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accumulation of extravagant and illegal rates in parishes, and to let in very considerable abuses in the administration of the laws for the relief of the poor. For, however irregular, unequal, or partial a rate might be, in fact or in operation, the justices were, nevertheless, compelled by mandamus to allow, and sign it; the remedy of any party who felt himself aggrieved by the rate, was only by appeal to the Quarter Sessions. It is remarkable that no provision was made in the enactment of Elizabeth for giving public or formal notice to the parishioners of the allowance of the poor rates,--the first intimation which they had of their imposition, either collectively or individually, was suddenly when they were called upon by the collector to pay their respective proportions. The want of such publicity tended to facilitate the fraudulent practices of parish officers to such an extent, that, in the preamble to the act of 17 Geo. II., c. 3, which required public notice to be given of the allowance of every rate, it is recited that great “inconveniences arose by reason of the unlimited power of churchwardens and overseers of the poor, who frequently, on frivolous pretences, and for private ends, made unjust and illegal rates in a secret and clandestine manner.” To remedy such abuses, and to give greater publicity and notoriety to the parish of the proceedings of their officers, the 1st section of the 17 Geo. II., c. 2, directed that public notice should be given in the church" of all rates for the relief of the poor, on the Sunday next after they had been allowed by the justices. The courts construed this act strongly against the parish officers, and thereby co-operated with the legislature, in repressing a system of fraud and extensive extortion. The neglect, or omission, to give notice of the rates “in the church,' according to the statute, even although the rates had not been appealed against, was decided to be a radical and an incurable defect, which rendered them null and void, and their collection and payment, impracticable and illegal. (Rex v. Newcomb, 4 T. R. 368, and Sibbald v. Roderick, 11 Adol. & Ellis, 38).
At the commencement of the present reign, the publication of poorrates in churches, as prescribed by the 17 Geo. II., to be given, either during or after the performance of divine service, was expressly prohibited, and the 1 Vic., c. 45, directed that in lieu thereof, a written or printed notice should be affixed on or near to the doors of all churches and chapels within such parish or place; and such notice is to have all the legal authority and validity of the former mode and practice of publication. Since the passing of the Act of Victoria, questions, however, have arisen, as to what is to be considered a sufficient compliance with the requirements of this statute—what will, in fact, be a legal and valid publication for all purposes, and, as the decisions which have been given thereon are of great practical importance, it will be desirable here to notice them. In the case of Reg. v. Marriott,
wardens not having been sworn, and the justices refused to allow it on account of its not being signed by a majority of the parish officers, the court awarded a mandamus to the justices, compelling them to sign and allow the rate so made by the overseers, leaving the question as to the formality or validity of the rate open, if objectionable on that ground, to the determination of the Court of Quarter Session on appeal.
4 Per. & D. 440 ; 12 Adol. & Ellis, 779, it appeared that a parish had several districts in it, each having its own chapel, and separately maintaining its own poor, and altogether unconnected with each other for parish purposes, it was held, that notice on the chapel doors of that district alone for which the poor-rate was made, was sufficient. Lord Denman, C. J., there said—“The recent statute merely substitutes a written notice for the oral notice formerly required by 17 Geo. II., c. 3, to be given in the church. The notice is now to be affixed to the doors of all the churches and chapels within such parish or place. In the place in question, there is one church only, and notice has been given there." But, in a subsequent case of Reg. o. Whipp, 3 Gale & D. 372, the facts were, that there was a church or parochial chapel in a township, which was the only church where poor-rates had ever been published; there were also, in the same township, two other churches of the established church, which had been but recently built, and open for public devotions, and several dissenting places of worship. The court determined that the affixing notice of the rate on the doors of the first-named church or chapel only, was insufficient, and intimated that the rate ought to be quashed. Again, in Reg. v. Roys (1 Roys New Sess. Cases, 456), the most recent case that has been before the courts on this subject, Lord Denman threw out the following important observations: “ As to the publication of rates, it is not necessary,” said his lordship, “ to give a decision in this case; but I should be exceedingly unwilling to narrow the publicity to be given to them; I entertain a doubt whether, under the statute, every place of public worship is not intended. As I said before, it is not necessary to decide that point; but I throw this out to intimate to parish officers my opinion that the fullest means should be adopted to make the publication as general as the statute seems to require.” The opinion of Lord Denman, here cautiously expressed, would seem to be unquestionable, and in accordance with the meaning of the statute, and the general policy of the law.
The result of these authorities is, that the notice of a rate must be affixed on or near to the doors of every public place of worship, dissenting, or of the established church, within every parish or place, and that a rate which is not so published is invalid, and wholly unavail. able for any purpose.
2. Inspection of Poor-rates. In connexion with the preceding remarks, it may be useful to notice the statutory provisions which entitle parishioners to an inspection of all rates made for the relief of the poor. The earliest enactment on this subject came into operation contemporaneously with that which required the publication of these rates in the parish church, on the Sunday immediately succeeding their allowance by the magistrates. The object of the legislature in making these important alterations in the system of parochial taxation, was obviously to arm ratepayers with the means of protecting themselves against unjust and illegal rates, and of facilitating the remedy by appeal to the Court of
Quarter Sessions. The terms of the first provision, in relation to the present subject, are, by the second section of the 17 Geo. II., c. 3, as follows, " that the church wardens and overseers of the poor, or other persons authorized to take care of the poor, shall permit all and every the inbabitants of every parish, township, or place, to inspect every rate allowed, at all seasonable times, paying one shilling for the same, and shall, upon demand, forth with give copies of the same, or any part thereof, to any inhabitant of the said parish, township, or place, paying at the rate of sixpence for every twenty-four names." And to enforce the specific observance of these requirements, the neglect or refusal, on the part of parochial officers, to comply with the demand of an inhabitant or a parishioner, subjects them to a heavy pecuniary penalty. The third section says, that if these officers shall not permit any inhabitant or parishioner to inspect the rates, or shall refuse or neglect to give copies thereof, they shall for every such offence, forfeit to the party aggrieved, the sum of 201., which is recoverable by an action at law. The important right conferred upon parishioners by this enactment is two-fold,the right to inspect any original rate which has been made by the overseers and churchwardens, and confirmed by the allowance of the justices, and the right to be furnished with a copy of it; and, consequently, parish officers, who, through wilful negligence, or corrupt conduct, disclaim, deny, or delay a parishioner's title to either, are in the hazard of incurring a double penalty. The statute, in effect, creates two distinct offences. The conditions which are imposed upon an applicant when he desires to inspect a particular rate, are, that he should be an inhabitant of the rated parish ; that he should pay, or at least, tender, the necessary sum of money; and, lastly, that the demand should be made at a convenient hour of the day, and at a proper place; for this purpose, the officer's residence, and within the ordinary hours of business, would generally be most suitable and appropriate. So, when a parishioner applies for a copy of a rate, the overseer or churchwarden must have a reasonable and convenient time (for this is the legal meaning of the word “forthwith”) for preparing the copy. But if these preliminaries are not strictly fulfilled, the right of inspection is completely gone.
It was once, however, conceived that a parishioner could not sue for the penalty unless he had sustained a certain and specific injury by the act of the officers in improperly withholding the information which was sought, as, for instance, that he had been prevented from appealing against the rate which he applied to inspect, or a copy of which he wished to obtain. But this doctrine was soon repudiated, and it was properly held that a refusal to produce the rate upon a legal and regular demand, constituted the inhabitant "a party aggrieved," within the meaning of the act. “ An inhabitant has a right,” the court observed, " to see the rate in order to satisfy himself whether he has been fairly dealt with, and whether other parties are assessed at all, or to the full value, or whether he is overrated.” For some years, it was also considered necessary, for the substantiation of the right of inspection, that the person should be a rated inhabitant, but when the question came to be fully discussed, it was determined that the statute required no such qualification, and imposed no such limitation or restraint upon the exercise of this right. In Batchelor v. Hodges, 4 Adol. and E., 592, where this question arose, the late Mr. Justice Littledale said, “ The inhabitant may have an interest in seeing the rate, although not himself rated. He may desire to see whether he is rated or not, as there are some privileges connected with the being rated. The act of parliament says nothing about rated inhabitants.' We have no right, therefore, to say that it is necessary that he should appear to be such.”
Assistant-overseers * are generally liable to the penalty of the statute, if they are intrusted with the custody of the rates of the parish, and illegally refuse inspection. But it has been recently decided by the Court of Common Pleas that a church warden, or overseer, is not an inhabitant, or parishioner, within the 17 Geo. II. c. 3, so as to be entitled to sue his co-church warden, or overseer, for the penalty for refusing to permit him to inspect, or to give a copy of a rate. And the reasons of this are thus stated by the Lord Chief Justice Tindal, in Wethered v. Calcutt, 5 Scott, N. R. 409: “ It seems to me that the statute intended to give to the inhabitants a remedy against the parish officers, the word inhabitants' being used in contradistinction to churchwardens and overseers.' If they had done their duty, all the church wardens and overseers would have been present at the making of the rate; and the legislature never could have supposed that those whose duty it is to make a rate would require the aid of penalties to enforce a right to inspect, or to obtain a copy of it.”
The remaining provisions on the subject of inspection of parish rates, are the 17 Geo. II. c. 38, and 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 96. By the 13th section of the former act, which passed shortly after the 17 Geo. II. c. 3, church wardens and overseers are bound to keep a book wherein to enter attested copies of all rates and assessments made for the relief of the poor, which book is to be carefully preserved in some public place in the parish, whereto all persons assessed, or liable to be so, may freely resort. The 5th section of the latter statute enacts, that any person rated to the relief of the poor of the parish in respect of which any rate is made, may, at seasonable times, take copies, or extracts of the same, gratis. To entitle him to this privilege, however, it is obvious that he must be a rated inhabitant, which circumstance distinguishes this from the preceding enactments.
• Assistant-overseers are appointed under the 59th Geo. III. c. 12, Ø 17, which empowers inhabitants, in vestry assembled, by a resolution to nominate and elect any discreet person to be assistant-overseer of the poor, and the vestry is required to determine and specify the duties which the individual is to perform. This appointment is afterwards confirmed by the warrant of two magistrates, and if the person is appointed assistant-overseer generally, he has the authority, and is sub. ject to the liabilities of an ordinary overseer of the poor, in all respects, and in all matters connected with the parish.
MR. WARD AND HIS MARRIAGE.
To the Editor of the Times. SIR,-Several of the newspapers have occupied themselves of late with my private affairs, and theological comments, I am told, have in some instances been made upon the circumstance that I am engaged to be married. I have no wish to examine the question how far in these comments the liberty of the press has been carried beyond its due limits, because in truth I am glad of the opportunity, which could hardly otherwise have been afforded me, of making a short and simple statement of my views on the important theological subject. I am not unmindful of the grave evils which may be apprehended from making newspapers the vehicle of such controversy; but, on the other hand, a person who undertakes the responsibility of writing a work which treats on subjects of such extreme importance as those considered in the Ideal of a Christian Church, seems to lie under a positive obligation to take measures, so far as in him lies, that a cause which he considers inexpressibly important may not suffer detriment through a misapprehension which a few words from him might remove. Whereas, then, it appears that both friends and opponents have, in innumerable instances, conceived that there is some inconsistency between the sentiments contained in my work, and the announcement that has been recently made, I trust I shall not appear egotistical, or again unduly sensitive, if I beg your permission to lay before your readers the simple views which I have long entertained on the subject of religious celibacy.
First, I hold it most firmly as a truth, even of natural religion, that celibacy is a higher condition of life than marriage.
Secondly, I most fully believe that vows of celibacy, when duly taken, are perpetually obligatory; and
Thirdly, I incline most strongly to the opinion, that under a really effective church system, the priests would be, if possible, wholly selected from those who have taken such vows.
On the other hand, it appears to me of the utmost importance to remember, that in cases where no vocation is felt for a life of celibacy, he who leads such a life forfeits a great spiritual blessing; and he who makes a resolution, much more a vow, to lead such a life, involves himself in a fearful snare. hardly fancy a much more serious evil than that the Catholic doctrine on " counsels of perfection" should be revived, while the correlative Catholic doctrine on
“ vocation" remains dormant; and any one incurs a most serious and grave responsibility, who swells a current of public opinion which should tend to deter from marriage those who have not had the opportunity of carefully considering in which direction their real call lies. These have been very long my opinions, and more than one of
friends remember my having, from time to time, expressed them. How any one can imagine that I have ever professed any vocation to a high and ascetic life, I am utterly at a loss to conceive. At the very outset of my work, I mention that my dissatisfaction with the English system arises from the absence” in it “ of such helps as may support an erring and sinful mind in the most ordinary path of salvation," (p. 8,) and speak of myself as having power in understanding and sympathizing with moral goodness than would be given by acting for a single day, with reasonable constancy, in disregard of other inclinations, and with a single eye to duty,” (p.5:) while in the preface I most earnestly draw the attention of my readers to these disclaimers, (p. iii.) I suppose persons consider these to have been merely graceful expressions of humility at starting, just as some, with the kindest intentions, have represented me as not fully realizing the various severe expressions which are to be found in my work. But I am really in the habit of saying what I mean, whether I speak of the “deep and burning hatred" which I feel towards the English reformation, or of the very unfavourable light in which I regard my own moral attainments.