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to the Irish establishment,-it familiarized their minds with the idea of change.

The mode of attack was then a little changed, and an outcry was raised against the Irish clergy as being negligent of their duties and non-resident: but here again, upon inquiry, it was found that there is no body of clergy in all Europe more strictly resident than the clergy of Ireland, and that as to their zeal, it amounted if anything to excess, evaporating itself sometimes even in fanaticism,-a circumstance to be deplored if true, but still perfectly inconsistent with the charge of supineness and inactivity., Still the attack did its work, and being believed for a time, has left an impression on the public mind not yet worn

out'.

Of late a new and most notable method of attack has been devised. It has been discovered

own :

! See, for a most triumphant refutation of the calumnies heaped upon the Irish clergy in this respect, the late Bishop of Limerick's speech in the House of Lords, June 10, 1824. That ever to be lamented prelate concludes this portion of his speech in a manner peculiarly happy, and, I may say, peculiarly his

“ The case stands thus : Irishmen know the Irish clergy to be at home; Englishmen know the Irish clergy not to be in this country. The Irish clergy are not to be missed in Ireland; they are not to be found in England. The conclusion, therefore, is obvious and irresistible; that the Irish clergy are where they ought to be; at their posts, and engaged in the performance of their sacred duties.”Practical Theology, ii. p. 347.

by certain politicians, who never on any other occasions have shown any great zeal for the Protestant cause, (and the discovery has been hailed by the applause of leading Papists,—that the Church as at present established, and during the time she was in the enjoyment of ample revenues, retarded instead of advancing the progress of the reformed religion; and that to render her efficient she must be crippled in all her resources, and reduced to poverty and distress—that if there is to be a crown on her head, it must be a crown of thorns—if a sceptre in her right hand, it must be a powerless reed. Now, we might consider the absurdity of this statement to be too great to require an answer, were it not that its absurdity is absolutely increased when made with reference to the Church of Ireland; for how long has the Church of Ireland enjoyed—I will not say prosperitybut even a moderate share of the support of government ? Let us look to history.

In the reign of Charles I. we find the Convocation of the Church of Ireland stating, in a petition to the King', that " in all the Christian world the rural Clergy have not been reduced to such extremity of contempt and beggary as in this kingdom, by the means of appropriations, commendams, and violent intrusions into their un

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doubted rights, in times of confusion-having their Churches ruined, their habitations left desolate, their glebes concealed, and, by inevitable consequence, an invincible necessity of general nonresidency, whereby the ordinary subject hath been left wholly destitute of all possible means to learn true piety to God.” It had been said a few

years before by Sir Henry Sidney to Queen Elizabeth, that“ on the face of the earth, where Christ was professed, there was not a Church in so miserable a case.” And so it continued to be down to the middle of the last century. And what was the consequence? The advance of Protestantism? No, assuredly; but the increase of that which is at the present day the great curse of that countryof that which has turned judgement into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock-of Popery; of Popery, which, in opposition to the Church, was maintained by Spanish and Italian gold', and was patronised by those factions, the leaders of which were in possession of the best part of the ecclesiastical property'—the increase,

2

' Phelan, ii. 294.

The origin of the support which was afterwards given to Popery by the Irish aristocracy, who, together with the people and clergy, at first so quietly and happily acquiesced in the Reformation, may be seen in Phelan, p. 167—176.

“ From time to time,” he says, at p. 174, “ Elizabeth sent instructions to her Irish government, to proceed with vigour in breaking the

I say, of Popery, until it was permitted to take that hold on the affections of the lower orders, that with them the cause of Popery, and the cause of their country, as distinguished from the rest of the empire, are now identified. And to this state of things the advocates of Popery would, of course, gladly return--and to effect this purpose they are now using all their endeavours. For they know full well, that if the Church of Ireland has that countenance from Government which it has a right to expect, their cause will be lost.

It was not, as I have stated, till the middle of the last century, that the Irish Church received

power of the nobles: deep and general discontent among them was the natural consequence, and from discontent it was, in those days, an easy transition to insurrection. Having determined to rebel, they wisely made religion their ostensible grievance: the pretext was plausible ; it would strengthen their confederacy, engage the simple and superstitious in their cause, and help to conceal from all, the true sources of Irish calamity ; accordingly they became the champions of religion. Formerly, when they had once resolved to obey the King, they made no scruple to renounce the Pope ; knowing that, thereby, they would lower the tone of a domineering Priesthood: now, on the other hand, they had resolved to oppose the Crown, and therefore affected a zeal for the Papacy.” In the hands of Irish Laymen there are 1,480 glebes once belonging to the Church, 562 impropriate rectories, and 118 parishes wholly impropriate; making in all 680 parishes. The amount derived from tithes by Laymen is said to be £300,000 a year.-See Important Facts, p. 4.

the support it deserved-it was not till the commencement of the present century, until the two Churches, as well as the two kingdoms, were united, that it had, if I may venture upon the expression, any thing like fair play. And of its progress since that period we possess the most satisfactory documents. For instance, at the time of the Union there were in Ireland 1000 Clergymen, there are now above 2000!; and surely the increase of the Clergy could only have been occasioned by an increased demand for their services; especially as of these 800 are curates —again, in 1800 there were not above 300 glebe houses—there are now above 900 ; but the strongest fact of all is this, that whereas in the year 1800 there were only 639 Churches in all Ireland, there are now 1338, besides schools used for public worship where no Churches have been erected, to the number of 196, making in all 1,534; while, according to the Report of the Commissioners, many applications for new Churches are constantly made. It is not then because the Church as at present established and endowed is inefficient, but because it is too efficient, that those factions are armed against it, whose object is, if Papists, the Establishment of Popery; if not

See Important Facts, pp. 6, 7. The tables are there given, which have been corrected up to the present time, from documents published in the “ British Magazine."

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