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dence, and incompetent to take a correct view of earthly policy our administration would seem only emulous of the dishonest fame of Julian the Apostate, who, by his artifices, broke Christianity into so many sects, and subdivisions of sects, that in every city there were two, three, or four bishops, anathematizing one another, and re-baptizing converts gained from rival congregrations.*
IRISH CLERGY'S SUBSCRIPTION.
We have read with more than common interest the Letter of His Grace the Archbishop of Armagh to the Committee for the Relief of the Suffering Irish Clergy, expressing, in terms of the most affectionate gratitude, their acknowledgments for the aid so seasonably and cheerfully afforded by their Protestant brethren. To what straits have these worthy, reverend, and venerable men been reduced!-from the decencies and comforts of life to the extremest need and privation. What has our irreligious ministry not to answer for! On some pitiful score of temporal expediency, they palliate to their consciences the enormity of their iniquity; the full effects of which will appear, if their plans be carried into execution, ere their flesh has mixed with parent mould.
We will not make the hearts of our readers bleed by dwelling on the details of the venerable Archbishop. It is an easy thing to read with indifference of these things; but what will be the ordinary martyrdom of the days which are approaching, when the Pope's nuncio comes in like a conqueror, and takes possession of our dismantled sanctuaries ?-what, we ask, were that martyrdom, to the procrastinated agony which the Protestant established priesthood in Ireland have been made to endure? Starvation! calumny! insult! the early grave, and the broken heart!
May these horrors never come home to us! May they remain still vague and in the distance; and our shores be far aloof from desolation! And may we not, indeed, acquire that knowledge which, according to the sublime tragedian, comes to us by suffering. We have fallen on a portentous era-the gloomy precursor of tempestuous times. God have mercy on us! for mutually wronged and wronging, He only is our stay.
HEADS OF THE BILL FOR THE ABOLITION OF CHURCH-RATES.
"The land revenues of the archbishops, bishops, deans, and chapters, and separate estates of canons and prebendaries, are to be managed by a
*Socrat. Hist. Eccles. lib. 4. Sozomen.
+ —δίκα δὲ τοῖς μὲν παθοῦσιν μαθεῖν ἐπιῤῥέπει.-Εsch. Αgam. "Ombre des mauvais jours qui souvent les devance."
board of eleven Commissioners, consisting of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of York, Bishop of London, Secretary of State, First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, Dean of St. Paul's, Dean of Westminster, two nominees of the Crown, nominee of the Archbishop of Canterbury; of whom any three may act, except in special cases. The three last-named Commissioners are to be salaried, and are removable by the King in council.
"The Commissioners may grant leases for thirty-one years at rackrent, or building leases for ninety-nine years.
"Church tenants entitled to surrender their leases and take a new lease for thirty-one years, at 5 per cent. below the rack-rent, having the value of their leases allowed to them at 4 per cent.
"Church tenants entitled to purchase the reversion and fee-simple of their lands, valuing the fee-simple at twenty-five years' purchase, and the subsisting leases at the same rate of 4 per cent. interest; the value of lives being computed from the government tables.
"If any church-tenant has sub-let his lands on fine or renewable lease, or if any person shall have a derivative interest in the lands other than that of a farmer at rack-rent, claim may be made, and the Commissioners shall apportion the lessee's benefit among the parties according as they shall think them beneficially interested in the leases. Five Commissioners to meet for this purpose, of whom one to be First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, and to observe the principles followed in the execution of 34 Geo. III. c. 76, for improving the Crown lands.
"All claims to be advertised, and no notice taken of persons neglecting to claim beyond a given day.
"Tenant who has allowed three years to elapse without renewal not entitled to any preference.
"Commissioners may exchange lands.
"And redeem land-tax.
"Lands to be surveyed before lease, exchange, or sale.
"Lessees not bound to see to compliance with Act, or application of monies paid by them.
"Receivers to be appointed with power to distrain, to give security, and account to the Commissioners.
"Lessees in arrear to pay interest.
"Commissioners empowered to authorize entries on lands for enforcing covenants, and to compound for rent.
"Commissioners to pay all monies received into the Bank.
"Monies not immediately wanted may be invested in government securities.
"Rents now reserved to be paid to each dignitary as before: surplus carried to common fund.
"Advances to be made from a common fund, instead of the fines which such dignitary would have received; for which purpose he may have a life of any age inserted in a nominal lease, and receive the corresponding fine, and so toties quoties. After existing interest, nominal leases to be discontinued, and an average of the fines advanced instead ; or any dignitary may elect to take the average forthwith.
"This Act not to affect the payments to and from the ecclesiastical
commissioners under the act of last session 5 and 6 William IV. c. 77, or any order in council made thereon.
"Commissioners empowered to sell ground-rents charged on the church-lands, in case a sufficient sum should not be raised by the sale of reversions.
"Advances may be made from the consolidated fund to cover temporary deficiencies, to be repaid with interest.
"Annual income of the common fund to be applied, 1. To make the necessary payments to the dignitaries; 2. To pay the ground-rents created and sold; 3. To pay an annual sum not exceeding 250,000l. to the ecclesiastical commissioners for repairing churches and chapels; 4. To repay advances from consolidated fund; 5. To be invested in stocks to form a reserved fund, which may be sold again to meet deficiencies.
"When the reserved fund amounts to 50,000l. the interest of it to be paid to the ecclesiastical commissioners for increase of small livings. "Commissioners to certify to the Crown and both Houses of Parliament their proceedings under this act.
"Church-rates abolished; debts charged on poor-rates.
"Ecclesiastical commissioners to procure annual estimates of repairs of churches and chapels, and apply the sum paid to them by the commissioners of church lands.
"Surveyors to be appointed in each archdeaconry for that purpose. "Certain fixtures and articles needed for divine worship charged on the building fund, if not provided by pew rents.
"Archdeacon to apportion among his churches the sum granted to the archdeaconry for repairs, &c.
"Parish estates in aid of church-rates applied as before.
"Liability to repair chancels not affected, but repairs to be executed by direction of surveyors, and cost thereof repaid by the parties liable. "Owners of faculty and prescriptive pews to repair or forfeit them. "Pews may be let by minister and churchwardens with consent of bishop, leaving one-fifth free seats, if the same have been usually let heretofore, and one-third if the church be built under church-building acts, or one-half (?) if pews not usually let before.
"Pew-rents to be applied for the service of the church in which they are raised, under the direction of the pew-renters, but subject to any charges on them by Act of Parliament.
"Vestries not to appoint any clerk, sexton, beadle, &c., but pewrenters, or minister if pews are not let.
"Churchwardens to be elected by pew-renters, when pews are let. "Dissenters exempted from acting as churchwardens. Exemption of prosecutors of felons repealed.
"Tables of fees to be agreed on for burials and monuments to be settled, in case of disagreement, by the Dean of the Arches.
"Burials prohibited in churches, except in iron or leaden coffins, or vaults opening from the outside.
"Visitation fees abolished. Churchwardens need not attend visitations."
At the last moment we resume our pen, to protest solemnly and firmly against that first instalment to the voluntary principle, which (under title of "Heads of the Bill for the Abolition of
Church Rates") we have prefixed to the very few additional lines which our space will admit of our devoting to the subject. The ministerial plan proposes the total abolition of church-rates, and snaps the main link which connects Church and State, by not making any provision in their room, either out of the landtax or consolidated fund. But there is to be a new commission, with power to run out church leases, and, after some racking process, extort from the lessees 250,000l. a year or upwards; of which sum she is not to be robbed, as well as of the 600,000%. church-rates; she is only ordered to appropriate it, as far as it will go, to the repairs of churches, &c. Dissenters are to be exonerated at the expense of ecclesiastical lessees. And the landrevenues of the Church, notwithstanding their having been bequeathed her by pious benefactors, to the fullest amount of their value, are to be in part diverted to the relief of men who "sigh for the overthrow of the Establishment." How the lower House of Parliament will determine in such a case we will not venture to predict. Of one thing, however, we are certified, which is, that the members of that House are on their trial before the bar of posterity-a responsibility which (however they may manage their constituents) they cannot avoid, for glory or for shame. But, as respects church-rates, let the high heart of England again beat with hope and exultation. They can never be abolished by the legislature, after the sacrilegious, tyrannical mode indicated by the ministerial bill. It is Buonaparte all over; only, in place of the genius which gave a grandeur to the vilest of his encroachments, we meet with an unprincipled pettifogging impiety. As the French emperor compensated Prussia (prostrate at his feet) for apportioning her Duchy of Warsaw to Russia and to Saxony by bidding her "make the most" of the province of Memel, or the fortress of Colberg; so would our administration make restitution to the Establishment for the confiscation of churchrates, by some insulting pretence of an "improved value" to be squeezed out of her own possessions; of which, if it could without injustice be come at, God knows how great is the need of our lay and clerical poor; how much the former is in want of spiritual help, and the latter of decent maintenance. But it is to be hoped, ere our readers read this "Report," that the measure will have been consigned, still-born, to the tomb of all the Capulets. Our revered Primate and the noble Bishop of London have passed prospective sentence upon the bill, and, we half surmise, have determined the fate of the authors along with it. His Grace declared, that it was a bill against the Church-against the poor, who were perishing for want of religious instruction; a bill of spoliation upon the right of property; the first link in the series of sequestration, that could only terminate in the subversion of the national Church; that it was to make the hierarchy, and the deans and chapters, mere state annuitants; and, "considering the
very violent changes that had taken place at different times, a conjuncture of affairs might arise, in which the whole of their church property might be swept away in the process of amendment." ~ Oh! let the country never consent to risk the revenues of her hierarchy. They ought to be calculated on as surely as the return of the seasons. They should depend upon God himself, and not on the fallible, capricious will of human beings. No matter what disastrous convulsion may have overwhelmed our liberties— no matter what privy conspiracy may have meditated, or rebellion achieved; let seed-times be unpropitious, the reapers dispersed, and the tillage interrupted; yet, even in the midst of revolution and national bankruptcy, despite of change and mutability, the holy edifices all over the kingdom have ever beheld the earth yielding her fruits for their succour and support. Secure and unharmed, amid the din of political elements, and almost out of that sepulchral womb, which tells of man's "dry bones" and dissolution, these fabrics arise to contemplate his immortality; and while their ministers and high dignitaries receive their hire direct from the hand of Providence, they will stand in as calm stability and immutable duration as that high arch of heaven to which they point. But once, out of thrift, alter the tenure of the property of the hierarchy, and transfer it from "the treasures" of the Lord to a joint-stock bank with mammon,-when either "debt grows burdensome," the same sponge will wipe out both together.
The Bishop of London alluded to the subject having occupied the attention of the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry; but it seems they reported, that it was inexpedient and impracticableto do what? To make available a surplus of church property towards increasing the comforts of the poorer clergy, and enlarging the means of church accommodation. And now our premier and his colleagues, who had been members of the commission, affirm that it is expedient and practicable. Again, to do what? To wring this identical surplus-value out of the ecclesiastical revenues, by aid of another expensive commission, for the relief of those wicked men who aim at our Church's downfal. But, thank God! such an act of spoliation can never be suffered; so we forbear to enter into details; though even here, we shrewdly suspect, that the fiscal genius of our rapacious rulers has hurried them somewhat too fast to their result. One point, however, we must be allowed to glance at. It seems, until these proceeds can be got at, an equivalent in part for church-rates is to be found in the consolidated fund. We would only remark, that if for any number of years this can be effected, (the sensitive consciences we have heard talk of being in abeyance all the while,) there is no reason why it should not go on for ever; and therefore, (the Church not foregoing for an instant her claim to separation and support,) if there be any allowable mode of