Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 6: From 1660 to the surrender of Galway to King William's forces, 1691

Town in decline

Chapter 6

From 1660 to the surrender of Galway to King William's forces, 1691

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Old map of Galway

For this ample extension of corporate privileges, the town was principally indebted to the earl of Essex, who evinced every inclination to promote its interest, and if possible, to restore it to its original state: but all exertions of this nature proved abortive, for being deprived of its former respectable population, and possessed by a set of men their very opposite, both in principles and character, who were bred up to a military life, and mostly ignorant of any other pursuit, commerce entirely declined, and even the buildings, for want of inhabitants, were falling to the ground.

This latter circumstance caused the agent of the duke of Ormond (his lordship having some time before obtained a grant of several forfeited houses in the town,) to represent, in the year 1679, to the corporation, "that by reason of the removal of the market and Irish inhabitants, a greate parte of the houses of the towne were falling down;" and he then required, "that such of the Irish of the said towne as should give security might be restored." [m] This, after much opposition, was complied with only through necessity. Several of the ancient names and families having accordingly entered into recognizance for their peaceable demeanor, were permitted to return, and the trade of the town immediately after began to revive. [n]

This soon awakened the rankling hatred and jealousy of the members of the corporation; and four months had scarcely elapsed when they assembled, and in a body, represented to the mayor "that several intruders and un-freemen and others, who kept servants not fitly qualified, do daily intrude on our privileges, by thrusting themselves and their servants into our said corporation. and keep open shop, to the great indignitye of the laudable laws and customs of the same." [o] However inclined the mayor might be, he was unable to resist this intolerant body; and consequently, many of the persecuted people, who had been so recently admitted, were again obliged to quit the town. [p]

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