Mr. Masoun, as the Town Clerk for the bustling Burgh of Ayr, you kept a fairly detailed record of the Burgh financial accounts for three decades near the beginning of the seventeenth century in the old pounds / shillings / pence (£ / s / d) currency system. You must have a pretty clear understanding of where the money went. We find it curious that close to nine per cent of the Town's revenue was spent on hospitality and on the entertainment and satisfaction of the friends of the local elite. Do the following payments ring a bell?
And, of course you remember your old guild pals who must have had a run of bad luck toward the end of their careers:
And we're not forgeting that a fairly decent male servant's annual wage for this time period in the early seventeenth century was between £30 and £40 -- just about the right amount to keep your "gude freindis" in "gude" spirits for a year!
Now, we acknowledge that the Burgh brass did spend some money on support of the poor -- but really now Mr. Masoun, one or two per cent of the Revenue was merely a token amount. Eight pence to a poor boy, 1s 4d for meat and drink to a poor man and 4d for a loaf to a poor woman are pretty paltry payments compared with your pattern of patronage plums to your pals.
(1) Scottish History Society, Ayr Burgh Accounts, 1534-1624
From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #7