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fires began in East Kent, where I have way or other, punish them if I can. But not been for years. 2. They had begun now this story of the confession is true, three whole months before I went into or it is a lie; then the poor young man West Kent; and I did not go into East (who is an orphan, and who has no sout Kent at all. 3. That I lectured at who will be permitted to visit him) has' Deptford, Rochester, Maidstone, Ton- spoken truth, or has been prevailed on bridge, Battle, Eastbourne, and Lewes. to speak falsehood. If the story be a 4. The fires began in West Kent before lie, or the confession be believed to be I entered it; and there was the great false, then what a shameful thing here fire at Thompson's, near Tonbridge, the is with regard to me! And if the story night before my arrival there. 5. I of the confession be true, and the conevery-where did my best to put a stop fession be believed, will they STILL HANG not only to the fires, but to all violences THIS POOR YOUNG MAN! Let the PARSON whatsoever, by stating that it was not answer that! the fault of the farmer that the wages were low; that the cause was the weight of the taxes and tithes, which disable the farmers from paying due wages; and I exhorted the farmers to call the people together in their several parishes, to explain this matter to them, and to call upon them all to join in a petition to Parliament for a reduction of taxes and tithes ; "And then," said I, "they will wait with patience; they will see that your cause is their cause; they will look on you as friends; and your property and your persons will be safe; but if false pride, or any other motive, prevent you from doing this, I beseech you to place no reliance on threats, no, nor even on punishments." This was my language every-where: and, at every place, many farmers cordially shook me by the hand, and thanked me for my advice. At three places out of the seven I lodged, by invitation, at private houses; and I never, during my journey, spoke to a working man, otherwise than in public.
With regard to the charge of this Mr. Trevor, all the effect that it has had on me, has been to cause me to publish
I have thought it right to say this, in print, as speedily as possible, in order, not to defend my conduct, but in order to show to the public the nature of the miserable shifts to which the parsons are driven. The story about the room at the inn at Battle having been refused a new edition of The Register of Decem* · · me, is a sheer falsehood. I never ap-ber 11, and it will be, further, to causend plied for it, or for any other place there; me to republish it in a cheaper form the place I had was prepared with- Strange, that I should think of exciting & out my previous knowledge. In fact, the poor to revolt by making (as I have d Sir, the whole story is an invention done), just at this time, the price of my from the beginning to the end; and I Register a shilling instead of sevendespise the authors of it from the bottom pence! Why, The Register now costs of my heart; but yet I will, in some nearly as much per week as Mr. Benett's
Permit me to take this opportunity of complaining of the unfair report published by you, of the debate in the House of Commons, on the Motion of a Mr. Trevor, which debate took place last night. Mr. Bulwer, whom I have not the honour to know, made, I am well assured, a speech of considerable length, and full of just observation, ably stated; yet, in your report, about an inch in length of column is given to Mr. Bulwer, while a full report is given of the speech of this Mr. Trevor. One would have thought, that when the Press was defended, the advocate might have had fair play, though the defence included that of my conduct! But, alas! the delusion is still to be kept up! It will be to the last moment; but that inoment is not now far distant. I wish Lord Grey would now read a letter that I addressed to him in 1822. But no ! They will still shut their eyes; they will still cling to their deceivers; still say, "Prophesy to us smooth things, prophesy to us lies." And I must say, that, generally speaking, the Londos Press is amongst the greatest of those deceivers.
evidence allowed per week for a la- small tithes arising upon the several bouring man's subsistence ! I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant, Dec. 24, 1830.
occupations of Messrs. Samuel Barnes, Gibbs Murrell, R. G. Rudd, John Gent, Robert High, John Newman, sen., John WM. COBBETT.Newman, jun., James Smith, and P. S. It is now 29th Dec., and I see, Thomas Middleton. I was sorry, for by the papers, that this poor orphan is the sake of the poor, that some of you left for execution!" And was the met at the Ferry-house in an unlawful pretended confession then believed to be manner, and there did hinder the paytrue? And is he to be hanged that con-ment of my tithes; but I have no doubt fession being believed to be true? Will that you were misled into that dangerous they hang him, if they believe what is conduct, and made tools of by others to said to have been his confession? And serve their own selfish purposes; for I if that confession be a fabrication, is cannot believe any of the poor in Surthere not a bit of rope to be found for the lingham are my enemies, to whom, fabricators? Is there no law for villains whether in sickness or health, I have like these? always tried to be a friend. "W. COLLETT,
"Rector and Vicar of Surlingham. ́ "Dec. 11, 1830."
I dare say, that the "poor inhabitants of Surlingham" understood all this very well! I dare say that they saw that such a trick was to be despised; that they asked how the parson never came to make such an offer before; but, would they not ask also, why he did not give them some of the calves, lambs, wool, potatoes, turnips and corn, as well as the milk, eggs, pigs and fruit? In short, they would see, because they must see, that this was a work of spite, and not of charity.
LABOURERS OF ENGLAND; On the Measures which ought be adopted with regard to the Tithes, and with regard to the other Property coмMONLY called Church-Property. Kensington, 25th December, 1830.
I PERCEIVE that there is a PARSON, at a parish in Norfolk, who has been endeavouring to persuade the labourers that he is their friend, and that the farmers are their enemies. He has circulated, in hand-bill, the following statement. Others of the par- But it is not this pitiful part of the sons have published hand-bills, calling tithes that I want to see taken away upon you to believe that the tithes are from the parsons and bishops: I want good things for you. But let me desire to see the whole taken away: the tithes, you to read the hand-bill of the Nor- the church lands and all other property folk parson. It is in the following held by the clergy in virtue of their words: "To the Poor Inhabitants of clerical functions and offices. I want Surlingham.-I have received from to see it all taken away by LAW. It some of the farmers in Surlingham, a was given to them by law; it is held by notice to gather my tithes in kind, or law; and it may be taken away by law; else to agree to take in future just what that which the law has given the law they shall please to offer. I cannot may take away, otherwise we should submit to such an unjust demand, and be living in a strange state of things. therefore I am compelled, in self- Such an important measure is, however, defence, to gather my tithe from this not to be adopted without regard to the time; and I hereby make it known to justice and necessity of it. Such you, that on and after Monday, the measure would take property from a 20th of December, it is my intention great number of persons ; it would to distribute as a gift, amongst the poor make many low who are now high and deserving families, all the eggs, it would compel to labour for their milk, pigs, poultry and fruit, which bread many who now do nothing and yet shall in future belong to me as the live in luxury; it would compel many,
upon as made for their pleasure and sport. Yet, such a measure ought not to be adopted in a hasty manner; due consideration ought to be had in the case; it ought, before adopted, to be proved to be just and necessary; and, as I am decidedly for the measure, and would cause it to be adopted if I had the power, I look upon myself as bound to show, that it is just and necessary. Legal I know it must be allowed to be; but that which is legal may not always be just. Some have denied that it would be legal; and, therefore, the legality shall be proved first.
who now ride in coaches, not only to breasts of the young women to be cut off; walk on foot, but to work in company or to cause them to be disqualified for with those whom they seem to look breeding; or, to have their bodies exposed to public view, to be poked and groped about and chopped to pieces, and then to be flung to the dogs, as the carcase of Jezebel was. If laws like these were to be passed, all the world would say that they were no laws at all, and, of course, that they ought not to be regarded as precedents. But, very different is the case here, as I am now about to prove.
The whole of this property, parsons' tithes, lay tithes, college and bishops' estates, originally were held in trust by the CATHOLIC CLERGY, for certain public purposes, of which I shall speak under the next head. But, in the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Elizabeth, and James I., all these tithes and other property, both in England and Ireland, were, by acts of parliament, taken away from the Catholic clergy, and given, some to protestant parsons, and the rest to divers persons of the aristocracy, who hold all this property to this day. If, then, this could be legally and constitutionally done, why can
Now, my friends, I have to show you:-1. That it is legal, that it is agreeable with the laws of our country, to take this property from the parsons by act of parliament. 2. I have to show you, that it is just to do it. 3. I have to show you that the measure is necessary to the prosperity, peace and safety of the nation. And, my friends, if I prove all these to you, it will be your bounden duty to lend your aid in causing this measure to be adopted, not the property be taken away from and to be active and zealous, too, in the present possessors by act of parlialending that aid; for, as you will by-ment? The holders contend, however, and-by see, it is, after all, the labouring that all this property, even the tithes, people who suffer most from the tithes, belong to the holders, as completely as and who, in fact, pay the whole of them any man's estate, or goods, belong to in the end. him. If this be the case, the tithes (to confine ourselves to them for the present) were unlawfully taken from the Catholic clergy; it was an act of rapine to take them from that Clergy; and will our parsons allow that their possessions are the fruits of rapine?
But let us look at the part of the Catholic Church property that was taken away and given to the aristocracy; I mean the great tithes of many parts of the kingdom and the abbey lands; and let us take, as specimens, the Duke of Devonshire's great tithes of twenty parishes in Ireland, and the Duke of Bedford's ownership of Covent Garden, which latter spot belonged to the Abbey of Westminster. If either of these were called upon to prove his title to these things (and he may be so called on by
FIRST, then, to show you that it is agreeable to the laws of the country to take away the tithes and other property commonly called Church-property, I have only to state to you what has been done, in this respect, in former times. I shall have, further on, to speak of the origin and the intention and the former application of tithes, when I come to the justice of my proposition: at present, I shall speak merely of the legality of the thing. We know that when a law has been passed by king and parliament, that which is ordered, or allowed, by such law, is legal, in the technical sense of the word, if a nest of villains bloody enough to pass a law to put men to death for refusing to live upon potatoes; or, to cause the
any man if tithe be demanded of him for the one, or toll for the other), he must go back to the acts of parliament (and not very far back) in virtue of which he holds his estate. And will either of these Dukes deny, then, that these acts of parliament were lawful; will they deny, that they were agreeable to the laws and constitution of the country? will they acknowledge that they hold these estates from the effects of an act of rapine? Oh, no! They must plead the acts as good, as agreeable to the taw of the land; and, if they do this, they declare, that to take away any part of the property of the church, is a thing that may be done without any violation of the law of the land.
There is a distinction to be made between the property which was given to the aristocracy and that which was given to the Protestant parsons and bishops and colleges; and there are persons who contend that the former is now become private property; and, of course, that the Dukes of Devonshire and Bedford have to the abovementioned tithes and tolls as perfect a right as any man has to an estate that never belonged to the public, in the name of Church property. BURKE (the great apostle of the aristocracy!) says very much the contrary; for he says that the Duke of Bedford had no better claim to Woburn than he (Burke) had to his pension? However, this is a point that I leave without discussion, at present; and I sincerely hope that the conduct of the aristocracy towards the people may now be such as to let this matter remain undiscussed for
impudent; the thing is as plain as the fact of light or dark.
Lest, however, an objection should be made to the antiquity of those acts of parliament, and lest it should be said, that when the Church became Protestant, the tenure of the clergy became absolute, and untouchable even by the parliament, let us see what the parliament has done, in this way, in modern times, and even very recently. In 1713, and again in 1813, an act was passed to fix the sums that the holders of livings should give to their curates; that is to say, to compel them to give the curates certain salaries, or portions, out of the produce of the livings. This clearly shows that the livings were deemed public property, merely held in trust by the parsons and bishops; for, what would have been said, if the parliament had passed a law to compel gentlemen, farmers, tradesmen, and manufacturers, to pay their servants, journeymen, and labourers at a certain rate? This would have been to interfere with the distribution of private property, and would have been an act of tyranny; but, in the other case, it was an act of duty, because the parsons and bishops held the property in trust for public uses, and because it was for the benefit of the publie, that those who did the work of the church should be suitably paid for their work.
Thus, then, the parliament took away, without any consent of the parties, part. of the revenues of the and, of course, part of what the patron, or owner of the advowson, called his pri vate property. But the act of 1798, only 32 years ago, was still more com
But, as to the tithes and other pro-plete,, if possible; for, by that act, a perty which was handed over from the part of the houses and lands, belonging Catholic clergy to the Protestant cler- to the Church, was taken away
gy, that is held by the latter as it was held by the former; namely, in trust by the elergy for public purposes; and, of course, as it was before taken by act of parliament from one set of men, and given, in trust, to another set of men, it may now be taken, and disposed of, by act of parliament, for whatever purposes may appear to the parliament to be best. To deny this is really to be
was sold to private persons; and the proceeds paid into the Exchequer amongst the tax-money. This was. called an "act for the redemption of the land-tax.” It first laid a perpetual tax on all house and land; it then enabled people to redeem their land-tax; that is to say, to purchase back part of their estates from the Government! Some did it, and some did not ; but, the par
sons and bishops and college people were compelled to do it; and they did do it; and the money went into the treasury, and was spent, by Pitt, in places, pensions, grants, sinecures, subsidies, secret services' money, and other purposes, to carry on the war against Jacobins, Levellers, and Reformers.
So that here was, only 32 years ago, a part of the Church property actually taken away for ever, sold to private persons, and the money taken by the Government and applied to public purposes. If a part could be taken without any violation of the settled laws of the country, the whole may be taken for public purposes, without any such violation. For, surely, it would not be more unlawful to take it to pay off the Debt, for instance, than it was to take it to help to carry on a war, for the support and success of which that Debt was contracted; awar, too, in the urging on of which the Clergy were more forward and more loud than any other body of men in the kingdom.
they say to give countenance to such a claim; while, on the other hand, they say quite enough to satisfy any man that they never intended, never so much as thought of, such a mode of maintaining a Christian teacher. In the first place, our Lord declares the Law of Moses to be abrogated. He sets aside even the Sabbath. And when the Pharisee in the parable vaunted that he paid tithes of all that he possessed, the rebuke he received is quite sufficient to show the degree of merit that Christ allotted to that sort of piety; and, indeed, this parable seems to have been used for the express purpose of exposing the cunning of the then Jewish priests, and the folly of their dupes in relying on the efficacy of paying tithes.
But what do we want more than the silence of our Saviour as to this point? If the tenth of the "increase" (for it was not the crop or gross produce) was intended by him still to be given to the teachers of religion, would he, who was laying down the new law, have never said a single word on so important a matter? Nay, when he is taking leave of his Apostles and sending them forth to preach his word, so far is he from talking about tithes, that he bids them take neither purse nor scrip, but to sit down with those who were willing to receive them, and to eat what people had a
Thus, then, it is agreeable to the laws and usages of the country to take this property away, and apply it to public purposes: it is so much property belonging to the nation, and the nation can take it, and can do what it likes with it, proceeding, as it doubtless would, by due course of law. If there be any one in the world, any creature mind to give them, adding, that "the now left on earth, so stupid as to believe labourer was worthy of his hire." That that the tithes and other Church property is to say, of food, drink, and lodging, have any foundation in the laws of God, while he was labouring. And is it on and that our parsons are the successors this, the only word Jesus Christ ever of the Levites, the stupid beast will keep says about compensation of any sort ; is the sabbath, I hope, and not Sunday. I it on this that Christian teachers found hope he will kill the paschal lamb and their claim to a tenth of the whole of the offer up burnt-offerings; that he will produce of a country! If this be the eat no blood, bacon, or hares or rabbits. way in which they interpret the ScripThe Levites had only the tenth of the tures it is time indeed that we read and increase, and not a tenth of the crop; judge for ourselves! Oh, no! Not a next, they divided the increase with the word did our Saviour say about tithes,
poor, the widow, and the stranger; "not a word about rich apostles, but and, lastly, they had no worldly inherit- enough and enough about poor ones; ance, could own neither house nor land, not a word about worldly goods, except and indeed could have no property to to say, that those who wished to possess themselves. them could not be his disciples : enough about rendering to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, but not a word about rendering to the priests any thing at all.
No foundation have tithes or Church property on the Mosaic Law; and as to Christ and his Apostles, not one word do