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seems too hard or too harsh, let us take Mr. Chamberlain's "attitude" at Glascow, when discussing the disestablishment of the Scotch Kirk. He posed as a disestablisher pure and simple. He posed also as a disendower pure and simple. He argued that the vast endowments were originally intended for other purposes than those now approved; and, therefore, that, politically, religiously, morally, the endowments should be re-devoted to their first purposes. So far so good, and we can follow him. But now comes this "volte-face of principle": that forasmuch as disestablishment, if insisted on by Liberals, would create a trump-card of alarm for the Tory party, therefore this question, “under all the circumstances (the chief "circumstance" being the injury to the Liberal party) must not be made "an indispensable condition." This was certainly a confession of weak principle. It was suggestive of the attitude, “dat ut dent;" or rather of not giving what might cost something. Yet here it must be noted that disestablishment in Scotland would be quite distinct from disestablishment in England; and we are only quoting Mr. Chamberlain as showing that party interests may take precedence (in certain cases) of right or wrong. Disestablishment in Scotland would be little more than a taking away what was given, two centuries ago, to the Kirk. The Presbyterian Kirk was a brand new Institution, which had no ancestry-doctrinally or politically-before Presbyterianism was. invented; and it was by favor of Dutch William that it got possession of the funds which belonged previously to the Episcopal Church. In the eyes of all Anglicans, the Episcopal Church of Scotland is the more orthodox, the more Catholic" Institution; so that the splendid present which was made by Dutch William to the Communion of the enthusiastic John Knox was, at the least, a spoliation of (truer) heirs. Very different is the case of the Church of England. Her endowments are mostly private benefactions; nor has the State created endowments for her at all. And, besides this, it must be remembered that the sums spent by English Churchmen, in the single matter of the education of the poor, relieve the State, and have always relieved it, of a vast annual burden on the Exchequer. There are, therefore, very considerable differences between the two rival Communions. Yet these differences do not seem to affect "principles." What Mr. Chamberlain pleaded in Scotland most Liberals would plead as gravely in England-in regard to the whole question of disestablishment: that the Tory party would make capital out of an election cry which should propose to lay hands on the National Church. Did not Mr. Gladstone seem to imply this in his manifesto? "I think it is obvious," he wrote, "that so vast a question cannot become practical until it shall have grown to the public mind by thorough
discussion." It is true that these words mean just nothing at all, so far as "religious principles" are concerned; but they do mean that, politically, it would be a very hazardous game to play-to attack an institution loved by Tories. What the "principles" of the Liberal party are, in regard to the whole subject, we may gather from the statements of Liberal organs. Out of about 580 Liberal candidates, more than 400 (say these organs)" are in favor of disestablishment on principle." And if we consult the "religious" organs of the Church party,-and the Guardian newspaper is perhaps their favorite organ,-we find that a number of "root and branch disestablishers" are undecided on the question of " opportunism." Now it is very amusing to find the Guardian trying to reconcile Liberal principles with the duty of supporting Church and State. All that it demands is, that the Liberals ought not, in the "next Parliament," to vote against the interests of the Church. Your duty," says the Guardian to the Liberal voters, "takes you so far as refusing to vote for the anti-Church Liberal, but it takes you no farther. You are not bound to give your vote to the man who is pledged to support the Church if he chances to be a Conservative." So that we cannot be called hard or harsh, in the statement which we made at the beginning, that the whole question will be viewed with reference to party interests, and without reference to (or with little care for) right or wrong." If the most reputable of the Anglican organs-speaking, of course, Anglicanly-places political expediency above principle, secular Liberals (a fortiori secular Radicals) cannot be expected to be painfully
Yet this question of "principle" is the more gravely important because it must affect many measures. Religious education, the marriage laws, and also socialism, must come before Parliament in the next five years. Now, if this "principle" is to be approved (and the Guardian newspaper clearly approves it), of being "a politician first, then a churchman," it will go hard with the religious interests of all these questions. No doubt a large number of members of Parliament are themselves absolutely indifferent on all such subjects; they are a sort of Gallios, who care for none of these things; or, if Liberals, they will adopt the politic principle, "Amica veritas, magis amicus Gladstone;" yet it is difficult to believe that political gentlemen of any school can actually vote for what, on principle, they think wrong. It is more likely that they will try to shift the bearings of the question, so as to make them seem to be more statistical than they are moral; and this will not be difficult to be done. It will only be necessary to talk glibly about the "abuses" of the present system, and about the "great saving" to the country through wiser uses. And at this point let us glance
at the financial aspect, so as to see how it may be made to look like "pure politics."
First, we will take the amounts of church property. The endowments have been (ordinarily) computed to be of the value of two hundred millions sterling; the gross revenues, six millions; the income of the parochial clergy, four and a half millions. The bishops' incomes are about a hundred and fifty thousand. [The Archbishop of Canterbury has fifteen thousand; the Archbishop of York has ten thousand, and so has the Bishop of London.] The total annual value of the cathedral property may be put down as about three hundred and fifty thousand.
And now, to consider such facts relatively: When the census of religious worship was taken, in 1851, it was found that with a population in England and Wales of 17,927,609, the estimated total number of attendants at public worship on the census-Sunday was only 7,261,032. Of that number, 3.773.474 were present at the services of the Established Church, and 3,487,558 at the services of other religious bodies. In Wales, more than three-fourths of the service-attending population were found to be some sort of Nonconformists. And here it must be remarked in regard to Wales, that whereas the whole of the population a hundred and fifty years ago were professing members of the Anglican Establishment, at the present day fully eighty-four per cent. profess some sort of Protestant dissent.
And now, to say a word as to church buildings: It was stated in the census-returns of 1851, that out of a total of 14,077 churches, 9,667 had been built before the year 1807. How many were built before the time of Queen Elizabeth? was an inquiry that the Commissioners did not institute. But it is a notable fact that between 1801 and 1851, 4.410 churches were built; which shows that an immense proportion of existing (Anglican) churches must be acknowledged to be non-Catholic property. This is a very important item in the controversy, and somewhat simplifies the difficulties as to "justice;" for with the exception of the cathedrals, and a certain number of parish churches, the greater part of the Anglican church property never was Catholic in any sense. We are glad for the future Commission.ers that this should be so; yet should disestablishment ever come to be worked out, the cost of compensation would be gigantic. Indeed, Mr. Gladstone has computed that between the incomes, private endowments, and the value of fabrics and advowsons, something like ninety million pounds sterling would have to be given, in the process of disestablishment, to the ministers, members, and patrons of the Church of England.
Finally, since mere statistics are not important, as much affecting "first principles in regard to justice," it may be said that the actual revenues of the Establishment (or, more accurately, the actual sums which she enjoys) are:
Archbishops and Bishops,
Parliamentary and other grants,
The financial argument, on the part of the disestablishers, may, therefore, be roughly put in this way: For about seven millions of so-called churchmen (many of whom do not profess any orthodoxy) there is an exclusive political forethought or recognition, and an endowment of about two hundred millions sterling; while the majority (considerably more than three-fourths, or not less than twenty-four millions of English subjects) are not established to the value of one penny. This is asserted by a large party to be unjust; yet, obviously, the question of financial justice would comprehend the most difficult inquiries, such as: Whence was the property first derived? Is its application such as was meant by the founder? How far does development in application negative prescriptive right to inheritance? Or: Can a precedent of three centuries totally obliterate Catholic right to possess at least Catholic foundations, just as in lay property it is allowed that long possession supersedes all earlier prescriptive rights? Such inquiries must be left to the law-judges, and to the learned in moral theology. It is more interesting at this time, and certainly it is more practical, to seek an answer to the more immediate question: "What do the members of the Church of England think or desire as to disestablishment ?"
The bishops and the wealthy dignitaries naturally take the same view; and five of the bishops have addressed pastorals to their clergy, urging them to rush to church defence. They have the best possible reasons for doing so. Primarily, there might be but little change to begin with, certainly not for the immediate generation; nor would there be any risk of "destitution." Social status would, however, be much jeopardized, because unquestionably to be a clergyman of a church over which the State throws a mantle of respectability is a different thing to being a clergyman of a church which would not be national (any more than one of the sects), but which must fall back on disputed claims for its supremacy.
High Churchism might attribute status to the Anglican clergy, and Ritualism might demand homage from its votaries; but disestablishment and disendowment would mean: "Now take care of yourselves, and do not trust to the royal supremacy for your position." Every-one knows that the social status of the Anglican clergy has been, for three centuries, their chief power; that their inter-marrying with the higher classes has fixed their place; that the pleasant rectory or the rich canonry has loomed-in the near distancebefore the vision of every candidate for holy orders. The clergy would scarcely be human if they did not appreciate the advantages which have accrued from an assured social respectability. And, therefore, it is but natural that they should regard with disfavor the cutting off of the element of worldly boons.
But there is another point which is even a good deal more disquieting; and that is: the equivocal character of "the Church" itself. If you take away the favoring accidents of prosperity,-the distinction, the prestige, of State-churchism,-you compel the Anglican Church to fall back on its own authority; and everyone knows that that is nil. Even the extreme Ritualists are aware that, spite of their assumption, the laity laugh slyly at their authority; that even the most admiring of their devotees have a good deal more than a suspicion that there is something wrong in "the Anglo-Catholic Church." So that, professing their own superiority to State aid, their supernatural vocation and office, they yet in private, in the fellowship of their intimates, admit that it is much safer to be established. And their knowledge of their own church history supports this view. They know perfectly well that what was established" in the National church was Anglican doctrines, not endowments; that in 1534 an Act of Parliament "established" the doctrinal (or spiritual) supremacy of the sovereign, giving him "power to redress errors and heresies;" that in 1558 another Act made Queen Elizabeth the Pope of her own brand new Institution; that in 1559 another Act compelled all Englishmen (spite of the protest of the whole Anglican Hierarchy) to believe in an Elizabethan Christianity; that in 1571 the Thirty-nine Articles were established, just as "Common Prayer" was established a little later; and that the word “established" was first applied to the perfectly new Anglican doctrines, and only afterwards to temporal affairs. Knowing these truths, even the most advanced modern clergy hardly like to be cut away from their moorings. They are bound, in consistency, to affect to be indifferent to what the world profanely calls "loaves and fishes;" yet the affectation is confined to "published matter." In private chat they tell you frankly: "It would be a great pity,-unless it were to spite those wealthy dignitaries."