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year, and the entire amount which flows through these channels into the ecclesiastical exchequer may be fairly put down at £25,000. It should not be forgotten, in speaking of these minor sources of profit to the clergy, that wherever emolument is attached to the discharge of the duties of a secretary, trustee, or librarian, these gentlemen usually contrive to secure their own appointment to the post.”
The property of the ecclesiastical dignitaries still remains for investigation. To them belong the great patrimonies of the Church. These consist of thousands of broad acres, and a large amount in appropriate tithes, which have been commuted under the Act, and, on the admission of their own agents, very much to the advantage of the Church. Considerable portions of the landed property lie in the neighbourhood of some of our principal towns, and in many instances are most eligible sites for building; while other portions comprise the finest mining districts in all England. The agricultural capabilities of lands selected by the Church have never been regarded as of a very inferior order. But this property is not available to anything like the full extent for ecclesiastical purposes. The revenues derived from it consist of reserved rents, merely nominal in value, and of fines on the renewal of leases upon lives or for terms of years. In the granting of leases there are legal restrictions upon the ecclesiastical proprietors, sole
or aggregate. Such was the rapacity which invariably characterised their predecessors,
-so intense their eagerness to make the most of the life-interest they enjoyed, that for the protection of posterity the legislature was compelled to curtail their powers of ownership, thereby depreciating the disposable value of the property, and preventing its resources from being fully developed. All parties are agreed that the past management of ecclesiastical property has been egregiously absurd. With partial exceptions, it has been universally injurious. Agriculture has been discouraged, enterprise has been baffled, by the obstinately impracticable character of Church tenures. To this enemy to improvement may be also traced the stunted growth and ir. regular appearance of many of our towns. . In support of these allegations, we may refer to the reports on Church leases presented to Parliament in 1838-9. This generally injurious system, however, allows of the occasional aggrandizement of private individuals. Were we acquainted with all the transactions that have taken place in connexion with the renewal of leases in mineral districts, we might form some estimate of the extent to which the Church has been impoverished by those who were entrusted with the guardianship of its rights. It is fresh in public recollection, that a late Bishop of Durham, Dr. Barrington, recovered, by a lawsuit, the enormous sum of £70,000 from the family to whom the lead mines had been leased.
The knowledge of these facts being extensively diffused, it was not strange that the returns of 1834 should have excited general astonishment. According to them it appeared that the total amount of the gross annual revenues of the several archiepiscopal and episcopal sees in England and Wales, was then only £181,631, affording a nett annual revenue of £160,292 ; that the total amount of the gross annual revenues of the several cathedral and collegiate churches was £284,241, yielding a nett annual revenue of £208,289; and that the total amount of the gross annual separate revenues of the several dignitaries and other spiritual persons, members of the cathedral and collegiate churches, was £75,854, the nett produce of which was £66,465. The particulars of the various estates and preferments whence these revenues were derived, are furnished in the first three tabular statements of the Commissioners' Report. Subsequent inquiries and returns leave no doubt that the receipts of the episcopal dignitaries were grossly understated in 1834. Whatever might have been the amount actually received by them at that time, we are not without example of their presenting on former occasions higher rent-rolls, when it suited the purpose of any
of them to do so. We have an instance of this in the case of the late Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1830, he applied to Parliament for permission to borrow £60,000, to expend upon the repairs and decorations of his palaces; and he then authorized his advocate, Dr. Lushington, to state his average income at £32,000; while in the Commissioners' Report we find a nett value assigned to it of £19,182. His Grace's receipts we are unable to determine, as they are involved in impenetrable obscurity, but we are enabled to state, on the authority of his Receiver-General, that the gross annual value of the property exceeded £52,000.
Take, as another instance, the case of the Bishop of London. This has been so admirably stated by Mr. Horsman, and is itself so important, that, although the extract is long, we shall give it without abridgment:
“ The Right Rev. Prelate gave his income (in 1831) at £13,000 nett; and stated that a decrease from fines of £1,725 a-year must be expected; and a further decrease on account of augmentations. The Commissioners, therefore, put down the future income, as he had calculated it, £12,204 a-year; but upon the next return it appeared, by some means or other, this income had risen to £14,552 a-year. In a marginal note to the return it was stated, that there would be a decrease of the revenue by £1,725, and a further decrease on account of augmentations. All that was spoken of was loss, decrease, and diminution. Now that estate, near the west end of the town, called the Bishop of London's estate in Paddington, is pretty generally known. I find that the see of London owns all that property flanked by the Edgeware-road on one side, and the Uxbridgeroad on the other, occupying the whole of that immense angle running up to Hyde-park-square, Westbourneterrace, and Kensal New-town, down to Oxford-square and Cambridge-square. The whole of that great mass of building has risen within the last ten years; and is it possible to believe that in the year 1831, when a return was to be made to Parliament of the prospective income of the see of London, and when the prospects of that see were all prospects of decrease, diminution, and loss, at no single moment had there flitted across the imagina, tion of the Right Rev. Prelate some vision of this vast probable increase? It might be thought, that all these buildings had risen unexpectedly—that in 1831 there was no idea of them in the mind of any man. But it happened that five years before, an Act of Parliament had been obtained for the express purpose of promoting and advancing those very buildings, which act was a private act—a Bishop of London's act; and the preamble stated, that for the improvement and beautifying the metropolis, and for the advantage of the Bishop of London, it was desirable his power of making leases and contracts be extended; and it was enacted that those powers should be extended accordingly. So that, although in 1831, when it was said that the revenue of the see would suffer loss, decrease, and diminution, an Act of Parliament had actually then been asked for and obtained, for the purpose of promoting and advancing these buildings, in order to increase the income of the
Such facts as these appear to have escaped the memory of those by whom the return of 1831 was made. Again, it might be said that in 1831, the bright prospects of 1826 had not been realized, and that the disappointment of those sanguine hopes had caused a corresponding despondency in 1831. But it happened, that, in the report by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, signed March 17th, 1835, the same statement was repeated; and it was said, that all the prospects of the see were prospects of loss, decrease, and diminution. Now, in 1836, a great many of those fine houses about Hyde. park-terrace were inhabited ; squares and crescents were rising up in every direction; and, at the very moment at which loss and decrease were spoken of, contracts had been signed, houses half built, and a mine of wealth had been secured to the future Bishops of London, of the amount of which I am afraid to make any estimate, but which persons better competent than myself have calculated cannot eventually amount to less than £100,000 a-year. And yet, in making his return to Parliament, this enormous wealth, which was not merely in prospect, but had actually begun to accrue-for which the way had been paved by an Act of Parliament, followed by all the troublesome minutiæ of signing contracts and letting leases, so likely to impress it on the mind—had so completely escaped the recollection of the Right Rev. Prelate, that, in making his return to Parliament, he seems to have fancied himself, as to worldly means, an ill-doing man, rather going. down in the world than otherwise. But this is not all;
I wish it were; but the greatest wonder yet remains behind. The whole story of this Paddington estate is so remarkable that one surprise has no sooner subsided than another succeeds. It is strange, certainly, that in 1831 and 1835, there should have been no glimmer of foresight of the enormous increase about to take place ; but what can be said of the extraordinary fact that, after the increase had actually taken place, the Right Rev. Prelate appears in the next return none the richer for it? By the return in 1843, of the average of seven years' incomes, they will find that the income of the Bishop of London in 1843, after all these buildings had been erected, was actually less than it had been in 1831, when not a single stone was laid. In 1831 the income of the Bishop was £13,929. In 1843, by his own return, it was £12,400. Now, upon this point I should like to have some explanation. How comes it that, after the erection of such an extent of handsome and apparently profitable buildings, covering an extent of 400 acres, the Right Rev. Prelate having signed about 2,000 leases—and those not let upon fines, but upon a steady and permanent rent, increasing as the buildings themselves increased—how happens it, I ask, that in the case of episcopal estates, the ordinary rules of cause and effect are completely reversed, and a town property becomes less valuable the more it is built upon; and that, when a large tract of land is turned from a waste into a city, and its value calculated by the square foot instead of the square acre, the income should fall as the rental increases ? I cannot explain it. It is impossible to doubt the fidelity of an episcopal return; all I can say is, what an idea does it give us of episcopal management !"
In justice to the Bishop of London, it should be stated that, in the course of the dicussion in the House of Commons on the 15th July, 1850, on the Ecclesiastical Commission Bill, Mr. Goulburn read a letter from that prelate, in which he says that the returns tained an exact statement of the income of my bishopric in the years to which they relate.” Mr. Goulburn added, that only one-third of the ground-rents arising from the Paddington estate were received by the