Imágenes de páginas

be lost, or only known through the medium of a jejune abstract, or English epitome. That no new Scaligers, Casaubons, Pearsons, Valckenaers, Bentleys, or Porsons, will be produced by this modern system, it is easy to see; but the danger is, that the old will also be forgotten.

To put the question on the narrower ground upon which it is generally argued : it is said that an interpreter is shackled by the use of a dead language, and that he cannot express himself to his readers with the same clearness and precision as he would do in the common language of them both ; whence a disadvantage to both is inferred. Now we are, it is to be observed, supposing the case where the book on which the commentary is written is the work of a classical author; therefore it is right to suppose in its reader, and much more in its coluntary interpreter, the existence of a certain familiarity with the classical languages themselves. This being the fact, we would go on to maintain that, for the special object of critical illustration, the Latin language is better adapted than any modern idiom.* It is a better instrument for that purpose. It is more concise-as all languages with inflexions must be than our own. The words of an ancient language are fitter exponents and representatives of ancient ideas, which the interpreter is treating, than those of a modern one. It has the claim and advantage of long prescription in its favour. It furnishes the readiest supply of conventional terms, which, having been long used for the purpose in question, are best understood, and are become, as it were, household words in ancient criticism. Dr. Elmsley, an excellent judge in these matters, adopted this view of the case in such a manner as, even in the pages of an English journal (the Edinburgh Review), to publish his observations on an ancient drama in Latin. On the other hand, the authority and practice of some German interpreters, which is pleaded in favour of vernacular commentaries, cannot be said to avail much. Their language, for several reasons, is much better suited for that purpose than our own; and, even with this advantage, the experiment, as tried in Germany, is not encouraging: it has not improved their Latinity, and has inundated their literature with numberless works which reflect little honour upon it.

This brings us to a point of considerable importance. The alleged difficulty of writing in Latin has, I apprehend, its great advantages,

• It is for this reason that even Heindorf, whose German commentary on the Satires of Horace is almost the best instance of classical interpretation in a vernacular language, considers the fact of his writing his notes in German instead of Latin as one of his greatest DISADVANTAGES. He there says, very judiciously, (preface, p. ix.)-" Eine andre Schwierigkeit fand ich im deutschen Vortrag dieser Anmerkungen. Iuden fast zahllosen Commentaren der Kritiker und Erklärer zu den alten Autoren hat sich für die Bearbeitung dieser ein Latein gebildet, welches man bei aller Eingenthümlichkeit der einzelnen Commentatoren doch überall wieder findet .... In diesem Latein, wovon ein grosser Theil techniche Sprache geworden ist, kann es dem Kritiker oder Erklärer bei einiger Geläufigkeit fast nie an Ausdrücken und Wendungen fehlen, und, was allein von dem Vortrag in dergleichen Noten verlangt werden kann, dass er deutlich, bestimmt, und kurz sey, dies erreicht man ja über Gegenstände des Alterthums Schreibend in der lateinisischen Sprache bei einiger Gewandtheit weit leichter als in irgend einer neuern. Ich wenigstens würde im lateinischen Ausdruck dieser Anmerkungen mich Selbst eher befriedrigt haben als in dem mir hier weniger geläufigen deutschen."

while the facility of writing in a vernacular tongue is not one of the least of its evils in the cases supposed. It is clear that the obligation to write in Latin has hitherto served as a test of an interpreter's qualifications to write at all on such subjects. The manner, too, in which he discharged that duty, was no bad criterion of his greater or less competency for the task he undertook. Remove this test, and the public and the cause of literature are no longer protected against the invasion of numberless incompetent critics, who were before restrained by the very salutary check which the necessity of writing in Latin imposed upon them. And even in the case of a learned and wise interpreter, the useful control which this necessity exercised on the redundancies of a verbose and desultory style, into which even he was likely to be betrayed by the use of his mother tongue, is now lost. A man who has to travel into a far country will put his luggage into the least possible room, and does not take what he does not want; and a critic will pack his thoughts well, if he has to carry them into a foreign and dead language. The partial difficulty of expressing himself in Latin was, I apprehend, the interpreter's best ally; as the facility of writing in his mother tongue may prove his worst enemy: it saved him from diffuseness and irrelevancy. Thus the cause of literature will suffer from the change by a large addition of bad ingredients, and by the degeneracy of the good.

These results are not unimportant, when the profane authors of antiquity are in danger of being treated by bad interpreters as they choose, or by good ones in a bad manner. But they become more serious when we consider that the original scriptures, the ecclesiastical historians, and the fathers of the Christian church, may hereafter be used in precisely the same way.

It is no answer to allege that the vernacular method of interpretation has been sanctioned by a few of the first among our own scholars. Their example is, indeed, of much weight. If there were no such warrant in its favour, the practice would not be so likely to gain ground as it now bids fair to do. This very circumstance, the probable influence of their just authority, must serve as my excuse for troubling you on this subject, and at so great length as I have done. Believe me, my dear Sir, with much respect, yours truly,




THE POOR RATE.* SIR,—You desire me to let you have on paper my idea of the assessment of tithes, and I endeavour to recollect the substance of what I wrote to the bishop last year.

I would set out by shewing the absurdity of assessing them to the

• The extreme importance of this subject to the clergy at the present moment, and the high respect due to the author of this paper, will account for its appearance here; and it has been placed where it is most likely to attract attention. The subject is not so well understood as it ought to be, and the above paper sets the principle in so clear a light that it cannot fail of being highly useful. Ep.


extended value of what is collected, either in kind or by composition, by a complete mathematical reductio ad absurdum. If the principle be just, it must be so universally: let it be tried in an extreme case, where rates are upwards of twenty shillings. The benefice becomes a detriment, which is absurd; and, consequently, the principle false. As have been asked it, though it shews very little consideration of the subject, yet I will answer the question, “ Does not this argument obtain equally against the farmer's assessment, which will also pay twenty shillings or upwards ?" No. For if out of his produce he is to pay one rent to his landlord, and another rent, or more than another rent, to the poor, he will have his land proportionally low, and it is immaterial to him whether what goes out of his pocket be divided, half to the landlord and half to the poor, or two-thirds to the landlord and one-third to the poor ;-i. e., whether he be assessed twenty shillings or ten shillings in the pound.

If this extended value be not, then, the criterion for the assessment, what is? for it is not sufficient to point out the evil without assisting to the remedy. You already see in the case above of the fariner that he is assessed on a part only of his produce, and that part differing according to circumstances; and by considering how that part is estimated to him, we shall discover, at the same time, upon what principle tithes also ought to be assessed. For this purpose, I consider the whole produce of an estate in land as expended in these several articles :

1. King's taxes; subdivided into land tax, and house and

window tax.
2. Tithes.
3. Parochial assessments.
4. Cultivation.
5. The profit or maintenance of the occupier,

6. The remainder is what he can afford to pay as rent. Now, this article (6) very evidently depends upon the value of the other five, no one of which can be omitted in making an estimate of the rent, or ever is omitted in the consideration of either landlord or tenant in making an agreement. And by this article (6) he is liable to parochial assessment, and by this only; every other part of the produce of his land is rejected in the consideration of his rateable property, and is allowed to him as outgoings from the total value, except only the land-tax, which, if paid by tenant as part of his rent is still assessable; and on this alone he is liable to be charged. Exactly the same is the case of the landlord occupying, where the articles 2, 3, 4, go in the same way as before; but he takes to himself both 5 and 6, the profit from the occupation and the rent. He is, however, not assessable at the aggregate amount of these two-i. e., the value remaining to him from his produce after deducting outgoings, but a further allowance is also made him for article 5; and he is merely rated for that at which it would let, allowing a reasonable profit, and all expenses paid.

Now, apply this to our case, occupying an estate in tithes. Here the subdivision of number 1 is to be regarded; because, although in the case of a farm-house the onus of window-tax is immaterial, in a parsonage (which we are obliged to have and to keep up) it is, or may be, otherwise.

On this account, too, another consideration ought to be taken in-viz., that of repairs, which affects the article 6, of rent to the tenant, if he does them; but I was unwilling to make another division, and we need not enter into all these niceties. Article 2 does not exist in our case; no reduction is to be made on that account. Article 3 remains in full. Article 4 in part; the expense of manuring, tilling, sowing, and everything before severing, does not exist; all after severing, viz., ingathering, thrashing, carrying to market, do, and with a considerable increase upon them, on account of the crops lying so scattered and so distant from home; with a considerable hazard of damage, also, arising from the same circumstances, and from the inconvenience of being obliged to gather when it suits your neighbour to cut.

Now thus far, certainly, if you are to act on any principle of equality, the tithe occupier is entitled to deduction, for all these which exist, from his produce, before you get the amount of his rateable remainder. I contend, too, that he is equally intitled to deduction for art. 5; and it would be difficult to assign a reason why your titheowner occupying should be assessed to the aggregate amount of 5 and 6, which remain in his hand, any more than your landlord, occupying as above stated; or why he is to be so assessed, when it must be admitted that if he were to let his property to a tenant, which tenant would certainly reserve to himself a profit, art. 5, and would pay as rent only art. 6, that tenant would be liable to assessment on art. 6 only. Now I am not competent to say what would be allowed for art. 4; i. e., what proportion the expense of cultivation, after severing, bears to the produce; nor have I made up my mind what should be the allowance for art. 5. I believe a tenant does not reckon on less for himself than for his landlord ; nor can he, I should think, with his stock on his farm. If he rented tithes taken in kind, it need not be so much on account of stock; still, however, it would be a considerable article. If he rented, and took a composition, it would be smaller still ; yet he must even then be allowed a profit. And the bare art. 6, of rent payable by an indifferent person, taking all expenses and all hazards except land-tax, is the equitable criterion for assessment, as appears to me most clearly. I am asked—“ Is not composition a rent, and so assessable to its amount ?" Clearly not. It is not in the nature of rent at all, and for several reasons. In the first place, the very question in dispute shews it is no rent. A landlord is not assessed for the rent which he receives; but a clergyman is for his composition; for it is liable to assessment, which rent to landlord is not, but which composition is. I speak here without consideration of any private agreement, that farmers shall pay rates for you, inasmuch as the law knows not of that, and the payment may be enforced upon you. Further, it is not protected by law, or recoverable as a rent is, which renders it far less valuable property. These are sufficient to shew it is not a rent. In fact, it is the price of sale of the tithe crop on the ground, to avoid the expense of gathering on the one

side, and to accommodate the landholder on the other. As such price, it is the total produce of the tithe estate at market, and is to be assessed with such deductions as are still to be paid out of its aggregate amount; which are, art. 1 in part, the full amount of art. 3, art. 5, and something under art. 4, for expenses always attending the collecting. And assessing the total amount of composition received, which is frequently held out as a clear case, is, on the contrary, most clearly a great injustice, and may produce the absurdity first shewn.

After stating all this, I have frequently been asked—“ What, then, is the proportional part of composition that you do consider it fair to assess ?” That question cannot be answered generally, because the very question of assessment, art. 3, varies the proportion to be assessed; unless, indeed, as a mathematician, I were to answer it by a general theorem—that if parochial charges were the nth part of a pound, the assessable part of composition (i. e., after all due allowance made for arts. 1, 4, 5,) the nith part of the remainder ought to be charged. I will make this clearer by a case : Suppose, after the above allowances, there remained 6001. ; if rates amounted to onefifth, i. e., 4s. in the pound, the assessinent must be on five-sixths, i. e., on 5001.; for the 4s. on 5001. would be 1001., to be paid out of the 6001., leaving the 5001. assessed suin clear. If rates were 5s., or onefourth, four-fifths or 4801. must be assessed. If rates were 10s., or one-half, two-thirds or 4001. would be assessable. If rates were 20s., or 1, assessment must be on one-half, or 3001. The other 3001. of the 6001. would go to rates. So, if still higher, and rates were 30s., assessment must be on two-fifths, or 2401. only, leaving in every case the sum assessed a clear remainder, after all is paid, and never reducing it to nothing, as a negative quantity, whatever be the amount of rates :


3000 If 48. in the £, or } then 1 =} or n=5 and x 600 = -£500.

5+1 If 58., then

1 of 600=4 of 600= { £120, sum to be paid by tithe occupier. +1

1 £480, sum assessed on. } then of 600=1 of 600= { £200, sum to be paid by tithe occupier. 1+1

£400, sum assessed on. If 158., then

of 600=1 of 600=1800_ £257 nearly. 1+1

| £343. If 20s. I, then of 600=1 of 600= { $300

£ IT If 30s.,or 1} or }, then

1800S £360. 3

of 600=} of 600= 3+1

1 £240. 7

4200 If 35s., or lor , then of 600=1 of 600

| £382. nearly 3+1



If 10s.,





Extract from a Letter with reference to a particular case. The difficulty with Pooley is this : after admitting that tithes, as all other property, ought to be assessed at the clear worth to let, how are we to get at that worth in such manner as shall not agitate a question respecting value of tithes generally, which the clergy would do well not to stir ? Must we not proceed too by a survey and valuation ? and is not the

« AnteriorContinuar »