« ElőzőTovább »
Mr. URBAN,-You may believe me I am far from being offended with your free remarks on the Phænomenon (Gent. Mag. Aug. p. 149) I have described in my work on Atmospherical Electricity, and which you have been pleased to designate "a palpable exaggeration." I rather accept this as an honest expression of your love of truth, and an evidence of ingenuous candour, and as such honour and respect it. Permit me, however, to assure you that I did but repeat the language "of truth and soberness; nor can I do better in verification than quote a paragraph from the recent communication of a clergyman to me on this subject. "Soon after leaving Cheltenham by the coach, at a short distance a dense fog came ou, and the air became colder. The fog settled on the seats and clothes of the passengers like long white fur. This continued nearly one hour, when the fog disappeared, and the sun shone forth; the weather through the month of March had been fine without rain; the roads were perfectly dry where there were no trees by the road side. In a short time we observed a wet place extending in a semicircular form over half the road; the degree of wet was equal to what a watercart produces, and water ran from the place for several yards along the dusty part of the road. The coachman said a spring had broken out, but there was never one there before." My informant continues to detail other sources of wet observed on the same line of road, each of which was traced to individual trees, and their condensation of the incumbent fog. The amiable philosopher of Selburne has recorded many instances similar to the remarkable example mentioned by me.e.-Your's, &c.
G. L. says, "Your correspondent J. B. will find in Langley's History of the Desborough Hundred, p. 442, a very imperfect pedigree of the Wharton family, in which the second wife of Philip Duke of Wharton is stated to have died Feb. 13, 1777, and to have been buried at St. Pancras. He calls her Mad. Oberne, without any christian name, or further account of her than that the unfortunate duchess came to England after the Duke's decease, and died in February 1777.' (Ib. p. 450.) The time of her death is mentioned, as above, in Gent. Mag. vol. XLVII. p. 95, where she is called Maria. If your correspondent would be so obliging as to mention his authority for this lady being the daughter of Col. Comerford instead of Col. O'Brien (which I suppose to be the name mistaken and French
ified in the pronunciation), or can communicate any farther particulars respecting her
birth, or the date of her marriage, which is merely stated as soon after the death of the first Duchess (circa 1726), or can inform me of the christian name of Major-General Holmes's daughter, who was the first wife of the Duke, and mother to the Marquis of Malmesbury, he will confer a favour on G.L." In reply to T. E. p. 482, who asks for an account of the disease called the miserere, we find the following explanation in a glossary of obsolete terms appended to Dr. Hooper's Quincey's "Lexicon Medicum," edition 1802. "Miserere Mei. This is applied to some colics where the pains are so exquisite as to draw compassion from a bystander, the term importing as much."
The Rev. Archdeacon WRANGHAM observes-"May I beg you to convey to your classic correspondent, Mr. M-nw-g, (see p. 391), my best thanks for the high and valuable compliment which he has paid to me in his communication? Alas! I am growing too old for discharging competently the duties of such editorship as your correspondent's correct taste would justly expect. Non sum qualis eram. Why should
he not undertake the task himself! He evinces his fitness for the office by the estiImate which he has made of it. And he would execute it, I have no doubt,excellently. I should rejoice to hear it was in such hands, and would forward its circulation by every means in my power."
By a note in the MSS. of Browne Willis, Esq. LL.D. in the Bodleian Library, appears that he had inserted in his copy of Weever's Funeral Monuments, a particular description of arms and monuments remaining, in 1758, in Ludgershall church, Bucks. Any gentleman who may be in possession of the volume, or can point out where it may be found, will confer a great favour upon the compiler of the History of Buckinghamshire (now in the press, and the first portion of which will be speedily ready for delivery), by affording the opportunity of a reference to it.
The correspondent who favoured us with a view of Rousseau's house at Geneva, is informed that it has been depicted more than once; it is described in vol. xci. i. 145.
To R. S. W,. and W. B., and to our correspondents in general, we beg to say, that though we feel grateful to any correspondent who favours our Obituary with information illustrating personal, or even genealogical history, we cannot admit lengthened characters of persons who, though among the wost estimable, and in their sphere most useful members of society, yet have moved in a contracted circle, unknown to the world beyond it. No, to "Ebor."
I HAVE read with regret in No. XI. of the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, which has rather an extensive circulation, two articles on the subject of TITHES. The first purporting to be "On the History of Tithes;" and the second, "On the Commutation of Tithes," headed by the title of the Bill introduced by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury; both of which are filled with misrepresentations, disingenuous arguments, and groundless conclusions, and are calcu lated to excite a feeling of hostility in the breast of laymen against the Established Clergy. You would oblige one who is perfectly disinterested, by inserting this Letter, containing an impartial epitome of the History of Tithes, &c.
Allow me, in the first place, to bring forward a few proofs, from the fore-named articles, of the truth of my assertions. The former writer acknowledges, that charters are extant, by which different proprietors granted Tithes, &c. to the Clergy; that canons relating to Tithes are found in the records long before any regular statute was enacted. His words are, “In England as well as abroad, canonical regulations on this subject existed before any regular statutes, a circumstance which is of itself sufficient to explain the fact, that even the earliest of these statutes speak of Tithes, not as a new exaction, to which the people were strangers, but as one with which they were previously well acquainted." He is also compelled by Ethelwolf's statute, which he presents, as he says, in full length in a note (but he takes one part from Ingulph, and the other from Matthew of Westminster,) to acknowledge that it "confers on the clergy a
full and unalienable gift of Tithes of all England, to be held by them in their own right for ever;" and that the right of Tithes is amply provided for, at and after the Conquest.
Though he has acknowledged all this, and asserted that in cases of doubt "there still remains one sure and invariable principle to guide our researches the principle of human nature," he so far forgets himself as to combat what he had before allowed, viz. the private endowments of individuals, in these words: "Had such endowments in reality been made, the Clergy would neither have urged Ethelwolf to pass this grant; nor would the Barons have sanctioned a gift on his part, of what they themselves had already bestowed." Such is this writer's opinion of the principle of human nature, that he concludes that men will feel no anxiety to have property secured to them by statute; and that it is unlikely that the Barons would allow Ethelwolf to convey and secure to the Clergy what they had already given them; but that they would doubtless very coolly suffer him to give away one tenth of their property without the slightest opposition!! And mark, Sir, the logic of this learned writer, as the Editor is pleased to style him; because there are private charters extant, by which individual proprietors gave tithes, &c. to the Clergy; because "canons relating to Tithes are found in the records before any regular statute was enacted;" because Ethelwolf conferred the Tithes on the Clergy, "to be held by them in their own right for ever;" because the right of Tithes was amply provided for at the Conquest; because "each of our Kings on his accession to the throne solemnly swears this oath, and binds and obliges himself
on pain of excommunication, nearly 300 years before the first law was enacted. But, after all this partial and disingenuous reasoning, he is compelled to conclude thus: "On whatever pretence then a right to the tenth part of the produce of the country was at first obtained, and however unwise the laws may be held to be which confirmed the claim, the right of the property is now in the Church as an incorporated body, and by laws as valid and as ancient as those by which any property in this country is inherited or possessed." Notwithstanding this conclusion, he proceeds to rail against the Tithes as an impost upon property," an "impost of the worst kind," as "C a tax grievous and offensive in its nature," &c. ! !→ How an impost or tax, if such wellsecured property? Again, a great want of candour may be observed in his arguments to show the effect of Tithes on agriculture. "It used to be (he writes), and still is over a great part of the country, a common calculation, that one third part of the whole produce of land is paid as rent; one third as expenses; and that one third is left to the farmer for profit, the risk of his stock, and the expenses of his own maintenance. Now a tax (adds he) equal to a tenth part of the whole produce, would in such a case be a tax equal to thirty per cent. on the portion which remains to the farmer." Thus he insinuates that the Tithes are taken from the farmers' profit; when every one who reflects at all, knows that they are taken from the part which would otherwise go to the landlord. As a well-informed country gentleman has observed, "The farmers are the only persons who generally complain on this head; but if they are wise, they will never wish for the abolition of Tithes; for what they now contingently get from the moderation of the Clergy, the landlords would immediately put into their own pockets; and the farmers, burdened with increased rents, rates, and taxes, would feel how indiscreet were their former complaints." Lastly, after stating the purport of the Archbishop's Bill, which is, that an Archbishop or Bishop, as a guardian of the Church property, shall name one commissioner, and the parishioners another, to fix a rate of composition for 21 years, to be regulated every seven years, by the
to observe the laws, customs, and franchises granted to the Clergy;" therefore "the main conclusion to be drawn from the preceding statements is, that the civil right of Tithes emanated originally and alone from the ancient Legislature of the nation!! This point being established, the title of the existing Legislature to alter, to modify, or to annul this right, whenever circumstances or the general welfare of the country demands such a measure, cannot be denied!!!" This writer has a wonderful system of logic; for, with about two or three syllogisms, he would square the circle, reverse Kepler's law, and Newton's theorems, and make each of the planets dance a hornpipe.
The writer of the second article commences by asserting that the revenues of the Church of England, though ample, are not excessive." He afterwards enters into a very partial examination of the origin of Tithes; in which he eulogizes Selden, so far as his testimony favours his favourite hypothesis, viz. that Government gave the Tithes to the Clergy, and therefore may "take them away, or "justly secularize them;" by styling him "the learned and ingenious John Selden," the "profound Antiquary, who, with great learning, traces the origin and progress of Tithes from the earliest times." But when this learned and ingenious John Selden states that originally the Tithes were gifts of the laity conveyed by grants and charters to the different Churches by their patrons and founders," he immediately exclaims," the whole hypothesis, however, is opposed to historical fact, and to the known history of the Tithes!!" This opposed to historical fact! when Hume says, "and the nobility preferring the security and sloth of the cloister to the tumult and glory of war, valued themselves chiefly on endowing monasteries;" when King John, in a letter to Pope Innocent, claims the right of his Barons, &c. to found Churches within their seignories by the custom of the realm; and when the writer of the first article acknowledges, that charters are extant by which the nobility gave Tithes to the Clergy prior to any regular statute. This opposed to the known history of the Tithes! when this very writer, a few pages before, has said that Tithes were demanded
History of Tithes.
price of the produce of land, he has these interrogatories. Why, we ask, is all to depend upon the will of any Archbishop or Bishop? Why is the cumbrous and costly machinery to be renewed at intervals? Why these partial provisions in favour of the receiver of Tithes, and none in favour of the payer?" He thus intimates that there is partiality where none exists, and endeavours to induce the farmers to consider any thing short of an eternal lease on their own terms, without consent of the guardians of the property, an intolerable hardship. This may suffice to justify my expres
I now proceed to an impartial epitome of the history of Tithes, &c.
The priests under the Mosaic dispensation were supported by Tithes and offerings. It was evidently the will of the Divine Founder of the Christian Religion, that the ministers of the Gospel should be supported by the laity, which appears from his charge to the 70 missionaries. "Carry neither purses nor scrip, nor shoes, &c. for the labourer is worthy of his hire." From many passages in the New Testament we have strong grounds for concluding, that He designed that Christian ministers should be maintained as the priests had been under the former dispensation, i. e. by Tithes and Offerings; for instance, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple and that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so (our) hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel." Hence we find the early Fathers exhorting their hearers to contribute Tithes for the support of the Clergy. So early as A. D. 356, it was decreed at a Council, that Tithes were due to ministers of the Gospel as the rents of God (Dei census). Again, it was decreed at the Consilium Romanum, A.D. 375, "That Tithes and Firstfruits should be given by the faithful, and that they who refuse be stricken with the curse." (Ut decimæ atque primitiæ a fidelibus darentur; qui detrectant anathemate feriantur.) After the Christian Religion had been embraced by the majority of the English
people, the Barons and nobles, in obedience to the injunctions of Augustin and his successors, gave tithes and glebe lands for the endowment of Churches, &c. as certain charters now extant, and the claim made by King John of the right of his nobles to found Churches within their seignories, by the custom of the realm, plainly evince. Such Tithes were regularly paid according to the ancient usage and decrees of the Church, previously to any regular statutes, which is evident from a canon of Egbert, Archbishop of York, A. D. 750, and from the 17th canon of the General Council held for the whole kingdom at Chalcuth A. D. 787. About A. D. 793, Offa, King of Mercia, passed a law to secure the Tithes of his kingdom to the Church (Offa Rex Merciorum nominatissimus, Decimum omnium rerum Ecclesiæ concedit), and ordered his subjects to pay them regularly under severe penalties. Again, about A. D. 855, Ethelwolf, immediately after the union of the kingdoms of the Heptarchy, secured by a regular statute the Tithes of the whole land to the Clergy, to be held by them in their own right for ever (jure perpetuo possidendam). From this time to the Conquest many statutes were enacted for enforcing the payment of Tithes, &c.; and when William the Conqueror framed a code of laws for the government of his English subjects, the Tithes were secured to the Clergy, according to laws already enacted, and he solemnly swore to observe the laws and customs granted to the people by the Kings of England, his lawful and religious predecessors, and particularly the laws, customs, and franchises, granted to the Clergy by the glorious St. Edward his predecessor. The original guardians of this property were the King, with his council of Bishops and chiefs of the realm (Rex cum consilio Episcorum ac principum): but in process of time, during the four centuries subsequent to the Conquest, the Pope gradually usurped the sole authority over ecclesiastical affairs, as is evident by resolutions entered into by King Edward the First and his Barons at a Parliament held at Carlisle; when the King, by the assent of his Barons, denied the Pope's usurped authority over the revenues of the Church "within England," alleging, that
"they were founded by his progenitors, and the nobles and others of the realm, for the service of God, alms, and hospitality." When the Pope through his legates, &c. had applied the property given to the Church to a purpose foreign to the intention of the donors, the statute 26 Henry VIII. deprived him of his power, and appointed the King as sole guardian of ecclesiastical affairs; and it was enacted, that the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors, Kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England.
And shall have power from time to time to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend, all such errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities, whatsoever they be, which by any manner of spiritual authority or jurisdiction may lawfully be reformed, repressed, redressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquillity of the realm; any usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign authority, prescription, or any other thing to the contrary, notwithstanding.' And the Clergy, in convocation, acknowledged his Majesty as the only protector and supreme lord, and as far as accords with Christ's law the supreme head of the Church (ecclesiæ et cleri Anglicani, cujus singularem protectorem et supremum dominum, et, quantum per Christi legem licet, etiam supremum caput ipsius majestatem recognoscimus). This prerogative was exercised, though often improperly, by each of Henry's successors, until the glorious Revolution of 1688; when the supremacy was limited, and it was decreed as illegal for the King alone to enact any law, &c. "without the advice and assent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same." From that time to the present, the King, Lords, and Commons, combined, have been guardians over the rights, &c. of the Established Church, "to preserve (according to the Coronation oath) unto the Bishops and Clergy of this realm, and to the Churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them
or any of them," and (according to the oath of the Union with Scotland) "to maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established;" and they have exercised their authority as guardians, consistently, in enacting divers laws and regulations. Finally, by 39 and 40 Geo. III. the Churches of England and Ireland, as now by law established, were united into one Protestant and Episcopal Church, called the United Church of England and Ireland."
From the preceding statements it appears that the Government, as constituted of King, Lords, and Commons, is guardian over the Established Church of England and Ireland; with power to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, &c. most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, &c. but that it cannot alienate its revenues, or take away its rights and privileges, without being guilty of robbery, sacrilege, and perjury.
Doubtless the present system of taking Tithes acts as a prohibition on the less fertile soils, often occasions strife between pastors and their flocks, gives arbitrary and litigious men a power to harass and perplex others; and causes the deserving Clergy, for the sake of peace, to be deprived of half their incomes. If, according to the principle of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury's Bill, it were enacted that two commissioners, one chosen by each party, should fix a rate of composition every 21 years, subject to regulation every seven years by the price of the produce of land, and that the Clergyman's churchwarden or other deputy, should collect the same yearly for the minister, by a summary process similarly to other parochial rates, it would remove all cause of contention, and be a benefit; and it ought to satisfy both the receiver and payer of Tithes. But an eternal lease, as recommended by the writer of the article "on the Commutation of Tithes," is impracticable; and it would be unjust toward both parties; because the farm, which is now in the highest state of cultivation, may by overcropping or neglect become so unproductive in fifty years time, that it would scarcely produce