Evidence of Rev G.H.McGill
to the Select Committee on the Ecclesiastical Commission, 27 May 1862

[pages 141ff of the full report]

The Rev G.H. McGill, incumbent of Christ Church Watney Street, was chosen by the clergy of Stepney deanery to give evidence to the committee, particularly in relation to the hotly-debated issue of the Finsbury prebendal estates, but also on a range of other matters, including the size and modus operandi of the Ecclesiastical Commission, which had been created by statute in 1836 (amended 1840) to create a national fund, shared across dioceses, from moneys gathered as a result of the reforms of that and following decades. (It was merged with Queen Anne's Bounty in 1947 to form the present-day Church Commissioners.)

The leases of the Finsbury estate (attached to a prebendal stall at St Paul's Cathedral, and some dating back to the 15th century) became a test case of the principle of national rather than local support. They had become valuable, and were due to 'fall in' in the 1860s. Acts of Parliament in 1843 and 1859 had previously regulated the apportionment of their rents and profits. Should the proceeds be put into the national pot, or was there a special case to be made for local distrubution, to benefit not just the local parishes in which they were situated, but the nearby, destitute, and inadequately-endowed parishes of the East End?

McGill argued robustly for a special case, on the grounds of the huge populations and severe poverty of the local churches, their lack of proper endowment, and the fact that it was local people whose presence in such numbers, and their labour, had made these estates so valuable. The Committee were equally robust in their questioning, and in their defence of the principle of a national fund which would be undermined by exceptional local grants; but despite the formalities of the committee procedures they come across as not wholly unsympathetic, even though some seemed to have a limited understanding of the harsh realities of East End life, and feared that proper endowment of its parishes would undermine charitable support. Comparisons were made with other deprived parts of the country, including the mining districts of Durham, which diocese at that time also had large historic assets which were put into the national common fund. The debate has interesting parallels with the contemporary scene, with tension between the principles of mutual support across dioceses and 'localism'.

In the event, a special case was established, and the 1866 Finsbury Estate Bill was passed to Appropriate a Portion of the Income of the Estate lately belonging to the Prebend of Finsbury in the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul London for the Relief of Spiritual Destitution in the Metropolis [click on image for full text]. A moiety of the estate's annual income of £40,000 created a 'Metropolitan Curates Fund' which provided clergy appointed under the Act with a stipend of £200.

McGill's evidence gives full details of all the sources of income for Christ Church (which despite his meagre stipend was better-placed than some others, because of generous private benefactors to support his staff), and shows the reality of the daily struggle for survival. It makes depressing reading!

[See also the evidence, given a few days later, by the Revd R.E. Bartlett, Vicar of St Mark Whitechapel, sharing many of the same concerns and adding some others.]

Martis, 27 die Maii, 1862.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Edward Pleydell Bouverie, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. Alderman Copeland, Mr. Deedes, Mr. Fenwick, Mr. Freeland, Mr. Kinnaird, Mr. Lowe, Mr. Newdegate, Sir John Pakington, Mr. Philipps, Mr. Selwyn, Mr. Henry Danby Seymour, Mr. Tite, Mr. Walpole.  
HENRY DANBY SEYMOUR, Esq., in the Chair.
The Rev GEORGE HENRY McGILL, M.A., called in; and Examined.

2832. Chairman] You are an Incumbent, I believe, in one of the parishes in the east London? — Yes.
2833. Will you state what parish? —  I am the Incumbent of Christchurch, in St. George's in the East.
2834. What is the population of that district? —  13,145.
2835. What is your remuneration from all sources? —  About £240 a-year.
2836. From what does that come principally? —  From pew rents and fees, exclusively; there is no endowment whatever.
2837. How much do you receive from rents? —  About £180 or £190. They vary much, and are considerably diminishing at the present time.
2838. Do you expect that they will go on diminishing? —  I am afraid so, for the character the population is gradually deteriorating; the respectable families are leaving the neighbourhood, to live in the suburbs. I have, at the present moment, four families who will leave within the next six weeks, who have been attending my church, some of them for a considerable number of years.
2839.You are not the Rector of the parish, but are the Incumbent of the district? —  Yes; I think that my proper title is Perpetual Curate.
2840. Have you been chosen by some of the clergy of the east of London to represent their case before the Committee? —  Yes, I have been asked to do so.
2841. By what clergy? —  By the clergy of the deanery of Stepney, in which my parish is situated.
2842. By any other clergy? —  Not any other.
2843. What is the population of the deanery of Stepney?  — The population of Stepney is 270,558.
2844. I thought that you also were to represent the clergy of Shoreditch and Spitalfields? —  I have not been selected by them to do so, but I have some information which perhaps may be valuable to the Committee with regard to the adjoining deaneries, especially with regard to the population of them.
2845. How many parishes are there in the deanery of Stepney? —  There are 23 in the deanery of Stepney; there are 30 in St Sepulchre's deanery, which includes Shoreditch, which is close to us; and in Spitalfields, which is also an adjoining deanery, there are 20 churches.
2846. What is the population of those three deaneries? —  The total population of the three deaneries is 747,842; nearly three quarters of a million. There are in the three deaneries 73 churches, and probably about two clergymen to each church. We are not quite certain about the number, because they vary somewhat, but probably there are 140 clergymen.
2847. That would give one clergyman to how many thousands of the population? —  It would give one clergyman to between 5,000 and 6,000 of the population, and one church to over 10,000 people; 73 churches for 747,000 people.
2848. What would be the emoluments of the clergy from all sources in those three deaneries? —  I should say that in our own deanery, which I am better acquainted with than I am with the others with regard to emolument, the income from endowment is about £3,200 a year; probably of the 23 parishes, the emolument would be about £5,000 altogether, with pew rents and fees.
2849. You say that pew rents are diminishing? —  Pew rents are decidedly diminishing in almost all the East-end parishes. There is one case adjoining me, which is really a most melancholy one; it has no endowment, and the pew rents, which formerly brought in a very considerable income, some £200 or £250 a year have now diminished, so as to be almost nothing. I may state that last quarter they amounted to £6 only for the quarter, and that the clergyman did not receive one shilling of that £6, for some alterations had been made, or repairs done to the church, and the churchwarden impounded the £6, and paid the bills with it, instead of handing it over to the clergyman. The clergyman was a member of my own college, who has recently been appointed to that church, and he has found the difficulty in carrying it on so great that his health has given way, and he has been obliged to leave, and I hear to day that he has placed his resignation in the hands of the bishop.
2850. Mr. Walpole] Is that a new district? —  It is not a very new one; it has been in existence some 30 years at least, I should think; it is St Philip's Stepney.
2851. Has it been in existence for that time without any endowment being given to it at all? —  Yes; the entire income, I believe, amounts to about £60 which is almost all of it from fees.  There is a population of 14,805 souls in that district by the recent census, and the church accommodation is about 1,500, giving 1 to 10.
2852. Chairman]  What is the name of the incumbent? — The Rev. T.H. Clark.
2853. Mr. Walpole] There is a church there, I suppose?  — Yes.
2854. Mr. Alderman Copeland]  Was that church built upon the Mercers' Company's property? — I think not; it is just behind the London Hospital; I do not know whether it is on the Mercers Company's estate or not, but it is close to it, if not on the property. [The Mercers' Company was, and is, the richest of the City livery companies.]
2855. Chairman] Are there many instances besides your own, of this destitution? —  Almost all the incomes in the east end of London are very much below what they ought to be, to support a clergyman, and to support the different charities which we have all of us to provide for, such as schools and district visiting societies. My own district has a population of 13,145; 11,000 of them are very poor people, most of them being dock labourers, or costermongers, or needlewomen, living from hand to mouth, and we are continually called upon to help them out of our pockets, to save them from starvation. Three persons have been starved to death in the parish of St. George's in the East since the 1st of January last, two in Whitechapel, three, I think, in St Luke's, one in Bethnal Green, and others in the neighbourhood. There have been 26 deaths from starvation in London altogether since the 1st of January, and nearly half of them have been in the three deaneries to which I have been alluding been alluding.
2856. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] When you speak of people being starved to death, do you mean that there have been verdicts of starvation returned by coroners juries? —  Not in all cases verdicts, but that has been the report from the medical officers to the registrar and the Board of Guardians.
2857. Chairman] How do you account for the incomes of the clergymen diminishing in these cases? —  As soon as persons are able to have a house in the country they generally go into the country, still continuing their business, perhaps, in the east end of London. We have a large number of cases of that sort in my own parish; they take a house in the suburbs, and go out at night and return in the morning; they, of course, have their families away from their places of business, and spend their Sunday in the place where their families dwell. The consequence is that they give up their seats in the churches in the parish where their business premises are, and we lose the advantage of their support and their subscriptions.
2858. Do you find that they diminish their subscriptions when they change their residence? —  Yes, certainly. I have an instance which perhaps may be interesting to this Committee, as showing the small amount of subscriptions which we shall be able to obtain from local sources. We are now rebuilding some schools in my own district, and the total expense of those schools is £2,000. An appeal has been recommended very strongly by the Bishop of London, and we have applied to all the landowners in the parish, without, I believe, a solitary exception; and though we wrote 70 letters, I myself and the vestry clerk having written to, I think, every landowner, we only received one guinea in reply to all our applications, and the applications which we have made to persons resident in the parish, sugar bakers, and other persons of the more respectable class, have been met with donations to the amount of £174.6s. We have collected £1,700, and the local amount is £174.6s.
2859. Where have you got the rest of the money? — The Committee of Privy Council have given us £776.4s., and the National Society have given us £65. The Marquis of Westminster has given us £100, and others have contributed.
2860. Mr. Walpole] Have you any large companies in your parish?  — We have some; the London Dock Company are the chief proprietors there, but their shares and their property are not in anything like the flourishing condition in which they used to be, and they have been recently withdrawing most of the grants which they have made to charitable purposes.
2861. Do they not employ a great many of your poor?  — Very many.
2862. And do they subscribe nothing? —  They subscribe nothing to these schools; they have subscribed to my church for many years (I believe ever since it has been built) £20 towards the annual expenses, and they have also given 20 guineas to the schools. I have very large and very poor schools; but last Christmas I had notice from the secretary that they intended to withdraw the subscription. I, of course, was very much put out to think that we should lose £40 a year when we wanted it most; and, having some personal friends among the directors, I went and saw the treasurer who is a personal friend of my own, and only by dint of personal friendship the grant was renewed.
2863. Chairman] I believe that your schools are the largest in the east of London? —  Yes, I believe that they are; they are very large.
2864. Do you find that property has changed hands in the districts which you know in the east of London; that it has gone out of the hands of rich people, and become subdivided in the hands of small holders?  — That has been the case with the houses. I do not know whether the original owners have changed so much. We have two large freeholders in my district, namely the Mercers' Company and Miss Chapman, who is very liberal to me, and anything that I ask her for she generally contributes; she has contributed to these schools.
2865. But is not a great deal of the property in the hands of very poor persons? —  Many of them are very poor persons; many of them have deeply mortgaged their property, and they are unable to assist in any way.
2866. And practically you can get nothing from them? —  Practically, we can get very little indeed from them.
2867. When you say that you have been deputed to state the case of the clergy of the east of London before this Committee, will you explain what you mean by that?  — The clergy were summoned some little time ago by the rural dean, Mr. Jones, the rector of Limehouse, to take into consideration the prospect of the Finsbury prebend falling into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and it was thought by most of the clergy, that we who live upon the parishes adjoining that parish of Shoreditch in which the property is situated, had a much stronger claim to a share of it when it came into their hands than any other persons throughout the kingdom. We were of opinion, that the value of that property had been enhanced by the labour of the people living in our respective parishes, and that we had from our very limited incomes, and our very great dearth of church accommodation, not having on the average more than one seat for every 10 people, a prior claim in the distribution of that fund to other persons living at a distance. We considered that it had been left for the benefit of the diocese of London, and we thought that we had the strongest claim by our enormous population, by our great poverty, and by our great want of church accommodation. A meeting was called, and we decided to call the attention of the Bishop of London to the subject; we called upon him, and he referred us to the chairman of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, Lord Chichester. Lord Chichester said that he could not do anything for us in the present state of the law, that the Commission had decided to assist the parish where the property was situated, but not adjoining parishes, and that therefore the law must be altered. We thought that it was a proper thing that the law should be altered, because if the cathedral property has been from its original purpose for the benefit of whole of the country, the poor people especially, we think that we have the strongest claim could possibly be made out anywhere within the length and breadth of the land.
2868. Mr. Walpole] Why do you say that original purpose to which that property was devoted was for the diocese of London? —  Of course I speak under correction with regard to that; it was left, I suppose, by the person who founded the prebend of Finsbury, and has become enhanced in value in consequence of houses built upon places which were formerly green fields.
2869. How does that make it out to be to the diocese of London more than to any diocese? —  Because it is attached to St. Paul's.
2870. Chairman] Was not the cathedral originally considered as the parish church of diocese? —  We as clergymen always look up our cathedral as the head of our diocese, and always look to it as the centre from which diocesan operations emanate.
2871. Sir John Pakington] If that property does not belong to the diocese of London, it does not belong to any other diocese? —  Certainly not.
2872. Chairman] Were not the clergy sent out from the cathedral church in ancient times to serve the spiritual wants of the people, making the cathedral the centre? —  I should think that that was the original formation of the cathedral; I know that that was the nature of the abbeys, but not having recently read up my ecclesiastical history, I should rather hesitate to give an absolute opinion upon a matter of that sort.
2873. Mr. Cardwell] Do you found your expectation rather upon something in the nature of a local claim, because the property is situate in your neighbourhood?  — Yes.
2874. Chairman] Have you finished the statement which you were making? — There are other churches close to my own; I have given the statement with regard to St Philip's, Stepney, and I would now say a word or two with regard to St. James's Ratcliffe; the incumbent is the Rev. R.H. Atherton.
2875. He is here, I believe?  — Yes.
2876. You had therefore better omit that case? —  There is another church in the same parish as my own of St George's-in-the-East, namely St. Matthew's, Pell-street; the Rev. Thomas Richardson is the incumbent; the endowment amounts to £40 a year; there is no house; the population is 3,245; the church accommodation is 600; the character of the population is like my own, very poor, consisting chiefly of dock labourers; the church has recently been consecrated, and I believe that the income of the incumbent is partly made up by a chaplaincy which he holds in one of the large warehouses of the City, and by private subscriptions.
2877. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] What income does he get altogether? —  I think about £200 a year altogether; then there is St. Leonard's, Bromley, which is one of the out parishes; the incumbent is the Rev. A.G. How, and the population is 23,849.
2878. In one district? — In one district; a school church has been opened within the last few months, but till the last few months there was only one church for 23,849 people, and that church only holds 900; the new school will hold 800; making a total of 1,700 seats for 23,849 people; there is no endowment; the pew rents amount to about £200 a year, and the church expenses are paid by a Church rate; the incumbent states that his collections have fallen from £45 on the average to £15.

2879. Chairman] What collections? — The collections for any object of charity, the curate's aid, or whatever it may be for the benefit the church; he states that in the last 20 years they have fallen from £45 on the average to £15.
2880. Are there many Dissenters or Roman Catholics in that district? —  Not I think more than the average.
2881. Are there many in the East of London? —  Certainly not; I do not think that in my own district out of 13,000 I have more than 30 per cent who are not Church people; I think that we have 70 per cent nominally Church people; in my district we had last year 460 christenings, 106 marriages, and about 420 churchings; that would be quite up to the birth rate; 460 would be more than the birth rate on my population.
2882. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] How many chapels are there in your district? —  Four, but only one of them of any very great size.
2883. Chairman] What proportion of the population in your district would you say are Dissenters, and what proportion are Roman Catholics? —  I should say about 5 per cent. Roman Catholics [this is surely an under-estimate], and 25 per cent. Dissenters of various denominations, chiefly Wesleyans and Independents, and there are some Scotch Presbyterians; the rest, namely, 70 per cent, would be nominally Church people.
2884. That is to say they bring their children to be christened at the church? — Yes, and they are married there, and in fact very many of them attend church; I have a very large congregation; we have seven services every Sunday, and we have at least 2,500 persons present at those services.
2885. How many curates have you? — Two curates, and I have one service conducted by a missionary of the Home Mission.
2886. In the district which you have mentioned as having a population of 23,000, are there there many Dissenters or Roman Catholics? —  I do not think more than the average, unless it may be, possibly, from the fact of not having room at the church, for the church is full, and I believe that there are very few free seats in it; probably there may be more Dissenters than the average.
2887. Is your church always full? —  Not always full; but it is a very large church; it is the largest in the East end of London; it holds 2,000 people, and we have 1,400 or 1,500 there.
2888. How many free seats are there? —  Seven hundred.
2889. How do you account for St. Leonard's, Bromley, having no endowment at all, although it is an old parish? —  I am sure I cannot say.
2890. Are the tithes in lay hands? —  I believe that they are. Then there is St. Thomas's, Arbour-square, which is close to me. That also has a very large population, namely, 16,433. The endowment is about £30 a year; I think it is the interest of £1,000, and the total value is about £180, chiefly from fees. There are pew rents; but not very many of the pews, I am afraid are let.
2891. Are the fees burial fees? — No, they are chiefly marriage fees [by 1862, no local parishes had open churchyards, and Christ Church never had one]. That, I believe, is on the Mercers' Estate; but the population is exceedingly poor, and I am sure that the incumbent has very great difficulties in keeping up his charities.
2892. Has it had any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  I believe not; I do not know whether it had any at the endowment of it.
2893. Have you received any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — No.
2894. Has St. Leonard's, Bromley, received any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  No, I believe not.
2895. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] Have you ever applied? — Not that I am aware of. The reason why many of us at the East end of London would not be able to apply would be because the Ecclesiastical Commissioners require a certain amount of benefaction to meet their donations, and it is next to impossible for us to obtain that from our own sources.
2896. You raised £2,000 for your schools, as I understood you? —  We shall do so; we get over £800 from the Privy Council and from the National Society.
2897. Chairman] They will not give you any assistance unless you have raised a certain proportion, will they? —  We undertook to raise it for the schools.
2898. Can you make the same agreement with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  I do not know; a portion of the amount which we have raised we have been permitted by the Charity Commissioners to sell out, namely, £500, towards the building of that new school, in order to increase the accommodation for the teaching of the children.
2899. Was there a charity in the parish? —  There was a charity in the parish, and a small endowment; and this is a school which has been rebuilt.
2900. Have the Committee of Privy Council accepted that as a benefaction towards the new schools? — The Committee of Council required a certain portion to be given absolutely in subscriptions; that portion we have raised.
2901. Did they allow the money which was sold out by the Charity Commissioners to count as a donation? —  We stated that in our application. They required a certain sum to be raised, which we have raised by private subscriptions, and then we voted the other by consent of the Charity Commissioners.

2902. And by the time that you have done that, you would find it impossible, I suppose, to raise more for the church or for the endowment? —  I am afraid that it would be very difficult indeed.
2903. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] Have you ever tried? — No.
2904. Mr. Walpole] Are you aware that in other dioceses, and, if I understand rightly, even in the diocese of London, the different diocesan societies have tried to raise for the poorer parishes subscriptions to meet benefactions? —  I am a member of the Diocesan Church Building Society, and I know that we vote grants towards that object.
2905. If one of these poorer places in the neighbourhood of London were to apply to the Church Building Society to get money raised for their purposes so as to meet grants by the Commissioners, they might succeed, might they not? —  I do not think it at all impossible that they might.
2906. Do you not think it advisable for the parishes to make that attempt in the first instance? —  There seems to be a very strong feeling with regard to education and schools, and I think that men would make greater sacrifices for education than for endowments.
2907. Would it not be better for you to try that before you took for granted that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would not give you anything? —  I do not think that they could give me anything, because they do not give to any clergyman who has more than £200 a year.
2908. I allude to the poorer parishes? — There is this difficulty with regard to a clergyman asking people to help him to endow his church because he has there a direct interest in the money. Now I can ask people for money to educate my poor by enlarging my schools. but I could not have the face to ask people for £100 to increase my income.
2909. But still, as a matter of fact, the clergy in the neighbourhood of which you speak have not yet tried that plan? —  I do not know that they have, but I think that there would be a very strong objection to their attempting it, knowing that they would have to beg for themselves. We do not mind begging for other people, but we have a very strong objection to begging for ourselves; and I myself think that there ought to be a power vested in the Commissioners to do away with that absolute requirement of a certain percentage to be raised by benefactions. We have to keep our people from starvation, and all that we can do is, when we are compelled to do it in the winter, to ask our people to give us bread and clothes, and subscriptions to our District Visiting Society, and so forth.
2910. But looking prospectively to the general purposes of the Church, and not looking at the present moment to the particular neighbourhood, do you not conceive that for the general purposes of the Church, one of the greatest advantages of all in the rule of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is, that there will be a permanent fund, to be permanently applied to meet benefactions in different parts of the country, by means of which the incomes of the clergy will be raised; whereas, if if it is granted at once, that income will soon exhausted? —  I do not think it desirable to give it at once; but we understand that there will be about £50,000 a year from the Finsbury prebend, and we think that some of those clergymen who have no endowment whatever have a very strong claim upon it.
2911. That is another point. I wish to call your attention, in the first place, to the rule the Commissioners requiring benefactions from different places before they make a grant? —  In the abstract I think that it is a very proper rule, but that every case should be considered upon its own merits.
2912. Then you think that the rule in itself is a good rule? — Yes; but that it ought not to be without exceptions.
2913. What exceptions would you wish to introduce into that rule of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  Where a parish was too poor to raise a sum in the way of benefaction, to meet the donation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, I would dispense with that rule. I would give the donation without requiring the benefaction.
2914. How would you judge of whether a parish is too poor for it? —  I would judge partly by the poor rates. I would ascertain their incidence and their amount. We are now paying 3s. 3d. in the pound in my parish, and other parishes are paying almost as much, and I think that that is about the best test of poverty.
2915. Are you aware that in many cases where parishes are so poor, other people have come forward; that the diocesan societies have come forward to relieve those parishes by giving them the money through subscriptions of their own raising, so as to get benefactions from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  Yes, I have no doubt of that.
2916. Do you not think that if you laid down that rule simply as a test, having regard to the poverty of the parish as you describe it, you would discourage people from making those voluntary exertions by which the funds of the Church are so much increased? — I do not see my way to obtaining the amount required. I quite admit that in the abstract it is quite right to help those who help themselves, and that has been always my principle through life; but I can quite understand (and the east end of London is a case in point) cases where it is impossible, or next to impossible, to raise a benefaction, and in those cases I should say that the law should be such as to permit the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to waive any general requirement.
2917. Are you aware that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have the power of altering their rules to meet those exceptional cases? —  I believe they have not.
2918. They have that power?  —  I was not aware of it; I understood that they had not the power with regard to the Finsbury prebend.
2919. That is another point. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have the power of relaxing the general rule which they have laid down, and which, as I understand you, you approve of? —  Yes.
2920. Namely that generally speaking donations should be given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to meet subscriptions and contributions from others? —  As a general rule.
2921. You are aware that that money comes out of the common fund? —  Yes.
2922. What is the kind of exception which you would wish the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to lay down to that rule, so as to make the distribution of the monies out of the common fund. in your opinion, more equitable and more beneficial to the church? — I would take the quality of population. We will take, for example, a population at the east end of London; my own population, 13,000 persons; I think that population ought to be cut up into two or districts, and that a properly endowed ought to be erected in each of them. I think that my own church, instead of being supported by pew rents, should be free. There are many people who cannot afford to pay the pew rent, and in consequence of their not affording to pay, they stay away from church. I believe that my church were made free, if it were endowed with say £200 a year, as an equivalent for the present pew rents, the church would be immediately crowded, which it never will be as long as they have to pay pew rents I think that the district should be divided, and two other churches erected, and two clergymen appointed to each, in order to work the district properly; and I think that nothing can be raised, or very little indeed, if anything, in the district, to meet the endowment which ought to be provided by the Ecclesiastical Commission.
2923.You would divide your parish into three districts and would endow those districts with £200 a year each? — Yes.
2924.That would be £600 a year, taken the common fund, for that parish alone? — Yes.
2925. How many other parishes round suburbs of London, do you think, would be similarly circumstanced to your own? —  I think there are about 50 which are inadequately endowed at present.
2926. Would those have to be divided? — Many of them would.
2927. Then, putting them at £200 a year each, you would get, if each was divided into two, £20,000 a year, which would be required those churches in the neighbourhood of London? — Yes.
2928. We will go to another neighbourhood, we will go into Lancashire and into Cheshire, where there is a very dense population with few endowments indeed. I conclude that you would ask the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to those parishes in the same way as they your own? —  Not from the Finsbury prebend.
2929. I am not speaking of the Finsbury prebend; I am talking of the common fund; would you apply the same rule to all parishes in Lancashire and Cheshire? —  Certainly.
2930. Have you at all gone into the calculation whether the whole of the common fund would not be exhausted at once if you did that? — No, I do not know the amount of the common fund.
2931. Chairman] Have you looked at the returns which were given to the Lords' Committee of 1858 of the state of spiritual destitution in each of the dioceses of England, as put in by the bishops? —  No. I am not competent to answer upon that point; but with regard to Manchester, which we understand to be one of the most destitute parts of England, I consider that the statement which I have made with regard to the east end of London, is infinitely worse than anything in Manchester.
2932. Mr. Walpole] Supposing I could show to you by the sort of information which I have tried tried to elicit from you, that the effect of your relaxation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' rule, would be at once to exhaust the £100,000 a year which they now give away without any benefaction being given in return, would that be a good thing for the church at large? — No, I do not think that it would.
2933. Chairman] Have you looked sufficiently, and compared what the income of the common fund is, and what the state of spiritual destitution is, to enable you to give an answer to that question? —  No I have not.
2934. Mr. Walpole] With regard to the Finsbury fund, will you explain exactly what you think ought to be the rule to be laid down, not now by the Commissioners, but by Parliament, as to the distribution of any ecclesiastical revenues which come to the Commissioners either in London, or in Lancashire, or in Durham, or in any other part of the kingdom where the property, or near where the property is supposed to be situated? —  I would give a larger definition of the term "place", which I believe occurs in the Act, and would make it comprehend in London, for example, the whole of London.
2935. We will take it as comprehending the whole of London; with regard to the revenue arising from the Finsbury fund, we will assume that they will ultimately amount to £50,000 a year when they all fall in; you would apply those revenues coming from the Finsbury estate to the whole of London? —  Yes.
2936. What do you include first of all in "the whole of London"? —  I should include the diocese of London within the metropolitan limits; I do not include those parts in the diocese of Winchester on the other side of the river, but all the rest I would include within the metropolitan area.
2937. Your view is, if I understand you, that as that property was given to the metropolitan church of the diocese of London, the whole of the diocese has a prior claim to a portion of it, as compared with any other diocese in the kingdom? — Yes taking them cæteris paribus. I do not say that a place at Hendon, for example, with a small population, and so on, would have a prior claim to a place in Manchester, with a larger population. I look at the common sense view of the question. This property was left for the spiritual benefit of the people of this country, and Parliament, no doubt, intended that it should be distributed in the best manner for the spiritual benefit of the people of this country, and therefore I think that no small place should take precedence of a larger populated place, in its wants. You have here an enormous population of three quarters of a million of people, at the east end of London, with an income probably of not £20,000 a year, and that population has the first claim upon the Finsbury prebend, which was given for the benefit of London.
2938. Because of that locality lying in the diocese of London? —  Yes, and because of its enormous population, and because of the results which will happen to the country, looking at it in a statesman-like point of view, if those people are permitted to grow up in ignorance and vice, and the want of the means of religion.
2939. I think you have stated that in some of the parishes to which you have referred, the tithes or revenues coming from those parishes are in the hands of lay impropriators? — I believe some of them are. In Aldgate, and many other places in our neighbourhood, they are.
2940. Would you not think that in those cases incomes of those parishes should not come out of the general fund which is for the general benefit of the church, but that application should be made to those who are actually deriving the fund intended for those places? —  I am afraid that that would not come within the power of Parliament, or of this Committee. I wish it did. I think that it is one of the greatest disgraces to England that these alienations should have taken place, and that men should receive, as we know is the fact now, in one case, £2,000 a-year in the shape of tithes, without any equivalent.
2941. I will suppose one of those parishes, where the tithes or the ecclesiastical revenues are going into lay hands, and I will suppose that parish to be one of the poorest in London. I will assume that you have the Finsbury fund to distribute among the different parishes. In the case of that parish, where there clearly was a fund which ought to come from the landowners of that parish according to your own view, for the benefit of the ministration of the religious services in that parish, would you give to that parish out of the common fund, what ought to go for the general benefit of the Church, when there was another fund out of which some prior provision ought to be made? —  If I found that there was no legal claim upon the other fund, I fear that I should be obliged to give the money out of the common fund, because the interests of the parish must be provided for; and if there is no legal claim upon the tithe impropriator, I think that the interests of the parish should be paramount.
2942. But to that extent you are injuring the other parishes, who would have a sum out of the general funds of the Church, and who have no special fund to which they can apply? —  I can quite see the abstract justice of taking the money from the lay impropriator, but I do not think that there is any legal power of enforcing that justice.
2943. By adhering, more or less, to the rules which have been established, do you not put more pressure upon those who are the owners of the fund in the particular parish, and who are deriving emoluments from the parish which formerly belonged to the Church, instead of releasing them from that liability which they otherwise would feel themselves to be placed unde,r by having recourse to the common fund? — I am sorry, so far as my own experience has gone, to find that owners of tithe property are generally the most difficult to get anything out of.
2944. I understand you to say, that you consider that the parishes in the diocese of London have a prior claim to parishes which are in the diocese of Winchester, though they may be as near to Finsbury? — Upon the Finsbury prebend.
2945. Upon what principle would you wish that to be laid down? —  On the principle with which I first started, that that property was given to found a prebend at St. Paul's, and, consesequently, given, I apprehend, for the general benefit of that diocese, of which St. Paul's is the centre. The other parishes have a claim upon Winchester, in the same way as these would have a claim upon St. Paul's.
2946. Then you do not rest the claim to that Finsbury estate upon the contiguity of the parishes, so much as you do upon the fact that the the parishes which ought to have a portion of fund lie within a particular diocese? —  I did say that; here you have first of all the property left; if a man gives me money for a certain purpose I consider it my duly to apply that to that purpose; and though I may have purposes to which it would be desirable, perhaps, to apply it, I do not consider that I should justified in doing so.
2947. Do you not think that the other lying as near as or possibly nearer to the Finsbury estate than the parishes to which yon referred, would think that they had some reason to complain if they did not get a share the Finsbury property? —  No, I think clearly not.
2948. Are you not aware that it has been argued repeatedly in the House of Commons, that the whole of the metropolis is entitled to Finsbury estate without distinction of the diocese? —  I believe it has been said so, but I do not agree with it.
2949. Put it in another point of view; the Finsbury estate will be a very large slice of ecclesiastical property, which will come into the Commissioners' hands; there other properties in different parts of the kingdom situated in the same way; would you all those properties to the different dioceses? — I would make them responsible for the absolute wants of the particular diocese in preference other dioceses, cæteris paribus; I am putting it on that ground.
2950. London and Durham being two of the richest of the ecclesiastical dioceses in England, and Lancashire and Cheshire, and some of the manufacturing districts in Yorkshire being the poorest, would you contemplate with satisfaction the exhaustion of the whole fund to be given to those two dioceses, without giving any portion the fund to districts which required it quite as much, and which had no ecclesiastical property to have recourse to? —  If they required it more they should have it, but if they required it just as much, I consider that the diocese would and ought to have the preference.
2951. You would measure it more or less by the poverty of the population? — Yes, and by the spiritual wants of the people.
2952. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] As I understand you you would test the poverty in any district by the rate in the pound of the poor's rate? —  I do not say so absolutely, but I think that that is a very good criterion to judge by.
2953. What other criterion would you take? —  I have not thought particularly upon that point; there would be the kind of occupation in which persons were employed who were permanently engaged as labourers, or whatever it might be.
2954. What ascertainable test of the poverty of a district would you give, which would enable the Commissioners, or those distributing this fund, to arrive at the relative poverty of the district? —  I think that there would be a great many things to be brought in before a satisfactory answer could be given to a question of that sor,t but I think that the first and most feasible one would be the incidence of the poor-rate.
2955. Do you mean the rate in the pound or the total amount of the poor's-rate? —  The total amount of the poor-rate, compared with the absolute amount of the property.
2956. Whatever might be the amount of the property in the parish upon which that rate was levied? —  Yes; for example. I should think that St. George's-in-the-East is very much poorer than St. George's, Hanover-square; for in the one case they pay 3s. 3d. in the pound poor-rate, and in the other case they pay 6d.
2957. If St. George's-in-the-East had a rateable value of £300,000 a year, and there was a poor's-rate of 3s. 6d. in the pound, and if St. George's, Hanover-square, had a rateable value of £100,000 a year with a poor's-rate of 6d. in the pound, should you say that St. George's-in-the-East was the poorest parish of the two? —  I think that there is an element wanting in the question.
2958. Do you consider the net rental of the property, or only the amount of the poor's-rate levied upon that property, as the test of the poverty or wealth of the district? — I should take the rate upon the property as an indication of the amount of destitution.
2959. Whatever was the amount of the property upon which that rate was levied? —  Yes.
2960. Mr. Newdegate] Among other tests, would not the prevalence of the application of the Small Tenements Act be a very fair criterion; that is to say, where the inhabitants are so poor that they have been excused paying rates for themselves by Act of Parliament, and the rate has been thrown upon the owner? —  Certainly I think it would, because it would indicate a very poor class of population, such as that which prevails in the districts which I speak of, in the East-end of London.
2961. The result of your evidence is this, that there should be an inquiry and a combination of tests in order to ascertain those cases in which the rules of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should be departed from? —  Yes.
2962. Are not the lay impropriators of tithes the result of bargains, sometimes improvident, made by the Church and the ecclesiastical bodies? —  I believe that a very large number of those cases have been alienations from ecclesiastical bodies in the time of Henry the Eighth. The tithes had been given away by the Crown when they were given up into its hands by the abbeys, and so on; and very little, I believe, ever came to the Crown in return for valuable properties, as far as my reading goes.
2963. They therefore include property of the monastic bodies? —  Yes, I think so. I think that a great deal of the alienation of the lay impropriations of tithes emanated from the dissolution of monasteries in the time of Henry the Eighth.
2964. And the Poor Law of Elizabeth was passed to replace the purposes of those alienations? —  I am not quite prepared to say absolutely, yes, but I should not think it at all unlikely that that was the case.
2965. Are you or are you not aware that, historically, more than one-half of the real property of England was at one time possessed by ecclesiastical bodies? —  Not more than one-half, surely; I understand about one-third.
2966. Including all that had ever been held by monastic bodies as well as the Church property? —  I am not prepared absolutely to say but I should say quite one third.
2967. Chairman] When was the meeting held of which you spoke of the clergy of the deanery of Stepney, upon the subject of the local claims; was it before the Local Claims Act of 1860, or afterwards? —  The rural dean called the clergy together together to consult respecting the City churches; that was the first reason why they were called together.
2968. When was that? — In October last. I read a paper on the City churches, many of which were about to be consolidated, and there were 17 schemes, I think, for erecting new churches in the suburbs, several of them in my own immediate neighbourhood. I also read a paper before the meeting on the propriety of something being done with the endowments in the City, to provide for the wants of the suburban parishes, particularly in the deanery of Stepney.
2969. Will you explain what you mean by 17 schemes; were they general schemes put out by different people? —  An Act of Parliament was passed last Session, by which the Bishop of London was empowered to consolidate certain contiguous parishes in the City of London, and to remove those churches and endowments to large populous places in the suburbs. A paper was read upon that subject by myself in October, and a conversation resulted afterwards in which it was stated, that we came to the conclusion that none of the East-end parishes could possibly be benefited by the new Act obtained by the Bishop of London for the removal of the City churches, and that we ought to endeavour, if possible, to obtain some of the property arising from the Finsbury prebend when it fell into the hands of the Commissioners.
2970. Why could not you be benefited by that Act? —  Because that Act insisted upon a new church being built in the room of every one that was pulled down; consequently, it could not benefit those churches which were existing at present in London, such as those that I have alluded to.
2971. If you divided these large parishes into districts, and built a new church in one of the districts, would not it be an advantage? —  It would be an advantage certainly, but not to the existing church.
2972. Do you mean to say that it would not benefit the parish? — It would be, of course, an advantage to the parishioners, but it would not benefit the existing holder of the living, because the probability is that it would take away some of those who paid pew rents, and a certain amount of his fees, and if he had no endowments as an equivalent, he would lose, in a temporal point of view, by the spiritual improvement of his parishioners.
2973. You represented the result of that meeting to the Bishop of London, did you not? —  Yes; and the Bishop of London gave us every encouragement that we had a right to expect from him. He knew that the case was a very sad one, and said that he would do all he could to meet our wishes, but recommended us to go to Lord Chichester, the head of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and state the case to him. We did so, and he said that it was impossible for him to do anything for us as long as the Act existed in its present state; that the word "place" had been defined to mean the parish in which the property existed, and that they were uninclined to put a more extended meaning upon the word.
2974. Did the Ecclesiastical Commissioners interpret the word "place" as meaning "parish" or "ecclesiastical district"? —  "Parish". After that we went to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as being one of the Commissioners,, and he Baid that he would do all he could to meet our views; that he thought we had justice on our side, and that as long as our wants were so great, we had a prior claim to any other place.
2975. You said that the Bishop of London expressed an opinion that the law should be altered, did you not? —  I do not know that I have a right to put it in so strong a light as that, but he certainly sympathised very strongly with us upon the matter.
2976. What alteration of the law would you suggest? —  I would suggest with regard to the word "place", that you should take in adjoining parishes; that you should not be absolutely confined to the original parish. Take the case of Clerkenwell, for example, with which the Committee are acquainted; it illustrates precisely what I mean. I would extend it to such places as Clerkenwell, and other places bordering upon ecclesiastical property. Take the ancient parish of Stepney, which borders upon Shoreditch. I believe that a portion of Shoreditch churchyard is in the old parish of Stepney, which includes all these distressed parishes that we now speak of, and if that were included I think that the destitution of the East-end of London would be amply met.
2977. You said that you would relieve the spiritual destitution in the various parishes of the diocese of London with the proceeds of Church property in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners within that diocese, did you not? —  Yes.
2978. As a first claim upon it? —  Yes; but I do not wish to be misunderstood; I do not that all the Church property of London should absolutely confined to London, because I quite understand what has been said before, that there may be parishes in other dioceses - in Winchester, for example, which may have claims than many parishes in London, but I would take the parishes according to their wants, cæteris paribus, giving a preference to the diocese of London.
2979. Do you think that the parishes in of London are the most destitute at all the means which you have had of ascertaining the respective spiritual destitution in of England? —  I have not the slightest that they are in a more destitute any parishes in the kingdom.
2980. Do you think that if you adopted such as you propose you could, with a wise discretion, separate the very destitute parishes of the east of London from those other parishes in the neighbourhood of London which are not the same destitute condition? —  Yes, certainly.
2981. And that if these parishes in the east of London, where the rich population has left, and nothing but the poor remain, were relieved, all this question about the local claims of places would be put an end to? —  I think that it would certainly tend to put an end to it.
2982.You were asked what you meant by a poor parish - would you give as one item in your definition of a poor parish the small amount of property possessed by each proprietor of houses or land in the parish? —  I think that the number of proprietors generally increases the poverty of a parish.
2983. Is not property more subdivided, and are not the proprietors poorer in the east of London than in other parts? —  I think so, certainly.
2984. Do you not think that the fact of the rich population having left those parishes to reside in in the outskirts of London and the poor remaining, constitutes a special claim? — Yes, certainly.
2985. And that whatever may be the abstract justice of the case practically, you have parishes very destitute, and that those who draw large revenues from them do not feel themselves called upon to act as proprietors in other cases act? —  Yes.
2986. Whatever may be the abstract justice of the case, the poor population which is left is in a very miserable condition? —  No doubt of it.
2987. And you do not see the means of relieving it? —  I do not.
2988.You think that some portion of the funds arising from ecclesiastical property may properly be applied to those parishes though even without receiving benefactions? —  Yes.
2989. The Right Honourable Member on my right asked you whether if such grants were made it would not have a tendency to dry up the sources of private charity? —  Yes.
2990. Has not that argument been advanced against the system of the grant in aid by the Privy Council for education, namely, that if you give public money it dries up the sources of private charity? — I do not know; if it has been advanced I do not agree with it.
2991. Do you think that if grants were to the East of London it would have the effect drying up the sources of private charity? —  I certainly think not.
2992. Have you seen the rules of the Commissioners for the distribution of the fund? —  Yes.
2993. Have you seen a paper containing the particulars of the different destitute livings which the Commissioners distributed the fund last year? —  Yes, I have it in my hand.
2994. Do you think that that is a satisfactory scale to put forward? —  I scarcely think it is; I think that there are many parishes with £200 year that are infinitely worse off in point of spiritual destitution and where the clergyman is infinitely worse off than if he had £100 a year in other places. With regard to my own parish, and with regard, I am sure, to many of my brethren in the East-end of London, we should be very much better off, in a temporal point of view, if we had a curacy in the country with an income of only £100 or £120 a year. The demands upon us are very great in every way to support schools and various other charities of the sort; I believe that every year of my life my charities cost £1,500, and I have to beg it, or to give it in some way or other. Therefore I am strongly of opinion that actual income is not an absolute test of the position in which a clergyman stands; that if there is an enormous poor population he is worse off with £200 a year than if he had a small country place with £100 or £120. Then I think that the scale of population adopted by the Commissioners is not sufficient in point of classification, because they put £2,000 and upwards, and no other gradations beyond that.
2995. That is the first class, is it not? —  Yes.
2996. So long as there are undivided districts of 30,000, 20,000 and 10,000 inhabitants, with a very small endowment to the clergyman, do you not think that those districts should be specially placed at the head of such a classification as that? — Yes, I think so; in my immediate neighbourhood we have Poplar, with a population of 34,950 souls.
2997. Undivided? — Yes; and with one church only.
2998. How many clergymen are there? —  I think three; we have Stepney parish church, with a population of 27,607, with only one church; and there is St. Mary's, Haggerstone, with a population of 30,436. I think there are three churches at the East end of London, and only three, with an income of £500 a year; Poplar is one of them; it is a Brazenose living, and, I think, has about £500 or £600 a year.
2999. Do you think that that paper to which I have called your attention agrees with one of the rules of the Commissioners, namely that "In selecting cases priority will be given to those which, having regard to population, area, and income, shall appear to be the most necessitous"? —  My own impression is, that the most necessitous are those at the East-end of London, and those on the other side of the water, namely, in Lambeth, and they have not received any assistance; I think that they require it, because many of them have £200 a year, and others are unable to meet benefactions.  
3000. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] When you that they have not received any assistance, are you certain of that? — I am not saying that none of them have received any assistance; but those that I have alluded to have received no assistance.
3001. Chairman] Do you think that the of the Ecclesiastical Commission in the distribution of the surplus revenues of the Church has been satisfactory with regard to the of these large populations? —  I suppose that Ecclesiastical Commissioners have not had large funds as yet in their hands, and it is not for me to say anything against the distribution of the funds that they have had; I would rather press upon them, or whoever may have the management of the ecclesiastical funds, that they should look to the interests of the large populations more than they have done as yet; I do not wish to find fault with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, nor to blame them, but I do think that attention should be specially paid to large and poor populations with small incomes.
3002. You are aware that when the Ecclesiastical Commission was established in 1836, a considerable portion of our capitular establishments were suppressed with a view to relieving the spiritual destitution of populous places? —  Yes, I believe so.
3003. In these 26 years which have elapsed, you think that the result is as satisfactory as might have been expected? —  I scarcely think it has been satisfactory.
3004. Are you aware of the amount of the fund distributed this year? —  No.
3005. Are you aware that it was £100,000? — No.
3006. Is it your opinion that the action of the Commissioners has been satisfactory regard to the distribution of the common fund, whatever it may be? —  I think that it might improved; I should not like to give an opinion that point, not having myself applied; I never applied to the Commissioners, and many of those whom I represent have never applied to them, and therefore it would be hardly fair to them for us to say that we have not been properly used when we have not made any application.
3007. You can only speak to the fact of these large masses of population being left with very inadequate means of spiritual instruction? — Yes.
3008. Do you think that the constitution of the Commission is satisfactory to the clergy at present? —  I believe that many of the clergy think that the numbers of the Commissioners are too large, and that possibly it might be an advantage to have a smaller body regulating the distribution of the fund. Very often in the case of large bodies of people, they are carried by one or two leading individuals, and the whole of the responsibility is thrown upon one or two I think responsibility ought to be taken by those who perform the acts of the body, and if a secretary, or any single person, takes the responsibility of advising this, that, or the other, I think that he ought to be answerable for that responsibility, and I cannot see how so large a body can be held responsible. That is the notion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; he said that he was only one out of a very large body of persons; and I think that where there are so many members of a body, the responsibility almost vanishes and becomes nothing nothing.
3009.Then you think that the ought to be reduced in number? —  I think might possibly be an advantage to the fund, if the body were reduced in number.
3010. Do you think that the parochial clergy should be at all represented upon the Board? —  I have not turned my attention to that point.
3011. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] Have you deliberated upon the subject at all, so as to form opinion with regard to the constitution of the Commission? — I am not competent to give of an opinion upon it, but as I have said, I heard it stated that the clerk to the Board manages the whole of the business. I am answering now from my own knowledge, but is only lair that I should state honestly and distinctly what many clergymen believe, namely, that the clerk to the Board does just as he with the whole of the Commission, and makes arrangements as he sees fit, and that the Commissioners endorse everything that he places before them. Whether it is true or not, it is for Commissioners to say, and not for me.
3012. Mr. Selwyn] Do you mean the clerk or the secretary? —  The secretary.
3013. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] Have you at deliberated upon the general principle upon the Commission distribute the Surplus Fund, or have you discussed the subject with your brethren? —  No.
3014. You said that you thought you had prior claim to divide the proceeds of the estate before anybody else? —   I said, cæteris paribus; that is to say, the population being equal, the destitution equal, the small income equal, and other things equal, I consider that a parish in the diocese of London has a prior claim to a parish anywhere else.
3015. And you consider that there should be attempt, I suppose, when those elements are in different directions, to compound a ratio? —  Yes; I should take the whole circumstances of any parish in the diocese of London, and if they were equal to those of any other parish, I should that the parish in the diocese of London would have a preference of claim upon the Finsbury prebend.
3016. I rather gather from what you say you and vour brethren in the East of London have had your eyes set upon this property in the Finsbury prebend, and have not directed your attention to augmenting your income from other sources, such as benefactions out of the common fund of the Commission? —  I do not think that many of us have applied; the great difficulty is in raising money to meet those benefactions; I am satisfied that in most instances it is next to impossible.
3017.That difficulty having been overcome throughout the greater portion of the country, is there anything fatal to the attempt being made in the East of London? —  There are more claims upon a clergyman in the East of London than in other places.
3018. You said that you thought that your incomes ought to be made up to what they should be; what do you think should be the income of the clergy in the East of London? —  I should say about £300 a year; not less than £300 a year.
3019. Have a certain number of the clergymen houses? —  The majority have houses; others have not.
3020. Do you think that the reasonable wishes of the clergy would be satisfied if their incomes were made up to £300 a year? — I think they would.
3021. With or without a house? —  I think that they ought to have £300, and a house.
3022. If you were told that where the Ecclesiastical Commissioners admit a local claim their object is to make an income of £300 a year, with a house for the incumbent, do you think that that is a satisfactory provision? —  Yes, I think so.
3023. Mr Newdegate] Do you not think that if a clergyman were established with an endowment he would be a useful agent for procuring benefaction in the form of a site for a parsonage house, and a site for a church, and for building both? — Yes, I think he would.
3024. Is it not your opinion that that would be employing a natural agency in order to bring private benefactions to meet benefactions given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  Yes; I think it would be a very satisfactory mode of proceeding.
3025. Mr. Philipps] Have you had any assistance from the Curates' Aid Society? —  Yes, I have two grants from them, one of £80 for my senior curate, to which I give £20 out of my own limited income, to make it £100, and another of £40 for the junior curate; and I have to raise £60 to meet that.
[Diocesan Curates' Aid Societies are not to be confused with the national Church Pastoral Aid Society, which only financed evangelical curates.]
3026. Has the rateable property of the parish diminished materially of late? —  No, I think not; there has recently been a valuation of the parish, and I think that the diminution has been upon the property of the London Docks, and that there has been an enhancement rather than a diminution on the other property of the parish; not very much, but still some difference.
3027. You say that you have great difficulty in getting subscriptions from the owners of property in the parish? —  Very great difficulty indeed.
3028. I think you have also stated that many of the properties are mortgaged? —  Many of the properties are in the hands of poor people who have built houses and collect the rents themselves; and they have very great difficulty in obtaining the rents, and many of them are very poor. I know an instance at the present moment which led to that observation; there are four or five houses now in one of my poorest streets which are absolutely empty; I believe that they are leasehold property. The owner of the lease died some little time ago; a person whom I know the parish had lent money upon that lease, and he has not received his money, and I believe that the houses are all tumbling down, because it is not worth his while to repair them.
3029. Do you ever get any assistance from the mortgagees? —  Very little.
3030. Mr. Deedes] Are you aware that evidence with regard to the spiritual destitution these parishes in this part of London has been before submitted to Parliament? —  I believe has, before a Committee of the House of Lords.
3031. Commonly called the Spiritual Destitution Committee? — Yes.
3032. The circumstances, I apprehend, remain much the same as they were then? —  They are quite as bad, and gradually becoming worse, because the more respectable part of the population is moving off to the suburbs, and leaving the very worst for us to look after; we unfortunately cannot move.
3033. Is not that really one of the great causes of the increased and increasing destitution, namely, that the better part of the population, after the fashion of the day, is removing from the locality where the property is situated, and therefore you have not that hold upon them which you had before? —  Yes.
3034. I believe that since that evidence was given nothing has occurred to alter the state of things for the better, but that on the contrary it has rather been aggravated? — Yes.
3035. I collect from your general evidence that one chief object which you have in view is to prove that these parishes, being so destitute, ought to have a very large share of the Finsbury prebend? —  Yes.
3036. Are you aware when the Finsbury prebend will come into hand? —  In 1866 or 1867, I think.
3037. Therefore a period of four years would elapse before your principle could be applied? —  Yes.
3038. It is the end of 1867 or the beginning of 1868, in fact? — Yes.
3039. Therefore a period of more than five years must elapse before your principle can be applied? —  Yes.
3040. You spoke, though not very confidently, of some applications, I think, having been made to the Commissioners for aid; you have no fault to find, or complaint to make on the part of those whom you represent, of the manner in which their applications have been met, have you? —  No; I believe that there is one of the incumbents in the deanery which I represent, who made some complaint with regard to an application for a parsonage house; but I do not know the exact particulars of it, and therefore cannot state them.
3041. You said, I think, in answer to a question from the Honourable Chairman, that you thought, looking at the time the Commission had been formed, namely, since 1836, that as much had not been produced as should have been done up to the present time? — I think so.
3042. Are you prepared to state in what way you would have altered the course of action, so as to have brought about a better state of things? —  I would have given more consideration to the wants of large and poor parishes. I think that rules are very good, and, in fact, they are essential for the carrying on of any establishment, either the Ecclesiastical Commission or any other; but I do think we may stretch rules too tightly, and that they will defeat their own objects if too strictly adhered to; and I think that the case of the East-end of London, the spiritual destitution of which has been before the public for a considerable number of years, ought at once to have been met by the funds in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. When the report of the Spiritual Destitution Committee was laid before Parliament, I think that immediate action ought to have been taken to remedy the worst cases therein delineated by the clergy who were examined and others.
3043. Even although the result of that might have been the appropriation of nearly the whole of the surplus fund from year to year in the hands of the Commissioners, to distribute as they are directed to do by Act of Parliament? —  Yes.
3044. Mr. Alderman Copeland] I understood you to state that the London Dock Company had intimated their intention to withdraw their subscriptions to your schools, but that by your influence with a friend of your own connected with the Company, they had continued them for a time? —  Yes; that was the case last Christmas. They have subscribed ever since my church was built, and my schools were established, £20 a year to the one, and 20 guineas to the other. We had some difficulty two years ago in obtaining the subscription, and last year I had an intimation from the secretary that it would be discontinued. I then went and saw the treasurer, whom I knew personally, Mr Entwistle (and I must say that the Company generally are always exceedingly kind to me), and he said "I will do what I can"; and two or three days afterwards he wrote to state that he had succeeded in obtaining a continuance of the grant.
3045. Did they give you any reason why they should decline to subscribe for the future;  was it in consequence of the badness of trade and because their revenues had decreased? —  Their revenues have fallen 50 per cent.; their shares, I think, are now about £56, and some two or three years ago they were £98 or £100.
3046. They did pay 4½ per cent., and are now paying about 2¼? —  Yes.
3047. With reference to your parish, did I understand you correctly, that a portion of it is built upon the estate of the Mercers' Company? —  Yes, they gave the ground for the church and they gave a freehold for the parsonage.
3048. Did they give any endowment? —  No; there is not a shilling of endowment at all.
3049. What description of property is generally built upon that estate at Stepney belonging to the Mercers' Company? —  They are small houses; the streets are very nicely laid out, but the houses are small, and let from £20 to £24 a year.
3050. They are erected, I suppose, for the accommodation of the labouring and working population? —  Yes, and for the clerks of the dock and so on; persons receiving perhaps £60 or £80 a year, a guinea a week, and so on.
3051. Do the Mercers' Company contribute at all to your schools? —  They give me five guineas a year for my schools. When we made some improvements in the church four or five years ago, they sent me £50.
3052. Have you any idea of the rental of the Mercers' Company's estate at Stepney? —  No; there is a considerable amount in my parish but I do I do not know the rental; it is some thousands a year. I might perhaps be permitted to state that the property in my district does not belong to the Mercers' Company quâ Mercers' Company, but as trustees for St. Paul's School; that is to say, as Dean Colet's trustees, the founder of St. Paul's School.
3053. Mr. Freeland] Do the Mercers' Company give much to your other charities? —  Nothing; I wrote to ask them to give to the school which I have mentioned, and they say that they cannot entertain the application.
3054.They give five guineas to your schools? — Yes.
3055. And nothing else? — And nothing else.
3056. Do you know whether companies, when they are owners of estates of that kind, generally give as other landlords do, or not? — They generally give less than other landlords, for the argument which they bring forward is this, that they are representatives of very poor persons, and that, therefore, they must take care of the interests of their shareholders; and very often, with regard to Church contributions, they say, "Why should we give this money to a Church contribution, when many of our shareholders are possibly Roman Catholics or Dissenters, who would get up at the annual meeting and find fault with the money having been given for Church purposes?"
3057. Is that generally the case with companies like the ' Company, holding large estates, as far as your experience goes? —  I believe so.
3058. Do you find that the trustees of a charity property, such, for instance, as Greenwich, if there are any within your knowledge, contribute or not? —  I have not any within my immediate knowledge.
3059. I think you said that the owners of tithe property were the most difficult to get anything out of? —  I do not know that I can say from personal experience; but I have friends among the clergy who live in parishes where such things as the alienation of tithes exist, and they tell me that they cannot get anything.
3060. Do you know anything as regards the tithes of Aldgate; in whose hands they are? —  I believe they are in the hands of a Mr. Kynaston.
3061. I think you said that many of the clergy thought that the number of the Commissioners was too great? —  Some of them do think so, I know.
3062. That the responsibility vanished? — That the responsibility becomes smaller in consequence of the number.
3063. Do you think that ecclesiastical persons generally, consistently with the other claims upon their time and their spiritual avocations, would be able to attend properly to the business of so large a Commission? — Not exclusively, I think but in my opinion they ought to be represented on the Board I think that there ought to be a certain clerical element on the Commission.
3064. Do you think that it ought to be in the persons of the ecclesiastics themselves rather than of lay delegates, or commissioners appointed by them to represent them? —  Of course qui facit per alium facit per se, and it would meet my view whether a bishop sat upon the Commission in his own person, or by his commissary appointed by him.
3065. Do you think that the ecclesiastics should be withdrawn for such purposes from their spiritual avocations? — I do not think that a bishop is absolutely and altogether employed in spiritual avocations. I think that the Church being endowed ithas its temporal possessions to be looked after as well as spiritual things; and though of course spiritual things should occupy our chief time and attention, yet I think also that we ought to look after, for the interests of our successors, as well as of ourselves, the temporal possessions which have been handed down to us from our forefathers. Therefore I should certainly not exclude ecclesiastical persons because their chief object was spiritual instruction.
3066. Would you prefer to be represented by lay commissioners, or would you rather have the Church represented in the persons of ecclesiastics? —  I think that I would prefer that it should be represented in the persons of ecclesiastics.
3067. Mr. Fenwick] You are aware of the clause in the Act of 1860. giving a priority to places where ecclesiastical revenues arise belonging to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —  Yes.
3068. Have you ever made application to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for assistance grounded upon that clause? —  No.
3069. Do you know what interpretation the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have put upon that clause as to the construction of the word "place"? —  I do not know of my own knowledge, but I have heard that they interpret the word "place" to mean parish, that is to say, the original parish, whatever its extent might have been, in which the property exists.
3070. If they gave a more liberal interpretation to the word "place" as something not necessarily co-extensive with the parish, you would have a priority of claim upon the common fund under that clause? — Yes we should. If they took in Stepney, as being contiguous to Finsbury, we should have what we require.
3071. But you have not made any application grounded upon that clause? —  We have not.
3072. Sir John Pakington] Your church is not the mother church of St. George's-in-the-East? — It is not.
3073. It is a district church? —  It is a district church. It is the oldest of the districts.
3074. Have you more than one church in the district? —  Not in my own district. I have a school service. I have three school services on the Sunday, but there is not another church in my district.
3075. That is to say, you perform Divine service in your school? — In the school rooms.
3076. Speaking as to locality, how far is your school from the church? —  The church is at one end of the district, the north-east, and the schools are at the very opposite end of the district, the south west. I have also another service in about the centre of the district, at the Ragged School, which is attended by poor people.
3077. When you told us that you had seven services a-day, does that number of services include the services in the school? —  Yes, we have only three services in the church.
3078. I presume that that number of services includes the services in both the school and the ragged school? — Yes, and also in the workhouse. [McGill was also chaplain of St George-in-the-East workhouse, a post later held separately.]
3079. I think you said that the population your district was upwards of 13,000? —  13,145.
3080. What is the area of your district? — About 43 acres.
3081. I think you said that you had two clergymen men besides yourself? — Two clergymen, and a home missionary who takes the ragged school service on a Sunday evening.
3082. Your own income is somewhere about £200 a year? —  £240.
3083. And it is diminishing? —  It is diminishing.
3084. In what ratio? —  In the next six weeks I shall lose £13 a-year by families going away who are paying pew rents to that amount at the present time.
3085. How much less is your income at the present time than it was two years ago? —  About £25.
3086. Judging from past experience, what do you suppose your income will be two years hence? —  Perhaps £220.
3087. How are the two curates paid? —  The Curates Aid Society give £80 to the senior and I give £20; the Curates Aid Society give £40 to the junior and I provide £60 which I raise by subscriptions.
3088. Then is the £20 which you give to the senior curate deducted from your gross income of £240? —  No, £240 is the net income.
3089. After deducting the £20? —  After deducting the £20 and £10 for the clerk.
3090. What is your gross income? —  About £270.
3091. When you state that £240 a year is your net income, I presume that all your charities and subscriptions are to be deducted from it? —  Yes there is nothing put for that at all.
3092. The £60 a-year for the second curate you collect by subscriptions? —  Yes.
3093. Do you find practically that with a population of 13,000 and upwards over the area which you have mentioned, yourself and two curates can properly attend to the spiritual interests of 70 per cent. of that population? —  We have very great assistance in the shape of district visitors; I have also a Scripture reader paid by the Scripture Readers' Society; I have also a nurse for my sick poor, who is paid by a lady at the west end of London, Mrs. Stuart Wortley, and I have a parochial mission woman, who is paid by Lady Wood and the ladies of the Parochial Mission Society, so that I have a very large staff continually at work in the district; therefore I may say that my district is well in hand, and well worked.
3094. Do you think that by the help of those aids which you have now enumerated you can properly attend to the spiritual interests of the Church of England portion of your population? —  I think that I can.
3095. Is that case peculiar to yourself, or should you say so far, as is within your knowledge, that those adjacent districts which you have mentioned are equally well off as regards those extraneous aids? —  Not one, I think, in the east end of London is so well off in that respect as I am.
3096. But you complain that you have no endowment, and that your income is insufficient to maintain your position? —  Certainly.
3097. I understand from your answers to the questions which I have just put, that you do not think it desirable for your district to increase the number of clergy? —  It would not be desirable certainly to diminish the income of my church by taking away a portion of the population who are now married and christened, and so on, at the church, and pay fees; it would not be desirable either for myself or my successors.
3098. My question had no reference to any pecuniary consideration. I ask you whether. looking only to the spiritual interests of the 70 per cent. of your population who belong to the Church of England, it is desirable that there should be more than three clergymen of the Church of England in the district? —  I certainly think that there ought to be more.
3099. How many more do you think that there ought to be? —  I think that there ought to be one clergyman for 3,000 at least. or 2,000.
3100. Therefore that would give two more churches? —  Yes. with two clergymen in each of them.
3101. Then you do not think that the spiritual interests of your district are attended to satisfactorily. notwithstanding the aids which you have I think that it would be very well cared for if more clergymen visited the sick? —  We have had 70 cases of sickness at one time within the last eight weeks on our own list; and if three clergymen can visit them as they ought to be visited, I think that it is doing a great deal.
3102. Is your district one in which you think that a sufficient benefaction could be raised to entitle you, under the rule of the Commission, to a grant ? — It certainly is not.
3103. I think that you have expressed in your former evidence a strong opinion that that rule, on the part of the Commissioners that they will give no grant without a corresponding benefaction, ought not to be a rule universally applied? — Yes.
3104. And I think that you were asked by a Right honourable Member of the Committee, whether the Commissioners were not at liberty to relax that rule if they chose; have you ever heard of any case in which that rule was relaxed? — I cannot charge my memory with having heard of any.
3105. Have you ever heard of any case in the east of London where a grant was made by the Commissioners without a benefaction being provided? — No I have not; I do not say that it has not occurred; but it has not come within my knowledge.
3106. You have never heard of it? —  I have not heard of it.
3107. Is not the obvious result of the strict application of that rule to prevent the poorest places from getting the aid which they require more than the rich places? — I think so, certainly.
3108. Mr. Cardwell] The immediate object of your coming to give evidence is to represent the claim of the districts in the east of London upon the Finsbury prebend prospectively falling in, is it not? — Yes.
3109. Though the rule with regard to local claim might not recognise you at present, you think that in equity and moral justice you ought to be recognised as having a local claim upon the revenues to arise from the Finsbury prebend? — Yes.
3110. You are aware that the grants which made are made from a fund called the Common Fund? —  Yes.
3111. Your opinion is, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners ought to favour in the distribution of that Common Fund the most populous? —  Provided they are also the poorest.
3112. So that, as a general principle, your view would be, that the necessity of the particular district should be the strongest argument with those who have to distribute the money? —  Certainly.
3113. At the same time it is obvious that those who have to distribute the money must be ultimately limited by the amount of the money which they have to distribute? —  Certainly.
3114. But the more local claims are recognised the smaller will be the Common Fund, which is the result of contributions from which local claims are to be deducted? —  Yes.
3115. It is, therefore, necessary for those who have to administer this money for the relief the Church, to draw a line and to determine how much they will give to local claims, and how much shall be carried to the Common Fund? — Yes.
3116. And the more which is allowed to local claims, the less will go to the Common Fund? — Yes.
3117. The less, therefore, will remain to be applied to these populous districts, which as you justly say should have the first claim upon the Commissioners? — Yes.
3118. Is it then chiefly on the ground of claim that you seek to stand, or on the ground that your districts are extremely populous, and your necessities very urgent? — On both grounds; first, because our necessities are urgent and populations large; and, secondly, because we have what I regard as a local claim. I look the general purpose for which this money left, and the general object for which the Commission was appointed. I consider that the of this money was intended for the benefit of the people of this country; and therefore when the people of this country are without these means of grace, I say that that is primary and the most obligatory of all the obligations upon this Commission, or upon any commission. But, secondly, we put it upon the ground of contiguity to the neighbourhood the property has become so very much enhanced in value. We consider that our poor people have made that property what it is; we consider that the Finsbury prebend would not been worth more than some £200 or £300 year; as it was when it was first given to St. Paul's, if it were not for the enormous population which has gathered together in London, and has now made it worth £50,000 or £60,000 per annum; and we say that the people who have done that are the people who in all matters both spiritual and temporal, ought to first considered; therefore, in answer to your question I say that on both grounds, on the ground of our enormous population, and our enormous destitution spiritually, and also on the ground that we ourselves have been the architects of this fortune, whatever it may be, we have the first claim to have our wants relieved.
3119. It is quite possible that your district, or any particular district, may be so situated as that its claim ought to be recognised by the Commissioners, whether it be upon the ground of local claim, or whether it be as a charge upon the Common Fund; but what I want to direct your attention to is this, the more the local claim is acknowledged, the smaller becomes the Common Fund? — Yes.
3120. It is, therefore, not possible to give advice to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners or to Parliament, which shall at the same time authorise them to allow more to local claims, and also to distribute more from the Common Fund? — Certainly not.
3121. I want to call your attention to that impossibility, and to ask you upon which ground it is that you particularly seek to rest your claim; that of local claim, or that of a claim from your necessities constituting a charge upon the Common Fund? — I can only answer that question in the same way as I have already done; I say that we have a strong claim upon both grounds, and I should be unwilling to give up either ground.
3122. You would admit, I have no doubt, that any body of men entrusted with the distribution of a fund for public purposes are bound, as far as possible to distribute it by general rules? —  Certainly.
3123. If they were to do otherwise; if they were to make very numerous and continual exceptions, it would be difficult to persuade those who ought to be the recipients of the fund, that fairness, and justice, and wisdom, guided the proceedings of the Commissioners? — Yes.
3124. I have drawn your attention to the circumstance, that in framing their rules the Commissioners under the statute have to attach a certain weight to local claim, and that the more weight they attach to local claim, the smaller will be the Common Fund from which the general claims are to be met? —  Yes.
3125. I want to ask your opinion whether you recommend that more importance than heretofore should generally be attached to local claims, or less? — More.
3126. Then you would, speaking generally, do more for the locality in which the property is situate, although the necessary consequence of that was to throw less to the Common Fund? —  With regard to the Finsbury prebend, my impression is, that it being a special fund, about to fall into the hands of the Commissioners, and not yet fallen, it ought to be dealt with specially. I do not say anything with regard to the general management of the Common Fund, or with regard to the general notion of local claims; but with regard to the Finsbury prebend, which has not yet fallen in, and which will fall in in a few years, I think that a special arrangement ought to be made to meet the special wants of the east end of London.
3127. Then I understand you to limit evidence to your view of your own case, and the prospective falling in of the Finsbury prebend, rather than to apply it to the general of the Commission? —  Certainly, with regard the east end of London. I do not think that should apply to the Common Fund on any terms than other parishes which are equally destitute, if there are such, which, I believe, there are not; but if we apply to the Common Fund as a common fund, of course we must follow same rules as regulate other applicants to Common Fund. But here is a prebend which consider we have caused to be so valuable our labour, and we think that we have a claim upon it, and that our claim ought first all to be allowed before any portion of that prebend goes to any one else.
3128. You would not extend that to cases, but apply it exclusively, so far as answer goes, to the populous districts in the east end of London? —  Yes; but I think that the same thing would hold with regard to the mining districts of Durham; I think that if it is fair for us, it would only be fair for them.
3129.What I understand you to say is, that you would compound the two principles; that where the district was populous, and there was property in the district, you would give a wider interpretation to the local claim than you would in other cases where the property had been improved by the industry of the people, but where the population was not so excessive, and the poverty was not so great? — Yes, I think that the people are the first to be considered.
3130. But I am sure that you perceive that if the amount attributable to local claim be increased, the Common Fund must be diminished? — Yes;  the original amount being the same, of course, if you take it with one hand, you cannot have it with the other.
3131. You must also perceive, that if, in consequence partly of your advice, the rule which ascribes importance to local claim were extended by the Commissioners, the produce of the Common Fund must be proportionately diminished? —  Certainly.
3132. Then am I to understand you to say that you wish to recommend, as a general principle, the extension of the local claim to the diminution of the Common Fund? — I do not think that I would give to a parish because it was near, in the way that we are, to the parish from which the property arose, any exclusive advantage over others, or any priority over others unless it had a priority of claim other than local. For example, I say that we have a priority of claim from our spiritual wants, from our poverty, and from our population; and that we also have a priority of claim from contiguity, but contiguity alone should not give a priority of claim, and, therefore, a diminution of the sum by the extension of local claims would scarcely exist.
3133. If I rightly collect the meaning of your last answer, it is chiefly from the great population of your district and the great necessity in which you find yourself that you think that you have a claim, rather than from the circumstance of contiguity? —  From both, but certainly from the former more than from the latter; from our absolute wants rather than from our contiguity, but still from both.
3134. So far as local claim is recognised, it is a deduction, is it not, from the principle upon which the Common Fund itself is constituted? — I do not know at all; I do not know the principle on which the Common Fund was constituted.
3135. The Common Fund would not exist at all if the funds which arise from each locality were devoted to meet the expenditure of that locality? —  Certainly not.
3136. A local claim is a charge upon the funds arising from the locality before the balance is carried to the Common Fund? —  Yes.
3137. The principle, therefore, which constitutes the Common Fund fails in proportion as the local claim is allowed? — Yes; but then a large amount of the property which now forms the corpus of the Common Fund comes from parishes where the population is very small indeed. I know a parish in Norfolk where there is a friend of mine, and I think that the entire of the tithes and a very large portion of the parish belong to the Dean and Chapter of Norwich; the population is about 30, and I suppose that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners get some hundreds a-year from that parish; but do not suppose for a moment that I should say that that money ought to go to the clergyman of that parish with 30 people; I think that that would be throwing the money away.
3138. That brings me back to what I have understood you to say, namely, that what you consider to be your principal claim arises from the great amount of your population, and the great poverty of your district? — Yes, the two together.
3139. And that the general principle of extending local claims to the diminution of the Common Fund from which these populous districts are ordinarily supplied, does not meet with your approval? —  Not unless there are the same elements of claim, namely, poverty and population; if there are the same elements, certainly I think that in addition to the claim, of poverty and population, contiguity to a neighbourhood constitutes a claim.
3140. It does not signify to a district whether it receives the money in the nature of a local claim before it is carried to the Common Fund, or whether the money having been carried to the Common Fund is subsequently allotted to the district; provided the district gets the money; it makes no difference of course to the recipient; that being so, does it not come to this, that it depends ultimately upon the population and the poverty of the district whether a sum of money should be allotted either under the designation of local claim, or under the designation of an allowance from the Common Fund? —  In the allowance of local claims, the Commissioners have given, in the case of Shoreditch, a sufficient and adequate endowment, namely £300 a year to each of the churches; I believe that that is the arrangement which has been made; but if we were to apply, if any of us should be fortunate enough to obtain benefactions from our people, or if we were to give them ourselves, all that we should receive from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners out of the Common Fund, as a common fund, not as a local claim, would be £1,000, which would not be more than £30 a year; one-tenth of the £300; therefore, I must enter a sort of caveat against the fact as you have stated it, that it makes no difference whether we are relieved as having a local claim, or whether we are relieved upon the general principles which have hitherto governed the Common Fund; in the one case we could only get £30 a year, in the other case we might get £300.
3141. You have misunderstood my question; am not assuming that the rules by which Common Fund is distributed are to remain they now are, but I am endeavouring to your attention to the fact, that in proportion as the principle of local claim is extended, the corpus of the Common Fund is diminished; having directed your attention to that fact, I wish to ascertain from you whether you recommend the principle of local claim to be or not? —   I think that I should recommend local claim in all cases where it is equal to others to have the preference.
3142. Then you would recognise it where population was large, and where the poverty was great, but not where the circumstances of district were otherwise? —  Certainly not.
3143. In other words, it would depend the population and the poverty of the district, what the allowance should be which it receive from the Commissioners? — Yes.
3144. Mr. Kinnaird] With reference to own parish, you have stated, I think, that have three curates? —  Two curates and a missionary; he comes on the Sunday evening.
3145. You have a Scripture reader? — Yes.
3146. And a female agent? — Yes; a sick and a parochial mission woman, to go amongst the poor to improve their social habits; to teach them to cook, and so forth.
3147. A great deal of that is given from extraneous sources to the parish? —  All of it.
3148. Is not it owing to its great destitution, that a sympathy is created on behalf of it? — Yes.
3149. And do you not think that the income were increased, a great deal of sympathy would be taken elsewhere. If you assistance from the Commissioners by the additional endowments, might it not tend to the voluntary aid which comes to you, through the great necessities of the district? — I have doubt that if the living were instead of £240 year £2,000 a year, 1 should not have the amount of help; but in the event of churches which I am speaking of being from this prebendal fund, I should suggest the whole of them should be made free; the pew rents should cease, and that the payments which are now obtained with the greatest difficulty from the congregation, should at terminate, and that the £300 a year should afford a free church to the whole of the district.
3150. Are you entirely opposed to pew rents if they could be obtained? —  No, not in a district like the West end; I think that people there are willing and able, and ought to pay their pew rents; but in a district where the people are as poor as they are in mine, I think that the matter is utterly impossible; that it must cease; but if the Commissioners take these endowments from the Finsbury prebend, then I say throw the churches open, and we should have them full immediately.
3151. If you were to lower the pew rents to a very low figure, would not that be some advantage, so as to secure to the poor people a sort of interest and right in their seats? — I myself am certainly in favour of a free church in poor districts; let all persons go where they please when the door is opened,
3152. Are you aware that in Scotland, even in the case of the poorest population, they are quite willing to pay a very small amount? — Yes, I think that they are, and 1 believe that they are so in the poorer parts of London.
3153. Should you not say that on the whole that was a sounder principle than yours? — I am rather putting it in this way to show, as the representative of the clergy of the east end of London, that we are not anxious to increase our present incomes at the expense either of the fund or of the poor; our object is to benefit our people; we find that very few can afford to pay pew rents, and I think that most of us, or very many of us, would be willing to have our churches free as a return for this endowment, if we get it from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
3154. Bad as your district is, and bad as is the locality in the immediate neighbourhood of your own parish, is not the spiritual destitution in the new districts, such as by the Victoria Docks and round the suburbs of London, quite as great, and quite as much in need of assistance as your own? —  I think so; I think that we are all in the same boat at the east end of London.
3155. You see no symptoms of diminution, but rather a growing mass of destitution? —  An increase of misery and destitution.
3156. Chairman] If claims like yours had been acknowledged, on whatever principle, do you think that we should have heard so much as we have done of the question of local claims? — I do not think that we should; Shoreditch has been the worst of all, I believe; that deanery, from which the Finsbury prebend springs, contains 310,000 people, and there are only 30 churches in it at the present moment.
3157. Do you not think that if the Metropolis was well provided with the means of spiritual instruction, it would have a great effect throughout the country generally? — Yes, I think so, and that it would improve the people.
3158. Do you think that any portion of the proceeds of the Finsbury prebend which will fall in in 1868 should be anticipated immediately for the wants of the district? —  I doubt whether it would be politic to do so, because I think that you anticipated it, you would have to anticipate at a very considerable subsequent loss.
3159. Mr. Kinnaird] The state of that district and its spiritual destitution being such as you have described, what would it have been if it had not been for the efforts of the Nonconformist body generally; would it not have been in a very much more frightful condition? — Certainly.
3160. Mr. Fenwick] Are you acquainted with the mining districts in the north of England, from which large Ecclesiastical revenues arise? — No I am not.

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