(8) The commutation of the twenty-two letters is effected by the last letter of the alphabet taking the place of the first, the last but one the place of the second, and so forth.
This board may allow commutation or diminution of sentence for good behaviour, meritorious services or exemplary conduct.
In the case of hop-grounds, orchards, fruit-plantations and gardens power was given to the commissioners to value them separately, according to the average rate of composition for the seven years preceding Christmas 1835, and to fix an ordinary and an extraordinary charge for tithes thereof, the former for such lands going out of cultivation, the latter for such as were thereafter newly cultivated; lands subject to the latter were exempted during their first years of cultivation; and such lands were only subject to it if situated in a parish in which an extraordinary charge had been distinguished at the time of commutation (6 & 7 Will.
As constable of Dundee he secured the commutation of the death penalty on minor offenders under his jurisdiction, and his expressed maxim was " in the greatest crimes it is thought wisest to pardon the multitude and punish the ringleaders."
As time went on these practices of commutation became more and more frequent.