HC Deb 10 September 1886 vol 309 cc19-20
MR. J. G. HUBBARD (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it has come to his notice that the agitation against tithe in Wales, instigated by the Liberation Society, is conducted by bodies of men bound in writing to resist the payment of the tithe, which is a legal liability under their several tenures; and, whether combinations organized to resist the discharge of legal obligations and obstruct the recovery of just claims are conspiracies, subjecting those engaged in them to the penalties statutably provided for such offences?

MR. BORLASE (Cornwall, St. Austell)

Arising out of this Question, I beg to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman a supplemental one, of which, on seeing this Notice on the Paper, I have given him private Notice, Whether, taking into consideration the wide diver- sity of opinion as to the origin and nature of tithe, the liability which, under certain conditions, exists or may not exist to the payment of it, the continuous depression in agriculture, and the strong feeling which is rife in regard to this species of burden, Her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the advisability of appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole subject?


I have no knowledge of the facts referred to in my right hon. Friend's Question— namely, that in Wales men are bound in writing to resist the payment of tithes. The latter part of the Question is a question of law, on which the Law Officers of the Crown, and not myself, could properly give an opinion; but I apprehend that where organized efforts are actually made to resist or obstruct the process of law, that would amount to a conspiracy punishable at Common Law. In reply to the hon. Member for the Mid Division of Cornwall (Mr. Borlase) I have to say that, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, sufficient reasons do not exist for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the question of tithe.