The Earl of Wicklow
, before he proceeded with the motion of which he had given notice, wished that the Resolution of the House of Commons of the 18th inst., on the subject of Irish Tithes, should be read.
§ The Clerk was proceeding to read it, when
The Earl of Wicklow
said, he wished the Resolution to be read in order to avoid explaining to their Lordships at length its nature and object. He should now, however, explain fully the purport of that Resolution. When he came down to the House last Monday, and gave notice of this Motion, he fully believed, that the Resolution had been laid before their Lordships; and his intention on that occasion was to enter into the discussion im- 1032 mediately; but, on finding that the Resolution had not been communicated to their Lordships, he determined to bring the question forward on the earliest day. He might be told, that he was even now introducing it prematurely, because the subject was not yet before the House, and that the discussion should be deferred until the matter came up in the shape of a Bill or Resolution to their Lordships. He was prepared to admit the justice of that proposition on general principles, but it was by no means applicable to every case. There were cases in which it was not only expedient, but very desirable, that their Lordships should have an opportunity of discussing subjects that originated elsewhere, in the hope, when it was known in the other House of Parliament through the ordinary channels of communication, that their Lordships held certain opinions on such subjects, that the measures would be modified and altered so as to afford them a better chance of being carried in their Lordships' House. This remark applied particularly to measures of a fiscal nature; many of which might contain principles and enactments of which their Lordships highly approved, and others that they might view as objectionable. In that case, following the rules and customs of Parliament, they were obliged to reject such measures altogether, because they had not the power to alter them. With respect to the subject which he was now about to introduce, whether his Motion was convenient or inconvenient, whether it was well-timed or ill-timed, still he felt, that it was his duty to bring it forward, on this, the first day that he had an opportunity of so doing. In order to bring the question as clearly as he could before their Lordships, he called on them to consider the situation in which they were placed with respect to this important subject. Their Lordships would recollect, that at the commencement of the last Session of Parliament, this subject was considered by his Majesty's Ministers of such vast importance, that it was made mention of in his Majesty's Speech from the Throne, and in such a manner, too, that every one thought Ministers were prepared with some measure relative to it. But his Majesty's Ministers were not governed by such vulgar prejudices. They were not prepared with any such measure; but they proposed, in both Houses of Parliament, a Select Com- 1033 mittee to investigate the subject, to examine witnesses, and to report thereon. These Committees immediately assembled, and commenced operations with activity, diligence, and ability; and each Committee made two Reports to their respective Houses. As to the first of these Reports made to their Lordships last February, he should say nothing. He had animadverted on it at the time, chiefly on account of a most objectionable term which it contained—a term which had created much evil, and caused much bloodshed; but the second Report to their Lordships, which was made in June last, contained much valuable information, and he greatly approved of it. He should take the liberty of reading one short extract (the only one he meant to read) from the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, which had been communicated to their Lordships' House. The Reports of the two Committees were very similar, but he preferred that of the House of Commons, because it was most explicit. It said: 'That your Committee recommend that the following measure, be submitted to Parliament with the least possible delay; and, in order to facilitate their commencement, without loss of time, they think that these measures should be introduced in three separate Bills. The first is a Bill to enable the Tithe Composition Act to be enforced; the second to constitute Ecclesiastical Corporations in Ireland; and the third to make a commutation of tithes for land.' When this was made known, he asked whether it was the intention of Ministers to introduce those three Bills in that Session of Parliament, and the noble Earl and the Lord President of the Council answered most decidedly, "that it was." This occurred nearly at the end of June; and he believed that the intention of Ministers was what they had stated. One of those Bills was introduced in that House, and had passed through Parliament; but only one of them, it should be observed, had passed in the last Session. He did not blame Ministers for not doing more last Session. He did not expect them to do impossibilities; and, at the time, he thought it was impossible for them to carry the three Bills at that late period of the Session. What he blamed them for was, that during the interval between the last Session and this present 21st of June, being an entire year from the time 1034 when he put the question—not one word was said by any member of the Government in either House of Parliament on the subject. He knew he might be told that they had a variety of complicated business before them. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack had, the other night, with that dignity and self-complacency which became one who believed himself to be a benefactor of the State, described to their Lordships all the complicated measures, all the important State business, which had occupied the attention of Ministers. The noble and learned Lord asserted, that, to grapple with any one of those great measures would, in former years, have been deemed employment enough for any Government. They, however, retired not from these various extraordinary works—they shrunk not from these mighty labours—they could bear this world of business on their official shoulders. Although, however, they had not thought proper to introduce either of the other two Bills to which he had adverted, they had found time to concoct another measure relative to the Church of Ireland, embracing almost every subject connected with that Church. Instead, however, of introducing such a measure, it would have been better if they had redeemed their plighted faith to Parliament and the country. He would not take the trouble of reading the Commons' resolution to their Lordships, but he would state what it contained. It was, then, proposed in the other House, that the enforcement of tithes should be caused to cease altogether; that an advance of money should be made for arrears of tithes and composition of tithes, for 1831 and 1832, and for the income of the clergy for 1833; and it was intended and proposed to pay the country for this advance by an imposition of Land-tax. By this plan, the defaulters, those who had by fraud, by violence, by every mode of intimidation, exempted themselves from the payment of those just dues, would be effectually screened; while the proprietor of the soil, who had always been the assister and protector of the clergy, and who had performed his duty, would be oppressed. If they placed the burthen on the defaulters, it would be returning to the Act of last Session under a new name. It would be doing that which his Majesty's Ministers were least likely and least inclined to do—it would be flying in the face of that 1035 mountain party, which were opposed to all conciliation, before which Government was crouching and trembling, and the mischievous measures of which the Ministers, in no small degree, assisted. But it was not stated by whom this advance was to be ultimately borne—whether by the Lords of the soil in possession of the land, or by the various intermediate persons standing between him and the immediate occupier. That was not stated, because it was a great and arduous question. The resolution was bought forward, and he supposed the Bill to be founded on it would partake of the same character, in this crude, undigested, and unformed shape, in the hope that, in going through Parliament, it would be altered and improved, and, in some way or other, rendered more passable. Ministers brought their rough blocks from the Downing-street quarry, that statutes might be manufactured out of them by artists more able and skilful than themselves. The plan now proposed involved as gross a spoliation of the landowner as ever was effected by the most arbitrary government. What would be the result to the lay impropriator, now that tithes were declared to be a nuisance which ought to be abolished? No provision was made for the lay impropriator of tithes. He saw a noble Marquess on the cross-bench (the Marquess of Westmeath) who, he believed, was a great owner of lay impropriations, and he certainly flattered himself that the noble Marquess would vote with those who meant to oppose the measure. This was not the case of Don Pedro versus Don Miguel—no, it was a case of property versus spoliation; and he was convinced, that the good sense and justice of the noble Lord would lead him to vote with him (the Earl of Wicklow) on this occasion. Then, the third class of persons who would be affected by this proceeding was the clergy themselves. He defied any man who looked into the provisions of this resolution to view it in any other light than an insidious species of bribery for the Church. Ministers wished to bribe the clergy to give up that right to the soil which the Church had possessed more firmly and for a longer period than noble Lords had possessed their estates. He believed that the noble Lords opposite had never intended to enter into a systematic attack on the rights and interests of the Church; but if they had taken office in the Government for the purpose, 1036 of destroying the Church, they could not have pursued more effectual means than those they had adopted. Let the House look to the whole of their conduct towards the Church of Ireland, or rather (for that was not the proper designation) that part of the Church of England which was established in Ireland, ever since they had come into office. They had permitted the Church to be plundered of its rights—they had allowed the clergy to be deprived of all the rights they possessed—the clergy were forced, in many instances, to retire from the world, overwhelmed with a degree of distress which it would be difficult for their Lordships to conceive; and at this moment, when their spirits were broken—at this moment they were offered no less than three years of arrear, for which they were to sacrifice their right to tithes—for which they were to sacrifice the interest of the Established Church. In short, they were to become a body of ecclesiastical pensioners on the Treasury of the State. It might be said, that the measure would be temporary—he cared not, he protested against it as a spoliation of the Church—nay, as a system of spoliation with reference to all classes. One class of persons was to pay the debts of a second class of persons to a third class of persons. And what was all this for? For what was the country to suffer this infliction? Why, to remedy evils that were created by the Government itself. When Ministers entered office he would assert, and he defied contradiction, that resistance to tithes in Ireland was scarcely perceptible. He knew, that there was an unwillingness to pay tithes, just as there was an indisposition to pay rent, or to pay any species of tax; but there was no more objection to tithes than to any other impost in that country. No sooner, however, did the agitators discover the sort of persons with whom they had to deal—no sooner did they find that they might cajole or intimidate them—than they commenced that system which Ministers were vainly endeavouring to remove. At what time, be would ask, was the proposed measure to be carried into effect? Why, at a time when tithes were better paid than they had been for years. The Coercion Bill was now in operation; and he approved of it, not on account of the punishment which it inflicted, but on account of the confidence it inspired. It gave to the loyal part of the community 1037 a confidence which they had long wanted, and the consequence was, that the tithes were better paid now than they had long been. A clause had been introduced into that Bill in the course of the discussion elsewhere which in some degree impaired and defeated its efficacy. He blamed Ministers for allowing it. They well knew who the parties were that clamoured for it. They were not the Representatives of the people, but the Representatives of priests and demagogues, selected from bullock-sheds, attornies' offices, and clerks' offices in the country. He was most friendly to the Church, but not as contradistinguished from any other class of men, for he wished to preserve the rights of all classes. If he had spoken more on the subject of the Church than others, it was because the Church had been ill-treated and had suffered much; but he never was anxious for the relief of the Church, much less for the bribery of the Church, by violating the property or injuring the rights of others. It might be said, that he was almost the only individual who had raised his voice against this plan, which had passed, as they learned through the medium of the Press, by an exceedingly large majority. Now, he certainly felt great respect for all the votes of the other House; if they declared that the Malt-tax was a nuisance, and should be abolished, he respected their vote; and if, the next day, they agreed that it was not a nuisance, and ought not to be abolished, still he respected the vote of that hon. House; in short, he respected all their votes. But he confessed that he felt no small degree of surprise when this plan was introduced to the House of Commons, that no man of landed property in Ireland (for there were in the House some men of landed property, notwithstanding the Reform Bill), rose and solemnly protested against it. This Resolution, however, had not yet passed into a law, and he ventured to say, that even in the other House of Parliament the measure would still he well considered and strenuously opposed before it came into their Lordships' House. When it came before their Lordships, he should do his duty. It was a measure fraught with injustice and cruelty, and he should oppose it in every stage. He moved "for a return of all sums collected by Government under the Act of last Session to facilitate the payment and recovery of tithes in Ireland."
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that the speech of the noble Earl who had just sat down afforded in itself a convincing proof of the impolicy of entering into a discussion on a matter which was not fully before the House. If the noble Earl had waited until the subject had been brought forward in a defined shape, he would have avoided some of the errors into which he had fallen on this occasion. The noble Earl had laid great stress on the words relating to the unfortunate subject of tithes used in the Report of one of the Committees which had sat on that subject, and had contended, that the words "extinction of tithes" had been productive of much strife and bloodshed. He (Viscount Melbourne) denied that those words had been productive of any such effect. It was, he admitted, true that they had been made a pretext for passive resistance to tithes by those who, if such words had never been used, would have found other pretexts to offer the same resistance; but it was impossible that any one could have been deceived as to the sense in which those words were used. It would be perfectly clear to any one who took the trouble of reading that part of the Report, and who took it in context with what preceded and followed, that the words "extinction of tithes" were not used as intending to convey the idea that such a measure had been already decided, but that it was merely referred to as a measure in prospect. If, however, an isolated expression of a Report were thus taken without reference to the import of the whole, it would be impossible to guard against misconstruction with respect to any public document. The noble Earl had complained, that of the three Bills which the Government had promised to introduce as the result of the Reports of the Committees, only one had yet been introduced; but any man, looking with candour and impartiality at the circumstances of the country, would find in those circumstances a sufficient justification for the course which Government had adopted. As to the second of the Bills, there had been so much opposition raised on the part of the clergy, that Government had not only refrained from bringing it in, but had given up the measure altogether. The noble Earl had dwelt much upon the self-complacency with which his noble and learned friend on the Woolsack had announced the intention of Government 1039 to introduce these measures. On this subject he would only say, that if personal allusions were to be made, and if the manner of noble Lords and their way of delivering their remarks in that House were to become the subject of criticism and comment, the practice must lead to sarcastic recriminations, which it would be as well to avoid. He (Lord Melbourne) was not disposed to deal in any such; but when the noble Earl talked of self-complacency, he could not avoid remarking that the same complaint would most readily apply to the noble Earl himself; for certainly Narcissus, when he surveyed himself in the fountain, was not more enamoured of the graces of his person, which he found were much greater than he had imagined, than was the noble Earl of himself when he found himself addressing their Lordships on this subject, and with greater eloquence than he had thought he could have brought to it. But he would not proceed further with this topic—remarks of this kind he was not fond of indulging in, and he would not pursue them. They brought to his mind the observation of the philosopher of old, who found himself brought into controversy with a talkative fellow. He observed, "I shall not keep up a contest of this sort with you, for I find we do not meet on equal terms. You are fond of using such language, and are accustomed to hear it, but it is disagreeable to me to hear, and it is beneath me to reply to it." The noble Earl had taken the opportunity of inveighing against the measures of Government, even before they were brought in any regular and defined manner under the consideration of the House. He had called them rough blocks of stone, taken from the quarry of Downing-street, which were to be brought into shape by the skill of other artists. Now, would it not have been candid in the noble Earl to have waited until he saw the shape in which those blocks would be brought before the House before he condemned them? It was not the practice of noble Lords, however much opposed to the measures of Government, to attack those measures until they were brought in some tangible shape before the House. He admitted that the measure which Government had introduced last year with respect to tithes was a fair subject of animadversion. That measure was a transfer of the arrears of tithes to the Crown, in the hope that the 1040 passive resistance, as it was called, which had been made to their collection would not be continued when they were considered as debts to the Crown. That measure had not answered the expectations which were conceived of it. Of the whole sum of 140,000l. there had been only 12,000l. collected, and that at an expense exceeding the amount. Under these circumstances, and in the hope of putting an end to the disputes so constantly recurring in the collection, it was thought better to introduce this measure, which it was hoped, would have the effect of altogether putting an end to that resistance to the payment of tithes which had always existed in Ireland. This was to place the tithes as a tax on the land. The noble Earl had asked what was to become of the landlord—who was to undertake the payment of tithe? Why, he would get it from the tenant. [The Earl of Wicklow: How?] By the ordinary operation of the law; it was intended that the landlord should have a claim against the tenant for the amount of the tithe. By this means it was hoped that the tumults and disorders at present consequent upon the collection of tithe would be altogether avoided. It was complained, that the police had been employed in the collection of tithes. If it were so, it was against the Act of Parliament. They might be employed to serve processes for the recovery of tithe, but they could not be legally employed in its collection; but, of course, if there arose any tumult or disturbance in the collection, it was to be expected that they would be called in to restore order. The noble Lord asked what was to become of the lay impropriators? The lay impropriators were to have the same advantages as the clergy with respect to the payment of the tithe by a tax on land. But the noble Earl complained that the clergy were to be called upon to surrender their rights, which were as stable as the land on which their claim existed. He (Lord Melbourne) hoped the religion of the Protestant would always remain stable; but he feared that he could not say that the tithe had the same stability. The noble Earl asked why this measure should be brought in at the present time; he would ask in turn how it could be delayed any longer? He thought the time was now arrived when the Government was called upon to take some step towards settling a question which 1041 had for so long been the fertile source of so much tumult and disorder in that country. But it was said, that the feeling of resistance to tithes had gained ground since the accession of the present Administration to office, and it was more than hinted that the increase of the "passive resistance" was owing to that accession. He would not enter into the discussion of how far the resistance had gained ground in consequence of the accession to office of the present Administration. The noble Earl had given it as his opinion, and no doubt it was sincere, but he (Lord Melbourne) must deny that the present Government had done any thing to increase the opposition to tithes. It was, he repeated, time that this question should be viewed in a statesmanlike manner. It was due to the Protestant Establishment that the question should be placed on such a footing as would prevent that ill-feeling towards it which the collection of tithe had generated; it was due to the Catholic majority of Ireland that they should be released from those vexatious proceedings, which were, in present circumstances, almost unavoidable; and it was due to the Protestant majority of the empire to place the Establishment on a sure foundation. The situation of Ireland, with respect to the collection of tithes, was unparalleled in the history of nations. That system had given rise to turbulence and disorder, which, for the security of the empire, it was necessary to put an end to by some means; of course, the first duty of the Government was to put down turbulence, to restore peace, and then to legislate against the recurrence of that disorder and turbulence as far as they could. Let him call the attention of their Lordships for a moment to the combination, he might call it, which the Government found opposed to them on this subject. They had, first, the Catholic hierarchy; they had the majority of the Catholic gentry, and nearly the whole, if not the whole of the farmers. They had also the Catholic priests—he would say with some highly honourable exceptions; but besides those whom he had named, there were also many of the Protestant gentry—some of them presiding at anti-tithe meetings, and some proposing anti-tithe resolutions, inculcating passive resistance to their collection; and when there were found many Protestants thus openly taking a part against the payment 1042 of tithes, it was not unfair to presume that there were many others of the same class who in feeling were disposed to object, though they took no active part on the question. But let him add, that with this opposition, the Government found no very cordial support from that party which was called the Conservative. That party, seeing the turn which the public mind had taken on the question, were too much disposed to look after a little share of popularity as opposed to Government to take an active part in upholding a system towards which they still avowed themselves favourable. It was unnecessary for him to say that these circumstances had placed Government in a situation of no inconsiderable difficulty, and such as required the most serious deliberation. They had, as the result of that deliberation, determined upon bringing forward the measure which had been sanctioned by the adoption of the resolution proposed to the other House of Parliament. The measures which would be consequent on the adoption of that resolution were not yet in a state to come directly under the consideration of their Lordships; but he trusted they were such as would be approved of when they did come before them. At all events, he did hope that noble Lords would wait until they were before them in that shape in which alone they could enter into a full discussion of their merits.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, that if the noble Viscount who had just sat down had entered into any satisfactory explanation of the measures which it was the intention of Government to adopt on this important question, he should not have felt it necessary to offer a word in reply to what had fallen from him; but in the whole of what the noble Lord had said he found no explanation at all. He found that the tithe due to one body of men was to be compensated by a tax on another. That, no doubt, was a simple proposition; but this was what his noble friend (the Earl of Wicklow) complained of, that no explanation was given of how this was to be done. The noble Viscount got up to answer his noble friend, but he would defy any of their Lordships to understand more from the noble Viscount's speech than the statement that the case was as his noble friend had stated it. It was said, that tenants-at-will, and some others who held lands by particular tenures, were liable to pay the tithe to the landlord, and that he 1043 collected it, and not the clergy. It was forgotten, however, that by the Act of the last Session the clergy could not collect the tithe. If the Government intended to repeal that Act, the clergyman might proceed to collect his tithe, if he could, after all that had taken place on the subject. The noble Viscount had not given any explanation on this subject, because, in fact, he did not know what the Bill stated, or what was intended to be done with respect to it. The Resolution which had been submitted to the other House was, as it now stood, that a land-tax should be levied for the payment of tithe; but who was to pay it? Who, he asked, was to pay it? Was it the landlord? He would beg of noble Lords to consider what would be the effect of asking the landlord in this country to pay the tithes on his land for three years. It was calculated that the average of the tithes in Ireland did not amount to more than 2s. the acre. He would ask—and he was aware that some of the noble Lords opposite possessed an immense extent of land in Ireland—what landlord of that country was now ready to pay the tithes of three years—to pay to the amount of 6s. or 7s. per acre on his land? But suppose the landlord consented to this, he wanted to know by what authority the landlord was to collect this money back and repay himself? Was it in the shape of rent, or was it a separate charge, and to be collected with the same legal authority which the clergyman had for his tithe? These were points which the noble Viscount had left untouched, but which, if he had explained, their Lordships would have some notion of the nature of the measures intended by the Government. Their Lordships, in looking to that part of the Resolution which placed the tithe as a tax on the land, could not omit from their consideration the fact of the different tenures by which lands were held in Ireland. There were holders of lands for lives, and for leases of years, and for other different terms; but how those parties were to be affected by this measure the noble Viscount had not said one word, so as to remove the doubt and anxiety which must exist as to the situation of every kind of property in that part of the United Kingdom. The noble Viscount had stated to their Lordships the great difficulties which had attended the discussion of this subject of Irish tithes. He 1044 was aware of those difficulties, and if he had any doubt on the subject, he had only to refer to the large volume which had been laid before the House last year, to show, that those difficulties had grown to their present extent in consequence of the neglect of his Majesty's Ministers in the first year of their accession to office. The opposition to tithes in Ireland at that period was trifling; but such as it was, if the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, instead of pardoning those who had been convicted of presiding at anti-tithe meetings, and of moving Resolutions inculcating passive resistance to tithes, so that none should be paid unless by the compulsion of legal process—if, he repeated, instead of allowing such parties to escape with impunity—if, instead of promoting the great agitator in his profession—the Government had inflicted upon him the punishment due to the offence of which he had been convicted—if others also guilty (and it was well known who they were) had not been allowed to escape with impunity, the Government would not have seen that general opposition to the tithes of which they now complained, nor would they be placed in those difficulties in which they now found themselves. Let them look to what had been stated by the Archbishop of Dublin, a prelate who was friendly to the present Administration, and of whom the Government had a very high opinion. That most reverend Prelate attributed a great share of the resistance to tithes to the opposition of a Catholic clergyman of high influence and great importance with those of his own persuasion; who, in one of his letters on the subject, objected to tithes as a provision for the Protestant clergy. All these things the Government had passed over, and yet they now came to Parliament and said, "Oh, the state of the country is such—the opposition to tithes is so general, and has always been so general in Ireland, that we must be excused for not having taken measures to put that opposition down." It could not be denied, that the great opposition to tithes began in November, 1830—after the accession of the present Administration to office. In March, 1831, he took occasion to remind the noble Earl opposite, that the Proclamation Act would expire at the close of the then Session of Parliament. The noble Earl stated, that he was aware of that fact, and, that it was his intention to renew the Act before 1045 the end of the Session. The Government had, however, thought proper to dissolve the Parliament in April, and there was then no time to renew the Act. The Parliament met again in June, but not a word was said about the renewal of the Proclamation Act—not a word said about tithes or the opposition to their collection, which was still going on in Ireland. They were, it was true, told of disturbances which occurred in Roscommon and in some other places, but the same silence was still observed as to the cause. In the month of November, when Ministers must have agreed as to the words which were to be put into the mouth of the Sovereign, the affair of Captain Graham was known in London, but still no notice was taken on the subject until the unfortunate words which were inserted in the Speech from the Throne in December, when his Majesty was made to recommend the consideration of the question of the state of the Church in Ireland—if, during the whole of this time, the Government, instead of remaining passive, had acted with firmness in putting down the opposition to tithes which was going on in Ireland, they would not now be placed in a situation which obliged them to call on the country to give compensation to those whose property was, he might say, destroyed, by the levy of a tax on the property of another class of his Majesty's subjects. It was stated by the noble Viscount, that various classes of persons had joined in this conspiracy or combination to resist the payment of tithes, and, amongst others, he charged some of the Protestant gentry of Ireland as being in the number of the parties so combined. He (the Duke of Wellington) was but little acquainted with those secrets, and in the Report of the Committee he saw little to bear out the charge; but he must say that if such men were found engaged in such transactions, they now saw the consequences of their own acts. They saw that if they deprived the clergy of their property, they themselves would be taxed to make it good. Their Lordships would, in a few days, be called upon to consider a proposition for giving compensation to a large class of individuals who were to be deprived of their property; and he would beg of their Lordships to consider, and to impress the same thing on their neighbours, that if they deprived others of their property, they would as an almost necessary consequence lose their 1046 own. But he was sure that the noble Viscount was mistaken in the ground of his charge against some portions of the Protestant gentry. He was sure that they had too much attachment to the Church and to the security of their own property to join in any measure to deprive the clergy of theirs. He would not take up the time of their Lordships further on this subject, but would in conclusion express a hope that the noble Lords opposite would give the House some explanation on this subject.
§ Viscount Melbourne
, in explanation, said, that he had not charged the Protestant gentry generally with taking any part against the payment of tithes to the clergy; what he had said, was, that many of them had done so; and when they found some thus publicly avowing their opposition, it was not unfair to assume that there were many others of the same class who were favourable to the same cause.
§ Earl Grey
said, that when the noble Earl (Wicklow) gave notice of a motion on this subject, he (Earl Grey) did not understand that it was for the sake of division, but discussion. He had asked himself what object the noble Earl could have for introducing such a discussion under such circumstances, and the only answer which his ingenuity could suggest was, that it would furnish the opportunity of dealing out reproach and invective against the Government, though without any real ground on which to go. In that conjecture he was fully borne out in what occurred in the course of the discussion. There could, the noble Earl must have been aware, be no objection to the Motion. There could be no difference between them as to the production of the account for which he moved; yet, as if it were a Motion to which the Government was decidedly opposed, the noble Earl had largely availed himself of the opportunity which it gave him to utter a long string of invectives against the Administration. In that he was followed by the noble Duke, who complained that his noble friend (Lord Melbourne) had not explained the details of the measure of Government; though, as it appeared to him, neither the noble Duke nor the noble Earl had stated very clearly what it was they wished to have explained. That, however, was an unavoidable consequence of the course the noble Lords had adopted of discussing 1047 this important question in its present state. Had the noble Lords waited until the Bill was before the House, they would have seen all its details, and the provisions made to carry it into effect, and they would then have had a fitting opportunity of stating their objections. Under the circumstances in which the discussion was brought on, he felt a difficulty in going into the details of the measure to which it in part referred; for though he had a distinct view of those details, he felt the difficulty of laying them before the House, as the Bill itself was not before them. Had he himself chosen to enter upon such details before the Bill was in that state which would bring it regularly before the House, he should have been met by a thousand objections, and have been told that the House could not judge well of them until they had the Bill. However, as the discussion was thus prematurely, and for their Lordships generally, inconveniently forced on, he would, in as brief a way as he could, give a detail of what it was that Ministers intended to propose in the Bill; but, before he did this, he would advert to some of the topics introduced by the noble Lords opposite. The noble Earl and the noble Duke had argued as if they had now almost for the first time heard of opposition to tithes in Ireland, as if such opposition were new in that country; whereas it was as notorious as anything connected with Ireland, that the opposition to the payment of tithes in that country was as old as the memory of man. He would appeal to the noble Lord who sat on the Woolsack next the Table, and who was well acquainted with the state of feeling in Ireland, whether there had not, in the whole time of his acquaintance with that country, been a strong, he might say systematic, objection to the payment of tithe, not under one, but under many administrations? But that opposition had been allowed to accumulate till it came to a point, and burst forth under the present Government in a manner which could no longer be resisted. Why, he would ask, when the noble Duke was in office, and when the question of tithes had been forced on the attention of Government, and when a Bill was brought in by which much might have been done, why had not the noble Duke at that time taken some steps towards settling the question? Would it not have been much less difficult to have done so at that day than 1048 at the present time? The avowed opposition to the payment of tithes began before the noble Duke quitted office. [The Duke of Wellington observed, across the Table, that it was later.] He hardly thought he could be mistaken as to the time; but was it not a fact that there was in the county of Clare, a spirit of opposition to the Government? Was that opposition not in any degree connected with tithes? It was said, that the Government did not take any steps to assert the authority of the laws, and to put down the resistance to tithe. He contended that it had; but he had to complain that the efforts of the Government were not supported by those from whom they ought to have expected support, if their actions were to conform to their professions. He did not speak of any conspiracy against the Government, but it could not be denied, that there existed in that country two parties, each opposed to the other, and both to the Government, which did not allow the one to domineer over the other. These were, no doubt, sources of annoyance and of difficulty to the Government; but neither by these, nor by the exertions of any agitators, was the Government so thwarted as by those who, professing to take no share in the open hostility of party, overlooked the real interests of the country, in order to harass and embarrass Ministers. This, unfortunately, was not a new ground of complaint for a Minister; the same complaint was made by the noble Duke himself, who, on the subject of the Catholic question, expressed his regret that he should have been opposed by those from whom he had a right to expect support. He (Earl Grey) might with justice make the same complaint, that the measures of Government had been opposed by some of those from whom, if he were to judge of them by their professions, he should have expected support. He repelled, as he could with confidence, the charge that the Government had not proceeded with the sentence against the agitator whose influence was so great in Ireland, and who was calculated to acquire great influence by his eminent talents; but when the noble Earl and the noble Duke complained that the sentence was not passed upon the hon. and learned individual alluded to, they should recollect that the Proclamation Act under which he had been tried had expired with the Session, and 1049 that legally the sentence could not have been passed. That was the plain and simple reason why it had not been. The noble Duke was perfectly correct in his recollection of what he (Earl Grey) had said as to his intention of renewing the Proclamation Act in the Session of 1831; but at that time he could not have anticipated the necessity of dissolving the Parliament. The dissolution then prevented him from carrying his intention into effect. After the new Parliament had met, he would appeal to the recollection of noble Lords, whether the appearances of circumstances were not such as to hold out a prospect that the government of Ireland could have been carried on by the ordinary operation of the law, and without the aid of the Proclamation Act? There were circumstances which induced him to hope, that the ordinary operation of the law would be sufficient to preserve the peace of Ireland without having recourse to that measure. Unjust as this accusation was against the present Administration, what was it when compared with the accusation of the noble Earl, repeated by the noble Duke, which charged them with framing all their measures respecting Ireland with a view to secure the favour and support of a single individual? If the memory of the noble Earl was so short, could not the noble Duke recollect that an Act had been recently passed, which some were pleased to entitle an Act for the coercion, but which he would denominate an Act for the preservation of the tranquillity of Ireland? Was that an Act calculated to secure the favour of the individual to whom the noble Earl and the noble Duke had alluded? Did they suppose that the measures adopted subsequently to carry that Act into operation were directed to that object, or were likely to produce that effect? If the views of the Administration were such as the noble Earl was pleased to represent them, they must indeed be extraordinary managers to take such measures as they had taken to carry them into execution; for the return which they had received from that individual for their repeated courting of his favour, if they had courted it, as the noble Earl averred, was to be described by him as a brutal, bloody, and ruffianly Administration. He was prepared, and so were his noble colleagues, in the discharge of their duty, to meet the enmity of that individual, and not only of that 1050 individual, but also of those individuals, who were diametrically opposed to that individual (Mr. O'Connell) in politics, but who had nevertheless united with him to overturn the present Administration without the slightest regard to any considerations of what was necessary to support the peace and to promote the real interests of the country. This topic brought him to the consideration of the question—which he would not say was then before their Lordships, for it could not be regularly brought before them until the Bill came from the other House of Parliament—but which had been made the subject of the discussion of that evening. The speech of his noble friend near him had relieved him from much of his difficulty, and he therefore hoped that he should not be under the necessity of detaining their Lordships long on the present occasion. In the first place, with regard to the Report of the Committee, the noble Earl had complained that, of the measures which those Committees had recommended, only one had been adopted. That one, however, was admitted by the noble Earl to be, of the three measures recommended by the Committee, that which was likely to produce the most instantaneous and immediate effect. It was a measure for the permanent and universal composition of tithes. When that measure was carried into effect, as it would be on the 30th of next November, the payment of tithes by those who were merely tenants-at-will would cease and determine. By this Bill, if the inducements contained in it should lead the landlords to take upon themselves the payment of tithes by composition, all the payment of tithes by those who were the mere occupiers of land would cease. It would be part of this Bill to extend to the close of the present year the option which was now conceded to the landlords of Ireland of taking upon themselves the composition to which he had adverted. As to the second measure recommended by the Committee, he had no hesitation in saying, that it was found so generally objectionable even by those persons for whose advantage it was specifically intended, that it was matter of policy and discretion to abandon it altogether; and with regard to the third, there could be no inconvenience, whilst there actually was some convenience, in delaying it till the full effect of the Composition Act was known and 1051 ascertained. Their Lordships came then to the consideration of the measure now before the other House of Parliament. The noble Duke had said, that this was the abolition or extinction of one species of property, which was to be compensated by the imposition of a tax upon another. Here, again, he had to lament that the noble Duke had not waited for the Bill, before he made his remarks upon the provisions of it, for he was sure that if the noble Duke had seen it, he would have formed a very different opinion of this property, which he said was to be abolished. The noble Earl had said, that the Bill made one class of persons pay the debt of another to a third class, to the general loss and ruin of them all. Now, what was the real state of the case? There were, at present, arrears of three years' tithes due to the clergy of the Protestant Church of Ireland, and this Bill proposed to abolish the claims which the clergy had to those arrears—not, be it understood, their title to tithes—by the payment of those arrears in money. That was the object of the Bill, and he could not refrain from expressing his astonishment that those noble Lords who were always declaring—and, he had no doubt, declaring sincerely—their anxious concern for the clergy of the Protestant Church of Ireland, should come forward, on the present occasion, to denounce this measure as an act of spoliation, when it was avowedly intended for the relief of those of whom they were always professing themselves the steady friends and the unflinching defenders. He was not in the habit of indulging in large professions; but on this subject, as on many others on which those who called themselves the supporters of the Church differed from him in opinion, his sincere object was to give all the security which he possibly could to the Established Church of Ireland. The clergy of that Church had a clear and indisputable title to that property in tithes which was theirs by law. Here he would admit, without disguise, that he thought that it was no inconsiderable objection to the measure that it proposed to recover for the proprietors of tithes that to which they had a right, by other means than the ordinary process of the law. It was an evil undoubtedly, but it was an evil arising out of the necessity of the case; and that consideration led him to put this question to the noble Duke 1052 —whether he was willing to leave the collection of the arrears of tithes now due to the clergy of Ireland to the ordinary process of the law as it now existed? What was the situation in which the clergy were placed at present? He confessed that he had entertained hopes that the measure which he had proposed last year would have succeeded. He had hoped that when, by the adoption of that measure, Government had displayed its determination to collect the tithes, there would have been a general acquiescence in the propriety of its decision. Such hopes, he repeated, he had entertained, but he was sorry to say that they had been grievously disappointed. The measure had certainly not produced the effects which he had anticipated. Out of 104,000l. due to the clergy for arrears of tithes, not more than 12,000l. had been collected under the act of last year, and that, too, at an expense exceeding the sum collected. On this subject he had a statement to make to their Lordships, which he had had some delicacy about making on a former occasion; but, when he was pressed by unfounded accusations, he must state what was necessary for his own vindication; and, however unpleasant the truth might be to some parties, it must be promulgated on the present occasion. What, he would ask, was the Government to do in the peculiar circumstances in which it had been recently placed in Ireland? The Government was bound to consider this question as a question purely practical. In all human affairs, and particularly in political affairs, men were bound to examine into the circumstances of their position, in order to know what measures were most applicable to them. Now, what was the position of the Government in Ireland? In consequence of a return which had been ordered by the other House of Parliament, he had before him an abstract of what had been done under the Act of last Session up to the 1st of February in the present year. He had also other returns, to the same effect, up to a much later period. With all the powers of the law, materially enforced as they were by the Act of last Session, there still remained an immense arrear of tithes due to the clergy, and at present no process, summons, or decree could be served in any part of the country without the assistance of a body of police, supported but too often by a military force. He would ask 1053 the noble Duke,—and he cheerfully admitted that the noble Duke was the first person in this country, perhaps in any country, in reputation as a great and distinguished military chieftain; for no man admired more than he did the glorious exploits by which the noble Duke had obtained that reputation, no man paid to them a more willing tribute of applause and gratitude;—but he would ask the noble Duke, as a friend to the array, whether it was convenient for the army, nay, whether it was conducive to the interests of the army itself, that it should be so employed throughout the country if other means could be devised? Their Lordships would recollect what a minute subdivision there was of these claims for tithes. In many cases, said the noble Earl, the claims were for less than 1s. in amount. That was undoubtedly true; and the House would perhaps be astonished at the extreme minuteness of that subdivision, when they heard the paper which he was about to read to it. That paper was, as he had before stated, the abstract of a very voluminous return which had been made to an order of the House of Commons. From that paper it appeared that the sums recovered and received for the last three years' arrears of tithes up to the 1st of February last was 2,923l. 10s. 10d. The number of decrees issued was 30,000. The number of attachments issued to compel the payment of tithes due to the clergy was 1,258. The number of proclamations was 236, and the whole sum claimed in the schedule was 52,000l. He did not wish to disparage the powers of the law; but he asked their Lordships to consider the state of things which this return proved to be existing in Ireland. The number of persons sued for tithes less than 1s. was 4,684, and the whole amount of tithes due from them was only 115l. 6s. 4d. Now, for each of these petty claims a separate process was issued; and he asked the noble Duke whether it was advisable to continue a state of things, in which such small sums could not be claimed, he did not say recovered, without the assistance of the military arm of the country? The degree, too, in which the military were harassed by assisting in the service of these processes was not inconsiderable. When the tithe proctor, after the service of his process, found that he could not get his due, and when it became necessary that the party failing in 1054 the payment of it should be seized, the troops were employed to protect the arrest; and when the arrest was made, to escort him, often a distance of twenty miles to the county gaol, where on his arrival he generally paid the few shillings of which he was in default, and was then set at liberty. Under such circumstances, he had no hesitation in acknowledging that Government felt it to be its duty to put a stop to proceedings of such a nature; but it had not put a stop to them without consulting the interests of the clergy, and without considering how the debt due to them was to be paid. The measure, then, which the Government had introduced on their behalf was a measure of necessity. He admitted it to be so, and if the noble Earl, or the noble Duke, or any other noble Lord, would suggest to him a better measure, he should be most happy to adopt it. By their present Measure the Government extinguished no property, committed no spoliation; on the contrary, they secured to the clergy that the debt due to them should be paid by somebody, and, such being the case, on whom ought the payment of that debt in common fairness to fall? The noble Earl said, that this measure was a spoliation of the landed proprietors of Ireland, but on whom could the burthen of it fall so justly? He was indeed surprised that the noble Earl, who had so often reproached him for not relieving the clergy of the Church of Ireland, should think it consonant with what he had so often styled his sacred duty, to oppose this measure on account of the infliction of a burthen which must be trifling to him as a landed proprietor. He had been asked how he proposed to impose this tax upon the land of Ireland. His reply was short—Just as a similar assessment was imposed tinder the Tithe Composition Act, which took the payment from the occupier, and imposed it upon the landholder next above him. He admitted that this Measure would be attended with some inconvenience, and probably in some cases with real hardship. Against such cases it would be the duty of their Lordships to guard as they best could: but when they considered that the object of this measure was the tranquilization of Ireland, he did not think that such of them as were Irish landowners would be unwilling to take this burthen upon themselves. It was proposed that Government should advance to the clergy 1055 the money due to them for tithes, and that it should be reimbursed by the imposition of a Land-tax imposed on each parish, in proportion to the amount of tithes due from it. To carry this project into effect, various provisions would be necessary, of which it would be impossible for him to give any explanation at that time, and of which, he thought, it would be very advisable to postpone the discussion till those provisions were regularly before their Lordships in the Bill itself. It was proposed that this land tax should be fixed at such a rate that in five years the amount of debt for which it was to provide would be extinguished—in other words, the landlords would have four years given them for the repayment of this debt to the public. In this way the pressure of the burden could not, he was certain, be felt severely in any quarter. The landholder would also have the power of recovering from the occupying tenant, in the same manner as rent, the sum due from the occupying tenant to the clergyman for tithes. He could not think that this was a very unjust and oppressive measure, nor did he expect that any less objectionable measure would be discovered. When the Tithe Composition Act should be fully carried into effect, he trusted, that the cause of all future disputes—for that was the real evil—between the clergyman and the small proprietors, would be entirely removed, and that, too, at the cost of no great burthen upon the land. He thought that the landholders would not have much difficulty in recovering this imposition from the occupiers of land; at least those noble Lords who contended that the clergy could recover their tithes without difficulty, were the present law firmly administered, could not, he should expect, venture upon contending that they, as landlords, would have much difficulty in recovering the amount to which they would be entitled. The noble Earl had also stated, that it was possible that the occupant of the land from whom tithes were due, might disappear before this measure became law. Undoubtedly he might: but this inconvenience might happen under the present system to the clergyman—for if the occupant disappeared, how was the clergyman to recover his tithe from him? It would, therefore, not be an unjust provision of the law, to allow the landlords a certain allowance in the way of a per-cent-age, for those occupiers of lands who might 1056 disappear. He trusted, that this measure would come to them from the other House, not like a stone rough from the quarry, to be hewn into such a form as their Lordships might think fitting, but in such a shape as would enable that House, without much difficulty, to make it effectual for its purpose. He did not at all regard the taunts which had so often been directed against the Administration of which he formed a part, on account of the changes which they so frequently made in their measures. He did not presume to have himself that which was hardly given to man—he meant such a foresight of consequences, as would prevent individuals from finding defects in those measures which he conceived to be most perfect. He was glad to have his measures submitted to the consideration of Parliament, and he should be always ready to incorporate into them such amendments as were calculated to render them more useful for the purposes for which they were intended. He trusted that the present measure, when it was formally introduced into that House, would be in such a form as would render it an easy task for their Lordships to make it effectual for the objects which it was intended to accomplish—he meant the relief of the clergy, of the Protestant Church of Ireland, and the peace and conciliation of the country at large. One word more, and he had done. He had stopped short, as their Lordships would recollect, in reading the tithe returns made out to the 1st of February, in the present year. He would now read to them the further returns, to which he had before alluded, and which were necessary to show the present condition of the tithe question. The gross amount of arrears now due to the clergy for tithes was 105,033l. A certain amount of claims had, however, been withdrawn by the clergy themselves, and the sum was thus diminished to 104,280l. The amount of arrears for which proclamation had been issued, was 83,194l. There remained, then, a sum of 20,900l. odd, for which no proclamation or proceedings had been issued. This included the account for 132 parishes. There had been collected altogether 12,100l., at an expense of 7,867l. This statement would convince their Lordships, how completely the Act of last Session had failed in its operation, and would impress upon them the necessity of considering how the distress of the clergy, arising from the non-payment of 1057 their dues, could be best relieved, how their just rights could be best consulted, and how that object could be effected at the least detriment to the other parties connected with this great question. He could assure the House, that the Members of Government, had unanimously agreed to this measure, and he trusted, that when it came regularly before their Lordships, it would also meet with their unanimous consent. He trusted that no party feelings, no petty animosities, no personal interests, would prevent their Lordships from giving to it that favourable consideration, which in his conscience, he believed it to deserve, and he implored them, if they were dissatisfied with it, either to substitute for it some measure that was more effectual, or to join with him in making it as perfect as possible. To the motion at present before the House no objection could be offered; and having said that, he had no desire to trouble their Lordships with any further observations at present.
The Earl of Roden
said, he did not mean to enter upon any full discussion of this question, until the Bill itself was before their Lordships; nor should he have at all troubled their Lordships, if it were not for the allusion of the noble Viscount (Melbourne) opposite to that class of persons in Ireland with whom it was his (Earl Roden's) pleasure to have acted. There was also a personal allusion of the noble Earl (Grey) directed to him, and in justice to himself and to the class alluded to, he felt himself called upon to repel those charges. The noble Lord had said, that the Protestants of Ireland were actuated by as great a hostility to the Government, as were the agitators of Ireland. It was true the Protestants of Ireland had felt great disappointment and disgust, at seeing the Government join their enemies, and they also were disappointed at seeing that Magistrates were punished for performing their duty. The noble Lord's Government in Ireland had, by their pusillanimous conduct, earned for it the contempt of all loyal men; it was no credit to any government, that the respectable resident gentry and the loyal Protestant population were opposed to them, for they had always been ready, and always had shown themselves steadfast, in support of the authorities of the country. They were never opposed to any government who acted with justice, and maintained the 1058 supremacy of the law, but they ever had, and he trusted ever would, despise and condemn a system which truckled to sedition, and seemed to trample under foot all the valuable and ancient institutions of the country. The case of Captain Graham was fresh in their Lordships' recollection, and the Protestants of Ireland could not forget such an act of injustice towards a loyal and active Magistrate. It was true, that the Protestants of Ireland had united themselves, but it was for their own protection. They had done so because they saw that, notwithstanding the professions of the noble Earl to put down all resistance to tithes, the effect was, to give encouragement to that resistance. The noble Earl said, that there was no instance, in which a clergyman was refused assistance in the collection of his tithes; but he wished to remind their Lordships that there were very many instances, in which clergymen declined to apply for such assistance, because, from motives of humanity, they were averse to risking the lives of their fellow-creatures. It was no excuse for the Government that clergymen had not applied for military assistance; it was the duty of a well organized Government, to protect life and property, whether applications were made by individuals affected or not—but the fact was, the people believed, that the Government were never in earnest as to the collection of tithes; they favoured the conspiracy against them, which has now succeeded, according to the explanation of the noble Earl. He could not acquit his Majesty's Ministers of being, in a great degree, the cause of the resistance to the payment of tithes in Ireland. They were greatly to blame for many of the measures which created disturbances in the country. Had they not allowed to continue in the Commission of the Peace those who had presided at anti-tithe meetings? The noble Viscount said, that the Protestants of Ireland had not at their meetings, said anything about tithes, and it had been inferred from that circumstance that the Protestants of Ireland were opposed to them. This was not the case; they were united for the preservation of property, not for its destruction—they knew well one class of property hung upon another; and whatever were the rights either of the people, of the landlords, or the clergy, the Protestant population were most anxious to maintain. He repelled the charges that were made against the Irish 1059 Protestants by the noble Lords opposite; he never would allow them to be maligned. He had heard a great deal said by the noble Earl (Grey) about his friendship for the Church, and he was bound to believe the assertion of any noble Lord in that House; but, judging of public men by their public measures, he would say, God protect the Church from such friendship as that of the noble Earl.
The Marquess of Westmeath
thought that the tithe agitation in Ireland, would have been put down, if his Majesty's Government had shown an earlier determination to resist it. At the same lime, he believed his Majesty's Government had been imposed upon by a statement of grievances, which certainly did not exist. Having had many years' experience, and knowing that it was not the amount of tithes, but the appropriation of them, that was complained of, he greatly feared that no measure would be found effective to repress the clamour against them. He knew the inveterate hostility of the professors of the Catholic religion in Ireland to tithes; he did not mean all, but those who were the most turbulent and noisy; and he knew that, let Parliament and Government do what they would, they would find it impossible to satisfy those persons.
The Lord Chancellor
said, he certainly did not rise with the intention of saying anything on the subject-matter of the motion of the noble Earl; but he rose to make a few remarks on something connected with the motion of the noble Earl (Wicklow), in consequence of some observations which fell either from that noble Earl, or from the noble Duke, respecting the promotion of a certain eminent lawyer in Ireland (Mr. O'Connell) to the rank of King's Counsel. Though that promotion had taken place in the department of his noble and learned friend, who held the Great Seal for Ireland, he felt that he should not discharge his duty to that noble and learned friend, if he shrunk from taking his share in the responsibility of elevating the learned Gentleman in question to the professional rank to which he (Lord Brougham) considered him entitled. He desired to share that responsibility, because he upheld that the act was one of common justice to the individual and the profession, and not an act of personal favour. It was a right as much as any personal right in the case of a man who stood in the high professional 1060 rank of that eminent and learned individual. No man, whatever his political opinions might be, as long as he kept within the laws, as that individual then kept (then kept, he would say), if there were no valid legal proceeding against him, marking him out as unfit for being the object of such promotion, could, without the grossest injustice, not to himself only, but to the whole profession; not to the profession only, but to his clients, who had a right to his assistance in that situation, in which he would be most capable of doing justice to their cases;—without that triple injustice, no man who had raised himself to that station, to which the learned and eminent individual had risen, could be kept without that rank, to which he had as much right as he had to raise himself to that professional station by his talents.
§ The Duke of Wellington
had always understood that such professional advancement was a matter for which the Ministers of the Crown were responsible. He had never understood till now that such things were matters of course. The noble and learned Lord was much more capable than he could possibly be of stating what was the real case, and he wished to know whether it was not, in such cases, a matter of personal favour?
The Lord Chancellor
said, he agreed with the noble Duke, that within certain limits such promotion was partly a matter of personal favour; but the noble Duke would recollect, that he had not stated that it was a matter of right in every case, having referred only to the case of one standing so high in his profession as to be decidedly at the head of it. In such a case he had said, that the promotion of a gentleman was not a matter of predilection or favour so much as it was a matter of course; and that it would have been an act of the grossest injustice if the rank of his profession had been withheld.
§ Lord Wynford
thought, that the promotion ought not to have been conferred upon him at a time when he was known to be engaged in a course of lawless agitation.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, the noble and learned Lord had attributed to him an allusion to an individual, to whom he had not once referred. This was the second time that the attention of this House had been called to that individual, in consequence of some supposed allusions of his. He never wished to raise him to such 1061 importance as to make him the subject of discussion in that House. He always meant to apply the language which he had used, not to that individual, but to all that portion of the profession to which his observations were applicable; but he did feel some surprise at the remarks of the noble and learned Lord. He was not prepared to say, that the learned individual was acting illegally at the time when the promotion was conferred; but the existence of the agitation of which he was the cause was well known. He must say, that, under such circumstances, the promotion was extraordinary, even if the individual were of that eminence which had been described, which he was not. He was convinced that he had never attained the practice which many other lawyers had attained in Ireland. His practice had always been among ah inferior class of the community; and there were many now who had greater business, and were better entitled to the promotion which that individual had received. He would ask (feeling himself incompetent to decide the point) whether it was a matter of course that one who had once raised himself to professional honours, and had afterwards attacked the Government in the grossest manner, whether it was a necessary consequence that he should always be continued in the same rank? Was it not the duty of those who raised him to the dignity to deprive him of it, if he should be found to be unfit for it by his subsequent proceedings? If this was in their power, he was sure it was their duty. He was convinced, from his own observation, that Ministers were never more mistaken than they had been in their Legislation for Ireland. The Magistrates of Ireland were anxious to do their duty, discarding all party feeling. When he left that House, he left all party feeling behind him. He was acquainted with all the Magistrates in his own county, who, with the exception of three, were all as much opposed to the present Government as he was; but they were not the less anxious to do their duty on that account, and to see the existing laws carried into execution. He had been accused of making his motion only to give rise to a discussion. He certainly had said, that his object was to have an opportunity of expressing his sentiments. He had stated his reasons why he considered such a proceeding necessary. He 1062 thought it very desirable that such a discussion should take place. The noble Earl had said—"Let those who dislike this measure propose a better." Most surely if he (Lord Wicklow) saw any measure at all calculated to be of service he should lay aside all party feeling; though his expressions against the Ministers had been strong, his feelings for his country were stronger; but it was not the province of that side of the House to bring forward such measures, it was a dangerous matter for them even to offer suggestions. He objected to the very name and title of this Bill. It was not a temporary measure. It was to last for ever; but were their Lordships sure that the present Ministers would continue in power for five years? He was persuaded that much greater changes than the removal of the present Administration from power would take place in five years. They ought by all means to avoid a Land-tax for the purposes of this Bill. If such a tax was desirable as a measure of revenue, let it be discussed; but let it not be insidiously brought in for one purpose to be applied to another. He should move one very material alteration in the Bill if it went into Committee. There was a great objection to the manner in which the landlords were now empowered to raise tithes. They had only the same powers as the clergymen formerly had. If, instead of that, the tithe had been annexed to the rent, the collection would have been general through the country.
§ The Motion was agreed to.