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I will not, Sir, take up the time of the the clergy. Surely this circumstance House, by entering upon an inquiry into alone, if no other existed, to prove the the objections that can be brought against absolute policy of an alteration of system, tythes, as a mode of collecting money is quite suflicient, and ought to induce the from the people: it is enough to say, that | House to assent to my motion. it is condemned by all writers on taxa. I have now, Sir, explained to the Ilouse tion, as inconsistent with ery principle such reasons as occur to me, to shew that connected with that subject. As to agri- the peculiar circumstances of Ireland reculture, it is sufficient to say, that Dr. Pa- quire a new manner of providing for the ley condemns them as a most mischievous established clergy, independent of the restriction. But as to the agriculture of general objection which may prevail in Ireland, they form an obstruction which it ibis country against the tythe system. I is the interest of the people of this coun- have shewn, that the religion and poverty try instantly to remove. It is now fully of the people, the injustice 'of the laws, proved that this country cannot possibly and the long continuance of insurrections, provide grain enough for its own consump- give to the question a character quite distion. I wish then to know where a sup- tinct from that which belongs to it in ply is to be had, so long as the - Baltic is England; and therefore that a reforin shut by the decrees of Buonaparté, and may be effected without prejudice to the the trade with America put a stop to by interests of those who are concerned with the embargo, where, except in Ireland ? tythes in this country. What would bave been the distress of this In regard to the plan by which a remecountry during the last two years, had it dy may be provided, I have no objection not been for the importation of grain from to state the opinion I have formed rethence, will appear by examining the specting it. I am aware, that it would be quantity imported; in the last year it was properly considered as temerity in me to no less than 800,000 quarters. Is it not pledge myself to any specific plan, or to then an object of British interest, to re- call upon
the House to adopt any plan on move from the agriculture of Ireland this my recommendation : this I do not mean great obstruction to its extension and im- to propose; all I desire is, that the House provement ?
will pledge itself to inquiry, and, accordI have now only to call the attention of ing to the result of its investigation, adopt the blouse to one more topic, to illustrate that plan which shall seem most expedient. the necessity of a change of the present That it is impracticable for the wisdom of tythe system. What effect has it had the whole House to discover any plan, is upon the tranquillity of Ireland ? The in
a supposition which I cannot entertain, surrection of the White Boys was of 30 nor shall I ever believe it to be true, till years continuance. This was succeeded
proper attempts have been made, and the by the United Irishmen, who were princi- inefficiency of their labours been fairly pally induced to embark in the conspi- shewn. racy against the government by argu- In the view that I have taken of the ments founded on the grievances of subject, my great objects have been; tythes.* To them succeeded the insur- first, to exonerate the peasantry ; secondrection of the Threshers.† So that for a ly, to get rid of the direct payment by the space of 50 years, a continued system of Catholic, Presbyterian, or Quaker, to the active and open resistance and insurrec- Protestant clergyman; and lastly, to give tion has disturbed the tranquillity of Ire the clergy a just and fair equivalent. To land, arising from this mode of paying the several plans that have been proposed
of giving land, or corn rents, or of selling * “ If tythes had been commuted ac- the tythes, though very fit for a country cording to Mr. Grattan's plan, a very like this, abounding in capital, and accuspowerful engine would have been taken tomed to the execution of measures of out of our hands.” - Evidence of Dr. great labour and detail; as applicable to M.Nevin, 1798.
Ireland, there appear to me to be great † An insurrection that was against the objections. The proprietors of estates in mode in which tythes were collected, and Ireland have had an opportunity of pur-, not against tythes as a provision for the chasing on very easy terms from the Protestant clergy; the oath of the asso- crown, the quit-rents chargeable upon ciation requiring that tythes should be them ; and yet few purchases have been paid to the clergy and not to prociori. made, though the quit-rents are of small
annual amount; a circumstance which | 800 in number; 100 of them have inshews there is no probability, that, if the comes above 3001. 'per annum, the rest tythes were to be sold, purchasers would have incomes below 2001. But I believe be found. If land were to be given in I am correct when I say, that no great lieu of tythes it would be found extremely dependence ought to be placed on these dificult to get it, without paying for it statements, it having been the object of most extravagant prices. And as to the the learned Doctor when he made them, plan of corn rents, this objection exists to to prove the great poverty and distress of it, that those who do not profess the es- the clergy. The more accurate way of tablished religion would continue to pay taking the value of the income derived directly to the established clergy. from tythes, is to adopt the prevailing opi
I do not, however, mean at this time to nion that they cannot be less than 500,000l. say, that I have formed a decided opinion per annum, of which one-third belongs to upon these several plans; and I wish to lay impropriators. It is better and more be understood in what I say respecting candid to calculate on a sum somewhat any plan, as reserving to myself a right to large, than to lead the public to adopt a take advantage of the investigation of the great measure on false data, and thus to proposed Committee, and to alter my opi- produce disappointment. In respect to nion, if I shall think proper so to do. the means by which the 'Treasury sball Under this qualification, I submit to the be provided with this annual sum, it is not House the following as an outline of such necessary for me now to point tbem out; a plan, as I conceive would give an effec- this would be a fitter subject of consideratual and a fair remedy for all that is com- tion for the committee; but this is quite plained of.
1st. The value of each bene- plain to be seen, that if the public purse is fice should be ascertained; 2d. the net relieved from paying tythes, as they are income of it paid by the Treasury; and, now paid, it will be available to give the 3d. the improved value of it secured to same amount in some other more convethe incumbent, by a regulation to provide nient channel. In regard to securing the against the effects of a depreciation of incomes of the clergy from the effects of money. In respect to the valuation, there the depreciation of money, I should is an act of the Irish Parliament, which pose that they should be regulated pewould be a good precedent to govern the riodically by the prices of grain; if they proceedings. It was passed in 1787, to had been so fixed in the year 1799, the give the means of compensating several average price of wheat then being for the of the clergy of the south of Ireland, who last 29 years, 49s. 4d. per quarter: and had lost their tythes by the insurrection of the last 10 years, to 1810, 83s., each of the White Boys. This act enabled the clergyman in 1799 entitled to 100l. per chancellor to appoint commissioners with annum, would now be entitled to 1701. and full power to enquire into the value of surely an arrangement that would give so the livings of those clergy to whom tythes large an advance, would have been one were not paid. The value of them was favourable to the clergy. But when I say ascertained, and compensation thus given that the incomes of the clergy ought to be to the suffering clergy. By following the increased as the prices of grain advance, same course, the value of each benefice I must also add that they should be dimimight be easily and satisfactorily attained. nished as they fall; because I consider As to the amount of the fund which it the present high prices of grain not to be would be necessary to provide for the real prices, but to be the result of a depayment of the clergy, it is not easy preciation of bank paper, of not less than exactly to ascertain it. In a publication 20 per cent. an evil that I trust will be of a right hon. and learned Doctor (Dui- remedied, by adopting the measures that genan), it is stated that the number of the will be recommended by the committee clergy is 1,300, that their whole revenues now sitting on that subject. divided among
them would not produce In proposing, Sir, this extensive altera1501. per annum to each of them, thus tion, I am fully aware that I am making making them amount to 195,0001 per an- myself liable to a charge of invading the num; but from this is to be deducted the rights of the clergy;-but I feel that I can annual value of 20,000 acres of glebe to defend myself from such an accusation if obtain the annual amount of tythes. In a it shall be made, in the first place, by sayspeech of the same learned gent. printed ing that I am discharging a duty my conin 1791, he says, the parochial clergy are stituents have imposed upon me; and se. condly, by a reference to the nature and that some hon. gentlemen may be ready to legal import of those rights. I have not say, ought to be done, because I have only embarked in this undertaking of attempt. proposed to give an equivalent for the net ing to induce the House, to adopt the income of the clergy, and not an equivalent measure of a commutation of tythes with for the real value of the full tenth of the out examining the grounds on which those produce. But, Sir, if such a demand is rights are founded. I find it is laid down made on behalf of the clergy, then I must by Mr. Justice Blackstone, " that tythes make a claim upon the clergy for a disare due of common right to the parson of tribution of the tythes, according to the the parish, unless there be a special ex- original principles on which tythes were emption”-and in explaining what the given them; I must claim one-fourth for meaning of an exemption is, he says, the bishop, one-fourth for the poor, and “ lands may be exempted by prescription one-fourth for repairing the church. It or by a real composition.-A real compo- will be therefore more for the interest of sition is where an agreement is made be- the clergy not to raise any such demand; tween the owner of the lands and the par- and I feel sure that no one, who is a true son or vicar, with the consent of the ordi- friend to the Irish clergy, will make it. nary and the parson, that such lands shall I have now stated to the House an arfor the future be discbarged from the pay-rangement, which in my opinion, would ment of tythes, by reason of some land or operate as a sufficient remedy for the evil other real recompence given to the parson complained of. The plan is strictly conin lieu and satisfaction thereof. This was sistent with the legal rights of the clergy; permitted by law, because it was sup- the valuation of benefices may be made posed that the clergy would be no losers on tried and established precedents; the by such a composition. But experience value of the incomes of the clergy may shewing, that even this caution was inef- be protected against the depreciation of fectual, the disabling statute of 13 Eliz. money; the indigent poor may be exowas made." *
The inference to be drawn nerated by it from the payment of tythes; from this statement is, that the common and the clergy themselves relieved from law recognizes the principle of composi- great vexation and great loss, by this mode tion or commutation. That if I proposed of attaining their provision *. It is, in to give land in the lieu of tythes, I should truth, a plan nearly similar in every repropose to do that which was strictly con- spect to one proposed to the Irish House formable to the common law. That of Commons, by a right hon. gent., the when I propose to give money, though member for Dublin, in 1786. "It differs I do not propose a real composition, I pro- only in this respect, that he proposed to pose what is consistent with the principle raise the fund for paying the clergy by a of one, because I take care that the clergy baronial tax, and that I propose to raise it shall not be losers by tie composition. I by a tax of a general nature, so that the am aware this objection may be made, Catholic, the Quaker, and the Presbythat in proposing to pay the clergy out of terian, shall no longer actually or directly the treasury, they will lose the solid se- make any payment under the name of a curity of land. But to this I can answer, tythe tax to the Protestant clergy. that tythes in Ireland are held by such a tenure, that if the treasury went, they must * “ Whenever a betier plan shall be go also; for the system of government suggested for the payment of the clergy, which preserves the one, must continue in that is one equal in value to them in sucorder to secure the other.—Not so in Eng. cession, and more convenient to the laity, land. The treasury might fail here, and they will thank the statesman, who shall at the same time no attempt be made to disencumber them of the constant trouble deprive the clergy of their unquestionable and the occasional ill-will arising from claim to their property in tythes. Our the tythes.” State of Church of Ireland, by whole, therefore, I feel entitled to say, Richard Bishop of Cloyne, p. 52. that in the outline of the plan which I “ In 1807, 14) actions respecting tythes have stated to the House, I have in no de. were tried in the Queen's county, at the gree asked the House to invade the just quarter sessions; 146 in the county of and legal rights of the clergy of Ireland. Sligo; 198 in the county of Kerry ; 283 I have not, I am aware, proposed to do all in the county of Limerick; and 653 in the
county of Tipperary.”-From papers laid * 2 Blackstone's Coinm. 28, before parliament,
It only remains for me to call the atten- / decision so repugnant with every princition of the House to a point, which I must ple of the constitution, and at this time always allude to whenever this question so inconsistent with every principle of comes before it : Imran the fact, ihat the sound policy. Rather lei then do that people of Ireland believe that relief from which it is obvious they ought to do. tythes was promised to them as a condi- Shew the people of Ireland that at length tion of the measure of Union, I know no the time is come when this country is article visibly and expressly exists to bind ready to fulfil the engagements on which this country : but I know Mr. Pitt held the measure of Union was carried, and out this relief as an inducement to the that it is sincere in a determination to people to admit the measure. I know that do justice, and to afford redress to the the speech in which he called the system long neglected and oppressed people of of tythes a great practical evil, and pro- Ireland. mised redress, was circulated through Tre- I beg leave to move, “ That a select land at the expence of government; that Comınittee be appointed to inquire into it was distributed gratis in every village the manner in which tythes are collected of the kingdom ; that the agents of go- in Ireland, and such other matters relating vernment were instructed to tell the peo- to the levying and collecting of tythes ple that redress would be the result of the in that country, as they shall judge it Union; and I know the universal opinion proper to direct their attention to. of the people of Ireland now is, that the Mr. Wellesley Pole requested the indulfaith of this country is pledged to grant gence of the House for a few minutes, that redress. What sort of policy then while he stated his sentiments upon the will it be for the minister of this country, subject which the hon. gent. had brought at this period of time, to attempt to prove forward. It was one which had long en. to the people of Ireland that they have gaged his attention, and had been the formed an erroneous expectation-would object of his most anxious solicitude; it it not be better, under all the circum- was one to wbich his Majesty's ministers stances of the case, the admitted necessity had most seriously devoted their thoughts. of a change, and this confirmed expecta. In many of the points which had been tion, to meet the feelings and the injuries stated by the hon. gent. who had just sat of the country, and to grant the redress down, he perfectly concurred. He adthat is desired? As to the motion which mitted that it was a subject of the greatest I am about to make, I beg the House to importance, and that it was the duty of understand its true purport; it is one government to apply a remedy to the evils calling on them, to do what?-only to complained of, provided it could be done enquire into the complaints of the people consistent with justice; but he did not of Ireland, lad before them by petitions, agree with the hon. gent, with regard to in a respectful and constitutional manner. the remedy which he had suggested, nor
This is all that is now asked; and will could he give bis assent to the inotion the right hon. gent., the prime minister of with which the hon. gent. had concluded. this country, at a time when the mass of He could not give his assent to a motion the population of Ireland have been for the House now to appoint a Committee placed in a state of despair, in consequence to inquire into this subject, because be of the unexpected obstacles which have thought it would be most injurious to the arisen in the way of the great measure of cause which all parties had in view, emancipation ; when the most powerfol, and most unjust to the parties concerned, the most enterprising, and the most suc- for the House to appoint a Committee to cessful enemy that this country has ever inquire into this subject, without seeing had to contend with, is on the eve of be- | their way much more clearly than they coming master of the peninsula of Spain, did at present, and without having some and rearly to take advantage of our divi- rational prospect that, that inquiry would sions, and to carry into effect his long in
be attended with success. If the hon. tended and favourite project of invading gent. had moved for leave to bring in a Ireland, that vulnerable part of the Bri- bill, and had stated the provisions which tish empire; will, I say, the prime mi- he meant to introduce into it, if he had nister of this country refuse to inquire into proposed any specific plan, he would have the just and well-founded complaints of been ready to discuss that plan; but the Ireland ? I advise him, and I advise the hon. gent. had pursued a different course; House, to take care how they come to a he had proposed to refer all the petitions, which had been presented to the House, 1 would produce the desired effect, and yet to a Committee, and to desire it to con- each of these plans had been strongly resider the whole subject, and to devise some commended by persons who had devoted remedy, although the hon. gent. himself their time to the consideration of this subhad not, with all the information that he ject. In one part of his speech the hon. had obtained, and with all the diligence gent. seemed to think that the clergy had which he had employed, been able to an undoubted right to the whole of the propose any plan to the House himself. tythes, and yet when he came to suggest The hon. gent. had stateci, that the great his own plan, he had stated, that in making evil respecting tythes, arose from the mode the clergy a compensation, it should be of collecting them.--That he did not ac- for the tythes as they were first established, cuse the body of the clergy, but the and not for the tythes as they were now: greater part of the oppressions were prac
He really had never heard such an idea tised by the proctors, whom the clergy broached before ; in all the plans which were obliged to employ. It appeared to he had ever heard suggested, it had never him that the hon. gent, was mistaken with once been proposed that the clergy should respect to the source of the grievances, not have their rights fully secured. In which were complained of. The griev. his view of the subject that object ought ances, in his opinion, arose from a cause always to be carefully attended to; (sir not perhaps generally known to the mem- J. Newport nodded assent)-he was happy bers of that House, but it was proper that to find that upon that point he had the it should be fairly stated to them. A concurrence of the hon. baronet, who had practice had prevailed generally through- turned his attention so much to the quesout Ireland for a great many years, of tion of tythes. He had himself often and letting their lands by public cant, that is, anxiously looked to this subject, and from of letting them to the highest bidder, all the reports which he had seen respectwithout any consideration of the incum- ing it, it appeared to him that the lay im. brances to which the land was liable propriators received about one third of the The consequence was, that ignorant per- tythes and the clergy the other two thirds; sons bid for the land, and gave the full but instead of receiving one-tenth, they value for it
, without at all considering did not receive, in some cases above one that in addition to the very high price twentieth, and in others above one thirtieth. that they paid, that they had also to pay But in any plan proposed for the relief of tythes. It appeared to him that the the Clergy, the plan must be founded tythes ought to be considered as the first upon the principle of their being intitled rent to which the land was subject ; but to one tenth. Here then was one great ignorant persons, as he had before stated, difficulty ; he did not mean to say that in their eagerness to get the land, agreed the difficulty was insuperable, but it must to pay the full extent of its value, with- be obvious to every gentleman that it was out reflecting that besides that rent they an obstacle which it would not be very had to pay the tythes. The landlord easy to get over. It undoubtedly was the forced the tenant to pay the rent, and duty, and it certainly was the sincere wish when they were unable to pay the tythes, of his Majesty's ininisters, to endeavour to supported them against the clergy and get over these difficulties, and to adopt the proctor, so that in fact the landlord if they could, a plan which would do was the oppressor, and not the clergyman, justice to all parties, and give general sathe lay impropriator, or the proctor. He tisfaction; but he was sure that the House could assure the House, that this subject would agree with him, that it would be had been for a long time under the con highly improper to give hopes and to raise sideration of ministers, that several bills expectations, when there was not a fair and had actually been prepared for the pur- rational chance of accomplishing the obpose of applying some remedy, but upon ject in, view. Another difficulty, and a mature examination, it was found they serious one too, was, that in different parts could not be carried into effect with justice of Ireland tythes were paid in different to the parties interested. The hon. gent. ways. In some places tythes were paid had declared it to be his opinion, that ypon potatoes, in others they were not. Done of the plans which had hitherto been In short, there were so many diversities suggested by those who had devoted their that it would be most difficult to frame attention to this subject, viz. those of corn any general system that would embrace Tents, of selling or of leasing the tythes, them all. No man, he was sure, could