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Endowments,'* for, assuredly, the one has created the demand for the other. Yet the qualifications required for the editorship of the journal differ so much from those involved in the preparation of the lately published volume, that we confess to an agreeable feeling of surprise at the marked success which the author has achieved in this his latest work, All who have been accustomed to the writings of Mr. MIALL, have regarded him as an unrivalled exponent of Nonconformist principles. For clearness of conception, cogency of reasoning, lucidity in statement, and an affluence of illustrative power, he has probably not been equalled by any writer who has sought to stir the intellect, the conscience, and the heart of the dissenting body. That he has not displayed as high a degree of ability in the manipulation of facts, all who have watched his career would probably admit. His powers of abstraction, indeed, have been so exercised, that it is only among thoughtful readers and hearers that his writings and speeches have been received with an enthusiasm which has procured for him the largest personal following of any living Nonconformist. His greatest praise is in the fact, that he has trained a school of thinkers and writers, speakers and workers, who, whether excelling in the logical faculty, like the master, or displaying greater habits of research, and a more complete mastery of details, are alike distinguished by an uncompromising fidelity to welldefined principles of action.
The volume now before us is one mainly of facts, collected with evident industry, and arranged with a skill which gives to them great cumulative force. All the statements made are carefully verified, and the authorities relied upon are such as no churchman can despise. Considering the breadth of ground to be traversed, and the temptation to prolixity held out by some features of the case, the treatise is singularly compact and concise ; while the style is so direct, and even so brisk, that the whole book may be read off with positive pleasure, irrespective of the sense of satisfaction which every. Liberator 'will experience as he feels beneath him the firmness of the ground on which he has taken his stand. If any
of our readers, and especially of the gentle sex, think that a 'work on the origin and history of Tithes must be dry,' let them read this by no means bulky book, and confess that they were mistaken.
The introductory chapter clears away a source of perpetual misunderstanding, by defining the meaning of the term Church of England,' which, in law, includes the whole people of England, as religiously organised, just as the State means the same body politically organised. As a religious community that Church never has had a separate existence from the State, and it can claim its national title only in virtue of its connection with it. The phrase, 'our
* Published by Longman and Co.
Church' used by Episcopalians, when speaking of themselves as apart from other bodies, is therefore based on a pure assumption. The expediency of disturbing the existing arrangement in respect to tithes, which constitute the bulk of what is called Church property, the author does not profess to touch. He simply insists on the right of Parliament to deal with them as it thinks fit, and that right is based on the fact that parochial tithes, Regarded as property separated for public religious uses, from the rest of the property of this country, are the product of public law exclusively, ecclesiastical, or civil, or both, and that they neither did, nor, in the nature of things, could originate in private individual liberality.
In England (whatever may have been the case in the Western Empire on the continent) individual spontaneity never had room to play in the creation of liability to tithe. That liability was, from the beginning of the system, fixed upon every subject of the realm, not by his own election, in obedience to pious impulses, but by the will of those who had rule over him in Church and State.'
The rise of the tithe system in the Western Empire is then described. It was when the clergy had become partially corrupt, and the laity less disposed to support them, that the propriety of paying tithe was urged as an opinion—the opinion presently consolidating into a doctrine—the doctrine being first enforced by excommunication, and ultimately by civil process. “If,' ran one of the constitutions of Charlemagne, any one shall be convicted of neglect,' to pay his tithes, he shall be distrained upon, that the unwilling may restore to the Church what they have neglected voluntarily to give.' The voluntary devotion of their property to religious uses by our pious ancestors,' turns out, therefore, to have been as much an act of submission to mere force as the payment of a modern Church rate.
It was in the same way that tithes originated in this country, and it was an Act of Parliament, in the reign of Ethelwulf (A. D. 855), which, in a few brief clauses, constituted the basis of the English tithe system. And it was
And it was 'as an offering to God, and the Blessed Virgin, and all the saints,' that the King of the West Saxons, by the advice of my bishops and other chief men of my kingdom, granted a tenth part of that kingdom 'to be applied only to the service of God alone,' “for the health of my soul and the pardon of
An act of King Edgar says of the alleged voluntary offerings of the pious, ' If any one shall refuse to pay his tithes in such manner as we have prescribed, then let the king's sheriff, and the bishop of the diocese, and the minister of the parish come together, and let them by force cause the tenth part to be paid to the church to which it was due, leaving only the ninth part to the owner.' Ethelred, his son, added two other laws equally coercive, and already we have the seed-plot of some modern fallacies, in the declaration of one of these statutes : ‘And every other customary due must be paid to the Mother Church to which every man belongs for the love of God. And let no man take from God what belongs VOL. III.-NEW SERIES,
to God, and which our predecessors have consecrated to Him.' Other acts are quoted, down to the beginning of the thirteenth century, and this continuous succession of laws for the payment of tithes, for a period of 400 years, may well be declared to be ‘utterly inexplicable on the hypothesis of the tithe endowment system having had its origin in the spontaneous liberality of individuals.' The absence of this sportaneity is further conclusively shown by the records we have of the struggles of the laity, in resisting the encroachments of the clergy, who, from their original demand of a tenth of the fruits of the earth, proceeded to claim a tithe of the cattle, of milk, cheese, and wool, of seeds and honey, of fish and game, of the profits of mills and quarries, and even of the earnings of merchants, traders, and artificers. Hence, Cowper's humorous description of 'the yearly distress, or tithing time,' is substantially true of a much more primitive period than that at which it was written :
'In sooth, the sorrow of such days,
Is not to be expressed,
Are both alike distress'd.'
"We put it to every candid and thoughtful person to state what is the impression left upon his mind by this summary of historical facts. Is it not, from beginning to end, utterly irreconcileable with the hypothesis that parochial tithes in this country had their origin in the spontaneous and pious beneficence of individual land proprietors ? Is it intelligible on any other supposition than that of general law, first suggested by the doctrine of ecclesiastics, and enforced upon the conscience by Church censures, afterwards adopted by the Civil Power, and carried into effect by the aid of severe penalties, upon unwilling subjects ? We have authority on the one hand, and disregard of it on the other-encroachments in claim, met by resistance in practice-disobedience menaced with increasingly ruinous punishments—struggles between clergy and laity generally ending in the triumph of the former-complaints, remonstrances, and confusion without end. If ever history read out its own moral, surely this does. It proves that the tithe system is not the final outcome of spontaneous piety, far less of individual zeal, nor the rich and indigenous growth of lay devotion in earlier times, but is the precipitate of public law applied again and again, with ever increasing severity, to reluctant wills, and by its coercive and uniform action, forcing out everywhere similar results.'
The chapter on things legally titheable, is full of curious and suggestive matter. The minute rules laid down to govern the payment of the various kinds of tithe, point distinctly enough to its legal origin, and help to dissipate the notion that it was in the nature of a private endowment. The gross absurdity of the 'pious forefather' dogma is shown by the mere enumeration of the list of articles swept by law into the category of all parochial tithes : 'Ancient or modern, rare or plentiful, profitable to man or beast-it was all the same. If they grew, and were made gain of, the Church claimed her share, and the law allowed it.'
Of personal tithes, Mr. Miall triumphantly asks : "Will any man in his senses pretend that pious lords of manors, of their own private will
, gave to the clergy the right, for all future time, to mulct the artificers resident in their parishes of a tenth of their wages ? or assigned to the Church a tenth of the fish caught in the sea ? or subjected millers to the ecclesiastical impost from A.D. 1315? or “gave a tenth of the spoils" of all hawking, hunting, fishing and fowling? It matters nothing to the argument that in some of these cases tithe was seldom paid, and the claim for it soon ceased. The claim was made by ecclesiastical law. On what ground? On the pretext that the right had been granted by some lord of the manor ? Never—but on the ground of ecclesiastical right having its roots in the divine law. We take this part of the argument, therefore, to be demonstrative. Added to what has preceded it, it leaves not so much as an inch of standing ground to the advocates of the private origin of tithe endowments.'
Another important stage of the argument is reached in the chapter on the modern expansion of the tithe endowments, figures being given to prove that three-fourths of the parochial endowments of the Church of England have their rout in an Act of Parliament passed a little more than 300 years ago ;' the act in virtue of which millions of acres of waste land have been brought under cultivation by modern skill and capital. The mere contrast of the England of to-day with the England of the days of our pious ancestors,' is of itself a reductio ad absurdum. Mr. MIALL, after describing the state of the country centuries ago, adds :
And yet, it is in these times, and amid such surrounding circumstances, that modern Churchmen pretend to have discovered the beginning of parochial endowments in the pious liberality of individual land proprietors. Not a parish in the kingdom is without its Church endowment-not a parish without an endowment of precisely the same character—a tenth of the annual produce, neither more nor less. No matter at what date the parish came into being as such—it always had a land-owner who voluntarily devoted his tenth to the Church. North, south, east, or west, it mattered not-in the ninth century, or in the fourteenth, or in any intervening period, it mattered not—whensoever and wheresoever out of waste and barrenness there came cultivation and profit, then and there, without so much as a single exception, there was invariably a “ pious ancestor," who gave of his own to ecclesiastical uses that which every other land owner gave. Not one missed-not one cultivated estate was exempt, save by a subsequent process of redemption. Credat Judæus.'
In another chapter, on the arbitrary assignment of tithes, a probable cause of the widely-spread belief that tithes were of private origin is pointed out.
While the law compelled the laity to pay, they, at the same time, obtained the right of appropriating the amount to religious objects of their own choosing, and hence the monastic body came at length to absorb nearly half the advowsons of the kingdom. But the monasteries could always produce the title-deeds in virtue of which they claimed any tithes; whereas the parochial clergy received the tithe by common law. They could no more produce the gift deeds of individual benefactors than their successors can now. Oddly enough, therefore, the only tithes of which it could be said that they in any degrec gave expression to private
feeling, have been already hopelessly and for ever secularized.” This distinction between the coercive character of all tithes, and the voluntary designation of the purpose to which they should be applied, is of great importance, to prevent misconception in dealing with this subject. The laity of that day were obliged to pay tithes, but they might elect the persons to whom, and the purpose for which, they would pay them ; just as in the present day there are some politicians who would compel every man to pay a religion-rate, but give him the option of appropriating it to what place of worship he pleases.
The eighth chapter deals with a point with which we are all more familiar, viz., the fact that the fee-simple of Church property is in the State absolutely ; that the Church of England has never held any of it in her own right ; that the law never recognizes any right in the enjoyment of the revenue beyond the personal right of the individual enjoying the use of it for the time being; that the State imposes the conditions on which that use must depend, and alters those conditions at pleasure. The absoluteness of the State's power in this respect is more than a matter of argument, it is confirmed by an unbroken series of historic facts.
The general conclusions of the treatise are admirably stated, and we quote some of them, because they should sink into the memory as axiomatic truths.
“The Church of England, viewed in any such light as will warrant one part of the nation calling it their Church, in a sense, at least, in which it is not equally the Church of every other subject of the realm, is nothing more than a system of ecclesiastical faith, government, usage, and service, as established by law."
Practically, and in relation to all national ecclesiastical endowments, the Church of England as a corporate unity, does not exist.
It is not possible to represent the Church of England in any of our courts of law. It is only by a figure of speech that we talk of the Church as a living entity. She can neither, as such, sue or be sued. She can own no property, and therefore she can be despoiled of none. What our Constitution does recognise is what our Parliament itself created—namely, a body of laws regulating the ecclesiastical affairs of this nation, and a number of ecclesiastical officers to whom it entrusts the carrying out those laws, under its supreme authority, in obedience to its prescriptions, and maintained by arrangements, and mainly from sources, which it originally created.
In the eye of law, the Church of England is, in relation to the rights of the subject, no more the inheritance of one man than of another—no more of the Protestant Episcopalians than of other religious
In every sense, by every method, through all times, in which the great Council of the nation could declare that Church property is but national property ecclesiastically applied, it has done so. The recent commutation, in our own day, of tithes into rent charges, is the last and crowning act by which the Legislature has asserted its absolute ownership of these endowments.
This last-named Act is printed in extenso in an Appendix, and a supplementary chapter supplies a valuable collection of passages from the speeches and writings of lawyers, statesmen, and ecclesiastics, confirmatory of the doctrine propounded, and so successfully maintained throughout the volume.