Private papers, letters and diaries: Musgrave, Dublin, to Heaton, Burlington, 1792
'... In some instances, proposals were suppressed, but what gave Mr Conner an ample opportunity of indulging the rapacity of his adherents was this: Sir Beaumont Hotham made it a point (indeed he told me so) that he would not receive any proposal for any land, nor any information about the duke's affairs, but from Mr Conner. Numberless memorials containing complaints of Mr Conner's conduct were at different times sent to Sir Beaumont, but he, instead of redressing them or even of investigating how far they were founded, sent them to Mr Conner.
A design was formed of giving up the borough of Lismore to them. Mr William Gumbleton was declared to be tenant of the deer park and Kilnecarriga, consisting of 1600 acres within the borough, and it was given out three of four years before the last general election that Mr Richard G. was to have Ballyrafter, Ballygillane, etc., etc., on the other side of the town and quite close to it. Notwithstanding this barefaced traffic, it appeared that the duke had but two votes when his interest was attacked in the borough, and the people of all ranks were emulous in showing their enmity to Mr Conner in opposing it. During the election, I wrote to Sir Beaumont and assured him that the borough would be entirely in the power of the Messrs Gumbletons if any one of them got a lease of Ballyrafter, notwithstanding which, I discovered a few months after that that farm was destined for Mr Richard Gumbleton, and that the wood on it was to be given to him as a douceur, for he had secretly agreed to sell it to two persons of Lismore. I communicated this immediately to Lord Frederick and Mr Ponsonby, and as well as I recollect to the duke of Portland.
The state of the borough of Bandon should be seriously considered. It is a close borough consisting of a mayor or portrieve and twelve burgesses or common council. One seat in it was given to the Bernard family in a most treacherous manner by Conner's father, who I have been assured never let a farm of the duke's without receiving a considerable bribe. I hear that the burgesses nominated on the part of the duke are the creatures of Mr Conner. I have had some conversation with Mr Ponsonby on this subject since I came here. It is a matter which should be managed with great secrecy and circumspection. ...
By Mr Ponsonby's desire, I am now collecting all the information I can about the duke's affairs with the utmost secrecy, and as I purpose going to England next spring, I will communicate it to you. Mr Richard Burke, son to Mr Edmund Burke, has made himself very odious to the protestants of this kingdom. The Roman catholics probably elected him their agent to promote their pretensions and wishes of being put on a footing with the protestants. Nothing could equal his intemperate zeal for them but his petulance. He not only solicited for them, but he even presumed to dictate in a very supercilious manner to the first of our nobility and gentry, deriving an extraordinary degree of consequence from his pious mission. He treated us with as much contempt as an enlightened philosopher would a horde of Mogul Tartars whom he meant to civilize. Were his wishes to take place, I am convinced that we should have a popish parliament in seven years; and an Irish papist differs in point of principle as much from one of any other country as a wolf does from a quiet house dog. ...'
Public Record Office for Northern Ireland, Ref: T3158/1703
13 Feb 1792
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