presented a Petition from a place in Meath, complaining of the enforcement of Tithes, and praying for relief.
§ Mr. Hume
supported the prayer of the Petition. The people of England as well as those of Ireland would no longer voluntarily submit to that tax. They were determined that both tithes and Church rates should he abolished. Ministers, he must say, did not deal fairly. They dismissed men from office who attended liberal meetings, while they allowed those who attended meetings of their enemies to go unpunished. That was not even-handed justice, he warned the Ministers that the people would no longer support them in such a course.
§ Mr. Sheil
certainly could not see any good reason why Sir Richard Nagle had been dismissed for attending tithe meetings. The Irish Church had been distinguished for the mischief it had done—it had destroyed the Whig Government in 1807. It had destroyed the Government of the Duke of Wellington, and he did not say it would destroy the present Government; but it was high time Ministers looked to the probable consequences of their own actions.
§ Mr. Finn
said, that Ministers had dismissed Colonel Butler from the Magistracy in Kilkenny, and the consequence was, that the people had dismissed the Ministerial candidate, and sent Colonel Butler to that House. He had also been sent to the House by the people to aid the Colonel in protecting their rights, and support the Ministers while they did that, and he would not support them one moment longer.
§ Lord John Russell
admitted the propriety of dealing with all those who attended public meetings on the same principle. As long as a man only gave free vent to his political opinions, he deserved no punishment, but between that and attending meetings of which the avowed object was to resist the law, there was a broad distinction. He was not precisely aware of the facts of the case alluded to, but he had no doubt it was upon that principle that his noble friends had acted.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.