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the clergy, of which I shall here select the CHAP.
III. most material articles.
1640. The grievances which they desire to be abolished amount to thirty-two; among the reft it was ftated, that the parish clerks took a barrel of corn for every plough, and two quarts
of rye or wheat for every ploughed
That people who had been long married were obliged to take out certificates of their marriages, and to pay feven shillings for them; that four taile of corn, each taile consisting of nine sheaves, were exacted by the clergy for every plough land, and one sheaf of corn for every horse in the plough. These grievances they desired to have abolished; besides which, they state fourteen other grievances to be reformed and moderated ; among the rest, fees of thirteen shillings, and five and sixpence for clandestine marriages, to be reduced to two, and all other church ceremonies to be reduced in a certain proportion to one fhil
CHAP. ling for the minister and fix pence to the
That by an act of parliament the bishop should administer an oath to every minifter to keep a school for teaching the English tongue; and they desired the statute to be put in execution. That process out of spiritual courts issued with blanks, and the apparitors inserted the names; which grievances they desired to be reformed; and lastly, that registers had no table of fees, which they alledged ought to be put up in their offices to prevent exactions.
This representation so long ago proves how much the people of Ireland have always thought themselves aggrieved by clerical dues and clerical exactions. Whatever was the origin of tythes, it is certain that a more inconvenient mode of provision for the clergy could not have been devised; more troublesome to themselves, more injurious to the peace, the welfare, or improvement of the country,
Tythes," says an emir nent divine * " are a tax upon that industry CHAP.
III. “ which feeds mankind;" and it is surprising that the wisdom of the legislature 1640. has not long ago instituted a better provision for the clergy.
About the year one thousand seven hun. dred and eighty-three a very judicious représentation was made to parliament by the grand jury of Kilkenny at the summer aflizes, which was presented by the representatives for that county ; in which they ftate the grievances of tithes, of tithe proctors, and their mode of collection, as the causes of all the disturbances and insurrections of White Boys, &c. in the southern parts of Ireland; and request that parliament would take this matter into their confideration, and make an adequate provifion for the clergy in a more creditable manner, and by some institution less burthensome and less grievous to the community.
* Dr. Paley, archdeacon of Carlisle. VOL. II.
CH A P.
Hitherto nothing has been done in this III.
momentous affair, though it has been taken 3640.
up by a man of great abilities in parliament, one of her brightest ornaments, and to whom his country has borne the most ample teftimonies of his public spirit and patriotism
The moft obvious and moft direct course would be to form a county rate or affeflment as a provision for the clergy equivaJent to the bona fide valuation of their benefices, and exempt the landholder and tenants from tithes.
Besides the general declamation against innovation, it might be urged with some colour, that what is adequate now, would not be a suitable provision in future. Parliament, however, can at any time make an adequate increase in their stipends and benefices; and that the scheme of increasing college rents after long terms,
* Mr. Grattan.
which was adopted in the university of CHA P. Oxford, it is said, from the idea of the great lord Burleigh, seems to be the best 1640. critericn of a scale of equivalency, increafing with the price of corn, in the adjoining markets.
If the scheme were adopted, it is manifest the clergy and lay impropriators also would receive a fure, honourable, and adequate provision; the coụntry would be freed from many riots ar.d diffurbances; and spiritual and temporal concerns would be no longer at variance; the clergy, would live in peace with their flocks; and the improvement of the country, and the honest endeavours of the peasant would no longer be taxed for their support.
It is a melancholy confideration, that even a modus upon the tithe of hemp and flax, the native growth of which is so effential to the prosperity of our staple manufa&ure, should be opposed so constantly and with fuch effect by the clergy. In the year one D 2