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be easily acted upon, as it frequently has been, by appropriating a certain quantity of land in lieu of the Tithes. And so long as the whole parish continue the property of an individual, it is not likely that any practical evil consequences would arise from the adoption of such a system. But after a lapse of time, when, from various causes, the property of the parish shall have been divided into many parts, I can prove from some experience and observation as a clergyman, that the appropriation of an estate in lieu of Tithes is absolutely prejudicial to the cause of religion. With or without the facility of accomplishment, I object to the system, therefore, in toto.
Since, however I have stated that the plan proposed may be disadvantageous to both parties-since I have shown that the farmer may have serious reason to dread its adoption, I will now point out some strong, though not immediately operative objections on the part of the clergy.
Whoever is at all acquainted with agriculture either in theory or practice, must be well aware that the profits of farming, whatever may be the soil, mainly depend on the skilful employment of an adequate capital. The grateful return of land for care and culture is as well known to farmers as the bounty of nature. Without capital and cultivation, the richest soil may be useless to the owner, and with them, the poorest soil productive. And what are the best means, or rather what is the only motive that will induce a farmer to embark his capital in the land he uses, or exert his best efforts to obtain from it all that it is capable of yielding to this I answer-certainty of possession. Without which no man will farm prospectively,
and unless he does, no man will farm advantageously. In this point of view, how stands the appropriated estate of the beneficed clergyman? it is a life estate, and a life estate of the worst possible kind. The present possessor can have no tie or motive to guard and preserve the interest of his successor the tenant can have no assurance and little hope, that he shall reap the fruits of a provident expence, or industry, since the next incumbent must necessarily be an unknown stranger. Thus the landlord has no sympathy, or interest, in the welfare of his successor-the tenant is liable, at six months' notice on the death of the incumbent, to be deprived of his farm. An estate so circumstanced, would probably, after a short tenure, be in a continual state of impoverishment or exhaustion, and when (as the farmers term it) run out, it would necessarily require a great expenditure to restore its vital spirit. Consequently, the annual value would soon be considerably reduced, and it is not improbable, that after a few years, in most instances, these life estates, from this and other causes, would not be worth more than two thirds of their original estimate.
Another part of the system proposed is, that if an adjoining estate cannot be conveniently procured, a distant one, in any part of England, is to be purchased. The loss and inconvenience, the liability to injury from neglect, or the expence of stewardship are so obviously objectionable, that even those clergymen who might wish to have an estate in their own neighbourhood, would, I think, be averse to this part of the plan.
In the appropriation of an adjoining estate which is to be formed by land contributions from the respective pro
prietors and farmers, it will be readily admitted, I conceive, that the clergyman may lose, but cannot possibly gain. I will grant that the most sagacious commissioners shall be selected and authorized by parliament to delineate and apportion the Church estate. Yet, I am confident, that no general knowledge of land, or sagacity in arranging the common allotments, to formn one estate, can render them equal to the combined farmers of any parish, in treating and bargaining for land with which they are acquainted, from long experience.-I trust therefore I have made out, a less strong, yet a satisfactory, case to prove that it is not the interest of the clergyman, no more than of the farmer, to substitute a real estate for the annual income of the Tithes.
Let us now try the question upon more general grounds. In the first place, a solid objection to the substitution of estates for Tithes, arises from the consideration that the affairs of mankind are subject to continual vicissitudes and changes. Human institutions all carry within themselves the seeds of decay. Governments and empires rise and fall. And in their revolutions we observe, that whole provinces once florishing and well peopled, frequently exhibit the melancholy scene of a desolate and uninhabited desert. Our country cannot expect to escape the general doom. In the course of a century or two, many parts of it, now cultivated with all the beauty of a garden, may become a barren waste. And thus Churches and congregations may still continue to exist in one part of the kingdom, long after the estate appropriated to the support of the clergyman, in another, had totally fallen to decay. The Tithe law is exposed to no such danger. And here, I cannot but remark with what persistive wisdom and
admirable simplicity, that system was devised—so unalterable in its value-so perfect in the adaptation of the means to the end. Wherever Tithes can be collected, there will certainly be a population, requiring spiritual aid, and a provision for a clergyman to administer it. They seem naturally connected. And however honorably and justly an equivalent might be substituted, their separation would deprive religion of a firm buttress. Our age has witnessed the abolition of Tithes in a neighbouring country. We may now witness, if not the total absence of religion, the want of those regular observances of it, which every sober, thinking people, have deemed essentially necessary to its maintenance.
To those, in whom this proposal of commutation originated, who probably entertain a presumption that dissension will be discouraged by the abolition of the Tithes, I object, that they who viewed with an envious eye, the Tithes of the clergy, will not look less enviously at their estates-that such an amassed property would excite in them greater heart-burnings-that so great a change would stimulate both their hopes and activity-and that in obtaining converts to their cause, they would be furnished with greater means of success, when all that connection, which, through the medium of the Tithes, has so long subsisted, between the congregation and the pastor, shall have ceased. So far from ascribing the great increase of dissenters which has taken place within these last twenty years, to the system of Tithes, I am confidently of opinion that its continuance has been, and will continue to be a bar to their greater increase. They have florished from other causes. Perhaps in some degree, from the heedlessness and inattention of the members of the Church to their NO. XIII. Pam. VOL. VII. B
respective duties—a cause which we may reasonably hope will soon cease to exist, and from the general improvement that has already taken place, in the ministers of the Church, both in point of attention and ability, the happiest effects are derived. Let the clergy be generally awake to the importance of their duty and attentive to the welfare of their flocks, the strayed sheep will gradually return to their native pasture. Other causes, however, have not been wanting to the increase of the dissenters-causes upon which it is unnecessary to expatiate, but which, when they have spent their force, will probably result, in the more complete confirmation and establishment of the lovely and liberal principles of the mother-Church.
It is not too much to assert, that if the consolidation of the Tithes into estates had taken place four centuries ago, each of several subsequent governments would have gladly seized an opportunity of confiscating them. From the rapacity of Henry, and the unprincipled subtlety of Cromwell, had the revenues of the Church hinged upon a tangible property, the establishment had, in all probability, been irrecoverably lost. To have been preserved, after passing through such fiery ordeals, is a strong argument, in favor both of the principles upon which the establishment is founded, and the system by which its administration is maintained. Although probably at a distant period, yet such profligate and unprincipled governments may again exist. And it would seem to me an act of madness to place the Church in such a situation, that it might easily become a prey, either to popular fury in the frenzy of a revolution, or to the views of any unprincipled ruler. Besides, a commutation of the annual income of the Church for any embodied property, would not only expose