Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

In making these allusions to the pre police to the sea-shore, for the pursent state of public opinion, we have “ pose of being sold in the markets of treated it with reference to England “ this country ; but resolutions had been only; we must now turn our attention“ entered into even in this country, that to Ireland. We are, however, anxious “ no man would buy Irish cattle, branded that it should be clearly understood that " and brought to sale for the payment we have separated the consideration ofj”. of tithes." this subject, as it regards England ani! But this is not all, not to mention Ireland, not because we are so ignorant minor disturbances, the interference of as to imagine that the general question the armed police in evforcing the deof church reform is not substantially the mands of clergvmen, Protestant, Chrissame in both countries; but because, tian clergymen !! has led to the most owing to political and local causes, horrible scenes of violence and bloodwhich we shall not here attempt to de- shed. At Newtownbarry, and more scribe, popular opinion has, in Ireland, recently at Knocktopher, fresh victims assumed, to say the least, a more une have been added to the long and san. quivocal and determined aspect. The guinary list of twenty-six thousand wrorgs of Ireland are a subject which human beings who, within the previous has exhausted all the powers of elo-thirty years, had been sacrificed to the quence ; but no language can describe enforcement of the tithe system.t the calamities which ages of civil mis The cry of universal horror and inrule, and ecclesiastical tyranny and op- dignation which followed the massacre pression, have brought upon that un- of Newtownbarry, which at once rehappy country. It is therefore no vealed to the people of England the wonder that, in Ireland, church reform real cause of the complaints of the Irish is no longer merely a matter of opinion people, and of their systematic opposiand discussion, but of action; in Kil- tion to the payment of tithes, as well as kenny, Carlow, Queen's County, and a the utter inefficiency of the tithe compogreat part of Wicklow, and in Wexford, sition act, appears to have forced upon Tipperary, King's County, Longford, the Government the conviction that, to and Westmeath, there has for some use an expression which is now become time past existed a general and sys- perfectly familiar to our ears, “Sometematic opposition to the payment of thing must be done,” which, by the tithes ; and the Protestant clergy have, way, in its popular acceptation, signifies in many instances, been reduced to everything ihat is necessary to be done, absolute poverty. Mr. Stanley says,- and without governments, means just

“ Cattle had been seized in default of as much as they find that the people are

payment, and the plan was resorted determined to extort from them. In "to of confining them within doors in pursuance of the recommendation con" the day time, and letting them outiained in the King's speech at the open“ during a short period of the night. ing of the present session, committees “ If they were sent to graze in the day, of the Lords and Commons have been " scouts and signals intimated the ap- appointed to “examine into the pay. proach of the officers of the laws, and “ment of' tithes in Ireland and the laws

they were driven off; when seized, relating thereto." We do not pre. no opposition was offered to the laws;

they were impounded and brought to * An account of this sanguinary conflict is “ sale. No man, however, would ex. given in our Retrospect. pose himself to the odium of becoming meeting of the county of Wexford, held July

+ Mr. B. Osborne, at the great aggregate a purchaser, and the tithe-collector 30th 1831, said, “ I have taken the laborious was obliged to purchase them him- "trouble to search accurately the files of some self. They were taken to a distant " Irish journals, and I have found that vo less market : : no man would provide them

“ than six-and-twenty thousand persons have

“ been butchered, in twenties and tens, during provender, or give them a night's " shelter. They were escorted by the “ this system."

" the last thirty years, in the enforcement of

tend to be acquainted with the intentions ple; and whether, in particular, the of the Government, but if we njay judge Catholics and Presbyterians are prefrom the speeches of Lord Melbourne pared to give up a seventh part of their and Mr. Stanley, the result of the deli- lands to the support of the clergy of a berations of the committees will be any church with which, to use the mildest thing but satisfactory to the people of expression, they hold no communion ; Ireland. No reduction of the burden of for after all that has been written and the tithes appears to be contemplated ; said about the vexation of tithes, we are the shape of the thing is to be altered, convinced that this is felt to be one of but its weight is not to be dininished the greatest grievances of the tithe sysAccording to Mr. Stanley's argument, tem, both in England and Ireland. In it is the mode, and not the amount of short, it is a question which, in our the payment, that constitutes the griev- opinion, can be satisfactorily settled, ance of the Irish tithe system. Mr. only by a reformed Parliament. We Stanley, however, ought to be well are too well acquainted with the preaware, that the Irish title-payer does sent state of Ireland not to be fully not merely complain of the fashion of aware of the danger of delay; but as his chains, but of their weight and we think that ineffectual measures will pressure, which are grinding him to the merely tend to aggravate the evil, we earth. Mr. Stanley is therefore in fa- venture to suggest, that the safest, and vour of a land commutation ; this, to indeed the only course which the prebe sure, is foolish enough ; but Lord sent Parliament can pursue, will be to Melbourne, with the scene at Newtown- pass a short act to suspend all further barry fresh in his recollection, actually payinent of tithes in Ireland, until the suggests to the committee, “ whether question can be finally disposed of by. "it would not be wise to make the a House of Commons composed of the composition act compulsory through- real representatives of the people. out the kingdom." This is not the With respect to the views and inten-, time, if our limits would permit, to tions of the church reformers, which discuss the propositions which we have are the next subject of consideration, just mentioned, but with regard to that we have already stated that there are of Mr. Stanley, we cannot refrain from church reforiners of all sorts and demaking a few observations upon it. grees : but, without pretending to be Ireland contains about 18,000,000 En- perfectly accurate on this head, we glish acres of land, of which, after de- think that the great mass of church ducting the church and tithe free lands, reformers may be divided into the three and impropriate tithes, 14,000,000 acres following classes. First, those who at least are subject to ecclesiastical propose no other measure of reform tithes. Now, supposing, the commuta-than what they are pleased to call an tion in land to be allotted in the pro- amelioration of the tithe system, that is, portion commonly adopted in tithe either to pass a compulsory or voluncommutation acis in England, the tary tithe composition act, or to give a Irish clergy would be entitled to a perpetual rent charge or a part of the seventh part, viz., 2,000,000 acres of land itself, by way of commutation, in the titheable lands. This, added to the lieu of tithes in kind. A bill for facili1,000,000 acres

now in ecclesiastical tating compositions for tithes has been hands, would appropriate 3,000,000 several times brought into the House of acres, or one-sixth of the whole soil of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury; Ireland, to the support of a temporal but the provisions of the bill, and the establishment of a religion which, quarter in which it originated, prove, taken at the highest, is professed by beyond all doubt, that it was brought only a fourteenth part of the whole forward for the double purpose of stifling community. It is almost needless to the cry for ecclesiastical reform, and inask, whether this be a plan likely to re- creasing the revenues of the clergy. move the complaints of the Irish peo- | Indeed, this seems to be the real object

[ocr errors]

of all the various composition and coming the tithe-system, namely the tithemutation projects which have been lately payers, under which name we include laid before the Parliament. This sort the consumers as well as growers of of tithe reform, which is however titheable produce, which, it is well scarcely worthy of that name, has, we known, comprises everything that is believe, very few advocates except I necessary for the food of man. We amongst the lay and clerical aristocracy, cannot bring ourselves to believe that the beneficed clergy, and others who the titbe-payers, who it must be reare directly or indirectly interested in membered are the aggrieved and comtithes. With respect to the Archbi- plaining parties, will be satisfied with shop's bill in particular, it is easy to any measures which would merely imagine the feeling with which the occasion an alteration in the mode of clergy must regard a measure which paying tithes, or of the persons to whom would at once auginent their incoines, they are to be paid, without any dimi. and reliere them from the trouble, ex- nution of the burden. It is, we think, pense, and odium, of collecting tithes in the height of absurdity to imagine that kind. Upon the whole, it is quite cer- the tithe payers, who are the authors tain that the composition and commu. and principal agitators of the question tation scheme will not be abandoned of tithe reform, and who alone possess without great reluctance by the aristo- the power of carrying any effectual cracy and clergy; we shall therefore measure of reform, have been labouring defer our observations upon it until it to pull down one tyrant, merely for the is again brought before the legislature. sake of setting up another. In the meantime, we cannot help re The third class of church reformers marking, that although the outcry consists of those who support the three against tithes owes its origin in a great following propositions : 1. To sell the measure to the vexatious character of ecclesiastical estates and property of the tithe system, and this was at first every description now possessed by the the only grievance complained of by bishops, for the use of the public; and the tithe-payers in their petitions to to assign to them out of the general Parliament, it is now almost lost, or, as revenues of the state, a provision suitalawyers would say, merged, in the ge- ble to the episcopal character and funcneral complaint against the intolerable tions; and also to deprive them of burden of tithes, and their perversion their seats in the House of Lords; and from the charitable purposes for which to render the clergy in general incapable they were originally instituted. The of holding the office of justice of the second class of church reformers com- peace, or exercising any temporal power prises those who propose that a!l tithes or authority whatever of a public belonging to ecclesiastical benefices nature; and in particular to suppress shall be sold, and the produce of the all the ecclesiastical courts. 2. To sale applied to the discharge of the abolish all deans and chapters, and other national debt; and that the parochial unnecessary dignitaries of the church clergy shall receive stipends from the establishment; and to sell all their state in proportion to their services. estates, and apply the produce of the With respect to this last proposition sale to the service of the public. 3. To concerning tithes, we cannot refrain abolish tithes of every description; and from observing, that the political eco- fto sell all the lands now possessed by Romists, by whom it is principally sup- the parochial clergy except the ancient ported, seem to have wholly overlookeil

, glebes ; to permit the incumbents of or at all events have not sufficiently benefices to retain the churches, the considered, a question which we appre- parsonage and vicarage houses, and kend will raise a very serious if not the ancient glebes ; and for the rest, an insuperable objection to their project, to leave them to the voluntary contrithat is, whether it will satisfy the par-butions of their congregations. This ties who are most interested in reform-third class, of which we are now speak

ing, comprises, we have good reason in numerous instances overturned exto believe, a very great majority of emptions from tithes and moduses, the people of England, and is daily which had been quietly enjoyed for cenincreasing in numbers. It should, turies, and by these means have enorhowever, be observed, that there are inously increased the value of their many persons belonging to this class tithes. In their ecclesiastical character who, although they agree in the jus- they have long been, to adopt the extice and propriety, and indeed the pression of Lord King, the arch-disnecessity of abolishing tithes, are never- turbers and spoliators of vested interests theless in some difficulty in regard and inheritances, and therefore they to what is to be done with the tithes must not expect to be permitted to drop which are in the possession of the lay- their ecclesiastical cassock all at once, impropriators who they think are en- and to stand before the public as mere titled to receive a compensation for that laymen, claiming protection for“ vested part of the tithes which they do not hold lay interests,” because it happens to be in their capacity of trustees, that is to convenient for theni to do so at the presay, one-third part.

sent moment. We content ourselves With respect to our own opinions on with throwing out these hints for the the subject of ecclesiastical reform, we present, because we are only giving a think fit to avow them openly, not from general outline of the question of church any vain notion of their importance, but reform; it will hereafter be our duty to from a desire that there shall be no room examine the rights of lay-impropriators for any misconception as to the character in all their bearings. and object of this publication. We have, With respect to the objects of the then, no difficulty in declaring that we church reformers of Ireland, we pass concur in the three propositions inain- over, for the present, Mr. O'Connell's tained by the third class of church project to abolish tithes as the incumreformers. With respect to the lay- bents die off, and the resolutions of the impropriators, we are not prepared to Irish political union, as fit subjects for agree with those who think them entitled separate discussion; and shall only state to a compensation for tithes to the extent our conviction that nothing less than a which we have already specified. We very great reduction of the revenues of should entertain very little doubt as to the Protestant hierarchy and a total the reasonableness of their claim to that abolition of tithes will, or ought, to extent, indeed we should at once come satisfy the Irish people. These measures to a conclusion in their favour, if we are, in our opinion, absolutely necessary could be brought to consider them as to prevent a constant repetition of the being, what they now represent them- dreadful scene of Newtownbarry and selves to be, mere laymen, and bond fide Knocktopher,-scenes which, however purchasers of lay property for a valuable they may be lamented, cannot be wonconsideration. But it appears to us that dered at. they are neither fish nor flesh, or rather, It is now time we conclude this arthey are like the bat in the fable, some- ticle; but before we do so, we are detimes bird, sometimes beast, as best sirous, with all possible deference to the suits their purposes. Their ecclesiasti- judgment off the advocates for church cal character and privileges, which it reform in England and Ireland, to immust not be forgotten are of a public press upon their minds the policy, and nature, have been used by them as indeed tlie necessity, of establishing an weapons for the perpetration of the immediate and close union between the grossest acts of injustice. Availing church reformers of the two kingdoms; themselves of the benefit of the ecclesi- they are engaged in the same cause; astical maxim of nullum tempus occurrit and the people of Ireland are, in truth, ecclesiæ, which they have enforced even now contending, not for their own rights with more severity and greediness than only, but also for those of the people of their purely spiritual brethren, they have England. Circumstances alone have

placed the Irish people in the front of although the measures of reform which the battle. There can be no doubt but we support muy, the want of such rethat the united efforts of the church re- form must, inevitably destroy both the formers of England and Ireland, if pro- temporal and spiritual establishment of perly directed to the concentration of the church. public opinion, and the collecting and diffusing of information relative to the abuses of the church, and promoting petiticns to the legislature, would give such a stimulus and weight to the cause

From this same Magazine I will now of church reform, as would very speedily take two short articles, either of which produce a peaceable settlement of that is quite sufficient to induce an honest question to the entire satisfaction of the Member of Parliament to take an oath people of both countries.

never to share or to wash himseif until A few words more respecting our

he had seen these abominations put an selves : we are members of the church end to by law. The first article is

Welsh Curates and Irish of England, and as we sincerely wish to entitled reform, and not to destroy it, we shall Curatıs," and is in the following words: not be diverted from our endeavours

The poverty of the Welsh curates has to promote the cause of ecclesiastical long been notorious, and indeed proreform, by the imputations of irreligion, verbial. The following description of infidelity, and itheism, which the clergy the condition of one of that unfortunate are accustomed to cast upon every one class of persons is taken from a pare who proposes any reformn in the church phlet entitled “ Church Regeneration established, and which, we are well and University Reform, by Morgan aware, are bestowed much more liberally Jones, Esq.” upon those who, like ourselves, propose “ There is in North Wales a clergymerely to interfere with their temporal

man of the establishment whoactually possessions, than upon those who im- “ receives no more than the sum above pugn the spiritual doctrines of the

specified (10!. or 151.) per annum. church, or even Christianity itself. We “ He has a wife and six children. In should not, however, do justice to our “the day-tiine he contrives to scrape selves if we were not to state our beliefs together a few pence, by conducting that the measures of temporal reform, a buat, in which passengers cross a of which we have declared ourselves the river ; he is the barber in the village, advocates, will not only not prove inju “ slaves for a penny every Saturday rious to the church, properly so called, night; and five evenings of the week but are absolutely necessary to preserve “ he teaches the children of the poor it from destruction. We would sacrifice o

villagers reading and writing, for which a considerable part of the temporal “ he receives a small acknowledgment. wealth of the church in order that its “ When will this scandal to the church spiritual and essential parts may remain “ be blotted out?, O ye ecclesiastical uninpaired;

potentates, for one moment lay aside Immedicabile vulous

your silken attributes, stop your postiEnse recidendum est, be pars sincera trahatur. liou at the foot of Snowden, and visit

In this respect we differ widely from “ a poor afflicted brother. A Welsh the clergy and the other se'f-siyled de." curate seldom tastes animal food. His fenders of the church, who, by their “ means will scarcely furnish his table obstinate resistance to reform, have“ with a meagre allowance of bread and plainly shown that they wouid rather“ potatoes.” expose the whole establishment to de With great deference to Mr. Jones, struction, than give up what, at best, is we think that it is not necessary that a mere appendage to the church, and is their Lordships should be put to the now become a scandal and a reproach to trouble and the expense, which they can it, At all events, we are convinced that so ill afford, of travelling as far as Wales.

« EdellinenJatka »