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decrease of membership than the Calvinistic Methodists during these five years, there must have been a considerable reduction in the total number of Nonconformist adherents in Wales between 1905 and 1910. The total population of Wales in 1911 was 2,421,218; and it follows that Nonconformist adherents in Wales are less than 45 per cent. of the population at the present time.
The number of Roman Catholics, including children, in Wales was returned to the Commission at 64,800, or 2.67 per cent. of the population at the present time. These figures show that 52 per cent. of the population are not to be reckoned in any sense as Nonconformists or Roman Catholics. The Royal Commission failed to ascertain the number of those who do not avail themselves at all of any religious ministrations. Mr Ellis Griffith, M.P., estimates that 20 per cent. of the population of Wales owe no allegiance to church or chapel. If his estimate is right, it would leave 32 per cent. of the population as adherents of the Church. The proportion of infant baptisms in church to the total number of births in Wales for the eleven years 1900 to 1910 inclusive is 32.2 per cent. The figures for infant baptisms confirm the inference drawn from the computation of Nonconformist adherents that Church adherents in Wales are about one-third of the population, and stand to the total number of Nonconformist adherents above the proportion of two to three, exceeding the number of adherents of the Calvinistic Methodists, Congregationalists and Wesleyans in Wales taken together.
The proportion of members and Sunday-school scholars to adherents is higher among Nonconformists than it is in the Church on account of the difference between Nonconformist and Church systems of religious work. A Nonconformist member is a person who, like a confirmed Churchman, is qualified to be a communicant.
"There is evidence that there is a wide divergence in respect of the minimum regularity of attendance required on the part of the Nonconformist members in order to retain their names on the chapel rolls. This divergence ranges from attendance at Holy Communion once in three months, which is the severe local rule of some Congregationalist and Baptist churches, down to an attendance of ten times in the year, and indeed even of only twice in the year, at ordinary
Sunday services (not Holy Communion), according to the Denbighshire County witness (Calvinistic Methodist).'
No return of confirmed Churchmen was made to the Commission. The return made was a return of persons known to have actually communicated during the year, for which figures were given; and the figures were vouched for by the name and address of each communicant. The Nonconformists in their organisation lay more stress than the Church upon Sunday-schools. The numerical preponderance of the Church over any single Nonconformist denomination was greater in 1910, according to the denominational Year Books, than it was in the statistical year of the Royal Commission, as is shown in the tables given below. No figures for total number of Church communicants in Wales for 1910 are available, but the increase in the total number of communicants may be taken to be at least not below 18,420, which is the increase in the number of Easter communicants in the four Welsh dioceses during the last five years for which figures are given. There is a slight discrepancy between Nonconformist figures for members in 1905 which appear in the Report of the Commission and the Year Books respectively. In the case of Sundayschool scholars the fairest comparison lies between the Year Book figures for 1906 and 1910, as there is some confusion about the inclusion of teachers in some cases in the figures given in the Report. The two following tables give the figures.
There is a striking statistical contrast between Wales at the present time and Ireland at the time of Irish Disestablishment. The adherents of the Church in Ireland were 693,357 or 11.9 per cent. of the population in 1861 and 667,998 or 12.3 per cent. of the population in 1871 as compared with the Roman Catholics, who were 4,505,265 or 77.6 per cent. of the population in 1861 and 4,150,867 or 76.6 per cent. of the population in 1871. The number of adherents of the Calvinistic Methodists, the largest Nonconformist denomination in Wales at the present time, was 310,345 at the end of 1910, i.e. 12.8 per cent. of the population, or about two-fifths of the number of Church adherents. In Ireland the number of Church adherents was unevenly distributed among the four Provinces, being in 1861 5.3 per cent. of the population in Munster and 4.4 per cent. in Connaught. In Wales, on the other hand, the Church communicants (not adherents) are above 9 per cent. of the population in ten counties and do not fall below 6 per cent. in any county. The progress of the Church in Ireland in adherents since Irish Disestablishment from 11.9 per cent. of the population in 1861 to 12.3 per cent. in 1871 and to 13.1 per cent. in 1911 shows the devotion and courage with which Irish Churchmen have striven to repair the injury done by Disestablishment; but a comparison with the figures of progress for the Welsh Dioceses given above shows that the progress of the Church in Ireland since 1871 has been not because of but in spite of Irish Disestablishment.
The Commissioners put on record the religious benefits derived by the Welsh dioceses from their present constitutional position in the Church of England:
'Each of the four Welsh Dioceses is a constituent unit of the Province of Canterbury and has in all respects the same
status in the Province as an English Diocese. The four Welsh Bishops are members of the Upper House of Convocation of Canterbury and are entitled, according to their seniority, to seats in the House of Lords. In the Lower House of Convocation each diocese is represented by the Dean and one Proctor for the Cathedral Chapter, and by the Archdeacons and two Proctors for the parochial incumbents. In the organisation of the Church of England each diocese, whether in Wales or in England, has a large measure of autonomy, subject to an appeal to the Archbishop's Court in all judicial matters and to the consent of the Archbishop in certain specified matters of administration, such as the holding of benefices in plurality. . . . Under this co-ordination of central guidance and diocesan autonomy, the Welsh Dioceses have the guidance of the whole Church in religious problems of a general character, while they are free to a large extent to adapt themselves to local conditions.' (Report, vol. i, p. 27.)
The Nonconformist evidence shows that in the case of Nonconformists, as in the case of the Church in Wales, 'religious problems of a general character' arising from the growing unsettlement of modern thought and the growing complexity of modern life, shared by Wales with England, rather than religious problems peculiar to Wales alone, are the prominent religious problems of Wales to-day. The evidence shows that Welsh Nonconformist denominations recognise in their own organisation the value for Wales of unity with England.
'There is no Nonconformist denomination in Wales which is confined to Wales, and there is no definite boundary line between Wales and England in Nonconformist organisations. There is no separate National Free Church Council for Wales, and Welsh Nonconformist churches belong to the National Free Church Council of England and Wales. Three of the four larger denominations in Wales, i.e. the Wesleyans, the Congregationalists and the Baptists, are part of denominations common to England and Wales which originated not in Wales but in England' (ib. p. 88).
Each of these three denominations has the great majority of its members in England, while even the Calvinistic Methodists have 117 churches and 18,679 members in England. The areas of seven Calvinistic Methodist Monthly Meetings or Presbyteries are situated partly in England and partly in Wales. A Welsh Congregational
minister said before the Commission that he did not think that the union of his denomination in England and Wales 'made Welsh Congregationalists less Welsh than they would have been without this union.' A Wesleyan witness was very clear that the separation of Welsh Wesleyan Methodists from the British Annual Wesleyan Conference would be injurious to the Welsh Methodists. ... They get such great help from English Methodists that I think it would be disastrous.' At the Annual Conference of the officers of the four Welsh Federations of the National Free Church Council of England and Wales held at Llandrindod on May 18, 1909, a proposal in favour of dismembering the National Free Church Council of England and Wales in order to constitute a separate National Free Church Council for Wales, which had been promoted in the interests of Welsh political nationalism, was rejected. The General Secretary of the Free Church Council said on that occasion :
'What they had to do was to approach the question as statesmen, and ask, Will it be for the good of the movement in Wales to have a distinct and separate council? Speaking generally, he was bound to say that he was of the opinion that Wales had overdone the idea of having a separate entity for every organisation. Nothing but good could come of the uniting of England and Wales in one solid force. Many a time, if they had not fought their battles together, the battles would have been lost. Wales often needed English backing and England Welsh backing. He had expressed this view to distinguished Welsh leaders, and they agreed with him that this advocacy for a separate entity, so far as Wales was concerned, needed reconsideration. What was wanted was a great, solid, unmistakeable force for both England and Wales.' (South Wales Daily News,' May 19, 1909.)
The facts ascertained by the Royal Commission on the Church in Wales do not justify the Government's Welsh Disestablishment Bill, which is shown by Mr McKenna's speech to be, like the three previous Bills, a Bill of piecemeal disestablishment, a Bill of Church dismemberment, and a Bill for the secularisation of religious endowments. For a discussion of the principles of equity and statesmanship violated by such a Bill we refer to the fifth edition of the late Earl Selborne's 'Defence of the Church of England,' Bishop Welldon's lectures on Disestablishment