The Fourth Year of George I. - Chap. XV.
An Act for the better regulating the Town of Galway, and for the strengthening the
Protestant Interest therein.
Whereas the protestant interest and security of your Majesty’s province of Connaught in this your kingdom very much depend upon the fidelity and loyalty of the inhabitants of the town of Galway, a garrison, and a sea port of great consequence, and upon the good affection of the magistrates thereof to your sacred person and government, and the succession in your royal house, and the due execution of the laws now in force against papists: notwithstanding which for several years past there hath been a design formed and carried on in the town of Galway by the magistrates and governing part of the said corporation, to support a popish and discourage the protestant interest within the said town; in pursuance of which design, nunneries and other places of refuge and shelter for regular and secular priests, fryers, and other offenders against the several laws in force in this kingdom, have been suffered, connived at, and encouraged within the said town and county of the town of Galway, contrary to law: and whereas in further pursuance of the said evil design great numbers of papists by the notorious neglect of the magistrates have been, and still are, permitted to inhabit in the said town contrary to law; whereby and by reason of several other discouragements to the protestant interest in the said town, and of such protestants as do or would reside therein a sufficient number of protestant freeholders cannot be found in the said county of the town of Galway, to try offenders against the several acts made in this kingdom, now in force against papists, whereby great numbers of popish priests, fryars, and dignitaries of the church of Rome, frequently land from foreign parts, contrary to law, within the said town and liberties thereof, and therein through the connivance of the justices of the peace of the county of the said town are sheltered from justice, and find protection therein, and from thence find opportunities to disperse
themselves into all other parts of this kingdom: and whereas by the charters of Gallway the mayor and recorder for the time being, and in their absence their respective deputies, are the only justices of the peace within the county of the said town, who have been principal instruments in obstructing the execution of the laws against popery, and have confederated themselves with many persons popishly affected within the said town, and divers other enemies to the protestant interest, who are foreigners to the said town, to form a common council to carry on the said evil designs, by illegally excluding certain common council-men of the said towns, who had been duly elected, admitted, and sworn into and of the said common council, from acting or voting therein, and thereby, having procured to themselves a majority in the said common council, have for several years past arbitrarily and illegally admitted into the same divers persons disaffected to your Majesty and the protestant interest, and persons returned to the government and privy council of this kingdom, and by them disapproved pursuant to the New Rules for regulating the said corporation, and many foreigners to the said town; by means whereof, and other evil practices, the security of the said town and garrison is greatly endangered, and the residence of protestants therein discouraged, prevented, and rendered unsafe, justice is obstructed, many criminals are protected contrary to law, and great grievances and mischiefs are occasioned to the protestant interest thereof: for remedy whereof, be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the twenty fifth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventeen it shall and may be lawful for the sheriffs of the town, and county of the said town of Gallway to issue their summons to any protestant freeholder, having forty shillings a year in the county of Gallway, to attend and serve on any grand jury or petty jury for the tryal of issues, depending in the said county of the town of Gallway, in any plea of the crown, whether capital or not, within the county of the said town of Galway: and such freeholders shall be and are hereby qualified and capable, and are hereby required to serve upon any such jury as aforesaid, with the county of the said town; and such verdict, as shall be given, shall be and is hereby declared to be as effectual and valid in law to all intents and purposes, as if the issue had been tryed by the freeholders of the county of the town of Galway; any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding: and that it shall and may be lawful to and for the sheriffs of the county of the said town on every venire facias,
distringas, habeas corpora, writ or precept directed to them, to summon a competent number of the several freeholders of the said county of Gallway, being protestants, to attend on every grand inquest and tryal in any plea of the crown at the assizes, or any commission or oyer and terminer, or goal delivery, there to be had, or at any tryal at bar in his Majesty’s court of King’s bench, Dublin, in any plea of the crown as aforesaid, in such manner as they might have done to the freeholders of the county of the said town, under such pain, penalties and forfeitures, and in the same manner and form, and with the like benefit of challenges, as if they were freeholders within the said county of the town of Gallway: any law, custom, or usage to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
II. Provided always, That all fines and issues which shall be returned or imposed on any of the freeholders of the county of Gallway, for not appearing on juries in the county of the town of Gallway, or for misbehaving themselves thereupon, shall be estreated into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer for the use of his Majesty, his heirs and successors; any clause in any charter of the said town of Gallway, to the contrary notwithstanding.
III. And whereas it will be a great encouragement to the present protestant inhabitants to continue, and to other protestants to come and inhabit, in the said town of Gallway, if foreigners or persons living out of the said county of the town and liberties thereof, and in the county at large, and other counties of this kingdom, were excluded from being magistrates, sheriffs, or common council-men within the said town of Gallway; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the twenty fifth day of December one thousand seven hundred and seventeen, no person or persons shall be elected mayor or sheriffs, or common council-men, who shall not be an inhabitant or inhabitants within the said town and liberties thereof at the time of being elected into any of the said offices respectively, and that hath or have not been resident for the space of one whole year before such election.
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the lord chancellor, lords commissioners, or other keeper or keepers of the great seal of this kingdom for the time being, by commission under the said seal to appoint such person and persons, not exceeding four in number, being inhabitants of the said town of Gallway, or the liberties thereof, to be justice or justices of the peace and quorum, during his Majesty’s pleasure, in and throughout the county of the said town and the liberties thereof; which person and persons
so appointed shall and may have the same power and authority to act, execute, and officiate to all intents and purposes within the said county of the town and liberties thereof, as justice or justices of the peace and quorum, by virtue of such commission or commissions, as any other justice of the peace, by charter or otherwise, are or shall be authorized, appointed, or impowered to act or officiate within the county of the said town or liberties thereof; any law, charter, usage, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.
V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and every person and persons, who profess him or themselves of any trade, mystery, or handy-craft, that do or shall come to inhabit, dwell, or reside in the said town of Gallway, in order to follow their respective trades, shall and are hereby declared to be free of the town and corporation of Gallway, and also of that company or corporation to which their respective trades belong, without paying any thing for such freedom, and shall continue freeman of such company or corporation to all intents and purposes, as long as he or they inhabit or dwell in the said town, and no longer, and shall be exempted and freed from all corporation-taxes and fines, for not serving as beadle for the space of seven years next after his or their coming to inhabit in the said town.
VI. Provided, That no person or persons are to have the benefit of their freedoms as aforesaid, unless he or they have been professed protestants for seven years, or upwards, next before his or their demanding their freedoms pursuant to this act; and shall also take the usual oaths of freemen; and also the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and Abjuration; and make and subscribe the declaration, commonly called The Declaration against Transubstantiation, before the mayor of the town, who is hereby impowered and required to administer the same.
VII. And whereas since his Majesty’s happy accession to the crown, and particularly during the late rebellion in Great-Britain, divers unqualified persons, and some of them of known or suspected disaffection to his Majesty’s government, have been elected for sheriffs within the said town of Gallway; and, upon pretence of such their election, have all of them been admitted into and sworn of the common council of the said town; notwithstanding that they have not been approved of by the chief governor and council of this kingdom to be sheriffs, and that all such elections without such approbation are utterly null and void; and divers other unqualified and disaffected persons have been admitted into the common council since the said first of August one thousand seven hundred and fourteen: be it further enacted
by the authority aforesaid, That for the further security of the said town of Gallway, the elections and admission of all and every person and persons, who have been admitted and sworn of the common council of the said town of Gallway since the first day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fourteen, except of such, who have been approved of, sworn, and served as sheriffs of the said town, shall be and are hereby declared null and void to all intents and purposes.
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