HL Deb 30 September 1831 vol 7 cc858-9
Viscount Clifden

presented a Petition from the Clergy of Ossory, Leighlin, and Ferns, in Ireland, stating, that it had become impossible to collect their Tithes in that district, and that, unless the Legislature took measures for their relief, the Clergy and the Church would be deprived of their property. The Petition was signed by forty clergymen, and nothing could be more moderate than the language in which it was couched. They prayed that some measure for their relief should be adopted, and suggested that a general compulsory and equitable composition might be resorted to in Ireland. He was of opinion, that until some measure of relief should be introduced and passed, there would be no peace in Ireland. In that country there were two regular hierarchies—the Protestant and the Catholic. The Protestant Clergy had the revenues, and he defied any country to produce such an establishment as five Archbishops, and eighteen Bishops, with a flock of only from 600,000 to 1,000,000 persons; the Catholic Clergy were in truth the Clergy of the country. In the present state of things there was perpetual collision between the Catholics and Protestants whenever there was an attempt to collect the tithes in kind.

The Marquis of Westmeath

could bear testimony to the accuracy of the petitioners' statement, and thought there could be no objection to making the composition of tithes compulsory on that part of the country.

The Earl of Wicklow

assured their Lordships, that there prevailed the most determined disposition to resist the payment of all tithes in that part of Ireland, and unless the Government adopted some effective remedy for the growing evil, the payment of tithes would not be the only thing objected to, but the same course would be followed with rent, cess, and taxes.

Lord Carbery

said, he had witnessed the effect produced by the composition of tithes, and they were invariably paid without the slightest opposition. Under the circumstances, he could scarcely oppose an enactment for compelling composition, although he should have considered it better if the measure were adopted voluntarily.

Petition to lie on the Table.