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regium donum

regium donum (royal gift) originated as a grant of £600 p.a. by Charles II to augment the salaries of Irish presbyterian ministers in 1672 when he was trying to win support for his Declaration of Indulgence. It was revived by William III, who increased it to £1,200 p.a., but was much disliked by high Anglicans as breaching the principle that only the Church of England should have support from the state. By the end of Anne's reign it was paid irregularly. George I increased it to £1,600 p.a. and in 1723 extended the principle to England by giving £500 p.a. for the widows of dissenting clergy. The regium donum became a significant precedent when Pitt's government decided in 1795 to support the training of Irish catholic priests. The English grant was abolished in 1851, the Irish in 1869 when the Irish church was disestablished, though with compensation for the presbyterians.

J. A. Cannon

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