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CH A P.

XIV. .

CONTRACTS OF LABOUR.

OFFICE S.

TN many offices, as schools, fellowships of I colleges, professorships of the universities, and the like, there is a twofold contract, one with the founder, the other with the electors.

The contract with the founder obliges the incumbent of the office to discharge every duty appointed by the charter, statutes, deed of gift, or will of the founder; because the endowment was given, and consequently accepted for that purpose, and upon those conditions.

The contract with the electors extends this obligation to all duties that have been customarily connected with and reckoned a part of the office, though not prescribed by the founder: for the electors expect from the person they choose, all the duties which his predecessors have difN 2

charged,

charged, and as the person elected cannot be ignorant of their expectation, if he mean to refuse this condition, he ought to apprise them of his objection.

And here let it be observed that the electors can excuse the conscience of the person elected from this last class of duties only; because this class results from a contract, to which the electors and the person elected are the only parties. The other class of duties results from a different contract.

It is a question of some magnitude and difficulty, what offices may be conscientiously supplied by a deputy.

We will state the several objections to the subftitution of a deputy; and then it will be understood that a deputy may be allowed in all cases, to which these objections do not apply.

An office may not be discharged by deputy,

1. Where a particular confidence is reposed in the judgment and conduct of the person appointed to it; as the office of a steward, guardian, judge, commander in chief by land or sea.

2. Where the custom hinders; as in the case of school-masters, tutors, and of commissions in the army and navy.

3. Where 3. Where the duty cannot, from its nature, be so well performed by a deputy; as the deputy governor of a province may not possess the legal authority, or the actual influence of his principal.

4. When some inconveniency would result to the service in general from the permission of deputies in such cases : for example, it is probable that military merit would be much discouraged, if the duties belonging to commissions in the army were generally allowed to be executed by substitutes.

The non-residence of the parochial clergy, who fupply the duty of their benefices by curates, is worthy of a more distinct consideration. And, in order to draw the question upon this case to a point, we will suppose the officiating curate to discharge every duty, which his principal, were he present, would be bound to discharge, and in a manner equally beneficial to the parish ; under which circumstances, the only objection to the absence of the principal, at least the only one of the foregoing objections, is the last.

And, in my judgment, the force of this ok. jection will be much diminished, if the absent rector or vicar be, in the mean-time, engaged in any function or employment, of equal importN 3

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ance to the general interest of religion, or of greater. For the whole revenue of the national church may properly enough be considered as a common fund for the support of the national religion; and, if a clergyman be serving the cause of Christianity and Protestantism, it can make little difference, out of what particular portion of this fund, that is, by the tithes and glebe of what particular parish his service be requited; any more than it can prejudice the king's service, that an officer who has signalized his merit in America, should be rewarded with the government of a fort or castle in Ireland, which he never saw; but for the custody of which proper provision is made, and care taken.

Upon the principle thus explained, this indulgence is due to none more than to those who are occupied in cultivating, or communicating religious knowledge, or the sciences subsidiary to religion.

This way of considering the revenues of the church, as a common fund for the fame purpose, is the more equitable, as the value of particular preferments bears no proportion to the particular charge or labour.

But when a man draws upon this fund, whose studies and employments bear no relation to the

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object of it; and who is no farther a minister of the Christian religion, than as a cockade makes a soldier, it seems a misapplication little better than robbery.

And to those who have the management of such matters I submit this question, whether the impoverishment of the fund, by converting the best share of it into annuities for the gay and illiterate youth of great families, threatens not to starve and stifle the little clerical merit that is left amongst us?

All legal dispensations from residence proceed upon the supposition, that the absentee is detained from his living, by some engagement of equal or of greater public importance. Therefore, if in a case, where no such reason can with truth be pleaded, it be said that this question regards a right of property, and that all right of property awaits the disposition of law; that, therefore, if the law, which gives a man the emoluments of a living, excuse him from residing upon it, he is excused in conscience; we anfwer, that the law does not excuse him by intention, and that all other excuses are fraudulent.

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