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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

Pecuniary Benefit of the State Connexion

Pecuniary Benefit of the State Connexion.

It is frequently stated by ill-informed advocates of Establishment that the Church of England receives no grants of public money, has bad no State funds or property placed at her disposal, and owes nothing in the shape of pecuniary benefit therefore to Parliament or the Tax-payer. For the convenience of any who may encounter such mis-statements, we take the opportunity to recite here a few facts in contradiction thereof.

1.As will be seen in the preceding account of the Tithe Revenues (£4,000,000 per annum) these are Public Property.
2.In the section relating to Queen Anne's Bounty it is further shown that First Fruits and Tenths are a State endowment of the Church (£14,000 a year).
3.In the same section, grants of £1,100,000 from taxation are proved—in aid of the Bounty.
4.In the same and other sections it is shown how by a utilization of public resources to that end, large voluntary endowments have been brought in which otherwise would not have come. These are pecuniary benefits mainly resulting from the State connexion.
5.Landed Possessions of the State yielding more than £1,000,000 per annum are in her stewardship.
6.In 1818 £1,000,000. in 1824 £500.000 and £89,406, of public money were given by Parliament to Churches then building. [See Acts 58 Geo. iii., c. 45; 5 Geo. iv., c. 103; and Parliamentary Paper 572 of 1843.]
7.Building materials for Churches and paper for Prayer Books were free of taxation, whilst such taxes were in vogue, and the exemption was no small pecuniary benefit either, about £750,000.
8.Church Rates were authorized by law, and realized nearly £400,000 per annum down to 1868.
9.Parochial and Corporation endowments in many cases were by private Act derived from Rates, and an instance of their working is seen in the tables relating to Liverpool.
10.A benefit of about £2,000,000 a year of Public Property (in the shape of cathedrals and churches, &c.) is allotted to her use.
11.In the Financial Reform Almanack for 1883 (pp. 85-6), particulars will be found of some £2,200 a year of perpetual charges on the Consolidated Fund for the benefit of Church Clergy.
12.Up to 1868 about £80,000 per annum were exacted by the Clergy for compulsory Easter Offerings and Oblations, &c.
13.Prior to 1836 all Dissenters and other persons (save Jews and Friends) were compelled by law to go to a Church Clergyman if they would be married. The Bill authorizing solemnizations of marriage at Nonconformist Chapels took £50,000 per annum in fees at once from the Clergy of London alone. A pecuniary benefit is here shown to have been enforced by law in favour of the Establishment up to that date, and the same might be proved with regard to burial and christening fees, registrations of births, &c., in the era before reform.
14.The paragraph relating to the London Coal Duties for Church-building will be found to describe another form of endowment from public sources.

A writer in the Preston Guardian (under the signature "Felix") showed in 1877 that altogether the Established Church had been enriched by law to the extent of £1,580,000,000, and the following calculations will throw light upon the actually existing position of things.

Funds at the Disposal of the State in the event of Disendowment

Mr. Arthur Arnold, M.P., estimated these as follows in the Nineteenth Century for April. 1878:—
Description. Revenue. Capitalized Value.
Bishops' Estates £40,854 £1,021,350
Bishops' Palaces 12,400 248,000
Deans and Chapters' Estates 136,488 3,412,200
Residences, &c. 50,000 1,000,000
Tithes 5,000,000 125,000,000
Glebe Houses 750,000 15,000,000
Churchwardens', &c., Lands 21,000 525,000
Queen Anne's Bounty 30,000 750,000
Ecclesiastical Commissioners 700,000 17,500,000
Property omitted from the New Domesday Books 361,860 9,046,500
Total £7,502,602 £183,503,050

And "The Case for Disestablishment," commenting upon the figures, remarks they make no reference to the value of the Ecclesiastical edifices of the country. To arrive therefore at the gross

Value of Property appropriated to the Church, the writer includes these, reckoning them at £2,000,000 a year, and thus bringing the annual subsidy of the Establishment to £9,500,000, and the capitalized value of its property to more than £220,000,000.