HC Deb 30 June 1831 vol 4 cc572-3
Mr. Mullins

moved for a return of the number of Protestants of the Established Church in the different parishes of Ireland. As he intended to bring in a bill on the subject of Vestry taxation, he was not actuated by the desire of exciting religious animosities, or of creating any invidious comparison with regard to the numbers of the different creeds, but he required such information, because it would furnish him with a strong and incontrovertible argument against the injustice of subjecting the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the several parishes to the assessments for building and repairing churches. It was the paramount duty of every Member to relieve the humbler classes from undue burthens, and at the present moment it was the more particularly called for, by the fact, that the peasantry of Ireland were starving. He made the Motion in the full confidence, that his Majesty's Ministers would not oppose it.

Mr. Stanley

regretted, that he could not agree to the Motion, which he thought would rather be a disadvantage than an advantage. The attempt to procure such returns would be attended with great expense and difficulty, and would tend to revive those religious dissensions which ought to be buried in oblivion. On the bill, authorising the census in Ireland, being introduced, the hon. member for Kerry asked for the same information, and stated that the difference of religion should be ascertained in the population returns. He then opposed that view, as he felt it to be his duty to oppose the present motion.

Mr. O'Connell

said, the machinery to obtain the desired return might be procured with little difficulty, by employing the persons who took the census. On the ground of expense there could be no scruple. When he had formerly made the motion, there were circumstances which induced him to withdraw it. There were none such at present. The returns would be useful, and he denied that there were any feuds at present in the country; but if the right hon. Secretary for Ireland was of opinion that the returns called for would keep up party spirit, he must beg his hon. colleague to withdraw his Motion.

Mr. Mullins

could not comprehend how party feeling, or religious animosity, could be excited by such returns. Surely the right hon. Secretary must be convinced, that every disposition on the part of the Protestant to do justice to his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects would tend rather to cement a stronger and firmer union between them. As the right hon. Gentleman, however, held a different opinion on this subject, he would consent to withdraw his Motion for the present.

Motion withdrawn.