HL Deb 23 June 1886 vol 307 cc187-9

Order of the Day for receiving the Report of the Amendments read.

Moved, "That the said Report be now received."—(The Lord Sudeley.)


said, that Clause 9, as originally framed, provided that certain fees should be paid in equal proportions by the titheowner and the landowner; but yesterday morning there was a meeting at the Home Office, at which the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough), and the noble Lord opposite (Lord Sudeley) were present, and the result was that the noble Lord (Lord Sudeley) came down to the House last evening and proposed many Amendments to the Bill, which had set aside the compromise which had been arrived at under which the expenses of carrying out the provisions of the Bill were to be equally divided between the titheowner and the landowner. The whole of those expenses were now thrown upon the landowner, while it was left open to the Land Commissioners to fix any scale of fees they might think proper. He was told that if he asked their Lordships to support him in restoring the clause to its original form he would imperil the passing of the Bill, and, therefore, he did not intend to divide the House upon the point, as he desired that the disgraceful scenes of riot and agitation which had arisen out of this question should not be renewed. He was anxious, however, to call their Lordships' attention to the way in which Bills were manipulated in a hurried manner in the last moments of a moribund Parliament. The measure provided that whether the crop which was the subject of extraordinary tithe was grown or not in the future the landowner should pay the extraordinary tithe just the same. He did not think that it was a wise act on the part of the representatives of the Church to throw the whole of these charges upon the landowner.


desired to explain the exact position of this Amendment. The House would remember that, owing to the difficulties which were raised on the second reading, arrangements were made to hold a meeting of all interested in the subject at the Home Office yesterday. Amongst the Amendments which were agreed to was this proposal—namely, that the landowners should pay the expenses incurred by the Commissioners in carrying out the provisions of the Bill. He would not attempt to argue with the noble Lord as to whether the landowners or the titheholders would benefit most by the Bill, as there was considerable difference of opinion on this head; but, at any rate, it should be remembered, so far as the clergy were concerned, that little doubt existed that for a certain time their incomes would be diminished, although eventually they might be the gainers by the charge being made permanent. The important point, however, was this—that when the matter came to be inquired into, it was found that in the Tithe Commutation Act, which was a proper precedent to follow, it was the landowners who had to pay the expenses of carrying out the apportionment. If their Lordships would refer to 6 & 7 Will IV. c. 71 s. 74, they would find it provided that such expenses— Shall be borne and paid by the landowners and titheowners interested in the said award in such proportion, time, and manner as the Commissioners or Assistant Commissioners shall direct. The Land Commissioners were strongly of the opinion that this precedent ought to be followed in the present case; and it was mainly on their recommendation that this proposal had been adopted. It must be borne in mind that, as he had stated the previous night, this was not a Government Bill, and that they had only taken charge of it to forward what they believed to be a fair compromise on behalf of all parties concerned.


said, he was glad that his noble Friend did not intend to divide the House; but he must join in the protest against the unrea- sonable way in which that Bill had been brought before their Lordships. It came up to them in such a manner that no Amendments in it could be properly considered. For his own part, he passively submitted in this case to what had taken place; but he thought that the measure ought to have reached them at an earlier period of the Session. They had not even before them the evidence taken by the Select Committee of the other House on the subject, and their Lordships were putting themselves too much in the position of a mere Registry of the decrees of the House of Commons; and they ought to be careful how they gave further encouragement to that tendency. He was, however, aware that the evils connected with the collection of extraordinary tithe had been great under the present state of things; and, hoping that that measure might lead to peace and cause no great diminution of income to the clergy, as a landowner he was ready to submit to its passing.

Motion agreed to.

Amendment reported (according to order); further Amendments made: Then Standing Order No. XXXV. considered (according to order) and dispensed with: Bill road 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and sent to the Commons; and to he printed as amended. (No. 203.)