§ Mr. Leader, on presenting a Petition from Baltone and Rathoe, for an alteration of the Tithe system, said, that much benefit had arisen from the Act for the Commutation of Tithes in many parts of Ireland. He believed that in many parishes in which it was in operation, which was as many as 1,300, comparative tranquillity prevailed. But he was sorry to say, that that benefit could not be generally extended, in consequence of the opposition which some of the clergy and gentry made to commutation in their own parishes. Those who had grass lands had an interest in opposing commutation, and the benefit of the country, therefore, was sacrificed to the selfish interests of individuals.
§ Mr. George Dawson
had never met with a clergyman in Ireland who was. not. anxious for a composition. The tithes were the legal right of the clergy, and it was for them to agree or not to a composition. It was natural that the owners of grass lands should oppose commutation, because if they came into compositions of that kind, they would be obliged to pay an equal portion of the tithe of the parish, 239 whereas, by not commuting, they escaped the payment altogether. This, he believed, was the principal difficulty in the way to the extension of the Act.
§ Mr. Leader
had no disposition to speak in other than terms of kindness and respect of the clergy of Ireland as a body; but he must say, that he had known many cases in which commutations were still delayed by the resident gentry and clergy.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.