HC Deb 30 July 1834 vol 25 cc755-74

The House w nt into Committee on the Tithes (Ireland) Bill. The consideration of clause 3 was resumed.

Mr. O'Connell

said, by the present clause the King was sunk into the condition of the owner and levyer of the tithes of Ireland, and the duty of collecting them was paid for by the law officer of the Crown, and the expense of the collection fell on the people. He objected to the clause because it placed the King in hostility with the people; and the declaration that tithes should be paid was a declaration of war against the people, for they would have to compel the payment by force of arms. When 60,000l. of arrears of tithe lately due to the Crown had to be collected, Lord Anglesey declared, that he would collect it to the last farthing with the whole force of the British crown. What followed? That declaration raised a general spirit of resistance. In the neighbourhood with which he was connected, for instance, it rose to insurrection; the peasantry and the troops came into collision, and several lives were lost; and what was the final consequence? Why, the 60,000l. was abandoned. When the House was called on to incur the responsibility of paying the amount of tithes, would it be prepared to make good the payment, and hand over till the 1st of November an Exchequer bill to each claimant for his amount? There were two things the House should consider—first, the amount proposed to be raised; and secondly, those from whom it was to be raised. Now, the great source of the popular discontent in Ireland was the levying of tithes to the full amount, and from the poor; and if the Government now pursued the same course, instead of tranquillizing the country, they would raise a civil war there, while at the same time they would embarrass the public funds. The Government offered an appeasing bonus to the rich. But it was not from the rich but from the poor hostility was to be apprehended. The plan of the noble Lord was, to levy the full amount, and the Government said, that so pressing was the necessity for pacifying Ireland, that they could not wait till next Session. But let the House consider their process of pacification. They proposed to levy the full amount, against which the people cried out and stood out, and levy it on the very persons who made resistance. Surely if they hoped to pacify the country, they would not still call into existence the same causes of disturbance, but would rather change the amount and the persons who should be forced to pay, or at all events postpone the measure to another time. But in place of doing either of these things they rushed on in the old course, which would only be a revival and aggravation of former discontent and disturbance. Was there ever such inconsistency? That might indeed be called a blundering Irish mode of legislation. He would propose to take the burthen off the poor occupiers, and place it on the landlords, and also diminish the amount. With that he should commence. He would make it compulsory on the landlords immediately to make the payments. The present plan of Government showed a foolish sort of cunning in laying traps and holding out baits to the landlords. It was not wisdom, for wisdom was open and straightforward, and did not resort to by-ways. They should rather court the people and mitigate their sufferings; but in place of that, they said they would call out the King's troops to collect the present amount. But they would fail in obtaining the co-operation of the landlords, for many landlords could not enter into the composition. Some were abroad, some were minors, some were lunatics. Besides, many of them were embarrassed in a pecuniary sense; all these could not accede to the proposed terms. Not long ago nine-tenths of the property of Connaught was mortgaged; he believed much of it was so at present; and when the landlords were embarrassed, the tenantry, it could not be expected, should be in the most prosperous state. He recollected Lord Redesdale saying once in a Connaught case, that it was monstrous that a tenant should delay the payment of his rent three months; he should be prepared with a cheque to the very day. There was not a Connaught man in court who did not burst into a fit of laughter in his face. In fact the landlords who wanted the bonus most could not from their embarrassments receive it. The Bill, he would affirm, could not be carried into operation, for it afforded no relief to the people, though the Government were foolish enough to fancy they could tame the people into submission by throwing salt on the tails of the Irish landlords. He repeated, then, that he would immediately make it compulsory on the landlords. Nothing could be more unwise than to leave the people to pay the tithes, and to call out the troops, and array them against the whole body of the people. They should avoid exhibiting the military in contrast with the people. There were 11,000 persons in Ireland, each of whom paid tithes not exceeding one shilling each. Would it not be ludicrous to send out an armed force to levy these sums? When it was proposed in Rome to put on the slaves a particular dress, the proposal was rejected, and the reason was, Ne servi nos numerare possent. The different modes of rating parishes was not the least objectionable part of the Bill; in one parish there was one mode; in another, another mode. In one parish one man took the payment on himself, and paid sixty per cent; in another, he refused, and was assessed to the full amount. All these things would be known in Ireland though they might not be fully reported in that House; indeed he was not much surprised at that, for it was not one reporter in ten that understood those details of law. Besides, the subject might not be very interesting to the British public, though it was vitally important to the British Government and the Irish people. He would propose, that in place of all the tithes now claimed under the composition, there should be substituted three-fifths of the whole amount, and that this sum should, in place of being laid on those named in the clause, be laid on those hereafter mentioned. That would give an immediate bonus of forty per cent to all, and everybody would understand it. To pay only 12s. in the pound would undoubtedly be a relief to the Irish slaves, at which they would rejoice. Oh! would those white slaves were blacks! If they were, then would the House lend them its warmest sympathy—then would the hon. member for Weymouth appear in his place, large as life, crying out against the sufferings of the Irish blacks, and proposing to grant the poor negroes twenty millions. He therefore had no doubt that if it should be necessary to grant a small sum to carry his plan into effect, that the Commons would readily grant it. England owed a large debt to Ireland for seven centuries of oppression, and she should now think of doing her justice. The hon. Member then moved a resolution to the effect stated in his speech.

Mr. Littleton

repeated the reasons he had so often before advanced in favour of fixing the period for the establishment of a compulsory rent-charge at six years. He had no apprehension that the Government would be unable to levy the tax. The proposition of the hon. and learned Member involved too important a principle to be discussed without formal notice, and therefore he suggested that it should be withdrawn for the present, and on a formal notice discussed on bringing up the Report. His own impression was unfavourable; but if it should appear that making the rent-charge compulsory at once would be more satisfactory to the Irish landlords, he, on the part of the Government, saw no objection to such a course. At the same time he could not pledge the Government.

Lord Clements

thought nothing could be worse than the footing upon which the right hon. Secretary for Ireland was ready to put the question. It was the good of the whole of the people, and not of the landlords only, that they had to consult. The question had been long before the House, and might at once be dealt with. He also thought the right hon. Secretary was wrong in his expectation that the Government would be able to collect the land-tax. He was decidedly favourable to charging the landlord at once.

Mr. O'Grady

concurred with the noble Lord, but thought the landlords of Ireland knew their own interest too well to dissent from the plan proposed. Sir Edmund Hayes could by no means agree with the noble Lord who had just spoken, in recommending that the rent charge should at once be made compulsory on the landlords. It would be most unjust in them to do that till the property in tithe was established and secure. Such a course appeared to him most arbitrary and unjust towards the landlords, and at the same time he feared would endanger the property of the Church; be- cause it was calculated to obstruct instead of producing that co-operation and acquiescence on the part of the landlords, which all admitted to be so desirable, if not necessary, for the satisfactory settlement of this question. The Secretary for Ireland was quite right when he said, that a value and consistency must be given to tithe property by the intervention of the power of the Crown, before he could expect that landlords, in justice, should be compelled to bear the rent charge. It must surely be recollected, that the combination and spirit of fierce hostility organized by the member for Dublin was not dead—it only slept because no demand for payment had been made; all the materials for that resistance which already had been the cause of so many difficulties, were still in existence, and could be called into active operation the moment it suited the purpose of those who had already stimulated it. How, then, with any semblance of fair dealing, could the landlords be compelled to bear this charge, before the Government had insisted on the fulfilment of the law, and restored some confidence to the owners of property, especially if it were proposed to place upon them the burthen of the arrears also. The member for Limerick said, that it was only a question of time, because in the year 1839 the Bill would make it compulsory. Undoubtedly, that was true; but the interval of time made a material difference. Long before that time elapsed, something must be done to settle this question permanently—either such an appropriation must be made as to satisfy those who called for a different one, and thus render it more easy to collect the money; or else the Government would have at length discovered that they could concede no further—that concession did not stop demands—that the opponents of the law must be vigorously put down—and then the landlords might, without so much risk and inconvenience, take upon themselves the payment of the charge. He hoped that the Government would not yield this matter, and for his part he would certainly oppose the amendment.

Mr. Walker

hoped the Government would adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, and by doing so give peace to Ireland.

Mr. Secretary Rice

considered the proposition as one of great importance, and one, too, in furtherance of the principle of the Bill. Indeed in all measures since 1832 it appeared to have been more or less the object to throw on the landlord the payment of tithes to the relief of the occupying tenant. The present proposition, however, went further than that, and had due notice been given of it, he should have been ready to entertain it. He thought, however, that notice ought to be given of a matter of so much importance. He was certainly favourable to the principle, and he thought it ought to be finally adopted; but still no person ought to be left able to say, that he had been taken by surprise.

Sir Robert Peel

quite agreed, that there could not be a subject better worthy of consideration than that of the means by which they could best charge the landlord in Ireland with the payment of the tithes to the release of the occupying tenant. At the same time he felt great objection to their attempting to decide upon such an important question at that extremely late period of the Session. It could not be denied, that the good will of the landlords was most essential, and, unless the Legislature had their good will, it would be impossible to make the alteration a benefit. For the change to be efficacious too, the provision must be compulsory; and then came the question how could they with justice or with propriety impose such a responsibility on the landlord, without giving him any notice of their intentions. He did not believe that there were at present a sufficient number of Irish landlords in the metropolis to form a fair representation of the general feeling of that body. He threw out these remarks merely as suggestions. But if the proposition were resolved upon, something must, in justice to the landlords, be done by Government with reference to the arrears. There had now been two years of intermission in the collection of tithes in Ireland; and, however the question might now be shrunk from, the time must come when the law must be vindicated. The proposition now with respect to arrears was that two-fifths should be cancelled. But would the persons owing 1s. be content to pay 8d. or 9d., because, by passive resistance they had a portion of the debt remitted? The hon. and learned member for Dublin had asked, "What! would they call out the military to collect 1s.?" But he would ask the hon. and learned Member, What! would he call out the military to collect 8d.? The time must come when the Government would have to vindicate the law; and the law must be vindicated before there could be any just and satisfactory settlement of the question. He decidedly thought, that it was for the benefit of all parties concerned that the landlord should take upon himself the payment of tithe to the release of the occupying tenant; but he would also take good care to encourage as much as possible the principle of redemption. That appeared to him the just and best, or only way of really settling the question. He did not, however, think, that after the Session they had had, they could hope to consider with any good effect a Bill for such an object in the month of August. At present the vindication of the law ought to be the first object, and when they had taught persons who had refused a legal payment that the law was paramount, then they might well call upon the landlord to take the part which would at once be beneficial to the community and himself. At the same time he must say, that he despaired of the question being settled satisfactorily by any scheme in which redemption was not included; and still more he despaired of being able to come to any setttlement of the question while the great majority of Irish landlords were out of town.

Mr. O'Connell

said, he had been mistaken by the right hon. Baronet upon one or two points. He had not pressed his plan hastily upon Government—on the contrary, he had proposed it on the 2nd or 3rd of May, and some observations had been made upon it in another place. But to come to the point under discussion, let them simplify the machinery of the present Bill, by the adoption of his amendment. Instead of extending the operation of the Bill to 1839, let Ministers come fairly forward and meet him and those who thought with him, and the whole measure would pass the House in the two next sittings. It had been urged, that the property of Ireland was for the most part Protestant property, and the Protestant landlords or their representatives ought to be consulted upon a measure of this kind. So they ought. But why were they not there to be consulted? Why were they not present to deliberate upon a measure calculated to afford relief both to themselves and their tenantry? He wished not to say a word between Ca- tholic and Protestant landlords beyond this, that, from all that he had known and heard, he believed that Protestant landlords behaved generally better to their tenants than Catholic landlords. He would, in conclusion, press upon Government the necessity of adopting his amendment; or, if they were determined to carry their own, to make the measure at once compulsory upon the landlords. They might be at first a little frightened at the raising of the flag; but let it be once firmly fixed, they would support it with firmness and decision. They would do so the more willingly, because they would feel that, in acting in obedience to the law, they were advancing alike their own interests and those of their tenantry.

Mr. Littleton

denied the assertion made by his right hon. friend, the member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), and called upon him to show any case in which assistance was called for in aid of the collection of tithes, where it was refused by the Government; whenever it was found that tithes could not be collected without force, force was supplied, but in no other instances.

Mr. Shaw

could not assent to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that the Government had supported tithe property as they ought. However, that question he would not argue then. No person could be more friendly to the principle of the burthen of the tithe being transferred from the occupying tenant to the landlord than he was, and he had supported all the measures for that purpose which had been introduced by the late right hon. Secretary for the Colonies. All he maintained was, that, until the authority of the law was restored by the collection of tithes, the necessity of which had been so strongly stated by the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland, the landlords could not consent to take the payment upon themselves. Besides, the landlords of Ireland were not generally in those very affluent circumstances, to be able to meet an unexpected payment of this nature on the first of November next. It would fall, too, most heavily upon the fair and the just landlord, who did not place upon his tenant a nominal rent higher than he was able to pay. The redemption, which was now to be abandoned, would have been the inducement to the landlords to take upon themselves the payment of the tithe. He was very desirous scrupulously to guard against that which, perhaps, many Irish Members in that House would be happy to promote—namely, a collision of interest between the Irish landlords and the clergy of the Established Church in that country. The uncertain state of the public mind on this whole question of tithe, induced by the conduct of the Government for the last three years, was the greatest bar to the satisfactory settlement of the question; and the very offer of an unreasonably large bonus had a tendency to throw suspicion upon the security and permanency of any arrangement that might be proposed.

Lord Althorp

said, the right hon. member for Tamworth was mistaken if he supposed that Ministers were not anxious to extend the most immediate and effective relief to the tenantry of Ireland; but, in looking to and considering that part of the case, they felt that they had no right—that, indeed, they would not be justified in throwing at once a burthen upon the Irish landlords, which they might be found unwilling to bear. He thought, after the opinions expressed by the hon. member for Leitrim, the hon. and learned member for Dublin, and other hon. Gentlemen, who did not generally act with Government, that this was a decided point. He would say, in answer to the observations of the hon. and learned member for Dublin this evening, that the question of making the measure at once compulsory upon the landlords had been seriously considered by himself and his colleagues, and the result of their consideration was, that they had no right to impose at once such a compulsory measure upon them, but that it would be better to give them, up to a certain period, an optional chance of collecting tithes, three-fifths of the amount of which they would only be responsible for. However desirable the other course might be, it would be the grossest injustice to put it in force against the Irish landlords—an injustice of which they would have a right to complain, and the more so because such a measure, instead of producing good, would do general injury to that country. Before this burthen could be laid upon the landlord, or, in other words, before he could fairly see his own interest in co-operating in support of the measure, it was necessary to let him know that the property was protected by law, and could be collected, and this once done, it would not, he thought, be necessary to go to the full distance of time contemplated by this Bill. But surely it was but fair and just that the landlords should be allowed time to see their way before they came in and acted in accordance with a Bill which, upon inquiry, they would find to be to their own advantage.

Mr. Perrin

was of opinion that the measure ought to be made compulsory upon the landlords, when it gave to them the power of levying 100l. where 60l. only was to be returned.

Mr. Sheil

said, it was not likely that they should, at the present late period of the Session get the opinions of the Irish landlords generally on this question; but there yet remained a sufficient number from the north, south, east and west, to give a pretty accurate opinion as to what the feelings of Irish landlords were upon the subject. The whole of the Bill was founded on the assumption of the right to enforce the tithe against the tenant. They proceeded against the tenant first; and if they failed, then the landlord was rendered liable. That was the fairer course. But here it was proposed to make the landlord a collector of tithes—a voluntary collector. Was not that the case? Was not that the overt argument of those who supported this Bill? But let the Committee look for a moment to the other side of the question; let them consider what the case would be if the tenant, when asked by his landlord for tithe, turned and said, "I owe you no tithe; you have no right to claim any from me; you have voluntarily placed yourself in the situation of a collector of tithes, and you must take the consequences. If the Government had passed a law to compel you to do this, I would at once feel that your demand was right, and I would try and pay it; but as you have taken the thing upon yourself, I will not pay you." Now would not this argument be at once done away with if the Bill made it compulsory on the landlord to collect the tithe? But how could such a measure be passed at so late a period of the Session? The only remedy proposed was contained in the Amendment of his hon. and learned friend, the member for Dublin, in which he fully and most cordially concurred. The question was, ought the land to pay or not? If it ought to pay now, nothing could interfere with the right of payment five years hence. The whole Bill was, in fact, founded on a case of exigency, and that case was, that, because they found it impossible to raise the tithes from the tenants much longer, they were determined to come upon the landlords. He objected to the Act altogether; but if it must be passed, he thought it should at once be made compulsory on the landlords; by doing this they would get rid of much of the complicated machinery of the Bill, and in that shape it might be passed by to morrow-night.

Mr. Anthony Lefroy

said, that though the hon. and learned member for Tipperary had amused the House by a supposed dialogue between an Irish landlord and his tenant, yet he had said nothing to change his opinion, which entirely coincided with what had fallen from his right hon. friend the member for Tamworth, that landlords should, at least, have an opportunity to consider the effects of the proposed measure before it was forced upon them; he, therefore, felt much satisfaction that the noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had in so decided a way expressed his determination to adhere to the proposal of leaving the redemption optional till the year 1839. With respect to the speech of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, he considered that the hon. and learned Member either was now obliged to admit that which he had so often denied—that the right to tithe was as just as to any other property, and, therefore, that he wished to place its whole burthen upon the landlord; or else, whilst he professed to protect that property, he was really endeavouring, to annihilate it, by proposing that the landlords should become subject to it—when, under present circumstances, they did not possess the means of reimbursing themselves—and, therefore, it must be lost to the Church; for it could not be maintained, that the landlord was to be at the entire loss, even in cases where leases were made, subjecting to the tithe. He must protest against the proposition of the hon. and learned Member, that the landlord should have such a responsibility fixed upon him without time for consideration, and this at a moment when the principal Irish landed proprietors were absent—at all events, till the Government had proved that the laws would be vindicated in the recovery of lithe property. He did not mean by calling out the military, but by such consti- tutional means as would be adopted for the protection and recovery of any other description of property. With reference to the assertion of the right hon. Gentleman, the secretary for Ireland, "that the Government had in all cases afforded assistance when applied for," he did not wish to deny it—but it was right to state that which he himself was an eye witness of; a case where the Government had given aid, and with the best effect; but, unfortunately, at the moment when the opposition was overcome, and the tithes were paying, the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had made use of the expression, that "tithe was done away with;" the very day that this news reached Ireland, the aid which had been given, with so good effect, was withdrawn by the Government, and the speech of the noble Lord was announced by the bellman through the market town. The consequence was, that from that moment all payment ceased, and the opposition became as determined as before. He (Mr. Anthony Lefroy) had already expressed in the House his opinion, that the discontent which existed in Ireland respecting tithe should be put an end to, as much as possible, by landlords taking the burthen upon themselves, and this even at the risk of much loss; but he maintained that it was unjust and unreasonable that they should not be allowed time for consideration, before they were placed in the invidious position of tithe-proctors, and this at a period when the Government had permitted the laws to be violated with impunity.

Mr. Abercromby

said, that whatever had been done, had had for its object to convince the Irish landlord of the interest which he had in supporting this measure, and to obtain his approval of it; but there was another and very material party to consult—namely, the Irish people. It was clear to all, that the value of this tithe property had been shaken in Ireland by recent events; and the object of the proposed law was to restore that property to its fair and just value—and that, too, within the shortest possible period of time, and with the smallest expense. He was one who, to use a word in common parlance, was most anxious to "vindicate the law;" but, whilst he entertained this feeling, he thought something ought to be done to conciliate the people. What was proposed by the present Bill? Why, that the landlords might, within two years, take the responsibility of collecting tithes with a bonus of forty per cent; a sum so large, that no compulsory act could be needed to induce them to adopt it. He would say, with every respect for the gentry of Ireland, that the landlords of that country must have minds differently constituted from those of gentlemen of other countries, if they abstained from availing themselves of such an offer. But to do this at once—that was, to make it compulsory upon them to take immediately that responsibility upon themselves—would be unfair. It was, indeed, urged that the tenant would not pay. [Mr. O'Connell said, that his hon. and learned friend (Mr. Sheil) said, that the tenant would not pay unless the law was compulsory on the landlord.] He was sorry if he had misunderstood the hon. and learned member for Tipperary.

Mr. Sheil

certainly had been misunderstood by the right hon. Gentleman. The observation he had made in support of a compulsory measure was—that otherwise the tenants would turn round upon the landlord, and say, "this is merely a voluntary act of your's, by which we are not bound, and you must take the consequences."

Mr. Abercromby

thought no answer had yet been given to the argument—the fact, he would call it—that if by this measure forty per cent was to be divided as a saving between landlord and tenant (and it was a mistake to suppose that the tenant would not participate in the benefit), any opposition would be offered by either the one party or the other.

Lord Clements

would vindicate the majesty of the laws if he knew how to do it. He considered this boon of great value to Ireland, and as such he would support this Bill in its integrity.

Mr. Callaghan

said, he would make nothing compulsory either upon landlords or tenants. He was sure that the people of Ireland would never pay tithes as tithes. He believed the Irish landlords were prepared for this change, and he thought that delay upon this question would be injurious and unjust. He was in favour of making the landlords pay a portion of the tithes, and he believed the landlords would pay a fair share in the commutation of tithes. He had tried a public meeting upon the adjustment of tithes, and had failed; so had the hon. member for Tip- perary (Mr. Sheil), and he had failed; and hence he argued that some measure like the present was absolutely necessary to promote the peace and tranquillity of Ireland. He was a receiver of tithes as well as a payer. He thanked the Government for their assistance; but this he would say, that in honesty he would not delay the measure. If the tithe was reduced in amount he thought it would be paid by the peasantry.

Mr. Lefroy

said, that if he concurred with the noble Lord, the member for the county of Leitrim, (Lord Clements), that the great body of the landlords of Ireland were satisfied with the proposal, and were ready to accede to it, he should concur in its adoption—and this would supersede the necessity of arguing the reasonableness of the proposition. But as a great difference of opinion existed amongst the Irish landlords who were present, it was not too much to infer that those who were absent differed in the same proposition—he was, therefore, driven to argue the reasonableness of the measure itself, and this he was also disposed to think was the wisest ground upon which to legislate. Now, as to the reasonableness of imposing this tax, in the first instance, upon the landlords, he would beg to ask, what gave rise to the necessity of this Bill? What but the difficulty that existed of collecting the tithes for the last two or three years? The tithes during that period were actually in abeyance. The question then was, as to the reasonableness of making the landlords amenable for the payment, whilst the right of collecting might be said to be actually in abeyance, by the suspension and desuetude of payment. He thought it, therefore, most unreasonable to throw this burthen upon the landlords, until a levy of tithe had been made and the law vindicated. If a person were about to purchase an estate, and he was told that the tenants owed a large arrear—that they had not in fact paid any rent for two or three years—that they resisted the payment—would not that materially affect the value of the purchase, and even the desirableness of the purchase itself? The question was not whether the landlords were to be left the option of finally taking upon themselves the payment, but whether they were to be compelled forthwith to take the payment on themselves. Another ground he would beg to urge to show the unreasonableness of the proposition was this, that there was an arrear of three years' tithes due throughout a great portion of Ireland. Now every Irish landlord was aware how much the difficulty of collecting the accruing rent was increased, if an arrear happened to be due; and yet the Amendment of the hon. and learned member for Dublin went to the extent of compelling the landlords to take upon themselves not only the accruing tithe, but the arrear of three years, which must be wiped off in five years. What further made it unreasonable was, that the landlord was to receive no compensation for the risk and expense he incurred in taking upon himself the payment. He was obliged to allow the full deduction to his tenant, without any allowance for the expense of collecting; he was not even to be allowed receiver's fees, or whatever sum he might be obliged to pay his own agent. Under these circumstances, he considered it an act of the grossest oppression to compel the landlords to take the payment upon themselves at once. It was said, that the landlords would have the power of recovering the amount along with the rent, by the process of ejectment. But what would be the condition of the landlord if his immediate tenant had let the land, as was too frequently the case in Ireland, to a number of poor cottier tenants? If the immediate tenant only were to be put out, there would be little difficulty in the case; but to render the remedy available to the landlord, he must turn out a large number of poor, wretched, cottier tenants; he would have to bear the odium consequent upon this proceeding; and the consequence would be, that a clamour would be raised, not merely against tithe, but against rent. When, therefore, hon. Members told the House that there would be no difficulty in the case, they spoke in a way calculated to mislead the House, or, in forgetfulness of the fact, that the immediate tenant might not be, nor, in nine cases out of ten, would be, the only person to whom the landlord would have to look for the purpose of enforcing payment. Let the Bill remain as it was, giving the landlords time to look about them, affording them an opportunity of judging, in each instance, whether it were safe for them at once to enter into an arrangement with their tenants. If it were, they must be willing to do so, from the bonus offered: but if not, why should they be forced to take upon themselves the duties of the Government, in bringing back, within the pale of the laws, this species of property, and obliged to take that as a good and valuable right which was at present in abeyance. To make them responsible in the first instance, under the circumstances in which Ireland was placed, was dealing a measure of injustice towards Irish landlords which the Legislature had never yet meted out to any other class of his Majesty's subjects.

Colonel O'Grady

said, that he should support the Amendment, for he had some reason to know that it would be acceptable to the landlords of Ireland. This very subject had been made a matter of consideration and discussion with the Grand Jury of the county of Limerick in his presence, and they unanimously concurred in taking upon themselves the payment of the tithes. He could, he believed, speak with equal confidence of the concurrence of the Grand Juries of the counties of Cork and Kerry; and as the members of all those Grand Juries were necessarily landed proprietors, this was, he thought, a pretty good criterion of the feelings of the landlords of Ireland on the point of compulsory power.

Mr. O'Reilly

could not entirely concur with the proposition of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, because it called upon the landlords to burthen their estates, without knowing or feeling that their doing so would conduce to the peace or tranquillity of Ireland. The only way or giving peace to Ireland would be to relieve the rack-rent tenants from all connection with tithe, and without this it would be vain to think of peace in that country.

Mr. O'Connell

wished to impress on the House, that the object of his Amendment was, that if the landlords would not take the boon that was offered, the tenants should have the advantage of it.

Lord Althorp

said, that the object of the Government was to hold out to the landlords a temptation to take upon themselves the payment of tithes.

Dr. Lushington

said, that to save Ireland from a civil war he should support the Amendment of the hon. and learned member for Dublin. With respect to vindicating the law he had his doubts. For three years the law had been suspended, and it was not possible, while the tithe property was thus in abeyance, that the commutation could ever take place. He would support the proposition, though with reluctance.

Captain Jones could not agree with the learned Civilian, and would support the original proposition.

The Committee divided on the Amendment: Ayes 82; Noes 33—Majority 49.

List of the AYES.
ENGLAND. Tower, C. T.
Aglionby, H. Vernon, G. J.
Attwood, T. Ward, H. G.
Barnard, E. G. Warburton, H.
Baines, E. Wedgwood, J.
Bewes, T. Williams,—
Biddulph, R. IRELAND.
Blamire, W. Acheson, Lord
Bowes, T. Barry, S.
Briggs, R. Blake, M. J.
Brougham, W. Callaghan, D.
Burton, H. Chapman, M.
Buckingham, J. Clements, Lord
Carter, B. Evans, G.
Clive, E. B. French, F.
Ebrington, Lord Hill, Lord M.
Evans, Colonel Howard, R.
Gaskell, D. Martin, T.
Grey, Sir G. Mullins, F. W.
Hall, B. M'Namara, Major
Hawkins, J. H. O'Callaghan, C.
Howard, E. G. O'Connell, J.
Howard, P. H. O'Dwyer, A. C.
Hodges, T. L. O'Grady, Colonel
Hoskins, K. O'Reilly, W.
Hudson, T. Perrin, Serjeant
Humphery, J. Roche, W.
Keppel, Hon. G. Ruthven, E.
Lennard, Sir T. B. Ruthven, E. S.
Lennard, T. B. Sheil, R. L.
Langdale, Hon. C. Sullivan, R.
Lushington, Dr. Talbot, J.
Marryatt, J. Vigors, N. A.
Marjoribanks, S. Walker, C. A.
Palmer, F. SCOTCH.
Penlease, J. S. Bannerman, A.
Potter, R. Ewing, J.
Poulter, J. S. Oswald, R. E.
Philips, C. M. Sinclair, G.
Peter, W. Stewart, R.
Romilly, J.
Shawe, R. N. TELLERS.
Sheppard, T O'Connell, D.
Skipwith, Sir G. Mackenzie, S.
List of the NOES.
Abercromby, J. Hobhouse, Sir J. C.
Althorp, Lord Irton, S.
Baring, F. Littleton, E. J.
Calvert, N. M'Leod, M.
Donkin, Sir R. Moreton, Hon. A.
Fremantle, Sir T. Nicholl, J.
Fergusson, C. Pepys, C. C.
Gordon,— Poyntz, W.
Hay, Colonel L. Rice, Right Hon. T.S.
Rickford, W.
Tancred, H. W. Corry, Hon. H.
Thomson, Rt. Hon. P. Hayes, Sir E.
Troubridge, Sir T. Lefroy, Sergeant
Whitbread, J. Lefroy, A.
Willoughby, Sir H. Jones, Captain
Wood, C. Shaw, F.
Lord Althorp

said, that, after what had just taken place, he thought the best course would be to postpone all the clauses which referred to this part of the subject until the close of the proceedings upon the Bill. With respect to this question, he would say, that it was a hard measure on the landlords, at least the great majority of the Irish landlords in that House thought it so. The clause would have carried more speedily into execution the principles of the Bill.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that whatever course the noble Lord proposed, he thought it the duty of every hon. Member in that House to give all the aid in his power to the Bill.

Mr. Shaw

said that, after the sort of opposition which the hon. and learned member for Dublin had received from Ministers, the noble Lord was entitled to the support of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Lord Althorp

Does the hon. and learned Member mean to say, that I was not sincere in the opposition which I gave to the Amendment? I certainly never wished, nor pressed on this occasion, for the votes of those Gentlemen who usually support the Government. The hon. and learned Gentleman seems to forget the changes lately made in the constitution of this House by the Reform Bill. I readily admit that, on some occasions, when a great principle was involved, and expected that the decision of the House would be against me, I have, in order to assist in carrying out the principle, expressed a wish for the votes of Members. But, in a question as to a clause in an Act of Parliament, the effect of which would only be to carry out the principle of the Bill more rapidly, I should be ashamed of myself, if I followed a course such as that which would only be justifiable when the principle of the Bill itself was involved.

Mr. Shaw

believed, that the noble Lord had not wished that the clause should be carried in the way he had proposed it. He could only say, that the clause had been opposed by hon. Gentlemen who had been in the habit, on all occasions, of giving their support to Ministers. He had heard some of these hon. Gentlemen confess, that Ministers secretly wished the clause to be lost.

Lord Althorp

had not wished the Irish Members to vote against their opinions, but, at the same time, he denied that he had wished the clause to be lost. He thought that the effect would be injurious in carrying the Bill into execution.

Mr. O'Connell

said, it was impossible for the House to go on with the other clauses that night.

Clauses 4 to 41 were postponed.

Clause 42 was negatived, and clauses from 49 to 50 were omitted.

Mr. Lefroy

said, that, notwithstanding all he had heard, he was still ignorant of the views of Government on the subject of appropriation. He was now told, that the principle was fixed upon. If the principle was, that the Church property of Ireland was to be applied to other purposes than those of the Church, it would be no longer in his power to support this Bill. Indeed, the rejection of the redemption clause would be sufficient to induce him to reject the Bill altogether, and confirm him in his opposition to it more and more. An objection of the noble Lord to the plan first proposed was the quantity of land that might in consequence be thrown into mortmain. The objection was very plausible, and if there was no answer to it, would justify the apprehensions of the noble Lord. He would, however, beg to call to the recollection of the House, that by the Church Temporalities Bill, more land would be brought out of mortmain than would be thrown into it by the measure first proposed. He could not admit that the security of a rent-charge was equal to that of redemption. The great object of redemption was to do away completely with all those recollections connected with the nature and the application of tithe in Ireland. A rent-charge would not have this effect. It would be liable to the very same objections as tithe itself. It would still be levied as a charge for the support of the Protestant clergy, and occasion not fewer difficulties and objections than it did under the name of tithe. An investment in land would not be liable to the same objections. He ventured to pledge himself, that in three years there would arise the same conspiracy against the rent- charge as existed against tithe. There would be found as many difficulties in levying three-fourths as in levying the whole. The present measure would do nothing for the clergy, would not relieve the tenants, and would only enable the landlords to get a higher rent. The Bill would prove most injurious to the present incumbents. It would deprive them of two-fifths of their income, and place them at the mercy of new paymasters that would not prove more satisfactory than the former.

The House resumed: the Committee to sit again.

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