presented a Petition from a parish in the county of Mayo, praying their Lordships to relieve them of the burthens which they laboured under with respect to tithes, and to consider how the property of the Church of Ireland might be converted into a purpose both useful and national. The noble Lord, in presenting the petition, observed it was one of very great importance. It was signed by upwards of 1,700 inhabitants of the parish, almost all of whom were tenants of the noble Marquess who was Lord lieutenant of the county it was got up without "agitation," or any means that could be deemed improper, and was couched in such feeling terms, that their Lordships could not refuse it their attention. They complained of the imposition of tithes for the benefit of men from whom they derived no advantage, and with whom they could have no concern. They were themselves without a place of worship; their only temple was the canopy of the skies; and all their light was derived from the windows of heaven. In conclusion, they prayed that the Church property in Ireland might be turned to some useful and national purpose. Extraordinary powers might be granted, and suspensions of the Constitution; but such acts never could—nothing but justice could—bring back the people to the ways of peace and obedience to the law. If a traveller visited Ireland, the first object that would strike him was the number of churches; but his first question would be, where are the congregations to enjoy all this spiritual comfort?" He would see one party lording it like conquerors over the property and lives of others, and it would soon become a fixed conviction of his mind, that until this imposition was removed, there would be no peace, no harmony for the country. He had always felt the greatest confidence in the noble Lord at the head of his Majesty's Government, and he trusted that his expectations would not be defeated, and that a liberal measure would be brought 463 forward, as he was confident that the measure talked of for the commutation of tithes would be completely inefficient. It was morally impossible to carry it into effect. In conclusion he expressed his deep regret that a burthen which pressed so heavily on agriculture in England and Ireland was not removed.
Petition to lie on the Table.