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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter XLVI


STRIFE BETWEEN THE TRADES AND MERCHANT COUNCILLORS REGARDING THE PROVOSTSHIP-THE RIVAL CANDIDATES, CORBET AND GRAHAM-WAR OF CLASSES; THE RICH INHABITANTS FAVOURING CORBET, THE DEMOCRACY DOING BATTLE FOR GRAHAM-PARTY NAMES ASSUMED: THE "PYETS AND THE CROWS"-TUMULT IN THE COUNCIL AND RIOT IN THE STREETS-THE COUNCIL CHAMBER STORMED BY THE DEMOCRATIC PYETS, AND THE ELECTION OF CORBET FORCIBLY PREVENTED-THE TRADES CHOOSE GRAHAM AS CHIEF MAGISTRATE-CORBET ELECTED AT A SECOND MEETING BY HIS OWN PARTY-CHURCHING OF THE RIVAL PROVOSTS, AND EXTRAORDINARY FACTION FIGHT-TRIAL AND PUNISHMENT OF THE LEADING RIOTERS.

BEFORE the Ale-duty Act was reimposed, and whilst some of the schemes previously specified were in progress, a civil broil broke out, by which the public mind was for weeks, if not months, painfully absorbed. It arose partly out of a longstanding jealousy that existed between the merchants and the Trades, and partly out of the rivalry of two claimants for the provostship; and it found full vent at the election of the magistrates in 1759. The first faint symptoms of the coming storm were descried when, on the 29th of September, 1758, Bailie James Corbet was chosen Provost by "a plurality of votes" only. The merchant councillors supported him because he was favourable to their pretensions; whilst the minority, consisting chiefly of craftsmen, had set their affections on John Graham of Kinharvie, whom, though he was not ostensibly a candidate, they would fain have placed in the civic chair.

On the following 2nd of October, the Council met for the purpose of voting out of their body, "according to the sett and constitution of the Burgh," four merchant members, in lieu of four voted in prior to the magisterial election. Before the business of the day was fairly begun, John Jardine, deacon-convener of the Trades, rose, and in due form protested against the proceedings, and withdrew, followed by all the other deacons, save the deacon of the glovers, Nicholas Dickson. The gauntlet of defiance was thus thrown down; but the Provost's adherents, taking the matter quite coolly, went on to purge the Council as if nothing out of the way had occurred-the gentlemen unanimously "voted off" being Gilbert Paterson, William M'Murdo, William Burnet, late bailies, and Alexander M`Courtie, late treasurer.

The real "tug of war" commenced on the 22nd of September, 1759, at which time four new councillors fell to be chosen. Each party tried eagerly to gain thereby an accession of power; the merchants being anxious to increase, or at all events maintain, their supremacy, the deacons to render their minority more potential-to transform it into a positive majority was scarcely hoped for, though they were warmly supported by the popular voice. After the usual preliminaries, ex-Provost Crosbie protested, for himself and all others who should concur with him, that his voting at the election of new councillors that day was no homologation of the claims of any whose election at Michaelmas last remained under dispute. He thereupon took instruments in the clerk's hands-ex-Provost Graham, Convener Jardine, and Deacons Patoun, Walker, Gibson, Johnston, and Howat adhering to the protest. This interruption over, Provost Corbet proposed that the meeting should choose William Carruthers and James Bell, merchants, Gilbert Gordon, collector of Excise, and Dr. Alexander Gordon. Deacon Howat proposed the election of other four-William Kirkpatrick, James Clark, James Jardine, and James M'Whirter, all merchants; but all, it is presumed, more favourable to the Trades than the nominees of the Provost. The former were elected by a majority of sixteen votes to eight.

Utterly beaten in the Council-house, the craftsmenn looked for assistance out of doors. They accordingly made much of the Dumfriesian democracy, who readily made common cause with them against the patrician merchants and their chief. A battle of classes had begun-those in the upper ranks of life enlisting on the Provost's side, those in the lower strata declaring for that of John Graham and the deacons; and at this ripe stage of the conflict, the former party, by a play on their leader's name, were dubbed "Corbies," whilst their opponents rejoiced in the name of "Pyets:" so termed, we suppose, because of the antipathy cherished by these birds-the crows and magpiestowards each other.

On the 29th, seven days after this fresh triumph of the Corbies, the streets of the ancient Burgh presented an animated aspect. It was Michaelmas day-the day of the annual election; and in view of this event flocks of Pyets fluttered eagerly about anticipating a fray, longing to leave the impress of their claws and beaks on the rival faction, who for the most part, however, kept prudently within the shelter of their household nests. The Mid-Steeple clock strikes the hour of three in the afternoon; and unless the election be immediately proceeded with, the legal period for it will expire, and the Burgh be disfranchised. At last the Provost and some of his party are seen hurrying, as fast as the throng will permit, from the George Tavern in Southgate Brae towards the place of meeting. Guarded by the officers, they pass on unharmed, receiving nothing worse than hootings and mock huzzas from the crowd; but three or four recreant tradesmen, who afterwards try to slip up to the Council-house, are recognized, hustled, mobbed; whilst, on the other hand, the Pyet voters are greeted with hearty cheers. As the business proceeds, the crowd in the vicinity grows denser, and seems increasingly bent on mischief. So deafening is the din, that the town clerk, Joseph Corrie, is heard with difficulty by the burghal senators as he reads the Parliamentary enactment bearing on the business, which finishes with the following stringent provision:" It is hereby enacted and declared, that it shall not be in the power of the magistrates and Council of this Burgh at any time hereafter to alter or procure any alteration hereof; and that no person or persons shall vote for or endeavour the repealing or alteration of this present Act, directly or indirectly, in time coming, under the penalty of two hundred pounds Scots money, to be paid by each contravener tones quoties." This document having been read, Graham, chief of the Pyet clan, arises and protests that by their assembling, sitting, and voting in this Council, they do not homologate the rights of any voter, disputed at the last election, or rendered since disputable; and lie insists, therefore, that the clerks shall take notice, for whom John Dickson, George Gordon, Andrew Wright, and William Bell record their votes; to which protest ex-Provost Crosbie, ex-Bailie Lawson, Convener Jardine, and the other deacons, adhere.

The buzz of excitement caused by this combative display increases as ex-Bailie Paterson follows it up by insisting and protesting that the four merchant councillors illegally voted off on the 2nd of October, and who were there present, should have their names entered on the roll. Provost Corbet thereupon protests in his turn that these gentlemen had been lawfully removed from the Council; that they cannot be allowed to vote; that if they will insist on going through the form of offering their suffrages, their votes could be marked on a separate paper, but that on no account could they be inserted in the record. The excitement waxes warmer within-the clamour increases without; the crowd is pressing menacingly up stairs, and it is with difficulty that the halberdiers keep it from surging by and swamping the Council hall. At this critical stage the Provost receives an intimation, which lie reads, to the effect that Thomas Nairn, hammerman; James Harley, wright; Nicholas Dickson, glover; and Charles Edgar, weaver, whilst on their way with protests to the meeting, had been "obstructed or prevented by a mob of common people, assembled in a tumultuous manner." "Let the Riot Act be read, and the rabblement be dispersed!" cry several of the Corbie councillors. The first suggestion is acted upon. From the Council-house window, Mr. Corrie reads the said Act; Bailie Hepburn, more venturesome, performs the same duty in the street : still the mob does not move; the intercepted tradesmen cannot push through. It is well for themselves that they at last give up the vain effort and vanish. "Gentlemen, let us proceed with the election!" cries the presiding magistrate; and accordingly the clerks begin by calling over the names of the voters, omitting by order the names of the four outed councillors belonging to the Pyet clan. Next the new merchant councillors and the Trades' representatives qualify; after which ex-Provost Crosbie, resuming the wordy warfare, denounces the Act of Election previously read, and gives expression to views which the conservative Corbies cannot but deem wild and revolutionary.

"By this Act," says the honourable gentleman, "a material change has been made in the municipal constitution, at variance with the sett of the Burgh, without the consent of the community, and that has never even received the sanction of the Convention of Burghs. I protest against it on these grounds, and because it contains a most arbitrary and direct infringemerit of the liberty of succeeding Councils, in that clause which enacts that it shall be unalterable, and guards against the repealing of it by penalties upon councillors who should take steps for so doing. This clause renders the whole Act null; but," continues the Pyet leader, waxing warmer as he goes on, "not only this Act, but many particulars in the sett of the Burgh, need to be corrected. In particular, a rotation ought to be established in the merchant part of the councillors, in order to preserve the liberty of the place, and to establish peace amongst the people. The enormous power of naming proxies for absent merchants, now vested in the chief magistrate ought to be removed, that the freedom of elections may not thereby be brought into peril. A proper method ought also to be thought upon of naming proxies for absent tradesmen who, in the present working of the sett, lose their votes; though the sett requires that the number of tradesmen should be eleven at all the steps of the election. Many other matters need amendment. For all these reasons, I move that a day be appointed for a general meeting of the community under the authority of this Council, where all those who claim a right to vote, as well disputed as disputable, may be present; said meeting to take place about the end of October next, for the purpose of revising the sett, and ordering ane application to the Convention of Burghs for the recording either a new sett, or such an amendment of the existing one as shall be thought necessary."

All the members of the Pyet party concur in the motion; and, as a matter of course, the Provost sets his face as a flint against it. He affirms that it has taken him by surprise; and that, as the observations by which it was introduced were equally unexpected, he is not prepared to answer them seriatim, "This, however, I am prepared to say," he continues, "that the Act of Council condemned by Mr. Crosbie, and which has been long in observance without being objected to, is calculated to answer very salutary purposes in the government of this Burgh; and that the sett of it, as approven by the Convention, needs no amendment." To this anti-reform declaration all the merchant councillors adhere, except Mr. Graham and Bailie Lawson. The Pyets are outvoted; and the mutinous mob, as if conscious of the defeat and yearning to avenge it, besieges the hall-door, and presses against it in battering-ram fashion, spite of the protecting pikesmen and halberdiers. " Quick ! gentlemen, or the rabble will be in upon us!" cries the Provost, now in visible terror. The Act against bribery and corruption is hurriedly read; the Act anent magisterial elections is hurriedly signed some of the signatures, as we now see them, wearing a tremulous aspect, as if fear-shaken hands had formed them, though that of "James Corbet" is boldly written in big characters, and that of "John Graham" looks scholarly and refined.

Whether to open the door, with the doubtful expectation of pacifying the populace, or to keep it closed, becomes a question. At the instance of the Provost, a vote is taken on the subject; and it is carried by a plurality that the door shall remain shut during the proceedings. Remain shut! Comparatively easy it is to pass a resolution to that effect, but how, ye sapient magistrates and merchant councillors! is it to be enforced in defiance of such an angry multitude? It cannot be done. The patrician Crows, with all their legal potency, are not a match for the democratic Magpies, who, swarming at the top of the stair, fiercely demand admission, and in order to enforce their own summons, disarm the sentinel-officers, by main strength break down the stout barrier that keeps them outside, and the next minute are occupants of the hall, and masters of the situation.

Then ensues a scene of indescribable confusion. The mob leaders have a method in their madness, however, and that is to foreclose the election rather than see the man of their choice defeated. "Graham for Provost!" is their war-cry, as they rush in, seize several obnoxious Corbies and send them out well guarded, and prepare to proceed with a mock election of their own. In vain the Provost and his remaining friends remonstrate with the crowd. Coaxing and threatening are alike unavailing: as well might they bid a Lammas flood not to flow over the Caul, as command the intruders to withdraw and allow the lawful business to go on. The Provost finding this to be the case, and fearing that he might be called to suffer personal violence, formally protests against the conduct of the mob, quits the chair, and retires with such of his colleagues as have not been placed in durance vile-glad to get away scathless and leaving the place of authority in the undisturbed possession of the exulting Pyets.

Such is a faint sketch of this notable election riot, in its earlier phases, as revealed by the records. [The Minutes of Council supply the chief incidents narrated in this chapter.] Other outrages followed the incidents we have narrated; and next day -Sabbath though it was - saw the conflict renewed in a fiercer and more systematic form. It must have been about five o'clock in the afternoon when Provost Corbet and his friends beat a rapid retreat from the hall, to reunite at a later hour in their favourite place of rendezvous, the George Hotel. No sooner were they gone, than the rioters shut up certain electors whom they saw fit to detain; and having thus in divers ways purged the Council, they with little ceremony, but with acclamations that shook the building, and found a hearty echo outside, joined with the deacons in recognizing John Graham of Kinharvie as Provost of Dumfries. Whether Mr. Graham was present or not does not appear; but that he was a party to the proceedings admits of little doubt.

Daylight faded, twilight deepened into darkness, but still the insurgents occupied the Council-house and crowded High Street; and it was not till twelve o'clock, when Michaelmas day was done, that they liberated their captives and dispersed; retiring to their homes big with the fond idea that if they had not legally secured a chief magistrate of their own, they had at least rendered the election of the rival candidate impracticable, seeing that the set period for doing so had now expired. Whilst the Pyets, well pleased but exhausted with their exciting work and protracted vigils, were separating at midnight, the Crows were preparing to hold a secret parliament in the George.

Thither their chief had gone, on being ejected from the Council Chamber. Such of his adherents stealthily joined him as had not been made prisoners by the mob, and the captives liberated at twelve o'clock furnished a large and welcome accession to the party. Though some of their friends, including the senior town clerk, Air. Corrie (abducted during the day), were unwillingly absent, those present-nineteen in all-conceived themselves numerous enough for going on with the election that had been so rudely interrupted. The Provost having taken the chair, availed himself of his arbitrary privilege (sanctioned by custom), to, nominate proxies for the absent merchant councillors of the Pyet feather-Graham, Crosbie, and Lawson; the substitutes named being birds of the requisite dusky hue. Not so much as a solitary deacon was there to represent the Trades element in the corporation, yet the election was pushed forward; the apologetic minute of the meeting explaining, that though the deacons and their led votes were absent, they had been convened in the Council-house, " and it not being safe to make any open declaration in face of the mob that the councillors were retiring to this house, nor even to acquaint the said deacons of it, in respect it appeared from the beginning and throughout that the same was raised and made by the Trades," and that, moreover, as the custom or sett of the Burgh did not require votes for absent Trades' members, to name such was unnecessary. What followed may be fittingly told in the language of the minute just quoted from.

The preliminary steps having been gone through, "the electors now present proceeded to the election of magistrates and officebearers; and the Provost having proposed the persons following to go out in the leet for provost-to wit, Provost James Corbet and Bailie Hepburn, for both of whom he gave his own votethe roll was called and the votes of the other electors marked, by which it appeared the whole electors unanimously voted the said Provost James Corbet and Bailie Hepburn to go out in the leet; and these gentlemen having removed, the roll of the other electors except themselves two was called over, and the votes marked, by which it appeared that the whole electors remaining unanimously voted the said James Corbet to be Provost; and he and Bailie Hepburn being called in, they each of them gave their votes for the said Provost James Corbet; and therefore the magistrates, councillors, and electors, have unanimously elected the said James Corbet to be Provost for the year ensuing; and he accordingly accepted of the said office, and gave his oath de fideli administratione officii." The other vacancies having been filled up, the proceedings terminated between three and four o'clock on the Sabbath morning.

Was ever municipal election conducted before under such extraordinary circumstances? The voters meeting like conspirators, secretly, in a tavern, after the midnight hour, during a season that ought, for a double reason, to have been devoted to rest. If the rioters who stormed the Council-house during the day had dreamed of this nocturnal gathering, there would have been more crows to pluck than one-the entire Corbie's nest at the George would have received a rough harrying at their hands. When, after day-dawn, the news of the secret conclave and its doings was circulated through the town, much indignation was felt by the Trades and the lower classes who sympathized with them. They felt that they had been deceived - out-generaled; and they made ready to exact revenge. "John Graham is our Provost!" they said; "and we shall complete his election by kirking him in due form, in spite of all that has been done by the cowardly Corbies!"

In these days the churching of the new magistrates was looked upon as an indispensable sequel to the election; and the merchant party also proposed in this way to give a sacred and public impress to their hole-and-corner proceedings. When each of the rival factions made arrangements of this nature, a collision was almost sure to arise. So it turned out: the advent of the Sabbath did not hinder the merchant councillors from voting their favourite into the civic chair; and when that day's sun reached the meridian, the business of the early morning led to an unhallowed riot. When the bells rang for worship, one party-the Corbies - marched to the New Church, with their Provost guarded by the Burgh officers; whilst the other - the Pyets-proceeded with their chief to St. Michael's, the Trades forming nearly as strong a muster as if they had been going to compete for the Silver Gun. Leaving the former to hear the discourse of Mr. Wight, and the latter that of Mr. Linn - both doubtless appropriate and pithy-let us look at what was meanwhile going on outside, near the heart of the town.

In front of the crumbling New Wark, and resting against its walls, stood the Cheese Cross, where on market days the damsels of the district were wont to dispose of their dairy produce. On this occasion it was occupied by many of the wives and other female friends of the Burgh tradesmen, who from its elevated platform waited to see the Pyet procession returning from church. Tradition affirms that they were well supplied with whisky-punch, for the purpose of toasting the health of Provost Graham when he made his appearance, and drinking confusion to the Crows; but this may possibly be only a bit of scandal, originated by some spiteful dame connected with the other side.

Prominent among the group on the Cheese Cross stood Judith Kerr, a stalwart randy, noticeable by her impatient gestures as much as by her amazonian height. "I wonder if the buirdly Pyets are coming yet," she said, addressing a cronie, as one o'clock struck. "Run a bit down the Hie Gate, woman Jean, and see if there are onie signs o' the bonnie yellow pikes glistening i' the Southergate Brae ; for I'm weary o' waiting on the lads." The same gossiping report already quoted from adds to this authentic speech words designed as a stimulant to Jean's speed: "Haste ye noo, woman; for, between ourselves, I'm turning unco drouthy." The messenger ran as desired, and soon returned with the tidings that the Pyets were appearing. "And so are the Corbies !" cried a voice from the crowd. The parties met opposite to the New Wark, and stood for a minute frowning defiance at each other, both " willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike." No one offered to move till the spell of inactivity was broken by James Dickson, a brewer, whose bold signature appears in the books as a supporter of Provost Corbie. As if actuated by a destructive impulse, he stepped from the ranks of his party, borrowed an axe from an officer at its head, and attacked-not the rival force, but certain articles of creature comfort, bread, cheese-shall we add, bottled punch?-with which a corner of the Cross was garnished. The irate brewer, with one fell swoop, made a sad mess of the refreshments ; some of the women-folks shrieking wildly when they saw the produce of their aumries treated in this destructive fashion. Not so Judith Kerr. That heroic female was above such weakness; and instead of weeping, wailing, and wringing of hands, she girded herself to carry on the war that had been so recklessly begun by the Corbie faction. Indignant at the rude assault-especially wroth at seeing the good whisky-punch spilt, says the tradition, which persistently associates thee shedding of strong waters with blood on this memorable day-she seized Dickson by the nape of the neck, took the halberd from his feckless grasp, and gave him a push which made him embrace mother earth; telling him, with grim humour, as he floundered downwards, to drink the liquor where he had brewed it. Turning to the craftsmen, who seemed about to second her efforts, she bade them stand by, and not to meddle with the Corbies, for that the women were full match for such a crew.

The Pyets, however, advanced on their opponents; whilst the latter, inferior in both numbers and courage, and unable to get up or down the street for a surrounding mob, rushed through the portals of the New Wark, and then tried to close its oaken door upon their pursuers. Thereupon a gigantic skinner from the Mill-hole, named William Trumell, by setting his shoulder between the door and the wall, thwarted this device, and a terrific scene ensued. The chief belligerents, cooped into a comparatively narrow space, pushed and struggled and fought with each other like the wild tenants of a menagerie; and at the height of the hurly-burly the rotten flooring gave way, and down went Pyets and Corbies, sweating, bleeding, roaring, and raging, into the noisome vaults below. Whilst this chaotic strife, and some minor affrays outside the Wark, were going on, a sound contrasting strongly with the din of battle, and one more in accordance with the sacred day, arose from the bartizan of the building. A number of children had been placed there by their parents, under the charge of two peaceful burgesses, one of whom, Paul Russell by name, occasionally officiated as a precentor. When the fighting commenced, with the view of engaging the attention of his juvenile charge, he gave out for singing the hundred and fortieth psalm-probably choosing it as embodying a pointed rebuke to the ungodly combatants, though we dare say the respected "letter-gae of holy rhyme" did not desire to see the following apposite passage of the same in any sense fulfilled:

"As for the head and chief of those
About that compass me,
Ev'n by the mischief of their lips
Let thou them cover'd be.
Let burning coals upon them fall,
Them throw in fiery flame,
And in deep pits, that they no more
May rise out of the same."

Such solemn verses sang the little children from the top of the New Wark as the warring factions fought below, and, falling into its deep pits, continued the struggle. It at length terminated in the utter abasement of the merchant party. The Pyets, as has been already stated, were more numerous than their opponents; and, on being strongly reinforced, they succeeded in caging nearly the whole of the Corbies in the vaults to which they bad made an unwilling descent. There, with aching bones and moody thoughts, they lay till long after midnight, when their wearied guards dropped off or relaxed their vigilance, and the captives effected their escape. What deeds of daring were performed during the conflict by Judith Kerr, are not recorded; but it may be safely inferred that she would not rest satisfied without consigning some more councillors to the kennel. Neither is it known precisely what befel the rival chiefs; though there is reason to believe that they suffered no personal violence, but escaped homewards, whilst their infuriated adherents fought out the fray.

Months elapsed before the town regained its composure, and magisterial government was fairly re-established. The law . authorities of Edinburgh held that the election of Mr. Corbet, though irregular, was a valid one; but the craftsmen offered a passive, many of the democracy an active, resistance to his rule. On the 2nd of October following, the councillors were summoned to meet in the usual place, for the purpose of purging the roll. Once more a violent mob interposed. It was known beforehand .that the favourite of the populace, with his principal friends, was to be victimized by the dominant party. "Not if we can help it!" screamed the indignant Pyets, who crowded the Council-house, allowed ingress to birds
of their own feather only, and dared the Corbie senators to enter at their peril. The latter, anxious to prevent a repetition of the Michaelmas riot, prudently retired, and, assembling at the house of Mr. Corrie, town clerk, voted off the Council John Graham, Andrew Crosbie, Hugh Lawson, and Andrew Wright-an act dictated, some will say, by bitter vindictiveness; others, by the natural instinct of self-defence. It was not till the 9th of January-about fourteen weeks after the secret election at the George-that the magistrates and their merchant followers durst show face in the Council Chamber; and when they did convene there on that day, not a solitary deacon was present to give them countenance.

In the minute of the business occur the following significant entries:- "The Provost represented that Andrew Black, workman, who was employed to light the lamps, was some time ago threatened by certain persons concerned in the mobs and riots which have of late prevailed, and was put in fear of his life, whereby he was obliged to desist; and the Council, considering it is very necessary the lamps should be still lighted through the remaining part of the winter season, do therefore recommend to the magistrates to cause light the lamps accordingly." "The Provost represented that the town's officers have been stripped of the town's livery-clothes, and their halberts broke and destroyed by the mob since Michaelmas last; which being considered by the Council, they grant warrant to the magistrates to cause buy and make new livery-clothes for the officers, and to cause make new halberts; and to draw precepts upon the treasurer for the expenses thereof," Provost Corbet retired from office at the ensuing Michaelmas term. On that day the representatives of the Trades were present for the first time since his appointment, and took part with the merchant councillors in electing his successors. For going out on the leet as such, Mr. Corbet named Robert Maxwell of Portrack, and Ebenezer Hepburn; while Convener Gibson, true to the Pyet cause, proposed John Graham and Andrew Crosbie; and when it was objected that these gentlemen were not members of Council, he contended that they had been voted out of it by persons who had no legal qualification so to do. The stanch convener was, however, overruled-Mr. Maxwell was chosen Provost by a majority of eleven votes; and with his election the fierce, protracted conflict between the Pyets and the Corbies was brought to a close.

The judicial issue of the strife still requires to be told. A solemn, tragical one it is; being, unlike the affair itself, unrelieved by any features of revelry or frolic. The scene is the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, where, on the first of December, 1759, twelve men are placed at the bar, " indicted by the King's Advocate for the crimes of riot and tumult at Dumfries, with a view to obstruct the election of Magistrates and Councillors last Michaelmas day, and to quash the authority of the magistrates then chosen." [Scots Magazine, vol. xxii., pp. 667-8.] The prisoners are not of the sort usually seen in such a humiliating position : they are for the most part decent, respectable-looking tradesmen, who will bear a fair physiognomical comparison with the fifteen jurymen on whose judgment their fate will depend, after the witnesses 'for and against them have been examined, the pleadings on both sides have been finished, and the Lord Justice-Clerk has summed up the evidence and laid down the law bearing upon the case. At the bar stand John Smith, deacon of the weavers; Thomas Gibson, deacon of the tailors; John Paton, deacon of the weavers; eight other craftsmen, and one merchant, William Kirkpatrick, the latter one of the four Pyet burgesses who on the eventful twenty-second of September were proposed to fill up the vacancies in the Council, and were rejected by Mr. Corbet's party. Three more Dumfriesians figure on the indictmentJoseph Dyet and James Hodge, tailors, and James Johnston, smith; but, failing to appear when called upon, they are fugitated-that is to say, outlawed. Before the tedious preliminaries are over, and the case is fairly entered upon, daylight fades : candles are introduced; and all through the night, whose gloom they only half dispel, the fierce municipal contest is fought over again verbally; and the clock of St. Giles' sounds the hour of five in the morning, before the judges pause, and the jury retire to consider their verdict.

At two o'clock in the afternoon they gave it in, finding all the panels guilty except Deacon Paton, whom they unanimously acquit. Counsel are heard on the import of the verdict, the relevancy of which is so ingeniously questioned that the judges adjourn the proceedings, and give no decision till the Court resumes on the 15th, when all the cobwebs of casuistry spun by the learned advocates for the defence are ruthlessly blown aside; and the verdict being held good, sentence is pronounced. Poor Deacon Smith is adjudged to banishment for life; John Gordon, tailor, is transported for fourteen years, and William Ewart, shoemaker, for seven: all to be kept in the tolbooth of Edinburgh till an opportunity offer for sending them to his Majesty's plantations in America; "with certification, that if after being delivered over for transportation they return to or be found in Scotland-Smith during life, or Gordon or Ewart within the respective periods specified in their sentence - each of them, as often as he shall so return, shall be whipped and retransported; and Gordon shall remain abroad fourteen years, and Ewart seven years, from the time of their being respectively last delivered over for trial." Seven are sentenced to be carried back to the Edinburgh tolbooth, there to remain-William Macnish, tailor, three months; Thomas Gibson, flesher, two months, and till he pay a fine of five hundred merks; William Wood, gardener, George Bell, nailer, and John Rae, tailor, six weeks; James Thomson, smith, and Charles Sturgeon, shoemaker, one month. A fine of nine hundred merks is imposed on William Kirkpatrick, merchant; and all except the three persons to be banished are required to find bail for their good behaviour for two years-Kirkpatrick and Gibson in nine hundred merks each, and the rest in three hundred merks each. Kirkpatrick, finding bail in Court, is set at liberty; the others being carried away by the officers, we see them no more: and the curtain drops on the last sad scene of this extraordinary municipal contest.


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