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hardly ever above one quarter of the value. And I have heard it computed by many skilful observers, whose interest was not concerned, that the clergy did not receive, throughout the kingdom, one half of what the laws have made their due.
As to his lordship's discontent against the bishop's court, I shall not interpose farther than in venturing my private opinion, that the clergy would be very glad to recover their just dues, by a more short, decisive, and compulsive method, than such a cramped limited jurisdiction will allow.
His lordship is not the only person disposed to give the clergy the honour of being the sole encouragers of all new improvements. hemp, flax, and twenty things more, are to be planted, the clergy alone must reward the industrious farmer, by abatement of the tithe. What if the owner of nine parts in ten, would please to abate proportionably in his rent for every acre thus improved? Would not a man just dropped from the clouds, upon a full hearing, judge the demand to be at least as reasonable?
I believe no man will dispute his lordship's title to his estate; nor will I the jus divinum of tithes, which he mentions with some emotion. I suppose the affirmative would be of little advantage to the clergy, for the same reason, that a maxim in law has more weight in the world than an article of faith. And yet I think there may be such a thing as sacrilege ; because it is frequently mentioned by Greek and Roman authors, as well as described in Holy Writ. This I am sure of, that his lordship would at any time excuse a parliament for not concerning itself in his
properties, without his own consent. The observations I have made upon his lord
ship’s discourse, have not, I confess, been altogether proper to my subject : however, since he has been pleased therein to offer some proposals to the house of commons with relation to the clergy, I hope he will excuse me for differing from him; which proceeds from his own principle, the desire of defending liberty and property, that he has so strenuously and constantly maintained.
But the other writer openly declares for a law empowering the bishops to set fee-farms; and says,
Whoever intimates, that they will deny their consent to such a reasonable law, which the whole nation cries for, are enemies to them and the church.” Whether this be his real opinion, or only a strain of mirth and irony, the matter is not much. However, my sentiments are so directly contrary to his, that I think, whoever impartially reads and considers what I have written upon this argument, has either no regard for the church established under the hierarchy of bishops, or will never consent to any law, that shall repeal or elude the limiting clause relating to the real half value, contained in the act of parliament decimo Caroli, for the preservation of the inheritance, rights and profits of lands belonging to the church and persons ecclesiastical ; which was grounded upon reasons that do still and must for ever subsist.
October 21, 1723,
REASONS HUMBLY OFFERED
TO HIS GRACE
WILLIAM LORD ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN, &c.
THE HUMBLE REPRESENTATION OF THE CLERGY
OF THE CITY OF DUBLIN.
Jan, 1724. MY LORD, Your Grace having been pleased to communicate to us a certain brief, by letters patent, for the relief of one Charles M‘Carthy, whose house in College-green, Dublin, was burnt by an accidental fire; and having desired us to consider of the said brief, and give our opinions thereof to your Grace:
We, the clergy of the city of Dublin, in compliance with your Grace's desire, and with great acknowledgments for your paternal tenderness toward us, having maturely considered the said brief by letters patent, compared the several parts of it with what is enjoined us by the rubrick (which is confirmed by act of parliament) and consulted persons skilled in the laws of the church; do, in the names of ourselves and of the rest of our brethren the clergy of the diocese of Dublin, most humbly represent to your grace:
First, That by this brief, your Grace is required and commanded, to recommend and command all the parsons, vicars, &c. to advance so great an act of charity
We shall not presume to determine how far your Grace may be commanded by the said brief, but we humbly conceive that the clergy of diocese cannot, by any law now in being, be commanded by your Grace to advance the said act of charity, any otherwise than by reading the said brief in our several churches, as prescribed by the rubrick.
Secondly, Whereas it is said in the said brief, “That the parsons, vicars, &c. upon the first Lord's day, or opportunity, after the receipt of the copy of the said brief, shall, deliberately and affectionately, publish and declare the tepor thereof to his majesty's subjects, and earnestly persuade, exhort, and stir them up, to contribute freely and cheerfully toward the relief of the said sufferer:”
We do not comprehend what is meant by the word opportunity. We never do preach upon any day except the Lord's day, or some solemn days legally appointed; neither is it possible for the strongest constitution among us to obey this command (which includes no less than a whole şermon) upon any other opportunity than when our people are met together in the church; and to perform this work in every house where the parishes are very populous, consisting sometimes here in town of nine hundred or one thousand houses, would take up the space of a year, although we should preach in two families every day; and almost as much time in the country, where the parishes are of large extent, the roads bad, and the people too poor to receive us and give charity at once.
But, if it be meant that these exhortations are commanded to be made in the church upon the Lord's day; we are humbly of opinion, that it is left to the discretion of the clergy, to choose