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• Dearer to me the little stream,
Whose unimprison'd waters run,
By rock and glen, through shade and sun;
By happy portraiture reveald,
-Her name and date from me conceald,
And frolick'd in the gayest ring,
Like sparkling fire-flies on the wing;
• From din, and pageantry, and strife,
Midst woods and mountains, vales and plains,
Yet in a bosom-circle reigns,
But the sweet streamlet watering flowers.' We now close this volume, sincerely wishing to meet its author again ; for there is something in all his poetry, which makes fiction the most impressive teacher of truth and wisdom; and by which, while the intellect is gratified and the imagination roused, the heart, if it retains any sensibility to tender or elevating emotions, cannot fail to be made better.
ART. X.-First Report of his Majesty's Commissioners on Eccle
siastical Revenue and Patronage : Ireland. Ordered by the
House of Commons to be printed. 1833. Second Report of his Majesty's Commissioners on Ecclesiastical Re
venue and Patronage : Ireland. Ordered by the House of Com
mons to be printed. 1834. First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction : Ireland.
Presented to both Houses of Parliament, by command of his Majesty. 1835.
IN a former number of this work, which appeared in the begin
ning of the present year, in adverting to the state of the Irish Church, we promised to return to that important subject whenever a publication of the labours of the pending Commission of Public Instruction should enable us to discuss it more fully and fairly than we could otherwise hope to do. That time has now arrived. The first Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, relating to the religious state of Ireland, is on the table of both Houses of Parliament; and we propose, by the aid of this and other sources of information, to present as complete and clear a view of the condition of the Established Church in that country, as our materials will allow. Of these there is now comparative abundance; and we trust there will soon cease to be reason to repeat the complaint of the Archbishop of Armagh, in his letter to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in November, 1819, that the state of the Established • Church of Ireland is indeed little known, and has been often * extremely misrepresented. That it has been • extremely mis
represented' was the natural consequence of being little known;' and, accordingly, the most judicious friends of Protestantism in Ireland have been ever anxious to throw the fullest light upon every branch of that important and extensive subject. We have now before us the first and second Reports of the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Revenue and Patronage in Ireland; and the first Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction. The two former, to both of which are appended, with many others, the signatures of the Archbishop of Armagh, and the Bishops of Kildare, and of Leighlin and Ferns, contain a statement of the revenue and patronage of all archbishoprics and bishoprics, of all ecclesiastical corporations aggregate, and of all dignities, prebends, and canonries of cathedrals; and a subsequent Report, which has not yet appeared, is promised from the same source, relating to the revenue and patronage of all ecclesiastical benefices, with or without cure of souls.
The first Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction ontains no reference to revenue. That subject was wholly ex
cluded from the prescribed field of their enquiries. They were directed by the Commission to ascertain the number of mem
bers of, or persons in communion with, the United Church of · England and Ireland in each benefice or parish, distinguishing,
in the cases of such benefices as comprise more than one parish, * the number belonging to each parish separately, and to the ' union collectively; and also to state the distances of the parishes . in each union from each other respectively. To state the • number and rank of the ministers belonging to, or officiating • within, each benefice, whether rector, vicar, or curate, and whe
ther resident or non-resident, and whether there is a church or óglebe-house thereon. To state the periods at which divine ser• vice is performed in each parish church or chapel, and the “average number of persons usually attending the service in each;
and to state generally whether these numbers have been for the • last five years increasing, stationary, or diminishing. To ascer"tain the number of the several other places of worship belonging • to Roman Catholics, or Presbyterians, and other Protestant • Dissenters, and the number of ministers officiating in each, the • proportion of the population of each parish belonging to each of • such persuasions respectively, the periods at which divine ser
vice is performed in each of their chapels, and the average • number of persons usually attending the service in each; and " to state generally whether those numbers have been for the last • five years increasing, stationary, or diminishing.'
Such were the leading circumstances relative to the religious state of Ireland which the Commissioners were directed to investigate and report; and such we find fully set forth in their first Report. From this, and other scattered sources of information, we will now endeavour to give, as concisely as the magnitude of the subject will admit, a connected view of the Established Church in Ireland—its constitution-its revenues—its territorial divisions- the number and distribution of its members—its relation to other religious persuasions, and any remarkable characteristics belonging rather to its general character than to any one of the foregoing heads.
First, let us look at the constitution of the Church Establishment, beginning with the highest departments.
At the time of the passing of the Irish Church Temporalities' Bill, there were 4 archbishoprics, and 18 bishopries. By the operation of that bill, these will be consolidated, on the death of the present incumbents, till the number will be finally reduced to 2 archbishoprics and 10 bishoprics.
There are, moreover,
Making, in addition to the archbishops and bishops, 139 dignitaries. There are also 178 prebendaries and 9 canons. The majority of these dignities and prebends have one or more benefices, with cure of souls annexed to them respectively; and in such instances the incumbent (dignitary or prebendary) is charged with the usual duties of a parochial minister. But there are 42 of the above-mentioned dignities, and 52 of the prebends, which have no benefices with cure of souls annexed to them, in which case, as is stated by the Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Enquiry, 'the cure of souls is vested in the vicars of the respective
parishes, thereby rendering those dignities and prebends mere * sinecure offices, save and except the duty of preaching occasion• ally in the respective cathedral churches.
In the composition of this part of the ecclesiastical establishment there is considerable variety. The deans and chapters in Ireland amount to 30. Of these there are two in the diocese of Dublin ; in each of the remaining dioceses one, except in Meath, Kilmore, and Ardagh-in the former of which all the beneficed clergy form a synod, of which the archdeacon is president. The total amount of persons who compose these chapters is 295. The chapters consist commonly of a dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacon; and of prebendaries, varying in number from one, as in the case of Dromore, to 20, as in the case of St Patrick's, Dublin. • The order of precedence, too, among the precentors, ‘chancellors, treasurers, and archdeacons, varies in different chap' ters;' and in the constituency of the chapters there are also considerable variations. In the chapters of Tuam, Derry, Raphoe, and Clonfert, there are neither precentor, chancellor, nor treasurer; in those of Elphin, Killaloe, and Achonry, there is neither chancellor nor treasurer ; in those of Clogher and Emly, s there is no treasurer; and in those of Kildare and Waterford, it * is singular to remark, that the archdeacons of these dioceses do
not form constituent members of their respective chapters. The office of provost in the chapters of Tuam and Kilmacduagh, and
the office of sacrist, or sacristan, in that of Clonfert, form com“ponent parts of these chapters, which offices are unknown . to exist in any other chapters. And in relation to the of
• fice of prebendary forming part of the capitular constitueney,
it is to be observed that the exceptions in case of these are the chapters of Waterford, Ardfert, and Kilfenora, in which there
are not any prebendaries; while in the chapters of Kildare and • Killaloe, although there are eight prebendaries belonging to the cathedral church of Kildare, and seven prebendaries beionging to the cathedral church of Killaloe, yet these prebendaries are • not component members of their respective chapters. In the - case of Kildare there are four canons who constitute part of that chapter; while in that of Killaloe the offices of dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, and archdeacon, alone compose the chap'ter.' Any thing less homogeneous than the constitution of that part of the establishment which the commissioners of Ecclesiastical Enquiry thus describe, it would be difficult to conceive. Among the queries transmitted by them to the respective dignitaries, prebendaries, and canons of cathedral churches in Ireland, was the following,—- Whether there are any, and what duties, . annexed to the office.' _ There are not any duties annexed, was the answer returned in the case of sixteen deaneries, nine precentorships, five chancellorships, seven treasurerships, two provostships, twelve archdeaconries, twenty-three prebends, and one canonry. That this return was strictly true we may easily believe, when we see how very slight, in some instances, were the duties of those who are stated to have had some to perform. For the dean of Ferns it is ‘ preaching in the cathedral church about 'twice in the year in rotation with the other members of the
chapter. Preaching similarly in rotation, but without any statement of the frequency, is also the only duty assigned to many of the other deans. The only reported duty of the dean of Leighlin, is 'attendance on all chapter meetings when con6 vened ;' and the usual duties of a member of a chapter,' are all that we find reported as annexed to the deanery of Derry. Among the only duties assigned to various precentors, we find, • preaching in turn with the other members of the chapter, about • four times in the year. • Preaching two sermons in the year
in the cathedral church,' and ' attendance at chapter meetings. • Preaching in rotation' is also the only duty reported to belong to most of the treasurers and chancellors who are admitted to have any thing to do. Of the thirty-four archdeacons, nine are said to examine candidates for holy orders—some preach in rotation, and one of them adds to this duty occasional management of the * economy fund.' The only two provostships which Ireland possesses, appear to have no duties whatever. The only duties of many of the prebendaries are preaching in the cathedral
church,' frequently about six times in the year, someti