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CH A P. three important bills to be prepared by the w council, and transmitted to England accord1666. ing to the form of Poyning's law.
The first, for an equality of weights and measures throughout Ireland.
The second, for encouraging the herring fishery in the harbour of Dublin.
And the third, for repairing and improving the port of Dublin, at the charge of any private person who would undertake it.
But the termination of the session superseded those bills.
And on the same day a committee of twenty-two were named to reply to a paper from the lord lieutenant, containing an address from the lords about the violation of their privileges at a conference. The duke of Ormond had personally endeavoured to reconcile the two houses, and to moderate those disputes which had arisen about the most trivial and frivolous forms and insiga 10
nificant ceremonies, of being covered or un- CHAP. covered, sitting or standing, at a conference; he had laboured to persuade them of the 1666. absurdity of the dispute, and to settle those forms from his own long parliamentary experience of between thirty and forty years in the parliaments of England and Ireland, but all to no purpose.
Upon the 6th of August it was resolved, that in regard to the poverty of the kingdom, the members should freely remit all wages due in consequence of former orders; and thus ended these allowances in Ireland, which are not to be traced after the Revolution.
I shall reserve for a separate chapter a short account of conferences, which form a principal article in the proceedings of the Irish parliament from the commencement of the journals till the year one thousand leven hundred and thirty-seven, when the two houses conferred for the last time. A great part of the journals of this session was L 2
CHA P. occupied with those frivolous and unintereste
ing disputes, which at last rose so high that 1666. parliament was diffolved, after the royal
affent had been given to eight bills by the lord lieutenant in person. How much to be lamented was that idle dispute, which not only caused a diffolution, but was one cause also, of parliament not meeting for twentyfive years, till the year one thousand fix hundred and ninety-two, after the Revolution !
The great business of the parliaments which were held in Ireland in the reign of Charles the second, was the appropriation of all the forfeited lands, which form the far greater part of the Irish territory.
In consequence of this appropriation, an actual survey was made by the surveyor general, sir William Petty, of which a general rental was formed, which was deposited in the auditor general's office, and
other public offices in Ireland ; this rental CHAP. is called the Down Survey *.
All these forfeited lands are subjected by the act of settlement to quitrents, which may be considered as a species of land-tax, of about fivepence in the pound; the total of which, in one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, amounted to about £. 64,158 +.
Many disputes and claims about these quitrents were silenced, and questions about certain lands being subjected to them were annulled, by a quieting act in one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four ; by which, if it should be proved that no quitrents had been
* The best copy of the Down Survey which I have feen is in the valuable library of the earl of Effex at Cashioberry, whose ancestor was lord lieutenant in 1677, to whom sir William Temple addressed his valuable letter upon the improvement of the trade of Ireland. .7 Public Accounts of Ireland for 1788, No. 1. Under this head also were comprehended Crown and Composition Rents.
CHAP. paid for twenty years before the claim was III.
made, upon a petition to the Court of Ex1666. chequer, stating this and their agreement to
pay the growing quitrent, òr that which shall become due in future, the lands are to be liberated from arrears.
Maps were also delineated of every county in Ireland according to the Down Survey from sir William Petty's observations*: fome copies of these maps were deposited in the
* Sir William Petty's state of Ireland was very ac, curate and satisfactory; and it is to be lamented that that great master of politịcal arithmetic did not pro pose a system for the progressive enumeration of the people. This system prevails in the United States of America, and also, it is said, in China. A bill for esta blishing annual returns by a parochial census, was introduced in 1754 by Mr. Potter, son of the learned archbishop ; but it did not pass : a copy of the bill which I have seen in the parliament office contained an ada miral plan for those returns from the different parishes and counties in England. Various statements have prevailed of the population of Ireland, which are still conjectural; but from fome late extensive and ingenious enquiries of Mr. Bushe, the population of Ireland may be stated at three millions and an half, with a rea, fonable approximation to truth.