HC Deb 19 June 1833 vol 18 cc1012-4

The House resolved itself into a Committee on the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill.

On Clause 95—giving power to the Commissioners to agree with the patron for yearly allowance being read,

Mr. Goulburn

said, that one unjustifiable proposition was embodied in this Bill—that of taxing the clergy, even though the lay impropriator was the person to derive advantage.

Mr. Stanley

said, that the object of the Bill certainly was to tax the Church for the purposes of religion, and it could not be objected that the income of a clergyman should be augmented though the tithes were in the hands of a layman.

Mr. Shaw

said, that he had before, when the principle of the Bill was under discussion, objected to the clergy alone being taxed for the rest of the community, but that point being carried against his opinion, it was still but just that when by law the lay impropriator was bound to provide for the service of the Church, that the funds of the clergy should not be taxed for what another was legally bound to pay. He hoped the noble Lord was now prepared to assent to the proposition which he had before promised to take into consideration—namely, the allowing a summary remedy by petition against the lay impropriator who was bound by the express conditions of the grant or patent under which he held the tithes to maintain an officiating clergyman. That mode of summary relief had been recommended by the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, as was the case in respect of charitable donations, and under the 22nd Clause of the Bill then under consideration, the same remedy by petition was given against the clergy for enforcing payment of the tax. He might here be permitted to mention some cases of lay impropriators deriving large incomes from tithes, and contributing little or nothing to the support of the Church. In Doneraile, in the county of Cork, 1,000l. a-year was received, and but 13l. paid. In Drum downey, 800l. was received, and 6l. 13l. 4. paid—the same in Ballybeg, and from the parish of St. Catherine's, Cork, the lay impropriator derived 2,000l. a-year, and did not pay 1s. for the support of the Church or the performance of divine service. He was not at present drawing any distinction between tithes and other property in the hands of laymen, but merely asking on the part of the Church, whether the lay impropriator was by the grant under which he held expressly bound to pay?

Dr. Lushington

said, there were very few such cases in England; and begged to know from the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Shaw) whether they were of frequent occurrence in Ireland—as, if so, he thought the proposition of the hon. Member was a very reasonable one?

Mr. Shaw

Such cases were of frequent occurrence in Ireland, as the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry reported. He hoped that the noble Lord would assent to his proposal, and introduce a clause providing a summary remedy.

Lord Althorp

said, he should feel obliged to the hon. Gentleman for preparing such a clause. He would not object to its introduction.

Mr. Shaw

he would willingly prepare the clause and submit it to the noble Lord.

Mr. Henry Grattan

said that, if the lay impropriator received tithes without doing duty in return, the clergy received large sums for doing next to nothing.

Sir Robert Bateson

said, that the lay impropriators were bound by law to contribute towards the maintenance of the Church, for they derived all the profit from the tithes; and if it were even true, which he denied, that the clergy did little in return for their incomes, it was unquestionable that the lay impropriators did nothing towards the service of religion in the parishes from whence they derived their incomes. There could not be a more zealous or exemplary body of men than the Irish clergy.

Sir Robert Inglis

urged the necessity of the lay impropriators contributing, as by law they were bound to do, to the maintenance of the Church and the support of the officiating clergy.

Clause, with verbal Amendments agreed to; and the Clauses to the 118th agreed to. House resumed. Committee to sit again.