HC Deb 09 July 1847 vol 94 cc147-50

The Compensation for Damages (Ireland) Bill was reported. Amendments agreed to.


said, that in moving that the words "or tithe" be struck out in the 6th Clause, he would appeal to the justice of Her Majesty's Government and the House. The injustice of which he complained would affect equally the clergy and the owners of ecclesiastical, and laymen who were owners of impropriate, rent charge. The case was shortly this: under the Labour-rate Act of last Session, the compensation for damage to land taken for the purposes of the Act was placed upon the same footing as damages for land taken by grand-jury presentment for the ordinary roads or other purposes; that is to say, the amount of the compensation was to be presented and levied from the occupiers of land with the ordinary county cess. But, considering that the proprietors might be benefited equally with the occupiers by these new roads, it was proposed in this Bill—and he thought justly—that the compensation for damage should be divided between landlord and tenant. So far he thought the Bill just and reasonable; but it went further—the introduction of the words which he moved should be expunged would have the effect of subjecting the owner of tithe rent charge to the full poundage of the compensation for damages for the land taken for these public works. Now, as he had already stated, tithe rent charge in Ireland was not assessable for any public works; and the effect of these words would be to introduce a new description of property and lessors, and make those chargeable who neither directly nor indirectly were heretofore chargeable for such purposes: this he thought unjust, and especially in a Bill brought in at the very end of the Session. He would just ask the House to consider with what peculiar hardship this would press upon the clergy. He would ask them to consider the case of the tithe rent charge as it already is made to contribute to the poor rates. In all other property the rate forms a deduction from the valuation, so that when you have a rate of 10s. in the pound, the valuation is reduced 50 per cent; but, while the valuation of all other property is thus reduced, the valuation of tithe rent charge remains the same. Suppose the case of land on the one hand, and tithe rent charge on the other, worth, respectively, 100l. a year antecedently to a rate of 10s. in the pound, the rate itself being a deduction from the valuation of the land; the valuation is reduced from 100l. to 50l., and the amount levied on the land, at 10s. in the pound, is 25l.; but the landlord is empowered to deduct the full poundage of 10s. in the pound for every pound he pays to the clergyman; and the deduction he therefore makes will be 50l., so that the clergyman on the rent charge of 100l. a year will contribute, not to the poor, but to the landlord, 50l., while the occupier of a farm worth the same amount will contribute but 25l., one half of which he afterwards deducts from his landlord. Let the House just consider the effect of this upon the smaller livings in Ireland. The effect of the increased poor rate, with the labour rate and compensation superadded, would be ruinous to many of the clergy. The income of every clergyman in Ireland, which is at present 100l. a year, would be reduced by a 10s. rate to 50l.; while the income of every farmer or landowner of the same amount will be reduced to but 75l., with the power of deducting one half the 25l. from his landlord, where the occupier is a tenant, so that the tenant's income will he reduced but 12l. 10s., the landlord's 12l. 10s., and the clergyman's 50l. Now he would put it to the House, was this fair or reasonable? He would not, at so late an hour, comment in detail upon the other hardships to which the clergy were subjected in respect of the rating under the poor law. His right hon. Friend and Colleague had recently stated them to the House, and they had been admitted by Her Majesty's Government. The clergy had to pay ecclesiastical tax upon the amount deducted by the landlord for poor rate. They will have to pay ecclesiastical tax upon the sum deducted for compensation under the Bill, and for the labour rate, if the words to which he objected remained, while at the same time they will have to pay poor rate and labour rate for the sums paid by them to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He could not believe the House would sanction this injustice; and he would conclude by moving that the words "or tithe" be omitted in the sixth clause of the Bill.


said, Her Majesty's Government could not consent to the omission of those words. The fact was, it was the object of the Bill to place the compensation for damage for laud in the same position as the labour rate. The Act of the last Session placed the levy of the labour rate in the same position as the poor rate, enacting that all parties rateable to or contributing to the poor rate, should be liable to the labour rate; and, although there was no provision in the Act authorizing the deduction to be made from rent charge, it was the intention of the Legislature that tithe rent charge, as well as other property, should be liable to the labour rate. The words he had introduced into the Bill would remove all ambiguity on the subject, and prevent litigation.


stated, that the admission of the hon. and learned Gentleman completely established the case of his hon. Friend. The Solicitor General had admitted there was an ambiguity. No one knew better than he that where there is an ambiguity as to taxation, the principle of law is that parties are not liable, and therefore it followed that this Bill will make those who are at present exempt liable to this taxation. Under the poor law the clergy were liable to double rates as compared with the proprietor or occupier, the tenant contributing one half the poundage, the landlord one half, and the landlord deducting the whole from the clergyman; and his hon. Friend had adduced this an an additional reason why the clergy should not be rendered liable to this assessment besides. He would cordially support the Motion.

On the question that the words "or tithe" stand part of the Bill, the House divided:—Ayes 38; Noes 9; Majority 29.

List of the AYES.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Moffatt, G.
Monahan, J. H.
Bellew, R. M. Morpeth, Visct.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Bodkin, W. H. Napier, Sir C.
Brotherton, J. Paget, Lord A.
Brown, W. Palmerston, Visct.
Buller, C. Pechell, Capt.
Craig, W. G. Rich, H.
Dickinson, F. H. Russell, Lord J.
Dundas, Adm. Rutherfurd, A.
Dundas, Sir D. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Greene, T. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Talbot, C. R. M.
Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G. Thornely, T.
Hastie, A. Wakley, T.
Hawes, B. Watson, W. H.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Jervis, Sir J. TELLERS.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Tufnell, H.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Parker, J.
List of the NOES.
Bankes, G. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Bennet, P. Newdegate, C. N.
Christopher, R. A. Spooner, R.
Colville, C. R. TELLERS.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Hamilton, G. A.
Hayes, Sir E. Grogan, E.

Bill to be read a second time.

House adjourned at half-past One o'clock.