Page images

throne a message, calling upon Parliament, by one magna. nimous effort, to fill up the gulph almost at once. For a certain number of years, 100,0001. each year,—the thing is done.-100,0001. a year?—what is 100,0001. a year?-compared with our expenditure on objects of infinitely. inferior importance, a mere drop added to the ocean. Thus it is that, by every instance of past or present waste, argument is made, and that a conclusive one, for any future waste.*

On this head, to say any more in this place than has been said already-would be but repetition or anticipation.100,0001. a year thus thrown out of the windo ! and what is the result ?-Of the plan, such as it is, the completion is accelerated :-but the principle--the vicious principleremains in all its absurdity,--and, with the acceleration given to the pretended benefit—the unfelt benefit—the too real and severely felt burthen is proportionably increased : the burthen thus increased, and still the interest of the existing stock of souls sacrificed to that of their future contingent successors.

Well :-wly, all of a sudden, at more than a hundred years distance, outbid, and to such a degree, the piety of the High-Church Queen?—The answer is ready. Oh (says the Earl of Liverpool), (Cobbett's Debates, xiv. 830—832)—this is for a “ class of men who, of all others, were most ser« viceable to the country!"--Say you so, my Lord ?-why then they are more serviceable--every man of them-than Marquis Camden with his 23,0001, a year; or even Lord Arden, with his freehold 38,0001.: something more than this 38,0001. is therefore the least part any of them should have. Here

may be seen a specimen of the reasoning, on the ground of which expenses are incurred and taxes imposed. It shews how the money has gone, is going, and will continue to go-unless and antil .... it is needless to add the rest.-Speech from his Lordship-Address accordingly, nemine contradicente.

But these, it may be, are but the Reporter's words. —Yes, so it may be. But, by these same Reporters, low much oftener are not speeches mended than marred ?–Well then-compare the reasoning, as above, with the reasoning in the Earl of Harrowby's Speech--the produce of his own closet : see whether in respect of closeness, between the imputed reasoning of the First Lord of the Treasury, and the undoubted reasoning of the Lord President of the Council, there be much to choose.

In the whole of this business taken together, one circumstance there is, capable of being regarded as a source of satisfaction,—and it is the only one.—This is—that, of the mass of money thus designed to be wasted, a propor. tion--and that by much the larger one is yet capable of being saved. Of the 700,0001. thus furnished within these seven years, nothing (it appears) but the interest hath as yet been thus applied ;-as to the principal, having been invested in Government Annuities, it remains untouched :--capable of being applied to better purposes. Old fund and new fund together,—there remains, at the disposal of the Governors, to the value of about 1,200,000 3 per cents. Particulars are not worth loading the page with :—the sources from whence this conclusion has been deduced, are the annual papers above spoken of, and the large mass of papers of Feb. 1815, p. 8.

To this heavy and immediately imposed burthen,-imposed for future contingent, nor that any thing more than ideal benefit--not a parallel, but a contrast, is afforded by the augmentation given the year after to the underpaid benefices of the Church of Scotland.

Out of the 944 parochial benefices belonging to that Established Church, the number of those of which the stipends remained below the annual sum of 1501., was 170:

• Taken from the House of Commons Paper, intitled Report of the number and value of the stipends of the Scotch Clergy under 1501. per annum: made out under the inspection of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.-Date of the order for printing, 230 March, 1810, No. 161.

to raise every one of them up to that mark, the sum required was 8,7131. 6s. 8d. By a Statute of the year 1800 (50 G. III. c. 84), 10,0001. was accordingly provided for that useful and altogether unexceptionable purpose.

Useful and unexceptionable ?-how so? - if the annual 100,0001. granted for the English Clergy, was useless and indefensible ?-Answer, in few words:- 1. Under Excellent Church,-Service, over and over again proved unprofitable, or little better :-under Scottish Church, eminently and incontestably profitable: exigible duties well performed; inexigible performed, and universally performed. 2. Under Excellent Church, the benefit looked to from the augmentation, if not altogether ideal, at any rate future contingent as well as remote: under Scottish Church, immediate. 3. For Excellent Church, the amount of the burthen imposed on the United Kingdom, ten times as great as that imposed for the Scottish Church : while the population of England is not more than between five and six times that of Scotland.

In regard to Scotland, one regret still remains : it isthat to the 8,7001., 17,0001. more was not added. Though, in comparison with what it is in England the temptation is as nothing,-still, while the profit of some benefices being as high as 9001., that of others has been no higher than 401.,-hope of translation, and thence the pursuit called preferment-hunting, scarcely even in Scotland can have been altogether without example: scarcely even can it reasonably be expected to be completely so, where the difference is as great as it still remains, viz. the difference between 1501. a year (the present minimum) and the 3001. In the Scottish Church, give but money enough--and a very moderate sum will suffice-ihe appetite for translation may be every where and completely extinguished—not only actually extinguished, but manifestly seen to be so.

But, under Excellent Church, while Bishoprics and Archbishoprics remain, what is the number of hundreds of thousands--not to speak of millions—that would be necessary ?-Calculate, any one, who has curiosity and leisure.

Note, mislaid for the moment, intended to have been tacked to the end of the paragraph in p. 439, concluding with the words “ contingent successors." Subject of it, the time, at which the benefit to the future contingent souls may be expected to receive its completion.

According to the short account, given, in Cobbett's Debates, xiv. 230 —832, of a speech of the Earl of Harrowby's in the Lords, June 1, 1809, on the occasion of the King's Message--1703 being the year in which the First Fruits und Tenths were allotted to this purpose, 203 years, reckoning from that year, was the length of time, that would have elapsed, ere all the livings then under 301. would, out of that fund, be raised up to 501.: 510 more, (together 723), ere all the livings then under 1001. would be raised up to 1001. But, with this 100,000l. in his hand, viz. with this sum once paid, or with the 100,0001, a year, (it does not exactly appear which). much gratifieilwas the Noble Lord, by the thoughts that the original 203 years would be reduced to 39 or 40: at the end of which time no living would remain of less value than 501. a year. Well, but this 501. a year -a sum which, by 301. a year, fails of being sufficient for the lowest paid Curacy–when this is gained, what is it that is gained?—and how stands the matter in regard to the time necessary to raise the 501., as above, to 1001. a year? “ Gratification being the object, the period would have been rather too distant, had the fixation of it been committed to calculation. It was, therefore, left to imagination:-a more pleasant accountant than Cocker. By 501. even then, will the provision be short of the sum, spoken of in the character of a minimum, in the Royal Message, by which the measure was introduced :—by 501.? yea, and by 1001. a year, short of the sum, which, when the living is ever so little more than 4001., may, out of it, be allowed to a Curate. See above, pp. 409, 410.

The grant was to be once for all : it was to be annual and continual: the one or the other, according as Honourable Gentlemeu and Noble Lords should please. Continuity, i. e. perpetuity, gave universal pleasure. True it is, that, in the Lords, symptoms of opposition had for the moment broke out. In argument accordingly (the determination being all the while otherwise) 100,000l. once paid was to be the whole: to that sum did the prudential arithmetic of the Earl of Harrow by then confine itself:

$ 4.-V. Regulating the occupations of Agriculture, in the

case of a Parish or other Priest.

Note first the inconsistency as well as inutility of the apparent endeavour :-note afterwards the real and sinister object at the bottom of it.

Unless by license from a Bishop, a Clergy man not to act as a husbandman—nay nor so much as to take a few square yards to add to bis garden, how scanty so ever may be the allotment attached to his parsonage !

A Parish Priest forbidden to act as a farmer? What inconsistency! what hypocrisy! When was hypocrisy ever so blind? That which it not merely allows, but on pain of starvation forces him to do, it at the same time forbids his doing, punishing him in case of his doing it: punishing him, unless it shall have happened to him to have obtained a license, the obtainment of which is at the same

the 39 or the 40 years accordingly was the time, during which “ the most serviceable men in the whole countrywould have to wait for this minute part of what was their due. Yet, six days after, 7th June, 1809, Annual Register for 1809, pp. 171, 172,- by the Chancellor of the Exchequer no secret is made of its being destined for perpetuity : accordingly, the 39 or 40 years are now shrunk to 4 years. Resolution, unanimous. Chancellor of Excheqner's “ satisfaction, great.” " Suggestions for improvement, " and the formation of a system (he said) would be considered afterwards." So far Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer:- these suggestions, this system, and the proof that the men in question “ were of all others the most “ serviceable to the country” will all come out the same day. Whatsoever the men themselves may be, to the grand object from which every thing proceeds, and to which every thing tends—to the corruptive influence of the Crown, this job for the raising of their income will in no small degree be “serviceable.” In no small proportion are the livings thus enriched, in the gift of the King, that is, of the Chancellor. No doubts appear, or this occasion, to have issued from the official manufactory, of doubts.

1 1

« PreviousContinue »