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DUFFY'S HIBERNIAN SIXPENNY MAGAZINE.
THE IRISH HIERARCHY IN THE SEVENTEENTH
CHAPTER V. TOWARDS the close of September, 1626, the obsequies of Hugh McCawell, archbishop of Armagh, were duly solemnized in the Franciscan church of Aracoeli, on the Capitoline-hill, at Rome. Brief, indeed, was his tenure of the Irish primacy, for in the very month of his elevation he was seized with fever, while making a last pilgrimage to the patriarchal basilicas, and died, after a short illness, just as he was preparing to set out for Ireland. His remains were borne to the crypt of St. Isidore's, and there John, earl of Tyrone, erected a votive tablet to the memory of his friend and earliest preceptor.
A truly great man, indeed, was this archbishop, deeply learned in scholastic philosophy, and author of many works, which exhibit a rare knowledge of metaphysics, and a power of reasoning in which he was little inferior to his eminent countryman Scotus, surnamed the “Sabtile.” Hugh McCawell
, a native of Down, was born in the neighbourhood of Sabal Padraic, about the year 1571. His parents were poor, but their poverty notwithstanding, they did all in their power to advance his early education, and when the boy grew up he crossed over to the Isle of Man, and remained there many years, devoting himself to the study of classics and dialectics till he was recalled to Ireland, by Hugh, prince of Tyrone, who took him into his household, and appointed him tutor to his sons, Henry and Hugh. Under such an able master those noble youths made rapid proficiency, and so highly were McCawell's services appreciated by the great chieftain-the greatest Ireland bas ever seen—that he conferred the honour of knighthoud on him, made him his confidant, and offered him a command in his army. McCawell, however, having no taste for the profession of arms, declined the honour. But there was another department in which he could serve his lord and chieftain, and when the latter proposed to him to accompany his son Henry to the court of of Spain, in order
VOL. V. NEW SERIES.
to procure aids for the Ulster forces, then waging war with Elizabeth, he willingly set out, and faithfully executed the high commission with which he was entrusted.
Visiting Salamanca, where the court was then staying, he frequented the far-famed schools of that ancient university, and after attending a course of lectures in philosophy, he made up his mind to abandon diplomacy and all worldly pursuits, for a quiet studious cell in the monastery of St. Francis. One who knew him tells us that his novitiate, or probation term, was worthy the most devoted son of St. Francis, and that a better or more mortified man never wore the poor babit of the order. Weak in bodily health, and suffering from constant ailments, he refused every little indulgence offered him by the community, ever and always insisting that he had entered the cloister to learn how to suffer and accustom himself to penitential austerities. At the close of his novitiate, he was ordained priest, and a few years later saw him promoted to teach theology in the university of Salamanca, where he earned the character of a ripe scholar, acute, grave, modest, and sublime.* From Salamanca his superiors sent him to Louvain, to fill the chair of philosophy, and to aid in the erection of St. Anthony's, where be had for his pupils Fleming, Colgan, and other great men, whose names are famed in the pages of Irish literature. At length, being summoned to Rome, in 1623, he set out in company with Father Patrick Fleming, and on his arrival in that city, was appointed definitor general of the Franciscans, and honoured with the chair of theology in the convent of Aracoeli. His high character had preceded him, and Urban VIII., who cultivated literature, and esteemed all labourers in the same field, welcomed him as a valuable accession to the schools of the eternal city. Iudeed, so highly was the poor friar esteemed by the pontiff, that there was no favour wbich the latter would refuse him; so much so, that when he and Wadding proposed to erect a college for the education of Irish secular priests, Urban not only entertained the project, but commended it warmly to cardinal Ludovisi, who generously founded and endowed that establishment. Nor, was this the only religious institution in whose erection he was instrumental, for he had long sincet co-operated with Florence Conry, archbishop of Tuam, in founding St. Anthony's, at Louvain ; and now that he was at Rome, even Wadding availed himself of his valuable services in completing the building of St. Isidore's.
Meanwhile, his pen was not idle, for to his Life of Scotus, published in 1620, he now added many oth volumes, vindicating the doctrines of the “subtile doctor,” and proving, if indeed proof were required, that the great philosopher of the fourteenth century, was ably represented by his most enthusiastic and zealous apologist in the seventeenth.
While occupied in these metaphysical speculations, McCawell was not unmindful of bis countrymen serving in the Continental armies; and in order that they might not lack wholesome reading in their native tongue, he wrote for their benefit a valuable little treatise, styled “the Mirror of Fenance," which, however, was not published till 1628, two years after his death.*
† In 1609.
Towards the close of 1625, the see of Armagb, being vacant by the death of Peter Lombard, who departed this life, after a sojourn of many years at Rome, pope Urban resolved that no time should be lost in providing a successor to that learned prelate. The pontiff, it would appear, was strongly urged to bestow the Irish primacy on Ross McGeogbegan, † a distinguished friar of St. Dominic's order, who bad already done signal service to religion in his native land; but notwithstanding all the interest that was made for this eminent man's promotion, he was passed over, at the joiut solicitation of John O'Neill, earlof Tyrone, and Albert Hugh O'Donel, earl of Tyrconnell, who represented to the pontiff
' the incongruity of appointing any Pale's-man, no matter how great his merits, to the metropolitan see of Ulster. Urban was influenced by the remonstrance of the two Irish princes, who desired nothing so much as McCawell's promotion, and he was accordingly consecrated archbishop of Armagh, in 1626. We have already stated that his illness was brief, and we may add, that he himself had a presentiment that it was to prove fatal, for when the pontiff's own physician visited him, he delicately declined his kind offices, alleging that all remedies were useless in his case, as he knew he was dying. He then wrote to the pope that he ought not appoint any one to the see of Armagh, without consulting the earls of Tyrone and Tyrcoppell; and having done this he requested to have the last sacraments administered to him. At his bed-side, in the poor cell of Aracæli, were
* O’Hussey's Catechism in Irish, (published at Louvain, in 1608,) and Stapleton's (Catechism) in Latin and Irish, published at Brussels, in 1639, and dedicated to the Archduke Albert, were compiled chiefly for the benefit of the Irish troops serving in the Netherlands.
1 McGeoghegan was born in 1580, and when thirteen years of age, was sent to the Irish college of Lisbon, where he took the habit of St. Dominic. From Lisbon he went to Salamanca, where he spent eight years. He was then sent, by the general chapter of Madrid, to revive his order in Ireland. Subsequently he was present at the general chapter of the Dominicans, at Milan, in 1622, and was there appointed provincial for Ireland. Returning home, he established a novitiate in the convent of Orlare (Co. Mayo,) and laboured hard for the restoration of his order. It is asserted that he converted Sir Arthur Blundel, vice-treasurer, (in 1625,) and one O'Doyne, of Trinity College, Dublin. At length, he resigned the provincialate and proceeded to Louvain, where he assisted in founding a convent for Irish Dominicans. In 1628, he was raised to the see of Kildare, as successor to the celebrated bishop Leverous (to whom the ducal house of Leinster owes its preservation,) and consecrated at Brussels, by the archbishop of Mechlin. His subsequent career in Ireland was highly distinguished, by enlightened zeal and laborious exertions for the preservation of the faith. He had collected a vast library, but was obliged, by the distress then prevalent, to pledge a great portion of it to relieve his destitute fluck. After having governed the see of Kildare for twelve years, he was seized with paralysis, while preaching the panygeric of St. Francis, in the church of Multifernam ; and in this helpless state he was carried in a litter to Kilbeggan, in order to have the services of Owen O’Shiel, a celebrated physician, then styled “the Eagle of Irish doctors,” but he died before the latter had time to visit him. He bequeathed his vestment and books to the diocess of Kildare, and was buried in its ancient cathedral 1640, Æt. 70.
two brothers, Edmond * and Anthony Dungan, both Franciscans, and his most intimate friends. Turning to the former, he calmly remarked : “I have always beenf weak of body, and am now about to leave this world : to you, then, I bequeath my cross and ring, and to your brother I leave this poor habit, all that I have to give." Then, fixing his last look on a picture of St. Anne, which was sent to him from Sicily, and grasping the crucifix, he resigned his soul to God, and his renown to the schools. No one could have been more affected by his premature death than pope Urban, who, on hearing of it, remarked, “Non hominem sed angelum amisimus”-“ We have lost not a man but an angel ;” and with equal truth did Vernulens, in his panygeric of this prelate, observe, "The life of great geniuses is like that of flowers, brief and transient; and the purple is oftener the apparel of death than of life.” I
Faithful to the memory of his early preceptor, Father Patrick Fleming has left us a vivid biography of primate McCawell, extolling his rare virtues and learning, and thanking God for having sent such a man into the world, to maintain the reputation of the land that gave bim birth, as a faithful
other of highly-gifted sons. Little, indeed, did the author think that, in a few short years after he had finished that little work, he himself should be numbered among the dead, cut off suddenly by ruthless assassins ! $
During the episcopate of Peter Lombard, (who could not return to Ireland,) the primatial see was governed by Rothe, bishop of Ossory, in the capacity of vice-primate ; and on the death McCawell, he was empowered to continue in the discharge of the same duties, till Urban VIII. should think it time to fill the vacancy. As may be supposed, the exiled Ulster princes used all their influence to have the primacy conferred on a man of their own province, and the pope, in respect to the late primate's dying request, willingly granted their prayer. Accordingly, the person selected for the highest dignity in the Irish Church was Hugh O'Reilly, bishop of Kilmore, son of Malmorra and Honora, the one a lineal representative of the ancient house of Breffny-O'Reilly, and the other, a member of a junior branch of the same princely race. Hugh, their youngest son, was born in 1580, and received the rudiments of his education under the paternal roof, where he made rapid progress in the study of classics and philosophy. His father wisted him to join some of the Irish regiments then serving in the Spanish Netherlands, but he preferred an ecclesiastical life; and after con
* He succeeded O'Deveney in the see of Down and Connor, and died prisoner in Dublin Castle,
* His portrait, a copy of which is now before us, represents him as emaciated and very feeble, and the inscription at foot of it, runs thus—“Hugo Cavellus Archiep. Armac. Hib. Primas candidatus, theologiæ professor ornatissimus, Scoti scoliastes definitor generalis Collegii S. Antonii fundator, disciplinæ regularis promotor, nudipedun exemplar, vir extenuatæ licet constitutionis ærumnarum patientissimus, patriæ, provinciæ, religionis gloria.
I "Brevis est, ut forum, ita ingeniorum magnorum ætas, et sæpius in purpura mors est quam vita.” – Elog. in. Cavellum.
§ This great man, author of the “ Collectanea Sacra," was murdered in Bohemia, in 1631.