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next succeeding year, and consequently advise that this should be the amount deducted. Their letter is by no means clear; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that parish officers generally have been led from it to suppose that the amount of the last year's rates is the only deduction to be made from the gross commutation rent charge. It is true that the letter, carefully considered, does not bear this interpretation; but a plainer style of writing is desirable when the persons addressed are overseers and church wardens, amongst whom, in country parishes, the schoolmaster has at present been but very partially abroad. This criterion would be unjust, were it not accompanied in the last paragraph in the letter by a limitation not unfrequently overlooked; namely, that “ this principle should be applied to all the property in the parish." But to apply this principle as thus laid down, the assessment must be varied every year; for the rent for which any property might reasonably be supposed to let must depend upon the burdens to which it is subject. If, when the rates on an acre of land amount to five shillings, the rack rent or assessable value is fifteen shillings, it seems to follow that if the rates are reduced to four shillings, the assessable value is increased to sixteen shillings at the least. This plan, therefore, would lead to great inconvenience, much expense, and to appeals without end. Surely it would be a simpler plan, and “ do injustice to none,” if the amount deducted on account of rates, instead of being the amount actually levied in the past year, were to be fixed at the annual average amount of the rates levied in the three or five years which elapsed immediately previous to the valuation of the parish on which the assessment is made. Constant changes would be thus avoided, and none need be made but upon appeal, except whenever a new valuation of the parish was considered necessary. At all events it would be an “injustice” to the titheowner were he to be allowed to deduct only from his gross rent charge the amount of the rates for the last year, provided that amount is less than the average amount of the rates at the time when the valuation was made on which the remaining property of the parish is assessed, unless the same principle is applied to that also; but by the plan above proposed, “ injustice would be done to none."
3. The Poor Law Commissioners interpret the judgment of the court very liberally, by allowing a deduction from the farmer's profit for his “labour, and trouble, and superintendence;" they will not therefore grudge an allowance to the tithe-owner for the perception of his rent charge, for he cannot collect it without some expense,—and whatever this is, it will be a deduction from his profits. The commissioners allow fourpence in the pound to be paid to a collector for collecting a poor rate; a lesser sum can scarcely be allowed for collecting a rent charge.
4. If the foregoing observations are correct, we may arrive at a means of ascertaining the assessable value of a given rent charge. Suppose the three years' average rates on the tithes at the time when the valuation for the parochial assessment at present acted upon was made to have been 5s. in the pound; suppose the ecclesiastical dues to be 41. 10s.; and suppose the cominutation rent charge to be 5001. :
349 29 Now, it is generally supposed by writers on the subject, that the tenant's clear profit is equal to the landlord's rent; dividing therefore this sum by two, we have 1741. 11s. 4 d. for the assessable value of the rent charge. It may, however, be sufficiently near the truth, in average cases, to state the assessable value of a tithe commutation rent charge at three-eighths of its whole amount.
I am, yours &c.,
DR. PYE SMITH AND THE EXAMINATION IN THE
GREEK TESTAMENT. SIR-I have read with some surprise the letter of Dr. Pye Smith on the subject of the projected examination of the candidates for the degree of B.A. in the University of London, respecting their proficiency in the original Greek of the holy Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. I should imagine that no one who reads that letter can think the reasons therein alleged in the least degree tenable. But I put a case, and illustrate it by an example, to shew that such an examination ought to have been hailed with the highest satisfaction by every lover of truth, either within or without the pale of our catholic and apostolic church. I give the example first :
A few months ago, I had occasion to call at the shop of a very respectable chemist in a southern cathedral town. I had been curate of the parish in which he resides about five years before ; which circumstance, I
presume, induced him, after the business upon which I went there was concluded, to draw from his desk, in the corner of the shop, an old volume, and, after having highly extolled it, to ask my opinion of it. I looked at the title-page, and hastily run my eyes over the leaves, he watching me, for the very brief space that the operation lasted, with evident signs of self-gratulation. I then gave back the volume, saying, “ It was a very good book of the sort. ticular emphasis on the words of the sort,” which therefore made him ask me, “What do you mean, Sir?” I answered, “ It is only a Roman-catholic edition of the New Testament, with, of course, Romancatholic notes." Oh no, Sir! 'tis published by the English college at Rheims : that is a protestant college, of course.'
I answered nothing, but, taking the book once more, I bid him read the first note I chanced to meet with-it related to the doctrine of the mass. I found another note--it upheld some other popish doctrine. “ Are you satisfied ?"
I laid a par
The difference between the commutation rent charge and the rent charge for 1838 is sixpence farthing in the round, owing to the variation in the price of
I said. “W-h-y, Sir, I certainly did not read the notes, but was studying the “Table of Controversies' at the end of the book, and re. ferring to the texts there quoted. I have found nothing objectionable there, you will see there is nothing wrong in that." "Nothing," I said, pointing with my little digit, and exhibiting to his astonished eyes every corrupt doctrine, one after another, maintained by the church of Rome. He began to make excuses, “that he had only had time, during the last few days, to refer to some of the texts quoted in the controversies.'" How I stopped him, how I administered a rebuke to him, what I said, and how he looked, have nothing to do with the matter. Adding only, that in my time he was a churchman, at this time an independent, I proceed to the moral of my tale. .
Dr. P. Smith wrote a book against the heresies of the Socinians. We may reasonably presume, therefore, that he would regret extremely that any of the ingenuous youth of the London University should be converted to those God-denying doctrines. Now, the said Socinians published an “Improved Version of the New Testament;" respecting which improvement a judgment has been delivered by an acknowledged scholar, (the Vice Chancellor of England, in re Lady Hewley's Charities,) “ That he had looked at a variety of passages, and did not remember to have seen any translation which could be considered more unsatisfactory, more arbitrary, more funciful, more fuolish, and, he was sorry to say, more false, than this thing, called by the unitarians an improved version.” And again,
And again, “ that they wilfully altered the word, and substituted a creed instead of a translation," &c. Now, is it not within the bounds of reasonable expectation, that some of the students of the London University, really anxious for the truth, but having no man, or rather, in the pride of the heart, (or haply in its humility) not seeking “ some man to guide them,” may possibly meet with this “improved version,” and study the same, till infected with the heretical doctrines of the school of Socinus ? Is it more improbable than that I should find an independent studying, with a teachable spirit, the “ Table of Controversies” in a Roman-catholic edition ? And what better plan could be proposed, for the purpose
of preventing the possibility of such evils, than to require these said ingenuous youth, in the course of their academical studies, to examine critically those holy books wherein all our hopes of salvation are revealed ? Without entering into the inquiry, what further benefits might, under God, arise from such a critical acquaintance with his word, I consider this single consideration amply sufficient to overturn the flimsy objections alleged by the Doctor against such a course of study and examination.
I beg leave to offer these remarks to Dr. P. Smith, and “the united committee, appointed to consider the grievances under which dissenters now labour, with a view to their redress.” And I remain, Sir, your
SERVICE IN THE IRISH LANGUAGE.
Sir,--It was with great pleasure that I read in your number for last November an article respecting the church in Wales. It filled me with delight to learn for the first time that such effectnal measures are taken for the spiritual instruction of the poor in the principality. But I cannot avoid saying, that it at the same time caused my heart to grieve for the far different condition of our benighted peasantry in Ireland. Why is it that we have had so very different a measure dealt to us here?
It might be useless (perhaps it would be wrong) for me to answer the question, even if I were sure that I could answer it aright. However, there can be no harm in my endeavouring to shew that Ireland requires the very same measures which appear to be pursued in Wales; that she needs them much more than Wales does; nay, that unless a plan somewhat similar to that pursued in Wales be eventually adopted and pursued in Ireland, the established church here cannot possibly do its duty. If you will allow me room for my remarks in your Magazine, I shall feel grateful.
I take it for granted that the proper view of the position and duties of the church in Ireland is this :- The great majority of the people are Roman catholics. Protestantism is the religion of the state; therefore protestant clergymen are placed in the several parishes to have the public service in a protestant form, and to teach the people their duty to God and man as protestants learn it from the Bible. For this purpose, every parish minister is expected to look after the spiritual interests of all his flock, of whatever creed, but particularly to bring those who are in error back to the ways of truth; and, if this be difficult; that he be for that reason deficient in nothing which would render it more easy. Now, taking it for granted that this is a fair view, what is to be said of those counties or parts of counties in which by far the greatest portion of the population are nonconformists, degraded to a pitiable degree by their errors both in doctrine and practice, whilst this nonconforming portion, almost to a man, speak a different language
a from the clergyman placed over them ? You will perhaps ask, is this the case in Ireland ? I reply, it is; and that to an extent, I feel assured, far, far exceeding the prevalence of the Welsh language in Wales,--whilst at the same time the peculiar circumstances of this country render the fact one of vastly greater importance. It is not improbable that many on your side of the channel, like many men of wisdom and learning (but without sufficient personal knowledge on this matter) here, may think that this is an exaggerated view of things. But as facts are of some weight, especially when they come under our own immediate cognizance, I will mention facts, of which I can myself vouch for the truth. The parish in which I am placed is decidedly the most protestant and most English-speaking (if I may be allowed the expression) parish for miles round. Its population is about 5,000 ; 420 protestants, and the remainder Roman catholics. The total population of the surrounding parishes I do not recollect; but this I know to be fact, that the proportion of protestant to Roman
catholics stands higher in this parish than in any of the adjacent, because in this there is (for an Irish country parish) a very large proportion of resident gentry. The protestant population of the adjoining parishes is as follows-A 50, B 90, C 160, D 260, which on a low calculation would leave the gross population, A 500, B 900, C 1600, D 2,600, in all 5,600; to which adding this parish we get 10,600; that is, about 1,000 protestants and 9,600 Roman catholics. Now in this parish Irish is spoken by the Roman catholics, I may say, universally and habitually. In it they almost always converse. The same might be said of a very large number even of the protestants. The latter, however, can all speak English, and there are but few of them who do not understand it as well as they do Irish. Not so the Roman catholics ; a great many do not speak a word of English. I cannot exactly determine the numbers, but they have many times come to speak with me upon various matters, when, if I could not have conversed in Irish, I should have been under the necessity of using an interpreter. That this is a much more frequent circumstance in the adjoining parishes, I am fully aware. It is true, the number of those who speak Irish exclusively may be on the whole comparatively small; but I would state fearlessly, that of the 5,000 inhabitants in this parish, there are not more than 1,000 (if so many) who could thoroughly understand a simple, plain sermon, if preached in the English language. As to their understanding the liturgy in the English language, I would say it was out of the question. Neither do I think it would be possible fully to explain to four-fifths of the inhabitants of this parish the differences between protestantism and popery, even in the most simple and familiar conversation, without resorting to the Irish language. As I have stated above, the case is stronger in the adjoining parishes.
Now, if all this be true, there are around this spot 8,000 individuals who could not be instructed properly without the Irish language; and, sad to relate, in only one of these parishes is there a protestant clergyman who knows anything of Irish, and in none of them is there ever an Irish service. Nay, I do believe, that the same sad state of things exists in very nearly the same proportion throughout the whole of this large county. I may be overstating the case, (though I do not think I am,) but when the great aversion which exists in the minds of the Irish-speaking portion of the Roman catholics to listen to any religious instruction in the English language is taken into account, I do not fear to say that the demand for clergymen speaking the Irish language exists fully to the degree thus made out. And yet what is the real state of things ? What is the number of clergymen in this county who could have an Irish service for their unfortunate flocks? Just twoor at the most three. And these three, since they have become masters of the language, have been, by a concurrence of circumstances, prevented from having any regular Irish service for their flocks. Indeed, I believe there is not a regular Irish service held in any place throughout the whole of Ireland, although there are many counties in which the language is as much, if not more cherished than that from which I write.