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incumbents became less capable of supporting themselves with that decency and respectability, which, especially in a large commercial city, their stations required. But, in a peculiar degree in the present times, when from various causes the price of all the necessaries of life has been so enormously advanced, the inadequacy of such a maintenance was felt with such severity, as to render it absolutely necessary to call in the aid of the Legislature: and it was therefore the object of the Bill then proposed by the Bishop, to improve, on the authority of Parliament, all the livings under the Act of Charles, by an increased rate upon property. This, however, though called for equally by justice and necessity, was strongly opposed; chiefly on the ground, that there was no consent of the parties
affected affected by it, namely, the inhabitants of the several parishes where the augmentation was to be made; and that without that consent it would be an unreasonable and unjust invasion of private property. But it was answered, and amongst others, with great impression, by the Bishop, that the Bill had then been eighteen months in agitation, during which period no petition against it of any kind had been received from any one of the parishes; a circumstance, he observed, which ought surely to be considered as an acquiescence on their part, implied though not expressed, and, as in fact it was, a tacit consent to the measure.
This reasoning was considered sufficient, and the Bill passed without further opposition. "Thus," he says, "after a long delay, and difficulties of various kinds, was a most important measure
brought to an issue; the London Clergy were highly gratified by it, and expressed themselves much obliged by the exertions I had made. It was indeed an object, in which I felt most deeply interested, and its success has given me heartfelt satisfaction: for it has not only procured a considerable addition of income to fifty of the London Incumbents, but has also, I hope, in its principle, laid a foundation for a future augmentation of their benefices, whenever particular emergencies may render it necessary; and from what fell from several Noble Lords in the course of the debate, I cannot help flattering myself, that it may ultimately lead the way to a reasonable increase of all the poorer livings throughout England and Wales."
In the winter of the following year, 1805, the Bishop, with that unceasing
attention attention which he paid, in every thing, to the great concerns of religion, took considerable pains to suppress a custom, which he justly considered, in common with many others, as a most glaring violation of public decency, and which was evidently gaining ground in the fashionable world; namely, that of Sunday Concerts at private houses by professional performers, at which large numbers were assembled, and much disturbance created on the evening of that sacred day. This was a profanation, which, in his high responsible station, as Diocesan of the Metropolis, it was his duty, if possible, to prevent; and accordingly with this view he separately addressed the following letter to three Ladies of high rank in society, who, by opening their houses for these musical exhibitions, had contributed principally to their introduction.
"Although I have not the honour of being personally known to your Ladyship, you will, I hope, allow me to take up a few moments of your time on a subject which appears to me of the highest importance to the interests of religion, more especially in this great Metropolis, of which Providence has been pleased to constitute me the spiritual guardian and superintendent.
"Your Ladyship, if I am not misinformed, is one among other ladies of high rank and distinction in this town, who are in the habit of having concerts at their own houses on Sunday evenings, where there are hired professional performers, and a large number of persons of fashion assembled together to partake of the entertainment. It is very possible your Ladyship may be of opinion, that there is no kind of impropriety in this