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have any effect upon them. Children of small landholders are from infancy educated in a frugal manner; and they must be industrious, as they depend on industry for bread. Among that class of men, education has its most powerful influence :: and upon that class a nation chiefly relies, for its skilful artists and manufacturers, for its lawyers, physicians, divines, and even for its generals and statesmen.
And this leads to consider, in the fifth place, the influence that great and small estates have on manners. Gentlemen of a moderate fortune, connected with their superiors and inferiors, improve society, by spreading kindly affection through the whole members of the state. In such only resides › the genuine spirit of liberty, abhorrent equally of servility to superiors, and of tyranny to inferiors. The nature of the British government creates a mutual dependence of the great and small on each other. The great have favours to bestow: the small have many more, by their privilege of electing parliament-men; which obliges men of high rank to affect popularity, however little feeling they may have for the good of their fellow-creatures. This connection produces good manners at least, between different ranks, and perhaps some degree of cordiality. Accumulation of land into great estates, produces opposite manners: when all the land in Scotland is swallowed up by a number of grandees, and a few gentlemen of the
middle rank are left; even the appearance of puląřity will vanish, leaving pride and insolence on the one hand, and abject servility on the other. In a word, the distribution of land into many shares, accords charmingly with the free spirit of the British constitution; but nothing is more repugnant to that spirit, than overgrown estates in land.
In the sixth place, Arts and sciences can never flourish in a country, where all the land is engrossed by a few. Science will never be cultivated by the dispirited tenant, who can scarce procure bread; and still less, if possible, by the insolent landlord, who is too self-sufficient for instruction. There will be no encouragement for arts great and opulent proprietors, fostering ambitious views, will cling to the seat of government, which is far removed from Scotland; and if vanity make them sometimes display their grandeur at their country-seats, they will be too delicate for any articles of luxury but what are foreign. The arts and sciences being thus banished, Scotland will be deserted by every man of spirit who can find bread elsewhere.
In the seventh place, Such overgrown estates will produce an irregular and dangerous influence with respect to the House of Commons. The Parliament-boroughs will be subdued by weight of money; and, with respect to county-elections, it is a chance if there be left in a county as many qualified
qualified landholders as to afford a free choice. In such circumstances, will our constitution be in no danger from the ambitious views of men ele vated above others by their vast possessions? Is it unlikely, that such men, taking advantage of public discord, will become an united body of ambitious oppressors, overawing their Sovereign as well as their fellow-subjects? Such was the miserable condition of Britain, while the feudal oligarchy subsisted: such at present is the miserable condition of Poland: and such will be the miserable condition of Scotland, if the Legislature do not stretch out a saving hand.
If the public interest only were to be regarded, entails ought to be destroyed root and branch. But a numberless body of substitutes are interested, many of whom would be disinherited, if the tenants in tail had power. To reconcile as much as possible these opposite interests, it is proposed that the following articles be authorised by a statute. First, That the act of Parliament 1685 be repealed with respect to all future operations. Se cond, That entails already made and completed, shall continue effectual to such substitutes as exist at the date of the act proposed; but shall not benefit any substitute born after it. Third, That power be reserved to every proprietor, after the act 1685 is at an end, to settle his estate upon what heirs he thinks proper, and to bar these heirs from
altering the order of succession; these powers being inherent in property at common law.
At the same time, the prohibiting entails will avail little, if trust-deeds be permitted in their utmost extent, as in England. And therefore, in order to re-establish the law of nature with respect to land-property, a limitation of trust-deeds is necessary. My proposal is, That no trust-deed, directing or limiting the succession of heirs to a landestate, shall be effectual beyond the life of the heirs in existence at the time.
Y a royal borough is in Scotland understood, an incorporation that hold their lands of the Crown, and are governed by magistrates of their own naming. The administration of the annual, revenues of a royal borough, termed the common good, is trusted to the magistrates; but not without controul. It was originally subjected to the review of the Great Chamberlain; and accordingly the chap. 39. § 45. of the Iter Camerarii,
contains the following articles, recommended to the Chamberlain, to be inquired into. "Giff "there be an good assedation and uptaking of the common good of the burgh, and giff faithful compt be made thereof to the community of "the burgh; and giff no compt is made, he "whom and in quhaes hands it is come, and how "it passes by the community." In pursuance of these instructions, the Chamberlain's precepts for holding the ayr, or circuit, is directed to the provost and bailies, enjoining them "to call all those "who have received any of the town's revenues, or used any office within the burgh, since the "last Chamberlain-ayr, to answer such things as "shall be laid to their charge." Iter Camer. cap. 1. And in the third chapter, which contains the forms of the chamberlain-ayr, the first thing to be done after fencing the court, is, to call the bailies and serjeants to be challenged and accused from the time of the last ayr.
This office, dangerous by excess of power, being suppressed, the royal boroughs were left in a state of anarchy. There being now no check or controul, the magistracy was coveted by noblemen and gentlemen in the neighbourhood; who, under the name of office-bearers, laid their hands on the revenues of the borough, and converted all to their own profit. This corruption was heavily complained of in the reign of James V; and a remedy was provided by act 26. Parl. 1535, enG g acting,
崮 VOL. III.