20 MARCH 1909, Page 18



Bin,—I venture to say that you would not, have traversed Mr. Rotton's letter in your lest issue quite so; adversely.were you. practically face to face with the peculiar ;diffieulties. of small benefiees with small ;populations. The real fact of the case, Sir, is that the smaller the .population, the greater the strain and stress in every way, financial and otherwise, on the parson. As Mr. Rotten suggests, you. cannot exactly value a parishful of souls as you would, even approximately, a barrelful of herrings. There are not a few parishes up and down the country with two or three hundred inhabitants. SOIlle of these villages would positively he without any spiritual solace and guidance whatever were it notior the church, and nothing less than heroic is the=manner in which the .parsens in these little out-of-the-way places ,daily struggle on. SometiMee there is some one person in the .parish who may have, means, but semetitues not. In either passe the bulk , of the, upkeep of the church and its social agencies falls on the parson, and in ; many oases be and his family deny themselves in a way that , would simply astound, the majority of folk to provide for the , sick and needy in the parish. Just to remove misconception, I add that I have no personal grievance in the matter. I merely am stating bald facts based on many oases I know of, which fss,cts numerous. others ,would substantiate, and saying what my less monetary-favoured brethren, from the nature, of the case, ,would shrink from .advancing.—I am, [We are fully aware of the heroic struggle made by many of the incumbents of poor livings, and admire their ;noble devotion. At the same time, when a body like the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have to choose livings for help, we cannot see how, they can adopt any other course than that , of . preferring the poor livings with relatively large popula- tions. In the case of living's both poor and very . sparsely inhabited we would, wherever possible,. apply the policy of ,zonalgausation.—En. -Spectator.]