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Family Notices






NONCONFORMITY AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS. IT is a pity that such religious equality as we now boast of, should not be extended to I' all classes of the community. It appears, however, that there are three or four class- es of people whose religious instruction has been administered in the past by one deno- mination only, viz, by the Church of England. We allude to workhouses, luna- tic asylums, and prisons. Had the task of ministering to the wants of these unfortunate people been undertaken by Church of England clergymen out of love for the good work, and sympathy with those incarcerated in the institutions named, we should have said, all honour to the Church of England for looking after swehpeople. I* nfortunatc'.y, this is not the esse. The chaplains of workhouses, lunatic asylums, and prisons, are paid servants, and in most cases very well paid servants, and we are very much afraid that it is for this reason that one denomination only has been allowed to minister to the spiritual wants of paupers, lunatics, and prisoners. Poverty is not a crime, nor is lunacy a crime; therefore, there can be no reason why indoor paupers and lunatics should be compelled to He ten to the exhorta- tions of a minister of one denomination, ¡ while they have all their lives previously been accustomed to the ministration of ¡ other denominations. Those who inhabit prisons are generally supposed to be placed there on account of crimes they have com- mitted. They are there, in fact, as a punish- ment, but we should not like it to be con- I sidered that compelling a prisoner to receive his spiritual tuition from a denomination be is not accustomed to, is intended an addi- tional punishment. We are glad to find that a determined attempt is being made in several places to remedy this anomalous state of things. In I some workhouses, the office of chaplain has been abolished, but the inmates are not allowed to suffer on that account. The work that had been previously done by a paid officer, is now better performed by minis- ters of various denominations, who visit the workhouses in turns, and perform the work for the work's own sake, and not in expectation of hope or reward. This, in our opinion, is the best way. We advocate the disestablishment of the parson, but we do not advocate the establishment and endowment of the Norconformist minis- ter, as an alternative. But there are cases where the law as it now stands compels the appointment of a paid chaplain, who must be a clergyman of the Church of England. But even in these cases, the authorities have the right of appointing other paid chaplains, and we are sorry that this point is not more often acted upon. The Committee of Visitors of the North Wales Counties Lunatic Asylum decided, at their last meeting, held at Conway on the 26th inst., to adopt this proceeding. There has been a paid chaplain at the Asylum for many years-ever since its establishment, we presume. But he has always been, and is now, a clergyman of the Church of England, while, undoubtedly, the majority of the inmates, coming, as they do, from North Wales, are Nonconformists Various attempts bad been made from time to time, since the formation of County Councils, and the consequent government of the Asylum by County Council representatives, to move in the direction of obtaining a Nonconformist chaplain, but without success. Lately, how- ever, the Lunacy Commissioners have called attention to the matter, and the Committee has been practically obliged to take steps in the matter. At the meeting referred to, it was decided that the salary of the present chaplain be reduced from £ 100 a year to Y,80 that a Nonconformist minister be ap- pointed at a salary of X80, and a Roman Catholic chaplain at a salary of £ 10. Six months' notice was ordered to be given to the present chaplain, although, in all pro- bability, he will be re-elected at the reduced salary, if be consents to act. For some reason or other, the branch Asylum at Glanywern was left outside this arrange- ment. Why should the two Asylums be treated differently, we do not know, for there are Nonconformist patients at the Glanywern branch, in about the same pro portion as at the main establishment. We hope that the arrangement decided upon by the committee will be carried through without a hitch, and that those un- fortunate people who are detained in these establishments will, before long, have similar services to those with which they were pre- viously acquainted. Let us hope that many other institutions will move in the same direction, so that the poor, the insane, and even the criminal shall be spiritually cared fof, and be at liberty to attend any form of worship their conscience approved of. —

SLINGS AND ARROWS. .......-----


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