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have attended to these interests (not episcopal) which appear to have been so completely overlooked,* and they would have screened the Commission from the charges of injustice and partiality, which are now so generally brought against them. There can be no charm in the name of a bishop: the man who was a curate yesterday, is a bishop to-day. There are many prebendaries, many rectors, many vicars, who would have come to the reform of the Church with as much integrity, wisdom, and vigour, as any bishop on the bench; and, I believe, with a much stronger resolution that all the orders of the Church were not to be sacrificedto the highest; and that to make their work respectable and lasting, it should in all, even its minutest provisions, be grounded upon justice. . . Why could not one or two such menf have been added to the Commission, and a general impression been created that Government in this momentous change had a parental feeling for all
Having now briefly seen how this Commission is constituted, of whom it consists, who are its nominal, and who are its vigilant and alert members, having also seen that all the clergy of whatsoever rank are excluded from a newly constituted body in the Church, possessing immense powers over them, we will give, from Mr. Benson's words, some idea of the extent of this power, before we proceed to examine how it is likely to be used: and if, after perusing this, the creators of this monstrous form do not start, like Frankenstein, at the being which they have endowed with their unhallowed vitality, we shall only conceive them further gone in delusion than we expected.
orders of men whose interests might be affected by it?—A ministry may laugh at this, and think if they cultivate the bishops, that they may treat the other orders of the Church with contempt and neglect. But I say, that to create a general impression of justice, if it be not what common honesty requires from any ministry, is what common sense points out to them. It is strength and duration; it is the onlypower which is worth having; in the struggle of parties it gives victory, and is remembered, and goes down to other times. A mixture of different orders of the clergy in the Commission, would have at least secured a decent attention to the representations of all ;% for of seven communications made to the Commission by cathedrals, and involving very serious representations respecting high interests, six were totally disregarded, and the receipt of the papers not even acknowledged.'.'"
"The Act not only authorises the commissioners to make an entirely new arrangement of the dioceses according to the proposed boundaries, but to introduce at their discretion such variations in the proposed boundaries as they may think advisable. It gives them power to determine the mode of confirming the acts of certain Bishops who are named. It enables them to apportion fees and make compensation for officers who may be prejudiced by the proposed alterations. It tells them to arrange, alter, apportion, and exchange the Episcopal patronage.— It gives them a demand upon the incomes
of the richer sees; a demand, the extent of which the commissioners themselves, within certain limits, are to fix, for the augmentation of the poorer sees. It commands the Bishops to make periodical returns of their revenues, in order that the scale of payments may be revised according to the commissioners' judgment—and that judgment is allowed to extend to the transfer of real estates. It empowers them to provide fit residences for certain Bishops, and for that purpose to buy, sell, exchange, or borrow money upon houses or lands belonging to certain sees. They may create archdeaconries,
• "There are very few men in either house of Parliament (ministers or any one else) who ever think of the happiness and comfort of the working clergy, or bestow one thought upon guarding them from the increased and increasing power of theirencroaching masters. What is called taking care of the Church, is taking care of the bishops."—S. Smith, p. 46.
t As the Rev. Mr. Jones, the commissioner appointed to watch over the interests of the Church in the Commutation of Tithes.
J Some mistakes made for wantof this local knowledge, which acting parish ministers could have given, will be mentioned in our next number.
regulate their jurisdictions, and pass over parishes like purses from hand to hand. Again, the commissioners may appoint, remove, and remunerate officers of various descriptions; and remunerate them, I apprehend, they ultimately must, out of the ecclesiastical funds submitted to their control:—for it is hardly to be expected that Parliament would long, if ever, con. sent to burden the general revenue for the purpose of remodelling the Church, by taxes raised from Dissenters as well as Churchmen, when any other source can be found from which the expenses may be drawn. Lastly, it is lawful for them to require the attendance of any person, no matter what, who, or where he may be, and to detain and examine him upon oath \f they please. They may makeany inquiries, call for any answers or returns, and also cause to be produced before them upon oath, all statutes, charters, grants,
rules, regulations, bye-laws, books, deeds, accounts, writings, whatsoever in anywise relating to any matter within their cognizance. This is a tremendous power of disturbing, and harassing, and prying into the most secret transactions and the most sacred deposits of men and bodies. It is given without one single word being said of any compensation being made to those whose time and domestic happiness is broken in upon, or who, whilst attending on the Board, are obliged to leave duties neglected, or to pay for their fulfilment by others. It is given without a syllable of any regard being made to the scruples of such as conceive, that by their previous oath taken under the statutes of the founder of their body, or the giver of their estates, they are bound in honour or in conscience to decline compliance in any case, with the requirements of this despotic Board."
Surely, a statement advanced with such just indignation, consequent on a sense of the injurious principles on which this Commission is founded and is acting, cannot be neglected or passed over in silence, as the petitions from the Cathedrals were. We sincerely hope, that Mr. Benson's signal of alarm will awaken and arouse the whole body of the Clergy to a strong and general remonstrance. Now let us listen to the results to which the powers bestowed may necessarily lead.
"I feel, my Lord, that this detail of the provisions of the Act is tedious; but I fear that it is fatally instructive. For what possible interference with Ecclesiastical persons and property can the Parliament hereafter propose, for which they may not find a precedent in the conduct of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners themselves? Is it thought fit to reduce two dioceses into one? The Commissioners have sanctioned not only the power but the right of the Legislature to effect it, and they have said nothing which should make it necessary at the same time to create a new one. Is it deemed expedient to revise, alter, and reduce the scale of payments to the said Bishops? Parliament may do it for its own purposes, for the Commissioners have required them to do it for theirs. Do they wish to remove a Bishop from his habitation,* or traverse some of his real estates? What should hinder them from performing at their own will, what for the will of the Commissioners theyhave already agreed to? And what should hinder them from
continually requiring all sorts of returns of property, its value, its title deeds, its securities? What makes it more tyrannical in them than in the Commissioners, to call for them from every corner of the land and examine them as they please, and as long as they please, and say not in the beginning a word about not violating their consciences or criminating themselves, and drop not a hint at the conclusion, about their losses or their compensation? The Church Commissioners have taught the principle, by giving to Parliament the occasion of intermeddling with Ecclesiastical property in the most extensive degree, and searching into it in the most inquisitorial manner. They have by their example instructed the Legislature to change, buy, sell, tax, borrow money upon the possessions of the Church and set up a board, and a secretary, and clerks, and officers, for the purpose, and pay them, as it would seem probable, out of the very possessions which are to be so deranged. That is, the Commissioners have led the way for the love of patronage
* The Bishop of Rochester is (o be removed from his pleasant palace at Bromley, and his agreeable neighbourhood, sorely against his will, to be set down by the Commissioners somewhere in the new paradise they have found for him—in the hundreds of Essex, where he may exclaim—nos dulcia linquimus arva, &c.
to exercise itself, and shown how the Henceforth, every Bishop must plead his
newly created institutions may be paid right to what he retains, or receives as
without appealing to the public, which is the revenues of his office, not upon whatwisely not willing of itself to pay for such his predecessor for time immemorial had
things. They have, in fact, destroyed one by an ancient custom held as their sacred
of the best securities for the permanency of portion, but upon a statute of yesterday.
Ecclesiastical property; the undisturbed The statute of William IV. chap. 77, is
antiquity of its title, and the long pre- now the basis of their possessions, abasia
scription it has enjoyed. They have placed which the hands that placed in the past
it, at least the Episcopal possessions, year, may in the very next disturb or
upon a purely Parliamentary production, remove."
We think enough has been now said, to prove the very unconstitutional nature of this self-existing, never-ending, and all-powerful Commission, and the most injurious alterations it has already produced in the nature and tenure of Ecclesiastical property. It has made the Bishops stipendiaries, like the police magistrates: and a docket will be issued from the treasury for the future salary of William Howley, commonly called Archbishop of Canterbury: it has altered their spiritual and temporal estates; and following the French revolutionary system, changed the old Provinces into new departments, without any benefit that we can see, or any desire expressed by the public for such changes. It has also new modelled, and with two or three exceptions, and these to a very trifling amount, it has increased the income of the Bishops, and augmented the poorer sees from what was deemed the superfluity of the rich. Now this may look very well in figures, and appear most satisfactory on paper; but we think a more unfortunate or unwise arrangement was never made, nor one which could be more generally unpopular. It was perfectly well known to the Commissioners that the dioceses of those wealthier bishoprics abounded with livings that could hardly remunerate the humblest curate: with dilapidated vicarages, houseless, homeless, glebcless rectories, and with means insufficient to supply spiritual instruction to the people. We know too, that people do not like to see their money go away to a distance from them ; but are vastly more contented, or rather, the unpleasing act of paying is more alleviated and softened by the belief that what is taken from them is spent near home, and may return to them in a more immediate circulation. At any rate, they do not like to see it carried beyond the limits and boundaries to which they belong.—Would it not, therefore, have in every respect been more wise, and an act more popular, and would it not have met the more urgent necessities first, to have appropriated this Episcopal superfluity to the relief of the miserable and destitute clergy, to the purchase of houses and glebes, and to the instruction of the poor in their own diocese, than to spread it over distant channels, and appropriate it to purposes rather of convenience than of necessity. It would have been better to have strengthened and widened the basis of the Ecclesiastical structure, than to have built up new pinnacles, or given the old irregular Gothic structures a more compact and regular formation. The most popular landlord is he who lives among his tenants, and spends his rents in the neighbourhood of his estate: and we cannot imagine that this new destination of the Episcopal revenues will pass without much discontent, or opposition; but putting that objection aside, supposing that the Bishop of Exeter may receive a draft on the Durham bank for two thousand pounds, which without inconvenience may be cashed at the Dock, still the greater good is sacrificed to the lesser.—What did the country wish for when they raised the cry of Church Reform ?—we mean that part which consisted of religious people, and attached to the Church. What was their complaint? and what part of the Church did they wish to see improved and made more useful?
Did the people care one farthing for the shape of the Bishops' dioceses, or the site of their palaces? did they mean by reform an increased Episcopal income, or two palaces instead of one? Assuredly not—not one iota of such thoughts ever crossed their minds. Some, indeed, considered the Bishops too wealthy ;—some thought there was too great a disproportion between them and the clergy: some thought that this disproportion led naturally to the distance between the Bishops and the clergy, and the degree of reserve or repulsiveness with which they were treated,* and which is never seen in any profession but the Church. They thought, and justly, that there could not be a true friendly and Christian community of feeling between a nobleman, with a palace and ten thousand a-year, with chaplains, and his coach and four, and his liveried menials; and a poor Norfolk vicar with six dirty children, an old Concordance, a breeding wife, and not sixpence in his pocket. The thing is contra naturam: it could not exist. In one thing they all agreed, that one part of Church reform was a larger appropriation of income to the working and parochial clergy; and a better provision for the smaller livings. They grieved to see the clergy of a Church established and recognised as part of the constitution of the wealthiest kingdom in Europe, paid far less than the Dissenters pay their ministers, and far less than will afford even the most frugal and decent maintenance: in many cases, less than would be the interest of the money spent in their education. Now, this they expected, as far as was possible, to see rectified: they considered this as one of the evils most importunately crying out for removal; and this, both for the sake of the clergy and the people. Now this Commission has sat for some time; it has been very busy, and made several reports,—it has enriched the Bishops, new modelled the dioceses, and made other innovations which we shall reserve for our consideration next month, having entirely confined ourselves now with the Commission as applying to the Episcopal bench, but has it done one single thing for the relief of the distressed and poorer clergy? or has it in any way satisfied the nation with its first steps in the reform which it undertook to model and execute? We believe, on the other hand, that there is a wide-spread feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction: a feeling strong, not only in the laity, but among the clergy, extending from the Bishops downwards to the curate. It has meddled and interfered with matters beyond all fair and reasonable jurisdiction; it has made alterations and innovations more violent than were at all required; it has demanded and acquired power which cannot be constitutionally granted to it. It has concentrated that power in a manner that may be, as we shall hereafter show, most dangerous to the Church and prejudicial to individuals. It has bestowed on the higher orders what should have been given to the lower. It has made regulations so severe and unjust against the body of the clergy, that they could not be allowed to pass into law. f It has made the most violent innovations
* " I have seen clergymen," said Mr. S. Smith, "treated by Bishops with a violence and contempt, that the lowest servants in the Bishop's establishment would not have endured for a single moment."
t We allude to the proposition of trying a clergyman by a jury of other clergymen iclected by the Bithop.
The commissioners say, that to give increased efficacy to the Established Church, on the constitution of the Ecclesiastical body, without ever admitting them into their councils, or applying for their advice. We shall next enable our readers to judge in what manner the Commission has acted towards the cathedrals, and the dignified clergy in the grade just below them, and we shall see the wisdom and knowledge they have displayed in some miscellaneous circumstances of no little importance to themselves and the public.
(To be continued.)
JOHNSONIANA. Murray, 1836. 8vo. Oiic fV To) /xfyaXt;) To (V, ciXXa eV T(j) tv To fit'ya.—(Stjlvani Urbani Dictum.J
WE were agreeably interrupted in our review of Boswell's Life of Johnson, by a present of the volume mentioned above, to which we shall give our present attention. It is illustrated by many portraits of persons and views of places connected with Johnson's history, and is opened by a view of the great Philosopher himself, striding along with one arm elevated, and the other grasping his oaken sceptre, evidently spouting as he goes—
'Let observation with extensive view,' &c. His dress is most congenial to his person,
The grizzle grace
Mrs. Piozzi's portrait is very pleasing, her eyes showing her talent, and her mouth her temper. Flora Macdonald looks like a heroine, with no lath and plaster about her, as in Kitty Clive's house at Twickenham. But who is that Bum-bailiff, or sheriff's officer, standing at the steps of Bolt-court in pantaloons, unknown in Johnson's days? And why are two jack asses drawn opposite to G. Steevens's house at Hampstead? Was he one of the "ordo asinorum" described by Cyprian Apol. Reform, cap. vii., or did he belong to that noble Italian family of the Asinelli? We miss very much the portraits of the publisher and editor of this volume, while we have Boswell's ' vultus porcinus' iterated to satiety.
P. 71. "Nothing more certainly offended Mr. Johnson than the idea of a man's faculties (mental ones, I mean) decaying by time. *' It is not true, Sir, would he say,' " &c. We have several books (as that by Baillet, and one that was Jcr. Markland's,—Jo. Klefekeri Bibliotheca Eruditorura Prtecocium, 1717) which give account of Intellect precociously displayed, as
they should attempt the accomplishment of two objects indispensable to the attainment of that end.—One is, to improve the condition of those benefices whose population is of considerable amount, but which are so scantily endowed as not to yield a competent maintenance for aclergyman.—Good.—How have they advanced in this object? and how does the new Church-rate Bill promote this desirable measure? or how came the new scale of Bishops' incomes to be arranged and passed into law, before a fund was secured for the working clergy; which fund has now dwindled to a metaphysical possibility,—a kind of volatile essence too subtile to retain.