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openly manifested towards the old church by their intolerant rulers. This unholy proceeding was carried to such a profligate length, that it was finally found necessary to pass an act to prevent it.
This stain, deep as it was, formed but a small portion of the evil. The established church, for seventy years at least how much later I cannot determine was disgraced and dishonoured in every possible way in which disgrace and dishonour can attach to the professors of religion. The bishops, with few exceptions, were regardless of every thing except the emoluments of their high stations. They held numbers of benefices in coinmendam; left more than half of the churches absolutely unprovided with pastors; and filled others with persons of scandalous insufficiency, not merely in point of acquirements, but in respect to morals. They let their servants and horseboys collect the tythes and first fruits. The pastors and curates were gënerally dissolute and abandoned-guilty of simony and other crimes and unmindful of the duties of their sacred functions
In one word, from the utter mismanagement of the established church it would almost appear, I repeat, that the object of the govern. ment was to abolish the old religion, regardless whether its place were supplied with any other.
This is a strong accusation, and requires to be established by good authority, to gain
credence with the mass of the community who are persuaded that a diametrically opposite result was produced.
To remove all possibility of doubt on the subject, I annex the testimony of Spenser, Sydney, Hoeker,Davies, and Strafford, all
000 good of state, they seized all the most valuable furniture of the churches, ishich they exposed to sale without decency or reserve. The Irish annalists pathetically describe the garrison of Athlone issuing forth, with a barbarous and heathen fury, and pillaging the famous church of Clonmacnoise, tearing away the most inoffensive ornaments, books, bells, plate, windows, furniture of every kind, so as to leave the shrine of their favourite saint, Kieran, a hideous monument of sacri
1« Some of them, (the bishops, whose dioceses are in remote parts, somewhat out of the world's eye, doe not at all bestow the benefices, which are in their owne donation, upon any, but keep them in their owne hands, and set their owne servants and horse-boys to take up the tithes and fruites of them, with the which, some of them purchase great lands, and build faire castels upon the same. Of which abuse if any question be moved, they have a very seemely colour and excuse, that they have no worthy ministers to bestow them upon, but keepe them so bestowed for any such sufficient person as any shall bring unto them. 9841
*“ Whatever disorders you see in the church of England, yee may finde there, and many more. Namely, grosse simony, greedy covetousnesse, fleshly incontinency, carelesse sloath, and generally all disordered life in the common clergymen. And besides all these, they have their particular enormityes; for all Irish priests, which now encotemporaries of the state of things I have depicted. This testimony embraces the period from the commencement of the reformation in
310 Leland, II. 237.
341 Spenser, 140.
beco. joy the church livings, they are in a manner meere laymen, saving that they have taken holy orders; but otherwise they doe goe and live like laymen; follow all kinde of husbandry, and other worldly affaires, as other Irish men doe. They neither read Scriptures, nor preach to the people, nor administer the communion ; but baptisme they doe; for they christen yet after the popish fashion ; only they take the tithes and of ferings, and gather what fruite else they may of their livings.”342
" It is great wonder to see the oddes which is between the zeale of popish priests, and the ministers of the gospell; for they spare not to come out of Spaine, from Rome, and from Remes, by long toyle and daungerous travayling hither, where they know perill of death awayteth them, and no reward or richesse is to be found, onely to draw the people unto the church of Rome; whereas some of our idle ministers, having a way for credite and estimation thereby opened unto them, and having the livings of the countrey offered unto them, without paines, and without perill, will neither for the same, nor any love of God, nor zeale of religion, or for all the good they may doe, by winning soules to God, bee drawne foorth from their warme neastes, to looke out into God's harvest, which is even ready for the sickle, and all the fields yellow long agoe.”343
1576. " The first is, the churche nowe so spoyled, as well by the ruine of the temples, as the discipacion and imbeaselinge of the patrimonye, and most of all, for want of sufficient ministers; as so deformed and over throwen a churche there is not, I am sure, in any region where Christ is professed ; and preposterous it seameth to me, to begin reformacion of the pollitique parte, and to neglect the religious.
“I was advertized of the perticuler estate of ech churche in the bishopricke of Meithe, (being the best inhabited countrie of all this realme,) by the honest, zealous, and learned bishop of the same, Mr. Hugh Bradye, a godlye minister for the gospell, and a good sarvaunt to your highnes, who went from churche to churche hym selfe, and found, that there are within his dioces 224 parrishe churches, of which number one hundred and five are impropriated to sondrie possessions, nowe of your highnes, and all leased out for yeares, or in fee farme, to severall farmers, and great gayne reaped out of theim above the rent, which your majestie receivethe; no parson, or vicar, resident upon any of theim, and a very simple or sorrye curat, for the most parte, appointed to serve theim: amonge which nomber of curatts, onely eightene were founde able to speake-English.9345
No one howse standinge for any of theim to dwell in. In maney places, the very walles of the churches doune; verie few chauncells covered, wyndowes and dores ruyned, or spoyled. There are 52 other parishe churches in the same dioces, who have viccars
indued upon theim, better served and maynteined then the other, yet but baolye. There are 52 parishe churches more, residue of the first nomber of
342 Spenser, 139.
3:43 Idem, 254.
344 Sydney, I, 109.
345 Idem, 112.
Ireland in 1560 until the year 1630. To this I add that of Burnet, Carte,s and Leland, protestant historiaus of the last century, all
224, which perteine to dyvers perticuler lords, and these though in better estate, then the rest commonlye are, yet farre from well. If this be the estate of the churche in the best peopled dyoces, and best gorerned countrie, of this your realme, (as in troth it is :) easye it is for your majestie to conjecture, in what case the rest is, where little or no reformation, either of religion or manners, hath yet bene planted, and contynued amonge theime.”:346
“ Uppon the face of the earthe, where Christ is professed, there is not a churche in so miserable a case; the miserye of whiche consistethe in thiese three particulars, the ruyne of the verie temples theimselves; the want of good mynisters to serve in theim, when they shallbe reedified ; competent lyvinge for the ministers beinge wel chosen."347
4" And though the outrages in the civill government were great, yet nothing to be compared to the ecclesiastical state, for that was too far out of order, the temples all ruined, the parish churches for the most part without curates and pastors, no service said, no God honoured, nor Christ preached, nor sacraments ministered."348
566 There has been so little care taken, as that the greatest part of the churches within the pale be still in their ruins ; so as the common people, (whereof many, without doubt, would conform themselves, have no place to resort to, where they may hear divine service."349
6 ** For the holding of two livings, and but two with cure, since you approve ine in the substance, I will yield to you in the circumstance of time. Indeed, my lord, I knew it was bad, very bad in Ireland ; but that it was so stark nought I did not believe, six benefits not able to find the minister cloaths. In six parishes scarce six to come to church."350
“ The best entrance to the cure, will be clearly to discover the - state of the patient, which I find many ways distempered; an unlearned clergy, who have not so much as the outward form of churchmen to cover themselves with, nor their persons any ways reverenced or protected, the churches unbuilt, the parsonage and vicarage houses utterly ruined; the people untaught thorough the non-residency of the clergy, occasioned by the unlimited shameful numbers of spiritual promotions with cure of souls, which they hold by commendams; the rites and ceremonies of the church run over without all decency of habit, order, or gravity, in the course of their service; the possessions of the church, to a great proportion, in lay hands; the bishops aliening their very principal houses and demesnes to their children, to strangers, farming out their jurisdictions to mean and unworthy persons ; the popish titulars exercising the whilst a foreign jurisdiction much greater than theirs."351
76 There are seven or eight ministers in each diocess of good sufficiency; and, (which is no small cause of the continuance of the peo. bearing on the same subject with irresistible force, and exhibiting as deplorable and disgraceful a state of the established church as can well be conceived. The aggregate of the evidence so overwhelmingly establishes my positions, as for ever to silence all cavil, and command the assent of every reader, with the slightest pretensions to candour, to whatever nation, party, or religion, he may adhere.
346 Sydney, I. 112. 349 Davies, 240.
347 Ibid. 348 Hooker, apud Hollinshed, VI. 382. 350 Strafford, I. 254. 351 Idem, I. 187.
Sydney has recorded a detail of the state of the diocess of Meath, one of the best regulated in the kingdom, from which a tolerably correct idea may be formed of the state of the church generally. In that diocess there were 224 parish churches, of which 105 were impropriated to different possessions-not a parson or vicar to any one of them -to some a sorry curate." of the whole number of curates, only eighteen could speak English. Of the remainder 52 belonged to particular lords.
ple in Popery still,) English, which have not the tongue of the people, nor can perform any divine offices, or converse with them; and which hold many of them two or three, four or more vicarages apiece ; even the clerkships themselves are in like manner conferred upon the Eng lish, and sometimes two or three, or more, upon one man, and ordinarily bought and sold or let to farm.3359
8 « As scandalous livings naturally make scandalous ministers, the clergy of the established church were generally ignorant and unlearned, loose and irregular in their lives and conversations, negligent of their cures, and very careless of observing uniformity and decency in divine worship."353
“ Nor were the parochial churches in a better condition than the cathedral. They had most of them in the country been destroyed in the troubles, or fallen down for want of covering; the livings were very small, and either kept in the bishops' hands
by way of commendams and sequestrations, or else filled with ministers as scandalous as their income; so that scarce any care was taken to catechise the children, or instruct others in the grounds of religion ; and for years together, divine service had not been used in any parish church throughout Ulster, except in some city or principal towns.”354
96 There were few churches to resort to ; few teachers to exhort and instruct; fewer still who could be understood; and almost all, at least for the greater part of this reign, (Elizabeth's,) of scandalous insufficiency."355
352 Burnet's Life of Bedell, 46,
353 Carte, 1. 68.
Scandalous libels on the Irish character. Giraldus Cambrensis.
Sydney. Hooker. Overwhelming favourable testimony. Baron Finglass. Edward Coke. Sir John Davies. Stanihurst. Borlase. Hooker's inconsistency.
“ They talk as they are wont--not as we merita
TO palliate the grievous oppression under which Ireland groaned for centuries during the existence of peace, as well as the horrible system of extirpation pursued by the officers of the government, during warfare, the Irish were generally represented as incurably barbarous, savage, intolerant of law and order, and only to be ruled with a rod of iron. Such has ever been the character drawn by cruel and ty. rannical rulers of their subjects, when they compelled them to resistance by their violence and oppression.
This motive would sufficiently account for the hideous character drawn of the Irish by the English writers, independent of any other consideration. But even where no such stimulus exists, the characters of nations are rarely drawn correctly by their neighbours, or by interested, absurd, or prejudiced travellers. This kind of obliquity prevails in different portions of a country towards the inhabitants of other portions. The Normans and Gascons are objects of ridicule throughout the rest of France-the Scotch, notwithstanding their inany solid virtues as a nation, were, until lately, regarded with an evil eye in England, and, at one period, were daily objects of the most intemperate and outrageous abuse—and the name of a Yorkshireman has been proverbial in England for trick and cunning.
Such partial statements of national or provincial character, are entitled to no attention. Who, for instance, can recognise a single feature of the American character in the miserable productions of Ash, Fearon, Parkinson, Howlett, or the other numerous English travellers who have visited this country, apparently with a view of exposing our citizens, their manners and customs, to ridicule and contempt? Many of their statements are as near the truth as the tales of Major Longbow. Who, on the other hand, can discover in the pages of M. Pillet, the Fearon of England, a single one of the estimable traits of the existing English character—their glowing public spirittheir zeal in defence of their country—their laudable charity-their great liberality in the promotion of grand public objects and their unexampled munificence in rewarding public services? There is not a trace of them to be found there. In like manner, it would be in vain to seek for the true character