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session of the land, houses, tithes, or mines, and let them for their real yearly value. There are, however, certain statutes, made two centuries and a-half ago, which prevent any leases being let of those lands or tithes for a longer period; and much more is it impossible to sell the lands, how profitable soever such transfer might be to the possessor. Those statutes were made 10 preserve the property from being wasted, and prevent incuinbents from sacrificing, to their own profit, the permanent interests of the sees or chapters. The consequences of the restraints thus imposed is obvious. The most cannot be made of the property. In agricultural districts, this is comparatively of little moment, because a term of fourteen or twenty-one years is sufficiently long for a farm lease; though even here the mesne landlord (that is, the lessee under the Church) is not so likely to improve his land as if he had a more secure title and were certain of not being turned out by the bishop or the chapter changing the plan of management; that is, foregoing the fines, and allowing the lease to expire. But in lands situated in, or near to a town, the effects of the restriction are very serious. No



course, will build upon ground which can only be let for one-and-twenty years; and, accordingly, unless where private Acts of Parliament have been obtained, such property is deprived of nearly its whole value. Now, what the Government proposed was, that the whole management of the Church lands should be vested in a Board of eleven Commissioners; six of them Clerical, or pamed by clerical persons, and five Ministers of the Crown, or their nominees. These commissioners, it was said, were not to have the property vested in them, but this was a mere nominal distinction; for they were to have the entire and uncontrolled management of it, under the provisions and directions of the Act. The present restrictions upon leasing and alienating were of course to cease; and every lessee of Church lands was to receive a fee-simple title to his land, upon payment of a certain sum, or, if he preferred it, a corn rent, calculated

The sum was to be twenty-five years' purchase on the real annual value, deducting the present value of the residue of his term. Thus, suppose he had fourteen years to run, and the yearly value was L.100; from L.2500 there would be deducted the present value of L.100 for fourteen years; and the remainder, say L.900, or L. 1000, or whatever it might be, would be the sum to be paid, or to be commuted into a corn rent, and charged on the land. The Jessees would thus be enabled to get the real value of the land in farining, and still more in building, where it was situated near large lowns. The yearly revenue obtained by those means was to be applied, after paying over to the bishops and chapters the amount now received hy fines and rents, first to the repairs of the churches in place of the rales intended to be abolished, and next to augment small livings.

upon that sum.

There were serious objections to this plan as regarded its details; but none of any weight to its fundamental principles. No difference was made between houses and land in the number of years' purchase required from the lessees; and no difference between the terms imposed upon one who held land, the value of which could be little improved by the improvement of the title, and one whose land would be trebled or quadrupled in value by the change. A person who held land in a country district, worth L.100 a-year, would bave to pay L.900 or L. 1000 to convert his leasehold into a fee—a change for which he would not, unless forced, have given above two or three hundred pounds; whilst a person who held land at present of the same yearly value, but close to a town, would, for the same sum, be put in possession of a large estate, by the new power of letting it on building-leases. To the one it would have been a measure of hardship; to the other a most valuable boon. It is true that the former bad the less right to complain, because the Church might at any time bave let his lease run out, or forced him to pay the full value;—an event now exceedingly likely to happen in consequence of the discussion which has taken place, and has made all ecclesiastical bodies better aware of the value of their lands. But the public had reason to complain of the improvidence with which the plan was framed in favour of those whose land was to be so largely increased in value, and who would have received the addition, without paying any thing like an adequate price for it. These, and other defects of a like description, mainly contributed to the unfavourable treatment of the measure in the House of Commons, as soon as its details came to be examined. But, excepting among those who were resolved to obstruct all reformation of the existing abuse, and to regard the Church lands as a domain from which the foot of the legislature was for ever fenced out, no serious objection could be raised against the sound and indisputable principle of the plan.

That principle, however, is the one which we have stated in this

paper, and by no means the one laid down as its groundwork by those who propounded the measure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, with great ability, defended it as no interference with Church property. He ingeniously urged the right of Parliament lo appropriate whatever value it added to the Church eslates. He contended with much acuteness, that as this new value was something created by the legislature, and which did not exist before, the Church could not be said to have any property in it, but that it belonged to the legislature which called it into existence. Nothing, however, can be more unsound, nothing more easily refuted than this argument. Once admit that the Church is a proprietor, as distinguished from the State—that the Church lands are private property-and there must of necessity be an end of the question. Parliament can have no conceivable right to take the additional value any more than the original estate. Nay, admit that these lands are separate property, and Parliament can have no conceivable right to meddle with the management of it at all. Even if the intended Act had been able by some magical operation to alter the nature of the soil, and increase its fertility tenfold, that would give no one but the owner a right to the increase. The very operation of increasing the value by any such means, unless the owner consents, and upon bis own terms, is utterly repugnant to the idea of property, and subversive of its rights. But all that the Act could pretend to do, was to remove the restraints which former statutes had imposed; and imposed for the purpose of protecting the property, and preserving it to the use of the Church, say the advocates of ecclesiastical rightsto the use of the State, say those who take a sounder view of the subject. In like manner, the law refuses to persons under oneand-twenty the right of conveying or leasing their estates, and to heirs of entail, or rather tenants in tail, the right to lease for more than 21 years. If an Act were passed, enabling all proprietors, and all tenants in tail, to grant 99 years' leases, could it be said that Parliament would have a right to step in and appropriate the additional value thus bestowed upon the land, by making it grantable on building-leases? It is perfectly manifest that there is but one ground upon which the measure can be rested; that is, the right of the State to deal with Church lands as public property;-a right which has been exercised with respect to every possession of the Church, both in England and Ireland, and which it is more for the true interests of the Church than of any other party to recognize in the present instance; when the object is to remove a grievance more injurious to the peace and security of the Establishment than even tithe itself.

If this plan had been so improved in its details that the objections above stated might be removed, and the full benefit of the property secured to the State, Church-rates would have been wholly extinguished, and a considerable surplus in all probability left for augmenting small livings. By giving too favourable terms to the lessees of town lands, only enough to pay the current rates, those levied for current expenses were expected to be raised. There was a large amount, between a fourth and fifth of the whole rates, left unprovided for, and which must have continued to be collected; those, namely, wbich went to pay the interest and extinguish the principal of the Church debt contracted under the

powers of various local Acts and charged upon the rates.

For these the legal remedy is certain; it not being disputed that the levying of all this portion of the rates can be enforced by law, and no attempt being ever made to resist it. For many years to come, therefore, notwithstanding the new measure, rates would have been collected in all those parishes, and they were for the most part town parishes, where Dissenters are chiefly to be found. Nothing more is required to show the absolute necessity of so modifying the plan, before it is again brought forward, as to gain the full benefit of the change made in the Church property, and to effect the entire abolition of the rates.

Suppose, now, that the plan so improved and rendered effectual shall be carried, a great good will undoubtedly be done both to the Church and to the Dissenters. But it must not be supposed, by the one party, either that the least deviation will have been made from the principle of supporting an Establishment, or by the other, that they no longer contribute to support the Church. A portion of the public property will have been employed in maintaining the fabric, and providing for the service of all churches belonging to the Establishment. No part of that property will have been given to any other churches, and the Dissenters will still have to pay for supporting their own. In the course of the discussion and excitement that attended the

progress of the measure, there was nothing on which the Dissenters insisted more than the evil of throwing the expense in question on the Consolidated Fund, according to Lord Althorp's plan of 1834; and Mr Rice argued at great length, and with much ingenuity, against that plan. Yet in principle it differs not at all from the new plan, and on no ground can the one be supported which does not also support the other. Mr Rice's first objection was, that Lord Althorp's plan deprived the parishioners in vestry assembled of the power they now possess of refusing a rate. They could no longer say Ay, or No, to any proposition for

a rate. They would be deprived of the power they now possess.' Does the new plan give them any such negative-any such control over the expenditure? The Commissioners in London, and the church wardens, or the archdeacon, or whoever looks after the affairs of the Church, without any kind of interference on the part of the parish, are to order the work and spend the money, . The difference only is, that they take it from one public fund instead of another from the land revenue fund instead of the consolidated fund. The other argument urged by Mr Rice has more plausibility, though in substance it is not at all more sound. He says that in a great number of parishes there are no rates. Indeed, he seems to think that there are 5000 parishes, where, from particular charitable funds having been provided by

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benefactors in former times, no rates are required to be levied ; and be contends that it is unfair to make the inhabitants of those parishes contribute towards the service of the Church in other parishes, which they would do indirectly by paying the taxes wbich go to the consolidated fund. But where would this kind of reasoning end ? Does it not apply to every one instance in which any money is expended by the public upon local objects ? There is scarce an item in the yearly votes for miscellaneous • services,' wbich is not liable to the self same decisive • objection.' It goes, in fact, almost to the destruction of all government, and allsocial union; and would reduce all adıninistration of the public funds and all raising of the taxes to a system of parochial polity-nay, it would justify or rather require still further subdivisions of authorities where interests were still more subdivided; because in the larger parishes, and in the more populous manufacturing towns, one district and one street might justly complain that they were made to pay for the service of other districts and streets in which they had no direct interest. We should be entitled to conclude that Mr Rice can never have sanctioned any vote for schools (to take a case quite identical with the one in question), because there are many parishes where schools are not wanted, and where not a farthing of the grant can ever be received; and yet those parishes pay to the consolidated fund from which the grant is taken. Every one must perceive that if there is to be an Established Church, in one way or another its support must come from the country at large; and whether the land revenue, or the revenue raised by taxes is taken for the purpose, cannot, in point of principle, make the least difference.

But it is said that the Dissenters would feel aggrieved by paying money which they knew went into a general fund, out of which a portion was taken to repair the Established churches. We have shown that the Church land is public property; and if its revenues were not expended in repairing the churches, they would be expended in relief of the public burdens, and thus lessen the taxes now levied. Consequently, the Dissenter pays indirectly to the Establishment, by the new plan, just as certainly as he would have paid had the charge been thrown on the consolidated sund. He does not indeed pay so much, but the Church does not receive more; because if the sums wanted bad been provided out of that fund without altering the present management of Church lands, those lands would either not have yielded the sums required, or if they had, the lessees would probably have received nearly the whole value. Upon the point of conscience, however, the amount is immaterial.

But another observation must strike every one who hears it

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