[Patrick Lynch,] The Life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland: [... &c. (Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick [for] St. Patrick, Maynooth 1810)

Bibliographical details: The Life of Saint Patrick, / Apostle of Ireland: / to which is added, / in the original Irish character / (with both a Latin and an English translation) / the Celebrated Hymn / composed above 1200 Years since / by his disciple, Saint Fiech; / comprehending a Compendious History of his Life / annexed is a / Copious Appendix /containing a summary account of the various ecclesiastical Institutions, Orders, Edifices, and Establishments in Ireland, since the introduction of the Christ Religion / also a Chronological Table/of the / Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, Cashell, and Tuam, from the death of St. Patrick till the present year. / Together with an abstract of Irish Grammar (Dublin: printed by H. Fitzpatrick, No. 4 Capel-Street, Printer and Bookseller to the R. C. College of St. Patrick, Maynooth; 1810; entered in Stationers’ Hall. 350pp., and contents [listed at back].
[This extract copied form edition in the Morris Collection of the University of Ulster. BS.]

CONTENTS [chaps., listed at back]: Ireland’s State before Christianity - Ollav Foalla’s legislation - Druidic institutions, civil and religious [3]; Harduin’s eccentricity - Doctor Ledwich’s opinions - Ryves and Maurice’s doubts respecting St. Patrick’s existence - Ledwich’s negative arguments [7]; legendary writings of Joceline - Harris, Ussher, and Cambden’s refelctions thereon - their defence of St. Patrick - Bishop of Asaph’s remarks [12] On the imputation of unnecessary miracles - Catholic divine’s opinion - and disapprobation - Similar tales of St. Columcille [22] Mathematical demonstration - Metaphysical certainty - Historic evidence - Foreign proofs of St. Patrick’s existence, from the twelfth to the sixth century [sic] [27] Irish authors of the first and sixth centuries - St Adamnan - Curious extracts, shewing the state of arts and sciences in Ireland [6] Various opinions respecting his native country, neither Irish, Cornish, Welsh, English, nor Scotch - Dempster’s argument refuted - Scotia major - Joceline - Bede’s - Gildas’s [-] Jerome’s character of the barbarous Britons [59] of St Patrick’s native country - Errors from an ignorance in ancient geography, Empthor, Tabernia, Tyrrhenian sea, Leatha, misundestood by all the modern and ancient translators [72]; Policy of the Irish monarchs in aiding Picts against the Romans - Niall’s invasion of Gaul - St. Patrick taken - Sold as a slave in Ireland - His parents and relations [89]; St Patrick’s infantine age - use and abuse of miracles - Joceline’s ridiculous conduct - His translator and editors - St Patrick’s own account of his infancy [101]; His servitude in Ireland - escape - retaken - enlarged - peregrination to Aremoric Gaul - Italy - His application to study, and progress in literature - Kiaran, Ailve, Declan, Ivar and Palladius before him [109]; Commences his mission - success in Cornwall - He lands on the Wicklow coast - Converts numbers of the cheiftains - Queen - King - Fiech - Dubthach, &c. [127]; Visits Taltean - Taltenian Games - Proceeds to Conaught [sic] - Ireland’s exemption from venomous creatures - Donat, of Fesula’s, encomium - Birds - Bees [141]; Success in Connaught - Tiravailgaid Tirconnel - preaching, converting, and building churches - Niall’s son converted - Clogher-church founded [150]; Arrives at Armagh - Lays the foundation of a city there - Synod there - Covners the Isle of Man - Travels through Leinster - Converts Alphin, king of Dublin, and family - Also, Angus, king of Munster - Conference at Cashel with Ailve, Declan, and Ivar [158]; Vindication of the number of churches built by him - Doctor Ledwich refuted - Place of his death, not Armagh, nor Glastenbury, but Down - Courcy’s invasion of Ulster - Translation of St. Patrick’s relics - Deference paid to them by primitive Christians [177]. APPENDIX, Town of Trim - St Macartin - Georgraphical and ecclesiastical state of the isle of Man [197]; Dublin city - Christ-church - Laurence O’Toole - Canons regular - Tithe Fish - Contest about do. - Priors of - Strongbow’s monument - Two cathedrals in Dublin - Deans of St. Patrick’s - Swift’s epitaph - twenty parish churches, &c. [209]; At Audoen’s church - St. Audoen - St. Michan’s - St Mary’s - ST Olave’s - ST James … [&c.]; other material includes: William’s Soldiers; Ancient Sanctity and learning of Irishmen - St Bernard’s Testimony; Hymn of Fiech, English trans. [325; for text see attached.]

CHAP. I: ‘Among the manifold means employed by the Almighty for extending the empire of his holy religion over the western parts of Europe, few indeed appear more singularly providential and striking than that of making the sequestered islands of EIRE, the seat of arts, sciences, and civilization; and thus pre-disposing the natives for receiving the soul-saving truth of the gospel. Many concurring circumstances tended to promote the advancement and facilitate the completely [1] of that most happy event. Since the illustrious Ollav Fola, Ollamh Fodla, who was nearly cotemporary with Licurgus, the renowned legislators of Sparta, instituted wholesome laws, for limiting the powers of the monarch, and restraining the licentiousness of the subject, the people at large became more civilised, courteous and polite. To him Ireland is, under heaven, indebted for establishing triennial parliaments at TARA, discriminating the various orders of society into distinct classes, and erecting seminaries for acquiring a perfect knowledge in the sciences of physic, philosophy, heraldry, and music. / The long interval of prosperity and peace enjoyed by the people of this Isle, till the mission of our apostle, was a blessing which the Author of Life and Source of Salvation intended, no doubt, as another grand mean for facilitating the propagation of the gospel here. For six centuries antecedently to the introduction of christianity, history records no more than six or seven provincial insurrections, with scarcely as many [2] general engagements, without any attack or invasion from abroad. / During this tranquil period we find the national institutes uniformly conducted and governed by Druidic professors. Here, as well as in Gaul and Britain, druids had the management of sacrifices, and were entrusted with the decision of controversies, both public and private; nay, so great was their power and influence, that such as abided not by their judicial verdicts were interdicted from being present at their religious rites, a powerful and grievous punishment in those days. It is abundantly testified that the druids were eminently distinghuished for profound learning; and consequently superior to the superstitious and grossly ignorant priests of the heathens. They believed in one God, in the immortality of the soul, and that men were after death to be rewarded according tot heir actions during mortal life. The austerity of their lives, and the prudence and policy with which they regulated their own order, gained them the veneration and respect of the people. [3] They had provincial conferences annually, and also assembled as a constituent part of the triennial conference of Tarah.

‘The noble efforts of the druids on the continent, in animating the people with the courage and patriotism to resist the tyrannic invasions of the all-conquering Romans, incurred the inveterate vengeance of those plunderers. Whereupon that persecuted order was first expelled by the Roman invaders from Germany and Gaul, to South Britain; from thence to North Britain, Anglesea, and the Isle of Man, and ultimately to Ireland, the only nation which remained free from the yoke of imperial Rome. Here they were kindly received by their brethren, and no doubt but they must have added much to the stock of national knowledge, already diffused thro’ this isle, by the practice and profession of those trades, arts, and sciences that they say and acquired a knowledge of in the various countries from which they were expelled. [4] … Entertaining an opinion that it was derogatory to the sublimity and immensity of the divine essence, to confine their adoration within the limits of roofed edifices, they set apart consecrated groves for celebrating their sacred rites and solemnities. As the oak was the subject of their esteem, their places of worship were surrounded by oak-trees, whence they were called Druids [gael. draohe or dreehe]. Such was the state of druidism in Ireland on our great apostle’s mission thereto. His admirable management and conduct in converting them from their idolatrous custom to the communion of Christ, will be shewn in its proper place, after establishing the existence of our Hibernian Moses, as he is emphatically stiled by his Italian biographer, against the unfounded argument of modern innovators.’ [p.7; End Chapter I.]


‘The French Jesuit Harduin, in the sixteenth century, acquired immortal notoriety and contempt, by his paradoxical reveries, in striving to prove that the most ancient medals and Roman classics were forgeries, pawned on the public by the Benedictines. thus the Aeneid of Virgil he considered as an allegorical poem, invented by that brotherhood in the thirteenth century, for designating the voyage of St. Peter to Rome, under the feigned name of Aeneas … [7] Had Dr Ledwich’s motive for obtruding his contradictory opinions on the public originated from a similar ambition of eternising his name, without calumniating both the living and the dead, the paradoxical part of his writing would only excite every Irish reader’s ridicule and contempt. [8; …] arising from a general indisposition to all who dare undertake to vindicate the history and investigate the antiquity of Ireland … envy at his original associates’ [Vallancy] well merited reputation wrought in the once liberal Ledwich [8] In fact, the scurrilous language vented on every occasion against Vallancy, a man ever dear to Irishmen, has debased the character of the antiquary to the degraded rank of an odious Billingsgate. / The various antilogies [sic] and contradictions to be met in Ledwich’s works, may be easily accounted for, by considering, that some of his essays were written before, and some after the commencement of his rancorous enmity to his original associate, the general. This will account for his inconsistency in being the encomiast of Colum Cille and the disprover of St. Patrick’s existence. Hear on what a weak foundation he founds his saint-destroying system. [“]Dr Ryves, in his defence of the Anglo-Irish government, found it necessary to inspect into the old records of the Irish nation, and hold a commission court for trying St. Patrick’s title to the apostleship of Ireland. Ryves found he had no claim to it, as he proved, first from the multiplicity of miracles ascribed to the saint, and from the total silence of Platina in his [9] life of Celestine, respecting St Patrick’s mission to Ireland. Though he mentions the mission of St Germanicus to England, and Pallodius to Scotland.”’[10].

‘The indefatigable and learned Harris, a man eminently distinguished for his antipathy to the Roman Catholic communion and its professors, declares in his Introduction to our Irish apostle’s life that “This primitive bishop was a person of such exemplary piety, and his labour and success in converting this once pagan nation to christianity so wonderful and useful, that the actions of his life were worthy to be transmitted to posterity by the most faithful and able pen; but, unhappily, this task has fallen into the most weak and injudicious hands, who have crowded it with such numberless fictions and monstrous fables, that, like the legend of King Arthur, they would almost tempt one to doubt of the reality of the person. It is observable that, as the purest stream always flows [12] nearest to the fountain; so, among the many writers of the life of this prelate, those who have lived nearest to his time have the greatest regard for truth, and have been most sparing in recounting miracles. Thus Fieck [six], bishop of Sletty, the saint’s cotemporary [sic], comprehended the most material events of his life in an Irish hymn of thirty-four stanzas, a literal translation of which into Latin hath been since published, with the original Irish, by John Colgan; but, in process of time, as the writers of his life increased, so his miracles were multiplied, especially in the dark ages, until they at last exceeded all bounds of credibility. Probus, a writer of the tenth century, outdid all who preceded [sic] him, but he himself was far surpassed by Joceline. At length came Philip O’Sullivan, who made Joceline his ground-work, yet far exceeded him, and seemed fully determined no future writer should be ever able to surpass him in relating the number and magnitude of St. Patrick’s miracles.’ [13]

The author [Patrick Lynch] holds that Ledwich’s Eccles. History, like Lot’s wife, ‘exists as a monument to the author’s disgrace’ on account of the ‘venom he vents on Keating, O’Flaherty, O’Connor [sic], Vallancy’ [14]; ‘Harris’s life of the prince of Orange, and his varous writings against popery evince such a zeal for the protestant interest of Ireland, as places him above suspicion …’ [14].

Lynch quotes Walter Harris, ‘There is one consequence … that hath followed from such a legendary way of writing, which, had authors of this time foreseen, would have made them cautious in this respect. miracles are things of such an extraordinary nature, that they must be well attested, in order to gain credit among me. But such writers, by introducing them on every frivolous occasion, without number, measure, or use, have called in question the truth of every thing they relate; and, in that case, have brought into discredit and even ridicule, the real miracles, which, perhaps, this holy man may have wrought. The lavish use they have made of them serves only to oppress the faith, as a profusion of scent overpowereth the brain. By this great indiscretion, they have caused their writings to be generally looked upon [15] as fabulous, and their unskillful management hath only served to bring our great patron into contempt. [… &c.] [16];

Harris complains that ‘our deluded countrymen .. spend the festival of this most abstemious and mortified man in riot and excess as if they looked upon him only in the light of a jolly companion’ [16]; of Ussher: whose ‘profound disquisitions as an antiquary, and as a general scholar, will ensure universal estimation, during the existence of the various languages, in which his works are written.’ Lynch comments: ‘notwithstanding the above merited encomiums on the protestant primate of Ireland [viz., Ussher], to his countrymen of the catholic communion, however, his persecuting principles and crooked policy can never be forgotten. Our illustrious apostle’s antagonists, therefore, will not, cannot have the assurance or hardihood to accuse him of partiality towards his popish compatriots.’ [17]

Ftn. [on Thomas Ryves:] After the discovery of America, in 1492, and its subsequent partition among the European powers, adventurers from very part of France, Spain, Germany, and Great Britain flocked thither in abundance. Such of the British fortune-hunters as had not courage enough to encounter the perils of the ocean, came to Ireland, which was then, as now, the land of promise, for all English, Scotch, and Welch [sic] settlers, and servitors. Of this class was Thomas Ryves; he was educated at Oxford, came over to Ireland, and was made one of the masters in chancery, and judge of the prerogative court. In these situations he was eminently serviceably in giving full and efficient vigour to the laws in the time of Sir Arthur Chichester. Bishop Nicholson and Mr Harris tell us Ryves wrote “A defence of the English system adopted for governing Ireland” [against Rothe], in which he frees his royal master from the imputation of tyranny and oppression, in burning images and suppressing the schools of popish priests and encouraging the conviction of several great persons, both clergy and laity, on the evidence of PERJURED WITNESSES. This infamous production in justification of a most infamous government, was written by Ryves, in answer to the ANALECTA, or a Collection of the Sufferings of the catholics, during six months of Lord Chichester’s administration, &c., &c., by the Most Rev. David Rothe, of Kilkenny, cath. bishop of Ossory and vice-primate of Ireland. [ftn., pp.18-19]; Ussher to Cambden against Ryves, wrote that ‘the ridiculous miracles, fastened on our saint were the work of later writers’ [20].

Lynch quotes Edward Ledwich: ‘it is an undoubted fact that St. Patrick is not mentioned by any author or any work of veracity during the fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth centuries’ [29]; also quotes Nicholson, Bishop of Derry, on Giraldus Cambrensis: ‘[Cambrensis] deserves no manner of credit to be given him; his chronicle is the most partial representation of the Irish history ever imposed on any nation in the world. He endeavoured to make the venerable antiquities of [their] island a mere fable and has given occasion to subsequent historians to abuse the world with similar fictitious relations.’ [here 38].

Further: the author reproaches Bishop Nicholson for placing Probus in the 10th rather than the 6th century [46]; quotes Gildas, 1.2: ‘hiberni grassatores, post longum tempus reversuri [Irish marauders, not likely to remain long till they renew their depredations]’.

‘Our great Apostle let us then revere, as we do, those groves which the piety of our ancestors has planted around the numberless wells, monasteries, and cells, which have been consecrated to his name from the remotest antiquity and among which [58] the sturdy aged oaks strikes us not so much with their beauty, as with a religious awe and respectful veneration. [59].

Lynch comments on the ‘spirit of traducing Ireland … rendering Irishmen odious to themselves … unnatural conspiracy against the ancient honour of their native country … aided and abetted by Irish writers, especially of the Anglo-Irish extraction. Can we wonder then at the uniform attempts to make St. Patrick a Briton?’ [64]

He calls Harris ‘a violent ascendancy man in favour of British monopoly for pre-eminence and power [73]; cites John Lynch [in Adversus Cambrensis] who accused Giraldus Cambrensis of having destroyed his sources when he had done with them.

Note: The author concludes that St. Patrick was born at Tours, deriving the place from Nempthur, as appears in various translations, itself a translation-error for Naem Tour, or ‘Holy Tour’, in Gaelic; further asserted that Patrick lived 120 years; and lists three principles, viz., 1. That the hierarchy of the bishops of Ireland which began in St. Patrick, has continued successively form age to age until the present time; 2. That the archbishops and bishops of Ireland were in communion with the see of Rome, the visible head of the Universal Church, vicar of Christ our Lord, and successor of St Peter, 3. That the Catholic Church of Ireland received all the decisions and decrees of the general councils concerning faith and morals, in perfect conformity with the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church [316].

Further, the author follows Philip O’Sullivan Beare as being in possession of two manuscript sources now lost; refers to trans.-edn. of Jocelin from ‘anti-Catholic Hibernia Press Co.; calls Martin of Tour the uncle of Patrick’s mother; considers Niall of the Nine Hostages to have died on the Loire; produces a patriotic epitaph for Swift [223].

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