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James Cleland.

Statistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected online

. (page 8 of 23)
Online LibraryJames ClelandStatistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected → online text (page 8 of 23)
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86



Mode of Committing Prismiers under tJie authority of the

Magistrates. *

In Royal Burghs the Magistrates have the power of
granting warrant for imprisonment for debt on what is
called an act of icarcUng. This exclusive power of the
Burgh Magistrate, is in virtue of an act passed in the 2d.
Parliament, Robert I. whose reign commenced in ISOG,
by which the Mayor, &c. is empowered to apprehend the
person of the Debtor, upon legal proof of the debt, wher-
ever he can be found within the jurisdiction, and to im-
prison him upon his own expense, till the debt be paid.



Act of Grace.

When a Debtor is incarcerated who has no property he
immediately takes the benefit of the Act of Grace, that is,
he makes oath that he is poor, and has not wherewithal to
aliment himself in Jail. On this, a Magistrate grants
warrant to the Officers of Court to intimate to the Incar-
cerator that the Debtor has taken the foresaid oath, and
also that he must make such a reasonable aliment for his
support as may be thought proper, and that within ten days,
otherwise the prisoner will be set at liberty. This gra-
cious Act originated as follov\s: — In IG9G the Convention
of Royal Burghs represented to Parliament, the great
hardship the Burghs lay under in maintaining poor Pri-



* The taste for litigation in this City may be estimated from the following statement.
Exclusively of the suits which were carried on in the Sheriff's Court, Justices of the Peace
Court, Commissary Court, and the Police Court, 5798 Processes were instituted in tlie
Magistrates' Courts within the Royalty in 1815, viz. Ordinary Town Court, 1658; Summary
Town Court, 608; Conscience Court, 1055; Maritime Court, 109; Small Debt Court, 1560;
Dean of Guild Court, 90; Criminal Cases in tlie Town Court, 720. Since 1815, when the
above Statement was prepared for a public purpose, it is understood tile Processes have const-
ficrablv increased.



87

soners, for an indefinite time; whereon the Parliament
passed an Act, which, while it relieved the Burgh funds,
infused a milder spirit into the law of imprisonment; and
has proved an inestimable blessing to unfortunate Prison-
ers.

The Act provides, 1st. That a person for a civil debt
or cause, who cannot aliment himself, may apply to the
Magistrates for an order upon the Creditor to give him
an aliment. 2d. That this application must be intimat-
ed to the Creditor, (or Creditors, as the case may be)
and must be supported by the Debtor's oath, that he has
not wherewithal to aliment himself. 3d. That the Cre-
ditor shall within the space of ten days, provide the ali-
ment and give security for it, the amount not being un-
der Three Shillings Scots per diem. 4th. That after the
lapse of ten days, this order not being complied with, the
Debtor shall be set at liberty. (In computing the time,
the day is to be held to run from midnight to midnight.) *
In striking the aliment, the Magistrate regulates the
amount by the circumstance and quality of the Prisoner,
and the character of the case. Poor Debtors even after
they are liberated by the Act of Grace may be incarcera-
ted again for the same Debt, if within one year they re-
ceive immediate aliment on incarceration; but if after that
period, ten days must expire before they receive it. Pri-
soners who have property, and have made a full surrender
to their Creditors, may after thirty days imprisonment,
apply to the Court of Session for a discharge under the
process of Cessio JBono?'um. In this process the Debtor
must summon all his Creditors, to whom he assigns his
property. When this personal protection is granted, the
Debtor can never again be incarcerated for the same debt
by any of the Creditors to whom intimation of the Cessio
had been intimated.



* On the 11th November, 1704, Blair, against the Magistrates of Edinburgh, " The
" Court of Session subjected the Magistrates in the payment of the Debt, in consideration
" that they liberated the Prisoner immediately after 1 2 o'clock of the tenth day from the
" intimation."



88



BUI of Health.

In 1671, the Court of Session passed an Act of Sede-
runt empowering Magistrates to liberate Debtors on re-
ceiving a certificate on oath from a Pliysician or Surgeon,
stating that confinement in Prison would endanger the
Prisoner's life. The Act of Sederunt states, that *• The
** Magistrates shall be answerable that the party escape
" not, and upon his recovery return to Prison.



Squalor^ Carceris,

It is a principle in the Scotch Law that the Debtor be
kept a close prisoner, so that he may be induced to pay
the Debt if he can, or disclose the funds which he may
have concealed. This custom which has so often shocked
the humanity of English writers on imprisonment, was
borrowed from the Church, who were accustomed to en-
force obedience in matters of faith, by confining heretics
between narrow walls, or placing them in loathsome dun-
geons. In former times when the Prisons partook of the
nature of dungeons more than of places of safe-keeping,
imprisonment became a severe punishment, but even then,
the humanity of the Law in its Cessio Bonorum and Bill of
Health softened the rigour of the most callous Creditor. —
In our times, the Squalor-Carceris is only known by name.



The information conveyed by the following Tables will
not fliil to make a deep impression on the minds of those
who have turned their attention to the quantity of Crime
committed in large Towns.



89



DELESTQUENTS.

Number of Persons incarcerated Jbr Delinquency in Glasgow Jail.



Years.



January, .,
February, ..

March,

April,

May,

June,

July. ■

August,

September,
October, .,
November,
December,



1815 1816 1817 1818* 1819 1820 1821 1822



71

65
71

78
89
77
78
103
102
83
40
87



Total, 944 1043 1021



94

91

93

103

86

65

110

108

68

72

70

83



90
120
92
89
70
68
82
113
67
71
70
89



82

78

56

69

64

84

101

105

56

112

105

104



132

70

124

103

88

117

139

81

152

100

113

104



98

139

105

143

56

73

66

98

104

115

116

108



1016 |l323 1221 1196 1150



122

110

98

112

117

125

125

92

72

54

74

95



91

149
87
94

113
70

102
80
89
99

102
74



On 31st December, 1 822, there were 128 persons in the Jail, viz. Debtors,
61 Males and 1 Female — Delinquents, 53 Males and 13 Females. On
the 14th February, 1814, when the New Jail was opened, it being then a
time of War, there were only 35 Prisoners of every description removed from
the Old to the New Jail.

During the year which ended on 31st December, 1822, 1984 persons had
been incarcerated in the Jail, viz. 834 Debtors and 1150 Delinquents.



* STATE OF JAILS AND BRIDEWELLS IN SCOTLAND.

(From the Parliamentary Account Jbr the Year 1818.^



Number of places of confinement in
Scotland ,

fiz. Common Jails (including 5 or 6
used only as lock-up houses,) ... 82

Bridewells or penitentiaries, 5

Number of Jails in which there were
no committals in 1818,



87



Persons committed for debts 420

Do. for crimes, .... 1152

Of the criminals there were males, 678
Do. females, 474

Under 17 years of age, 217

Above 17 years of age, 935



1572



1152



1152



Of the criminals confined at one
ti me in the five bridewells-males, 20.'5
females, 576

Under 1 7 years of age, 119

Above 17 years of age, 460



579



579



Total number of persons committed to

all the jails in 1818, .5310

Do. do. to the bridewells, 5427

Total number of persons committed in

1818, 8757

The greatest number of persons at one

time in jails, 993

Do. do. in bridewells, 579

Total in both, 1572

Commitments to Bridewells in 1818.— EcUnburgli, 1190 ; Glasgow, 1443; Greenock, 212; Roxburgh, 167;
Aberdeen, 115.

In 27 jails including Gla-sgow, Dumfrie.', Ayr, and Pai.-ilcy, the nliiTicnt to criniin.nls, in 1S18, was 6rf. per day.
In five jails, vi%. St. Andrew's, Haddington, Dunbar, Edinburgh, (tiU lately,) and Canongate, the aliment was
8rf. perday; in Dalkeith, Sollvirk, Jedburgh, and Dy.sart, 9rf. per dav; in liivemrj-, UW. ; in Greenlaw, u/. to
9-i ?; a:


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1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryJames ClelandStatistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected → online text (page 8 of 23)