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We shall not presume to determine how far your Grace may be commanded by the said brief, but we humbly conceive that the clergy of

your diocese cannot, by any law now in being, be commanded by your Grace to advance the said act of charity, any otherwise than by reading the said brief in our several churches, as prescribed by the rubrick.

Secondly, Whereas it is said in the said brief, “ That the parsons, vicars, &c. upon the first Lord's day, or opportunity, after the receipt of the copy of the said brief, shall, deliberately and affectionately, publish and declare the tenor thereof to his majesty's subjects, and earnestly persuade, exhort, and stir them up, to contribute freely and cheerfully toward the relief of the said sufferer:”

We do not comprehend what is meant by the word opportunity. We never do preach upon any day except the Lord's day, or some solemn days legally appointed; neither is it possible for the strongest constitution among us to obey this com. mand (which includes no less than a whole sermon) upon any other opportunity than when our people are met together in the church; and to perform this work in every house where the parishes are very populous, consisting sometimes here in town of nine hundred or one thousand houses, would take up the space of a year, although we should preach in two families every day; and almost as much time in the country, where the parishes are of large extent, the roads bad, and the people too poor to receive us and give charity at once.

But, if it be meant that these exhortations are commanded to be made in the church upon the Lord's day; we are humbly of opinion, that it is left to the discretion of the clergy, to choose

what subjects they think most proper to preach on, and at what times: and if they preach either false doctrines or seditious principles, they are liable to be punished.

It may possibly happen that the sufferer recommended may be a person not deserving the favour intended by the brief; in which case no minister who knows the sufferer to be an undeserving person, can, with a safe conscience, deliberately and affectionately publish the brief, much less earnestly persuade, exhort, and stir up the people to contribute freely and cheerfully toward the relief of such a sufferer. *

Thirdly, Whereas, in the said brief, the ministers and curates are required," on the week-days next after the Lord's day when the brief was read, to go from house to house, with their churchwardens, to ask and receive from all

persons the said charity:" We cannot but observe here, that the said ministers are directly made collectors of the said charity in conjunction with the churchwardens, which however, we presume, was not intended, as being against all law and precedent: and therefore, we apprehend, there may be some inconsistency, which leaves us at a loss how to proceed: for, in the next paragraph, the ministers and curates are only required, where they .conveniently can, to accompany the churchwardens, or procure some other of the chief inhabitants to do the same.

And in a following paragraph, the whole work seems left entirely to the churchwardens, who are required to use their utmost dili

* This M'Carthy's house was burnt in the month of August, 723 : and the universal opinion of mankind was, that M'Carthy himself was the person who set fire to the house.

gence to gather and collect the said charity, and to pay the same, in ten days after, to the parson, vicar, &c.

In answer to this, we do represent to your grace our humble opinion, that neither we, nor our churchwardens, càn be legally commanded or required to go from house to house, to receive the said charity ; because your grace has informed us in your order, at your visitation, A. D. 1712, " That neither we nor our church wardens are bound to make any collections for the poor, save in the church ;" which also appears plainly by the rubrick, that appoints both time and place, as your grace has observed in your said order.

We do likewise assure your grace, that it is not in our power to procure some of the chief inhabitants of our parishes to accompany the churchwardens from house to house in these collections : and we have reason to believe that such a proposal made to our chief inhabitants (particularly in this city, where our chief inhabitants are often peers of the land) would be received in a manner very little to our own satisfaction, or to the advantage of the said collections.

Fourthly, The brief does will, require, and command the bishops, and all other dignitaries of the church, “ That they make their contributions distinctly, to be returned in the several provinces to the several archbishops of the same.'

Upon which we take leave to observe, that the terms of expression here are of the strongest kind, and in a point that may subject the said dignitaries (for we shall say nothing of the bishops) to great inconveniencies.

The said dignitaries are here willed, required, and commanded, to make their contributions distinctly : by which it should seem that they are

absolutely commanded to make contributions (for the word distinctly is but a circumstance) and may be understood not very agreeable to a voluntary, cheerful contribution. And therefore, if any bishop or dignitary should refuse to make his contribution (perhaps for very good reasons) he may be thought to incur the crime of disobedience to his majesty, which all good subjects abhor, when such a command is according to law.

Most dignities of this kingdom consist only of parochial tithes, and the dignitaries are ministers of parishes. A doubt may therefore arise, whether the said dignitaries are willed, required, and commanded, to make their contributions in both capacities, distinctly as dignitaries, and jointly as parsons or vicars.

Many dignities in this kingdom are the poorest kind of benefices; and it should seem hard to put poor dignitaries under the necessity either of making greater contributions than they can afford, or of exposing themselves to the censure of wanting charity, by making their contributions public.

Our Saviour commands us, in works of charity, to “ let not our left hand know what our right hand doth ;" which cannot well consist with our being willed, required, and commanded, by any earthly power, where no law is prescribed, to publish our charity to the world, if we have a mind to conceal it.

Fifthly, Whereas it is said, in the said brief, " That the parson, vicar, &c. of every parish, shall, in six days after the receipt of the said charity, return it to his respective chancellor, &c.”. This may be a great grievance, hazard, and expense, to the said parson, in remote and desolate parts of the country; where often an honest messenger (if such a one can be got) must

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be hired to travel forty or fifty miles going and coming ; which will probably cost more than the value of the contribution he carries with him. And this charge, if briefs should happen to be frequent, would be enough to undo many a poor clergyman in the kingdom.

Sixthly, We observe in the said brief, that the provost and fellows of the university, judges, officers of the court, and professors of laws common and civil, are neither willed, required, nor commanded, to make their contributions; but that so good a work is only recommended to them.Whereas we conceive, that all his majesty's subjects are equally obliged, with or without his majesty's commands, to promote works of charity according to their power; and that the clergy, in their ecclesiastical capacity, are only liable to such commands as the rubrick, or any other law, shall enjoin, being born to the same privileges of fredom with the rest of his majesty's subjects.

We cannot but observe to your grace, that, in the English act of the fourth

queen Anne, for the better collecting charity money on briefs by letters patent, &c. the ministers are obliged only to read the briefs in their churches, without any particular exhortations; neither are they commanded to go from house to house with the churchwardens, nor to send the money collected to their respective chancellors, but pay it to the undertaker or agent of the sufferer. So that, we humbly hope, the clergy of this kingdom shall not, without any law in being, be put to greater hardships in this case than their brethren in England; where the legislature, intending to prevent the abuses in collecting charity money on briefs, did not think fit to put the clergy under any of those difficulties we now complain of in the present



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