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whereas the latter consisted of only 17,000.' The size of
the Irish army was, of course, accounted for by
the fact that there was no Mutiny Act in Ireland, and that
the King was legally entitled to maintain as large a force
as he could find money to pay for ; and secondly by the
fact that the Irish revenue was largely at his complete
disposal. The army was organised on a most extravagant
scale; the staff of general officers cost ;£22,ooo a year,
whereas that in England cost only £11,000 a year; great
numbers of the officers were absentees living in England;
the expense of general officers paid by Ireland rose in the
two years from 1761 to 1763 from £^2,000 to ;{^45,ooo, and.
although the vote for the ordnance had more than quad-
rupled in the same period, there was not as much artillery

' Plowden, vol. i., p. 451.

2 Macauley. Inquiry into the Legality of Pensions on the Irish Establishment,
l^ondon, 1753.

■'' Lecky, vol. ii., p. 85.



IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 321

in Ireland as on a fair-sized warship.' Moreover, the army
was constantly employed abroad, thereby adding another
form of absenteeism to those which were already draining
the country. In 17 15 great numbers of the Irish
soldiers were sent over to Scotland to aid in putting down
the rebellion, and in 17 19 they were sent to England to
help to resist a threatened invasion. In fact, the Irish
army was sent abroad to aid England on every occasion
during the century when the necessity arose.'' Until the
end of the reign of William III., it was usual for the
English Government to pay the Irish regiments sent
abroad for foreign service, but, after that date, Ireland
always had to pay her own troops, even when they were
serving abroad, although at times the difference between
the rates of Irish and English pay was made up by the
English Government.^ The amount of money which went
out of Ireland for this purpose between 1751 and 1778 was
;£i,40i,925.*

Although the peace establishment of Ireland was, as
we have said, 12,000 men, this number was frequently
augmented in time of war. In 1759 six new regiments
were raised to aid England in her struggle against France
in North America; two years later five new battalions
were raised on account of the rupture with Spain ; between
the years 1761 and 1763 the Irish establishment amounted
to 24,000 men, while 33,000 recruits were sent abroad to
fill up gaps in English regiments."

In 1767 the Government was very anxious to augment
the Irish establishment from 12,000 to over 15,000 men,
but when this augmentation was proposed it was at first
defeated in Parliament;' some months later, however.
Parliament agreed to this increase on the condition that
12,000 men should permanently be kept in Ireland.'
During the American War, however, 4,000 of this home
establishment were allowed by Parliament to go abroad

1 Caldwell, Pari. Dehafcx. pp. 302. 583 and 4. 2 Lecky, vol. i., p. 142.

^ Murray. Commercial Rclatiniis. p. 161.

^ Hely Hutchinson. Cnintnercial Restraints, p. 49.

* Murray. Commercial Rehitioiis. n. 162.

6 Lecky, vol. ii., p. 94. 7 g oeo. HI., c. 10.



322 THE ECONOMIC HISTORY OF IRELAND

to assist Enjrland in America, and half the expenses of
these troops while abroad were paid out of the Irish funds."
In 1780 the Irish army was put on a new footing by
the Mutiny Act, which, however, was unHke the English
Mutiny Act, inasmuch as it was enacted in perpetuity,
and not from year to year/ The following figures' show
the annual amount spent on the military establishment
in Ireland in each year from 1700 to 1780: —



Year








Year




Year




ended




Year ended




ended




ended




25th




25th Dec.




25th




25th




Dec.








March




March






£




£




£




£


1700


381,200


1721


347,470


1742


347,933


1764


456,891


1701


342,620


1722


324,915


1743


350,438


1765


530,442


1702


278,286


1723


336,672


1744


317,036


1766


505,825


1703


218,316


1724


317,915


1745


304,091


1767


530,859


1704


236,790


1725


381,692


1746


302,989


1768


472,555


1705


239.398
247,665


25th iMch,


449,841


1747
1748


319,069
384,878


1769
1770


517,214


1706


1727


481,544


1707


249,529


1728


343,706


1749


276,060


1771


572,489


1708


253,071


1729


294,300


1750


342,792


1772


504,227


1709


246,549


1730


482,743


1751


483,085


1773


540,713


1710


220,308


1731


296,991


1752


372,777


1774


467,608


1711


223,317


1732


381,500


1753


358,744


1775


585,205


1712


247,182


1733


366,591


1754


403,551


1776


489.521


1713


275,208


1734


312,104


1755


412,385


1777


625,823


1714


277,001


1735


323,348


1756


380,918


1778


449,735


1715


247,279


1736


309,862


1757


492,243


1779


583,430


1716


317,772


1737


313,260


1758


413,048


1780


524,880


1717


336,685


1738


367,731


1759


451,980






1718


351,241


1739


350,519


1760


467,955






1719


359,034


1740


305,480


1761


573.359






1720


331,028


1741


334,525


1762
1763


531,732
612,979







There was another source of expenditure which might
appear at first sight to have been for the public benefit,
but which, in fact, was administered so corruptly as really
to confer no benefit on anybody except the IMembers of
Parliament and their friends. As we have seen, after the
Constitutional question which arose in 1753 about the dis-
posal of the surplus of that year, Parliament determined

« n«!7*?'V^u!"''"7'^"'' delations, p. 164. 2 Lecky, vol. ii., p. 557.
umcial Tables of Income and Expenditure. Parliamentary Papers. 1868-9. vol. 35.



IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.



323



that no similar question should arise in the future,
and, therefore, granted large sums every session for the
purpose of erecting and maintaining public works, and
for the encouragement of various manufactures.' The
amounts granted for these purposes for the rest of the
century were very large indeed ; the following account of
the sums thus granted between 1753 and 1767 will give
some idea of their magnitude'' : —



Newry River ...
Drumglass Colliery
Lagan River ...
Shannon River
Grand Canal ...
Blackwater River
Lee River
Barrow River...
Suir River
Nore River ...
Borne River ...
Skerries Pier...
Enver Pier ...
Dunleary
Balbriggan Pier
Bangor Pier ...
Killyleigh Pier
Sligo Pier
Antrim River ...
Ballast Office...
Widening Dublin Streets
Trinity College
Limerick Quay
Cork Harbour
Cork Workhouse
Londonderry Quay
Shandon St., Cork



£

9,000

118,220

40,304

31,500

73,000

1 1 ,000

2,000

10,500

4,500

25,000

36,998

3,500

1,870

18,500

5,250

500

1,200

1,300

1,359

43,000

42,000

31,000

7,773

6,500

1,500

2,900

1,500



Wicklow Harbour
St. Patrick's Hospital .
Public Roads...
Dungarvan Aqueduct .
Hospital for Soldiers'

Children ...
Lying-in Hospital
Mercer's Hospital
Shannon Bridge
Kilkelly Bridge
Cork Bridge ...
Kildare Bridge
St. Mark's Church .
St. Thomas's Church.
St. Catherine's Church
St. John's Church
Building Churches
Roofing Athlone Church
Cashel Church
Dingle Quay ...
MunterkennyColliery .
Marine Nursery
Road round Dublin .
Dundalk
Whale Fisheries
Dry Dock
Mills at Naul...
Ballycastlc
Lord Longford



£

6,850
6,000
5,000
1,300

7,000
19,300

500
2,000
9,150
4,000

600
2,000
5,440
3,990
2,000
12,000

476

800
1,000
2,000
1,000
1,500
2,000
1,000
2,000
3,498
3,000
3,000



If these large sums had been spent on the purposes for
which they had been voted, they would, no doubt, have
greatly benefited the country, but, as a matter of fact, they
largely went to the aggrandisement of private indivi-
duals or Members of Parliament and their friends.'



1 Macartney, Account of Ireland, p. 136.

2 /.CJ., vol. viii. App. p. 244.

^ Macartney, Account of Ireland, p. 136; Plowden, vol. i.



3C9.



324 THK KCONOMIC HISTORY OF IRELAND

Wallace, writing in 1798, stated that the lack of enterprise
in Ireland was due in a large measure to the spirit of
jobbing by which for so many years " the redundance of
the Irish Treasury was lavished in futile and abortive
projects, until the public mind became so disgusted by
work carried on by public grants that at length no money
could be obtained for the most laudable undertakings.'"
Large grants were given for the encouragement of
particular manufactures, but here again the original good
intention of the legislature was frustrated by corruption
and jobbing." Many of the manufacturers to whom
grants were made gave up business the moment they
received them ; in one case a large grant was made to the
proprietor of a glass-house in Dublin, and the following
day he burnt his premises and left the country with the
grant.' The usual procedure was to go bankrupt, and
thus gracefully to retire from business. The jobbery to
which these grants gave rise was open and unashamed ;
Members of Parliament would mutually arrange in loud
tones over the floor of the House to support each other's
jobs for mutual considerations.* Even the Dublin Society,
the channel through which a great deal of this money was
distributed, was not free from the taint of corruption ; on
one occasion it granted ;£5oo to a certain manufacturer,
but, on receipt of a message from an influential member
of the Government that he would be grateful if the grant
could be increased, immediately raised the amount of his
grant to ;C2,ooo.'' In 1763, Parliament decided that the
abuses of this kind had become so great that in future
premiums should be awarded on the quality or quantity
of goods manufactured and not granted to individuals.*
This evil may be largely accounted for by the fact that
there was no rule in the Irish Parliament corresponding
to the rule in England that all grants of supply must
originate with the Government. In Ireland, if a Member

1 Manufactures of Ireland ; and see Young's Tour, II., 130.

2 Primate to Lor,} G. Sackville. 11th March, 1753, Sackville MSS.. I., 193.
" Caldwell. Parliamentary Debates, p. 135. * lb.

* Caldwell. Pari. Debs., pp. 303 and 7. 6 lb.










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IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 325

of Parliament were under an obligation to a friend, his
usual mode of repaying it was to propose a resolution that
a grant of some thousands of pounds of public money
should be made to his friend, if a manufacturer for the
encouragement of his industry, and if a landowner for the
drainage of his property.'

These ever-increasing expenses were not met by a
corresponding increase of revenue, and the result was a
deficiency every year. The table on page 326, which is
compiled from the account published in 1869 of the
finances of the Irish Parliament, shows the amount of
revenue and expenditure for every year from 1700- 1780.''
The gradually-increasing annual deficits are clearly shown
on the accompanying diagram .

These annual deficiencies were made up partly by
imposing additional taxes, but to a much greater extent by
the increase of the National Debt. " God knows how we
miserable creatures came by that fashionable thing — a
National Debt," exclaimed Swift, but, if he had known
the degree to which the debt was going to swell in later
years, he would not have complained so bitterly of the
small debt of 1727. The amount of the debt at the
beginning of the century was only ;(^i6,ooo, which was
increased to ;£66,ooo in 17 15 by reason of a loan raised in
that year. In 17 17 it stood at ;(C9o,ooo, but Parliament
saw that it should be kept down as much as possible, and
by means of annual reductions it had decreased to about
;£66,ooo in 1723.' Although these amounts were small,
they were the subject of constant complaint by Parlia-
ment, which made efforts every session to reduce the debt
still more on the ground that it was more than the country
could be expected to bear. " There cannot be a stronger
proof of the want of resources in any country," wrote
Hely Hutchinson, " than that a debt of so small an
amount should alarm the persons entrusted with the
government of it." Indeed, the anxiety betrayed by the

1 Swift McNeill, History of Irish ConstiiuHon , p. 110; Clarendon, p. 103.

2 Parliamentary Paf>ers, 1868-8. vol. 35.

" Hely Hutchinson, Commercial Restraints, p. 27.



326 THE ECONOMIC HISTORY OF IRELAND



House of Commons by reason of this insignificant
burden is a striking proof of the state to which Ireland
had been reduced by the restraints on her commerce and
industry.





Receipts and Expenditure


1700—1780.






(Figures given in


British Currency)




Year






Year






ending


Total Net


Total


ending


Total Net


Total


Dec.

25


Revenue


Expenditure


Mar.
25


Revenue


Expenditure




£


£




£


£


1700


460,354


432,033


1741


441,236


441,736


1701


411,820


415,034


1742


415,784


487,694


1702


314,428


336,440


1743


451,454


474,278


1703


261,687


260,325


1744


452,363


431,330


1704


281,283


285,961


1745


444,397


443,128


1705


303,980


308,941


1746


432,944


427,360


1706


309,876


308,129


1747


440,311


434,211


1707


312,320


311,366


1748


492,896


501,293


1708


316,843


320,213


1749


513,294


398,129


1709


312,519


313,265


1750


649,607


463,721


1710


292,944


290,812


1751


600,236


626,738


1711


298,195


300,183


1752


579,927


498,684


1712


338,240


329,374


1753


616,930


478,419


1713


351,937


351,769


1754


658,470


568,192


1714


331,504


339,908


1755


592,637


535,281


1715


314,983


309,886


1756


552,335


514,562


1716


353,515


392,784


1757


544,069


695,367


1717


393,672


386,714


1758


498,039


584,598


1718


428,394


427,620


1759


576,043


707,520


1719


443,777


436,872


1760


552,282


597,505


1720


405,117


402,189


1761


571,942


773,940


1721


408,066


422,918


1762


693,032


715,525


1722


440,223


415,473


1763


687,031


903,486


1723


446,060


416,816


1764


705,149


654,691


1724


452,007


424,830


1765


762,213


804,782


1725


442,977


489,412


1766


767,949


732,895


Mar. 25












1727


568,457


570,558


1767


712,266


836,430


1728


432,657


431,536


1768


710,446


679,379


1729


400,211


399,326


1769


771,023


820,988


1730


450,632


587,909


1770


721,071


698,070


1731


405,178


407,759


1771


707,996


808,546


1732


388,025


479,070


1772


676,324


737,791


1733


490,827


488,593


1773


718,536


807,071


1734


423,834


407,512


1774


662,666


672,124


1735


454,593


451,625


1775


721,054


911,540


1736


421,681


416,842


1776


714,285


733,792


1737


439,195


428,683


1777


876,934


1,006,813


1738


485,205


483,517


1778


658,339


741,677


1739


474,582


458,799


1779


592,192


873,345


1740


404,383


400,053


1780


556,414


833,484



IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 327

The miserable condition of the country during the fol-
lowing few years which witnessed the great famine of 1729
produced constant deficits in die revenue, with the resuk
that the debt was largely increased. In 1725 it amounted to
;£i 19,2 15, and in 1733 it had grown to £2>1^^3^^' How-
ever, from that time forward it was steadily reduced by
votes in every session, and in the years of great pros-
perity which followed the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle it was
completely liquidated. A series of votes of large amounts
in the sessions during those years succeeded in wiping
oflf the whole debt in 1754. This was, no doubt, a matter
of much congratulation, and has been frequently
applauded as a strong proof of the sagacity of those
responsible for Irish finance ; but there is another aspect
of the matter which should be considered : — "That Govern-
ment and the House of Commons should for such a
length of time have considered the reduction and dis-
charge of this debt as a matter of such great importance,
and that nearly forty years should have passed before
the constant attention and strict economy of both could
have accomplished that purpose, is a strong proof of the
weakness and poverty of this country during that period.'"

The relief thus afforded was but temporary, for during
the next twenty-five years the debt increased at a much
greater rate and to a much larger figure than before.
As we have seen, one result of the constitutional conflict
of 1753 was that Parliament became lavish in its grants
of money for public works, so that no surplus should
exist. In its anxiety to prevent a surplus, it usually
succeeded in creating a deficit. The expenditure of the
period 1 760-1 779 grew rapidly, owing chiefly to the great
expense of the army and to the augmentation of the mili-
tary establishment in 1769. The civil expenditure, prin-
cipally the pension list, also increased rapidly. These
continual deficits were almost altogether made good by
borrowing, and the extent of which mav be judged by the
figures on the next page.

1 Hely Hutchinson.



328 THE ECONOMIC HISTORY OF IRELAND



Year


Amount of Debt.




£


1760


223,000


1765


595,000


1769


628,883


1771


782,320


1773


994,890


1775


931,696


1779


1,017,600



The National Debt of Ireland, unlike that of Great
Britain, was not established on any permanent basis,
and those who lent money to the Government were depen-
dent for their security entirely on the loan duties imposed
by Parliament from session to session. " In Ireland,"
said Lord Macartney, " there is really no security given
to the public creditors for what sums they may advance ;
certain taxes called the loan-duties are every session
granted, and appropriated first to the payment of the
interest of the debt, and secondly to the payment of the
principal. But these duties are never granted for a longer
term than two years ; so that if any interruption was given
to the regular meeting of the Irish Parliament, the duties
would fail, and till they were revived the debentures would
be of no value.'" No default, however, was made in the
payment of the interest on the debt, and the fact that the
security was considered very good is proved by the fact
that the rate of interest given became smaller as the debt
increased. The rate of interest' given at various periods
was as follows : —



Year


Rate per cent.


1715


8


1724


7


1729


6


1732


5


1741


4


1760


4 and 5


1763


4


1769


Si


1777


4


1779


4i



J Account of Ireland, p. 156 ; see Clarendon, p. 70, sg.
- Clarendon, Revenue of Ireland, 1791, p. 93.





































































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Online LibraryGeorge Augustine Thomas O'BrienThe economic history of Ireland in the eighteenth century → online text (page 28 of 38)