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cumbent or farmer is to pay for each annual survey. Without something of this kind there must constantly be disputes between them, and the neighbouring justices of peace must be teased as often as those disputes happen.
I had written thus far, when a paper was sent to me with several reasons against the bill, some whereof, although they have been already touched, are put in a better light, and the rest did not occur to me. I shall deliver them in the author's own words.
I. That tithes are the patrimony of the church; and, if not of divine original, yet at least of great antiquity.
II. That all purchases and leases of titheable lands for many centuries past have been made and taken, subject to the demand of tithes, and those lands sold and taken just so much the cheaper on that account.
III. That if any lands are exempted from tithes, or the legal demands of such tithes lessened by act of parliament, so much value is taken from the proprietor of the tithes, and vested in the proprietor of the lands, or his head tenants.
IV. That no innocent unoffending person can be so deprived of his property, without the greatest violation of common justice.
V. That to do this upon a prospect of encouraging the linen or any other manufacture, is acting upon a very mistaken and unjust supposition, inasmuch as the price of the lands, so occupied, will be no way lessened to the farmer, by such a law.
VI. That the clergy are content cheerfully to bear (as they now do) any burden in common with their fellow subjects, either for the support of his majesty's government, or the encouragement of the trade of the nation ; but think it very hard that they should be singled out to pay heavier taxes than others, at a time when, by the decrease of the value of their parishes, they are less able to bear them.
VII. That the legislature has heretofore distinguished the clergy by exemptions, and not by additional loads; and the present clergy of the kingdom hope they have not deserved worse of the legislature than their predecessors.
VIII. That, by the original constitution of these kingdoms, the clergy had the sole right of taxing themselves, and were in possession of that right as low as the Restoration ; and if that right be now devolved upon the commons, by the cession of the clergy, the commons can be considered, in this case, in no other light, than as the guardians of the clergy.
IX. That, beside those tithes always in the possession of the clergy, there are some portions of tithes lately come into their possession by purchase ; that if this clause should take place, they would not be allowed the benefit of these purchases, upon an equal foot of advantage, with the rest of their fellow subjects. And that some tithes in the hands of improprietors, are under settlements and mortgages.
X. That the gentlemen of this house should consider, that loading the clergy is loading their own younger brothers and children; with this additional grievance, that it is taking from the younger and poorer, to give to the elder and richer; and,
Lastly, That, if it were at any time just and proper to do this, it would, however, be too severe to do it now, when all the tithes of the kingdom
are known, for some years past, to have sunk above one third part in their value.
Any income in the hands of the clergy, is at least as useful to the public, as the same income in the hands of the laity.
It were more reasonable to grant the clergy in. three parts of the nation an additional support, than to diminish their present subsistence.
Great employments are and will be in the hands of Englishmen; nothing left for the younger sons of Irishmen, but vicarages, tide-waiters' places, &c. therefore no reason to make them worse.
The modus upon the flax in England affects only lands reclaimed since the year 1690, and is at the rate of five shillings the English acre, which is equivalent to eight shillings and eightpence Irish, and that to be paid before the farmer removes it from the field. Flax is a manufacture of little consequence in England, but is the staple in Ireland; and if it increases (as it probably will) must, in many places, jostle out corn, because it is more gainful.
The clergy of the established church have no interest, like those of the church of Rome, distinct from the true interest of their country; and therefore ought to suffer under no distinct impositions or taxes of any kind.
The bill for settling the modus of flax in Eng. land, was brought in the first year of the reign of king George I., when the clergy lay very unjustly' under the imputation of some disaffection; and to encourage the bringing in of some fens in Lincolnshire, which were not to be continued under flax; but it left all lands, where flax had been sown before that time, under the same condition of tithing, in which they were before the passing
of that bill: whereas this bill takes away what the clergy are actually possessed of.
That the woollen manufacture is the staple of England, as the linen is that of Ireland; yet no attempt was ever made in England to reduce the tithe of wool, for the encouragement of that manufacture. This manufacture has already been remarkably favoured by the clergy, who have hitherto been generally content with less than half, some with sixpence a garden, and some have taken nothing.
Employments, they say, have been taxed; the reasons for which taxation will not hold with regard to property, at least till employments become inheritances. The commons always have had so tender a regard to property, that they never would suffer any law to pass, whereby any particular persons might be aggrieved, without their own consent.
N. B. Some alterations have been made in the bill about the modus, since the above paper was written; but they are of little moment.