HC Deb 11 March 1833 vol 16 cc477-88

Lord Althorp brought in a Bill to alter and amend the laws relating to the Temporalities of the Church in Ireland.

Sir Robert Inglis

could not omit that opportunity of stating, that, although he did not know particularly the different provisions of this Bill, he knew enough to enable him to say, that he completely disapproved of, and felt disgusted with, the principle of it. Indeed, the more he considered what the noble Lord had stated concerning it, the more he was disgusted with it. He hoped the noble Lord would lake care to have it printed and circulated among the Members of that House, and that sufficient time would be afforded for enabling them to make themselves masters of its details before the day appointed for the second reading.

Lord Althorp

said, the hon. Baronet seemed sufficiently aware of the nature and provisions of the Bill to say, that he felt disgusted with it. He should take care that the Bill be printed, and put into the hands of Members to-morrow morning. The principle of the Bill was sufficiently well known and understood, to justify him in proposing that it be read a second time on Wednesday next. It was most desirable that the Bill should pass the House as early as possible.

Sir Robert Inglis

did not, in the course of his experience, remember a case in which a bill of so much importance was pressed forward with so much inopportune eagerness and haste, as that thirty-six hours' notice only should be given, after it had been formally introduced, of its second reading. He complained, that while it involved the interests of many persons in the other parts of the empire, the discussion on its second reading should take place before copies of the Bill could, by any possibility, come into the possession of those who were most warmly interested in everyone of its provisions. He knew something, indeed, of the principle of the Bill, from the noble Lord's own statement on a former evening, and as far as he understood it, he was prepared to condemn it. Nevertheless, he contended, that in cases of this dption, the country should not be taken by surprise.

Colonel Davies

thought, if there was any occasion for complaint, it was, that the Bill had been too long delayed. As to what had been said by the hon. Baronet about hurrying it through the House, if thirty-six hours' notice was too short, and almost unexampled, he begged leave to refer the hon. Baronet, with all his experience, to the case of the Coercive Bill, which was read a first time on Monday, and a second time on the Wednesday following.

Mr. Shaw

reminded the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) that there were some items of calculation in the measure, which, with the short notice that had been given for the second reading, could not by possibility be properly investigated. In his view it was one of the most important bills ever brought before Parliament, and he could satisfy the noble Lord, that as such, It had been taken by the vast majority of the people in Ireland. He considered that it would be very improper indecently to press forward this measure, and he unaffectedly put it to the noble Lord's good feelings, whether Wednesday was not too early a day to be appointed for the second reading. At the same time he disclaimed putting forward any improper ground of delay on this occasion.

Lord Althorp

had stated, that the Bill would be printed and in the hands of Members to-morrow. He thought the principle and details of the Bill sufficiently well understood to enable them to discuss and competently decide upon the merits of the measure, and he did not see any reasonable ground for delaying its second reading beyond Wednesday, as he had formerly stated.

Sir Robert Peel

could hardly credit, that the noble Lord meant that a bill of such extraordinary importance, and which would not be in the hands of Members till Tuesday, should be read a second time on Wednesday. He had been asked many questions respecting its principles and provisions, and invariably answered, "Let us suspend our judgment till it comes before us in a tangible and examinable form." But would it not be a mere mockery to talk of duly examining and deliberately deciding upon a measure with which they were made acquainted only a few hours before they were called upon to express their opinion? There was no precedent for such uncalled-for haste; indeed, more time would be afforded for a bill of far less importance.

Mr. O'Connell

hoped, that the noble Lord would press the Bill forward as much as possible. The state of Ireland required that it should speedily pass into a law. Every Member knew the principles of the Bill, and they would be able to have the details in their hands to-morrow. He hoped, therefore, the noble Lord would not delay it.

An Hon. Member

said, as the principles of the Bill were involved in the details of it, he would suggest a short delay.

Mr. John Stanley

trusted that the noble Lord would not attend to any suggestion of the kind. It was most desirable, that remedial measure, which was one of many others, and which formed a distinguishing mark from that which they had to discuss this evening, should go forth to the world, and thereby prove that the House was anxious to pass a remedial measure as nearly as possible pari passu with the other Bill.

Mr. Wilks

hoped, the noble Lord, with all possible despatch, would let the present Bill go forth to the world, for it was one of which the people of Ireland universally approved.

Mr. Andrew Johnston

said, he could not see such an important measure pressed forward—a measure which would give the first stab to the Established Church, with any undue haste; and he was surprised that such a great measure should have only one day between the first and second readings. He, for one, would not seek to conciliate the hon. and learned member for Dublin, by bringing forward that Bill with such precipitancy. With respect to the other Bill, they all knew that a great necessity existed for it; but no such necessity existed for the present Bill. There were many reasons which induced him to press on the noble Lord the granting of more time.

Mr. Lefroy

said, that the other Bill for coercive measures was justified by the urgency of the case, but the present Bill introduced a principle of great magnitude and importance, namely—whether they were to have in Ireland an Established Church or not. He trusted that his Majesty's Government would, under the circumstance of the great importance of the preliminary question, give more time than twenty-four hours before they were called on to discuss it. He trusted, at least, they should have a few days.

Mr. Harvey

considered, that the Bill for the reformation of the Church of Ireland ought to be proceeded with, prior to the further argument on the Irish Coercive Bill, as it might supersede the necessity of that measure altogether. At the same time that he stated this, he could not subscribe to the doctrine or principles that had been laid down of that measure having undergone a discussion. The measure had been ushered into the House by the noble Lord opposite, no persons having delivered their opinions upon it, with the exception of the hon. member for Dublin; he considered it bad in detail, as upon that point the question would be, whether there should be a Church in Ireland, or not. He should wish both measures to be delayed. If the consideration of the Suppression Bill was delayed for a week or two, the other measure might be found altogether to supersede it.

Mr. Beaumont

trusted, that Ministers would not allow a single hour's delay to take place in the second reading of the Bill.

An Hon. Member,

did not consider, that the measure went far enough, and trusted that Ministers would extend its provisions when it came before the House in Committee.

Mr. Warburton

trusted, that not a single moment would be lost in forwarding the present Bill. They had it in the full and satisfactory evidence given before Sir 11. Parnell's Committee of last Session, that till the tithe question was finally settled, there would be no peace in Ireland. "What would, then, be the feelings of the people of that country, if they found this measure, remedial of their great grievance, delayed, while the coercive measure was not impeded in its progress.

Lord Althorp

should regret much to lose the confidence of any Gentleman upon such a question as this; nevertheless, if it would give satisfaction to any number of the hon. Members opposite, he was willing that the second reading should take place on Thursday, instead of Wednesday.

Mr. Maurice O'Connell

said, that the delay of this measure proved how little his Majesty's Ministers were entitled to the confidence of the Irish people.

Colonel Conolly

said, that as this Bill involved the existence of the Protestant religion, the welfare of the Church tenantry, and even in some degree the integrity of the monarchy, and the permanence of connexion between the two countries, he thought it was not one which should be so precipitated in its passage through that House, as not to be known in the country where it was to operate, till it became the law. The hon. member for Bridport spoke as if he thought this measure would dispose of the tithe question; but it would do no such thing. It involved, however, other interests, which deserved the utmost deliberation, and serious attention of that House.

Mr. Slaney

said, the noble Lord (Al thorp) had a most difficult task to perform. Gentlemen of extreme opinions called upon him to pursue diametrically opposite courses; and it became sincere men, who belonged to neither extreme, to throw their weight into the scale of moderation. Those men must feel most anxious that this, which was a conciliatory Bill, should, at least, make equal progress with the coercive Bill. He had voted for the coercive Bill with regret and sorrow, because he thought himself compelled to do so by necessity; but he must protest against any further delay of the present measure than that which the noble Lord had acceded to.

Mr. Charles J. Kemyss Tynte

said, that he disagreed with Ministers upon the coercive measure, but quite concurred with them upon this Bill, and hoped, therefore, that no further delay would take place.

Lord John Russell

said, he could not believe that what was insinuated by the hon. member for Tralee could possibly take place, namely, that the delay of a single day in bringing forward this Bill would induce the people of Ireland to withdraw their confidence from this House. He was sure that the people of Ireland were not so unjust, as from such a circumstance to conclude this House was indisposed to redress their grievances.

Lord Darlington

thought the House would have reason to complain, if a measure of this importance were hastily passed through Parliament. He did not say, that it should not be passed pari passu with the coercive Bill; but if the noble Lord thought so, why did he not press forward this Bill at an earlier period?

Bill read a first time.

Upon the Question that it be read a second time on Thursday,

Sir R. Peel

said, he would put it to the noble Lord to say whether or not it was a fair ground to state that, because he wanted to satisfy the people of Ireland, he was about to introduce a conciliatory measure, in order to justify his coercive Bill, that therefore only one or two days should be suffered to elapse between the printing of the Bill, and the second reading of it. It was on the 12th of February that the noble Lord obtained permission to bring in this Bill. Why had not the noble Lord brought it in sooner? If he required additional time to that usually taken between obtaining leave to bring in a Bill, and actually bringing it in, was it not too much, after taking that unusual time, to deprive the House of two or three days, which they desired to have after the first reading, for the purpose of discussing he Bill. He asked for no delay whatever that could carry with it the suspicion that he wanted to defeat the Bill—he asked only for that delay which would enable Members to consider and pronounce upon it. The House might refuse delay with respect to the Bill already under discussion, if the noble Lord pleased, but he protested against the House being called upon to deal with a matter of this importance—to decide upon the principle of it—without giving even three days for consideration. He would venture to say such a proposition never had been made by any Government; and such a proposition never could have been thought of by any but the present Government. Let the House contrast the course which had been pursued with respect to the coercive measure, with that now proposed. The House permitted the noble Lord to bring forward that important measure, without asking him rigidly to adhere to the established course, perhaps with sufficient reason; but had there not been a most lengthened discussion on the first reading of that Bill? The first reading of this Bill had taken place with an evidence of so little disposition to offer unnecessary delay, that it had been read almost without a single word having been said upon it; and that being the case, he would say, that to have the second reading' fixed for Wednesday or Thursday, Was too early to admit of the House pronouncing on the principles of the Bill. He wanted no delay that was unnecessary. He would venture to say the noble Lord would find a very different course pursued upon this Bill to that which had been pursued upon the coercive Bill; but it was hardly fair, presuming upon that, that he was to treat the House in such a way as it had never before been treated by any Government whatever. There were several parts of this Bill which he approved of—there were others which required explanation; and he asked the noble Lord to trust to his knowledge of uniform parliamentary proceedings, and to consider that Monday next would not be too soon to fix for the second reading of this Bill. The noble Lord would not find any undue delay wished for, but surely the noble Lord ought to contrast the proceeding on this occasion with that on the coercive Bill. He did not think this Bill, which was to exlinguish ten Bishops, to alter the whole tenure of Church lands, to alter the interests, not only of the Church, but of the lessees under it—above all, to appropriate part of the revenues of the Church to secular purposes—he did not think it was unreasonable to ask for four days' delay between the first and second readings of such a Bill. If the noble Lord wished to reconcile parties who entertained strong objections to this Bill—if he wished to convince them of the necessity and of the justice of it, it was to be hoped that he would only pursue that course which was consistent with the usage of the House.

Lord Althorp

said, that a considerable time had elapsed since the plan of his Majesty's Government, with respect to Reform in the Church of Ireland, had been laid before the House, but, unfortunately, there had been some delay in preparing the Bill—a delay solely arising out of difficulties connected with the details of the measure, and not at all with reference to the principle of the Bill; they never felt the slightest doubt with respect to that. The House, of course, must know, from the statements he had made long ago, what was the principle of the Bill; and to decide upon that was all that they should have to do upon the second reading. They would be as competent to discharge that duty on Thursday as on any other day; and as to the supposed difference between Thursday and Monday, he confessed that, to him, it did not appear of any importance, and he felt quite assured, that Members would find it as easy to make up their minds upon it—that was upon the principle of the measure—on one day as on the other. The House had been for some weeks aware of the principle of the Bill. There was no great merit in hon. Members agreeing to the first reading of such a Bill—to do so was merely to act in accordance with the acknowledged practice of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman could not fail to recollect, that when the Bill was brought in for Catholic Emancipation, there was no debate on the first reading of the Bill—the discussion which arose took place on the motion for leave to bring in the Bill; indeed, there was not a single case which he could recollect, on which a discussion took place on a first reading of a Bill, until the introduction of the coercive measure for Ireland. He must repeat, before he sat down, that he could not accede to the proposed delay, for as the decision of Thursday could only have reference to a matter of principle, and involved no details, he thought that every Member in that House could be prepared to give his vote on the question, for or against.

Colonel Perceval

thought, that the present being one of a series of encroachments, he could not see on what ground the noble Lord persisted in his refusal to give time.

Mr. Beaumont

said, that seeing from what quarter the proposition for delay came, his Majesty's Ministers would lose the confidence of the Irish people, if it were acceded to.

Lord Sandon

trusted the noble Lord's determination would not be influenced by any such consideration as that suggested by the last speaker. As far as he was able to judge of the Bill, he approved of its main outlines, but he thought that on a subject of so much importance, the proposition for a few days' delay was not unreasonable. It had always been the practice of the old Parliament to give the minority fair play—to allow them time to examine and state their objections to every measure that was proposed. He trusted that this good habit would be continued in the Reformed Parliament.

Mr. Aglionby

hoped Ministers would consent to no delay in passing this measure. It should be recollected that there was another Bill passing through that House, applicable to Ireland, of a very different character from the Church Reform Bill. It was very important, therefore, that there should be no delay in the measure of conciliation. It was very desirable to conciliate Gentlemen opposite, but it was far more desirable to conciliate a nation than any set of Gentlemen in that House.

Mr. Barlow Hoy

wished to remind the hon. Member who spoke last, that conciliation might be carried too far. He could not see upon what principle Ministers could oppose the short delay that was required.

Mr. Baring

doubted if such conduct, in reference to such a measure, had ever before been pursued in that House. At best the Bill could only be in the hands of Members on Tuesday, and it was clear, that between that and Thursday there could not be time to communicate with the part of the country to be chiefly affected by the measure. The Bishops' tenants were all most deeply interested in the result of the measure, and between that moment and Thursday it would be impossible to communicate with them, even if they replied by return of post. He complained, too, that it was most unfair in the majority so to treat the minority, as they never before had been treated in Parliament. Another matter of which he thought he had a right to complain was, that the noble Lord had not stated what was the general course which he intended to pursue with regard to the Irish Church, or with regard to the Established Church generally. Notice had been given of a Motion on the subject of tithes in England, but what the nature of the intended measure on that subject was, they had not yet been given to understand; they were therefore coming to the discussion of a subject of the highest importance in a state of complete ignorance. He put it to the House—was such a mode of legislating to be endured? He put it to the noble Lord to say, whether he felt that he was acting fairly, and in consonance with the principles upon which he had always hitherto acted, thus to take advantage of the circumstance of having such a majority at his back, to deny the minority that fair play to which they had so long been accustomed in that House. The noble Lord proposed to remodel the English Church Establishment, the East India trade, the West-India—all those interests on which the country was most anxious. Was the House to be called upon to dispose of all those interests in the same summary manner in which it was proposed to deal with the Irish Church? Without entering into the merits of the Bill, he must protest against the course now pursued—it was an example which he was surprised to find the noble Lord the first to set; and, if he went out of the House alone, he should think it his duty to divide against it.

Lord John Russell

was convinced that no man would come down to that House on Thursday who was not prepared either to vote for or against the principle of the Bill—and it was the principle, and not the details, that was then to be dealt with. The details must necessarily be the subject of discussion when the Bill went into Committee, His noble friend (Lord Al thorp), when moving for leave to bring in the Bill, on the 12th February, had stated I he general outline, and the question on the second reading would be, whether the House was prepared to adopt that general outline. In reference to what had fallen from the hon. member for Cockermouth (Mr. Aglionby), he must be allowed to say that he could see no necessary connexion between the Irish Church Reform Bill and what was called the Coercive Bill. If grievances were to be redressed, it was the duty of the Legislature to redress them; and if outrages were to be restrained, it was the duty of the Legislature to restrain them. The measures were perfectly distinct, and ought to be considered separately; and he could not assent to the doctrine which it seemed to be a fashion to hold, that the two Bills should go through that House together. At the same time, it was expedient for Parliament to come as soon as possible to some determination on the principle of the Irish Church Reform Bill, in order that the country might see whether it was disposed to give that relief which the present Bill proposed.

Sir Robert Inglis

begged leave to say that he felt it his duty, at every stage, to make objections to the Bill. He was certainly justified in requesting the noble Lord to take care that a sufficient interval should take place between the first and second reading, so as to enable those whose interests were chiefly affected to have some knowledge of the measure. He thought that less than six days would scarcely enable gentlemen to properly consider and determine upon this matter.

Mr. Robinson

was favourable to the principle of the measure, but recommended the noble Lord not to be precipitate, as it might be a dangerous precedent, and as it was most desirable that this great question should be discussed with calmness, moderation, and good temper.

Sir Francis Vincent

had voted with great repugnance for the Irish coercive measure, merely in consequence of the professions of his Majesty's Government to bring forward, without delay, remedial measures, and he thought it exceedingly desirable that as little time should elapse as possible, before the second reading of the Irish Church Reform Bill.

Mr. Petre

said, with respect to the principle of the Bill, it was well known, and he trusted the noble Lord would not give way.

The House divided: Ayes 187; Noes 46—Majority 141.

Bill to be read a second time on Thursday.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, rt. hon. James Grey, hon. Col.
Gronow, Capt. R. H.
Aglionby, Henry A. Guest, Josiah J.
Althorp, Viscount Gully, J.
Astley, Sir John Hall, B.
Attwood, T. Harland, Wm. C.
Baldwin, Mr. Harvey, Daniel W.
Bannerman, Alex. Hawes, B.
Barnard, E. G. Hawkins, John H.
Barron, H. W. Hay, Colonel A. L.
Beauclerk, Maj. A. W. Heathcote, John
Beaumont, T. W. Heneage, George F.
Benett, J. Hill, Lord Arthur
Berkeley, Capt. M. F. Hill, Lord Marcus
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. C.
Bewes, T.
Biddulph, R. M. Hornby, Edmund G.
Blackney, W. Horne, Sir Wm.
Brodie, Wm. B. Hudson, T.
Brotherton, J. Hume, J.
Brougham, J. Humphery, J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. W. Hutt, W.
Buller, E. Hyett, W. H.
Buller, C. Ingilby, Sir W. A.
Bulteel, J. C. James, W.
Burdett, Sir F. Johnston, A.
Campbell, Sir J. Lalor, P.
Chaytor, Sir W. Lamb, hon. G.
Chichester, J. P. B. Lamont, Capt. N.
Cobbett, Wm. Langdale, hon. C.
Codrington, Sir E. Langston, J. H.
Collier, J. Leech, J.
Colquhoun, J. C. Lefevre, Charles S.
Daunt, W. J. Lemon, Sir C.
Davenport, J. Lennox, Lord J. G.
Davies, Colonel T. H. Lennox, Lord Arthur
Denison, W. J. Lister, Ellis C.
Dobbin, L. Loch, James
Donkin, Sir R. S. Lynch, A. H.
Dundas, Capt. J. W. Maclachlan, L.
Dykes, F. L. Macnamara, Maj. W.
Ebrington, Visct. Macnamara, F.
Ellice, Edward. Madocks, J.
Ellis, Wynn. Marshall, John
Elliott, hon. Capt. G. Martin, T. B.
Ewart, Wm. Martin, John
Ewing, J. Maxwell, John
Faithfull, G. Methuen, Paul
Fenton, J. Mildmay, P. St. John
Ferguson, R. Molesworth, Sir W.
Ferguson, Sir R. C. Morpeth, Viscount
Fielden, W. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Finn, W. F. Neale, Adm. Sir H. B.
Fitzgerald, T. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Fitzsimon, C. O'Connell, D.
Fitzsimon, N. O'Connell, M.
Fort, J. O'Connell, C.
Galwey, J. M. O'Connell, Morgan
Gillon, Wm. D. O'Connell, J.
Gordon, R. O'Connor, D.
Gore, M. O'Connor, Fergus
Goring, Harry D. O'Dwyer, A. C.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. R. G. Ord, Wm. H.
Ormelie, Earl of
Grattan, J. Oswald, R. A.
Grattan, H. Oswald, James
Palmer, General C. Staveley, John K.
Parker, John Stewart, Sir M. S.
Parrott, Jasper Strickland, George
Pendarves, E. W. Strutt, Edward
Peter, W. Talbot, James
Petre, hon. Edward Tayleure, William
Phillips, Sir George Tennyson, rt. hon. C.
Philips, M. Thomson, right hon. C. P.
Potter, Richard
Poulter, J. S. Throckmorton, R. G.
Rickford, W. Todd, J. Ruddell
Rippon, C. Tracy, Charles A.
Robarts, A. W. Trelawney, W. L. S.
Roche, D. Turner, William
Roche, W. Tynte, C. K. K.
Roebuck, J. A. Tynte, C. J. K.
Rolfe, Robert M. Vigors, N. A.
Romilly, John Vincent, Sir Francis
Romilly, Edward Vivian, John H.
Ronayne, Dominick Wallace, R.
Rorke, J. H. Warburton, H.
Ross, Capt. H. Ward, Henry George
Rotch, B. Watson, hon. R.
Russell, Lord Wedgwood, Josiah
Russell, Lord C. J. F. Wilks, John
Scholefield, J. Williams, Colonel G.
Sharpe, General M. Williamson, Sir H.
Sheppard, Thomas Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Sinclair, George Wood, Matthew
Slaney, Robert A. Wood, Charles
Smith, John A. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Stanley, Hon. H. T. Young, George F.
Staunton, Sir G. T.
List of the NOES.
ENCLAND. Somerset, Lord G.
Ashley, Lord Stanley, E.
Baring, A. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Raring, H. B. Willoughby, Sir H.
Baring, W. B. IRELAND.
Bethell, R. Christmas, J. N.
Blackstone, W. S. Cole, Lord
Bruce, Lord E. Conolly, Col. E. M.
Cartwright, W. R. Corry, Hon. H. L.
Chapman, A. Gladstone, T.
Dare, R. W. H. Jones, Captain T.
Darlington, Earl of Lefroy, D.
Egerton, W. T. Maxwell, H.
Fox, S. L. Maxwell, J.
Gladstone, W. E. Perceval, Colonel
Grimston, Viscount Shaw, F.
Hanmer, Sir J. Verner, Col. W.
Hoy, J. B. Young, J.
Inglis, Sir R. SCOTLAND.
Nicholl, J. Agnew, Sir A.
Norres, Lord Arbuthnot, Gen. H.
Peel, right hon. Sir R. Ferguson, G.
Pugh, D. Hope, Sir A.
Robinson, G. R. TELLERS.
Sandon, Viscount Ross, C.
Scarlett, Sir J. Stormont, Viscount