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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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No Pages: 1
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^ 99 PETITIONS RELATING TO LIMERICK TAXATION. 9 7 / law costs, to the amount of 1,183/. were paid out of these revenues ; in 1814 and 1815, 2,907/. were appropriated in the same manner; in 1816" and 1817, 2,688/.; and during the last ten years, above 7,500/. are stated to have been expended in litigation ; one sum in the last account is charged as follows : " Viscount Gort, sundry expenses, 800/.;" this entry, App. ( B.> Contin- the object of which is not in itself sufficiently defined, appears to Your § ent LxPenses- Committee identical with the following order produced by the town clerk, Town Clerk, 1819, " 21st October 1819. Warrant to Lord Viscount Gort, being the costs APP-( B;> " and expenses attending the Limerick petition against the return of the " Honourable J. P. Vereker, 800/." The contingent expenses for 1819, 1820 and 1821, amount to 4,424 /. 8 s. 1 d. and are stated by the cham- berlain to have been paid by order of council; whilst, by the returns of the town clerk for those years, the orders of council have not amounted to 1,800/. nor is the balance accounted for by the list of warrants issued and signed by the town clerk. In like manner the chamberlain certifies App( B.) Contin. that the orders of council, in 1812, 1813, authorized an expenditure of ^ g'laf i8i3& t'S* 1,923 /. 14s. 8whilst the orders returned to Your Committee have not App ( B.) Town exceeded 264/. 19s. 91 d. So far, therefore, as the imperfect documents laid Clerk's return- before Your Committee enable them to judge, an inference is raised that considerable sums have been paid without authority ; the largest charge in the account under consideration, 2,002 /. 12 s. 5d. for " sundry expenses " attending the several petitions and proceedings/' appears to Your Com- mittee to be without sufficient explanation. If applied towards defending or prosecuting election petitions, or defraying expenses connected with such proceedings, it may be included within the observations of Your Com- mittee respecting the 800/. voted in 1819; this sum is stated to have been paid by order of council, but no such authority appears among the documents produced by the town clerk. Your Committee conclude their observations on this branch of the subject, by remarking, that had the ex- penditure of the corporation been confined to its regular charges, a sum of about 1,000/. per annum might have been made annually applicable to the public uses of the city, and might have diminished the local taxation one- fifth, at the least. The administration of these revenues is confided to an officer of the corporation, called the Chamberlain or Receiver. To him appears for some time to have been intrusted the unrestrained control of the expen- diture. The office has been for many years filled by the head of a noble family, who possesses such authority over the corporation, as enables him to nominate to all public offices, whether judicial or ministerial, and to direct all public acts whatsoever : aldermen, mayors, sheriffs, recorders, g, M'Mahon, burgesses, freemen and justices of the peace, are all appointed by him ; App. ( A.) Min. Ev. and it is stated in evidence, even by his political friends, that no propo- ^ Gibson'ib. sition made by him is ever resisted, and no question which he opposes is ever carried. Your Committee are aware that no line is more difficult to be drawn than that which separates the fair and legitimate influence of station, character and property, employed for useful and honourable purposes, from the improper exercise of authority, which leads, when misdirected, to the worst consequences. Though the two principles are as opposite in their nature as contrary in their results, it is difficult clearly to dis- tinguish where the one begins and the other ends. Your Committee will therefore confine themselves to a plain statement of facts, leaving it to The House to draw from those facts its own inferences. The chamber- lain, as has been stated, receives all the public revenues of the corporation; at his suggestion, in common with all other corporate appointments, the members of a committee of accounts are named; of this committee so appointed to audit his own accounts, he is himself a member; for though 617. C a line
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