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now bishops' lands, but in other places they have passed away altogether from the Church.*
Notwithstanding the many changes to which Antiquity of ecclesiastical property in this country has been see property subjected, and the spoliation and plunder of so in some inmany successive ages, what still remains is, in some cases at least, of great antiquity. Of the revenues of the see of Down, the Rev. Wm. Reeves observes, that “Documentary authority has been produced to shew, that the greater part of the bishop's estates have been in the possession of the see for six centuries and a half,” or in other words, from A.D. 1200.
"It is remarkable that the Irish Church owes the The Irish greater part of her present parochial endowments, and Church inmuch also of her episcopal revenues, to the piety and much of her munificence of her prelates since the Reformation. In present in
• The learned and beautiful edition of the Acts of Archbishop COL ton in his Metropolitan Visitation of the Diocese of Derry, A.D. 1397, by the Rev. W. Reeves, D.D., (received by the kindness of its erudite author, since the above was written,) contains much important infor mation on the subject of corbes and erenachs, and of Irish Church revenues in general.
In the appendix to the Ulster Inquisitions of 1609, as quoted by Dr. Reeves, at p. 76 of this work, the Bishop of Derry is reported as receiving, "out of the erenagh land of Ballinescrine, contayninge sixe balliboes [i. e. the ‘ Six Towns' (or townlands), in one of which these lines are penned, ] (whereof the herenagh had one free to himself,) the yerely rent of 168. 8d.". The “Şix Towns" are still classed among the Church lands of Ireland, and are tenanted by a population who supply no inconsiderable amount of practice for the manor court of the seneschal of the Lord Bishop of Derry presiding in Maghera. In 1397 the bishop received as rent from the erenagh for " the six towns," three marks, i. e. £2, and out of the tithes of the parish of Ballyna screen, farmed by the erenagh, 208.-in all, £3 from the parish.
come to the Ireland the Reformation would have been more truly pious muni- called the confiscation. There is at this moment scarcely Acence of her own an Irish nobleman, inheriting an ancient property, who prelates. does not owe the bulk of it to the confiscated lands of
the Church. And what was the consequence? The accounts given (in the extant Episcopal visitation returns) of the spiritual destitution of the Irish parishes, and of the miserable poverty of the clergy in the two centuries which followed the Reformation, are truly marvellous : churches ruined, glebe lands violently seized, the clergy without houses, their lives threatened by the landowners, lest they should perchance reside, although without houses, and thus recover the spoliated property, or prevent further encroachments; such was
the state of the Irish Church in the time of Bramhall. Service ren- To that great prelate we owe the re-establishment of dered by
discipline and order, and the blessing of uniformity with Bishop Bramhall,
the Church of England. To the bishops who have succeeded him too, we owe the re-endowment of the Church, the measures which have enabled us to see a glebe house and land in almost every parish, (although there are still numerous exceptions, and which have provided for the repair or rebuilding of many of our churches; and all this, (as might easily be shewn,) has been effected by the munificence of individuals, bishops, as well as infe rior clergy_individuals who have done their good works so secretly, that their very names are known to but few; and yet people now talk as if the endowments of the Church of Ireland had been [wholly) conferred upon her,
in times gone by, by Parliament or by the State.** Such munificence not
Nor has such munificence on the part of her yet extinct. prelates, though opposed by many a heavy blow
and great discouragement from the secular
• See the Irish Eccl. Journal for July, 1845, (No. 61) p. 198.
powers, been as yet quenched in the Irish Church. Of one of her two highest dignitaries the writer here quoted justly observes, that
“not content with having rebuilt his cathedral at an Case of the expense to his own private fortune of upwards of present £30,000, he is known to employ more than £2000
per annum in the support of poor clergymen, and other mate of all
; pressing wants of his diocese; and this without counting his contributions to benevolent and literary institutions less closely connected with the Church, without counting either those almost countless private charities, of which it can be most truly said, that his left hand knoweth not what his right hand doeth. And this prelate, be it remembered, is the only Irishman (with one exception) who has held the see of Armagh since the days of Ussher, a period of 200 years !” The unsparing munificence of the individual and of the
second chief who occupies the second place in the Irish
prelate of Church at present is also sufficiently well known; (not to refer to others,) so that, whatever slanderous envy may suggest relative to the overgrown revenues of our prelates, it is happy for churchmen to be able to reflect, that not only are those large incomes in the possession of their only right and lawful inheritors, but that in the most remarkable instances of them, here noticed, they could not possibly be in the hands of individuals more worthy to hold them, so far as that worthiness is to be judged of by their generous readiness to make use of them, without
the Irish Church.
Origin of the Tithe system in Ireland.
grudging, for works of piety and benevolence in the household of God.
As to the TITAE property of the Irish Church. This appears, according to all the best informed writers on our ecclesiastical affairs, to have originated in the twelfth century; any payment of such an impost in previous ages, if at all practised in this island, having been confined to a few particular persons, times, and places, in the country. The following statement on the subject, from the pen of a late eminent Roman Catholic prelate of Ireland, the famous Dr. Doyle, in a letter to the Marquess Wellesley, while containing some errors, is in part true, and altogether worthy of notice :-*
“Tithes in this country, my Lord,” says he, "should of the late always have been odious ; they were the price paid by Dr. Doyle Henry II. and the legate Paparo to the Irish prelates, ject.
who sold for them the independence of their native land, and the birthright of their people : until that period, tithes were almost unknown in this country, and from the day of their introduction, we may date the history of our misfortunes ; they were not the only cause, but they were an efficient one, of all the calamities which followed; and whilst they subsist, peace and concord will not be re-established in Ireland.'
Mr.Phelan's Mr. Phelan's eloquent reply to the letter from account of our Church which this latter extract is taken, has been al
• See Mr. Phelan's Declan Letter, ut sup. p. 12.
ready quoted in the present article. From the property, same reply are taken the subjoined passages re- commence lating to the same subject, from the time when ment of the the tithe system originated in Ireland. They system. occur immediately in connection with that cited in p. 1061, sup.; and will be found to contain some useful and important observations.
“The ambition of the Vatican had long been mortified by the existence of one recusant Church in the West; and the opportunity of triumph which now offered, was improved with even more than papal skill. Yet half a century elapsed (A.D. 1106_1148] before the Irish clergy could be induced to capitulate. At length however, matters became ripe for negociation; the terms were of course, submission on the weaker side, and protection on the stronger; and as these terms could not be secured, without the intervention of secular power, Henry was invited by the Pope, and admitted by the bishops, to be come a party to the contract.
“ The first act of the new sovereign was to ratify the proceedings of a synod, which among other things, passed the two following decrees :
" That all the faithful do pay to their parish Church, Acts of the the tithe of animals, fruits, and other increase.
“That ecclesiastical lands be free from the eractions of Synode to the laity. In particular that no prince, count, or other with this powerful man in Ireland, or their sons or families, do pre- subject. sume to exact, as was usual, victuals or entertainments in the demesnes of the Church; and that those detestable contributions which were wont to be levied from Church lands four times in the year be levied no more.
“Such my Lord, as accurately as can be described in a small compass, is the history of the origin of our