38 REPORTS FROM COMMISSIONERS ON giTy of cork.
Investment of jÂ£1200,under AgreeÂ¬ ment.
Market WeighÂ¬ masters.,
Warden of Black Rock Castle.
Calculator of Assize of Bread.
Steward of Mansion House.
Keeper of the Exchange, and City Court House.
Keeper of Council Chamber.
Keeper of Mardyke Walk.
Grand Juries at Assizes, Selection of and Functions.
Levy and AssessÂ¬ ment of Money.
Defects in Mode of applotting Rates,
At the period that the larger fees ceased to be paid, a sum of about Â£1200 was paid int bank, in pursuance of the arrangement, and is now funded in the names of the three wentle men agreed on; the Wide Street Board having refused to accept their share, lest their dointr^ should prejudice a negotiation, which is on foot with Government for compensation for thek^ of their proportion of the butter weighhouse dues.
The Weighmasters in the Grand Parade Market are also appointed by the mayor and are furnished with scales and weights by the corporation.
They are paid for their trouble by agreement with the butchers who employ them.
The Warden of Black Rock Castle is an officer appointed of late years, since the rebuilding ofthe castle after it was burned down.
His duty is to take care of it, and for this he has a salary of Â£26 per annum, and resides in the castle.
It is used as a lighthouse, and the warden has also the care of the light, for which he has a further salary, paid by the harbour commissioners, of Â£26 per annum.
The two Coroners are elected for life by the freemen, in the Court of D'Oyer HunÂ¬ dred.
Their duties are the ordinary duties of coroners within a county.
They have salaries of 40 guineas a year each, presented by the grand jury under the 50 Geo.
9, and they have the usual fees on executions when delivered to them.
The Billet Master is appointed by the mayor.
This office has been instituted within the last twelve months.
The duties were previously performed by the city high constables, but, they having complained of being obliged to perform the duty without remuneration, the present billet master was appointed at a salary of Â£20 per annum, paid by the corporation.
The Calculator of the Assize of Bread is appointed by the mayor, during pleasure.
His duty is to assist the mayor in making the calculations upon which the price of bread is regulated.
His salary is 16 guineas per annum.
The Steward of the Mansion House is the person who has charge of the mansion house and furniture, for which he has a salary of 9s.
The Keeper of the Exchange and of the City Court House is appointed by the sheriffs, and has a salary of Â£12 12s.
"Me Keeper of the Council Chamber is appointed by the sheriffs, and has a salary of Â£6 10s.
The Keeper of the Mardyke Gate, which is the entrance to a public walk for the citizens, is appointed by the mayor, and has a salary of Â£5 5s.,
paid by the corporation.
Before we state the constitution of the local courts, and the manner in which justice is administered by them, we shall advert to the operation of the corporate system on the selecÂ¬ tion of Grand Juries at the Assizes for the county of the city of Cork.
It is obvious that the sheriffs, to whom belongs the constitutional power of summoning and empannelling jurors at the assizes, and who are elected to that office by the means already described, must be liable to the suspicion of being influenced in the performance of their important duties by that spirit of partisanship which procured their promotion.
We fouud that an exceedingly strong impression prevailed that such a spirit has governed the sheriffs in their selection of grand jurors.
This body not only perforin the important functions of finding bills of indictment,hut also levy by their presentments a sum amounting to near Â£29,000, annually; of which, except about Â£8,800 which is paid over to the Wide Street Board, they have either the patronage or disposal.
They have also the power of appointment to several lucrative situations connected with the gaol, bridewell, and court house.
It is, therefore, a subject of the deepest interest to the citizens, that this body should be fairly chosen from the intelligence, wealth, and respectÂ¬ ability of the city, without distinction of religion or politics.
This, however, does not appear to have been heretofore sufficiently attended to; for we found that of the grand juries empannelled since the year 1820, members ofthe Friendly Club constituted always a considerÂ¬ able majority, that one-half, at least, of each jury were corporate officers, and that the names of several persons, who had become bankrupts or insolvents, appear on the lists, while there has been, in several instances within that period, only one Roman Catholic empannelled.
Some increase has been made in the number of Roman Catholics placed on the panels within the last four years, the number on each jury, within that period, varying from four to five.
The Grand Jury cess, except the sum of Â£3,200 a-year,'presented for lighting the city, which is levied off the city and suburbs only, is, assessed, under the 53 George Ilk c.
two-thirds on the city and suburbs, and the remaining one-third on the rest of the county of the city.
It is generally admitted, that this distribution of the rates is unjust, m respect that certain parts ofthe city, as built on, are without the city and suburbs, according to the limits for the purpose of taxation; and houses, there, are consequently only applotted for one-third, whilst tenements of much inferior value and belonging to the poorer classes, within the city, are subject to the applotment of two-thirds.
The Applotment of the two-thirds on the city and suburbs is made according to the value of the premises, all houses of less annual value than Â£5 being exempt; house* let out in rooms are also exempt, under the local Act, 53 Geo.
Ill, an indulgence which was, represented to us to have the effect, merely of enabling the landlord to charge a higher rent, and not of serving, in any manner, the poor occupants.
Returns of the houses so let are made to the grand jury, at each assizes, by the churchwardens and two constat) appointed for each parish, and also of waste and untenanted houses.
These returns are.verl
on oath, and the houses mentioned in them are exempted, until they appear in so subsequent return as liable.
It does not appear to us that the grand jury or treasurer na