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Limerick City Petitions


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Petitions Relating to the Local Taxation of the City of Limerick page 1
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Limerick City Petitions

Date of Article: 31/07/1822
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iO REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON f Mr. J. N. Russell, so at the time, suggesting as his reason, " that the 24th June was the App. ( A.) Min. Ev. « next charter day, when the question would be disposed of." If it is considered that these petitions were presented in 1820, and that the Committee appointed to receive evidence only sat 1st November 1821; that the evidence was closed 8th November 1821 : if it is considered Mr. Parker, ibid, that the distinction suggested by the mayor, of a charter day, for the ad- mission of freemen was unknown to the corporation, who admitted free- men indiscriminately on all days of their meeting, more than one hundred Mr. Parker, ibid, freemen having been admitted on the 15th February 1813, and an equal number on the 29th January 1817 ( neither of which were charter days): if it is also considered, that the death of any of the claimants, in the in- terval before his admission, would have deprived his family of an inhe- ritable franchise, Your Committee cannot but be clearly of opinion, that Mr. Parker, ibid, this postponement was partial and unjust. It is proved in evidence, that the mayor had the power of convening a council, if he thought fit, for the consideration of these claims ; and it does not appear that he had even a plausible excuse for declining to do so. When the council was at length held, which was subsequent to the investigation before Your Committee, the petitioners admitted to the corporate franchise were those of a superior rank and station, whilst the apprentices of freemen, who must necessarily have experienced greater difficulties in enforcing their claims, have not as yet been admitted to the freedom of the city. Your Committee feel it their duty to call the attention of the House to some part of the evidence given by the town clerk of the corporation. Mr. Parker, ibid. That officer admits, " that by several Acts of Parliament he is bound, on " legal demand, as town clerk, to give an inspection of the corporation " books, and to furnish lists of the names of freemen admitted." He admits, " that very frequently demands have been made upon him for " that purpose; but that he virtually refused, by not complying with Ibid. " them; that he considered himself as a trustee for the chamberlain, who " advised him on those occasions, and by whose advice he generally " acted, when he virtually refused obeying the Act of Parliament, by not Mr. Parker, ibid. " complying." On a subsequent day Mr. Parker states, in explanation, that he was informed by the chamberlain himself, that counsel had re- ibid. commended that this advice should be so given; but he afterwards ad- r. Bainngton, ib. m- tg ^ jega] jty 0f ^ he demands, which it appears, from other evidence, were generally disregarded by him for above seven successive years. Your Committee also think it right to state, that the same officer, upon being given the usual permission to look over and correct his evidence, not only altered the minutes in essential points, but made his answers dia- Mr. Parker, ibid, metrically opposite to what they were at first. The circumstances which led the witness to alter his evidence deserve attention. Being asked whether the grand juries of Limerick were a fair representation of the property and intelligence of the city of Limerick, he answered, " I do not;" this answer he afterwards changed into the contrary one of, " Yes, I do." When called upon subsequently to explain this circumstance, which appeared extraordinary to Your Committee, the following examination took place:— " IN your examination of the 28th June, you were asked, " Do you conceive the grand jury of the city of Limerick as at present consituted, to be a fair and equal representation of the property and intelligence of the city of Limerickto which you answered, " I do notyou have since altered that answer to " Yes I do you have made that alteration have not you ?— Yes. The answer as it at present stands is diametrically reverse to the answer which you gave to the Committee ?— Yes. Then
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