Obrazy na stronie

mean to say that this fire was set by man would but go to a pretty_large some of poor Cook's relations or farm-house, any-where, either in Hampfriends, and that, therefore, it is extra-shire or Wiltshire or Berkshire, and ordinary, seeing that the Barings were pass two or three dark evenings and so very kind in the case of this poor nights there, he would discover, I beCOOK? However, in the case of the lieve, that the dangers have not ceased; farm at Micheldever, we come nearer that peace is not restored; that all is to the remains of this poor young man, suspicion, distrust, fear, alarm, agitawho was only nineteen years of age. tion, and constant racking anxiety; faIn that village he was born; in that milies going to bed with their clothes village he had been bred and had al-half on and half off; lights burning all ways lived; to that village his poor, night; servants watched to their beds; honest, and broken-hearted parents every creature approaching the house, took his dead body; and there they or coming to speak to a servant, watchpaid the parson sixteen shillings, as Ied as if suspected. In short, turning am told, for leave to bury it in the the most happy of all the dwellings church-yard In this very village, and upon earth into dwellings of the deepnecessarily (for I know the village and est misery. Afraid to speak an angry the farms very well) within about a word to a servant: afraid to turn a serhundred and fifty yards from the spot vant off: afraid to hire a new one. And where the dead body of Cook lies, this this is what English farm-houses have farm-yard, as the Chronicle tells us, has been brought to, in consequence of a been consumed, and that, too, since series of measures that have at last rethe hanging and the burial of Cook! duced the labourers to live upon potatoes.


I have stuck

Will not these facts speak? Will not these facts produce conviction? Will not these facts urge the ministers to reflect, and induce them to adopt measures to tranquillize the minds of the people, and to remove from them that THE following is taken from the bitterness, that vengeful feeling, which COLCHESTER GAZETTE of the 29th of is so manifestly at work? The Attorney- January. Read it, PARSONS, and General said, the other night, in a gnash your teeth! Ah! I have hit speech that he made in consequence of you: I have given you something to the motion of HUNT, that, “through- make you remember your Tracts and ❝out the country neither life nor pro- your Sermons against me. "perty was safe for a single hour; but the blister plaster upon you: scratch it "what was the change wrought by the off, firk it off (Hampshire Parsons), if Better answer PROTESTANT "simple announcement that the law you can. "was to take its course? The mischief REFORMATION and TWO-PENNY Trash, "ceased, with a single exception, to No. 7, than waste your time in abusing "which I shall advert presently." I do me! not perceive, by the report, that the SIR,-The whole country from one end to learned gentleman did at all advert to the other seems in commotion about tithes, this exception; but I suppose him to awakened to the perception of grievances that and it seems really as if people were suddenly have meaned the fires to form the ex-they ought to have seen and sought some ception; and then all that the special legal remedy for years ago. I picked up the commissions had done was to secure other day a small pamphlet, sold for twopence, the commodité, as the French people bett; in it I found the whole history of the entitled "Two-PENNY TRASH," by Mr. Cobcall it, while the house was more ex-origin and perversion of tithes; they were posed to destruction than ever. For, formerly intended to keep the poor, and to what were all the rest of the dangers compared to that of the fires! It was the fires that kept the country in a state of alarm; and, if the learned gentle

repair the churches and hospitals. Now, how has it happened that all this was not known till now? Why was it left for Mr. Cobbett in the

History of the Protestant Reformation," as he calls it, to tell us what our historians

ought to have told us? There seems to me to have been some studied plan on the part of certain persons interested in tithes to keep us in ignorance; I cannot help surmising that the foolish cry of No Popery was one of those means. By maintaining an unchristian animosity towards our Catholic fellow-creatures, the church monopoly was kept up and inquiry stifled, and the real meaning of tithes which began with the Catholics was kept out of sight; nor should we have known much about the matter had not Mr. Cobbett enlightened us a bit by his writings.

I do not go


the length that he does, nor agree with him in all things, but in this I do agree, that the old story about Guy Fawkes and the fire of London, and all the rest of the lies trumped up against Roman Catholics, are mere fudge, and were invented to keep up an animosity towards the party who were really in possession of the secrets of the church, and particularly the abuse of the tithes. This has induced me to look a little into the character of the Catholic clergy, and though I am no great devotee to any positive institutions, not finding them in the sermon on the mount; yet I will say the Catholic priests are real Christians, both here and abroad, and though like other clergymen they are flesh and blood, and liable to tumble into the frailties of human nature, yet they are kind to the poor, charitable to every-body, modest, sober, live on a scanty pittance, and are always at prayer or doing works of charity; nor do they waste their time and the money of their flocks in hunting and other field sports. It is not for me to say whether or no what are called heretical parsons do the same; but this I am sure of, that if they do not, it is an additional reason for changing the measure as well as the mode of their pay, and of obtaining from Parliament a material change in a system of tithes which is at present ruining the farmer, and rendering him unable to do justice to the labourer. I am no radical, and God protect me from any wish to encourage feelings of discontent among the farmers, but as a loyal and patriotic subject of these realms, and one who loves his country, and its valuable constitution, I feel it to be my duty to urge those who have better means, and more learning than I can pretend to possess, to institute a temperate but prompt inquiry into some means of relief, including, if possible, a full restoration of tithes to their original use.

[ocr errors][merged small]

I remain, &c.,



READER, look at the following, and then look at WILTSHIRE BENETT'S evidence of 1813 (mentioned in my letter to him). Look at the following, com

pared with Benett's "



gallon-loaf and three-pence a week for food and clothing." Look at these, and then reflect a little upon the transactions of the last four months :

At a numerous and respectable meeting of the occupiers of land, in the neighbourhood of STOCKBRIDGE, HANTS, held at the Grosvenor Arms Inn, STOCKBRIDGE, on Wednesday, the eighth day of December instaut,

It was Resolved,-That, as it is very desirable to arrange and settle the wages of adopted: yet it is the decided opinion of this agricultural servants, the following scale be meeting, that it will be utterly impossible for continue to pay such wages, unless they are the great majority of the occupiers of land to enabled to do so by a very considerable reduction of RENT, TITHES, and TAXES.

Able-bodied Men at Regular Labour.

children, 10s. per week. A single man, or a man, wife, and two

week, and Is. in addition for such third child. A man, wife, and three children, 10s. per 10s. and 1s. in addition, and the price of a A man, wife, and more than three children, gallon loaf of the best bread and 6d. for every

child above three.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Ar a reform-meeting at Hastings, Sir GODFREY WEBSTER in the Chair, the Chairman, says the MORNING HERALD of the 10th instant, "declared that it

was his intention, in the event of the frustration of the Ministerial measure "of reform, to resist the payment of 66 taxes, and to recommend the same plan to all his tenants, and those over "whom he had control."


I shall make no remark on this, other than repeat my opinion, which I have so often expressed, that, to this it would come at last, if efficient reform were not granted IN TIME. This is precisely the object for which the famous

Breton Association was formed; it was themselves; and one of them, whom that association which, in fact, produced for years he called his friend, he the attempt of Polignac and his col-knows to be shut up in a prison under leagues; and that attempt produced the a sentence which has made even t.e famous Revolution of July 1830.


THE hackerings, the stammerings, the bogglings, the blunderings, and the cowerings down of this famous Cock I should not have noticed, though they have given a shrug to the shoulders, and a lifting of the hands and the eyes, of all those who expected any-thing from him; but the following paragraph, which I find in the Morning Herald of to-day, given as the report of a speech of his made in the House of Conimons last night, has made me determine to bestow a few words upon him, after inserting the paragraph as follows:

most intolerant of the people shudder. For myself, I would have thanked him for thus dragging in neck and heels, and apropos of nothing, a disclaimer of of me; I should have interpreted it as an act of justice due to me; but, as for them, it is perhaps, though that is saying a great deal, the foulest thing that ever escaped a pair of lips even in that house.

Is this the use to which he means to

turn the power which the people of Preston have put into his hands? Was it for this that the good and sincere him to the parliament house? I have and generous people of Preston sent not room for more at present, except sented him, these remarks do not apply this, that, if the reporter have misrepreto his conduct; but, let me be understood, that a recantation with regard to "The honourable member also presented a “petition from a meeting at the Rotunda, myself only, would not diminish, in my "Blackfriars, against the prosecution iusti eye, but rather augment, the baseness "tuted against Mr. O'CONNELL. He was of this unprovoked, this uncalled-for, "convinced that prosecutions of this kind did this ferocious attack, this at-once cow"not tend to check the opinions against ardly and ferocious attack on three men "which they were instituted, and unless the "Government should get a packed jury in neither of whom is in a situation to de"Dublin, Mr. O'CONNELL would be ac-fend himself nor to call him to account, "quitted. He could not help adverting to and one of whom is doomed to suffer"an expression which fell from LORD AL-ings, the thought of which would soften "THORP last night respecting civil war. He the heart of a tiger. If he shall be able "must say, it was a cold-blooded expression, "and ought not to have fallen from any mem"ber of the Government. He disclaimed all " connexion with Messrs. CARLILE, TAYLOR, "JONES, and COBBETT, at the Rotunda "meetings."

to disclaim the whole, I shall, for the honour of human nature, be happy to promulgate the disclaimer; if not, I shall show him up in the next Twopenny Trash.



With regard to his disclaimer of all connexion with me, every one will congratulate me upon that, after the exhibition which he has made in parliament. No man knows better than himself that I have never had the smallest connexion in the world with either Messrs. Carlile, Taylor, or Jones, I have not left myself room for this the first of whom I never saw but five showing up, and must therefore put it times, the latter but once, and the se-off till next week, when it will probably cond never in my life that I know of. embrace some intelligence which I yet But, the shaft at me is merely venomexpect on the subject. ous; in the other cases it is base beyond description. I can defend myself. But they, he well knows, cannot defend

W. C.



Monday, Feb. 7, 1831.

capital, and prevented the employment of labour. Nothing was more prejudicial than a tax on the gross produce of laud; and it was one which any prudent rulers of the church would now try to have commuted. He said commuted, because the time for composition was gone by. Nothing short of commutation measured in a fixed corn rent, not liable to alteration, and which would not give a greater than a fixed share of the produce to the tithe-owner, not increasing with the capital employed. He believed that, a few years ago, when the church proposed composition, it might have done; but now nothing short of commutation would do. The right rev. Prelates would now find it prudent to come to some moderate commutation. His Lordship concluded by presenting a petition from Somersetshire, praying for a commutation of tithes.

TITHES-Lord KING said, seeing several right rev. Prelates in their places, he would take the opportunity of presenting several petitions against Tithes, which he should not have thought it fair to present in their absence. The first petition he should present was from a place in Somersetshire, and it was very numerously signed-being signed, indeed, by several thousand persons. They said that their petition was directed against the pernicious tithe system. They stated that they were in great distress; that the farmers could get no profit, and the labourers no employment, on account of the tithe. They stated that tithes, in their origin, were intended to answer very different purposes from The Bishop of LINCOLN made a few obserthat to whith they were applied at present; vations in reply to his Lordship, which were that originally the tithes were divided into nearly inaudible below the Bar. We underthree portions-one went to the clergyman, stood the right Rev, Prelate to say, that notanother to repair the church, and the third to withstanding the confidence with which the maintain the poor. But these petitioners noble Baron made his assertions, he would stated, that they had now to maintain all find it difficult to prove them. He must the poor, and keep the church in repair, maintain that tithes were not established by and that the whole of the tithe went to the the state for a State service. In many cases minister. The tithes they described as a bar- they were granted by individuals who had rier against improvement, and he must say the power, in order to provide for the due that there was great truth in the sentiments performance of religious service in every pathat of the petition. He knew it was said that rish in the kingdom. The individuals who tithes were property; and so they were, but granted tithes did not intend them to be the very different from individual property. It property of the State. The question was, was said that tithes were the property of the what was property? The law gave power to church, and it was asked if it were not as men to appropriate and use certain things. It sacred as other property? But the property gave a power to the tithe-owner, a property in of the church stood upon a different footing the tithes, as it gave to the land-owner a profrom individual property. The church esta-perty in his land. Tithes, therefore, stood blishment was the creature of the state; it was paid for, and in such a manner as the state pleased. In that respect, then, it was perfectly different from individual property. A rev. Prelate had stated, on a former evening, that church property was more ancient than other property: it might be more ancient than some other property, but it was at all times the creature of the state, and public property; it was conferred by the state, and it was held as public property, intended for the benefit of the state. It was different from private property, which was necessary for the good of society. Without private property, we should have nothing but the spontaneous produce of the earth; but, without tithe, we should have a great deal more of saleable produce of art and skill than at present. Tithes, then, and private property, operate in different ways. The institution of private property increased the produce the institution of tithes lessened it. They were a tax on production; they hindered capital from being applied to the land; and, but for them, more capital would be applied, and more produce obtained. It was now necessary to pay tithe on the gross produce of the land, of capital, and labour, which prevented the employment of

upon the same footing as other property. He remembered that at the period of the French revolution, the people who argued against tithes also contended that the landlords were nothing more than the stewards for the people, and that rent was the salary which was paid to them for distributing the produce of the land. He did not know why the Church property should be subject to attacks more than other property, unless it could be shown that it weighed heavier than other property on the springs of national industry. Was that the case? He believed not. Was land free from tithes better cultivated than land subject to tithes. (Hear, hear.) Was that the case? He denied that it was. The right Rev. Prelate then quoted a communication from a clergyman, to show that the tithes were only in his parish 1-6th of the rent. The clergyman stated that he had had several communications with land-surveyors and other persons, who assured him that, generally, the clergymen took from 20 to 30 per cent. less than their due claim for tithes. The agriculturists, the clergyman stated, were not injured by tithes; for, generally, tithe-free land was not better, or so well, cultivated as land subject to tithes. In those parishes, 100,

[ocr errors]

he stated, which were exempted from tithes, the poor-rates were higher than in parishes which had tithes, though he did not state that the high rates were connected with the exemption of tithes." For himself, he doubted therefore that the tithe system was so noxious as the noble Barou described it. He wished it, however, to be understood, that he was not opposed to a commutation of tithes on a fair principle. It was necessary, he believed, that the church should make some sacrifice, and every commutation must involve a sacrifice; but on that account he should not object to a commutation. On the whole, he denied that tithes were public property, or were the cause of distress.

The Bishop of BATH and WELLS, as the petitions came from Somersetshire, had made some inquiry into the circumstances of the petitioners, and he had found that there was nothing peculiar in their situation which could justify them in coming forward to petition against tithes. He did not wish to make any observations then on the question of tibes or the presentation of petitions, but whenever the noble Lord brought it forward he should be prepared to give him an answer. For himself, he would say, that he was anxious for a fair commutation of tithes. In the first living he had he had commuted the tithes, and the plau had given the greatest saúisfaction. It had been productive of advantage to him and of benefit to the parish.

the services of ths clergy. Had they had that effect? He was surprised at that argument; for were not, he would ask, all pluralities and non-residents the disgrace of the church? There were, he believed, about 10,500 benefices in England, and in these there were only about 6,000 residents. If the grant were intended to secure the services of the clergy, it had failed in its effect. Hardly one half of the parishes under the church of England had resident incumbents; they might reside in other benefices, but nearly half the parishes of England were destitute of resident incumbents. This was one of the great and crying sins of the church of England, from which the church of Scotland was entirely free. He would use this circumstance as the argument ad verecundiam. With all the tithes and emoluments belonging to the English church it could not procure residents, but the Scotch church obtained residents without tithes. We had hishops and non-residents; in Scotland they had residents and no bishops. Our hierarchy, our costly hierarchy, could not effect that which was done in Scotland without a hierarchy. This was the argument ad verecundiam. The hierarchy had no power to prevent pluralities, or, if it had the power, it did not exercise it. As to tithes being property, he must repeat, they were very different from private proverty. Private property was beneficial, and it was necessary that there should be private property. Was it necessary Lord KING wished to express his satisfac- that there should be a tax on the gross protion at hearing that the rev. prelates had now duce? Tithes were a pernicious sort of procome to a commutation of tithes, which was perty. Under the present circumstances of something very different from the composi- the union, it would be well in our statesmen tion of tithes proposed by the right rev. pre- to make a change respecting the life interest late. A commutation was very different from of those who now claimed them, but making a composition, such as was proposed by the an alteration that would get rid of tithes. bill of the right rev. Prelate, which went to They were pernicious; all other property was give a power to the tithe-owner to lease his beneficial. He thought it was not very wise tithes for twenty-one years. Commutation in the right rev. Prelate to refer to the French must be by a fixed rent—a certain amount of revolution. Their lordships might depend on cora not subject to vary a payment totally it that in tithes there must be an alteration different from tithe. He was glad to under--that they would not be much longer suffered stand that now commutation and not com- to exist; and that by placing them on the position was agreed to, and commutation was same footing as property in land, the landnot the plan of the right rev. Prelate. The owners might expect that their property too right rev. Prelate who spoke last said that must be altered." there was nothing peculiar in the situation of the people of Somersetshire. That was true. The evils were every-where the same, and HOUSE OF LORDS. were not confined to Somersetshire. There was nothing peculiar in the hardships they TITHES.-Lord. KING said, that having saffered. They were common, unfortunately, some other petitions to present on the subject to all the land. The right rev. Prelate who of tithes, he must renew that to some persons spoke first, said, he (Lord King) would have inconvenient discussion, but to others most great difficulty in making out that tithes were convenient. Yesterday he had brought the public property; he proved, however, what Somersetshire militia into the field; to-day was the origin of tithes. The greater part of he came down with the militia from Glouces the livings of the country were in the hands of tershire. He was happy to say that all perthe church or the crown, and these were un-sons appeared now to agree that some alteradoubtedly public property. The advowsons belonging to individuals were of a different mature, but the advowsons belonging to the church or the crown were public property. 13 was said that tithes were given to secure

Tuesday, Feb. 8th.

tion was necessary, and it only remained to find out what alteration. One of the right rev. Prelates had yesterday asked him if he had any plan for making the change. He had; he had three plans, all very good ones,

« PoprzedniaDalej »