« AnteriorContinuar »
WITH ANSWERS TO QUERIES
ED IN SCOTLAND BY A MEMBER OF
parison with every conqueror, except the tythe-holder, whether he is an ec-
per- But though in the division of coma son guilty of an equal proportion of mon waste land, where in every case mischief.
a particular act of the legislature is required to sanction the measure, a compensation for tythe may be easily adjusted, it seems quite impracticable
to make any arrangement which can TYTHES; free the land held in severalty from
that burden, unless the legislature is THAT SUBJECT, LATELY CIRCULAT- pleased to pass a general act, which
can apply to the whole kingdom. Why a measure of such importance has been
so long neglected is not easily accounted MR EDITOR,
for; though it is quite plain that the The payment of tythes to ecclesiasti
country cannot beimproved to the height cal persons, and for charitable pur- of which it is capable before such an poses, was a burden long severely felt act is passed. A tythe of 10 per cent. by almost every nation in Europe. upon produce, though apparently an Whilst this ancient tax was levied in equal tax, is in fact the most unequal kind, that is, in a certain share of the burden that can be imposed. It might produce of land, it was evidently attend- easily be shown, were this the proper ed with numerous inconveniences both
place, that a tenth of the produce of to the payer and the receiver. Hence inferior soils falls as heavy upon the a commutation of this burden into a occupier as if three-tenths were exactmoney payment has taken place, upon ed from soils of a different description ; one principle
or other, in almost every that is, when the disposeable produce country of Europe ; and except in from each is fairly estimated. England, and perhaps in Spain and I have some reasons for believing, Portugal, the tax is not now levied ac- that circumstances, such as these mencording to the principles upon which tioned, are now operating amongst our it was originally established.
southern neighbours, and that a strong The arrangement made in Scotland desire will soon appear to have tythes concerning tythes, during the reign of settled and arranged in a way that may Charles I., is so well known, that it prevent the improvement of the counneed not at this time Þe illustrated. try from being obstructed by this tax. Suffice it to say, that by substituting To me there seems no difficulty in prea certain part of the rent in lieu of paring an equitable arrangement, protythe, strict justice was not only done vided the business was taken up by to the parties concerned, but the full- those who alone possess sufficient inest opportunity was thereby gained for fluence to carry it through the legislamaking future improvements ; seeing ture with success. Were a certain prothat the fruits of these improvements portion of rent, say one sixth, to be could not afterwards be taxed, or made taken at all times in lieu of tythes, this liable for tythe, as would otherwise would at once secure the interest of all have happened, had the arrangement parties. According to this plan, the in question remained unexecuted. To tythe-holder would receive his share the law for regulating tythes, may the of every advantage which might arise uncommon improvements which have from the growing prosperity of the taken place in Scotland be chiefly at- country. The proprietors of land tributed. In fact, no barren country would be permitted to receive the full can be improved under the tythe sys- value of their respective properties—a tem, for 10 per cent. of its produce far circumstance which cannot take place exceeds the amount of any profit which so long as tythes are drawn in kind, can thereby be derived. Of this our or paid for in money, agreeably to an southern neighbours are now fully sen- annual valuation. The tenantry would sible ; hence, in every bill for the di- be secured in the quiet and peaceable vision of waste land, an exoneration possession of the lands in their occupafrom tythe is always a prominent fea- tion, whilst the whole manure would ture; and the commutation in lieu of be kept upon the premises, to the tythe, is a certain share of the land to great benefit of the soil from which it was procured. In short, all the trouble and carried into execution, in the reign and discontent which hitherto has ac- of Charles I. At the same time, it is companied an exaction in kind, would not unlikely that the strong desire speedily be removed, as the agricul- manifested by the Crown to have a turist would thereby be enabled to im- share of the tythes served chiefly to prove his lands in the most approved bring about a settlement of that anmanner, without being subjected to a cient burden upon a permanent and tax, the extent of which was in direct solid footing. But be that as it may, proportion to his industry and abili- it is quite clear, that during the period ties.
in question, that is, from 1560 to 1633, With this, I take the liberty of the landholders in Scotland, who were transmitting some queries, lately cir- not in possession of tythes, considered culated by the gentleman who made the exactions of the titulars, or Lords the inquiries about the system for of Erection, as grievous and oppressive supporting the poor in this country, in the highest degree. which were presented in your last Q. 2d. At what period did the preNumber, together with a copy of my sent scheme of commutation for money answers to these queries, upon which take place ? and have progressive moa few alterations have since been made. difications been resorted to? These may be inserted in your Maga- A. The period when the settlement zine, provided they are thought wor- was completed was 1633; though thy of that notice.
steps had been taken for several years A Political Economist. before to bring about an arrangement.
The parties concerned having submit
ted the whole business to the King, it Queries concerning the Tythe System
was finally determined by him, that of Scotland, with Answers, transmit- one-fifth of the rent, after deducting ted to a Member of Parliament, by the value of recent improvements, whom the Queries were circulated.
should be considered as the amount of Query 1st. Did any change take tythe, which certainly was a fair and place, in the matter of tythes, at the equitable principle. The value of the period of the Reformation in Scotland tythe being thus ascertained, the landand what?
holder had an option of purchasing the Answer. It does not appear that any property thereof at nine years amount change took place in the tythe system of its proven value ; and in this way of Scotland at the period of the Re- the greatest part of Scottish tythe soon formation, except in so far as related became the property of the several to the persons by whom tythes were owners of land, from whom it was collected. Before, the Reformation, formerly exacted. Some circumstances tythes, almost in every case, belong, however occurred, which long prevented to ecclesiastical persons, such as ed the full benefit of this settlement Bishops, Deans, Parsons, Abbots, and from being realized ; and though it is other heads of religious houses; but believed the whole tythes of Scotland after that era, the greater part of them were in a few years valued, yet, from were granted by the Crown to Lay- the Scottish records being carried away men, then generally called “ LORDS by Cromwell, and the burning of the OF Erection,” a character precisely Teind Office in 1701, there is cause to the same with that of Lay-impropria- presume that the greater part of the tors in England. These Lords of original valuations were at these peErection being seldom able to collect riods lost or destroyed. Under these the tythes themselves, farmed them circumstances fresh valuations are not out to others, by whom they were le- uncommon, and when these occur, vied with much greater severity than the same principle is adhered to as was was formerly exercised by the church- acted upon at the outset, that is, one
In short, the change of admi- fifth of the rental is substituted for nistration of tythes which took place tythe. Hence the burden of tythe in consequence of the Reformation, falls very unequally upon the propriewas, in the first place, more hostile tor of land in Scotland, though the octhan advantageous to the public in- cupiers or farmers of land are not terest. Of course, the complaints of therein interested in the slightest dethe payers paved the way to that set- gree. The proprietors who fortunately tlement which was afterwards framed, possess their original valuations, are
much better off than those who have to the clergy of England ; for though recently caused their tythes to be valu- the dignitaries of that church are ed. Most of the original valuations amply provisioned, it is well known are already exhausted, and of course, that the great majority of those who the burden of augmentations falls much bear the heat and burden of the day heavier upon proprietors whose tythes are by no means favourably dealt have been lately valued, than upon with. those who are possessed of the first Q. 4th. Have the landholders of valuations. In no case, however, can Scotland derived advantage from the stipend exceed the amount of free regulation of the tythe system ? tythes, and in numerous instances it A. It is difficult to answer this does not amount to one half of it, the query in such terms as may be applibalance remaining with the proprietor cable to the country at large. Suffice as a fresh fund for a future augmenta- it to say, that in general cases, had tion. The proprietors of land may tythe, as formerly paid, been contihave some cause to complain of the nued, its amount or value at this day Scottish tythe system, as they, in the might safely be estimated at six times first instance, were obliged to buy their of what is actually paid to the clergy tythes from the Titular, or Lords of of the country. But then it must be Erection, at nine years' purchase of held in view, that the tythes were their proven value, and are now sub- originally purchased from the titulars jected to pay the whole of that value or lay-impropriators, and that nine to the clergyman, provided the court years purchase-money was paid for of tythes or teinds in Scotland con- them, which probably at the time was siders an augmentation of stipend to their full value, as land then sold at that extent as expedient and necessary. twelve years' purchase, whilst the inTo the cultivator of land, or, in other terest of money was not less than eight words, to the improvement of the per cent. Now, holding all these circountry, these things, however, are cumstances in view, and taking into not of the slightest prejudice. Hence consideration that a considerable exa rapid progress in agricultural im- pense, and not a little trouble, were provement, for a century back, has tak- incurred in the collection of tythes, it en place in every quarter of Scotland, likely will appear, that any advantage which could not possibly have occur- gained by the landholders of Scotland red, had tythe in kind, or its value in from regulating the tythe system, has money, according to annual valuations, chiefly arisen from the improvements been paid by the occupiers.
which in consequence were afterwards Q. 3d. In what manner was the introduced, and the alteration which commutation effected? Did the Kirk has since taken place in the value of resist?
money, as a good part of the tythe A. The commutation, or, more pro- was valued according to the monied perly speaking, the regulation of tỳthe payments made to the titulars or their in Scotland took place in 1633, in the tacksmen. way already described, though it was Q. 5th. What is the general rate of many years after before it could be clerical stipends in country parishes, carried completely into execution. The independently of the manse and glebe? Kirk did not resist, because, in point and what may be the differences beof fact, its members, with the excep- tween town and country stipends ? tion of a few Bishops, were not in pos- A. As the stipends of the clergy are session of the tythes when the sub- in most cases paid in grain, or, in mission was made to King Charles. other words, paid in money according By the decreet arbitral afterwards pro- to the annual fiars of grain in each nounced, it is believed, the Kirk was county, it is not easy to say what may very much benefited, for it secured be their amount communibus annis. every clergyman in a competent sti. Perhaps they may be estimated, independ, so far as the teinds or tythes in pendently
of glebe, house, and garden, his parish were sufficient for that pur- at something more than £200 per pose. In short, a provision far more annum upon an average, though in Liberal than allowed to the Presbyte- many instances they amount to double rian clergy at any former period was that sum. In no case can a stipend at that time bestowed upon them--a be less than £150, because, in parishes provision far exceeding what is given where the stipend is less, and no funds
remain for an augmentation, a parlia- creasing in Scotland. In point of fact, mentary provision is made in behalf that sect never had such a footing in of the incumbent, which secures him the country as to make its numbers the amount of stipend above mention- an object of inquiry. ed. It is only of late that the stipends Q. 10th. Is there a sufficient supply in towns have been greater than those of candidates for Kirk preferment-or in country parishes, the former being does the moderate rate of stipend usually paid in money, whilst the operate as a check ? greatest part of the other was paid in A. There is always a sufficient supgrain ; therefore, whilst the market ply of candidates for kirk preferment; prices were high, the country clergy- indeed the number of candidates far man, generally speaking, was in the exceeds the demand. As the rate of most comfortable situation.
stipends cannot be considered as moQ. 6th. What is the common ex- derate, no check arises from that cirtent of the glebe land, and the general cumstance to the supply of candidates. estimated value to the clergyman? Q. 11th. In the ordinary course of
A. The legal size of a glebe is four things, do not the established clergy Scots acres; and if a grass glebe, suf- live on the best terms with their parficient to pasture a horse or cow, is ishioners ? not annexed, a certain sum, to be paid A. In almost every case the estaby the heritors of the parish, was fixed blished clergy live on good terms with by the Parliament of Scotland to make their parishioners. Not having tythes up the deficiency. In numerous in- to draw from them, any cause of difstances the arable glebe exceeds four ference can seldom arise. Perhaps, in acres ; and perhaps the average of no line can a man pass through life glebes may consist of five acres of the more comfortably and agreeably than best land' in the parish to which the he who fills the office of a country glebe belongs. In some cases, the clergyman. glebe extends to seven acres, but this Q. 12th. Is it likely that farmers in rarely happens. The value of a glebe Scotland could be persuaded to pay a may be from £15 to £40, according to tenth of their produce for church circumstances.
tythes—and would they not consider Q. 7th. What may be the general such a regulation as highly discourage average of country parishes, in regard ing to industry and enterprise? to population and extent?
A. The farmers of Scotland could A. Country parishes differ far more not be persuaded, by any influence with regard to extent and population whatever, to pay tythe in kind; and than to stipend. In the lowland dis- every one of them would consider a tricts the extent may be from 3,000 measure of that nature as highly disto 7,000 acres, and the population couraging to his industry and enterfrom 500 to 1800 souls. In the high- prise. But, independent of these cirland districts the extent is from 10,000 cumstances, the trouble and vexation to 50,000 acres, and the population occasioned by an exaction in kind, depends very much upon the system sufficient to show the impolicy and of management that is followed in the absurdity of continuing a burden parish.
merely because it originated in the Q. sth. What may be the propor- days of barbarous ignorance, when tion between Dissenting Meetings and such a thing as the circulating methe Kirk, exclusive of Episcopal and dium was almost unknown-when Roman Catholic chapels ?
any trade betwixt man and man was A. It is believed that three-fourths chiefly carried on by bartering one of the people in Scotland are steady article for another-and when society adherents of the Kirk, and that fully was in such a state that ecclesiastics one half of those who dissent from it and other stipendiaries must either are more strict Presbyterians than even have been paid in the produce of the those who adhere to the Kirk. The soil, or have remained without any number of Episcopalians and Roman public support. But now, when these Catholics is so trifling that no notice circumstances are wholly changed, the shall be taken of them.
practice of former times ought to be Q. 9th. Are the sects of Methodists departed from, especially as it may be increasing—and from what cause ? done without injury to any one, and
A The sect of Methodists is not in to the great benefit of the public.
OF THE ARISTOPHANIC COMEDY. more amusing and characteristic, than
any exhibitions which popular instiThis is a species of composition which tutions, addressed to the senses, can no modern writer seems to have at- furnish. As, in this species of cometempted to revive. Although it was dy, the expression of the countenance among the earliest inventions of the would be of secondary importance, Greeks, and was afterwards superseded masks of the boldest and most fanciful by what they considered as a more re- construction might be used, which fined species of comedy, it is by no would serve to denote the characterismeans barbarous in its nature, bu tics of the person who wore them; and the contrary, highly philosophical, and an excellent source of pleasantry might apparently well adapted to please cul- also be found in their dresses. The tivated minds.
political parties of England, and the The distinctive principle of the Ar- views and characteristics of the differistophanic comedy is not its personali- ent classes who compose them, would ty, but its practice of investing general form a good subject for an Aristophanideas, in appropriate visible forms, and ic comedy, provided it was handled in turning them into dramatis persona. a manner somewhat philosophical, and It has often been remarked, that alle- not allowed to sink into the tone of gorical personages are cold, and excite vulgar political squibs. Each class little sympathy, because, so long as might be represented under the form we keep the allegory in view, we are of an individual, with the appropriate reminded that they are not real. This, dress, language, and manners, boldly however, is no argument against the caricatured ; and the plot of the play Aristophanic comedy, which does not might turn upon the solution of their appeal to our sympathies and passions. contentions. A play of this descripIt is addressed to the understanding ; tion, however, could not be sufficientits true object being reflection and ly impartial to save it from being conpleasantry, and the diversion produced demned and overset, either by one by the play of general ideas, under party or another. their dramatic garb. Allegory, al- Aristophanes made use of the absurthough unfavourable to sentiment, is dities of pagan theology to heighten well suited to the purposes of pleasant- the burlesque of his pieces, and was ry, which can hardly bring general scarcely blameable for doing so; but ideas into collision, unless by giving in modern times, even the opinions of them a local habitation and a name. fanatics, who view Christianity through If Swift's Tale of a Tub had been a perverted medium, are perhaps an written in the form of a drama, it unfit subject for the stage. The Tale would have been a modern specimen of a Tub does not relate so much to of Aristophanic comedy.
the Christian revelation as to the temTo relish this species of composition, poral conduct of the different sects of an audience would require to be acute, Christians. observative, and susceptible of pleasant- Professions are no longer sufficiently ry, in a high degree, and at the same time pedantic and narrow-minded to anmuch interested in, and familiar with, swer the purposes of the Aristophanic the subjects handled in the piece. All comedy. Their respective characterthese requisites were found among the istics and prepossessions have been so Greeks ; but it is questionable whether much obliterated by the diffusion of they can be found among modern na- knowledge, that there would no longer tions. Madame de Stael, in speaking be any diversion in bringing them inof this subject, observes, that modern to contact. When individuals become nations, from the nature of their in- too knowing with regard to the point stitutions, are not sufficiently habitu- of view from which others contemplate ated to contemplate bodies of men en them, there is an end to comedy, which masse ; meaning, that when we think founds its choicest scenes upon a muof the interests, passions, and opinions tual ignorance of sentiments and feelof particular classes, we do not con- ings, and upon that unsuspecting steaceive these classes, under any visible diness of self-love, natural to minds form, capable of being brought upon which have remained hoodwinked the stage. A lively imagination, how- within their own peculiar sphere. ever, might surely remedy this defect, The principal objection which ocand furnish us with personifications, curs against the Aristophanic species