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Church Establishment. It will be important to keep in
mind, that the act from which it is dated, is the very Tithes the first act of the English dynasty. All property in this cient land country is the creation of some English king; and the rents in Ire- first
property so created is that of the Church. When land.
the Synod of Cashel was held, none of the native landholders had as yet been ejected; but since that time every foot of Irish territory has been frequently forfeited to the Crown. The Norman and English knights, as they successively came into possession, and the Irish chieftains, as they were readmitted under a new tenure, received their princely portions with a reservation of this original grant. However the present landlords may have acquired their properties, the acquisition extended only to nine-tenths of the produce, and their title to it, when traced to the source, originates in the bounty
of the Crown of England Statement
“The law,' says Blackstone, 'has wisely ordained of Black- that the parson (quatenus a parson) shall never die, any stone on the more than the king, by making him and his successors & rights of
corporation. By which means all the original rights of the parsonage are preserved entire to the successors; for the present incumbent, and his predecessor who lived seven centuries ago, are in the law one and the same person, and what was given to the one was given to the other,'-[Book 1, cap. 18.] It follows therefore that in the spirit of the Constitution, the clergy of the present day have been presented to their livings by Henry II. ; that they have the same rights, which they ever had, to a tenth* of all increase, and that no series
of illegal vexations can accumulate into law against their The clergy original claims. It is an ignorant and false assumption
that the tenure of the clergy is the same as that of ported by military or fiscal officers. Such persons are supported
• On the meaning and extent of the property called a tithe, see the observations of his Grace the Lord Primate, quoted a little farther on.
" the par
by taxes ; the clergy by their own property. A tax is that portion of the property of the subject, which is levied by the state, according to its exigencies. The income of the clergy is no deduction from such property ; tithes never were part of any property now in existence; and were the clerical order abolished, they would remain without a legal claimant. Those who call themselves landed proprietors would have no more right to them than a horde of Cossacks. On the other hand, tithes are in the strictest sense the property of the Church. By history, as well as by the genius of the Constitution, all property in Ireland is the gift of the British crown; the first gift was to the Church.”—(pp. 29, 30.)
In another part of his pamphlet, Mr. Phelan Perpetuity proposes the subject to his readers in a some
of the tithe
property what different and not altogether uninstructive and propri light, as follows (p. 37, ib.)
its first rise
“Failure of title must arise from one of two causes; the one a legal forfeiture; the other a chasm in the legal line of succession. The former of these operated to the removal of (some of] the Roman clergy; let us see whether the latter can be asserted of the Reformed: the case will stand thus :
“The Church of Ireland, on submitting to the Pope, was invested with certain temporalities by Henry II. Again :
** The Church of Ireland, on renouncing the Pope, was confirmed in its temporalities by Henry VIII.
“If the investiture were valid, there is no reason for objecting to the reinvestiture. The admission and the renunciation of Papal supremacy were equally essential, or equally unessential things; and if the Church survived the one, we may be allowed to believe that it was
not annihilated by the other. There was no disruption of continuity at the Reformation, [the adoption of the changes then
made by the bishops and clergy as a body, having the effect of preserving the derivative character of the priesthood, and maintaining the requisite unity of organization.] These circumstances, sufficient (as they would be) to prove the continued Catholicity of the Church, are abundantly conclusive for its continued identity, as a legal and constitutional incorporation.”
Further on, at p. 59 of the same tract, Mr.
Phelan adds Abolition of “There is an extreme competition for land, a competithes no tition increasing with the increase of our population. benefit to the people.
Thus the landlord would be enabled to transfer to himself the benefits of the abolition. At present he makes, or professes to make, an abatement in consideration of tithes : were tithes to cease, the abatement would cease with them.* Had J. K. L. considered this, he might have perceived that tithes are virtually a portion of the rent; and the parson a landlord no less than the squire. The only difference between them is, that to all who are wil ling to receive his ministry, the former stands in a nearer and more sacred relation. To the rest of his people he is, [in so far as they by rejecting his authority and instructions, can effect it,] simply a landlord, and like all
others, founds his right upon the laws of his country.” The Church
So that in short, notwithstanding the pitiful moaning and whining of those designing huma
in what sense In
The truth of this assertion has since been strikingly verified by the Act which transferred a fourth of the property in question from the clergy of the Church to the pockets of the lay proprietors in Ire land. The Italics are Mr. Phelan'..
nity-mongers, who depict our poor natives as debted to having to maintain, besides their own chosen ple For her ministers of religion, "another Church in mag- support. nificence,”-that Church “ the richest in the world," -- "supported at the charge of the poorest people on the face of the earth,”—and soforth ; it appears that in truth, after all, the people only maintain the Church as they maintain the grocer, baker, cloth-merchant, or alehousekeeper. These latter they support by paying for their tea and sugar, bread and cheese, and other such commodities. The Church is paid for her lands, and gives them in return for the tithe. Her right to the soil, though less extensive, is in all other respects no less founded in justice and equity than that of the lay proprietor; but rather, more to be respected, as depending on a title far more deeply rooted in antiquity than his. And if the rapacious injustice of demagogue influence ever succeed in abolishing that which belongs to God's clergy, either this will be the commencement of more wide-spread anarchy and communism ; or other and more exacting claimants will interfere, as on a former occasion, and make plain to “the people” how far they are the better for the Church's loss.
On the amount, and other circumstances, of the property belonging to the Irish Church, a good deal of useful and important information is Primate of VOL. III.
Statements of his Grace the Lord
all Ireland contained in the Charge of his Grace the Lord on the prone Primate of all Ireland, delivered at his annual of the
visitation in 1845. The following is the stateChurch.
ment given in that address, relative to the emoluments in possession of the Irish clergy."*
“ And first I would refer to the revenues of the a tenth, but Church, which are still spoken of as being 'enormous.' a fortieth The immense riches,' the lavish endowment of the part of the Irish Church, occupy a prominent place in every speech from tillage. and pamphlet on this subject. In the last of these pub
lications that I have seen, the attempt is made to lead the British public to believe that tithe, meaning thereby, as it is specifically asserted, a tenth part of the produce of the land, is still paid to the clergy by the cultivators of the soil.f Although even when what was called tithe was formerly paid, it was not a tenth, but a thirtieth part that was received by them. And since that which was denominated tithe has been commuted into a rent-charge. paid by the landlord, it has been diminished by one
• See the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal for February, 1846, p. 306.
His Grace appears in this passage to refer to the following most extraordinary statement, contained, with much other matter scarcely less mischievous and false, in a Letter on the Irish Church, from the Rev. B. W. Noel, (lately of the Church of England, but now a Dissenter,) to the Lord Bishop (Daly) of Cashel :-" The Catholic population," (he means the Romanists of Ireland,)... "have been compelled, down to this very moment, to pay tithes, that is to make over a tenth part of their farms and potato gardens to the established clergy, who at the same time, possess all the estates and glebe lands that formerly belonged to the Catholic clergy." See the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal for August, 1845, (No. 62, p. 212,) where the reviewer of the subject adds among other corrections, “ that if in the last clause of the sentence ‘nobility and gentry be substituted for
established clergy,' the statement it contains will somewhat approach the truth, to which at present it bears no sort or kind of resemblance.”