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THE Agricultural Land Rating Bill has at last emerged from the House of Commons, and in a few weeks will be placed on the Statute Book. The measure was selected from the outset as one out of which the Opposition might be able to make political capital. That is the sole explanation of the vast amount of time and ingenuity wasted upon the discussions which took place on every stage of the Bill. Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT., it must be admitted, was the only member of the Front Opposi- tion who took a really active and pro- nounced part in the obstructive tactics employed in delaying the passing of the Bill. But all this was calculated on the part of the leader of the Opposition, Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT, in fact, killed two birds with one stone in the Rating Bill. He called public attention to his own tran- scendent qualities as a Liberal leader, and he dealt a backhand blow to Lord ROSEBERY, by allying himself with the men who have from the first the first objected to a Liberal Peer-Premier." Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT doubtless believes that his action, in the question of the rating of agricultural land, will be justified by events in the future. We very much doubt this. The proceed- ings of the House of Commons are not taken half as seriously in the country as professional politicians like Sir WILLIAM imagine. The object of the Radical party was to discredit a certain Bill, but it is far more likely that the tactics employed for this purpose have discredited the par-v which put them in force. In the first place, agriculturists have been told over and over again by the opponents of the Bill that as a measure of agricultural relief the Bill is ridiculously ineffective. What, after all, is the use of a shilling an acre ? is the scornful query put to the British agriculturist by the patriotic Radical. The answer is that if so small a boon to agricul- ture requires fifteen days and two all-night sittings, before it can be got past the enemies of agriculture, the longer those enemies are kept out of office the better. This is a point which may well be urged in all rural constituencies. Mr. GLADSTONE and Lord ROSKHERY were in office for three years, but they really did nothing worth talking about for the agricultural com- munity. They appointed a Royal Com- mission to inquire into the facts about agricultural depression, but when that Commission recommended legislation on one subject of pressing importance, viz., that of local taxation, and a Bill was drafted to carry out those recommendations, the only answer given by Sir W. HARCOURT was to head a holy war against the measure. That there was not even unanimity in the ranks bf the Opposition is obvious in the division lists. Some nine Liberals voted in favour of the principle of the Bill on the second reading, and even, after all the efforts of the whips, several Liberals voted for the third reading. The explanation of this action on the part of some members of the Opposition is clear. These gentlemen sit for rural constituencies which have felt the agricultural depression very severely. They knew quite well that the Opposition to the Bill has been factious and dishonest, and that if they had voted against it they would have paid the penalty with their seats. Sir W. HARCOURT has evidently the idea that he and his friends can raise a great agitation against the Government for the introduction and passing of the Rating Bill. In the towns, perhaps, some political capital may be made at first by dint of misrepresentation and loose state- ments. But, in the long run, full dis- cussion of the whole rating question will do nothing but good. The general injustice of the present system of rating is notorious. The Government have determined to in- quire into the whole matter, and, in the meanwhile, they have only done bare iustioe to the admitted inequalities under • • 1 Whv are the clergy not loved ? cries the Westminster (lazette, and its readers have lashed themselves into a positive fury in the effort to answer the question from various points of view. It seems to us, however, that the question should have been put—supposing it was worth putting at all- in another form, and we should have recom- mended the omission of the first word. It is assuming- too much to ask why the clergy are not loved before you have taken the trouble to find out whether they are loved or not. For our own part, we believe that the great majority of the clergy are loved, at any rate, in those vast districts of countryside and pastoral lands which lie outside the big towns. And in the big towns themselves we believe the clergy are loved, intensely loved, by those with whom they come in contact. We are perfectly aware that there are many unpopular clergymen. It would be a very wonderful thing if there were not. The Church of England (pace the Ü Anglicans") is a very young institution. It is all very well for learned men and enthusiasts to quote Augustine, and to make out that the Church of England is older than the Church of Rome, but the ordinary non-historical man in the street thinks of her as having been instituted by HENRY VIII. Moreover, he knows that during the last century she slept a profound, and, if we may say so. a brutalising sleep..tie has read enough to know there were pluralists, hunting parsons, debauched parsons, evil livers who brought the very word '"parson" into such contempt that it has not been able to lift its head out of its bad repute even yet, so that it is almost rude, it is certainly imperh'nently familiar, to call a clergyman 'u to his face. The great Church revival dates only from yesterday. Practi- cally it was inaugurated when the QUEEX came to the Throne, and the long years of neglect into which all Church work had fallen are still bearing their fruit. There are survivals of the wicked old days amongst us yet. We are unable to prevent a clergyman whose living is in his own gift from passing it on to his son, and if his son happens to be a fool or a knave, there is at once a festering wound which does incalcul- able damage to the whole body of the Church, and gives scoffers just the oppor- tunity they want. And then we have amongst us also many haughty parsons— by which we mean men who have an altogether wrong and distorted view of their office; men who claim too much who look upon themselves not as descendants of the humble fishermen of Galileebut as heirs to some miraculous supernatural power of an autocratic kind. These men work havoc amongst just that class who would be most valuable soldiers of the Church militant. They are not more intelligent, not better read, not broader minded than the rest of us, but .they give themselves the airs of Gamaliels, and would be insulted if we called them minor prophets. And then there are the snob parsons, men to whom a garden party is of vastly greater import- ance than a death-bed, and a dinner than any office of the Church. Of these we would rather not speak. But when all's said the types we have enumerated are a very insignificant minority of the clergy. It is no marvel if these and such as these are not loved, nor is their being disliked a symptom of human depravity. Very much the contrary. But, apart from these, how many thousands of good men are there serving the Church in every capacity to the full extent of their powers, true servants of Christ, true servants of their fellow-men, giving of their little to help those who have less giving their lives, their health, their comfort in the service of their poor brothers and sisters. And these are loved. Loved as no other man, except [[perhaps doctors, can hope to be. Nay, they are loved more warmly than doctors, for at the back of our affection for a good doctor there is always just a little spice of fear but our affection for a self-sacrificing priest is pure of all dross. It is quite possible that the parson himself may go to his grave without ever knowing how his people have loved him, for we are not a demonstrative race. But one thing is quite certain. If any individual j clergyman is not loved it is his own individual fault. We are all ready to love anybody who shows himself to be love- worthy.

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