Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ments of Dr. Dwight, and the rather states the following undeniable, but because he was neither an Episcopa- much-forgotten facts. lian nor an Englishman. From the “1. Tithes are among the earliest possame authority he cites the follow- sessions of the church; and the claim ing fact:

to them is, . beyond all comparison, the * In Connecticut there was, when he

most ancient claim to property which

now exists.' wrote, a compulsatory tax under the authority of the government, for the support

“2. For many centuries all the estates

in England and Wales, upon which tithes of religious worship, each individual being at liberty to select the ecclesiastical society

are now paid, have been subject to such which he chose to support, but each being

payment : the estimated value of the

tithes being doubtless, on every sale of compelled to contribute to some one society. In the states south of New England

landed property, deducted from the pur

chase-money. there was no provision by law for the

“3. Tithes never were the property of establishment of public worship. And what was the result? In these last states

the state in any other sense, than as all there were 430 congregations, of which 160

land may once have been the property of were vacant; had the proportion been for

the state; and if the state had a right to the population the same as in Connecticut,

give away the land, it had a right to give the number of congregations, instead of

away the tithe. 430, would have been 3344. Again : the

"'4. The tithes of our modern parishes number of ministers settled was 209;

were generally, if not universally, conferit ought by the same rule to have been

red upon them by the owners of estates, 3024.

and, occasionally at least, with the con" In this estimate,' proceeds Dr.

currence of the eldest son. They are Dwight, we have a fair specimen of the

therefore ' to be considered as the accu.

mulated amount of individual and private natural consequence of establishing, or neglecting to establish, the public worship

grants.' Hence it was that the bounds of of God by the law of the land. In Con

the estate became the bounds of the parish; necticut, every inhabitant who is not pre

the patronage of the living usually recluded by disease or inclination, may hear

maining in the family of him who had

endowed it. the Gospel, and celebrate the public wor

“ 5. The assertion, now ship of God every Sabbath. In the states

frequently specified it is not improbable that a number

made, that one third of these parochial of people, several times as great as the

tithes was reserved for the poor, and one census of Connecticut, have scarcely heard

third for the fabric, is altogether destitute

of foundation. a sermon or a prayer in their lives.' ., "• Admirably, however, as this scheme

“6. The chief tithes of several thouof taxation seems to have answered its

sand parishes having been taken from

them in Roman-Catholic times, and purposes, it is not precisely that system which, had we the liberty of choice, would

transferred to monastic institutions, were, be regarded as the best.' So far as relates

on the dissolution of the monasteries, to the support of a Christian ministry, a

with the rest of the property of these esmore desirable plan would be one which

tablishments, bestowed principally upon either involves no tax, or is comparatively

laymen; and, as these lay-tithes amount at least, without expense to the public.

to one third of all the tithes in the kingIf it be possible that a country can be

dom, a great number of benefices have

been left in almost hopeless poverty. adequately supplied with ministers of religion, who, being invested with the sanc

7. The entire revenues of the clergy, tion of the state, yet draw their means of

derived from endowments, probably fall

short of two millions a-year. support mainly or entirely from their own

" 8. Finally, to adopt the words of Dr. property, or, which amounts to the same

Chalmers, . It remains a truth, that neithing, from property set apart for this very object;-every individual in the land

ther are tithes nor church and college being also at liberty to provide himself, if

lands, a burden upon any man. In virtue he should wish it, with another teacher,

of these, the property of our nation has and freely to worship God according to

come down to the present age, either the dictates of his own conscience :-we

more divided than it otherwise would should scarcely hesitate to speak of that

have been, or so much of it in the posses. country as placed under circumstances far

sion of public functionaries, instead of more favourable than were those of Con

being in the possession of men who, as necticut.” Dealtry, pp. 14, 15. .

simple proprietors, or nati consumere

fruges, have had no function assigned to These preliminaries lead to the

them. As it is, that property is owned by subject of tithes, which are now the men, who, in return for it, do something: chief subject of attack. Respecting

otherwise that property would have been

owned by men, who, in return for it, did these “ incorporeal hereditaments,"

nothing.' This is the real state of the as the lawyers call them, Dr. Dealtry alternative: and when so viewed, we may

fearlessly commit the question of our mentary Committee in Ireland, that the literary and ecclesiastical establishments incomes of the Irish bishops would not, if to its trial.'” Dealtry, pp. 1820. divided, amount to more than 50001. a

In our estimate of the usefulness year each." Dealtry, p. 53. of Dr. Dealtry's pamphlet, we of Dr. Dealtry alludes to the question course included the notes, which are whether tithes fall upon the landlord, longer than the charge itself, and the tenant, or the public; and he consist chiefly of quotations from adjudges them, with sound political Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Dwight, and economy, to the first of these parties; others, intermixed with statements though, after all, they do so only in by the author respecting various the sense in which an incumbrance matters connected with ecclesiastical of so many pounds per annum falls endowments.

upon a person who has an estate of We extract the following account many times that value left to him to of church property, which Dr. Deal- pay it out of. It is a very good bait try has taken from a sheet entitled to hook the farmer, to tell him that “ Awkward Facts.” From this it the abolition of tithes would wonderappears, that if not only tithes, fully benefit him; and it is an equally but glebe and other sources of ec- good thesis for an inflammatory clesiastical income, were included, speech to the public, to say that and the total divided by the number they fall on the consumer ; but the of officiating clergymen in the king- landlord well knows that they are dom, the average would be but a an entailed encumbrance upon his very moderate provision; as we may estate, a deduction from his rent, have occasion to shew when we go very unpleasant, perhaps, to him, into the question of church reform. whether paid by him directly in At present, we confine ourselves to in person, or included in the rent a few extracts.

for which he lets his property, but « I. Very little more than two thirds of which he cannot equitably shake off the land in England and Wales is tithe- any more than a marriage settlement able. “ The whole amount of tithes in 1808,

or a mortgage. However, to save when corn was 31. 19s. 2d. per quarter both Dr. Dealtry and ourselves, as (higher than it is now) was 2,139,9421. well as our readers, all trouble in 5s. 114d. This takes in the lay-tithe as coming at this conclusion, we will well as the clerical. • III. The whole income of parochial

hial quote a few lines from “ The Theory

quote a les clergy, when corn was at the price stated of Rent,” by the author of the “ Caabove, was 1,694,9911. 6s. 73d. It now, techism of the Corn Laws,” which therefore, does not probably exceed a both Mr. Hume and Lord King have million and a half. If divided, each cler

cited in parlianent as a model of gyman would have about 1501. a year.

“IV. Tbere are in England and Wales sound argument. We wish that the 4361 livings under 1501. a year (nearly Bishop of London, when he replied half of which are under 1001.)

last year to Lord King's argument .“ This is from a return made in 1815, when things were very high. It is allowed

on this very point, had happened to not to be complete,' that is, there were a have had in his hand this very idenfew more livings of each of these classes. tical Tu-Brute document.

“ VII. The incomes of the archbishops and bishops fall short of 165,0001. : that is, “ The real state of the charge against they average little if any thing more than tithes is, first, that the tax, with the ex60001. each. Of the bishoprics, only eleven ception of a trifling re-action, is paid by pay their expenses. In three of them, the landlords instead of being paid by besides private charities, the subscriptions, the consumers, as would have been the &c. are 30001. a year each.

case if it had been levied on manufactures; .“ IX. The whole income of the church and secondly, that there is a saving of is under 2,159,9911. This, if divided among more than nine tenths of the loss or prethe parochial clergy, would give to each vention of production which would have barely 2001. a year.

taken place by the other mode. When “X. Mr. Leslie Foster, an Irish lay tithes are asserted to be a peculiarly perman, and one of the most distinguished nicious and impolitic mode of taxation, persons in - Ireland, stated to the Parlia-, these facts are always kept out of sight.

[ocr errors]

The proof of the assertion falls to the value little or much, belong to the

of church, and ought to be employed of many other popular outcries. As the woodpecker, the rook, and the goatsucker,

for the religious purposes of our nahave been persecuted time out of mind for tional Protestant establishment; for imaginary injuries, so the ecclesiastical which, in the aggregate, we fear rook has been charged with collecting his

they are insufficient, rather than subsistence in a manner peculiarly injurious to the public, through clear igno

over large; but alienation is robrance or concealment of the nature of the bery, and this point ought to be process. Some species of commutation established as the basis of every might possibly be better still. But it is

scheme of improvement. The best plain that the extended outcry has been made either through ignorance, or a desire

way of administering them is another to direct the hostility of the community question : and this we must leave to a particular quarter by misrepresenta- for our intended discussion; only tion.

premising, that however long or “ If a tax or tithe should be remitted on à certain portion of the land, the effect

short the time during which the would be the removal of something ap- present system may struggle on in proaching to a proportionate part of the England, its termination seems now consequences that resulted from the tax. legislatively and popularly decreed For example, if the tithe in England, provided it were universal, would diminish

h in Ireland, as it was the century the whole produce by the hundred-and- before last in Scotland. For many, twelfth part, and if this would increase the many years, we have seen this evil price of corn by sixpence a quarter,--the day approaching in the sister island, effect of the remission of tithe on an average third of the land would be, that the

and casting a distant shadow even produce of the country would be increased nearer home; and Cassandra-like, by something not far from a third of a we have urged our statesmen and hundred-and-twelfth part, and the price of

prelates and clergy, for more than a corn fall by about twopence a quarter! And the value of the tax remitted, with the ex

quarter of a century, to foresee and eeption of the re-action produced by these avert the calamity D.u

avert the calamity by timely meapetty alterations, would go into the pockets sures, and to secure a fair and peaceof the landlords. For it is evident that able commutation, either in land, or this would be the result if the land-owners held the land in their own hands. It could

a corn rent on the estate, not the make no difference in the prices in the tenant, or in whatever other way market, whether corn was sold there for seemed best, while the sun shone, the benefit of the tithe-owner or the and the heavens were bright, and grower. If the tithe-owner could eat all landlords were rich, and farmers in bis corn himself, the case would be different; but as it is, the same quantity of corn

orn good humour. And what did we

good humour. Ana must be brought to market, and conse- get for our pains ? We were called quently be sold for the same price. And radicals and levellers. And now the of this price, the whole that is left after day that every man with the least paying the necessary profits of the capital employed, would be rent." p. 27.

portion of foresight prognosticated

has arrived, at least in Ireland; and Thus, then, the upshot is, that if the people refuse to pay tithes, and a sponge were applied to the tithe roll the government will not, or cannot, of my Lord King's estates, his lordship coerce them; and committees of would get better rents, and be ena- both houses of parliament have debled to increase the splendour of his cided that it is necessary to do in equipage ; but neither would the this hour of extremity, and when farmer nor the public, neither the the time, we fear, has gone by for eater nor the grower of corn, be bene- making an equitable bargain, what fited, except indeed by an incidental we were vituperated for proposing trifling fraction of farthings, not in the day of prosperity, when the worth carrying into the estimate. church might have had her due,

The above remarks apply only to and all parties been pleased, and the the question of spoliation, not to pastor have been bound more closely the question of commutation. The to his flock, and religion not have tithes, or the tithe's worth, be the suffered in the contest, or the dire

Carist. Observ. No. 362.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ful prospect have been opened of the exaggerated emoluments; but how-
papal clergy, whom the unpopularity ever much of justice there may be
of our tithe system has raised to in the complaint of inequitable dis-
anarchical power, being paid and tribution, this is not the only ques-
fostered by the state. But Cassan- tion; those emoluments are neces-
dra did not tire of her office, nor sary, in due moderation, for the sup-
will we; and therefore, leaving Ire- port of a national church-establish-
land at present to the wisdom of the ment; and every clergyman or lay-
legislature, we once more put in a man who loves Christianity and the
word for England. The last twelve, church more than his own paltry
the last six, months have done the selfish interest will be willing to
work of half a century, so far as re- listen to any well-devised plan, first,
gards the perpetuity of the present for securing ecclesiastical property
system of tithe management; and on a solid and popular basis ; and
the mixed bands of dissent, infide- secondly, for allotting it with tole-
lity, radicalism, honest scruple, and rable fairness to all who have a just
sordid interest, are rapidly gathering claim upon it.
to the onset. Some of our public We earnestly wish that some cler-
men see this, and fear it; others gyman fully qualified for the task,
see it, and wish it; and a minority of would devote his mind to the whole
our bishops and clergy (a numerical of the details of a plan of adequate
minority we mean) are anxious to church-reform, such as might be-
meet the exigency: but others lin- come the basis of an act of parlia-
ger, from hope or hopelessness; from ment. Our prelates have little lei-
apprehension, from timidity, or from sure for so laborious an undertaking;
the unworthy feeling that " it will but many of them, we feel assured,
last my time ;” or “my vested in with not a few of the clergy, and
terests will not be invaded, and let most of the best disposed part of the
posterity take care of itself.” Thus laity, would gladly hail the result.
no adequate measure has been de- We know of no individual to whom
vised and acted upon with fortitude we should rather commit such an
and vigour; the church stands al- investigation than the much re-
most passive, to take what may fall spected Chancellor of Winchester.
of good or evil; and, instead of timely This excellent and judicious clergy-
preventing the collection of fuel, will man early distinguished himself at
be obliged, we fear, before long, to Cambridge by his scientific attain-
be content with snatching what it ments, and both there and at Hailey-
can out of the flames; just as at this bury, as a tutor, a professor, an
moment, in Ireland, we are gravely author, a friend, and a divine, he
told by very grave persons, that the was held in the highest esteem. As
church cannot hope to keep what it a parochial minister, he is still more
might have secured a few years ago; loved and valued ; and his extensive
that it must make the best bargain parish of Clapham has for years been
it can, and yield a little to pressing looked to by his clerical brethren as
circumstances,--that is to say, to a model for its schools, its charities,
organized robbery, bloodshed, and its harmonious vestries, the attention
rebellion, and be content if the paid to the sick and poor, and the
highwayman lays down his pistol whole detail of parochial arrange-
and throws back a respectable per- ment. Of his theological attain-
centage of the stolen property. But ments, and religious principles, his
Cassandra has done. It is not for publications, especially his sermons,
the value of the loaves and fishes are an ample guarantee. By his
that we are pleading; and many of gentle bearing he has conciliated
the warmest friends of the church friends in very different quarters ;
can testify that as individuals they and though the well-known and
have had little enough of its grossly tried advocate of our modern Bible,

missionary, and similar institutions, sary, is but a means to an end, and he has not lost the influence due to not, as many make it, the end his talents and exertions in the cause itself. The clergy should diligently of the older societies. How it has disabuse their parishioners, both by happened that the powerful claims their arguments and their conduct, of such a man, and the numerous of so fatal a notion. It is to little honourable suffrages of his country purpose that men profess to be memmen, have been so long overlooked bers of a church, whether established by the dispensers of mitres, it is not or unestablished, if their religion be for us to decide : one thing, however, but a name and form without the we know, that Dr. Dealtry is not power. We would follow up the areither a political priest or a clerical gument to the heart and conscience; merry-Andrew; and when all the wewould have the clergy address their samples of both these classes of parishioners privately, and from house divines are duly raised to the bench, to house upon it; as for instance :such men as Dr. Dealtry may come You admit that an established comin for a share of cabinet favour. munion is not unlawful or unAmong the changes of this mutable scriptural, and that the Church of world, we may some years hence England is a truly apostolical branch chance to have a government that of Christ's holy catholic church. But can spare both reform votes and this is little, and, as regards your Edinburgh-Review suffrages, and eternal welfare, nothing ; you must then from Chichester to St. Paul's remain in its fellowship : and to the way will be open to clergymen that end you must study its docof other schools than those which ap- trines, practise its precepts, and prove themselves to place-hunting or adorn its communion. For these place-retaining cabinets, of whatever doctrines and precepts are founded grade of politics. Worldly wise men on the authority of the word of God, are often the most short-sighted of to which alone the church refers as men, even in their own matters; her standard of faith and practice. they often, in hunting after popula. She exhibits to you matters of inrity, lose it where they might have finite importance. She tells you, had it on the cheap terms of doing from the Divine word, of your fallen what is right instead of what is and guilty condition as a sinner wrong. We say this whether as re- against God of your need of that gards the Tory and pseudo-high- Saviour who gave himself as a sacrichurch list of Lord Eldon and Arch. fice for the transgressions of the bishop Sutton, or the Whig and low- world, that whosoever believeth in church or no-church list of Earl him should not perish but have everGrey and Lord Brougham. What lasting life and of the renewing, our remarks have to do with Dr. enlightening, and purifying influ. Dealtry (to whom we owe an apo ences of his Holy Spirit. She exlogy for the casual juxta position), we hibits to you in the sacraments of cannotourselves clearly divine,except baptism and the Lord's supper-the that when we thought upon the history pledges of this love of God in Christ, of our church for the last quarter for your adoption into his familyof a century, and ran over in our your sanctification by his Spiritminds the names of many of those and the strengthening and comclergymen who have been publicly forting of your soul by the rememknown with honour or dishonour brance of his body broken and his in their generation, we followed out blood shed for the remission of your our reminiscences to certain res sins. She exhorts you to the readflections more true than pleasing. ing of the Scriptures; she affords you

But we must conclude, only again a manual of prayer and praise ; she repeating, that an established church, offers you pastoral instruction : in however useful, scriptural, or neces- short, what is there that can conduce

« AnteriorContinuar »