Habeas Corpus Act.
T the close of the year 1816, stem of Luddism, when it had thus

the metropolis was thrown assumed a political character and into great alarm and apprehension aimed at a political object, who by the Spa-field riots; the particu. felt no interest in it, so long as it lars of which were given in our last was confined to its original plan volume. At the same time it was and purpose. In short, early in the known that many parts of the year 1817, a sullen and gloomy country, especially the manufactu- discontent and disaffection spread ring districts,-Lancashire, Derby- over a large portion of the labourshire, Nottinghamshire, and Leices. ing classes in the central and northtershire-were in a very disturbed ern manufacturing districts; secret state : in the two last named coun- meetings were held, and at last ties, the system of Luddism (for a a large body openly assembled system it may well be called, when between Derby and Nottingham, its wonderful organization and the with the desperate purpose in view secrecy, perfection, and effects with of redressing their real or supposed which that organization worked to- grievances by force of arms. At wards its most wicked and mis- and rear Manchester, too, a large chievous ends are considered) had body of most miserable and deluded assumed much more of a political people collected, provided each aspect and tendency than it ever had with a blanket, with the intention before. The associations which of walking up to London, and there had been formed at first for the seeking or demanding relief for sole parpose of destroying ma

of destroying ma- their wants. chinery, and injuring those who Various causes have been as. employed it, turned their thoughts signed for the agitation and disaf. and plans, at least as far as a reform fection which thus prevailed in in the government of the country; this part of England; but, in our and as no one but the members of opinion, no single cause will adethese associations knew the ties by quately and satisfactorily account which they were bound, the num- for it. As on all other points of bers of which they were composed, political dispute, the disputants the secret spring by which they have gone into extremes; each could all be brought into action at party has overlooked every thing once, or the real object which they in the least unfavourable to his own had in view, they could not but be views, and fixed exclusively on what regarded as of a very alarming and would support them. Thus the formidable nature.

ministers and their adherents traced There can be no doubt that many the disaffection of the populace, enrolled themselves under this sy- and their violent and unlawful pro

ceedings,

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ceedings, entirely to the bad spirit the populace in the disturbed di-
which was instilled into them by stricts, and generally throughout
the writings of Cobbett, and by the kingdom, were indeed suffering
the harangues and machinations under such extreme poverty and
of the mo'e zealous and violent wretchedness, as gave to their feels
reformers. Even the ardent and ings and views an exasperated and
indefatigable zeal of major Cart. gloomy cast. They even admitted
wright (for no person can accuse that in the disturbed districts the
him of violence, or suspect him populace were dissatisfied and dis-
of being a friend to anarchy) was affected; but not with the consti.
pointed out as one cause of the ex- tution and laws of the country in
tension of the disatrection, and of which they lived,—their disaffection
the formidable shape which it as- was turned entirely against the cor-
sumed; because this gentleman in ruptions which had crept into that
his missionary tour, in the cause of constitution, and the manner in
a reform in parliament, had esta- which those laws had been admi-
blished associations nearly over all nisiered:--they wished for, they
the kingdom, m'itually connected aimed at no radical change of the
and corresponding with one ano- constitution :--they did not desire
ther. Ministers did not, indeed, to set aside the operation of the
accuse majir Cartwright of form- laws;-they only were anxious to
ing these societies for any other restore the constitution to its pris-
purpose han his own favourite one; tine purity, and to give to the
but they maintained that he had laws that salutary character, and
thus rendered the populace aware that impartial administration, which
of their own numbers and strength, might secure them equal rights and
and given an individuality of spirit subsistence with the higher classes
and a bond of union to what pre. of the community.
viously had been a weak and dis- While the populace were in this
jointed mass. The charges which gloomy and exasperated state of
ihey brought against Cobbett and feelings and views, and of course
the other violent reformers were open to the machinations and influ-
more direct and serious: they ac- ence of all who could work upon
cused them of having taken advan. their passions and take advantage
tage of the distresses of the people of their ignorance,-rendered more
to goad them on to treason and open to be led astray by these ex-
rebellion, by not only preaching asperated and gloomy feelings and
up the most iniquitous doctrines, views,- the opponents of ministers
but also inflaming their passions by contended that spies were sent a-
false and unjust charges against the mongst them; that these spies, hav.
government, as the cause of their ing gained their confidence, taught
distres“; and against all men of pro- them to look entirely to themselves
perty and respectability, as cold and for redress; represented government
unfeeling witnesses of that distress, as blind and callous to their misery;
and as having also contributed to and bollly preached up sedition,
it by the support which they gave rebellion, and treason. The organi-
to the measures of government. zation, which all admitted existed

The picture drawn by the oppo- in the disturbed districts, and which nents of ministers was quite of anop- by ministers was traced to the asscposite nature. According to them, ciations formed during the period

of

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