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ground for the remark, though I do not consider it a valid reason for withholding my support. Some other missionary societies colour too highly, and a desire to avoid this error has probably caused ours to run into an opposite extreme; but surely it is not necessary for us, in seeking to steer clear of Scylla, to fall into Charybdis. In the hope that this letter may meet the eye of some influential member of the London committee, I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A RURAL INCORPORATED MEMBER.
ST. PATRICK. MY DEAR
--As your correspondent “H.” has done me the honour to make some remarks on my inquiries relative to St. Patrick, it might be uncourteous if I did not take some notice of his observations. At the same time, I must entirely decline any lengthened controversy on the subject. I stated the result of my own investigations, not, I trust, in a dogmatical spirit, but with a view to leading others to similar inquiry, and I gave ample references to the sources from which I drew my information. If your correspondent “H.” will take up the subject, and, after having thoroughly weighed the statements in the works I have referred to, will establish a series of conclusions on more tenable grounds than mine, and will bring out the truth, clear and well-defined and established, he will confer on no man a greater obligation than on myself. I will, therefore, at present only state a few brief reasons which prevent my being at all shaken in my opinions by anything which he has advanced. I am at present writing without my usual command of books, and therefore there are a few points which I can only allude to in the most cursory manner.
1. I cannot be much moved by his reference to Jerome. What* Jerome does say is simply that, when a young man, he saw in Gaul some Scots, (i. e., Irish,) whose nation were cannibals. How, therefore, Jerome's testimony proves that ships were uncommon to Ireland, I do not see, unless “H.” would inform me how these Scots got to Gaul by land. But I need not trouble myself to answer “H.” on this head, because in the second page of his letter he answers himself by allowing that “ Ireland in the apostolic age and afterwards heard the gospel,” which, I presume, was by the intervention of ships. I recommend to any one who doubts the intercourse with Ireland by ships, in early days, to study the fifth chapter of Stillingfleet's “Origines Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ,” (I quote from memory,) and if they deny it still, to give the world the benefit of their answer to that writer.
In reference to the same point, I would just remark, that “H.” appears to me either not to have read, or to have read with great carelessness, the writing on which this controversy very much turns. He talks of St. Patrick's dream about a ship which should take him to Ireland, whereas, unless I have entirely mistaken the whole point of the confession, the ship which he was warned of by a dream was that
* Hieron. Advers. Joviniarium, p. 93, &c. Ed. Paris: 1579.
which took him from his first captivity in Ireland, (see the passage where this dream occurs,) and he says, “ intermisi hominem,” &c. “I left the man with whom (i. e., his master) I had lived so many years."'* As to the questions about the legions and Pharamond, they are minor points in my argument, only brought in to confirm other evidence, and I am not very solicitous about them. At a future season, however, if there should be need, I will enter into the consideration of this head.
2. As to the variety of stories about St. Patrick, how they prove that no such person ever existed, I am unable to perceive. Some of them, such as the Glastonbury story to which “H." alludes, are late and palpable forgeries, and most of the lives of the saint, as I have observed, are late in their composition. Indeed, this is one of my own strong points in leading me to my former conclusions. His variety of names (some of those which are quoted by “H.” being only terms of endearment) appear to me beside the question, and to prove nothing, unless we grant that there was no such person as Daniel, because he was also called Belteshazzar, &c.
3. I will now only briefly remark on the two closing paragraphs of “ H.'s” letter. Perhaps he will favour us with some reasons more cogent than a mere assertion for believing the confession and the epistle to Coroticus to be the forgery of some century from the seventh to the tenth, and especially shew us how far they are conceived in the spirit of that time. One strong argument for their genuineness appears—their simplicity, and their utter unlikeness to any other account of the saint as dressed up by popish legends. Neander, if I remember rightly, has said, with much truth and acuteness, that the confession contains no miraculous events,-nothing which may not be “sehr gut psychologisch erklárt,” which exactly meets the case. Until I have stronger grounds, then, for rejecting my former opinions, I cannot adopt the suggestion of “H."
Lastly, as to Coroticus. Notwithstanding the decisive tone adopted by “H.," I must say, that the clear impression on my mind is, that the person to whom the epistle is written is too strongly individualized and marked to allow of “H.’s” explanation. There is, indeed, a show of reason for adopting it, apparently like that adopted by Fluellen in his comparison of Macedon and Wales. There is a C, an R, a C, and a T in each of the words, and so far they tally well; but I think Coroticus must be taken as the proper name, and not the national appellation of an individual.
I can only, in conclusion, add again, that I mean to decline a controversy on the subject; but if “ H.,” with his extensive reading and his talent, will fairly set himself to the task, and produce anything really satisfactory on this great subject, he will confer a service on the world, and will much oblige, my dear — yours truly,
THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE ON ST. PATRICK.
.N.B. I am quoting from memory only.
VOL. IX. Feb. 1836.
MOORE'S HISTORY OF IRELAND.
SIR-Mr. Moore having, contrary to all history, endeavoured to fix the charge of Pelagianism upon the early Irish Christians, conducts us next to the mission of Palladius, whom Celestine is said to have “ appointed bishop for the superintendence of the “infant church” in Ireland. This, therefore, being an important event in the history of the Irish church, an examination somewhat in detail of the circumstances bearing upon that mission may not be altogether beside the purpose
of these letters. It is generally admitted, then, that Christianity was early planted in Ireland, though there may be no means left us of ascertaining by whom or at what exact period the gospel was first preached there. The fact that Ireland was never under the Roman dominion is of itself sufficient to account for the scanty notices which we possess of the early church of that country, because it was thus exempted from those persecutions for Christ's sake which afforded such large materials for the early history of other churches, and which brought to light the names and sufferings of martyrs and confessors, who else might have passed to their reward unnoticed in the records of men. Of this a striking example is afforded in the British church, the existence of which is far more certainly ascertained from the annals of the persecution under Domitian than by any notoriety it has derived from its acts during the two antecedent centuries. There are not wanting, however, intimations of the early existence of Christianity in Ireland. Thus Keating, in his “General History of Ireland,” which professes to rest on the authority of certain ancient Irish records, asserts, that Cormac, King of Ulster, embraced Christianity about seven years before his death, which took place in the middle of the third century. “He was converted seven years before his death, during which time he refused to adoré his false deities, and, instead of bowing to his idols, he did homage as a devout Christian to the true God; so that this prince was the third person who believed in the faith of Christ before the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland.” (Hist. of Ireland, p. 282.) Corroborative of this assertion, it may be added that the Annals of Tigernach throughout represent this king as being an object of dislike and persecution to the Druids; whilst, in the Dublin copy of the Annals of Inisfallen, edited by Dr. O'Conor, Cormac is expressly related to have repudiated idolatry. Dr. O'Conor indeed remarks (Rer. Hiber. Script., vol. ii., p. 53,) that though it is affirmed of Cormac that he abandoned his idols and worshipped the true God, yet that it does not follow that he embraced Christianity; and therefore suggests that he might have been one of a class of persons to be found in Gaul during the fifth century, who at the same time that they rejected the superstitions of Druidism, were in the habit of consulting persons who had a familiar spirit. It does not, however, appear obvious how occurrences usual in the fifth century and in a distant country can throw much light on what took place in Ireland two centuries earlier; so that of the two hypotheses that which assumes King Cormac to have heen a Christian is by far the most natural. If now we turn to the south of Ireland, we find a tradition at least as old as the eighth century, and referred to in many poems and Irish MSS., which makes the inhabitants about Cape Clear (Inis Clera, or “ Island of the Clergy,") to have been those Irish who first embraced the gospel of Christ. (Rer. Hibern. Scriptor., vol. ii., p. 97.) If, therefore, the least reliance is to be placed on these authorities, it would appear that, both in the north and in the south of the island, Christianity had obtained an early footing among the Irish people. The same conclusion may be deduced from the records of other churches in which the names of eminent early Irish Christians occur.
But though it is admitted by Mr. M. (p. 209,) that anterior to the mission of Palladius there was an “increasing number of Christians" in Ireland, and though he is most anxious to impress on his readers the idea that the Irish were early distinguished as Christian scholars, and were so identified with the rest of Christendom in the middle of the fourth century as to be generally affected by a heresy which at that time more or less infested every Christian country, yet he considers it to be “certain” that Ireland then presented the solitary instance of a church without a bishop. “ It seems certain that before this period no hierarchy had been there instituted, but that in Palladius the Irish Christians saw their first bishop.”
The note on this passage is—“Ad Scotos in Christum credentes ordinatus a Papa Celestino Palladius primus episcopus mittitur."- Prosper. Chron. Bass. et Antioch. Coss.
Now in the first instance it is to be noted, that in order to make it “ certain” that “primus” in this passage is intended to mean " that in Palladius the Irish Christians saw their first bishop,” Mr. M., in common with other Romanists, will be under the necessity of impugning the authority of the lives of some saints, though on other occasions (see p. 236) he may find it convenient to call in the assistance of documents not a particle more trustworthy than those he must reject. It is by such a dire alternative alone that he can place “Ailbe, the pious Declan, and Ibar, all memorable as primitive fathers of the Irish church,” (p. 227,) among “ the disciples of St. Patrick.” Some such consciousness as this, it may be presumed, moved Mr. M. to introduce these “illustrious” names, without a single hint that they have been considered to be the episcopal predecessors of Palladius on somewhat better authority than Mr. M. would make them the “ disciples" of the Romish apostle. It is possible, however, that Mr. M. may have been misled by Dr. Lanigan, who on some occasions is a great authority with him. The latter gentleman goes so far as to affirm (Eccl. Hist., vol. i., p. 22,) that such lives of the worthies of whom we are writing as make them “ bishops in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick,'' abound with anachronisms and contradictions, whilst the old Irish annals are in direct opposition to them.” That all writings which contain matter likely to interfere with the claims of the Romish St. Patrick should be in direct opposition to the “old Irish annals” need not be surprising when we take into consideration the fact that, if the annals themselves are to be believed, all the ancient
records of Ireland were collected and expurgated by command of St. Patrick. (" Annals of the Four Masters,” Ann. 438, ed. Dr. O'Conor.) It would be more than one could expect that an apostle possessed of half the worldly wisdom which seems to have been the inheritance of Mr. M.’s St. Patrick, should undertake the purgation of the “old Irish annals," and leave those exact portions of the histories unpurified which would have proved himself to be an impostor! Yet it does so happen, by some accident or other, that the Dublin copy of the Annals of Inisfallen, as edited by Dr. O'Conor, so far agrees with those lives of the saints quoted or referred to by Usher, as to make Kieran, and Declan, and Ailbe, and Ibar, all “ bishops in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick.” And, what is remarkable, neither these annals, nor those of Abbye Boyle, so much as mention the name of Palladius. I will only add that, judging from some peculiarities connected with that quotation from Giraldus Cambrensis, to which attention has been already directed, I have some suspicion that Mr. M. may have known that “St. Ibar," at least, has been regarded as “one of the four bishops who propagated the gospel in Ireland before St. Patrick.” (See O'Flaherty's “Sketch, &c. of the Islands of Aran," in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xiv., pp. 115, 127.)*
But still it may be said, there is the express testimony of Prosper. Not, however, of all the copies, for it has long since been intimated by Archbishop Usher that the Chronicon of Prosper, as given by Du Chesne (Hist. Script. Rer. Francar. Coetan., tom. i., p. 205; Paris, 1636,) reads, “Ad Scotos in Christum credentes ordinatus a Papa Celestino Palladius episcopus mittitur,” omitting “ primus," on which the whole question hinges. It is true that the reading of Prosper, as given by Mr. M., is supported by the authority of Bede, Marianus Scotus, Sigebert, and one or two other old writers; so is the reading of Du Chesne corroborated by Hermannus Contractus, a chronicler as ancient as any of those mentioned, with the exception of Bede. (See the “ Scriptores de Rebus Germanicis," edited by Pistorius, tom. i., p. 116, Frankfort, 1583), not to mention the Saxon Chronicles, edited by Gisborne. And, what is still more to the purpose, there is another chronicle which passes under the name of Prosper, quite different from the work quoted by Mr. M., but yet laying such claims to authenticity that learned men have decided it to be the genuine production of that father in preference to the other. The predicament, therefore, in which Mr. M.'s “certain” passage of history seems to stand is this :—whilst it is directly opposed to documentary evidence immediately relating to the affairs of Ireland, it derives its sole authority from a quotation which, if authentic, may, on the most essential point, be variously read,—that quotation, however, being found in a chronicle, the genuineness of which may, without the
It may not perhaps be generally known that Ruelius, in his Concilia Illustrata, vol. i., p. 1079, asserts that there were bishops and others from Ireland present at the first council of Arles. Ann. 314. I do not find on what authority his assertion rests, except it be on the name Hibernius, which occurs among others in a letter said to have been addressed by persons present at the council to Pope Sylvester.