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rentals of their private property added to the revenues of their sees, they were among the richest men in the kingdom. Some of them were well acquainted with general literature, though none were eminent in theology. A very few appeared sincerely desirous to walk worthy of their profession: but, as a class, they were characterized by their hatred of evangelical religion. The best that could be said of the majority was, that they had improved the style of husbandry, or given some handsome donations for public objects, or ornamented their cathedrals, or built for themselves goodly palaces. The clergy were generally as lukewarm as their ecclesiastical superiors; and ministers of the Establishment of earnest piety had often no more troublesome adversaries than their own diocesans.3

In consequence of the increased strength of the popular party in the House of Commons and other social changes, the Irish bishops had not now the preponderating political power which they wielded at an earlier period of the century; and yet they were still able to obtain the sanction of the Legislature to enactments fitted to promote the influence of Protestant episcopacy. Primate Robinson, who in 1765 succeeded Primate Stone, as Archbishop of Armagh, was much inferior in ability to his predecessor: his vanity was excessive and his pride intolerable: but no stain rests on his moral reputation. He was a man of taste; and he cherished a great desire to promote the outward splendour of the Establishment. He expended large sums on architectural improve

1 Mann, who was made bishop of Cork and Ross in 1772, seems to have been an exemplary prelate. See Mant, ii. 649-51. So also was Averell, who became Bishop of Limerick in January, 1771, and died in September of the same year. He was a collateral ancestor of the Rev. Adam Averell, the first president of the Primitive Wesleyan Conference. See pp. 379-80, of this volume.

When the Rev. Mr. Shirley, a most worthy and useful minister, on one occa. sion preached in Dublin, he was attended by the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Bishops of Limerick, Ossory, and Derry, with a view, as was believed, to conjure up some accusation against him, by which they might silence his preaching. Life and Times of Lady Huntingdon, vol. ii.,

3 The Rev. E. Smyth, of Ballyculter, was deprived by the Bishop of Down and Connor because he had rebuked a nobleman, who was a member of his congregation, for living in open adultery. See “An Account of the Trial of Edward. Smyth.” Dublin, 1777.

p. 185.

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ments in and around the city of Armagh :1 and though it has been said of him, by a very competent observer, that "he did not care what sort of clergy he put in them,” he unquestionably exhibited laudable zeal in the building of churches. In 1771 he obtained an Act of Parliament for erecting chapels of ease in parishes of large extent. By another Act passed in the same session,t the clergy were encouraged to build parsonages on their glebe lands—as they were empowered by it to saddle the expense on their successors, provided it did not exceed two years' clear income of the benefice. Notwithstanding this provision, clerical non-residence still continued to be a matter of complaint. Upwards of ten years afterwards, we find Sir Henry Cavendish, in the Irish House of Commons, moving for a return, on the first Monday of the next session of Parliament, of the names of those having cure of souls within their districts—" distinguishing those who had resided and performed divine service in their parishes from the ist of June, 1782, to the ist of June, 1783.95 When an attempt was made to adjourn the consideration of the subject, on the ground that it might have “the appearance of a general censure," the mover declared « that he had good reason for pressing the resolution, though it might not be an agreeable task to particularize individuals who came within its scope.” “It will,” said he, "produce residence where there is no residence; divine service will be performed where divine service has not been performed; the sick man will find the comforts of religion which are now sometimes sought for in vain; and the public mind will be satisfied that this House expects attention to his duty from

1 He built the archiepiscopal palace, repaired the cathedral, built the library the classical school-houses, the observatory, and other edifices. He also endowe the library and the observatory. He was never married. See Stuart's Armagh, pp. 444-57.

2 The Rev. Philip Skelton. Mant, ii. 729.

3 The uth and 12th of George III. chap. xvi. The Irish Parliament from time to time made grants for the building of churches.

4 The 11th and 12th of George III. chap. xvii.

6 Parliamentary Register, i. 323. This motion was made in March, 1782 ; and was thus a kind of notice to all concerned that their conduct during the next year was to be scrutinized.

every clergyman."1 Such a motion conveyed a bitter reflection on the bishops ; for, had they been faithful in the discharge of their duties, it would have been unnecessary.

During the period before us the Methodists continued to make some progress in Ireland. John Wesley generally visited the country every second year; and large crowds frequently attended his services. His preachers now regularly travelled on prescribed circuits-often addressing numerous audiences in the open air; and though the fierce opposition at first encountered by them gradually subsided, they had still reason, occasionally, to complain of disturbance -especially from Romish mobs. But the political excitement which pervaded the whole island during the days of the volunteers turned away the attention of many from these humble missionaries.

i Parliamentary Register, i. &24.




It was soon discovered that Ireland required much more than legislative independence. It never had substantially enjoyed a representative government-as in 1613, when all the counties for the first time sent members to Parliament, a large number of petty boroughs, virtually belonging to single individuals, had been created for the express purpose of securing Protestant ascendency. More recently Roman Catholics had been excluded from voting at elections, as well as from sitting in the great council of the nation; so that at least three-fourths of the community had no political power whatever. Of the three hundred members now constituting the Irish House of Commons, about one hundred and ten were placemen or pensioners, obliged to vote exactly according to the pleasure of the existing Administration ;? and a still greater number represented very small boroughs which were bought and sold like any other property. Besides cities and towns of more note, there were upwards of one hundred

1 See before, Book iii., chap. vi., p. 491 of vol. i.

? In a debate in 1790, Mr. O'Neill, one of the members for County Antrim, stated that the placemen and pensioners amounted to 120. Plowden, vol. ii., part i. 289, note ; p. 313, note. At this time no property qualification was necessary for a seat in the Irish House of Commons. A considerable number of the members were poor or distressed gentlemen very open to the temptation of bribery. See Warner's Hist. of Ireland, Introd., vol. i., p. 82.


boroughs each returning two members ;' and most of these were at the disposal of a few of the landed aristocracy. Large sums were annually voted by the House of Commons virtually to maintain a system of Parliamentary corruption; and honest men unfettered by party considerations, being in a minority, could make no effectual opposition. The independence of the Legislature, and other concessions recently secured, were due simply to the fears of Government-for, had it been disposed to resist them, it could have safely reckoned on the suffrages of a sufficient number of obsequious senators. But the successes just achieved stimulated to further effort; and the rallying cry of the party known as Patriots now was “Parliamentary Reform.”

On abstract grounds the demand was most reasonable. The Parliament could not be said to represent the nation, when the nation had no decisive vote in its appointment, and repudiated its proceedings. Constructed as it was, it might serve the purposes of an oligarchy; but it could not be trusted as part of the machinery of a free and constitutional Government. The true remedy was to be found in a union with Great Britain, each country having a fair representation ; for wise statesmen, looking to the general interests of the empire, could see the dangers to be apprehended if Ireland remained a separate kingdom, and if an anti-English party secured the control of its administration. To the

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1 In a speech delivered by Grattan, on the 8th of February, 1793, he said :“Of the 300 members above 200 are returned by individuals ; from forty to fifty are returned by ten persons; several of your boroughs have no resident elector at all ; some of them have but one ; and, on the whole, two-thirds of the representatives in the House of Commons are returned by less than 100 persons !" See Hist. of Ireland, by Dennis Taafe, iv. 436. Whilst the County of Antrim returned only two members, the boroughs of Antrim, Belfast, Lisburn, and Randalstown, returned each two members. The members for Belfast were returned by the lord of the soil. The County of Cork returned two members; and the boroughs of Baltimore, Bandon, Castlemartyr, Charleville, Clonakilty, Doneraile, Kinsale, Mallow, Midleton, Rathcormac, and Youghal returned each two members. The County of Donegall returned two members; and the boroughs of Ballyshannon, Donegall, Killybegs, Lifford, and St. Johnston each returned two members. The County of Down returned two members ; and the borouglis of Bangor, Downpatrick, Hillsborough, Killyleagh, Newry, and Newtonards returned each two members.

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