SHAMEFUL TRAFFIC IN THE CHURCH
A London correspondent writes as follows: "The public are not probably aware that the system of purchase in the church of England is as rife at the present time as it ever was in the army. Some interesting disclosures on the subject appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette recently, from the chairman of the 'National Committee for Abolishing Purchase in the Church.' According to his statement, the traffic had almost become a scandal. Livings are offered in the most open way by clerical agents, the prices are stated in the advertisements, and the incomes and advantages are set forth as matters usually are in the bills of auctioneers. For instance, the following advertisement recently appeared in a paper:--
"'Bershire: First presentation, or a moiety of advowson; gross income from tithe rent charge, and about 230 acres of glebe, $8,780 per year. Four beautiful churches, about two miles apart. The parish can be worked with the assistance of two curates. Superior residences, numerous principal and secondary bedrooms, etc.' The very desirable rectory of Crayford, near Dartford, has, he says, been very much offered for sale.--The net income is nearly $5,000 per year. The rectory has 'well timbered pleasure grounds.' The price was--there is no knowing what it now may be--$42,500 in March, 1882.
"Among the big properties there is also 'a very valuable and desirable rectory' within a short drive of some of the most favorable parts of the river Thames. Net nominal value of the living, close upon $6,000. 'A beautiful church rebuilt and enlarged under Sir Gilbert Scott. There is a prospect of immediate possession.' The clerical agent has much pleasure in calling attention to this unusually choice property; $60,000 is the price asked for it. The same clerical agent offered a rectory in the Diocese of St. Alban's; net value upwards of $5,000 per annum; price, $52,500. Also a very valuable living in Yorkshire, of the net value of about $7,000 a year; price, with a prospect of immediate possession, $75,000. For the pastoral charge of Yalding, near Maidstone, a very old standing dish of certain clerical agents, $60,000 was asked, 'subject to the life of the present incumbent in his 81st year.'
"Numerous other instances are given of equally fat "livings," which are at the disposal of the highest bidder. The publication of these facts will not, of course, check the traffic in the least; but it will undoubtedly give an impetus to the agitation for the disestablishment of the church, which is fast taking hold in this country."