" It is intended that the return relating to each of the parishes over which, your ministry extends, when completed by the insertion of such additional matter, shall be deposited in some convenient place in or near to the parish, (of which you shall receive due notice,) to be there open, for at the least fourteen days, to the inspection of yourself and other persons residing in or connected with the parish; and, it is further intended, that upon a future day, (of which also you shall receive due notice,) some of the Commissioners shall repair to the district, for the purpose (among other things) of having the said return verified by the oath of the enumeÂ¬ rator employed to amend it; upon which occasion the Commissioners so attending will be ready to receive any evidence that you may desire to give, either personally or through others, with respect to the correctness of such return, and also to receive any original census (verified by affidavit) of the present numbers of the inhabitÂ¬ ants of the parish, belonging to each or any of the respective religious persuasions therein, that you may be pleased to tender them in aid of their Inquiry."
The clergy to whom this circular was addressed were further informed by it of the instructions given to the enumerators to afford them (should they so desire) every facility of inspecting the return transmitted to each enumerator, during the period that he might be occupied in classifying it.
With the exception of some few instances, lvhere a partial deviation from this plan was found to be expedient or indispensable, the course of proceeding as above detailed has been uniformly acted upon.
As, from time to time, on the completion of the enumerators' books, and the expiration of the fourteen days from the day of their deposit for public inspection, each benefice became ready to be visited, one or more of the CommisÂ¬ sioners, furnished with all the returns which had been received with regard to such benefice, repaired to the spot, and held an Inquiry in respect thereof, into the several matters directed by the Commission.
In all cases the Commissioners, besides directing previous public notice to be given of the time and place of holding the Inquiry, sent a special notice thereof to the several clergy of the parish, to the enumerator, to the schoolmasters, and others whose personal attendance was requisite.
The Commissioners held their local investigation publicly; causing the population return, as classified by the enumerator, to be verified by his oath, and receiving any evidence that might be tendered on the spot with respect to its accuracy; receiving and examining into the correctness of any original census of the actual inhabitants of the parish (distinguishing their religious creeds) which might be offered to them, and ascertaining on the evidence of the parties attending before them, the several other matters of fact (exclusive of the census) comprised within the terms of the Commission.
Although, from our Inquiries being in every case held on the spot, the Commissioner was usually unable to give the parties conÂ¬ cerned more than a few days' notice of his visit, yet we are happy to state that our Inquiries were almost invariably attended by the clergy of the Established Church, and very generally, especially in country parishes, by the clergy of other denominaÂ¬ tions ; and that Ave found, almost universally, a disposition prevailing in all quarters to aid our investigations, and to furnish us with the information which it was our duty to obtain.
The result of the local investigation in each separate benefice is recorded in the special report thereupon of the visiting Commissioners; the Report distinÂ¬ guishing the matters directed by the Commission to be inquired into, according to the division of benefices and of parishes respectively.
In reference to the subject of benefices and parishes, we have here to observe that we have understood the benefice contemplated by the Commission to mean the " parochial benefice," or the territorial extent comprised within each particular "
cure of souls;" and it consequently appeared to us that the one or more parishes forming such benefice should be taken to be parishes according to the present ecclesiastical division of the Established Church of Ireland.
That division we have accordingly adopted throughout our Inquiry.
But the ecclesiastical division of parishes is often not identical, either in name or territorial extent, with the civil division of parishes already mentioned as existing in counties for the purposes of grand jury assessments, and adopted in the populaÂ¬ tion returns of 1821 and 1831.
We thus found in many instances (indepen-