Legal Subject: Burgh

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Alexander Stewart v. John Isat 13 Jul 1775 Burgh This case was about the implementation of an act of Parliament that authorized the town of Glasgow to impose a duty on beer and ale. Alexander Stewart, the collector of the duty, sued John Isat over an alleged arrear. In response, Isat claimed that he was being charged more than other brewers. He argued that the magistrates could not force an individual to pay higher charges than others who were similarly situated. Stewart, defending Glasgow’s magistrates, argued that they were entitled to charge Isat the full amount authorized by statute. He explained that brewers were charged different rates because the magistrates generally reduced the duty on brewers who paid dry multure (i.e., a toll for milling) to the town. Isat disputed this as a factual matter and argued that the magistrates could not use the duty to compel individuals to accept a servitude to the town’s mills.
Grieve and Others v. Incorporation of Tailors 1773 Burgh, Corporate Privilege John Grieve, suspender, was a member of the Incorporation of Tailors in Glasgow. He entered into a partnership with suspenders James Loudon and Robert Robb for the purpose of manufacturing stays, also known as corsets. The Tailors complained to the magistrates of Glasgow that staymaking was reserved exclusively for members of their trade; therefore, according to the tailors, Loudon and Robb had impermissibly engaged in the trade and Grieve had assisted them contrary to his oath. The suspenders argued that staymaking was not included in the tailors’ trade monopoly and should not be added by implication.
Magistrates and Town-Council of the Burgh of Pittenweem v. Robert and William Alexanders, Thomas Martin, and Others 15 Jul 1774 Elections, Corruption, Burgh Robert Alexander and his brother, William, attempted to take over the burgh magistracy of Pittenweem in the mid-1760s, after the death of Sir Harry Erskine. They were successful and assumed power in 1765. Former magistrates of the burgh of Pittenweem filed suit against the Alexanders, alleging that the Alexanders and their agents engaged in undue influence and corruption during the election process. They alleged that some of these corrupt transactions were between the Alexanders and bailie Thomas Martin, defender. During the lawsuit, the Alexanders apparently used burgh funds to cover the costs of the litigation. The magistracy of Pittenweem also took out a loan from Robert Alexander. The former magistrates won the lawsuit, returned to power, and then challenged the burgh debt to Robert Alexander in the Court of Session, arguing that it was not validly procured.
Shaw v. Fleming 1 Aug 1776 Elections, Burgh This case concerns a disputed election in the burgh of Rutherglen. Different trades (including deacons, masons, and weavers) would meet with members of their industry and submit lists of candidates for the elections, a common election practice of the period. Pursuers George Shaw et al. lodged a complaint against the town council of the burgh of Rutherglen. Apparently the town council adopted a practice of restricting voting to resident masons and wrights, and disallowed non-resident masons and wrights from voting. Shaw et al. alleged that this attempt to disenfranchise the non-resident masons and wrights was unlawful.
Stephen and others v. Duff and other Magistrates and Counsellors of the Burgh of Elgin 1772 Election contest, Burgh This case concerns disputed elections for council in the Burgh of Elgin. John Duff, defender, and his group controlled the Burgh council up to the election in the Michaelmas 1770 term. Duff was provost of the burgh, with members of his group serving other positions on the council. In that 1770 election, Thomas Stephen, pursuer, won and became provost of the burgh of Elgin. Stephen was a member of a rival group. In the next election, the Michaelmas 1771 term, Duff and his group won the election and regained their positions on the council. Each group accused the other of resorting to riots, disturbances, bribery, and other improper means to affect the Michaelmas 1771 election.