§ Mr. Lambert
had eight Petitions to present from various parts of the County of Wexford, praying for the Abolition of the Tithe System in Ireland. The language of all these petitions was moderate and temperate: some of them prayed for the adoption of a general principle by which every sect should support its own clergy; others praying that the tithe system should be altogether abolished, at the same time proposing, that a liberal allowance should be provided for the clergy of the Established Church in some way less obnoxious and oppressive. He was inclined to concur in the latter course, because he thought it would be very hard if gentlemen brought up to the Church were to be turned adrift without any provision being made for them. He objected to the present tithe system because it was unjust in principle, and oppressive and tyrannical in its mode of operation. It was a direct tax on the industry of the farmer, and pressed upon the poor man more than upon 310 the rich. The latter could turn his arable into a grazing land and so escape the tax, but the former was compelled to pay tithe upon his small crop of potatoes, which was almost his only food. Again, he thought it unfair that Catholics should be called upon to support the clergy of a Church with which they were not in communion, particularly when they formed the great majority of the inhabitants of the country. This tax was one which did not attach to the landowner but to the cultivator, for if the land was left uncultivated, it paid no tithe. The mode of collection also was oppressive and unjust. The present state of Ireland was a singular one. It was that of a whole people determined not to pay the tithe, but to suffer their property to be distrained without any breach of the law. It might be easy to distrain upon one or a few individuals, but when a parish, a county, indeed a whole kingdom, were combined, it was impossible to enforce that remedy. It became necessary, therefore, that the Legislature should interfere, or the clergy, instead of being the objects of respect and veneration, would be universally held in detestation. The manner of enforcing payment was not fair, for when the tithe-payer was cited to Court, he found that his Judge was a clergyman, who could not be supposed completely free from bias. He knew a case in which a person who was old, deaf, and paralytic, had been summoned to the Ecclesiastical Court for payment of tithe. He employed a professional man (a King's Counsel) to defend him, but the Judge refused to hear him, as he was not a civilian, and when the son offered to speak on behalf of this aged and impotent father, he was threatened with imprisonment for contempt of Court. The real fact was, and it could not be disguised, the people of Ireland would no longer pay tithes. He warned the Government of the consequence of coercion, for when a people took the execution of the law into their own hands, the power must necessarily pass away from those hands to whom it had been delegated. If they attempted to uphold a system which had become universally odious, they might look for stubborn resistance, for any new attempt would revive the recollections of long injustice, the heart-burnings of oppression, and the long-suppressed, but not extinguished thirst for vengeance. He intreated the Government to reflect, that a whole people never rose up unless galled to the 311 effort by the operation of unjust and iniquitous laws.
said, that tithes had at all times excited opposition in Ireland. It was quite impossible that the system could any longer be kept up. He was perfectly prepared to make any private sacrifice towards the settlement of this most important question.
said, he had been requested by the petitioners to support the prayer of those petitions; they pray for an abolition, or else an application of tithes for the support of the poor; for an abolition of Church rates, and a general reduction of the establishment of the Church, and its immense revenues. He concurred in the justice of this prayer, and the policy of granting it; and until a satisfactory settlement of this question took place—and he meant not satisfactory to the clergy, but satisfactory to the laity—tranquillity would never be established in Ireland, nor would she cease to be what she had been for centuries, a source of trouble, of weakness, and expense to England, when under a kinder and a wiser Government she would have been a powerful and wealthy ally. He much regretted the sentiments alleged to have been expressed by two noble Lords belonging to the Government, for if it was true that Earl Grey had threatened to deluge Ireland once more with blood, it was withering to the hopes of every Irishman here who had hitherto supported the present Government, and had already caused much mischief in Ireland; but he would caution this Government, or any other, which should draw the sword in that country, and especially to support a system it had already confessed to be unjust, that though the bayonets might have their victims, the pikes would have victims also, and it would not be the blood of the tithe resisters that would alone be shed. The threat of force was absurd, for whatever the contemplated punishment might be, he defied it to succeed. Supposing a Minister weak or rash enough, or, he would add, wicked enough to attempt it, where were the prisons to confine, or the fleets to carry into exile, or the executioners sufficiently numerous or hardened to put to death 7,000,000 of people? It was untrue to attribute the opposition to tithes to Catholics alone; that tax was, and always had been, opposed by every sect in Ireland, and he firmly believed, if it were pot for the unhappy state of parties now in 312 that country, there would not be a layman in it found to take the part of tithes. It had been proposed by some to give more power to the clergy, to enable them to collect this tax; but it was the extraordinary powers already vested in the Church, and the atrocious manner in which those had been too frequently abused, that had contributed largely to make this tax completely odious; and an increase of power, so far from rendering the payment secure, would make it more obnoxious. To show what power the clergy now had, and how that might be turned into an engine of oppression, he begged to call the attention of the House to the following statement of a circumstance which occurred to his own knowledge, within the district from whence those petitions came:—A farmer, belonging to the parish of Eniscorthy, was cited before the Ecclesiastical Court of Ferns, (the Judge being himself a clergyman) for subtraction of tithe. The farmer appeared, the case was called on, tried, and decided; but, to the farmer's astonishment, though he was the victor, he was condemned, by this religious Judge, to pay the costs of the suit, and was told that his refusal to comply would increase the costs 10s. for a monition; the farmer, under the threat, did pay his parson the costs and got a receipt. In the following month the farmer received a second citation for the same tithe, and there being then but one proctor belonging to the Court of Ferns, who had been engaged by the clergyman against him, he, at considerable expense, procured the attendance of a proctor from the Court of Kilkenny; when the case was called on, the Judge refused to allow the farmer's proctor to interfere in his favour, unless he consented to become a proctor of the Court of Ferns, and pay the admittance fee to the Registrar. The poor farmer had to comply, and pay the fee for him. The proctor then referred the Judge to the statute, which alone gave him jurisdiction in such tithe cases, and which enacted that no second citation should issue for the same tithe, and claimed that the suit should be dismissed, and costs given in favour of his client. The Judge admitted the statute, and called on the defendant to prove his defence, who then handed to the Judge the receipt he had formerly received from the clergyman. The Judge, without reading it, twisted it up, and threw it with violence in the proctor's face, asking, "How he 313 dared to give the Judge of a Court of Law an unstamped document?" and refused to receive it in proof. The farmer then referred to the clergyman himself, who was sitting near the Judge, "Whether, as a man of honour, he had not received the costs of the former citation?" The clergyman refused to give any answer. The defendant's proctor next said, the Judge had the means of knowledge within himself, and requested him to refer to his order or rule-book which lay before him. This the Judge refused, saying, he would not be accessory to defrauding the Registrar of his fees; but that if the farmer would pay him for making a search, the book should be referred to. It was then proposed that the Registrar should be examined as a witness; but here again the Judge interfered, on the ground that it would deprive the Registrar of his fee, which at length, as a last resource, the farmer paid; and the Judge referred to the rule-book, from whence he read, that the former suit had been called on and dismissed, and costs given against the farmer; but, added the learned and reverend Judge, "it must be a mistake;" and he forthwith ordered the unfortunate farmer to pay the tithe then claimed, and also the costs of his second suit. The farmer astonished, with tears in his eyes, begged for mercy, or, at least, that the former costs should be deducted; but the Judge told him, that if he did not pay what was now ordered, a monition should issue at his cost, and that if he said a word more, he should be sent to gaol for disturbing the Court, and delaying the course of public justice. Several other causes were afterwards tried on that day, for claims by the same clergyman for tithe of tobacco at 10l. per acre. This new claim was granted to the Clergyman, and the Judge followed his decree, by saying, "That he wished the clergy of the diocese to bring suits before him for the tithes of everything that grew in their parishes, and he would decree in their favour; and if they could prove to him that ink-bottles grew upon trees, he would tithe them." Another parish from whence the petitions had come was Carne; it paid on an average, 10s. an acre tithe; it had only two Protestant families in it; and one of them, an old gentleman, had been for the last thirty years perpetual Churchwarden—there not being a second male Protestant parishioner; yet the cler- 314 gyman wanted to force the parish to build a new church, on pretence that the old one was too small for his congregation. Another of the petitions came from the union of Duncormuck, where the Rector endeavoured to enforce the payment of tithes of eggs, poultry, and milk, which were unknown in Ireland. Another was from Maglas; the former clergyman of which used to erase the sums charged by his tithe proctors in their valuation books, and insert larger sums in lieu, which he, in some instances, recovered from his parishioners; but the fraud was at length discovered. Those were a few instances of the tyranny of the present system. For centuries had this grievance been complained of; for centuries had the Irish in vain demanded justice; and he should conclude with the sentiment of a learned and respected Prelate, "May their hatred to tithes be as lasting as their love of justice."
§ Lord Althorp
did not, by any means, think it desirable to interfere in the debates on petitions; and if this petition had only been supported by the speech of the hon. Gentleman who presented it, and the hon. Gentleman who followed him, he certainly should not have been tempted to address the House on the subject. But what had subsequently fallen in the course of the debate, and some of the observations of the hon. member for Wexford, made it imperative on him to trouble the House for a few minutes. The hon. Member had referred to certain observations of a noble friend (Earl Grey) of his elsewhere. The hon. Gentleman represented his noble friend as ready to deluge Ireland with blood, in order to enforce the collection of the tithes in that country. "I was present," continued the noble Lord, "when allusion was made the other evening to what had fallen from my noble friend; but, though very much astonished by the version of his sentiments then quoted, I did not feel myself justified in making any observations either to affirm or contradict what was then said. But I felt extremely surprised that such a version could have been given of the sentiments of my noble friend; for when I recollected the political principles which have guided the public conduct of my noble friend, and which entirely correspond with my own, I was convinced there was a misconception somewhere. I find I was right, and that my noble friend and myself agree in this— 315 that, while we are prepared to enforce the laws when broken, yet we should be departing from the principles which we have acted on through our lives, if we did not contend that, when extraordinary powers are demanded to enforce the law, they ought not to be granted, unless accompanied by an efficient remedy for the grievance which occasions the demand. This is the principle on which my noble friend and myself have invariably acted, and which we are not disposed to depart from on the present occasion. While we feel that it is absolutely necessary that the law should be upheld—that all illegal combinations should be put down—we also feel, that if the resistance to that law and those illegal combinations have their origin in any grievance which it is in the power of the Legislature to remedy, the Legislature is bound to remedy that grievance. This is the principle on which the Government is determined to act with respect to the tithe-system in Ireland; and this is the only principle on which it can consistently act."
said, he had heard with great delight the emphatic observations of the noble Lord; and he was sure they would greatly tend to allay the anxiety that had existed since the statements supposed to have been delivered by a noble Earl had become public. The contradiction thus given would cause great satisfaction in the country. The speech of the noble Earl, he was fully convinced, had been misunderstood, for it was impossible to believe that the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with that frankness which characterised him, would make such a statement, unless the Government intended to act fully up to it.
expressed his humble and hearty thanks to the noble Lord for the few observations which the noble Lord had just made, and which he had listened to with unfeigned pleasure; the more so, as those remarks which it was supposed a noble Lord had made elsewhere had filled thousands of the people with consternation and alarm. He believed that, on the principle laid down by the noble Lord, no one would be found who would not uphold the Government; while the principle of enforcing the present laws, without remedying the grievance, would be unendurable.
§ Lord Althorp
begged leave to add, that his noble friend regretted that he should have so expressed himself as not to be 316 clearly understood as determined to enforce the law on the condition, which he had just stated, of accompanying it with a remedial measure for the grievance which occasioned the necessity for any extraordinary powers.
§ Mr. Shaw
could not hear with patience the unjust accusations which had been made against the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland. Their moderation, in general, was extreme. It was impossible to meet the cases brought forward on the sudden by hon. Gentlemen without previous notice, but he could take upon himself to assert, the tithe they required did not equal one-twelfth of the rental demanded by the landlords. That fact was a full proof of the moderation the clergy exercised in the enforcement of their rights. They were contented with one-twelfth of the amount of the rent, instead of one-tenth of the gross produce of the land. The law of the land, however, was to pay the tithe of the produce, and he who resisted the payment violated the law. A distraint was only employed as the remedy, in case of the refusal to pay the tithe. The fact was, that a combination had for a long time existed against the payment of tithe, by certain persons who derived their own advantages from agitation, and he feared it had been encouraged by some of a higher order. There was no indisposition on the part of the Protestants to pay tithes, and it was only a few years ago that Catholics willingly did the same, such tithes being properly viewed as merely a rent upon the land. The present opposition to the payment of tithes could be easily and satisfactorily traced to the writings and general conduct of the Catholic priesthood. The hon. member for Wexford (Mr. Walker), when he concluded his speech by a quotation from the works of Dr. Doyle, let out the real truth. That rev. gentleman had recently even gone farther, and, in his last pastoral letter, he had called upon his flock to resist the payment of tithes, as a "damning impost," with all their "art and ingenuity." He did not mean to say, that the present system would not admit of some modification; but, as long as the law remained as it now was, it would be the duty of the Government to enforce obedience to it.
said, he had heard with satisfaction the sentiments of the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, upon this very important subject; but he 317 regretted that the grievances of Ireland were generally considered as of no importance in that House: much was expected by some gentlemen from the Tithe Committee, but he could tell the House, that in Ireland that Committee was regarded as a mere nonentity, and nothing good was expected from it. Ireland was now labouring under a cholera, which was not like the cholera in England. The cause of the disease in England was unknown, and therefore could not be guarded against; but the causes of the Irish cholera were well known, and the people were determined to abate them. The root of the disease was the tithe system, and persons of all sects were rapidly uniting with the Catholics to make a national resistance to the payment of tithes. [Question.] He should like to see the Gentleman who wished to put him down when he was discharging his duty. The people of Ireland could expect nothing from the Tithe Committee appointed, because persons best acquainted with the subject, and in whom the Catholics placed confidence, had been excluded from it.
Sir Robert Peel
said, it has been my uniform wish to discourage premature discussion on a subject which it is difficult to discuss without prejudicing that deliberate consideration which the House will be bound to give to it hereafter. I shall not, therefore, be tempted to enter into this discussion, and I once more advise the House to reserve its judgment until the Committee shall have sent in its Report. We shall then have before us at once the conclusion to which it has come, and the evidence upon which it came to this conclusion. But, Sir, I cannot refrain from expressing my deep regret at the declarations made by the organs of his Majesty's Government in the two branches of the Legislature, which, whether they be reconcilable with each other or not, are certainly calculated to make impressions and raise expectations of a very dangerous character throughout the country. The noble Lord's declarations will certainly make the deepest impression. I presume that that speech has originated from some change in the intentions of the Government. Whether that be the case or not, I will not be a party to the delusion which I think that speech is calculated to produce. I therefore feel bound to say, that I have heard no proposition made to the Tithe Committee, with respect to a permanent ar- 318 rangement for a provision for the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, which is calculated to realise the expectations which, I think, the speech of the noble Lord holds out. Seeing the construction which has been put upon that speech by the Gentlemen from Ireland, and knowing how probable it is, that a still stronger construction will be put on it by the people of Ireland, who did not hear the speech, I feel it to be my duty to disclaim being any party to that misrepresentation. I think that that speech is calculated to preclude the enforcement of the law. It is true, the noble Lord says that the existing law shall be enforced; but he also says, that the grievances shall be redressed. Now, to make that declaration, unless his Majesty's Government is prepared with a specific plan for the effectual removal of the grievance, seems to me to be most unwise, and only calculated to render the enforcement of the law impossible. If the Ministers are prepared to bring forward a plan to provide for the clergy, differing in character from the system of tithes, I hope they will bring it forward without delay; but I entreat them, if their opinions are settled, and the plan is ready, at once to relieve the Committee from all responsibility on this subject, and not to devolve on the members of it that serious consideration into which we must enter, if we are subsequently to recommend a final arrangement of this very difficult question.
§ Lord Althorp
said, I have heard with very great surprise the observations of the right hon. Baronet; for I thought that I had before distinctly guarded myself from such remarks, by stating our determination of enforcing the law. But I stated then, and I have no hesitation in now stating again, that I think, that if extraordinary powers are to be called for from Parliament to enforce the law, the resistance to which has arisen out of a grievance, we are equally bound to propose a remedy for that grievance, in conjunction with the application for those additional and extraordinary powers. The right hon. Gentleman says, that what I stated had a direct tendency to prevent the enforcement of the law; I cannot imagine how this can be proved. The right hon. Gentleman also says, that I ought not to have made my statement, unless I was prepared to absolve the Committee in both Houses from their inquiries and release them from 319 the responsibility of making any recommendations. I have not the honour of belonging to the Committee of this House, but I do not apprehend that anything has passed in either of the Committee which can make it improper for me to say, that a remedy for the existing grievance will be proposed at the same time with the application for extraordinary powers. What that remedy may be will depend on after consideration. The right hon. Gentleman says, "hear!" but surely it is not for me now to declare to the House what recommendation the Government will hereafter bring forward. All that I say is, that knowing that the intentions of Government have been misunderstood, and consequently misrepresented, I thought that it was necessary for me to state thus publicly, and thus distinctly, the principles on which we intend to act.
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
had heard with the utmost astonishment the observations which were made by the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Lord seemed to insinuate that some measure was to be carried through the House, right or wrong, to satisfy the expectations of the tithe-payers. He should be sorry if he misrepresented the intentions of Government, but in the sense he understood the remarks made by the noble Lord, they appeared to him most improper, particularly when two Committees were sitting to inquire into the subject.
considered that there was no inconsistency in the statements which had been made in both Houses upon the subject of Irish tithes. Each of the noble Lords had stated, that the law would be enforced while it was the law, but at the same time that some effectual remedy would be devised for the grievance which the tithes occasioned, not so much in its amount as in the mode of its collection. That House knew that the tithe fell upon the land—and not upon the peasantry of Ireland, who would not be benefitted one farthing by what was called its abolition. No, no: if the tithe were abolished tomorrow it would come into the pockets of the rich proprietors. He wished, therefore, that Government should adopt some plan which would relieve the peasantry from the mode of collecting tithes, while the expense of the Church, as at present, should be borne by the landlords.
§ Mr. James Grattan
said, that no force under the control of the Government at 320 present could collect the tithes in Ireland. Every one was, he believed, fully convinced of that fact. He denied that this was a Catholic conspiracy to refuse payment of tithes, or that the Irish landlords expected to reap any advantage by their abolition of them. The feeling of opposition to the tithe system was general in Ireland. He himself was a Protestant, and he had many Protestant tenants; and he believed that most, if not all of them, were dissatisfied with the present tithe system. As to the remarks made by the right hon. Baronet, that nothing had passed in the Committee to warrant the declaration made by the noble Lord, he apprehended that enough had been proved there to show, that the law could not be enforced. He, therefore, trusted, although the right hon. Baronet might not see his way to a remedy, that he would excuse the noble Lord for announcing that he had made some progress towards the attainment of so desirable an end.
Sir Robert Peel
was no rigid supporter of the present system of tithes in Ireland, and he had never stated that he was. On the contrary, he had diligently sought a remedy for the evils he knew to exist. But although he had applied his best energies to discover such in the Committee, he had hitherto been unsuccessful. He must, therefore, again repeat his opinion that the observations of the noble Lord were ill-timed, and liable to misconstruction. He had protested, and must again protest, against the announcement of the noble Lord, that an effectual remedy should be applied, when no such remedy had been brought under the consideration of the Committee, and against the announcement, that the law is to be at once enforced and amended.
regretted this discussion at the present moment, because it seemed to him a little premature; as the fact was, that the Committee appointed to examine into this subject was about to come to a decision which, if not quite, would be, he believed, at least nearly unanimous. He had not heard the observations of his noble friend near him, nor of the noble Lord in the other House, but he was ready to declare himself, that the Ministers would not have come down to Parliament to ask for a coercive measure unless they felt at the same time that they were able to promise relief. At the same time, as a justification for their asking for the coer- 321 cive measure in the first instance, he wished to remind hon. Members, and the people of Ireland, that measures bearing upon such important, extensive, and complicated interests, especially if intended to be of permanent and substantial relief, were of a nature more complicated, and would require more time for their preparation than would a measure of coercion that was required solely for the vindication of the law. He, however, again repeated, that the Government would not have undertaken to bring forward a coercive measure, if, at the same time, it had not been able to promise the introduction of a measure of relief.
§ Mr. Croker
thought it was impossible to hear the speech of the right hon. Gentleman without much gratification, as it tended to elucidate what he must describe, after hearing the speech of the noble Lord, as the vague intentions of the Government on so difficult and so delicate a subject. If the speech of the noble Lord had explained the intentions and determinations of the Government as set forth by the right hon. Gentleman, his right hon. friend would, perhaps, not have made use of the observations which had fallen from him. The House had witnessed a most extraordinary scene of vicarious explanations. The noble Lord explained for his noble friend in another place (who, poor man, could not explain for himself) but he explained to those who never heard one word of the speech thus explained; and then the noble Lord, the other member for Northamptonshire, explained for the noble Lord. He, however, must take his view of the intentions of the Government from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, and if he understood him correctly, he stated, that it was the determination of the Government to enforce the law, and that any measure introduced for a change in the system of tithes was not to proceed pari passu, but to follow the enforcement of the law for the collection of tithes. The right hon. Gentleman properly said, that any coercive measure that might be introduced would be required immediately; as it was necessary, without delay, to uphold the power of the laws and the authority of the Magistrates; while the measure for effecting a change in the present system would require long and anxious deliberation. So understood, there was nothing alarming in the speech of the noble Lord, which had not been satisfac- 322 torily explained by what fell from the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. He now understood, that Ministers would immediately put into execution the existing laws, and that the remedies which they intended to propose were not meant to affect the existence of tithes, but only to remove the difficulty at present attending their collection.
said, that the right hon. Gentleman was mistaken, if he supposed that it was the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to recommend the continuance of the tithe system. The attention of Ministers was certainly directed to secure a maintenance for the Protestant clergy; but another object to which their attention was also directed, was the extinction of the present system of tithes.
said, the last declaration of the right hon. Gentleman, was as satisfactory as it was explicit. The right hon. Gentleman proposed coercion first, and said, at the same time, that he was prepared with a measure of relief. That had been the course pursued by the right hon. Baronet opposite, on an occasion which they could never forget—the occasion when the right hon. Baronet asked that House to put down the Catholic Association, and to pass a bill for the relief of the Catholics; saying at the time, that if the Bill of Relief was not passed, he should abandon the bill for suppressing the Association. Recollecting, as he must always gratefully recollect, that circumstance, he should not now ask what was the measure of coercion, since he found it was to be accompanied with a measure of positive relief. He had no wish whatever that the money taken from the clergyman should be put into the pocket of the landlord. Let a tax be raised, let provision be made, to secure to the clergyman that to which he was justly entitled, deducting only the charge for the receivership; and if, after the death of the present incumbents, that which was deemed, at least by the people, to be public property, was applied to purposes of public utility (one of which purposes was the decorous maintenance of the religion of the State), the people of Ireland would be satisfied; but no measure that merely went to secure in a better manner the present incomes of the clergy would evecontent them.
§ Mr. Lefroy
said, that if such a measure as that supposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, to be in 323 contemplation, should be adopted, he should cease to attend the future meetings of the Committee, as he felt their proceedings were a mockery. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would disclaim any intention of introducing such a measure, and say distinctly whether the tithes were intended to be appropriated to any other purpose than the maintenance of the Established Church?
answered, that he was responsible for his own language, bat was not responsible for that of another person. He thought he had stated, as far as was proper or requisite, the views of the Government; and, with respect to the threat of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he should only observe, that much as he might regret the future non-attendance of the hon. and learned Member, the other members of the Committee would recollect that his first attendance at the Committee had been on the day before yesterday.
§ The Petition was laid on the Table.
§ Mr. Lambert,
on moving, that the Petition be printed, assured the noble Lord, that he had never meant that the amount now paid in tithes should be merely taken from the pocket of the parson to be given to the landlord. He would merely add, that he thought the declaration that had been made by the noble Lord, would have a happy effect towards insuring obedience to the law, and be trusted that no measure of coercion would be necessary.
heartily concurred in that opinion. The impression made by the declaration attributed to another noble Lord, would have caused great mischief in Ireland, unless it had been modified by the explanations the House had just heard. That there were grievances connected with the tithe system had been declared in the Speech from the Throne, which also referred the consideration of them to the House to find a remedy. He trusted, therefore, notwithstanding the remarks made by the right hon. member for Tamworth, that it was from Ministers, and not from the report of a Committee, that the country was to look for a measure of relief.
Sir Robert Inglis
thought, that the last observation of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, had only tended to establish a premium for discontent. In future it would be a mere question of the amount of openly expressed discontent required to put down any grievance; and 324 the necessary amount of discontent being found, it would be readily applied for such a purpose, and the grievance would disappear. Did not the Ministers perceive the evil effect of the precedent they were thus establishing? Did they not perceive, that if they gave up one great body in the country, they would never be as well able to defend any other that might be attacked? What was to prevent a similar combination against the payment of rent and taxes. According to the principle they were now called to legislate upon, if an extensive combination of such a nature arose, they would be bound to concede. He was satisfied, if such a course was adopted, it would shake the security of all kinds of property.
§ The Petition to be printed.