HL Deb 30 July 1833 vol 20 cc113-29

Earl Grey moved the third reading of the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill.

The Marquess of Headfort

considered this to be a conservative measure. It had been argued on the other side that this was a measure of spoliation. Upon a balance of evils it could not be so considered: for if such a Bill were not passed, much greater spoliation would take place. He would give the Bill his cordial support.

The Earl of Eldon

spoke from the experience of a long life when he said, that the prosperity of this country was inseparably intervoven with the maintenance of an established religion. The Protestant religion he considered to be the best form of religion: and he had no more doubt than he had of his own existence, now drawing very near to a close, that the present Bill was calculated to undermine the established religion of this country. He had not formed his opinion without exercising the most careful consideration; but, having formed it, his duty was to act fearlessly upon it. Having given the best consideration in his power to the subject, he was convinced that it was the duty of every subject to maintain the Established Church of the country as an institution which was material to the benefit of the State. Such was the opinion he had formed, and if there was any mistake in it he had not been able to find it out. The destruction of this Church could not be effected without the consent of Parliament, and he, for one, would never give his consent. He hoped the argument that this was a measure calculated to strengthen the Church by its liberality would not prevail in that House. He held religious belief to be a thing between God and a man's own conscience; but it must, at the same time, be allowed that a man having acquired the liberty of his own conscience, was not therefore permitted to disturb the national peace and the national conscience. If he had not misread history, it was the opinion of men as pious and learned as any now existing—men too who were Dissenters from the Established Church, that the best protection of the Dissenters was the existence of an established form of worship. Now, his first objection to this Bill was, that it removed the payment of the Vestry-cess, and placed it upon a different class of persons. He objected to this as taking from the country the liability to give that support to the Church which, he contended, every man was bound to give. Whatever might be the opinion of their Lordships as to the religious feeling of the community, they might rely upon it that if the principle of non-payment of rates because of a difference in religious belief were once established, many would be found to leave the Church for the purpose of evading the burthen. If that Bill had, as he thought it had, the tendency to support the Catholic Church of Ireland, then he must say, that the Union between the two countries never would have taken place if this measure could have been foreseen. The Protestants of Ireland never would have given their consent to the measure of the Union if they could have anticipated such an attack upon the Established Protestant Church. This Bill, he contended, was a direct fraud upon the Protestants of Ireland; he could give it no other name. His next objection to the Bill was, that it laid a tax upon the clergy. Nothing could be imagined more unfair or more destructive to the Church than such a course. An Established Church was a prop to the State; and if that prop were taken away, the State itself would sink. He contended that by this Bill they were taking away the main prop of the State; and they were acting in fraud of the Protestants of Ireland, who never would have assented to the Union could they have foreseen the introduction of this measure into the united Parliament. He could not help looking back to the Bill of 1829, the Catholic Relief Bill, introduced by the noble Duke near him (the Duke of Wellington), as the cause of the present measure. He had opposed that Bill with the utmost sincerity. With the same sincerity he opposed the present Bill. Whether he was right in his views or not it was not for him to pronounce; but he must say, that he could not help feeling that that Bill of 1829 was the cause of the present one. Looking at the present state of Ireland, and especially to the number of Roman Catholic Bishops in that country, he must add, that he would rather increase than diminish the number of Protestant Bishops. Year after year sums of money were very properly voted for the building of churches in India. Protestant churches were erected with this money. But if Dissenters were not to contribute, how was the money henceforth to be raised? He would say nothing upon the subject of the Coronation Oath; but, he declared that he would rather forego his existence than support a bill which, in his opinion, was calculated to destroy the established Church of Ireland.

The Earl of Longford

admitted, that when the Bill came into the House it had some good points, and that it had acquired others in the Committee. But it proceeded upon principles which he maintained were perfectly unjustifiable. He was persuaded that if it came into operation, it would not do the good that was expected from it, and would do material injury. He should like to see a new bill brought forward, comprehending all the good, and excluding fill the bad parts of the measure; to the third reading of this Bill he would give his hearty opposition.

The Duke of Wellington

said, that he would not be drawn into a discussion on the Catholic question in consequence of what had fallen from the noble and learned Earl (Eldon). The noble and learned Earl attributed the present measure to the Act of 1829; but many events occurred between 1829 and 1833, and even previous to 1829, which might account for the measure. He would not, however, discuss the question at that moment, and therefore would proceed at once to the Bill before the House. When the Bill stood for a second reading, he stated that he would not object to it going into a Committee, although he objected to its principle in many respects. The measure had undoubtedly been improved in Committee, as his noble friend and relation (the Earl of Longford) had stated, in some material points; but there still remained much objectionable matter in the Bill, and much to which he was decidedly opposed sin principle. In the first place, he objected decidedly to the Repeal of the assessments for Church purposes. He doubted very much whether the assessment ought to have been repealed, though the mode of levying it might have been altered. It had been found difficult, if not impossible, to levy the assessment, principally on account of the conspiracy which existed in Ireland against, not only that assessment, but every description of Church-property, and which the noble Lords opposite were much deceived if they thought they had got the better of. It was true that overt acts of disturbance were put down by the measure which Parliament passed in the spring; but he doubted much whether the conspiracy had been got the better of, and whether the Government yet felt themselves strong enough to carry into execution those measures which were necessary to restore to the clergy and the laity that description of property hitherto known under the name of tithes. At present tithes were annihilated in Ireland, owing to the existence of the conspiracy to which he had alluded. He thought, that the Church-cess should be continued and levied on the land instead of the people. It was, however, most unjust to make the ministers of the Church themselves pay all the expenses attendant on the performance of divine worship, and he was certain that this object could not be carried into execution as the Bill now stood. He objected strongly to the sale in perpetuity of Bishops' lands. This was a circumstance which would deteriorate the position of the Church. Another objection which he had to the Bill was, that it put an end to more bishoprics than were necessary, even for the purpose which was professed by the measure. He freely confessed that it might be desirable to put an end to certain dioceses; but to put an end to them for the purpose of raising money in order to relieve the country from the payment of Church-cess was a thing of which he never could approve. But the worst provision of the Bill was that which went to levy a tax on the clergy on a graduated scale. The noble Lord opposite had said, that this system of taxation was founded on the First Fruits; and that the amount would be nearly that of the First Fruits, according to a new calculation. If that was really the object, nothing could be worse contrived to carry it into effect. According to the system of First Fruits, every clergyman paid the value of his living for the first year. If the value was 300l., he paid 300l.; if 500l., he paid 500l.; if 1,500l., he paid 1,500l. But according to the Bill, a clergyman whose living was of the value of 300l. would pay only two and a-half per cent; while a clergyman whose living was of the value of 1,500l. would pay fifteen per cent. If the noble Lord wished to relieve the lower ranks of the clergy, let him do so; but it ought not to be at the expense of the higher, or in any other way than in a fair proportion. To any just measure of augmenting small livings, he should have no objection; but to the present he certainly did object. It was a matter of importance that men of education and character should be induced to enter the Church by the hope of obtaining some of the large prizes; but if clergymen were to be subjected to a lax of fifteen per cent, and the number of bishoprics should be reduced from twenty-two to twelve, this inducement would no longer exist, particularly as, from the various compositions which had been adopted, no large amount of tithes could now be levied, if indeed tithes should ever be paid again. He could not but feel that the Bill was, in a variety of its details, injurious to the clergy, and he had no doubt that sooner or later it would be found necessary to adopt some measure in order to relieve the Church from some of the burthens which were imposed upon it by the present Bill. Although, however, he disapproved of many of the provisions of the Bill, it was impossible for him, with the opinions which he entertained of the necessity that existed for some measure of this description, to concur in a vote against the third reading of the Bill. The more he considered the situation of the Church of Ireland, the more he was convinced of the necessity of agreeing to the present measure in the absence of a better. For three years past, the ministers of the Church of Ireland had received no tithes, and they were now depending on the Government, and a vote of the other House of Parliament, for their subsistence. Owing to an arrangement which was made last year in the other House of Parliament, the Bishops had not this year received their fines, which formed two-thirds of their income. It might be asked whether the measure was likely to ensure security and tranquillity to the Church. It was impossible for him to answer that question; but of this he was certain—that sooner or later the measure must be altered in order to afford relief to the Church. For the present the Bill would give the Church breathing time, and enable it to continue its beneficial labours for some time longer. Many persons thought, that as the Bill was not likely to produce all the benefit which the noble Lords opposite predicted, it ought upon principle to be opposed; but his opinion was, that they ought to do that which was best for the Church, and which would enable it to continue in existence.

Lord Ellenborough

said, it was painful to him to differ from his noble friend who had just addressed the House; and though he admitted that the Bill had been in some respects improved in Committee, the objections which he entertained to it were not in the slightest degree removed, for he objected to its principle. He thought the measure was one of injustice as well as impolicy; and great as might be the danger of rejecting it, he contemplated no danger so great in the present position of the House and the country as that which would result from their acting with injustice. They were told that the Bill was a measure of relief to the Irish Church—he wished he could consider it so. It was unusual, at least, to tax those whom they professed to relieve. In what particular was the situation of the Irish clergy to be improved? They were at present by law entitled to their tithes, but they were deprived of them by the state of Ireland. Would this Bill improve the condition of that country? Would the Catholics be conciliated by the paltry boon of five farthings in the pound? They had frankly declared, that they would take any boon, however small, on account. They undoubtedly valued the present Bill; but for what? For the principle which it contained, and which they thought dangerous to the Church of England, and therefore useful to themselves. He considered the Bill a delusion, and that it would not answer the expectation of its framer. He was convinced, from the consideration which he had given the subject, that there would be a material deficiency in the financial results anticipated from the measure. It appeared to him that the noble Earl's estimate of the revenue that would be obtained under the operation of the Bill was too much by 36,000l. a-year. In consequence of lessees having the privilege of referring the question to arbitration in cases where they considered the Bishop's fines too high, he believed not half the number of purchasers in perpetuity would be obtained. The present Bill was not brought forward as a measure of Church Reform—it came before their Lordships as a rider to a money Bill. The Bill would conciliate nobody. Whoever heard of injustice and violence being conciliated by concession? The Bill was a bill of ransom—a payment of black mail to the agitators. There was no security that the measures would be adopted, after the passing of the Bill, which ought to have been adopted before. He said it with regret, that he felt no security that the resolution which had passed the Commons for insuring the clergy payment for the tithes due during the last three years would be reduced into a law. After the manner in which the Government had abandoned a most material part of the West-India measure, to which they were pledged, he could no longer place confidence in them, or in the House of Commons which sanctioned their proceedings. The Bill was a triumph to the Catholics, and an act of humiliation, if not spoliation, to the Protestants. In the present position of public affairs, there was no other hope of safety but in acting firmly and, above all, justly. From justice he never would depart, and he feared their Lordships would long rue the day when, in the apprehension of danger to the Church, they were induced to depart from the line of true policy, which was that of justice.

The Duke of Gloucester

said, that he had not opposed the second reading of the Bill, in the hope that it would be so amended in Committee as to enable him to vote for it being passed into a law. Although he must admit, that the measure had been considerably improved in Committee, yet he felt that it was not sufficiently amended to enable him conscientiously to vote for the third reading.

The Duke of Buckingham

had come to a determination to oppose the third reading of the measure upon the arguments stated in its favour by the noble Duke near him (the Duke of Wellington). He wished to know on what grounds the measure had been brought forward? They were told, that it was to support the Church of Ireland, but the Church of Ireland shrunk from the measure. They were told that it was required by the interests of the Protestants of Ireland, and the Protestants of Ireland eschewed the measure. Then they were told, that it was for the benefit of the Church of the United Empire, and the Church of the united Empire rejected the measure. What single petition had come before their Lordships in favour of the passing of this Bill from either of those parties he had yet to be told. He had certainly thought, that not a voice had been raised, not a hand had signed a petition, calling upon their Lordships to pass this measure which was so indispensable to the support of the Church of the United Empire. Upon a former occasion, when there was a vociferous call for another measure, their Lordships were told it must be passed, because the people demanded it. Now they were told this measure was unavoidable, and the people were silent. He maintained, that either the arguments of his Majesty's Government were in the first instance wrong, or their position must now be false. He had before called the measure one of spoliation, and he repeated, that it was spoliation. He objected to it also, because it had been publicly declared—avowed—to be but a preliminary step; and that too on high authority, on authority which he thought had been too much attended to. He would ask, when they had passed this Bill for Ireland, what right would they have to refuse to adopt the same principle in England? The Dissenters would soon tell them that they would not pay Church-rates if the Catholics were to be relieved from it. Nay, the resistance had already begun; in the very metropolis it was at this moment in operation. Combinations had been effectually entered into to prevent the payment of rates, and when the principle should have been sanctioned by the passing of that Bill the extent to which it must soon spread might be easily conceived. With this evidence before him it was impossible for him to suffer the Bill to pass without opposition, and he trusted the House would do its duty and take the same course. If the Church must fall, let it at least be after a defence had been made for it worthy of such an institution. If it must be swept away with everything else that ought to be sacred when the torrent of innovation overspread the land, let it not be by the delinquency of those whose duty it was to be its natural defenders. Upon these grounds he should move that the Bill be read a third time that day six months.

The Marquess of Lansdown

observed, that the noble Duke had been under the necessity of adverting to topics which were not even remotely connected with the argument. When the noble Duke talked of the opposition made by the Dissenters to the payment of the Church-rate, did he remember, that that opposition was made and followed up long before there was any probability of a Bill like the present? He would ask the noble Duke in his turn, whether he did not think that the throwing out of the Bill would have the effect of redoubling the opposition of the Dissenters to the payment of the Church-rate? It was not a measure of spoliation, but, in his conscience, he believed a measure of a protective character; a measure which, he hoped, might enable the Church of Ireland to regain its just position. The noble Duke had adverted to a former argument that the expression of public opinion was necessary to any great measure. To public opinion attention ought certainly to be paid; but the vociferation of that opinion was by no means requisite. The removal of Church-cess was indispensable to the quiet of Ireland, and yet the noble Lord got up to tell them that this Bill was not called for, and that the abolition of Church-cess was a measure of spoliation. He quite agreed with the noble Duke that any tax to be levied on the present incumbents should be an equal tax. But the fact was, that no such tax on existing incumbents as that adverted to by the noble Duke, was contemplated. The argument of the noble Duke, therefore, fell to the ground; for surely there could be no injustice committed against future incumbents, who would accept their livings with the perfect knowledge of the charges to which they were subject. After the abolition of Church-cess was provided for, no other portion of the property of the Church was diverted from ecclesiastical purposes; but, on the contrary, was to be applied solely to the purpose of giving greater efficiency and security to the Church Establishment; and yet this was the measure which was branded as a measure of spoliation. He was convinced that the tendency of the Bill would be to rally all Protestants round the Church Establishment, and that even the respectable portion of the Roman Catholics would no longer hesitate to pay towards the support of a church, the abuses of which were cut away, and the pastors of which would no longer stand in the objectionable position which they at present occupied. It was, therefore, his earnest hope that this Bill might pass into a law, convinced as he was that its passing would facilitate the progress of those other measures which he agreed with the noble Lord opposite were essentially necessary to the security and welfare of the Established Church of Ireland.

Lord Wynford

agreed in the propriety of getting rid of the Church-cess, but objected to the mode in which it was proposed to be effected. He thought it most unjust to relieve the land of that impost and throw it entirely on the clergy. The only argument which he had heard at all calculated to induce him to vote for the Bill, was one which dropped from aright reverend Prelate opposite early in the debate—namely, that the passing of this measure was the only mode of securing a provision for the Church of Ireland. He was certainly most anxious to secure this provision; but he felt confident that this Bill would by no means secure it. In his opinion the Bill was a violation of the Articles of Union, and he should feel it his duty to give his vote against the third reading.

The Earl of Haddington

said, that if he could agree with the noble and learned Lord who had preceded him in thinking that the Bill under consideration contained a violation of the Act of Union, or if he could agree with other noble Lords in thinking that the Bill contained a violation of the Coronation Oath, he would most certainly oppose it, even at that stage, and at whatever risk. He could not however; concur in either of those positions. The provisions of the Bill did not appear to him to involve, a violation of the Act of Union. He admitted, that the Bill altered the fifth article, but he contended, that the alteration was not such as to call for or justify the setting up of the Act of Union as a bar to the passing of this measure. The course he had taken in the Committee clearly showed his opinions of the Bill. He regarded it as unjust, unwise, and unnecessary. Undoubtedly he concurred in thinking that some of the great principles of the Bill were just; but they were most injuriously carried into effect. He thought it most desirable that the mode of levying the Church-rates should be altered. He thought it most prejudicial to the stability, and to the usefulness of the Church in Ireland, that Church-rates should be levied upon the Roman Catholic pauper; but that was no reason why the wealthy noble and the landed proprietor in general should be relieved from the burthen, and the payment cast upon the clergy. If the burthen had been thrown to a fair and just extent upon the landed proprietor, then there would have been a fund for providing for the building of churches, and increasing the stipends of the, poorer parochial clergy. He would say also; that upon ample information, and upon a declaration from the Prime Minister, that he had consulted with the Prelates of the Church in Ireland and that they agreed with him in thinking that some of the emoluments of the hierarchy might beneficially be reduced and applied to the other purposes of the Church, although he should have regretted such a course, he still would have adopted the recommendation. But when he saw, without any information at all, that half the hierarchy were to be suppressed, and that a fund was to be created, which might better have been supplied by other means, he could not but protest against the measure It was true the Bill might have been worse it might have contained an attack upon vested interests; it might have applied the property of the Church to other than ecclesiastical purposes, and by so doing have become a most dangerous precedent for an interference with all private property. And if it had contained any such provisions he was quite sure it would have been rejected. The Bill then was not so bad as it might have been, but it was bad enough to induce him to reject it had it been presented in ordinary times. They, however, lived in times when reason was to be without power—when they were called upon to reason and to adopt a measure, not because in their judgment they approved of it, but because it was laid before them. A great deal had been said against their Lordships doing any thing which might render it necessary for the Ministers to resign office. Upon that subject too much had been said. The matter had been pressed too far. Indeed it had been carried to such lengths as to have made doing anything prejudicial to the political existence of the present Ministers an offence. The plan to compass the King's death was high treason; but now a new doctrine had sprung up, which was, that it was a political crime to destroy the political existence of the present Ministry. But he must say, with all his respect for the noble Lord opposite that consideration would not have operated on his mind, urged even as it had been, to induce him not to reject this Bill. And he must say, with reference to that argument in favour of the measure, that he could not conceive a more mischievous or a more dangerous mode for a Ministry to adopt to preserve themselves in office. Their Lordships had also been told of the great danger of a collision with the House of Commons, and that the rejection of this Bill would lead to such a collision. Few men were ready to sacrifice more largely than he was to avoid all such collision, for he was desirous of giving to the new Constitution a fair trial; but he would never consent to the abandonment of great fundamental principles for the accomplishment of that object. That House must be independent—that House could not consent to be degraded—and therefore, if there were no other extraneous dangers pressing upon his mind than that of a collision with the House of Commons, that would not have been sufficient to induce him not to vote for the rejection of this Bill. They had heard to-night, and at other times, of the existing state of the Church in Ireland. He confessed he had not courage enough to look that question in the face, and vote against the Bill. The Bill did not give an accession of strength to the Church in Ireland but he looked for the preservation of that branch of that Church to other measures which were in progress. Could they hope that those would pass if this were rejected? He feared not; He had heard enough to know, that the greatest anxiety prevailed in Ireland for the passing of this Bill, for it was apprehended that if it did hot pass, those other measures intended for the relief and permanent prosperity of the Church might also be lost. These were the alternatives between which he had to choose; and he would fairly confess, bad as the Bill was, he had not courage to reject it in the face of such great dangers. There were precedents in the Bill which might prove injurious to the Church in England; but what were all those precedents to the destruction of the Church in Ireland? From what he had said it was impossible for him to utter "content" to a Bill with which he was not content at all; and therefore, when the question was put, he should shelter himself, although it was a course he would never follow but on extraordinary occasions by retiring.

Lord Bexley

opposed the third reading. It had been contended, that the Bill was favourable to the Irish clergy; was it favourable to impose on them a tax which properly belonged to the land? Was it favourable to place the management of ecclesiastical affairs, and the control of ecclesiastical property, in the hands of a lay Commission? He denied that the Bill did justice to the clergy of Ireland. He agreed with preceding speakers, that it was a breach of the articles of Union; and the reduction of the revenues of two Bishops, merely because it was assumed that their property was too great, was so much like an Agrarian law, and implied a principle so objectionable, that he could never assent to a Bill mentioning such doctrines.

Their Lordships divided on the Motion, that the Bill be read a third time. Contents (Present 70; Proxies 65) 1;

Not-contents (Present 50; Proxies 31) 81 Majority 54.

A clause was added by way of rider, and the Bill was passed.

List of the NOT-CONTENTS.
Cumberland Arbuthnot
Gloucester Strathallan
Beaufort Sidmouth
Newcastle Combermere
Buckingham ARCHBISHOP.
Westmeath Oxford
EARLS. Gloucester
Winchilsea Lincoln
Westmoreland Rochester
Shaftesbury Exeter
Dartmouth BARONS.
Abingdon Hay
Beverley Gage
Mansfield Rolle
Digby Ormonde
Longford Boston
Mayo Kenyon
Eldon Redesdale
Airlie Ellenborough
Belmore Bayning
Beauchamp Bexley
Rosse Colchester
Orford Tenterden
Vane Wynford
Charleville Penshurst
Exeter Bristol
Thomond Durham
EARLS. Carlisle
Graham (Montrose) Bath and Wells
Poulett Bangor
Guilford Clonfert
Onslow Ossory
Brownlow BARONS.
Clancarty Willoughby de Broke
Bradford Carrington
Enniskillen Churchill
Powis Roden
O'Neil Walsingham
Exmouth Sheffield
Salisbury Feversham

The following Protests were entered against the third reading of the Bill.


Dissentient—1. Because the repeal of the Church-cess, without any other provision for its necessary purposes than a partial charge on ecclesiastical property only, is calculated not only to establish in Ireland the principle that the service of the Established Church is not entitled to receive any support from the State, but to introduce the same false and pernicious opinion into other parts of the United King, dom.

2. Because the tax intended to be imposed on ecclesiastical benefices as a substitute for the payment of first-fruits is excessive, in proportion to the charge from which the clergy will be relieved, burthen some and oppressive in its amount, especially in the case of the more valuable benefices, and by the adoption of a progressive scale of taxation, encourages the project of a general equalization of property.

3. Because the proposal to invest certain Commissioners, of whom a large proportion may be laymen, and a great majority is to be appointed by, and removable at the pleasure of the Crown, with extensive powers over the whole property of the Church of Ireland, is in principle violent and arbitrary; the authority to be given to the Commissioners oppressive and inquisitorial; and the influence they will possess, both over the clergy and the tenants of Church lands, highly dangerous and unconstitutional.

4. Because the said Commissioners will supersede the functions of the Board of First Fruits, by which more than one-third of the benefices of Ireland has, since the Union, been provided with churches, and will, under the 117th clause, have the power of stopping the presentation to a considerable number of livings; and, therefore, may not only prevent the increase of Protestant places of worship, but permanently deprive many parishes of the benefit of a minister.

5. Because the proposed reduction of the number of Bishops in Ireland is not only highly injurious to the influence and authority of the Established Church, which, from the peculiar circumstances of Ireland, more especially requires support, but is in direct violation of the treaty of Union, and endangers the stability, of the Union by the precedent of a breach of its provisions.

6. Because these dangerous and alarming infringements of long established rights and property will be so far from satisfying those who aim at still greater change, that they will only stimulate the desire for, and facilitate the introduction of, yet more fatal innovations.

COLCHESTER PENSHURST (for the 5th and 6th reasons.)


Dissentient—1. Because his Majesty being bound in his executive and legislative capacity by the Coronation Oath to maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the United Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established, within England and Ireland, and the territories thereto belonging, and to preserve unto the Bishops and clergy of England and Ireland, and to the churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain to them, or any of them; and this Bill being a fundamental alteration of the discipline and government of the Irish Church, and directly invading the rights and privileges of the clergy, it appears to us, that such Bill cannot be passed into a law with a proper observance of the Coronation Oath.

2. Because such Bill is opposed to the wishes and interests of the great body of the clergy in England and Ireland, whilst the people at large have not petitioned or expressed any desire for its adoption.

3. Because it is contrary to all justice and equity to exempt those hitherto properly liable to the payment of the Church-assessments in Ireland, and to impose such burthen arbitrarily on the impoverished Protestant clergy of that country.

4. Because the imposition of a tax on all parochial livings of a certain value in Ireland interferes with the vested rights of the owners of advowsons, by lessening the value of that species of property which they had acquired without such diminution of value.

5. Because the abolition of ten Irish bishoprics appears to us to be an act of spoliation, and to afford a fatal precedent for the future destruction of the whole Protestant hierarchy in that country.

6. Because this Bill in its principles and enactments appears to us as tending to advance the Roman Catholic, and to weaken the Protestant religion in Ireland, both in a temporal and spiritual point of view; and while it prepares the way for future acts of injustice, hardship, and oppression, towards the Protestant clergy there, it gives to the enemies of the Reformed Church increased strength to degrade and impoverish its ministers, to impair its efficiency, and, finally, to establish the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, predominant in wealth and influence.




Dissentient—1. Because the Bill imposes upon the clergy of Ireland, already defrauded of their rightful property, the new charge of the Church-cess, heretofore borne by the land, which is at once a mockery and a wrong.

2. Because this charge will absorb so much of the fund to be provided by taxing the clergy, that for many years no part of that fund, and at no time any considerable part of it, will be applicable to the proposed improvement of small livings; so that to injustice is added delusion;

3. Because the Bill suppresses ten bishoprics, not for purposes of Reform, but for purposes of finance, in order to supply the deficiency created by an act of injustice.

4. Because the Bill, affording an unworthy triumph to the Roman Catholics over the law they have distorted, and the clergy they have persecuted, encourages future aggressions; while, failing in its professed objects by the inadequacy and fallacy of its financial provisions, it humiliates the Protestants without contributing to the future efficiency of the Established Church.