Our Magistrates were chosen. Deacon of the Taylors named Stirling received a very considerable sums in bribes to vote for the party of the town Council who favoured General Campbell of Monzie our present Member of Parliament. One or two more of the Deacons were also suspected of receiving money for the same purpose. General Campbell’s party have got into the Magistracy, and General Maitland’s party are completely out. Wm Anderson the bookseller is elected Provost.
Our guest Blogger today is Mike Robbins, Provost of Stirling. Provost Robbins writes: –
Dr Lucas was not alone in his suspicions of corruption in Stirling’s local government at this time. 1813 was only 40 years after the notorious ‘Black Bond’ episode that darkened the name of Stirling Burgh Council in 1772. This bond or agreement was between three men in positions of trust and responsibility within the Town; the Provost, Dean of the Guildry and one of the Bailies or Magistrates. In it, the three men agree to run the Town for their own profit and that of their friends, to take bribes and to influence the outcome of parliamentary elections. When it was discovered, Stirling lost the right to govern itself for 6 years, the responsibility being given to Commissioners appointed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is interesting that two of the Commissioners were local physicians, evidently trusted for their honesty. It is clear that in 1813 Dr Lucas believes that corruption still continued in the local corridors of power.
Documents relating to the ‘Black Bond’ and other aspects of local government at this time, all fascinating stuff, can be seen at the Council Archives.