Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

price of the produce of land, he has these interrogatories. "Why, we ask, is all to depend upon the will of any Archbishop or Bishop? Why is the cumbrous and costly machinery to be renewed at intervals? Why these partial provisions. in favour of the receiver of Tithes, and none in favour of the payer?" He thus intimates that there is partiality where none exists, and endeavours to induce the farmers to consider any thing short of an eternal lease on their own terms, without consent of the guardians of the property, an intolerable hardship. This may suffice to justify my expressions.

I now proceed to an impartial epitome of the history of Tithes, &c.

The priests under the Mosaic dispensation were supported by Tithes and offerings. It was evidently the will of the Divine Founder of the Christian Religion, that the ministers of the Gospel should be supported by the laity, which appears from his charge to the 70 missionaries. "Carry neither purses nor scrip, nor shoes, &c. for the labourer is worthy of his hire." From many passages in the New Testament

we have strong grounds for concluding, that He designed that Christian ministers should be maintained as the priests had been under the former dispensation, i. e. by Tithes and Offerings; for instance, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple? and that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so (ovrw) hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel." Hence we find the early Fathers exhorting their hearers to contribute Tithes for the support of the Clergy. So early as A. D. 356, it was decreed at a Council, that Tithes were due to ministers of the Gospel as the rents of God (Dei census). Again, it was decreed at the Consilium Romanum, A.D. 375, "That Tithes and Firstfruits should be given by the faithful, and that they who refuse be stricken with the curse.' (Ut decima atque primitia a fidelibus darentur; qui detrectant anathemate feriantur.) After the Christian Religion had been embraced by the majority of the English

[ocr errors]

5

people, the Barons and nobles, in obe-
dience to the injunctions of Augustin
and his successors, gave tithes and
glebe lands for the endowment of
Churches, &c. as certain charters
now extant, and the claim made by
King John of the right of his nobles
to found Churches within their seig-
nories, by the custom of the realm,
plainly evince. Such Tithes were re-
gularly paid according to the ancient
usage and decrees of the Church, pre-
viously to any regular statutes, which
is evident from a canon of Egbert,
Archbishop of York, A. D. 750, and
from the 17th canon of the General
Council held for the whole kingdom
at Chalcuth A. D. 787. About A. D.
793, Offa, King of Mercia, passed a
law to secure the Tithes of his king-
dom to the Church (Offa Rex Mer-
ciorum nominatissimus, Decimum om-
nium rerum Ecclesiæ concedit), and `or-
dered his subjects to pay them regu-
larly under severe penalties. Again,
about A. D. 855, Ethelwolf, imme-
diately after the union of the king-
doms of the Heptarchy, secured by a
regular statute the Tithes of the whole
land to the Clergy, to be held by them
in their own right for ever (jure per-
petuo possidendam). From this time
to the Conquest many statutes were
enacted for enforcing the payment of
Tithes, &c.; and when William the
Conqueror framed a code of laws for
the government of his English sub-
jects, the Tithes were secured to the
Clergy, according to laws already
enacted, and he solemnly swore to
observe the laws and customs granted
to the people by the Kings of Eng-
land, his lawful and religious prede-
cessors, and particularly the laws,
customs, and franchises, granted to
the Clergy by the glorious St. Edward
his predecessor. The original guar-
dians of this property were the King,
with his council of Bishops and chiefs
of the realm (Rex cum consilio Episco-
rum ac principum): but in process of
time, during the four centuries subse-
quent to the Conquest, the Pope gra-
dually usurped the sole authority over
ecclesiastical affairs, as is evident by
resolutions entered into by King Ed-
ward the First and his Barons at a
Parliament held at Carlisle; when the
King, by the assent of his Barons,
denied the Pope's usurped authority
Over the revenues of the Church
"within England," alleging, that

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

"they were founded by his progenitors, and the nobles and others of the realm, for the service of God, alms, and hospitality." When the Pope through his legates, &c. had applied the property given to the Church to a purpose foreign to the intention of the donors, the statute 26 Henry VIII. deprived him of his power, and appointed the King as sole guardian of ecclesiastical affairs; and it was enacted, that the King our Sovereign Lord, his heirs and successors, Kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England. And shall have power from time to time to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend, all such errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities, whatsoever they be, which by any manner of spiritual authority or jurisdiction may lawfully be reformed, repressed, redressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquillity of the realm; any usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign authority, prescription, or any other thing to the contrary, notwithstanding.' And the Clergy, in convocation, acknowledged his Majesty as the only protector and supreme lord, and as far as accords with Christ's law the supreme head of the Church (ecclesiæ et cleri Anglicani, cujus singularem protectorem et supremum dominum, et, quantum per Christi legem licet, etiam supremum caput ipsius majestatem recog noscimus). This prerogative was exercised, though often improperly, by each of Henry's successors, until the glorious Revolution of 1688; when the supremacy was limited, and it was decreed as illegal for the King alone to enact any law, &c. "without the advice and assent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same." From that time to the present, the King, Lords, and Commons, combined, have been guardians over the rights, &c. of the Established Church, "to preserve (according to the Coronation oath) unto the Bishops and Clergy of this realm, and to the Churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them

[ocr errors]

"

[ocr errors]

[Jan.

or any of them," and (according to the oath of the Union with Scotland) 'to maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established;" and they have exercised their authority as guardians, consistently, in enacting divers laws and regulations. Finally, by 39 and 40 Geo. III. the Churches of England and Ireland, as now by law established, were united into one Protestant and Episcopal Church, called "the United Church of England and Ireland."

From the preceding statements it appears that the Government, as constituted of King, Lords, and Commons, is guardian over the Established Church of England and Ireland; with power to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, &c. most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, &c. but that it cannot alienate its revenues, or take away its rights and privileges, without being guilty of robbery, sacrilege, and perjury.

Doubtless the present system of taking Tithes acts as a prohibition on the less fertile soils, often occasions strife between pastors and their flocks, gives arbitrary and litigious men a power to harass and perplex others; and causes the deserving Clergy, for the sake of peace, to be deprived of half their incomes. If, according to the principle of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury's Bill, it were enacted that two commissioners, one chosen by each party, should fix a rate of composition every 21 years, subject to regulation every seven years by the price of the produce of land, and that the Clergyman's churchwarden or other deputy, should collect the same yearly for the minister, by a summary process similarly to other parochial rates, it would remove all cause of contention, and be a benefit; and it ought to satisfy both the receiver and payer of Tithes. But an eternal lease, as recommended by the writer of the article " on the Commutation of Tithes," is impracticable; and it would be unjust toward both parties; because the farm, which is now in the highest state of cultivation, may by overcropping or neglect become so unproductive in fifty years time, that it would scarcely produce

1831.]

Castle and Family of Prince Polignac.

the Tithes at the present valuation; and the contrary.

In our ancient law books, Tithes are briefly defined "to be an ecclesiastical inheritance or property in the Church, collateral to the estate of the lands thereof;" and no other support for the Clergy appears so likely to produce efficient ministers to preach "right things" rather than "smooth things," and thus keep up a sound tone of religion and morals in the country.

A FRIEND TO IMPROVEMENT, BUT
A LOVER OF JUSTICE AND
GOOD FAITH.

Jan. 2.

MR. URBAN, AS the administration and trial of the Prince de Polignac (with the momentous consequences attending them) have so lately engrossed the public attention, I think that the following spirited sketch of the ancient seat of the family, extracted from the late Arthur Young's Travels through France in 1789, will be interesting.

Speaking of the scenery and singular rocks in the vicinity of Le Puy, the writer observes :" The castle of Polignac, from which the Duke takes his title, is built on a bold and enormous one. It is almost of a cubical form, and towers perpendicularly above the town which surrounds its foot. The family of Polignac claim an origin of great antiquity; they have pretensions that go back, I forget whether to Hector or Achilles, but I never found any one in conversation inclined to allow them more than being in the first class of French families, which they undoubt edly are. Perhaps there is no where to be met with a castle more formed to give a local pride of family than this of Polignac. The man hardly exists that would not feel a certain va

7

nity at having given his own name
from remote antiquity to so singular
and commanding a rock.*
But if,
with the name, it belonged to me, I
would scarcely sell it for a province.
The building is of such antiquity, and
the situation so romantic, that all the
feudal ages pass in review in one's
imagination: by a sort of magic in-
fluence, you recognize it for the resi-
dence of a lordly baron, who, in an
age more distant and more respecta-
ble, though perhaps equally barbarous,
was the patriot defender of his coun-
try against the invasion and tyranny
of Rome. In every age since the hor-
rible combustions that produced it,
such a spot would be chosen for secu-
sity and defence. To have given one's
name to a castle without any lofty
pre-eminence or singularity of nature,
in the midst, for instance, of a rich
plain, is not equally flattering to our
feelings. All antiquity of family de-
rives from ages of great barbarity,
where civil commotions and wars
swept away and confounded the inha-
bitants of such situations. The Bri-
tons of the plains of England were
driven to Bretagne, but the same peo
ple in the mountains of Wales stuck
secure, and remain there to this day.
About a gun-shot from Polignac is
another rock, not so large, but equally
remarkable; and in the town of Le
Puy another commanding one rises to
a vast height, with another, more sin-
gular for its tower-like form, on the
top of which St. Michael's Church is
built."

By the following pedigree, extracted from a valuable genealogical work in French, in the library of John Lee, Esq. LL.D.,tit appears that the name and estate of Polignac came into the present family by a marriage with the heiress in the 14th century:

Gillesume Sieur de Chalancon Vualberga Viscountess of Polignac, 1st wife.
Pierre Sieur de Chalançon, Vicomte de Polignac Margarite de Saligny.

Louis Armand, Vicomte Isabeau de la Tour, fille de Bertrand Comte d'Auvergne
de Polignac.
et de Boulogue.

a (see next page.)

* The reader will recollect that Mr. Young was a country gentleman devoted to agriculture, and not deeply versed in antiquities; he would otherwise have known that the place (whose first syllable indicates its position, in the Celtic tongue) gave name to the family, according to the custom of the middle ages.

+ We have added the three latter descents, partly from the Dictionnaire Genealogique Bois, 1765.-EDIT.

8

Prince Polignac and Family.

α

[Jan.

Gilleaume-Armand Viscomte de Polignac, Sicur Amadee de Saluces, Dame de Caramagnes de Chalencon, mort en 1473.

en Savoye.

Gilleaume, Vicomte de Polignac, Maitre des Requêtes Margarite, fille d'Antoine de l'Hotel du Roi. Sieur de Pompadeur.

[blocks in formation]

Gaspar-Armand, Visc. de Polignac, Marq.Claudine Francoise de Tournon, fille du Comte de Chalencon, Chevalier desOrdres du Roi. de Rousillon, & Magdaleine de la Rothfoucauld.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Philippe-Jules-Francois, bapt. Jan, 1, 1747.-Dame d'Atours.

Armand de Jules de Hon. Anne-Sarah-Catherine Parkyns, dau. of Thomas 1st Lord
Polignac.
Rancliffe, widow of the Marq. de Choiseul,† mar. June 1, 1824.

Polignac. + The friendship between the Queen of Louis XVI. and Madame de Polignac, mother of the late minister, which brought the family into a more immediate connection with the Court, is said to have risen from an accidental meeting. Her fascinating manners are much dwelt on by the accomplished Tweddell, who was some time in her society in the Ukraine,‡ and the elegance and refinement of the Dame d'Atours appear to have gained a partial victory over the rugged principles of ultra-Whiggism which were then entertained by our distinguished and lamented countryman.

The father of the ex-Minister emigrated at the commencement of the Revolution, to Radstadt in the Grand Duchy of Baden; and afterwards resided, with the Royal Family, at Edinburgh.

It has been related that on the birthday of Jules, when he had attained

his tenth year, the father invited all his companions in misfortune, and some other friends, and shewed them into a room, where, upon a table, a crucifix and two lighted candles had been placed. He then ordered young Jules to approach the table, and, in imitation of Hamilcar (Hannibal's father) bound him by an oath, that he would always oppose the French Revolution, and the principles to which it had given birth.

Whatever credit may be given to this story, it is certain that the father deeply inculcated in his children a detestation of all the enemies of the Bourbons. Both his sons were implicated in the conspiracy of 1804, when the life of Napoleon was attempted by what was styled the Infernal Machine. Armand was condemned to death (but did not suffer); Jules to two years imprisonment.§ Yours, &c.

G. M.

*Louis-Jules, Duc de Nivernois, who was Ambassador in England to treat for the Peace of 1762, was a son of this Duc de Nevers.

Une de plus grandes et plus considerables maisons du Royaume."-Des Bois. See his "Remains." § See our vol. LXXIV. p. 677.

« PreviousContinue »