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John Lynch

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Historian, b. at Galway, Ireland, 1599; d. in France, 1673; was the son of Alexander Lynch, who kept a classical school at Galway. In such repute was this school held that there were no less than 1200 students, nor were they confined to Connaught alone but came from every province in Ireland. For a Catholic to keep a public school in those days was a serious offense, and when Ussher visited Galway in 1615, calling Lynch before him he severely reprimanded him, compelled him to close his school at once, and bound him under heavy bail not to reopen it. Young Lynch received his early education from his father and from him imbibed his love of classical learning. Feeling a call to the priesthood he left Galway for France, pursued his studies under the Jesuits there, in due time was ordained priest, and returned to his native town in 1622. He established a classical school, which like his father's was attended by many students. Penal legislation compelled him to exercise his ministry by stealth, and to say Mass in secret places and private houses. But after 1642 the churches were open and he was free to say Mass in public, and exercise his ministry in the light of day. More of a scholar and of a student than of a politician, Lynch took no prominent part in the stirring events of the next ten years. His opinions however were well known. Like so many others of the Anglo-Irish, though he abhorred the penal laws against his creed and had suffered from them, he was loyal to England. He therefore condemned the rebellion of 1641, viewed with no enthusiasm the Catholic Confederation, approved of the cessation of 1643 and of the peace of 1646 and 1648, and entirely disapproved of the policy of the nuncio and of the conduct of Owen Roe O'Neill. The date at which he became archdeacon of Tuam is uncertain. Driven from Galway after the capture of the city by the Puritans in 1652, he lived the remainder of his life in exile in France. During these years he wrote a biography of his uncle Dr. Kirwan, Bishop of Killala, and a work called "Alithonologia", giving an account of the Anglo-Irish under Elizabeth. But his greatest work is "Cambrensis Eversus", published in 1662. Written in vigorous Latin and characterized by great learning and research, its declared object was to expose the calumnies of Gerald Barry about Ireland, and without doubt Lynch completely vindicates his country "against the aspersions of her slanderer."

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