« PrejšnjaNaprej »
assisted him with his advice and varied information through every part of the work. He must next express his gratitude to the Rev. Henry Cotton, D.C.L., Archdeacon of Cashel, whose knowledge of books, and kindness in communicating it, are too well known to need his panegyric.
To the Rev. Dr. Bandinel, the learned Librarian of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, he is deeply indebted for indefatigable exertions in examining the various MSS. of the magnificent collection intrusted to his care, and communicating numerous letters, and other documents, which have been published in different parts of the work.
To the Rev. William Jacobson, Vice-Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, he gladly acknowledges his obligation for assistance in procuring copies of many MSS. preserved at Oxford, more particularly of the Sermons, which were obtained from the Library of Balliol College, through the kindness of the Master, the Rev. Dr. Jenkyns.
TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN,
Nov. 1, 1847.
James Ussher was born in the parish of St. Nicholas, in the city of Dublin, on the 4th day of January, 1580-1. His father, Arnold Ussher, was one of the Six Clerks in the Court of Chancery, and was descended from an English family of the name of Neville. The first of this family who settled in Ireland was usher to King John, and, coming over with that prince, changed the name of his family for that of his office“, a practice not unusual at that period. His mother was Margaret, daughter of James Stanihurst, one of the Masters in Chancery, Recorder of Dublin, and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in three successive Parliaments.
Of the early life of James Ussher only a few anecdotes have been transmitted. It is not a little remarkable that he was taught to read by two aunts who had been blind from their infancy. Of these relatives he always spoke with the greatest affection and respect, and from them he appears to have imbibed his first religious impressions.
• From this circumstance most writers spell the name of the Archbishop, Usher ; but he appears himself always to have written it Ussher. In the Appendix will be found a genealogy written by the Archbishop himself; and another more detailed one, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms.
His aunts had most tenacious memories; they remembered whatever was read to them, and could repeat by heart a large portion of the Bible. To this book of books, as he always called it, the young student devoted his earliest attention ; and he was able to say of himself, “ that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make a man wise unto salvation.” Some of his biographers are anxious to point out the precise moment of time when his conversion took place, and have fixed upon his tenth year, when he heard a sermon preached on the passage in the Epistle to the Romans, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” This is a mere attempt to support the doctrines of Calvin by a remarkable example. From all that has been handed down it may safely be concluded, that James Ussher was one of those happy individuals, who, educated in a deep sense of religion, and brought up in the fear of the Lord, had duly cherished the grace vouchsafed to him in baptism, and had been, day by day, assisted from on high to imitate, in all humility, his divine Master, and “grow in wisdom and stature, and favour with God and man.
A strange combination of circumstances supplied Dublin at this time with two schoolmasters of very superior attainments. James VI. of Scotland, doubtful of succeeding quietly to the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth, sent over to Dublin in the year 1587 two clever emissa
b Dr. M‘Crie, in his Life of Knox, seems to doubt that they were sent over by James; but such a proceeding was perfectly consonant with the crooked policy of that extraordinary individual. Dr. Parr states it as an undoubted fact, and he surely must bave heard from Archbishop Ussher the history of his tutor. And if any thing be wanted to confirm the evidence of Dr. Parr, it may be found in the honours conferred upon the two individuals, and the large grants of land made to them in Ireland by James. Birch, in his Life of Prince Henry, states, that they were first brought into notice by conveying the letters of some of the English lords “who worshipped the rising sun,” to King James, in Scotland, and bringing back his answers, • that way being chosen as more safe than the direct northern road," in order to escape the vigilance of Elizabeth.
ries, James Fullerton and James Hamilton", to keep up a correspondence with the Protestant nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood of Dublin : and they, to conceal more effectually the object of their mission, opened a schoole in which Fullerton acted as the master, and Hamilton as the usher. Although the office of a schoolmaster was assumed merely for the purpose of concealment, yet both these individuals seem to have been eminently qualified to discharge its duties. It is most probable that Fullerton was an early pupill of the learned Andrew Melville, who had brought from the Continent to the University of Glasgow a knowledge of the learned languages rarely possessed at that period, and who devoted himself to the instruction of those committed to his care. Dr. M‘Crie has suggested the possibility that both Hamilton and Fullerton were class-fellows of Melville at St. Andrew's, because there appear in the list of admissions for his year, 1558, the names of James Fullerton and James Hamilton : but this seems absolutely impossible, for, as none of his class-fellows could be younger than Melville, who was admitted at twelve years of age, Hamilton must have been ninety-seven years of age at the time of his death in 1643; and yet only two years before he received a commission from the Lords Justices and Council,
· Afterwards one of the first Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin. He was knighted by King James, soon after his accession, and appointed one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber.
• Afterwards one of the first Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin. In 1622 he was created, by James, Viscount of Claneboye.
e The school was opened in 1587, and it is remarkable that, in that same year it was ordered by the State, that no grammar but Lilly's should be taught in Ireland. The reason assigned for this extraordinary legislative enactment was, that the variety of grammars previously used in schools impeded the progress of the youth moving from one school to another. See Ware's Annals, ad. ann. 1587.
* That he was one of his most intimate friends is certain. Melville, in a letter to Sir James Sempill, of Beltrees, calls him his “intire and speciall friend;" and Fullerton was the person who communicated to Melville, when in banishment, the afflicting intelligence of his nephew's death. Fullerton died in 1630, and appears to have kept up his literary pursuits, after he had exchanged the life of a scholar for that of a courtier. Hume, in his Grammatica Nova, calls him, “virum doctum et in omni disciplina satis exercitatum,” and speaks of discussing with him grammatical difficulties.