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melancholy, and, perhaps more likely—to absolute infidelity and irreligion.
67. This narrative of the history and fortunes of the Church of Ireland cannot be more suitably closed than by a brief enumeration of the principal facts which it is designed, and which the writer ventures to hope it will be deemed sufficient, to establish.
(1.) That the Church of Ireland was, in her origin and for the first 700 years of her existence, independent of, and not unfrequently opposed to, the authority of the See of Rome; and, during the greater part of that period, was comparatively free from the errors and corruptions of the faith gradually introduced under its auspices among the other Churches of Western Christendom.
(2.) That the eventual recognition in Ireland of the Papal Supremacy, and the subsequent complete conformity of the Irish Church with that of Rome, were brought about, first through the influence, and finally by the authority of England.
(3.) That the period during which the Papal Supremacy was legally recognised in Ireland was not much more than half that during which it had been unknown, and very little exceeds that which has elapsed since its rejection.
(4.) That the renunciation of the Pope's Supremacy and the adoption of the various points of the Reformation were effected in Ireland in a legal, orderly, and canonical manner, in accordance with the then existing constitutions both of Church and State.
(5.) That the bishops and clergy of the Church at present established in Ireland, are the direct successors and legitimate representatives of the bishops and clergy of the ancient Church; and that, on the contrary, the bishops and clergy of the Roman communion derive their succession and orders from foreign Churches; and were intruded (contrary to the Canons of the universal Church) into offices already full.
(6.) That the Church of Ireland, although for centuries connected with that of England by the bonds of a common doctrine, discipline, and ritual, as well as by constant intercommunion, and in recent times politically united with it as the recognised Church established in this realm, is nevertheless no mere offshoot or mission from it, but a coeval, independent, national Church.
(7.) That every existing inheritor or purchaser of land in Ireland holds his property subject to the original grant of the tithes of the same to the Church; and this reserved rent being now, at a great sacrifice, made payable directly by the proprietor himself, instead of by his tenants, every semblance of hardship or injustice is removed.
(8.) That the ancient Church lands in Ireland, though originally held in trust for the benefit of the Church, were never, to any extent, (at least in Ulster,) in her actual possession, until they were re-granted, after the forfeitures, by James I., who likewise reserved by charter considerable tracts of glebe land for the use of the clergyman in the several parishes included in the Plantation," which the present incumbents still possess.
(9.) That no part of the endowments of those religious establishments which were founded during the period of Romish ascendancy in Ireland, passed into the possession of the Reformed Church; the whole being granted by the Crown to lay impropriators,
whose representatives still enjoy the greater portion of them.
(10.) That a very large portion of the existing property of the Irish Church is due either to the exertions or to the liberality of her bishops and other members since the Reformation: many large amounts, both in lands and tithes, which had been fraudulently seized having been recovered; many impropriations having been purchased back with private funds; and several munificent bequests having been from time to time made in her favour.
(11.) That the feelings of hatred on the one side, of contempt on the other, and of distrust on both, which have exercised so constant and pernicious an influence on the relations between the native Irish and the descendants of their English conquerors, did not take their rise from religious differences, but are to be traced to a period when both races were alike in subjection to Rome; and that the question of religion was a subsequent, and has always been a secondary element, in these mutual feelings.
(12.) That the failure of the Church of Ireland, after the Reformation, to retain the mass of the population in her allegiance is fairly accounted for, on the one hand, by the unfortunate course adopted by the authorities in Church and State, in presenting and enforcing the Reformation in such an exclusively English aspect as made it all but certain to be rejected by the native Irish; disregarding or neglecting those methods of instruction and persuasion through the medium of their own language and customs, which might have been effectual to remove their prejudices and to win them to the truth: and on the other, by the wicked policy of the Court of
Rome in working on the anti-English feeling of the native chieftains and their followers, and thus stirring up a succession of plots and insurrections against the English Government, which lasted through the greater part of the seventeenth century,
(13.) That as the Church's action was all but suspended during the bloodshed and persecutions of the seventeenth century; so her legitimate influence was paralyzed by the jealous policy and unprincipled selfishness which characterized the conduct of public affairs during the eighteenth : making all appointments, and almost all legislature, subservient to the exigencies of English party politics, or private interest and favouritism.
(14.) That notwithstanding all these disadvantages, , and the actual loss of thousands of her members, at
first by slaughter, and afterwards by emigration; and notwithstanding the vast diminution of her original property, whether by fraud and violence or by legislative interference; the Church has progressed in numbers, influence, and spirituality, and more particularly since the commencement of the present century: and that she is now on the whole in a more flourishing and satisfactory condition than at any period since the Reformation.
(15.) That the anomalies which are objected against her,—such as the disproportion of clerical incomes to each other, or to the number of Church members in the parishes from which they are drawn,—are in no instance of modern origin, and, far from being on the increase, are daily diminishing; pluralities being wholly abolished, and sinecures (at least those in public patronage) scarcely known—the inequalities which do exist being to a great extent inseparable from the very existence of any established Church at all.
(16.) That under all vicissitudes of prosperity or adversity, public favour or public discouragement, the clergy of the Church of Ireland, and those who are under their instruction and influence, have ever borne true, hearty, and undivided allegiance to the Crown and Constitution of the realm ; and, even where least numerous, have formed nuclei of civilization, good order, and loyalty, which can scarcely be overestimated under the peculiar circumstances of the country.
(17.) Finally, that the dis-establishment of the Church in Ireland, (if-contrary to good faith, consistency, and the teaching of past experience—such a course should ever be adopted,) so far from contenting those restless and infatuated persons who dream of independence, an Irish republic, and (though last not least), the resumption of the forfeited estates; or those far deeper and more practical calculators whose ever-present object is the restoration of Romish ascen. dancy, would only, as all previous concessions have invariably done, stimulate them to greater and more determined assaults on the other institutions of the country; while it would at the same time smooth the way for those in England who have deliberately set before them the task of uprooting the Church establishment there also.