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Gilbert Glossin was made clerk of the. peace, and Godfrey Bertram had his name inserted in a new con mission of justices, issued immediately upon the sitting of the parliament. • This had been the summit of Mr Bertram's ambition; not that he liked either the trouble or the responsibility of the office, but he thought it was a dignity to which he was well entitled, and that it had been withheld from him by malice prepense. But there is an old and true Scotch proverb, “ Fools should not have chapping sticks;" that is, weapons of offence. Mr Bertram was no sooner possessed of the judicial authority which he had so much longed for, than he began to exercise it with more severity than mercy, and totally belied all the opinions which had hitherto been formed of his inert good-nature. We have read somewhere of a justice of peace, who, upon being no. minated in the commission, wrote a letter to a bookseller for the statutes respecting
his official duty, in the following orthography," Please send the ax relating to a gustus pease.” No doubt, when this learned gentleman had possessed himself of the axe, he hewed the laws with it to some purpose. Mr Bertram was not quite 80 ignorant of English grammar as his worshipful predecessor; but Augustus Pease himself could not have used more indiscriminately the weapon unwarily put into his handi . In good earnest, he considered the com. mission with which he had been entrusted as a personal mark of favour from his sovereign ; forgetting that he had formerly thought his being deprived of a privilege, or honour, common to those of his rank, was the result of mere party cabal. He commanded his trusty aid-de-camp, Domi. nie Sampson, to read aloud the commission; and at the first words, “ The king has been pleased to appoint”-“Pleased !” he exclaimed, in a transport of gratitude ;
“ Honest gentleman! I'm sure he cannot be better pleased than I am."
Accordingly, unwilling to confine his gratitude to mere feelings, or verbal ex• pressions, he gave full current to the newborn zeal of office, and endeavoured to express his sense of the honour conferred upon him, by an unmitigated activity in the discharge of his duty. New brooms, it is said, sweep clean; and I myself can bear witness, that, upon the arrival of a new housemaid, the ancient, hereditary, and domestic spiders, who have spun their webs over the lower division of my bookshelves, (consisting chiefly of law and dia vinity,) during the peaceful reign of her predecessor, fly at full speed before the unexpected inroads of the new mercenary. Even so the Laird of Ellangowan ruthlessly commenced his magisterial reform, at the expence of various established and superannuated pickers and stealers, who had been his neighbours for half a century. He wroughi his miracles like a
second Duke Humphrey; and, by the inAuence of the beadle's rod, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the palsied to labour. He detected poachers, black-fishers, orchard-breakers, and pic geon-shooters ; had the applause of the bench for his reward, and the public credit of an active magistrate
All this good had its rateable proportion of evil. Even an admitted nuisance, of ancient standing, should not be abated without some caution. The zeal of our worthy friend now involved in great distress sundry personages, whose idle and mendicant habits his own lachesse had contributed to foster, until these habits had become irreclaimable, or whose real incapacity of exertion rendered them fit objects, in their own phrase, for the charity of all well-disposed Christians. The Me long-remembered beggar,” who for twenty years had made his regular round within the neighbourhood, received rather as an humble friend than as an object of charity, was sent to the neighbouring workhouse. The decrepit dame, who travelled round the parish upon a hand-barrow, circulating from house to house like a bad shilling, which every one is in haste to pass upon his neighbour ; she, who used to call for her bearers as loud, or louder, than a traveller demands post-horses, even she shared the same disastrous fate. The “daft Jock," who, half knave, half idiot, had been the sport of each succeeding race of village children for a good part of a cen. tury, wasremitted to the county bridewell, where, secluded from free air and sunshine, the only advantages he was capable of enjoying, he pined and died in the course of six months. The old sailor, who had so long rejoiced the smoky rafters of every kitchen in the country, by singing Captain Ward, and Bold Admiral Benbow, was banished from the county for no better reason, than that he was supposed to speak with a strong Irish accent. Even the annual rounds of the pedlar were abolish