Carrick, the county town of Co. Leitrim, was enfranchised by a 1614 charter of James I on the usual pattern, with a provost, 12 burgesses and a commonalty. In 1783 its population was thought to be about 400, two-thirds of which were Roman Catholic. Up to the middle of the century it was controlled by the St George family - Oliver St George (1843) and Sir George St George (1838), 1703-13; Richard St George (1844),1715-55, and St George (Ussher-)St George (1849),1741-63, whose sole heiress married the 2nd Duke of Leinster (0745). By 1790 it was considered that:
The constitution of this Borough, like that of many others in the kingdom, was originally free, its electors being by charter the Burgesses and an indefinite number of Freemen but overweening influence and the arts of party have reduced them to a small number of the former only, who, after many a hard-fought conflict between rival families, remain entirely subject to the control of Lord Leitrim (0418), the present proprietor of the Borough.
The St George family last and most obstinately, contested the right of representing it and to such a wretched state of uncertainty were the claims of the electors brought by the dark intrigues of corporation politics, that when [in 1755] the late Mr St George's (1847) father, was a candidate for it and his right to be returned came, on a petition, before the House of Commons to be decided, his friends in the House could easily disqualify every voter for his opponent, but with every degree of inclination they could not substantiate a single legal vote for himself. He was consequently unsuccessful. Since the Clements family have enjoyed the dominion of it, its fate has been various, being sometimes sold and at others filled by their immediate connections. At the next election Lord Leitrim's eldest son (0415) will, probably, be one of its representatives; who the other one will be is uncertain.235
When the petition came before parliament in January 1756 it was reported that: 'The merits of St George's petition is not yet determined, but a previous question being put which would in a great measure determine the fate of it, and it being carried for St George, those in the Ponsonby interest could not behave with temper. The Senate became a bear-garden and if greater decorum be not observed, expulsions will be the consequence.'236
In fact what appears to have happened was that by 1783 it was 'Mr Robert Clements' (0418) borough - his father (0414) purchased it of the late General St George (1844) for £5,000'. General St George died in January 1755 in his 85th year without legitimate heirs, and this purchase probably occurred shortly before. The petition on the by-election following his death suggests that the corporation was in some chaos and this may account for the borough's apparently low price. Certainly it is borne out by the petition's reception in the House of Commons. In 1800 the £15,000 compensation for its disfranchisement was paid to Robert, Earl of Leitrim (0418).