HC Deb 03 April 1835 vol 27 cc787-8
Sir Henry Hardinge

referred to an order made on the previous day on the Motion of the hon. Member for Southwark, for certain Returns connected with the million sterling voted by Parliament to pay arrears of tithes to lay and other impropriators in Ireland. Those Returns were to be prepared in great detail, particularly by dividing the tithe-payers, in respect of whose arrears the claims were made into classes. He had hesitated to fulfil the order of the House, because on writing to Ireland he found that the expense of doing so would be very great. If the Returns were prepared in the cheapest way, and furnishing the least information required, the cost would be 150l.; if in mere detail, 1,500l. and if to the full extent, and with all the classifications of tithe-payers, not less than 2,000l., as fifty additional clerks must be employed upon them for three months. Reference must be made to 8,000 schedules, and to about 2,000,000 of names.

Mr. Harvey

reminded the right hon. Gentleman, that the Returns had been modified at his express suggestion, in order that they might be less expensive. He apprehended that the House would adhere to its own order, especially when he stated, that his object in moving for the Returns was to know the parties benefitted, and to the extent to which they had been paid out of the million voted. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated, on a former day, that only about 700,000l. had been claimed, but he had spoken of it as if the whole million would ultimately be disposed of, and as if it were to be a national gift to the clergy of Ireland. He (Mr. Harvey) was therefore desirous of knowing who had received any part of the money, and what amount they had received. As to the 8,000 schedules of which the right hon. Gentleman talked, he seemed to forget that the number of claimants had only been 2,736. If the House meant that the million sterling should not be a gratuitous concession, of which no account was to be rendered, it would agree with him that the Returns were necessary.

Mr. Littleton

admitted that the Returns could not be made in the details specified without incurring a heavy expense; but he thought that a personal arrangement between the hon. Mover and the right hon. Gentleman would lead to an easy mode of effectuating the object.

Sir Henry Hardinge

impressed upon the House, that he had not the slightest objection to grant all the information required, excepting on the score of expense.

The subject was dropped.