§ On the Motion of Mr. Stanley the House went into Committee on the Tithe Resolutions (Ireland).
§ The Chairman read the original Resolution, and the Amendment proposed on a former night.
said, that he regretted much being asked for his opinion upon 1113 a subject with regard to which he differed much from Ministers—he did not mean on the whole question, but upon this especial clause, which he considered more pregnant with danger than any course which could be pursued. It would be much better for the Government to have chosen any other plan than that of mixing up his Majesty with the temporalities of the Irish Church. There was no one who had not witnessed the evils of that system which had been the source of perpetual heart burning in Ireland. It was, moreover, extraordinary, that, while the Government held out the boon of tithe extinction with one hand, they should take the second course to mar the benefit likely to flow from that, and wish to make his Majesty or his Attorney General merely the tithe-proctor-general for the clergy of Ireland. He was sure that the arrears due would be paid with pleasure by the people, provided they were assured of the promised extinction of tithe, which would be as great a blessing to England as to Ireland. Let, then, the Bill for the purpose of abolishing the present system be brought in, and, when it was, he was sure that there was no Member in the House who would not agree to the insertion of a clause for the enforcement of these arrears, if the people did not, within a certain time after the passing of the Bill pay them of their own accord. But, to use coercive measures before conciliation was tried, was only adding insult to injury and perpetuating the enormous expense of keeping up a large force to uphold a most obnoxious system. The Secretary at War had stated, a few nights before, that the condition of Ireland was the chief cause why such a large army was kept up, so that the injustice we practised towards Ireland put us to the expense of keeping up at least 12,000 men. He would assent to any grant that would establish peace; he agreed cordially, therefore, to the first four Resolutions, but he could not consent to the fifth, because that would only perpetuate the mischief. The law was already too coercive, and he could not consent to make it more hateful than ever to the people. The Amendment that had been proposed appeared to him to unite all that the Government desired with all that tended to conciliation, and he would, therefore, give it his support.
§ Dr. Lushington
begged leave to express his sentiments upon this most momentous question. In coming to the 1114 conclusion which he had done on this subject he could not conceal from himself that, unless the combination that at present existed in Ireland were put down—that unless temperance, and, at the same time, firmness, were exhibited—and, above all, unless the landlords, and especially the Catholic landlords, exerted themselves, Ireland would be once more deluged with blood. If, however, on the other hand, conspiracy were allowed to rear its head—he said conspiracy for he was astonished to hear hon. members for Ireland characterise the opposition to tithes as merely passive resistance—if conspiracy were allowed to rear its head, and the persons engaged in it were allowed to obtain their objects by force, then would the whole frame of society become disjointed, and life and property be left to the mercy of lawless depredators. In coming to a decision with respect to the vote he should give, he was left but a choice of difficulties, both of a very alarming nature—this choice was between civil commotion on one side, and warfare on the other. He was led to think on this subject deeply, and having come to a conclusion, he was ready to abide by the consequences, be they what they may. He was confident that, if the lawless proceedings in opposition to the collection of tithes in Ireland were allowed to be successful in the attainment of the object of the law-breakers, there would be an end of law altogether in that country. The present state of things in Ireland was fresh evidence of the impolicy of allowing an evil of long standing to remain unredressed. Nevertheless, he was of opinion that tithe must be collected in Ireland. In coming to the conclusion he had done, he was not influenced by any pecuniary consideration. It was not with him a question of money—he could vote ten times as much, if peace and order could be established by such a vote; but this was not a question of money, it was a question of principle—a question whether the principles of Government should be exposed to subversion or not. He approved cordially and from his heart of the extinction of tithes. He new of nothing that the wit of man could have devised more objectionable than the existing system of tithe and tithe collection. It was a system of endless litigation, in which more money was spent than would be sufficient for the maintenance of a large establishment. Bad as it was in this country, 1115 it was infinitely worse in Ireland, both as regarded the machinery of collection, and the principle of taxing a great majority of the population for the support of a Church to which they were opposed. He could, perhaps, point out a sufficient substitute, but the present was not the moment for delivering his opinions upon this subject. As to the question of an impartial division of Church property, he had looked at the question professionally, and he could take upon himself to say, that, in England, at least, no such division had ever taken place. Looking, then, to the whole ecclesiastical history of the country—even when the Catholic Church was dominant, it was, he thought, quite impossible that, if such a division ever existed, he should not have found some trace of it in the ancient documents to which he had access. The Protestant establishment in Ireland, he thought, ought to be adequately endowed, and secured by a sufficient stipend. The rights of existing incumbents ought to be respected; but he could imagine no valid argument against the right and propriety of Parliament dealing with the residue of the Church revenues—but not for any purposes but for those of the Church. The wishes of the people ought to be considered, after providing for the adequate teaching of the Gospel among the people. He might be considered rash in giving utterance to these sentiments, but he was straitforward in the discharge of his public duties. He must say, that he was surprised at the course which the Catholic Members of the House had thought proper to take upon this question. He could hardly exaggerate the degree of sorrow and disappointment he felt at finding Catholic Members in that house treating with scorn the boon which Government so lately conferred on them. It appeared to him, notwithstanding, that, after all the complaints which the House had heard of the grievances under which the peasantry of Ireland laboured with respect to this impost; that, after all the complaints they had heard of the severity which was exercised in its collection, that Catholic Members should now keep the grievance and the severity out of the question, and state, that it was not the amount of which they complained, but that they objected to the payment on account of the amount being received by the ministers of a Church different from their own. He still hoped they would have the 1116 co-operation of the Catholic body in a case in which their interests were so much involved. He should like to know whether Catholic landlords had gone amongst their tenants, and told them that, what those tenants now paid in the shape of tithes, hereafter they would have to pay in the shape of rent. If they had not, they had concealed the truth—unless, indeed, they meant to say, that the extinction of tithe, as at present existing, was to be an exoneration altogether; and this, he apprehended, was not what was really meant. He did hope that the Catholic body would co-operate with his Majesty's Government in their determination to bring about the extinction of tithes in Ireland. It was one in which the interests of a religion, common in a majority of its tenets to both parties, were vitally concerned.
§ Mr. Wyse
said, that, with all the provocation from numerous misconceptions and mis-statements during the progress of this debate, he should still have given the precedence to many other hon. Gentlemen, were it not for the pointed, he might almost say, personal, allusions to Irish, but especially Catholic, Members, with which the learned Judge's speech had concluded. He had all due deference for the learned Judge's antiquarian research, and recognised acquaintance with the canon law of England, but of living men—the living men of Ireland—of their past and passing history, their passions, intelligence, and interests, he must say, the hon. and learned Member positively knew nothing. What! were Irish Members to be taunted with perverse hostility to England, because they told Englishmen, in intelligible terms, that, for her advantage, as well as for the advantage of Ireland, the government of generosity and conciliation was preferable to the government of force and rigour? Were Catholic Members to be more than suspected of a violation of their oaths, because they told the Church—a Church professing itself Christian—that it could not stand on the foundations of Mammon? Were Members who, through long nights and tedious days, had assisted, with a zeal somewhat more disinterested than that of English Members, Ministers through all their three Bills of Reform—were such men now to be told, and by an organ of Ministers themselves, that they had studiously sought to embarrass the Government, and stood in the way of the wisest measures and purest intentions of redress? 1117 If the hon. and learned Gentlemen felt surprised, Irish Members had a right to feel indignant—they would not bear in patience that a discharge of public duty should be considered a crime, or a plain statement of the feelings of their constituents an injury and not a service. An enlightened Government would seek for such information, even if not proffered, and when found, would thank those who gave it, instead of reproving them for the gift. Now, he would put it to that learned Judge himself, was not that precisely the case at present? Giving full credit to Ministers for their intentions, we say, those intentions cannot be realized by the means which they pursue. We point out what we consider a shorter and surer road to the same end—we ground our opinions of its strictness and security on what we know of the country—we produce facts—we challenge answers to them—no answers are produced, and we cling to our opinions still, instead of adopting the opinions of Ministers. This is the extent of our ignorant impatience, of our perverse hostility, and no more. Now, to what stage of this proceeding have we actually reached? A large majority of the House has pronounced that a grant of public money ought to be made to the distressed clergy of Ireland. We are now called on to adopt a mode for the re-payment of this grant, by enabling the clergy to recover their arrears. On a former night he (Mr. Wyse) had opposed that grant, not, indeed, on principle—not on the ground that the salaried officer of the State—for such he considered the clergyman—should not be guaranteed in the enjoyment of his salary by the State, as long as such salary continued—but because he did not think that a good case had been made out even from the ex parte evidence now before them. If Mr. Butler and Mr. Hamilton were at one side, Mr. Langrishe and others were on the opposite. But this being now out of the question—the House having decided—we were now called on to devise measures for the repayment. Now, there were three modes proposed; first, martial law—second, the more gentle coercion of his Majesty's Government—and, thirdly, the measure of his hon. friend, the Member for Wexford. He surely had a right to choose between these three. Military intervention, it was true, had been advised—(he quoted simply without comment, for comment it needed none, the evi- 1118 dence of the rev, gentleman himself—Nos. 723 and 726)—military intervention had been advised by the rev. Mr. Hamilton, this advice had been re-echoed from the other side of this House, but the time, thank God, had gone by for these desperate experiments. The "ense recidendum" system had crumbled, he trusted, with the crumbling Irish oligarchy—"Ense recidendum!" as if, indeed, the history of the country had not evinced, page after page, the miserable blunder, as well as deep crime, of this atrocious anti-national policy. How else had Ireland been governed for centuries? What other sceptre had she than the rod and the sword? and what were the results? Of this evil tree what where the bitter fruits? To this very hour they were gathering them, and many a-year would pass before they would cease to do so—"Ense recidendum"—The country, he could tell the right hon. Gentleman, would not bear it—the sword would be answered by the sword—the weapon would shiver in his hand. But the project of his Majesty's Ministers was of a milder character. He had that reliance at least, upon them, that he knew they would spurn all the stale and cruel expedients of their predecessors. But was it yet the best mode which could be tried? He did not intend to go into any passionate invective on the matter—he merely put it to their common sense, was it indeed the best mode to attain the objects they had in view? They had two objects in view—the first, the collection of the arrears: and, second—in his mind by far the most important—the vindication of the law. Now, how did they propose to go to work? He was far from denying that some desirable objects would not be attained by the change. The clergyman would be greatly benefitted—the people, in some particulars, would not lose—all collision of a personal nature would be at an end—the disgraceful immorality of tithe proctorship, debasing the character of the clergyman, corrupting the character of the people, would be got rid of—a compendious system of notice, collecting, it might be said, the parish, into one man, or, as Caligula wished into one nich, might be established; but the chief difficulties in all those cases were studiously and carefully avoided. The whole matter nearly remained where it was. The real obstacle was in the very last stage of the proceeding. The pith of the embarrassment was in 1119 the enforcement of the decree. The claim is allowed, but how liquidate the claim?—There was the rub. Take the two cases—either the country continued in a state of discontent, and, therefore, in a state of combination—for, in Ireland, the Catholic question had made them correlative terms—or a remedial or satisfactory measure had been passed; and the country, hailing it as it ought, had returned to peace. In this last case, even the existing law with all its enormous defects, would be, as it had been, sufficient—the evidence of Mr. Langrishe proves it—to collect the arrears—content would have scattered the combination. The oil of wise and just legislation, falling on these waters of contention, would at once have appeased them. You would no longer have to act against a nation in array, but against individuals. The elective chain of sympathy would have been snapped asunder—the resistance would not be protected by the broad shield of public opinion—the arrears would fall in of themselves. But would this be the result in the other instance? If the measure—he would not call it coercive—but if this vigorous interposition measure were enforced, and the remedial measure were to lag and limp behind—if the country were to continue, as undoubtedly it would continue, discontented, in such a case, he should like to ask, what difference would there be, then, between such a state of things and the present, and what greater chances would then exist of success than what his Majesty's Ministers could indulge at present? The decree is to be enforced: there were only two means of enforcing it—by sale of property, or imprisonment of person. Now, we had been told repeatedly that the first of these means was totally ineffectual: the cattle was brought to sale, but it was not enough to have sellers—you must have buyers; none would buy. This, no doubt, was a grievous case, but how was it to be met? Mr. Greene, in his evidence would tell them, "there is no mode of which I am aware by which you can compel persons to buy goods; not only there is no law, but no law can be devised. Laws of such nature were indeed attempted in the feudal ages, as in France and England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but of course they utterly failed. But can they be sold elsewhere? No; the brand of tithe everywhere accompanies them, and they carry disaffection and resistance, 1120 much more effectually than any placard every where they go. Besides, who are to form their escort? how many? when? where?—all important considerations in any country—of the utmost importance in Ireland. Imagine your regiments and your constabulary thus employed—compared to which even still-hunting was honourable. But the cow can be killed, and the meat sold; the tithe-brand cannot be fixed on meat—true: but where are you to get the butchers. The Attornies have retreated, and the case must have been desperate—absolutely forlorn—when they retreated. Depend upon it the butchers will not be more valiant. The only alternative is, to have lodged in every town corps of Government butchers for the occasion—but they again will require their guard and police. Either this or a well-disciplined body of purchasers—disciplined at the public expense—though it will be a matter of no small difficulty how to manage between their real biddings and the fictitious biddings of their adversaries. This mode, then, whether the clergyman adopts it, or the Government adopts it, will be equally ineffective. The army of the empire, headed by the Attorney General, has not one jot more facility in enforcing it than the simplest individual. But we now come to the second—imprisonment of the person. Such power, to a certain degree, exists at present; Government will have it in their power to exercise it more peremptorily—perhaps so; but how will it work? No theories on this subject, but facts, will or ought to be received as an answer. Now what are these facts? English gentlemen are totally ignorant of them; it is natural they should, but this is no reason why we should not tell English gentlemen what they do not seem to know. Imprisonment, when public opinion is on one side and the law on the other, is no great penalty in any country. But there are other circumstances still further to lighten it in Ireland. In Ireland, such is the misery of many parts of the country—such is the wretchedness of the hovel on one side—such is the disproportionate expenditure of Grand Juries, such is the sumptuousness of gaols on the other, that imprisonment in Ireland turns out, not a penalty, but a reward.—Yes, they are not prisons for the guilty, but houses of refuge for the destitute. The man who, for days together, cannot earn ten pence, whose clothes are rags, and 1121 and home a shed, will not feel the grievance of being allowed five pence per day, wholesome clothing, and a palace over his head. But is this all? The Government is looking for arrears be it remembered; they send in their prisoners in poverty—do they come out rich? The rich become poor. If poor, they would be entitled to their discharge, says Mr. Greene, as insolvents, if unable to pay. The rich escape because they may leave the country; the poor are imprisoned, and regard it as slight punishment, or none at all. What a state of society, exclaim hon. Members, and why excite the country? By what? By letting the country know it. A dreadful state, no doubt, it is, but you cannot alter that state until you raise the country to comforts, of which you can threaten in case of crime to deprive them—until their poverty ceases to depress them below the very penalty for crime. But the charge of exciting the country by these facts is preposterous. Not from the casual deliberations of this House do they discover it, but from the constant accompanying suffering, the night and day experience of wrong. What then does Government gain, for the question of re-payment is what is still under consideration?—very little chance of reimbursement from such debtors—certainty of enormous expense, both in the civil and military departments. A regiment of infantry costs 20,000l.; of cavalry, 45,000l. per annum. 75,000l. of was the expense of criminal prosecutions in 1830—these data will furnish some, though not sufficient data of the disbursements to which this country must submit to collect arrears to the amount of 60,000l. But hon. Gentlemen, on both sides of the House have disclaimed this narrow financial view of the subject. They do right. It is not a matter of thousands, or ten thousands, but a matter on which hangs the tranquillity and happiness of two nations. I say two, for if Ireland is the object to-day, England will be the object to-morrow—both countries are tithed, both countries complain, both countries are Reformers. The end, the great end, of this project, is the vindication of the law—a noble and just object, worthy of the solicitude of all governments, and demanding the exertion, as it embraces the interests of all classes of society. But how is the law to be really vindicated? This, like other cants, have been frequent in this House—again and again, on all 1122 emergencies like the present, this House and the other have resounded with the cry of vindicate the laws. Have they yet, even vindicated them against the stronger force of a combined country? The moment public opinion comes to that head, it becomes next to impossible—a new state of things arises, the law is virtually abrogated, though nominally existing, and Parliament comes in—the sooner the better—to ratify the decision of the public. The most wise course is, not to allow the public to see this—to watch the signs of the times, and to lead, not follow—when, if they do not lead, follow they must. Irish history is pregnant with instances—what more so than the history of the Catholic question? You put down the Catholic Association, and as you thought, you vindicated the law. The Catholic Association sprung up again, in tenfold strength, under your very statute. Did you then vindicate the law? No—you left it unvindicated year after year, until you at last discovered that the only mode to do it effectually was to put the interests of the people on the side of its vindication. You let redress come first, and vindication afterwards. Emancipation passed, and the Association scattered almost before your statute touched it, with all its clubs and combinations and conspiracies afterwards. Was this only the case in Ireland? Is it only an Irish mode of compelling attention and redress? It is the history of mankind—it is human nature—it is the nature of Englishmen as well as Irishmen—of the history of that country as well as this. In 1351, in the reign of Edward 3rd, the villains and serfs refused to cut the hay of their landlords—there was a passive resistance or combination like the present. The statute of labourers was brought in in 1360 to remedy it—coercive measure followed coercive measure—all failed. In 1376 the Commons complained that masters were obliged to give their servants higher wages to prevent them running away—new statutes were introduced, all flyers were, if caught, branded with the letter F—artisans were put in the stocks if they refused to work—"rigorous interpositions" of all kinds were used; and, after all, what was the result? The country was covered with "valiant rogues and sturdy beggars," "staff stickers" in every direction. In the reign of Henry 8th, 72,000 men were hanged in England, and still 1123 the same complaints from the Commons, the same cry of vindicating the laws, and the same impossibility of making their statutes and decrees realities. Elizabeth at last saw the real source of the evil—the 5th of her reign acknowledges "that the old laws could not be carried into execution without the great grief and burthen of labourers"—the interests of the labourers were then consulted, as well as the interests of their masters—both gained, society was re-adjusted, the law was really vindicated, for it had a happy population for its assertor, and a new era of peace and prosperity commenced for England. Why not treat Ireland as England was treated? Why not imitate Elizabeth in good as well as bad? Ireland of to-day is not so low as England of her reign. Why should we not hope from a similar policy—a consequence tenfold more rapid and quite as beneficial—vindicate the law—if the law can be vindicated—but it appears to me that it has been already shown that the thunders of your statute will be ineffectual—the fulmen will be imbecile and sine ictu on the mind of the people. Without a consequence?—No: but the consequence will be the very reverse of what you contemplate. These very ineffectual struggles between the people and the Government have given the people even exaggerated notions of their power. The Government and the instruments of the Government from such contests will carry off even something worse than defeat. Sir John Harvey, Major Brown, Dr. Fitzgerald, have already deprecated in the strongest terms the employment of the constabulary. It has sown fertile seeds of jealousy between the men themselves. Catholic suspects Protestant, and Protestant suspects Catholic—both become obnoxious and hostile to the people. Will the army fare better?—and is it right to place the army in the same case? Above all, is it right to place the ermine—the calm and solemn majesty of the laws—in a similar situation? Men imprisoned for what they did not consider crime would not go in as malefactors, but as martyrs—and triumphant martyrs they would come out. Contributions would repay their pecuniary, public applause their personal loss. The penalty would be encountered—would be incited for the reward. Nor would this be the only result. They would be firebrands flung among the people. New seeds of agitation 1124 —new encouragement to resistance would be generated in prison—on their liberation they would bear them abroad, with every new circumstance of malignity, amongst their neighbours. Government perhaps may think they could put this down—but on what can it act? There are no open outrages no force to authorise force—no law is violated—the penalty is submitted to, and that is all. The hour of outrage is gone by—it is usually the first gust of smoke which foretels the coming on of a strong and sullen flame. What is the feeling of the people now? Look to the Resolutions of the people of Tipperary just passed, and which are circulating rapidly: it is stated from parish to parish, there is no menace of outrage there. They state, "that as it is only by obeying the law they can become too strong for that law of iniquity—they merely pledge themselves to all legal and peaceable opposition, by petitioning, and every other constitutional means which their ingenuity can devise, to oppose the continuance of the system of tithes in Ireland—their long oppressed and persecuted country." They further call upon their countrymen throughout Ireland to follow their example, and denounce as bad Irishmen any and all who attempt resistance by violence, for such resistance by violence, can only tend to perpetuate the curse of the country, and inflict a stain upon the character of the Christian religion. Such is the course proposed in this county, where tithes have been as much opposed as in any county of Ireland—and such will be the course, should tithes continue, that will be adopted ere long through the entire country. The Government may flatter themselves that the remedy may be allowed to follow—but, besides the anomaly of two laws, one for the accruing tithe, the old law—another for the outstanding arrear, the new law—clashing with each other, they will not have an opposition in front to act on. The law will not be resisted, but will not be obeyed. Do we do wrong in stating these things? No—but we should do wrong in not stating them as we do.—The hon. Member for Wexford has been attacked as an abettor of conspiracy and insubordination. He said nothing as to approval or disapproval—he stated only the naked fact. Those facts will not disappear whether we are silent or not. That they should exist is, to Irish Members, at least, no matter of surprise. Not from 1125 hostility to good Government, not from contempt for social institutions, but from the thirst and hunger after both do they arise. The Irish people regard as well as the people of this country the charter of freedom, the sacredness of laws, the impartiality and justice of their execution, the equal regard for individual and public interests, which distinguish England, as high and noble blessings—blessings which ought to be their inheritance as well as that of Englishmen. But if they do attempt to attain them, and, in their ardour, occasionally advance beyond the strict punctilio of Englishmen, they are taunted with their folly—they are menaced with a lesson—the offended majesty of England is called on to put out her strength at the presumption, and to rebuke them for thus rousing, by their crimes, her powerful thunder from its repose.Cœlum ipsum petimus stultitia,Neque per nostrum patimur scelusIracunda Jovem ponere fulmina.It was impossible, then, that he (Mr. Wyse continued) could vote for the proposition of Government. But there still remained the third measure, the proposition of his hon. friend. To this he found, comparatively speaking, no difficulty in adhering. But he would be more precise. He could see no difficulty, since it was determined to pay the clergy, to follow the precedent of 1798, and take the bonds of the clergy for such loan for the present; and to make such arrangements in the Bill for the settlement of the question of tithes, as to enable the clergy to recover from those who were indebted to them such amount of arrears as would, at least, cover the amount advanced. If resistance were then made, even under a defective law, they might be recovered with ease. But there was not the slightest doubt they would at once, and cheerfully too, be paid in. The remedial measure would effect all. No possible objection could exist but a little delay to the Treasury, and the apprehension of only a half vindication of the law. But Government would ensure a certainty of repayment, and a certainty of obedience, both advantages which might well be balanced against every other loss. For such reason he should strongly support the proposition of his hon. friend, and should vote with him, in case he should divide. But he could not sit down without saying a word or two on some of the animadversions which had 1126 proceeded from the other side of the House, re-echoed, he was sorry to say, by some hon. Members near him, on the conduct of the Catholic Members in these discussions. Their oath had been spoken of, not in terms, he was bound to say, the most courteous. All personal feeling, however, must disappear in the consideration of the great principle attempted to be established. No doubt it would be a convenient thing to shut the mouths of Catholic Members on such questions; but they were as little to be duped as put down. The case was a very plain one—they swore that they had no intention of subverting the Protestant establishment in the former oaths, "for the purpose of putting another in its place" had existed; but this, on what grounds he could not say, had in the present oath been omitted. But he would take it in this naked and unqualified sense. What did it mean—what was the meaning of the word "subvert?" The right hon. Gentleman opposite, the ex-Attorney General, who loved the good for the abuse, not suffered the abuse for the good—who admired the fungus on the oak, rather than the oak itself—who would give up the Constitution, provided he could keep the boroughs—he, no doubt, confounding wealth with Christianity, would call subversion any attempt to reduce the establishment to the dimensions of the Church, and the Church to the pattern of Scriptural Christianity. He had attacked, on a former night, the Church of Scotland for its poverty—he ought to have gone higher—and attacked the Apostles. Certainly the Scotch Church had no Bishops, but it had flocks—it was not every day dwindling into other congregations—it ran no danger of becoming some morning a staff of officers without soldiers—or a corporation of shepherds without a single fold. The fact was, poverty and exercise were the secret of the strength of bodies, as well as individuals. The health of a Church, its numbers, its zeal, depended upon its having enough to do, and not too much for doing it. "You may persecute a Church (concluded the hon. Member) up or pamper it down to any number of followers you choose. To bring it to a wholesome state—to bring it soon and to bring it perfectly—was this subverting? No; but placing it on a far surer basis than where it stood. But hon. Gentlemen may affect to suspect the opinions of the Catholics; let them read the testimony of their own Church. Be it 1127 remembered that the reverend Messrs. Butler, Hamilton, Roberts, Langrishe, have all given nearly the same opinion. The Archbishop of Armagh has joined in this Report in another place—and with him, it is to be presumed, many, at least, of the Irish Church. If you wish for the testimony of Judges, read the pamphlet of a Baron of the Court of Exchequer, just deceased, the late Sir George Wood. Hearing the litigations between parsons and their parishioners, he says justly—"a rooted enmity takes place between the parson and his parishioners, which lasts for life, the consequence of which is, they desert the parish Church, and go to all sorts of meeting-houses—hence arises the great danger and decay of the established religion of the country. How can either the parson or his parishioners, when their minds are harassed by expensive and long protracted litigation, attend to their religious duties as they ought—one or other is frequently ruined. A rich rector ruins his parishioners, and a poor vicar is himself ruined." If you wish for philosophers, listen to Dr. Chalmers, in his late work on Political Economy, he says, "the reformation of the present system would be an incalculable blessing to the Church of England, and that not merely because it would disarm the hostility of Statesmen and economists, but because it would do away the topics of a thousand other heartburnings in every parish of the kingdom." If these men go to subvert the Church Establishment, so do the Catholic Members—if not, the Catholic Members should not be censured for what you cannot but praise the Protestant. But it is time to close. If these be the evils of England—Ireland, be it remembered, groans under all these evils, accumulated tenfold. Ireland pays not one tithe, but two tithes—not one Church, but two—Ireland is a poor country—England is rich. England cries out for remedies—why should not Ireland cry out, and be heard also? But no remedy will be truly a remedy but the one you have tried so little—but have never tried without perfect success. "That engine," to use the words of the greatest of our orators, "which the pride of the bigot, nor the spite of the zealot, nor the ambition of the high priest, nor the arsenal of the conqueror, nor the Inquisition, with its jaded lash, and pale criminal, ever thought of; the engine which, armed with physical and moral blessings—comes forth, and overlays 1128 mankind by services, the engine of redress."
§ Mr. Shaw
I must, Sir, express my entire dissent from the view of the hon. Member who has just sat down, with respect to the Amendment moved by the hon. member for Wexford. The Committee have already affirmed, by a large majority, the statement of the former Resolutions—that an organised and systematic opposition has been made to the payment of tithes in Ireland, by which the law has been rendered unavailing, and the clergymen of the Established Church reduced to great pecuniary distress—and I cannot conceive how any person possessed of ordinary feeling can refuse to afford relief to that distress—or how any person who respects good order, or values good government, can deny the necessity of taking measures "for the more effectual vindication of the authority of the law." It certainly does surprise me, that hon. Gentlemen opposite can be so blinded by party or religious prejudices as to deny that the clergy are distressed, testified as that is by almost every word of the evidence, and every line of the Report before us; nor can I at all reconcile it with good taste in the hon. Member (Mr. Wyse) to bring the charges he has against the rev. Dr. Hamilton—as exemplary and pious a minister of religion as ever existed—of not having been on good terms with his parishioners; when that gentleman has stated in his evidence that he resided for thirty-one years among them, without having had one difference with them, and that especially the utmost harmony and goodwill subsisted between him and his Roman Catholic neighbours. Again, as to the Church which has been recently built in his parish, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wyse) accused him of building it unnecessarily, whereas his evidence was, that the roof of the old one had fallen in, and that the architects had pronounced that it would be throwing money away to repair it. In reference to that "passive resistance" to the laws advocated by the hon. Member, the mischievous fallacy of the argument has been so ably shown by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Lushington) this night, and the learned member for St. Mawes (Sir E. Sugden) the last night of this debate, that it is unnecessary for me to dwell upon it—but the reasoning of the hon. Member (Mr. Wyse) appears to me the strongest that could be adduced in favour of the present measure. It is, that the spirit of 1129 the law may be evaded, while the letter of it is not broken—and even admitting that in a prosecution for a legal offence such a technicality might be relied on, it could never be pleaded at the bar of moral feeling, and above all, is most inappropriately applied to resist a new enactment—when the very argument implies an admission of a wrong without a remedy—and is the best justification of a Government in asking for new powers. Upon those grounds I shall certainly support the fourth Resolution. But to the next and last, announcing the complete extinction of tithe, I cannot give my assent. While I object to the wording and vagueness of this Resolution, my principal objection to it is, the connexion in which it stands to the others. The leading feature of both the Report and the Resolutions is, that the law has been violated and ought to be vindicated; and yet this last proposition being joined with the preceding, holds out as it were a bribe to those who have combined against the law, while it professes to assert the law's authority. This seems to me plain from a minute consideration of the Report. It states that the Committee are "deeply impressed with the danger which must threaten the whole frame of society, if a combination against a legal impost be permitted ultimately to triumph over the provisions of the law." What, then, was the object of those who opposed the laws?—not to withhold the present arrears; on the contrary, they admitted they would not interfere with the rights of the present incumbents. But what they clamour for is an extinction of tithes, and that we now, in terms at least, concede to them. This is the wording of the Report—holding out the temptation of success in one case to a similar opposition to the payment of other pecuniary demands. If a tenant owed his landlord 100l. for rent, and said he would not pay him unless the landlord undertook to extinguish all rent for the remainder of his lease—would it be consistent with common sense?—was that landlord to boast of vindicating his authority, and asserting his right, by obliging the tenant to pay his rent, if, at the same time, he yielded to the demand of extinguishing all rent for the future? With reference to the word extinction, the right hon. Secretary for Ireland must allow me to say, that with every respect for his superior station in the House, I consider the word was very ill selected and very incau- 1130 tiously employed—calculated as it is to excite fears on one side, and hopes on the other, that it never was intended to realize. The right hon. Gentleman has observed that in this Resolution there were other words joined to that expression which gave it interpretation, but I would remind him that he first made use of it in this House, in what, if I may be allowed the expression, I would call a postcript to a speech of his on the subject. It procured him very clamorous cheers at the moment from a certain portion of the House. Indeed I should not have thought that the simultaneous cheer of only twenty-seven, even Irish voices, could have been so loud—but these cheering Gentlemen had since shown woful disappointment. I can strongly illustrate, too, the mischievous consequences produced in Ireland by the announcement, by an instance which occurred within my own knowledge in the parish close to where I reside in the county of Dublin. The Sunday after the report of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman reached Ireland, it was posted on the chapel door, and a notice written under it that no tithes were to be paid for the future. The owner of the tithe was a lay impropriator, a relation of my own, and he was also served with notice that he should receive no more tithe. After satisfying himself that such was the determination of the people, he proceeded to distrain—the distress was rescued, and he and his party with difficulty escaped personal injury. He immediately applied to the Government, and I am bound to state, that they rendered him the most prompt and the most effectual assistance, the consequence of which was, that although the people represented to the Magistrate who accompanied the military force that was sent to arrest those who had committed the rescue, that it was hard they should have to pay idles while others were allowed to refuse with impunity—yet they submitted at once, and in the course of a week the whole tithe was in a train of settlement, and I cannot but think, that if the Government had acted upon all occasions with equal vigour and firmness, Ireland would not have been in the unhappy state of insubordination and outrage which it is placed in at the present moment. I also object to the last Resolution, that the Government have not stated with any certainty or precision what provision they are to make for the Irish 1131 Church Establishment, and it is possible that the clergy having been reduced to the last extremity of distress—being, as it were, weary and faint after a fruitless pursuit of their rights—the Government may offer them that which may be considered but as a mess of pottage for their inheritance. While upon this point, I would for a moment refer to the question of the quadrupartite division of Church property which has been so much relied upon by Gentlemen opposite, for the purpose of showing, that though it may have taken place with regard to the whole revenues of the Church at a very early period in Ireland, yet that it never was applicable to that portion of the Church property which has been transmitted to, and is now in the possession of the clergy. In 1609, Archbishop Usher, in his tract on the origin and first institution of Corbes-Erenachs and Termon Lands, states, 'that at the first beginning, I conceive the same order to have been here (Ireland) which commonly was used in other parts of Christendom, that the tithes and profits of temporal land appertaining unto every Church were taken by a common receiver, and distributed in four equal portions: one was allotted to the Bishop, another to his clergy, the third upon the reparation of the fabric, and a fourth towards the relief of the poor.' Then, referring to the Erenachs, whose office it appears was to take care of the Church—its property, and the indigent poor, he continues when the receiving of the Church goods, and the sharing of them into their several portions, began to be abused, he who was the Deonomus, (that is the Erenach) carving as it is like very favourable to himself, or upon some other respect, was disused—and every one was willing to be the steward of his own portion. The Presbytori, (that is, the parson and vicar), and the Erenach, may be thought to have grown to this composition. The Erenach charged himself with the reparation of two-thirds of the fabric. The parson and vicar undertook the charge of the other one-third, there being to divide between them the three-fourths of the Church goods (which remained above the Bishop's allowance.) For mere quiet and ease the Presbytori took wholly unto themselves the three-quarters of the tithes, two whereof fell into the parson's lot, and one to the vicar's, without challenging any benefit in the 1132 temporal profits, except some small quantity of glebe land to dwell on. The Erenach, for keeping hospitality and entertainment of strangers, (besides the common care of reparations), had assigned unto him the commodity of the three-quarters of the temporal lands which he raised out of such rents, letting, and services, as were to be executed of the Coloni Ecclesiastici or Termoners.' Thus were things ordered before the distribution of the Church goods into four parts, was admitted. At the Reformation the Termon lands became private property, and the clergy at present have not one-tenth of the ancient Church revenues in their hands; they have not the abbey-lands; they have not half of the rectories; they have lost the glebe-land of three provinces; the tithe of agistment, and personal tithes in a great measure. Instead, therefore, of having one-tenth of the produce, the clergy have not one-thirtieth of the rental. The rental of Ireland is estimated at 15,000,000l.; the produce is estimated at about three times the amount of the rental, and would, therefore, be 45,000,000l.; the tithe of which would amount to 4,500,000l. Now, so far from the tithes amounting to that sum, or anything even approaching to it, there is good reason for believing that it is somewhat between 400,000l. and 500,000l. Then, Sir, as to the clamour raised, and the palliation of outrage, attempted to be rested upon the allegation of the majority being taxed to pay tithes to the religion of the minority, surely no person capable of reasoning can contend for the exploded doctrine, that the occupier or tenant of the land pays the tithe, and not the owner of the land, and when it is considered that nine-tenths of the landed property of Ireland belong to Protestants, what becomes of all this boasted hardship? While, Sir, for these reasons, I must refuse my approbation to the fifth Resolution, I by no means would be understood as objecting, under other circumstances, to a consideration of the entire question of Church property, with a view to making considerable alterations, upon the basis, always, that the property of the Church was equally sacred as any other; for I have always objected to the measure and mode of the payment of tithe as operating as a tax upon industry, and an interference in the employment of capital; and as far as I have been able to consider the proposal of the Archbishop of 1133 Dublin, to have the temporal concerns of the Church managed as those of a Corporation, having lay officers to perform all its secular business, I am disposed to view it favourably, the more particularly as it would avoid all collision of worldly interests between the clergyman and his parishioners, who, I think, should be only known to each other in the relations of mutual kindness—the pastor being as much the friend of his flock in matters of temporal government, as their adviser and comforter in those of religion; but I am strongly of opinion, that this should be made a distinct question, standing on its own merits, and not mixed up with the still more important one of the vindication of the just authority of the law—otherwise I fear it will be regarded as a yielding to clamour—a premium to violence and disorder—a proof that turbulence may lead to relief, and on the part of the Government, be justly considered as the, first advantage that has been openly conceded (though I fear not the first that has been tacitly permitted), in that war in Ireland of population against property which has commenced with tithe, but which I am persuaded will not end there. I am very apprehensive, too, lest in dealing with this question, the Government may put in peril that essential and fundamental article of the Union between Ireland and this country, which provides that the Established Church of England and Ireland shall be united in existence and identified in interest; and I need not tell the right hon. Gentleman, that this is very tender ground to touch, and that no result could afford a triumph so complete as endangering that compact, to those who not perhaps appearing to the public eye as the violators of the law, have made the poor deluded peasantry of Ireland the dupes and the victims of' their deep-laid artifice. And the right hon. Gentleman himself has well observed, that a successful attack upon the Irish branch of the Established Church will naturally induce the same against the English. I confess I regard the prospects of both with no cheerful anticipation—though, if that sacred edifice in which Church and State have been so long united, is to be dissolved, in my opinion, the State will be the greater sufferer—for I am satisfied religion can do better without the State than the State can do without religion. Yes, Sir, for though laws may be violating—Constitutions revo- 1134 lutionizing—Thrones shaking, and nations sinking around us, the cause of pure and undefiled religion must ever be secure in the custody of its great Author, resting on the eternal foundations of truth—which time or circumstances can never destroy nor ever alter. I do not wish in this case to evince any hostility to his Majesty's Ministers. I believe they wish to act fairly, or at least kindly, to the Irish clergy—but even though by refusing my assent to this Resolution, I might possibly promote the views of those whose object is very different from my own—yet I have always considered the straight path the safest as well as the best. Little weight as I feel to be clue to my opinion, yet what does not approve itself to my judgment, I cannot sanction by my vote.
§ Mr. Duncombe
concluded, from the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who had spoken in favour of the Resolutions, that the measures of relief to Ireland would not be at all commensurate with the measures of coercion. The expression of "extinction of tithes" had received much qualification; and the right hon. member for Tamworth, in giving his assent to the Resolutions, said, that he took those words, not in their literal sense, but as meaning a different mode of collecting tithes, the money being still applied to the profit and benefit of what he must call a sinecurist and overgrown Church, and which the people of Ireland maintained to be a scandal to religion, and a detriment to the interests of the State. This was not what Ireland wanted; and it was in vain for that House to attempt to put down agitation, while millions of the people were called upon to support in affluence and idleness the ministers of a religion, to the tenets of which they could not conscientiously subscribe. The right hon. member for Tamworth had asked the House, whether they would yield to mob dominion? He would ask the right hon. Baronet whether the agitation which prevailed in Ireland on the Catholic question, and which he thought it desirable to calm by concession, was not as much mob dominion as that which now existed in that country? The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland had proposed, in order to avoid any collision between the tithe-proctor and the peasant, that notices respecting the enforcement of the arrears of tithes should be affixed to the doors of parochial churches in Ireland. What information would these notices, 1135 stuck on Protestant Churches, convey to the Catholic peasantry? What use was there in affixing notices to churches which were not frequented? He would not deny that many eloquent sermons were delivered in those Churches; but it was the fact, that there was not, unluckily, any admiring congregation to listen to them. There were several parishes in Ireland, where the Protestant clergyman resided in his parsonage, with glebe land attached to it, but where there was no such thing to be found as a Protestant Church. What would the learned Solicitor General do in those places: Would he propose to build new Churches on purpose to place the notices on the doors? If the learned Solicitor General would take his advice, he would fix his notices on the cattle-pound gate, for that was the place best known to the unfortunate people of Ireland. He advised the House not to look at this question merely as an Irish question; for it was one which, if not properly dealt with, might make the call for the Repeal of the Union irresistible. The people of England, he was convinced, supported the view of the question which had been taken by the Irish population; and there never would be peace in Ireland, or tranquillity in England, until every abuse, both ecclesiastical and parliamentary, was redressed. When he recollected the assistance which had been given by the Irish people to the people of England, in their attempt to remove those corruptions at present existing in the representative system, he could not turn his back upon them, now that they were endeavouring to correct their own Church abuses. He would not, therefore, join the unholy crusade about to be commenced in vindication of a law which was not founded on reason or justice; and he cautioned the right hon. Secretary for Ireland to take care, lest, by the measure he was proposing, he should involve the country in fresh difficulties, occasion the effusion of much innocent blood, and lead to the downfall and disgrace of the Administration to which he belonged
§ Mr. Hunt
said, that he still looked upon the whole measure contemplated by the Government as a delusion. It was a mere farce to get up a pretended extinction of tithes, unless the Catholic people were relieved from the payment of any portion of that unjust impost. Since he first came into Parliament he had continually heard 1136 the Irish Members, night after night, describing the distresses of the people of Ireland in the most affecting manner; but he never heard the Government say one word respecting the relief of those distresses. But the moment it was found that a small portion of the clergy was distressed, then they came forward with an application to the House for their relief, and for the coercion of the people. He must, however, object to money being taken out of the pockets of the English people, for the purpose of paying the bad debts of the Irish clergy. He was sure, that not a farthing would ever be returned. Who ever heard of money being sent to Ireland finding its way back again? It appeared to him that the scheme was one of the most scandalous measures ever proposed to Parliament; it was calculated to catch the small fry, but the large fish would break through the net. Was it not notorious, that the people of Ireland were encouraged by those above them to continue their passive resistance as it was called? If Ministers intended to stop the conspiracy, they must first stop the hon. and learned member for Kerry; he would soon drive a coach and six through their law, as he had done before. He did not blame the Catholics for evading the law, for if he was in the same situation he should follow their example. The hon. and learned Member, the Recorder for Dublin, had asserted, that the Church could do better without the State than the State without the Church: he should like to see the experiment tried. There was no established church in America, and yet there was no part of the world where genuine religion was better understood, or the people so well instructed. He was fully persuaded that Christianity would prosper as much in this country as it did now, if each sect maintained its own Ministers. It had been asserted by some hon. and learned Members, that there never had been a three-fold or four-fold division of Church property, but he thought the hon. and learned Recorder had proved the contrary by the extract he had read in the course of his speech. He did not believe the Roman Catholic Members had any such an unjust intention in their desire to extinguish tithes as to appropriate them to their own uses. The right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth said (and he Mr. Hunt considered him as a great authority) that he had no objection to an arrangement by which the Church 1137 property should be more appropriately divided among the clergy, though he would not consent to a farthing of it being applied for the relief of the poor. The hon. and learned Member had alluded to the lay impropriators, in a manner for which they were not much obliged to him. The Church had been robbed by them. The money the clergy received at the present time was not sufficient for the four purposes for which Church property was formerly applied, but if the whole of that which had once belonged to the Church was to be taken into the account, there would be a sufficiency. The reign of Henry 8th was the time of spoliation and robbery, when nine-tenths of the Church property was taken from the use of the poor, and given to landed proprietors. The day would probably come when the present possessors of this property would be called to account. It would be unjustifiable to take tithes from the clergy, and leave them to be enjoyed by lay impropriators. Their property was as much public property as if it remained in the Church. It was taken from the Church by Act of Parliament, and might be resumed by the same authority. He agreed with those hon. Members, who asserted, that this was as much an English as an Irish question; the people of England was anxiously looking for their decision, they were as hostile to tithes as the Irish. Two-thirds of the people were Dissenters, who hoped the extinction of tithes in England to follow the extinction of tithes in Ireland. He should oppose the proposition of the Government in every stage, when it came before the House in the shape of a bill, for he was sure tithes never could be collected without the assistance of a standing army.
did not expect, that the hon. member for Preston (Mr. Hunt) would have been satisfied with any measure which the Government should bring forward. The only question was, what ulterior measures should be adopted, after voting a sum of money for the relief of the Irish clergy, that being the sole point referred to in the Resolution now before the Committee. Before entering on that question, however, he was anxious to correct a misapprehension which had taken place with respect to something which had fallen from him on a former occasion. He had been severely reproached for saying that "it was time to read the people of 1138 Ireland a lesson." The sentence in which he used that expression was not distinctly heard on account of an interruption. What he said was, to the best of his recollection, this, that it was fitting that Ireland should be taught a lesson which she had had too much reason to learn—namely, that when she wanted to obtain that to which she was entitled, she ought to appeal to the justice, and not to the fears, of England—that violence was not the mode by which she could obtain justice, but that she might always look with confidence to the liberality and kindly feeling of England: that was the language which he had employed, and he did not think it necessary to retract a word of it. The hon. members for Hertford and the county of Wexford, complained, that in the measures he had felt it his duty to propose, the amount of coercion was disproportioned to and preceded the amount of relief; but until those hon. Members knew the extent of what they were pleased to term coercion as well as the relief which was contemplated, it was impossible they could come to a satisfactory conclusion on the subject. This, however, he would say, that he could not conceive anything less liable to objection than the principle of the measure which, in the discharge of his duty, he had submitted to the House, which principle was that of advancing money for the payment of arrears strictly due, and of removing the difficulties which stood in the way of claimants in attempting to enforce their legal rights by ordinary process. The hon. member for Tipperary had referred to the years 1798 and 1799, when the clergy of Ireland were placed in a similar situation to their present one. Did the Government, at that period, pursue the course recommended by the hon. member for Wexford? No such thing. It had acted in precisely the same manner in which the Government now proposed to act. The bill about to be brought in was founded on the bill of 1799, with an improvement in point of leniency, inasmuch as it took the exercise of power out of the hands of persons smarting under recent irritation, and fresh from collision with the peasantry, and placed it in the hands of Government, who would exercise the duties devolved on it with the greatest possible forbearance, towards those who were the objects of legal perquisition. This constituted the only difference between the plan of 1799, and 1139 that of 1832; and, both in efficiency and forbearance, the latter was preferable. The hon. member for Wexford said, that no steps ought to be taken for the recovery of the arrears of tithe due, until a substantive measure of relief was passed, otherwise the people would not be content. If they were to wait until the people were content, how could they ever hope to pass a measure of justice and equity? What evidence had they with respect to the motives of the persons now combining against the payment of tithes? He believed that many of them were deterred by intimidation from the payment; in fact, he knew that to be the case, and all these persons would gladly range themselves under the authority of Government, and rejoice at having an excuse for doing an act of justice, which they were now by compulsion prevented from performing. He had that morning received a letter through the Archbishop of Dublin, from a highly respectable clergyman, stating that the moment the report of the speech of his noble friend and colleague in the other House reached Ireland, the largest tithe-payer in his parish a Protestant, came to him and paid the whole of the arrears of tithe, which he had previously withheld, saying, "We now see that Government has really taken up the matter in earnest, and it is of no use any longer to resist the payment of tithes." This was not all. In consequence of the delay which had been interposed between the announcement of the intentions of Government and the carrying of them into effect—a delay for which the Government was not responsible—the inhabitants of this same parish had met together, and, conceiving the speech of his noble colleague to be what was vulgarly termed a mere flash in the pan, had determined not to follow the example set by their brother parishioner. This was only one fact out of a vast number which, he had no doubt, could be adduced in support of the opinion which he had ventured to submit to the Committee. The hon. member for Preston had described the measure which Government had proposed as a plan for catching the little fish, and allowing the great ones to escape. Now, the object which Government had in view was precisely the reverse of this. It had taken the decision of the question into its own hands with the view of catching the large fish, and permitting the small ones 1140 to pass through the net. It wished Parliament to invest it with powers which would enable it to reach persons in a high situation of life, who ought to set a good example to their inferiors, and who were able to pay, and at the same time to act with forbearance and leniency towards the unfortunate peasantry, who, from whatever cause it might be, had not the means of discharging the arrears of tithes which had been suffered to accrue. The hon. member for Tipperary endeavoured to persuade the House that, in many parts of Ireland, there had been a spontaneous expression of feeling against the payment of tithes; and, in support of his argument, he had referred to a Resolution passed at a public meeting held in that county. The hon. Member, however, only read a part of the resolution; he omitted a passage, in which the persons assembled at that meeting pledged themselves to obey the voice of Mr. O'Connell as to the resistance of tithes with a sense of gratitude and measureless confidence. And this resolution, signed "Thomas Steele, Chairman," professing measureless confidence in, and unbounded submission to, the dictates of Mr. O'Connell in the question of resistance to the payment of tithes, was put forward by the hon. member for Tipperary as evidence of the spontaneous feeling of the people of Ireland. Was that dealing fairly with the Committee or with the country? Were they to abstain from enforcing the legal rights of the clergy until, not the people of Ireland, but Mr. O'Connell should be satisfied? He really found it extremely difficult to meet the different objections which were made to various parts of the plan which he had submitted to the House. One party complained that the measure of coercion was more extensive than the measure of relief; while another party reproached them for having coupled with their plan of relief an attempt to redress a grievance which had led to disturbances. The phrase "extinction of tithes," which he had used, had been very much canvassed. He used that phrase advisedly, because he knew that it was one to which, after considerable discussion, a Committee of the House of Lords had signified their assent. He did not think that it could be objectionable for a Minister of the Crown, speaking in that House, to make use of an expression which had been sanctioned by a select body of the Upper House of Parliament. 1141 He thought, however, that it was impossible, for any man to be mistaken as to the sense in which he used the word "extinction," when he considered it in connexion with the other words of which the Resolutions before the House were composed. The right hon. member for Aldeburgh endeavoured to fasten on his former speech a meaning which it did not bear. The right hon. Member said, that he meant only to alter the mode of collecting tithes. He answered, that one of his objects was, to secure a provision for the Protestant clergy, and that the other was the extinction of tithes. It was impossible to be so cautious in one's expressions as to guard against misconstruction and misrepresentation, the more particularly where the extremes of two parties were ready to catch hold of any word for the purpose of torturing its meaning. It had been his endeavour, when speaking on this subject, to state, that he would not consent to any perversion of the Church property to purposes not connected with the Church, but that he condemned the system of tithes as the fruitful parent of grievances which it was necessary to redress without loss of thee. These were the principles by which he had been guided in framing the Resolutions that he had had the honour to submit to the House. He conceived that he should but ill discharge the duty which he owed to the country if he were to propose the extinction of tithes, or indeed any change of system, without accompanying that proposal with a steadfast determination to uphold the authority of the law. Their concession must not be considered the compliance of weakness with the demands of violence; but the generous sacrifice of power to the principle of justice. When concession was extorted by fear it lost all its beneficial influence—it was a proof of weakness, which only encouraged further demands. He objected principally to the Amendment moved by the hon. member for Wexford, because it postponed the payment of the arrears due for an indefinite period. In conclusion he called upon the Committee not to refuse to sanction the measure which he had proposed, on the ground that it would not satisfy the people of Ireland, but, in reality, because it would not satisfy the hon. and learned member for Kerry.
§ Mr. Wyse
begged to say, in explanation of what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, that the people of Ireland 1142 followed the advice of Mr. O'Connell upon this question, only because he echoed their own sentiments. No man entertained a higher opinion of Mr. O'Connell's abilities than he did, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman were not in existence, the people of Ireland would be just as much disposed to resist the payment of tithes, as they were at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman had adverted to the resolutions agreed to at the meeting held at Thurles. He contended that those resolutions advocated no violent or illegal proceedings. One of the resolutions contained these words:—"It is only by obeying the law, that we can become too strong for the law." They also entered into a resolution, Whereby they pledged themselves to use all legal and peaceable opposition, and every other constitutional means, for resisting the continuance of tithes in Ireland, their long oppressed and persecuted country. And they further resolved that they would not put themselves in the power of the old enemies of the people—and they solemnly called upon their countrymen to denounce any who should offer resistance by personal violence, as such conduct would only tend to perpetuate the present system.
Sir John Bourke
having been one of those who voted against the going into Committee upon the propositions of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, in the first instance, wished to have an opportunity of explaining the grounds upon which he did so, as well as those upon which he should feel it his duty to support the Amendment of the hon. member for Wexford. He, however, might not, in the present instance, have risen, were it not for the very strange and uncalled for observations of the hon. and learned member for Ilchester. That hon. Gentleman had thought fit to indulge in observations respecting the Catholic Members who had voted against his Majesty's Ministers, which, he thought, to say the least of them, were most unjustifiable and uncalled for. Why had the learned Member, in descanting upon the course pursued by the Irish Members, selected those who were Roman Catholics, and overlooked his hon. friend, the member for Armagh, and the seconder of his Amendment, who were Protestants? He thought such a course most ungracious, most unkind, and most uncalled for. He received the great measure which had made him a British citizen with additional satis- 1143 faction, because he thought it calculated to entomb sectarian distinction and religious discord; and since he sat in that House, he challenged the hon. Member to point out any one occasion on which he had either voted or spoken as a sectarian. He was hurt at the imputation, which he, to the fullest extent, felt it his duty to repel. Indeed he had never heard a Catholic get up in that House to advocate any appropriation of part of the tithes to the support of the Catholic clergy, and yet he had often heard that proposition contended for by Protestant Members: in private or in public he cherished no sectarian feelings. The Protestant Bishop of Clonfert was the collector of the tithes of his parish, and he had the happiness of living on terms of great friendship and intimacy with that excellent individual. At the late election for that county, the Protestant rector of his parish had voted for him, and he was proud of the honour of having had one of the most active members of his committee, a Protestant clergyman. It was on these accounts he felt indignation at the imputation of the hon. and learned Member. He s again repelled the imputation. He had always taken every subject as it came before the House upon its own merits, and without any bias of sectarian feeling. With respect to the propositions before the House, he certainly had no objection to afford aid to the Protestant clergy who might have suffered on account of the resistance to tithes. Neither, as a landlord, did he feel any disposition to interfere with the existing rights of the present incumbents, but, with regard to the specific resolution now before the House, he was certainly opposed to it; and the first ground of his opposition was, that it directly violated the promise held forth in his Majesty's speech at the opening of the Session of Parliament. In that Speech it was distinctly declared, that Government had it in view to afford the necessary protection to the Established Church, and at the same time totally to remove the causes of complaint. Was the resolution before the House calculated, to have this effect?—on the contrary, it was calculated to produce increased ill-will and increased irritation in Ireland. He thought that much advantage would result from postponement without any evil. In the first place, it would be a check upon those who would have the payment hanging 1144 over them; and then, surely, no disadvantage or insecurity could arise. From a pauper they never could recover, and from a solvent person they would have it in their power to recover at any time. He would recommend the measure of conciliation, which would totally supersede the necessity of any measure of coercion, besides which it would endear the Government to the people, and give it dominion not over their fears but their affections. He had much experience as a Magistrate in tithe cases, and he was convinced that the present measure would be found inoperative. If notices were posted upon the church gates, those notices would not be suffered to remain. The hon. Baronet concluded by recommending that Commissioners should be sent to Ireland—men unbiassed and uninfluenced, who would see, from the condition of the people placed before their eyes, what was the permanent and efficient remedy their case demanded. He was firmly convinced that these arrears could never be collected, and that the measure of coercion would fail, unless it were accompanied by a measure of relief. He should therefore, feel it his duty to vote against the resolution, and support the amendment of his hon. friend, the member for Wexford, which he was sorry to see so perseveringly resisted and unwisely opposed.
§ Mr. Anthony Lefroy
had heard with great pleasure the observations of the hon. Baronet on the Protestants of Ireland, and he was sure that Gentlemen who differed in religious doctrine from that hon. Baronet, would be very unwilling to impute to him opinions different from those he had now expressed; but he surely must be aware, that many of those Gentlemen who generally voted with him, and who arrogated to themselves the denomination of "the Irish Members," had often expressed themselves in terms calculated to give pain to the Protestants of Ireland, and to their Representatives in that House, which, therefore, had naturally called forth in reply, strong declarations. One great and important admission had been made by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland—he meant that in which he stated, that some farmers in Ireland, as soon as they found that the Government were determined to enforce the law, had come forward to declare their readiness to pay their tithes, and that it was not necessary for Government to 1145 do more than to make known its determination to employ the powers with which the law invested it. Had the law been enforced some months ago, it would have done away with all the agitation which at present existed, and have suppressed that spirit of resistance which now so unhappily prevailed throughout Ireland. With respect to the statement made by the hon. member for Hertford, he would only say, that he did not suppose that a majority of the British House of Commons was yet prepared to vote for the demolition of the Established Church. It had been admitted that tithes were the lawful property of the Church; and that the clergy had acted with so much forbearance and lenity in collecting them, that they were, in many instances, reduced to great suffering and want. Under such circumstances, he thought it was only compatible with justice and good sense that the Government should be enabled to afford relief to those who had been the innocent victims of lawless agitators, and likewise, that it should be intrusted with the power, and required to enforce the payment of the arrears from those conspirators from whom the tithes were due, and who had resisted the collection of them. On that ground he should support the Resolution now under consideration. But, with respect to the fifth and last Resolution, he must protest against it on two grounds. First, because he did not conceive it was sufficiently explicit. It held out a hope, indeed, that if tithes were extinguished, they should have a substitution in the shape either of a rent-charge on the land, or an apportionment of the land itself; but neither the time when, nor the mode how, this measure was to be effected had been stated. On the contrary, the Resolution was so dubiously worded, that his Majesty's Ministers could not have devised a better method, had they wished to have deceived both parties; for they had by this Resolution a ready reply to both sides of the House. To those who advocated the rights of the Church they were enabled to say, "we are no enemies to the Church, for do we not here propose to give a commutation for tithes?" While, to those who were opposed to the Church, they could say, "have we not proposed to extinguish the tithes?" Indeed, he did not think this Resolution fair or satisfactory to any party. In addition to this, he entertained strong doubts as to the advantages of either of 1146 the alternatives proposed to be substituted for the present system of tithes. Under the irritated circumstances of Ireland, it would be as difficult as under the present system, to collect rent from farmers on Church lands, nor would such a plan afford any relief; because, by the admission of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, even if tithes were entirely abolished, it would only afford an excuse for raising the rent, and thus the tenants would be subject to greater oppression. They have it also in evidence that many persons who were able to pay tithes, and who did not complain of their amount, still refused to pay them because they disapproved of the principle upon which they were demanded. It thus appeared, that it was not the amount, but the appropriation, of the tithes which gave offence; and, in corroboration of this position, it had been admitted, by many Members for Ireland, who differed from him, that, until their appropriation be entirely altered, no measures of Government or of the Legislature, with a view to relieve the people, would give any satisfaction. He objected to this Resolution, secondly, because he considered the term "extinction" as nothing less than concession to Popish tyranny: for what was the ground upon which Government rested the justification of the use of this word concession? Because resistance to the payment of tithes was become almost universal among the people. But where, from the evidence, did it appear that resistance commenced? It commenced, took root, and spread, from the diocese of Dr. Doyle; and the right hon. Secretary had admitted, that it was not the amount of the tithe which was the grievance, but the paying the minister of a different religion. Under all these circumstances, he objected to the last Resolution. With respect to an alteration in the system of tithes, he was not prepared to say that some alteration might not be beneficial to the Church. But, before any change was made, it was absolutely necessary that the existing law should be enforced; and that a resistance to the payment of tithes, no more than a resistance to the payment of rent, should be allowed by his Majesty's Government. If the law was to be changed, let it be done for the benefit of the peaceable and loyal portion of the people, and not by way of concession to the wilful violators of all law, and impugners of all right. He must beg leave to quote the opinion 1147 of an eminent Judge of the present day on this important point. "I recoil" said he, "from all amendments which are prefaced by an invasion of rights and a deposing of the law, and which an usurping and headlong power would then be introducing. I shrink from those improvements, the basis of which is laid in lawless violence and insurgent fury, in vulgar tyranny and outrage, in felony and murder; no benefit that could be gained is equivalent to the mischief that is done by giving unchecked predominance to that mere physical and vulgar force which must identify itself with the ignorance and violence of the country; and, so far from conceding a demand, not on account of its justice, but of the turbulence and bullying power of those who made it, I would rather consider this measure as raising an obstacle—I will not say an insuperable one—to even reasonable concession, that every surrender to unenlightened and overbearing power might but encourage further encroachments, and increase unjust demands." He must add, that he viewed with peculiar jealousy the intrusting the present Ministers with the powers they required. They desired to have a power to advance money to pay the arrears of a legal debt owed by the people of Ireland to the clergy of that country—they wished to have the power of promising to that people that tithes should be extinguished; and those powers they asked to have conferred upon them, without giving any satisfactory assurance that their future measures Would efficiently secure the stability of the Church of Ireland, and protect the rights and property of the clergy of that Church, whose importance and utility, as resident gentlemen, the right hon. Secretary had declared to be inestimable. He could not forget that many of the members of Government, when out of office, voted for the spoliation of this property; and that, since they had held office, they had exercised their influence to the prejudice of Protestant institutions, and in a way insulting to Protestant feelings. On these grounds, he shrunk from committing the disposal of Church property into their hands, and he should, therefore, certainly dissent from the last Resolution, regretting, indeed, that his dissent would be of little avail.
§ Mr. Gisborne
had not hitherto taken any part in this discussion, from the difficulty he had experienced in making up 1148 his mind upon the subject; he felt, therefore, that he should need the indulgence of the House while he made a few observations upon it. It was his intention to speak rather upon the general question of the Church Establishment in Ireland, than upon the particular Resolutions now under consideration. Although many hon. Members had spoken during this debate, yet both the advocates and the opponents of the proposed measures had alike passed by what he conceived to be the most important question connected with the present discussion, namely, what was to be the ultimate appropriation of the tithes in Ireland? It appeared to him, that the tendency of the measure brought in some years ago, by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, which had for its object the commutation of tithes, was merely to stave off, for a time, the evil day which was then seen to be fast approaching; and the present measure was calculated only to stave off a day which must inevitably arrive, when the Legislature must take into its serious consideration what was to be done with the Irish Church Establishment. Sentence had already been pronounced against the existing system, and it appeared to him that the day of execution had overtaken them, and that they might, indeed, look for a respite—but they would look in vain. There were but two grounds upon which the existence of an Established Church could be justified: either that it was suited to the spiritual wants of the people, or that it was useful as a political engine. Was the present Church Establishment of Ireland, then, adapted to the spiritual necessities of the people of that country? In England, where there were Bishops, and a ministry with large congregations, to whose religious wants they might beneficially administer, the Establishment might be both right and necessary; but was that the case in Ireland? He was aware that it had been the policy of this country to keep up a rich and powerful hierarchy in that part of the empire, with the hope of converting the Catholic population to the Protestant faith; but the attempt had been singularly unsuccessful. For how many centuries, then, he would ask, after the total failure to attain that object, were they to maintain the system of collecting a revenue from the Irish people to pay the clergy of a Church which was unsuited to their spiritual requirements? Were there any 1149 reasonable grounds capable of being put forth, why they should continue to support such an Establishment? If such was the state of Ireland with reference to the religion of the people, that not less than six-sevenths of the population were obliged, after paying tithes to the Protestant clergy, to provide for the support of the teachers of their own religion (not, indeed, out of any particular fund set apart for that purpose, but from their own resources, voluntarily, and in kindness, paid by them), could they, in reason, look for the repose of that country so long as such a system obtained. In his conscience, he believed that there never could be any quiet in Ireland until every vestige of the Protestant ascendancy was entirely done away with. What reason was there that the Irish should submit quietly to make provision for our Church Establishment. Did they not find, in every age and in every nation, the established religion adapted to the prevailing feelings and opinions of the people? Every country was more sensitively alive upon this point than on any other. Did the people of Scotland consent to maintain a body of religious instructors whose creed was different from their own? Did the history of that country afford any reason to infer that an attempt to keep up a Church Establishment in Ireland, of a faith opposed to that of the mass of the people would succeed? Had they any reason to suppose that they could persevere in such an attempt, without exciting in the minds of the people discontent, anger, and even open hostility? For what was it that the Irish were thus compelled to pay towards the support of the Protestant Church? Was it because it was their religion? No; no doubt ours was the true religion, and theirs the false. But this argument was good for the Catholic as well as the Protestant. It was merely an argument founded on power. We said to them—"True; we cannot coerce your minds, but we are the strongest, and, therefore, we will make you maintain our clergy." But was this mode of dealing consistent with justice, or even with sound policy? Was it an argument upon which they could safely rely, for maintaining and securing the peace, stability, and general conservation of the empire. On the last night of this debate, the hon. member for Wexford moved an amendment, in a speech of great eloquence, and advanced opinions which did him much honour. 1150 One argument, however, was employed by him, which appeared to him (Mr. Gisborne) not to be of any great moment. He condemned the Established Church of Ireland, because, he observed, at the time when that Church was first introduced there, the clergy consisted of a number of English adventurers. But what did that fact amount to, but to this—that our ancestors oppressed his ancestors? They might, he conceived, illustrate the hardship of the Roman Catholic people of Ireland being obliged to support a Protestant clergy in a much better way. Let him suppose the hon. Member for Wexford a Roman Catholic Gentleman, having some Protestant neighbour. The Protestant, when he had paid his tithes to the Church, had paid them for the support of his own religion; but the hon. Gentleman, when he had paid his tithes, and his means had been so far diminished—had still to provide himself with a religious instructor. The one received something in return for his money; the other received nothing. What was the natural consequence of this? Why, that the one made the payment with satisfaction, and the other with disgust. Possibly his remarks might appear strange to some Gentlemen, but he had seen so many opinions abandoned, that he did not despair of living to see the day when those opinions which were now cherished in opposition to the feelings of the people of Ireland would be resigned, and a policy pursued towards them which was founded on justice. He felt the decision of the question to be so difficult, that he had resolved not to vote on it, though it was with great reluctance that he withheld his assent from any measure proposed by the Ministers for the good of Ireland.
Sir Edmund Hayes
said, that the Government ought to have taken a lesson from the result of Catholic Emancipation, which had not been followed by those effects which had been expected from it. The present discontented state of Ireland ought to teach them that concessions were not calculated to satisfy the people there; but tended rather to incite them to fresh and more exorbitant demands. He should give his cordial support to the Resolutions, but he, at the same time, must warn Ministers to arm themselves with full power to carry their intentions into effect, and not to act so as to give the people reason to think that their resistance was in any degree sanctioned by Government.
wished to see agitation put an end to. It was asserted that the speeches of those hon. Members, who described, from their own knowledge, the wretchedness of Ireland, were calculated to produce agitation; but, in reply to this unfounded assertion, he must say, that the speeches of those hon. Members, who were totally ignorant of the subject which they undertook to discuss, were much more likely to produce agitation than those to which that effect was attributed. When it was stated that the Irish were more discontented now than they were before emancipation had been conceded to them, it ought to be remembered that the denial of that measure was not the only grievance of which they had to complain. The Resolutions contained only measures of coercion, and he must oppose them, from a firmly grounded conviction that they were unjust, and would provoke more agitation than at present existed, and lead to further mischief. He did not mean to contend that the arrears of tithes ought not to be recovered from such as were solvent; but it was most unjust to adopt only a measure of coercion. He contended that the coercive measure and the remedial measure ought to go hand in hand, which would have this additional advantage—that the people themselves would be disposed to pay up such arrears as were justly due.
§ Mr. Schonswar
believed that an extinction of tithes must take place, though that was not the proper time for going into that discussion. It was true that English Gentlemen might not be acquainted with Ireland; but they knew human nature, and they knew history; both of which went to prove that anarchy must follow on a successful resistance of the law, unless the Government took means more powerfully to enforce it.
§ Lord Duncannon
had implicit confidence in the declarations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland; and he should, therefore, vote against the Amendment, and support the original Resolutions. He sincerely hoped that the measure would answer all the purposes intended.
§ Captain Jones
defended the clergy of Ireland from the charge of extortion, and complained of the misrepresentations of the hon. Member for Wexford.
said, he was loth to oppose his hon. friend, but he must vote against 1152 the Amendment. He thought it was absolutely necessary for the safety of all, that the Government should be enabled to enforce the law.
§ Mr. Lambert
in reply, contended, that there was no fear of the people refusing the payment of rent if the arrears of tithes were not collected, because they received something for rent, viz., the land, while for tithes they received nothing. If the payment of the arrears were enforced by coercive measures, it would produce a state of anarchy. He implored the Ministry not to press the coercive Resolution, and not to enforce bad law at the point of the sword. He wished it not to go forth to Ireland that the Ministers meant to prevent the healing effects of the beneficial measure they contemplated. He implored le right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, who, report said, was to leave them, not to part from them except in peace and good will.
§ The Committee divided on the Amendment: Ayes 25; Noes 113—Majority 88.
§ Original Resolution agreed to.
|List of the AYES.|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Mullins, F. W.|
|Bellew, Sir P.||Musgrave, Sir R.|
|Bourke, Sir J.||O'Farrell, R. M.|
|Chapman, M. L.||Parnell, Sir H.|
|Doyle, Sir J. M.||Power, R.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Ruthven, E. S.|
|Grattan, J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Grattan, H.||French, A.|
|Hume, J.||Walker, C. A.|
|Hunt, H.||Wallace, T.|
|Killeen, Lord||Wyse, T.|
|Lambert, J. S.||TELLER.|
|Leader, N. P.||Lambert, H.|
|Macnamara, W. N.|
§ The last Resolution was then read as follows:—"That it is the opinion of the Committee that there exists an absolute necessity for a change in the system of tithes in Ireland, for the maintenance of the clergy in that country, by a commutation in lieu of the tithes, as now collected."
rose to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he meant by the Resolution before the House, to appropriate the property of the Church to other purposes than the maintenance of the Established Church in Ireland?
said, that he did not think the present to be the appropriate time for entering into such a discussion. The 1153 question which the Committee was then called upon to decide, was unconnected with the future appropriation of the tithes. His object in bringing forward these Resolutions was, to alter a system which was at once oppressive to those who had to make, and insecure to those who had to receive, payments under it. At the same time, he was free to confess that, in his opinion, the property of the Protestant Church of Ireland ought not to be diverted to other than the Protestant Church purposes.
expressed himself surprised at what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman in reply to the inquiry of the hon. Member near him. He was of opinion that the clergy should be paid like the army. The tithes should be resumed, and the property appropriated in the most beneficial manner to the public. There was a time when the clergy directed every thing: that time existed no longer, and now they ought to be looked upon as public servants, and paid like other public men. It was too much to say that the Protestant clergy of Ireland were to retain all this Church property for their use.
did not mean that the whole property was to be left in the hands of the clergy; but the commutation, whatever it was, would be appropriated exclusively to ecclesiastical purposes.
thought it necessary to address a few words to the Committee, in consequence of the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman, that ecclesiastical property ought only to be applied to ecclesiastical purposes. He would remind nine Members connected with the present Ministry, that on the 6th of May, 1824, they had all voted, and he begged leave to say that the noble member for Kilkenny (Lord Duncannon) was one of the nine, in favour of a resolution proposed by the hon. member for Middlesex to this effect:—"That it is expedient to inquire, whether the present Church Establishment of Ireland be not more than commensurate to the services to be performed, both as regards the number of persons employed and the income they receive."* He would frankly confess that the Resolution then before the Committee contained nothing pledging the Government either one way or the other as to the future appropriation of tithe. It stated that there must be "a complete extinction of tithes, by commu-* Hansard. New Series, vol. xi. p. 559.1154 ting them for a charge upon land, or an exchange for, or an investment in, land." Now, even when so exchanged, tithes would be subject to the control of' the Legislature. It was a late hour to enter into the discussion of such a topic, but, late as the hour was, it was not too late to tell those nine Members of the Government that there was conviction firmly rooted in the minds of the people of Ireland, that they were too deeply pledged to retract on the subject of the Church property in Ireland. He asked how could the Lord Chancellor, with all his protean powers—he asked how could the noble Paymaster of the Forces—escape from the pledges which they had given, without a breach of political honour? He knew that, at the present moment the embarrassments of the Government were great, but in all probability they would be over in less than three weeks. Could they not then have delayed the introduction of this measure for two or even three short weeks? He thought it right to make these remarks to snatch his country from the despair to which it was likely to be reduced by the passing of these Resolutions.
rose to protest on the part of the Members of Government, against the observations which had just fallen from the lips of the hon. and learned member for Louth. He could assure the Committee, that at a proper season no Member of the Government would shrink from a fair exposition of his sentiments on this subject. But, as he considered that neither the present tenure, nor the future appropriation, of the Church property of Ireland were then before the Committee, and, as the Committee was then called upon to decide upon a case which was only a part of that great measure, he thought that Ministers had exercised a discretion which it would not have been amiss had others also exercised, in confining themselves strictly to the discussion of the Resolution then before the Committee. He thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have candour enough to admit, that when either his noble friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or himself, had had questions broadly put to them, they had not been slow in giving them an answer.
Sir Robert Inglis
was also desirous to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland. He wished to know whether his right hon. friend, after 1155 gaining the assent of the Committee to this Resolution, intended to consider, not merely the rights of the present incumbents, but also the rights of the Church in perpetuum? [cheers]. He valued those cheers much, for he saw the animus with which they were given, and they would teach the Protestant people of England what they had to expect from those who gave them. Those cheers showed that those who raised them were prepared, not merely to take away one or two prebendal stalls, but even to sweep away the entire establishment of the Church. He asked this question, and he was led to ask it by the observation of the hon. member for Middlesex—he asked, whether, by assenting to this Resolution, the Committee were to be led step by step to that point at which they would find at last all the rights of the Church forfeited?
must decline giving any answer to that question at present, as he could only answer it satisfactorily by entering into a detailed explanation of his intentions on this subject—an explanation for which there was not time that evening, and which could not be given in an abridged shape, without incurring the risk of its being in all its parts misinterpreted.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
said, that, to bring the sincerity of the Ministry to a test, he would move as an Amendment, that the following words be added to the Resolution then before the Committee, "and we trust that in any such arrangement the House will provide for an appropriation of tithes in more accordance with their original institution and the feelings of the people of Ireland."
I ask the Committee whether there are any two men in the country who can apply the same meaning to this Amendment?
Mr. Philip Howard
rose in consequence of what had fallen from the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. He had supported the Resolutions which went to enforce the existing law; for, by the spirit, as well as by the letter of the law, whatever perils might menace his country, it was the duty of every honest patriot unflinchingly to cling. At the same time, in any re-appropriation of the Church revenues of Ireland which might take place under legislative sanction, it was far from being his opinion that the whole ought to be again devoted to the exclusive maintenance of the Established Church. Under a more equitable alloca- 1156 tion of that fund, without subtracting any portion from ecclesiastical purposes, the Presbyterian clergy might be assisted, if not altogether maintained—the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy, bound by benefits to their country and the constitution, would enjoy an independence and possess means for the cultivation of learning they did not now enjoy. The Protestant Established Church might still continue to be upheld in all temperate splendour, whilst the people of England would no longer be called upon to contribute to the Presbyterian clergy or to the college of Maynoot.
§ The Amendment was negatived. Original Resolution agreed to.
§ House resumed.