Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page



i THE STATE CHURCH IN WALES. TO THE RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE, M.P. Sir,—Some of our English friends seem to have had their fears awakened by these letters, lest we should press the subject of our Welsh Church grievance prematurely on the attention of the legislature, to the detriment of the set- r, tlement of the Irish Church question. I beg therefore once more to assure those friends that they need not entertain any apprehension of the kind. 'Wales can afford to wait,' and means to abide her time. I said before, and I say it again, that to raise a political agitation on the question formed no part of my design in writing these letters. Had it been my desire to produce excitement in the Welsh mind on the subject, I would have addressed the people in their own language. Neither had I any in- tention of having my letters published in the English papers, in many of which the two first appeared without any solicitation on my part; and were made subjects of leading articles in others. My sole object was to draw the atten- tion of the few, leading men, Members of Par- liament and others, to whom copies of this Journal were sent by post, to a few facts in the past and present history of Church and Dissent in Wales. Nevertheless, I am free to confess, that I am glad that a wider publicity than I had intended has been given to the statements they contain: and I believe that now, when the attention of this country, and all other countries in Europe, is concentrated on the question of state establishment of religion,— when the"public mind is eager for information Ion the subject,—that now, I say, is the right time to give publicity to all facts bearing on the subject. I am now in possession of communications from all parts of the Principality, expressing j"entire concurrence in the substance of my letters, aI1(j the statement which I ventured to volunteer on behalf of my countrymen, viz.— I that tliev have no intention of inaugurating a public movement for the redress of their State Church grievance at the present time. Sir In a tract, published by the Liberation Society entitled 'FACTS FOII CIIURCIIMEX,' we ,r" 1 find the following remarks:— 'Wales is well lmown as a Dissenting country. In North Wâles Dissenters constitute seventy nine per cent of the population; in South Wales they constitue eighty- two per cent. By persecution and by neglcct, the Es- tablished Church has alienated the great mass of the population from her communion. In two'articles which have recently appeared in the Iiccord newspaper, the failure of the Church is dwelt upon with great em- r'¡)hasis.' Let us attend to what the Record, the ac- knowledged organ of the evangelical party in the Church, has to say on the subject.—It .says:- It is a lamentable fact, which we record with sorrow, that the great bulk of the Welsh people are alienated from the Church of their fathers. There are various scs which led to this sad result. Among others, we [limy mention the appointment of English bishops to "Welsh sees, and the institution of English clergymen into Welsh livings. This policy has banished the Welsh element from the upperregions of the Welsh Church. tIll these regions, where its presence ought to be an active power, it is neither seen nor felt. Here the ele- is English, the language spoken, the sympathies f £ e >.id the habits contracted, are all English. An pBi .h clergyman transplanted from the heart of jEii^ .aid to a Welsh see, is thrown into the society of t, ihe aristocracy of the country; in this society he moves ,itlncl acts within the circle of English attraction, while he rules and governs a Welsh diocese. He is not often seen beyond the circles of the aristocracy; and seldom ? decends into the regions below, where the Welsh element | is so powerfully at work; he rarely comes across the |undercurrent, of Welsh feeling, which pervades and 3L" t'le masses of the people. Thus episcopacy and .< feeling have become two separate elements; they yh n two different currents, they seldom clash, and fcJtt •^e^er ^nalgamate. And, as a matter of course, Welshmen leaves the bishops and their care4ittle f 1 <nni 01111 coolly tell them, "You ?not YW „_01 nie' auc^ I .fcare as little for you, you seek Vours; I 1 Can aff°rd t0 diSpeUS0 >o^-n own course; I shall build my Wd mvself ruy 0wu teacher 5- between you i Gil tliGio is n.o iiiteTon-m.f i i "r-f-M/i •SJ-apatSy." This ^course,'Mid perhaps as little fit is in fuii A-. eeW °f the Welshman; and W" so powerfuUy ^erS*^011 th° ^le''it IY C"Cl"i'¡' up. them, that it £ ttcoii upon the ton of a morvKW; on a hill." And in close^Sh and as an ensigll of English bishops inv0 ^appointment Q c Vs s ^O-WeiaU sees stands the institu- tion of English clergymen into Welsh livings. This has been, and is, so sore an evil in the Welsh Church, that in many parishes it has scattered the sheep of the pas- ture,—and left the fold in ruin and desolation; the nominal shepherd gets the fleece, but the sheep, if they are not kept and fed in Dissenting folds, wandei and perish in the wilderness.' After condemning the Welsh aristocracy in strong terms for the mal-administration of Church Property Who, virtually,' it says, hold in their own hands the Lord Chancellor's livings; grasping the pickings for the younger scions of their own families,—the Record goes on:- 'And this is not all either. Nepotism is a noxious weed, which has received culture, not only from lay, but also from episcopal hands in the Welsh Church. In North Wales it has grown rampant, in the South its episcopal growth has not been so luxuriant. On the church of South Wales the spoliation of former days committed its ravages far and wide, it left few prizes for Nepotism. But it is not so 111 North Wales; there are rich prizes there. In St. Asaph and Bangor there are rich canonries and fat rectories, to which occupants of the sees have not been slow to appoint sons and, brothers, cousins and nephews. Here, after bishops have been gathered to their fathers, their memorials survive them, in the persons of deans and canons, of rectors and vicars. And they have been mostly, if not entirely, Englishmen occupying Welsh preferments. While English Nepotism has thus been so extravagantly indulged to the exclusion of the Welsh element, it is. a) wonder that the Welsh people have turned in disgust from the Church of their fathers, and that it is now ou- painful lot to review her condition almost in the words of the Prophet, "Jerusalem is become heaps, and tb,, mountain of the house as the high places of the forest. So says the Record, and the '"Witness is true;' < Is it just,' (asks the Editor of the Tract), 'that the Church should be, maintained in such a state, at the expense of a people who have been alienated by her own sins from her communion? Let Churchmen answer.' I have the honour to be, Right Hon. Sir, Your humble Servant, W. ITEE S.