Looking back at the utter silliness of this proposal, it can be explained in no other form except we conclude that some object besides the ostensible one of doing good to the kingdom of Ireland, actuated the parliament. Of the fifty thousand, half was to be expended in bringing over the colony, consisting of 1,000 people, and the other half in providing accommodation for them, and, in the language of the warranty -
"They were to furnish an immediate acquisition to the national wealth by their extensive manufactures and their respectability."
The Genevese were simply mechanics, and as such skilled only in the making of various ornamental articles, which in themselves feed upon luxury, rather than create any new ground for reproductive industry. Hence, it is difficult to see where all the material prosperity was to come from. As to the Irish nation being promised great educational advancement because of the establishment of a school on the point of Waterford harbour, where the religion, virtue, and science of the continent were to be dispensed, the king's ambition for the enlightenment of the Irish nation must have been of a rather proscribed nature when he resorted to this expedient.
The French Huguenots, who had already settled in Waterford, expected a large consignment to swell their congregation at this time, but the hopes of the undertaking became soon marred by the extraordinary exaction's of the new colony upon the government. They stipulated-
- That they should be represented in parliament.
- That they should be governed by their own laws.
But Home Rule for New Gevena, for this speck over Waterford Bay, while the majority of the nation were shut out from even parliamentary representation, was too much of a monopoly. The giving them Home Rule for a few acres of land was considered to be incompatible with the laws and constitution of Ireland, and hence the conditions were rejected, and the government abandoned the project.
Meantime the acquirement of land and buildings, &c., had been going on under direction of the committee. Alexander Alcock received, for his interest in the lands of Knockroe, £12,796 William Kennedy and J. Donnellan, contractors for building the town of New Geneva, received on account of the stop put to their contract, £310. The Right Hon. James Cloffee received for superintending, £465, and William Gibson, architect, was paid £207. Altogether a total of £23,336 was expended, and the remainder, £32,519 was refunded, making the total grant of parliament to be £55,855. It should be remarked that the recipient of the £12,796 was of the same family as Henry Alcock who represented the city of Waterford this year, 1783.
Some few of the Genevese came over to Ireland, but they soon returned, rather chilled by the prospect before them; and in a short time after, New Geneva was converted into a military barracks. Later, the barracks were levelled, and the materials sold, which left the place as barelooking and desolate as a plot in the island of Atlantis after the deluge.