HC Deb 11 December 1837 vol 39 cc943-5

On the motion of Lord J. Russell that the order of the day for the second reading of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill be read, for the purpose of postponing it,

Sir G. Sinclair

rose and said, that he thought he could not embrace a more favourable opportunity for asking her Majesty's Ministers whether they intended to introduce, and at how early a period, any Bill relating to the Irish Church? As long as they occupied the Opposition benches, nothing would go down with them but tithe bills and appropriation clauses. His right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, had been precluded by factious proceedings on these subjects from bringing forward many salutary measures of great importance, but it seemed that, as these propositions had answered their purpose by enabling Ministers to climb into office, they were now laid on the shelf in order that Ministers might retain those places by keeping them back which they had acquired by urging them forward when it suited their purpose. Objects seemed to assume a very different aspect according to the positions from which they were viewed. The tithe question, which appeared like a mountain when looked at from the Opposition side of the House, had dwindled into a mole hill when contemplated from the towering altitude of the Treasury bench. The Bill always crept into the House about the fag end of the Session. It seemed to labour under a mortal complaint, according to the unanimous verdict of the whole college of state physicians—a complaint which took the form of a lingering disease, rather than that of a galloping consumption; it travelled through the House by slow and easy stages, halted with consummate prudence at each resting-place for days and even weeks, and seemed to shrink with instinctive horror from a nearer approach to that "bourne," from which no traveller, encumbered with an appropriation clause by way of passport, could ever be expected to return. The measure never appeared in the House until all the railroad and enclosure Bills and others of superior importance could no longer be interfered with, although its introduction was a necessary prelude, or at least concomitant, to the favourable consideration of the other questions connected with Irish policy. In fact, her Majesty's Ministers had neither the manliness to take steps for forcing the Bill through the Legislature, nor the modesty to acknowledge their inability to carry it, and move that the appropriation clause be rescinded, nor the decency to resign, when they were baffled on a great measure, which they declared to be indispensable for public tranquillity. They quailed before the majesty of the House of Lords, who, by their firm and patriotic defence of our Protestant institutions, had established the strongest and most universally acknowledged claims to the respect and gratitude of the country. Sir G. Sinclair concluded by repeating his question, as to. the intention of her Majesty's Ministers on the subject of the Irish church, and wished to know at what period, after the recess, a Bill would be introduced?

Lord J. Russell

A Bill on the subject of the Irish church will be introduced after the recess.