HC Deb 02 March 1832 vol 10 cc1061-3
Mr. Walker

presented Petitions from the inhabitants of Rahill and Rathvilly, praying for the abo- lition of tithes; and from Old Leighlin, Wells, Killinane, and Tullowcrun, for the abolition of tithes, and for the resumption of the Church lands. He did not propose to make any further observations on this occasion than to refer to a statement which had been made upon some remarks of his relating to a trial to which he had formerly alluded; it was that of a farmer who was sued by Mr. Radcliffe, of Ennescarthy, in the Consistorial Court of Ferns, upon a receipt given for costs growing out of a trial for tithes. The conduct of the Judge on that occasion had been such, that he felt it necessary to make some strong comments on it, and he now begged leave to say, that he was in Court on the occasion, and knew the facts he had formerly stated to be correct.

Mr. Lambert

supported the prayer of the petitions, although he must observe, that he considered the tithe question to be practically put an end to. He deeply regretted that any acts of outrage had occurred, but, wherever such acts had taken place, they must be charged to the system itself, which had been productive of more mischief and horrors, and had done more to separate the people of Ireland into parties, than all other subjects, political or religious together. From authentic documents he had seen, it appeared that 26,000 lives had been lost, through their agency, within the last thirty years.

Mr. Lefroy

felt himself called upon to vindicate the character of the reverend Doctor Newland, the Surrogate of the Ecclesiastical Court of Ferns, which had been assailed by the hon. Member in so wanton a manner on a previous occasion, that that Gentleman had felt it necessary to repel the allegations, and, as the hon. Member had now again alluded to the subject, he trusted the House would listen to his vindication of himself. The farmer, to whom the hon. Member had referred, pertinaciously refused to pay his tithes, and, therefore, it was necessary to put the law in force against him. The chief grounds of complaint were, that the advocate brought by the farmer from another Court was not allowed to act in his behalf until he had paid certain fees; but this was necessary, in order to prove that the proctor had been regularly admitted to practise elsewhere. Again, the amount of 6l. an acre, charged for tithes, was considered as oppressive, but the crop was tobacco, which was generally worth upwards of 100l. per acre; he had thus, he thought, fully shewn that there was no foundation for any complaint against the Surrogate, and he would only express his regret at the practice of assailing the characters of Gentlemen who were absent, which was much too prevalent with certain Members of that House.

Mr. Henry Grattan

said, the hon. and learned Member's vindication of his reverend friend, was wholly uncalled for. His hon. friend had only alluded to it as one proof of the abuses of the Surrogate Courts of Ireland, and, as he had declared he had witnessed the trial, they had his assertion against that of the reverend gentleman, and he knew which was to be preferred in such a case, when one of the parties had a direct interest in the question.

Petitions laid on the Table.