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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

Municipal Institutions

Municipal Institutions.

Our municipal institutions are the most valuable that we possess—the most favorable to public freedom and to popular sympathy. Municipal institutions are older than the church—they are older than the aristocracy—they are older than the monarchy itself. They existed in the time of our Saxon ancestors, when every man belonged to a tithing, and every tithing belonged to a hundred, and every hundred belonged to a county; and they, in their own right, chose their own officers to entrust with the management of their affairs. The granting of charters was an innovation upon that inherent right, which gives to every municipality the power of self-government. The counties were bribed, and county members accepted the bribe. The boroughs stood out more manfully; they have always been the fortresses of freedom.

(William Fox—House of Commons, 1856. Police Bill.)