HC Deb 26 March 1819 vol 39 cc1167-8
Sir James Mackintosh

presented a petition from the royal burgh of Dumfries, complaining of the present system of electing magistrates in that burgh. The petition, he took upon himself to say, was signed by its most respectable inhabitants; and, he felt himself bound in justice to add, that the principles on which they prayed for redress, were strictly constitutional, and unmixed with any of those wild and visionary theories which had so much abused the cause of reform. The population of the royal, burghs was 480,000. Of these 410,000 had petitioned for a reform in the present system. Of the remaining 70,000, it was to be observed, that though they had not petitioned in favour of such a measure, yet they had not sent up a single petition, or signed a solitary resolution against it, however dependent any part of them might be supposed to be on the will of those who wished to preserve the present system. If ever, therefore, there was a question on which the public voice of those interested in the issue was most unequivocally declared, it was that to which the petition adverted.

Mr. Maitland

said, that the more this subject was agitated and discussed, the more evident would appear the general opinion of the people of Scotland in favour of a reform, which should put an end to the notorious grievances of which these petitioners complained.

Ordered to lie on the table.