Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter II.: INTERLOCUTORY DECREES. - Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside)
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Chapter II.: INTERLOCUTORY DECREES. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) 
Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) (London: Charles Fox, 1834).
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Alice did not reach home before she was wanted. She found her father making tea;—the single domestic accomplishment in which the most abstracted student is seldom deficient. Mr. Hellyer knew his way to the tea-caddy, however he might lose himself in any other destination; and the tea made by him was never to be complained of, however much might be spilled by the way. His brother seemed to have intuitions equally bright respecting bread and butter. He could cut up a loaf with as much speed as he could demolish a bad argument; and the provision of the tea-table had half disappeared before Alice entered. A look from her uncle towards the radishes seemed to ask whether it was necessary that they should be left for supper. The fact was, that uncle Jerom had been on one of his literary excursions this day;—that is, that he had dined on a crust of bread which he had put in his pocket in the morning, to be eaten while looking over some books in the bookseller’s shop at Y—, where he had liberty to go, from time to time, to keep himself on a level with the age, without buying any thing. Uncle Jerom rarely bought any thing; for the sufficient reason that he had scarcely any money to spend. When he had paid the low sum required for his board and lodging in a farm-house, he had just enough left to purchase a coat every two years, and new shirts when the old ones would hold together no longer. Hats were obliged to take their chance; and a poor chance it was, as any one might see who happened to meet him in the lanes with the brown, crooked-brimmed covering which hung down almost over his eyes. When his engagements allowed him to sit down to the common farm-house diet, his heart was strengthened with solid fat bacon, or bread and milk: but when he chanced to be elsewhere at meal times, he was sure to repair before night to his brother, with desponding views of the prospects of the church, and of the interests of mankind in general.—Thus it was to-day; and while the vicar gave half his mind to investigating whether the water boiled, Jerom required of the other half to prove that the spirit of innovation which was spreading over the land was not threatening to uproot the very foundations of religion, as incorporated with the church of England. His spirits were not cheered by the apparition of Alice, ornamented with the hat he had left in the hall,—the very brownest and most misshapen of all that he had ever exhibited.
“Papa, what a pity uncle Jerom’s hat did not lie in the way when you spilled all that ink, this morning! I am sure it is browner than the carpet you spoiled.”
The vicar believed that he and his brother ought both to be thinking about new hats. It had occurred to him several times lately.
“Then you must let me have your old one, uncle. You cannot want it any more when you have a new one; and I want one for a scare-crow, for my radish bed. I shall never get another so ugly. Let me put it on you. Do be my scare-crow for a minute.”
Jerom put the little girl away, bidding her pour out his tea, and occupy herself with her own. He could not spare the hat. The clergy were fallen on evil days, and had not need give away any thing till something was done for them, instead of the little they had being taken away.
“I have reason to complain of the last,” observed the vicar; “but can you exactly say that nothing is done for the church? I suppose you mean, new measures. But this Bounty is something to you, is not it? You were very eager for it, I remember.”
“It is Queen Anne that we must thank, if we must thank any body. But this bounty ought not to be so called. It is a mere restoration of the property of the church, which had been usurped. It is folly to call it a gift.”
“Still, it is something done for the church, to take these first fruits and tenths from the rich clergy and give them to the poorer. It is something done for you, Jerom.”
“My first consideration is the church at large: and in that view, what is this bounty, after all? Its operation is slow and inconsiderable. Let it be managed as well as you will, it will be between two and three centuries before all the livings already certified will exceed 50l. a year. In the meantime, I must come back out of my grave, if I am ever to have 50l. a year from my living.”
“But it will be a great thing to see you settled in a parsonage house. It will be but a small one that can be built for 200l.: but I confess I am concerned for the dignity of the church; and I agree with you so far as to desire to see every living with the parsonage house and glebe land to which it is entitled by common right. I shall look with pleasure on the building of your little parsonage, and thank Queen Anne.”
“You will see no such building in my time, brother. What am I to do with a parsonage, when I have not the means of living in it? As soon as I heard that the lot had fallen upon me, I requested that the 200l. might be applied in some better way than building me a house that I could not afford to live in.”
“Do you mean to exchange it for tithes, or to let it be invested in lands? I hope, as you have objected to the house, that you will accept the amount in land.”
“Why? The rules allow me to exchange the bounty for an equal or greater amount of tithes, as well as for a different portion of land.”
“True: but I cannot make up my mind,—I have been long trying to make up my mind,—as to how far any traffic in tithes is agreeable to the divine law. I am sure, also, that you will be wise to keep clear of all unnecessary dealings with so uncertain and vexatious an article as tithes are now made. This last is only a secondary consideration; but —”
“I am not sure of that,” replied Jerom.
“The dignity of the church must be first consulted, Jerom: and I have a certain repugnance to any thing like speculation in so sacred a property as tithes. In my opinion, the worst omen for the church is this peculiar revenue being in the hands of any laymen: and I much question whether the royal act of allowing lay impropriations be not the cause of the present adversity of the establishment.”
Alice looked up from her cup of tea, on hearing that tithe property was sacred. She asked, with a look of mortification,
“May not I play with the tithe lamb Mr. Parker sent this morning, papa? And he sent some eggs, too; and I bade Susan make a custard with them. Must not we eat any custard?”
“To be sure, my dear child. Why not?”
“I thought you said that what was tithe was sacred, papa.”
“Well, my dear, that does not prevent its being used. Do you forget what your Latin lesson was about, this morning?”
“About the bullocks that were offered to Jupiter. People did eat them, to be sure; and they were sacred. But those people were not Christians.”
“Which only shows, my dear child, that there are some things which are inherently sacred,—shown to be so by the light of reason and nature: and among these are tithes. You will find, hereafter, that the Phenicians paid tithes. So did the Egyptians and the Hindoos, as well as the Greeks and Romans: all which seems to prove that these nations must have been under one common guidance as to this institution. This is confirmed by a reference to the attributes of some of the heathen deities. Thus Apollo —”
“O, Apollo! The author of light —”
“Exactly so. Now mark what is conjoined with his being the source of light. He was emphatically called the ‘tithe-crowned,’ the ‘taker of tithes,’ and so on.”
“Then, papa, I will put some of Mrs. Parker’s mint and sage and parsley upon your head, and then you will be like Apollo.”
“As the Jews paid tithe in consequence of a divine revelation,” observed Jerom, “I should be disposed to doubt whether the tithe system arose from the light of nature.”
“Whether we so consider it, or conclude that it arose from some unrecorded revelation made to Adam,” returned the vicar, “my doubts remain as to whether this kind of property may be made the material of speculation, like any other kind of property.”
“But, papa, who took Adam’s tithes? Did he pay them to Eve, or to the angels? or, perhaps, to himself? Only, there would not be much use in that. If every body did so, I don’t know what would become of us.”
“I do not speak as from knowledge, child. I only mention what seems to me the most probable solution.—But, brother, there is further evidence, from its wide extension, of this being an institution of the highest origin, whether natural or revealed;—evidence which has not yet been duly improved. Governments have been supported in a vast majority of countries, by contributions analogous to our tithes;—contributions from the produce, not from the rent, of land.”
“Ancient Egypt, for instance. There the sovereign appropriated the fifth part, I believe, did not he?”
“A fifth, I believe: and the same was the case under the Mahomedan government in Bengal. In China, they take our exact proportion, one-tenth, which is a remarkable coincidence. Not that they are able to raise one-tenth —”
“Any more than ourselves.”
“Any more than ourselves; which extends the coincidence. In some provinces, a thirtieth is the utmost that can be levied.”
“Then I hope the coincidence will extend no further.”
“Indeed I don’t know,” sighing: “but my proportion becomes less every year. Those Asiatic governments have a power which we English clergy have not. They can help to improve the country from which they levy their tenths, while we can only claim the tithe, without having any title or power to aid its production. There is no inducement to a vicar, like myself, to plan a road, for instance, to some new market for produce, though my tithe might be much increased in value thereby. If I were a prince, on the other hand, I should do this directly, and profit by it.”
“And the land also; which seems to point out that this method of raising funds is better for a state than for a church, whose ministers can never have the same power of promoting improvement with those of a government.”
“But, papa, does the emperor of China take his fortune in hay or fruit, like you and Apollo, not in money? I should think it would be very easy to cheat him: and what a quantity of things he must have to stow away! And so must a clergyman in a very large parish.”
“Yes,” replied Jerom; “and that is the reason that tithes are generally paid in money, in large parishes. The tax would be so in China, too, I dare say, but that the mandarins like to have the collecting of it.”
“I think papa had better get a mandarin to collect his for him, if he finds that people cheat him, and do not pay him so much as they ought. Papa, I wish you would make me your mandarin. I should like to go about gathering eggs, and apples, and all the things that people pay you.”
“The mandarins have a different reason for liking to make these collections. They can cheat as well as the people under them. But yet, collecting under my own eye, as I do, mine is a hard case;—it is hard that I cannot get my tenths of the articles which are as much the property of the church as of the farmer who refuses me my due.”
“Mrs. Byrne says, however, that her husband’s is a hard case. He has all the trouble of planting and rearing, she says; and ever so much goes to those who have had none of the toil and the cost.”
“Mrs. Byrne shall have a rebuke from me, my child, if she talks so to you. So long as she has lived in this house, she must have heard me say, that the whole of what grows out of the ground is no more the property of the grower, than the parsonage is the property of the bricklayer that builds it. Mr. Parker’s hops never were all his; and it is quite wrong in him to murmur about any of them being taken away. He has a partner. Sir William Hood is his partner; and yet Mr. Parker repines at every payment, as if he were obliged to give something that belonged to himself.”
“I would give something to Sir William Hood to persuade him to leave off being a partner,” Alice observed: “for it must be very provoking to have so much trouble about another person’s share of hops.”
“Our first duty is, child, to maintain the claims of the church; and now that discontent is spreading, every good minister of the church will assert his right rather than suit his convenience.—And, besides, I doubt whether any clergyman or other tithe-holder, has a right to make any arrangement which would be objected to by those who will come after him. The property is that of the church, not of the individual; and he must keep it inviolate, for his successor: not even planning any disposal of it which the church may not approve a thousand years hence.”
“That was precisely the argument used by our predecessors,” observed Jerom, “when they scrupled about paying their first fruits and tenths to any but the Pope. They feared not only excommunication, but what the church might say five hundred years afterwards. But we hear little now of excommunication, and nobody wishes to pay to the Pope. Seeing, therefore, how little can be known of what is to come after, and that nothing is at present done for the relief and aid of the church, I should be disposed to make such agreement as should yield advantage in our own day, leaving it to Heaven to protect its own gospel in time to come.”
“Would you really, then, advise my letting my tithes to Peterson, as he desires? Is that what you would say?”
Jerom knew nothing of Peterson’s desire to be the lessee of the vicar’s tithes. He was thinking now of his own affair,—the application of the share of Queen Anne’s Bounty which had fallen to him. He had the power of getting it invested in the land now in course of enclosure in his parish. An inducement to such an arrangement was added in the wish of the landlord of the Abbey Farm to give Jerom a slice off his new fields, in lieu of tithe for the remainder. The Lamberts were taking in these new fields, and were evidently watching, with some anxiety, what would be done about the tithe. Being quakers, they would not countenance this claim of the church; and it was natural that they should be desirous of the matter being settled in a way which should save the necessity of resistance hereafter on their part, and aggression on that of the neighbouring clergyman. The matter remained in Jerom’s choice,—whether he should seek the consent of the patron and ordinary to his accepting, for the period of his incumbency, an addition to his allotment in lieu of tithe on the Lamberts’ new fields, or levy tithe upon his quaker neighbours. This was the argument which his spirit was revolving when Alice saw him from the summer-house, and thought he was watching for the stars to come out, while the sun was yet high.
The vicar looked full of consternation when he asked his brother whether he really meant to turn farmer. He knew the present law allowed the clergy to cultivate their allotments; but, in these evil days, when the holiness of the profession had suffered in the eyes of the people, no true church minister would run the risk of offence, by giving his attention to secular cares.
Very true, Jerom thought, if the church were duly protected: but, till its humblest ministers were sufficiently provided for, they must use the means that God put before them, to obtain bread. The employment of tilling the ground was a remarkably innocent and a primitive one, and there was less disgrace to the church in pursuing it, than in appearing in such a garb — in such —
“O, yes, your hat is very shabby indeed, uncle,” observed Alice. “But you would not object to uncle’s fishing, papa: would you?”
“Fish, my dear, do not yield tithe of common right, though, in some places, they are titheable by custom. Where tithed, it is only a personal tithe, and must be paid to the church where the payer attends divine service and receives the sacraments; and in your uncle’s parish, or mine, where there is neither sea nor a river where fish is taken for profit, there is no such tithe due. We have only ponds near, where fish are kept for pleasure; and it is agreed, as the law is uncertain on the point of such preserves of fish, that no claim for tithe shall be preferred. I have reason to know —”
“But I did not mean all this, papa. I asked you whether you would object to uncle Jerom’s fishing. I suppose farming is no worse than fishing, and some of the Apostles were fishermen.—And you are often busy about other things besides your preaching, papa, or your books either. Remember the battle you had with Mr. Byrne, about the turkey, in the winter. Mrs. Byrne could scarcely help laughing, though you and Mr. Byrne seemed likely to pull the poor thing to pieces between you. O, uncle, you should have heard the noise, when papa was talking very loud about the church, and Mr. Byrne was in a great passion, and the turkey gobbled as loud as either of them.”
“Why, brother,” said Jerom, “did not you know that it was decided in the case of Houghton and Prince, that turkies are to be ranked among the things that are feræ naturæ; and consequently not titheable?”
“On the other hand, it was affirmed in the case of Carleton and Brightwell, that it does not appear but that turkies are birds as tame as hens, or other poultry, and must therefore pay tithes; and this was in the face of the plea that turkies were not brought from beyond sea before the time of Queen Elizabeth. My distinction is between their being sold and spent in the house. However, I am willing to acknowledge that it would satisfy me well to place this part of my duty in the hands of a lessee, if I could be thoroughly persuaded that I should not thereby betray my responsibility and the dignity of the church.”
Jerom thought that if turkies must be wrestled for, it was more for the dignity of the church that it should be done by Peterson than by the vicar. He was by no means bent on farming his own land. He was rather disposed to let it. If the vicar would also let his tithes, he believed that both might be easy in conscience as to the guardianship of their trust.
“Moreover,” observed the vicar, “it will be in some sort an advantage to the church that Peterson should have the collecting of its dues in this parish, inasmuch as, with all my endeavours, I am compelled to forego many claims which I know to be just; and for another reason which I will presently relate. As to foregoing my claims,—I am well assured that I do not recover more than two-thirds of that to which I have a just claim; and I thus become guilty under the article of the ecclesiastical constitution which declares that those who, from the fear of man, shall not demand their whole tithe with effect, shall be liable to pay a fine to the archdeacon for disobedience.”
“If that article were put in force, how many of our brethren would be proved liable! On the average, they are thought to forego forty, and some say fifty per cent, of their dues.”
“God knows I have laboured diligently to avoid this sin! No pastor has brought more actions for an equal amount: and I have written to the justices so often that they begin, I fear, to be weary of my informations. But what can I do else for the ease of my conscience? The distraint and sale of Stratten’s goods last year caused me to lie awake a whole night from concern for the recusant; and I believe I could not have gone through with the affair but for the fear of being myself disobedient to the law of the church.”
“I saw little Mary Stratten to-day, sitting at the workhouse gate as you went by,” observed Alice. “She is not nearly so puny now,—since they all went into the workhouse,—as she was when you brought her in to be warmed and have a bit of bread that day in the winter. But, papa, Mr. Peterson will not prevent my making your hay, will he? You know you promised that I might make up your haycock in the rectory-field: and I told Joseph Lambert so, this afternoon.”
“It will be Mr. Peterson’s haycock, my child: but he will allow you to make sport with the haymakers, I do not doubt. And this reminds me, brother, of my other reason for allowing Peterson to become my lessee. I may thereby avoid all intercourse (unless on purely spiritual matters) with the person who is about to inhabit the rectory.”
“Ah! I heard that Sir William had let the rectory to a gentleman for two or three years; and I hoped he might be a prop to the church in this neighbourhood.”
“So far from it, that I must be incessantly vigilant lest he should poison the streams at which our flocks must drink.”
“Poison!” exclaimed Alice. “O, papa! is Mr. Mackintosh a bad man?”
“Go, my dear child, and occupy yourself in something pleasant till we send for you,” said the vicar.
“Papa, uncle Jerom has not done eating yet: and you know if you once send me away, you will forget to send for me again. You always do.”
The vicar, however, did not choose that his little daughter should have her mind contaminated by any ideas about infidelity, and uncle Jerom therefore resolutely pushed from him the last remains of the loaf, and Alice withdrew, full of curiosity about poisoning, and the dreadful thing, whatever it was, that was the matter with Mr. Mackintosh. She chose to employ herself in watering the flower-bed below the parlour window,—not for the purpose of overhearing, which was out of the question,—but that her father might, by seeing her, be reminded, in the midst of his affection for mother-church, that he had a daughter. She could not give up her privilege of being called ‘dear child,’ the last thing before she went to bed. She saw that papa and uncle had drawn their chairs close together, and that they looked very much like people talking secrets. And so they were.
“What! absolutely deistical? Well; such an open boast is better than concealed infidelity. Will have nothing to say to a clergyman? Then we are saved the trouble of declining his acquaintance. But how came Sir William to let his house to such a man? Living upon the church, as Sir William does, he might refrain from setting her interests at defiance by showing any countenance to such a man. You will begin a course on the Evidences directly, I suppose.”
“Immediately; though my custom has been to deliver them in the winter. But, Jerom;—your hat. It is not becoming that such a hat should be seen within the precincts of your church; and I would not give occasion of scandal to this unbeliever. I am afraid, Jerom, that you have no money.”
Jerom threw down two half-crowns,—the whole of his present wealth. The vicar shook his head, and drew out of an unlocked drawer his canvas money-bag. It was not very rich; but he concluded that it should furnish Jerom and himself with new hats, and that the supply of their further wants should be left to the evolution of circumstances.
“And now, about the purchase of them,” said the vicar. “One of us may as well put the vicarial office upon the other: for it is disagreeable to buy a hat; and no more awkward to buy two than one.”
“But our heads are not of the same size,” objected Jerom. “If it were not for the shabbiness of my own hat, I should propose that we should go together to the hatter’s, the next time I am called by the new literature to Y—. As it is, I propose that you should make the adventure first; and then I will borrow your hat for the occasion, and follow your example.”
It was finally settled thus; and that Jerom should accept an allotment in the new inclosures, to be cultivated by a tenant, while the vicar was to let his dues, consisting of his endowment of hay, and of his small tithes, to Peterson; it being kept a secret from his parishioners that Peterson had anything to do with the tithes but to collect them. The vicar feared lest the bargain being known should lessen the little respect there was among the people for the claims of the church. All this had long been settled, and the brothers were deeply engaged in an argument upon a point of ecclesiastical history, when Alice tapped at the window, and asked disconsolately if she might not come in, because she had left her doll’s right shoe under the parlour table, and she could find nothing more to do in the garden. Susan said she would drown the flowers if she went on watering them any longer. And, besides, it was almost time now for the cream cheese: they had been so long, Susan said, over their tea.—Leave granted.