Jamestown was enfranchised by a charter of 1622, 19 James I. It declined during the eighteenth century and by 1783 it was 'a wretched depopulated village, formerly a town'. It had '13 Burgesses, 1 resident, 120 inhabitants, nearly all Roman Catholics. Patrons, 2 Mr Kings. Proprietor, Mr St George,'237 and in 1790 it was reported that:
This has been long a close Borough, its electors, by due management, having been confined to the Burgesses only. These are always chosen agreeably to the recommendation of Mr King of Charlestown, who from thence is sole proprietor of the Borough and nominates its representatives. It is regularly exposed to sale, Mr King never choosing to deal with the ministers in the retail way and its Members, as chance directs, either crowd the train of the Lord Lieutenant's Secretary, or increase the ranks of opposition. It is not men, but money they represent.
The return of John King (1160) and Robert French (0833) was unsuccessfully challenged in 1727 by Richard Geering and James Lawder; otherwise there appears to have been little to disturb the dominance of the King family and at the Union the £15,000 compensation for its disfranchisement was paid to Gilbert King, John King, the Rev. John King, Archdeacon of Killala, and the sovereign and burgesses then living. According to the list in the Cornwallis Correspondence it was equally divided between Gilbert and John King,238 although the others did apply to the Commissioners.