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ject on his special consideration. “Take care,” said she, "of the Church in Ireland. Everybody agrees that it is the worst in Christendom."1 During the two preceding reigns patronage had been administered with little scrupulosity; and the veriest worldlings had, to a large extent, gained possession of the benefices of the establishment. Pluralities abounded; so that many parishes had no resident incumbents. Thomas Hacket, who was Bishop of Down and Connor from 1672 to 1694, carried on a system of traffic in benefices with unblushing effrontery. The livings in his gift were sold to the highest bidder. For twenty years he was never seen within the bounds of his dioceses; and as, during all that time, he resided at a place in the neighbourhood of London, he was commonly known by the designation of the Bishop of Hammersmith. At length in 1694 he was deprived of his see ; but it was impossible to find any adequate remedy for the mischief which he had meanwhile produced. Many of the livings throughout Down and Connor were occupied by ministers of the most worthless description. It was found necessary to set aside the Dean of Connor for the crime of adultery and incontinence of life, amongst other things alleged and proved against him.” 4 The Archdeacon of Down, who was the incumbent of no less than nine parishes, was deprived of his archdeaconry, and suspended from the pastoral office, for enormous neglect of his cures and other offences. The Precertor of Connor was excommunicated for absenting himself from his charge, and for committing the care of the parish of Ballymoney to a blind man unable to discharge the duties of the ministry. No wonder that the Church could not thrive under such supervision.

Among the bishops were some men of unexceptionable character and high attainments. King, Bishop of Derry, possessed considerable learning: he was active and sagacious, as well as sincerely desirous to promote the well-being of the Church; and he did not want either public spirit or perseverance; but he was litigious and domineering ;' and he was quite as much a politician as a divine. Narcissus Marshsuccessively archbishop of Cashel, Dublin, and Armaghwas, in many respects, an exemplary prelate ; and the library in Dublin, which still bears his name, is an abiding memorial of his liberality as a patron of literature. Nathaniel Foy, who filled the see of Waterford from 1691 to 1708, also deserves notice as a zealous and conscientious bishop. But too many members of the Irish Protestant hierarchy in this reign were very unworthy of the position which they occupied. Some of them accumulated wealth without much regard either to propriety or decency. Edward Wetenhall, who was Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh from 1699 to 1713, sold timber on the see property which would soon have realized £20,000, and put the proceeds into his own pocket. Charles Hickman, who was Bishop of Derry from 1703 to 1713, was guilty of the same peculation. William Fitzgerald, who became Bishop of Clonfert in 1691 and who held the sce upwards of thirty years, left behind him a most discreditable reputation. John

3 Ibid.

1 Dalrymple's Memoirs, iii., appendix ii., p. 154.

Reid, ii. 437 4 Ibid. 439 ; Mant, ii. 43.

5 Mant, ii. 42.3 ; Reid, ii. 439. 6 Reid, ii. 441.

1 Even Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, describes him as “obstinate and litigious.” See Mant, ii. 451. In 1722 we find a brother bishop saying :-“I believe the Archbishop of Dublin has made his colleagues sick of him.”—MANT, ii. 364. See also Mant, ii. 419, where the writer speaks of "his usual sneering countenance.” It is quite possible that, when disputing with his colleagues, King was not altogether to blame. When speaking of his plans for the improvement of the Church he says :-“At first I had hardly anyone who durst own my schemes, and several who not only opposed them violently, but made it their business to expose and ridicule them.”—MANT, ii. 350.

2 Archbishop Marsh erected the building at an expense of £2,000 ; furnished it with books which cost several thousands more ; and provided for the librarian a handsome endowment in perpetuity. The library of Dr. Stillingfieet, Bishop of Worcester, cost £3,000, and formed the most valuable part of the collection. Mant, ii. 48, 113, 114, 116. An Act of Parliament was required for the establishment of the library, and it is a remarkable fact that four bishops were the most strenuous opponents of the bill. Willis's Illustrious Irishmen, iv. 272. But the founder of the library does not appear to have been an efficient prelate. Ilis successor King declares that, when Marsh was transferred to Armagh, the diocese of Dublin “was in worse circumstances, both in respect to discipline and attend. ance on the cures, than most others in the kingdom.Mant, ii. 132.

Mant, ii. 553. 5 The following account of liim is given by Archbishop King in 1722 imme. diately after his death :-“The poor man has had harılly any use of his reason for


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Vesey, who was Archbishop of Tuam from 1679 to 1716, was a man much more respectable than Fitzgerald; but he seems to have been almost quite as negligent in the management of his spiritual charge. Simon Digby, who was Bishop of Elphin from 1691 to 1720, was generally non-resident; and permitted his large diocese to remain in a miserable condition. Others of his episcopal brethren were equally careless. They lived in Dublin ; and were content to put in an appearance within the limits of their sees once in the year. Michael Boyle, Archbishop of Armagh from 1678 to 1702, had long been noted for his covetousness ;4 and, as he was now deaf and nearly blind, he could not be expected to attend to the supervision of his province. Even the best of the prelates were quite too much involved in secular engagements. In 1697, Archbishop Marsh states to one of his correspondents that “for four months past” he had “not been able to command almost a minute's time from public business.” He adds, indeed, that meanwhile he had been preparing bills“ for the good of the Church :" but he might have been much better employed than in concocting the penal laws which, about that time, were placed on the Statute Book. At the same period King, of Derry, complains that “the business of Parliament sat hard” upon himself and other bishops who were Privy Councillors; and that sometimes they were obliged to attend to its concerns " for ten or eleven hours every day."? Men

several years. I believe he was about the age of eighty-eight. About twelve years ago he married a young woman about twenty, who governed him and the diocese in a wretched manner--no discipline, no due care of spirituals or temporals, his manse (inansion) house gone to ruin, and everything out of order. His predecessor Dr. Woolley was as bad as he.”—Mant, ii. 380. Woolley was bishop from 1664 to 1684. After his death the see remained long vacant.

1 Mant, ii. 381. At one period he was absent three years from Ireland. Froude's English in Ireland, i. 158.

Mant, ii. 366. + See before, p. 130.

He opposed the more zealous prelates who sought to diminish pluralities. Mant, ii. 130.

6 Mant, ii. 72. He died at the age of ninety-three.

3 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid. 108. It is a curious fact that twenty Irish bishops died in the reign of William, and only nine in that of Anne, though the two reigns were of nearly the

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who were thus engrossed had no leisure for their spiritual duties.

During the reign of William III. patronage was dispensed so as to perpetuate, if not to increase, ecclesiastical corruption. Promotion in the Church was understood to depend mainly on the amount of Court influence which could be wielded by a candidate: and a number of beneficed clergymen, committing the care of their parishes to curates, spent most of their time either in the Irish capital or in London ; and sought, by ingratiating themselves with the favourites of the Lord Lieutenant or the King, to make sure of the next vacant bishoprics. The true friends of the episcopal establishment had too frequently reason to lament the success of these clerical intriguers. It often happened, says the Bishop of Derry, that “ill men engrossed the best places by their assiduity."3 Sometimes, however, the character of the aspirant was so scandalous that the graver prelates, for very shame, were constrained to interfere, and to protest openly against the nomination. History records the case of one wretched man who was thus set aside after he had actually obtained the promise of advancement. He was already in possession of a deanery, and he had been selected as Bishop of Kilmore: but when Queen Mary, who took a deep interest in the welfare of the Irish Church, understood that the choice was exceedingly objectionable, six Irish prelates, including

same length. Mant, ii. 174. King complains on one occasion that, in consequence of his secular engagements, he had not been able to visit his diocese for

D'Alton's Archbishops of Dublin, p. 312. 1 Mr. Froude mentions a most melancholy case in which several Protestant colonies settled at Kenmare, Templemore, and other places on the Kenmare river, were ruined by the mismanagement of the Government and the cupidity of a certain Dean Richards. This most worthless dignitary, who was already overburdened with Church preferments, had the impudence to apply for the parishes of Kenmare and Templemore when they became vacant ; and, by a dexterous use of his political influence, contrived to obtain both. “ The Dean of Tralee,” says Mr. Froude, “had his promotion, and the last English service had been heard in the church of Kilmakilloge. . . . The smelting colony melted away, till the few families that were left were carried off by French privateers, and the harbour and the bay became the recruiting depôt for the Pretender, and a nest of pirates and smugglers.”The English in Ireland, vol. i. 245-9. 2 Mant, ii. 67.

three years.


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some of the most trustworthy of the order, were commanded by Her Majesty honestly to state their views as to the qualifications of the candidate. These commissioners reported that the dean was “a man of an ill fame :" and, in consequence, the appointment was cancelled.

When so many of the clergy of the Irish Establishment could not be respected as pious and industrious pastors, it was not extraordinary that Protestantism made little progress in the country. How could Romanists be attracted to a system which exhibited so much harshness, selfishness, and ungodliness? If true religion may be known by its fruits, the most discerning must have found it difficult to see the superiority of the episcopal incumbents, in spirituality and uprightness, to the representatives of the Pope. And the enactments of the penal code were ill calculated to break down the prejudices of those whom they oppressed. Many of the working Protestant clergy were miserably remunerated : but nothing was better fitted to make them odious than the pertinacity with which they exacted dues from the recusants within their parishes. In addition to the tithes, they insisted on payments for baptisms which they did not dispense and for weddings which they did not celebrate-on the ground that such fees belonged to them as the functionaries of the Church by law established. The poor people, who were obliged to meet the claims of the priests for their ministrations, fretted much under these double exactions.2

In this reign Protestant episcopacy betrayed the most intolerant spirit. Not satisfied with reducing Romanists to something like a condition of serfdom, it did its utmost to annoy and repress Protestant non-conformists. Though the adherents of Presbyterianism were nearly as numerous as its own, it obstinately refused to give them any legal sanction for their worship: it sought to take away the pittance of

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1 Ibid. ii. 31-33 ; Burnet's History of his own Time, iii. 164. London, 1766.

2 Down to a late period the priests, in some places at least, used to collect, after baptizing a child, the minister's baptism money. I knew a man who claimed for himself the honour of having been the first in Kilkenny who refused to allow the priest to act as the minister's proctor. This was in the year 1780."-Notes by Professor Kelly to O'Sullivan's Hist. Cath. Iber. Compendium, p. 137.

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