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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Establishment in Wales

page 153

The Establishment in Wales.

Of the entire population of 1,574,000 some 1,100,000 are known to be Protestant Nonconformists, so that, after due allowance for Roman Catholics and about 250,000 of no religion, there remains the salient fact that only one-seventh (or, according to the Church herself, one-fourth) of the Welsh people are in any way claimable by the Episcopal Church, which is still allowed to hold public property of the value of £300,000 a year. It may or may not be significant that in Wales, where the State Religion has had least success, crime has the most rapidly decreased : in fact the duties of Judges of Assize have become almost nil. The proportions of crime are 44 per cent, less than in England, and among 4,417 convictions at Welsh Assizes the nationality particulars prove still more striking, viz. :—Natives of Wales only 2,323, of England 1,006, of Ireland 846, of Scotland 78, of other countries 164. With regard to illegitimacy, the average of Wales is only 6.9, while Bedfordshire is 7.1, Oxfordshire 7.3, Suffolk 7.9, Herefordshire 8.7, Lincolnshire 8.9, Notts. 9.1, Westmorland 9.2, North Riding 9.6, Shropshire 10.1, Norfolk 11.3, and Cumberland 12 per 100 births.

The voluntary system has secured notable triumphs in this Principality, where in 1883 there were found to be 4,361 Dissenters' places of worship, 4,503 regular preachers, 45,000 voluntary teachers, and 463,000 attendants in the weekly Sunday schools.