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every branch of profane literature, and first of all in its proper and peculiar function as the great seminary of the principles of the church of England. Such being the great claim of Loftus on the commemoration of history, we shall do him the justice, to dwell but lightly on those parts of his life which are nothing more than the ordinary incidents of his time, and proceed with a rapid hand to this main transaction which sheds particular honour on every name with which it is connected.
Loftus was, according to Ware, born at Swineshead in Yorkshire, of an ancient and respectable family, and received in his youth a more careful and costly education than was usual in his time. He became soon distinguished for talent and literary accomplishment; and on some public occasion had the good fortune to win the admiration of the queen, by his striking display of logical and rhetorical talent, when, with her characteristic promptitude, she marked him for distinction, and encouraged his youthful ambition to effort by promises of speedy advancement.
The queen kept her promise, and never lost sight of the distinguished youth until an opportunity occurred, when she was sending lord Sussex over as lieutenant of Ireland, on which Loftus was sent over as his chaplain; and but little time elapsed when another mark of favour in. dicates the favourable impression, which his early promise made on one so keen in her discernment of merit. In 1561, he was appointed by letters patent to the rectory of Painestown in Meath, and the following year, by one wide step elevated to the see of Armagh in the room of Dowdal. On this incident, Harris remarks, that “the Irish protestant bishops derive their succession through him, without any pretence to cavil, for he was consecrated by Curwin, who had been consecrated in England according to the forms of the Romish pontifical, in the third year of queen Mary.”
In 1564 he was elected to the deanery of St Patrick's by royal license, on the consideration of the insufficiency of the revenues of the see of Armagh, “ his archbishopric being a place of great charge, in name and title only to be taken into account, without any worldly endowment resulting from it." In 1566 he was joined by the clergy of Armagh in excommunicating Shane O'Neale, who burned “ the metropolitan church of Ardmagh ; saying he did it lest the English should lodge therein.” In the same year he took his doctor's degree in Cambridge, and was soon after translated to Dublin.
In 1572 he obtained a dispensation from the queen to bold with his archbishopric any sinecures not exceeding £100 in annual value. In 1573 he was appointed chancellor, and held the office during his life. In 1582, and again in 1585, he was one of the lords-justices.
We pass the particulars of his unhappy quarrel with Sir John Perrot, as not essential to the main purpose of this memoir. It mainly originated in the archbishop's determined resolution in preserving the cathedral of St Patrick's from being converted into a university to the prejudice of certain rights of his own. The design thus resisted, was one the frustration of which might well be counted a stain on the memory of Loftus, had it not been fortunately wiped away by an ample and honourable compensation. The cathedral of St Patrick's was preserved to the church in its ancient venerable character, and the university was soon after instituted by the zealous instrumentality of the archbishop
The full importance of this institution is too great to admit of its being discussed at the termination of this series, where it may escape the attention of the greater portion of our readers. We shall presently have an occasion to enter on the subject at length. The history of the foundation is briefly as follows:
Such an institution had previously, at different periods of the AngloIrish history, been attempted, but in vain; the troubles of the country were too rife, and the want insufficiently felt: the desire of knowledge is itself a result of intellectual cultivation. This desire was one of the chief influences of the Reformation in England; of which, as we shall hereafter more fully explain, learning was soon found to be an indispensable requisite. But in Ireland the necessity of some native centre of an academical character became strongly perceptible. The necessity of looking in England for ministers for the churches, and of supplying the deficiency by the employment of illiterate persons, grew to be felt as an evil of serious magnitude. To supply the demand of a church essentially connected with knowledge, had become a necessity which at the time strongly pressed itself on every cultivated mind. The call was felt with a force, which has no expression on the cramped page of the annalist. It was indeed the ripeness of time ; but, like all the events of time, chiefly traceable to incidental causes, and the underworking agents, whose names are made illustrious by changes which must have occurred if they had not been born.
Loftus having effectually resisted the plan of Sir John Perrot, which was to convert St Patrick's church into law courts, and apply its revenues to the foundation of a university, applied to the queen in favour of another scheme for that desirable end. For this purpose he pitched on the ancient monastery of All-hallows, on Hoggin Green, near Dublin. It had been founded by Dermod MacMurragh for Aroasian monks in 1166, and been richly endowed, not only by the founder, but also by the illustrious Milo de Cogan. Its possessions were confirmed by the charter of Henry II. On the dissolution of the monasteries, the site of this monastery had been granted to the corporation of Dublin. From this body it was now obtained by the assiduous representations of the archbishop, who told them that the act would be “ of good acceptance with God, of great reward hereafter, and of honour and advantage to yourselves, and more to your learned offspring in the future; when, by the help of learning, they may build
your families some stories higher than they are, by their advancement either in the church or commonwealth." The representations of Loftus had the influence due to their truth; and the city consented to a slight sacrifice of property, which was to be compensated by advantages more important to Dublin and the country, than they or their adviser could well appreciate at the time. They granted the monastery with its precincts.
Loftus next deputed Henry Usher and Lucas Chaloner to England, to apply for a charter and license for the mortmain tenure of the lands granted by the city. This may be regarded as a matter of
course, and the deputies quickly returned with the queen's warrant for letters patent under the great seal of Ireland, dated 29th December, 1591, for the incorporation of a university, with power to hold the lands granted, with other endowments, to the value of £400 per
The university was thus incorporated, “ by the name of the provost, fellows, and scholars
, of the holy and undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth, near Dublin," who were thus duly qualified to acquire and hold the lands, tenements, and hereditaments, to themselves and their
successors for ever, with certain legal provisions now unimportant. Their privilege to teach the liberal arts in Ireland was exclusively vested in them, and the license granted to confer degrees. They were empowered to make laws for their own internal government—a privilege afterwards revoked. The number of the members was limited to a provost, three fellows, and three scholars, and their functions and privileges were fully defined and guarded.*
Loftus was appointed first provost; Henry Usher, Lucas Chaloner, and Launcelot Moyne, fellows; and Henry Lee, William Daniel, and Stephen White, scholars ;—the first representatives of a body, which was in the course of time to produce James Usher, King, Berkely, Young, Hamilton, as its members, with a host of other not inferior names, which shed the honours of literature and science around their country's name.
The erection of the college was next to be effected. To obtain the necessary fund, circular letters were issued by the lord-deputy (Fitz-William) and the council to the Irish nobility and gentry, representing the importance of the foundation to literature and the reformed church. A contribution was thus obtained ; and in 1593 the building was finished for the reception of its inmates. The Ulster rebellion, under Hugh, earl of Tyrone, had an unfavourable influence on its growth, as its principal endowments lay in the north. But the zeal and bounty of Elizabeth, under Providence, carried it through this severe trial which menaced ruin to its infant state ; and, in the language of Leland, himself one of its illustrious ornaments, it struck its roots securely amid the public storms, and, cultivated as it was by succeeding princes, rose to a degree of consequence and splendour disproportioned to its first beginnings.”+
King James endowed this foundation with large grants in Ulster. And Charles I., distinguished among the kings of England for his love and munificent patronage of all the arts, followed liberally in the same course. By his patent the foundation was enlarged; the fellows were increased to sixteen, and the scholars to seventy ; the laws improved by the repeal of some, and the enactment of other provisions. Amongst these, one has more especially struck us as a judicious change; by the charter of the queen it was provided that the fellows were to resign their fellowships at the expiration of seven years from their election. Such a regulation, by no means so inexpedient in the infant state of such a community, was obviously inconsistent with the furtherance of its interests or uses in a more advanced stage of learning. While it is to be admitted that one of the main benefits conferred on society, results from the circulation of the fellowship and the multiplication of academical offspring thus produced, it is equally evident that a regulation calculated to diminish the advantages to be sought for by a most arduous course of study, must have essentially destroyed the intent, so far as the production and circulation of scholars was an object. No man, whose intellect was in sound order for any useful purpose, would sink his better days in a course of learned labour, to be thrown aside like worn-out books when their better days were spent. It would be found, save by a very few, that life is short to be consumed over the study of the arts; and most men would shrink from a sacrifice thus to be crowned by deprivation. From the consideration of this defect, remedied in the patent of Charles, will appear the consummate wisdom of the provision which secures to society the advantage contemplated in the first arrangement, without the counteracting evil
* Letters Patent of Charles I., in which the first patent is recited.-Coll. Stat.
+ Leland, who was a senior fellow, about 1771.
, and secures the continual circulation of the fellowship, by the creation of a beneficial interest to compensate the resignation of a functionary whose office has been hardly earned. This object is secured by benefices and professorships in the gift of the university, which, when they become vacant, are disposed of to such of the members as desire them, who thereby vacate their fellowships.
In 1637 a new charter from king Charles was accompanied by a body of statutes, which, with several modifications, are still the laws of the university. We shall, a little farther on, take up this interesting subject, in its further and more general bearings on Irish literature and civilization. On the ecclesiastical state of Ireland its effects were rapid and decisive; and it appears, from the statements of Spencer, that the reformation in Ireland can scarcely be said to have commenced, until its influence was felt in an improvement of the education of churchmen.
We now return to the provost. In 1597 he was appointed one of the lords-justices; and again, in 1599, at the close of this year, he was appointed one of the counsellors to the president of Munster.
In 1603, he died in his palace at St Sepulchre's, and was buried in St Patrick's church. He had been forty-two years a bishop. Mr Dalton, from whose work on the Archbishops of Dublin we have received valuable assistance in this and some other of our ecclesiastical series, concludes his account of Loftus with the remark, “ that Anne, the second daughter of this prelate, was married to Sir Henry Colley of Castle Carbery, and from that union have descended the present marquis of Wellesley and the duke of Wellington."
[The editor begs to apologize to the Irish historical student, for the omission of numerous eminent poets and historians of this period. So little is known of their personal history, that he could not avoid the consideration, that the space they must have occupied in this series would be altogether too much for a popular work, and would be regarded as objectionable by the numerous readers who cannot be assumed to look beyond the amusement of a leisure hour. A small selection has been made of those most noticed by antiquarian writers: or which are noticeable for any special circumstances. To the general reader it may be observed, that all the persons here mentioned, were illustrious in their day, and have some claim to be so still. Their writings are extant, and form a curious and unique department of national literature. Of some of these we can offer no further account than the mention of their works ; and a few are withheld, because we shall have to notice their writings more at large under the general head of Irish literature.]
Mal Suthain O'Carroll.
DIED A. D. 1009,
MAL SUTHAIN O'CARROLL, is remarkable for having been the writer who commenced the Annals of Innisfallen. Of these important documents we shall have occasion to give some account at a later period. Generally speaking, the more important portions of the literature of this and several following centuries, can only be viewed with advantage, in their collective character, and in those later times, when their record closes and the history of their transmission (the most important question in which they are concerned,) comes before us :-Of the general history of the literature of this period, we shall find room to give some account under the lives of Scotus and John Sacrobosco. During the greater part of the period, literature must be considered as on the decline in Ireland. There nevertheless wanted not accomplished Irish scholars in every department then existing. The following small selection from numerous names, exhibit the fact that poetry at least was not wanting.
Of the illustrious O'Carroll, we can only add, that he was not only one of the most learned monks of the island, but of his time, and had the added distinction of high birth. He died, according to the Four Masters, in the year 1009.
DIED A.D. 1015.
IRELAND, of all countries in the world, is best entitled to the appellation of the “ Land of Song," from her early writers being almost invariably poets, and verse having been selected as the easiest and simplest medium for conveying their thoughts, whether the topic was religion, war, or individual history. Among these, Mac Liag takes a very