Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.]                Church Rates.                               157
and constitutional examples are worthy of imitation of all genuine Christian Protestants enjoying religious toleration in this land of liberty." This does not represent the whole facts of the case, for in another issue of the paper, " A Wesleyan" wrote that as the first petition had not included Wesleyan signatures, they were getting up another petition to be signed by Wesleyans only. The letter was couched in the strongest terms to-the effect that the Wesleyans desired to dissociate themselves from all attacks on the Established Church. Would that this spirit had lasted unimpaired till 1910.
This friendly attitude, at least as regards Dissenters-who were not Wesleyans, had to a large extent, passed away in East-Bourne by 1857, for then, for the first time in the history of the Parish, the Church Pate was-opposed, and disallowed on a poll by a small majority. The fact was, Churchmen had gone to sleep, and were taken unawares bjr the opposition. In the following year 1858, on July 26, they mustered their forces and carried the Rate by 163 votes to 128 votes. Mr. J. Gosden, the Parish Churchwarden, who of all people, having regard to his office, ought to have supported the Rate was hostile, and so it was felt that the proper thing to do was for the Church party to turn him out. The effort was made at the Easter Vestry of 1859, but he retained his position by a large majority, polling 171 votes against the 61 recorded for his opponent, Mr. R. J. Graham. Things went on tolerably quietly till November 1862, when the Rate was carried by 154 to 145 votes. Then in 1864 on July 18, with a new Parish Church­warden, Mr. W. Brodie, elected at the Easter Vestry by an overwhelming majority, the Rate was again carried, and for the last time, because Parliament stepped in in 1868 and abolished compulsory Church Rates. The votes in 1864 were 306 for, and 293 against; majority for, 13. The Dissenters demanded a scrutiny with the result that the majority was increased to 33.
The difficulties of the situation were much enhanced by a legal Opinion obtained by the Vicar from Mr. Lush, Q.C., that Trinity Church had no claim to share
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