REPLYS for the present Magistrates of the Burgh of Irving, to the Answers made to their Complaint, given into the Lord High-Commissioner his Grace, and the Estates of Parliament, a­gainst the late Magistrates of the said Burgh.

THE Substance of the Complaint given in by the present Magistrats of the Town of Irving, against the late Magistrats; being suffi­ciently repeated in the Answers Printed by these late Magistrats, their own Defence. Its evident, that the complaint of the pre­sent Magistrats proceeds upon four most just grounds, viz. 1st. That Gift procured by these late Magistrats, of two Merks per Boll of Malt Browen and Vented within the Burgh, was, and is now found by the Claim of Right, to have been an illegal Imposition.

2. That it was procured by these late Magistats, who were in Effect no lawful Magistrates, but were imposed upon the Burgh, by Letters from King James, impetrat to themselves, contrary to the Liberties thereof.

3. That the Gift was taken up from the Persons who were Agents for it, after the Burgh had by two several Acts, viz. One of the 23, and Another of the 27 of October 1688, a few days before the Prince of Orange's Landing, recalled the Money which was appointed to be payed for the said Gift, and had ordained it to be applyed for better Uses; So that the Gift was not brought West to the Burgh, nor approven by its Counsel, be­fore the thirteenth of November, after the Prince was certainly Arrived.

And 4. That seeing the Gift it self was Illegal, the Procurers thereof, no Lawful Magistrats, but Men imposed by Arbitrary Letters, and the Money, the Price thereof, clearly recalled. The Burgh ought to be exonered of the Debt of 5000 Merks by them contracted, and the Debt declared to be their personal Debt, and not the Debt of the Burgh.

Which grounds being in themselves clear and concludent, all that's An­swered by the late Magistrats in their Printed Answers, is of little moment; and because it would prove tedious to resume all the idle Stories contain­ed in their Print, the Heads thereof shall here be Noticed and Answered in their order. And first, they say, That they were not imposed upon the Town for Magistrats, by the late Arbitrary Power, because they had no accession to their own Nomination, and durst not refuse when Nominat, lest they had been reached by some of these Stretches that were ordinar­ly then made use of against those of that Countrey. To which it is An­swered, That the design and manner of these Court-Nominations, are but [Page 2]too well known, and too plainly marked by the Declaration of the Estates, for men to offer such an Excuse, there being nothing more certain, than that in all Scotland, the men pitched upon, were such as did both officious­ly impetrat these Letters for themselves, and were also chosen by the Court, as the men most proper for their Designs: So that for these late Magistrats, who did impetrat the Letters in their own favours, as appears by their Precepts of Twenty Seven Pounds Sterling, drawn for to pay for them, and are also designed in them to be men most loyal and ready to promote the King's Service. To alledge, either that they had no accession to their own Nomination, or that they were in hazard if they refused of the Stretches then ordinarly made use of against that Countrey, are equally Calum­nious. But,

2ly. As to the Gift it self, they say, they did, as other Towns had done, and were amongst the last that procured such Gifts, and that they procured this Gift for the good of the Town, and with the consent of Neighbours, and even of some of those that are now in the Magistracy. To which it is Answered, That whatever example these late Magistrats may pretend, it was undoubtedly in re illicita, where examples are of no force. And as to the alledged Consent of Neighbours, it is so great a Falshood, that it's offered to be proven, that the Neighbours did both Dissent and Oppose, and actually Collected Money, and sent one to Edinburgh for that effect; but these pretended Magistrats were so earnest for this Imposition, that when they heard that the Neighbours had met, and had named one Wil­liam Thomson to collect the Money, to bear the charge of their opposing the Gift, Robert Wallace one of the then Baillies committed him to Prison; nor is there any more truth in what they affirm of some of the present Magistrats, as Approvres of their course.

3. They say, that it appears by the Date of the Gift, that it was pro­cured long before His Majesty came to Britain: But its Answered, That whatever may be the date of the Gift, yet it is evident, from the Town Councils Acts, that upon the 27th of October 1688, they heard nothing of its being procured, but recalled their Money that should have been gi­ven for the Price of it; Which Order, they were in pessima fidae after that day to alter, especially since His Majesties Declaration was then Print­ed and Published, wherein he complains, both of the undue imposing of Magistrats upon Burghs, and of the giving of Gifts of Money without Act of Parliament: But the most probable Account of the matter seems to be, that the Gift was indeed procured at Court before, but the Price not fully agreed, and that so it stood, till His Majesty was arrived in England: And then the Gift being nothing worth, a simulat Purchase was the more easily made, and the Burgh cheated of its Money, which by an Act only three Weeks before they had recalled, and applyed to better Uses.

4. They say, that these late Magistrats, were truly Magistrates accor­ding to the fashion of the time, and what they did, they did for the good of the Burgh, and that they changed their Orders the 23, and 27 of Octo­ber, for recalling of the Money; Because, when these that were sent, came to Edinburgh, they found the Gift was lying there waiting for them, and so they were obliged to take it, and pay for it, according to the former Agreement.

To which its Answered, 1. What Magistrates the late Magistrates were, [Page 3]hath been already shown. 2. To bring an Imposition upon the Inhabi­bitants of the Burgh against their mind, and to their manifest Oppression, can never be judged for the good of the Burgh. But 3. What plainer Discovery can be made, of the indirect dealing that hath been in this mat­ter, than what is here acknowledged, viz. That the Town knew not of the procuring of the Gift upon the 27 of October, when His Majesties De­claration was abroad, and the News of his Arrival every hour expected, and that yet thereafter, the Men sent to bring back the Towns Money, should have been so simple, as to give away the Money against the Towns Orders, for a Gift that no man at that time did value worth a Groat.

But the truth is, That these Magistrats having come in by the late King James's Letter, without the Good-Will or Consent of the Burgh, did from the beginning, design only their own Advantage; and therefore against the mind of the Neighbours resolved to borrow Money, and no less than 5000 Merks, to purchase an Imposition, whereof they hoped to get the Management; and this Design they pursued, until the appearance of the Prince of Orange quite spoiled their Hope, and then indeed they recalled their Mo­ney from Edinburgh, but yet with an unreasonable allowance of 500 Merks to Robert Wallace one of their Baillies, for the bare pretence of the Expences he had been at; and further, not herewith Content, afterwards when they they found the Gift was come that they had lost hope of, and when they knew it to be of no value, they have the confidence to pretend, that they gave the Money for it, without regard to their own Act of Council, which then stood, and still stands unrepelled.

By all which it is evident, that the Burgh ought to be declared free of the saids Bonds given for the Money to be payed for the said Gift, and that the Magistrats who pretends to have given the same, qua tales & ratione of­ficii, should be declared to be personally lyable therefore, seing it were an imbazleing without parallel, that men who were indeed no Magistrats should be allowed to bring Burden upon a Burgh for a meer Sham-Gift, which they had never any ground to seek, and were most free to have re­fused, as wholly useless and unprofitable to the Burgh, and the Creditors who contracted with them, were neither ignorant that they were but im­posed Magistrats, nor could they but know the end and use for which the Money was borrowed.

And to make it further Evident, how little Reason there is, that the Town be liable for this Debt of 5000 Merks, needlessly contracted, and foolishly imbazled by these imposed Magistrates. Its offered to be proven, That it was the ancient Custome of the said Burgh of Irving, that no Debt could be Lawfully Contracted by their Magistrates, to burden the Burgh, unless the Neighbourhood had been called, and the consent of the Commu­nitie obtained to it, which Custome was so constant, that the same was al­so observed in the discharging of their Thesauries Accounts. And as to this very particular, it may be instanced in the Town of Dumfreis, how the Provost thereof for the time, (tho a Papist,) when he had the like Gift for his Burgh in his offer, yet he first called the Community, and because they Dissented, would meddle no further with it. By all which its manifest, that the foresaids Magistrats ought to be personally liable to these Credi­tors from whom they borrowed the Money, and that the Burgh and Com­munity thereof, ought to be exonoured of the same for ever.

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