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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/238

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Lucas
Lucas
232

State of the Case of the Commons and Citizens of Dublin) a fund was raised by voluntary subscription,and a suit commenced on 7 Nov. 1744 against the aldermen in the court of king's bench. But after a hearing of two days permission was refused by the judge to lodge an information, and the victorious aldermen struck out the names of Lucas and his supporters from the following triennial return of the common council. On 25 Dec. 1747 Lucas presented a printed statement of the case, entitled 'The Complaints of Dublin,' to the lord-lieutenant, the Earl of Harrington: but Harrington declined to move in the business.

When in August 1748 a vacancy occurred in the parliamentary representation of the city of Dublin, Lucas offered himself as a candidate. Alderman Sir Samuel Cooke and James Latouche also came forward, and although the views of Lucas and Latouche were practically identical, neither would withdraw. To advance his candidature, Lucas in 1748-9 published twenty political addresses to his fellow-citizens, explaining his views on the constitution, reflecting severely on the corruption prevailing in the House of Commons, and advocating the principles expounded by Molyneux in favour of parliamentary independence. These addresses and a certain paper called 'The Censor, or Citizen's Journal,' offended not only the court party, but also the friends of Latouche, whose character was roughly handled by Lucas, especially in his fourteenth address. In counter addresses and pamphlets Lucas was stigmatised as a needy adventurer, a man of no family, and a political firebrand (see The Tickler, edited by Paul Hiffernan). While the election was still pending, the death of Alderman Nathaniel Pearson in May 1749 caused a second vacancy in the representation, and Lucas and Latouche became partly reconciled in opposing Cooke and the second aldermanic candidate, Charles Burton. Shortly afterwards, the corporation having resolved to farm the revenues of the city to a certain alderman, Lucas denounced the affair as a job, and the council in which the resolution had been passed as packed. The corporation voted the charge false and malicious, and refused to hear Lucas in his defence. The censure was confirmed at a subsequent meeting, and a vote of thanks passed to the author of a pamphlet entitled 'Lucas Detected,' conjectured to have been Edmund Burke, at that time a student at Trinity College (Madden, Hist. of Irish Periodical Literature, and Prior, Life of Burke, i. 33). But an appeal by Lucas to the corporation secured fifteen votes out of the twenty-five in his favour. About the same time he printed, with a translation and notes, 'The Great Charter of the City of Dublin;' the lords justices refused (15 May 1749) his request to transmit it to the king, with a 'Dedication to his Majesty.' But on the return of Lord Harrington, Lucas waited on him at the castle on 8 Oct., and gave him a copy, together with a collection of his political addresses. Lucas was favourably impressed with his reception. Two days later (5 Oct.), however, he attended a levee, and was peremptorily required to leave the castle. Next day he published the story in a newspaper, 'with thanks to his excellency for the honour he did him,' and on the day following, 7 Oct., issued 'An Address to his Excellency … with a Preface to the Free and Independent Citizens of Dublin,' commenting on his treatment.

The date of the parliamentary election was approaching, and the government resolved to prevent Lucas from proceeding to the poll. When parliament assembled on 10 Oct., the lord-lieutenant in his speech from the throne animadverted on certain bold attempts to create jealousies between the two kingdoms. The reference to Lucas was unmistakable, and the commons, on a motion of Sir Richard Cox, ordered Lucas and his printer to appear at the bar of the house. Esdall, Lucas's publisher, absconded; but the copy of his publications presented to the lord-lieutenant was put in evidence against him. The feeling of the house ran strongly against him, although the people of Dublin were hotly in his favour. Being ordered to withdraw, a series of resolutions was passed declaring him to be an enemy to his country, calling upon the attorney-general to prosecute him for his offence, and ordering his immediate imprisonment in Newgate (Commons' Journals, v. 14). His first intention was to submit quietly to his punishment; but finding that he was to be treated with scant decency, he escaped to the Isle of Man, and thence to London. After his flight he was presented by the grand juries of the county and city of Dublin as a common libeller. A proclamation was issued by the lord-lieutenant, at the request of the House of Commons, for his apprehension, and an engraver who advertised a mezzotint of him, as 'an exile for his country, who seeking for liberty lost it,' was committed to prison by order of the House of Commons. Finally, at the Christmas assembly of the corporation, he was disfranchised. Meanwhile Cooke and Latouche had been elected to represent Dublin in parliament.

After a short residence in London Lucas