HC Deb 09 July 1832 vol 14 cc201-4
Mr. Stanley

having moved that the Debate on the Tithes (Ireland) Bill, which stood adjourned to this day, should be postponed,

Mr. Hume

called the attention of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland to the fact, that an Orange Lodge had assembled on the 1st instant, in Fermanagh, to arrange measures for celebrating the 12th of July. It was stated, that the Lord-lieutenant of the county presided at this meeting, and that several Magistrates were present. He wished to know whether Government intended to strike the names of those persons out of the Commission of the Peace?

Mr. Stanley

said, that Government had certainly received information that the Orangemen were preparing to celebrate the 12th of July by processions. Government had made every arrangement for pre- serving the public peace, and would mark with proofs of their disapprobation any persons under their control who should encourage or attend the processions.

Mr. Lefroy

was desirous of learning from the right hon. Gentleman, what measures his Majesty's Government proposed to take to put down the combination which had been acted upon for the persecution of all the noblemen and gentlemen in Ireland who dared to obey the laws, and to pay their legal tithes and taxes? The conspirators had lately held a general meeting at Rathcoole, upon the verge of the county of Kildare, in consequence of which the well-disposed part of the labouring population had been so much intimidated, that no person who paid tithes could procure labourers to cut his hay or corn; and in some instances the mail had been unable to proceed, as the contractors could not induce their servants to supply fodder or water to the horses, or to assist the coachman and guards in changing horses. All business appeared to be suspended throughout the country. It was represented that this tyranny was exercised against individuals who had refused to subscribe a written pledge not to pay tithe. He begged leave to ask whether Government had received any information upon this subject?

Mr. Stanley

said, that in all cases in which any tangible breach of the laws had been committed, the law had been enforced against the offenders. The Government had resisted the combination, and had endeavoured to put it down by all the means, which, under the existing laws, they possessed. He must express his regret to observe the tone and the manner in which the question had been proposed. The hon. and learned Gentleman, by connecting his question, as it were, with that proposed by the hon. member for Middlesex, tended to excite animosities and dissension. Government had undoubtedly received information, that an extensive combination existed in Ireland to prevent, by intimidation, the payment of tithes. He would add, that in every case in which there appeared to be a possibility of obtaining a conviction, legal steps had been taken, and several persons who had rendered themselves prominent at public meetings were already under prosecution.

Lord Cole

said, it was true that the grand Orange Lodge had met in Fermanagh on the 1st instant, and he hoped that the Orangemen would continue to meet. On that occasion, however, they dined, but did not walk in procession. He thought that the hon. member for Middlesex ought to be the last man to object to persons dining together, or walking in procession, as those things were done by the Political Unions.

Mr. Lefroy

must express his astonishment that the right hon. Secretary for Ireland should have attributed unworthy motives to him, merely because, in the discharge of his duty, he had proposed a question upon a subject which deeply concerned the peace and welfare of Ireland. He hoped that in future the right hon. Gentleman would exhibit a greater degree of temper and patience, and that, when Members of that House were honestly discharging their duty, he would abstain from that kind of acrimonious accusation in which he was in the habit of indulging. He would only add, the conduct of the right hon. Secretary to him, upon the present occasion, was not exactly that which should be observed towards a Member of that House.

Mr. Stanley

assured the hon. and learned Gentleman, that he had not imputed improper motives to him. He had only expressed his regret that unseasonable discussions were raised, which had a tendency to exasperate party feeling.

Sir Charles Forbes

said, that as there seemed to be a general disposition to ask and to answer questions that morning, he would take the opportunity of inquiring, whether there was any truth in a report which he had heard, to the effect that his Majesty's Ministers had consented to postpone the Irish Tithe Bill, upon the condition that the Irish Members who were hostile to the Church should support the Government on the question of the Russian-Dutch Loan?

Colonel Perceval

said, that although no member of his Majesty's Government thought proper to reply to the last question, he should venture to put another. He would ask, whether his Majesty's Ministers felt themselves justified in yielding to intimidation, or in entering into a compromise with the disaffected upon the question of the Irish tithes, at a time when many of the clergy had been reduced almost to starvation by a successful combination against the laws? When would the Government again bring forward the tithe question?

Mr. Stanley

said, that if he had brought it on, he should not have been allowed to proceed with it at that late hour. From the state of business, he feared he could not bring it on before Friday.

Lord Ingestre

asked why the Bill could not be proceeded with on Wednesday?

Lord Althorp

said, that there appeared to be no chance of bringing on the Bill before Friday.

Lord Ingestre

hoped, that when Ireland was in a state of open rebellion, a measure of so much importance would not be postponed on account of a Lord Mayor's feast.

Debate postponed.