Provost Pawkie tells his own story, portrays inimitably the jobbery, bickerings and self-seeking of municipal dignitaries in a quaint Scottish burgh.
"During a recent visit to the West Country, among other old friends we paid our respects to Mrs Pawkie, the relict of the Provost of that name, who three several times enjoyed the honour of being chief magistrate in Gudetown. Since the death of her worthy husband, and the comfortable settlement in life of her youngest daughter, Miss Jenny, who was married last year to Mr Caption, writer to the signet, she has been, as she told us herself, “beeking in the lown o the conquest which the gudeman had, wi sic an ettling o pains and industry, gathered for his family."
It must be allowed in the world, that a man who has thrice reached the highest station of life in his line, has a good right to set forth the particulars of the discretion and prudence by which he lifted himself so far above the ordinaries of his day and generation; indeed, the generality of mankind may claim this as a duty; for the conduct of public men, as it has been often wisely said, is a species of public property, and their rules and observances have in all ages been considered things of a national concernment.
John Galt (1779–1839) was born in Irvine, Scotland, and died at Greenock. He was the author of over 80 books, but is best known for his initiative in forming “The Canada Company” who purchased crown land in Ontario, Canada and sold it to settlers. Galt was the first Superintendent of the Company, and founded the town of Guelph on April 23, 1827.