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species of property, he would derive from it an income of equal amount; and to this he might add the emoluments arising from any other pursuit or avocation to which he might choose to devote himself. The time, the industry, and talents of the physician or lawyer, are rewarded with a pecuniary compensation proportionate to the reputation and practice which they respectively enjoy; but the time, the exertions, and talents of an ecclesiastic, who purchases a living, are conferred almost gratuitously on the public. From his professional services, he derives but the most trifling pecuniary advantages. The income of his benefice makes little more than a fair return of interest for the capital, advanced in purchasing the advowson. There is, indeed, a chance, that by distinguishing himself in his profession, he may obtain some addition to his advowson. This benefit, however, ordinarily speaking, is but trifling, in comparison with the pixn bable gains of the lawyer or the physician.
The ecclesiastics at large, however, are constantly held up to the public, by democratic orators and revolutionary scribblers, as locusts employed solely in devouring the produce of the soil— as the consumers of public wealth—as men who ( reap what others sow'—who swallow the property of others—for which they make neither compensation nor return. But we appeal to every honest and honourable Englishman, and boldly ask whether such a re^ presentation is just—whether ecclesiastics, who enjoy incomes derived from a portion of the produce of land appropriated for specific purposes by its original owners, can be described as the consumers of public property in any other sense than that in which the opulent owner of Holkham may be said to consume national wealth?
Every benefice in England may, without incorrectness, be re-, presented as an estate held on a tenure peculiar to this species of property. It differs from every other estate in the same parish in the following particulars. It is a life estate: and before any in-* dividual is admitted into possession of it, he must satisfy the bishop, who is constituted a trustee to secure that object, that he can produce the qualifications specified by law—that he is of legal age, has passed through a regular and respectable course of public instruction, and possesses competent literary acquirements; and when in the actual enjoyment of this property, he must, at stated times, perform the services and duties which the laws have annexed to his station: and he holds it on the further condition, dispensed with but in few instances, that he be constantly resident in the district from which his income is derived.
It appears to us that the bitterest antagonist of the English ghurch establishment, if he gave himself a moment for reflection,
would would be forced to acknowledge it to be, in every respect, infinitely more advantageous to the community, that a portion, at least, of the surplus revenue or rent of every parish should be received by an ecclesiastic residing on his benefice, conversant with the wants and attentive to the wishes of his parishioners, and diffusing among them religious and moral instruction, than that it should . be added to the rent-roll of the lay-owner who is under no obligation to reside among them. For, be it remembered, the question is not whether it be expedient that this portion of the produce or an equivalent for it should or should not bo exacted from the grower—it must and will be exacted by somebody :—but the point to which we would, in this place, direct the attention of our readers, is, whether, even in a mere temporal view, it would be more politic and advantageous that the income derived from tithes should be received by an individual residing in or near the spot "from which it accrues, or that it should be added to the receipts of another who might take up his residence in any other district or country at the dictate of interest or caprice. The parish of B., for instance, is a perpetual curacy worth 20/. per annum: it is served by the incumbent of an adjoining parish—it contains about 450 inhabitants j and the tithes are received by the lay impropriator who is land-owner of this and several contiguous parishes. Laying the interests of religion out of the question, we must still contend, that it would be infinitely more beneficial to the public, that the sum now paid by the occu-t piers of land in this parish, in lieu of tithes, should be received by a well educated and well informed ecclesiastic residing and spending his income among them, than that it should be added, as in fact it is, to the revenues of the lay impropriator who seldom, or, perhaps, never sees them. The advantages which this parish would unavoidably derive from the residence of an incumbent, receiving that portion of the produce which is now exacted by the impropriator, are numerous and apparent; and the only inconvemence to be dreaded from such a distribution of property would fall upon the impropriator, whom this reduction of his income would probably oblige to sell two out of the twenty hunters which now stand in his stables, and dispose of ten out of the hundred couples of hounds which are now fed in, his kennel.
We are indeed convinced that the public are far from being suffi-. ciently sensible of the incalculable advantages which the community derives from the constitution of our ecclesiastical establishment. Without adverting, in this place, to the diffusion of moral and religious instruction effected through the medium of such an. institution, it appears to us an object of paramount importance to,
secure. secure in every parish the residence of; at least, one individual who has been respectably educated—whose time shall not be entirely absorbed by personal and secular avocations, and whose pursuits shall not constantly come into collision with the feelings and occupations of his' neighbours. It is not to be denied, that, in many instances, the lay-owners of estates reside upon their property, diffuse comfort and information among their tenants, and, by frequent and kindly intercourse, generate among them feelings of self-respect, and a taste for the conveniences and habits of civilized life. The benefits which a land-owner silently and indirectly confers on his surrounding tenants are of immense importance to the public; they are by no means confined to the advantages which they derive from the money which he immediately spends among them: the habitual intercourse of the landlord with his tenants softens the feelings and improves the habits of the latter; and, by promoting among them industry, frugality and civility, renders them better and, therefore, happier men.
But there are many and extensive districts, even in England, where the proprietors of the soil reside on their estates but a very short portion of the year: or where, perhaps, their existence is only known from the periodical visits of an agent. In those parishes where, in addition to the abseuce of the principal landowners, no provision exists which can secure the residence of an ecclesiastic possessing a respectable income, the labouring population will be found strikingly contrasted, in then- manners and appearance, with the inhabitants of districts where the landlord or incumbent, or both, are resident. The constant residence of a well informed individual among the inhabitants of a country parish, to whom, from his situation or profession, they are willing to look up for example and instruction, must imperceptibly and almost inevitably produce that civility and decency of outward behaviour which never fail to accompany, and uot seldom even to generate, well regulated moral feelings. The personal demeanour of the labourers, the appearance and clothing of their children, the state of their cottages and gardens enable those who are at all conversant with the economy of a parochial district to detect, without further inquiry, the absence or presence of an ecclesiastic who feels an interest in promoting the comfort and improving the habits of his parishioners. Whenever we meet with a group of rude, Unwashed, uncombed and squalid children loitering at the door of a neglected and cheerless cottage, occupied by a care* .less, discontented and sour labourer, we instantly recognize a district deprived of the advantages which result from the residence of a proprietor either lay or ecclesiastic. The parish of B. in the county of 15. to which we have already alluded, will place in a
strong strong light the correctness of these observations. The landowner, who is also the impropriator of the tithes, is non-resident, and the benefice being, as we have said, merely a perpetual curacy worth 20/. per annum, there is no resident incumbent who might counteract the effects resulting from this cause. The state of the population corresponds exactly with the anticipations which we should have formed on entering a district thus circumstanced. As poachers and pilfering thieves, the greater number of the labouring poor are the pests of the neighbourhood: in appearance, habits, and manners they are visibly inferior to the inhabitants of parishes which do not labour under similar disadvantages. In passing through this neglected district, on a Sunday, the traveller will look in vain for the industrious and contented labourer proceeding with his wife and children, in trim and well preserved suits, to his parish church; on the contrary, he will here discover most of the cottagers dozing away the fumes of Saturday night's intemperance, or he will find them covered with filth and in their working dresses digging their gardens. As there is nothing peculiar in the local situation of the parish in question, all these enormous evils must be ascribed to the absence of any individual for whom its inhabitants might be disposed to feel respect, and who, through the medium of religious and moral instruction, aided by the influence of his professional character, might impress upon them the comforts and advantages of regular habits. We are convinced that even in this parish, demoralized as it is at present, the constant superintendence of an active and intelligent incumbent would, in a very short space of time, effect a thorough reformation in the manners and pursuits of its in* habitants.
It is, indeed, generally acknowledged, that nothing has more effect in forming and sustaining the character of an English yeoman, than the intercourse which takes place between a country gentleman and the peasantry by whom he is surrounded. This is a species of influence for which the public is, in an eminent degree, indebted to ecclesiastics. The established provision for the clergy secures, in most parishes, the constant residence of one well educated and intelligent individual. Looking, therefore, at our ecclesiastical establishment in this light alone, we regard it, in the highest degree, beneficial to the community. It is the means of spreading over the whole surface of England, an intelligent body of country gentlemen, possessing moderate incomes, who must, in almost every instance, reside in the district from which their revenues are derived, and who are impelled, by duty as well as policy, to attend to the moral and social habits of the population by which they are surrounded. Our parish churches,
with with their attendant parsonages, may be represented as so many reservoirs of religious, moral and literary information, which diffuses itself gradually over the districts in which they stand: as pebbles, thrown into stagnant water at regular distances, form circles which, gradually extending themselves till they meet, produce at length a gentle undulation of the whole surface, and preserve from corruption the element on which they act.
As an incidental, and at the same time most important advantage, which society derives from the present constitution of the English church, we may also mention the increased respectability it confers on that industrious and valuable class of men, which is engaged in instructing the youth of the nation. A very large portion of the English clergy, before they acquire benefices, are employed in the actual detail and drudgery of tuition. As teachers in private families, as the masters of endowed grammar schools in various districts of the country, or as public tutors in the universities, the earlier portion of their lives is devoted to an irksome pursuit, where the labour is always great and the remuneration generally scanty. It is a rare occurrence that any of them should by these means realize a provision which, at the approach of age, may enable him to withdraw from his occupation, and make room for the appointment of a younger and more efficient successor; but in the bosom of the church, the declining years of these guides of our youth find a shelter against the pressure of pecuniary distress. The greater number of them, supported by the intercession and recommendation of friends, rarely fail to acquire some small benefice which, although it seldom raises them to affluence, satisfies their wishes, and releasing them from more laborious employments, presents them with an opportunity of continuing useful to the public in a manner perfectly congenial with their acquirements and previous habits. There are few objects which more justly claim the attention of an enlightened statesman, than securing to the public the services of a learned and respectable body of school masters. If the patronage of the church presented no resource for placing most of these individuals, when the progress of time may have rendered them unequal to the duties of a laborious occupation, in a state of easy independence, the task of tuition would become degraded from the estimation in which it is at present held, and would, in consequence, devolve upon men inferior, both in literary attainments and respectability of character, to those who are now engaged in it. The high refinement and substantial literary attainments for which English gentlemen are distinguished, must be, in a great measure, ascribed to the character and acquirements of the instructors under whom their youth