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CHAP. penditure of public money by govern

ment; and the two last were from another
country

V.

Upon this, a motion being made for the production of the civil and military eftablishment, and a state of the revenue of the nation, Mr. Pulteney *, one of the private secretaries of lord Sydney, the lord lieutenant, informed them, that the papers in question had been put into his hands by his excellency; upon which they were ordered to be received the next day, and they were presented accordingly.

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The commons had only time in that sese fion to make a short report about the mis

* This is the first instance of a private secretary to a lord lieutenant acting as minister in the house of comą mons. In the preceding session, in the reign of Charles the second, fir Paul Davis, the secretary of state, was the minister. This employment had been after the Revolution granted to fir Robert Southwell for life, and was afterwards made hereditary for three generations in his family, till the death of his grandson Ed. ward Southwell esq. in 1755,

conduct

V.

conduct of the commissioners of the re. CHAP, venue relative to forfeitures, on the 3d of November one thousand fix hundred and ninety-two, the very day on which they were prorogued after they had fat only twenty-two days, and they were shortly af? terwards diffolved,

But when parliament assembled in one thousand fix hundred and ninety five, after an interval of three years, the lord-deputy Capel informed them in his speech, that a state of the revenue would be laid before them; and on the 5th of June it was referred to a committee, which gave rise to the present mode of proceeding in the committees of accounts, supply, and ways and means ; a method which has been regularly adopted since this last period, at the commencement

of

every session,

The various instances which occur in the early Journals of issuing writs for new elections, in the room of members at their

own

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CHA P. own desire, have been accurately and miw nutely noticed in the foregoing remarks,

from the first precedent of fir Barnaby Brien in one thousand fix hundred and thirtyfour. Numerous instances, 'without any example of a negative, occur, of the compliance of the house, in this respect, till the year one thousand seven hundred and four, when it was made a standing rule of the house, that writs should not issue any more at the desire of the members in their own

room.

This rule was made in consequence of Mr. Caulfield, an ancestor of the earl of Charlemont, desiring that a writ might issue for that borough, as he wished to travel into foreign countries ; of this order the houfe feem to have been ever afterwards remarkably tenacious; insomuch that when the borough of Sligo in one thousand six hundred and forty-three, petitioned for a new writ in the room of Mr. Ormsby, who attested his own bad state of health, and enforced their desire, though they had excused

his

his non-attendance, and his refusal to com- CHAP.

V. ply with their order, on account of indisposition, the motion for a new writ was negatived by a large majority ; and the same principle prevailed in one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine-eighty, when the election for the university of Dublin was declared void, in the case of Mr. Hutchinson, who wished to vacate his seat for Sligo, that he might be a candidate in opposition to Mr. Fitzgibbon, the present chancellor.

It would be a presumption to decide, whether the ancient or modern practice were most desirable; perhaps the former mode was more convenient than the latter custom, to members, to government, and to the community. If it be a wish of parliament to accommodate their own members, the shortest and most direct, seems to be the most obvious and desirable mode of proceeding. Employments in Ireland do not vacate seats; and in England the Chiltern Hundreds appear to have been offices de

CH A P. viled to carry a point by a mancuvre, and
v.

a circuitous process, which might be ef-
fected by a plain, direct, and more conve-
nient method. And this custom of issuing
writs at their own desire seems to be coun-
tenanced by early practice in the English,
as well as in the Irish parliament.

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Proxies were more prevalent, and their powers more extensive in the Irish, than in the British house of peers in early periods.

The privilege of protesting by proxy originated from this extensive agency or representation, as the deputy enjoyed all the powers of the principal *.

The

* In 1764 the earls of Grandison, Tyrone, and Charlemont, divided and protested against a corn-bill. A question arose whether lord Grandison could sign a protest by proxy; and a reference having been made to the earl of Hertford, then lord lieutenant, he decided, That, according to the practice of the lords of Enga land, he could not. But a committee having been appointed to search for precedents, they reported five

instances

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