Regium Donum, Irish

Regium Donum, Irish, a pecuniary grant, voted annually by the British Parliament, out of the national exchequer, to aid certain bodies of Presbyterians in Ireland by providing stipends for their ministers. This grant, which now amounts to about £40,000 a year, is divided among six different bodies of Presbyterians, viz.:

1. The General Assembly, comprising the two bodies formerly known as the Synod of Ulster and the Synod of Seceders. 2. The Secession Synod. 3. The Remonistrants, or Unitarian Synod of Ulster. 4. The Presbytery of Antrim. 5. The Synod of Munster, Unitarian. 6. The Presbytery of Munster, orthodox.

During the reign of James I Presbyterianism was introduced into Ireland, and under the mild sway of Usher their clergymen became incumbents of parishes, and were permitted to enjoy tithes and other emoluments. But after the accession of Charles II they were wholly dependent upon their flocks. In 1672 the king gave Sir Arthur Forbes £600 to be divided among them. William III issued an order, June 19, 1690, authorizing the payment of £1200 to Patrick Adair and six other clergymen. In the following year this bounty was removed from the customs, and made payable out of the Irish exchequer. Such was the origin of the Regium Donum in its present permanent character. There was this important change made, however: the power of allocating the amount was taken from the trustees and transferred to the lord lieutenant. In 1831 the grant was placed on the Irishmiiscellaneous estimates, and in 1838 the classification principle was abandoned, and £75 Irish currency was promised to every minister connected with the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod, with the proviso (1840) that he was to receive at least £35 of yearly stipend. The amount required was increasing at the rate of £400 a year, to meet the demands of new congregations. The Regium Donum was withdlrawn by the act of 1869, which came into force Jan. 1, 1871, disendowing the Irish Episcopal Clhurch.

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