§ Sir John Newport
rose to call the attention of the House to the state of the First-Fruits Fund in Ireland, with a view to improve and render it more effectual. The right hon. baronet then proceeded to give a history of the establishment of this fund, and of the uses to which it was intended to be applied. The act of queen Anne declared that the first-fruits were to be appropriated to the purposes of building and repairing churches, providing glebes wherever they were wanting, and also for the more liberal support of the clergy. At the period when this fund was formed, there was also collected in Ireland, from the different benefices, one-twentieth, and from the different benefices in England, one-tenth of their valuation, which were to be applied to the same purposes. The valuation of that period, with respect to Ireland, had remained the same ever since, although it was manifest, that the real value of livings must have been greatly increased. The consequence was, that the sums which the clergy ought really to pay for the building and repair of churches were obliged to be supplied by the state at large. In the act of parliament which related to England, a clause was inserted, with respect to the propriety of having new valuations, at particular periods, which had not found its way into the Irish statute on the same subject; the consequence of which was, that no new valuation had been made in that country. Now, it appeared to him quite evident, that, from time to time, as the value of the living increased, the amount of the first-fruit should be increased also. This was a deduction perfectly clear in his mind; because it was a grant of the property of the Crown, made by the Crown for the better support of the church and of the church establishment, and not for 48 the private benefit of individuals. He believed that one-fourth of these benefices in Ireland had not been valued at all; and that of those which had beer, valued, the valuation was not, at the present day, a just and efficient one. He begged the House to attend while he pointed out the difference between the valuation of the benefices in the English and Irish church. During seven years, ending with the year 1824, the archbishoprics and bishoprics of Ireland contributed 910l. to the first-fruits during the same period, the archbishoprics and bishoprics of England, yielded to the first-fruits fund, 5,419l., independent of the sum of 8,821l. which was the produce of the twentieths. It should be observed, that the collection of one-twentieth on the valuation of the Irish benefices had been long since removed; and therefore they were more able to pay an additional sum to the first-fruits fund. Here, however, it appeared that in seven years the Irish livings paid only 910l., while those of England paid, under the two heads he had mentioned 14,240l. Since he had last addressed the House on this subject, the tithe-composition act had taken effect in many places in Ireland; and the proceedings under that act proved how different, in point of fact, was the existing valuation by which the contribution to the first-fruits fund was regulated, and what the livings really were worth. In the diocess of Cloyne, 95 livings were valued at 258l. 12s., and 25 of these 95 had compounded for their tithes. Could the House imagine for what sum they compounded? That composition produced no less than 10,580l. A very large sum, not less than 600,000l., sufficient to meet every object for which these first-fruits were intended, was thus diverted from its legitimate channel. Was it to be allowed that the clergy should put so much wealth into their pockets, when it ought to be applied, as a royal bounty, to the building and repairing of churches? Were the first-fruits to be permitted to remain thus unproductive, while the Roman Catholic peasantry were obliged to contribute to the repairing and building of places of worship which they did not attend? When the Crown expressly said, "this fund shall be appropriated to certain purposes," it was highly fitting that the intention of the Crown should be strictly observed. It could not be doubted, that if this property had remained in the hands of the Crown, the Crown could have com- 49 manded a valuation at any time; and was parliament, because the Crown had divested itself of its right for the benefit of the church, to allow its gift to remain unproductive, so far as the object of the Crown was concerned? Primate Boulter, shortly after his arrival in Ireland, wrote to the archbishop of Canterbury, stating that he hoped to induce his brethren to consent to a larger payment on account of these first-fruits. Primate Boulter thought it right that the clergy should make their own especial fund productive, before they called on the state to assist them in building and repairing churches. His proposition was, however, ungraciously received, and produced no good effect. An effort was made, early in his late majesty's reign, to institute an inquiry as to the best means of making those first-fruits more productive; but, perhaps, from the same causes that operated against Primate Boulter's attempt, it also was dropped and thrown aside. The state was now from time to time called on to make grants, which he contended ought to be defrayed out of these first-fruits. The bishops lands and glebe-lands in Ireland, amounted to no less than 700,000 acres, mostly plantation acres, which was nearly equal to 1,000,000 of English acres; but the produce to the first-fruits fund was, as he had shown, scarcely any thing. He would very briefly show, from a return which had been laid before the House, the difference of the produce of the first-fruits in England and Ireland. The livings within the jurisdiction of the primate of Ireland yielded 400l., while the see of Canterbury produced 2,680l. The diocess of Clogher, which was worth at least 10,000l. a-year, paid 350l. To make the matter short, the entire of the archbishoprics and bishoprics in Ireland were valued at 3,177l., while the archbishoprics and bishoprics in England were valued, for the first-fruits only, at 21,325l. exclusive of the valuation for their tenths, amounting to 8,861l. Under these circumstances, he certainly should place on the Journals —if he could not succeed in carrying it —a resolution, commencing with a statement of what the nature of the first-fruits fund was—pointing out the manner in which queen Anne intended they should be applied—showing that it was nothing more than just and equitable that grants made by the Crown for specific objects ought to be rendered efficient for the pur- 50 pose of those objects—declaring that the House would no longer allow grants to be charged on particular classes of people, by parochial taxation, or on the great body of the nation, by parliamentary votes, for purposes that ought to be met by the first-fruits fund—and calling for a committee to inquire into the whole subject, and to report its opinion thereon to the House.—The right hon. baronet concluded by moving,
1. "That the First-Fruits, or Annates, being the first yearly income of every ecclesiastical dignity or benefice in Ireland, became at the Reformation, together with the twentieth parts, or twelve pence in the pound, payable annually, a part of the revenue of the Crown, as head of the church, and continued annexed to the royal revenues until the year 1710:
"That her majesty queen Anne did, in that year, as a special act of grace and favour to the established church of Ireland, by letters patent, confirmed by authority of parliament, vest in trustees and commissioners the produce of the revenue of first-fruits, for the purposes of building and repairing churches, for the purchase of glebes were wanting, and of impropriations wherever the benefice was not sufficient for the liberal maintenance of the clergy having cure of souls; and did at the same time absolutely release them from the payment of the aforesaid twentieth parts, although a corresponding payment was retained by the queen, and still remains payable by the clergy of England out of their dignities and benefices:
"That it appears, from returns laid before this House, that, in seven years ending 1824, the archbishoprics and bishoprics contributed to the first-fruit fund of Ireland the sum of 910l. 10s. 11d.; and that those of England, in the like period, paid for first-fruits 5,419l. 9s. 10d., and for the twentieth parts 8,851l. 4s. 6d. making in the whole 14,270l., and upwards:
"That the gross amount of the entire first-fruit fund of Ireland, thus vested in trust for these great and salutary objects connected with the ecclesiastical establishment, during ten years, ending January 1821, amounted to 3,752l., from which 827l. were deducted for salaries and incidents:
"That 467, being nearly one third part of the dignities and benefices of Ire- 51 land, have never been rated or valued for payment of first-fruits, and 366 more, from the low rate at which they were valued in an early period, do not contribute to the fund, and that the whole of the archbishoprics and bishoprics of Ireland are estimated, with the other ecclesiastical dignities, in that early valuation, as being of 4,427l. annual value:That it appears just and equitable that this branch of royal revenue, liberally appropriated by the Crown for salutary objects, specially connected with the maintenance of the church of Ireland (at the same time that a great remission of burthens affecting the clergy thereof was granted by the royal munificence), should be rendered actually efficient for the attainment of the valuable purposes for which the grant was made, and that the deficiency created by this inadequate valuation should be no longer supplied by the imposition of additional charge on the body of the people by parochial taxation, or on the funds of the United Kingdom by parliamentary grant.2. "That it be referred to a select committee to consider whether any and what legislative measures may be necessary to effect these just and salutary objects; and that they do report their observations and opinion thereupon to the Mouse."
The first resolution being put from the chair,
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, that, as this question had already been under discussion four different times, he might perhaps be excused, if he abstained altogether from following the right hon. baronet through the course of argument which he had thought proper to pursue, and trust to the opinions which the House had formerly expressed upon the subject. The principle upon which the right hon. baronet wished to act would involve the interests not only of the clergy of Ireland and England, but also the interests of many other orders of the state. The principle upon which the right hon. baronet wished to act was this, that the clergy of Ireland should be obliged to build and repair all the churches in that country, out of the incomes which they received as a reward for the discharge of their sacred duties. The right hon. baronet stated, that the archbishops of Ireland did not pay an equal portion of first-fruits with those of England; and therefore he proposed going into a committee to throw back 52 upon the Irish clergy a burthen which ought always to be borne by the public at large. He could consider the resolutions of the right hon. baronet in no other light than as an attack upon the established church [hear, hear!]. He repeated, that he could look upon the resolutions in no other light than as an attack upon the established church; and he should make it appear, before he sat down, that it was so. He should first point out the inaccuracy of the right hon. baronet's facts; and secondly, he should show the incorrectness of his law; and after this, he would leave it to the House to form their own conclusions. And first, if the right hon. baronet meant to say that the pope (for it was necessary to go back to the origin of these first-fruits)—if the right hon. baronet meant to say that the pope ever exacted first-fruits upon the full value of benefices, he was greatly mistaken. On the contrary, if he turned to the law authorities, he would see, that even at the time of the most extravagant demands of his holiness, the valuation was taken only upon one half, and that even then it was considered a great grievance. The same argument held good when the first-fruits became vested in the Crown; and if the right hon. baronet entertained a contrary opinion, he would find himself unable to support it. Again, the right hon. baronet was incorrect as to his law. And here he had to regret the absence of his right hon. friend, the attorney-general for Ireland, who had on a former occasion so clearly demonstrated to the House, the fallacy of the right hon. baronet's arguments, and had proved to their satisfaction, that the statute of Henry 8th did not bear the construction put upon it by him. His right hon. and learned friend had clearly shewn, that the valuation at that time was taken upon such fair composition as might be agreed upon by the parties, the 28th chapter of the act of Henry 8th made special provision, that the valuation; should be made strictly in this way. One clause directed, that the chancellor, the master of the Rolls, and the lord treasurer, should be enabled to regulate and compound the first-fruits, and should search out and determine the true and proper valuation upon which they ought to be paid. He did not wish to fatigue the House by going through the whole clause of the act, but it was sufficient for his argument to show that such was its 53 intendment. By the 26th of Henry the 8th, it was provided, that the pope should compound for the first-fruits; and if the pope refused to do so, then the king was to take the first-fruits into his own hands, and arrange a fair and equitable composition. He was aware that a subsequent statute had been passed with a view to the tenths; but that appointed a committee to inquire into the details in the different parts of the country, and was, in principle, totally different from the other. If he was correct in his opinions upon this subject, then the right hon. baronet must be mistaken in his statement relative to the first-fruits; and if it appeared that the statute of Henry the 8th had no reference to a new valuation, then there was at once an end to the right hon. baronet's argument. The plain question for the consideration of the House was this—Were they now to adopt a new valuation of those first-fruits; or, in other words, was the House in a situation to say that the incomes of the clergy ought to be taxed, for the purpose of building and repairing all the churches in Ireland? He could never allow it to be said, that the churches were erected more for the benefit of the clergy than of the community; and it being admitted, on all hands, that churches were necessary, were they to be built by the clergy only, or by the community at large? The right hon. baronet had adverted to the difference between present and former valuations in particular instances. He admitted that the valuation of first-fruits had been fixed by the statute of Henry 8th, and that they had gone on for a period of nearly three hundred years at that valuation, without any alteration either in England or in Ireland. But he would ask the right hon. baronet, were there no other changes which would, upon his principle, make similar alterations necessary? Did there exist no feudal tenures in Ireland which might be altered upon grounds as plausible? Could he carry into effect his proposed project without making a similar alteration with respect to head rents? And then the right hon. baronet had pointed out the difference between English and Irish first-fruits. No doubt that difference did exist. Tenths had been levied in England, while only twentieths had been called for in Ireland. It should be remembered, however, that at that period Ireland was considered to be entitled to particular indulgence, and that 54 indulgence was further shewn by taking off the twentieths in Ireland, while the tenths were continued in England. But when the right hon. baronet talked of these differences between English and Irish sees, he proved too much; for as great, if not a greater difference, could be shewn between English sees, as compared with each other. He would instance those of St. Asaph's, Chester, and Bangor, in illustration of his argument. If the impropriety of granting money by parliament, for the purpose of building churches were to be made a ground for adopting the course proposed by the right hon. baronet, what protection had the English clergy against being called upon to build and repair the English churches? For himself he repeated, that he never could allow it to be said, that churches were built more for the benefit of the clergy than of the public at large. Religion was the duty and the comfort as well of the poorest peasant, as of the highest order of clergy; and that which was equally the duty and the comfort of all ought to be equally paid for by all. But the right hon. baronet would provide places of religious worship for all, by imposing a heavy tax upon one branch of the community; namely, the clergy. As well might be urge that public officers ought to build all the public offices, that soldiers ought to build the barracks in which they live, or that any other class of persons ought to erect the establishments in which they were engaged. If the House should come to the determination of adopting the resolution of the right hon. baronet, it would lower itself in the eyes of the public. He should resist the motion in whatever shape it might be brought forward, as he never would consent to burthen the clergy with the erection and repair of all the churches of the empire. To attempt to load them in this way was most unjust in itself, and contrary both to the letter and the spirit of the law; and in the case of Ireland, the effect would be so to reduce the incomes of the clergy, as to render them unable to discharge their high and sacred functions.
§ Mr. Spring Rice
complained of the mode of argument taken up by the opposers of the motion, and observed, that in reference to what were called the usurpations of the older times, no notice was taken of the usurpations by the clergy of those divisions of the tithes which were appro- 55 priated to the building and repair of the churches, and the entire maintenance of the clergy.
§ Mr. Dawson
said, that the proposition of the right hon. baronet was equally opposed by law and by justice. He had read over the statutes, and, though he did not presume upon giving a competent opinion, it appeared to him that they bore no construction like that put upon them by the right hon. baronet. It was never the intention of the legislature to impose frequent valuations of livings upon the clergy. There had, in fact, been no more than four valuations of livings from the time of Henry 8th down to that hour; and all those valuations were of livings which had never been valued before. The commission in the reign of Henry 8th related only to a small portion of Ireland; that under Elizabeth included merely livings not before valued; that in the reign of James was made under similar circumstances; and that under Charles was occasioned by certain livings having previously escaped valuation. The commission in the time of James 1st contained positive directions not to touch the livings which were valued before, and not to go to the full valuation of any livings. There was no question but that the right to the first-fruits was the settled possession of the Crown, and being then so settled, it was equally plain from those instructions, that the king only wished to have the sums fixed which were to be paid into the Exchequer, and that those were to be the sums to be paid in from that time for ever after. Moreover a great portion of the livings at the time of the valuations taken under queen Elizabeth were under 6l. value, and those were excepted by law from valuation. It would be a hard measure of justice, indeed, because they had considerably improved, to endeavour now to lessen their productiveness. The motion was founded in injustice. But, if it had justice on its side, it must be as applicable to the property of the English as of the Irish church. There was nothing in the question of the first-fruits of one church which was not as applicable to the first-fruits of the other. It would not be possible, however, for any member of that House to proceed in the same manner against the property of the English church n and yet he thought that, if any distinction were to be allowed, it would rather encourage interference with 56 the English than with the Irish church. By the statute passed in the 26th of Henry 8th, not only the first-fruits of rectories, deaneries, bishoprics, were granted to the king, but likewise the first-fruits of all abbeys, monasteries, and hospitals; for the act for the destruction of monasteries did not pass until two years afterwards. It was well known that lands, which were then held by ecclesiastical bodies of the latter description, were now in the hands of lay persons; so that the measure, if adopted, might reach to them. Should the resolutions pass, many persons in Ireland, who had impropriated lands, would be subject to have them valued. Now, he was persuaded that the House would never consent to such injustice. Before he sat down, he begged to bear his testimony to the conduct of the clergy of Ireland. No body of men could have conducted themselves, on all occasions, with more honour, more liberality, and more Christian charity towards all mankind. He had not heard of any thing on this subject which had laid the foundation for inquiry; and for this reason, he was not prepared to give the motion his support.
§ Mr. Lockhart
said, he had expected the right hon. baronet to make out a very strong case, and was now prepared to acknowledge, that, from the weight of argument on the other side, he felt convinced that the proposition could not be adopted. Why should they seek for a principle to justify them in that which was on every side called the usurpation of the pope? If the pope had usurped any portion of the property of the church, like that of the first-fruits, the Crown did right in resuming it; but then it ought to be given back to the church. It was upon this feeling that the Crown seemed to have acted. Unquestionably, the rightful possession of that property, after the resumption, was in the Crown. Henry 8th had given up a part of it to laymen, from whom it could not be reclaimed; and the right of the Crown to the remainder had been qualified by the sovereigns who came after him, until it had been settled on its present footing. It would indeed, be taking a heavy stride now to revive the claim of the Crown to the utmost amount of valuations to be taken in the present day. Reference had been made by the hon. member for Limerick, to what he called other usurpations by the clergy upon the four-fold division of the tithes. But then the law and the cir- 57 cumstances of society had materially altered. The poor were entitled to the fourth of the tithes; and he was aware that the statute of Richard 2nd sought to secure the appropriation of the fourth part to that object; but the law had long since fallen into disuse. The poor were maintained by the poor-rates; with the payments of which the agricultural property and the tithes were mainly chargeable. But, if the law had not fallen into disuse by this method, the claim of the poor to the fourth must have been void; because the Reformation brought with it to the clergy the right of marrying; and that implied, ex necessitate rei, the duty of providing for their families. Upon the whole, therefore, he could not think it safe to entertain this proposition.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that the two honourable Secretaries had not argued this question with their usual candour. The one had contended that the motion was consistent with neither law nor justice, and the other had endeavoured to lead the House away, by calling its attention to the danger to which the resolutions exposed every other species of property. Now, he could remember when it was asserted in that House, that every question should stand by itself, and upon its own peculiar merits; and that no other should be decided by it, unless the circumstances were precisely similar. Now, nothing could be more unlike than the circumstances of the two churches of England and Ireland. It was not for him to decide whether Henry 8th was legally entitled to act as he had done, and to appropriate ecclesiastical property at the Reformation, but certain it was, that the practice of the country had confirmed him in the possession of it. He gave portions of it to laymen, whose representatives still retained it; and other portions to the church, which derived its title only from the donor. The question, then, reduced itself to this —Did any subsequent sovereign of this country, queen Anne for instance, relinquish what she was entitled to in this respect, as far as regarded Ireland, for certain purposes, or did she not? Now, that queen gave up her claim to first-fruits and twentieths in Ireland, for the express purpose that the money should be applied to the erection and repair of churches. He asked, then, whether it had been so applied, or whether it had not? The answer was, that to the extent to which the collection had been made, the money 58 had been so applied; but the point in dispute was, whether there existed a right to re-value the livings, in order to ascertain the true amount of the first-fruits?— The clerk of the first-fruits had authority by his patent, according to the opinion of respectable counsel, to value the livings at different times; and they had, in point of fact, been valued at five or six different times. But then the right hon. Secretary for Ireland talked of the injustice of thus trenching on the church property; but, if the church had been provided with funds for the building and repair of churches, and the clergy instead of applying them to that purpose had applied them to their own use, it was perfectly consistent both with law and justice to resume these funds, and to apply them to the purposes for which they were originally intended. This was said to be an attack on the property of the church. If it was, it was a just attack: for if the money destined for the building and repair of churches was withheld and used for the benefit of the clergy, it was strictly just so far to attack church property as to turn a portion of it from an improper to a proper purpose. There was no danger to any other kind of property from this proceeding. It was said, that the same principle would apply to church of England property. If it did, then church of England property ought to be dealt with accordingly. But, to say that this would endanger his, or any other gentleman's private property, was a preposterous proposition. It was only a proof that the right hon. Secretary had no good argument when he resorted to this method of endeavouring to create an alarm for property, to which the principle had no just application. His speech was merely an attempt to protect the church property of Ireland, and to continue and uphold the abuses to which it was at present subject. It was certainly true, and he was happy to have it to say, that he believed, within the last three or four years, the character of the Irish church had been considerably improved. He was happy to have it in his power to bear testimony to this improvement. But if it had improved, the public had not to thank the clergy for it. It was owing to the motions and discussions in that House, and the public sensation excited in consequence; and that was the only way of producing improvement where the law could not be brought directly to bear upon abuses. But a great deal more 59 must be done, before the church of Ireland would be on the footing on which it ought to be placed. Then it was said, that soldiers might as well be called upon to maintain their barracks, or government officers their houses of office, as the clergy to maintain their respective churches. It was not contended that the clergy were bound to maintain the church. Nothing more was asked, than that a certain fund, designed for a special purpose, should be made available for that purpose. If you are obliged to tax the country, poor as well as rich, for the rebuilding and repair of churches, surely you ought to wait until you have exhausted all those just and appropriate resources. Did the right hon. Secretary really mean to say that there was any reasonable comparison between this case and that of soldiers with their barracks, or that of officers of state with their government houses? Was any part of the pay of soldiers given them for the purpose of building or repairing barracks, or was any part of the salaries of government officers given them for the building and repair of government houses? If so, the Irish Secretary ought to pay for building and repairing his office; the chancellor of the Exchequer ought to pay for building and repairing the Treasury; and the right hon. President of the Board of Trade ought to pay for the new buildings now going on. He presumed they did not pay; and for the very good reason, that they received no allowance for that purpose. The gentlemen opposite had evinced a wise and liberal policy in correcting many mistakes and abuses in other cases; and he hoped the time was not far distant when the Irish church would be made to correct many of its abuses, and to apply the funds in its possession to their proper destination. The right hon. Secretary had contended, that there was no law to compel the valuation of the livings. But he had in his hand the opinion of a respectable counsellor, Mr. Allan, that by the words of the patent, the patentee had the right to re-value the livings at any time; and that learned counsellor concluded, that the present patentee was empowered to re-value all the livings whose value had not been fixed by statute. But then it was answered, that the opinions of the Crown law-officers were opposed to this, and that they had declared that the patent was not under the great seal, under the act. It was true, the Crown lawyers had so declared; and it had been 60 further stated, on the part of government, that if the patentee persisted in bringing the question before a court of law, his patent, being held only during pleasure, would be revoked. Thus the patentee was deterred, by what might be considered as a threat, from bringing the question before a competent jurisdiction. The patentee's conduct in the transaction certainly did him high credit. He could not say so much for the conduct of the right hon. gentleman and his co-secretary. It would have been much better if they had acted upon the advice of Mr. Allan; who further stated, after seeing the opinions against him, that the Crown officers agreed with him that the power of re-valuing was in the Crown; and if so, there could not be a better opportunity than the present for exercising that power; for he was certain that there never was a case so clear and satisfactory as that which had been laid before the House that night, by the right hon. baronet. It was deeply to be regretted that the same liberal line of policy which had marked the proceedings of his majesty's ministers on other occasions, was not visible on the present. The thanks of the House were due to the perseverance and public spirit of the right hon. mover of the question. The subject, however it might be now disposed of, would sooner or later be attended to by his majesty's government, and he had no doubt but that success would ultimately crown his exertions.
§ Sir R. H. Inglis
objected to the statement of the right hon. mover, that the church lands of Ireland amounted to 700,000 acres; but admitting that amount to be correct, the right hon. baronet must be aware that the greater part of that land was held under long leases, sometimes of fifty, sixty, or a hundred years. His sentiments on the present question had been so fully anticipated by his right hon. friend the secretary for Ireland, and so clearly and eloquently stated by him, that he would add nothing in support of those observations, but should content himself with saying, that he entirely concurred in the view which his right hon. friend had take a of the subject.
§ Sir J. Newport
said, in reply, that the question came to this simple point—whether a certain revenue given by the Crown to the church for a specific purpose, was to be rendered available for the purpose for which it was intended, or the people 61 were to be taxed by annual rates to supply, not the deficiencies, but the place of that fund? The right hon. Secretary had put himself completely out of court by the steps which he had taken, in refusing to allow the question to be brought to a regular trial, and threatening the proper officer with the loss of his patent, in case he persisted in that course. The hon. baronet who spoke last imagined that he had forgotten that a great proportion of the Irish livings had not been valued at all. Why, he knew it perfectly well. He knew that 1,535 livings had been valued, and that of these alone a thousand had not then contributed, as being under the value of 5l. But 944 parishes had never been valued at all; and did the hon. baronet mean to say that they ought never to be valued? Primate Boulter had called upon the church to contribute to the purposes which he now had in view; but he had stated in his letter, that he very much doubted whether his brethren would concur with him on the subject. They did not concur with him; and there the matter dropped. The right hon. Secretary professed his attachment to the church. He could assure the right hon. gentleman, that he was as warmly and as faithfully attached to the established church as he could be. The only diversity in their sentiments consisted in their different modes of showing them. He evinced his anxiety for the interests of the church, by exerting himself to correct the abuses which had crept into its management; while the right hon. gentleman opposite endeavoured to show the sincerity of his professions, by countenancing those who were guilty of such abuses, and who perverted to purposes of private emolument the funds appropriated by the bounty of the Crown, to the objects of religion. The lengths to which this perversion of the royal bounty had been carried were monstrous. Out of the mismanagement and neglect of their livings by the clergy arose the necessity of uniting parishes; and thus many who were entitled to receive the benefits of religion were removed beyond the reach of the church. The clergy in Ireland suffered their churches to fall into decay, and then called upon the body of the people (who, be it observed, were of a different persuasion) to rebuild them. Thus was the royal bounty perverted from the purposes to which it was destined. He had been taunted by the right hon. Secretary, 62 that the present was the fourth time he had been called upon to answer him on this subject. He believed the right hon. gentleman somewhat overrated the reality; but he was not at all averse to have it stated, that this was the fourth time he had called for some satisfactory information on this head; and he assured the right hon. gentleman, that as long as he had a seat in that House, he would continue to bring the subject under the consideration of the legislature. He would still endeavour to protect the public against the usurpation of their rights and their property. He had been long enough in that House to know, that his perseverance, in many instances, had led to the results which he wished to accomplish; and that, although he did not succeed in carrying the measures on his own motion, the right hon. and honourable gentlemen opposite, who had been vehement in their reprobation of them, afterwards took them up, and brought them to perfection. He was not, therefore, ashamed of his perseverance in the present instance. It was for those to be ashamed who did not do their duty. He hoped that truth would still prevail; and that those who now stigmatised his endeavours would ultimately adopt them. He would renew his remonstrances, until he should succeed in convincing the House, as he believed he had already convinced the public, that his proposition ought to be adopted.
§ The House divided: For the Resolution 21; Against it 48; Majority 27.
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, hon. J.||Ord, W.|
|Calcraft, J.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Fitzgerald, M.||Philips, G.|
|Grattan, J.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Gordon, R.||Rice, T. S.|
|Griffith, J. W.||Smith, J.|
|Hamilton, lord A.||Sebright, sir J.|
|Hutchinson, hon. C.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Hume, J.||Whitmore, W.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Newport, sir J.|
§ The second resolution was negatived without a division.