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Mr. Dennis Browne objected to the bill altogether, and to this clause in particular.

learned gentleman did not apply to the present case. This was a voluntary and not a compulsory clause, with regard to land not now paying tithe being taken into the composition. If no tithe had been demanded for the last seven years, it

Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald strongly protested against such an arrangement as quite inapplicable to Ireland. There was a total want of machinery in the south and south-was to be considered that for such land no west parts of Ireland to carry it into effect. In some parishes there was not a resident magistrate. Besides, the clause would be open to great abuse, for any considerable lay-impropriator of tithes might from influence create vestry-commissioners, and check-commissioners from his own partisans, and thus collect tithes to what amount he pleased.

Sir H. Parnell undertook to say, that in the part of Ireland with which he was acquainted, this measure would be hailed as a benefit. Although it might not be fit for that portion of the country which the right hon. gentleman had named, yet there were two other provinces which it would suit.

Mr. V. Fitzgerald said, that in the county of Cork, which was five times as large as the county which the hon. baronet represented, such a measure was totally impracticable. It was monstrous to press a measure designed to be of general application, with the fact that in two-thirds of Ireland it could not be acted


Mr. Abercromby suggested, as an improvement, that in the cases of parishes where arrears existed, and where, consequently, under the present clause, the whole of the tithe payers might be excluded from taking part in the vestry, the payment of the last year's arrears might be deemed sufficient to qualify for admission to the vestry.

Mr. Secretary Peel said, he approved of the suggestion. As to the proprietors of agistment land, it was obviously their interest not to have anything to do with the appointment of valuers.

Mr. S. Rice thought the contribution to the county rate might be made the test of the qualification of the vestrymen.

After some further conversation on this clause, it was agreed to postpone it.

Mr. Wetherell objected to the principle of universal suffrage in the election of arbitrators. The vestrymen ought to be chosen by a portion of the tithe payers. He thought it would be better to take this clause into further consideration on the re

commitment of the bill.

Mr. Peel thought the argument of the

tithe was demandable. The learned gentleman had talked of putting an end to the rights of the church. This measure had no such effect. It only gave a power to parties to enter into an engagement for 21 years, and at the end of that time the contract was to be put an end to.

Mr. Ricardo observed that, by the present bill, land improved within the last 21 years was not to be tithable for such improvement; but as an adjustment was to take place every year, suppose a man pos sessed of poor land, to improve that land within one year after the passing this bill, he would become liable to pay upon his improved land, while his neighbour, having been so fortunate as to improve a year sooner, would be liable to no such burthen. This would be to give one person a preference, ruinous in its effect, to another. The bill might be favourable to Ireland, but it would be most injurious to the English, agriculturist, as it would enable the Irish grower to grow corn cheap, and he might glut the English market, to the ruin of the English grower, unless a protecting duty was imposed on Irish corn.

Mr. Goulburn said, the argument just introduced by the hon. member for Portarlington, was one quite beside the present question; though it would apply to any measure introduced with a view of assisting agriculture in any part of the empire. If the ground now laid by the hon. gentleman was sufficient to justify the imposing countervailing duties on Irish produce, a wide field would indeed be opened for imposing such duties, not only in Ireland, but in various parts of this country. How would the hon. gentleman reconcile his proposition with the various instances which existed in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, in particular, of parishes relieved from the operation of the tithe system by special acts of parliament. According to the hon. gentleman's doctrine, we must have Custom-houses erected on the borders of those counties, and countervailing duties imposed, to keep up this beautiful system of equilibrium of price. He must at once strongly protest against this proposition of countervailing duties

between England and Ireland, to counteract any advantage which might possibly arise to the latter country.

Mr. Benett, of Wilts, though a considerable English grower himself, did not complain of the present measure, because it might, by chance, be beneficial to Ireland, at a small expense to England.

the main cause of the discontent in Ireland; and now the House was going to adopt a measure, by which they would be increased one-third in most cases.

Colonel Barry then moved to leave out the particular words of the clause to which he had called the attention of the committee.

Mr. Daly supported the amendment, The average would, he said, always be taken upon 1816, 1817, and 1818, which were all high years, and would give a very

Colonel Barry said, there was one part of the clause to which he must object; namely, that part which gave to the commissioners the power of raising the composition one-third above the present pro-high average. duce of the living. He should move to omit that part of the clause when they arrived at it.

Mr. Goulburn contended, that it was necessary the commissioners should have a discretionary power; and that if, on comparing the average of the last three or four years, they should find the sum received by the clergyman not equal to the value of the tithe, they should have the power to fix a higher composition. Suppose a clergyman, from motives of humanity towards his parishioners, not to have taken so much for tithe as he was justly entitled to, and suppose the incumbent of the adjoining parish to be a man of different character, was it to be said, that in such opposite cases the commissioners were to have no discretionary power, but that the kindness of the one party should be taken advantage of for the purpose of deteriorating his property, whilst the severity of the other should operate in a directly contrary manner? It was not intended that the commissioners should be bound to give one-third; it was to be left to them to act as the justice of the case required. He was convinced, that, if a contrary course was adopted, this measure would, instead of proving a conciliatory one, increase discontent, as the parishes in which the composition was fixed at the higher rate would, on comparison with others more favourably situated, complain, and with reason, of being hardly dealt with. He did not consider that this discretionary power could be lodged any where better than with the commissioners, and therefore he would support the clause.

Mr. Benett thought that if the commissioners were to have the power of raising some livings, they ought also, if they thought fit, to have the power of reducing others.

Mr. D. Browne strongly opposed the clause. It was said that the tithes were

Sir J. Newport was ready to give the clergyman as much as he now received, but no more.

Mr. Wynn was against the amendment. Cases of modus might arise, in which the discretionary power might be necessary to enable the commissioners to act fairly by all parties.

Sir G. Hill thought the clause was intended rather as a defence for the pa-> rishioners than as an advantage to the clergyman; for by it the commissioners were restrained from going beyond onethird.

Lord Folkestone said, the clergy would have a manifest advantage, as the compo. sition would be fixed upon the payments made in a deteriorated currency, and the payments now would be in a currency restored to its proper standard and value.

Mr. Calcraft thought the commissioners should have a discretion. He did not say whether it should be to the extent of onethird or not.

Mr. Goulburn said, that to meet the wishes of his right hon. friend, he would propose that the following words be inserted-" That it shall and may be lawful, where it shall appear to the commissioners that the average is not the fair value of the living, for the said commissioners to add to such average any sum not exceeding one-third of the amount."

Colonel Barry thought, that instead of a benefit to the people and clergy of Ireland, the bill, if passed with such a provision, would prove a curse to both. He would give to the clergy what they now had, but no more. He could not agree to the amendment.

On a division, the numbers were; for the clause, 73; against it, 63.

Mr. M. A. Taylor objected to the measure altogether, as inordinately increasing the revenues of the clergy, and particularly in Ireland, where the hierarchy was enormously overpaid, consider

ing the respective populations of the two countries. He hoped that the Irish members would closely watch the details of this bill.

Mr. Goulburn joined with the hon. member in requesting the aid of the Irish members in the consideration of this measure. It was only by their aid that it could be rendered beneficial to Ireland. The hon. gentleman had said, that by the operation of this bill the incomes of the clergy would be enormously increased. The hon. member could not have read the bill, or he would not have ventured on such an assertion; for there was no compulsion; the whole was voluntary; the bill did not go to impose any new burthens on the people.

Mr. R. Martin observed, that the House had forced the government into this measure, and he had been a party in that force. He was decidedly of opinion, that the clergy were entitled to a fair compensation for whatever rights or property the bill might go to deprive them of; and unless that compensation was given, he was convinced the measure would never pass the other House of Parliament.

The chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.


Monday, June 2.

AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS.] Sir T. Lethbridge begged to state, that at the suggestion of many able friends of the agricultural interests of the country, he would, with the leave of the House, with draw his motion, which stood for Thursday next, on the subject of Agricultural Distress. He was most happy to notice the contrast of circumstances between the present time, when he abandoned his motion, and that in which he gave notice of it. The state of things now afforded a hope of great alleviation, if not the entire extinction of that melancholy state of distress which had so recently involved a large portion of those engaged in the agriculture of the country.

REFORM OF PARLIAMENT-DEVON PETITION.] Lord Ebrington rose to present the petition of the freeholders and others of the county of Devon, praying for a reform of parliament, and animadverting upon the foreign and domestic disasters which had grown out of the corrupt state of the representation. After VOL. IX.


the last decision of the House on the subject of reform, it might be said that this petition was unnecessary; but he must be permitted to reply, that that decision, so far from satisfying the people that reform was unnecessary, had only the more convinced them of its urgency. A. requisition had been originally transmitted to the sheriff of Devon to convene this meeting; but upon his refusal, the county was convened by the magistracy, and he (lord E.) had had the honour of presiding. This petition was not only unanimously agreed to at the meeting, but was signed by 5,161 freeholders, leaseholders, and copyholders of the county: 4,000 of the number were actual freeholders, a greater number than had ever polled at any of their county elections. Many more residents of the county would have signed it, had they not thought it useless to press this question upon the attention of the House.

Mr. Newman said, he was present at the meeting, and could add his testimony to its unanimity and respectability.

Mr. Tremayne said, he had passed through the town during the meeting, and certainly had not witnessed any of that manifestation of zeal which the petition imported. As the noble lord said that four-fifths of the petitioners were freeholders, he would not dissent from that description of the parties, although it was one which otherwise he should have doubted.

Sir F. Ommanney thought the petition ought not to be laid on the table. With respect to the alleged sufferings of the petitioners during the war, the House need not be told of the benefits they derived from the maritime expenditure at Torbay, Exeter, and other parts of Devonshire.

Mr. P. Moore asked, whether either of the hon. members who spoke last could contradict the strong facts asserted in the petition, respecting the necessity of a reform of parliament.

Lord Ebrington thought it natural for the hon.baronet not to feel any strong relish for popular opinion, and not to be an advocate for parliamentary reform. But, whatever was the hon. baronet's opinion, he was convinced the House would not so far forget its duty as to attend to his extraordinary proposition. It was, however, competent for the hon. baronet to try the fate of his recommendation by pressing his view of the subject to a division. The other hon. member had remarked, that 2 R

he saw no appearance of bustle as he casually passed through the town on the day of the meeting. The reason was obvious. The people were unanimous, and the absence of any collision of sentiment prevented the appearance of bustle or disturbance. With respect to the signatures, it was open to any member to ascertain the correctness of the annexed descriptions and addresses of the subscribers; but he was enabled to say, that 3,370 of the petitioners had actually polled at the last county election. Ordered to lie on the table.

SCOTCH COUNTY REPRESENTATION.] Lord A. Hamilton rose to bring forward his promised motion on the State of the County Representation in Scotland.

Mr. Serjeant Onslow rose to order, and said, that by a standing order of the House, all orders of the day set down for Mondays and Fridays, must be disposed of, before the notices entered upon the book were proceeded upon.

The standing order to that effect was then read.

Lord Cranborne also expressed his opinion that the sessional order ought to be adhered to.

Mr. Secretary Canning admitted the difficulties in which the noble lord and the House were placed on this occasion. It must be agreed, that according to a strict adherence to the sessional order, the orders of the day ought to have precedence on that day; but it was well known that there were deviations from the rule by an understanding between members on both sides. He was not in the House when the arrangement to which the noble lord referred was entered into, but as it was made with those with whom he acted, he would, under the circumstances, consider himself a party to it.

Lord Cranborne complained of the inconvenience which would arise from this deviation from the regular practice of the House. For his own part, he feared the delay would be fatal to his bill (the sale of game bill). He should like to hear the decision of the Chair, whether the sessional orders were to have force or not.

The Speaker said, that by the sessional Lord A. Hamilton said, that he stood orders certain days were fixed on which upon his right to introduce his motion, orders were to have precedence, and which appeared first upon the list of no- others on which notices had the priority. tices. He had yielded to the call to That regulation was, he well recollected, order, and would again sit down, if that made under a strong protest by several call were repeated; but he trusted, that members, as being an infringement upon unless he said something which the Chair the privilege of a member, to originate a should deem disorderly, no gentleman motion without notice. It was certainly would interrupt him in the performance right that the sessional orders should be of an undoubted right which he was in strictly adhered to; but, this session, in the act of exercising. He did not mean consequence of the inquiry into the conto disguise from them, that he felt himself duct of the sheriff of Dublin, several deplaced in an unusual situation. He had viations had unavoidably taken place. already, on three successive occasions, With respect to the noble lord who was put off his motion for the convenience of now in possession of the House, it must the gentlemen opposite. It was under- be presumed that he intended to conclude stood on those occasions, that he was to his speech with a motion; and no amendhave precedence on a future evening.ment to that could be made until it was Now, it was obvious that if such arrange- before the House. ments were disregarded, it would be useless to make any such in future. Under the circumstances in which he was placed, he would leave it to the hon. members opposite, whether he ought not to proceed. He had given way before for their convenience, but he could not consent to do so at present.

Mr. S. Wortley rose to order. He said, he was anxious to have it decided, whether the House was to abide by its sessional order or not. In adherence to those orders, the orders of the day ought on Mondays to have precedence.

Lord A. Hamilton was about to proceed, when

Mr. S. Wortley again rose to order, and began to point out the inconvenience of a departure from the sessional order, when he was interrupted by

The Speaker, who observed, that this was not speaking to a point of order. The hon. member might urge those topics at the conclusion of the noble lord's speech, but not before.

Lord A. Hamilton then proceeded. He rose, he said, to call the attention of the House to the state of the representa

to make the ground of some of his present resolutions.

tion of the counties in Scotland. He was not aware that any alteration in the representation of that country would be for his individual advantage; but he looked beyond that, and took the question up as one which was likely to benefit the public. He was sorry to find that his motion had put to flight so many honourable members as he saw leaving the House, who, he believed, came there for a different object; and regretted that the interest of partridges and pheasants seemed to be so much preferred to that of their constituents. He hoped, how ever, the time was approaching when the interest of the constituent would be better attended to. He wished to call the particular attention of the right hon. Secretary opposite (Mr. Canning) to this important question. It was, as far as he knew, one which the right hon. gentleman had never touched-a species of reform with which he had not yet grappled. It was quite different in its nature from that of any question of reform in England. The representation of Scotland, so far from being similar, was a direct contrast to that of England. In England, representation was founded upon property and population. Neither the one nor the other formed necessarily the basis of the elective franchise in Scotland. In the Scotch counties, representation was not founded on property; in the Scotch burghs it was not founded on population. Property was excluded in the counties, and population in the burghs; for no extent of land, no possession of property, necessarily conferred a right of voting in that country. In England, the object of all the laws on the subject of representation was, to correct the abuses which had crept in, and to enforce the rights of electors; but he would show, that the defects of the system in Scotland did not rest in the abuses of the law, but in the very nature of the law itself. On this subject, he would read to the House the opinion of a very grave authority; that of the lord chancellor Thurlow, who, in speaking of the state of the representation in Scotland, had said, that the evil was fundamental, and such as the legisla ture alone could remedy. The noble lord then read the extract, in which lord Thurlow declared, that such was the state of the representation in that country, that the right of election might be in the hands of those who had no earthly stake in the country. This opinion he intended

He would ask, what ought to be the constitution of the House of Commons? In the first place, it ought to be so constituted, as to speak the sentiments of the people-to act so as to merit their confidence-and it ought to be under the control of the constituents. Applying_this to the state of the representation in Scotland, it showed the system there in a most odious light. That system was in fact such, that the whole property and the immense majority of the population might be averse from those chosen to represent them. Such members, then, could not be said to represent the country, in the strict and proper sense of the word. It was, in fact, notorious that they did not speak the sense of the country, and could not therefore merit its confidence. Then, as to the third point, he would ask, was there any efficient control over the member by the constituent? If there was any control, it was a control exercised by a privileged few, not for the benefit but to the injury of the many. This evil of so long continuance was every day becoming worse and worse; because, in proportion as the population became more enlightened and more wealthy, so much the less was this system adapted for them; and it was more than absurd to continue a practice which at any time was not calculated to speak the sense of the people. To those who were not conversant in Scotch laws and customs, it was difficult to give a clear idea of what really constituted the right of a vote at an election for a member of parliament. It rested, as he had said, not upon property or population, but on the possession of a piece of parchment, which conferred no rank, and little or no property on its holder; for the property to which be might have claim by it might not exceed the value of one penny. It might, in some respect, be compared to the copyhold system in England. If a lord of a manor has forty persons paying him one shilling each per year, he would thereby be a forty shilling freeholder, and would, by his qualification as a veter, be supposed to represent that sum of property. But, if each and every one of those persons who paid the shilling were worth 1000l., and still paid only the shilling, there still would be only the 40s. represented by him. Such a case as this rarely occurred in England, but it w

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