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subject of controversy, and in progress of development. Since the jealousy of the public on this question has been awakened, and an attitude of inquiry assumed in relation to this, as to other abuses, supposed to demand being checked, the interested party have very naturally studied concealment; and having all this wealth and its management in their own hands, the public as yet are obliged to depend mainly on their reports.
Dr. Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, and other writers interested in the concealment of facts that should develop the wealth of the English Church, had maintained, that its annual revenue, including Wales, did not exceed £1,500,000, or $7,200,000.
It appears, however, by the report of a commission on church revenues, appointed by the king, which was made in June, 1834, that the annual revenues of the established Church of England and Wales had risen from the statement of the Bishop of Llandaff and others, to the gross sum of £3,784,985, or $18,167,928! And this, it may be observed, is still an ex parte statement; that is, it is made by a commission, all of whom are interested in concealment, and who would naturally disclose only what is unavoidable. The report, by their own confession, is imperfect; and it is certain, that the number of heavy items of income to the church of classes of funds the sole use of which is realized by the clergy, and of direct and indirect imposts on the public for the maintenance and benefit of the church, is greater than the number imbodied in the report. Nor is it certain by what rule or rules the estimate comprehended in this report is made.
We are informed, in one of the items of the report of this commission, that the gross annual revenue of the several Archiepiscopal and Episcopal Sees in England and Wales, is £180,462. It was stated by the London Times last spring, that the regular annual income of the Archbishop of York is £20,000,
independent of the fines imposed on the renewal of leases, which occasionally happen to be equal to £100,000 in a single windfall, as it is called; and that the Bishop of London's income will soon be £60,000. J. Marshall, in his Analysis, &c., 1835, the latest and best authority, says, that the single Parish of Paddington, in the See of London, was estimated to yield, in 1834, from £12,000 to £15,000, at the disposal of the bishop, for ground-rents of a part of the glebe. If there be any good ground for these statements, it is evident that the income of these two prelates alone can hardly be much short of the sums assigned in this report to all the prelates of England and Wales ; at least, that it will by-and-by be so. The See of Durham is known to be immensely rich. I have heard its annual income quoted by credible authority at £30,000.
There are rules of estimating the revenue of the English
Church by which the public are easily kept in the dark. If, for example, the fines alone were left out of this reckoning, which is probably the fact, inasmuch as they do not belong to the regular annual income, the difference would be immense. I know not that the Liber Regalis, which contains the valuation of church property, as it stood nearly three centuries ago, has been taken as the rule of determining the revenue in this report; probably not; but heretofore it has been universally assumed in such cases; and for other purposes it is still applied.
It is but very recently, when a statement was before the public, that the average annual income of 17 livings, in the gift of the late speaker of the House of Commons and four others, is £11,170, one tenth of which, that is, £1,170, by the statute of Queen Anne, is due for the augmentation of poor benefices of the real tenths; but that law, under the valuation of the Liber Regalis, is evaded by the payment of £23! That is, the annual income of these 17 benefices, instead of being reported by the incumbents for what it actually is, viz. £11,170, is reported according to the valuation of the Liber Regalis, £231, so that the poor benefices, entitled to the annual augmentation of £1,170 from this source, are actually augmented only £23; and the other fraction of £1,147, goes by this rule into the pockets of the fortunate incumbents!
Moreover: There are several sources of wealth and income to the Church of England not comprehended in this report. Having presented the ex parte statements of the royal commission, which exclude so many items, and which are so doubtful as to the rules employed to obtain the result, let us now look at the statements of the Reformers, which are commonly supposed to be near the truth :From Church tithe,
6,884,8001. Income of bishopricks,
207,115 Estates of the Deans and Chapters,
494,000 Glebes and parsonage-houses,
250,000 Perpetual curacies,
75,000 Benefices not parochial,
80,000 College and school foundations,
682,150 Lectureships in towns and populous places,
60,000 Chaplainships and offices in public institutions, 10,000 New churches and chapels,
94,050 Total revenues of the established Clergy 9,459,5651. In Federal money this would be $45,405,912. This sum total is realized-monopolized rather-by 7,694 individuals -prelates, dignitaries, and incumbents--a large part of whom are pluralists, non-residents, and sinecurists. “If this sum were divided equally among them all, it would average to each £1,228, or $6,182. According to the report of the royal commission of 1834, £424,796 of this £9,459,565 is dispensed by the incumbents for the compensation of 5,282 curates, who supply their places, averaging for each curate £80, or $384—that is, while they who do the work receive on an average $384 each, they who do not work get an average of $5,798. Of these poor curates 294 receive less than £50 a year-some down as low as £20. It should be understood, that a part of those who get the money, and have the use of it, are at the posts of their duty, although it must be allowed they are tolerably well paid for it.
The average annual revenue of the kingdom of Prussia is 189,761,900 francs, or £7,590,432. About £2,000,000 of this is appropriated to the sinking fund debt, leaving a balance of £5,590,432 for the ordinary purposes of government. It will appear, therefore, if we split the difference between the report of the revenues of the Church of England, as made by the royal commission in 1834, and the averments of Reformers, we shall have £6,622,275 for the expenses of the Church of England, which is £1,031,843 excess of the annual cost of the kingdom of Prussia for all the purposes of government, the public debt excepted!
Setting aside the interest of the national debt of Great Britain (which, by-the-by, is rather a weighty matter), the official estimates for all other purposes of government for 1835 were as follows:The Army
£14,471,213 A little more than half in excess of the cost of the church, taking the medium of the two extreme estimates as above. If we add the church rates, somewhat more than half a million, which item has not been noticed, the cost of litigation between the people and the clergy, and the building of new churches out of the appropriation by parliament of £1,500,000 for this purpose, it will raise the sum to nearly or quite half of the expenses of government.
The average annual cost of the government of the United States during Monroe's administration was less than $10,000,000; during John Quincy Adams's it was a little more than $12,000,000 ; during the first four years of Jackson's it was over $16,000,000. But the annual expense of the English Church at the above medium rate is $31,786,920, considerably more than double the average annual cost of the United States government for the periods above named.
And yet the ministers of the British crown say it ought not to be retrenched. They are men of liberal views.
The following is a curious statement of the decrease of fidelity in the ministry, with the increase of compensation :“ The small diocess of Ely, in 1813, compared with the year 1728. In 1728.
In 1813. On 140 livings, 70 Resident In- On the same 140 livings, 45 cumbents.
Resident Incumbents. Thirty-four who reside near and Seventeen who reside near and perform the duty.
perform the duty. Thirty-one curates who reside Thirty-five curates, some of in the parish or near it.
whom reside 8, 10, or 12 miles off. The population was 56,944 The population is 82,176 souls. souls. The duty was performed The service is performed about 261 times every Sunday.
185 times every Sunday. And their income 12,7191. per And their income is 161,4741.
per annum. Duty neglected in proportion as it became more important and better paid. The population increased nearly one half, and the number of times service is performed diminished one third. The revenues increased almost five fold, and the number of resident incumbents decreased one third."
How this applies to the present state of things, and to England generally, I am unable to say.
The following comparative estimate of the expense of supporting Christianity in different parts of the world is curious, and may perhaps be instructive. Without pretending to vouch for its correctness, I introduce it here, as I found it published by no mean authority in Great Brit
“ Comparative Expense of the Church of England and of Christianity in all other Countries of the World.
Expendi- Total amount
Number of ture on the of ExpendiName of the Nations. Hearers. clergy per ture in each
million of Nation.
32,000,000 £62,000 £2,000,000 United States
9,600,000 60,000 576,000 Spain
11,000,000 100,000 1,100,000 Portugal
3,000,000 100,000 300,000 Hungary, Catholics
4,000,000 80,000 320,000 Calvinists
1,050,000 60,000 63,000 Lutherans
650,000 40,000 26,000 Italy
19,391,000 40,000 776,000 Austria
18,918,000 50,000 950,000 Switzerland
1,720,000 50,000 87,000 Prussia
10,536,000 50,000 527,000 German small States
12,763,000 60,000, 765,000 Holland
2,000,000 80,000 160,000
3,400,000 Russia, Greek Church
34,000,000 Catholics and Lutherans 8,000,000 Christians in Turkey
6,000,000 South America
15,000,000 Christians dispersed elsewhere 3,000,000
252,000 119,000 238,000 510,000 400,000 180,000 450,000 150,000
9,949,000 England and Wales
6,500,000 1,455,316 9,459,565 “Hence, it appears, the administration of Church of Englandism to 6,500,000 hearers costs nearly as much as the administration of all other forms of Christianity in all parts of the world to 203,728,000 hearers.
“Of the different forms of Christianity the Romish is the most expensive. A Roman Catholic clergyman cannot go through the duties of his ministry well for more than 1,000 persons. The masses, auricular confessions, attendance on the sick, and other observances, make his duty more laborious than those of a Protestant clergyman with double the number of hearers : add to which, the cost of wax lights, scenery, and other accompaniments peculiar to Catholic worship. Notwithstanding these extra outgoings, we find that the administration of the Episcopalian Reformed Religion in England to one million of hearers, costs the people fourteen times more than the administration of Popery to the same number of hearers in Spain or Portugal, and more than forty times the administration of Popery in France.
Dissenters, like churchmen, are compelled to contribute to the support of the ministers and churches of the established religion, besides having to maintain, by voluntary payments, their own pastors and places of worship. In France all religions are maintained by the state, without distinction ; all persons have access to the universities and public schools : in England, only one religion is maintained by the state ; and all dissenters from the national worship are excluded from the universities and colleges, and from the masterships of grammarschools, and other public foundations, endowed by our common ancestors, for the general promotion of piety and learning:
“ The monstrous excess in the pay of the English clergy appears from comparing their average income with the incomes of the clergy of equal rank in other countries. In France an archbishop has only 1,041l. a year; a bishop 6251.; an archdeacon 1661. ; a canon or prebend 1001. ; a rector 481. ; a curate 311. In Rome the income of a cardinal, the next in dignity to the pope, is 4001. to 5001. a year; of a rector of a parish 301. ; of a curate 171.: compare these stipends with the enormous incomes of the English clergy ; and, making allowance for difference in the expense of living in the respective countries, the disparity in the ecclesiastical remuneration appears incredible.”
It is evident, that the author of the preceding table of comparison leaves entirely out of view the immense estates of the Church of Rome, and the ten thousand devices employed by her ministers in raising money, bringing into his account only the direct imposts of that church, which are a mere and trifling fraction of the sources of her income.