THE CHURCH IN THE THREE KINGDOMS.
GIBBON, in his latter and alarmist days, defended the Portuguese Inquisition, declaring that he would not give up even that old establishment. Contemporary Tories act on Gtsnors's principle. An establishment, however vicious and unpopular, is to be maintained; for establishments are the props of Despotism on the Continent and of Toryism at home. Thus, although every species of calumny and scurrility is heaped on Popery in Ireland, where it has been forced to ally itself with Liberalism, in Spain the worst abuses of Popish churches are sanctified by their connexion with Absolutism ; and MENDIZABAL is denounced as a robber and a swindler, because he has demolished monkeries, and converted their property to national uses. Again, in England Presbyterians are Dissenters, and for the most part reformers of abuses in Church and State ; and they are at present actively combining to deprive the Establishment of its power to levy Church-rates indiscriminately on the professors of all creeds. Therefore in England lila` Presbyterianism is very shocking—dangerous as well as vulgar— an ally of Infidelity and Radicalism, and every thing that the " genteelly indifferent" members of the Church of England abominate. But cross the Tweed, where Presbyterianism is "established," and then it becomes the worthy ally of Church-ofEnglandism ; and the English and Irish people of all sects are under a sacred obligation to pay its ministers and build its kirks. This is the modest proposal of the Church of Scotland ; and it is strenuously backed by the Tory Opposition : we question whether any Ministry—even a Liermiruksr concoction—would risk the enormous weight of popular odium which would be the result of a Parliamentary proposition to tax the Irish Catholics and the Dissenters of England and Scotland in order to shore up the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It is true that a preliminary step has been taken. Commissioners have been appointed to inquire into the necessities of the Church of Scotland, and her own proper means of relieving them. By this expedient the main question was staved off. But, supposing that, when the Report comes out, it shall appear that there is a deficiency of church-room, still it remains to be decided who is to furnish a fresh supply. First, we apprehend, the unexhausted teinds must be handed over to the Commissioners, on the same pri,viciple that, by the English Church Bill, the funds Bangor an d Durham are to furnish forth the episcopal tables of Manchester and Ripon. Even Dr. CHALMERS, albeit a sturdy beggar, will s.e.arcely.have the assurance to demand money from the English M ethodist, or the Irish Papist cottier, until he has made the holders' of Winds in Scotland pay the Church her own. But this source may not be sufficiently prolific ; the Church cries still, " more, imore I" and then again we come to the question, who are to be tile contributors ? Now, the most hopeless pursuit in the world se ems to be that in which the Scottish Church party are engaged. They have no case with which they can go to the country. Before a.skingr for a grant of public money to build new churches, they Orould prove that the rapid growth of Dissent in Scotland has ari.sen from the want of church-room ; otherwise they are fairly liable to the reply that the proposed means of aid will be ineffectual. They have as yet proved nothing of the sort. Has the Church within the sphere of its influence greatly improved the morals of the people? On the contrary, abundance of clergymen has not prevented excess of immorality. In Edinburgh, at least, the amount of godliness has been in the inverse ratio to the number of ministers of the Established Church. On this point we refer to a pamphlet, the third edition of which has just been published in Edinburgh.* It appears that, in proportion to its population, the district called the Ancient Royalty of Edinburgh, has six times the average number of ministers of all other large towns and parishes in Scotland.
is it, then, remarkable for morality and religion? By no means. Thu Report of the City Mission published during the present year, gives a ni.ost deplorable account of the state of religion among certain classes of the inhaletants, and shows that so far as regards imparting religious instruction to tii;! poor the Established Church has been a complete failme. Every one acquainted with both districts will admit, that it is decidedly inferior to the West Church parish, which has only two ministers of the Establishment to a population of 70,887. But perhaps the Established Church has a greater number of adherents in the Ancient Royalty, than in the other parts of the city ? The very reverse of this holds true ; it has fewer adherents in the Ancient Royalty, than in any other part of the city or suburbs. The return published by the Town-Council in February last, shows that %011ie 5010 seats were let to inhabitants of the Extended Royalty, having five ministers to a population of nearly 30,000, there were only 1070 seats let to inhabitants of the An
cient Royalty, baiting thirteen ministers to et population of ,0000; and that there were :3262 seats let to inhabitants of the West Church parish, in addition to all that were let within its own boundaries."
The remarks of the Scotsman on these facts put the case in a strong light against Dr. CHALMERS and his party
" The astounding fact that only 1070 persons from all the nine parishes of the Old Town have sittings in any one of the Established Churches, has produced,
as well it, might, universal amazement. The peculiar excellence of an Establishment, Dr. Chalmers says, consists in its character of a home mission. It is an agency not for meeting a voluntary demand for religious instruction, but for creating a demand where it does not exist ! Well, here is a home mission of thirteen Established clergymen, paid nearly 6004 a sear each ; and what demand for instruction have they created ? how many heathens have t hay excavated ?' what number of hearers have they procured from their nine parishes? Just 1070 out of a population of 25,000! What an admirable machine an Established Church is I how cheap and how titkient for dispensing religious instruction ! But, more wonderful still, Dr. Chalmers has been assuring us these two years, that the existing nine churches are nut enough for this destitute population ; and he has actually recommended, most strenuously, the building of three or four in addition. Surely the eyes of calm and sensible men will now be opened to the real nature of these ridiculous schemes."
It appears also that the number of communicants has of late years very much decreased. With these facts before them, it will be difficult for our Representatives in the House of Commons to vote away the public money under the pretence that they are about to promote religion in Scotland.
But there is another way of looking at this subject. If Par
liament chooses to set apart a portion of the public funds for the religious instruction of the people, su re? y it would be proper to ascer tain where is the most pressing need of the proposed assistance ?
Now there may be a deficiency of church-room in Scotland; but as
suredly to nothing like the same extent as in England. Why, in London alone, there are a million more persons than the churches, if full, would hold; am we perceive by the Report of the Church. building Commissioners, just published, that in Manchester, with a population of 270,000, there is only church-room for 23,000. On the principle of Dr. CHALMERS, every large town in England is deplorably deficient in church accommodation. The want is so much greater in England than in Scotland, that it behoves the Legislature in the first place to provide churches for the destitute English population, before turning to the comparatively wellsupplied Scotch.
In England, however, the heads of the Church know better than to ask for more money from Parliament. happy as ould they be could they retain what they now have. But while denouncing the Voluntary principle, they are soliciting subscriptions for building and endowing places of worship all over the country : for, notwithstanding their loud and fierce assertions of the inalienability of Church property, they see that every day a very valuable portion of that property is in prccass of alienation, and legally too, by the refusal of Church-rates ; and they clearly discern from the temper of the times, that to demand more would put their present possessions in greater jeopardy. But the Scottish clergy learn nothing from the resistance to the Annuity Tax. To the increasing popularity of the Voluntary principle they oppose the demand for a vote of the public money. Instead of striving to gain converts by a meek and disinterested bearing, their tone is more insolent than ever, and their cry of "give, give !" more loud and peremptory. The consequence of such behaviour must be increased disgust on the part of the people.
• History of the Resistance to the Annuity Tax, &c. By enc.. Maclaren.. Published by Adam and Charles Black,
Having thus glanced at the state of Church matters in England and Scotland, it would be a pity not to cast a glance at the proeeedings of the Irish Church militant ; and here is a specimen of the mode in which the Establishment works in Ireland. The extract is taken from the Carlow Sentinel, a Tory advocate of a vigorous prosecution of the rights of the Church ; and will form a fitting conclusion to our present survey of Church affiiirs.
"On Friday, the Sub-Sheriff of the county, Henry Butler, Esq., accompanied by Captain Blake, SubInspector of the county, Chief Constables Fitzgibbon and Trent, and forty of the Constabulary, with a Captain and twenty of the Fusileeis, proceeded to post tithe-notices in the parishes of Haeketstown and kathvilly. At an early hour, the whole party arrived at Hacketstown, and posted the notices according to law on the chapel and church doors: they were booted and abused, but no further obstluetion was given the civil authorities, in the execution of their duty. From Ilacketstown they proceeded to Rathvilly, where they tort a different reception from the lawless and disorganized population of that parish. On their arrival at the Later place, large masses of men were concentrated at the avenue leading to the chapel. The walls enclosinF the chapel-yard were lined with men armed with pitch-forks, aeithes, bludgeons, anti stones while the women had a plentiful supply of boiling water, supplied by the inhabitants of the village. After the no. tices were posted on the church-door, the Sheriff marched his party to the chapel ; the gates of which were locked, and the chapel-yard filled with mento oppose his entrance. He proceeded to the house of Priest Callan for the key ; but he was not to be found ! The Sheriff next ordered the Police to scale the walls to post the notices on the chapel ; upon which the party were assailed by a general volley of stones and missiles. The Police were repeatedly beaten off the walls ; but they again retook them, with a cool intrepidity and a forbearance unparalleled. Having gained the yard amid showers of stones, the Police formed, and, after priming and loading, succeeded in posting the notices. Captain Blake acted, we are informed, with firmness and deterntination ; and, we regret to say, is desperately wounded. The Police, in self defence, after seeing the Sub-Inspector fall from blows of stones, fired some shots; but whether they took effect or not, we have as yet received no intelligence. Nine Policemen are severely wounded, three of whom were assailed by boiling water. Here is an awful picture of the county. We would offer some observations on this awful outrage on the civil authorities, but far the lateness of the hour the intelligence reached us.
" We have received information on going to press, that the boiling water which was poured on the Police was actually brought out of the chapel ! Such is the dreadful state of one poor man, that the hair has dropped off his head !"