§ Mr. Parnell
rose, and spoke as follows:—Sir; whatever objections may be made to the motion which I am about to submit to the House, I feel confident that no complaint will be urged against me for having brought this subject forward at so late a period of the session. I was prepared to make the motion, of which I had given notice, on the 9th of May, but at the request of a right hon. gent. (Mr. Pole) I consented to postpone it, and the other business of the House has prevented me from having any earlier opportunity to urge it. This circumstance has induced me to adopt a different motion from that which I, had at first proposed to make. It is certainly now too late to desire the appointment of a Select Committee. I shall, therefore, merely move, that the House will early in the next session take into its consideration the collection of Tythes in Ireland. For this reason, I shall not feel it incumbent on me to enter into the general subject at much length. I shall only submit to the House such general grounds for adopting my motion, as will be sufficient to shew to the House, that inquiry is essential, and I shall wait till next session to advance those arguments which in my 573 opinion may be urged to prove the expediency of a commutation.
In the first place, I beg leave to call the attention of the House to the sentiments of the people of Ireland, as they have already been declared by petitions and resolutions of public meetings and grand juries. The county of Tipperary have resolved, "That from our local knowledge of the very heavy burdens imposed on the lower orders of the people by the present system of tythes, we are confident that the abolition of tythes, and the substitution of some less exceptionable provision for the clergy, would principally tend to promote tranquillity, extend industry, and effect a co-operation of all classes against the common enemy." The county of Clare have resolved, "That the grievances resulting from the present system of tythes in Ireland, are so manifest, and the burthens by them imposed upon the labouring classes of the community so oppressive, that it becomes our duty to declare the necessity of a petition being submitted to Parliament, humbly praying the substitution of some equivalent, but less onerous provision for the ministers of the Established Church. It being also our decided conviction, that there is no act to which the legislature can recur, which will so essentially contribute to promote the industry and to preserve the peace of this part of the United Kingdom; none which can so strongly deserve the gratitude and conciliate the affections of the people." The county of Kerry have stated in their petition to this House, "That impressed with a strong sense of the evils resulting from the mode of levying tythes, which, whilst they impede agriculture and improvement, afford the clergyman and lay impropriator a provision the most unsatisfactory in its nature, from the odium attendant upon it, they submit to the House the expediency of providing for them an equivalent, which shall be more consistent with the wishes of the nation, and the interests of the Church." The Queen's county, in their petition, say, "That the impolicy and grievance of the present system of tythes are universally known and acknowledged. That we are of opinion that the legislature can adopt no measure so well calculated to secure the good order and quiet which now prevail throughout Ireland, and to defeat any attempt of invasion, as a commutation of tythes." The grand jury of the county of Wicklow have 574 resolved, "That when a legislative union was proposed between this country and Great Britain, it was publicly held out in Parliament by the minister of England, that some mode would be adopted for relieving the lower orders in this country from the pressure of tythes, which, ac-cording to his expression, operate in many instances as a great practical evil." The grand jury of the county of Armagh have declared "We sec, with much concern, the exorbitant demands made by some of the clergy and their proctors in certain; parishes in this county, in collecting tythes, to the very great oppression of their parishioners, and tending, at this time in particular, to detach the minds of his Majesty's subjects from their loyalty and attachment to the happy constitution of this country." And the grand jury of the King's county, at the last assizes, have made this declaration: "We think it expedient to express our unanimous conviction, that the interference of the legislature upon the subject of tythes, is absolutely essential to the tranquillity and prosperity of Ireland."
I cannot conceive, Sir, that a more sufficient ground could exist to induce the House to examine this subject than the unanimous opinion of these seven very extensive counties declaring tythes to be a great grievance, and that the interference of the legislature was absolutely necessary. But these counties speak the opinion of all Ireland. If the other counties had thought proper to come forward with the same zeal for the public good, and with the same energy in protecting their own most important interests and rights, I do not hesitate to say, that everyone of them would have spoken the same language. I say this in the hearing of those who are able to set me right if I am incorrect in what I say, but I venture to foretell, that in the course of this debate, no Irish member will rise in his place and deny the accuracy of my assertion.
But besides the unanimous conviction that prevails in Ireland that, the legislature ought to interfere, ministers themselves have afforded a very good ground to justify me in making the motion I am about to make. In the session in which the first petitions on this subject were presented to the House, I was induced to postpone calling its attention to them, in consequence of an assurance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he would bring forward a measure of redrew 575 in the following session. But when that session arrived nothing more was done than a renewal made of that promise by the noble lord who was then secretary for Ireland. In the next session there was still no measure, but a new promise made by the right hon. gent. (Mr. Pole). Under these circumstances, therefore, I feel that I have a good claim upon the House to take the business into their own hands, and to give that remedy which it seems ministers are either unwilling or unable to afford.
Though it is not by any means my intention at this time to enter into the details of this most important question, I wish to take this opportunity of endeavouring to expose the inaccuracy of the statements of some facts which bear upon it. It is of the first importance that the House should rightly understand the probable numbers of the people of Ireland, and of them what proportion belong to the established church. A right hon. doctor (Duigenan) said very lately in his place, that the people of Ireland did not exceed three millions and a half, and that of these, two millions only were Catholics. He grounded his statement on the essay of Mr. Bushe. I have examined that essay, and feel no hesitation in saying, that if ever a statement was made in this House more unfounded than another, it is this statement of the learned doctor; for so far from Mr. Bushe having said any thing in his essay, from which it was to be inferred that at this time the people of Ireland amounted only to three millions and a half, he has proved that in the year 1791, they amounted to 4,200,000. Mr. Chalmers, whose authority with gentlemen on the opposite side stands very high as a person of great practical experience, has examined this essay of Mr. Bushe; and he draws the same inference. The manner in which this calculation was made, whatever may be its defects, has this advantage; that it was quite conclusive as to the numbers being as great as have been stated, because the actual existence of a certain number of houses was fully ascertained by the collectors of the hearth-tax, and the average number of persons in each house by the actual enumeration of those living in so large a number of them, as to afford good grounds for taking the average which was adopted. The defect of the plan was, that it was not the way of ascertaining the whole of the population, for Mr. Bushe says, that although sworn officers were appointed to 576 collect the duty, and after the frauds of several of them had been detected and punished, there were a considerable number of houses suppressed by them. The general inference to be drawn from Mr. Bushe's estimate is this, that the population of Ireland in 1791, was at the least 4,200,000, and that in the course of the last 20 years, between the numbers omitted to be taken into the account, and the probable increase of the people, it is a very moderate calculation to make the actual population of Ireland at this moment at 5,000,000.
As to the proportion which the dissenters from the established church bear to them who belong to it, there is good authority for saying, nine-tenths are dissenters. This fact forms a leading feature in the grievances of Tythes. It was certainly a great hardship that a people should be obliged to pay the clergy of a church whose tenets they did not follow, besides paying the clergy of their own church. I feel, Sir, when I make this observation, that it is necessary for me to guard it, by saying that those who dissent from the established church do not seek for the abolition of Tythes: they by no means carry their complaints so far as to warrant any such inference. All they ask for is relief from the oppressive and vexatious manner in which they are made to pay them; and surely, if they are contented to support the establishment, and to pay what the church demands, it is but just that, under these circumstances, the legislature should take care they were protected from the extortion and tyranny of those employed in the collection of them.
It may, I know, be said, that if the concession which is now sought for is given, the people will not rest satisfied, but go still further and further, till they have destroyed the established church. But if this argument shall be made use of on this occasion, as I think I have reason to expect it will, as it applies as well to this occasion as to that of the Catholic claims, I should be inclined to reply, that the Protestant church of Ireland is fully secured from all such attempts by the act of Union; not merely by the letter of it, which declares it to be one and the same as the church of England, but by the very nature and essence of it. This measure was proposed by Mr. Pitt, for the avowed purpose of obtaining two great objects; the first, the advancement of the power and security of Great Britain, by an union of 577 the two legislatures; the second, the remedy of the defects of the internal system of Ireland. These defects were, on the one hand, an establishment of church and state, for the exclusive benefit of one-tenth of the people; and, on the other, a people deprived of their constitutional rights, through fear of the concession of them being detrimental to the establishment. To remedy these defects, Mr. Pitt proposed the Union, by which the establishment was to derive the security by consolidation with the Protestant establishment of England; and the people were to be placed in a condition which would enable the legislature to concede to them their constitutional rights, and redress of the grievance of Tythes. If then the concession were made, even now, the people would feel they were bound to submit cheerfully to the support and protection of the established religion. But had, fortunately, the time of making it been the time at which the act of union passed, I think every one who knows any thing of Ireland will say, that no circumstance could have happened which would have placed the established church on so secure and permanent a basis; for that basis would have been the admission of the people for the first time into a full enjoyment of liberty, and relief from the greatest of all grievances—the Tythe system.
I wish, Sir, to take some notice of an assertion of the advocates of tythes, that the people of Ireland are not oppressed by them, but by their landlords. It is said that their landlords exact more rent for their land than the land is worth. To me this seems to be an assertion on the face of it the most absurd. By what contrivance land is made to differ from all other commodities in respect to its value, I cannot possibly comprehend. I should imagine that land, like other things, would only bring that price which, according to those principles which govern prices, is the fair and proper price. If it were otherwise, and the poor tenantry of Ireland did really undertake to pay more for land than the land was worth, as they would begin to cultivate it in total poverty, and as its produce would not enable them so to pay the rent agreed for, it is so plain that great loss to the landlord must be the result, that I never can believe that landlords can have ever attempted, much less established so ruinous a system. That there are landlords in Ireland, and absent proprietors of land there, who 578 sometimes mismanage their estates when out of lease, I know to be the case. I mean those landlords who make it a practice never to grant leases to the poorer description of persons resident on their farms after the expiration of an old lease; but to select some opulent individual to take the whole land that is to be disposed of in one lease. On the one hand there is no practice so completely proved by experience to be beneficial to both landlord and tenant, as that of giving leases to the under-tenants that hold the land on the expiration of an old lease. It gives every encouragement to that great class of people to be industrious and orderly in their conduct, upon whose industry and good conduct the prosperity and tranquillity of Ireland almost entirely depend. I have never known an instance in which it has failed to produce the most beneficial effects. The tenant uniformly repays the landlord for the confidence placed in him, not only by great punctuality in respect to his rent, but by making great improvements in the cultivation of his farm, and by following a peaceable course of life. On the other hand, when landlords, mistaking their own interests, adopt the practice of selecting one opulent individual as their tenant of each large tract of land they have to let, with out any regard to the numerous families that may be resident on it, they greatly diminish their own income, and place, these families in the most miserable condition, by exposing them either to the exorbitant exactions of the immediate tenant, or to the still greater oppression of expulsion from the land on which they have been accustomed to live. I feel, Sir, very anxious to impress upon the House a conviction of the truth of these doctrines; because I know of no circumstance belonging to the internal economy of Ireland, so well calculated to improve the condition of the lower orders of the people, and to render them industrious, comfortable and happy, as the adopting as a general rule by landlords of the practice of giving their lands when out of lease to those whom they may find established upon them. I have seen whole tracts of country, and great tribes of people brought from a state of waste and poverty into one of great improvement in the course of a few years by this simple expedient, and I feel quite sure that if all the landlords of Ireland were to select for their tenants those who have become fixed on their property as tenants to their im- 579 mediate tenants, whenever opportunities present themselves, the most general and most valuable improvements would soon shew itself in the better cultivation of the country, and in the ameliorated condition of the lower orders of the people.
In a former debate on this question, I, and those who thought and acted with me, were accused of spreading a flame of expectation that never could be realized, and that would produce incalculable mischief. There is no charge so easy to be refuted as this—because I have not been the first to complain of the grievance of Tythes. In the year 1787, several petitions were presented to the Irish House of Commons, praying for a commutation. In that and the two following years the right hon. gent, the member for Dublin (Mr. Grattan) called upon the House to listen to the prayer of the petition. He prefaced his motion with speeches of such force in argument, and such power in eloquence, that so long as they exist, Tythes must be considered a grievance, and the plan for redressing it simple and practicable. In the year 1799, Mr. Pitt, of whose principles the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer professes himself to be the strenuous advocate, when he Wishes to give to his administration the aid of Mr. Pitt's authority, said in his speech on the Union, that Tythes in Ireland were a great practical evil. The administration that preceded the present implicitly avowed themselves to be friends of an alteration of the Tythes in Ireland; and the right hon. gent. himself has contributed very materially to raise the expectation of the people by the promise which he made when the Petitions were presented to the House three years ago. So that in point of fact, there is no ground whatever of imputing to me, or those who act with me, the charge which had been made.
Let the fate, Sir, of my motion be what it may, I wish to take this opportunity of assuring the House that I will very early in the next session bring this subject before the House. I trust that the people of Ireland will take the opportunity the recess will afford them of making their sentiments more fully known. If they do—if all the Irish counties come forward and give to their friends in parliament the advantage of the public declaration of their opinion, I, for my own part, can feel no doubt of their efforts being completely successful. I beg leave to move, "That this House will, early in the next session 580 of parliament, take into its consideration the Collection of Tythes in Ireland."
§ Mr. Sheridan
said, that having long considered this question as one most important to the tranquillity of Ireland, and one that was called for by the general policy and expediency of the country, he therefore rose merely to second the motion.
§ Mr. Wellesley Pole
said, that from the manner in which the hon. gentleman had brought forward this motion, he should have been extremely happy had he been able to give it his support. He had, during the recess of parliament, inquired into the subject; but the more he had investigated it, the more he was convinced of the impossibility of adopting any measure to remedy the evil complained of. Both he and his right hon. friend near him had been anxious to suggest some feasible plan for that purpose the moment he came into office. It had been a subject which had been frequently agitated by some of the most enlightened statesmen, and amongst others by Mr. Grattan, and yet none of them had ever been able to suggest a plan that could have the desired effect. Knowing the great weight which that right hon. gent. possessed in Ireland, it was certainly extraordinary that he could not so much as induce the Irish parliament even to discuss the Bill he proposed upon this very subject. Even the hon. gent. who now made this motion, although he had read all the books end pamphlets that had been published upon the subject, had not been able to suggest a plan. He himself did not, at first, perceive the difficulty that existed; but he had now formed the opinion, that there was no plan that could be adopted that would not place the people of Ireland in a worse situation, in regard to tythes, than they at present were. It was easy to talk of theories, but he might here observe, that tythes, so far from being an additional tax upon the landholders, were of the nature of an original charge upon all property, supposing that all property emanated from the crown. When a person took a lease, he took it under the burden of tythes, which were a tenth of the produce of the land, one third of which belonged to the lay impropriators, and the other two thirds went to the clergy in various ways. The persons paying Tythes to the lay impropriators, generally speaking, were more oppressed than those paying to the clergy. If there were any oppression at all, it was 581 occasioned by the Tythe farmer, and not the Tythe proctor. The Tythe farmer was one who took a lease of the Tythes and collected them. One of the great causes of the oppression, was the payment of Tythes from year to year, without any certainty of the amount, for without a certainty of what a man was to pay, he naturally conceived that the more industrious he was, the more he was taxed at the end of the year. The remedy that occurred was, to give to the clergy the power of granting certain possession for fourteen years, at a certain specific rate, but it was found that the lay impropriators had already let one-third of the whole Tythes of that kingdom. If this were correct, it would not be proper to enable the clergy to grant leases beyond their incumbencies, but even that measure would not tend to remedy the evil complained of. The Bill for raising the Tythes in Ireland was framed by lord Redesdale, and afterwards considered by the Lord Chancellor of England, and it was found impossible to frame it in any other way. If they were grant a general power of leasing, it would be impossible to give relief to the parties. In the parish to which he himself belonged there were already nearly 2,000 persons who paid Tythes. He was the first person who had set his face against those who were called middle men in that country, because he had always endeavoured to let his land to the persons who were residing upon it, but it was necessary to understand the people of Ireland, in order to understand this question. The very moment any gentleman advertised his estate, containing about 20, 30, or 40 tenants, all of whom, with their families, having resided upon it during their lives, and although they were most anxious to remain upon it, yet it was with difficulty they could be got to make an offer. This being the case, the lands were necessarily let to another, who re-let them to the original tenants at a still higher price than what they could have originally got them at. He wished the landlords to set their faces against these middle men, and much of the complaints would be done away. Many things tythed in England were not tythed in Ireland. There were, for instance, no Tythes in Ireland for calves, milk, and hay, and in many parts no Tythe was taken for potatoes, and in other parts, only six-pence per acre. In some parts, there was only one shilling taken for the whole flax upon the lands, and in other parts only six-pence per 582 acre. It was therefore, evident, that the Irish, in regard to Tythes, were used with the greatest lenity, in comparison with England. He did not know whether the hon. gent. meant to include the lay impropriators as well as the clergy in his proposed regulation; but he should conceive, that it was hardly possible to regulate the one without regulating the other. It had been originally proposed to appoint commissioners, to ascertain the value of those Tythes, but he could not conceive how the commissioners were to act. They had before them the common law of the land to regulate their conduct, and if they found that a clergyman had a right to Tythes upon flax, but only charged one shilling per acre, how could they take an oath that that was all they had a right to? The same observation might be made as to potatoes, which, in some places, only paid sixpence per acre. He should aver that such a plan of regulation could not be practicable.—Mr. Pole then proceeded to animadvert upon the plan formerly suggested by Mr. Grattan, and endeavoured to shew the fallacy of the instructions therein proposed to be given to the commissioners. He contended that the unfortunate cultivator of land would not be relieved from the supposed grievance of Tythes. For supposing that there was a rate, per acre, in lieu of Tythe, the consequence would be that the landlord would charge, not nine-tenths of the produce of the land, but the whole of the produce upon the tenant. It would be no longer competent to say, when bargaining for rent, "You must take into your consideration the tenth, which must be paid in Tythe." Thus, while the amount of the Tythe would be laid on by an acreable rate, the whole of the produce would be estimated by the landlord, in the charge of his rent. Was it not universally admitted that where land was Tythe free, the rent was considerably greater? The reason why it was not accounted a grievance, when paid in rent, was, that the landlord and tenant, at the time of their contract for the farm, took all this into their consideration, and the tenant, being led to understand at the time, the condition he would be subjected to, became satisfied. It was therefore clear, if we could make the tenant understand his case in respect to tythe at the time of his taking the farm, he would not feel more dissatisfied in this situation, than he would do if he paid so much more rent. These 583 were the reasons, in his opinion, why one mode of payment was not, and the other was, accounted a grievance. There would be considerable difficulty in laying on this rate by acre, and when it should be charged upon the produce of each acre, by calculating so much for an acre of wheat, so much for an acre of barley. &c. the calculation through a parish might be so made as to bear very hard and very unjustly upon the owners of farms, without any regard to the quality of the soil. Originally he had approved of the mode proposed, that the clergy should have land in lieu of tythe; but upon closer examination be found that even that mode would be attended with so many difficulties, as would render the justice of it impracticable. It would be found impossible in selling the tythes, and purchasing land in lieu of them, that the church could preserve the amount of their property; they would lose nearly one-fourth. H. thought differently from others respecting the conduct of the clergy, and recollected several instances of their shewing great moderation. In Ireland, the tythe of agistment had been removed by act of parliament, and the bishops entered a protest memorable for its moderation and liberality. In the province of Ulster, though the tythe of milk had been petitioned against, and the legislature considered the charge of the clergy proper, yet it was discontinued, and no such thing was taken at this day. It was a fallacious conception, that tythes were more oppressive in Ireland than they were in this country. This mode of ameliorating the payment of tythes would be found totally inapplicable in Ireland, as it could not suit itself to the various customs of different parishes. It would be much better to devise a system whereby the clergy might be led to do their duty, to go about and attend to the wants and necessities of the people, which would produce such an understanding between the pastor and his flock, as would put an end to all complaints of grievance. The evil was not what it was supposed to be, if the truth was clearly understood. He believed none paid tythes more cheerfully than the Roman Catholics of Ireland; and he had no doubt but they considered the right as emanating from the original grant of lands from the crown. The disturbances which happened last year, in the counties of Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Waterford, were not connected with the complaint against 584 tythes. If it would be any satisfaction to the hon. gentleman opposite to know that ministers were disliked, he had no hesitation in saying they were much disliked in those counties. That dislike arose from their conduct in regard to the Insurrection act, and none received deeper and louder curses than he did upon that occasion. But in only one of these counties, and in one instance only, was there any mention of the grievance of tythes.—The right hon. member next proceeded to state the opinion of the Solicitor General of Ireland, which stated the ruinous consequences that must result from the principles entertained by the common people of that country. He concluded by conjuring the honourable gentleman to withdraw his motion, and before next session there would be an opportunity for him to look round and view the state of Ireland, to estimate the correctness of the remarks which he had made this night. If the hon. gentleman should then think some measure of this description were necessary, and he could bring him to concur with him as to its necessity, and could convince him of its propriety, he would be the first to promote any plan which could benefit the people of Ireland.
expressed his pleasure in having heard the speech of the right hon. gentleman; but he could not agree with the greater part of his observations. He did not see the difficulty of making a rate per acre, and thought it might easily be apportioned, according to the average amount of the different articles, and a calculation of a number of years. He was ready to allow that tythes had no share in the disturbances of Ireland; but he supported the mode now recommended, as one likely to produce satisfaction. He foresaw no difficulty, and although a few gentlemen might pronounce it impracticable, that was no argument against making the trial. In the parliament of Ireland, particularly, he had known instances where plans had by a few been pronounced totally impracticable, and yet those plans were afterwards adopted and found to be beneficial. He was a friend to this measure of ameliorating the tythes, because he thought it would create considerable satisfaction in the minds of the people of Ireland.
thought a mode might be devised, which would secure the rights of the clergy and tranquillize the minds of the people. He attributed most of the 585 calamities of Ireland to the custom of dividing farms amongst a numerous family, and thereby causing a superabundance of occupants, and hence they were not able to support themselves. The same custom in France led to great misery. He was favourable to the motion, but he did not consider tythes as the only grievance of that country, but they were an aggravation of all the evils he had mentioned.
§ Mr. Tighe
was happy to hear that gentlemen on all sides agreed, that in the system of tythes there were many evill which required redress. Even the Irish Secretary of State agreed in this opinion; there were papers on the table which shewed it to be the decided declaration of the people of Ireland, that any modification of the Tythes would be better than the present system observed in Ireland; and the question seemed to be, whether the House should proceed to a modification of this system, or whether they ought to rest satisfied with the mere ipse dixit of the Secretary for Ireland on this subject? He, believed, that in a true system of politics, no grievance ever existed for which a remedy was not to be found. The grievance here complained of, was that of the union of an Anglican church to an Irish state. The question now to be considered Was, whether at any future period, the evils thence complained of might be remedied?—The only alleviations proposed by the right hon. Secretary, were resident clergy, who would have no duty to do; and glebe houses, which must be useless, unless where there were families to put into them. The right of Tythes rested on an Act of Parliament; and there was no reason why it should not be changed, as well as the acts regarding Crown rents and quit rents, which had undergone alterations.
said the clergy only got according to the goodness of the crop, which was a more equitable mode of proceeding than that of the landlord, who insisted on having his rent whether the crop succeeded or not. The conspirators, along with O'Connor and Emmett, had been known to declare, that the people would not be at all relieved by the abolition of Tythes, which would only go to increase the rents of the landlord. He denied that the proportion of Protestants and Roman Catholics was at all as had been represented. Instead of the Roman Catholics amounting to five millions, he contended that they did not amount to above half that number.
§ General Mathew
declared, that he never had any idea of dispossessing the present proprietors of Tythes, without seeing that they received a perfect and complete equivalent. The right hon. and learned doctor had been pleased greatly to underrate the population of Ireland; but he would venture to assert, that the next census would exceed five millions of people. The Secretary of State, too, had asserted what would almost induce him to say he knew nothing of the country, at least greatly to doubt that he was acquainted with the wishes either of the people or of the clergy.—The plan which he would propose, and which, he was satisfied, would be agreeable not only to the Irish clergy, but to the Irish people, would be, that the clergy should be paid from the treasury, by the sale of the clerical lands, and if any thing in addition was required, then, he submitted, that there could be nothing so simple as to raise the remainder by an acreable tax on the lands over which there was at present a right of Tythe. The sum thus allowed, he should propose, should average the Tythe for the last three years, and, that there might be no complaints, that the valuation should be revised every 21 years. If such a system were adopted, then would the bone of contention, which at present existed in Ireland, be withdrawn, and Ireland would become a mine of wealth to England, instead of being a burden upon her, as she had been said to be by the hon. member for Corfe castle (Mr. Bankes); that hon. member, who had made it his study on all occasions to speak most contemptuously of Ireland, had, however, only shewn his ignorance on this occasion.
§ General Mathew
was happy, however, that the hon. member had met with a just rebuke, not only from the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, but from the English Chancellor of the Exchequer also.
§ The Speaker
again interfered, begging of the hon. general to spare such remarks as by the rules of the House were forbidden.
§ The Speaker
asked if it was the pleasure of the House that the orders should be acted up to? This being answered by calls of Chair! chair! from every part of the House, the Speaker then informed 587 the hon. general, that by the usage of the House, such reflections as he had made were forbidden; on which the hon. member sat down.
declared it had never been his practice or his inclination to talk disrespectfully of an individual, still more of a whole nation. He had looked into the financial situation of Ireland; and it was a thorough conviction of the dilapidated state of its finances which had induced him to make the observations which had given offence to the hon. general. His experience since that time, however, had confirmed rather than removed the impressions he then felt. As to the hon. member, he had always felt and expressed himself towards him with respect. With regard to the affairs of Ireland, it would be to the advantage of that country, of other gentlemen belonging to England had attended to them as he (Mr. B.) had done.
Sir John, Newport
observed, that he was much obliged to the hon. gent. for having brought the question before the House. He could not agree with the learned doctor, that tythes were as much the property of the clergy, as the land was to the landholder. He knew of forty acres of potatoe ground, in the diocese of Cashel, where the landholder had to pay five pound an acre tythes. Would it be said that this was not a great evil; and why, then, should not the House pledge themselves to investigate the subject in the next session? It appeared to him to be the old story; for whether it was the case of reform, Catholic emancipation, or tythes, he never knew the administration acknowledge that they ought to be relieved, and that the Petitions presented to them merely arose from the turbulent spirit of the people. Would any rational set of men believe this to be the fact, when the very accused were the supporters of the constitution? If the people of Ireland had the same foresight before the Union as they had now, they would have got what they were now seeking for. His right hon. friend (Mr. Grattan) had often brought forward similar measures in the Irish parliament. Although they had been lost, he had the satisfaction of knowing they were approved of by the people. Al- 588 though not in parliament at the time of the Union, he was one of those who was led astray, for he thought its basis was Catholic emancipation, and the regulation of tythes. The abuses in proctorage, and the evils arising from the variety of tythes, as stated by the right hon. Secretary, appeared to him to be strong rea-sons for going into the inquiry, rather than reasons against it. But whatever decision the House now came to, the application he hoped would be repeated, till a remedy was found for so great an evil.
supported the motion, on the ground that, as the existence of a great evil was admitted on all hands, the House ought not to rest satisfied without inquiry.
§ Mr. W. Smith
followed on the same side, and contended that the whole tything system ought to be revised.
§ Mr. Peter Moore
spoke in favour of the motion, and expressed his astonishment that investigation into the state of Ireland should be refused, when their ignorance about that country was so great, that the two sides could not agree within a million and a half, as to its population.
§ The House then divided, when the numbers were: For the motion 29; Against it 54; Majority against the motion 25.
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, J.||Mathew, General M.|
|Adams, C.||Moore, P.|
|Babington, T.||Newport, sir J.|
|Barham, J. F.||Palmer, C.|
|Barnard, T.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Brougham, H.||Smith, W.|
|Burdett, sir F.||Talbot, R. W.|
|French, A.||Tighe, W.|
|Grant, G.||Warrender, sir G.|
|Herbert, H.||Western, C. C.|
|Hutchinson, C.||Wilberforce, W.|
|Kemp, T. R.||Wrottesley, H.|
|Knight, R.||Whitbread, S.|
|Latouche, T.||Lloyd, H.|
|Martin, H.||Parnell, H.|