« PreviousContinue »
and had exceeded his powers. But in order that nothing should be wanting to confirm this pronouncement, Rothe submitted his decision to Dease, who, after maturely weighing all the arguments and objections advanced by his friend, signed a public instrument, in which he declared that the nunzio's excommunication was null and void, natura sua, as well as by reason of the appeal which had been forwarded to Rome. In a word, Dease treated the nunzio's sentence with contempt, and decided that Ossory's "Answers" should be published, 66 as conducive to the interests of the crown, and inculcating true allegiance to the civil government, according to the laws of God and his Church."
In this conflict of opinions and arms the year 1648 wore out, and in February of the following year, the nunzio set sail from Ireland, leaving behind him a people whose utter want of cohesion could not but involve them in speedy ruin. To avert the latter, Ormond had been recalled to take the reins of government in Ireland; and nine bishops, trusting to his promise of protection for religion, life, and estate, issued circular letters to their respective dioceses, exhorting the people to support the viceroy, who, to use their own language, was sure to win "the green laurel of peace" and to triumph over the Cromwellians. De Burgo, archbishop of Tuam, was at the head of this party, and Dease, among others, followed in that dignitary's wake.
The primate, we need hardly say, objected to those proceedings, and kept himself apart from the bishops who had gone over to Ormond and made light of the nunzio's commands. Alas! a bitterer and more heavy affliction than their defection had come upon him in the midst of this turmoil, for on the sixth of November, (1649,) Owen O'Neill died (not of poison)* but of gout, in the castle of Philip O'Reilly, at Cloughouter, where, in the words of his secretary, "He resigned his soul to God, a true child of the catholic religion, in full sense and memory, many of both secular and regular clergy assisting him in such a doubtful transit." As soon, however, as the primate had bestowed the last honours on the great defunct, and seen him laid in the cemetery of the Franciscan monastery of Cavan, he hastened to Clonmacnoise, to preside at a synod of nineteen prelates, assembled under the shadow of that venerable ruin, when he subscribed a pro
*The poisoning of Owen Roe is one of the many foolish fictions which disfigure Irish history; and it is sad to think that so horrid a crime should have been attributed to a Plunket of Louth, who, we may presume, was a Catholic. The story, however, is founded on the statement of an Englishman, who told it to Colonel Henry O'Neill, as we learn from the Journal of the latter, who gives it as he heard it, without vouching for its truth. We may add, that many of Owen's clansmen did not believe that he could die at a time when his aid was most needed; for, as his secretary tells us, "Some deemed that God, in his clemency, would not deal so streight with this land as to bereave it of its only champion-the world rather being unworthy of so good a masterpiece-and therefore fancied that he was lulled to sleep, and snatched away to some secret corner of the world, as another Elias, to keep him there for future, better purposes; the ground of this surmise being that sleep and death are brothers, and, therefore, not easy to discern between both, other than by the effects."-Aph. Discovery.
clamation, beseeching the Irish people to unite for the preservation of their religion, king, and country, But such appeals to patriotism and loyalty were of little avail, for Cromwell had already won Dublin, Drogheda, Wexford, and other great advantages. Withal, the archbishop, hoping against hope, presided at other synods, convened for the same purpose, at Loughreagh and in Jamestown, (in 1650,) and in the last of these he was appointed one of the commissioners who undertook to make a final effort for religion, king, and country. The prelates with whom he acted had selected Galway as the safest place for their deliberations, and he remained there for a brief space, taking part in the councils of his colleagues, who now saw no remedy for Ireland except the protectorate so generously offered by the catholic duke of Lorraine, and which, we need hardly observe, was repudiated by the advisers of Charles the Second, who would sooner see Cromwell master of the whole island, than any catholic potentate. Having set this negotiation on foot, he empowered O'Cullenan, bishop of Raphoe, to sign for him as his proctor, and then took his departure for Trinity Island, in Lough Erne, where, after closing a life of saddest reverses, he resigned his soul to God, A.D. 1652, ÆT. 72. Some generous friends, who consoled his last moments, thought it a pity to leave his remains far away from the old Franciscan monastery of Cavan, and they accordingly had them removed unostenatiously, and interred in the same grave with Owen O'Neill and Miles, surnamed the "Slasher." Surely it was well thought to lay the bones of so true a prelate in the same soil with the great chieftains of his own race and kindred!
One year before O'Reilly's decease, Dease, died tranquilly* in the Jesuit's house at Galway, for he had fled to that city for refuge, thinking that his friend and henchman, general Preston, would be able to hold it against the parliamentarians. Fully satisfied with his past political life, he declared, in his last moments, that he had nothing to regret or to retract, and thus he passed away, after having received all the sacraments of the Church, and made his will, in which he provided for the future wants of his diocess, by leaving money for the education of clerics or, as he calls them "churchmen," who, it would appear, were to be members of his own
* On Dease's death, it would appear that the primate determined to remove Oliver Dease from the vicar-generalship, on account of his opposition to the nunzio's censures. O'Neill's secretary gives us the following particulars on this subject "The Primate, to invite this prodigal child to his soul's salvation, did send for him, and being come, gave him two months to continue said office, to work his reflection in the interim, telling him withal, in default thereof his Grace would provide another chapter till his Holiness's pleasure was known, for in that diocess there is no chapter to look to such matters according to the canons. The time appointed being come, and Dease growing more stubborn, refusing to appear when cited, and following in the steps of his said uncle, the primate, seeing his incapacity for all ecclesiastical dignities, by reason of the many censures, did nominate Father Antony Geoghegan, prior of Conalmore, vicar-general of the diocess of Meath till the further pleasure of his Holiness was known." Dr. Oliver Dease, however, was ultimately restored to his dignity, for we find him vicar-general of the diocess of Meath in 1671.—v. Hib. Ďom., p. 130.
ancient and honoured house. Whatever his errors may have been, there can be no doubt that he was a learned and zealous pastor, and those who differed with and survived him had reason to admit that his application of the Gospel parable was not altogether mistaken. His remains, followed by the Jesuits, to whom he was a benefactor, were interred under the threshold of the sacristy of the collegiate church of St. Nicholas, Galway, where his friend and admirer, Sir Richard Bellings, raised to his memory a monument, for which he composed the following inscription
IN LACHRYMAS OCULOS HIBERNIA SOLVE CADATQUE
HÆC HECATOMBE SUPER PRÆSULIS OSSA TUI
LIC PIUS HIC PRUDENS REGI SUA JURA DEOQUE
LETA ILLI GRAVITAS ET MENTIS AMABILE PONDUS
INTERNÆ VULTUS RUTILABAT GRATIA FLAMME
ILLI ARDENS ZELUS SED RATIONE SAGAX
EXTRA TALIS ERAT LUBERET PENETRARE SED INTUS
TANTA ILLI CASTE SEMPER CUSTODIA MENT IS
UT LIBARE DEO PROMPTUS UBIQUE FORET
SI FLETU POSSET REVOCARI TALIS IN AURAS
PRÆSUL IN ÆTERNUM LUMEN UTRUMQUE FLERET."
A FLEMISH KERMESSE.
A KERMESSE in Belgium differs essentially from an Irish fair or a French fête, though partaking a little of the nature of both these gatherings. The stolid, pacific character of the Belgians, removes much of the resemblance to an Irish fair that might be expected to exist, for fair and Kermesse mean nearly the same thing, except that for the latter there is no particular cause, except that of pleasure-seeking. Almost every village of any consideration in Belgium holds its Kermesse once a year-generally on the feast of its patron saint, or on the anniversary of the birth of some celebrated hero or author, unknown out of Flanders, or it may be unknown out of the commune, which had the honour of being his birthplace.
On the Kermesse day, showmen of various sorts, such as may be seen in abundance at any English fair or race-course, flock in in numbers, according to the importance of the place. But there are also to be seen people and sights, certainly not to be found in England or Ireland, and it is to give some idea of the appearance of one of the oldest looking, and most celebrate of the Flemish towns, during the stir caused by its grand annual
Kermesse, that we purpose writing this sketch for the amusement of stayat-home readers.
Towards the end of the month of April, the old town of B sumes an aspect totally at variance with that which it presents during the other months of the year. In a short time, the quiet Grande Place, with its overshadowing belfry, springing straight and slender from the oldfashioned hall, is all alive with a stir and a bustle, quite foreign to it. The very carillons send from their tower a livelier strain when sounding out "La Vivandiére ;" every day some new arrivals make their appearance, and railroads, wagons, and canal-boats carry to the town their various burthens of caravans and shows, attending which is to form the chief occupation of the B population, during the ensuing month of May. There is a noise of voices, a hammering of nails, a mysterious movement constantly going on, which causes a refreshing excitement to the mind of the beerswollen shopkeeper, who stands at his door, vainly surmising what each booth may be intended to contain. He anxiously gazes at the sky, hoping to find favourable prognostics of the state of the weather, for the opening day of the Kermesse-the first Monday after the third of May. On that day there will be a solemn religious procession through the streets. The relic of the town, a portion of the precious Blood of our Lord, the boasted possession of this town, since the time of one of the earliest Crusades, will be carried through the streets, which, for many years back, have formed the the route. This same route becomes a very favourite pilgrimage after Easter with the good burgesses of the town of B
as well as with the countrypeople, who flock in from the adjacent villages and communes every Saturday, to the market.
But the time is drawing very close, and menageries, famous dwarfs, and shows of every description, arrive in constantly increasing density. It cannot be first come first served with them, as each famous caravan takes up its position year after year in the same place. The town fills rapidly with strange faces, tanned and swarthy, fit examples of the real continental Bohemian, such as are rarely seen in the United Kingdom. The smaller shows may be seen from the time of their arrival in all the principal streets, displaying their various feats to an admiring crowd of soldiers and other street idlers. The old, half-terror, half-friend of our own juvenile days is here to be seen, the name only being changed and Janje Claes and Marie Louise enjoying here the same popularity, that their English brother and sister, Punch and Judy, can boast of at any English fair or race-course.
The Grande Place is now totally divested of its ordinary appearance, having become in itself, a town of wooden huts, bewildering in its almost inexplorable labyrinth. Great curiosity is excited by the arrival of the different vans; several, however, are old friends, which take up the same position every year, and always present the same exterior. Such are the Antwerp Frittershop, the temptations of Saint Anthony, the Dutch cake shop, and others, too numerous to mention here. In the square courtyard, formed by the quadrangular building of the halles, are collected the various merchants of bijouterie, china, and other fancy and useful articles
In the long public hall of the above named building, many of the shop. keepers of the town have established themselves; here also are to be seen, one of the great attractions of the Kermesse, the Tyrolean women who return every year, as regularly as May itself, to dispose of their far-famed carved wood and ivory work.
Frantic efforts are now being made to have all ready in time. In the hurry, many secrets are discovered to the gaze of the curious idlers gathered in groups, and indulging in the favourite occupation of the Belgian populace-gazing, without being obliged to assist, and without having their poor brains fatigued by any exertion. Prince Colibri's mansion is in course of erection at the north corner of the square. The anxiety of the proprietors of this particular show, has made them overlook the fact that a large corner the canvass screen has fallen aside, giving a splendid view to the excited (taking the Belgian sense of that word) populace, of the magnificent chariot of the prince.
The "Unrivalled company of Arab acrobats" is also affording much amusement in its careless haste. The madame of the troupe, interrupted while trying on her finery, hastily flits through the curtains of the tent, and in her passage to her travelling house shows off her ballet dress to much advantage, displaying at the same time a pair of legs more strong and useful-looking than refined or elegant. This stout lady acrobat causes u consciously great amusement during the Kermesse, her invincible industry conquering her fat-for certainly she is very fat. She is carpenter, messenger, money-taker, etc., constantly in a flurry, and always giving evident signs of intense suffering from the heat.
The Saturday previous to the grand opening day, the town is crowded with peasants from far and near, come into market and to wait for the opening of the Kermesse. A walk through the market this day would prove most interesting to a milliner, for the caps of the peasant women display an ingenuity and originality of structure, certainly not to be seen out of Flanders, or the Low Countries. Some sit close to the head with an immense protruding border of handsome lace, more than four inches wide, evenly quilled, and going quite round the face and under the chin. It is, indeed, a marvel how the wearers can eat without tossing the quills; not a little wire is required in the construction of this style. Others have two protruding horns of lace, which stand out quite stiff over the eyes, the rest of the cap being cut away from the ears and jaws. Again, here is a dame sailing along with her basket and blue umbrella, the two indis. pensable companions of a Flemish peasant. Her cap is flat and borderless at the top, but with two long lace lappets pendant on her shoulders. Pink calico caps are in abundance, made in a very peculiar shape, no border, and with an immense round behind like a moon of pink calico. Most of these peasant women, the old ones especially, are resplendent in real lace and diamonds, such as a duchess might covet. Diamond earrings and crosses, half-hidden by coarse woollen shawls, abound, and I have seen a heavy gold chain twisted round and round the neck of a scraggy old woman, with a basketful of carrots on one arm, and the usual blue cotton umbrella