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dour which distinguished him through the whole period of his life, he appears to have studied the works of the principal writers on both sides of the question, and the work which exercised a considerable influence upon the course of his subsequent studies was Stapleton's "Fortress of the Faith." The chief strength of Stapleton's argument lay in the attempt to establish the antiquity of the Romish faith and the novelty of the reformed Church, which he professed to maintain by the whole current of tradition transmitted through the works of the Fathers. Ussher, even at that early period, was impressed with the truth of Tertullian's maxim, "Verum quodcunque primum, adulterum quodcunque posterius," and he determined to read through the works of the Fathers, and ascertain whether the appeal of Stapleton was founded in fact. This prodigious task he executed in eighteen years, commencing in the twentieth and terminating in the thirtyeighth year of his age. The fruit of his labours he intended to have communicated to the world in the Bibliotheca Theologica, but he never completed the work, never indeed finished any part of it. It has been stated by some writers, that Stapleton's work had been put into his hands by his uncle, Richard Stanihurst, in order to win him over to the Roman Catholic faith; but this is not very probable, as Stanihurst had been long resident at Louvain, and not much intercourse appears to have been kept up between them, as Ussher, in the only letter to his uncle which has been preserved, tells him he had never been able to procure his work, "Margarita Maria," and other writings, if there be any.

There is no record extant of the time when Ussher took

They seem to forget the age of the individual about whom they are speaking; and the stories may well be doubted when we have such proofs of his literary progress before he attained the age of fourteen.

Wood, in his Life of Stanihurst, says, that "he, being a zealous Romanist, and Ussher (afterwards Primate of Ireland) a zealous Protestant, passed several letters between them concerning religion, Stanihurst endeavouring, to his utmost, to gain him to his opinion; but it is thought, and verily believed by some, that Ussher was too hard for his uncle in controversial points relating to divinity." Wood gives no authority for this story, and it no where appears among the other biographers of the Archbishop.

his degree of Bachelor of Arts. Dr. Smith states, that he obtained it when in his seventeenth year: it is probable, therefore, that he commenced A. B. in July, 1597. An interruption to all his favourite pursuits was now threatened; his father urged him strongly to the study of law as a professional pursuit, and wished to send him over to the Inns of Court in London. Ussher felt the greatest repugnance to commence this course of study, but such was his reverence for parental authority, that he was preparing to comply, when his father's death, on the 12th of August, 1598, left him at liberty to choose his profession. Dr. Parr states that a considerable estate devolved to the eldest son on the death of his father, but burdened with law-suits and portions for his seven sisters; that the young student, fearful of being taken away from the pursuits to which he was now permitted to devote himself, made over this property to his brother and sisters, reserving to himself only a small sum, sufficient for the purchase of some books and for his maintenance in the College; and that, as a proof how well he understood what he was doing, he drew out an exact account of the estate and leases left to him, and also of the suits and incumbrances which lay upon it, with directions what to do in them, and committed the whole to his uncle', as guardian to his brother and sisters, to be managed for their use. It is to be supposed that the biographers anticipate events, for James Ussher was not eighteen when his father died, and, therefore, could not have made over the property. He most probably did so when he came of age.

In August, 1598, died also Lord Burleigh, Chancellor of the University of Dublin; and to him succeeded Robert Earl of Essex, who was soon after appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, and arrived in Dublin in April, 15998. The

Dr. Parr does not mention the name of the uncle; but it is most probable it was George Ussher. Arnold was the youngest of three brothers, Henry, Archbishop of Armagh, being the eldest, and George, a merchant, the second, who died in 1609.

The biographers of Ussher make strange confusion as to dates. They make the performance of the Act before the Earl of Essex to precede the death of Arnold Ussher; but this is impossible, for he died before Essex was appointed Chancellor of the University. The records of the Univer

University, to welcome their new Chancellor, had a solemn Act performed for his entertainment, and Ussher was selected as the respondent in the philosophical disputation, a task which he performed with great applause. But he soon undertook a more serious disputation, encountering the learned Jesuit, Henry Fitz-Symondst, on the questions

sity do not fix the date of the entertainment given to the Chancellor ; but it is well known that the Earl of Essex landed in Dublin on the 15th of April, 1599, and left it in the September following. It is not improbable that the visit of the Chancellor was soon after his arrival in Dublin, for on the 3rd of May, 1599, he continued, during pleasure, a concordatum of £40 per annum before granted by the Lords Justices.


Henry Fitz-Symonds was the son of a merchant in Dublin, and matriculated as a member of Hart's Hall, Oxford, April 16, 1583, being then fourteen years of age. It seems probable that he was elected a student of Christ's Church in the following December. It does not appear how long he remained at the University, or whether he took a degree there. But sure it is, says Wood, "that being in his mind then, if not before, a Roman Catholic, he went beyond the seas, entered himself into the Society of Jesus, and made so great a proficiency under the instruction of Leonard Lessius that in a short time he became so eminent that he taught publicly among them philosophy for several years." After some time he returned to Ireland, where he was more than ordinarily active in making proselytes to the Roman Catholic faith, either by private conference or public disputations with the Protestant clergy. In this work he continued unmolested for two years, and gained the character of such an able and subtle disputant that few or none would contend with him. At length he attracted the notice of the Government, and was confined in Dublin Castle. At the end of five years he obtained his liberty on the promise of behaving quietly, and giving no further disturbance to the King or realm. He retired into voluntary exile in the Low Countries; but, in 1608, being summoned to Rome, he was appointed for the mission to Ireland; and, forgetful of his promise, returned to that country, and employed many years in the same course which he had pursued before his imprisonment. He was an active promoter of the rebellion in 1641, and after the overthrow of the rebels suffered severely in his attempts to escape the English army. He was obliged to shelter in the woods and mountains, and at length, in the year 1643, he took refuge in a bog, where the miserable hovel in which he slept neither afforded him shelter from the inclemency of the weather, nor from the water which rose from below. This wretched situation could not subdue his habitual cheerfulness, or prevent him from instructing and comforting those who flocked to him for advice. However the weight of years sunk under these accumulated sufferings, and he died on the 1st of February, 1643-44, being then seventy-five years of age. By his death, concludes Anthony Wood, the Roman Catholics lost a pillar of their Church, being esteemed, in the better part of his life, a great ornament among them,

controverted between the Roman Catholics and Protestants. Fitz-Symonds was confined in the Castle of Dublin, and declared that, "as he was a prisoner, he was like a bear tied to a stake, and wanted some to bait him." This was considered as a challenge. Dr. Smith says, that two or three theologians, venerable for their age and ecclesiastical station, had entered the lists; but finding it of no use to answer his calumnies, or chastise his madness, relinquished the task. But from the other biographers it would appear that Ussher was the only person who encountered him in a public disputation; but how he came to be selected is not mentioned. Saldenus asserts, that he was chosen by the unanimous consent of the University; but he does not give his authority, and we search for it in vain. Fitz-Symonds boldly offered to maintain those points in the Roman Catholic religion which were considered by Protestants as the weakest, and to oppose those in their doctrine which they thought the strongest. Dr. Bernard states, that the subject of disputation was the controversies of Bellarmine; that a meeting once a week was agreed upon; and that the first topic proposed was concerning Antichrist; that twice or thrice they had solemn disputations, though the Jesuit acknowledges but one; that Ussher was ready to go on, but the Jesuit was weary of it. Far different is the account which Fitz-Symonds published of the transaction, many years afterwards, in the dedication of his work called Britannomachia Ministrorum. He says: "Prodiit quidem semel in summa vocis vultusque trepidatione, octodenarius præcocis sapientiæ (non tamen malæ, ut videtur, indolis) juvenis, nescio an auræ popularis cupidior, saltem de abstrusissimis rebus theologicis, cum adhuc philosophica studia non esset emensus, nec ephebis egressus, disputandi avidus. Hunc autem jussi suorum calculos adferre, quibus pugil seu agonista idoneus renunciaretur, et vel cum ipso disputationem me initurum. Sed sicut ipsi eum minime tanto honore dignati sunt, ita me vicissim sua

and the greatest defender of their religion in his time.-Wood, Athen. Oxon., vol. iii. p. 97.

▾ Sald. de lib., p. 368. Act. Erud. Lips. 1687, p. 115.

deinceps præsentia dignatus ipse non fuit." In quoting this passage the biographers of Ussher have stopped at the word "avidus," and put an et cetera after it. This afforded to Bayle grounds for a sneer at them, as if they suppressed whatever was inconsistent with their own story; and he adds, that some untruths must necessarily be told, either in the Jesuit's narrative, or in that of the authors of Ussher's life. On the alternative it is not difficult to decide. A letter from Ussher to Fitz-Symonds is still preserved, which demonstrates that the statement made by the Jesuit is false. The letter is as follows:

"I was not prepared, Mr. Fitz-Symonds, to write unto you before you had first written unto me concerning some chief points of your religion, as at our last meeting you promised. But, seeing that you have deferred the same (for reasons best known to yourself), I thought it not amiss to inquire further of your mind concerning the continuance of the conference begun between us; and to this I am rather moved because I am credibly informed of certain reports, which I would hardly be persuaded should proceed from him who, in my presence, pretended so great love and affection to me. If I am a boy (as it hath pleased you very contemptuously to name me), I give thanks to the Lord that my carriage towards you hath been such as could minister no just occasion to despise my youth. Your spear, belike, is, in your own conceit, a weaver's beam; and your abilities such that you desire to encounter with the stoutest champion in the host of Israel, and, therefore, like the Philistine, you contemn me as being a boy. Yet this I would fain have you to know, that I neither came then, nor do come now, unto you in any confidence of any learning that is in me (in which respect, notwithstanding, I thank God I am what I am), but I come in the name of the Lord of Hosts, whose companies you have reproached, being certainly persuaded that even out of the mouths of babes and sucklings he was able to shew forth his own praises; for the further manifestation whereof, I do again earnestly request you that, setting

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