Daly, Daniel (DNB00)

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DALY or O'DALY, DANIEL or DOMINIC (1595–1662), ecclesiastic and author, a native of Kerry, born in 1595, was member of a branch of an Irish sept which took its name from an ancestor, Dalach, in the twelfth century. His family were among the adherents of the Earl of Desmond, who was attainted for having opposed the government of Queen Elizabeth in Ireland, and was killed there in 1583. Daly, while a youth, entered the Dominican order at Lugo, Galicia, assuming in religion the name of Dominic de Rosario; studied at Burgos in Old Castile; passed through a course of philosophy and theology at Bordeaux, and, returning to Ireland, remained for a time at Tralee, in his native county. Thence he was sent as professor to the college newly established for Irish Dominicans at Louvain, where he distinguished himself by his devotion, learning, and energy. He was despatched on college business to the court at Madrid, and was received with consideration by Philip IV, then king of Spain and Portugal. Daly at this time undertook to establish a college at Lisbon for Dominicans of Irish birth, as the harsh laws in force in Ireland proscribed education in or the practice of the catholic religion. In conjunction with three members of his order, and favoured by Da Cunha, archbishop of Lisbon, Daly was enabled to purchase a small building in that city, not far from the royal palace, and there established an Irish Dominican college, of which he was appointed rector in 1634. At Lisbon Daly was held in high esteem, and was much favoured by Margaret, dowager duchess of Mantua, cousin of Philip IV, and administratrix of the government of Portugal. For the benefit of Irish catholic ladies, who suffered much under penal legislation, Daly projected a convent in Portugal for Irish nuns of the order of St. Dominic. This undertaking was for a time impeded by want of funds and the difficulty of obtaining the requisite royal permission in Spain. The first obstacle was partly removed by the munificence of some Portuguese ladies of rank, the chief of whom was Dona Iria de Brito, dowager countess of Atalaya and Feira. To procure the royal license Daly proceeded to Madrid, with letters of recommendation from eminent personages, and obtained access to the king, who received him courteously, but stipulated, as a condition, that he should enlist in Ireland a body of soldiers for the service of Spain in the Netherlands. Daly sailed promptly to Lime- rick, and succeeded in enrolling the requisite number of men. Obstacles still beset him on his return to Madrid, but he declined to relinquish his claim in consideration of an offer of nomination to a bishopric for himself and of the grant of offices to some of his relatives. The desired instrument was issued by Philip IV in March 1639, authorising the establishment, in Lisbon or in its vicinity, of a convent for fifty Irish Dominican nuns. In this document Daly is designated ‘Domingos do Rosario,’ qualificator or censor of the press for the inquisition, and commissary-general of the mission of Ireland. Ecclesiastical sanction for the scheme was given by John de Vasconcellos, head of the Dominicans in Portugal, on condition that all austerities of the order should be strictly observed. The convent, established at Belem, a short distance from Lisbon, on the bank of the Tagus, was placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the title of ‘Bom Successo,’ or ‘Good Success,’ and was opened in November 1639. In the following January its chief benefactress, the Countess Atalaya, died, and was buried within its precincts.

In 1640 the people of Portugal freed their country from Spanish dominion, and elected the Duke of Braganza king, under the title of John IV. His queen, Luisa de Gusman, eminent for her courage and prudence, selected Daly as confidential adviser and chief of her confessors. The progress made by the inmates of the college at Lisbon, in theological and philosophical studies, led the general chapter of the order at Rome, in 1644, to grant it the title and privileges of a ‘ Studium Generale,’ or establishment where exercises for degrees were held in public. Daly was sent as envoy by the king of Portugal to Charles I, and was subsequently accredited to Charles II. Towards the close of 1649, Charles II and his mother, Queen Henrietta-Maria, confidentially consulted him at Paris on Irish affairs, and urged him to proceed to Ireland and use his influence there to effect a coalition of the royalists against the parliamentarians. Daly endeavoured to impress upon the king the justice of the claims of the Irish to civil and religious liberty, but was unable to go to Ireland, as his presence was required at Rome. In a letter addressed in 1650 to the Marquis of Ormonde, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Daly referred to his own relations with Charles I and Charles II, and intimated his readiness to serve the royal cause in Ireland as well as in Spain, so soon as an assurance was received from the king that the Irish should be established as a free nation in direct connection with the crown. Daly appealed to Ormonde, as an Irishman, to aid in obtaining an independent and honourable position for his country.

In 1655 a small volume in Latin, by Daly, was issued at Lisbon by the printer of the king of Portugal, with the title: ‘Initium, incrementum et exitus familiæ Geraldinorum Desmoniæ, Comitum Palatinorum Kyerriæ in Hibernia; ac persecutionis hæreticorum descriptio, ex nonnullis fragmentis collecta, ac Latinitate donata, per Fratrem Dominicum de Rosario O'Daly, Ordinis Prædicatorum, S. Theologiæ Professorem, in Supremo S. Inquisitionis Senatu Censorem, in Lusitaniæ regnis quondam Visitatorem Generalem ac fundatorem Conventuum Hibernorum ejusdem Ordinis in Portugallia.’ The first part of this work consists of an account of the Geraldine earls of Desmond in the south of Ireland, from the establishment of their progenitors there by Henry II to the death of Earl Gerald in the reign of Elizabeth. The second part is devoted to an account of the persecution of Roman catholics in Ireland, after the extinction of the Geraldine earls. Members of the Dominican order who had recently met their death in Ireland are specially noticed. Among them were several connected with the Irish college at Lisbon, including Terence Albert O'Brien, bishop of Emly, who was hanged on the surrender of Limerick to Ireton in 1651. Daly was supplied with information by Dominicans who had come from Ireland to Lisbon and Rome. The book is written in an animated, pathetic, and somewhat declamatory style, and displays a strong sense of religion, morality, and justice. In 1656 Daly was accredited as envoy from Portugal to Louis XIV at Paris, and there negotiated with English royalists as to the employment of Irish troops and the means of procuring contributions for Charles II.

Meanwhile, the community of the Irish Dominican College at Lisbon largely increased, and at the instance of Daly the queen-regent of Portugal conferred upon the order a larger building at her own cost. An elaborate public ceremonial was arranged, and on Sunday, 4 May 1659, the foundation of the new building was laid. The stone bore an inscription recording that the college was founded by Luisa de Gusman, queen-regent of Portugal, for Dominicans of the Irish nation. The important archiepiscopal see of Braga in Portugal was offered to Daly, but he declined it, as well as the see of Goa, with the Portuguese primacy in India. He consented subsequently to accept the wealthy see of Coimbra, with which was associated the presidency of the privy council of Portugal. His intention was to apply the the extensive revenues of the bishopric to meet the pressing wants of the newly erected college. Before the arrival of the requisite official documents from Rome, Daly died at the Lisbon college on 30 June 1662, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, having passed his life in great austerity and religious mortification. He was interred in the college, where his monument is still preserved. The Latin inscription on it designates Daly bishop-elect of Coimbra, founder of the Irish Dominican college of Lisbon, as well as of the convent of ‘Bom Successo’ in its vicinity, and adds that he was successful in the royal legations which he undertook, and was conspicuous for prudence, learning, and piety. The college and convent are still administered by the Irish Dominicans.

A French version of Daly's publication appeared at Dunkirk in 1697, under the title: ‘Commencement, progres et la fin de la famille des Geraldins, comtes de Desmound, Palatins de Kyerie en Irlande, et la description des persecutions des hérétiques. Tiré de quelques fragmens et mis en Latin par Frère Dominique du Rosaire ô Daly … Traduit du Latin en François par l'Abbé Joubert.’ An English translation, by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, from the Latin original, entitled ‘The Geraldines, Earls of Desmond,’ was published at Dublin in 1847, and a new edition was issued in 1878.

[Archives of Irish Dominicans at Lisbon and Belem; manuscripts in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin; Carte MS. vol. xxix. and Clarendon Papers, 1656, Bodleian Library; Histoire du détrônement d'Alfonse VI, roi de Portugal, Paris, 1742; Hibernia Dominicana et Supplementum, 1762–72; Collection of Original Papers by T. Carte, 1759; Historia de S. Domingos … do Reyno de Portugal, por Fr. Lucas de S. Catharina, Lisbon, 1767; Hist. of Kerry, by C. Smith.]

J. T. G.