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malignant ingenuity was exerted, unhappily not in vain, for the purpose of convincing them, that any professions of reform with which he might please to commence his career as a minister, were but the specious pretexts by which he endeavoured to disguise an ineradicable hostility to popular institutions.

His measures and his promises, therefore, were all regarded, not as the spontaneous suggestion of an enlightened liberality, but as the tribute which he reluctantly paid to "the spirit of the age ;" and it was thought by some, and argued by many, of those to whom he was politically opposed, that if, in any respect, he made a semblance of yielding to them for the present, it was only with the design, and in the hope, of thus more effectually defeating them hereafter.

Such was the difficult position in which this eminent statesman was placed, when he was called by his Sovereign to the helm of a labouring empire. His enemies, numerous, active, unscrupulous, and able: his friends, a scattered and dispirited band;"reliquias Danaum atque inimitis Achillei:" the people, either intoxicated, or crop-sick, from the deleterious spirit of reform; and the conservative worth and wisdom of the country in a state of paralysis or prostration, which afforded but little hope of such a reaction as would be necessary to arrest the career of revolution. Such were the circumstances under which he assumed the office of prime minister in 1834; and never, in our parliamentary annals, was the temper or the spirit of a responsible adviser of the crown put to a severer test, than were his during the few brief months of his administration.

He wisely thought that the good sense of the people of England must very soon be disgusted by the quackery and the empyricism of the new-light legislators by whom the people had been deluded; and that, if he were only suffered to carry on the government for a little time, he would give such proof, both of ability and good intention, by the improvements which he was resolved to effect, as must win for him golden opinions even from the most inveterate of his political enemies. Nor would he have been disappointed. Never did we witness so rapid a change as that which took place in public opinion, in the interval between his

assumption and his relinquishment of the reins of power; and had not the most dishonest and disgraceful arts of faction been resorted to for his overthrow, the country would have still enjoyed the benefit of his presiding influence; and the evils of misrule, both foreign and domestic, under which it is at present suffering, would, happily, have been averted.

We must not now dwell upon these things. Suffice it to say, such were the circumstances under which the Church Commission was appointed, by which the premier hoped to prove to all reasonable men, that he was no friend to any proved abuse, even in the most sacred and venerable of our institutions.

But while no sane man can now pretend that Sir Robert Peel is a stickler for any proved abuses, it may well be doubted whether he did not carry his compliances too far, in originating and assenting to changes, with a view to propitiate the more moderate reformers. He saw clearly that the old lines of defence, which might well have been occupied before the passing of the reform bill, were no longer tenable; and that it would be necessary to fall back upon other ground, if any effectual stand was to be made against further encroachments. And he was right. His conduct was that of practical wisdom. Far better was it to set about securing all that remained, than to spend his time vatici nating evil, and deploring whatever were lost or endangered of the safeguards of the constitution. And this, he truly judged, would be better accomplished, by the temper, the forbearance, the conciliatory spirit, by which he proved himself ready to make common cause with all those reformers, and they were many and powerful, by whom the reform bill was regarded as a final measure, than by any angry or recriminatory hostility. which might only provoke them to go beyond it. That he has succeeded in securing the respect and confidence of a great number of his former opponents by such a course, is beyond all doubt; but we are not sure that it has not been at the expense of causing certain misgivings in the minds of some of the most respectable of his supporters, who imagined either that more was conceded than would be required, or that principles were admitted by which all that we hold sacred must be endargered.

It is not necessary that we should detail, at length, the recommendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to whom the condition of the Established Church had been referred; as, in truth, they narrowed themselves to a single proposition, namely, that it was expedient to appropriate cathedral superfluities to the exigencies of parochial destitution. The grounds were plausible upon which the wise and good men composing this commission gave their sanction to this arrangement. The extent to which population had spread beyond the means of clerical ministration was frightfully great; nor was it likely that parliament, as at present constituted, would supply, by any public grant, the large sum that would be necessary in order to make the Established Church commensurate with the spiritual wants of the people. In introducing the ecclesiastical duties' and revenues' bill, Lord John Russell thus observed :

"It did not appear that it would be possible for parliament to give any large amount out of the revenues of the state, as the university of Oxford had prayed, in order to supply the deficiency of religious instruction. He thought if such a grant was asked, the spirit of parliament, and particularly of that house, would have said, before we augment out of the funds of the public any of the small livings, before we open new incomes and new benefices, we must see whether there is any part of the splendour of the Church which is superfluous, whether or not some of the incomes of the clergy are unnecessary. Taking their own view of the subject, the Church Commissioners had examined into the state of the cathedral foundations in this country, and with respect to them they had found that those on the old foundation, the canons not residentiary, had in fact no duties to perform, or held the preferment generally on the performance of the duty of preaching one sermon in a year, or some other similar duty. There were again many others whose attendance at the cathedral was more constant, but who did not seem necessary for the performance of the duties of the Church. The Church Commissioners, therefore, considered whether they could provide for those things which were necessary for the cathedral service, and for the due reward of clergymen of exemplary and distinguished piety, by preferments under the crown, and at the same time secure a fund which might be available to supply the great spiritual wants of the country. Proceeding on

these grounds, they unanimously agreed that it would be sufficient to have a Dean and four Prebends attached to each cathedral; that by means of those clergymen and four canons of the cathedral, service might be duly and regularly performed; that these preferments would be a sufficient number of rewards, and that the rest of the revenues might properly be applied to the more pressing

wants of the Church."

And Sir Robert Peel was not less strong in observing upon the number of small livings, the incomes of which it was desirable to increase, as well as

the scantiness of church accommodation, which made the building of additional churches a matter of indispensable Christian obligation.

"It might be admitted that the higher situations in the Church should be filled by persons whose pecuniary resources would enable them to maintain their dignity; but was nothing to be done for enabling the 3528 clergymen to hold a decent and respectable rank becoming their character in society? Could they deny the evil that in 3528 benefices the clergy, many of them without a residence, without a glebe-house, had absolutely less than £150 a-year? Could they exclude from their consideration of this case the fact, that in London, the very city in which Parliament met, there were 34 parishes, with a population of 1,170,000, and church accommodation for only 101,000? that in those 34 parishes there were only 69 churches, and, including proprietary chapels, only a hundred places of worship in the whole; whereas, if they allotted a church to every 3000, there ought to be 379, leaving a deficiency of 279. In Lancashire there were 83 parishes, with a population above 10,000, the aggregate being 816,000; there was church room only for 97,000, or, in round numbers, about 100,000; and yet the Commissioners justly remarked that the comparison between the church accommodation and population gave no accurate idea of the provision made for the spiritual instruction of the people, because many of the chapels included in the calculation had no district assigned to them, and no minister to perform those ordinary parochial duties which in many cases were of as much importance as attendance on his public ministrations. Upon these grounds, believing it would be a great encouragement to the laity actively to exert themselves in this matter, seeing the corporate body of the Church setting an example of liberality-or re-distribution in some cases, confining that re-distribution

strictly to spiritual purposes- he could not withhold his assent to the second reading of this bill."

It had been found, upon inquiry, that
there were
nineteen hundred and
seventy-six livings under £300 a-year;
thirteen hundred and fifty-five under
£200 a-year; sixteen hundred and
two under £150 a-year; sixteen hun-
dred and twenty-nine under £100
a-year; and two hundred and ninety-
seven under fifty pounds a-year;—
while, contrasted with this impove-
rished condition of the working clergy,
the revenues of the cathedral establish-
ments were flourishing with what ap-
peared to the superficial observer a
rank luxuriance. Rochester was pos-
sessed of £5,106 per annum; Peter-
borough, £5,118; Norwich, £5,248;
Carlisle, £5,318; Ely, £6,428; Wells,
£6,579; Exeter, £7,052; Worcester,
£8,479; St. Paul's £9,049; Winches-
ter, £12,783; Canterbury, £15,982,
Durham, £27,933. When it is con-
sidered that all this wealth was ap-
propriated to the maintenance of ec-
clesiastics, who took no ostensible part
in the work of Christian instruction,
who were unburthened with the cure
of souls, we cannot be surprised that a
strong feeling prevailed that it should
be made available, in part at least, for
the supply of that spiritual destitution,
the fearful extent of which had been
so fully ascertained, and the continu-
ance of which would be so deplorable.
But it is only to the superficial ob-
server that the project of the Commis-
sioners for the augmentation of small
livings, and the building of additional
churches, cau appear plausible. The
following passage from Sidney Smith's
first letter to Archdeacon Singleton,
presents the rationale of the financial

of our ecclesiastical system in so
lucid a point of view, that the dullest
can scarcely fail to understand it.

"The whole income of the church, episcopal, prebendal, and parochial, divided among the clergy, would not give to each clergyman an income equal to that which is enjoyed by the upper domestic of a great nobleman. The method in which the church has been paid, and must continue to be paid, is by unequal divisions. All the enormous changes which the Commission is making will produce a very trifling difference in the equality, while it will accustom more and more those enemies of the church, who are studying under their right rev. masters, to the boldest revolutions in ecclesiastical

affairs. Out of 10,478 benefices, there are 297 of about £40 per annum value; 1,629 at about £75, and 1,602 at about £125; to raise all these benefices to £200 per annum, would require an annual sum of £371,293; and upon 2,878 of those benefices there are no houses; and upon 1,728 no houses fit for residence. What difference in the apparent inequality of the church would this sum of £371,293 produce, if it could be raised, or in what degree would it lessen the odium which that inequality creates ? the case is utterly hopeless; and yet with all their confiscations, the commissioners are so far from being able to raise the annual sum of £371,000, that the utmost they expect to gain is £130,000 per annum.

"It seems a paradoxical statement, but the fact is, that the respectability of the church as well as of the bar, is almost entirely preserved by the unequal division of their revenues. A bar of one hundred lawyers travel the northern circuit, enlightening provincial ignorance, curing local partialities, diffusing knowledge, and dispensing justice in their route; it is quite certain that all they gain is not equal to all that they spend; if the not be six and eight-pence for each perprofits were equally divided there would son, and there would be no bar at all. At present, the success of the leader be a Scarlett or a Brougham-and takes animates them all-each man hopes to out his ticket in a lottery by which the mass must infallibly lose, trusting (as mankind are so apt to do) to his good fortune, and believing that the prize is reserved for him, disappointment and defeat for others. So it is with the clergy; the whole income of the church, if equally divided, would be about 2501. for each minister. Who would go into the church and spend 1,2007. or 1,500%. upon his education, if such were the highest remuneration he could ever look to?

At present, men are tempted into the church by the prizes of the church, and bring into that church a great deal of capital, which enables them to live in decency, supporting themselves, not with the money of the public, but with their own money, which, but for this temptation, would have been carried into some retail trade. The offices of the church would then fall down to men little less coarse and ignorant than agricultural labourers-the clergyman of the parish would soon be seen in the squire's kitchen; and all this would take place in a country where poverty is infamous!

"In fact, nothing can be more unjust and idle than the reasoning of many laymen upon church matters. You choose to have an establishment-God forbid

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you should choose otherwise!—and you wish to have men of decent manners and good education as the ministers of that establishment; all this is very right: but are you willing to pay them as such men ought to be paid? Are you willing to pay to each clergyman, confining himself to one spot, and giving up all his time to the care of oue parish, at a salary of 500l. per annum? To do this would require three millions to be added to the present revenues of the church; and such an expenditure is impossible! What, then, remains if you will have a clergy and will not pay them equitably and separately, than to pay them unequally and by lottery? and yet this very inequality, which secures to you a respectable clergy upon the most economical terms, is considered by laymen as a gross abuse. It is an abuse, however, which they have not the spirit to extinguish by increased munificence to their clergy, nor justice to consider as the only other method by which all the advantages of a respectable establishment can be procured; but they use it at the same time as a topic for sarcasm, and a source of economy."

And in the following, which we extract from his second letter, what had been suggested by Berkeley more than one hundred years ago, is very pointedly and very cleverly expressed and illustrated.

"What harm does a prebend do, in a The politico-economical point of view? alienation of the property for three lives, or twenty-one years, and the almost certainty that the tenant has of renewing, give him sufficient interest in the soil for all purposes of cultivation, and a long series of elected clergymen is rather more likely to produce valuable members of the community than a long series of begotten squires. Take, for instance, the cathedral of Bristol, the whole estates of which are about equal to keeping a pack of fox-hounds. If this had been in the hands of a country gentleman, instead of precentor, succentor, dean, and canons, and sexton, you would have had huntsman, whipper-in, dog feeders, and stoppers of earths; the old squire, full of foolish opinions, and fermented liquids, and a young gentleman of gloves, waistcoats, and pantaloons: and how many generations might it be before the fortuitous concourse of noodles would produce such a man as Professor Lee, one of the prebendaries of Bristol, and by far the most eminent oriental scholar in Europe? The same argument might be applied to every cathedral in England. How many hundred coveys of squires would it take to

supply as much knowledge as is condensed in the heads of Dr. Copplestone or Mr. Tate, of St. Paul's? and what a strange thing it is that such a man as Lord John Russell, the whig leader, should be so squirrel-minded as to wish for a movement without object or end! Saving there can be none, for it is merely taking from one ecclesiastic to give it to another; public clamour, to which the best men must sometimes yield, does not require it; and so far from doing any good, it would be a source of infinite mischief to the establishment.

of curates on the hottest Sunday in the "If you were to gather a parliament year, after all the services, sermons,

burials, and baptisms of the day were

over, and to offer them such increase of

salary as would be produced by the confiscation of the cathedral property, I am convinced they would reject the measure, tation of good fortune in advanced life, and prefer splendid hope, and the expecwhich such a fund could afford. Charles to the trifling improvement of poverty James, of London, was a curate; the bishop of Winchester was a curate; almost every rose-and-shovel man has been a curate in his time. All curates hope to draw great prizes.

"I am surprised it does not strike the mountaineers how very much the great emoluments of the church are flung open to the lowest ranks of the community. Butchers, bakers, publicans, schoolmasters, are perpetually seeing their children elevated to the mitre.

Let a respectable

baker drive through the city from the west end of the town, and let him cast an eye on the battlements of Northumberland House, has his little muffin-faced son the smallest chance of getting in among the Percies, enjoying a share of their luxury and splendour, and of chasing the deer with hound and horn upon the Cheviot Hills? But let him drive his alum-steeped loaves a little farther, till he reaches St. Paul's Churchyard, and all his thoughts are changed when he sees that beautiful fabric; it is not impossible that his little penny roll may be introduced into that splendid oven.Young Crumpet is sent to school-takes to his books-spends the best years of his life, as all eminent Englishmen do, in making Latin verses-knows that the crum in crum-pet is long, and the pet short-goes to the University-gets a prize for an essay on the Dispersion of the Jews-takes orders becomes a bishop's chaplain-has a young nobleman for his pupil-publishes an useless Classic, and a serious call to the unconverted-and then goes through the Elysian transitions of

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prebendary, dean, prelate, and the long train of purple, profit, and power.

"It will not do to leave only four persons in each cathedral, upon the supposition that such a number will be Bufficient for all the men of real merit who ought to enjoy such preferment; we ought to have a steady confidence that the men of real merit will always bear a small proportion to the whole number; and that in proportion as the whole number is lessened, the number of men of merit provided for will be lessened also. If it were quite certain that ninety persons would be selected the most remarkable for conduct, piety, and learning, ninety offices might be sufficient; but out of these ninety are to be taken tutors to dukes and marquises, paid in this way by the public; bishops' chaplains, running tame about the palace; elegant clergymen of small understanding, who have made themselves acceptable in the drawingrooms of the mitre; Billingsgate controversialists, who have tossed and gored an Unitarian. So that there remain but a few rewards for men of real merit-yet these rewards do infinite good; and in this mixed, chequered way human affairs are conducted."

We are disposed to speak with all due respect of the Commissioners; but we do think their proposal liable to all the objections which have been so forcibly urged by this witty writer. We shall have a word or two to say to himself by-and-by. Meanwhile it must be admitted that he has "done good service at Shrewsbury." The sacrifice of the cathedral establishments, with a view to improve the condition of the working clergy, he has, we think, demonstrated to be little better than the project of the mountebank, who proposed to teach all men how to make a pair of shoes in two minutes. He was attended by a numerous and an eager audience, who burned with impatience to become possessed of his secret; but when he produced a pair of boots, and showed them that his plan was nothing more than cutting off their tops, they presently began to look very like April


Nor is the prebendary of St. Paul's less forcible or less felicitous, in describing the certain effect, upon the character of the church, of that augmentation of small livings, which is proposed to be made out of the spoils of the cathedrals.

"The whole plan of the Bishop of London is a ptochogony-a generation of

beggars. He purposes, out of the spoils of the cathedral, to create a thousand livings, and to give to the thousand clergymen 1301. per annum each :-a Christian bishop proposing, in cold blood, to create a thousand livings of 1301. per annum each to call into existence a thousand of the most unhappy men on the face of the earth-the sons of the poor, without hope, without the assistance of private fortune, chained to the soil, ashamed to live with their inferiors, unfit for the society of the better classes, and dragging about the English curse of poverty without the smallest hope that they can ever shake it off. At present, such livings are filled by young men who have better hopes-who have reason to expect good property

who look forward to a college or a family living-who are the sons of men of some substance, and hope so to pass on to something better-who exist under the delusion of being hereafter deans and prebendaries—who are paid once by money and three times by hope. Will the Bishop of London promise to the progeny of any of these thousand victims of the Holy Innovation that, if they behave well, one of them shall have his butler's place; another take care of the cedars and hyssops of his garden? Will he take their daughters for his nursery-maids ? and may some of the sons of these labourers of the vineyard' hope one day to ride the leaders from St. James's to Fulham? Here is hope-here is room for ambition-a field for genius, and a ray of amelioration! If these beautiful feelings of compassion are throbbing under the cassock of the bishop, he ought, in common justice to himself, to make them known.

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"If it were a scheme for giving ease and independence to any large bodies of clergymen, it might be listened to; but the revenues of the English church are such as to render this wholly and entirely out of the question. If you place a man in a village in the country-require that he should be of good manners and well educated that his habits and appearance should be above those of the farmers to to expect, (as would be the case in a whom he preaches-if he has nothing else church of equal division)—and if upon his village income he is to support a wife and educate a family without any power of making himself known in a remote and solitary situation, such a person ought to receive £500 per annum, and be furnished with a house. There are about 10,700 parishes in England and Wales, whose average income is £285 per annum. Now, to provide these incumbents with decent houses, to keep them in repair, and to raise the income of the incumbent

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