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swallowing up all the sects around it, it was continually complaining of the encroachments of other denominations. When we narrowly examine its origin, its progress, and its policy, we may readily account for its inefficiency.

It must be obvious that, as a national institute, it had never yet fulfilled its vocation. It professed, as the Church of Ircland, to furnish religious instruction to the whole population : and yet there were many districts of the country which had never enjoyed its ordinances. Ever since it was organized, its clergy had been far outnumbered by the priests of the Church of Rome. Without a supply of ministers at least numerically sufficient for the task, it could not teach the entire community; but now--nearly two hundred years after the Reformation-it had not, on an average, more than one minister for every three parishes. There are in Ireland upwards of two thousand four hundred parishes; but, in 1728, there were only about eight hundred ministers of the Establishment-reckoning both incumbents and curates—in the whole island. At the same time there were probably from two to three thousand Romish priests in the country.” No wonder that Popery, left in absolute possession of so many parishes, and supported by such a formidable array of clergy, contrived to hold its position.


Life of Berkeley, p. 205. In a Collection of Tracts and Treatises relating to Ireland, (Dublin, 1861), it is stated (vol. ii., p. 534) that, according to evidence supplied by the hearth-money collectors, there were in the island, in 1732, 105,501 Protestant and 281,401 popish families. In an essay, published by Arthur Dobbin, Esq., in 1729, it is computed that there were then in the country 1,200,000 Romanists, and 469,644 Protestants of all denominations. See Collection of Tracts and Treatises, &*c., vol. ii., p. 486.

See appendix to the Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners on the Revenues and Condition of the Estallished Church (Ireland) 1868, p. 97. The exact number given is 2,428. Mant gives the number of parishes as 2,436. See Mant, ii. 775. Some of these parishes were, however, very small. Sometimes five or six lay together within a milę or two. See the 14th and 15th of Charles II., chap. x. Irish Statutes. : Mant, ii. 476.

They amounted to nearly 3,000 according to Archbishop Boulter. See Mant, ii. 476. Writing in September, 1727, King affirms that “the papists have more bishops in Ireland than the Protestants, and twice at least as many priests.”—MANT, ii. 471. It appears that in 1729 the Franciscan order had sixty-seven convents in Ireland, that there were 664 mass houses, 229 of which had been built since the commence


Had the people of Ireland been really desirous to throw off the yoke of Rome, most of them were left without any opportunity of availing themselves of the services of the Establishment. They were obliged to pay it tithes and to contribute otherwise to its maintenance ; but many of them never saw the face, nor heard the voice of a Protestant minister. In several dioceses, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the majority of the churches were in ruins ;' and very few of the bishops, or other influential ecclesiastics, seem to have cherished the slightest anxiety to promote their renovation. Under such guardians it is easy to account for the slow growth of Protestantism.

There was at this time one distinguished prelate whose zeal, in the cause of church-accommodation, appears to singular advantage, when contrasted with the apathy of most of his clerical contemporaries. Archbishop King, who died in 1729 at the advanced age of seventy-nine,2 laboured throughout the whole of his episcopal career to strengthen the interests of Protestantism, by supplying its adherents with suitable buildings for the worship of God. When advanced to the see of Derry in 1691-about the close of the Revolutionary War-he found the ecclesiastical edifices of the diocese either dilapidated or destroyed. He at once addressed himself with great energy to the work of restoration; and, partly by his own contributions, and partly by funds which the Government placed at his disposal, he repaired or rebuilt the churches. When promoted to the Archbishopric of Dublin in 1703, he


ment of the reign of George I., that there were 1,445 officiating priests and 254 friars. Lenihan's History and Antiquities of Limerick, p. 327. Dublin, 1866. Those here described as officiating priests were perhaps those who were registered. Curates, as forbidden by Act of Parliament, could not be registered. See before, p. 203. Boulter had the best means of information, and he probably does not much exaggerate the number of the Romish clergy.

About 1750, in the dioceses of Waterford, Lismore, Cork, Ross, Cloyne, Ardfert, and Aghadoe, there were 126 churches in repair and 214 churches in ruins. Mant, ii. 574.

? His work on the Origin of Evil attracted much the attention of those disposed to speculate on that mysterious subject. Dean Swist became alienated from the Archbishop; and, in a later edition of one of his works, withdrew a eulogy he had previously pronounced on him. Mant, ii. 499.

3 Mant, ii. 13.

exhibited the same anxiety to provide for the comfortable celebration of divine worship. Partly at his own expense, and partly by the aid of benefactions procured from the wealthy and benevolent, he repaired or erected no less than forty churches in the course of the six-and-twenty years during which he was metropolitan. Of these, nineteen were built in places where no divine service had been performed since the Reformation. Nor was he less desirous to secure something like a decent maintenance for the officiating clergy. He sought in various ways to augment the incomes of poor ministers; and, in many cases, greatly improved their position by securing for them dwelling-houses and glebe-lands.?

King acted most wisely in thus endeavouring to procure a better support for the working clergy. Some of them were so miserably remunerated that throughout life they might be said to be engaged in a hard struggle for subsistence. Steeped in poverty—which exposed them to contempt—they could exercise very little influence on the community around them. They could neither purchase books, nor practise hospitality, nor even make a decent appearance in societyA parson without manse or glebe, and with an income of barely twenty pounds a year4 to sustain himself and his family, was not in a position to minister effectively to a large parish. In times of confusion, the Church revenues had suffered sadly from mismanagement or spoliation, so that there were many livings worth only from £5 to £10 per annum each ; and it had been customary to join a number of them together, so as to eke out a salary for the incumbent. “In many parts of this kingdom," says Archbishop Boulter, “by means of impropriations, there are vicarages or curacies worth but £5 or £10 per annum, or so. . . . In several places the bishops let the same person enjoy three or four, on to seven or eight of these, which possibly, all together, make but £60, £80, or £100 per annum, or little more ; and there is, it may be, but one or two churches.”] This practice involved the evils of pluralities, non-residence, and neglect of duty-as it was quite impossible for any single individual to attend to the spiritual wants of such an extensive population. If the incumbent-as often happened-lived at a distance, and employed a weakling curate, at a wretched pittance, to act as his representative, it was not strange if any remnants of Protestantism, which may have still lingered in the benighted territory, pined away and died.?

9 Ibid.

1 Mant, ii. 152.

3 It was perhaps the remembrance of the poor garments of the officiating ministers which prompted Bishop Fitzgerald in 1722 to bequeath £50 to resident clergy of the diocese of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh to buy them “gowns.” Mant,

ii. 507.

* Archbishop King speaks or curates even in his own diocese, after he had been nearly twenty years there, as having salaries from £20 to £40 a year. Mant, ii. 388. In his time the average salary was £30 per annum.

Ibid. ii. 553.

Rundle, Bishop of Derry, writing in 1740 says :-“It is not uncommon to have curates, that are fathers of eight or ten children, without anything but an allowance of £40 a year to support them.” Ibid. ii. 542. Goldsmith lived at this time ; so that he states the literal truth when he describes an Irish officiating clergyman as “passing rich on forty pounds a year.”

The Romanists of Ireland at this dreary period could have seen little to attract them within the pale of Episcopal Protestantism. Their own priests, at some peril, had ventured to remain among them; and continued to administer the offices to which they were accustomed. These men might be-as they often were—coarse and ill-educated ; they might be foul-mouthed and drunken ; and they might seldom exhibit anything of the true spirit of the Gospel ; but they took an interest in the concerns of their adherents; counselled them individually when in difficulties; addressed them in their own tongue; heard their confessions; and dispensed the last rites at death. Their pastoral diligence often contrasted favourably with the lukewarmness of the Established clergy.


Mant, ii. 479. Dean Swift, writing in 1723, affirms that “the profit of ten or a dozen of these unions seldom amounts to above £80 or £100 a year.” Argument against the Power of the Bishops. Works, vol. v., p. 287. London, 1801.

It appears that in 1722 there were but ten beneficed clergymen in the whole diocese of Clonfert, and that the half of these were non-resident. Mant, ii. 380. This evil long continued: Warner, writing in 1763, says :-“ The pluralities in Ireland, which are without stint and without measure, except in the Primate's breast, resemble those of popish times here too much to admit of any excuse. ... If a man has interest enough to procure four or five livings, he will probably find interest enough to obtain the Primate's consent; and his consent, with a faculty for cash, will enable him to holil t'em all together, though they are situated at the Hifferent extremities of the king lom.”History of Ireland, vol. i. Introd. p. 87.

And, when controversy arose, they could dwell with terrible and telling severity on the frailties of the dominant Protestantism. They could take up the Prayer Book, and show that English prelatists had saints' days as well as themselves; that they recognized priestly absolution, and something like consubstantiation; and they could plead that the Pope was just as good and godly a Head of the Church as George I. or George II. And they could point to rectors, in possession of rich benefices, who lived out of the country, and left their duty to starveling curates; and they could tell of deans, who were strangers in the places from which they levied large revenues ; and they could speak of bishops and archbishops, who enjoyed the wealth of the Church, and who were known only as fine gentlemen or busy politicians.” It would have been rather difficult to convince any candid inquirer that such an ecclesiastical polity was an institution of Christ.

The staff of ministers belonging to the Irish Established Church was quite too small for the task assigned to them ; and yet, had all these spiritual workmen been of the right stamp, their paucity of numbers might have been, to a large extent, supplemented by burning zeal and sanctified ability. But very few of them were animated by an evangelistic spirit. If they could manage to get through the routine of official duty, they were content. They were not at all prepared to undertake any bold aggressive movement on the ignorance and superstition around them. Now and then an effort was made to reach the Romanists; but it was commonly so feeble, or so ill-sustained, that it led to no improvement. About this time the successful operations of a society lately formed in Scotland, for the education of the Highlanders and


1 Archbishop King, writing in 1720, says :-"Our Lord Lieutenant has disposed of five deaneries since he came to the government; and each has some benefice or benefices annexed to it with cures, and not one of them resides.". MANT, ii. 367. Even at that time the deanery of Derry was worth £1,100 a year. Mant, ii. 530.

2 Englishmen, who came to Ireland in the capacity of chaplains to the Lord Lieutenant, were generally made bishops. As many of the best livings were in the hands of the Crown, the best paid of the Irish episcopal clergy were often those who did least duty, or who were non-resident.

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