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eighteen millions. The Easter offerings average 11. for every thousand people, and therefore produce about 18,0001. in all.
It must be remembered that the number of benefices and of clergymen here given, is not stationary, but continually increasing. In 1835, according to the Report of the Commissioners *, there were 10,718 benefices in England and Wales; there are now 12,270 t, being an increase of 1,552 in 18 years I, or nearly 100 per annum. The annual increase of late has been much more rapid than this. We find that the excess of ordinations over deaths among the clergy has been, during the last few years, about 300 per annum. Part of this increase is due to the additional curates supplied to populous districts by the • Pastoral Aid' and · Curates' societies : but it must be mainly referred to the creation of new parochial districts. This is evident, because the total number of curates is now less than it was in 1835, having then been 5,320, according to the Report of the Commissioners. While mentioning this, we cannot but congratulate the Church on the immense improvement indicated by the fact that in 1835 there were more than 4,000 curates of non-resident incumbents, and only 1,000 of resident incumbents; whereas there are now only 1,800 curates of non-residents, and more than 3,000 curates assisting resident incumbents. It must farther be remarked that the new benefices, while swelling the nominal revenues of the Church, are constantly lessening the average wealth of the clergy, being for the most part provided with the smallest possible endowment.
The above may suffice as a rough estimate of the Parochial Revenues of the Establishment. There remain the Episcopal and Capitular incomes, concerning which the information is
* First Report of the Commissioners on Ecclesiastical Revenues, 1835.
† In order to ascertain the number of benefices, and their aggregate value from the Clergy List, it is necessary to add up 245 closely printed pages of figures, a task which took the accountant whom we employed four days. We recommend the publishers of this useful work to give the totals, in future, at the foot of each page.
According to Lord Blandford (spcech, p. 29.), the new incumbencies formed under Sir R. Peel's Act, and the Church Building Acts, have amounted only to 1,190. The remainder of the new benefices created since 1835, must (we suppose) have originated in the assignment of parochial districts (under 1 & 2 Will. 4. c. 38.) to new churches, or to chapels previously existing. But perhaps, the number 1,552 given in the text is rather beyond the real increase, because a few proprietary chapels, and a few benefices annexed by statutes to certain superior preferments, were omitted in the list of benefices given in the report of 1835, and are included in the Clergy List.'
perhaps more precise, but also more complicated, being derivable from various Reports of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and sundry Parliamentary Returns. It is not necessary however, for our present purpose, to ascertain with precision the actual revenues of the existing bishops and chapters; for these are in a state of transition, some under the old law, some under the new. As our wish is to give an estimate of the permanent financial condition of the Establishment, we may neglect this state of transition, and suppose all these revenues to be upon the system under which, by the operation of the existing law, they will speedily fall. The Episcopal Fund will then be 152,3001. (as fixed by an order in council issued in 1853), charged with the maintenance of twenty-seven archbishops and bishops, Sodor and Man not being included. The Capitular Fund may be reckoned at a little under 212,0001.* when the Act 3 & 4 Vict. c. 113. shall have taken full effect.
From the episcopal and capitular estates will also be obtained, when they are properly managed, a much larger income than they at present yield. This has been already effected to some extent; and Lord Blandford calculates that ultimately a surplus of 445,000l. a year, applicable to parochial purposes (including the payment of archdeacons), may be derived from this source. Perhaps this estimate may be too sanguine; but as our wish is not to understate the revenues of the Church, we will take it as correct. Thus we shall have from the estates in question a total income of 809,0001., of which 364,0001. will be devoted to the support of bishops and dignitaries, and the remainder to parochial uses. Hence the whole clerical revenues, when they are improved to the utmost possible extent, may amount to 4,397,0001. per annum. At present they fall short of this, by about a quarter of a million.
In the ecclesiastical (though not in the clerical) revenues, we must also include the sum raised by church rates, for the maintenance and repair of parochial churches. This amounted (according to a Parliamentary Return) to 506,8121. in the year 1839 7; since that time there has been no farther return; but the amount is known to have very greatly diminished, by the refusal of rates in many parishes. The final judgment of the
* Of this sum, the charge for deaneries is about 35,0001., for canonries about 90,0001., and the remainder is for minor canonries, choirs, organists, and repairs. But it is not worth while to dwell on details which will so soon be subjected to the revision of Parliament, on the report of the Cathedral Commissioners.
† Strictly speaking, only 363, 1031. of this was derived from church rates, and the remainder from other sources, e. g. local endowments.
VOL. XCIX. NO. CCI.
House of Lords in the Braintree case, which reverses the decisions of the courts of law whereby the minority was authorised to make a rate, will no doubt reduce still further the funds hitherto derived from this branch of income.
Such are the sources and the amount * of those revenues which have formed the subject of so much recent legislation and discussion.† Concerning their future management, schemes of all kinds have been broached, and opinions of all shades propounded, from those of Messrs. Peto and Miall, who wish to confiscate the funds of the Establishment altogether, to those of Sir R. Inglis, who trembles at the idea of altering the original appropriation of a sixpence. We shall not now enter into the great controversy between the advocates of the general principle of religious endowments, and the adherents of the (so-called) voluntary system. Those who have not been convinced by the reasoning of Dr. Arnold and Dr. Chalmers, are not likely to be moved from their opinion by any new arguments which we could adduce. But all honest I politicians, whichever side they take in this controversy, must agree in the proposition, that it is desirable, so long as ecclesiastical revenues are appropriated to their present purposes, to make them as efficient as possible in promoting the ends to which they are devoted. This proposition has been the basis of nearly all those proposals which have been lately advocated in Parliament. It has been assumed as
* In this amount we have not included pew rents as a separate item, but we have included them in the parochial revenues (see the first note on this Article). It must not be forgotten, however, that they are simply voluntary contributions, and could not be transferred by Parliament; and that their existence is exceptional, and contrary to the theory of our Ecclesiastical Law.
f One of the most moderate and least inaccurate writers against the Establishment, Mr. Allen, who has published a work on State . Churches,' in the present year, reckons the revenues of the Church at seven millions, and quotes other estimates which raise them to nine millions. To show the extent of Mr. Allen's acquaintance with his subject, it is sufficient to mention that he assumes the value of the glebe not to be included in the Commissioners Report of 1835, and gives a conjectural valuation of it, which he adds to the net value of the benefices. The gross misstatements circulated concerning the ecclesiastical revenues show how desirable it is that accurate official returns should be published, as we trust they soon will be.
# We say 'honest politicians,' for we cannot apply this epithet to those who avow their wish to keep up all the abuses of the Establishment, and to render it as inefficient for religious ends as possible, in the hope of disgusting the people with the principle of Establishment. This is surely to do evil that good may come.
the object of our Church reformiers, to remove from the actual administration of ecclesiastical property every defect which tends to diminish the efficiency, or lower the character of the clergy, and (in the words of Lord Blandford's preamble) to render such estates and revenues most productive and beneficial to the Established Church, and most conducive to the spiritual welfare of the people.' To effect this end various methods have been recommended. Many measures of practical usefulness have been carried, others have been proposed, and more may be suggested. On the other hand, many mistakes have been committed, many useless nostrums prescribed, many falsehoods too eagerly swallowed by the public. The fundamental fallacy, whence most other errors have sprung, is a belief that the motives of the clergy would be made more pure, and their labours more effectual, by diminishing the wealth of the Establishment, and abolishing what are called (in the phraseology of Mammon) the 'prizes’ of the Church. A poor and virtuous clergy,' is the watchword of a large and well meaning party of ecclesiastical reformers, who suppose that clerical virtue and clerical poverty go together. We hope that we have in some degree contributed to dispel this delusion, by our recent description of the poorest, but certainly not the most virtuous section of the English hierarchy, the peasant clergy of the mountains. But before we go further, it will be well to say something more as to this excessive wealth attributed to the Church. We bave just shown that its total amount is between four and five millions sterling; a sum which, though insignificant when compared with the resources of the country (being less than the produce of the income tax of 7d. in the pound on the wealthy classes) is yet in itself a considerable revenue. But when we remember the numbers among whom it is divided, and that the average share of each is less than 300l. per annum, it cannot be considered a very exorbitant remuneration for the services of educated men; and we can scarcely agree with the Times' that
the vast wealth of our Church is, in one sense, its greatest 'misfortune.'* The emoluments of the parochial clergy, at all events, will not excite the envy of any well-paid bagman. It is true, that some of them have more than the above average dividend; and the Times' tells us with horror that 'the world * hears of livings of 10001. a year!’+ But the shock which our minds receive at first hearing of an income so enormous as this, may perhaps be diminished by a little investigation. Let us take the case mentioned by the • Times' of one of these le
viathans of clerical opulence. Let us examine the actual receipts of a rector who scandalises the world by pocketing 10001. per annum from the Church. In the first place, the repeal of the Corn Laws has caused a fall of 10 per cent. in the titherent-charge, so that a tithe-owner endowed with 10001. a year of rent-charge now only receives 9001. This reduction, notwithstanding the present high range of prices, may not have yet reached its maximum ; but we will confine ourselves to the present state of things, and suppose our wealthy incumbent still to possess a clerical income of 9001. a year. From this are to be deducted the poor rates, amounting to 1301. per annum, the way rates, amounting to 151., and the expenses of collection (at 3 per cent.), amounting to 301.* Moreover his parish being large (as it must be to yield so much tithe), he will generally be obliged to keep an assistant curate. In fact, we find from the Clergy List that for every three livings of 10001. per annum, four curates are kept. Hence if we suppose only one required, we are below the average. This involves a further charge of 1001. a year upon his income. The above deductions bring down the rector's nominal 10001. a year to an actual 6251. We must remember also that these charges on professional income fall upon the clergy alone. For example, the brother of our rector is judge of a county court, who has the same nominal income as the clergyman, viz. 1000l. per annum. But upon that income no rates are charged, and out of it he pays nothing for assistants. If there be more work in his district than one judge can do, two are appointed, and the salary of the second is not substracted from the salary of the first. It is true, on the other hand, that the barrister has to pay house-rent, while the rector has only to keep his parsonage in repair. We may put this as a disadvantage against the barrister of 501. per annum. Thus, while the net income of the rector is 6251., that of the barrister will be 9501., although their nominal incomes (and their income tax) are the same. But the difference is in reality still greater than this. For the whole charities of an extensive parish require from the wealthy rector a liberal support. He must subscribe to the parochial friendly societies, to the lying-in-charity, to the coal charity, to the clothing club, to the choristers, to the bell-ringers. He must maintain the national school (at an expense of 201. or 301. at the least) and must give largely to the relief of all the casual distress
* The deductions here given are those actually paid upon a titherent charge of 10001. in a case with which we are acquainted. The charge for poor rates is taken on the average of the last seven years.