|Bakers of Dundee v. Magistrates of Dundee
||23 May 1804
||Abstracted Multures, Burgh Royal, Mill
||Under Dundee's town charter of 1641, its bakers were placed under the servitude of thirlage when making use of the burgh's mills. In 1740, the Magistrates of Dundee converted these mills to other purposes, and purchased two mills upon the water of Dighty, two miles from town. Dundee's Incorporation of Bakers became lessees of the Dighty mills until 1799, when the Magistrates withdrew the lease. That same year they raised prosecution against members of the Incorporation for abstraction of multures. In response, the Incorporation brought action against the Magistrates, charging that they were liable for the great expense of transporting wheat to distant mills; for the legal expenses arising from the dispute over multures; and for other expenses related to the insufficient service of the Dighty mills. Furthermore, the Incorporation petitioned to be allowed to purchase their thirlage from the Magistrates of Dundee, as laid out in 39 Geo. III c. 35. The Sheriff of Fife heard the case, and appointed a jury to determine the price of thirlage. The cause was then moved to the Court of Session by advocation, and Lord Cullen made avisandum with the cause to the whole Lords. The Court sided with the Incorporation of Bakers, determining that they had the right to purchase an exemption from thirlage.
|Tailors of Glasgow v. Hugh M'Kechnie and Others
||29 Jan 1778
||Corporation, Burgh Royal, Poor, Common Law, Right of Employment, Female Occupation, Soldier
||Finlay Ferguson, George Ferguson, and James Wallis all served in the British Army, and they all had daughters who married journeymen tailors. After their marriage, the three men: Hugh Mackechnie, Christopher Taes, and Peter Clydesdale, set up as master tailors in Glasgow. Not being members of the Incorporation of Tailors, they based their right to practice tailoring upon the statute 3d Geo. III. c. 8., which declared that soldiers, their wives, and children, were entitled to "set up, and exercise such trades, as they are apt and able for, in any town or place, within the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, without any let, suit, or molestation, of any person or persons whatsoever.” The Incorporation of Tailors brought a complaint against these men in 1776. The Magistrates of Glasgow ruled that they must pay 5 s. sterling, cease from working as master-tailors under penalty of 100 merks Scots, and be imprisoned in the tolbooth until they should make payment and grant bond. Arguing that this incarceration was "violent and illegal," the defenders obtained letters of suspension and liberation. The case came before Lord Stonefield, who ruled against them. They next petitioned the Court for review. The Court adhered to Lord Stonefield's interlocutor, and decided that the statute in question "does not entitle the daughter of a soldier to confer that privilege upon her husband."
|Young and Others v. MacDonald
||Commonty, Burgess, Burgh Royal
||The Royal Burgh of Burntisland held some land, called the Links or Commonty, upon which "from time immemorial" the burgesses would pasture their animals and wash, bleach, and dry their clothes. The Commonty was tacked to an individual who was charged with its upkeep, in exchange for which the burgesses whose livestock grazed on the land paid a grass-mail (rent). In 1776, Alexander MacDonald, tacksman for the Commonty, received permission from the town council to raise the annual grass-mail from less than five shillings to ten shillings per beast. Several burgesses applied to the Court of Session for a suspension. Lord Kennet rejected their request. They then applied to the Court to for review, arguing that neither the charger nor the Magistrates had the authority to encroach upon their rights to the Commonty. “It is well known, that every royal burgh has its own privileges and common-good, for behoof of its inhabitants . . . the Kings of Scotland, when they gave any village the privileges of a royal burgh, also gave them lands, or a common-good, for the support and encouragement of its inhabitants. They are called common lands and common-good, for this reason, that every inhabitant has an equal interest therein.” On December 9, 1779 the Court suspended the letters simpliciter, and soon afterward MacDonald submitted a petition. He argued that the Magistrates had sole authority over the disposal of the Commonty: "That Magistrates of royal burghs, as administrators of the property and common good of the burgh, can exercise every act of property and dispose of the same to the best advantage, is undoubtedly established.”