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round their party all that numerous ther attached to that of burgess, with body, who were bent upon a reform in the payment of a corresponding entry the constitution of the burgh. money, and by the annual appointment
Although the trades burgesses of of a dean. Yet the functions of the Edinburgh possessed, within certain body had so entirely ceased, that its limits, the power of electing represen- corporate existence was even alleged tatives or deacons, the merchant bure to have expired. The demands now gesses, though a superior class, enjoy made, and which, no doub., appear ed no such privilege. The members of sufficiently reasonable, were, the powthe council taken out of their body, er to meet as an incorporation, the were created by an entire and exclu. controul of their own funds, and the sive system of self-election. Impelled election of their own dean. At the by these considerations, a meeting was meeting held for this purpose, Mr Gib. called of the Merchant Company, and son, an eminent Writer to the Signet, a set of resolutions were moved. Re. took a prominent part, and inveighed ferring to the example of Montrose, against the whole system by which the these resolutions pledged them to ex town was governed. To him there ertion in obtaining for the burgesses appeared nothing on earth more perof Edinburgh an influence in the ad- fectly absurd. It was an anomaly withministration of their own affairs, and out parallel in the history of any burgh an improvement in the set of the city. or country. For a long time the maThe member who made the motion gistrates had borrowed immense sums attempted to gild the pill by declaring of money-no one knew how much ; “it was not the men he arraigned, it was expendedit--nobody knew how. Their the system itself that ought to be con. whole management was enveloped in demned ; a system which one would mystery-all their deeds were deeds think had been devised for the purpose of darkness. The affairs of the town of crushing virtuous exertion, and fos- had for a long time been managed by tering corruption. The wonder was, a self-elected junta ; and he undernot that corruption and malversation stood that its debts were at present should have been found in the govern. above half a million. For the payment ment of the burghs, but that there had of this immense debt, he had learned been so much of a counteracting prin- from the first legal authority, that the ciple in the personal character of the property of the burgesses of Edinmagistrates to resist the influence of burgh was liable ; and were they to corruption." These softenings did not be told, that under such circumstanprevent the magistrates, with all their , ces they had no right to inquire into connections and supporters, from ve. the conduct of those who could thus hemently opposing the motion; not. impose such burdens upon the comwithstanding which it was carried by munity? As none of the magistrates, a majority of two to one, there being or their friends, chose to sanction the 176 for, and 87 against it.
meeting by their presence, the motion While all descriptions of men were was carried nem con. drawing forth their lost rights from Notwithstanding the strong sensathe dust of antiquity, the guild bre- tion excited by these proceedings, it thren of Edinburgh deemed it expe was very evident, that they must evadient for them to come forward. The porate in mere speech and discourse, existence of a mercantile guild in Edin. unless something were done to bring burgh was attested by a charter of the affair to a closer issue. In consiJames VI., by the title of guild bro. dering the course now to be instituted,
the precedent of Montrose naturally were employed. Admitting an er suggested itself. No such manifest tension of the right of suffrage to be Alaw could indeed be discovered ; but a legitimate Whig object, we miget all the processes, by which the present yet expect to find Whig ends prom. magistrates had been brought into of. red by Whig means. But how car fice, were sifted with the most eager this appellation be applied to a system. diligence, in hopes of discovering some by which all the burghs of Scotland blemish, which might suffice to anni were to be disfranchised, and their rehilate the political existence of them- newal, and future constitution subselves and of their set. At length this mitted to the absolute disposal of the eager scrutiny was crowned with some crown? The dangers, in fact, of this share of success. It was found that system, which were sufficiently obvione or two of the last elected magis- ous, were not of a mere possible or trates had no domicile in the burgh; theoretical nature. This was the very that one had been absent when he system successfully employed during ought to have been present, and that the era most perilous to English liberone had voted after his functions had ty, for subverting her constitution, and legally ceased. Before, however, any rendering parliament a mere tool of legal proceedings could follow upon the crown ; the system, in opposing these premises, it was necessary that a which Russel and Sydney had bled. complaint should originate from some Charles II., at the close of his reigri, members of the council itself ; which, when he gave himself up entirely to constituted as that body was, seemed arbitrary counsels, raised against Losto present a serious difficulty. In this don, and the other corporations, proemergency, however, there started up secutions exactly similar to those which two patriotic deacons, Laurie and modern patriots have raised against Henderson, who, under the high legal Edinburgh. He succeeded, and jud. advice of which they had the full com ges, removable at will, even declared mand, drew ap a petition and com- the metropolis to have forfeited its plaint, founded on the above facts. charter. A new constitution was The complairt was drawn up in a high quickly bestowed ; in virtue of which tone, being directed against Kincaid the crown had an unlimited velo, that Mackenzie, pretended Provost; James is, the sole sway, in the election of the Smith, &c., pretended Baillies ; Alex. Lord Mayor, who in his turn apander Henderson, pretended dean of pointed and displaced all the inferior guild, &c.; and the whole candidly magistrates. Rapin, the candid Whig, signed, John Laurie, pretended deacon. observes here, that though in case of The Supreme Court, on this petition flagrant offences, the corporation might being presented, shewed their readi. lose its charter ; yet, in all cases of ness to do justice to all, by ordering minor importance, the court had been the complainers to have access to such satisfied with imposing a fine. “ This," books and documents belonging to the says he, “is the practice where justice town as could throw light upon the and the maintenance of the laws and subject.
customs of the kingdom are only inInconsidering these measures, which, tended. But, in the present instance, so far as circumstances admitted, were the king's intention was not to mainmade general over Scotland, it seems tain justice and the laws, but to take impossible not to be struck with some ccasion fr the breach of some artidiscrepancy between their character cles of the charter, to seize the liber. and that of the persons by whom they ties of London into his hands. It
y be affirmed,” adds he, “there ed, or rationally could look, for an ex. s no readier or more effectual way tension of popular privileges. invade at once the liberties of the The present year thus closed, amid tion.” Still stronger language is the most sanguine hopes of the votaed by Hume, the Tory historian, ries of reform, whose career of success er prompt to palliate the sins of the had been hitherto uninterrupted. Yet parts. He mentions with approba- there were not wanting circumstances in the arguments urged, « that a which, to an attentive observer, aurporation as such was incapable of gured a less favourable turn of affairs. crime or offence, and that none were The Crown, upon which they unacswerable for any iniquity, but the countably rested their hopes, though rsons themselves who committed it might have been inadvertently led ; that corporate bodies framed for into an extension of the privileges of a ıblic good, and calculated for per- single burgh, was likely to take the tual duration, ought not to be an. alarm, when it found the whole of hilated for the temporary faults of Scotland in motion, and an entire leir members. For these reasons," change demanded in her representative e says, “ the judges who condemned system. Supposing the Whigs to le city are inexcusable ;” and after- have attained their favourite object of ards, “ this last iniquity, which laid laying all the Scottish burghs at the he whole constitution at the mercy feet of the crown, there was slender f the king.” Such were the prece ground for expecting that this power ients on which the reforming party would be employed in the establishvere now proceeding. We are clear ment of Whig ascendency. The meay of opinion, that a renewed applica- sures, however, to which these consiion to parliament was the only chan. derations prompted, did not take place nel by which they ought to have look. till the following year.
The Princess Charlotte-Her Illness-and Death-Grief of the Nation.
The King- Queen- Princess of Wales.
This chapter will be almost exclusive. felt, in consequence of her determinaly occupied by an event of the most tion to exercise, with regard to a gloomy character, which filled the na. union for life, the natural right of her tion with the deepest mourning. The sex, which the heir of a crown is us. young princess, the only heir in a di- ally supposed to forfeit. In a political rect line to the British crown, formed point of view, the connection with the naturally an object of deep interest and Prince of Orange appeared natural solicitude to the British nation. Their and eligible ; and nothing was obser« welfare was deeply involved in the per- ved in his personal character and quasonal character which she might dis- lities, to render him an object of rea
. play ; while the stability of the king- sonable aversion. When, however, the dom might materially depend upon the actual choice was at last announced, matrimonial connection into which she it was acquiesced in with entire and should enter. From the first she was general satisfaction. It is now admita favourite of the nation ; she was re ted, even in a political point of view, ported to display on all occasions a to be more expedient than the rejectgenerous and affectionate disposition; ed one, since its object could have no and there was something in her whole interest, and no ambition, that was demeanour frank, open, and English, not purely British. The result entirewhich recalled the idea of Elizabeth, ly justified the princess's discernment
, and inspired the hopes of a reign equal. and fulfilled all the most favourable ly glorious and popular. The public, omens which could be drawn from the indeed, could not at once appreciate circumstances under which the union those marks of spirit andenergy, which took place. It appeared equally effecoccasionally impelled her beyond that tual in promoting the domestic felicity tranquil and passive sphere usually of this illustrious individual, and in assigned to her sex in that high sta- preparing her for the high place to tion. Some disappointment was at first which she was destined. It was un
derstood, that the gentle influence of place; she became restless and uneathe husband had sensibly improved her sy, and was seized with violent conexcellent qualities; that it had pruned vulsions, which proved speedily fatal. the exuberances of youthful spirit ; The minor details, as well as the de. and that it had led her into a train of scription of the funeral, will be found study and reflection, eminently tending in the Chronicle, (App. p. 174–8.) to qualify her to be the future Queen Those who had supposed that the of Great Britain. Thus every thing sufferings and discontents of the nation inspired the nation with the highest had rooted out, or even sensibly weak. hopes, and nothing appeared wanting ened, the former attachment to the to their satisfaction, except the pros. race of its kings, were completely unpect of an heir to perpetuate this il. deceived at this sad crisis. Never, du. lustrious line. Alas! their wishes seem. ring any era of the most devoted loyed on the eve of being gratified, when alty, could stronger emotions be exci. this hoped for moment led to a result ted and testified. The public grief the most deplorable, and which buried was universal, deep-felt, and absorbed in the dust all the hopes which they for a long time every other sentiment. had been so fondly cherishing. It was not the first time that the na
On the night of the 3d of Novem- tion had seen their favourites consignber, the Princess first felt symptoms ed to an early tomb; but never had so of illness, which were soon pronounced many affecting circumstances been unito be those of approaching childbirth. ted as in this sad catastrophe : the Messengers were immediately dis- present, accordingly, was beyond all patched for Sir Richard Croft, the former mourning. Even now, after most eminent accoucheur in London, their tears have flowed and are dry, and for Dr Baillie, who was supposed her memory is still cherished with the to rank first as a general physician. most sacred regard. Happier, perhaps, The great officers of state, with the in this one respect, than if she had liArchbishop of Canterbury, and the ved to reign over a race so turbulent, Bishop of London, required by law restless, and full of umbrage; when, as witness to the birth of an heir to if her vigorous will had once come in. the crown, were also speedily in at to collision with theirs, she might have tendance. During the whole of the enjoyed afterwards only a stormy and following day, the labour proceeded precarious favour. slowly, but, it was supposed, favoura The grief of the multitude has a bly. In the course of the following strong tendency to be converted into night, as the wished for period was rage ; and in this instance an object still delayed, Dr Sims was sent for, to was sought, on whom their indignabe ready to aid Sir Richard Croft with tion might be vented. The sufferers his advice. The greater part of the were the medical attendants, who were next day was spent in the same man- loudly denounced as having omitted ner; but towards evening the symp- remedial measures, which might have toms afforded the promise of a speedy saved the illustrious victim. It was termination ; and at half.past nine the even stated as the opinion of many Princess was delivered of a male child, medical men, that so prolonged an ill. but still born. Though much exhaust- Dess ought to have been abridged by ed, she appeared otherwise composed artificial delivery. Our own knowledge and well; and the happiest presages of the obstetrical art is much too li. were entertained of her recovery. But mited to allow us to hazard even the in a few hours a dreadful reverse took 'most guarded opinion upon such a sub
VOL. X. PART II.