Matthew to the 9th Lord Kinnaird, 6 November 1860
(MS100/2/bundle574/3, pdf image)
Matthew petitions Kinnaird to support the Right-of-Way Association (see Newspaper Articles > Social Issues for other references to Matthew’s involvement in this Association). Matthew once again paints the landed gentry in a poor light.
Gourdiehill. Nov. 6/60.
Enclosed is a statement of the intended procedure of the Right of Way Association, which you will observe is quite in a accord with your expressed sentiments regarding how it should act. I am the more inclined to expect your Lordship’s aid as it is materially a non-property-class object – to protect the rights of those who are scarcely able to protect their own.
In the case of a privileged Order, with extended appropriation of Earths surface, they are more especially obligated to protect the little that remains of Nature’s Wealth to those Her disinherited Children – the right to have access to & to look upon the grand Temple of Nature, with all its revolving & dissolving pictures of existence.
Your Lordship is aware that many of the public walks around Dundee have been seized upon by the grasping neighbouring proprietary & having succeeded in appropriating these, unless unchecked, the rapine will go on, till none of the old paths & public grounds remain. Is it not then our duty to use all legal means of protection to those still remaining & to recover what has been stolen. Is it an honest reason for not doing is so that it may lead us into an expensive litigation? Are we to do our duty only when there is no danger or difficulty? Should these paltry annexers lead us into expense & litigation, theirs be the blame. It is in the face of danger & difficulty – were there indeed danger & difficulty, that our duty becomes more onerous. It is however our duty to accomplish our purpose with as little injury & trouble to ourselves & others as possible, & my reason for asking your Lordship to take a lead in the Society is with a view from your influence to accomplish our purpose more easily. Some may think it absurd for you to subscribe funds, to be, it is possible, expended in causing the Dundee & Perth Railway Co. form a path external to the line, from the Magdalene Green westward to the rough ground where the line does not interfere to stop the right of way. Still such in justice requires to be done. It is the general law of the land that no erection should blockade the right of way along the shores of Seas & Firths open to navigation, & no private Bill of Parliament can set aside a general law. I trust this unfortunate position will have no influence upon your Lordship – that you will assist in procuring justice to the poor man, though at your own prejudice. Should you not desire to take a lead in the association, still I hope you will assist by a small subscription, to show your animus in the affair. Even this would have a powerful effect in getting affairs settled amicably. I am sure you would not have cause of regret.
I cannot by letter state all the strong reasons why your Lordship should subscribe. In this I hope you will follow the dictates of your own mind & not yield to others with a less delicate sense of honor. I remain,
your most obedient ser[van]t.
[To] The Right Hon. Lord Kinnaird
Page created: 8 February 2019
Last modified: 8 February 2019