Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 779 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.
the sacrifice to the Eternal Majesty each morning in a chalice of gold, encrusted with the most precious jewels; but if it were right and fitting to present that chalice to God for the service of His Divine Majesty, who shall estimate the guilt of those who presumed to take the gift from Him to whom it had been given?  We know how terrible was the judgment which came upon a heathen monarch who dared to use the vessels which had belonged to the Jewish Temple, and we may believe that a still more terrible judgment is prepared for those who desecrate Christian churches, and that it will be none the less sure, because, under the new dispensation of mercy, it comes less swiftly.

All the gold and silver plate, jewels, ornaments, lead, bells, &c., were reserved by special command for the King’s use.[400] The church-lands were sold to the highest bidder, or bestowed as a reward on those who had helped to enrich the royal coffers by sacrilege.  Amongst the records of the sums thus obtained, we find L326 2s. 11d., the price of divers pieces of gold and silver, of precious stones, silver ornaments, &c.; also L20, the price of 1,000 lbs. of wax.  The sum of L1,710 2s. was realized from the sale of sacred vessels belonging to thirty-nine monasteries.  The profits on the spoliation of St. Mary’s, Dublin, realized L385.  The destruction of the Collegiate Church of St. Patrick must have procured an enormous profit, as we find that Cromwell received L60 for his pains in effecting the same.  It should also be remembered that the value of a penny then was equal to the value of a shilling now, so that we should multiply these sums at least by ten to obtain an approximate idea of the extent of this wholesale robbery.

The spoilers now began to quarrel over the spoils.  The most active or the most favoured received the largest share; and Dr. Browne grumbled loudly at not obtaining all he asked for.  But we have not space to pursue the disedifying history of their quarrels.  The next step was to accuse each other.  In the report of the Commissioners appointed in 1538 to examine into the state of the country, we find complaints made of the exaction of undue fees, extortions for baptisms and marriages, &c.  They also (though this was not made an accusation by the Commissioners) received the fruits of benefices in which they did not officiate, and they were accused of taking wives and dispensing with the sacrament of matrimony.  The King, whatever personal views he might have on this subject, expected his clergy to live virtuously; and in 1542 he wrote to the Lord Deputy, requiring an Act to be passed “for the continency of the clergy,” and some “reasonable plan to be devised for the avoiding of sin.”  However, neither the Act nor the reasonable plan appear to have succeeded.  In 1545, Dr. Browne writes:  “Here reigneth insatiable ambition; here reigneth continually coigne and livery, and callid extortion.”  Five years later, Sir Anthony St. Leger, after piteous

Follow Us on Facebook