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By B. Beaumont, Esq. F. A. S.
National Establishment, National Security.
THOUGHTS ON THE CONSEQUENCES
THE REV. WILLIAM EDMEADS,
ST. ALBAN HALL, OXFORD.
THE following letter on the commutation of the Tithes, was written early in the last year, when the subject was more particularly under consideration, and transmitted to a member of the legislature, in whose hands, I presumed it might be useful. I now present it to the public, with an encouraged hope, that it may correct some popular, but (as I conceive) mistaken opinions, respecting the Tithes, and induce even its enemies dispassionately to reflect upon the character, spirit and tendency of our national Church.
St. Alban Hall,
Jan. 26, 1816.
ON TITHES, &c.
INFORMED that some of the members of government have it in contemplation to effect a commutation of the Tithes, upon a principle professedly and speciously advantageous to the interests of the Church; a principle too which there is reason to believe, a large portion of the beneficed clergy would from private (not interested) motives, approve, I am induced to state my sentiments to the public upon a system emanating from such authority, and sanctioned by such support, without any other preface, than an avowal at once of my sincere belief, that if adopted and carried into effect, it would prove highly dangerous and probably fatal to the very existence of the Church.
It is a source of great satisfaction to hear, that there are some powerful and active minds alive to the impending danger. It is devoutly to be wished, that such examples may have their due influence. And it is a gratification to my mind to indulge the smallest hope, that I may offer a
single sentiment or reason which may corroborate their opinions, and encourage their vigilance.
According to the best information I am able to collect, the plan projected is by one sweeping clause, to abolish the whole of the Tithes, and according to the estimated or actual value of the Tithes of each individual parish, to compel, the respective proprietors to contribute, each his fair portion of land to form a neighbouring estate, or such a proportion respectively, as will enable commissioners appointed by parliament, to purchase a distant estate, of clear equal annual value to the Tithes-which estate, so estimated according to the value of the present day is to be transferred to the actual incumbent of each respective parish in lieu of the Tithes, which he enjoyed, and to be held upon the same tenure.
Such in a few words is the general outline or sketch of the scheme proposed, which doubtless, its projectors conceive to be recommended by its seeming singleness and solidity. They, doubtless, fondly imagine, that their system carried into effect, would operate, like a magic spell, dissolve all the causes of contention, and set at rest, for ever, the suspicions, ranklings, and enmities, that sometimes exist between the tither and the tithed. Perhaps too, their imagination carries them so far as to believe, that their plan would check the progress or diminish the number of dissenters--that the abolition of Tithes would be the abolition of enemies to the Church-and that to transfer to it a real solid property would be to give it a real solid security. As, without question, they are actuated by honorable motives, and sincerely convinced that their system would operate beneficially, they must entertain such or similar