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ON THE CHURCH COMMISSION.
Note from the Bishop of Lincoln's Charge.
"IT has been said, that the framers of the measure for the abolition of Churchrates, in this respect, only followed the precedent set them in the act for the more equal distribution of episcopal duties and incomes. That act has been represented as conferring on the ecclesiastical commissioners the power of making the successor to any see, which may hereafter become vacant, a stipendiary. If the commissioners had believed that they possessed such a power, they might, by exercising it, have escaped a charge of a directly opposite character, which has recently been brought against them-that of refusing, in a particular instance, to make a bishop an annuitant. But they well knew that the act conferred upon them no such power. The power which it confers is that, not of making bishops annuitants, but of charging the incomes of certain bishoprics with the payment of
"Among other points to which the Commissioners were instructed to direct their attention, they were to suggest the means of putting an end to the practice of holding benefices in commendum. It must be evident to every one who has bestowed the slightest consideration on the subject, that the abolition of this practice necessarily involved a re-distribution of the episcopal incomes. The sums which would be wanted to render the incomes of the poorer sees adequate to the maintenance of the several bishops, could only, when commendams were abolished, be obtained by taking a portion of the incomes of the richer sees.
There were two ways of effecting this reduction, either of which would leave the entire property of the bishopric, of which the income was to be reduced, still vested in the bishop. He might either be required to pay annually, out of the proceeds of the bishopric, a fixed sum to the fund for the augmentation of the poorer bishoprics; or he might be required, after appropriating a fixed sum to his own use, to pay over the surplus to the fund. The Commissioners adopted the former plan; not because they were insensible to the inconvenience to which the possessors of the richer sees might occasionally be exposed, by having to pay a fixed annuity out of a variable income; but because they felt themselves bound to look, in the first instance, to the interests of the possessors of the poorer sees, and to protect them from the inconvenience to which they would be subjected, in case any deficiency should occur in the fund. If the possessors of the richer sees had been allowed to set apart, in the first instance, fixed sums for their own use, they would have been deprived of all inducement to let the property to the best advantage; and the fund for the augmentation of the poorer bishoprics would, in all probability, have been found wholly inadequate to its purpose.
"It has also been said that the commissioners, by their recommendations, have sanctioned the principle, that the state can, at will, re-distribute the revenues of the clergy. I answer that this principle was assumed in the very terms of the commission. They could not stir a step towards the fulfilment of the purposes for which they were appointed, without recommending a change in the distribution of some portion or other of the ecclesiastical property. The charge, therefore, of sanctioning the principle of re-distribution applies not to them, but to those who advised the formation of the commission; and even they, be it observed, were not the first to assert it.
"In the speech from the throne, at the opening of the session of 1833, the two houses of parliament had been invited to consider whether the revenues of the church would not admit of a more equitable and judicious distribution;' and the power of re-distribution had been exercised in the Irish Church Temporalities Act of the same session. It is, therefore, most unfair to make the recognition of the principle of re-distribution a ground of accusation, either against the commissioners or against the framers of the commission; and the charge comes with a peculiarly bad grace from those, who by their speeches, their writings, and their acts, contributed to produce that cry for church reform which rendered the appointment of such a commission unavoidable."
Extract from the Bishop of Winchester's Charge.
"FIRST among these obstacles I place the want of accommodation in our churches.
"We have a population of about 780,000, who are to be seated in 507 churches, being twenty-one more than were reported at the last visitation. Within the last ten years seven churches have been rebuilt, and fifteen additional churches opened in Surrey; thirteen churches have been rebuilt, and sixteen added in Hampshire; making a total of fifty-one. Within the same time fresh accommodation has been provided in one hundred and eighty-two other churches, of which sixty-four are in Surrey, and one hundred and eighteen in Hants, so that by these means 42,300 additional sittings have been procured in the two counties. There are also twenty-six more churches now in various stages of progress in the diocese. Still, however, we are greatly below the mark. Dr. Chalmers calculates that accommodation should be provided in country parishes for one half, in towns for five-eighths, of the population. Collins, in his "Glasgow Statistics," takes the proportion at three-fifths. Now in Hampshire there are not sittings for more than one-third of the population; and in Surrey for less than that proportion. In the suburban parishes the deficiency is far more distressing. Nor must it be forgotten that this calculation assumes the equal distribution of the sittings, which is so far from being the case, that in fifty parishes where the population is under 200, the number of church-sittings severally exceeds the population; while, on the other hand, in a like number of parishes of more than 2000 souls, there is accommodation for no more than one-fifth of the population. Add to this the waste of room occasioned by the inconvenient arrangement of pews, and their appropriation to particular individuals, and the destitution of the populous parishes will appear yet more striking. And who are the first excluded? The rich have their hereditary pews, and the rate-payers demand, and justly, their sittings, and the very aisles are filled with claimants of right, until the scriptural provision is reversed, and, of all others, the poor have not the gospel preached to them.
"Let us see how the case stands in this diocese.
"There are five hundred and sixteen officiating ministers, having cure of souls; of whom three hundred and one are resident incumbents, and ten nonresident incumbents; and two hundred and five are resident curates, of whom seventy-five are assistant curates. This is exclusive of the ministers of unconsecrated chapels. Eleven of the incumbents, and nineteen of the curates, serve two churches. The pluralists are twenty-four, and the non-resident incumbents, including the ten who perform their own duty, fifty-nine. There are sixty-one parishes without resident clergy, being nine less than at the last visitation; with an average population of three hundred and twenty. Of these, forty-one are parochial chapelries annexed to parishes where the clergy are resident; and one only has a glebe-house, or rather, cottage, unfit for residence. Of the remaining twenty independent parishes, four have glebe-cottages; the average population is three hundred and thirty; the average number of houses forty; the average income one hundred and ten pounds. It will be obvious that in parishes where there are so few houses, it is very difficult to obtain a suitable residence for the officiating minister; and where the income is so small he is unable to build a glebe-house in the ordinary way, by mortgaging the living under Gilbert's Act. It cannot, I think, be pretended that the grievance of non-residence is considerable.
"Among this body of clergy the parochial burthen is very unequally divided. In the rural districts the charge is often smaller than is desirable; though I may remind those of my reverend brethren who are thus circumstanced, that the day will come when they will perhaps find the responsibility of even the fewest sheep in the wilderness a heavy account to render. In the town parishes, on the other hand, the tale of souls is overwhelming. Take the case of the
deanery of Southwark. We find there a population of 290,000, with forty parochial churches, containing 45,600 sittings, and sixty-three clergy with cure of souls; being at the rate of one church for 7250, one sitting for six, and one clergyman for 4600 souls. That there should be so vast and important a district with so small a body of men set apart to teach and to premonish,-so dense a mass of immortal souls, and so little leaven to leaven the lump, is a great and undeniable evil. That in the less populous rural districts there should be a population of near 20,000, dispersed throughout their fifty or sixty parishes, without the superintendence of a resident minister-without the friend, and neighbour, and adviser-the eye to inspect, the hand to assist, the mouth to console, or warn, or correct-without the valuable moral check which is indirectly furnished by the knowledge that the parsonage and its inmate are near at hand, that the minister will see the excess with his own eyes, will hear the outrage with his own ears, will personally witness the profligacy of his parishioners-is a great and undeniable evil. Granted-but the church is not in fault-it is owing to no inherent evil in her constitution-to no irremediable imperfection in her polity. Her theory is, a church and a pastor for every member of the community. She aims at providing a fold for every sheep, and a shepherd for every fold. She acknowledges the inefficiency of a mere Sabbath ministry, and desires to realize the daily supervision of each of her children. If it be otherwise, it is because she cannot, not because she will not, remedy the defect."
ABSTRACT OF LORD BROUGHAM'S EDUCATION BILL.
A BOARD for promoting education is to be formed, consisting of five commissioners, namely, the president of the council, one of the principal secretaries of state, and three paid commissioners, appointed by the Crown, but who are not to be removable except by address of both Houses of Parliament. The commissioners are to have the power of appointing a secretary and two clerks ; they may sue and be sued in the name of the secretary, and are to have the usual protection in actions against themselves, and those acting under their authority. Clauses I. II. and XXVI.
The commissioners are to manage and distribute the funds vested in them, from time to time, by parliament, for establishing schools, or maintaining, extending, or improving those already established, whether infant schools, ordinary schools, model schools, or schools for training teachers: they are also to manage and distribute any other funds vested in them by individuals for the like purposes.-Clause III.
They are to receive applications for advice and assistance from governors and trustees of schools, and other persons engaged, and to examine into the state of such schools, by themselves or inspectors, and to verify the statements made to them by directing examinations of the same.-Clause ÏV.
Proprietors and conductors of schools may lay before the commissioners a copy of the deed of foundation, if any, of such school, and of the rules and regulations of the same, with an application to have it enrolled; and the commissioners may cause the same to be enrolled as placed under their examination; and such school shall continue under their examination till application be made by like parties to have the enrolment cancelled. If the commissioners refuse to enrol any school on such application, the parties may appeal to the judicial committee, who shall consider the matter in a summary way, and their determination upon the said appeal, and upon the costs, shall be binding and conclusive.— Clause V.
For this and other purposes they may appoint inspectors of schools-not more
than ten. The appointment and removal of inspectors is vested in the life commissioners, with the concurrence of one of the officers of state, and the treasury is to settle their remuneration and allowances; but the particulars of all such appointments, removals, and payments, are to be laid before parliament.Clause VI.
All persons engaged in the superintendence of schools may apply to have the same enrolled; and the inspectors have power, under the authority of the commissioners, to examine the state and conducting of all endowed schools which come within the late acts for inquiring into charities, of all schools which have been or shall be assisted by any grant of public money, of all schools to be established or assisted under this act, and of all schools and seminaries which shall have been enrolled under this act. They may also, but with the consent of those having the care and superintendence of them, examine the state and conducting of all other schools. In both cases they are to report to the commissioners; but they are to furnish a copy of their report to the parties, with the address of the commissioners, in order that any answer or explanation may be given.-Clauses VII. VIII. IX.
In all municipal corporations already or hereafter incorporated, the town councils may lay before the commissioners plans and estimates for the establishment of new schools, and for the support of schools already existing, with the proposed rules and regulations for the conduct of those schools; and the commissioners may approve of the same, in the whole or in part, or with variations, and authorize the town councils to levy a rate, for carrying into effect the scheme as approved by the commissioners; and after the rules for the conduct of any school have been approved or fixed by the commissioners, they are not to be altered without their consent.-Clause X.
The commissioners may enrol any mechanics' institution, or other society or body established for purposes of inquiry or education in science, letters, or arts, with a list of the names of all who have been ordinary and attending members for a year ending not more than one month before the enrolment, such lists to be signed by themselves, and countersigned by the treasurer or secretary; and the board shall give certificates, to be called one year certificates, to all such as have been enrolled by them within three months before, and certificates, to be called three years certificates, to those who have been thrice enrolled at any time.Clause XI.
One hundred pounds penalty for false representation, &c.—Clause XII.
Appeal by any six members against refusal of commissioners to enrol to be determined summarily by the judicial committee upon affidavit and upon written statement, or by council, at the option of the parties appealing.— Clause XIII.
Any five rate-payers, in any parish or township not within any municipal corporation, may require the overseers to call a meeting, to be termed a school meeting, with one to three weeks notice, at which meeting all persons may attend and vote who are rated in the district, (i. e., parish or township,) or owners of any rated property, or who, being resident for twelve months before the day of meeting, have a one year certificate granted not more than three months before the meeting, or a three years certificate granted at any time, or who have certificates of years attendance at any university, or inn of court or chancery, or years attendance at any of the great schools, or at any school under the examination of the board; such certificates to be signed by the registrars, secretaries, or masters of the universities and great schools, and by the masters, countersigned by the inspectors, of the other schools.-Clause XIV.
Proviso for punishing forgery and false representation: seven years transportation, or three years imprisonment.-Clause XV.
Penalty on overseers refusing to produce rate book, fifty pounds.-Clause XVI. VOL. XIII.-Jan. 1838.
The school meeting to choose a chairman, who shall have a casting vote; meeting may then choose five persons, being rated to, or owners of, rated property in the district, to be called the school committee for the district; and in case of vacancy, school meetings to be held for filling them up, and one of the five to go out yearly, and the same, or some other person duly qualified, to be chosen to fill the vacancy.-Clause XVII.
One of the five members to be chosen chairman for the year, and to preside and have a casting vote, fix the time and place of each meeting, giving notice to the other members; three a quorum; and if only three present all must concur. -Clause XVIII.
The chairman to keep minutes, and enter all resolutions with the names and votes; any member may enter his reasons of assent or dissent in the minutes, which shall be open to inspection of all the members at each meeting, and to the inspectors at all times, and be sent to the board if required.-Clause XIX.
The school committee may lay an estimate before the board of the expense of establishing any schools or seminaries required for the district, or of the expense required for maintaining, extending, or improving those already established, or to be established, with particulars of the plan proposed, and the rules and regulations, and their minutes relating to the same; and if the board approve in whole or in part of the same, and the rules and regulations, or of the same with alterations or additions, they may authorize a rate to an amount to be specified, which rate shall, if the school committee think fit, be by them assessed, and levied by the overseers, and paid over to the treasurer of the county, who shall pay to the order of the school committee, countersigned by the board.-Clause XX. No rate unless rules made or proposed are approved, neither after approval any alteration to be made without written consent.
Overseers required and empowered to levy distress on overseers making default.-Clause XXI.
Appeal to quarter sessions against rate.-Clause XXII.
Two or more parishes or townships may, by the consent of their several school committees, be united in one district for school purposes, and the several school committees to form one joint school committee for the whole, with the like powers as the several school committees have in single parishes or townships. Rates to be apportioned to the parishes by the joint school committee with consent of board, but the majority of any several school committee to concur in any rate to be levied on its parish.-Clause XXIII.
Courts in which any proceedings under the act arise, to have full power over costs. Clause XXIV.
Abstract of the Clause on Religious Instruction.
Proviso, that in all schools under the act the scriptures shall, as a part of the reading, be read; but children of Roman-catholic or Jewish parents not to be obliged to be present at such reading, unless such parents are willing that they should attend.-Clause XXV.
PETITION OF MANX CLERGY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE SEE OF SODOR AND MAN.
To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal. The Humble Petition of the Archdeacon and undersigned Clergy of the Diocese of Sodor and Man for the preservation of their Bishopric as a distinct and independent See,
SHEWETH, That whereas by an act of the late parliament, commonly called the English Church Bill, it has been determined by the civil power, on the removal
[N.B. Previously, overseer to have a casting vote; no churchwarden, incumbent, or other officer than overseer, mentioned throughout the Bill.-MS. note by the friend who forwarded the Abstract.—Ed. B. M.]