Page images

whether papists and jacobites of great fortunes and quality may not probably stand behind the curtain in this dangerous, open, and avowed design against the gsvernment. But I have performed my duty; and leave the reforming of these abuses to the wisdom, the vigilance, the loyalty, and activity of my superiors.





HUMBLY SHEWETH,—That your petitioners are a great and numerous society, endowed with several privileges time out of mind.

That certain lewd, idle, and disorderly persons for several months past, as it is notoriously known, have been daily seen in the public walks of this city, habited sometimes in green coats and sometimes laced, with long oaken cudgels in their hands and without swords, in hopes to procure favor by that advantage with a great number of ladies who frequent those walks; pretending and giving themselves out to be the true genuine Irish footmen; whereas they can be proved to be no better than common toupees, as a judicious eye may soon discover by their awkward, clumsy, ungenteel gait and behavior; by their unskilfulness in dress, even with the advantage of our habits; by their ill-favored countenances with an air of impudence and dulness peculiar to the rest of their brethren, who have not yet arrived at that transcendent pitch of assurance, and although it may be justly apprehended that they will do so in time, if these counterfeits shall happen to succeed in their evil design of passing for real footmen, thereby to render themselves more amiable to the ladies.

Your petitioners do further allege that many of the said counterfeits, upon a strict examination, have been found in the act of strutting, staring, swearing, swaggering, in a manner that plainly showed their best endeavors to imitate us. Wherein although they did not succeed, yet by their ignorant and ungainly way of copying our graces, the utmost indignity was endeavored to be cast upon our whole profession.

[ocr errors]

Your petitioners do therefore make it their humble request that this honorable house (to many of whom your petitioners are nearly allied) will please to take this grievance into your most serious consideration; humbly submitting whether it would not be proper that certain officers might, at the public charge, be employed to search for and discover all such counterfeit footmen; to carry them before the next justice of peace, by whose warrant, upon the first conviction, they shall be stripped of their coats and oaken ornaments and be set two hours in the stocks; upon the second conviction, beside stripping, be set six hours in the stocks with a paper pinned on their breasts signifying their crime in large capital letters, and in the following words :—“A. B., commonly called A. B., esq., a toupee, and a notorious impostor, who presunied to personate a true Irish footman." And for

any other offence the said toupee shall be committed to Bridewell, whipped three times, forced to hard labor for a month, and not to be set at liberty till he shall have given sufficient security for his good behavior.

Your honors will please to observe with what lenity we propose to treat these enormous offenders, who have already brought such a scandal on our honorable calling that several well-meaning people have mistaken them to be of our fraternity, in diminution to that credit and dignity whereby we have supported our station, as we always did in the worst of times. And we further beg leave to remark that this was manifestly done with a seditious design to render us less capable of serving the public in any great employments, as several of our fraternity as well as our ancestors have done.

We do therefore humbly implore your honors to give necessary orders for our relief in this present exigency, and your petitioners (as in duty bound) shall ever pray, &c.




LIAMENT. 1733.



THOSE few writers who, since the death of alderman Burton, have employed their pens in giving advice to our citizens, how they should proceed in electing a new representative for the next sessions, haying laid aside their pens, I have reason to hope that all true lovers of their country in general, and particularly those who have any regard for the privileges and liberties of this great and ancient city, will think a second and a third time before they come to a final determination


person they resolve to fix their choice. I am told there are only two persons who set up for candidates; one is the present lord mayor [Humphry French], and the other [John Macarall], a gentleman of good esteem, an alderman of the city, a merchant of reputation, and possessed of a considerable office under the crown. The question is which of these two persons it will be most for the advantage of the city to elect? I have but little acquaintance with either, so that my inquiries will be very impartial and drawn only from the general character and situation of both.

In order to this I must offer my countrymen and fellow-citizens some reasons why I think they ought to be more than ordinarily careful at this juncture upon whom they bestow their votes. To perform this with more clearness, it may be


to give you a short state of our unfortunate country.

We consist of two parties : I do not mean popish and protestant, high and low church, episcopal and sectarians, Whig and Tory; but of those of English extraction who happen to be born in this kingdom (whose ancestors reduced the whole nation under the obedience of the English crown), and the gentlemen sent from the other side to possess most of the chief employments here. This latter party is

very much enlarged and strengthened by the whole power in the church, the law, the army, the revenue, and the civil administration deposited in their hands; although for political ends and to save appearances, some employments are still distributed (yet gradually


yet those

in a small number) to persons born here: this proceeding fortified with good words and many promises is sufficient to flatter and feed the hopes of hundreds, who will never be one farthing the better, as they might easily be convinced if they were qualified to think at all.

Civil employments of all kinds have been for several years past, with great prudence, made precarious and during pleasure; by which means the possessors are and must inevitably be for ever dependent;

few of

any consequence, which being dealt with so sparing a hand to persons born among us, are enough to keep hope alive in great numbers who desire to mend their condition by the favor of those in power.

Now, my dear fellow-citizens, how is it possible you can conceive that any person who holds an office of some hundred pounds a year, which may be taken from him whenever power shall think fit, will, if he should be chosen a member for any city, do the least thing when he sits in the house that he knows or fears may be displeasing to those who gave him or continue him in that office? Believe me, these are not times to expect such an exalted degree of virtue from mortal men. Blazing stars are much more frequently seen than such heroical worthies. And I could sooner hope to find 10,0001. by digging in my garden than such a phoenix by searching among the present race of mankind.

I cannot forbear thinking it a very erroneous as well as modern maxim of politics in the English nation, to take every opportunity of depressing Ireland; whereof 100 instances may be produced in points of the highest importance, and within the memory of every middle-aged man; although many of the greatest persons among that party which now prevails have formerly, upon that article, much differed in their opinion from their present successors.

But so the fact stands at present. It is plain that the court and country party here (I mean in the house of commons) very seldom agree in anything but their loyalty to his present majesty, their resolutions to make him and his viceroy easy in the government to the utmost of their power, under the present condition of the kingdom. But the persons sent from England, who (to a trifle) are possessed of the sole executive power in all its branches, with their few adherents in possession who were born here, and hundreds of expectants, hopers, and promisees, put on quite contrary notions with regard to Ireland. They count upon an universal submission to whatever shall be demanded; wherein they act safely, because none of themselves, except the candidates, feel the least of our pressures. I remember a person of distinction some days ago affirmed in a good deal of mixed company, and of both parties, that the gentry from England, who now enjoy our highest employments of all kinds, can never be possibly losers of one farthing by the greatest calamities that can befall this kingdom, except a plague that would sweep away a million of our hewers of wood and drawers of water, or an invasion that would fright our grandees out of the kingdom. For this person argued that, while there was a penny left in the treasury, the civil and the military list must be paid; and that the episcopal revenues, which are usually farmed out at six times below the real value, could hardly fail. He insisted further, that as money diminished, the price of all necessaries of life must of consequence do so too, which would be for the advantage of all persons in employment, as well as of my lords the bishops, and to the ruin of everybody else. Among the company there wanted not men in office, besides one or two expectants; yet I did not observe any of them disposed to return an answer; but the consequences drawn were these : That the great men in power, sent hither from the other side, were by no means upon the same foot with his majesty's other subjects of Ireland. They had no common ligament to bind them with us; they suffered not with our sufferings; and if it were possible for us to have any cause of rejoicing, they could not rejoice with us.

Suppose a person born in this kingdom shall happen, by his services for the English interest, to have an employment conferred upon him worth 4001. a-year, and that he has likewise an estate in land worth 4001. a-year more, suppose him to sit in parliament, then suppose a land-tax to be brought in of 5s. a-pound for ten years, I tell

you how this gentleman will compute. He has 4001. a-year in land, the tax he must pay yearly is 1001., by which, in ten years, he will pay only 10001.: but if he gives his vote against this tax he will lose 40001. by being turned out of his employment, together with the power and influence he has by virtue and color of his employment, and thus the balance will be against him 30001.

I desire, my fellow-citizens, you will please to call to mind how many persons you can vouch for among your acquaintance who have so much virtue and self-denial as to lose 4001. a-year for life, together with the smiles and favor of power, and the hopes of higher advancement, merely out of a generous love of his country.

The contentions of parties in England are very different from those among us.

The battle there is fought for power and riches, and so it is indeed among us; but whether a great employment be

« PreviousContinue »