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much to be depended on where a falsehood will 4. D. 1621, help his argument. Still his account of the first construction of the modern Irish branch of the Roman Church is curious and interesting; and corroborated as it is from other sources of information, we may well regard it as full worthy of credit; for he must have been well acquainted with those movements of his party which are here recorded, and in describing them he appears to state merely simple facts. From his narrative, as well as from other evidence, it appears that in A.D. 1621, all the Irish sees being occupied by Protestants, there were ať that time but four bishops connected with the Romish Church in our country: two living in Ireland, and the other two in foreign parts. Such was the original nucleus of the present Romish Church in this island—such its first bishops and officers. They
The newlywere at best but emissaries from the pope, and intended intruders in our Church and realm, disturbing,
bishops no by their interference, its peace and liberty; and successors of their followers could be justly regarded only as Columbdissenters and separatists from the Church of kille, Ireland. Such, too, are their descendants, the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy, with their followers, to this day; men whose entire ecclesiastical authority, appointment, and orders, are de
O'Melrian, the titular of Killaloc, (pp. 788, 790, sup.) seems to have died before this date.
nor even connected
A. 1. 1622. rived from the usurped power of a foreign prelate.
None of them have ever been ordained by any bishops of the ancient Church of Patrick and Columbkille, nor can they possibly shew themselves to be possessed of any succession from
those bishops. Nay, they have not even preserved together by any continued series approaching to the nature any sort of of a regular succession, from those first bishops of succession.
their own above noticed. Bishop Some further light on the subject of the first Downham's testimony in construction and budding forth of this new Roregard to mish communion, and on the character of its this matter.
agents and superintendents, is furnished to us by a respectable prelate of the Reformed Church, who flourished at this time. In the early part of the year 1622, King James having issued a commission for a visitation by royal authority, of the province of Ulster, reports were accordingly furnished by the respective diocesans, of the true state of their several bishoprics ; and these reports for all the dioceses except that of Dromore are still extant in a manuscript of the library of Trinity College, Dablin. Now in the report of the condition of the Church in Derry, George Downham, bishop of that diocese, besides giving the usual particulars relative to the state of the benefices, churches, ministers, &c., of his charge, supplies us further with the following information in regard to the members of the Romish communion, and the movements of their A. D. 1622. clergy, in the same district.*
“Besides the jurisdiction," says he, “exercised by my chancellor and official, there is a jurisdiction usurped by authority from Rome, to the greate disonor of God, hinderance of religion, and shame of the government."
“ The chief authority as I understand, derived Working from Rome, is in Eugenius M'Mahon, pretended gutteftine archbishop of Dublin, and David Routh, the pre
of Derry. tended vice-primate of Armagh. By thiese was Bernard M‘Cragh made vicar-general of the diocese of Derry, and after him Patterick M‘Mahon. By him are priests placed in everie parishe to celebrate the Masse, and to exercise all other priestly functions, who though they be rude, ignorant, and vicious fellows, yet carry the natives after them generally, neither is there any hope of reformation, whiles they are suffered to reside among the people.
“ Under the vicar.general are placed four Scandalous officials at the least, who amongst many other ties of the abominations which they practice, doe for small new clergy. rewardes, divorce martyed couples, and sett them at liberty to marry others, insomuch that there is scarce anie man of yeares, but he hath more
• See Archbishop Ussher's Visitation Book, MS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Mant i. 476.
A. D. 1622. wyves lyving, and few women which have not
plurality of husbands. Bishop
“For the removeing of theise popish priests," Downham's ill success in adds Bishop Downham, “our lawes are weake, endeavouring to stay
our power lesse, neither can I get the assistance of the military men as I desire, and that which discourageth me most is, that when either I have gotten any of them apprehended, convicted and committed, they have been by corruption set at libertie to follow their former courses ; or when I have excommunicated them, and proceeded by writ de excommunicato capiendo, the Sherifes of the county of Londonderry, Tyrone, and Dunnagal cannot be got to apprehend them
and bring them to prison." Observation Such was the state of operations connected of grappling with the formation of the new community in with it. Derry at this time, and such the sort of agents
employed in the work, according to the scheme contrived by the foreign influenced party, and promulgated for the use of the province of Armagh in particular, in the titular conference of Drogheda, which has been already described. Similar proceedings were no doubt going on throughout other parts of the country, according as circumstances allowed. But although the treasonable and seditious doctrine propagated by these newly authorized teachers made it both justifiable and necessary for the government to interfere, to restrain a system of teach- A. D. 1622. ing so full of danger to the peace and good order of society, still one cannot but regret, in reading the above extracts from Bishop Downham's report, to find the spiritual pastor of a diocese apparently so familiar with the carnal weapons of the civil power, and so much dependent on them for suppressing error, and inculcating the better principles of the pure and gentle gospel of peace.
The bishop, it seems, was very indignant, as Downham's well he might be, at finding the people of his account of diocese misled by such guides as he describes. clergy coroBut no reasonable reader, who has any know- from Roledge of the circumstances of the country at mish authothat time, will be tempted to suppose that the description given by him of their characters and condition was an unfounded portraiture, suggested by prejudice and passsion. For it agrees only too well with accounts furnished to us by other authors, and even by the strictest Roman Catholics, of the sort of agents who then under foreign influence, were busily engaged in promoting the division, misery, and ruin of the Irish Church, for the sake of securing the success of their own illjudged, and too often base and heartless, purposes and schemes. That very Peter Lombard, of whom O'Sullevan speaks as being primate of Ireland at the time when he wrote, gives us an exceedingly curious descrip