« PreviousContinue »
admission, the removal of the doubts, confirmed by the very provisos of the present bill, for preserving to the catholics the full enjoyment of the rights granted in 1793, by the act of the Irish parliament, was , matter of the greatest importance.
Lord Grenville, in reply, observed, that notwithstanding the ingenuity of the noble lords who had opposed the -proposition, they had failed in their reasoning. The ar. guments against it had indeed amounted :o all that could have been expected again-t so clear and obyious a propo. sition; namely, nothing at all. He was now to learn, for the first time, that they were first to deci'le what should be law, and then to ask the judges what was the law ; they were first to enact, and then to ask for explanation. The noble and learned lord had said, that he had never heard of any doubt upon the subject; this was most ex.' traordinary; they had heard in the course of the week of a want of communication amongst his majesty's ministers, and here it appeared that a clause had been expressly inserted in the bill in consequence of this doubt, which stated the doubt, and the introduction of which had been assented to by one of the colleagues of the noble and learned lord, and yet the noble and learned lorid had never heard of any doubt upon the subject. It seemed, however, that instead of now ascertaining what the law was, the parties interested in that explanation were to bave a beautiful law-suit and a delicious doubt; they were to go into a court of law, and then they were to appeal to that house, where there were already upwards of one hundred appeals undecided, and then to wait till this question could be decided, when it might now be explained without any litigation. The noble and learned lord liad talked of disguising the ques, tion respecting the catholics; it was perfectly well known that the catholics were excluded because they would not take certain oaths ; but in this case, it was the catholics alone who were excluded, and the exclusion did not apply to any o her persons. His lordship said, that the noble lord had contended, that the case might be decisled in due course of law, and that the judges might give their opinion upon that case when brought before the house, and if it should be thought advisable at a future period to open the direction of the bank to catholics it may be done. With respect to the former part of the arguimeut, it went to encourage litigation of the most troublesome aud vexa.
tious nature ; and considering the mass of appeals now before the house, when could this case be decided? With respect to the latter part of the argument he, for one, was of opinion, that when this act should have once passed no remedy could be applied to the evil in the course of thirty years, for which ihe charter was granted. On all these grounds, be was decidedly of opinion that a question ought to be proposed to the judges respecting the law of the case.
The house then divided upon lord Grenville's mo. tion: Contents present 16 Proxies
17-33 Not-contents present 42 Proxies
61 The committee on the local militia Lill was postponed fill to-morrow.
On the motion of the Earl of Suffolk, it was ordered, after some obserrations from Lords Hawkesbury and Hola land, that there should be laid before the house an account of all Danish ships detained previous to the declaration of war, with a view to call the attention of their lordships to the amount and disposal of the droits of admiralty. Ad. journed
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
THURSDAY, JUNE 16. The Brazil trade bill, the promissory notes bill, and the hackney-coach regulation bill, were read a third time, and passed. . Mr. Villiers obtained leave to bring in a bill for the further encouragement of learning, by procuring for uni. versities, and other public bodies mentioned, a copy of each new book published, and by securing to the authors the copyright of all such books. He immediately brought up the bill, which was read a first time.
The subdivision clerks bill went through a committee, To be reported to-morrow, · Mr. Long obtained leave to bring in a bill to alter and amend the act for carrying ou improvements about Westminster abbey.
Mr. Huskisson, agreeably to an order of the house, pre
sented certain papers-relative to the rates and prices of army clothing
Mr. S. Bourne brought up, the report of the spirits re. gulation bill, which was agreed to. To be read a third time to-morrow.
Mr. Huskisson brought up the estimates of the expence of erecting a military college in the county of Salop. Referred to the committee of supply.
Mr. Sturges Bourne brought up the report of the committee imposing certain duties on painted and printed silks from Ireland. Agreed to, and a bill ordered accord. ingly.
Mr. Dundas brought up the report of the Chatham lines bill, which was agreed to, and the bill ordered to be read a third time to-morrow.
The bill to allow the removal of goods warehoused in London, &c. to any of the outports for exportation, was brought in, read a first, and ordered to be read a second time to-morrow.
The Irish export and import duty bill was reported, apd ordered to be read'a third time 10-morrow.
On the motion of the Lord Advocate of Scotland, the Scotch judicature bill was read a second time, committed, reported, and ordered to be taken into further considerać tion on Monday, and to be printed.
The report of the committee on the curates' bill was taken into consideration, the amendments were agreed to, the bill ordered to be reprinted as amended, and to be read a third time on Monday.
FINANCE COMMITTEE. Mr. Whilbread, seeing the gentleman in his place who was chairman of the committee of finance, begged to ask if the house was to expect any report from that committee in the course of the present session ? The public had been led to expect a report of an interesting nature, as the result of the labours of this committee, and he should be sorry to understand that they were to be disappointed,
Mr. Bankes admitted the right of the honourable gen. tleman to put to him the question he had now asked, but he felt himself considerably troubled as to the mode in which he should answer it. He assured the honourable gentleman, the house, and the public, that he had dedi. cated all the time and attention in his power to the busi
ness of that committee. There were few hours in the day., except those spent in that house, that he did not dedicate to the inquiries which there came to be considered. So long ago as Easter, he had com leted a report, as far as it depended on him, and laid it before the committee for their approbation; but he was sorry to say, that discus. sions had since arisen on the subjeci to which he yet saw no end. No exertion should be wanting on his part to lay a 'report of that committee before the house in the course of the present session ; but the house would see from what he had stated, that this did not lie with him, but ust depend on the committee in general.
· Afr. Whilbread said he was far from requiring any apo. logy from the honourable gentleman. He was aware, as the house and the country musť be, of the zeal which the! honourable gentleman had displayed in every question connected with finance. "The public looked with increased expectation to the result of the labours of the committee from the knowledge that the honourable gentleman was at the head of it, and it must be a very serious disappointment when they undersiood that a report, the fundamento al points of which had been agreed to by the committee,, and which the honourable member had drawn up and submitted for their final a probation, was thus to be with. 1 held from public perusal.
IRISH TITHES COMMUTATION. Mr. M. Fitsgerald, in what he was about to say, dise : claimed all idea of any wisli to embarrass government. In at all touching on this subject, he was anxio's chiefly for two things ; first, that ministers should not suppose, from the paucity of petitions, that the question was not one of very general interest in Ireland, or which they were on that account entitled to undervalue; secondly, he was anxious to prevent the people of Ireland froin feeling any thing like distrust in those who were to bring forward these petitions. He felt himself bound to refute the calomnies which had been propagated, alleging that the disturbances in his country had been occasioned by the meeting to consider of the elition in question. It might be sufficient, in answer to this calumny, to statr, that these disurbances had existed for years before, and that, after the nieeting to consider of the commutation of tithes, they had abatud rather than increased. The same be
could also state as to other petitions. Another stigma ata tempted to be fixed on the favourers of this measure was, that an improper advantage was sought to be got for the land owners, at the expence of the church. For his part, he disclaimed every idea of the kind. He wished that the church and clergy should have their rights preserved in-, tire ; but that the present mode of levying the tithes should be commuted for one more equal and less burthensome.
This was no catholic question ; it did not partake of a religious feeling; it was supported by the county of Armagh, than which no county in Ireland was more, or rather só completely; protestant. It was a measure wisho ed for by all classes, and even by the protestant clergy. He did not pretend to say that the petitions were so numerous as to entitle him to allege that it was at tbe moment a measure of necessity; therefore he should not urge referring the petition to a committee at present. He left it with ministers, assuring them that the commutation of títhes was necessary, and that no time was to be lost, after the commencement of the next session of parliament, in bringing it forward. He then moved that the petition from the county of Kerry be referred to a committee of the whole house.
The Chancellor of the Erchequer declared himself not insensible to the importance of the object; nor had his conviction of its importance been diminished by the consileration he had been enabled to give to the subject. The difficulties, however, also appeared to him to be great, and the more he considered them, the more intricate and involycd did they appear. He wished, therefore, that the honourable member should not indulge in unfounded expectations. He did not at present see any mode bý which the evils could be completely remedied. The bonourable gentleman might, however, rest assured that the attention of government should be carefully directed to the subject.
Mr. Parnell expressed his satisfaction that the right honourable gentleman had publicly declared his opi. nion.
Mr. Ponsonby considered this to be a question of importance to the well-being of Ireland. Any new mode of levying the tithes did indeed present numberless obstacles; he hoped, however, they were not insurmounta-ble, but such as might be overcome to the satisfaction of VOL. JII.-1808.