Page images

question like the present. The resident send them to Canada and other places members of the University might have had abroad. This power of imposing an inlittle experience in the inconvenience com- crease of tithe on improvement amounted plained of; but it ought to be recollected, to an actual discouragement to such culthat the institutions to which they belong-tivation, and a prohibition on the employ ed were supported by tithes; that livingsment of the people. Now, this was a were attached to every college, to which purpose for which tithes were not intend the fellows were preferred in rotation ; ed ; and considering that their institution and that they who were thus preferred, took place in barbarous times, they should being in constant communication with continue to be strictly imposed as in those those they left behind, were not very likely times, but should be modified according to keep the knowledge of these incon- to the alterations and advances made in veniences to themselves, or to be less society. It was well known that Mr. Pitt sensible of them than others. Nothing had intended to introduce a measure, and could be more improbable, than that they indeed had even prepared a bill for the would conceal from their friends, who were purpose of converting church property into still resident in the University, inconve- three per cent stock, and paying the clergy niences of so serious a nature as these out of that fund, instead of their being were represented to be; and he did paid in the present way. An improved therefore think that the members of the mode of paying the clergy would prevent University of Oxford were not incompetent the irritation that was now kept up beto arrive at a just opinion upon this sub- tween them and their parishioners. There ject. The objection to this measure was, should be some relaxation of the ancient that it put the power of alienating property mode of imposing and levying tithes, more into the hands of a tenant for life. He especially now that the church was divided was favourable to a temporary and experi- into so many sects.

It would be better, mental, rather than a permanent measure, therefore, to adopt some permanent and and should suggest that the bill should conciliatory mode of payment. The hon. be tried in the first place, for a period of member then referred to the state of the twenty-one years.

church in France, where the whole exMr. Humé said, it had been asked by penses of maintaining it did not exceed a the right hon. Secretary, what would be million, chargeable on the nation. He the state of the Established Church now, hoped that a permanent measure would be if the stipends of the clergy had been adopted, to relieve the country from the fixed two centuries ago? He would answer evils of the present tithe system ; and he this question by a reference to the Church was convinced that fifty years hence, the of Scotland, where a settlement for the clergy would be more respected, and the payment of a fixed stipend to the clergy people more satisfied, than they were at had been introduced two centuries ago. present. There the clergy were nevertheless respect

Colonel Wood denied that the exaction ed, and in the enjoyment of moderate of tithes had been any bar to the cultivaaffluence, although they had not the power tion of waste lands in Ergland, for no which the clergy in this country exercised such lands could be enclosed without acts of imposing tithes on every acre of waste of parliament; and in all the acts passed land that was brought into cultivation. of late years, the tithe had been commuted. The people were contented and happy; He hoped that the temporary course would they paid cheerfully an ascertained sum, be acquiesced in, as the measure was and were not brought into the unpleasant likely to be highly beneficial to the councollision with the clergy which pre-try, and would fall to the ground if the vailed in this country. The evil of the original plan was inflexibly adhered to. tithe system in this country was, that tithe Mr. Baring said, it never was the feelwas not chargeable on the soil only, but ing of that House to propose any bill that on every improvement which might be would have for its object any advantage made upon it. This was a tax upon over the church; but it was a principle capital as well as land. It operated, be- felt throughout the country that some arsides, to prevent persons from bringing rangement should be made to prevent, if waste lands into cultivation, which would possible, the perpetual wranglings between give employment to the people, and super- the clergy and their parishioners. The sede the necessity of concerting plans to right hon. gentleman did not recommend the course which he proposed as from principle of the bill as it then stood. himself, but on the suggestion, and agree. There were two conditions indispensable ably to the wishes, of the University of to the adoption of a permanent commutaOxford. Now, with due deference to that tion, the one, that the commissioners learned body, the subject was one on should be warranted to strike the amount which the members of that House were as with reference to an estimate not only of well informed as they were. As the House, what the value of the land was, but on therefore, understood the subject, there what it might become by improvement on was no need of their being dictated to by the one hand, or by deterioration on the the University of Oxford. He did not other; the other, the establishment of concur in the remark, that the effect of the some security that the fund out of which proposed plan of commutation would be, the annual payments were to be made, in almost all cases, to diminish the amount should be always commensurate to those paid by the parishioners to the clergyman. payments. If the commutation were made For instance, where a clergyman, either for land, or (according to the proposition from liberality or leniency, received con- of the hon. member for Montrose) for a siderably less than he was entitled to if he sum in the Stocks, a security would be had received all the tithes, by the pro- obtained : but, according to the present posed commutation, he would receive more bill, a permanent and constant payment than he now did, as the tithes would be was to be made chargeable on a variable appraised by sworn valuators, and the fund. The only exemption to the perparishioners would be bound to an agree- petual character of the bill was when waste ment which would make them pay more lands were brought into cultivation. Bethan was now exacted from them. The sides that there were other modes by which great desideratum of the present tithe titheable property might be increased in system was the want of a fixed modus. He value, with a correspondent increase approved of adopting the average price of to the clergyman; but there was no such corn as a modus. It furnished the material proposition with reference to a decrease in subsistence of the people, and was there the value of titheable property. The tithes fore a standard, perhaps better than any might therefore be increased, but could not other, to remedy the inconvenience arising be diminished. Suppose the present bill from fluctuations in the value of money. had passed in 1814-titheable property

Mr. R. Grant approved of the instruc- was at that period worth twice what it was tion to the committee proposed by the worth in 1790. It had been decreasing right hon. gentleman. It was expedient, in value ever since; so that under such in his opinion, to limit the duration of any circumstances a great and unjust burthen agreement; otherwise the measure would would have been thrown on the land. It be an injustice both to the clergy and the had been said, that the principle of the parishioners, and, of the two, he doubted present bill had been found to succeed in if the injustice would not be greater to the individual measures; but it should be reparishioners. The Tithe Commutation bill collected, that those measures had underin Ireland, corresponding to the measure gone examination by committees above now before the House, had been attended stairs. He could not, in any view of it, with great advantage to that country, and assent to the principle of the measure behe anticipated the same benefit from the fore the House, except in connexion with present one. There was such difference the proposed instructions to the comonly between the two measures as was mittee. rendered expedient by the difference in Sir J. Newport rose principally to guard the situations of the two countries. The the House from conceiving that what hon. member expressed his concurrence in might be applicable to the state of Ireland the adoption of the average price of corn on this subject was, ex necessitate rei, as the modus for regulating the tithe in applicable to the state of England. The this country. He could have no objection term of twenty-one years had been acceptto a more comprehensive measure which ed by the friends of commutation in Iremight pour a healing balm on the ani- land, because they could not otherwise mosities that too frequently existed between hope to carry the measure into effect. The a clergyman and his parishioners. But population on which the measures were to he thought it impossible that they could act, was also quite different in character. adopt a permanent commutation on the Whatever system might be adopted with reference to this country, he hoped that wished to draw their attention to a subject the enormous power which had been vested which was well worthy of it. He had to preby the Irish act in the Irish bishops would sent a petition from a clergyman who had not be vested by the English act in the been officiating in the colonies of North English bishops. It had happened not America, against any further grant of pubunfrequently in Ireland, that where the lic money to the Society incorporated for incumbent and his parishioners had been the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign disposed to agree to a computation, the parts. The petitioner objected to any bishop had quashed the agreement, on the further grant, on the ground of the ineffiground that the incumbent had not made cacy of that society, of the ignorance of a bargain sufficiently good for himself. the persons who directed the distribution

Sir M. W. Ridley recommended to the of its funds, and likewise upon the grounds hon. member who introduced this bill to of the existence of considerable abuse in adopt the amendment of the right hon. the distribution of those funds. He begentleman. As to the machinery of the lieved the petitioner to be a person against bill itself, he thought that unless it was whose moral character nothing could be made more advantageous to the payers, urged. The petitioner stated, that an offer the bill would be altogether inoperative. of 501., and after of 1001., had been made At the same time he agreed that it would to him by a person from the society, to be better to have this bill with the pro- induce him not to bring the subject forposed limitation than none at all.

ward. The Society for the Propagation of Mr. Secretary Peel wished to make a the Gospel was incorporated in 1701, and few observations. The hon, member for had existed for more than a century, Newcastle had expressed his apprehension, upon voluntary subscriptions and donathat if the bill was passed as it stood, the tions. In 1813 or 1814 first began grants provisions of it would seldom be carried of money from the public to the society. into execution. That was precisely what From that time they had gone on gradually he (Mr. Peel) wished to avoid. He increasing, until they had reached the sum wished to have a bill that should frequent- of 16,1801., as appeared from the estily be acted on, because it was founded on mates of the present year. He had reason the principles of justice. The hon. mem- to think, too, that the society now called ber for Callington had said, that the for a good deal more, from the report House ought not to allow themselves to be which they had published, and from the dictated to by a University. Now, no- last sermon which had been preached on thing had fallen from him which rendered its account. The society had found out such an observation necessary. It was his that government was a good milch cow. duty to state to the House any opinion Their lordships had all heard of this sowhich might be entertained by his consti- ciety; but very few knew the purposes

for tuents. The hon. member would no which it was originally formed. The obdoubt act in the same way by his constitu- ject of it at the time it was first incorpoents; and he really did not know what rated was to form a society for the purpose there was in the University of Oxford to of providing learned and orthodox clergydisentitle it to be heard in that House by men for the administration of God's word its representative. On the contrary, if and sacraments in the North American any body was entitled to be heard with colonies, where, for the lack of spirit, the favour it was the clergy, when the sub- king's subjects were abandoned to infidelity, ject under consideration related to the in- atheism, popery, superstition, and idolatry: terests of the church.

In those colonies, the great majority of The House divided : For the instruc- the inhabitants were not of the church of tion to the committee 81. Against it 29. England, but Presbyterians, Baptists, and Majority 52.

other persuasions, yet the funds of the so

ciety derived from the public were solely HOUSE OF LORDS.

devoted to the maintenance of church of

England clergymen. The society stated Tuesday, March 18.

their object to be the maintenance of learnSociety FOR THE PROPAGATION OF ed and orthodox clergymen. Did they the Gospel.] Lord King said, it was then mean to say that Presbyterians were with great satisfaction that he saw so not orthodox? The government had, howlarge an assembly of reverend prelates, as he ever, given salaries to Presbyterians, yet the society confined their funds strictly to these professors also received from the the maintenance of clergymen of the church Society for the Propagation of the Gosof England, in those colonies where the pel, 2001. yearly. Now, he did not think majority of the inhabitants were not of that that that was a proper distribution of the persuasion. This he asserted, was not a funds of the society. He could not see, fair distribution of the funds. Was it pro- if a person received a salary as a proper that money should be taken from the fessor of divinity, what need there was to public for the maintenance of an establish- give him 2001. besides as a missionary. ment which did not suit the population of There were also one or two instances of the country?—Having stated the original archdeacons getting 2001. from the society objects for which the society had been as missionaries.--He now came to the class formed, he would call to their lordships' of non-residents. Bishop Stanser, not recollection one material alteration which finding it convenient to stay in America, had taken place since its institution. In came to reside in England, and received 1792 or 1793, when the bill for settling from the funds of the society a pension of Canada passed the parliament, one-tenth 1,0001. Four missionaries who resided in part of the lands were set apart for the England were also receiving a pension maintenance of the Protestant clergy. from the society; and the missionary sent An attempt had lately been made ex- to Quebec lived in Prince of Wales's Isclusively to appropriate that grant to land, which was eight hundred miles disthe benefit of the episcopal clergy. tant from Quebee, and received a salary That attempt had been resisted, and he of 2001. a-year. In looking over the rehoped successfully; for a more narrow in- port printed by the society, he found that terpretation could not be given to that there were forty missionaries in Canada relaw, than by appropriating exclusively to ceiving each 2001. yearly. The greater the church of England that which was part of these salaries were paid out of given for the maintenance of the Protes- taxes collected from the people in Engtant clergy of all denominations, whether land. There were twelve missionaries, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, or any each with 1001. a-year, and also four other persuasion. The church of England schoolmasters there, who only received saestablishment, he was sorry to say, when laries from 151. to 201., though they carried out across the Atlantic, exported were quite as useful, he thought, as miswith it the original sins which beset it in sionaries. Their lordships should rememthis country; namely, a useless expense, ber, too, that the people of England were pluralities, and non-residence, In the paying for the maintenance of the clergy, colony of Nova Scotia one clergyman was in a country where one-tenth part of archdeacon of the rectory of St. Paul's the whole lands were set apart for that with an income of 8001. per annum, eccle- very purpose; but the clergy were not siastical commissioner, with a salary of satisfied with that provision, but were call3001, per annum, and he received from ing out for further grants. That provision the Society for the Propagation of the Gos- for their maintenance had been first made pel, 2001. yearly, as a missionary. That in the year 1813, under a noble lord who was what he called being a pluralist; and was much interested in the colonies, in the this person was the proto-pluralist of the times of profusion, extravagance, and Mr. North American colonies. The first per- Vansittart, who made a very bad chancelson who united in his person those three lor of the Exchequer. In looking at the offices was bishop Inglis, bishop of Nova / estimates of the present year, he found Scotia, who, he thought, resembled very that government gave salaries of 701. to much a certain minister of state in this two ministers, to a minister of the church country, who some years ago united in his of Scotland, 501. ; to another, 1001. ; and person the offices of the President of the to the lord chief justice, 8501. In comBoard of Control, the Treasurer of the paring the salaries paid by government to Navy, and Keeper of the Privy Seal of those clergymen, with the salaries granted Scotland. Bishop Inglis might very pro- by the society, he found a great disproperly be described as the ecclesiastical portion. He therefore asserted that the Dundas of the colonies. To return to the controllers of the funds of the society were subject of the ultra-pluralists. There were most unprofitable stewards. He would three professors of divinity in the colonies, advise the right rev. prelates, if they did with a salary of 8001. a-year. Each of not credit his statement, to turn to the noble duke, the first lord of the Treasury, quired, if he were to judge from the reand ask him what he paid for the minis- port of the society, and the sermon preached ters of the church of England and Scot- by Dr. Philpotts. The petitioner was a land in the colonies. When the noble duke clergyman of the church of England, informed them that he paid 701. to those who had gone out to Nova Scotia, and ministers, while the stowards of the so- had been transferred from place to place, ciety's fund wrote down 2001, and 3001., with great inconvenience to himself, and they would be convinced that those stew- from being a witness to the abuses in the ards were verily and indeed wise in their management of the society's funds, he was generation,—He would now draw their prepared to prove that more injury than lordships' attention to the expenses of this benefit to the objects of the society was society at home. He found in the re- the result. The petitioner stated, that the port, that the total income of the society trustees were grossly imposed upon by amounted to 28,000l.; and their lordships artful representations, His lordship then would be surprised to hear what propor- mentioned several instances of reports tion of that sum was appropriated to the having been made of new churches being management of the society's affairs. No built, and congregations attending in them, less a sum than 1,9601. was applied to in consequence of which salaries were that purpose. The different items of that given to missionaries to perform religious expense were for officers’ salaries, about duties; which reports were in the end 7601. ; for taxes, 211.; for printing and found to be false, the new churches, in binding the anniversary sermon and report, many cases, being nothing more than 6661.; expenses attending the public meet- empty shells, without boards or coverings. ing, 701. ; committee and other expenses, He stated, that the established religion, about 245l. ; making in the whole nearly instead of increasing was losing ground, 2,0001. He did not believe that govern- and public money was granted for the purment had ever, in the most extravagant pose of paying missionaries to persuade times, expended the same proportion of the people of Lower Canada, where the its income for paying the expenses of the Roman Catholic was the established readministration. If the society were only ligion, to reject the errors of Popery—thus expending their own money, they might maintaining a war against the established do as they pleased; but it was quite an- religion of the country. His lordship other matter when they called upon the then presented the petition, which was public to pay the sum which they required. signed by Cornelius Griffin. It might perhaps be told him, that the The Bishop of London said, that the pepetitioner was extremely troublesome, and tition was incorrect in many particulars, and that it was very difficult to find any one a spirit of misrepresentation pervaded it to agree with him. The petitioner had, how-throughout. He must say, that the great misever, explained to him the reason of that fortune of the society was, that it had been difficulty. By a general rule of the society, chosen by the government to be the means the missionaries were directed to send of conveying aid to the clergy of the eshome a report of the exact state of affairs tablished church in America. It was in in the places to which they were sent-1813, that the government had first given to state where they found no churches, pecuniary assistance through the society. nor congregations, and always to report the The noble lord might imagine that 701. truth. The petitioner followed the direc-a-year was enough for a clergyman of the tion, but was informed by bishop Inglis, church of England, but he did not think that he must not do so, as the society did 2001. a-year more than enough, when he not like to hear unfavourable accounts. considered how dear many of the necessaThe bishop who thus put himself forth as ries of life were in that country. The gothe keeper of the conscience of the society vernment had applied to the society to be was the proto-pluralist, he had spoken of the channel of conveying assistance to the The petition stated, that in the space of ministers of our church in America; and fourteen years the society had received he could assure the noble lord, that no 131,81 21.' drawn from taxes imposed on individual belonging to the society derived the people, and 43,0001. collected under either emolument or patronage from the the king's authority, making a total, ex- circumstance. Nor did the society obelusive of voluntary contributions, oftain by it any influence, it only relieved 174,8121. Still, more money was re- I the government from the charge of pro

« PreviousContinue »