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only be held by persons of sufficient private means. There comes a time, however, in the life of a curate when he longs to settle down; vicars, he knows, prefer young men; and when a living of this sort offers, and such may usually be had for the asking, he is tempted to think too much of the rent-free house, which is really pot rent-free, of the possibilities of the garden, of pupils, or of literature in odd moments, and so to embark on a fight with fortune which cannot but have a disastrous issue. I have known cases of this sort, but they are too painful to dwell upon, and for my present purpose they are almost beside the point. For I wish to make clear not that there are livings in England which are starvings—that is an old story—but that the average living, which twenty years ago might have supported a careful housekeeper in decency, is now altogether insufficient for this purpose, and Deeds augmentation. I venture, then, omitting all further mention of the lowest class of living, to lay before the readers of CORNHILL a table drawn up by Canon Burnside of the benefices whose income ranges from 1001. to 2001. It will be seen that there are 4,566 of such benefices, and that their average value is only 1521. (see next page).

Such a table as this is more eloquent than words. I shall assume, then, that the fact of a prevailing clerical poverty is now granted, and proceed to speak of various proposals to deal with it. The solution that first presents itself to the ordinary letter-writer in the journals is a general redistribution of Church property. It is idle to deny that the State which has more than once contemplated disendowment, has the abstract right to carry out a scheme of redistribution. To a certain extent such work is familiar to us in the action of the Ecclesiastical Commission in regard to episcopal incomes ; at this very moment it is reported that they are proposing to sell Addington (where the present Archbishop of Canterbury does not intend to reside), partly in the interest of a new Surrey bishopric, and the Archbishop of York Las promised to surrender 2,0001. a year towards the new bishopric of Sheffield. But in regard to benefices the matter is different. While the right of presentation to the better endowed benefices remains in private hands, any such redistribution by the Church

" The garden, if he cannot be his own gardener, will cost him many times the value of the vegetables it supplies. I know of one clergyman who, when through ill health he could no longer work his garden himself, turned it into a rabbit warren, and so found a substitute for the butcher's meat he could no longer afford.



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is impossible, and by the State it would not be attempted. Nor can it be said to be really desirable. The princely incomes which were for a little while enjoyed by the vicars of such rapidly-growing manufacturing towns as Leeds or Rochdale have already been distributed among the new district churches that have sprung up around them; and where the income of a living in the country makes an imposing appearance in the Clergy List, it will generally be found that the area of the parish is very large, with perhaps two or three hamlets, each having its chapel-of-ease, and requiring the permanent service of a curate-in-charge. The best-endowed country living of which I have any personal knowledge used to be returned at the gross value of 1,600l.; the present value is about

1,2001. Out of this a quarter of the old gross income, i.e. 4001., is drawn by the late vicar as a retiring pension, and with the remainder the present vicar, after paying all dues and rates, has to serve four hamlet churches, besides the church of his parish. But even if the vicar could depend upon so large an income for his own purposes as 7501., is there anything in this to outrage public sentiment? Is it degrading to a clergyman to be free from money anxieties, to be able to educate his children at the cheaper grammar schools, to occasionally buy a book, or occasionally take a holiday, and have a margin for charity? Is it unreasonable in him to wish to do such things unless he happen to have private means? If the Churchman in the street would not have allotted this sufficient income to the parson of his own parish, need his eye be evil because some old lord of the manor took a more generous view of a clergyman's deserts ? Let us by all means ensure that none of the beneficed clergy shall have a less stipend than 2501. a year, but let us not grudge to others their better fortune and forbid any living to exceed this sum.' But even redistribution would not supply this happy competence. Taking the value of parochial benefices at three millions and a quarter, which is really too high, and dividing this sum by 14,000, which is the number of benefices, we get as a quotient something over 2301. gross. But the scheme, as I have said, is not one of practical politics, because many of the larger livings are in private hands.

Again, it is sometimes asked, would it not meet the case to revive Easter offerings? The rubric provides that yearly at Easter every Parishioner shall reckon with the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, or his or their Deputy or Deputies, and pay to them or him all Ecclesiastical Duties accustomably due, then and at that time to be paid.' Well, there are many reasons why such a revival would in most country places be impracticable. To begin with, it requires some violence to modern habits and feelings for a parson,

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' The argument for keeping larger benefices as rewards for service is often urged, and as often ridiculed. Coleridge in his Table Talk discusses the point, and rightly lays down that the obvious fact that many have not in time past been given for merit is no argument against endeavouring to use them so more generally. St. Paul seems to favour the practice in 1 Tim. v. 17: · Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and in teaching. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadēth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his bire.' The quotations imply that the honour' referred to was honorarium.

2 VOL. III, -NO. 13, N.S.



vicar, or curate, to send round the alms-bag for his own needs. He recognises, no doubt, that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that the ox should not be muzzled. He does not forget that one quarter of the offertory sentences relate to the duty of maintaining the ministry; but for all that, to 'sing an offertory' for himself while the church wardens went from pew to pew would to most people suggest a resemblance, not so much to a physician accepting his fee, or a workman taking his wages, as to an itinerant musician sending round the hat after a performance. Such feelings may be censurable, but they exist. And stronger

are behind. It would very much interfere with the clergyman's freedom of remonstrance with the poorer parishioners if he were in the habit of receiving their alms. If dissenters envy Churchmen the independence they derive from endowments, Churchmen are likely to think twice before surrendering this independence. But, it will be said, all who come to country churches are not peasants. No; but then it is just these others who are hardest hit by agricultural depression. Tithe rentcharge has fallen low, but not low enough to content the yeoman He cannot be expected to remember that this charge was a charge on the land when he bought it, and therefore does not come out his own pocket. If he pays his tithes a half-year or a year afte they come due, he thinks he has already done for the clergyma more than could reasonably be expected of him. And so doubt he has. The country squires, too, are in no position to generous. It would certainly be a good thing to revive the idea that Easter offerings are due to the clergy, and let them given to the local branch of a general Sustentation Fund. the sums collected in most country parishes could not be large

If then it be admitted, as all must admit who will pay atten to the facts, that the Church needs a large measure of re-endowm and if it be admitted also, as by Churchmen it will not be der that the support of the clergy is as much a Christian duty as building of churches or maintenance of hospitals, there should but few words to commend the Queen Victoria Clergy Sust tion Fund to the alms of the faithful. The history of the its methods of work, and how far they have hitherto succeed their object, may be clearly ascertained from the first A Report, which has just been issued. The aim of the fu

The office of the Society is at Church House, Dean's Yard. The h secretary is the Rev. R. Milburn Blakiston,

naturally to collect money from all quarters, and apply it where there is the greatest need. It proceeds, therefore, to organise in every diocese a branch fund which affiliates itself to the central fund by the payment of one-fifth of its annual income. In this way, while the bulk of the money raised in each diocese goes to the support of its own incumbents, and so local patriotism is stimulated, the central fund is enabled to help the poorer districts, not only from funds paid directly to it, but from the contributions of the more wealthy dioceses. At present the rich diocese of Liverpool, with its neighbour of Chester, is holding aloof, but it is hoped that more generous counsels will soon prevail. The following table, given in the Report, shows the contributions made by eight diocesan organisations to the central fund by the close of last year, and the grants made to them in return :

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The grants made to the several dioceses are given in block, and are distributed by the local organisations at their discretion ; and they are employed because of the present distress in augmentation of the income of benefices, not by way of permanent endowment, which is the method of Queen Anne's Bounty, though the fund is prepared to hold and apply sums which are specially so dedicated. The Report says that 'the total amount paid or promised to the central fund up to the present date (March 29, 1897) is 30,6681. 158. 2d. Add to this five times the diocesan one-fifth quotas mentioned above, and you get 4,7091. 108. 10d. in addition-in all 35,3781. 68. When it is known that Lord Egerton of Tatton estimates that a million a year is needed to raise all the poor benefices to 2501. it will be understood that a good deal remains to be done. In fact, Churchmen have to learn over again a lesson which our forefathers understood, and which their munificence has enabled us to forget, that it is

" This is not quite so much as the Clergy have themselves contributed in the year for the same object through Queen Anne's Bounty.

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