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Chap, councils, and from the office of vice-treasurer, as he

XXXVI

^^^.Jf was supposed to have advised or influenced the dangerous measures of the late ministry. They also voted resolutions of a dispensing nature, declaring any person an enemy to the king, who should commence a prosecution against any protestantdissenter, for his acceptance of a commission in the array or militia; and they resolved on an address to the lords justices to recommend the corporation of Dublin to his Majesty for a mark of his royal favour, to perpetuate the virtue and faithful services of the aldermen and sheriffs who had opposed the tory interest in the late election of a lord mayor.

From the accession of George the first the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland were administered exclusively by whigs, and so completely reduced ia the latter was the force of Jacobitism supposed to be, that when the duke of Ormond, driven to desperate attempts by the violence of his enemies, took in 1718 the command of a Spanish fleet and army for an invasion of George's dominions in favour of the pretender, his voyage, which was frustrated by a storm, was directed not to Ireland, where the great body of catholics, including his own m&ueraus tenantry, were too dispirited to afford hopes of strenuous aid, but to North Britain, whore jseiji of influence and resolution were strongly attached to the line of Stuart, and highly discontented wijh the new Unconstitu-government. The zealous loyalty of the Irish partheBritish liament could not protect its privileges from fh.0inpsrtmnent. vagj0J1 0f fiie British. In a suit for an estate between

Hester

Hester Sherlock and Maurice Annesley, the latter Chap.

* XXXVI

obtained from the court of Exchequer a decree in^^.^/ Lis favour, which on an appeal was reversed by the Irish lords. Appealing from their judgment to the British lords,, Annesley was gratified with a confirmation of the first sentence, and an order for his being put in possession of the disputed ground. The Irish peers, on a petition from Sherlock for relief, proposed a question to the judges, whether by the laws of the land an appeal should lie from a decree of the court of Exchequer in Ireland to the king in parliament in Great-Britain? Having received an answer in the negative, the peers passed a resolution, that they would support their honour, jurisdiction, and privileges, in the affording of effectual relief to their petitioner, according to their order formerly given.' But they afterwards received a petition from the sheriff of Kildare, Alexander Burrowes, in which he stated that, when he had entered on his office, he was commanded by an injunction from the court of Exchequer to restore Annesley to the possession of the contested lands, which had been delivered to Hester Sherlock by the late sheriff; that he was fined for disobedience; and that through fear of an arrest, he had not come to pass his accounts, in consequence of which he was also fined in twelve hundred pounds. By the resolutions of the lords the sheriff's conduct was approved, his fines annulled, the barons of the Exchequer taken into custody, and a=memorial presented to his Majesty in vindication of their own conduct and of the national rights. In Vol. II. P the

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the conclusion of their statement they inform the king, that his deputy-receiver had paid Hester Sherlock above eighteen hundred pounds, to prevent any farther applications from her to the Irish parliament, the repayment of which money was expected from government.

The last circumstance may serve to shew an influence unfriendly to the views of the Irish peers. When their memorial, which maintained, as far as reason could go, the independence of the Irish parliament, was read before the British peers, the latter voted resolutions, in which the barons of the Irish Exchequer were commended for their conduct, and his Majesty supplicated to confer on them some mark of his favour for their sufferings by unjust censure and imprisonment. The duke of Leeds, with a magnanimity and sense of justice most honourable to bis memory, entered against these proceedings his protest, containing fourteen articles, in the eleventh of which he noticed the great iniquity of obliging men to resort to a far distant tribunal, out of their oWn country, at expences insupportable by any except the rich, who must thereby be enabled to practise injustice with impunity. Not satisfied with these resolutions, the British peers enacted a bill, which also passed the commons by a majority of a hundred and forty against eighty-three, and was confirmed into a law by the royal assent, styled "An a6t for the better securing the dependency of Ireland on the crown of Great-Britain," by which the Irish house of lords was deprived of the right of judicature in.

appeals, appeals, and the legislative authority of the Irish par- Chap. liament placed in a very problematical situation, vj^_i since in this act the British parliament was declared to have "full power and authority to make laws and statutes, of sufficient force and validity, to bind the people of the kingdom of Ireland."

Notwithstanding: the degrading: state of subjection Misceiiane.

. . . ° ous transac

to which the Irish parliament and nation were re-'">ns-
duced, such a spirit of opposition was raised among
the people in 1724, against a measure favoured by
the ruling party in Britain, that the British cabinet
thought proper to relinquish the business. Until
then, from the encroaching act of the British legisla-
ture, few matters worth notice occurred. Precluded
from the benefits of industry by restricting laws, the
people were so miserably poor; that the famous Jo-
nathan Swift, dean of Saint-Patrick's, a zealous pa-
triot for the Irish nation, and actuated with uncom-
monly great philanthropy, declared that he "re-
joiced at a mortality as a blessing to individuals and
the public." The same system of administration,
which had been adopted in the reign of William,
continued through this period and long after it. The
catholics were reduced to a political non-existence
by the Irish parliament, and the Irish nation to a
very low state of permanent weakness by the parlia-
ment of Britain, and the plan of administration.
The viceroy, nominally vested with the executive
government, came commonly for a short time once
in two years, leaving the real power to lords jus-
tices, chosen from the principal state-officers of the

p 3 country,

Chap, country, and principally occupied in the consolidat* , 'tjon of an aristocratic influence for effectuating the plans of the British cabinet. The ascendancy in the house of commons was held by whigs, hostile to the catholics as Jacobites, and favourable to the presbyteriatts. Hence a law was enacted in 1719, when the diike of Bolton was lord-lieutenant "for exempting the protestant dissenters from certain penalties to which they were subject;" and in 1723, in the administration of the duke of Grafton, heads of a bill for additional severities against catholics passed the commons, but the farther progress of the business was prevented by its suppression in England. As in the councils, by which Ireland was governed, its prosperity was manifestly no object, a number of men, real friends to their country's welfare, formed, in conjunction with the old tories, who had been habituated to contend against the whigs from less laudable motives, a party, called the patriots, to oppose the ministry. The soul of this party was the admirable Swift, whose writings excited in many of his countrymen a sense of their situation and true interest, the first success of which was the defeating of a job favoured by the ministry.

wood's To remedy the inconvenience arising from a scar

coinage. n" ■ V

1724. city oi copper money in Ireland, instead of a coinage from a royal mint, which had been repeatedly solicited, a royal patent was granted to an Englishman, William Wood, for the coining of halfpence and farthings to the value of a hundred and eight thousand pounds for circulation in this kingdom.

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