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-------------.--THE ENGLISH…


THE ENGLISH REGiy.Vl DONUM. We subjoin that part of the Heporr. of the select committee of rhe Home of Commons on the miscellaneous estimates which re- fers to the above grant, and also the evidence on which it is founded. Under the head of "Miscellaneous Allowances," the committee report as f,)Iiows: This vote of t6,609 14s. comprises various .small charitable allowances, some of which are in process of dis- continuance, such as the French refugees and the preachers in Lancashire. The first item is the most important, however, as in- volving a principle, the grant to the Protestant Dissenting minis- ters in England. The whole history of this grant will be found in the Appendix, and the evidence of Dr. Rees, who states the great satisfaction it gives to the denominations to whom it is dis- tributed, and the large amount of applicants beyond the power of relief irom the distributors, who receive no pay themselves, as well as the total absence of objection on the-part of their congregations. In these circumstances, your committee do not recommend the discontinuance of this grant. The following is a selection of the evidence of Dr. Thomas llaes, the receiver of the grant from the Tieasury, who is the only witness examined by the committee :— "It is through your agency that the Regitim Donum is distri- buted to Protestant Dissenting ministers, is it tigt P -1 have tte honour of holding the appointment of receiver from the Treasury of the Parliamentary grant. How long have you held that office ?—I have been a distributor for nearly thirty years I have held my present appointment for eight or ten years. I cannot exactly remember the date that I received it from Lord Melbourne. Has the amount distributed been the same ?—Yes, between £t.60U and £ 1,700; it is paid in two half-yearly payments. Will you state to the committee how this fund is distributed ? —In virtue of my appointment I receive the whole sum at the Treasury; I have associated with myself eight other Protestant 1 issenting ministers three from each denomination making al- together nine. There are three Presbyterians, three Independents, and three Baptists. Your distribution is to three persons from each of these three dt nominations ?-I give each of these parties one-ninth of the money, to he distributed at their discretion, among the Protestant Dissenting ministers of their own, or of any other denomination for; though they distribute to their own particular denominations, they do not confine their distributions to their own denominations in my own case, the larger portion of the money in my hands is given to persons who do not belong to the Presbyterian denomi- nation. When the sum is divided into nine parts, there are nine indi- viduals who have the absolute control of it ?-They have the abso- lute disposal of the portion in their own hand?. Are the nine distributors nominated at any general meeting of the three denominations ?—No; they have no connexion whatever with the body of the denominations they are nominated by them- selves. When a vacancy occurs in the distribution, the remaining distributors till up the vacancy. By self-election ?-iiy self-election. "What is the average amount of exhibition paid to, each per- son?—Never more than £ 5. unless under extraordinary circum- stances of distress. In many cases it is less than that. I hold in ray hand a Return to the House of Commons, in the preparation of which we took some pains to see the state of the exhibitions, with regard to certain denominations particularly, because it had boen stated that certain denominations objected to receive it. On that account we thought it necessary to enter into a careful ana- lysis of the exhibitions. We took the three preceding years, and we found that during that time there were exhibited 160 grants to Presbyterian ministers, 443 to Independent ministers, and 461 to Baptist ministers, making altogether 1,070 exhibitions, out of wnich only 166 were distributed among the ministers of the Pres- byterian denomination.. 't Being o ice put upon the list, do they conti,iiiib"tbere,as annual claimants till they are removed P-They are not annual claimants the trustees have always been careful to guard against the exhibi- tions being considered as annuities. Practi(,ally, is it not an annuity?—I think it can hardly be emisiden d so. If the circumstances of the party remain the tame, and his worth and his necessities ttie ,iirtie, and if there are DO stronger cases before the trustees, they will give it year after year to the same party. The character of the exhibitioner, and his agreement with his congregation, are considered, are they not ?—Yes, their congrega- tional ii.come is considered, because the grant is given to assist those who have very narrow means of maintaining themselves, and who are obliged to keep a certain appearance from their pro- lef'Sionai character. Is thrre any amount of congregational income which practically exciudes iDiQUters ?-No, we enter into no inquiry of 'hat kind we take die lepresentations of the parÜes or those of their friends a# to I heir ptt sent wants aud necessities. We think, in such cir- cumstance a minister who 7Aty have £ 100 a year may be agreaier o'tjeot O; charity than others withjiittch less ihan that; amount, "Are those sums much sough*after ?— Very much; we have a great many more applications than we are abie to meet. Are there many cases of voluntary auiotg former recipients ?—There have been instances of withdrawal, but I be- lieve the instances are very rare, if any could be found, of persons who have withdrawn from having really personal scruples or vb. jections to the grant. "Are you ever in the habit of receiving objections from the congregatious of those persons to their reception of this payment ? N one. < Can the congregations have any knowledge of the 'grant-?-No doubt of it, in most instances. Has a list ever been returned to Parliament of the recipients ? No, never; but a motion was made in: the House of Commons for a return of thetrustees, and of the names of ttie. recipients but when that notice of motion was given* I thought it right, in the situation which I had the honour 10 hold in the trust, at once to communicate with the Treasary upon that subject it has always been considered that the chanty should be "kept strictly secret with regard to the individuals relieved,'because it would be painful to the-feelings cf respectable merl to have it proclaimed that they were receiving eleemosynary assistance. There is no secreoy about the distribution which would prevent congregations being aware of it, is there ?-—None. Practically speaking, you think the"- congregations are aware of the reception of tbid payment by their ruinisffQriJ?—I sljould think no, in almost every case; they consiSer it in-^o.ine nteas^re its- as- sisting them in pri>viding for their- niitiistersv 'there* ia no report made to them. they can only hear it'incidentally. And you have received irom uoiie:otf them petitions or letters objecting to it ?-From none. lioiv.low are the salaries of some of the Welsh Dissent ing mi* nisters I-I mn sorry to say they dre very small; I ahmtld think they would average under £ 50 considerably A tid there are very many cases in- which they are mtteh less than that, are there not ?-Yes. • "Can you state what is the average emolument of Dissentinttl ministers in England ?—I sup'posie- that £ lU0 a year would be con- sidered, generally S| eaking, for the tody frlarge sum. •' Does that apply to ail denomiiiatiods -To the three deuo- of the Welsh ministers as'hekigso much lower than ting others; is the chief pa-rt of this.c!istrilmtión ma.d(i to 'ministers in Wales?—A very large pröp&itlon'ri/ït'.q?es to Wales,. Taken altogether, the greatest number of'recipients a# £ Wthfr, I think; but that I cannot'charge my memory ieitfr exactly, You do not consider yourself bburffl m-thedistribution to attend t )UIdn amon g -"w to ioiii, t-.iink approaching to art'CTjUHi d'istribuiHfti a.m<mg' the lo- calities of Great Britain ?-No, it would hardly be jttst to: do so. Wales is peculiarly a Dissenting country, aCcidientally from the .course taken in the reign o(E:n¡N¡;d:í"tô force a Service. Book in tll Euglish language Upon n&fttJn >vbo did -not lfnderstahd, -Y,or(i of it Dissent was fereateff thft -^Vil was perpeived.V tbii tht! only amount of the public money received by I.ik'lish Protestant Dis»enteis ?—I think it is.: & y; •■*■; • "From your experience you conceive the applications are so numerous as to show tbeM is;Htt"iodistiosition on the part of the L»is>«u'fhig clergy to receive h ?^%Ue so I have received re- peated applications on tli £ subject; expressive of ;tlie fears oi the paiues that it might be withdrawn." y t


--------___._-THE REGIUM DONUM.

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