All the gold and silver plate, jewels, ornaments, lead, bells, &c., were reserved by special command for the King’s use. 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