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THE PARIS H.
ITS POWERS AND OBLIGATIONS
AS REGARDS THE WELFARE OF EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD,
AND IN RELATION TO THE STATE:
ITS OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES :
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY PARISHIONER.
Hlustrations of the Practical TMorking of this Enstitution
IN ALL SECULAR AFFAIRS;
AND OF SOME MODERN ATTEMPTS AT ECCLESIASTICAL ENCROACHMENT.
Parishes were instituted for the ease and benefit of the people."--Chief-Justice Holt.
THE SECOND EDITION, WITH IMPORTANT ADDITIONS.
H. SWEET, 3, CHANCERY LANE, FLEET STREET.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
Every man's concern with the place where he lives, has something more in it than the mere amount of rates and taxes that he has to pay. In the well-managing of the affairs of his Parish, are directly involved the daily comfort, convenience, and health of every man-rich as well as poor. Lord Palmerston said, on a significant occasion, that what “peculiarly distinguishes the people of these islands from the nations of the Continent, is, that system of local self-government which has been so fortu. nately established, and by which the affairs of the country are carried on with little interference on the part of the Executive Government. Under that system, the affairs of the country are conducted by the people themselves; whose own fault it is if they be not conducted to their satisfaction."*
That the affairs of every neighbourhood should be, in truth, conducted to the satisfaction of intelligent and conscientious men, nothing can be more necessary than an accessible account of the Parish—the universal Institution of local self-government in England, and of the relations of that Institution to the State, on the one hand, and to every individual on the other; embracing the mode of working of this universal Local Institution, and the duties of all connected with it ;-and this, not frozen up in dry technicalism, but dealing with the human reality attaching to an important Institution of free men; and treating it in such a manner as shall stimulate an intelligent
Speech at Manchester ; 6 Nov. 1856.
interest, at the same time that it gives the information which every one needs, in order properly to fulfil his duties to his own neighbourhood.
Such a work it is the aim of the present Volume to supply ; and the reception of the first Edition, and the practical use made of it in many parts of England, enable me now to know that this aim was not wholly unfulfilled by it. This knowledge has, however, only induced me to bestow the greater care in the preparation of a new edition, so that such an aim may be yet better fulfilled.
Perplexed and disheartened as many men naturally are, by the indiscriminate mass of ill-considered, hasty, and perpetually shifting legislation (to use a much abused term) which distinguishes the present day, it has been especially sought, in this work, to show what is Institutional and permanent in the Parish and its action ; and what is unaffected, therefore, by this very mischievous and discouraging course. What is thus Institutional and permanent is, happily, that which is of the most practical importance. But it becomes daily more necessary that its importance should be well understood, in order that it may not be forgotten and lost in what is changing and temporary.
The vast multitude and variety of the subjects embraced, and the propriety of treating some of these more fully than was done in the former edition, have increased the size, but I hope more than equivalently the usefulness, of the present edition.
At the same time, in pursuance of suggestions entitled to every respect, I have given, in this edition, more numerous references to the authorities upon which the Principles and Practice affirmed to be the right ones are founded. Many of these additions are put in the shape of full Notes ; which the reader of liberal pursuits and enlarged mind will, I venture to think, find not the least interesting part of the present Volume.
On the same suggestion, the latest decided cases in the courts of Law will be found noted, on the points to which they relate.
Every Parishioner, as well as every one who would professionally advise on Parish matters, will thus have, within his immediate reach, the most direct practical information, together with the genuine authorities, on every point that concerns parish action.
The best illustrations of what the Parish, as an Institution, is able to do, are to be got from seeing what the Parish has done. Hence, instead of encumbering these pages with a mass of forms, I have given a large body of illustrations from the Bye-Laws and Ordinances and Proceedings of Parishes, on a very great variety of occasions, for three hundred years past. These will be found of the highest interest and value to all seeking to fulfil their duty to their neighbours. The Chapter on “ Parish Records” will be found to contain what will help, practically, on almost every occasion where action is needed, and suggestion as to the mode of it is sought.
It may be safely said that there has never before been published such a mass of thoroughly authentic and practically available information on the subject of the Institution and Working of the Parish ;-information practically available and important, equally to every man who desires honestly to fulfil his duties to his neighbours and to help the improvement of his neighbourhood, and to the Statesman and Legislator before whose consideration are brought any matters affecting Local and Social well-being.
Deeply feeling, myself, the value of the Institution of which this work treats, and the need of maintaining its full and right action, and well knowing how little either that value or right action is appreciated or understood by many who ought to be better informed, I have spared no pains to point out the actual bearing of each branch treated of, as thoroughly as was consistent with so limited a space. Many matters, essential to the right action of the Parish, but not touched on in any of the ordinary treatises on Parish Law, will be found here included. Such are those of Bye-Laws, Parish Committees, Trustees of Chari. ties, Enrolment, Endowments, Ecclesiastical encroachments, and others. On the last-named point, the great practical signifi