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THE ORIGIN OF TITHE. air,—As Mr. Asquith, in his Welsh Disestab- lishment Bill, generousiy concedes to the Church of Engiand ill Wales all cathedrals. churches, vicarages, and other buildings, and as he confines drsendowrnent to the period previous to 1662, it would be irrelevant to argue about any endowments to the Church other than the endowments of tithes, first fruits, and glebe lands given to the Church when it was the national church, at first volun- tarily, but the zeal of the donors slackening, it was afterwards made compulsory by law. When we examine the origin of tithes, and the methods by which they were enforced in early times, we find that the custom was a foreign importation, brought from Rome. practised there in imitation of the Jewish or Mosaic sys- tem, and transplanted on British soil by Aug- ustine, the emissary of Pope Gregory the great and the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Putting aside the question of whether the quad- ripartite and tripartite division of tithes pre valent on the continent at that time, was adopted in this country or not, it is indisput- able that tithes is a Roman institution, made in imitation of the Jewish law or custom. So the law of tithes is a Papal law, and a relic of the Church in its connections with Rome. "Churchman" deliberately shirks the question at issue. The evidence is overwhelming that tithes would not be paid if left to voluntary methods. Referring to the Legatine injunctions of Chal- chyth, Bishop Stubbs eays (as to the article re- latin gto tithes) that "thero can bo no doubt that the legatine canon, as approved by the kings and Witan, had the force of law." At the time of the Danish insurrection, in a treaty between Edward and Guthrurn, we find the fol- lowing stipulation relating to tithBS and other church dues: "If anyone withhold tithes, let him pay lah-slit among the Danes, wite among the English." Lah-slit and wite were tho Dan- ish and Saxon penalties (the one. according to Selden, euqivalent to twenty and tho other to thirty shillings) for ordinary misdemeanours. Selboume, referring to King Athelstan's tithe ordinance, eays reluctantly: "A royal injuno tion for the payment of tithes, although not made or oonfirmed in tho manner necessary to give It the force of a national law, was a step of much importance in that direction." He says that it was "a command, an authoritative command, over his own reeves." Next we come to King Ethelwulf's charter with regard to tithes, passed in a witenagemot., or parlia- ment of his kingdom, in A.D. 84i, about the meaning of which there is some difference of opinion among the authorities. Selden, in his standard work on th9 "History of Tithas," m. tnrpTets the charter as r a grant of praedial tithes of the fruits of all lands, as to which that king could legislate, to the church for ever. This interpretation was adopted by Dean Comber, Dean Prideaux (who, according to Set- boume, insisted much upon it as the true legal foundation of the right of the clergy to tithes throughout England), Hume. Rapin, Echard, and Milman, no mean authoritios. Selbourne, for whom I have great respect, though an emin- ent supporter of Church Establishment, inter- preted the charter as referring to the enfranch- isement of a certain proportion of folcland in ecclesiastical hands. To understand this, it is necessary to call attention to the difference in Anglo-Saxon law, between the two kinds of landed property, called folcland and bocland. "Folcland was the property of the commumty. It might be occupied in common, or possessed in severality. But while it continued to be folcland, it could not be alienated in per- petuity; and, therefore, on the expiration of the term for wihch it had peen granted, it re- verted to the community." "Bocland (or land held by book or charter) had been severed by an act of government from the folcland, and converted into an estate of perpetual inherit- ance." This, according to Selbourno, is what is meant by the charter. Selbourne, in order to explain away the charter as referring to tithes, jumped from the frying pa.n into the fire, for by interpreting the charter to mean the converting of folcland into bocland, he as- serted that the King and Parliament endowed the Church with land in perpetuity. This is what we understand to-day by some of the glebe lands of the church, or freehold pro- perty. of which there are 43,000 acres in Wales. It is recorded that the Bishop of Sherborne and the Bishop of Winchester had agreed that all their "brethren and sisters" should in each church assemble and sing fifty Psalms to cele- brate the charter. It may now be clear to Mr. Godfrey and "Churchman" what I meant by distinguishing between ancient public endowments and private benefactions. The only right that the Church had to tithes was what was called "divine right." But as Blackstone truly says, "the title of the clerrrv to tithes upon any divine riqht certainly ceased with the Jewish theocracy." So this supposed right of the Church to tithes proviow: to legislative enactments, and of which accord- ing to Churchmen, legislative enactments were only the recognition, rests on spurious grounds. There is no comparison between the endow- ments of Disinters and the endowments of the Church of England by the State. The mean- ing of tidies clearly proves this. By tithes is meant a tenth part of everything which grows .out of or is produced by the land. The tenth pig, lamb. colt, calf. fowl; the tenth turnip, bean, pea, sheaf of corn, cock of hay, and fleece of wool; the tenth of the eggs. milk, cheese, and butter. Tithe was paid in kind in early times, and up to 1836, when the Com- mutation Act was brought in, which substitut- ed for the payment in kind a tithe rent-charge, based on the sum which the parson received after all expenses of collecting it were deducted out. As everybody partakes of eggs, milk, cheese, and butter, so everybody pays tithes. Tithe rent-charge may bo "redeemed" under the Tithe Redemption Act, passed in 1878; but it is enacted that the minimum price must be twenty-ifve years' purchase. "When lands have been divided into small plots for building, or when lands have been taken by public bodies, the tithe rent-charge may be redeemed on the above terms. Every town tenant is paying his quota of religious taxation in his house rent, and in the taxes levied for the acquisition of parks, open spaces, cemeteries, market places, and labourers' allotments." Can Mr. Godfrey or "Churchman" refer to any law compelling the members of the Church of England to con- tribute perpetually against their own conscience towards the propagation of doctrines and church government which they do not believe in? This is the crux of the whole question of tithe endowments. My argument from the difference between the Church of England previous to the Reform- ation and after it, by which I took Churchmen on their own ground. "Churchman" has thought fit to meet by a quotation from one of Mr. Asquith'a speeches regarding the continu- ity of the Church. In answer to that, I quote from a speech of the Bishop of Birmingham uttered lately in the Upper House of Convoca- tion at Canterbury, in which he reprimanded the Bishop of London for using the argument of the pious founder, "because it was totally impossible to "ay what the wishes of the pious founder would be after the great changes that had taken place." Lot Mr. Godfrey and "Churchman," instead of fighting with imagin- ary opponents and demolhing imaginary argu- mentis, which the figments of their own j brain, answer my questions, and confine them- selves tft th.e 1, ,9.F..°J

._-------THE REV. D. ELLIS…




Oxo at the Imperial Exhibition,…