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CXXXI.-LORD CONWAY TO THE EARL OF Essex.
MAY IT PLEASE Yor EXCEL",
Ragley, 31st March, 1674.
I told yor Excelce, in my last from London of the 24th instant, that I had sent away my Character into these parts, yet I suppose my relations will not be prevented by others. In my Letter of the 28th past, I acquainted Yoʻ Excelce that the project of all Affaires at Court depended upon the Regulation of Expenses. When this was searcht into, it appeared that every yeare since the King came in, he had exceeded his constant Revenue a Million of Money, except one yeare that it was but halfe so much. Treasurer, who took much paines to see through the bottome of the cheat, desired King that the Fleet might, in the first place, be pay'd off, and that the King might be moved to put a stop to all Sallaryes and Pentions till the Seamen were pay'd, and all Mony taken up upon Credit to have them repay'd, for that the King was at 1500ld a day charge extraordinary till this was donne. Great perplexityes ensued for some days. It was given out in the City that there was a generall stop put upon the Exchequer, and many Bankiers who were known or suspected to lend mony to the Court, had all their mony cald in, and this was by the Art of those that labor'd to break the Regulation. On the other side, the Courtiers were enraged, and Anglesey swore he knew not how to goe to Markett. Keeper grumbled as much as any, and Arlington, I heard, took it ill his private intelligence mony should not be reckoned upon as an indispensable thing. The Dutchesse of Portsmouth was advised by King to make a friendship with Trear. She had bought a Necklasse of Pearle, 8000ld price, of a Marchant, and a payre of Diamond Pendants, 3000 Guynyes, of Elder Lady Northumberland, but neither of them would part with them without ready moriy. I left Trear, and the
aforesd person in treaty, and I suppose they are both able to make their bargains. The intentions of Ormond to goe into Ireland made his followers give it out that Essex was to be recalled. This alarmed me so much that I had little rest till Trear. spoke with King, who assured him of the vanity of it, and say'd much more concerning Ormond and Orrery then I need to repeat. I am sure King is very glad of the departure of Ormond.
CXXXII.-THE EARL OF ESSEX TO WILLIAM HARBORD.
Dublin Castle, March 28, 1674. On ye 13th of Octobr last I rečd a Lře from my Lord of Shaftes. bury, then La Chancell, a copy whereof is here enclosed, by wch you will finde yt his Marie did then designe some inspection into ye disposition weh hath bin made of lands here ; & I am also thereby directed ye holding correspondence upon this subject wth his LP, & none other. I have taken care to employ some persons
great secrecie about ye worke, & doe not finde yt any are allarmd wth it, or in ye least suspect what is doeing. Dr Gorge, so much commended in my Lo Shaftesbury's Lře as a man very skilfull in ye whole compass of Irish Affairs, appears to me no very extraordinary person, & as for his knowledge in matters of this Kingdome, here are severall infinitely beyond him, only they have not ye luck to be known on ye other side ; so as this Dr being better able to speake upon subjects of this sort than others who appear there, is, I believe, ye ground of putting so much value upon him.
His Matie's designe by this search, I presume, was to bring all these Lands so discoverd into a Coñon Stocke, to ye intent they might be applied to ye ends of ye Act, & ye Remainder to be an additionall revenue to ye Crowne ; but
whilst I was thus far
advanced, there caine severall Lřes under ye Signett, for ye grant of Lands to persons who shall discover them : one Lře for my Ld. Kingstown, bearing date 23rd Feb. ; two on ye behalfe of Coll. Dillon, of ye 29th Jan. & 2d of March ; & one for my Lord Mount Alexand" of ye 29th Jan. 73. Many others, I hear, are ready, & no doubt of it will be gained ; & I cannot but say that by this course ye King hath brought, as our English proverb is, “ An old House on his head," for here are abundance of men preparing to goe into England upon these designs, & I finde severall of them have already bin advising wth Councill to frame Lřes to this purpose, so as his Matie must expect disquiet enough by these sollicitations. These Lřes being utterly incompatible with ye other designe, I desire you will get a Time to speake privately wth his Matie & know his pleasure what He will have done, for if his intentions continue to prosecute these discoverys in ye manner my Ld. of Shaftesbury's Líe directs, & to proceed to an orderly disposition of such Lands as shall be found out, there must be one Lře drawn to suspend all these Grants, & all others of ye like kind that shall be obtained ; but if his Matie shall rather thinke fitt ye every man who hath a pretention gett what he can, 'Tis necessary I should herein know his pleasure, that so I may desist from ye other worke, & putt his Matle to no further unnecessary charge upon the enquiry.
The Truth is, ye Lands of Ireland have bin a meer scramble, & ye least done by way of orderly distribution of them as perhaps hath ever been known, wch makes all men soe unsettled in their Estates & soe unquiet in their possessions. And this hath been a ground for projectors to worke upon ; wch, considering Ireland as a plantation (for in reallitie it is litle other), cannot but be so great a discouragemt to all people from coming hither, & to those who are here from laying out moneys on Improvements, as this alone is obstacle enough to ye flourishing of it. I could heartily wish that one way or other there were an end of these discoverys, for better were it for ye Crowne to be cheated of its Right to divers parcells of Lands, than by perpetuall Inquisitions so to harass men's
Estates, and disparage their Titles to them, as all men are afraid to deale, and, consequently, both ye Increase of people and Improvem! of Trade, to ye greater damage of ye publick revenue, is hereby most notoriously hinderd. Therefore I doe humbly propose, that
way soever his Matie shall take for ye clearing these doubtfull Titles, there may at length be an End; and that after a year or two, or such other Time as his Matie shall thinke fitt, there may further vexation of this kind upon ye people. All this I would have you discourse wth ye King, but not communicate it to any other person whatever, and return me an Answer as speedily as may be. In case his Matie approve ye satisfying private men's pretentions separately, I have herewth sent you one, being as just as any, and exactly pursuant to ye Acts of Settlement.
This I desire you would get signed. Here is a province in this Kingdome, I mean ye province of Coñaght and County Clare, ye new Estates whereof are as yet wholly unsettled. I have sent over ye case to my Lord of Arlington, and desire you will sollicite ye dispatch of it, Summer being ye Time most proper to send out Comrs for such an Affair.
CXXXIII.-THE EARL OF ESSEX TO WILLIAM HARBORD.
Dublin Castle, March 31, '74.
* The discours you tell me you had wth his Matie concerning my administracon of Affairs" here gives me great satisfaction.
'Tis very strange that this country cannot be furnished wth small money, but still one obstruction or other intervenes to hinder it. I have been above a year labouring to gett some here. At first we were told that some of those made for England should be sent
over, wch I approvd & desired might come; afterwards these were refused. Then, as you know, I proposed that if they would not serve us out of England, it might be left to me to provide ye Country wth them, weh (as you best understand) I intended to doe wth litle profitt to my selfe, & most advantage that could be to ye publick. Now that this is almost consented to (as this last Lře of yrs tells me) a Patent of Sr Thomas Armstrong's is started up to obstruct it. I am certaine ye poor Kingdome suffers extremely for want of small money, & are miserably cheated by every fellow that coynes what he pleaseth, & I wish ye King would putt it in some way, that ye Country might be supplied. But then it must be considered that if it falls into ye hand of this Patentee, or any other of mean fortune, if he be not tied strictly to Rules of what value to make them, He and his partners will only intend their owne profitt, & ye people be much abused by that coyne.
I confess I have a great desire to doe some publick thing here for ye advantage of ye Kingdome, & have bin often much troubled to see how every of these intentions for ye coñon good are so strongly hedgd up by patents, Grants, and other Incumbrances, as ’tis almost impossible to breake through them.
You may observe an instance hereof even in these Farthings, but there is a greater, & such as no man almost can guess at ye value, & that is ye Mines of this Kingdome, wch I am confidt for Lead, Copper, nay, and perhaps Silver, may be equall to any in ye World. The working of all wch are discouraged, & indeed totally suppressd, by a Patent of Sr George Hamilton's for Mine Royall. so as no man that hath any Mines but useth his utmost endeavours to conceale them. This I only mention by ye by, but perhaps on some further enquiry I shall make a more serious representacon of it.