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composition for the flimsy trash in vogue, and helping to found a school of English opera by the way. Here is the opening undoubtedly into the enemy's camp. Not by stiff tragic dramas, nor by performances of a few severe operas once a year, but by carrying the outworks of foreign competitors as they raise them nightly in our city, by meeting them with the same matériel de guerre, and by capturing the willing public with the same strategy.

This would naturally only be the beginning of things. Though much might be made of it, it need not last for ever. Higher aims might be brought into play-if tragic opera is higher than comic ; or if not, the comedy might be refined until we had English operawriters composing such good works as Il Matrimonio Segreto, and, what is still better, the public accepting them. All this will come in due course, if the public can once be caught and held by the ear; if they can be persuaded by a few successful ventures that an English opera is not necessarily dull, tedious, and severe, compared to a French one. There are plenty of composers to meet the requirements of the

We are well furnished in that respect. If the practice of writing show music' were definitely given up, it would disengage a host of talent, whose energy at present is practically wasted. These redeemed musicians, freeing themselves from any a priori theories about their art, would endeavour to make their genius pay its waythereby en passant adopting the maxim of Handel, who is surely a good exemplar ; and would naturally turn to the one field where there is a persistent demand for their presence, and every scope for their most prodigal exertions. To assail the public at the weakest point of its stolid indifference; and after capturing this out work to proceed to further conquests, and, if possible, universal dominion, is the only way to found a school of English opera, and, indeed, is the only way to success in any deliberate effort of the kind. State aid, private patronage, however munificent, will effect nothing towards the desired consummation-nay, would be rather detrimental to the cause than otherwise, as likely to encourage the private caprices of composers, and make them independent of that one great and ultimate appeal court, the voice of the public. The public are bad servants, but very good masters. To approach them in an attitude of superiority, and endeavour to force certain things upon their understanding or appreciation, is the sure way to purchase their disapproval. They are not fitted to receive these things, and they resent the interference. But if a man humours them and humbles himself before them—in one word, induces them to take up the position of master to him-he is well off. They pay well for the gratification; and he may eventually lead them by the ear whithersoever he listethi.

case.

J. F. ROWBOTHAM.

THE CHURCH IN WALES

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The recent debates in the House of Commons upon the Church in Wales have rendered churchmen one good service. During the guerilla agitation of the last twenty years the arguments advanced against the Church in Wales have been so many and varied that it has been no easy matter to gauge the relative importance attached to them by their framers. At one time cry

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gone up for disestablishment because some parish clergyman was alleged to have carried out the provisions of the Burials Act with unsympathetic severity; at another time a refusal to pay tithe in some parish in the principality was advanced as a proof of the immediate necessity for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church. These isolated instances proved too weak to bear the burden laid upon them. They were fortified with statements of a more sweeping and condemnatory character. The late Mr. Henry Richard, who is regarded as the author of the Welsh disestablishment crusade, described the Church in Wales as 'throughout its whole history an alien Church, the Church of the conqueror and invader, a mark branded upon it indelibly.'

This appeal to history was stated somewhat differently by Mr. Stuart Rendel, now Lord Rendel of Hatchlands. Lord Rendel's researches into Welsh history convinced him that ' Nonconformity had a century ago evangelised Wales, while the Church prior to that time bad reduced Wales to almost heathenism. In 1891, the last occasion upon which the attack upon the Church in Wales appeared in the form of a resolution, the honourable member who moved this resolution in the House of Commons maintained that the ancient British Church was suppressed in 607, and that from then until now Wales was kept under the heel of English tyranny, and that there was a foreign garrison in the land. Mr. Dillwyn was an earnest and consistent advocate of disestablishment. His resolution in the House of Commons described “the Church in Wales as having failed to fulfil its professed object as a means of promoting the religious interests of Wales.' In support of this indictment Mr. Dillwyn made an impression upon the House of Commons by recording gross abuses of patronage that prevailed in Wales. Still more was the house impressed by the graphic picture Mr. Dillwyn gave of the scandalous lives led by the Welsh clergy. But the im ession was temporary. Inquiry brought out the dates, not given by Mr. Dillwyn, of these scandals. They were two centuries old. Since that incident historical research among the friends of Welsh disestablishment has languished, and there has been a less enthusiastic desire to rake into the histories of former ages for evidence of the shortcomings of the Church to-day. These arguments have now only the interest of extinct species. These species have followed a strictly scientific course. The lowest forms of each have always been few in number and confined to limited areas, while the group of species as a whole has been marked by that variability and rapid extinction which attach to lower forms. When the case of the Church came to be stated by higher and more developed minds, the argument about the conqueror, the invader, and the alien soon expired. Lord Rendel of Hatchlands seemed to be uttering the novissima verba of one of these extinct species, when with the last breath of a commoner he told the Montgomeryshire electors in his valedictory address, Our ends are accomplished.' alleged to be in a hopeless minority persist in demanding this reliable test, while those who make the allegation as persistently oppose it. The situation is rendered more dubious by the unquestioned fact that, according to their own showing, all the Nonconformist bodies of Wales taken together, even counting the Roman Catholics as Welsh Nonconformists, do not number half of the whole population. Hesiod tells us that ‘half is more than the whole,' and in this Hesiodic sepse we are, I suppose, to accept the statement that Wales is a nation of Nonconformists. The question, however, remains, whether the numerical argument can be accepted as conclusive in deciding the question of establishment. If so, we should have an established Church which depended for its existence upon a sliding scale of population. Even

With this passing reference we may well leave these things and go on to the arguments against the Church in Wales upon which the Home Secretary and other leading politicians have mainly relied to establish their case in the House of Commons. These resolve themselves into three. The Church in Wales must be disestablished because it is in a hopeless minority, a failure, so weak that the Church of England will be all the stronger when this moribund limb is cut off. The second argument is that of the parliamentary representation. The great majority of the Welsh members demand disestablishment. Finally, Wales is a distinct and homogeneous nation, and therefore has a perfect right to demand separate treatment in this matter.

Of all the arguments advanced against the Church the numerical argument would seem to be the one most easily stated in a precise and authoritative form. Strangely enough the advocates of disestablishment have elected to express this argument in two phrases, both of which lack precision and authority. “The Church in Wales is in a hopeless minority,' or Wales is a nation of Nonconformists.' A hopeless minority! Is the Church in Wales without hope or confidence ? So far as my experience and observation go, Churchmen in Wales show no inclination to despair of the republic. Even assuming the Church to be in a minority, the immediate hope of being in a majority may reasonably be entertained by a Church which Mr. Gladstone recently described as an advancing Church, an active Church, and I hope, very distinctly a rising Church, rising from elevation to elevation.' Is the Church in a minority ? Any value that may attach to the numerical argument must depend upon the accuracy of the numbers quoted. In this instance an official parliamentary census is the natural and only authoritative means of ascertaining this information. It is remarkable that Churchmen who are

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Even if this test were to be taken for the United Kingdom as a whole, it could hardly be regarded as satisfactory, much less so if the test is to be applied to limited areas of the United Kingdom. Be this as it may, justice demands that this argument, whatever its value, should rest upon ascertained facts. Churchmen do not accept the Liberationist figures, nor do they ask the Liberationists to accept theirs, as final and conclusive. Fair play demands that the numerical argument should be put to the test of an official parliamentary census. Such a test both sides must accept. Count heads if you like, but let them be counted by some one who has no motive for making them more or less than they are.

Then, we are told, the Church is a failure. Failure and success, in the ordinary sense of the words, hardly ring true as adequate standards of the work of the Church of Christ. Be always displeased with what thou art, if thou desirest to attain to what thou art not,' must be the language of a Church striving after Christian perfection. If this means failure, then Christianity is a failure. But the word * failure' is probably applied in a very different sense to the Church in Wales. Mr. Bryn Roberts stated in the House of Commons that * outside the publicans and their customers there are scarcely any of the working men of Wales who belong to the Church. If this were true in the disgraceful sense in which it was meant or even partially true, then 'failure' would not be too strong a word. I do not think that any dispassionate historian who studies the records of the Welsh Church would maintain that it had failed to promote the religious interests of Wales. I believe it has done much, though it might have done more, to promote those interests. Failures, but not failure, I readily admit, and after all failures are often steps to success. Every detection of a shortcoming directs us towards what is better

- Every trial exhausts some tempting form of error.' This is not the place to pour forth in detail the records of Church work in Wales—such records abound. It is not denied that the chief care of the poor in Wales has been left to the Church, that the sole voice raised for religious education in Wales has been that of the Church, Vol. XXXVIII—No. 221

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The Church that mainly guards these interests can hardly be called a failure. Even those who are not of her communion have in Wales separated from her not for any fundamental differences in doctrine, but often for causes slight in the first instance and deeply to be regretted. The very affection of those who have left the Church is shown by the title the Old Mother' with which they still greet her. The growing and laudable desire to imitate almost minutely the worship, the organisation, the nomenclature of the Church testifies to no hostility. The Chapel now always called a Church, the preacher described as 'our minister' or 'clergyman,' the minister’s garb and title, the architecture of the Chapel, the Chapel choral festival, the Chapel Bible classes with Church commentaries, the hundred and one Chapel organisations suggested by or modelled on their counterparts in the Church-all these things are the surest form of that respect which unavowed imitation generally implies. These are not the only indications of respect and frendliness. The Burials Act was passed to relieve Nonconformists, especially in Wales, from a grievance which it was alleged that the Nonconformists felt to be intolerable. The Act was passed, and in Wales is practically a dead letter. The vast majority of the people still prefer in the burial of their dead the services and ministrations of that Church which we are asked to believe is an alien Church, the Church of the conqueror and invader. If the facts are fully and justly weighed, it will be found that the evidence does not confirm the description of the Church in Wales as a failure or as a Church in a hopeless minority, or as a Church that has lost the respect and affection of the people.

Sir William Harcourt met the demand for an official census in Wales with an ingenious argument. What,' he said, “is the census of the polling booth in Wales? That census represents every registered householder in Wales ... and is it not a singular thing that you should have an almost unanimous voice from the Welsh people against the Established Church ?' Let us examine carefully this argument based on the political representation of Wales. First of all, I ask, is the voice unanimous ? Sir William Harcourt appeals to the registered householder. To the registered householder then let us go. The registered voters in Wales and Monmouthshire number 314,540. Of this number 145,818 voted for Liberationist or Gladstonian candidates, 86,883 for Unionist candidates; 81,839 did not record their votes. Some of the Unionist candidates were in favour of disestablishment, but all of them were pledged not to vote for any measure of disestablishment and disendowment in the next Parliament, and these Unionist candidates, three or four in number, who were in favour of disestablishment polled fewer votes by some thousands than Conservative candidates had polled in the very same constituencies at previous elections. We are face to face then with this fact. Sir William Harcourt states in the House of Commons that the almost unanimous

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