Page images
[blocks in formation]

selves Christians, but profess to be of the strictest sect of our religion. The inference is obvious; lies would not be told unless it were impossible to substantiate the accusation by telling the truth.” Yours truly,


NOTES BY VERY REV. CANON O'HANLON. 3 Father Richard Kenrick was charitable to the point of utter unselfishness or ordinary prudence. Although frequently warned that undue advantage had been taken of his benevolence, yet such was Father Kenrick's goodness of heart that he could listen to no tale of distress without distributing money. Some amusing anecdotes of him were related by the old Dublin clergy and laity. On a certain occasion, having given a shilling to an importunate and, as she represented herself to him, a starving beggar, he afterwards saw her enter a neighboring public house. He followed immediately, and her back being turned to him at the counter, she called for a glass of whisky, which was handed to her, when she laid down the shilling for change. Father Kenrick stole softly beside her and, placing his hand on the shilling, he looked reproachfully at the woman, saying at the same time: "I did not give that money to be spent in drink.” With admirable self-possession and ready wit the beggar at once made a lowly curtesy and replied: "Your holy and charitable reverence, shure I couldn't go home wid bread to the childer adouth havin' a small glass to dhrink your health!" Father Kenrick had a keen sense of humor, and withdrawing his hand from the shilling he left the op, convulsed with laughter.

The locality wherein his church was situated was in early days a rough and turbulent one, and is so to some extent, at times, to the present. The reader will probably recollect the description given by Sir Walter Scott in his fine novel, “The Fortunes of Nigel," where the Templars and apprentices of London are represented as having had some bloody encounters with swords and clubs in Fleet street at a time now remote; but in the commencement of the last century the former citizens of Dublin often witnessed drawn battles between the butchers' apprentices of Ormond Market and the Liberty boys south of the Liffey. The former brought their cleavers and the latter blackthorn sticks to decide some determined and dangerous contests. The combatants usually met in Francis street, to the great horror of the peaceably disposed inhabitants, whose windows were broken with stone-throwing and whose lives were often in peril. As a matter of course, the old Dublin watchmen, who had notice of the coming disturbance, and who were the constituted guardians of the public peace, were sure to absent themselves from the scene; but when the rioting was all over, they returned and made diligent inquiries from the shopkeepers—who usually kept aloof and within their houses—about identification of the delinquents. Thus the Charlies, as they were called, took care to follow Dogberry's maxims and give themselves as little trouble as possible. As a matter of course, prosecutions seldom followed. Yet it devolved on the zealous pastor to interpose and clear the streets of rioters. Such was the general respect entertained for him, as a man of peace and good-will, that he sent them fleeing away to their several quarters and ashamed to look on his face.

The following extract will give an idea of the insolence of the Irish Protestants in their dealings with Irish Catholicsclergy and laity-in the early days of the Kenricks. It is taken from John D’Alton's "Memoirs of the Archbishop of Dublin," P. 486. Pub. Dublin: Hodges & Smith, College Green, 1838, 8vo.:

"In 1814 a contest arose between this prelate (Most Rev. Dr. Troy) and the grand jury of the city of Dublin, relative to the Catholic chaplaincy of the gaol of Newgate. The grand jury having appointed one, Doctor Troy suspended him on the ground of incompetency; the former appealed to the Court of King's Bench, and were informed by the Chief Justice that if the person they selected was not to be found at his post, they must proceed to nominate another, and so on until the office was substantially filled. The grand jury, however, chose to adopt a different course, and sent an order to the prison that no other Catholic clergyman should be admitted except him whom Doctor Troy had suspended. A disgraceful and protracted strife ensued, and the grand jury in the meantime, under the shield of a lingering penal enactment, maintained a suspended clergyman in an office which his legitimate pastor declared him unfit to fill."

[blocks in formation]

An anecdote.-When the Archbishop was last in Dublin, and had called at SS. Michael and John's parochial house, he went over to look at my books, and seeing the “Irish Penny Journal" of 1840, he took it out eagerly and opened it at No. 16, where he found Clarence Mangan's transcendently beautiful and pathetic "Elegy of the Tyronian and Tyrconnellian Princes Buried at Rome.” He sat down, evidently with a revival of old enthusiastic recollection, and commenced reading the line, “O woman of the piercing wail," with the finest intonation I ever heard, even from him. The poem was of peculiar construction, but correctly metrical, as are all the compositions of the gifted poet. Their modulation and emphasis alternated so delightfully in the Archbishop's musical and soft, sweet tones that I listened with emotion, rapture and admiration to the very last verse:

"Look down upon our dreary state,
And through the ages that may still

Roll sadly on,
Watch Thou o'er hapless Erin's fate,
And shield at least from darker ill

The blood of Conn!" He then closed the volume, and full of newly awakened feeling, looking at me, exclaimed: “Did ever poet pen more exquisite lines?"

At the same time I had invited some of our Dublin clerical dignitaries to meet His Grace at dinner, with the priests of our house, and amongst the rest Father Charles P. Meehan, who had taken an extraordinary admiration for the Archbishop and his intellectual gifts, after a first introduction and conversation. After dinner, as was his wont when pleased with the companionship and in the vein of relating some of his capital stories, Father Meehan greatly amazed Dr. Kenrick, who had a keen sense of humor, with some narratives of Dublin life and character. Father Meehan's clear intonations reached from rather distant part of the table to the head, where the dignitaries were seated, and among other anecdotes he told how at the consecration of St. Patrick's Cathedral, then newly restored by the eminent Dublin brewer, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, he asked a witty Dublin preacher to select a suitable text for the dedication sermon. Accordingly the preacher in question began his discourse with the Scriptural quotation, “He


[ocr errors]

brews (hé brews), chap. XX.” Double XX. was the wellknown designation Guinness' Porter. The appositeness of the text was hailed with laughter by all the clerics present; but the Archbishop, who was beside me, quietly and slyly whispered in my ear, “That is no doubt an amusing anecdote, but the preacher must have been very ignorant of Scripture, for he seems to have forgotten there are only thirteen chapters in Hebrews."

I only saw Most Rev. Patrick Francis Kenrick in Dublin on the occasion when he returned from Rome, after the Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, towards the close of 1854, and on his way home to the United States. He assisted at a grand function in the Cathedral, Marlborough street, and which the Very Rev. Canon Thomas Pope, administrator, had arranged as a service of thanksgiving on the last Sunday of the year. As Archbishop Cullen had not then returned from Rome, the Archbishop of Baltimore made but a short stay at that time in Dublin before proceeding to Queenstown, whence he sailed for America.

In the third edition of the late Paul Deighan's “Treatise on Arithmetic,” published in 1810, and which is in the Royal Irish Academy, there is a recommendation of the work from "Rev. T. Reynolds and M. McCormick, Principals of the Mercantile and Classical Academy, Chancery Lane," 1810.

It is probable that John Browne, the poet Mangan's last preceptor, succeeded the above, as in Jones' Grant's and New Ladies' Almanacks for 1821 and 1822, in John McCall's (Patrick street) possession, there are puzzles given written by "John Brown, Principal of the Academy, 14 Chancery lane.” Other relatives of his, sons or nephews, perhaps (according to the above almanacks), William Browne and John Browne, Jr. (puzzle writers also), had then another rival academy at 3 Upper Stephen street.

Jones' two almanacks, in the writer's possession, show that for the three first years of James Mangan's connection with same he gives his address as Chancery lane, Dublin; the years are 1818, 1819, 1820. In Grant's and the New Ladies' Almanacks for 1821 and 1822 he varies his address to "James Mangan, 6 York street, Dublin.” This is the first clue I got to find out that the late Thomas Kenrick had his extensive scrivenery offices in 6 York street.

[blocks in formation]

When I published my little work on Mangan's Life in 1882, for the first time revealing the house 6 York street as where the poet worked at the scrivenery business, the late Canon O'Rourke, of Maynooth, who was pleased at the revelations therein, wrote me a letter, of which I give the following extract:

St. Mary's, Maynooth, Easter Sunday, 1883. Dear Sir: I have just read your Life of poor Mangan. No book for a long time has given me so much pleasure. Page 14, Scrivener's Clerk.You do not say who the scrivener was. I believe he was Mr. Kenrick, the father of two of the greatest Archbishops America has ever seen, with the exception of Doctor Hughes, of New York. Patrick, the elder, died Archbishop of Baltimore. Peter, the second, still lives and is Archbishop of St. Louis. These two great men must have known Mangan in their father's office, perhaps worked at the same double desk with him. The thing is easily verified by a reference to a Dublin Directory of the time. That Patrick worked at the business there can be no doubt. When he was a student at Rome he wrote many letters home to his brother; part of these I saw, and the writing in them was like copper plate; none but a scrivener could have written them. It would be an interesting fact to prove that three of Ireland's great men worked at the mill-horse scrivenery business in that dingy office in York street, etc.

Mangan himself says he was at first apprenticed to the scrivenery business; it is likely that his younger brother, John,' was also apprenticed at Kenrick's. James Tighe, author of “Sal Swig,” etc., and whom the present writer knew well, worked for years at the same double desk with Mangan.

To settle a doubt as to whether the Kenricks' office was on the Coombe, as some old residents asserted was the case, or in York street, as also to confirm Canon O'Rourke's theory that the two Archbishops at one time worked at the same desk as the poet Mangan, the present writer took the liberty of writing to the great Archbishop of St. Louis himself, who, in the letter which I have already given, shows that though the elder, Francis Patrick, had gone to his studies some time before young James Mangan entered the office, yet he the younger, Peter Richard, and the poet were engaged together in the said office 6 York street for some years.

Besides the fragment of Mangan's Autobiography published

« PreviousContinue »