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had conceived of you is, in manner, utterly frustrate. For neither do ye give yourself to the instruction of our people there in the Word of God, ne frame yourself to stand us in any stead for the furtherance of our affairs. Such is your lightness in behaviour, and such is the elation of your mind in pride, that glorying in foolish ceremonies, and delighting in we and us, in your dream comparing yourself so near to a prince in honour and estimation, that all virtue and honesty is almost banished from you. Reform yourself, therefore, with this gentle advertisement, and do first your duty towards God in the due execution of your office; do then your duty towards us, in th’ advancement of our affairs there, and in the signification hither, from time to time, of th' estate of the same; and we shall put your former negligence in oblivion. If this will not serve to induce you to it, but that ye will still so persevere in your fond folly and ingrate ungentleness, that ye cannot remember what we have done, and how much above many others ye be bound, in all the points before touched, to do your duty, let it sink into your remembrance that we be as able, for the not doing thereof, to remove you again, and to put another man of more virtue and honesty in your place, both for our discharge against God, and for the comfort of our good subjects there, as we were at the beginning to prefer you, upon hope that you would in the same do your office, as to your profession, and our opinion conceived of you, appertaineth.” [31 July 1537.]
Well might the Archbishop “tremble in body,” as he expresses it,” at this instance of his Majesty's displeasure, and wish that “the ground would open and swallow" him if he did not show all promptness “in rebuking the “ papistical power, or setting forth benignly the advance“ ment of his Grace's affairs.” What could he do 2 He could not create listeners; he could not expect by the mere force of his own preaching, by his own example and that of the Council of Ireland, to draw men to the precepts of the Gospel, which appeared to their ignorant eyes garbed in the guise of the executioner, armed with manacles and instruments of torture. In vain the Arch
* State Papers, II. 513.
bishop threatened and preached; in vain with one hand he held forth the Gospel, and with the other cast friars and popish seminaries into prison. Preachers and people remained equally obstinate. This land, says one of the most zealous admirers of the Archbishop, is in a manner overflown with men “whose pharisaical ceremonies and “ hypocrisy, of so long time continued here, hath not “ only trained and brought the people in manner wholly “ from the knowledge of God, but also in an evil and “ erroneous opinion of the King's most noble Grace, and “ of all those that under his Majesty be the setters forth “ of the true Word of God, and repugnators against those ** abuses.” + Again, in another letter from a different hand, but in the same strain, and animated by the same spirit:-f “Here as yet the blood of Christ is clean blotted out of all men's hearts, what with that monster the Bishop of Rome, and his adherents, in especial the false and crafty bloodsuckers the Observants, as they will be called most holiest, so that there remains more virtue in one of their coats and knotted girdles than ever was in Christ and his passion. It is hard, my good Lord, for any poor man to speak against their abusions here; for except it be the Archbishop of Dublin, which doth here in preaching set forth God's Word, with due obedience to their prince, and my good Lord
Butler, the Master of the Rolls, Mr. Treasurer, and one or two more, which are of small reputations, here is else none, from the
* White to Cromwell, 28 March 1538.
f State Papers, II. 570. See also Abp. Brown's letter to Allen, State Papers, III. 1, complaining of the Bishop of Meath when he preached at Christ Church. “He hath not only sithence that time by pen, as you “know his wont full well, railed and raged against me, calling me heretic “ and beggar, . . . . . . but also on Palm Sunday, at afternoon, “ in Kilmainham, where the stations and also pardons been now as “bremly used as ever they were.” It was not a very edifying sight to see the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop of Meath, the two most prominent Protestant prelates, thus openly abusing each other in the very sanctuary.
highest, may abide the hearing of it, spiritual, as they call them, nor temporal; and in especial they that here rule all, that be the temporal lawyers, which have the King's fee.” Nor were the inferior clergy qualified by their learning, zeal, or ability to supply the defects of their superiors. During the latter years of Henry VIII., and at the commencement of Elizabeth's reign, many of the clergy of England had been deprived of their livings. Very few of the more eligible in point of morals or learning were likely to expatriate themselves and accept benefices in Ireland, who might fairly hope to obtain a suitable provision in England. There was nothing in the state of the country, still less in the provision made for the spiritual wants of people, to induce men to sacrifice utility, comfort, ease, and society at home for missionary exertions among the native or Anglican Irish. For this service the English Church had no class of men like the friars, none who, devotees to peril, hardship, and poverty, were willing to sacrifice themselves to an arduous service with the same zeal, fearlessness, and self-denial as did these barefooted emissaries of the Pope. They plunged into the woods and wastes and desolate fastnesses of the native Irish, with the same animosity and religious fervour as prompted the new-born society of Jesus to brave the terrors of an unknown career in India, China, and Japan. I am not now inquiring into the reasons of this difference. It might be that the motive principles of the two churches naturally led to these consequences; that whilst the Protestant was occupied at home in refuting Romanist errors, and putting forward the great principle of Faith as the pathway to heaven, the Roman Catholic, adhering to the old doctrine of works, found a new scope and practical application of his creed, when monasteries were put down, in missionary labours among the heathen or the heretics. Certain it is, whatever be the cause, that the missionary spirit of the Church of Rome formed a striking contrast to the absence of that spirit in the new birth and infant career of Protestantism. Consequently, as the new faith was rarely to be found among the native Irish, those of the clergy in England who could be induced to take livings in Ireland were neither the best nor the most eligible for the task. Either they were men who had no sufficient recommendation for character and attainments to succeed in England, or dissatisfied with the English hierarchy and the discipline of the English Church, they carried with them more religious zeal than discretion into their new sphere of action, and were the least fitted to propagate the faith among their new and refractory flocks. On this head the evidence of the poet Spenser, long resident in Ireland, is clear and peremptory. After speaking of the absence of religious teaching in Ireland, and answering the remark that those who held “the place of government” were not without blame for suffering the people “to wallow in such deadly darkness,” he thus replies:—“That which you blame is not, I suppose, any “ fault of will in those ghostly fathers which have charge “ thereof, but the inconvenience of the time and troublous “ occasions wherewith that wretched realm hath continually been turmoiled; for instruction in religion needeth quiet times, and ere we seek to settle a sound discipline in the clergy, we must purchase peace unto the laity; for it is ill time to preach among swords, and most hard or rather impossible it is to settle a good opinion in the minds of men for matters of religion doubtful, which have, doubtless, an evil opinion
Then, after enlarging on this topic, the poet proceeds to consider how far the cause of religion had been hindered through the negligence and misconduct of those who were appointed to teach it. On this head he observes:–“What“ever disorders you see in the Church of England, “ye may find there (in Ireland) and many more; namely, “gross simony, greedy covetousness, fleshly incontinency, “ careless sloth, and generally all disordered life in the “ common clergyman. And besides all these they have “ their particular enormities; for all Irish priests which “ now enjoy the church livings, they are in a manner “ mere laymen, saving that they have taken holy orders, “but otherwise they do go and live like laymen, follow “all kind of husbandry and other worldly affairs as other “Irishmen do. They neither read the Scriptures, nor “ preach to the people, nor administer the Communion; “but baptism they do, for they christen yet after the “Popish fashion, only they take the tithes and offerings, “ and gather what fruit else they may of their livings, “ the which they convert as badly.” The bishops, he avers, were not without their share of blame in continuing and augmenting these disorders. They ruled their clergy, who were generally poor, licentious, and illiterate, with absolute sway; “yea, and some “ of them whose dioceses are in remote parts, somewhat “ out of the world's eye, do not at all bestow the benefices “ which are in their own donation upon any, but keep “ them in their own hands, and let their own servants “ and horseboys to take up the tithes and fruits of “ them, with which some of them purchase great lands “ and build fair castles upon the same.” He concludes —a conclusion which most of his readers will have anticipated:—“For the clergy, excepting the grave fathers, “ which are in high place about the State, and some few