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Limerick City Petitions

31/07/1822

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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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213 APPENDIX TO REPORT FROM SELECT COMMITTEE N° 18. COPIES of any Letters from the Lord Lieutenant, Lords Justices, or Privy Council of Great Britain, in the years 1761 and 1762, in transmitting the Heads of a Bill for better regulating the Corporation of the City of Limerick, and for redressing the Grievances under which the Corporation and Inhabitants of the said City labour. ( Copy.) Council Chamber, Dublin, 13th day of March 1762. My Lord, WE herewith transmit to your Lordship, under the great seal of this kingdom,— A Bill, entitled, An Act for the better regulating the Corporation of the City of Limerick, and for redressing the several Grievances and Oppressions, under which the Citizens and Inhabitants of the same City labour. This bill took its rise in the House of Commons, upon petitions from the inhabitants of the said city and of the adjacent counties, complaining of divers abuses, extortions and grievances, in the said city, upon a report of a committee of the said House, to whom it was referred, to examine into the matters alleged in the said petitions, and who did accordingly, as was admitted before us, examine into the same upon oath ; and upon divers resolutions entered into by the said House, it recites that clivers abuses have been committed in the government of the said city for several years past, to the great prejudice of the said city, and the discouragement of trade therein ; and that the estate and revenues belonging to the corporation of the said city have been for a considerable time past most shamefully wasted by a few members of the common council, and exorbitant and illegal tolls and duties had been exacted at the gates and within the markets of the said city, and that many of the citizens and inhabitants of the said city had been grievously and illegally oppressed by the magistrates of the said city, and that many frauds had been from time to time committed by the toll- gatherers in the markets and at the gates of the said city ; for remedy whereof, and to restore to the said citizens the liberties and privileges which were granted to them by his Majesty's royal predecessors by several charters, It directs the manner in which the mayors, sheriffs and chamberlain shall be for the future elected, and in what manner they shall demean themselves in their said offices respec- tively, and how freemen and common councilmen of the said city shall be admitted. It appoints commissioners of the public accounts of the said city for the time past to be chosen, and impovvers them to send for persons and papers, and enables them to adjust the same, and report their opinion thereon to the corporation. It also enables the corporation of the said city to commence suits for such debts as shall appear to be due to the said city, and to impeach such leases of the corporation estate as shall appear to them to have been improperly made. It enacts what salaries shall be paid to the several officers of the corporation, and that from henceforth no part of the public revenue shall be applied to any other than public uses, nor any leases made but by the whole body. It also enacts what tolls shall be from henceforth taken at the gates and quays, and in the markets of the said city. Shortly after the heads of this bill was sent to us, a petition was preferred to the Lord Lieutenant and Council, in the name of the common council of the city of Limerick, to which the city seal was affixed, against some parts of the said bill; there was also a petition preferred, which was signed by eleven members of the common council of the said city, setting forth, that the mayor and nineteen members only of the said common council had agreed to the said petition against the said bill, notwithstanding the common council con- sisted of sixty persons, and that the greater part of the said nineteen members were the persons who were guilty of the abuses which the bill was intended to remedy; and that the said petition had been obtained by surprize. There were likewise several other petitions preferred in favour of the said bill by the citi- zens, inhabitants and merchants of the said city, and by the gentlemen and farmers of the neighbouring counties of Limerick, Clare, and Kerry, which petitions set forth many abuses committed for some years past by the magistrates of the said city ; that illegal and exorbitant tolls were extorted by their direction at the gates and in the markets of the said city, and the city revenues applied in defending suits against the persons who have been guilty of such extortions. That the said citizens had for many years past been most grievously oppressed by the magistrates and justices of the peace, in partial applotments of the city rates upon them, and in divers others ways; and that a few members of the common council, bv their extra- ordinary influence therein, had for several years past distributed the revenues " of the corpo- ration amongst themselves, without the assent of the citizens, although the citizens form one constituent part of the corporate body ; and that the common council under the like influence, had taken upon them to make leases for ever, and for 999 years, to a few of their own members, of ali the lands belonging to the said corporation", at trifling rents, some of which lands were granted to the said corporation for charitable uses, without the assent of the citizens; and that all redress in the ordinary course of justice was prevented, by the prevailing faction in the common council refusing to permit suits to be instituted or carried on in the name of the corporation, or under the city seal, of which they had got the custody. Whereupon
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