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of the soil discontented, or led them more passionately to set themselves against their best friends, than the practice sanctioned by the Legislature of calling upon the tenant to pay the tithe in addition to the rent of his land. As long as this goes on, so long will both tenant and landlord be tempted to make common cause with one another in hopes of getting rid of the tithe. You might just as well call upon the tenant to pay the landlord's mortgage interest, or the jointures and annuities with which the estate is charged, or the premiums upon his policies of insurance, as call upon him to pay the tithe. A landlord holds his lands subject to certain charges, which are antecedent to any profits that may remain to him after they are discharged.


The land-tax, the county-rates, the tithe are all on the same level; so are the jointures, annuities, and interest of money borrowed. Of course the landlord would gladly throw them all upon the tenant if he could, and does throw upon him all he can. In permitting him to follow this course, you tempt the tenant to cry out, ' Away with this payment, and away with that!' and you tempt the landlord to cry, 'Amen! So be it, as long as my rent is assured me!' Worried by the annual recurrence of extra payments, for which he has to provide at all sorts of inconvenient times, the tenant is ready enough to demand relief from these burdens, never reflecting that he is playing the landlord's game, directly or indirectly robbing somebody else to enrich the owner of the soil. Down with the rates!' means 'Throw them upon the Consolidated Fund and let the taxpayer relieve the landlord.' 'Down with the jointures!' would mean 'Rob the dowagers and let the landlord be the richer for the pillage.' 'Down with the mortgage interest!' would mean 'Up with the debtor at the expense of the creditor;' and 'Down with the tithe!' would mean the extinction of the parson, but with the gain of not a shilling ultimately to the tenant, though with a very considerable gain to the owner of the land. It must be, and it is, demoralising to allow the payment of the tithe to be regarded as an extra with which the tenant is chargeable. The obligation to pay the tithe is a condition antecedent to the owner of the soil enjoying the very possession of his land. The tithe is a rent-charge upon the land, exactly as an annuity or jointure is—or, if you choose to call it a tax because the term tax is an odious word, and therefore serviceable when you want to make those you hate odious-it is a landlord's tax, and no tenant should be allowed to pay it without having the right under all circumstances of deducting it from his rent.

Moreover, without yielding to the temptation of straying into an historical argument, yet remembering that in the past there was a very close connection between the landlord whose estate supplied the tithe from which the parson was supported and the patron of the living to which the parson was instituted, I think there are good

reasons why the owners of the soil liable to pay tithe should be represented in the proposed governing body of a benefice. Where the parish was a close parish-i.e. owned by a single landlord-he would naturally and very properly be the only person eligible, or at any rate capable of nominating the tithe-owner's representative. Where there were many landlords, they could elect their representatives-one or more, as the case might be-in the ordinary way.

(ii) As the owners of land subject to the payment of tithes should be represented, so should the ratepayers of the parish have their representative upon the board of governors. And here I confess I cannot see that you could introduce any religious test whereby any one should be disqualified by reason of his creed. I do not believe that in ordinary cases any real inconveniences would arise. That under no circumstances conceivable evils should emerge is too much. to hope for; but whether or not, we must, I repeat, face the logic of facts, and what reasonable man, who watches the signs of the times, will be sanguine enough to expect that, in our days, we have any chance of extorting from the Legislature anything in the shape of a conscience clause? But, when I speak of ratepayers, I mean bonâ fide payers of rates. I exclude from this category the compound householder: I by no means exclude unmarried women who pay their own rates and taxes, who are often among the most sagacious, highminded, and exemplary inhabitants of a country parish, or of a town one too, for that matter. If any should have a voice in the choice of a representative governor, clearly they should.

(iii) But, if the owners of the soil and the ratepayers should be represented, it would be more than unreasonable it would be a monstrous injustice-that the regular worshippers in the church should be left without their representative governors. I am quite aware that some people are ready with all sorts of difficulties and all sorts of objections when we come to deal with the qualification of church membership, and quite aware, too, that at this point one is sorely tempted to do that which I protested against above-viz. go into details; but I resist the temptation, simply expressing my conviction that there can be and there is no real and insuperable difficulty in defining what is meant by regular worshippers,' and that such difficulty would vanish at once if we were really in earnest in grappling with it. I am not hinting at a compromise. Here as elsewhere what we want is-common sense!

(iv) Again, I conceive that on any board of governors there should be a representative appointed by the bishop of the diocese, and that he should be a resident in the archdeaconry in which the benefice was situated. In every board of directors, be it of a railway or bank or insurance company, it is held to be essential to effectiveness that one or more of such directors should have some pretension to technical or professional knowledge of the business carried on. Is it too much

to ask that at least one expert should be found upon every body of church governors? Such a representative would, if discreet and able, be always listened to with respectful attention; if inclined to be domineering or impracticable, he would assuredly be outvoted when it came to a contest. He would be a voice, but he would be no


(v) It is conceivable, nay it is probable, that in addition to these representative governors it might in some cases be advisable that other members should be added to the governing body. Thus it might be contended by the present patrons of benefices, whether lay or clerical, that they should be represented, and I can see no particular objection to such a claim being allowed. It is also conceivable and probable that, after due consideration and discussion, it might be thought advisable to group two or more benefices together and vest their funds in the same body of governors. Indeed, in many country districts, where the endowments are very small and the population very sparse, it might prove extremely difficult and sometimes extremely undesirable to have a board of governors for each of these tiny units, let alone the absurd waste of power which in such cases would be inevitable. But, such as I have sketched it out, such in the main would be the constitution of the governing body of every benefice in the country, and to that governing body the freehold of that benefice and its appurtenances, together with the patronage thereof, should be handed over.

(vi) With regard to the qualification of those eligible for a seat upon the governing body, I am not prepared to discuss that question at the present stage. This, however, I know-viz. that there is only one subject of the Queen who is now disqualified from presenting a clergyman to any benefice in England. A Jew or a Mormonite, a Mohammedan or a Parsee, Mr. Bradlaugh or Mr. Congreve, may be, and for aught I know is, patron of the richest or the poorest living in England; but if any of these worthy persons should suddenly become influenced by Cardinal Manning and be received as a member of the Church of Rome, then and then only would he become incapable by law from exercising his patronage-then and then only would it pass out of his hands. If we have come to this pass, that in anything like a large majority of cases Churchmen should find themselves outvoted by Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics in the governing bodies, would it not be pretty clear that something was wrong?

But would the functions of the governing body be confined to the management of the estate of a benefice and to the appointing and, where necessary, to the dismissal of the incumbent? Yes. It seems to me that the functions of a governing body should go no further. That was a golden rule which Lord Palmerston laid down for the governing bodies of our endowed schools, and which these bodies have generally had the wisdom to carry out in practice- Get the best

man you can find and-get out of his way!' It should be no part of the duties of the governing body to interfere with what may be called the internal affairs of the church and the ministrations of the parson. These should be matters of arrangement between the congregation and their minister. Let the powers and the duties of churchwardens be defined as clearly as may be let the number of the churchwardens be increased if you will, or let the old sidesman be revived; but let it be clearly understood that the parish is one thing and the congregation is another. Let it be understood that the rector of the parish as a parish officer should be accountable to the governors in so far as they are trustees for the parish reserve fund; but in matters with which only the congregation worshipping habitually in the church are concerned, let no outsider have any locus standi. If in his administrations a clergyman insists on doing or leaving undone certain practices which are hateful to the congregation to which he ministers; if between priest and people things should come to a deadlock; by all means let it be allowable, as it ought to be, for the people to demand redress, and let them ask for that redress with authority and a claim to have their grievances considered. In such cases there would be no need of rushing into the law courts, no spiteful resort to costly legislation to crush or ruin a foolish, obstinate, and ignorantly conscientious clergyman. The congregation—speaking through their representatives, the churchwardens, sidesmen, or whatever other name you might choose to call them by would lay their complaint before the bishop first, and as an ultimate resort would go to the governing body, and claim that their parson should be dismissed, on grounds which should be, of course, properly formulated.

And this brings us to another matter-viz. the prominence (I do not say pre-eminence) to be given to the congregational element in any readjustment of church regimen at the present time. It is idle to talk as if the Church were co-extensive with the nation, or as if the inhabitants of a parish were all worshippers in the church fabric. If a man now does not like the ritual or the doctrine offered to him in his parish church, he leaves it, and goes where he finds what he wants. It will always be so. There was a good deal of nonconformity in the Apostolic times, and there will be nonconformity as long as men love to have things their own way. If an apostle were to find himself rector of any parish in England, with an angel to play the organ, and a multitude of the heavenly host to chant the psalms and render' the anthems, would Jannes and Jambres be satisfied? On the other hand, though it is impossible but that offences should arise (which means that offence should be taken), it is our duty and our interest to minimise the occasion of offence; and it is clearly neither right nor politic that any man should occupy such a position as that he may, if he please, go very far towards making

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himself a lord over God's heritage,' and by adopting such a course not only lessen his own influence, but commit a serious wrong to the assembly of worshippers to whom, after all, it must be remembered, he is appointed to minister, not to be an irresponsible dictator.

Wherever there is a congregation of faithful men' regularly worshipping together in any church, the very sign and evidence of life among them is that there is a great deal of mere business to be got through. There are large sums of money raised for various purposes, there are organisations great and small to be looked to, there are meetings to be held, arrangements of very different kinds to be made, and work of all sorts to be done. It must be done, and it can only be done by the incumbent in conjunction and co-operation with the congregation; as long as the two work together all goes on smoothly, if they are at variance friction ensues. It would be preposterous that all the money collected by and through the voluntary contributions and the voluntary exertions of the congregation should be handed over to an outside body such as the governing body we have been dealing with above. Indeed, such a proposal scarcely deserves to be seriously considered; the congregation as a congregation must in all reason be allowed to manage its own affairs. But, inasmuch as no institution in the world can hope to flourish if its manager prove himself incompetent, quarrelsome, and fractious, and when it becomes apparent that the well-being of the institution is being sacrificed only to keep the wrong man in the wrong place, then you get rid of that wrong man, sometimes with joy, sometimes with sorrow. So should it be with our churches. To give the congregations the appointment of their parsons or to arm them with a veto would be to follow a course which all our experience warns us against, and to which-I cannot explain why-all our national habits of thought, convictions, and prejudices are opposed. But, under any circumstances, cases might occur where a reluctant congregation might find itself saddled with a minister who, after a fair trial, should prove himself altogether unsuited to deal with the peculiar conditions, social, financial, or religious—which presented themselves; and where such cases did occur the congregation in its own interests-to go no further-ought to have the opportunity of making its wishes or its objections known. As to graver matters, where a parson's moral character was in question, I do not think it worth while to deal with them. As to the proposal of setting up parochial councils in our country villages, I find it very hard to believe that this can have ever been put forward seriously by any sane man of the world. Surely, surely it can only be the clumsy joke of a dreamer which suggests that we should establish village parliaments for the discussion of matters of ritual and theology among the representatives of a population which sometimes counts by tens, usually by a few hundreds, and very rarely by thousands. In the single diocese of Norwich there are actually one hundred and two parishes in each of

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