HC Deb 23 June 1834 vol 24 cc731-805

On the Motion of Mr. Littleton the Tithes (Ireland) Bill was ordered to be recommitted.

On the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair.

Mr. Littleton

said, that on making that Motion he felt that the House would expect from him a brief explanation of the alterations which it was now proposed to make in the Committee on this measure. He had on a former occasion stated, that he should move that this Bill be recom- mated pro forma, in order that the Amendments which he intended to propose, should be inserted in the Bill, and then printed. He now found, that those Amendments required omissions rather than insertions to be made in the Bill. He should not, therefore, require the Bill to be committed in order to be reprinted, especially as the reprinting would occasion delay, which at this period of the Session it was advisable to avoid. The principal alterations in the measure suggested by Government had been already under the notice of the House. They consisted of the omission of that part of the measure which invested the revenue of the Church in land, and consequently of the redemption Clauses. The composition would, on the passing of this Act, be converted into a land-tax payable to the Crown, and that land-tax would be collected by the Crown in the same amounts and from the same parties who were now liable for the composition. This would continue for five years. The reasons why that period was deemed the most eligible he had stated upon a former occasion, and they were simply these—that some period was necessary to enable the Government to give to the land-tax that value and stability which it did not possess in the character of composition. Another reason was, that five years would be required for the recovery of the annual instalments of one-fifth of the sums advanced to the tithe-owners under the Act of last Session. The amount so collected would be paid to the tithe-owners, subject to a deduction of 15 per cent to cover the expenses of collecting. At the end of five years it was proposed that four-fifths of the land-tax be converted into a rent-charge to be imposed on the owners of estates of inheritance. Such parties were to have the power of recovering it from their tenants and subtenants, and all who were primarily liable under the existing law of composition. The amount of these rent-charges so collected by the Crown were to be paid to the tithe-owner, subject to a further deduction of 2½ per cent for the expense of collection. There was another alteration, however, which he must mention. In the measure which he had first submitted to the House, it was proposed that any parties now liable to the composition, or, after the passing of this Act, to the land-tax, who should voluntarily make a payment in commutation of their liability within an assigned period at certain given places, should be allowed a certain amount of discount. It was in the breast of the House to decide what the amount of that discount should be. Government, under the assumption that these voluntary payments would be neither very large nor very numerous, thought that it might safely allow to those who made them the full amount of 15 per cent. That was however a subject for further consideration. It was also proposed that any person having an estate of inheritance should incur the rent-charge sooner, if he thought fit. The reasons which induced Government to think, that it would be better to omit the Clauses which sanctioned the investments in land, were the almost universal representations which were made by those who were its firmest supporters, not only in Ireland but also in that House, that the amount would be so excessive as to be injurious to the country, and that it would lead to a great increase in the political influence of the Church. If the House should think, that a rent-charge of four-fifths the amount of tithes might be imposed without having recourse to an investiture in land, that would answer every purpose, for it would secure the clergy an income of such an amount as, considering its improved value, might be sufficient, and which they could not otherwise obtain In addition to those alterations, it was intended to insert a provision giving a right of appeal against the valuation of the amount of tithe composition in certain cases which seemed to require such a provision and under certain restrictions as to its exercise. He had stated on a former occasion, and was ready to repeat, that he fully believed the Commissioners, as a body, had discharged their duty with strict integrity and a remarkable degree of judgment. However, there might be exceptions, and in particular cases great inconvenience, and possibly some injustice, might have resulted from various causes to certain parties. The Acts of Parliament under which the valuation was made might have imposed the necessity of such occurrences in peculiar cases without any fault of the Commissioners. With a view to such cases, it was his intention to propose a Clause which would entitle parties to an appeal. He thought it would be admitted that individuals might be so circumstanced as to entitle them to the considera- tion of Parliament. In reference to the right of appeal, he would merely state that it was proposed, in any parish where seven rate-payers to the amount of not less than 20s. each, should send to the Commissioners of land revenue a memorial stating their grounds of appeal, the Lord-lieutenant should be empowered to direct three Barristers to constitute a Court for the purpose of revising the amount of composition. The limitations were very numerous, and not only the grounds of appeal were restricted by express stipulations which the House would be called on to enact, but other regulations were proposed, which, however, it was not now necessary for him to dwell upon, as the provisions would so soon be in Gentlemen's hands. Having made this brief statement of the alterations which he proposed in the measure, he would move, that the Speaker do now leave the Chair.

Mr. O'Connell

was sorry to obtrude himself on the attention of the House at so early a stage of the debate, especially as the right hon. Gentleman had thought fit to open so little of the merits or demerits of the measure under consideration.

Mr. Littleton

begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon; perhaps he might be permitted to state one thing which he had omitted to mention, namely, that appeals would be granted under the liability of the parties appealing to pay costs, in order to prevent frivolous appeals.

Mr. O'Connell

resumed.—The right hon. Gentleman's alterations related only to minor details; of course, therefore, he (Mr. O'Connell) could not vary the course of which he had given notice, and in which he felt bound to persevere. He would not enter into the details of the Bill more than he could possibly help, and still less should he attempt to discuss, except to the extent of two or three words, what had lately fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. It was manifest that the right hon. Gentleman did not mean to abide by the present valuation, inasmuch as the amount of compensation fixed by the Commissioners was to be liable to investigation, with due precautions, calculated neither to exclude just claims, nor encourage frivolous or vexatious appeals. This was perfectly fair, and Irishmen required no more on this point. They were quite ready to consent to every precaution to prevent appeals being rendered instruments of annoyance to any party. Certainly it might be considered as matter of consolation to Irish Members and the people, that the Government saw the propriety of affording an investigation where it was absolutely required by the justice of the case. He passed by this alteration with approbation of its principle, and an expression of hope that the details would be found suited to useful purposes. He came now to the measure itself. What was its real principle. It consisted in this—that for the first time in the history of these countries, the Crown was to become the great tithe-owner, the King was to be placed in a new position,—the Church was to disappear in the collection of tithes, and his Majesty was to take its place, through the Attorney General, acting, not as a spiritual functionary, but as pecuniary head of the Church. Bishops, Deans, Rectors, and Vicars, were all to disappear, and tithes were to be extinguished in name and nature, and something else of a different kind was to be substituted. The course proposed was any thing but satisfactory. The first thing the Irish people required was, that the burthens of the people should be lightened. Was that the case? Not at all. What mattered it, whether the tithe collector was the Church, or the King, or the Attorney General, or the Commissioners of Woods and Forests? What was the use of changing names? What occasion was there for making a great and extensive experiment for the purpose of altering titles, and mystifying the people with words? That was neither wise nor statesmanlike. It was mere dictionary science. Tithes were to be called landtax—the Church was to be represented by the King—in short, there was to be another edition of Johnson's Dictionary, with new definitions of words. That was all the good to be got from the measure. What was the mischief? For the next five years, there was to be no mitigation or diminution of the burthen. Why, then, change its name? Simply because Ireland was disgusted with the name of tithes, and the people had adopted a sullen, dogged determination not to pay them. Having persevered for more than seventy years, in a vain attempt to collect tithes against the inclination of the people, the people had every year become more and more resolved not to pay them, and now they were, in fact, at an end. What was the consequence of the attempts to collect, and of the refusal to pay, tithes? They had last year disturbances,—they had still a few agrarian disturbances,—and he did not know, that they would ever be without them, so long as the present system continued. To increase those disturbances, they declared war against the Irish people. They took down the ensign of the Church, and raised the royal standard. They should not raise that standard as a black flag, with vœ victis inscribed on it, and war to extermination. But they did. They were now making the Government turn out to levy tithes or land-tax, call it what they pleased. Horse, foot, artillery, and marines, were to be employed to help to levy it. Was this in aid of the Church. They had done enough in that way already. Before the Reformation, there were no statutes for the collection of tithes, yet tithes were always collected without difficulty. In the reign of Henry 8th, three Acts were passed for the levying of tithes, from that period to the Union thirty-one, and from the Union to the present time, eleven. Here was a total of forty-five statutes to enforce tithes, which, at the end, were not so well paid as when there existed no statute upon the subject at all. Why were tithes paid before statutes had been passed on the subject? Because there was a union between the people and the clergy. The people got value for their tithes, and the clergy only received the wages of labour. Was that the case now? They had appointed a commission to ascertain it—a commission which would report, God knew when, if ever—a roving, cruising commission, which, he repeated, would report God knew when or what. Did any person want a commission for that purpose? Was it not known already, that the mass of the people of Ireland received no benefit from the Established Church, and that for seventy years, a servile war, only interrupted by short periods of dull and sullen repose, had raged against tithes? He did not like to enter into such topics—he did not like to revive religious feuds, and feelings of anti-Christian hatred; but he must say, that the cause which stained with blood the annals of Ireland was to be found in the attempt to enforce the payment of tithes, and the privileges of the Established Church, in spite of the feelings of the people. For the purposes of this argu- ment, let him conceive, that the Protestant religion was better than the Catholic (of course he did not believe it to be so, or he would become a Protestant to-morrow), and then, taking the matter historically, let him ask those who must wish to make Ireland an active and strengthening portion of the empire—let him ask those to look at the effects which the Established Church had produced in that country—a church begotten in violence, nursed in blood, fed with the miseries and the tears of the people, and productive of discontents and struggles for a period of 300 years. Why was the Treaty of Limerick violated?—But he would not enter into such details. Let it be supposed, that the Irish were stamped with absurdity, incapable of reasoning, and the victims of juggling priests—let all this be granted, still he had the fact, that the struggle in favour of the Established Church had convulsed the country; and knowing that, he implored the sound and rational portion of the English and Scotch Members, to take into consideration the state of the Irish Church, with a view to terminate the struggle for predominance, and the scramble for property, and to offer something to the people of Ireland in the shape of conciliation. When this subject was before the House on a former occasion, it commenced with a scene of recrimination between the late Secretary for the Colonies and himself. He was ready to take the blame entirely on himself, and he only now alluded to it for the purpose of reminding the House, that at the close of the discussion, he threw aside every unpleasant feeling, and cast himself upon the House, with a view to obtain some measure of conciliation for Ireland. He told them then, and he now repeated, that after the defeat of the Repeal question by so overwhelming a majority, the Legislature stood pledged to listen to the just complaints of Ireland, and to give practical relief and redress of grievances. He reminded them of the declaration of the Cabinet Minister, for which no man was more grateful than himself, that tithes were a subject of just complaint. He then threw himself on the House, and implored it to join in that declaration, and carry it into practical effect. He called for a diminution of the amount to be levied as tithes, with a view to the relief of the people. Had Ministers responded to that call? Was there one word about diminution at present in the Bill? Not a single word. Five years were to elapse before a single farthing was to be lessened. Ireland was in a political fever; and what did they propose in the way of a remedy, or mitigation, for five years? Nothing whatsoever. They postponed all change for that period, and proposed to levy the full amount by the exercise of the entire power of the State. He had offered a plan to the House which was suggested to him by an hon. Member, with a view to a reduction in the amount of tithes; but the King's Ministers totally rejected the plan. There was to be no reduction. Alas! a feud had arisen in Ireland, and discontent was excited there, as if we were disposed to betray the national cause, by allowing the existence of tithe in any shape. This showed the feeling prevalent in Ireland. They might say the agitators were to blame. Not so. A political volcano existed in the soil; the flame was not excited by the breath of agitators, the superincumbent pressure gave it force, and in the convulsion, the elements of social order were scattered to the winds. Whose was the error?—whose the fault? The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to say, that he did not think the landlords were to get any bonus by this Bill. He did not think, that they ought to be ill-treated by Government, and converted into tithe proctors. He wanted nothing for the landlords but that they should not be placed in a worse situation than heretofore. He could assure the House, that the people of Ireland had been but too much and too long aggrieved,—they were now determined to be satisfied. But the Government gave not even a present reduction of the obnoxious burthen. Was not this a time to throw oil on the troubled waters, to mitigate political asperities, to quiet and tranquillize the people? Was any attempt of this kind made? No; the Government did nothing. Good God! was there ever such insanity? Five years was a century in the future history of Ireland. Nations now reckoned, not by ages, but by days, weeks, and months. Talk of a reduction five years hence! Prophecy something about the millennium, and he would listen as attentively. Five years hence! Why, you might as well say, that in the year 2,500 of the Christian era, something might happen to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman's plan was to continue for five years. That was an eternity. Mean- while, was not the present burthen to be mitigated? No. Was it to be aggravated? Yes. At present, the clergy or tithe-owners could only distrain for their demand; but pass this Bill, and parties could have an extent, seize the land, goods, and body, and break in by open violence on the sanctity of private dwellings by day or night. Oh! that House had the lion's share, and the lion's strength, without the lion's fabled generosity. Let them look at the history of tithes, within their own recollection. In the first year of his late much severed Majesty George 4th, tithe was a claim, not on the land or the landlord, but on the grower of the crop; and if the claim were not enforced against him, the land was free. Tithe could not be levied by distraining on the actual owner. Parties must go into the Ecclesiastical Court; and if the occupier chose, he could give the clergyman notice to come and draw his tithe, and the latter must send persons to do so—no easy matter sometimes—or give the occupier liberal terms. The occupier might say to the tithe-owner, "I am the quietest man in the world, but I live in a troublesome neighbourhood. However, I am ready to count out your tithes, and you may carry them home, if you can; or, if you prefer it, I will pay you the amount at such a time." He must do the clergy the justice to say, that, generally, where they lived on the spot, and managed their own tithes, they were liberal, and seldom had any quarrels with the peasantry. The peasantry in general got excellent terms from the lay-impropriator also. It was the tithe-proctor and tithe-jobber who were most complained of. How did the case stand now, as regarded tithes? The land was liable, a right to distrain was given, an action for debt was also permitted, a civil bill for debt, sweeping all from the land, no matter who occupied it, with one single exception. What was proposed now? All advantages were accumulated for the collection of tithe or land-tax. The Bill made it a Crown process—issued an extent—put a receiver on the property. How would this affect the unfortunate tenant? Were they aware, that in Ireland the nominal was much greater than the real rent-roll, and that when a receiver was appointed under this Bill, he must insist upon the last farthing. What would be the consequence? The links of society would be torn asunder—the re- ceiver would become a rack-rent inquisitor and torturer, who extorted the last farthing from the wretched peasant. According to Chancery practice, abatements were made when the rent was too high, but this Bill would prevent any such thing. If the House were to permit such a Bill to pass, what a despotic power would it give over the landed property of individuals! Talk of a corrupt Parliament! What influence could be equal to a power which enabled the Government to tamper with so many men's estates? The more he looked at the measure, and the more he contrasted the collection of tithes now with the mode of levying them up to the 1st of George 4th, the more he was disgusted, and felt that people ought the more to tremble at the effects of the plan proposed to be adopted and meant to be enforced by the law, the police, the military—in short, by the whole power of the State. If tithes were not regularly paid, what would be the consequence? Every November there would be certificates at the Treasury of the amount which the clergy were to receive. Government must pay that sum—perhaps 500,000l., while it could probably collect only 30,000l. Suppose the hon. member for Middlesex were asleep, was there no other economical Member in the House to notice this? Last year 28,000l. directly, and more than 30,000l. indirectly, was laid out in the shape of wear of military accoutrements and removal of troops, and all for what?—To collect 12,000l. Having levied that amount of tithes, the process was found rather expensive, and stopped. Well, would the case be mended under this Bill? There would be 500,000l. to pay, and the collections might amount to 30,000l., with the aid of horse, foot, and artillery. The British army would go out pig-hunting one night, blanket-catching another, to collect tithe or Land-tax. They would go on that holy crusade, and come back with the glory and honour of having paid 500,000l. and received 30,000l. But suppose the whole 500,000l. was levied, how would it be effected?—by a war in Ireland—by having skirmishes in every field! Oh, what a service on which to employ our brave troops!—to set our field officers to work, blanket-catching, and make the Attorney-General pig-hunter general to the Irish people! Government must show its imbecility, and be taunted with its weakness, if it took this course. Would they resort to extortion and extermination? That was the situation into which the Bill drove them, for it made the Government tithe-owner general, and enforced the demand without mitigation. He had required a reasonable reduction, and he got nothing for five years. He also said, that a reduction would not do without an appropriation of the surplus. Now, we were neither to have reduction nor appropriation. That was, the blackflag—vœ victis—was on the people. One duty more he had to perform: if they would not give immediate reduction, at least let them give the people consolation, and afford some satisfaction to their advocates by conceding the question of appropriation. Let them give that, and the Irish Members could venture to wait a little, and call on the people to wait, for the admission would conciliate many; and it would give them such power to persuade and talk distinctly and satisfactorily to the people. It might be said, that he had acted improperly on the last occasion in making a proposal to grant the Catholic clergy glebes and manses. He did not say he was authorised to make that proposition, or that the Catholic priests would be willing to accede to it, but the contrary. He knew, that the Catholic clergy did not wish any such thing, but he had thrown out the suggestion for peace sake; 670 years had elapsed since the connexion between England and Ireland commenced, and peace had never been obtained. Englishmen were still in an adverse country, where the population considered them as strangers and foreigners. Give them one proof of a real union between the countries. Show them, that English, Irish, and Scotch, were the same in the eyes of the House, and it would have a right to taunt those who should afterwards call them Saxons and strangers. For obtaining that peace he made a proposition dangerous to a popular man; he risked much by it, and had suffered somewhat, and he was still ready to risk and lose popularity if he could procure what might reasonably satisfy the country. As he before said, the history of Ireland now counted by the hour; delay had already created suspicion and jealousy, let them put an end to it. Why did the Catholic clergy dislike the idea of taking an adequate and honourable provision for their subsistence from the State? Catholic priests were but men; they were open to the same motives as influenced others, and yet why did they shudder at the notion of obtaining a claim to any portion of the surplus that might be appropriated? Did not this circumstance tell what was labouring in the public mind and show the feelings, not only of the Irish priesthood, but of the Irish peasants and farmers, from whom they derived their support? They would not take that which would be said to have come from the enemy's camp, and which should be devoted to the service of the people. He had told them what was the state of his native country—a state produced by 672 years of oppression and injustice. He now proposed, ventured humbly to suggest, the commencement of something like a system of justice towards his unfortunate country. The Catholic clergy, he would repeat, to a man disclaimed the idea of taking any of the surplus that might remain after the proper wants of the Established Church in Ireland were provided for. Their character, their honour, their safety, would not allow them to touch it. Let any hon. Member this night propose by way of amendment, and in addition to his (Mr. O'Connell's) proposition, that no portion of it should go to the support of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Let him word that amendment in the strongest terms that he pleased, and it should have his most cordial assent. The Catholic clergy would not have a shilling out of those funds. It had been said in another place, that whatever surplus existed, it should be applied to Protestant purposes. He wanted to have it applied to Irish purposes. He was quite ready to adopt the very phraseology adopted by a learned Lord in another place, and to say, that not one farthing of it should be applied to Catholic purposes. His Motion was not intended for any such purpose as the connecting of the Catholic Church of Ireland with the State. He was one of those who thought, that it was upon every ground most desirable to keep a Church divested from a connexion with the State; and he was firmly convinced, that the period was fast approaching when no one Christian sect would be called upon to contribute to the payment of the Ministers of another. If he had, in what he had in the first instance proposed on this subject, deviated from his deeply-founded and well-considered opinion, that there should be no connexion between a Church and the State, let those who now heard him, lightly as they might estimate his political consistency, be assured, that he had made no slight sacrifice on that occasion. His only object in making such a sacrifice was, that the Government might step into the gap which he had thus made in his popularity, and show to the Irish people at large, that the morning of the day had commenced when Ireland was to be treated with the same benevolent attention and protection that were extended to England. In England the Established Church was essentially and substantially the Church of the people. As the Dissenters increased they complained, and he thought justly, of being obliged to contribute to the support of a Church to which they did not belong; but, as yet at least, the Church which got the tithes in England was strictly speaking the Church of the people. They had only to cross an imaginary line—to step over a small stream—and they entered Scotland, where they found a church without Bishops, and with the thirty-nine articles reduced, he did not know exactly to how many; and that Church was the Church of Scotland. Did an episcopalian Church get the tithes in Scotland? No. True it was, that the Government of England attempted to force such a system of injustice on the people of Scotland, and that for fifty years plenty of blood was shed in endeavouring to effect such an object. True it was, also, that during that time there were some Scotch gentlemen (they were not certainly many, they were few) who, forgetting the principles of country and the feelings of patriotism, were ready to aid the English Government in such a wicked attempt. In justice, however, to the people of Scotland, and to the Scottish gentry generally, it must be said, that they stood by their country in that eventful struggle, and might the God of Heaven bless them for having done so! The consequence was, that the people and gentry of Scotland succeeded in their opposition; they spurned the domination which England endeavoured to force on them, as she had forced upon Ireland, and they triumphed in such a glorious cause. They asserted, that the Church of the people should be in Scotland the Church of the State, and that to that Church should belong the tithes of the country. Success crowned their well-fought battle. He did not want to have the religion of the people established in Ireland as the religion of the people was established in Scotland. He did not want that any portion of the tithes should be taken from the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, in order to be given to any other sect, or any other religion. His view of the matter was this—that, after the interests and wants of the Established Church in Ireland had been reasonably and properly provided for out of those funds, whatever disposable surplus might remain should be applied to purposes of public utility and public charity. They were aware, that they had in Ireland fever hospitals, houses of industry, dispensaries, &c., for the relief and support of the poor. They ought to know, that there was a portion of the poor in Ireland to which they could give relief out of the public funds, without increasing the quantity of the demands on those funds, and without increasing idleness and other bad effects that a Poor-law system might produce. There were the sick, the aged, the halt, the maimed, who were all fit subjects for relief and for medical aid, and in providing for whose wants a portion of this surplus might be properly appropriated. Next came objects of public utility, which, of course, included education. He wanted to have this surplus devoted to the purposes of education, not exclusively Catholic, Protestant, or sectarian. It was needless for him to dwell upon the advantages of education—no declamation could exaggerate its importance. Such was the object of his Motion, such were the purposes to which he wished them to declare that they would apply this surplus. Their doing so would tell the people of Ireland, that they—that the Government—were determined at length to take a step for the better;—that the era had arrived when they would cease to exercise that power and spirit of domination which had characterized all former Governments in Ireland;—that they would no longer persevere in a system which was intended for the undue elevation of a few, while it trampled on the feelings—the prejudices if they pleased—the passions and the feelings of the great majority of the people;—that they had determined in good earnest to begin to put an end to every thing of an exclusive o a party nature in the Go- vernment of that country; and that in future it was to be administered upon a principle that had never yet been tried there—a principle equally just and equally simple—the principle of the general good of the people at large. But why did he say "begin?" Had they not to some extent begun already? Why had they lost the talents of the late right hon. Secretary for the Colonies? They must feel the value and the importance of his talents in their councils. It was not for nothing that they had lost him. The sacrifice was not made upon slight grounds. The right hon. Gentleman adhered to his principle. If they should shrink from declaring their principles now, the right hon. Gentleman having seceded from them on principle, would it riot be said, that they were congregated together without having any principle of action? Would it not be said, in such a case, that they had no principle at all, and that they had got rid of the right hon. Gentleman because, being a man of principle, he was not to continue with them who had no principle? He did not mean to say, that such was the case; but he could not prevent others from making the supposition if Ministers would not themselves at once put all doubts on the subject at an end. What would be thought and said of them to-morrow, if they refused to make any declaration on this important subject to-night? Every one who knew the right hon. Gentleman must feel, that he would not have retired from the Government upon slight or trivial grounds. With his talents, and coming from the race he did, he was of course animated with the noble and generous ambition of distinguishing himself in the Government of his country, and no doubt his colleagues would not have got rid of such a man unless an essential difference of opinion had arisen between them. What he wanted, then, was, that, the Government would speak out, that they would show that there was some principle of action by which they were determined to be guided,—that they would not exhibit themselves as if they were neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. Oh, no, there was principle amongst them: they reckoned in their ranks men of as high character and of as undoubted principle as any in the country. They were all of them English and Scotch gentlemen. Was there any timid shrinking amongst such men from the assertion of their principles? Was cowardice, either moral, political, or personal, ever branded upon any one of them? They stood high—they were bound to do so. Let it not be said to-morrow of them, that they were timid, creeping, crawling creatures, who for the sake of the dirty tenure of place and office had flung from amongst them the only men of principle, while they would not attempt to assert their own. If they did not this night make an explicit pledge on this subject, such a pledge as that contained in the resolution he was about to move, they might depend upon it that such would be the universal public opinion of them to-morrow. He taunted them to the assertion of their principles. The right hon. Gentleman who had seceded from them had no hesitation in asserting his principles. Let Ministers be equally ready to assert theirs, and by doing so restore confidence to the people. Let not the right hon. Gentleman's secession go forth as the tocsin to a certain party, calling them, as they vainly imagined, back to place and power. Ministers had only to be firm and explicit, and they had the people with them. There were some in that House, there were many out of it, speculating already on coming in upon the shoulders of the right hon. Gentleman in a way that he would scorn. The Tory party, both here and in Ireland, was looking forward to its resumption of power, with all its bad Tory principles—to a resumption of all places of power, emolument, and trust, and to the re-establishment of its hated domination throughout the country. Let Ministers but speak out on this subject, and the idle and foolish dreams of that broken party would be dispelled for ever. There were good sense even amongst that party, even in Ireland, and the moment that Ministers acceded to such a resolution as he was about to propose, they would see, that it was vain ever to expect the return of their ill-acquired power. Bigotry in Ireland was an exotic; and it would never have flourished there if it had not been fostered in the hot-bed of British injustice and oppression. It depended on the conduct of Ministers whether the flowers of peace should not flourish in its stead. They had nothing to fear from the people of England by acting justly. But it would be said, perhaps, that there was another assembly where they might find it inconvenient, should they act justly in that House. He knew that there was an enormous deal of personal valour in the place to which he had alluded; but he also knew, that there was a comfortable quantity of political shrinking in it. If they were told, that Ministers were timid, they would, in that place, be courageous in an extraordinary degree. But let Ministers manfully come forward, and in the name of God and the people declare the principles he called on them to assert, and they would have nothing to fear there or elsewhere. The time was come that they should do so; the period had arrived when every good man in England, Ireland, and Scotland, pressed such a measure upon them. Let them but adopt a decided tone, and they might decide the howlings of owls and bats in old places and ruined towers, they might smile at the reclamations from "Holy Island" as if the Ghost of St. Cuthbert had returned upon earth in 1835, to object to any reform that would not leave the Benedictines in possession of all their property there. The people of England did not speak by the voice of the monks of the last or of the present century. They did not speak by the voice of mitred abbots of that or of any other period. The universal voice of the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland, proclaimed aloud and trumpet-tongued a liberal system, equally remote from revolution and from a recurrence to the dark days of Toryism. All he wanted Ministers to do was, to justify their public fame by their public declarations—to assure the people, that their voice was heard, that their expressed opinions would be acted upon, and to announce to Ireland, on a subject of the last importance to that country, that the day was dawning when domination should cease and justice should begin. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving, as an Amendment to the Motion for the Speaker to leave the Chair, the following Resolution,—"That after any funds which should be raised in Ireland in lieu of tithes had been so appropriated as to provide suitably, considering vested interests and spiritual wants, for the Protestants of the Established Church of Ireland, the surplus that remained should be appropriated to the purposes of public utility."

Mr. Hume

said, that he seconded the Amendment, because he thought that it would, if agreed to, tend to beneficial results. He hoped that the Motion would be agreed to, as it would show to the people of Ireland, although after long delay, the House was not indisposed to do justice. England was as much interested in the peace of Ireland as the inhabitants of that country. He implored the Government to come forward and satisfy the people of Ireland that at last they were determined to afford adequate relief to the Irish people. After years of hope—after repeated disappointment—show them that there was a firm determination to do something. He thought on every ground of expediency and justice the House should declare, that they were determined that the surplus revenue of the Irish Church should be devoted to useful purposes. The object of the present distribution of Church property was, to promote the happiness of the people, but when they found, that the present arrangement did not promote that object, they were bound to make a change. He hoped his Majesty's Ministers would at once show their determination to accede to the principle of the proposition of his hon. and learned friend. He would rather that they should at once declare that they were determined to act upon the principle of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley) than continue to pursue their present vacillating conduct. If they adopted the suggestion of his hon. and learned friend (Mr. O'Connell) they might rely upon it that they would find themselves backed by the voice of a united people. He felt it unnecessary to trouble the House at greater length, as he had previously stated his opinions on the question.

Lord Morpeth

said, that as the hon. and learned member for Dublin had called upon Members boldly to come forward and state their opinions, he would obey the call, although he knew the observation of the hon. and learned Member was directed to Members of more weight and importance than himself. At the same time, however, he did not feel it would be necessary for him to take up much of the time of the House. He thought that when a question was at rest it was prudent to leave it so, that was, when a subject was not excited that it should not be raised, on the principle that they should leave well alone, or, according to the old maxim, quieta non movere. But that must only be the case in quiet times, for if they passed away and the feelings of men became excited, then it only remained for the Legislature to do what was right, namely, to stand by no abuse, but to abandon no duty; to be resolved to defend what was necessary, by being the resolute friend of Reform. So, with respect to the Church, he might have felt called upon not to interfere at present under other circumstances, or, at any rate, he did not feel called upon to support abuses which might exist as regarded the unequal distribution of the ecclesiastical revenues. When the question had grown to a great height—when the feeling pervaded the whole country—he could not disguise it from himself that maintaining the Irish Church, or rather that portion of the Church of England in Ireland, in its present possessions, was not an arrangement on which he could rely for the support of the religion of the country, namely, from its want of coincidence with the feelings of the majority of the community. The argument that the two countries were one in this respect, he considered to be pedantic, to which Scotland gave a living contradiction. That argument, if true, would be an objection to the Union and justify its Repeal. He agreed in the opinion that the Legislature had the right to interfere in the distribution of the property of the Church, that if it were necessary the Legislature might apply it to other than Church purposes. When he used the word "right," he thought that he was bound to state, that he only meant that, although the Legislature had a strict and legal right to deal with Church property as it pleased, yet that it would not be justified in devoting it merely to social purposes, or to measures merely of possible expediency, such as came under the phrase of the hon. and learned Gentleman, namely, purposes of public utility. If that expression were adopted it might appear, that the property of the Church might be devoted to any civil purposes, for the repairing of banks or the formation of turnpike roads. He thought that when they proceeded to devise and act upon this right of interfering they were bound to take care, that the property was distributed in a way analogous to the original purposes for which it was given to the Church, namely, the moral and religious instruction of the people. He thought that he had said enough as regarded his not being able to give his support to the Motion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, which in its present form not only contravened the vote which he (Lord Morpeth), with the majority of the House, came to on the Motion of the hon. member for St. Alban's, but that it also went, not to the establishment of any substantive proposition, but merely to the assertion of an abstract right to be thrown out as encouragement to the votes of some, and as a source of alarm to others. The concurrence of the House in the Motion might be considered as a promise of a future grant to the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland—a matter calculated to produce very great ferment; or it might be construed, by the Irish Protestants, as the signal of their utter desertion; and possibly it might lead to the abandonment of various plans connected with education and charitable institutions now in progress. Whenever the purposes to which the surplus revenues of the Irish Church were to be applied, were stated and defined—whenever any practical measure was introduced—he should be quite ready to consider whether it tallied with his idea of the original destination of this property, and to deal with it accordingly. He was perfectly aware that this view of the case was at variance with that entertained by his right hon. friend, the late Secretary for the Colonies. He was sure he need not express to his right hon. friend the respect which he felt for the character, the affection he nourished for the person of his right hon. friend, or the undiminished regret he experienced for the loss of the great talents, and the no less signal virtues of his right hon. friend to the Government of the country; but he must at the same time say, that he never did feel more forcibly than on the occasion of his making his speech on leaving office, which his right hon. friend delivered with even more than his accustomed eloquence and ardour, the fallacy (in his humble judgment, at least) of the views which pervaded it. They were views with respect to the people of Ireland, based, as it seemed to him, on no other plea than conquest—it was saying, in effect,—"We have conquered your country—we have settled that such shall be your religion, and such—whether it suits you or not—such, whatever may happen to be its increase or decay, shall remain unaltered and unmodified." He would not say, that this view of his right hon. friend would hold equally good for compelling the House to establish a Church of England clergyman in every village in India, but it would hold as good as if every Protestant were swept away from the face of Ireland; for even then, according to the doctrine of his right hon. friend it would still be necessary to keep up the whole ecclesiastical staff in readiness for the future possible return of the Dissenting troops under his banners. If his right hon. friend did not accede to this view of the case, he could not see what would become of his animated horror of the doctrine of proportion. With respect to the Church of England, in England he felt—and no one could feel it more deeply than himself—that in its proper sphere, in its just proportions, in its parochial ministration, it had a power and strength which, under the blessing from above, would enable it, not only to defy all the attacks of its enemies, but even to survive the defence of some of its friends. When he claimed this power and perpetuity for the Church, it was for a Church purified of its abuses—honoured by a just distribution of its superfluities—it was for a Church that had laid down for ever and ever the tone, and feeling, and habit of domination—it must be for a Church, in short, actuated by a spirit totally the reverse of that which was lately manifested at Oxford. Far be it from him to attempt to disparage the just tribute of applause which learning and science were never slow to bestow upon the successful valour which was their shield and defence in the hour of war and peril; and far be it from him to hesitate in saying, as must be acknowledged on all hands, that never could there have been an instance in which the merit was more pre-eminent, or the reward more brilliant. But if it were intended to interweave political considerations, and to deduce political consequences from it, he must beg to express his conviction that the party acclamations which rang through the theatre of Oxford would find no echo either in the popular branch of the British Legislature, or in the general mass of the British nation. They were not disposed to hail the name of their greatest contemporary people with a yell of disapprobation, or their estimable Dissenting citizens with a shout of derision—they honoured the triumphs of war, but they clung with a fonder love to the advances and improvements of peace—they revered the sanctities of religion, but they exhibited yet more of its gentle, kind, and tolerant, and indulgent spirit. To the University of Oxford he looked back with emotions of gratitude and pleasure for the hours he had spent there, in its social circles, and in its studious shades; but if it wished to excite a great national movement, he should anticipate for it the same success which attended the most busy periods of its interference with the history of our country, whether it backed the waning fortunes of Charles, or fostered the languishing hopes of Jacobitism. He was convinced, that in times such as these, no principle of exclusiveness could ultimately prevail on any great question, or in any great institution, founded for national purposes; and he was even sanguine, in anticipating some acquiescence and accommodation of opinion, even at the University of Oxford itself, when he remembered that the loudest plaudits to which the roof of its theatre ever echoed, were those which hailed the approach within its walls of the great conceder of Catholic Emancipation. He was not ignorant that the violence and acrimony of which he complained were not without provocation; he was not ignorant that if retaliation were always a good plea, some defence for that conduct were not wanting; but instead of pursuing a course which was provoked rather than justified, by the intemperance displayed on another side, he would rather ask those of his own creed, at least, to apply to their own conduct a beautiful quotation made by Mr. Fox in circumstances somewhat parallel. If the members of the Church of England were firmly convinced, said Mr. Fox, of the Divine basis upon which its establishment rested, they should endeavour to make their conduct as congenial to that persuasion as they could. Tuque prior, tu parce, genus quæ ducis Olympo. Churchmen and Dissenters might differ from each as to how much ought to be demanded, forborne, resisted, and conceded; but they were all bound in an equal degree to adopt the spirit of candour and conciliation—of indulgence and moderation; a spirit, which he was sorry to see had not prevailed to so great an extent as it might have done—and to remember that that spirit was of far more real praise, and more permanent value, than most of the points and tenets over which they waged their fiercest contests. Having thus declared his opinions to the House, he begged to add, that fully assenting to the arguments which recognise the right of the Legislature to interfere with these revenues by a distribution analogous to the true spirit of the original destination, he had learnt with great pleasure that his Majesty's Government had adopted the step of issuing a Commission of Inquiry upon the subject. He trusted, that when the Commission drew up its Report, it would be drawn up in a liberal spirit, and be liberally acted on by Ministers and the House; but he must in the meantime decline giving his consent to support the proposition of the hon. and learned member for Dublin.

Lord Althorp

had not yet heard any argument to show the necessity of adopting the Resolution moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman had complained, that his Majesty's Ministers had not declared their principles upon the subject of Church-property; but, at the same time that the hon. and learned Gentleman made this complaint, he afforded proof—proof incontestable—that they had already fully declared the principles on which they meant to act. For, when the hon. and learned Gentleman inquired why the present Ministry had separated from the right hon. Gentleman who had lately presided over the Colonial Department, he had himself stated, that the separation would not have taken place unless there existed a serious and most decided difference of principle. He might content himself with this proof, because as the hon. and learned Gentleman had stated, it would have been insane in the Ministers to separate themselves from Gentlemen of such powerful talents as were possessed by his noble and right hon. friends, unless there had been such a decided difference of principle. That, however, was not all; for the Government had declared their opinions—had declared that the Parliament of this country did possess the right to appropriate to other than purely Church purposes such portions of the revenues of the Church in Ireland as might be more than was required for the benefit and advantage of the Protestant population of that country. The Government had not only declared this, but had also declared, and had taken means to carry that declaration into effect, that as soon as it was proved and shown, not what was the amount of revenue possessed, by the Church of Ireland, but what sum was more than sufficient for its purposes, that then it was not only the right but the duty of the Legislature to consider whether there might not be made a more beneficial appropriation. The Government had never stated or intended to state, that it was contemplated to appropriate any part of the Church revenues to the purposes of the Roman Catholic religion. On the contrary, they thought that such a mode of appropriation, so far from being advantageous, would be most detrimental, both as affected the feelings of the Protestant population of the empire and the feelings of the Roman Catholics themselves. Most undoubtedly the Government did think,—and he was prepared to say, looking at the question as a member himself of the Protestant Church,—that it would be most advantageous to the Protestant religion in both parts of the empire not to continue in Ireland that irritation against the Church which was consequent upon the present distribution of Church-property in that country. It was impossible for any man, who looked with reasonable feelings upon the present system of distribution, not to say, that so large an appropriation of property for the Ministers of so comparatively small a part of the population, was calculated to diminish instead of increase the number of Protestants in that part of the realm, because it was manifest that much dissatisfaction among the other sects was inevitable. With respect to the right of interference, he could not conceive on what grounds hon. Gentlemen who were opposed to the Government on this occasion, but who had conceded the right of Parliament to deprive one corporation of a portion of its property to confer it upon another, should urge that the Legislature had no right to apply the Church revenues to other purposes—he meant moral and religious purposes. He could not see how that right was denied, particularly when it was remembered that the Church, in the proper meaning of the terms, was not limited to the clerical portion only, but meant the whole body of the professors of the Protestant Church. The property belonging to that body had been applied to the payment of the ministers of religion; but if those ministers could be provided for in a manner sufficient for the wants of the Protestant population of Ireland, and a surplus remained, he contended that the remainder might with great advantage to the Church itself be applied in another way. With these views he felt perfectly ready to state distinctly his opinions, nor did he wish in any degree to shrink from them. He hoped, therefore, that after what he had stated, he should not be thought to be shrinking from the question if he did not accede to the adoption of the Resolution proposed by the hon. and learned member for Dublin. From the adoption of this resolution he could not see any advantage to be gained; it was merely a repetition of the Motion already disposed of which had been brought forward by his hon. friend the member for St. Alban's, and for the same reasons that he bad opposed it then he must now object to its adoption. It was true, that the hon. and learned Gentleman had argued very ably, eloquently, and conclusively, for the right of the Legislature to interfere in the matter of appropriation: he had made a very eloquent speech; but the hon. and learned Gentleman had failed to advance any argument in favour of the adoption of his Motion at the present time. The hon. and learned Gentleman had objected to the Tithe Bill, unless the Government gave some declaration as to its intentions with respect to future appropriation. The issuing of the Commission of Inquiry was a clear proof of the intentions of the Government, for it would have been most absurd in them to have issued it, if they did not mean to act upon the Report which would follow from the inquiry thus set on foot. That step alone went much further than the mere adoption of the abstract proposition now under consideration; it was an actual step towards the object to which the resolution proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman would merely pledge the House. Under such circumstances its adoption was unnecessary, and being unnecessary, would be most disadvantageous. On these grounds, and not differing from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite as to the right of Parliament to make a different appropriation of the property, but thinking such a course was necessary for the future peace of Ireland and for the benefit of the Protestants of that country, he certainly was not prepared, and he hoped that the House was not prepared, to adopt the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Colonel Davies

expressed his approbation of the candour which had character- ized the statement just delivered by the noble Lord opposite; but he was anxious that the House should compare that statement with the observations which had fallen from a noble Marquess and another noble Lord at the head of the Government in another place. The noble Marquis to whom he alluded had said, in speaking of a surplus, "that he only contemplated its appropriation to pious and charitable purposes connected with the Established Church." Again, said the noble and learned Lord, that "supposing there was a surplus, it should first of all, if not exclusively, be applied to the purposes of moral and religious education on the principles of the Established Church." He had also added, "that the source from which the funds came, naturally indicated the objects to which it should be applied." Here, then, was a complete difference of opinion amongst the members of the Government; and he must ask, would the last declaration of opinion to which he had alluded satisfy the people of Ireland?—would they acquiesce in the continued application of the funds to which they all contributed, to the support of an institution from which the majority derived no benefit? Every clause of the present Bill secured with an iron grasp the rights of the Church, and would leave the clergy of Ireland as completely in the possession of their present property as if the appropriation (or he should rather call it) the misappropriation clause had passed. The effect, too, of the Church Temporalities Bill would be to produce the same result; the very first clause sufficiently indicated its character, and with these declarations and measures before him, he could not think the professions of the Government afforded any security to the House. So long ago as the year 1830 the noble Lord opposite had promised to remove abuses which still remained unabated, and yet the Legislature and the people of Ireland were now to be told, that they must wait until the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry was received, while, at the same time, it was sought by this Bill to perpetuate existing evils, by giving to the clergy of Ireland enormous powers, without which they would be unable to collect their tithes. The time was come to tell noble Lords in another place, that if they had any regard to the clergy, and if they did not wish to see that body reduced to a state of misery and destitution, they must pass the Bill as it was sent to them from this House, for that this House would not agree to it in any other shape. But if the House should agree to the Bill as at present framed, securing, as its provisions did, the property of the Church, the Lords would treat with contempt any effort to effect the objects sought by the people of Ireland. He repeated, therefore, that now was the time or never, and that the opportunity ought now to be embraced, for it would never occur again. It became the duty of the House to pass some resolution to show, that it would not be trifled with, and for these reasons he should support the Motion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin.

Mr. Feargus O'Connor

concurred with the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down in thinking, that the present was the fitting time for the House to take some step. The views held by the noble Lord, the Prime Minister of England, in another House, and by the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, in this House, perfectly coincided, and therefore it was due to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, that his Majesty's Ministers should speak out on the present occasion. The right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, had manifested great reserve throughout the discussions on the present measure. Although he did not exactly agree with the noble Lord opposite (Lord Morpeth), who had said nothing applicable to the question, yet if the proposition of the hon. and learned member for Dublin had been brought forward as a substantive Motion, he should have been inclined to have gone with the noble Lord; but he could not for a moment forget the principles on which he held his seat in that House, nor could he obliterate from his memory, that the people of Ireland looked for the total and entire abolition of tithes. Less than this would not give satisfaction to the people of Ireland; and though he entertained the highest respect for the talents and good feeling of the hon. and learned Member, yet he could not support the present proposition, because he was prepared to go much further than the terms expressed in the resolution. The right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, had said, that the House in acceding to this Bill was only legislating for a period of five years. He presumed it was in contemplation, that the Report of the Commis- sioners would be made in that time. He declared, however, as his opinion, that the Commission would commence in blood, progress in perjury, and terminate in delusion. The present measure effected merely a change in the name of an odious tax, and such legislation would not be productive of satisfaction to the people of Ireland; nor would the impost, though its definition might be altered, be made more palatable to that portion of his Majesty's subjects. He had attended numerous tithe-meetings in Ireland, and he could state, that the strongest resolutions, urging the injustice of tithes, were generally proposed and seconded by Protestants. The landlords had also joined in the outcry against the impost, so that the opposition could not now be said to be that of the vulgar people. By opposing the resolution propounded by the hon. and learned member for Dublin, he was aware that he stood upon tender grounds; but as he sought not popularity, but merely regarded principle, he should persist in his course, with a perfect willingness to retire to some other occupation, or offer his services to a constituency more radical than that he represented, which, he believed, it would be difficult for him to find. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Littleton) persisted in the measure as it was at present framed, he would indeed require a renewal of the Coercion Bill; but as he had already told the right hon. Gentleman that he was unfit to govern Ireland, he would repeat his hope, that the right hon. Gentleman would stop short in his mad career. It might be said, that the right hon. Gentleman had been obliged to follow in the steps of the late Secretary for the Colonies; but if so, he (Mr. Feargus O'Connor) hoped and trusted that in the changes now taking place, the right hon. Gentleman would, like his predecessor, find a higher office in which he might take refuge. The right hon. Gentleman had not stated how the Bill was to work, but he had contented himself with calling upon the people of Ireland to be satisfied. He repeated that the people of Ireland would not be satisfied with increased powers being given to the parsons, who were just as severe as the tithe-proctors. He himself lived in a district which was called "Parson's Paradise," from the circumstance of the great number of livings by which it was surrounded; and he knew them to have sold their tithes for from 7s. to 10s. in the pound to the tithe proctors, after refusing 15s. from the tithe payers on the terms of the full amount being enforced. He should, he must repeat, oppose the Motion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, because if he should now give it his support, he could not in his conscience come forward next Session, and advocate the principle upon which he had been returned—namely, the total abolition of tithes. The noble Lord had done well in introducing words of a warlike import into the Bill, for if he was determined to persevere in tithes he must present the peace-offering to the minister on the point of the bayonet. He never would pay tithes in any shape or form, nor would he advise any of his constituents to pay them.

Mr. Sheil

observed, that it struck him with surprise, that after the speech of the hon. and gallant member for Worcester, one point of the question had not called forth some explanation from his Majesty's Ministers, particularly as it was a point to which much importance was attached. He thought that the opinion of any one of his Majesty's Ministers, openly and candidly declared, would carry much weight with it; and he thought it but fair, for the satisfaction of the House and the public, that it should be made known how far unanimity on this point subsisted among the members of the Cabinet, or what shades of dissent were to be found among them. A noble Lord in another place—an expression quite parliamentary, if not always quite intelligible—was reported to have expressed himself favourable to the application of the surplus of the Church-property solely to the purposes of the Protestant Church. Had this been said, or had it not? Why did not Ministers come forward and boldly declare their sentiments, instead of referring to the expression of their opinions? He did not pretend to say, that Ministers had done nothing: far from it. Ireland had to thank them for two great boons. They had given up the appropriation clause, and they had done something else. They had granted a Commission; but he would ask them, would Ireland be satisfied with the political results of that Commission? The only difference between the conduct of the noble Lord on the occasion of moving the previous question as an Amendment to the Motion of the hon. member for St. Alban's, and on the present, was this—that he had then opposed an immediate decision on the question of appropriation, on the ground of granting a Commission of Inquiry, and now on the score of having issued the Commission. Now, he would put the question on this single point—was this Commission sufficient? One remarkable distinction between this and other Commissions was evident at the first glance—namely, that some time was fixed for the exercise of the duties which the persons appointed to act under the Commission were to perform, but here no time was limited. He need only cite the examples of the Education Commission, and the Corporation Commission to prove this position. Then again, how many Commissioners were appointed? Nominally there were fourteen, but three of them were Ministers of the Crown, and a fourth was to reside, he was told, constantly in London; thus there were in reality only ten. These were to be divided into pairs, and every parish in Ireland was to be visited by the one or the other of these pairs of Commissioners. Now, there were 2,500 parishes in Ireland to be perambulated, 500 to each pair, two Commissioners to each parish; on this point the terms of the Commission were explicit, and they were on the spot, that was the phrase, to collect the information for which they were sent out. In the first place, they had to ascertain the relative proportions of the Protestant, Presbyterian, and Catholic population in each parish; next, the average attendance at Church of each class for the last five years; then, if there was a union of parishes, the average proportions of each in these respects. The next thing was, where there was such an union, for them to ascertain the distance between the parishes; to be sure, this was a piece of information not very hard to come at; but, as if what he had recounted was not enough, as if Government thought the labours of the Commissioners were not sufficiently Herculean, they had to inquire into the state of education in each parish, to learn what books were employed for this purpose, and to ascertain the average attendance of each sect in the school. But even this was not enough; they were to report generally—he hoped the House would observe the comprehensiveness of the word—on the relative situation of Protestants, Catholics, Presbyterians, Bap- tists, all and any denominations whatsoever in respect to all these particulars. And all this was to be done by ten men! These were the naked facts of the case; he had not distorted them in the slightest degree; and now he asked whether it was likely that such a Commission would do any service to the country? He had shown, that it was entirely worthless, and, therefore, he begged Ministers to take at once a decided step, and no longer expose themselves to the charge of pusillanimous imbecility. The noble Lord might say, that he did not know whether there would be a surplus or not. He had watched with great care the noble Lord's concession; but he found a resolution adopted by his Majesty's Ministers, and he would ask why the House of Commons should retract from that resolution. He (Mr. Sheil) might be disposed to confide in Government, but he did not trust in their stability—he did not confide in their permanence. Their determinations might be nullified by a change of Administration, but a resolution of the House of Commons was not so mutable. But at any rate they ought to know what they were doing. "Let us," continued the hon. and learned Gentleman, "have determined men. Either we must return to the reign of the Conservatives, or we must have bold and consistent advocates of necessary changes. We must pursue a decided policy, and not have recourse to a paltry system of shifts and expedients." It was absurd, the hon. and learned Gentleman continued, to suppose, that the Coercion Bill would effect the results which Ministers proposed to themselves by its adoption. Such measures had invariably failed. They might re-act the scenes which ought to have struck them with dismay; all the atrocities which had been committed might be again let loose upon the land; but they should remember that having made those dreadful experiments, and found them a failure, if they persisted in this reckless pertinacity of purpose, they would have to pass before God and their country the ordeal of a most terrible and fearful judgment.

Mr. Edward Ellice

said, that nothing could have surprised him less than the tone and manner of the hon. and learned Gentleman; or, that persons who declared themselves determined to oppose the Government, should be equally prepared to withhold all confidence from them. It was true, as had been said, that the Government had sustained a severe loss in the splendid talents of his right hon. friends. He agreed with the remark, that that loss was the severest to which the Government could be exposed. And for what had the sacrifice been made, but that the Government should be enabled to act upon one principle, and to avow that principle with regard to the measure now before the House? [Cheers.]:—"Sir, I scarcely know," continued the right hon. Gentleman, "how to interpret that cheer, coming from the quarter it does. But if it means, that the Government is not united and determined to act consistently with its declarations, I say, that if I had thought there had been the least difference upon one principle amongst those who formed the new Government, and that principle was the one of advising the fit application of the surplus revenues of the Church of Ireland to purposes not dissimilar from those stated in the Resolutions of the hon. member for St. Alban's, I would have been the last man to have joined it. I agree with the hon. and learned member for Dublin in all that he has stated of all the abuses and anomalies of this Church, and of the miseries and oppressions which it has brought on the country. I am not afraid to avow that in my place in this House; and, if I am ready to lend my best assistance to propose plans in this House for removing the miseries and the abuses and anomalies to which I have alluded, and thereby to give new strength and security to the Establishment in Ireland, while at the same time, I am enabled to confer that benefit upon the mass of the people of Ireland which they have a right to expect, by the appropriation of the surplus funds of the Establishment, I think I have a right to claim credit for having discharged the duty I prescribed to myself when I accepted office. These are my sentiments; and I know of none of my colleagues who differ from me on the subject. At least, I am sure, that I have heard no opinion from any one of them which leads me to entertain the least doubt, that the Government is acting in union on this point. The hon. and learned member for Dublin has asked me, or some member of the Cabinet, to give the House a candid exposition of our opinions upon this question. At least, as far as I am concerned, I hope he will admit that I have not with- held mine. With respect, Sir, to the Motion immediately before the House, the hon. and learned member for Dublin stated, that there is a wide difference between this Resolution which he has proposed to night, and that of the hon. member for St. Alban's, which the House negatived upon a recent occasion. After having listened with great attention to the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, I confess I cannot see the distinction. When my noble friend opposed the former Resolution, he did so upon the ground of the Commission which had been issued, the terms of which he then stated to the House. I recollect, that my noble friend read from a paper in his hand the very terms of the Commission. I cannot then well understand how the House can agree with the hon. and learned member for Tipperary, and assert, that the Commission was issued with a view to delude the people. Then I ask, why will you not give credit to the Government for having adopted it with honest intentions? Either the measure was taken with good intentions, or it was used to delude the people of Ireland. I must say, that the haste with which you expect the Government to move forward in these measures is injurious to your own objects. I know that Governments are to be found, and Legislatures, perhaps, to follow them, who may be ready to move with less deliberation; but I say the present Government is not pledged to any such destructive rapidity of motion; and it is not fairly dealt with in being urged forward with unnecessary and causeless haste. The Government has scarcely had time to appoint the Commission. The Commissioners have scarcely met, and they are already accused of not proceeding with sufficient rapidity. Will Gentlemen give us a little time? Will they allow us to be informed of the opinions of the Commissioners. They met last week, and the first instruction sent to them was to consider how far their numbers were equal to the several duties imposed upon them, and to submit to the Government the plan upon which they proposed to operate in order that we may decide upon what steps may be necessary to accelerate their proceedings. Will, then, the hon. and learned Gentleman give us a week or two? We are a Government scarcely in office, it may be said—scarcely formed for the purposes of business. Will he not give us time to prepare our measures, and to form them upon rational grounds, so as to enable us—supposing, that he and I agree in our ultimate objects—to effect them? If the hon. and learned Gentleman asks me my opinion as to the Resolution he has moved, I scarcely know in what I differ from it. That is my opinion, and those who hear me know that I am not the man to put any qualification upon opinions which I strongly hold." The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to say, that if there was any thing in the Resolution to which he objected, it was to the general character of the words "purposes of public utility." They might mean any thing—the building of roads or bridges, or other such purposes, which were of public utility, but to which he should certainly object to see the fund applied. He should like to have some little explanation of the very wide terms which the hon. and learned Member had chosen. But he objected to the Resolution being brought forward now. The Government had a right to expect credit for their intentions; and, above all things, they ought not to be driven forwards by violence to do what they hoped to accomplish quietly, and so as to avoid exciting the passions of men, and ultimately to provide for the public benefit. He had not accepted office to inflame and irritate one class of his Majesty's subjects against another. As to the threat of the hon. and learned member for Tipperary, he cared little whether this or ally other measures should be placed under other auspices by a dissolution of Parliament; but he avowed his determination, let the consequences be what they might, neither to be deterred from those reforms which he conceived to be demanded by the public good, nor to be plunged into an extravagant and premature course which must only end in failure; but to stand between the extremes of either party, and pursue the course which his own judgment dictated. There was no hon. Gentleman in that House who felt more deeply than he did the loss which the Government had sustained in losing the talents of his two right hon. friends who had retired from it; still he must say, that the best support of a Government ought to be an honest intention and purpose to carry through those salutary measures of reform which the condition of the country required. That intention, he felt conscious, entitled the present Government to the support and confidence of the House. Without that confidence, he was aware they could do nothing; and, if it was to be withdrawn from them, that appeal must be made to the country under which he hoped and prayed—though he should be insincere if he said he believed—that the Councils of his Majesty would be committed to more moderate and more prudent hands; or that the measures then proposed would be more beneficial to the people.

Mr. Lefroy

said, that the House and the country would be indebted to the right hon. Gentleman's speech for at least knowing what the opinions and views of his Majesty's Government were. The Commission had been properly described by the hon. and learned member for Tipperary; and if so sore a blister was to be applied to Ireland, the sooner she was made to go through the misery of it the better. The excitement that would be caused by this Commission in every parish in Ireland would resemble that of an election with universal suffrage. If ever there was a curse upon the land for numbering the people, this Commission would be one. There was no difference of opinion about it in Ireland; all parties looked upon it as the same unmitigated evil. With respect to the proposition of applying the funds of the Church to purposes of "general utility," as it was called, that was a plan which he should always oppose to the uttermost. He had never heard any reason advanced to show why the property of the Church of Ireland differed from the property of the Church of England. The only reason that had been glanced at in argument was, that of the population in Ireland being of a different religion. But the endowments of the Church had not been given to any particular portion of the community, but to the religion of the State. If any one thought a better religion could be found than the Protestant religion, let him come boldly forward and propose to have it changed from the Protestant to the Catholic, and see whether that House or the people of England or of Scotland would agree to it. It had been argued, that because there was a diminution of the numbers of any sect possessing property, that property ought to be given to the Government or to Parliament, and the owners be divested of it. He would contend, that where a State religion had been endowed, there was no more right in Parliament to divert the funds from that purpose than there was to divert them in the other case. If the majority of the people of Ireland did not adopt the religion established by Parliament—and let it be remembered, that it was a Roman Catholic Parliament in Ireland which established the Protestant religion there—that was no reason for diverting the Church property from its possessors, who held it under the solemn guarantee of the Legislature. If it were so, what was to become of the Union, which was no more sanctioned by the majority of the people in Ireland than the Protestant Church? That sophism would have no weight when closely examined. The people of Ireland only formed a portion of the population of the empire, and there was no more reason why they should call for the abolition of the religion of the State, than there would be for the Roman Catholics, who might happen to have a majority in any county in England claiming the abolition of the tithes on that account. The question upon which the House must now make up its mind was, whether or not the principles of the Reformation should be abandoned and broken down. It was true, that the barrier set up at the Revolution had been broken down, and he had no desire to raise it up again; but so long as the principles of the Reformation remained in force, Parliament could have no right to do with the Church of Ireland what it could not do with the Church of England, and by doing which it must tend to the dismemberment of the empire, and the overthrow of the monarchy in Ireland. When he added to this the jealousy with which the Protestant people of Ireland looked to this measure as a breach of national faith and of the solemn compact entered into with them at the Union,—when they looked at this, and at the feelings which had lately been excited among the Protestants of Ireland,—he could not too solemnly caution the Government against the course they were pursuing. He had nothing to say against the removal of abuses in the Church, or any proper distribution of her revenues. He was most anxious that every defect of this kind should be remedied; but any alienation of her property from the Church, he, and he believed every Protestant Irishman, would be prepared to resist to the last as an infraction of the Union. On the last occasion upon which he addressed the House on this subject, he felt himself authorized, upon the strength of documents which he had consulted, to assert that the estimates of the property of the Church in Ireland, which had been given to the House, were most exaggerated statements. He did it without the most distant intention of conveying any imputation upon the Motion of the hon. member for St. Alban's; but, in justice to himself, he must state again, that, after examining the facts most carefully, he was convinced, that the hon. Gentleman had fallen into the most gross exaggeration. Since, then, the accounts of the whole composition had been prepared, excepting for tithes, to the value of 68,000l. a-year. From these accounts it appeared, that the hon. Member overstated the property of the Church by above 100,000l. a-year. As he had surmised before, he found, that the value of the glebe lands, as well as the tithes, had been included in the estimate of the property. He was now able to repeat the statement he had made the other night, that the whole revenues of the Church of Ireland, applicable to the remuneration of her Bishops and clergy, after deducting the payments under the present Bill, and the income of the cancelled bishoprics, would not exceed 534,000l. a-year. Of the livings in Ireland, 277 were presented to by lay patrons, and those in value were nearly one-fifth of the value of the whole. These livings being the saleable property of laymen, like any other property, ought not to be taken as endowments of the Church, and, therefore, that number of 277 was to be deducted from the whole number of 1,456. There was still less justice in separating from the Protestant Church any of its revenues at the present moment, when the result of this measure would be to throw the payment of the tithes upon the Protestant landlords. It was said, that the tithes should not be paid because the people of the country were of another religion, and, therefore, the clergy had nothing to do. But that would put an end to every State religion, except the religion chosen and followed by the most ignorant of the people. With respect to the Bill itself, he had heard, with astonishment, the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, state, that it was his intention to abandon the redemption and appropriation clauses in the Bill. He heard the proposition with astonishment, because it was at variance with the professions made by the right hon. Gentleman when he introduced the measure originally to the House. The professed object of the Bill was, to realize this species of property, by a commutation into land, and to leave the question of future appropriation unprejudiced. But, to leave that question unprejudiced, it was necessary the Bill should go the length it originally did; and, accordingly, the Bill provided that, for five years, a land-tax should be levied in lieu of tithes; and, after that period, an investment was to be made for the use of the clergyman, who would then possess a property in land equivalent to four-fifths of what he had previously received in tithe. If those clauses were withdrawn, what was the clergyman to receive in lieu of his ancient prescriptive right, which was taken away by the Bill?—and what was he to receive in lieu of one-fifth of his present income? It should be borne in mind, too, that the Bill dealt with the rights of present proprietors, and, as now to be modified, it would give the clergyman, in place of his prescriptive right to the whole tithe, a claim to become a pensioner of the Commissioners of the Woods and Forests for four-fifths. The Bill did not give the Land-tax to the clergy individually; it left it vested in the Crown, and to be collected by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, and voted out accordingly, as they, in their diligence, might be able to collect it, after deducting all expenses. The revenues of the Church, so circumstanced, could not any longer be looked upon as property. Under these circumstances, he felt great reluctance to vote for the re-committal of the Bill; but he had no alternative, and could not, upon any grounds, support the Resolution proposed by the hon. and learned member for Dublin. He believed, that the interests of the clergy would be greatly prejudiced by the Bill, but he felt coerced to take it as a choice of evils, and to avoid the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin.

Mr. Finch

contended that, if the Catholic priesthood had permitted the people to pay the tithes, they were very ready to pay them; and nothing would have been heard of this Bill. It was the object of the Church of Rome to destroy the Protestant Church, and to establish itself in the place of the Protestant Church. His Majesty's Government had been absurd enough to suppose, that the Catholic clergy would accept a pittance from the off-scourings of the Establishment. If they had offered them four-fifths of the revenues of the latter, perhaps they might have accepted that as a first payment, and a step to their ultimate object, that of establishing their own religion in its place. The conduct of his Majesty's Ministers, on the present occasion, was in direct violation of the promise made to the Protestants of Ireland, that no such measure should be introduced without their being previously consulted on it. Such conduct was calculated to excite alarm in every member of the Established Church, and to threaten the stability of the State.

Mr. French

wished to point out that part of the proposed alterations to which he particularly objected. He stood forward as the advocate of this Bill, nor would he join in a sweeping denunciation of its provisions. He was fully aware of the benefit which must result from cutting off the source of collision between the Protestant clergy and the people. It provided against a repetition of that distress to which, according to the statement of the hon. member for the University of Dublin, the clergy had been reduced by the non-payment of tithe; and though he must agree with the hon. member for Worcester, that justice was violated in compelling one man to pay the debt of another, by rendering the landlord liable for the defalcation of the tenant, still a sacrifice, made on the part of the landed proprietors within the bounds of moderation, for the attainment of tranquillity, might be desirable. They should recollect, that their individual interests were regulated by the general prosperity of the State; that this impost, now about to be done away with, had been for ages the greatest drawback on that prosperity; that it had always been the cause of combination and confederacy throughout the country; that, in the present inflammable state of public opinion in Ireland, the resistance to payment might be still further extended, and end in a terrific struggle between property and pauperism. They should also recollect, that were every vestige of the Protestant Church destroyed in Ireland, they could not, in justice, expect one shilling of this money to fall into their pockets; but, on the other hand, a considerable allowance ought to be made, a much more considerable allowance than that proposed in this Bill, to reconcile them to taking on themselves payments for which they were not at present liable; payments not hereafter to be collected by them, or if, indeed, attempted, at the hazard of attaching the insecurity of tithe to the present security of rent, involving both in one common ruin, and to be collected even then, according to the statement of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland in sums amounting to the one-fortieth part of a farthing. For all this trouble, risk, nay, certain loss, what did they propose to give the landlords of Ireland? What advantage, present or prospective, did they hold out, to reconcile them to this arrangement, to tempt them to acquiesce in what the gentry of England would never suffer, and what, he trusted, they would not be forced to submit to? Were receivers to be placed on their estates for debts which they never contracted? In this Bill, as originally introduced, there was a clause of redemption, giving the landlords of Ireland as a boon, at sixteen years' purchase, a description of property, which, before it was deteriorated by agitation, would bring but thirteen years' purchase in the market; this was called a boon. They received a similar one last Session in the Church Temporalities Act; but this clause was to be omitted. Against that omission—to striking out the principle of redemption—he objected. The inevitable consequence of this Bill passing without the rate of redemption being fixed, must be, to place an additional incumbrance of some millions on the landed property of Ireland. He wished not to deduct one shilling from the value of Church property as it stood before agitation commenced in 1829; but he denied the right of Parliament to stamp an additional value on this property by legislative enactment, and call on the landlords of Ireland to pay for it. At the period to which he had alluded, 1829, the Church tithe of Ireland was rated at 600,000l. a-year. Deduct for collection, security, &c., thirty per cent, and the nett or saleable income would be 420,000l. a-year, which, at thirteen years' purchase, would bring 5,460,000l. This 600,000l. tithe they were now about to convert into 600,000l. rent charge, deducting twenty per cent. 480,000l. saleable income seemed as the just charge on the rental of Ireland on a sum of 14,000,000l. sterling, guaranteed by the State, and payable at the Treasury. Would any one venture to deny, that a description of property, such as this, would be valuable, and that the landlord of Ireland would not be eventually compelled to pay, thirty years' purchase for it? 480,000l. at thirty years' purchase, would produce 14,400,000l. An additional value of near 900,000l. they were about to place on this property. The lay tithe of 100,000l. a-year was subject to the same calculation. The increase of value in this case could not be defended on the ground of being the property of the Church or the property of the State. He trusted, his Majesty's Government would take this into their serious consideration—that they would hesitate before, by expunging the clause of redemption, they cut off the only means by which the extinction of tithes could be obtained—that object for which the people of Ireland had so long and so ardently struggled; that they would pause before they adopted a measure which was destructive to the landlord, and not conciliatory to the tenant; which, while it left behind the seeds of discontent and irritation, would materially add to the burthens of an already distracted and impoverished country. He would no longer trespass on the patience of the House, and would conclude by stating his fixed determination to oppose, to the utmost of his power, in Committee, the omission of a clause without which he considered this Bill would not only be destructive to the interests, but fatal to the peace of his native country.

Mr. Shaw

said, it was his intention to vote against the resolution of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, but, having done so, he was fully as much as ever opposed to the Motion of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. In this he was guilty of no inconsistency. The hon. and learned member for Dublin and the Treasury Bench were precisely agreed upon this question. The only difference that existed between them was, that the hon. and learned member for Dublin had the manliness both to state and to act upon the principles which he declared. The Government stated, but had not the manliness to act upon the principles they entertained. If they had the manliness and the moral courage to act up to the principles they professed, his Majesty's Ministers need not hesitate to support the Resolution of the hon. and learned member for Dublin. The right hon. Secretary at War had declared that, by adopting that Resolution, however consistent in principle it might be with the opinions of Government upon the subject, they would be brought into difficulties of detail which it was inexpedient to encounter at present. This was by no means a valid objection, for the Resolution did not pledge them to any details. That being the case—he meant no personal offence to any member of his Majesty's Government in what he was now saying—he would plainly state his conviction, that his Majesty's Government had adopted the course they were now pursuing for no other purpose on earth than to gain time. The sentiments of his Majesty's Ministers appeared to agree so precisely with those of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, that he could not see any reason why they should not support that hon. and learned Member's resolution, if they wished to act with boldness and consistency. But the fact was, whatever the individual sentiments of the members of the Government might be, as a Ministry they had not come to any very consistent or well-defined opinion upon the subject. He held in his hand a copy of the speech of another member of his Majesty's Government in another place and on a former occasion; and what were his opinions upon this question? Why, black and white were not more opposite than were the expressed opinions of the Marquess of Lansdowne and the right hon. Secretary at War upon the subject of the appropriation of Church property in Ireland. He would, therefore, at once charge his Majesty's Ministers as a body, with endeavouring to evade and shuffle off from the question. He would not now go into the arguments of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, for in the present position of the debate such a course would be hardly opportune. There was one single topic, however, contained in the joint sentiments of the hon. and learned Member and of his Majesty's Ministers,—for there was no difficulty in putting them and answering them together,—which he could not but introduce to the notice of the House. For this purpose he would beg leave to quote one single passage from the speech of an individual of high trust in his Majesty's Government,—the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In the year 1823, an hon. Member (for Middlesex) brought forward a measure upon the subject of Church property in Ireland, which was not nearly so strong as that now before the House. The motion then proposed by the hon. Member was this. "That it is expedient to inquire whether the present Church Establishment of Ireland is not more than commensurate to the services to be performed, both as regards the number of persons employed, and the incomes they receive; and if so, whether a reduction of the same should not take place, with due regard to all existing interests."* Upon this proposition what did Lord Plunkett say? "He could not allow the resolution of the hon. Member to be offered to the consideration of the House, without expressing in terms as strong as the English language could supply, or the rules of Parliament would allow him to use in this House, his sense of the folly and desperation of the measure which had been proposed; without expressing the strongest reprobation of it which it was in his power to bestow. The plan of the hon. Gentleman for governing the Church of Ireland, if proper for that country, would be proper for England."† What then became of the distinction between England and Ireland pointed out by the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth), who had just taken up his station behind the Treasury Bench—But Lord Plunkett went on: "If adopted by Parliament, they would, in effect, declare, that the property of the hierarchy was public property, and was liable to be disposed of for purposes of religion, or for any other purposes. This would prepare the way for the downfall of the hierachy, and that of the Throne must follow."‡ This, however, was not all, for, in a few sentences further on, Lord Plunkett returned to the distinction between England and Ireland.- Under these circumstances it was certainly extremely fortunate that the noble and learned Lord's professional duties detained him in Ireland during the discussion of this question. It would certainly be highly inconvenient to him to be present on such an occasion. He was perfectly satisfied, from what had fallen from the *Hansard, vol. viii. (new series) p. 390. † Ibid. p. 407. ‡ Ibid. right hon. Secretary at War, that if he were acting in his individual capacity as a Member of that House, he would not oppose the resolution of the hon. and learned member for Dublin. That hon. and learned Member had very strong grounds to urge the Government before the Bill was suffered to go into Committee, to declare their intentions in respect to this very important branch of the subject. The present Bill was totally different from the former one. It involved the principle of direct confiscation of landed property, and proposed to abolish the privilege of redemption, which was formerly proposed to be admitted. This was of itself a great act of oppression and unfairness towards the landed proprietors. Now, as to the newly-appointed Commission which his Majesty's Ministers proposed to send forth to make researches upon the subject of Church property,—there were in his recollection two precedents for such a Commission. The first was in the time of Henry 8th, who, when he was about to spoliate the property of the monasteries of England, first appointed a Commission, just such a Commission as the present one, to inquire into the propriety of such a proceeding. It was needless to add, that the result of their Commission's labours was just such as was expected and desired, and the abbey revenues of England were accordingly seized. The next precedent he would mention was on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Catholics in Dublin in 1825, when Mr. O'Connell (he spoke of that Gentleman now as a member of the Catholic Association, without reference to his subsequent conduct in any other place), Mr. O'Connell on that occasion promised the people of Ireland a new Catholic Association, and that one of its first objects should be to have the population numbered, and also to ascertain the value of every Church living in Ireland, distinguishing the amount of Church-cess, of parish-cess, and the salaries or emolument of every parish officer, and of every clergyman in Ireland, not only of the Established Church, but Presbyterians and others. Such was the promise of Mr. O'Connell on the occasion to which he had alluded; and really the precedent was so very exact, that it might very well be followed on the present occasion by his Majesty's Ministers. In his conscience he believed the object of the present Commission to be of the most dangerous nature. He felt convinced, that it must work the greatest mischief in Ireland, stirring up the mouldering embers of religious animosity throughout the land, and exciting jealousies and feuds of the direst and most distressing kind. The Commission was issued for no other purpose than as a sort of plank on which the remnants of a disjointed Cabinet might hang together, and, without one principle to guide them in their reckless course, float for a short time longer upon the stagnant waters of public opinion, in whose dark and deadly depths they must eventually perish. To add a little longer term to their wretched and lingering existence, had they adopted the notion of issuing a Commission which he (Mr. Shaw) could never cease to regret, and the ill effects of which it was difficult and melancholy to contemplate. The Government had altered this Bill and issued this Commission for no other than this short-sighted and selfish object, because they had not the manliness and the firmness to act upon their own responsibility and their own declared opinions.

Mr. Secretary Rice

said, that an imputation more grave and serious than that which the House had just heard pronounced had never been cast against any set of men holding the responsible situation of advisers of the Crown. In the first place, the hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin, had taxed his Majesty's Government with such a degree of insincerity and duplicity, that no individual among them could ever dare to hold up his head again if the charge were in any way well founded. The hon. and learned Member charged his Majesty's Ministers with having endeavoured to delude all the parties in that House upon a measure of vast importance like the present, for the mere purpose of prolonging a wretched and lingering existence in office, and of disgracing themselves before the country by conduct at once unwise and dishonest. They were accused of wishing to seduce the House into a Committee upon this Bill, for the purpose of acknowledging a principle upon which they intended to do something, but which something they had not in any way agreed upon. Why the principle had been avowed at the announcement of the Commission which had been made during the discussion of the motion brought forward by the hon. member for St. Alban's, and from the admission then made, the Government would not shrink. Why, then, seeing the principle involved in the inquiry about to be entered into, were they told, that the Commission was a mere delusion? The principle involved in the Commission was the same as that involved in the resolution of the hon. member for St. Alban's, and the object of the Commission was, to ascertain the exact state of the population with regard to the Established Church, and to know whether the revenues of the Church exceeded the amount necessary to its suitable maintenance, with a view that any surplus or excess may be submitted to appropriation by the Legislature. In what way the surplus, if any, was to be dealt with, was a question for after consideration; but he might state, that one of his objections to the resolution moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman was, that it extended the objects too much to which this property might be appropriated. The, principle upon which they were called upon by the hon. and learned Gentleman to give judgment was so ill-defined, that it would be impossible to know to what uses it might be applied. He might state, as had already been declared by his noble friend near him, that in no instance could any such surplus be appropriated to the use of the Roman Catholic Church. Upon this consideration alone, therefore, his Majesty's Government had sufficient cause, with the strictest regard to consistency, to object to the resolution of the hon. and learned member for Dublin. For, suppose that resolution were to be agreed to, might not the Catholic Church be then said to fall within the purposes of public utility and charity? This interpretation might really very fairly be put upon the words of the hon. and learned Member's resolution. The hon. and learned member for Dublin University (Mr. Shaw) said, that the issuing of this Commission would lead to the most formidable results; whilst the other hon. and learned member for the same University (Mr. Sergeant Lefroy) had a little previously declared, that, so far from the inquiry which it was proposed to institute having in itself any dangerous or mischievous tendency, if the measure before them had no views to ulterior spoliation, he should not oppose, but rather rejoice at, such a Commission, because it must eventually tend to prove, that the Church Establishment of Ireland had been grossly overrated and misrepresented. It was odd, too, that hon. Gentlemen who complained of the Commission, could forget, that an order similar to the Commission had been before made, and returns had been called for of those parishes in Ireland which contained fewer than fifty resident Protestants, agreeably to the 116th Clause of the Church Temporalities' Act. This order was exactly conformable to the principle contained in the Commission. When these returns were sought for, the colleague (Mr. Lefroy) of the hon. member for the University of Dublin, stated, as he had stated with respect to the Commission, that if the inquiry was undertaken for no purposes of spoliation, but merely to ascertain the number of Protestants in Ireland, so far from being opposed to it, he was glad of the investigation, as it would serve to confirm the statements which had already been made with regard to their numbers. Was it not extraordinary, after this statement, that the House should be told, that the Commission was to lead to all those consequences fatal to the peace of Ireland, which had been so eloquently anticipated. The hon. and learned member for the county of Tipperary said, that he did not object to the nature and purpose of the Commission, but that he feared it comprehended too many and too extensive subjects, and would occupy too much time. Undoubtedly that was an objection of a very different character; but it was sufficiently answered by the assurance, that every possible effort should be made to facilitate this inquiry, and to conclude it with all despatch. He did not know, that there was any impropriety in the inquiry projected by the Roman Catholic Association, which had been alluded to, for a similar inquiry had been approved of by the hon. and learned member for Dublin University. On that occasion, the question of appropriation was not raised—the object merely was, to ascertain the exact state of the people of Ireland, according to their sectarian distinctions; and the order which was made for their enumeration then, was almost precisely the same as that which was so lately suggested; and yet, in the one case it was termed fatal, and in the other considered innocuous. In every part of the statement of his noble friend, as to his own individual opinions on this question, he entirely concurred. The declaration of his noble friend went to this—that an inquiry should be instituted into the amount of wealth possessed by the Protestant Church of Ireland. The object was, to bring before Parliament the amount of the property of the Protestant Church in Ireland, as compared with the number of persons professing the Protestant Religion in that part of the Empire; and his noble friend affirmed, that in the event of its appearing that the property of the Protestant Church in Ireland was out of proportion to the duties required of its ministers, he would be prepared to support a proposition for Parliament to apply that excess of funds to other uses. This was what he understood his noble friend to have said, and in this he entirely concurred. Hon. Members must be content with the declaration of principle, which was all that they were called upon, under the present circumstances, to decide. He had his own notions on the ulterior destination of the funds, and he had often stated them in the House. Those opinions, he should be prepared again to express, when a fit opportunity occurred; or if he was convinced they were wrong, he should be willing to abandon them. The present was not, however, the time for that discussion, because they could not now found upon the discussion any practical measure. He entirely agreed with his noble friend, that the Roman Catholic Church was not one of the purposes to which he could contemplate the appropriation of any portion of these funds; but there were purposes connected with the original grant of this property to which it would be fully competent for this House to apply the surplus. He should regard as surplus the excess beyond the real wants and necessities of the Protestant Church in Ireland; but he, for one, would not consent unduly to diminish the amount of property necessary for the religious instruction of the Protestant population of that country. It was not necessary to adopt any such course; and he was sure there were many Members who gave their hearty assent to the principle of the future parliamentary appropriation of this property, who would be the last men in the world to leave the Protestant population of Ireland, as described by the hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin, without adequate means of religious instruction. The maintenance of the proposition, that it was competent for Parliament to diminish the surplus wealth of the Protestant Church, provided it did not diminish the efficacy, did not lead to any such consequence; for if it did, he should be the first to oppose such a conclusion. But, did the hon. Gentleman think, that he could defend the present position in which the Protestant Church was placed? Was he prepared to take his stand there, and to deny that, as compared with the Church in England, the Church in Ireland was endowed with an excess of wealth? If he admitted that it was so, how were they, as Legislators, to defend it? Could we be justified in making a larger provision for the Protestant Church in Ireland, than for the Protestant Church in England? That was really the practical way of bringing the question before the House. If, then, the House would not go with the hon. Gentleman in asserting the necessity of making a larger provision for the Church in Ireland, where Protestants were few, than for the Church in England, where Protestants were many, how were they to deal with the surplus? Let him suppose this case—that in the plan of the confiscation to which the hon. Gentleman had adverted, consequent on the dissolution of the monasteries, in the time of Henry 8th, the landed estates of the abbeys, and the whole ecclesiastical property in Ireland, including the lay tithes, had been vested in the Church, could any one say that, under such circumstances,—that Church monopolising the greater part of the landed property in Ireland,—no case could be made out for the interposition of Parliament, in regard to such a large excess of wealth? If, then, he admitted that, in such a case, Parliamentary interference would have been justifiable,—a case which, speaking historically, was much more likely to have occurred than that which had taken place,—would he say, that the principle was not the same on the present occasion, or that the difference was more than a difference in degree? Must the hon. and learned Gentleman not be compelled to admit, that a case of excess might be made, which to the Protestant Church of Ireland might be a matter of obloquy and reproach?—must he not admit that such a case would require the interposition of Parliament? And if so, he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether the present case of the Protestant Church in Ireland did not require it? They had been asked, why not pass this resolution? Because there was no sufficient Parliamentary evidence on which to rely; and because it was an hypothetical resolution. If he were to legislate on his own knowledge and conviction, he might say, that there was an excess of wealth. He was prepared to say, too, that the safety of the Protestant Church would be best consulted if its wealth were diminished. But was that private knowledge and conviction ground for a Parliamentary proceeding? Suppose that Ministers had come down to Parliament with such a resolution as that moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman, how should they have been met? Would not those very Gentlemen who now objected to asking for information, have then asked, triumphantly, "On what data do you presume to say, that there is an excess? The statements on the subject are conflicting. One Gentleman says, that the number of Protestants in Ireland closely approaches 2,000,000; another reduces the number to one-half; which is correct?" Must not Ministers be able to answer such querists? He thought they must, and thought, therefore, that information was necessary. Would it not be better, before affirming the assertion contained in the resolution of the hon. and learned member for Dublin to ascertain the facts, and act on the distinct knowledge which it was the object of the Commission to obtain? The hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin had referred to past declarations and votes, and referred to the authority of Lord Plunkett. They might also refer, perhaps, to his conduct, of which he would not complain, as that was, of course, open to animadversion; but if any allusion should be made to the past language or conduct of so humble an individual, he hoped the House would permit him to have an opportunity of explaining and justifying it. He hoped, when his whole conduct was taken altogether, and so judged of, and not piecemeal, no charge of inconsistency would lie against him. To the present motion he was decidedly opposed, because it was vague and indefinite, and made an assumption of which sufficient evidence was not before the House.

Sir Robert Peel

found it quite impossible to resist the appeal which had just been made to the House by his right hon. friend; and he would therefore tell him what were the objections which he felt against the Commission which had been issued. He would endeavour to satisfy his right hon. friend by stating as briefly and distinctly as he could the grounds of his objections. He objected, then, to the issuing of this Commission, because up to this hour, judging from the speeches of his Majesty's Ministers, the motives assigned for it were unintelligible. He objected to the issuing of this Commission, because, if ever there was a time when the King's Government should have attempted to settle the unsettled opinions of men upon questions of property, this was the time. He objected to the issuing of this Commission, because all the information which was necessary to enable the Executive Government to form an opinion on the general principles of the measure which they evidently contemplated, was already in the possession of the Government. He objected to the issuing of this Commission, because it was calculated, in a country already convulsed to its centre by religious discord, still more to embitter every existing source of irritation. "This Commission, indeed!" said the right hon. Baronet; "You separate yourselves from colleagues whom you admit to be of the highest character, on the great principle, as you say, of this Commission. The principle on which they have rather separated themselves from you is, that they differ from you as to the moral and equitable right of Parliament to appropriate to other than Church purposes the property of the Church. You have, however, consented to that separation; and under such circumstances, with all the elements of confusion which are now abroad, is it too much to ask the Ministers of the Crown, what are the principles on which their administration is formed? You objected to the Motion of the hon. member for St. Alban's which asserted a fact, and maintained a principle, and you now object to the Motion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, which contains no fact, but asserts the principle that Parliament has a right to appropriate to purposes of public utility the revenues of the Church of Ireland. You say that your principle is in your Commission. I look at your Commission and find it headed—what?—Appropriation of the revenues of the Church of Ireland to se- cular purposes? No; I find it headed 'Public Instruction.' The Commission into which you tell me to look for your principle is headed with a fraudulent title. It bears on the face of it 'Public Instruction (Ireland),' as if its mere object were to add one other to the countless inquiries that have already been made into public instruction in that country. When an attempt is made to explain the real objects of this Commission, there is manifest contradiction between the members of the new Government. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) says, that he has made up his mind that the Church in Ireland is the greatest grievance of which any country ever had to complain; but the right hon. member for Cambridge (Mr. Spring Rice)—he an Irishman—he who knows more of Ireland than any other member of his Majesty's Government—adopts a tone, in speaking of the Church, directly different from this. He says, indeed, that he has certain notions on the subject, but that this is not the time at which he thinks it proper to explain them. He is bursting with practical knowledge—his life has been spent in Ireland—he has originated and directed inquiries in every form bearing upon this particular subject; nay, he has made up his mind to the principle on which we ought to act, but, instead of enlightening our ignorance, and announcing his principle, what is the course which he intends to pursue? He consents to new inquiries, which, judging from the experience of similar inquiries, cannot be completed if they be properly conducted, within a period of four or five years. All Ireland is impatient for some decision—Church property is in danger—the authority of the law is daily declining through indecision and suspense,—and his Majesty's Government, instead of leading the public mind, by pronouncing an opinion on this subject, issues a Commission "to our trusty and truly beloved Thomas D'Oyley, Sergeant at Law, Thomas Lister, John Wrottesley," and so forth. They despatch to Ireland a set of Gentlemen, most of whom probably were never in Ireland before, to institute minute inquiries into every single parish of that country, for the purpose of collecting, according to the Lord Chancellor, statistical information. Well, but all the information as to facts that you can require, you have already. There is nothing contemplated by the Commission which is not at hand, excepting indeed one thing—one thing, which I should have thought the King's Government, and not Sergeant D'Oyley and his brother Commissioners, was the proper authority to consider and to decide upon—namely, the moral and political bearings of the Church Establishment upon the social interests and condition of Ireland. I will prove to the House that you are now in possession of all the elements which you can require for the formation of your judgment as to the practical course which ought to be pursued. Take, if you please, additional time for consideration, but do not insult us with the mockery of needless and mischievous inquiries. Do not employ your trusty and well-beloved Sergeant D'Oyley and a host of well-paid Commissioners upon functions which are the proper functions of the King's Government. I proceed to the proof—that so far as mere inquiry into facts is concerned, this Commission is perfectly superfluous. On the face of it, it contemplates three main objects of inquiry; first, the population of each parish in Ireland, and the proportions of each class, Churchmen and Dissenters; secondly the means of education which exist throughout Ireland; and thirdly, the present revenues of the Church. Are not those the three main points on which the Commission is to collect information? I will prove to demonstration, to the conviction of every man who listens to me, that you are in possession of the fullest information respecting those three heads of inquiry, and that this Commission is the greatest delusion ever practised upon a credulous assembly. First, let us consider the inquiry as it respects the population of Ireland. Before you are to do anything consequent on the labours of this Commission, you are to obtain a report on the state of the population in each parish in Ireland, and the respective numbers of the Established Church, and of Roman Catholics, and of Dissenters. Observe, these inquiries are to be conducted on the spot. The Commissioners must repair in person to each parish—and there are 2,500 parishes in Ireland. By the terms of the Commission, the Commissioners are bound to make their appearance in every parish, and to ascertain these points on the spot by the best evidence they can procure. Now, we have the Population Returns for every parish in Ireland up to the year 1831. Those Returns were only printed in 1833, and yet it is now proposed, in 1834, that we should issue a new Commission to procure fresh information as to the population of each parish in Ireland. But not fewer than 1,200 persons were employed in making and collecting the last Population Returns, and I find that each enumerator in the county of Waterford had 45l. 10s. for his trouble. If, then, the enumerators were all paid at the same rate, the cost of enumeration alone would be 54,000l. I admit, that you do something more by this Commission than merely enumerate; you distinguish the Catholic and Protestant population in each parish. Up to this hour you have carefully avoided marking that distinction of religious creed. You have been pressed heretofore upon this point. You have been called upon to make a Return of the number of Protestants and Catholics respectively employed in the police and other departments of the public service. The answer which you have always given, up to this day, to such applications, was—'No, we have removed the Catholic disabilities—we have rendered all classes of his Majesty's subjects equal in the eye of the law, and therefore we cannot consent to recognize in official records any distinction between Protestants and Catholics.' This Commission, however, is to travel into each parish to ascertain, not only the amount of the population, but also the exact proportion between those who assent to, and those who dissent from, the doctrines of the Established Church. As far as the population of Ireland is concerned, with the exception of that mischievous distinction which the Commission is to make between the Protestant and Catholic parts of it, you have the fullest and most accurate Returns which you can require. Then as to education. If there be any subject on which your information respecting Ireland is complete, it is this. I will commence by reading you an extract from the Education Report of 1828 drawn up by the member for Cambridge (Mr. Spring Rice). He says, 'Inquiries have at different periods been instituted both by Committees of Parliament and by Parliamentary Commissioners, appointed for the purpose of considering the state of education in Ireland. Of these, the most important are the two latest. The first of these Commissions was issued in 1806, and produced in six years fourteen Reports. The second Commission was issued in consequence of an Address from the House of Commons to his Majesty in 1824. This last Commission has led to nine Reports.' So that you have now twenty-three Reports on the subject of education in Ireland. I will present you with a specimen of one of them. This [The right hon. Baronet held up a large folio volume] is one. Perhaps you think that these Reports do not enter into sufficient details. Now, if ever a book was encumbered with details in quantity sufficient to afford the fullest information to the greatest statist that ever lived, this is that book. It ought to satisfy the most ravenous appetite for statistical information. It contains an account of every school in Ireland, of the barony in which it is situate, of the diocess to which the barony belongs, and the name of the townland or place in which the school is established? Are you not content with this? Are you desirous of knowing the names of the master or mistress of every school in Ireland?—you have them in these Reports. You would, perhaps, wish to ascertain the religion of the masters and mistresses whose names you know? That, also, you will find in these Reports. Nay, more, under the next head you have information whether the school be a day-school or a free-school; then you have an account of the income of the master or mistress; and next you have a very exact and minute description of the school-house. This volume contains 1,333 pages; and I will take one instance out of it—the school at Ballibay. And yet 'our trusty and well-beloved Thomas Doyley, Serjeant-at-law,' with ten learned coadjutors, is to be sent to examine into the state of this school. The entry states, that the school of Ballibay is in the diocess of Clogher, in the townland of Clogher. The name of the master of the school is Riley, and Riley is a Protestant. His average income is 11l. 3s. The school-house is a thatched-house; it has a clay-floor; and it cost 6l. 14s. Among the scholars there are fifteen Protestants of the Church of Ireland, thirty-six Presbyterians, and thirteen Roman Catholics. That, be it observed, is the Protestant Return; but do not suppose that one Return is sufficient—for the purpose of checking the first, a second and a Catholic Return was also sent in, and it states the Protestant scholars of the Church of Ireland to be twelve, instead of fifteen, the Presbyterians to be fifty-six, and the Roman Catholics to be twenty-two. But this is not all—the number of male scholars is fifty, and of females forty. The school is assisted by the Hibernian Society in Sackville-street. The Scriptures are read in it, according to the authorized version. Now, surely here is information in abundance respecting the school of Ballibay, and information equally abundant respecting every school in Ireland is at this moment in your possession. We come to the last head of inquiry,—the state and value of the benefices in Ireland. You have three Commissions at this moment in Ireland making inquiries into that point. In the first year of his present Majesty's reign, you issued a Commission to inquire into the state of the several parochial benefices in the respective dioceses in Ireland; first, whether they are separate or united parishes; secondly, what is the annual value of the several parishes; thirdly, the contiguity of the several parishes in a union to each other; fourthly, the fitness of dissolving such unions; and lastly, the amount of the salaries paid to curates. In the third year of the reign of his present Majesty, issued another Commission, and this is the recital of it: 'Whereas we have thought it expedient, for divers good causes and considerations us thereunto moving, that a full and correct inquiry should be forthwith made respecting the revenues and patronage belonging to the several archiepiscopal and episcopal sees in Ireland; to all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches; to all ecclesiastical benefices, including donations, perpetual Curacies, and chapelries, with or without cure of souls, and the names of the several patrons thereof, and other circumstances therewith connected.' In that Commission, which is not purely Ecclesiastical, are the names of Lord Plunkett, the Duke of Leinster, the Marquess of Downshire, Lord Ormond, Sir Henry Parnell, and Sir John Newport. Have you not, then, two Commissions to supply you with all the information you can want relative to the value of every benefice in Ireland? But even this will not satisfy you, for in the last year you instituted another Commission, and you passed an Act compelling a valuation or every living in Ireland—compelling a valuation, in order that a tax might be levied upon the living—and compelling a return of that valuation before the 1st of December, 1833. Moreover, you gave to this the third Commission by Statute the power of administering an oath to all persons who came before it. The Commission now issued has not that power, and is, therefore, less complete. Then, again, I ask, as I am surely entitled to ask, for what object is this new Commission issued? For what other object can it be issued, but that you may be enabled to conceal for a time your own differences, and postpone the evil day of practical decision? Do you really think, that it can conduce to the tranquillity of Ireland to keep the great principle which is involved in these discussions in abeyance till such complicated and miscellaneous inquiries can be completed, or that long delay can have any other result than to increase present difficulties? Sir, the question is simply this—has Parliament the right—not the abstract legal right, for who can doubt its right in that sense—but has Parliament the moral and equitable right to appropriate Church property to secular purposes? And is it safe, in times like these, to set an example of such interference with property? You claim for yourselves the merit of speaking out. I deny that you speak out. I say that the opinions publicly delivered by the members of the King's Government are at variance with each other. With the exception of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellice), who certainly did speak out, all the opinions which I have heard leave me in great doubt as to what are the ultimate intentions of the King's Government. They speak not of the present—but throw out some vague intimations of the course they may take under certain contingencies. In the present state of the revenues of the Church in Ireland, I cannot conceive what object of public policy can be served by mooting the hypothetical case, that if any surplus is found to exist, it shall be devoted to secular purposes. Why not reserve the declaration of a principle till you have ascertained the fact on the existence of which its application depends? At one time you say you do not think it necessary to announce your principle till you have gathered information. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Rice) cheers me when I say, that you reserve the annunciation of the principle. If that be his opinion, how does he reconcile it with the speeches which some of his colleagues have delivered this evening? The noble Lord says—I took down his words—'If there be a surplus, whatever the amount of the surplus may be, I would devote it exclusively to moral and religious purposes.' The noble Lord then contests the right of Parliament—I speak of the moral and equitable right, and not the absolute right—to devote it merely to secular purposes. [Lord Althorp: No.] What, then, is the meaning of the noble Lord's saying, that he will devote it only to moral and religious purposes? How does this property of the Church, I would ask him, differ from other property, as for instance, property possessed by corporations? If it differs altogether in its nature from other property, why has not Parliament an absolute control over it. I can understand the man who tells me, that he considers all property, lay or ecclesiastical,—individual or corporate—to be sacred. I can understand the man also who says, 'If I can promote the doctrines of the Gospel, I consider myself at liberty to promote them, by another distribution of the revenues of its ministers than that which was originally contemplated.' Again, I can understand the hon. and learned member for Dublin, who says, the Church property was granted for Catholic uses, and therefore he claims it for such uses; but I cannot understand the noble Lord, who tells me that he respects the right of property, and yet is ready to divert the property of the Church from ecclesiastical purposes. If the noble Lord had contended, that the revenues of the Church were given for religious purposes, and that he will, therefore, apply them to the maintenance of the Catholic religion, he might be intelligible, but 'No,' says the noble Lord; 'the object from which I would specially except the appropriation of the revenues of the Church is the Catholic religion.' How narrow, then, is the ground on which the noble Lord takes his stand. One Gentleman has claimed the right for Parliament to appropriate, if it should so think fit, the revenues of the Church to New South Wales; but this, says the noble Lord, would be little less than sacrilege. But if Parliament has a right to appropriate the revenues of the Church at all, why has it not a right to appropriate them, if it pleases, to the benefit and improvement of New South Wales? The Gentlemen who pride themselves on speaking out, as they call it, do not even understand the distinctions which they themselves draw. The noble Lord in this House, and the Lord Chancellor in the other House of Parliament, have expressly excluded the Catholic religion from the benefit of this appropriation. 'We have already provided,' say they, 'for the Presbyterian religion, and we will on principle exclude the Roman Catholic.' To what object, then, are you to appropriate the property of the Church? I am speaking now of those who say, that they speak out, and for my life I cannot understand them. The noble Lord (Lord Morpeth), the member for Yorkshire, who speaks always with great ability, and certainly with very mature deliberation, said, that he much doubted whether we had a right to appropriate the surplus, supposing it to exist, to any purposes of charity not directly connected with the Protestant faith. The noble Lord has, it appears, a lingering respect for the property of the Church; but he would have the Church hold it by a singular tenure; for says he, 'If the young men at Oxford continue to make a riot in the theatre as a proof of their attachment to the Church, I cannot respect Church property any longer.' The noble Lord is uncertain as to the existence of a surplus; but if there be a large surplus, he is doubtful whether we have a right to apply it to the mere purposes of charity. He abjures also the notion of appropriating it to the maintenance of the Catholic religion. He will not do more than appropriate it, for I took down the noble Lord's words as he spoke them,—he will not, I say, do more than appropriate it to 'moral, spiritual, and Christian consolation.' [Lord Morpeth: I did not say consolation—I said edification.] Well, then, edification. If there be a surplus, it is to be confined, according to the noble Lord, to moral, spiritual, and Christian edification,—but edification in the Protestant religion—for the noble Lord would exclude the Roman Catholic religion from any participation in the revenues of the Establishment." Now, the advantages to be derived from this species of spoliation appeared to him to be so exceedingly small, that he, for one, would not consent to violate the great principle of prescriptive right to obtain them. He would not undermine the foundation of all property, in order, if there were an excess of Church property over the legitimate wants of the Church, to devote that excess to the moral, spiritual, and Christian edification of the people. He could not discover the distinction between the two purposes. For what was the Church intended, but for moral and Christian edification, if the term "Christian" implied, as the noble Lord meant it to imply, the doctrines of the Established religion? Here was a species of property resting on the prescription of 300 years, the inviolate maintenance of which was decreed at the Union of the two kingdoms. The hon. member for St. Alban's, in his speech the other night, had said, that there was no condition of inviolate maintenance imposed upon Parliament at the time of the Union. In support of that position, the hon. Member had referred to certain speeches of Mr. Pitt, in which the right of Parliament was asserted to deal with certain matters which were not very clearly defined. But he affirmed, that the expressions of Mr. Pitt had no reference whatever to the right of Parliament to deal with the property of the Church, but had reference to the necessity of reserving to Parliament the right of removing the civil disabilities that pressed upon the Catholics. To prove that position, he stated, that the Irish Parliament had sent over to this country certain resolutions as the conditions on which they would assent to the Union, and those resolutions were confirmed by the Parliament of this country, and sent back to Ireland. In those resolutions it was expressly stipulated, that every right and privilege which the Church of Ireland had enjoyed before the Union should be preserved to it after the Union. Now, under the terms 'rights and privileges,' who could doubt that the right of the Church to its property must have been included? Here, then, was a right of property resting upon prescription confirmed not merely by an Act of Parliament, but by a solemn national compact; and should he violate that right with a view to devote an unascertained and very doubtful surplus to purposes so vaguely and unintelligibly defined? If Ministers had told him, that they had ascertained there was a large surplus, that a splendid robbery might be committed, that they had the means, through that robbery, of lightening the public burthens, he could conceive profligate men rejoicing in a magnificent spoliation, and dreaming, that the gain was an apology for the crime. But what were the facts of the case? There were 2,450 parishes in Ireland, and 1,200 churches were now existing for the performance of the service of the Protestant religion. Was it meant to abandon or maintain those churches? Did they mean to appropriate them to purposes other than those to which they were now applied? After deducting the lay advowsons, the property of private individuals, which stood on quite a different footing from the rest, and could not be pretended to be the property of the State, if the whole Church property of Ireland were divided equally among all the parishes (a principle which he hoped never to see adopted), the result would not be such as to indicate any extravagant surplus, after making an adequate provision for the incumbents of the several parishes. He repeated, that he objected altogether to the principle of an equal division of Church property—he did so, because he wished to see the present incentives to exertion continued, and because he conceived it fitting that the clergy should be enabled to exercise an appropriate influence, not only on the lower, but also on the higher classes of society. He saw no reason why the spiritual profession should be degraded, and why there should not exist inducements calculated to attract men of talent and attainments to the Church, as well as to the bar and other professions. But suppose they were to adopt the principle of equal distribution, he doubted whether it would give an income of 300l. a-year to each incumbent. The right hon. Gentleman, the member for Cambridge, seemed to rate the Irish Church revenues higher, and said, that if he found that they would give an average to each benefice of 500l. a-year, while, in England, the average did not exceed 300l. a-year, the difference would afford a conclusive reason for diminishing the Church revenues in Ireland. He denied that position altogether. There might be good reasons for paying clergymen more in one country than in another, on account of the greater privations which they must endure, and other more unfavourable circumstances of their situation. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) made a remark pregnant with truth. He intimated, that in these times, revolutions in opinion were not effected in centuries or years, but in months. It was on account of the rapidity of such revolutions that he had called on his Majesty's Government to exert themselves to arrest the progress of destructive opinions, and sway the public mind by a positive declaration of their own sentiments. There would have been less danger in the Government declaring their opinion, that a surplus did exist, and they were prepared to appropriate it, but to preserve the remainder, than in leaving the question open as they now did. God forbid, that the Government should ever see reason to come to such a decision as he had referred to with respect to a surplus; but even that might be less dangerous than their present mode of dealing with the subject. Nothing could be more unwise than to raise a cry of "Church in danger" on fictitious grounds, because false alarms produced distrust and negligence, and rendered appeals vain when the period of actual danger arrived; but when one minister of the Crown told them, that the Church of Ireland was one of the greatest grievances of the country, when the King's Government countenanced the assertion, and when the Dissenters required a separation between Church and State, let not Gentlemen be scared from the performance of their duty, by the imputation, that they were raising an unfounded cry, and pretending fears for the safety of the Established Church which they did not really entertain. They asked not for the re-enactment of civil disabilities or religious penalties, but on this ground they took their stand (and by the blessing of God they would maintain it)—they would protect the connexion between Church and State, and the integrity of Church property. If it were said that was a novel doctrine, he said no; it was a doctrine repudiated only in consequence of those rapid revolutions in opinion to which the learned Gentleman had referred with so much exultation. The opinions which he held were identical with those which were held at no distant time by men who claimed for themselves the title of the warm and tried friends of toleration, and the protectors of civil and religious liberty. He spoke not of Burke, he spoke not of men who lived at times remote from the present—he spoke not of men who entertained political opinions in accordance with his own—he spoke not of doctrines accommodated to an unreformed Parliament, but of the sentiments avowed by members of the present Government since they came into office, with reference to the Irish Church. If the opinions that he entertained were extravagant, what could be said of those of Earl Grey? The noble Earl did him the honour of quoting an opinion which he had given in that House, and by that opinion, rejecting the erroneous construction put upon it, he was prepared to abide. He was ready to promote, by every means in his power, the maintenance and extension of the Protestant religion in Ireland; and if any mode were proposed by which men, really friendly to the Church, and actuated by bonâ fide intentions of contributing to its stability, could, by a different distribution of Church revenues, advance the interests of the Established Church, and extend its influence, he was ready to consider with favour such a proposal. In holding the opinion, that Church property ought to be devoted exclusively to purposes connected with the Established Church, in what respect did he differ from the opinions expressed by Lord Grey so recently as February, 1832? Earl Grey presented a petition from the inhabitants and landowners of Rathclaren, in Ireland, praying for the abolition of tithes and Church-rates, and that the Church-lands might be resumed and disposed of, for objects of common interest to all the inhabitants of the realm. The noble Earl said, 'he presented the petition as a peer, and in that capacity only. He, however, need scarcely state to their Lordships, not only that he did not approve of such a measure as the petitioners recommended, but that if a project of that nature were proposed by any one, it should receive from him the most decided and determined opposition. He saw the urgency of effecting some improvement in the mode of making provision for the clergy in Ireland, but he would unequivocally state, that he could never think of making any such improvement in the modes of providing for the clergy without fully securing to the Church its just rights.'* What also did Lord Plunkett say on the same subject?—'Obscure and humble individuals in Ireland might entertain the extravagant notion, that the Government of this country was not unwilling to sacrifice the rights of her Church. That such persons, looking at their station in life, might entertain such opinions was not very surprising—in them, perhaps, it was excusable. But it was a very different matter when suspicions of this nature were cherished and were disseminated by persons of high * Hansard (third series) v. x. p. 3. rank and influence in society.'* What was the Report made by the Tithe Committee, of which the Marquess of Lansdowne was Chairman? On what conditions had he been invited to accede to measures of Church Reform? Those questions would be best answered by a reference to the Reports of the Lords' Committee, and to a speech delivered by Lord Lansdowne in March, 1832. The Report stated: 'That with a view both to secure the interests of this Church, and the lasting welfare of Ireland, a permanent change of system will be required; that such a change, to be satisfactory and safe, must involve a complete extinction of tithes, by commuting them for a charge upon land, or an exchange for an investment of land, so as effectually to secure the revenues of the Church (as far as relates to tithes), and, at the same time, to remove all pecuniary collision between the parochial clergy and the occupier of land.' The second report had this paragraph—'The clergy are thus, in too many instances, deprived of that just and beneficial influence which their general conduct and habits so well qualify them to exercise, even over persons of a different religious persuasion; that, for the purpose of giving greater facility to effect such investments in land for the benefit of the Church, or exchange of land for tithes, all stamps should be remitted, and Government enabled to make advances to landlords.' Lord Lansdowne, speaking upon the same subject, said: 'Far be it from me, my Lords, to recommend those modes by which, in some places, the tithe has been removed on the principle of spoliation, and without an equivalent being paid to the Church to which it belonged; and I only allude to the modifications which have taken place for the purpose of showing that wherever the tax has been in operation it has been dealt with according to the circumstances of the country. In some places, as I have said, the Church has been spoliated of its property; but this is an example to be avoided and not to be imitated.'* 'It is impossible for your Lordships not to see in what an independent condition the clergyman will be placed by a commutation of tithes, as compared with the mode in which he receives his income under the present system.' 'It gives me great plea- * Hansard (third series) v. x. p. 9. † Ibid. p. 1276. sure (continued the noble Marquess), as the organ of the Committee, to move the resolutions,'—and, of those resolutions this was the last—'that it is the opinion of this House, that with a view to secure both the interests of the Church and the lasting welfare of Ireland, a permanent change of system will be required, and that such a change, to be satisfactory and secure, must involve a complete extinction of tithes, including those belonging to lay impropriators, by commuting them for a charge upon land, or an exchange for, or investment in, land.'* These were the opinions of members of the Government, in 1832. If they had since changed their opinions, he was not the man to debar them from the right of reconsidering their previous sentiments; but it was but fair that they should manfully state the grounds of the alteration. Such, however, were the declarations made by some of his Majesty's Ministers on the subject of the Irish Church and its rights of property so recently as the year 1832. These same Ministers had, by their more recent declarations, placed this property on the worst possible footing. They had unsettled the minds of men on matters essential to the security of all property and all rights. In November next tithes must be collected, either by the Church or the Government. What was then to be done? The difficulty they might have to contend with would have been obviated by a declaration, on the part of the Crown and its advisers, in defence of Church property. When the tithe-payer heard that the opinions of the Government were not fixed, that they claimed a right to appropriate a possible surplus of Church property to secular purposes, he would be too apt to argue—'I was content to abide by the laws which recognize and protect property; but if you give them up and set the example of spoliation as regards the Church, I see no harm in following that example, and in preferring my claim to a share in the new appropriation.' "In my opinion, the property of the Church is protected by law—protected by prescription—protected by positive stipulation, as a condition of the Union—and if increased difficulties should arise in asserting the right to that property, I shall hold the King's Government, and their new Commission, chargeable for the consequences."

* Hansard (third series) v. x. p. 1282.

Lord John Russell

The right on. Gentleman has brought against the Government two accusations; the one, that on a subject of so much delicacy and importance it has allowed its intentions to be known; the other, that it has not spoken out on this same subject in a manner sufficiently explicit. Without detaining the House by making one of these charges clash against the other, I am ready to declare at once, that it is impossible for Government to come to a conclusion as to the appointment of a Commission, without looking before appointing it, at the possible or probable consequences of its Report, and making up their minds, if a certain state of facts should be reported, not to shrink from the consequences, but propose such an appropriation of any surplus which may be found, as they may think advisable. It was the necessity of looking that question in the face which caused the late separation in the Government, and it is their fixed resolution to consider the question of appropriation, when the Commission now appointed enables them to do so on proper grounds, that constitutes the foundation of the agreement of the present Ministers. It is asked what reason is there for the appointment of the Commission? The answer is obvious—in order to obtain the information necessary to enable the Government to frame their measures. My reason for making the speech which the right hon. Baronet has referred to, was the pain I felt at the Minister being obliged to conduct the Government of Ireland by laws of coercion. On that occasion, however, I did not say, as the right hon. Gentleman supposes, that the Church of Ireland was the greatest grievance that any country had ever suffered—so far from it, I stated, that I thought the revenues of the Church ought to be reduced, because they were too great for its stability; thereby implying, that I desired and contemplated, by means of the measures to be adopted, the future stability of the Church. What is the passage which the right hon. Gentleman has misquoted? I stated, that the complaint of the people of Ireland against the appropriation of the Church revenues was as just a complaint as any people ever made. That was my opinion then, and is now—I have seen no reason to alter it. That is my reason for concurring heartily and cordially in the appointment of a Commission. You have seen Tory Governments passing Insurrection Acts; the present Ministers have been obliged to adopt severe and unusual measures; and if it be painful to any statesman to propose measures of an unconstitutional character, such measures must be peculiarly abhorrent to those who pride themselves on the name of Whigs. Not only have Tory and Whig Governments proposed such measures in turn; but the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, the member for Dublin, showed himself willing last year to agree to many severe clauses in the Protection Bill, because he thought them necessary to put a stop to the system of marauding and outrage daily and nightly prevalent in Ireland. Looking, then, at this general concurrence in a painful and harsh conclusion, I do feel, that while, for temporary purposes, such measures may be necessary with a view to the security of peace, life, and property, it is the duty of Ministers to look deeper into the causes of the long-standing and permanent evils of that country. It is their duty to consider, that while there exists an affluent Church on one side, there are wanting on the other the means of moral control, which may guide the general conduct, and affect the social character of the people. I would endeavour, therefore, first by inquiry, and afterwards by appropriate measures, not merely to provide a temporary remedy for the evil, but a permanent system by which future Governments may be relieved from the necessity of adopting acts of coercion, and by means of which the affections of the people of Ireland may be conciliated towards the Government, and in favour of law and order. The question of tithes is, unfortunately, no new question. I will refer, on this point, to the opinions of some, who, from their situation in Ireland, and from taking a deep interest in its welfare, were well qualified to form a correct opinion. In the year 1807, when the Duke of Bedford was Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, he prepared a despatch which, indeed, the termination of the Ministry prevented him from sending, but which had been drawn up with great care, from the concurrent advice of Mr. Eliot, Mr. George Ponsonby (then Chancellor), and Mr. Grattan. With the leave of the House, I will read the commencement of that despatch. Since the suppression of the disturbances in the Western Counties, I have been turning my attention to the particular causes of those disorders, with the view of suggesting, if possible, a permanent remedy for preventing, in future, the recurrence of so great an evil. Upon the best consideration I have been able to give to this subject, I am satisfied, that tithes, and the occasional rigid exaction of them by the farmers and tithe-proctors have been the chief and immediate causes of the late, as well as of many former, disorders in this country. Tithes, from the peculiar nature of this species of property, the perpetual fluctuations in their quantity and value, the difficulties insuperably incident to the modes of recovering and collecting them, have been often a subject of popular discontent; but, in Ireland, from the irritable temper of the lower orders of the people, the imperfect subordination to the laws, and the great proportion of the population being dissenters from the Established Church, they have been more frequently the occasion of popular commotion than perhaps in any other country. The high rents, especially of the smaller farms, of which the number is very great, may, also, have contributed to the dissatisfaction which has been so frequently and generally expressed against the payment of tithes in Ireland. It has, however, been alleged, that tithes were merely the pretence, and that a spirit of disaffection to the Government was the real cause of the late disturbances, and that the confederacy of the Threshers was formed for the purposes of rebellion. But I feel it my duty on this occasion to state, that from all the information that I have been able to collect, and from the observation of the Judges who tried, and the Crown Lawyers who prosecuted a considerable number of the Threshers under the late Special Commission, it does not appear that any thing treasonable existed in that confederacy. To avoid or diminish the payment on account of tithes was the main object they had in view. To this they certainly joined a reduction of the dues paid to the priest, and in some instances, a reduction of rents. In the years 1786 and 1787, when similar disturbances prevailed very extensively in the province of Munster, the very same objects were professed, and then there was not a pretence for suspecting, nor was it suspected, I believe, that any treasonable motive or purpose existed among the insurgents. I am well aware that a certain degree of disaffection exists among the lower orders of the people, and that a confederacy against the payment of tithes, at all times alarming, is peculiarly dangerous at present, and might easily be diverted in case of invasion, to the purposes of rebellion, and it is this very danger, which I feel to be great and urgent, that has led me to seek most anxiously some remedy for this permanent general source of discontent. After an elaborate discussion of the subject, it is proposed, in the despatch, to resolve, that the amount of tithes received for the five years preceding, should form the basis of a commutation, that the commutation should take place in land, and, in the mean time,— To assess, in the form of a land-tax, upon all the arable lands, in just proportion the amount of the present receipt for tithes—the land-tax to be collected from the occupying tenants in the first instance, and afterwards, on the expiration of their leases from their next immediate landlords. If that opinion had been listened to in 1807, and a measure of permanent commutation of tithes had been effected, what evils might not have been avoided!—what contests might not have been spared! But the Government which succeeded the Whigs in 1807, far from thinking of providing a remedy for tithes, employed itself in raising the "No Popery!" clamour, and the original evil continued the source of renewed and augmenting irritation. With what degree of justice, then, I ask, is it now made matter of reproach to the Government, by those who thus misused a precious opportunity, that they endeavour, by means of inquiry, and measures to be founded on it, to repair the faults of former Ministers, and, if possible, retrieve the evils which long and cruel misgovernment has created? The right hon. Gentleman asks what effects the Commission is to produce? I will mention one effect which it has already produced, from the speech of the member for the University of Dublin. During the last year-and-a-half the House has heard the hon. Member frequently discourse on the vast increase of Protestantism in Ireland, informing them, that it was only necessary to build churches in order to fill them, and that the nominal majority of Catholics in Cork and other places spoken of by the hon. and learned member for Dublin was all a mistake. But now, no sooner is the Commission appointed, than the hon. member for the University of Dublin says, "Do you want facts?—I am ready to admit your facts." It is no inconsiderable point gained, if, after hearing these questions disputed by the hon. members for Dublin and the University, both able advocates, till my mind remained almost in a state of abeyance between their conflicting arguments and evidence, we should be relieved from doubt at once; and after all these disputes, when the members of the Commission had hardly met to lay down their course of proceeding, that one of those antagonists should have come down to the House and said, in his usual manly and straightforward manner, "Don't mind what I have been telling you about the increase of Protestantism for the last year-and-a-half.—Pay no attention to all the evidence I adduced, and all the asseverations 1 made; for I admit your facts." But I am not satisfied with this admission; I want facts established by better evidence than that of the hon. and learned Gentleman—by the best evidence that can be procured on the spot. The Commission can take no long time in completing its labours, perhaps not longer than till the commencement of the next Session. We wish to ascertain the number of persons belonging to the Established Church, the number attending divine service, and the increase of the members of the Established Church of late years. With respect to the great principle involved in the present question, I will state, though I know I shall be liable to misinterpretation, as clearly as I can, my opinion to the House. I consider that the funds of the Church are funds set apart and devoted to the purposes of moral and religious instruction. Not less than four prelates of the Establishment have recently published charges on the subject. I find them all concurring in this point—that the main use, if not the sole use, of the Established Church, is the religious instruction of the poor. Now, admitting, as I most fully do, that their defence of the Church of England on that ground is solid and perfect, and being ready, on the same ground, to defend the Church of England as far as my humble powers will permit me to do so; yet I must say, that when I turn to Ireland and inquire what is meant in that country by the religious instruction of the poor, it is a very bad answer to point out a parish containing 1,000 or 2,000 inhabitants, in one corner of which may be found a single Protestant family, and that the family of a Protestant gentleman. Such being the case, I am obliged to ask, with reference to the revenue of the Irish Church, whether it may not be applied, if not literally to the use of the Established Church, to kindred purposes connected with the religious and moral instruction of the poor? And I must say, that I think these purposes of education and of charity which, though not mentioned in the Resolution before the House, have been alluded to in the speech of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, will fairly come within the scope of legislation on the part of Parliament, whenever the results of the Commission appointed by Government shall be obtained. For, while I agree with my noble friend, and I believe with every other member of the Government, in thinking that the revenues of the Irish Church ought not to be diverted from their present uses for the purpose of endowing the Catholic Church, I at the same time see nothing inconsistent or wrong in the appropriation of a part of them for the purposes of education, which, while it is a religious and moral education, shall also be of such a nature as will allow Roman Catholics, as well as Protestants, to partake of it equally. Thinking that, in the furtherance of this object, and the object of charity, these revenues of the Irish Church will, in all probability be exhausted, and considering the Church revenues to be a fund set apart for the religious and moral instruction of the poor more especially, I feel relieved from the necessity of entering in to the discussion of the question which the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, and other hon. Members, desire to raise,—viz., whether the revenues can be applied to any and what secular purposes. With respect to the absolute right of the State to appropriate the revenues of the Church to any secular purpose whatever, no man probably entertains a doubt; but as to the moral and equitable right of the State in practice, that is a question not likely to arise until every demand which can be made for the proper and due instruction of the people, and for the purposes of charity, shall be satisfied; and seeing no prospect of its arising with respect to these particular revenues of the Irish Church, I do not think it necessary to enter into a discussion as to what measures it may possibly be expedient to propose, if the Irish Church shall be found to possess any superfluous wealth not needed for the purposes I have mentioned. I may be stating, or at least may be supposed to be stating, the doctrines merely of a lay-man, which are not justified by a due regard for the interest of the Church,—doctrines which would possibly meet with reprobation, if broached in those meetings to which allusion has been made in the course of the night. I will, therefore, show the House, that these doctrines are the doctrines of churchmen themselves, by reading a short quotation from one of the charges of a most eminent and enlightened Prelate—I mean the Bishop of Llandaff. Speaking of Church property the right reverend Prelate says:—"All property is the creature of the law, and the same law which secures to individual owners the produce of their estates without limitation, and without inquiry as to the mode of its disposal, has wisely reserved for public uses a fixed portion of that property. The true question is, whether the uses to which it is appropriated are such as an enlightened Government can approve of, for we (alluding to himself and the clergymen whom he is addressing) by no means contend, that every appropriation once made, whether beneficial to the community or not, must be perpetuated." Notwithstanding all that has been uttered against doctrines of sacrilege and spoliation, as they have been called, my opinions on this question go no further than those of the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Llandaff. What I want to know is, whether the uses to which the revenues of the Irish Church are at present applied, are or are not beneficial to the community? This is the inquiry which the concluding words of the newly-issued Commission, which has been so tauntingly alluded to, direct to be made; and I say, with the Bishop of Llandaff, that because an appropriation of the revenues of the Irish Church has once been made, it must not, therefore, be perpetuated, whether beneficial to the community or not. Though not immediately bearing on the point I am now considering, I will, with permission of the House, quote another passage from the charge delivered by the same right reverend Prelate. It is as follows:—"Great as are the advantages of a special endowment for the support of the Established Church over a universal system of stipendiary payment, it must not be forgotten, sacred as the rights of property are, that the conditions upon which the endowment is held are quite as sacred as property itself." I, therefore, say, we have a right to inquire whether, in the case of the Irish Church, the conditions upon which it holds its present revenues have been properly observed; whether, in the first place, they have been observed on the part of the clergy, and whether, in the next place, however zealous the clergy may have been to perform their duties, there may not exist causes which in many instances prevent those conditions being complied with? There is another right reverend Prelate, whose opinions I will quote to the House, but for whose authority I do not entertain so high a respect as I do for those of the right reverend Prelate I have before alluded to, because the right reverend Prelate is in the habit of introducing a great deal too much of imprecation and violence into his discourses—I mean the Bishop of Exeter. In one of his charges, that right reverend Prelate said—"Whatever politicians or statesmen may say, if the revenues of the Church are insufficient for the proper instruction of the people, it is the duty of the Legislature to increase them." Now, will any man contend, that if Lord A or Mr. B have not sufficient property for their subsistence, it is the duty of the Legislature to increase their incomes? I have heard it continually asserted, that Parliament has no more right to interfere with Church property than it has to interfere with the property of any individual; yet the Bishop of Exeter says, and says truly, that if the Church property is insufficient for the purposes for which it was granted, it is the duty of the Legislature to increase it. But it must be equally true, that if the Church property is greater than necessary for the uses for which it was granted, a part of it may be taken from the Church. I am afraid of wearying the House, or I might quote from the work of one of the best writers on constitutional questions—I mean Mr. Hallam—a passage in which the writer draws a distinction between corporate and individual property. Should the present question be again discussed, I shall certainly come prepared with the passage to which I have referred. It has been said, that various commissions appointed by preceding Governments have exhausted the whole question of inquiry—that the amount of the revenues of the Church, and the state of education, are fully ascertained. With respect to the revenues of the Church, and those individuals who are in the enjoyment of them, I am ready to admit, that a very ample inquiry has been made and that a full investi- gation has been made into the relations of the members of the Church to one another. But there is one point, the gist of the whole question, which has not as yet been inquired into, and that is, the bearing which the Church in Ireland has on the condition of the people. This is the point with respect to which the Commissioners are particularly directed to inquire, and upon that question all our future legislation must turn. I am well aware, that on this subject, above all others, an attempt will be made to raise the cry of 'the Church is in danger!' Whatever success that cry may have, I am prepared to abide by the opinions which I have expressed. I am not prepared to continue the Government of Ireland without fully probing her condition. I am not prepared to propose Bills for coercion and the maintenance of a large force of military and police, without endeavouring to improve, as far as lies in my power, the condition of the people. In the same way, without intending in the least to injure the Church of England, but, on the contrary, wishing to maintain that Church, I am ready to relieve the Protestant Dissenters from everything like a civil disability of which they can justly complain. On this subject, as on the other, I know perfectly well to what we are liable. If the cry to which I have alluded should be raised and prove successful, and if that dissolution which has been invoked with such loud cheers by many gentlemen opposite take place, let it come; I consider I am doing my duty. I will not be a Minister to carry on systems which I think founded on bigotry and prejudice. Be the consequence what it may, however loud may be the cry raised, and whatever its success, I am content to abide by these opinions, to carry them out to their fullest extent, not by any premature declaration of mere opinion, not by attemptin to introduce a Bill before I know the particular nature of the measure required, but by going on gradually, from time to time improving our institutions, and without injuring the ancient and venerable fabrics, rendering them fit and proper mansions for a great, free, and intelligent people.

Mr. Ward

said, that after the statement of the noble Lord opposite, that the number of Commissioners, if found to be insufficient for making a report by next Session, should be increased; and after the manly declarations of the other noble Lord, which had drawn forth such cheers, he trusted his hon. and learned friend (Mr. O'Connell) would not think it necessary to press his resolution to a division.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that notwithstanding his thankfulness to the eloquent member for Coventry, and his admiration of the sentiments of the noble Lord, he could not comply with his request; he had to satisfy, not himself alone, but the people of Ireland. He must oppose the Bill in every one of its stages, if this resolution were not carried; he had no other alternative.

The House divided on Mr. O'Connell's Motion: Ayes 99; Noes 360—Majority 261.

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