Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

16 erthygl ar y dudalen hon


CORRESPONDENCE. i -..../'-/"')

--....----........ . THE MERTHYR…










THE CHURCH AND ITS ENDOWMENTS. Sir,—"Sufficient has been said to expose the crude and silly questions of 'Churchman. Such are the words of your correspondent "An- thropos'' when summing up his attempt to an- swer my simple query: "When, where, and to what extent did the State endow the Church?" I make him a present of the epithets "oructe" and "silly," and were it not for my regard for the truth, I should certainly respectfully decline to have anything further to say to such a. per- son as "Anthropos." By and bye, I shall ask the reader where the "crude" and the "silly" come in. In a perfectly arbitrary manner, your correspondent introduces the terms "State en- dowments" and "private benefactions." Un- der these two headings he includes the whole of the property belonging to the Church. He adds: "The question as to what legally belongs to the Church of England and what does not, is not for me to decide, and is irrelevant to the subject." Thi-a is an amazing statement. If her endowments do not in some sense—I use the expression advisedly-belong to the Church of England, why is there need of an Act of Parliament to dispossess the holders of The State would resume ownership by a simple exe- cutive act without legislative interference at alL It may be news to "Anthropos." but it is nevertheless true, that the Church of England as such does not own nor hold any property in any shape or form. What is loosely spoken of as Church property is really the property of corporations, each one independent of the otheir, and each one of which has acquired its endow- ment in different ways at different times. The process is going on apace at the present mo- ment. New corporations are formed and en. dowed aocording to the liberality of the volun- tary offerings of those who help to constitute new parijibe^ t neyer sjogle. instance .IJo-"<- _o. has, or does, the endowment come from the State. All the State does, and has ever done, is just what it does in the case of every pro- perty, namely, see that it is applied to the purposes of the trust and prevent dishonest dealings with respect to it, whether on the part of its owners or of those who would rob the individual corporation of its legal rights. This supervision by the State does not mean State ownership in the case of these corporations any more than its protection of Nonconformist pro- perty and endowments means State origin and ownership. Perhaps "Anthropos," if he will do so in the case of any authority. will bow to the opinion of Blackstone, a lawyer and jurit of the first order: "At the original endowment of parish churches, the freehold of the church, the churchyard, the parsonage, the glebe, and the tithes of the parish were vested in the parson by the bounty of the donor, as a temporal re- compense to him for his spiritual care of the inhabitants, and with intent that the same en- dowment should ever afterwards continue as a reCDmpense for the ame care." Then this learned man adds: "The law has therefore wise- ly ordained that the parson—'quateuus' parson —shall never die. any more than the Aing- by makin- him and his successors a corporation, by which mean* all the original rights of the parsonage are preserved entire to his succes- sor, for the present incumbent and his pre- decessor, who lived some centuries ago. are in law one and the same person, and what was given to the one was given to the other also" (Blackstone, Bk. I., chap. 18). There is not a breath or a syJlable here to hint that the State had anything to do with the endowment in the sense of giving anything to anyone of these ecclesiastical corporations. The quotation given from Makowsr in the loose language of a historian who was evident- ly not an expert, and the comment of your correspondent in which he jumbles up Ecclesi- astical and Crown revenues, is in direct conflict with the opinions of every writer of standing from the Reformation onwards. "Anthropos" confuses, for example, monastic property with Church endowments. A careful and unpreju- diced student of history would have discrimin- ated between them, and would have noted the fact that a great deal of the property of the monasteries had been absorbed from the ancient endowments of the Church Henry VIII. reo cognised this, and whilst laying violent hands on this property generally, he made a pretence of restoring to the Church the portion taken from her by founding schools and. endowing bishoprics with the money. This ancastor of Liberationism, however, carried out his promise dishonestly, and gave the bulk of the wealth to those who assisted h-im in the spoliation of these institutions. Referring to the policy of the Liberationists, the late Lord Selborne, one of the profoundest lawyers of the last century, spoke of it as "nothing less than immorality. nothing less than robbery, nothing less than persecution." I might quote other authorities. such as Sharon Turner, Selden, and Toulmin Smith, and. lastly, Dr Freeman, who emphatic- ally stated that Church property and Noncon- formist property "rest on exactly the same grounds. The State has the same right over both." The same authority has laid down tho dictum: "Church property is not national pro- perty except in the same sense in which all property is national property." Of all the random assertions contained in the letter of "Anthropos," the most extraordinary is the following: "J stated distinctly, in my last letter, that all Church property and en- dowments previous to 1703—the date of Queen Ann's Act, etc. —is the property of the State, as the Church was then co-extensive with the State, and was the State in its relig- ious aspect." How could the Act in question, paired for a specific and carefully defined pur- pose. bring about the vast change which your correspondent suggests? The Church was never co-extensive with the State excepting GO far— and this is true to-day—as its operations and objects went; i.e., the bringing of religious influences-, as far as its resources enabled her to do ro, within the reach of all the subjects of the State. The fallacious character of this as- tounding proposition is proved over and over again in the history of every century, and the frequent conflicts between Church and State, and the numerous statutes passed from time to time by hostjle legislator; show clearly that the Church and State were not one and the same body Let "Anthropos" study the legis- lative ordinances of the country, and he will discover that for once he has sadly misread the story of the Church's life. It is deplorable that at such a late hour of our national life such a statement should be made. In the next place, he trots out the old argu- ment, if it can be called an argument, about grants made to the Church by George III. and George IV. He deliberately ignores the col- lateral fact that similar grants—only the figure is greater—were made to Nonconformists. The taunt comes with bad grace from the writer of the letter under review. From 1722 to 1851, the Dissenting communities in the kingdom re- ceived both Crown and Parliamentary sub idies. If your correspondent or any reader cares to study the question and read the tale, let the Parliamentary paper known as 127 be perused. Here the transactions are recorded in the words of the Board of Trustees —a body appointed by Parliament and required to report to the same authority how these grants were distributed. The leading Dissent- ing bodies participated in these benefits. Up to 1840, no les3 a sum than £1,369.003 12s. 6d. was voted to the Nonconformists of the country by the State. Th's does not exhaust the finan- cial aid conferred upon Dissenters by Parlia- ment, and "Anthropos" is welcome to all that my answer to his taunt conveys Dissent. When it suits it—and that is pretty often—has evinced a decided penchant for money from the taxes or the rates of the country! Of .course, I fully anticipated the accusation so often used against the right of the Church to her endowments. "They belonged to the Church of Rome; Henry VIII. took them from the Church of Rome, and gave them to the new Church formed by him." That is the sum and substance of the position taken up by "An thropos." The deduction, of course, is this: Because Henry VIII. robbed the Church of Rome, we. the Liberationists, are doing the right thing in robbing the Anglican Church. The ethics of this argument are more than con- temptible—they are despicable and worthy of the very lowest and most depraved type of pil- lage and plunder. But did these endowments belong to the Church of Rome, or to the great Eeclesia Anglicana-the English Church? Was there at the Reformation an atrocious act of plunder committed, and property ruthlessly stolen from one body and given to another? Maybe "Anthropos" will give heed to Mr. quith's views oh this point. In the House of Commons on March 21st, 1895, Mr. Asquith said: "I am not one of those who think, as used to be currently assumed, that the legisla*- tion of Henry VIII. transferred the privileges and endowmentv of a National Establishment from the Church of Rome to the Church of England. I believe that view rests upon imper- fect historical information. I am quite prepar- ed to admit, what I believe authorities of his- tory now assert, that there has been, amidst all these changes and developments, a substantial identity and continuity of existence in our National Church from earliset history down to the present time." No wonder that "Anthro- allegation has been characterized by a leading 19th century politician as a "flagitious calumny almost if not actually criminal." The astounding inconsistency of "Anthro- pos" is revealed in all its nakedness in his unctu- ous condemnation of State-made religion, as he is pleased to describe the Church, and his de. fence of the scheme now before Parliament for destroying absolutely the character of the Church in Wales, and setting up in its place a "Church" made according to the notions of a House of Commons, and all in direct opposi- tion to the wishes of its members and without even asking them whether they will accept the constitution offered to them or not. It is time to have done with this fooling, as Sir H. Camp- bell-Bannerman once said. There is no excuse for such ignorance as your correspondent shows; and if he dreams, as one gathers from one of his queries, that an Asquith, or a Lloyd George, or a Keir Hardie can divorce the Government of our nation from religion, we shall live to repent it. I deny emphatically that the Church has received its endowments from the State, and I have given the evidence of first-class authorities in support of my oontention. I hold that the Church to-day, as she has been throughout the ages, is the noblest example of voluntaryism that the world has over seen. If "Anthropos" doubts this, let him buy a copy of the "Year Book" of the Church for 1908— Dissent, with its vaunted voluntary sysstem, pales into insignificance by the side of the effort of the Church. I have trespassed too much upon your hospitality to enter upon my reply to the query about our Blessed Lord's teaching and the profession of national religion. Suffice at to say here, that it is passing strange that all Christendom, for 1,800 years, should have gone astray in this matter, and that a few insignificant Celtic sects should have made the discovery late in the 19th century that a nation- al recognition of God was contrary to the doc- trine of Christ. In Scotland, Dissent is "estab- lished by law" in the literal sense of the term, and abroad in the mission field, wherever Dis- sent can do so, it takes care to get itself estab- lished as far as the constitution of pagan states will permit. Tho whole argument of our op- ponents rounds back to this point: We hate the Church, although we profess to pray for it; we yearn for its destruction, and we want to do all we can to cripple and to destroy it. In doing this we need not, and we do not, intend to be particular about the weapons we use. If it were a question of right and wrong and of truth and falsehood; it would be settled in one day. The Dissenting communities of our land, if they have enjoyed their possessions for 25 years, havo an indefeasible right to them, but the Church, with an unbroken and undisturbed possesion of hundreds of .years, is to be do- spoiled, plundered, and left a lacerated and bleeding mass to please the political Dissenter and bis Socialist and Atheist allies.—Yours, CHURCHMAN.



Physical Culture in Quakers'…

.Whitsuntide at Pontypool."…