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ture, the exaction of tithes by our Clergy has been. The incumbent of a parish, in the county of Essex, knowing his tithes to be sated confiderably under their value, afsembled the principal farmers, and desired them to propofe such an augmentation as to them should appear reasonable and fair. They did fo; their propofition was accepted; and the consequent increase in the revenue of the incumbent was about 300l.
The farmers who made this arrangement answered for the rest ; but when it was communicated to one man, who had paid three pounds and was now called upon to pay five, he refused to comply. So well convinced, however, were the others that they had made a profitable bargain for themselves, that they agreed to pay the stipulated addition for their brother. This went on for a short time, when the malcontent, imagining they must have fome potent reason for this unexpected liberality, insisted on an extension of it, and the other farmers actually consented to pay the whole of his tithe for him. In proportion to their conceffions, as might easily have been foreseen, his demands role; and he had the effrontery to insist on a compensation for his compliance with their requests not to make his refusal to pay the addition a subject of litigation. Even in this unprecedented claim they acquiesced, and allowed him five pounds a year ;-but the whole business was at length disclosed to the incumbent who immediately took the man's tithe in kind, when it produced no lefs than seventy pounds !--This anecdote, the authenticity of which may be relied on, requires no comment from us.
It is with the utmost astonishment we perused the following satanic remark, taken from a periodical publication conducted by the Secretary to the Board of Agriculture. “Satan himself could not have devised a greater source of mischief in the Christian world, than the payment of tithes.” If this agricultural correspondent had ever read the scriptures, he would have known that his assertion was as blafphemous as it was false.-But, really, if the Board of Agriculture continue to tolerate the improper conduct of its agents, in their interference in matters as foreign from the object of the institution itfelf, as it is above their knowledge and abilities, it will be high time for the well difpofed part of the community to petition Parliament, that three thousand pounds of the public money may no longer be annually devoted to the support of a novel establishment which betrays a disposition to subvert the most ancient and the most facred establishment of the realm.
The author recommends that an act should be passed, empowering the Clergy to grant a leafe of their tithes, for the same term for which the holders of estates for life may now grant leafes, (twenty-one years) with the confent of the patron and ordinary :' we do not immediately perceive any objection to this propofition; though how such a measure would produce any favourable effeet when we now see the proprietors of freehold cítates, who have the power, al- . most invariably, refuse to grant lcates to their tenants it is not easy to
conceive ;-and, indeed, if the abominable avarice and extortion whichi farmers have displayed of late should continue to exist, we perceive no other remedy for a difpofition, the perpetuation of which must inevitably ruin the country, but the retention of the ability, by the proprietor, to dispofless them at his pleasure ;--unless indeed, the legislature were to interfere, which it does not seem inclined to do, and impose a maximum upon corn.
The following comparison of the landed produce of the kingdom; with the amount of the tithes, is well worthy the serious attention of all who either write or speak on the subject.
“The landed rental and product of England shall be here stated on the editor's authority in the Annals of Agriculture, vol. xxviii. p. 430, at 26,000,000l. per annum of rent, and 100 000,000l. per annum product*. The tenth part of this produce would have been the property of the prelent tithe-holders, had the right to tithes now existed to the fame extent as at the original settlement of them. But, according to a calculation
An Essay on tbe Rivenues of the Church of England, perhaps about onefiftht part of the agricultural produce of the kingdom, through various causes, may be discharged from the payment of tithes; and therefore the titheable agricultural produce malt be stated at only 80,000,0001, per annum, and the real value of tithes, if actually paid, at 8,000,000). per annum.
“ The whole number of impropriations in the kingdom, whether lay or ecclefiaftical, is about 3,840;-of rectories, vicarages, &c. formerly and at present in charge in the King's books, about 8,050 ;---and of rectories, vicarages, donatives, and independent curacies, and chapelries, never in charge, about 1,550k. To give the utmost latitude to the charge of tithes which can be reasonably allowed, ---the present average value of each impropriation shall be taken at 200l. per annum ; which is a very high valuation, when it be recollected, that a great number of the impropriations have been partly or wholly restored to their respective vicarages: the present aggregate value of the rectories, vicarages, &c. formerly and at prefent in charge, shall be taken at sixteen times their aggragate value in the King's books ; which is one-sixteenth above the present average value of all rectories, vicarages, &c. in the kingdom, as will be thewn in a fublequent passage: and the present aggregate value of the rectories, vicarages, donatives, and independent curacies and chapelries never in charge, thall be taken as each in the receipt of an income of 501. per annum from tithes; though above two-thirds of them, poflibly, do not derive any part of their income from tithes--
* In the Middlesex Agricultural Report, p. 435, the agricultural produet of South Britain is stated at 130,000.000l. per annum. + In Beeke's Observations, the tithe-free lands are stated at a seventh only.
In Liber Regis by Bacon, many hundred chapels are enumerated in the northern and fome other dioceses, as chapels to or in parithes. But, as these must have been originally Chapels of Ease to other churches, (though many of themn may be now distinct parishes of themselres,) or have been built on fpeculation in populous parts of the kingdom, it is not poffible that they can have much, if any, connection with tithes.
3.810 Impropriations at 2001. each per annum
£:768,000 8,650 Rectories, vicarages, &c. at sixteen times their value in
the King's books, 1,740,7521. but deducting 501. from each >1,309,302
on the average for glebe and augmentation lands, fees, &c. 1550 Rectories, vicarages, &c. never in charge, at 50l. each 77,500
“ Thus do the title-holders receive for their tithes little more than a fourthpart of the real value of them :--a moft convincing proof of the falsehood and malignity of those who affert, and of the credulity of those who believe, the oppreflive influence and injurious consequences of tithes upon agricultural pursuits.”
The least objeđionable mode of commuting tithes ever yet suggested, by giving the Clergy land in lieu of thein, is here thewn to be highly objectionable ; but our limits will not allow us to present our readers with the arguments on this part of the subje&t, pow. erful as they certainly are.--- We shall extract two more paisages, , one of which we recommend to the notice of the farmer, and the other, consisting of a string of interrogatorieś, we call upon the innovating statesmen of the day to answer.
Though it has been asserted, that the land occupiers of this kingdoni are the most valuable class in society, and though, with their families and dependents, they should amount to one-half of the national population, and even the source of one-half of the national wealth ; yet there does not appear much reason or equity in relieving them at the expence of the other half of our wealth and population. In fact, the occupiers of rented lands, or nearly the whole body of farmers, do not contribute towards the support of the national religious establishment, by the payment of their tithes, as that deduction is indirectly allowed them in their rents ; nor, in fact, do land proprietors, of whom a few may be land occupiers also, more directly contribute, either by the payment of their own tithes, or by the allowances for them in the rents of their tenants. Nine-tenths only of their eftates, or of the produce of them, do actually belong to the land proprietors, though they may oftenfibly appear pofleflors of the whole. Of the tenth-part they are fiduciary proprietors only; and as that tenth-part cannot be charged beyond the actual value of its produce, so is the occupation of it on the average cominuted at scarcely more than a fourth-part of its apparent real value.
But, thould tithes be freely and wholly abolished without any commutation whatever, the support of the national religious establishment must become a general concern. Land occupiers would then foon find, that though indeed they were released from the payment of tithes, they would have incurred much larger expences, in the increase of their rents beyond all proportion to their accustomed outgoings for tithes, and in their direct personal contribution also to the support of the national religion. And then would the larger part of our population likewise, whether friends or enemies to the establishment, find themselves called upon by an actual payment, or more dire@ly under the disguise of some species of general taxation, (chiefly affecting the necessaries of life, perhaps, as those alone NO, XXIII, VOL. VIII,
are articles of universal and permanent consumption,) to contribute equaily to the maintenance of a religious establishment, which they did not regard, or from which they diflented, or to whole fupport they had not hitherto contributed."
“But, indeed, if existing circumstances do call for national attempts at experimental improvements, why muli the property of the church, above all other property, be selected, for the trial of these experimental improvements? Why must the most ancient and indefeasible property in the king. dom be sacrificed, rather than that which is more modern, and, perhaps, less secured? Why is the property of the Church to be made the scapegoat, and bear with it into the wilderness of the establishment's destruction, the several obstacles to the improvement of landed property and its products ? Would other proprietors of landed property approve of being violently dispossessed of their freeholds ? What would be the language, behaviour, and exertions of lay-proprietors of lands at such an attempt ?”
The thanks of the Clergy, the thanks of the community, are due to Mr. Cove, for the spirit and ability which he has evinced in the discussion of his subject ;-for the perfpicuity and strength of his arguments—and no member of either House of Parliament, who may be called upon to give a vote upon this question, will have faithfully discharged his duty to his King, his country, and himself, * if he come to a decision before he has perused this tract.
A Letter to the Hon. Spencer Perceval, Solicitor General to his Majesty,
in Consequence of the Notice given by him, in the last Session of Par-
measures proposed for checking its destructive progress, in the lait Seffion of Parliament, was fully explained at the time ; and most happy are we to find, in the pamphlet before us, principles and fentiments perfectly congenial with our own. Having said this, to bestow on these pages that commendation to which they are unquestionably entitled, would be to expose ourselves to the imputation of egotism, while, on the other hand, to withhold it would be an act of injustice to the author. In this dilemma, we shall be spasing of our comments, and profuse of our extracts. From his fire proposition no honest man can possibly withhold his perfect assent.
" That the happiness of the people is the great end, and should be the in. variable object, of goveroment, are truths (is a truth) which no one pretends to controvert; and that their happiness depends chiefly upon their morals is equally indisputable : it follows, then, that the morals of a country are its most important concernt, and that which should engage the unremitting attention and the constant folicitude of Government."
The author then proceeds to ihew that the rapid progress of the fin of Adultery has an immediate tendency to eradicate all moral principle
from the human mind. After specifying the dreadful penalties inficted by the Almighty, on those who were guilty of it, before and after the establishment of Christianity, he adverts to the profligate practise of the times, which extorts from him expressions of surprize mingled with virtuous indignation.
Judging from the corrupted manners of the Christian world, no one would suppose that the Revelation of the Divine will, which that world profeffes to I believe, could contain fo fivere a denunciation against the breach of the nup
Nor would it be possible for so depraved a state of manners to exist, if a large proportion of the professors of Christianity did not suffer their passions to seduce them, either into a forgetfulness of that denunciation, or into a persuasion that its penalty will not be inflicted. It is, indeed, but too evident, that
who call thiemselves Christians, not only adapt their fyiłems of religion and morality to their corrupt. propensities and vicious courses, but even dare to fit in judgment upon the facred oracles of truth, to explain away the laws prescribed by their Creator, nay, to make his attributes conform with their low and debafing ideas of perfe&tion, and to pronounce, with blafphemous presumption, that it would be income patible with his justice to execute the statutes which he has enacted and promulgated.
“ The impiety of such conduct can only be equalled by the infatuation with which it is marked. If a doubt could arise respecting what is written upon this subject; what egregious folly would it be to incur even the risk of fature and fasting misery, for the sake of a gratification, which, besides being momentary, is fraught with the utmost temporal infelicity, both private and public. But no fach doubt can exist after an attentive perusal of the holy Scriptures. In whatever manner the Divine wrath may be hereafter manifeited against those finners, whom death shall have overtaken in a state of impenitence, the most terrible display of it is clearly and unequivocally denounced against all who violate the nuptial tie. Unlefs all credit be refused to Revelation ; unless our religion be altogether an impofture ; unless mankind be
l totally destitute of any clear communication of the Divine will, and of any
well grounded hope of a future exiftenee; the Adulterer is expressly excluded from the mansions of eternal bliss, and devoted to a ftate of endless misery and despair.”
But even in this extreme severity of an offended God, his justice and goodness are visible, as the author clearly and forcibly demonitrates, by fhewing its tendency to prevent the commiffion of a fin, which is destructive of man's happiness, and strikes at the very root of fociety. The effect of its ravages on a single family is thus ably and truly depicted, and affords a fair specimen of its fatal consequences on a state.
“ Contemplate in idea what it is your high privilege to enjoy in reality) that molt bright and hopeful scene, which displays a faithful and affectionate pair, united by ties which, they fondly think, death only can diffolve, engaged in training up their beloved offspring, the dear pledges of their mutual attachment, in the practice of religion and of filial duty; in the cultivation of fra. ternal affection ; in habits of subordination, respect, industry, and moral dis. cipline ; and thus preparing them for all the duties of social life qualifying them both for happiness and utility-and, through them, providing for å transmil.on of the like ineftimable advantages to their children's children.