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must say, ibar, considering the time which had elapsed since the advances had been made, and that these advances were made on account of tithes due as far back as the year 1831, he did not think, that it would be either reasonable or expedient to insist in future upon the payment of the instalments. To do so would not only embarrass the clergy but inflict a hardship upon the occupiers. The hon. Member had made a proposition to which so much opposition had been shown, that he (Lord J. Russell) thought it belter to go back to the proposition which had been made by Government, and introduce a clause for the total remission of the instalments due, whether from the occupiers or from those who held for the tilhe owners. But the question was very different with regard to the arrears since incurred. He quite concurred in the opinion, that if by the advance of a small sum of money, it was likely they would put a satisfactory termination to this very harassing question, it might be well to pay the money. But the question even then became one of amount. On this point, the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, seemed to consider, that the remainder of the million advanced in 1835, would not be sufficient; that is, if they were now to give up the remainder of the million, and forgive the arrears due on account of the 640,000/. already paid, the present difficulties of. the case would not be met. Nor had he yet heard from any hon. Member, any definite sum proposed which was sufficient for the object in view. The only statement which he recollected to have heard made tending to this point, was by the hon. Member for Tipperary, who stated the arrears due upon tithes to be about two millions sterling. Under these circumstances, and with no better information on the subject, he owned, that on being called upon for an advance of money, he did not feel disposed to acquiesce in it. Supposing, that the arrears due were two millions, then, if only 75 per cent, were paid, a million and a-half of money would be required. But even supposing they were to make such an advance of public money, would it, in the opinion of the House, lead to a final settlement of the question respecting the Church of Ireland? On the contrary, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin asserted, that the question now was, and he was supported in this view by the reso
lutions passed at the public meetings held in Ireland—whether the Church of Ireland should remain in existence at all, or whether its revenues should not be appropriated to oilier and far different purposes. Therefore, when the hon.Gentleman called for a sum of money in order to procure a settlement of this question, he, at the same time, told them, that it would not lead to a settlement at all; but, on the contrary, that the money would be given to those who had already violated the law, and were determined still to violate it. If, under these circumstances, the House were to acquiesce in such a grant, they would not have the consolation that they were making such a sacrifice with a likelihood of ensuring the future peace of the country. He came now to a third question for consideration, namely, whether such a grant would tend to the future good working of the present bill. In this point of view, as well as in the two which he had just stated, he did not consider it expedient to adopt this proposition. The hon. and learned Member for Tipperary had stated, with great appearance of reason, that considerable hardship was suffered by landlords who became subject to payments on account of tithes, which they were unable to recover from their tenants. But that was exactly the hardship which would still be liable to occur under the bill which they now proposed to pass; and he believed, that if the proposed advance were agreed to, the landlord would have to pay the 75 per cent, under this clause, which he could not, for some considerable time, be able to recover from his tenant. But he thought, that the landlord should look to his tenant for the future for the reimbursement of the rent-charge which he was called upon to pay. Some amicable arrangement might eventually be expected between landlords and tenants which would prevent the former from being losers in the end. But if the House were to say, wherever payment has not been made, we will advance a further sum in order to meet it, this would be a direct inducement to landlords to say, " We will not harass our tenants for the payments, because their not paying them will be a sufficient ground for us to make out a case of hardship which will ensure us the payment of any sums required for the purpose." On all these grounds, he thought, that it would not be advisable to make any further advance from the state towards the settlement of this question. At the same lime, however, he thought it would be hard to call on the landlords for the payment of arrears already due. He should, therefore, advise the entire remission of the 640,000/. already advanced; but should oppose the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin.
Mr. Lucas had never heard a discussion with more pleasure, and he had no doubt that the debate of the three last hours would do more to the settlement of the Irish tithe question than all parties had been able to effect in the last four years. He hoped there was very little difference between the two parties composing the House on this question; at least, it appeared to him clear, that no hon. Gentleman desired to recur to the clergyman for the collection of the money advanced to him. His belief was, they would not be able to recur to that petty warfare between the clergy and the occupier. It would be utterly impossible for any government to carry out any bill with such a blot in it as a proposition for recurring to the occupiers of the soil for the recovery of tithes. If a recurrence were had to the occupiers of Ireland, the great difficulty would be with respect to a final adjustment of this measure. The noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire had said, that it was the duty of the State, for the purpose of procuring peace by an adjustment of this question, to make some concession; that the clergy should, on their part, make some sacrifice, and that a sacrifice should also be made by the landlords. In this opinion he fully concurred, and as far as he was acquainted with the clergy and landlords of Ireland, he was sure they would be satisfied with any reasonable arrangement which held out a prospect of a successful and satisfactory adjustment of the question. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, had not, in the observations which he had addressed to the House, stated any definite plan. As a sacrifice had been mentioned, he would venture to assert, that there would be no sacrifice— there would be no absolute loss incurred. It was merely a loan, and the thing was, to take care that there should be sufficient security for its repayment. The question of difficulty was not so much as to whether the amount should be moderate or otherwise, but as to the chance of recovering, and whether it was necessary,
under the present Bill, to recur to the occupiers of the land. Surely, if the rent-charge was a security for the clergy, it would be equally so for the Government. One observation had fallen from the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, which had not been characterised by his usual sagacity, namely, that the collection of rent had been benefited by the non-payment of the tithe. This was not the case; for though there had been an improved payment of rent, it arose out of the improved condition of the country and the increased communication between England and Ireland.
Sir R. Peel: The importance of the subject is my only excuse for trespassing again on the indulgence of the House. I do not despair, that some settlement of this question, consistent with justice, may be arrived at; and I beg to submit to the consideration of the Committee, a proposal offered with that view, and the main grounds of which I shall now state. In the first place, as you can do nothing without a commission, let one be appointed. It is impossible, unless you mean to act blindly, that you should proceed in this case without intrusting to some such body the necessary powers for carrying the plan, which I mean to submit, into operation. Do not guarantee to pay the amount of the arrears, but place at the disposal of this commission 307,000/., I should rather say half a million. Ascertain, then, the total amount of the arrears of the occupying tenants, and determine what proportion the defined sum which you place at the disposal of the commission, bears to the whole amount of the arrears. Supposing the sum fixed upon for disposal by the commission to be 307,000/., and the whole amount of arrears to be 640,000/., of course you can only meet fifty per cent, of what is now due. Then introduce an optional principle into the plan—offer to purchase the arrears by a tender of fifty per cent, the Government standing in the position of the tithe-owner in respect to the arrears. Give the parties two months, or a certain definite period, to decide. In my opinion, a great number will be found ready to sink their right to arrears in consideration of the immediate payment of the sum which you offer. The State will then be in possession of the existing right of the tithe-owner to the arrears. You will thus be enabled to look, at the particular circumstances of each place, and to see where it is right to enforce the law, and where it would be more expedient to avoid its enforcement. Let you, the State, be the party to enforce to the utmost the claim of the tithe-owner, and to make such arrangements as that you can say to the landlord—"There are 100/. of arrears due to me by your tenants; let a portion of this be paid, and we shall remit the remainder." This plan would do no injustice to the clergyman, because he is to remain in possession of his remedy for the recovery of his tithe, in case he refuses the offer made him by the commission. I venture to say in nine cases out of ten he will accept your offer. In the few cases in which he shall decline, there remains the objection, that the tithe arrears are to be recovered by the clergyman from the occupying tenant; but how infinitely smaller will that proportion be than when you leave the clergyman altogether to the enforcement of his own rights, without any interference on the part of the Government. By this course you introduce an optional principle; you place yourselves in the position of the clergyman; where the circumstances of the opposition given by the occupying tenant are such, that you do not think it right to enforce the claim to arrears, you can abstain from doing so; but where, on the contrary, the tenant is solvent and refractory, and you seek to make a public example of enforcing the law, then you have the means of compelling payment. But, above all, do not bring into collision the clergy and the occupying tenants. Do not levy for arrears extending over an indefinite period. Some allowance should be made for bad debts and other circumstances, and, therefore, I think you should limit the arrears to those which have occurred within two years. See what an advance we have made by this preliminary discussion. AW have agreed, that the sum of 640,000/. must be remitted, and I cannot help thinking, that if we address ourselves with earnestness to the remainder of the question, we shall be enabled to devise some plan by which the offer of a defined sum may be combined with an optional principle as to the enforcement of claims for arrears.
Mr. O'Council thought there was a great deal of truth in what had fallen from the right lion. Gentleman, and that his
proposal might form an admirable basis for arrangement. When on a former occasion, the million was advanced, it was found, that 640,000/. sufficed; which proved, that the arrears had been greatly exaggerated, and he believed, that to be the case now. He entertained a sincere hope, that the 307,000/. would be enough to defray them; and he was happy to see the feeling which seemed to pervade the House for an amicable settlement of the question; with the exception, indeed, of a little anger on the part of the learned Sergeant, the Member for Bandon (Mr. Sergeant Jackson). In cases where the landlord had received tithes from the tenantry and not paid to the clergy, undoubtedly, punishment and not encouragement, should follow. But he believed such cases to be very rare. He had never heard of one. It had been rightly said of him (Mr. O'Connell) that he did not expect this measure would settle the question of tithes as regarded time to come. He should have acted with great injustice insincerity, and criminality if he had said any such thing, for he did not feel it. He had no objection, however, to give the measure every chance of success; but though, for his own part, he had no hope of it, he would aid them in the trial. The hon. Member for Bandon had alluded to him, and said, that the police force were under his control. So far from that being the case he had not made a single nomination to that force in any instance. With regard to the spread of Ribbonism in Ireland, it was completely strangled. It did exist to a considerable extent in the vicinity of Dublin, but had been suppressed more by the exertions of the new police force than anything else. He now came again to the spirit in which this discussion had taken place, and he hoped, that enough had been done to induce the Government to pause and consider whether they might not adopt some plan for getting rid of the arrears, for if they attempted to enforce them they would do anything but conciliate. He trusted they would consider the proposals thrown out on both sides. It might be a sacrifice to be made by England, but it was an arrangement which would tend to a salutary result, and he trusted the House would consider it fully in committee.
Lord Stanley begged to say a word with respect to the amount to be required, lie understood his right hon. Friend did not intend to enter into the arrange ment any portion of the tithe composition at present leviable from the landlord. He differed, however, from the hon. Member for Kilkenny and the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary in thinking, that there were no circumstances, under which the landlords of Ireland were entitled to any indulgence. Because in no case could they have become liable for the tithe composition without entering into a new arrangement with their tenants. The landlord let the land tithe free to the tenant, and the hon. and learned Gentleman complained, that landlords were not able to make a corresponding increase on their rents. He could not consider very deeply the case of persons who had charged more for their land than their tenants were able to pay. He meant to apply himself merely to the arrears of the last two years. Now how was it possible, that the amount of these arrears could come near what was stated by the hon. Member for Kilkenny? Why, the amount of the tithes altogether was not above 500,000/., and it was notorious, that considerably above 100,000/. of that sum was payable by the landlords. In his opinion 307,000/. would be a very large amount; but it was clear, that the amount paid even by the occupying tenants was 50 or 75 per cent. He hoped the hon. and learned Member would see the propriety of not pressing his instructions to a division.
Mr. O'Connell had much pleasure in agreeing to the suggestions of the noble Lord.
The Chancel or of the Exchequer hoped the House would treat the matter as a grant of public money. One thing he would object to was, the Government undertaking to levy the tithes from the occupying tenant. To that proposition he had very great objections. He thought it was also worthy of consideration whether the House in its generosity would relieve the landlords from that liability which they were under, having partaken of the loan. The question, though it appeared to have the concurrence of both sides of the House, was well worthy of grave deliberation. As to the 640,000/., it should be recollected, that there was a portion of it for which not the occupier of land, but the owners of the tithes were liable.
Colonel Perceval was happy that an
arrangement was made likely to be entered into, and would throw no obstacle in the way. He would, however, reserve to himself the right of hereafter giving deplorable proof in contradiction of the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He should feel it his duty to call the attention of the House to the distracted state of Ireland.
Lord J. Russell agreed in the proposition made by the right hon. Baronet, but the matter required to be gravely considered. He would give the subject his best consideration, and hoped to be able to propose something to the House which would prove satisfactory. As to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, with respect to the loss which would accrue to the revenue, he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would in consideration thereof, do his best in any future debates which might take place on the question of tithes to render the proposed adjustment a satisfactory one.
Mr. O'Connell withdrew his motion.
The House went into a committee pro forma, and resumed. Committee to sit again.
Cape Of Good Hope.] Mr. W. E. Gladstone rose to call the attention of the House to a petition from the inhabitants of Albany, in the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, presented by him on the 15th of June last. That settlement had been founded as a frontier post, for the protection of our colony against occasional predatory incursions of the Caffre tribes, previously bordering on the inlands of our ancient settlements. The tract of country inhabited by these advanced colonists had received additions from time to time and was [denominated the ceded territory. It was peopled by British subjects of an honest and industrious character, who conveyed thither their skill and capital during the Government of Lord Charles Somerset, and they remained there on the faith of receiving protection and support from the British Government. The colonists complained that faith had not been kept with them, and made various representations of the losses they sustained from being immediately in contact with a barbarous enemy. These representations had been neglected by the Government at home, and the interests of the colonists had been sacrificed, so much so that the ceded territory had been entirely given up to the Caffres, who now mingled with the farmers, to the great prejudice and injury of the quiet and peaceable subjects of Great Britain. Feuds and contests were of frequent occurrence, sometimes attended by bloodshed and consequences of the most lamentable character. The feeling of insecurity thus generated among the colonists caused many of them, and particularly the Dutch boors, to emigrate. The resources of the colony were thus left without employment, and great part of the land remained uncultivated. Agricultural produce had greatly risen in price, and, as regarded the great staple of corn and meal, to the extent of 300 per cent. Fatal collisions with the natives constantly occurred, and in 1837 from this cause the colonists sustained a loss of twenty-two of their own number, besides 384 horses and 2,800 head of cattle. The Dutch boors, disheartened.by their misfortunes, withdrew from the colony into the desert, and placed themselves beyond the pale of society. Such was the precarious and unsafe position of the eastern portion of our South African territories, the evils attending which it was the bounden duty of Parliament to remove. He should, therefore, move an address to her Majesty praying her Majesty to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate on the spot the past and present state of the relations of our colonists on the eastern part of the Cape of Good Hope with the Caffre tribes, together with the best means of preventing a recurrence of the recent emigration of the population beyond the frontier.
Sir George Orey said, the case before them had already been sufficiently gone into by means of the inquiry instituted, and the documents submitted in consequence of the inquiry to the consideration of the House. It was a lamentable fact that the state of this part of the colony could hardly be worse than it notoriously had been for some years past, owing in»a great degree to the aggression of British subjects upon the aboriginal inhabitants, and their endeavours to extend their territory in this quarter for selfish and interested purposes. The pretext for these enlargements of territory from year to year had been, the presumed necessity of increasing the security and safety of the colonists, by placing an intermediate territory between them and the Caffre tribes. The result was aggression on the part of the colonists often causeless and unpro
voked, and, on the part of the aborigines, irruption and massacre. Bloodshed had been the feature of this attempt at acquiring that which the aggressors had no right to, and it was not till within the last two years that measures could be taken by the colonial government there, with a chance of success, to put a stop to this sanguinary contest. Having said thus much, he might also confess he could not see, that any advantage could be derived from instituting a fresh inquiry into the causes of these transactions, so disgraceful to the British name, and prejudicial to British interests. A full investigation had already taken place, the report was before the House, and the colonial government had taken steps which encouraged Lord Glenelg to hope, that there must be a speedy end put to a state of things so much to be regretted. Where, then, was the necessity for the Government to incur heavy expense by consenting to a fresh commission of inquiry? I'"or his part, he must express the most perfect confidence that no measure in the colony would be left untried to carry into effect the recommendation of the colonial government for establishing a system of broad policy in this colony which might prevent a recurrence of the evils which had taken place by a departure from such a line of policy hitherto. General Napier had been sent out to this portion of our territories, with full instructions and ample powers to restore the affairs of the colony to a wholesome condition. He trusted he had said enough to convince the House this was not an occasion upon which the British Parliament could be induced to sanction, under any pretext, the application of persons who had placed themselves in trouble and peril by means of their aggressions. The charge against the Government, that it had surrendered the track called the ceded territory to the Caffres, was a charge which, though true, redounded to the credit of the colonial government, which had insisted upon the relinquishment of a territory acquired by arms and unauthorised hostilities. The prompt cession of the ceded territory was calculated to show that, whatever had been the conduct of individuals, its subjects, the Government of Great Britain would be just when appealed to, and respect the rights of property, fully conscious that by so doing it must inspire a confidence as to its future conduct in the minds of the