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others Down with him; after riding, and running, and posting, and addressing, and counter-addressing, and proffers of lives and fortunes, the blow was at length struck, the administration of the day was dissolved, and parliament, as a natural consequence, was dissolved also.
Sir Thomas Kittlecourt, like other members in the same situation, posted down to his county, and met but an indifferent reception. He was a partizan of the old ada ministration"; and the friends of the new had already set about an active canvass in behalf of John Featherhead, Esq. who kept the best hounds and hunters in the shire, Among others who joined the standard of revolt was Gilbert Glossin, writer in agent for the Laird of Ellangowan. This honest gentleman had either been refused some favour by the old member, or, what is equally likely, he had got all that he had the most distant pretension to ask, and could only look to the other side for fresh advancement. Mr Glossin had a
vote upon Ellangowan's property, as has been before observed ; and he was now determined that his patron should have one also, there being no doubt which side Mr Bertram would embrace in the contest. He easily persuaded Ellangowan, that it would be creditable to him to take the field at the head of as strong a party as possible ; and immediately went to work, making votes, as every Scotch lawyer knows how, by splitting and subdividing the superiorities upon this ancient and once powerful barony. These were so extensive, that, by dint of clipping and paring here, adding and eiking there, and creating over-lords upon all the estate which Bertram held of the crown, they advanced, upon the day of contest, at the head of ten as good men of parchment as ever took the oath of trust and possession. This strong reinforcement turned the dubious day of battle. The principal and his agent divided the honour; the reward fell to the latter exclusively. Mr
Gilbert Glossin was made clerk of the peace, and Godfrey Bertram had his name inserted in a new commission 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 so ignorant of English grammar as his worshipful predecessor; but Augustus Pease himself could not have used more indiscriminately the weapon unwarily put into his hand.
In good earnest, he considered the commission 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, Doninie 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 expressions, 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
their webs over the lower division of
book shelves, (consisting chiefly of law and divinity,) 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 wrought his miracles like a