§ Mr. Charles Cavendish
presented a Petition from Pevensey, against the system of Tithes, and for Church Reform.
§ Mr. Herbert Curteis
said, that there was scarcely anything for which the people in that part of the country were more anxious than for Church Reform and a commutation of tithes. The vicar of the parish whence this petition came was a pluralist, and had not done duty there for seventeen years. However, he must do him the justice to say, that he was not opposed to Church Reform, though himself a glaring instance of its necessity. The English people would not be satisfied without they received equal relief with the Irish.
§ Mr. Gillon
said, that he was a proprietor of lands in that vicinity, and was most earnest in wishing that the prayer of that petition should be attended to. He considered that the Church had no indefeasible right to the property of the tithes, but that they belonged to the nation. As a Dissenter, he felt the hardship of the present Church system still more strongly. The system of tithes depressed the energies of the country, and increased pauperism by draining the country of its resources, and bestowing them on pluralists and absentees, as was the case in the present instance; it required a most comprehensive and searching reform.
§ Mr. Faithful
supported the petition. The Church had no indefeasible right to this property. A change in the present system would do more to raise up the agricultural interest than ten Parliamentary Reforms. As a Dissenter, he felt the tithe system to be a great hardship, and he hoped the grievances under which Dissenters laboured in this respect would not be lost sight of. In this case the incumbent being a pluralist and a nonresident, it made the matter as bad as it could be, even in Ireland.
§ Sir Charles Blunt
said, the clergyman in this case derived 1,200l. a-year from the parish, and made no return in any 762 way. Nothing could prove more strongly the necessity of Church Reform.
§ Petition laid on the Table.