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themselves who took part in them, and Your Committee cannot conclude who were in fact the principal delin. their notice of the evidence, without quents.
calling to the attention of the House The evidence relative to other mat- the very extraordinary facts disclosed ters in this burgh is indeed somewhat by Colonel Francis William Grant, a contradictory. But your Committee Member of the House. conceive, that some of the ill effects of
It appears that Colonel Grant was these bad practices are too apparent Provost of the Burgh of Elgin, du. from the evidence to admit of any ring the years 1816, 1817, and 1818; doubt.
also Provost of Forres, during two of It appears that Mr Fergusson was these same years, 1816 and 1817; and in the council of Cupar eighteen suc- also in the council of the burgh of cessive years, of which he was, during Nairn, from the year 1812 to the preten, successively Provost ;-that arti- sent time, inclusive. fice has been resorted to, successfully, It is required by the sets of three to prevent a fair and just exposition of out of the four burghs, of which Co. the pecuniary accounts of the burgh; lonel Grant was in council at the that persons not resident are frequently same time, that the members of counchosen into council, who rarely attend cil should be merchants or traffickers council-meetings, except on the day of within the respective burgh. It must the annual election ;-that the audit of be superfluous for the Committee to the accounts of the burgh expenditure observe, that these four burghs are so have not been regular, but have been far distant from each other, as to reoccasionally delayed for several years. der the observance of this provision of
Your Committee, however, deem it the sets of three of them wholly inof no great consequence to unravel compatible with the facts detailed in and appreciate the contradictions of evidence. the witnesses in the case of Cupar. Whatever degree of culpable irreThe proof, or rather the admission of gularity these disclosures may exbibit
, the sale of seats in the council, and your Committee are inclined to impute bargains between individuals, of alter. its existence rather to the defects of nate election and re-election, exhibit the system, as exhibited within these such a corrupt and improper practice four burghs, and to the disregard to in the formation and maintenance of the strict terms of the sets, so preva. the council, as to make the subse.. lent in many of the royal burghs, than quent conduct of that body, in refer- to any particular culpability in the inence to the objects of this inquiry, a dividual here concerned. matter of minor importance. Whether The Resolutions of
your the evils which have resulted from such tee, alluded to in the former part proceedings be more or less, may in. this Report, are as follow:deed admit of some dispute ; but there
Resolved,– That the Committee will seems little doubt, that the system un examine, in the first place, into the alder which such evil practices have legations of the petitioners, grown up and become matured into system of self-election. activity, and under which no adequate Resolved,—That it appears to the remedy is to be found for such evils, Committee, that the mode of election when detected, must be in some ma- of the town-councils in nearly all the terial points either unsound in princi. Scottish burghs, is founded on the ple or defective in operation.
general principle recognized by the
as to the
Act 1469, c. 80, viz. That the old burgh, or over the sale of the common council shall choose the new council, good or property of the burgh; nor restricted, however, in its application any power of preventing the magistrates by the set or constitution of each and council
from contracting debts for burgh, both in respect to the prepara- which the common good is liable. tion of the old council eligible to re- Resolved,- That it is alleged by elections, and in the latitude allowed most of the petitioners, that the comto the old council in selecting the munity are liable in their property and members of the new.
persons for debts .contracted by their Thus, the sets of some burghs, as magistrates ; but the Committee have Renfrew and Lanark, admit of the not been able to ascertain whether annual re-election of all the members such allegations are founded in law or of the old council to seats in the new. not, the Committee not having found Those of the greater number of burghs any decision of any court upon the limit the number of old councillors, subject. who may be re-elected; but at the Resolved,—That it is the opinion of same time require or admit of a ma- this Committee, that the burgesses jority of the old council being conti- and corporations have no power to nued in the new ; while the sets of compel their magistrates and council some others require, that the majority to account for the management of the of the new council shall be different revenues and funds under their charge. persons; and in a few instances, to Resolved,- That in the opinion of such an extent, as almost entirely to this Committee, it has been clearly destroy the effect of the principle of proved in two instances, about ten or the Act 1469.
fifteen years ago, that seats in the The sets of many burghs leave the council of Cupar have been sold ; and nomination of the new members of from the evidence before the Committhe new council entirely to the old tee, there is reason to believe that secouncil. According to those of others, veral other instances have occurred, the old council must select a portion the last of which took place six years of the new, from lists furnished by ago. the several corporations ; or furnish Resolved,—That, in the opinion of lists from which the corporations this Committee, the practice prevails themselves elect; or must shorten generally in the burgh of Cupar, for liste furnished by the corporations, each of the thirteen merchants' counwho finally elect from these reduced cillors to have what is called neighbour lists. And, in a few instances, the cor- councillors, who alternately elect and porations have the direct nomination re-elect each other by individual choice, of a certain number of the members of which, as a point of honour, continues the new council.
during the lives of the parties ; and, Resolved,That the allegation of in many cases, this agreement of alterthe old council choosing the new, urged nate election has extended, in case of by the petitioners to prevail in the death, to the sons or nearest relations town-council, does appear to the Com- of the deceased neighbour councillor. mittee to be generally warranted by Resolved,—That it does appear, the law and the practice of the burghs. from the Report of the Committee
Resolved,—That it is the opinion of last year, and the evidence then taken, this Committee, that the burgesses not that a waste and mismanagement of incorporated have no control over the charitable funds, placed in the hands expenditure of the revenues of the of the magistrates as ex-officio trus tees, has taken place, to a great ex- pear any ground for 80 supposing, in tent, in the burgh of Aberdeen ; to a either of the other two burghs, whose smaller extent in the burgh of Dundee, cases have been examined by the Comas detailed in the said Report : That mittee in the last and present year. in the burgh of Edinburgh, where from the secrecy, however, with there are also considerable charitable which the pecuniary transactions of funds under the management of the the councils are generally conducted, magistrates, either as sole or joint trus- it cannot be known whether such tees, there does not appear, from the funds are well or ill administered. evidence before the Committee last Such abuses may exist without detec. year, any ground for supposing that tion; but when the abuse is discoverthose funds have not been properly ed, a remedy is afforded by law as in administered ; neither does there ap- other cases of breach of trust.
REPORTS AND NOTICES,
AGRICULTURAL REPORT. AGAIN we have to report genial month. From this period to the end weather, an abundant crop, falling of the year, with the exception of a prices, and distress among our farmers. few days in December, the temperaThe first three weeks of the
ture was unusually high, with little the last month of the preceding, were rain, and no frost or snow. remarkable for keen frosts, and great paration for another wheat crop,
and falls of snow, with an average tempe. the other labours of this period, were rature, lower than for several years. carried on at the proper season, withBut spring may be said to have come out any other interruption than what menced with the last week of January, was occasioned by the want of mois. and it continued without any material ture,--a circumstance which indicates check till near the end of April
. Du- a state of the atmosphere in October ring this period all the spring-sown and November very rare in this part of grains were put into the ground, fine- the island. ly moulded as it had been by the frosts The following abstract from a Reof winter, in the very best condition; gister kept near Perth, exhibits in a and the young plants rose out of the concise and useful for the weather soil so close and vigorous as to afford of 1820. The temperature will not, a fair promise of a plentiful harvest. we believe, be found to differ materialThe summer months, and the early ly from the average temperature of part of August, were more variable, Scotland. sometimes drought, and at other times moisture, being rather in excess; and while the crops were on some soils laid by the rains, on others the straw was short, and the crop apparently deficient. Much of the wheat was in January
1.321 30.4 the former situation, and not a little February
1.198 39.1 March
0.332 40.6 of the spring corns in the latter ; but
0.690 46.7 the changes had not occurred at'such April
5.447 49.4 a stage of their progress as to pro- June
1.745 54.6 duce any serious injury in either case. July
1.635 57.6 During the latter half of August and August 12 | 19 2.228 56.0 all September, the weather, though not September
0.973 52.6 perfectly steady, was upon the whole October .
2.295 14.5 exceedingly favourable to the reaping November
1.658 11.6 and gathering of the crops, which ac
2.165 38.7 cordingly were all saved in the best order before the end of the latter
232 134 21.687 45.98
21 24 25 24 10 18 22
6 6 21 12
16 20 20 20
14 11 10 11
The corn market of this year opened and closed at the following prices, which are the averages of England and Wales :
For the week ending 8th January,
164 141 034 624 646 2 18 725 For the week ending 30th December, 1820,
154 134 7 25 819 235 640 11 22 1 And the average of the whole year
165 710 10 33 10 24 4 13 6 44 11/25
Very little fluctuation of prices oc- The growth of Ireland has been steadi. curred' till March, when wheat, bar- ly increasing for these twenty years, ley, and oats, began to experience some and very rapidly within the last three. advance, which was supported, though In the present year, all the foreign with little increase, through April, corn imported was carried to the wareMay, June, July, and August. In house or re-exported, excepting oats, September a fall commenced, which for which the ports opened in August, was much greater and more rapid than the very blameable manæuvre of some the rise had been ; wheat having de- interested individuals having raised the clined in that month 78. the quarter, average one penny beyond the import and 6s. more in October. By the end rate of 27s. the quarter, which admit. of November it had sunk to 56s., and ted into our consumption 726,823 continued still falling in December. quarters. The price of this grain, The highest weekly average price of however, fell immediately after, and it wheat for England and Wales was 73s. was excluded again from all parts by for the week ending 5th August, and the averages taken in November. the lowest 54s. for the week ending During the whole of this year, live30th December. The quartern loaf stock and butcher.meat maintained a in London varied from 124d. to 10d., higher price in proportion than coro, and in Edinburgh from 12d. to 9d. ; though before the end of it they had but the highest prices were only for a experienced a reduction of about 20 few weeks, the general prices being per cent, as compared with the prices 10d. and 11d.
of 1819. In 1818 and 1819 it seemed This state of the market, we think, evident, that owing to the two unfaclearly establishes the fact, that our vourable years preceding, the usual own growth, including that of Ireland, number of cattle and sheep had been is fully equal, in favourable years, to somewhat diminished; and this defiour consumption. The imports from ciency appeared still to be felt in Ireland were indeed considerable, a- 1820. The demand for wool, of which mounting in all to 1,425,058 quarters, the price was not materially lower than of which 409,283 were wheat, 88,343 in 1819, also contributed to maintain barley, and 918,362 oats ; whereas the the value of sheep; and to this we may whole exports from Britain to Ireland add the abundance of grass during the were only 12,806 quarters ; but there greater part of the summerand autumn, is no reason to doubt that this sur. which kept up the price of grazingplus will be maintained, and even in stock, and afterwards the large procreased by the extension and improve- duce of the corn crops in straw, as well ment of cultivation in that country. as of the hay crop, which occasioned a