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The writer supposes that the resolution of "Virtue" into the promotion of the general good" was probably suggested by Mr. Hume to Mr. Brown, and from him adopted, with modifications, by Mr. Paley. He has requested us, however, (in a private letter,) to inform the public that he mistook; and that Mr. Hume's "Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals," which he confounded with his "Essays," was not published till after the first appearance of Mr. Brown's Essays; though the same doctrine had been previously inculcated in his "Treatise on Human Nature," published some years before. As to Mr. Paley's Definition of Virtue, he has found it explicitly asserted in the Dissertations prefixed to Dr. Law's* edition of Archbishop King's Origin of Evil.
A new edition of this pamphlet, just published, gives the name of its author, Thomas Green, Esq. and rectifies the errors into which he had fallen in the history of the principle discussed in his letter. Other parts are re-touched; and Mr. G. has added, in a Postscript, an extract from Bp. Butler's 2d Dissertation at the end of his Analogy; desirous of shewing that he does not stand alone in the controversy with those who "resolve morality into expediency.'"
ART. XVIII. An Essay on the Revenues of the Church of England.
HE object of this publication is to establish the following points: 1st, That the Clergy of the Church of England have a natural, precedented, and legal right to the revenues with which they are endowed. 2dly, That, though these revenues may collectively appear large, they afford a very moderate competency to the many thousands whose subsistence depends on them; and lastly, That these revenues, particularly the part of them arising from tithes, are neither burdensome to the individual nor injurious to the public. These positions. are pursued through many chapters and sections, which begin with the history of tithes deduced from the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, to the Jews and primitive Christians; and likewise from the first establishment of Christianity in England, to the progressive confirmation of them in our own times.
As we prefer facts to opinions, we shall extract only such passages as may tend to information.
Of the revenues of the church in general, the author remarks:
* Dr. Law, the late Bishop of Carlisle.
Thus, when it is said, that the Cathedral Revenues, throughout the kingdom, amount to the gross sum of 140,000l. per annum, yet, let it be remembered, that there are, in all, not less than 1,700 persons, who are partakers of those revenues, in a greater or smaller pro portion.
The Parochial Clergy have been more fortunate and successful, than either their Episcopal or Dignified Brethren. Their incomes, being chiefly dependent on the state of landed property, whosoever might be the possessors of it, have been necessarily more augmented, by the increased value of the rental of that property; and their rights and claims, not being of a fleeting nature, but immovably affixed to the soil of each parish, have suffered little diminution, except from the easiness, inattention and neglect of the Clergy themselves.
It appears from the Liber Regis, according to Arch-Deacon Plymley in his Charge to the Clergy of Salop in the year 1793, that there are in England and Wales, 5,098 Rectories, 3,687 Vicarages, and 2,970 Churches which are neither Rectorial nor Vicarial; in all, 11,755 Churches, contained in about 10,000 parishes, at which number the parishes, throughout the kingdom, are usually esti mated.
Of these Rectories, many are, without doubt, highly valuable. The same may be said in respect to some of the Vicarages, from be ing possessed of large glebes, or large endowments, or from both causes united; but, however, there are many Rectories, and Vicarages, in particular, whose tithes are wholly impropriated, and with out even any parsonage house. Of the Churches, which are neither Rectorial nor Vicarial, perhaps, two fifths are merely Chapels of Ease, and appendant to some extensive and valuable benefices, or else built on speculation in populous parts of the kingdom, in which districts they are chiefly to be found. And, of the remaining Churches, to which neither houses, glebes, nor tithes most commonly belong, the incomes must necessarily be very inconsiderable, as they can alone proceed from trifling contingencies.'
From the aggregate amount of the incomes of 3,181 livings, now and formerly in charge in the King's Books, situated in every county in the kingdom, and whose value hath been collected almost entirely within the last ten years, from various sources of public and private information, it appears,-that each of these livings is now worth, on the average, 1411. per annum, and that, when compared with the value annexed to them in the King's Books, they have all increased in the general proportion of about ten to one, since the time of the Reformation; but, that the Rectories have increased in the ratio of nearly eleven to one, and are at present of the yearly value of 1621. each,and that the Vicarages have increased in the ratio of rather more than nine to one, and are at present of the yearly value of 1061. each. The number of Rectories, included in this calculation, is 2,037, and of the Vicarages 1,144-the collective value of the former, in the King's Books, being 30,1581. and of the latter 13,3791.-and the collective value of the former, at present, being 330,7541. and of the latter 121,4031. per annum.
According, then, to the present average value of these Rectories and Vicarages, and to the number of the Rectorial, Vicarial, and other Churches throughout the kingdom, as before given from the Liber Regis, the revenues of the Parochial Clergy will be increased to the amount of 1,313,000l. per annum, as thus appears :-5,098 Rectories, at 1621. each, will give 825,8761.-3,687 Vicarages, at 106. each, will give 398,2221.-And, 1782 (that is, three fifths of 2,970) Churches, which are neither Rectorial nor Vicarial, but are presumed to be Parochial Cures, at-suppose the ample allowance of-50l. each, will give 89, 100l. And when, to these sums, are added the Episcopal, Cathedral, and University revenues, amounting, as before stated, to 392,000l. per annum, it will be seen, that the Bishop of Landaff's valuation of the Church and University revenues, is exceeded, by the sum of 205,000l.'
From the revenues, the essayist proceeds to estimate the number of the established Clergy:
They have been variously estimated, as much above 20,coo, as below 15,000:-a medium between both, or 18,000, is, most probably, the correctest statement of them, as it will allow a Supernumerary or Curate to about one half of the before stated number of 11,755 Churches.
These eighteen thousand persons, whether beneficed or expectant, with their families and dependents, make up, possibly, near 100,000 souls, reckoning at the rate of five and an half persons to a family. However, as a part of the Clergy, like those of other professions, may be supposed to be single men, this computation will, therefore, at first sight, appear exaggerated; but, when it is consi dered, that the Clergy are an exception to those of other professions, and are, for the most part, married men, with numerous families in general, the calculation, in estimating the whole body of them with cach a family of five and an half persons, may turn out, neither rash nor ill-founded:-and, more especially, since, computing two thirds of them to be married men, with families and dependents of seven persons each, the same gross product will almost appear, as seven times twelve thousand amount to 84,000, and the remaining one third, (or 6,000 single men) with one dependent each, will make up the whole number to be 96,000.
And, thus, taking the population of the kingdom at 8,000,000 of persons, the Clergy, with their families and dependents, are about an eightieth part of the people.'
It appears that, by the addition of the Cathedral and the equalization of the Parochial incomes, the revenue to be enjoyed by each parish priest would not exceed 1721. per annum.
In a parallel drawn between the Church Establishments of England and Scotland, we learn that
The whole provision of the Ministers of the Kirk of Scotland was estimated, about forty years past, in the year 1755, at about 68,500l. per annum; which, being divided between 944 Ministers, afforded to cach of them, on the average, an annual income of 721. REV. JUNE, 1799.
This provision may, indeed, have been increased; but, nevertheless, whatever it may be now, it appears, from the foregoing anthenticated publications, to be daily growing of less and less estimation, and scarcely an object of desire. It is so incompetent to the decent and comfortable maintenance of the present Ministry, notwithstanding the great cheapness of the necessaries of life in Scotland, when compared with the prices of them in England, that not only the Ministers themselves complain and are uneasy in their situations, but their unpleasant and confined circumstances are so obvious, that the youth of respectable families and connections are prevented and deterred from entering, as formerly, into the Ministry.
The consequences of this have been, that those of inferior families and situations in life have been already candidates for, and have been necessarily ordained into the Ministry, from the mere want of others, of more respectable connections, and more qualified by edu cation and professional studies. From time to time, even this class of the people will withdraw themselves, (as views of bettering their conditions in the commercial line, or some lucrative employment, continue to present themselves before them,) and others of still less character, consequence and qualifications, will be brought forward, and, (though ill calculated to further the purposes of religion,) must through necessity be introduced into its offices. And, thus, will the poverty of the Scottish Establishment prove its most deadly foe, and, in the event, in all likelihood, work its ruin; as all the good effects, both civil and religious, which have been deduced from it, will gradually vanish.'
Mr. Cove has shewn considerable talents as a calculator in this publication; and those of his arguments which he has founded on his calculations are proposed with candour, and with propriety of style and manner.
ART. XIX. Lyrical Ballads, with a few other Poems. 12mo. pp. 210. 5s. Boards. Arch. 1798.
HE author of these ingenious compositions presents the major part of them to the public as experiments; since they were written, as he informs us in the advertisement prefixed, chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure.'
Though we have been extremely entertained with the fancy, the facility, and (in general) the sentiments, of these pieces, we cannot regard them as poetry, of a class to be cultivated at the expence of a higher species of versification, unknown in our language at the time when our elder writers, whom this author condescends to imitate, wrote their ballads.-Would it not be degrading poetry, as well as the English language, to
go back to the barbarous and uncouth numbers of Chaucer? Suppose, instead of modernizing the old bard, that the sweet and polished measures, on lofty subjects, of Dryden, Pope, and Gray, were to be transmuted into the dialect and versification of the xivth century? Should we be gainers by the retrogradation? Rust is a necessary quality to a counterfeit old medal: but, to give artificial rust to modern poetry, in order to render it similar to that of three or four hundred years ago, can have no better title to merit and admiration than may be claimed by any ingenious forgery. None but savages have submitted to eat acorns after corn was found.-We will allow that the author before us has the art of cooking his acorns well, and that he makes a very palatable dish of them for jours maigres: but, for festivals and gala days,
"Multos castra juvant, & lituo tube
We have had pleasure in reading the reliques of antient poetry, because it was antient; and because we were surprised to find so many beautiful thoughts in the rude numbers of barbarous times. These reasons will not apply to imitations of antique versification. We will not, however, dispute any longer about names; the author shall style his rustic delineations of lowlife, poetry, if he pleases, on the same principle on which Butler is called a poet, and Teniers a painter: but are the doggrel verses of the one equal to the sublime numbers of a Milton, or are the Dutch boors of the other to be compared with the angels of Raphael or Guido?-When we confess that our author has had the art of pleasing and interesting in no common way by his natural delineation of human passions, human characters, and human incidents, we must add that these effects were not produced by the poetry :-we have been as much affected by pictures of misery and unmerited distress, in prose. The elevation of soul, when it is lifted into the higher regions of imagination, affords us a delight of a different kind from the sensation which is produced by the detail of common incidents. For this fact, we have better authority than is to be found in the writings of most critics; we have it in a poet himself, whose award was never (till now) disputed:
"The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heav'n;
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Having said thus much on the genus, we now come more particularly to the species.