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his crime was punishable by death, and the people heard Mass, though theirs also was a criminal offence; and the schoolmaster, driven from the school, taught under a sheltering hedge. The clerical student, denied education at home, crossed the sea, to be educated at Louvain or Salamanca or Seville, and then, perhaps loaded with academic honors, he returned home to face poverty and persecution and even death. The Catholic masses, socially ostracised, degraded, and impoverished, shut out from every avenue to ambition or enterprise, deprived of every civil right, knowing nothing of law except when it oppressed them and nothing of government except when it struck them down, yet clung to the religion in which they were born. And when, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the tide turned and the first dawn of toleration appeared on the horizon, it was found that the vast majority of the people were unchanged, and that, after two centuries of the most relentless persecution since the days of Diocletian, Ireland was, in faith and practice, a strongly Catholic nation still.
On a soil constantly wet with the blood and tears of its children, it would be vain to expect that scholarship could flourish. And yet the period had its distinguished Irish scholars both at home and abroad. At Louvain, in the sixteenth century, were Lombard and Creagh, who both became Archbishops of Armagh, and O'Hurley who became Archbishop of Cashel. An even greater scholar than these was Luke Wadding, the eminent Franciscan who founded the convent of St. Isidore at Rome. At Louvain was John Colgan, a Franciscan like Wadding, a man who did much for Irish ecclesiastical history. And at home in Ireland, as parish priest of Tybrid in Tipperary, was the celebrated Dr. Geoffrey Keating the historian, once a student at Salamanca. John Lynch, the renowned opponent of Gerald Barry the Welshman, was Archdeacon of Tuam. And in the ruined Franciscan monastery of Donegal, the Four Masters, aided and encouraged by the Friars, labored long and patiently, and finally completed the work which we all know as the Annals of the Four Masters. This work, originally written in Irish, remained in manuscript in Louvain till the middle of the nineteenth century, when it was edited and translated into English by John O'Donovan, one of Ireland's
greatest Irish scholars, with an ability and completeness quite worthy of the original.
On the Anglo-Irish side there were also some great names, and especially in the domain of history, notably Stanyhurst and Hammer, Moryson and Campion and Davies, and, above all, Ussher and Ware. James Ware died in 1666, and though a Protestant and an official of the Protestant government, and living in Ireland in an intolerant age and in an atmosphere charged with religious rancor, he was, to his credit be it said, to a large extent free from bigotry. He dealt with history and antiquities, and wrote in no party spirit, wishing only to be fair and impartial, and to set out the truth as he found it. James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, was a much abler man and a much greater scholar than Ware. His capacity for research, his profound scholarship, the variety and extent of his learning raised him far above his co-religionists, and he has been rightly called the Great Luminary of the Irish Protestant church. It is regrettable that his fine intellect was darkened by bigotry and intolerance.
Far different was the character of another Protestant bishop, the great Berkeley, of Cloyne, a patriot, a philosopher, and a scholar, who afterwards left money and books for a scholarship, which is still in existence, at the then infant Yale College in New England. He lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, when the whole machinery of government was ruthlessly used to crush the Catholics. But Berkeley had little sympathy with the penal laws; he had words of kindness for the Catholics, and undoubtedly wished them well. Nor must Swift be forgotten, for though he took little pride in being an Irishman, he hated and despised those who oppressed Ireland, and is rightly regarded as one of the greatest of her sons.
The short period during which Grattan's parliament existed was one of great prosperity. It was then that Maynooth College was established for the education of the Irish priesthood. But Catholics, though free to set up schools, were still shut out from the honors and emoluments of Trinity College, the one university at that time in Ireland. Still, Charles O'Connor, MacGeoghegan, and O'Flaherty were great Catholic scholars in the latter part of the eighteenth century.
In the following century, while Protestant ascendancy was still maintained, the Catholics had greater scope. Away back in the days of Queen Elizabeth, Campion found Latin widely spoken among the peasantry, and Father Mooney met country lads familiar with Virgil and Homer. In 1670, Petty had a similar story to tell, in spite of all the savageries of Cromwell and the ruin which necessarily followed. And in the eighteenth century the schoolmaster, though a price was set on his head, was still active. With an inherited love of learning, the Irish in the nineteenth century would have made rapid progress had they been rich. But their impoverishment by the penal laws made it impossible for them to set up an effective system of primary education, and until the national school system came into existence in 1831, they had to rely on the hedge-schools: Secondary education fared better, for the bishops, relying with confidence on the generosity of their flocks, were soon able to establish diocesan colleges. And in higher education, equally determined efforts were made by the establishment of the Catholic University under Cardinal Newman. But in this field of intellectual effort, in spite of the energy and zeal of the bishops, in spite of the great generosity of the people, so many of whom were poor, and in spite of the fame of Newman, it is failure rather than success which the historian has to record.
Nor has the love of the Irish for religion, any more than their love of learning, been lessened or enfeebled by time. The mountain side as the place for Mass in the penal days gradually gave way to the rude stone church without steeple or bell; and when steeple and bell ceased to be proscribed, and the people were left free to erect suitable houses of sacrifice and prayer, the fine churches of the nineteenth century began gradually to appear. The unfettered exercise of freedom of religious worship, the untiring efforts of a zealous clergy and episcopate, the unstinted support of a people, who out of their poverty grudged nothing to God or to God's house, formed an irresistible combination, and all over the country beautiful churches are now to be found.
In every diocese in Ireland, with scarcely an exception, there is now a stately cathedral to perpetuate the renown of
the patron saint of that diocese, and even parish churches have been built not unworthy to be the churches of an ancient see. At Armagh, a cathedral has been built which does honor to Irish architecture, and worthily commemorates the life and labors of St. Patrick, the founder of the primatial see; at Thurles, a cathedral stands, the chief church of the southern province, statelier far than any which ever stood on the Rock of Cashel; at Tuam, a noble building, associated with the memory of John MacHale, the Lion of the Fold of Judah, perpetuates the name of St. Jarlath; at Queenstown, the traveller, going to America or returning from it to the old land, has his attention attracted to the splendid cathedral pile sacred to St. Colman, the patron saint of the diocese of Cloyne; and if we would see how splendid even a parish church may be, let us visit the beautiful church in Drogheda, dedicated to the memory of Oliver Plunkett.
Nor are these things the only evidence we have that zeal for religion among the Irish has survived centuries of persecution. Columbanus and Columcille have still their successors, eager and ready as they were to bring the blessings of the Gospel to distant lands. In recent years an Irish-born Archbishop of Sydney has been succeeded by an Irish-born Archbishop; an Irishman rules the metropolitan see of Adelaide; and an Irish-born Archbishop of Melbourne has as his coadjutor a former president of the College of Maynooth. In South Africa, the work of preaching and teaching and ruling the church is largely the work of Irish-born men. In the great Republic of the West the three cardinal-archbishops at the head of the Catholic Church have the distinctively Irish names of Gibbons and Farley and O'Connell; and in every diocese throughout the United States the proportion of priests of Irish birth or descent is large.
Nor must the poorer Irish be forgotten. How much does the Catholic Church, both in Ireland and in America, owe to the generosity of Irish-American laborers and servant girls ! Out of their scanty and hard-earned pay they have contributed much not only towards the building of the plain wooden church in the rural parishes, but also of the stately cathedrals of American cities. And many a church in old Ireland owes its com
pletion and its adornment to the dollars given by the poor but generous Irish exiles.
And if the zeal of the Irish for religion has thus survived to the twentieth century, so also in an equally remarkable degree has their zeal for learning. We have evidence of this in the numerous primary schools in every parish, filled with eager pupils and presided over by hard working teachers; in the colleges where the sciences and the classics are studied with the same energy as in the ancient monastic schools; and in Maynooth College, which is the foremost ecclesiastical college in the world. And if there are now new universities, the National and the Queen's, sturdy and vigorous in their youth, this does not imply that Trinity College suffers from the decreptitude of age. For among those whom she sent forth in recent times are Dowden and Mahaffy and Lecky, to name but three, and these would do credit to any university in Europe.
It would be difficult to find in any age of Irish history a greater pulpit orator than the famous Dominican, Father Tom Burke, or a more delightful essayist than Father Joseph Farrell; and who has depicted Irish clerical life more faithfully than the late Canon Sheehan, whose fame as a novelist has crossed continents and oceans? O'Connell was a great orator as well as a great political leader, and Dr. Doyle and Archbishop John MacHale were scholars as well as statesmen and bishops. We have thus an unbroken chain of great names, a series of Irishmen whom the succeeding ages have brought forth to enlighten and instruct lesser men; and Ireland, in the twentieth century, is not less attached to religion and learning than she was wher Clonmacnois flourished and the saintly Carthage ruled at Lismore.
Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland (Dublin, 1903); Lani. gan: Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (Dublin, 1822); Healy: Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars (Dublin, 1896), Life and Writings of St. Patrick (Dublin, 1905); Bury: St. Patrick and his Place in History (London, 1905); Ussher's Works (Dublin, 1847); Reeves : Adamnan's Life of St. Columba (Dublin, 1851); Worsae: The Danes in Ireland (London, 1852); Moran: Essays on the Early Irish Church