Page:A Compendium of Irish Biography.djvu/563

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him and Dr. Rookwood, a Catholic clergyman, in the presence of Lord and Lady Mordaunt, the one a Catholic, and the other a Protestant. The contention is said to have been brought to an end by Rookwood's inability to answer Ussher's arguments, and Lord Mordaunt became a member of the Church of England. The Countess was ever after the Archbishop's faithful friend, and her attachment comforted the closing years of his life. About this period, he joined with others of the clergy in a protest against granting Catholics any toleration: "To give them a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion and profess their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin." As there was then no archiepiscopal residence at Armagh, he lived chiefly at Drogheda, or at Termonfeckin, near that place, while during a plague he took up his abode at Lambay Island. His public and often embarrassing duties did not withdraw him from the delights of literature. His mind was chiefly directed towards Biblical researches, and through agents in the East he procured several copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Syriac version of the Old Testament. "With the view of upholding English influence by exterminating the Irish language, he opposed Bishop Bedell's efforts for the translation and dissemination of the Bible in Irish. (It is worthy of note that Bishop Bedell and Archbishop Marsh, who most strenuously endeavoured to spread a knowledge of Irish amongst the clergy, were Englishmen.) In 1632 Ussher permitted himself to be made a party to the forcing of a fellow upon Trinity College in violation of its statutes. He was a warm friend and adviser of Lord Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Strafford, and their intimacy terminated only when Ussher knelt beside the Earl at the block. In the Convocation of 1634, mainly through Strafford's influence, the English Articles were accepted in addition to those previously drawn up by the Archbishop; while a separate set of canons was agreed to. One of the greatest of Ussher's works, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates, was published in August 1639. It had been commenced at the request of King James, twenty years previously. Dr. Elrington declares that "to panegyrize this extraordinary monument of human learning is unnecessary; to detail its contents impossible." The Archbishop's literary labours were interrupted by the breaking out of the war in 1641. He retired to England, and was appointed by Charles I. to the see of Carlisle in Commendam. In 1642 he went to Oxford, where he continued to avail himself of the treasures of the Bodleian Library. Numbers flocked to hear him, and he often preached before the King. He refused to attend the Assembly of Divines at Westminster in 1643, and preached against its authority. The House of Commons thereupon confiscated his valuable library, but much of it was rescued through the kindness of a friend, who bought it in for him. When Oxford was about to be besieged, the Archbishop accompanied the Prince of Wales to Bristol. He afterwards proceeded to Cardiff, where, after the battle of Naseby, he was joined by the King. Greatly perplexed as to a choice of residence, he at one time entertained serious thoughts of embarking for France or Holland; but ultimately accepted the invitation of Lady Stradling to her castle of St. Donat's, in Glamorganshire. On his way thither, he and his daughter were roughly handled by some bands of English soldiery, and he lost several of his most valuable manuscripts. At St. Donat's he was kindly treated; and the extensive library in the castle enabled him to turn his sojourn to good account. In 1646 his old friend the Countess of Peterborough prevailed upon him to return to London—her influence securing him from molestation by the Parliament. From the roof of her house Ussher had the anguish of seeing the King led forth to the scaffold. It is related that he fainted at the sight, and had to be carried to bed. He still continued to labour assiduously at his books, and in 1650 published the first part of his Bible Chronology, from which the dates given in the present authorized version are taken. Five years afterwards failing health obliged him to resign his appointment of preacher to the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn. He would have declined Cromwell's occasional invitations to conferences on religious matters and the promotion of Protestant interests at home and abroad, but that his refusal might have militated against the welfare of his brother clergy. He accepted from the Protector the grant of a lease for twenty years of a portion of the primatial lands at Armagh, which, however, does not appear to have been confirmed. He received one payment at least of a quarterly allowance of £100 from Parliament. The infirmities of age were now pressing upon him; his wife died in 1654, and he himself quietly passed away, 21st March 1655-'6, aged 75, at the Countess of Peterborough's, at Eyegate, in Surrey. Cromwell honoured his remains with a stately funeral at Westminster Abbey, but is said to have left his daughter to pay