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[ The following notes were written as the events occurred , and are given to' the public in the order in which they were committed to paper . The dates annexed are those of the newspapers which contained the first announcement of the facts taken for the subject of remark . The history of the session is taken up in the present number where it broke off in the last ; which accounts for the appearance in our nnm ] ber for April of so early a date as the 21 st of February . ]
21 st February . The Ministerial Resolutions on Irish Tithe . —It is a common excuse for people who promise little , that what they do promise they perform . Like most other stock excuses , this plea is much oftener made 1 han established : one thing , however , is unquestionable , that they who promise little ought to perform all they promise . The King ' s Speech made "but one promise , the settlement of Irish tithes ; and Ministers have produced a measure , which , if proposed many years ago , might have really
settled the question , at least for a season . But concessions in politics almost always come too late . When reforms are granted , not because they are eligible in themselves , but because it is not considered safe to refuse them , it seems to be in their very nature that they should always lag : behind the demand for them . There seldom arises an immediate necessity for conceding anything until the storm has risen so high that it cannot be prevented from ultimately sweeping- away everything .
It was right to retain a land-tax equal to the present amount of the tithe . In Ireland , where the intermediate class of farmers scarcely exists , the whole produce of the soil is shared between the labourer and the landlord . But the labourer in Ireland being reduced by competition to the mere necessaries of life , which he is sure to retain as long as he occupies the land ; and the residue , whatever . its amount , being the landlord ' s ; all imposts charged upon the land subtract so much from what would otherwise be paid to the landlord : it is therefore the landlord who in reality pays them ; if they were laid directly upon him , his situation would not be altered ; if they were abolished without equivalent , he would be the sole gainer .
The course , therefore , would be very clear , if there were no existing contracts between landlord and tenant . A tax payable by the landlord might be substituted for the tithe payable by the tenant , and the landlord left for compensation to the natural course of things . The tenant would then , without any special enactment for tlje purpose , pay , on account of rent alone , the same amount which he now pays for rent and tithe : the tithe would be blended with rent , collected without a separate process , and would
cease to figure as an individual grievance ; while all the odium would be saved , of collecting from the bulk of the Catholic population a tax expressly designed for the pockets of the Protestant clergy . The provision for the Church would then be seen to be , what , in Ireland , it really is ; not a burthen upon the public , but a certain portion of the rent of land , which the State has not permitted individual landlords to appropriate , but has retained in its own hands for another purpose .
But during the currency of existing leases , the tithe , if exacted at all , cannot justly be levied from any but those who are at present liable to it . If paid bythelandlord . it must be recoverable from the tenant ; because the landlord cannot , until the expiration of the lease , be indemnified by an augmentation of his rent . On this shoal it requires no prophet to foretell that the measure will be wrecked . During the existing leases , the present
grievance will continue ; and does any one think that without far more drastic remedies the present constitution of society in Ireland can last as long as the unexp . / ed leases ? For the next few years the Bill does not abolish tithe , but , as Mr . O'Connell observed , merely makes the landlord the tithe-procl and a few years , in the present condition of Ireland , are an eternity .
Notes On The Newspapers.
NOTES ON THE NEWSPAPERS .
No , 88 . S
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1834, page 233, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2632/page/1/