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FACTS AND FIGURES, ETC.
THE fifth article of the Union between Great Britain and Ireland (40 Geo. III. c. 67), contained the following clause :-“That it be the fifth Article of Union that the Churches of England and Ireland, as now by law established, be united into one Protestant Episcopal Church, to be called the United Church of England and Ireland, and that the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the said united Church shall be, and shall remain in full force for ever, as the same are now by law established for the Church of England; that the continuance and preservation of the said United Church, as the Established Church of England and Ireland, shall be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the Union.”
Of course the Act of Union is but an Act of Parliament; and as on this point it establishes what the following pages will show to be a monstrous injustice, it ought to be immediately amended. The Union itself demands this. While the Establishment remains, that Union never can be real.
It is stated in the Appendix to the First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction (Ireland) 1835, that of the 1387 benefices in Ireland, there were 41 which did not contain a single member of the Established Church; 99 in which there was one, and not inore than 20 members; 124 in which there were more than 20, and not more than 50; 161 in which there were more than 50, and not more than 100; 425 benefices, therefore, in which the number was below 100. From the same report it appears that there were 157 benefices in which the incumbents were non-resident and no services were performed. Of the total number of benefices 908 are single parishes, and 479 are unions of two or more parishes; the union having been effected, not for the convenience of the people, but to provide a good income for some connexion of the aristocracy or some sycophant of the Government. Latterly, what are called “
perpetual curacies” have been cut off from very large parishes, and their incumbents receive a portion of the tithes, and are free from the control of the rector.
The figures quoted above exhibit the disgraceful anomaly of hundreds of clergymen drawing large incomes from an impoverished people for doing nothing ! This would be bad enough if the people belonged to their own Church, or could feel that they were paying for their own creed; but they are compelled to pay for a system which assumes to them the double aspect of heresy and tyranny, and is hated accordingly. In 1834 a special census was taken, with the object of ascertaining the religious persuasions of the people. The numbers, as then returned, are as follows :
Proportion per cent,
On these returns the Edinburgh Review remarked thus _". The census of the members of the Established Church exhibits a greater number than was expected by many. The reason is this—many are included in these returns who in England would be called Dissenters. They are almost exclusively Wesleyans, or Primitive Wesleyan Methodists ; and some, although attending places of worship of their own, also frequently attended the services of the Church of England—would not admit that they dissented from its doctrines-often
called themselves Established Churchmen, and always refused to be enumerated as Protestant Dissenters. The Commissioners were compelled to class them as members of the Established Church.” At that time, also, the Irish Church Establishment was threatened with reform, and there was the strongest inducement to swell the number of its members to the utmost, and yet, after all, that Establishment could muster little more than one-tenth of the population !
At a time when Lord John Russell felt at liberty to publish the truth, he thus wrote (Essay on the English Constitution):—“In the Church of Ireland there are four archbishops and eighteen bishops,* whose united income is estimated at £185,700 a year. But, besides this acknowledged income, the revenue the Irish Church draws from fines is enormous; their landed property is immense.” From a statement prepared in 1832, it appeared that ten Irish bishops had left, in personal property, exclusive of real estates, £1,575,000, or an average of £157,500 each. The Bishop of Clogber, it is said, went to Ireland without a shilling, and died worth £400,000!
The annual revenues of the Established Church in Ireland may be stated as follows. It will be seen to be under Lord J. Russell's estimate as to the bishops; but there is great reason to doubt the honesty of the returns:
151,128 0 0
57,106 0 0
Archiepiscopal and Episcopal Revenues,
(See First Report on Ecclesiastical
Revenue, Ireland, p. 42).
position reduced to
401,000 0 0
£711,534 0 0
This sum gives nearly one pound a-head for the spiritual care of every Episcopalian in Ireland, in
* By the Church Temporalities Act, passed in August, 1833, (3 and 4 William 1V.) the hierarchy was reduced to two archbishops and ten bishops.
cluding the Methodists, who cannot be less than 100,000, and who support their own ministers. The returns cannot be relied upon in one respect. They were very reluctantly made, and the income arising from land is greatly understated. The rental is comparatively low in consideration of the enormous renewal fines. It is manifest that most of the bishoprics, even of those which have not been suppressed, are virtual sinecures. The cathedral dignities are avowedly so. The gross amount of their revenue is £40,323. The Report states that ninety-four of those dignities are
mere sinecure offices, save and except the duty of preaching occasionally in their respective cathedral churches." Seventy-five of these dignitaries stated to the Commissioners that they had “no duties whatever to perform." Yet some of them pocket handsome sums for their sinecures. The Dean of Raphoe receives £1,491 per annum; the Subdeacon of Meath, £723 ; and the Precentor of Lismore, £448.
There are certain deductions to be made from the gross income of the Irish Church, the nett sum being estimated at £744,926 13s. 7d. But, in addition to this permanent income, that greedy Establishment has received large grants from the indulgent Legislature for building churches and glebe-houses. In a table prepared by Mr. Spring Rice, it is stated that there was voted
£ From 1801 to 1807.
4,615 a-year In 1808 and 1809
9,230 From 1810 to 1816.
55,384 From 1817 to 1821.
27,692 In 1822 and 1823
9,230 These annual sums amount to £595,373 ; in addition to which £336,881 was granted for glebe-houses alone. Loans, also, were given by Parliament for glebes and churches-loans which in many instances were not repaid, amounting to £324,623. The clergy were liable by law for certain annual payments in support of schools; the law was not enforced, and the Treasury was drawn on for the money required to educate the poor, whom this “poor man's Church " so systematically neglected
The Charter Schools, amongst the worst in
stitutions of the kind ever known in any
country, cost the public
the relief of tithe arrears .
£2,378,368 While the income of the Irish Church was thus rapidly increasing, the Protestant population was rapidly diminishing, until voluntary labourers came into the field. In fact, but for Wesleyans and other Dissenters, Protestantism would have been almost, if not altogether, extinct in Ireland. Mr. Ward, M.P., the author of the famous “ Appropriation Clause,” submitted to the House of Commons a table, which showed that the Protestants in the diocese of Ossory, in 1731, were 1,935, while in 1831 they were reduced to 1,453. During this century the whole population of the district had nearly quadrupled; and the Protestant portion, instead of keeping pace with it, actually fell by onefourth.
Let us turn our attention now to the present state of the Irish Church, and see how it has been affected by recent legislation. When the Church Temporalities Act was passed, an Ecclesiastical Commission was established to take charge of ecclesiastical funds, and devote them to ecclesiastical purposes. This commission still exists, Among its members are the Lord Primate, the Archbishop of Dublin, and three other bishops, forming a majority of the Board. Before noticing their operations, reference must be made to the changes in the Establishment made by the act just referred to. According to the former arrangement, the bishops, with their incomes, were classed thus :
LEINSTER Income. Income.
Dublin and Glendalough 9,321 Armagh £17,570 Kildare
6,452 Meath and Clonmacnoise 5,220
3,859 Clogher 10,371 Ferns and Leighlin
6,550 Down and Connor
MUNSTER. Raphoe 5,787 Cashel and Emly
7,478 Limerick, Ardfert, and Dromore 4,813 Aghadoe