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of the day under the Radical régime. Let us see how much freedom they will give us.
Free Church, of course, means 'disestablished and disendowed Church.' Disestablishment, in Mr. Chamberlain's view, is part of the progress of humanity. Now, looking at the matter from the Tory view of Constitutional development, it is evident that the Church has been constantly altering her relations to the State. She altered them at the Reformation, she altered them again after the Restoration; she altered them finally when the Test Acts were repealed. But nothing in this course of development tends to show that its climax will be the disestablishment of the National Church. Desperate, indeed, would be the cause of liberty, and contemptible the political intelligence of the English people, if, in the ideal pursuit of freedom, they resolved to sever their connection with that Protestant Reformed Church, to preserve which they once altered the line of their hereditary monarchical succession. The English nation did not profess its indifference to the reformed religion when it abolished the old religious tests; it merely declared its belief that the Church was, spiritually speaking, quite strong enough, by aid of its existing organization, to hold its own against the sects without the direct protection of the State.
Mr. Chamberlain, however, wishes to do away with the Establishment as 'a great political engine for repressing the freest intellectual life and thought, and for opposing the manifestation and fulfilment of the popular will. The people of England do not take this view of the Church. They remember that, at a time when the Church occupied a more dominant position than she does at present, she stood in the breach to defend those national liberties which the Dissenters were ready to surrender. They retain, too, a tradition of the amount of freedom they enjoyed when the sects did actually succeed in disestablishing the Church; and their experience of the reign of the Saints has not predisposed them to accelerate the reign of the Philosophers. They know well that the Church within its ample borders has found room for taste and letters, for the wit of Swift and Sydney Smith; for the philosophy of Butler and Berkeley; while at the same time her free spirit has nurtured the piety of Wilson, Ken, and Keble; the missionary heroism of Patteson and Selwyn; and the faithful ministration of Hook. They give the Church credit for having, by her own voluntary movement, laid the foundations for the present system of National Education. And they admire the devotion shown by the clergy in grappling with the moral and physical evils of our great
great towns, which constitute so serious a danger to modern society.
It is, therefore, improbable that Mr. Chamberlain's views of spiritual freedom will commend themselves to public opinion. Unfortunately, it is not impossible that they may find more favour with certain parties in the Church itself. So far is the Established Church from restricting the spirit of liberty, that liberty is the chief cause of the evils from which she suffers. The constitution of the Church is founded on a compromise ; the existence of two parties within her pale has always been recognised as legitimate; yet the extreme sections of these two parties seem now to be bent on mutual destruction, the fanatical Protestants seeking to deprive their opponents of their constitutional liberty, and the ultra-Catholics setting at defiance the decisions of the law. Such a state of things is natural in the absence of any central spiritual authority like that recognised by the Church of Rome. 'Effects unhappy! from a noble cause.' But if Liberty causes these evils, she may also cure them. The good sense of the clergy must perceive that the Church is strong, because, in spite of differences, it is still able to act as an united body. All Churchmen have a common form of prayer, a common history, and a common belief in the fundamental doctrines of historical Christianity; they differ on one important question-the nature and attributes of the priesthood. Surely, under such circumstances, it is advisable to apply as far as possible the principle of laisser faire. Let both the extreme parties find by experience that they cannot have everything their own way. The Church Association will learn that sacerdotalism has no attractions whatever for the bulk of Englishmen, except when it seems to be persecuted. The Ritualists, on the other hand, will find out that the common sense of the country is not prepared to tolerate in its clergy all the characteristics of the Roman Catholic priesthood except their celibacy and their submission to authority. There is a growing aversion among Churchmen on both sides for the excesses of extreme partisans, and a desire to promote common action, which shows itself in the increasing popularity of the Diocesan Conferences. A modus vivendi may eventually be secured if we are not too hasty in anticipating it by attempts at legislation. We have entire sympathy with the objects proposed in the enabling' measure which has lately passed through Convocation. Convocation is the constitutional voice of the Church, and it is right that the Church should have a just amount of power to regulate its own affairs. On this subject we have spoken at length in another article in the present number. Meanwhile
Meanwhile we would suggest to all those who desire the welfare of the Established Church that it is better to
'Bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of.'
The existing law as to ritual has been declared; let it be strictly enforced against those who are wilfully disobedient. Men who love their party and their own opinions better than the historical Church of England may advance the schemes of Mr. Chamberlain, but they will not serve the cause of liberty.
Upon the subject of 'free schools' and 'free labour' we need not dwell; it will be sufficient to translate the expressions into ordinary English. Free schools' in the Radical vocabulary mean schools at which attendance is compulsory, from which all religious instruction is rigidly excluded, and in which the education of the children of a part of the community is given at the expense of all the rest. We have had some experience of this system in a mild form, and Mr. Chamberlain may be assured of one thing-it is not popular. As to 'free labour,' we can only suppose that Mr. Chamberlain invented the expression in order to provide himself with a quartette of principles. It does not appear to have any meaning in common sense. The laws of England leave the workman at perfect liberty to make his own terms with his employer; if his freedom in this respect is restricted, it is by the tyranny of his own class, from which, at a certain point, the law steps in to protect him. It is true indeed that the law does not recognise in the workman a right to break with impunity the contracts into which he has entered with his employer. And, as this is the only limit which the law imposes on his liberty, we presume, if the phrase 'free labour has any meaning at all, that the Radicals, in their zeal for progress,' are prepared to remove the inconvenient restriction.
The question of free land' is of more practical moment, but here again the expression entirely fails to convey the meaning which Mr. Chamberlain intends. Liberty, in the opinion of the Radicals, is nothing without equality; and their conception of 'free land' is land freed from the encumbrance of an aristocracy, and divided, as in France, among small proprietors. But how is this end to be attained by legislation? Mr. Chamberlain thinks that it might be arrived at by abolishing the law of entail and the custom of primogeniture. There can be no doubt whatever that the land laws of England were designed for the protection of an aristocracy; and, considering that the aristocratic
element has been predominant through the history of our nation, this cannot be considered very surprising. The law of entail originated in the desire of the landowner to preserve his estate to his family, and to secure it against forfeiture by the Crown; while the custom of primogeniture was of course designed to perpetuate the existence of families. We may recognise historically how valuable the law has been to England by creating a body sufficiently powerful to secure our liberties against the encroachments of the Crown. And we must acknowledge too that the effect of the custom has been salutary in compelling the younger members of families to rely on their own exertions, thus leavening society with the manners and sentiments of the aristocracy, and furnishing a constant supply of officers for our army and navy. But these benefits have now been secured by long habit, and the restrictive operation of the law of entail has ceased to exercise any real influence on the preservation of families. Should it appear from the evidence given before the Royal Commission on Agriculture that the restrictions of entail operate injuriously to the interests of the community, we do not suppose that any party in the country would seriously resist its abolition. We believe, however, that it will be found that the effects of entail have been unduly magnified. It was possible, almost from the first, to contravene its operation by the method of 'common recovery'; and it is now chiefly employed in making provision for marriage settlements. A very strong case will have to be made out against the evils of entail, before the Legislature will consent to take away from the owner of real property the liberty that it secures to the owner of personalty.
But in any case, if Mr. Chamberlain thinks that the reform of the land laws will produce a revolution in the tenure of land, he will be disappointed. Suppose that the law of entail were repealed to-morrow, what would be the effect? Simply that poor owners would be replaced by rich ones, while small entailed estates would be engulfed in large neighbouring properties. Invalidate the custom of primogeniture, and we should only find that landowners would be more careful to make their wills. Again, Mr. Chamberlain talks of securing to the tenant by Act of Parliament compensation for unexhausted improvements. But what fresh security can the Legislature give the tenant that he cannot secure for himself? On old estates with an hereditary tenantry old ties of affection between landlord and tenant render protection unnecessary. In other cases, when there is no contract, the Agricultural Holdings Act raises a presumption in favour of the tenant. And in simple cases of contract why should the Legislature intervene between the parties more than
in any other commercial transaction? The truth is, that Mr. Chamberlain's proposals are not nearly stringent enough to secure his objects. Free land,' in his sense, will only be obtained when the Legislature interferes to prevent liberty of bequest and to limit the right of ownership.
To discuss such a possibility in England is superfluous. We will only add one or two remarks to show the futility of applying abstract principles to a question which can only be viewed in relation to circumstances. We have lately heard a great deal about the successful farming of the small owners in Saxony and Prussia, and about the wealth acquired by the petty proprietors in France, as if we had nothing to do but to apply the same principles in England with a like certainty of success. It is forgotten that the ideal of life among these foreigners is entirely different from that which prevails in England. The results which they produce are no doubt due to a sense of ownership, but it must be added that beyond this goal of petty proprietor. ship their thoughts and desires never extend. Thus their ideas, their families, and their numbers are alike stationary; the son inherits the traditions as well as the property of his father, and treads in the same limited track :
'Idem condit ager soles, idemque reducit,
There is much that is beautiful in a primitive society of this kind, and which England does not possess. It has the virtue of social stability. But how would it be possible to apply their system of life in a country whose fortunes have been determined by a principal of constant expansion? What but the operation of irresistible social and economical forces has caused the disappearance of the noble old English race of yeomanry? They have vanished before the growing power of capital, and the constant desire for the social status conferred by the possession of land. But the same influences which have encouraged the accumulation of large estates at home have driven the English race abroad, to enlarge their own fortunes and the borders of the empire. It is idle to compare the condition of any class of men in France or Germany, where the colonizing instinct does not exist, with the condition of the Englishman, whose first consideration is always how he may 'better' himself. We venture to say that there is not one of the questions between landlord and tenant, whether as to reduction of rent, removal of restrictions, preservation of game, or compensation for improvements, that will not be better settled by the laws of nature than the laws of Parliament. We are not obliged to consider the problem in the same way that we should