Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the municipal corporations in Ireland: first report

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Emoluments of the Sovereign. 

Free Burgesses, how elected. 

Their Numher and 


The Sovereign is at present paid a Salary of £50 a-year from the revenues ofthe corporation. 
In the commencement of the last century he appears to have received the entire of the revenues, subject to certain payments to the other officers, and to the expenses of an entertainment to the corporation. 
In 1725, we find a salary of £30 allowed to the sovereign • 

in 1726, he was to have two-thirds of the sum which the revenues produced, which would amount to about £40 ; in 1818 it was declared that the sovereign's salary should be one-fourth ofthe tolls. 
The present fixed salary has been since appointed. 
There are certain fees payable to the sovereign on proceedings in the Borough Court, but that court has been for some time discontinued. 
He also claims fees on affixing the seal of the corporation to documents to be used abroad. 
The annual corporation dinner has been abolished since 1819, and there are not now any expenses incident to the office of sovereign. 
The Free Burgesses are elected by the sovereign and free burgesses, and hold the office until death, removal, or resignation. 
The charter empowers a majority of an assembly consisting of the sovereign and free burgesses, to supply vacancies within seven days of their occurrence. 
A bye-law was made in 1701, that no burgess should be elected, but at a court consisting of seven burgesses at least, and the sovereign; this was altered in 1713, by a resolution that any five burgesses (the sovereign to be one) might elect a burgess. 
A resolution of 1716 required the pretence of the sovereign and six burgesses; this was repealed in 1717, and the election was fixed to be in the majority of those present; at the same time the corporation took upon themselves to alter the time of election by providing that it should be on the 19th day after a vacancy, but, in fact, the elections are now held within the period of seven days prescribed by the charter. 
There are 13 free burgesses, including the sovereign; the number was increased to 20 by the charter of James II. 
The names of the new burgesses then appointed are entered in the books of the corporation ; but many of them afterwards appear, in 1691, attending the corporation meetings merely as freemen. 
A practice appears to have prevailed for many years in this corporation to receive the resignation of a free burgess, accompanied by a recommendation naming his successor, and sometimes thc resignation was in form directly from one to the other, who was elected accord¬ ingly ; a rule was made in 1701, and again in 1706, against this practice, but it still continued; the latest instance of it occurs in 1785. 
There is not any Qualification required in the burgesses in respect of property; the charter only directs that they shall be chosen " out of the better and more honest inhabitants of the borough." 
This qualification as to residence is at present required, and all the burgesses are inhabitants of the borough, but it was formerly entirely neglected, ancl numerous instances occur in the corporation books of the election of non-residents. 
Care was at times taken to enforce the attendance and services ofthe burgesses at the meetings of the corporation, and several instances occur of burgesses dis¬ franchised for non-attendance, and being remote from the borough. 
The entries state these disfranchisements to have been "of mere necessity." 
In 1817, the then resident burgesses determined that the qualification of residence required by the charter should be enforced, and a meeting of the corporation was held on the 26th April in that year, for the special purpose of electing burgesses from " out of the resident inhabitants of the town in the room of the burgesses who were not resident," notice of the meeting, and of its object, was given to the non-residents; and on that day one of the burgesses was disfranchised for swearing in twTo persons to collect the tolls and customs of the corporation in opposition to the sovereign, and three on whom service of notice to attend was proved on oath, and who did not attend when called on, were disfranchised, and three others elected in their room. 
Subsequent meetings were held on the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of May 1817, for the same purpose, and on the last of those days two others of the burgesses were disfranchised for non-attendance; and on the 24th June, in the same year, similar proceedings were adopted against two other burgesses. 
The places of all were filled up, and no legal proceedings appear to have been taken on the part of those then disfranchised to question the acts of the resident burgesses. 
It is to be observed that Tuam is, or at least was before the Union, a city according to legal definition, and therefore not within the operation of the statute 21 Geo. 
10, s. 
8, which allows, in some cases, the election of non-resident officers.* 
The power of amotion of the burgesses for misconduct, is given by the charter to the sovereign, and the major part of the burgesses; the number present on the 26th of April 1817, was but six, including the sovereign, and the resolutions of disfranchisement state their having been made by the sovereign and burgesses assembled by and with the consent of the commonalty. 
At the same meeting the then sovereign, from ill health and indisposition, resigned his office, and one of the burgesses was elected by the burgesses and commonalty for the remainder of the year. 
The present burgesses, with the dates of their admissions, are, Major Wm. 
Burke, 23d June 1815. 
Charles Blake, 17th December 1816. 
Paul Mannion, 26th April 1817. 
John F. 
Brown, same day. 
John Martin, 23d January 1822. 
Myles Egan, 23d September 1822. 
Thomas Browne, 14th October 1822. 

Doctor Madden, James Henderson, Richard Savage, Thomas Keary, Dennis Kirwan, Patrick S. 

7th July 1823. 
12th January 1824. 
11th September 1826. 
14th February 1829. 
5th August 1831. 
7th August, 1832. 

\ See the Report on Galway, ante, p.