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The charter granted and confirmed to Aberystwyth from Edward I down to Henry VIII (and the same applies to Cardigan) reveals no mention of privileges conferred upon the burgesses with regard to the election of Members of Parliament. It may therefore be assumed that the franchise was vested in the burgesses who formed the inhabitant householders of the borough paying scot and lot. In Cardi- ganshire there were five such borough towns which conjointly returned a repre- sentative. They were Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Lampeter, Adpar, and Tregaron. The place last named was disfranchised in 1730 and Adpar in 1742. As already stated, county families expended a good deal of energy on political activities, because political success not merely lent colour and excitement to the otherwise quiet and oftimes dreary round of estate duties, but also gave one's family additional prestige in society. It was, as we shall see, an extremely costly business to stand for Parliament even as late as the middle of the nineteenth century. Political power-both local and parliamentary-often fortified the family estate, if one could be sure of remaining solvent. Elections were, generally speaking, not 'political' in the sense that they were fought over constitutional issues but rather a trial of strength between rival landowners, often resulting in litigation. A defeated opponent rarely failed to find cause for complaint, and, if sufficiently wealthy, pursued the issue through a suit in the Star Chamber or a petition to Parliament. In the case of the boroughs a pre-election skirmish was usually fought over the election of a mayor, who, in the event of a parliamentary contest, presided over the hustings, and was generally in a position to 'manouvre' the poll by accept- ing or rejecting voters either at their original registration or during the election proper. The smaller boroughs were often obliged to seek the help of neighbour- ing squires in defence of their rights and privileges, whereupon they in turn secured (either by purchase or gift) burgages within the towns which were then let to selected tenants. As a result, in course of time, the interests of neighbouring landowners undermined the independence of the towns, which became veritable 'battle- courses' for rival families, and where one family gained the ascendancy it was always a guarantee against future disappointment in the county where the elector- ate was tempered by other landlords whose point of view had to be given due con- sideration. As can be seen from various lists of the burgesses of the Cardigan boroughs, many were not resident in these towns, but had been sponsored at various times by interested influential parties. The controlling interest in these cases was not always above reproach, and the Reports of the Municipal Corporation Commissioners during the last century are particularly revealing in most instances. That for Aberystwyth by James Booth, dated 30 December 1833, states that the govern- ment of the Corporation appears to be vested in two Courts Leet (one held within a month after Easter, and the other within a month after Michaelmas day) in which, among other business transacted, burgesses are admitted. These Courts, the Report proceeds, 'are summoned and held by the mayor; and the jury, consisting of some number of burgesses of not less than twelve, are selected and sworn by him', and that 'a majority of the Jury has been commonly composed of non-resident burgesses'. Aberystwyth was not exceptional in this respect, and, considering