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Edward Maginn

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Coadjutor Bishop of Derry, b. at Fintona, Ireland, 16 Dec., 1802; d. at Derry, 17 January, 1849, the son of Patrick Maginn, a farmer, and his wife, Mary Slevin, whose families gave many distinguished priests to the Irish Church in the eighteenth century. He was educated by his uncle, parish priest of Monaghan, and later by Thomas MacColgan, at Buncrana, Donegal, and entered the Irish College, Paris, in 1818. He was ordained in 1825 at Derry, and was soon appointed curate of Moville, where he remained till 1829, labouring with great fruit and winning renown as a preacher. He opposed energetically the efforts made by the Episcopalian body to proselytize his flock, and took a prominent part in a public controversy held at Derry concerning Catholic doctrines, a report of which was published later in book form (Dublin, 1828). In 1829 he became parish priest of Fahan, and applied himself to the suppression of agrarian secret societies, while appealing to the Government to protect the peasantry against the abuse of power by the local non-Catholic magistrates. He was one of the most zealous advocates of Catholic Emancipation, supported O'Connell in the Repeal movement, and endeavoured to heal the breach between the young Irelanders and the Liberator. Though recognizing the glaring defects of the "national school " system he accepted it, and by his protests prevented the withdrawal of the schools from clerical control. He repudiated the Queen's Colleges, helped to bring about their condemnation at Rome, and enthusiastically advocated the establishment of a Catholic university, which, however, he did not live to see. On 18 Jan., 1846, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Orthosia and coadjutor to Dr. MacLaughlin of Derry. Seized with typhus fever on 14 Jan., 1849, he expired three days later in St. Columb's College and was buried at Buncrana, Donegal. Dr. Maginn was an important factor in the rehabilitation of the Church in Ulster after Emancipation; he devoted himself, moreover, to the temporal welfare of the peasants, and his letters on land and the Poor Law administration, together with his evidence before the Devon Commission (Report published at Dublin, 1847), contain valuable information on the social condition of Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century. The gross incompetency and partiality of the government officials during the famine of 1847-49 inspired him with an abhorrence of English misrule. Not the least useful of his writings was a series of letters in reply to Lord Stanley, who in the House of Lords, 23 Nov., 1847, had accused the Irish clergy of using the confessional to encourage lawlessness and crime ("Refutation of Lord Stanley's Calumnies against the Catholic Clergy of Ireland ", reprint, Dublin, 1850).

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