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Advice to the Free-Men of the City of Dublin in the Choice of a Member to Represent Them in Parliament

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2021

David Hayton
Affiliation:
Queen's University Belfast
Adam Rounce
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
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Summary

Headnote

Composed after July, 1733; published c. September 1733; copy text 1733 (see Textual Account).

The death of the incumbent Samuel Burton in July 1733 ensured the second Parliamentary by-election in Dublin in a very short time, and created a fevered political atmosphere. Humphrey French, the Lord-Mayor of Dublin from 1732 to 1733, impressed Swift greatly, as can be seen in Advice to the Free-men of Dublin, an endorsement of French's successful candidacy asMP for Dublin City.

The Advice is another example of Swift's close involvement in Dublin corporation politics: the first candidate to declare, John Macarell (who was eventually replaced by a member of the corporation), already held the office of register of the barracks, and was therefore a placeman; hence Swift's support for the ‘patriot’ French against him (see Introduction, p. xcviii).

The parliamentary franchise for the Dublin city constituency was in the hands of the freemen and freeholders.Although there is no surviving indication of the relative proportions of each, it may well be that freemen were in the majority. In any case, freemen, as inhabitants of the city, would be more likely to appreciate the municipal achievements of an aldermanic candidate. Moreover, Swift's constituency might have been with the freemen, as he had written so often in support of artisans.

Swift's argument first appeared as a broadsheet (its appearance was recorded in the Dublin Journal, 29 September 1733).

ADVICE TO THE FREE-MEN OF THE CITY OF DUBLIN IN THE CHOICE OF A MEMBER TO REPRESENT THEM IN PARLIAMENT.

Those few Writers, who, since the Death of Alderman Burton, have employed their Pens in giving Advice to our Citizens how they should proceed in electing a new Representative for the next Sessions, having laid aside their Pens; I have Reason to hope, that all true Lovers of their Country in general, and particularly those who have any Regard for the Priviledges and Liberties of this great and ancient City, will think a second and a third time, before they come to a final Determination upon what Person they resolve to fix their Choice.

I am told, there are only two Persons who set up for Candidates; one, is the present Lord Mayor, and the other, a Gentleman, of good Esteem, an Alderman of the City, a Merchant of Reputation, and possess’d of a considerable Office under the Crown.

Type
Chapter
Information
Irish Political Writings after 1725
A Modest Proposal and Other Works
, pp. 279 - 287
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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