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In Spain Irish colleges were established at Salamanca, Seville, Alcalá, Santiago de Compostella, and Madrid. The college at Salamanca was founded by Father Thomas White, S.J., a native of Clonmel, with the approval of Philip II., in 1592 under the title of /El Real Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses/. The King of Spain provided a generous endowment, and the control of the college was entrusted to the Jesuits. Shortly after its foundation complaints were made in the names of O'Neill and O'Donnell that the administrators of the college showed but scanty attention to the claims of students from Ulster and Connaught (1602), a complaint which seems to be justified by the rolls of matriculation, on which the names of very few students from these provinces are to be found. Those who presented themselves at Salamanca took an oath to return to labour in the Irish mission after the completion of their studies, and to enable them to do this a certain sum of money was granted to them from the royal treasury of Spain to cover the expenses of the journey to Ireland. Many of the most distinguished of the Irish bishops and priests during the seventeenth century were men who had graduated at Salamanca. The college at Compostella was founded in 1605, was endowed partly by Philip III., and was placed in charge of the Jesuits. It served as an auxiliary to Salamanca, and its students were sent there for their theological training. The College of the Immaculate Conception at Seville owed its origin (1612) to some of the Irish secular clergy. It was endowed very generously by Philip III. who placed the Jesuits in control of it in 1619. To help to provide for the support of the students the Irish merchants, who carried on a brisk trade with Seville and Cadiz at this period, bound themselves to bestow on the college a certain percentage on every cask of wine they shipped, while Paul V. granted permission to the fishermen of the province of Andalusia to fish on six Sundays or holidays on condition that they devoted the results of their labours to the support of the Irish College. The college at Madrid was founded by Father Theobold Stapleton (1629), and was used principally as a hospice for the reception of Irish priests who had completed their studies, and who came to the Spanish capital to receive the money guaranteed by the king to enable them to return to Ireland. In 1657 George de Paz y Silveira, who was related on his mother's side to the MacDonnells of Antrim, founded a college at Alcalá principally for students from the North of Ireland. According to the directions of the founder the election of the rector was vested in the hands of the student body, a regulation that led to grave disorders, and finally to the closing of the college. The Irish college at Lisbon owed its existence to the activity of the Jesuits, notably of Father John Holing. It was opened in 1593, but it was only two years later that owing to the kindness of a Spanish nobleman a permanent residence was acquired, over which Father White, S.J., was placed as rector. A community of Irish Dominican Fathers was opened at Lisbon, as was also a convent of Dominican Nuns.
Irish students received a friendly welcome not merely in Spain, but also in the Spanish Netherlands. From the middle of the sixteenth century several ecclesiastical students from Ireland fled to Louvain for their education, but it was only in 1623 that Archbishop MacMahon of Dublin succeeded in founding a separate institution, the celebrated /Collegium Pastorale/ for the training of secular priests for the Irish mission. Out of his own private resources he founded six burses in the college, and at his earnest request six others were endowed by the Propaganda. The college was formally approved by Urban VIII. in 1624, and Nicholas Aylmer was placed over it as its first rector. Though many of the ablest of the Irish bishops and priests of the penal times were educated in the Pastoral College, still Ireland is even more indebted to another Irish establishment at Louvain, the Irish Franciscan College of St. Anthony of Padua. At the petition of Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, himself a Franciscan and a devoted supporter of the Northern Chiefs, Philip III. recommended the project of an Irish Franciscan College to his representative in the Netherlands, and conferred on the institution a generous endowment. With the blessing and approval of Paul V. the college was opened formally in 1609, and so great was its success that it soon became the leading centre of Irish missionary activity. Here Irish scholars like John Colgan, Hugh Ward, Father Mooney, Bonaventure O'Hussey, Hugh MacCaghwell, etc., found a home, and from the Louvain Irish printing- press were issued a large number of catechisms, religious treatises, and historical works, that did incalculable service for religion and for Ireland. Another very important institution at Louvain was the Irish Dominican Priory known as the Holy Cross founded in 1608. A seminary for the education of secular priests was opened at Antwerp in 1629 as a result of the exertions and generosity of Father Laurence Sedgrave and his nephew Father James Talbot. It was supported from the revenues bestowed upon it by its founders, from the grants of the papal nuncio at Brussels, and from the donations of Irishmen, laymen as well as clerics. At Tournai a seminary for Irish priests was founded by Father Christopher Cusack, and its students attended lectures in the college belonging to the Jesuits. Nearly all the Irish establishments in the Netherlands continued their work until they were destroyed during the troubled period that followed on the outbreak of the French Revolution.
In France, too, Irish students found a welcome and a home. Colleges set apart entirely for their use were opened in Paris, Douay, Lille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Nantes. The Irish College in Paris may be said to date from the year 1578, when Father John Lee and a few companions from Ireland took up their residence in the Collège Montaigu. Later on a friendly nobleman, John de l'Escalopier, placed a special house at their disposal, and Father Lee became the first rector of the new seminary, which was recognised officially by the University of Paris in 1624. Later on the Collège des Lombards was acquired, as was also the present house in the Rue des Irlandais. The college in Paris was favoured specially by the Irish bishops, as is evident from the fact that in the year 1795 more than one-third of the Irish clerical students on the Continent were receiving their training in the French capital. The seminary in Douay was founded by Father Ralph Cusack in 1577. At that time Douay belonged to the Spanish Netherlands, and the Irish seminary participated in the boundless generosity of the Kings of Spain. The Irish seminary at Lille was founded also by Father Cusack, and was placed under the control of the Capuchins. Though it was intended principally for the use of students from the province of Leinster, special attention was devoted to the Irish language, without a knowledge of which no person could be appointed rector. The seminary at Bordeaux was founded (1603) by Father Diarmuid MacCarthy, a priest of the diocese of Cork, and later on it received special grants and privileges from the queen-regent, Anne of Austria. The same kind benefactress provided a home for the Irish students at Toulouse (1659), while a few years later a seminary for Irish students was established at Nantes.
Very early in Elizabeth's reign the question of providing priests for the Irish mission engaged the earnest attention of the Roman authorities. Gregory XIII. had arranged for the establishment of an Irish college in Rome, and had provided the means for its support, but as an expedition was then being prepared to aid James Fitzmaurice in his struggle in Ireland, the project was postponed, and the money was devoted to the purposes of the war. In 1625 the Irish bishops addressed a petition to the Holy See praying for the establishment of an Irish college in Rome. Cardinal Ludovisi, then Cardinal Protector of Ireland, supported strongly this petition. He secured a house for the accommodation of a few students, and in 1628 the college was opened. In his will the Cardinal provided generously for the endowment of the college, and he also expressed a wish that it should be entrusted to the care of the Jesuits. They entered into control in 1635, and directed the affairs of the college till a short time before the suppression of the Society.
Elizabeth and her advisers were not slow to see the danger of allowing Irish youths to be educated in Rome, France, or in the territories of the King of Spain. For years the English government had been advised to take measures for the establishment of a good system of English schools as the best means of conquering the country. It was suggested that with the suppression of the monasteries and the wholesale confiscation of their possessions something might be done by Henry VIII. or Edward VI. for the cause of education. But these hopes were doomed to speedy disappointment. The revenues of the religious houses, which had provided centres of learning for the boys and girls of the country, found their way into the royal treasury or into the pockets of the dishonest commissioners, and no educational establishments were erected in their place. The Deputy did, indeed, inform the canons of St. Patrick's, Dublin, that their church should be converted to a better use, namely, a university, but the promise was made only to induce them to surrender without a struggle. The valuable church plate, crosses, etc., were melted down and handed over to the mint.
At the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth a proposal was made to carry out the promise of Henry VIII. by converting St. Patrick's into a university. Archbishop Curwen objected strongly to such a suggestion, nominally on the ground that a university would only serve as an excuse for the Irish rebels to send their sons to the capital to learn the secrets of the Pale, but in reality because he feared that the project would interfere with his own income. At various times and in various forms the plan was brought forward once more. Sir John Perrott was anxious to signalise his term of office as Lord Deputy by the establishment of a university in Dublin, but Archbishop Loftus, who as Archbishop of Armagh had supported the conversion of St. Patrick's into a university, having changed his mind once he had secured his own transference to Dublin, opposed warmly the project of the Deputy. When, however, he had succeeded in saving St. Patrick's for his relatives and dependents he brought forward another proposal, namely, that the Corporation of Dublin should hand over the site of the old monastery of All Hallows for the establishment of a university. The corporation agreed to this proposal, and in 1592 a charter was granted by Elizabeth. An appeal was then issued for subscriptions, and in a short time about ￡2,000 was collected, many of the Anglo-Irish Catholics being amongst the subscribers. In 1593 Trinity College was opened for the reception of students. Though care had been taken by the archbishop when discussing the subject with the Corporation of Dublin, most of the members of which were still Catholic, and by the Deputy when appealing for funds for the erection of the buildings, not to raise the question of religion, yet Trinity College was intended from the beginning to be a bulwark of Protestantism as well as of English power in Ireland. Elizabeth had already done much to forward the cause of the new religion by getting possession of the children of the Anglo-Irish or Irish nobles and bringing them to England to be reared up as Protestants and as Englishmen, and it was hoped that Trinity College, supported by the diocesan schools, would do for the better class of the nation what Oxford and Cambridge were doing for the unfortunate children of the chiefs who were kidnapped in the name of religion and statesmanship. The new college set itself to carry out exactly the wishes of its founders, and in return from its compliancy it received large endowments from the English crown mainly by grants of confiscated territories in different parts of Ireland.
Yet in spite of all the measures that were taken, commissions, fines, executions, bestowal of honours and appointments, diocesan schools, and kidnapping of children, the Reformation made but little progress. The truth is that Elizabeth's representatives in Ireland had not the power to enforce her wishes in regard to religion, nor did Elizabeth herself desire to stir up a general insurrection by attempting to punish the lay nobles for their flagrant disregard of her ordinances. Thus in 1585 Walsingham sent over express instructions to the Protestant Archbishop of Armagh (Long) that the gentlemen of the Pale were to be excused from taking the oath of allegiance, and in 1591 Sir George Carew informed Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam that the queen was displeased with him because "she feared that he was too forward in dealing with matters of religion," and that he (Carew) had attempted to excuse the Deputy by pointing out that on account of the forbearance of the government, "they of the Pale were grown insolent." At one time Elizabeth wrote to the Deputy and council blaming them for neglecting to push forward the interests of the new religion (1599), while the very next year she instructed Lord Mountjoy not to interfere by any severity or violence in matters of religion, until the power of England was established so firmly that such interference could be effective. The reason for this wavering attitude is not difficult to understand. Elizabeth feared that a general attack upon religion as such would be the best means of inducing all the Catholic noblemen to forget their personal rivalries and unite in one great national confederation. Such a turn of events might have proved disastrous to English interests in Ireland, and hence care was taken to allow a certain measure of toleration to the noblemen, and to explain away the punishments inflicted on the clergy as having been imposed not on account of religion, but on account of their traitorous designs. This is brought out very clearly in a letter of Sir George Carew to the privy council in 1600. The citizens of Waterford had been reported for their complete and open disregard of the new religion, and Carew was charged with the work of punishing such disobedience. He wrote that he would "handle the matter of religion as nicely as he could," and that he would endeavour to convict the leaders of the movement of treason because, he added, "if it do appear in the least that any part of their punishment proceeds for matter of religion, it will kindle a great fire in this kingdom."
In 1576 Hugh Brady, the Protestant Bishop of Meath, reported to the Lord Deputy that the condition of the Established Church was lamentable, that the priests, though deprived of their livings, continued to maintain themselves on the voluntary offerings of the people, that the churches had fallen into a state of decay, that no ministers were at hand who could address the people in their own language, and that to remedy this state of affairs Englishmen should be sent over as bishops to organise the new religious body, and Scotchmen should be requested to act as preachers. When such a state of affairs existed in the Pale districts it is easy to see that Protestantism had as yet made little progress among the Irish people. Two years later Lord Justice Drury and Sir Edward Fyton, Treasurer, announced to the privy council that on their arrival in Kilkenny the Protestant Bishop of Ossory reported to them "that not only the chiefest men of that town (as for the most part they are bent to Popery) refused obstinately to come to the church, and that they could by no means be brought to hear the divine service there with their wives and families (as by her Majesty's injunctions they are bound to do), but that almost all the churches and chapels or chancels within his diocese were utterly ruined and decayed, and that neither the parishioners nor others that are bound to repair them and set them up could by any means be won or induced to do so." The Lord Justice and his companion called the chief men of Kilkenny before them, and bound them in recognisances of ￡40 each "that they and their wives should duly every Sunday and holiday frequent the church, and hear the divine service."
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