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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 honor of being the sole encouragers of all new improvements. If hops, 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 lordship's discourse have not, I confess, been altogether proper to my subject: however, since

Ι 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.






January, 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 opinion 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 Rubric (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 your 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 Rubric.

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 tenor 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 days legally appointed; neither is it possible for the strongest con



stitution among us to obey this command, (which includes no less than a whole sermon,) 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


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 what subjects they think most proper to preach on, and at what times; and if they preach either false doctrines or seditious principles, they are liable to be punished. It may possibly happen that the sufferer recommended

may person not deserving the favor intended by the brief; in which case, no minister who knows the sufferer to be an undeserving person, can with a safe conscience deliberately and affectionately publish the brief, much less earnestly persuade, exhort, and stir up the people to contribute freely and cheerfully toward the relief of such a sufferer. 1

Thirdly, Whereas, in the said brief, the ministers and curates are required, on the week-days next after the Lord's-day when the brief was read, to go from house to house, with their church wardens, to ask and receive from all persons the said charity.” We cannot but observe here that the said ministers are directly made collectors of the said charity, in conjunction with the church wardens, which, however, we presume was not intended, as being against all law and precedent; and therefore we apprehend there may be soine inconsistency, which leaves us at å loss how to proceed: for in the next paragraph the ministers and curates are only required, where they conveniently can, to accompany the church wardens, or procure some other of the chief inhabitants to do the same. And in a following paragraph the whole work seems left entirely to the church wardens, who are required to use their utmost diligence to gather and collect the said charity, and to pay the same, in ten days after, to the parson, vicar, &c.

In answer to this, we do represent to your grace our humble

This M‘Carthy's house was burnt in the month of August, 1723; and the universal opinion of the people was, that M‘Carthy himself was the person who set fire to the house.


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opinion, that neither we nor our churchwardens can be legally commanded or required to go from house to house to receive the said charity; because your grace has informed us in your order, at your visitation, A. D. 1712, “ That neither we nor our churchwardens are bound to make any collections for the poor save in the church ;" which also appears plainly by the Rubric, that appoints both time and place, as your grace has observed in your said order.

We do likewise assure your grace that it is not in our power to procure some of the chief inhabitants of our parishes to accompany the churchwarden from house to house in these collections; and we have reason to believe that such a proposal made to our chief inhabitants (particularly in this city, where our chief inhabitants are often peers of the land) would be received in a manner very little to our own satisfaction or to the advantage of the said collections.

Fourthly, The brief does will, require, and command the bishops, and all other dignitaries of the church, “That they make their contributions distinctly, to be returned in the several provinces to the several archbishops of the same.”

Upon which we take leave to observe that the terms of expression here are of the strongest kind, and in a point that may subject the said dignitaries (for we shall say nothing of the bishops) to great inconveniences.

The said dignitaries are here willed, required, and commanded to make their contributions distinctly : by which it should seem that they are absolutely commanded to make contributions, (for the word distinctly is but a circumstance,) and may be understood not very agreeable to a voluntary, cheerful contribution. And therefore, if any bishop or dignitary should refuse to make his contribution, (perhaps for very good reasons,) he may be thought to incur the crime of disobedience to his majesty, which all good subjects abhor when such a command is according to law.

Most dignities of this kingdom consist only of parochial tithes, and the dignitaries are ministers of parishes. A doubt may therefore arise whether the said dignitaries are willed, required, and commanded to make their contributions in both capacities, distinctly as dignitaries, and jointly as parsons or vicars.

Many dignities in this kingdom are the poorest kind of benefices; and it should seem hard to put poor dignitaries under the necessity either of making greater contributions than they can afford, or of exposing themselves to the censure of wanting charity by making their contributions public.

This may

Our Savior commands us, in words of charity, to “ let not our left hand know what our right hand doth ;" which cannot well consist with our being willed, required, and commanded, by any earthly power, where no law is prescribed, to publish our charity to the world if we have a mind to conceal it.

Fifthly, Whereas it is said in the said brief, “ That the parson, vicar, &c., of every parish shall, in six days after the receipt of the said charity, return it to his respective chancellor, &c." be a great grievance, hazard, and expense to the said parson,

in remote and desolate parts of the country; where often an honest messenger (if such a one can be got) must be hired to travel forty or fifty miles going and coming; which will probably cost more than the value of the contribution he carries with him. And this charge, if briefs should happen to be frequent, would be enough to undo many a poor clergyman in the kingdom.

Sixthly, We observe in the said brief that the provost and fellows of the university, judges, officers of the court, and professors of laws, common and civil, are neither willed, required, nor commanded to make their contributions, but that so good a work is only recommended to them. Whereas we conceive that all his majesty's subjects are equally obliged, with or without his majesty's commands, to promote works of charity according to their power; and that the clergy, in their ecclesiastical capacity, are only liable to such commands as the Rubric, or any other law, shall enjoin, being born to the sanie privileges of freedom with the rest of his majesty's subjects.

We cannot but observe to your grace that in the English act of the fourth year of queen Anne, for the better collecting charitymoney on briefs by letters-patent, &c., the ministers are obliged only to read the briefs in their churches, without any particular exhortations; neither are they commanded to go from house to house with the churchwardens, nor to send the money collected to their respective chancellors, but to pay it to the undertaker or agent of the sufferer. So that we humbly hope the clergy of this kingdom shall not, without any law in being, be put to greater hardships in this case than their brethren in England, where the legislature, intending to prevent the abuses in collecting charity-money on briefs, did not think fit to put the clergy under any of those difficulties we now complain of in the peesent brief by letters-patent for the relief of Charles M'Carthy aforesaid.

The collections upon the Lord's-day are the principal support of

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