Rev. T. Corcoran, SJ, ‘William Bathe, SJ., of Dublin (1564-1614) and His Method of Language Teaching’ [chap.], in Studies in the History of Classical Teaching - Irish and Continental 1500-1700 (Dublin & Belfast: Educational Co. of Ireland 1911).

[Source: The text has been posted by email to RICORSO by Frank Callery (03.03.2015). Footnotes keyed to sentences in the original are simply listed by title here - as infra.]

Chap. I: The Author of the Janua Linguarum, &c.
The family to which William Bathe belonged was one of Norman origin, which with many others settled on Irish soil during the period 1170 to 1300 A.D., and had come by the sixteenth century to be known as of the “Old English” in Ireland. The main settlement of Anglo- Normans in Ireland was in Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Louth counties: here they had, as protection against the “meere Irish”, the presence of the Viceroy and the garrison in Dublin. Inmost of the other districts in Ireland where Norman settlements were made, the “Old English” had come to throw in their lot with the Irish among whom they lived. But around Dublin this assimilating influence did not act so powerfully: the “Irish enemies” were too actively hostile in the hill country of Dublin and Wicklow, in the marshes of Kildare, and in the passes north of Dundalk, to be able to affect deeply the manners and customs of the settlers on the broad plains around the lower reaches of the Liffey and the Boyne. Here the Anglo-Norman lords and gentlemen dwelt in their many castles, and suffered, with more or less patience, the raids of the Irish within the limits fixed by the Pale, a veritable barrier of defence erected at the close of the fifteenth century. The government of the country, civil and ecclesiastical, was largely theirs till the days of the religious revolt under Henry VIII. Even after the coming of the “New English” under Elizabeth, the landed gentry of the Pale, overwhelmingly Catholic still, retained their hold on the civil administration to a very large extent. The de Bathe family was one of considerable note among the lords of the soil, the gentlemen of the robe, and the merchant-princes of Dublin, Drogheda, and Dundalk, chief walled cities of the Pale.

With both the land and the law, William Bathe, born in Dublin city on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1564, was closely connected. His grandfather had been Chief Baron of the Exchequer for nearly thirty years, and died in possession of that high judicial office in 1570. His father, John Bathe, was also trained to the law, and under Elizabeth, was successively Solicitor-General, Attorney-General, and Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland. He possessed considerable landed property north and south of Dublin city, notably Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Clonmell, Nanger, and Balgriffin. By 1560, John Bathe married Eleanor Preston, daughter of Jenico Preston, third Viscount Gormanston. She was grand-daughter of Gerald, ninth Earl of Kildare, Lord Deputy of Ireland, whose name stands first on the list of illustrious dead that rest in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, within the precincts of the Tower of London. John Bathe and his wife erected in 1560 the Castle of Drumcondra, as the inscription still preserved in the basement vaults records. To this property, and to several other manors in the county of Dublin, William Bathe, their eldest son, was heir. There was scarcely an illustrious family in Ireland, whether Celtic or Norman, with which he was not connected either by blood or by intermarriage; the list contains alike such names as Netterville, Slane, Howth, Roscommon on the one side, and O’Connor of Offaly, O’Carroll of Ely, O’Donnell of Tyrconnell on the other.

The early years of this wealthy young “gentleman of the Pale”, and the places where they were spent, are on record in the entry-book of the Jesuit Novitiate at Tournai. All such entries are in the writing of the candidate, and accordingly we can take as exact what William Bathe there states about himself. “I have studied humanities in Ireland, philosophy at Oxford and Louvain, and theology at Louvain.”

Of the period of Bathe’s studies in Ireland we have no detailed record. But since 1560 there had been in Dublin considerable activity in the promotion of liberal studies, with a view to setting on a good footing the projected University, which all parties in Ireland desired to further. When William Bathe was five years old, James Stanihurst, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, was active in the cause, and brought over from Oxford its foremost humanist, Edmund Campion, to be head of the new University. Though the plan was favoured by the Irish Government of the day, it was not found convenient for English policy, and soon Campion, accused of being a Catholic, had to go into hiding in the country-houses of several of the gentlemen of the Pale. On his departure for England in 1571 the project fell through for the time.

A subsequent attempt to annex the revenues of St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a fund for the proposed University, did not succeed: and it was not till “William Bathe had left Ireland for the last time that Trinity College, Dublin was created by charter from Queen Elizabeth. From among its first scholars Bathe was to derive considerable assistance in later years, towards his projected Language-method. About 1580, or a little later, the son and heir of the Irish Attorney-General proceeded to Oxford. Antony a Wood is our authority for his career there, which he describes in the language of the day, as follows: “(he) studied several years in this University with indefatigable industry.” The author of Athenae Oxonienses confesses that he did not find any record of his name in those houses freqviented “by Irishmen of his time”, University College, Hart Hall, and Gloster Hall. Nor could he find his name among those who proceeded to a degree. Fuller investigation has in recent years established that Bathe was a member of St. John’s College.^ William Bathe was thus made one of the same society as Edmund Campion had belonged to: and a connection between Campion’s visit to Dublin twelve years before, and this choice of a college, is quite probable. John Bathe, like the Stanihursts, was a staunch Catholic, despite his high rank in the Queen’s administration: both families were interested in the maintenance of Catholic influence on University life, whether in being at Oxford, or merely hoped for in Dublin. An examination of Campion’s brilliant record at Oxford serves also to throw light on the absence of William Bathe’s name from the list of graduates. Campion had been nominated a Junior Fellow of St. John’s in 1557, by the founder. Sir Thomas White, whose special friend he was. He was of course a Catholic, but when for the first time the oath of supremacy was tendered to him as he was proceeding M.A. in 1564, he wavered, and finally he took it, confessedly doing violence to his conscience. The glamour of University life was too great for him, he could not abandon the brilliant opportunities that the next few years were to bring him, the favour and notice of great noblemen, of the court, of the Queen herself. The Campion who came to Ireland in 1569 was a different man: and when soon after 1580 young Bathe in due time proceeded to St. John’s, all Oxford and all England knew of the daring directness of policy, the steadfast adherence to his faith, the heroic death of the martyr who had been the most conspicuous of Oxford scholars but a few years before. Living where Campion had lived, a lover of the classics even as he had been, the young Irish student was not likely to waver as the young Englishman had done twenty years earlier. So he left Oxford without that

official recognition of his academic studies which would have involved the denial of his religious belief. During his residence at Oxford Bathe did more than devote himself to the study of humanity and philosophy. He had begun his career as a deviser of methods, and had given the world the first fruits of his inventiveness in a musical treatise, published in London, 1584, and dedicated to his grand-uncle, Gerald Fitzgerald, eleventh Earl of Kildare. The Earl was that one among all the sons of his house who had escaped the axe on Tower Hill under Henry VIII., only to die within the Tower itself, in 1585, after five years’ imprisonment under Elizabeth. The centuries of hardship had fully begun both for the “old English” and for the “meere Irish” in Ireland.

Though they present analogies with his inventions in language method, the musical publications of William Bathe do not require independent treatment here: it will be sufficient to note here how these tastes opened up a path for him as a courtier. Sir John Perrott, Lord Deputy of Ireland, reputed a close relation of the Queen, was interested in music, and in the then idea of an Irish University. That he knew of the young Oxford student’s musical methods we know from the introduction to one of Bathe’s treatises; and he seems to have recommended him to the Queen before his own removal from the Irish government in 1588. Of his success at court the calendars of State Papers afford ample testimony. Burghley is told by a correspondent of how young Bathe had made “a late device of a new harp, which he presented to her Majesty”; the Irish courtier also found means to interest the Queen in “mnemonics”, and pleased her by his skill as a player on various instruments. Her favour is shown by at least three grants of lands to “William Bathe, of Drumcondra”, in 1587 and 1589. One secured him in such lands as his father had held on lease from the Crown: the other two were apparently new grants, amounting to an annual value of some £600 a year, as it would be reckoned to-day. At this period he appears to have lived almost entirely in London, though doubtless the death of his father in 1586 recalled him to Ireland.

He seems to have attended Perrott on his melancholy journey to England in 1588, which was to lead only to the Tower and to death. The young courtier and scholar found himself, soon after attaining his majority, his own master, the owner of fine properties, and in a position, by family connections and the favour of those in power, to aim at high office. But he was a Catholic, and a serious-minded one. We know that with Parsons’ Christian Directory, then recently published, he was well acquainted: he has left it on record that to his own knowledge no book on spiritual subjects had exercised so profound an influence in England and in Ireland as had this one volume, whose English style was much later to be so highly commended by Swift. Bathe had also seen the proud array of the English fleet in the Thames in 1588, laden with the spoils of the Armada; and he had at once said that he would “prefer to spend his life in some retired corner of a Catholic country . . . than to live thoughtlessly amid such scenes.” This independent account of his views is confirmed fully by a Wood’s summary of his change of life subsequent to his Oxford period. “Afterwards, under pretence of being weary with the heresy professed in England (as he usually called it) he left the nation.”

This abandonment of the bright prospects before him in Ireland and in England alike, was made before the Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam wrote to Burghley, December 2, 1591, of William Bathe, a “gentleman of the Pale, known to your Lordship for his skill in music”, having “lately gone into Spain.” He does not appear to have remained very long in the Peninsula, and by his own account written at Tournai in 1595-96, he would seem to have spent three of the four years, intervening between 1591 and 1595, in the study of philosophy and theology at Louvain. That famous University town, the rival of Oxford in the scholastic world of Northern Europe, counted among its students at the time a large number of Irish and English Catholics: its importance as a centre of humanistic studies and of theological controversy stood highest perhaps at the close of the sixteenth and the opening of the seventeenth century, the period of Lipsius, le Bay, and Jansen. The famous Collegium trilingue, founded in 1517, would alone have sufficed to attract Bathe, already proficient in “the three learned tongues.” The influence of Justus Lipsius, unquestionably the foremost classical scholar of the time in Europe, was so great at Louvain that we need not be surprised at the high praise Bathe accords to the proficiency of Belgian speakers of Latin.

While Bathe had by this second period of University work shown a definite inclination to take holy orders, we know from his colleague in Spain, Father Paul Sherlock, that he had also made up his mind to enter religion. The contemplative life of the Carthusians, and the austerity and missionary zeal of the Capuchins seem to have attracted him, but his decisive action was delayed till the summer of 1595, when he applied to Courtrai for admission to the Jesuit noviceship. He entered it at Tournai in the autumn of the same year, at the age of 31. Entering at so mature age, with a good part of his professional course completed, he was immediately after the two years of probation sent to St. Omers, and later to Padua, to complete his studies in philosophy and theology in the great Jesuit College there. Here he was ordained priest in 1601 or 1602.

A worker of such fine qualities was certain to be demanded at once for the arduous and often delicate work of the Irish mission. For a moment it appeared as if the hope of the Jesuits working in Ireland was to be at once realised. The long war which was being waged by O’Neill and O’Donnell in Ireland against Elizabeth had by 1601 reached a point calling for the active intervention of the Roman and Spanish Courts, if the succession to the English Crown was to be secured for the right side. The Pope made Louis Mansoni his Apostolic Legate to Ireland, directing him to proceed to Spain, and thence, with the forces of Philip III., to Ireland. Father Bathe was on May 1, 1601, designated to be companion and adviser to the Legate. Knowledge of the English Court, as well as his connections by family ties with the old English and the Celtic houses in Ireland, were obviously the determining motives in this choice.

Appointed to this important trust, it is no wonder to hear of Bathe, at Mila[n] towards the close of 1602, as engaged in much correspondence with Robert Parsons: such is the report of one of Cecil’s spies. The Nuncio’s adviser drew up in that year two very full reports on the conditions of successful intervention in Ireland, and the state of parties there: within a short time both Mansoni and Bathe were in Spain. At the Court at Valladolid there was much talk of an expedition on a large scale to Ireland, and hopes of its despatch were entertained by the Nuncio and by the Irish agents, Hugh Roe O’Donnell, Fr. James Archer, and Fr. Florence Conry. But the death of Elizabeth led to a cessation of hostilities. With James I. a state of war could barely be said to exist: and before long all hopes of an expedition were abandoned. Neither Mansoni nor his adviser ever reached Ireland: the next Roman envoy was to be sent to the Irish Confederation, during the Puritan Revolution, forty years later.

It was long before the Jesuit Superior in Ireland. Christopher Holywood, sometime of Artane Castle, realised that there was little prospect of his having the services of William Bathe at home. “Mr. Gulielmus nondum advenit”, he writes to Rome in April, 1604; and later in the year a Roman document states the reasons for his being retained in Spain, and shows the opinion that the Nuncio Mansoni had formed about him. It says:-

“Fr. W. Bathe has often been asked for by the Irish mission, and it is unquestionable that his services there would be of the highest value. But as he has remarkable gifts in the direction of deepening the spiritual life of his religious brethren and of lay people, Fr. Mansoni rightly points out that he should be sent to Lisbon, to join the staff of the Irish College there, to aid in introducing the new rules and in the spiritual formation of the students. He has already gone there. Once things are going well in the college, he may be told off for Ireland.”

The years went by, however, and William Bathe was not to see his native land again. As late as 1606, Fr. Holywood still had hopes, even if they were slight: writing to Belgium in the June of that year, he remarks that they owe him Father Bathe.

By 1605 Bathe was on the staff of the Irish College, Salamanca, and he remained attached to it till his death in 1614. As we shall see in a later chapter, he did not spend all the time at Salamanca. In the spring of 1605 he was in Valladolid, during the final ratification of the peace between Spain and England. At times, again, he would be at Madrid. His younger brother was well known at the Spanish Court: and it was Didacus Munoz, Procurator of the Castilian Province of Bathe’s Order, who undertook to see the Janua Linguarum through the Press in 1611. A man with the life-story of William Bathe was not likely to be much troubled by the glamour even of the first Court in Europe. For years he had been acquainted with the brilliant circle that gathered round Elizabeth in the days of the Armada, when all at Westminster could note

“Cecil’s pale brow, and wisest Walsingham,
And Sidney’s star, and Leicester’s peacock pride” -

but all the glories of that scene he had calmly put from him. He was notable among those watched by Cecil’s spies for long years after he had withdrawn to the Continent: the reports about him were written from Brussels, from Milan, from Corunna. In the year 1599, when as the rules of his Order required, he was divesting himself of all right to his manors in the county of Dublin, a document accusing him of secret correspondence with those consorted with “the arch-traitor, Tyrone”, was thrown into Sir Eobert Cecil’s house at Whitehall.^ Other such correspondence was suspected by the Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam soon after William Bathe had left Ireland for Spain: and the month before Cecil received the anonymous accusation against him, the Lords Justices wrote to the Minister that they “verily thought [...] letters were conveyed from beyond the seas, from Mr. Bathe, now at Douai, and from Mr. Stanihurst.”^ Within the last ten years of his life he had twice come in contact with members of English Embassies at Valladolid and at Madrid: and on each occasion his remarkable qualities were fully recognised.

One such meeting brought about knowledge in England of his yet unpublished language method: the other led to its introduction into Italy. His mastery of Spanish, to judge from the record of his spiritual work at Salamanca and elsewhere, must have been thorough; yet his knowledge of the language must have been acquired in middle age. At the same period he was completing the Janua Linguarum, and also a couple of treatises on important aspects of missionary work: indeed the missionary purpose of the Janua was strongly emphasised by Bathe, just as it was hoped for by Comenius, author of a later and more famous, though not more effective “gate to languages.” But to none of these published works would he allow his name to be added. He looked to their practical usefulness, not to the personal credit to be derived from them.

He was but fifty years of age when death came. In the summer of 1614 he was called to the Spanish Court, then at Madrid, by the principal Ministers of the Crown: they desired to follow under his guidance the Spiritual Exercises - known to be a powerful means of moral upraising in his hands. When at the capital, he fell ill; and died, after seven days’ illness, on June 17 of that year. Antony à Wood did not share William Bathe’s views of things temporal and spiritual, yet he has recorded his opinion on this sometime member of his beloved University in words which may fittingly conclude this chapter. “He was endowed with a most ardent zeal for the obtaining of souls, and was beloved of and respected by many for his singular virtues and excellencies of good conditions.”

Chapter II: Collaborators on the Janua
The Janua Linguarum, published on behalf of the Irish Jesuits at Salamanca in 1611, had by the eighteenth century become a very rare book. Hervas then declared that there were only two copies known to be in existence, one of which was in the Hoyal Library at Madrid. Nolte, writing in 1740, specially mentions it in his BiBliotheca Latinitatis Restitutae as a book which is highly esteemed, but of which he had never been able to see a copy. The book and its contents were of course well known to the world of Latin scholarship by its numerous later editions outside Spain. None of these issues were complete, and several contained a text more or less substantially altered. Even of the first edition it would seem that there were two forms issued. One has 144 pages; a copy of it was examined and transcribed in the Roman College in 1864, by the Rev. Dr. E. Hogan, S.J.; the vocabulary, it would seem, was not bound into it. The complete first edition extends to 216 pages in the example of it kindly lent to me from the Library of the Jesuit Residence in Madrid. It has a paper cover only, which was put on it about the close of the 18th century.

Besides the Introduction and its rendering into Spanish, the printed matter, set before the Sentences constituting the Janua Ldnguarum proper, contains numerous commendations by Professors of the University of Salamanca, and by Jesuit teachers of long experience. These letters and testimonials bear dates ranging from October, 1608, to December, 1609: the Inquisition permit is dated July, 1610, and the list of errata on the last page was made in January, 1611. The last of these approbations is on page 5; on page 6 Padre Didacus Munoz tells the reader that he saw the volume through the press, as the Irish Jesuits of the College at Salamanca, who had composed it, were now either elsewhere, or else too busily engaged to allow of their undertaking the task. Seventeen pages of the Latin Preface and the Tractate on the Janua are followed by their Spanish translation, which ends on page 39. The Sentences, in Latin and Spanish, covers pages 42 to 139: the rest of the volume is the Index or Vocabulary, printed two columns to the page.

The Janua LinguaruTn, according to indications contained in the Introduction, would appear to have been about twenty years in preparation. The date when it was ready for publication would seem to be 1608, though, as will be pointed out later, the Sentences would seem to have been completed in manuscript form by the spring of 1605. In chapter 9 of the Introductory Tractate Bathe speaks of himself as having been greatly influenced to complete the work, by the representations of a Jesuit colleague of French nationality, whom he lived with at Padua, about 1600-1601. There, and in chapter 5, he clearly mentions himself as inventor opificii, or artificii: in chapter 4 he terms himself also vocabulorum selector, and points to his teaching experience in Belgium as the basis on which he fixed what the range of words used should be. His times of sojourn in Belgium were about 1592-1595, at the University of Louvain, and the period 1595-1597, spent in the Jesuit noviceship and college at Tournay. Very possibly the idea of some such work had come to him before he had decided on leaving Ireland and England, to live in a Catholic country: the period of twenty years, if counted backwards from 1608 or 1605, would certainly involve this. And that his mind was occupied in a design of this kind would appear to be hinted in what Paul Sherlock wrote of his sojourn at the English Court, during the years 1586-1590: “When the Viceroy (Perrott) had some matters of importance to bring under the notice of Elizabeth, he chose Bathe for that mission, knowing that his youth would be a recommendation of which men of more mature years were destitute. Young Bathe became a great favourite with the Queen, whom he delighted by his wonderful skill in playing all kinds of musical instruments, and amnsed by teaching her mnemonics.”

The information we have as to Batljie’s helpers in the composition of the Janua Linguaru-tn is contained in Caspar Schoppe’s preface to his issue of that work under the title of Mercurius Quadrilinguis, (Milan, 1637). It is as follows: - “William Bathe, an Irishman of knight’s rank, was a man of moderate attainments in scholarship, and was conspicuous for his virtues, his blameless and devoted life. But for penetrative power of mind, and for his success in new designs, he was quite remarkable. His love and zeal for the Christian religion, his eager desire for its promotion among savage nations, and especially those of America, prompted him to a decision to form a plan and method, which would lessen and expedite the task of learning several native dialects for preaching of the Gospel, and would enable native races to acquire Latin. His first step was to make out, from Latin word-lists, a three-fold classification of terms. He described them respectively as (1) those in daily use, (2) those that are fundamental, (3) those that are unusua l[...] . When he had listed some five thousand words in this fashion, he classified the whole into twelve centuries, and fitted the words into 1141 statements or sentences. This was done with exceptional labour on his own part and on that of those who were closely associated with him. Among these were his brother, John Bathe, a man of conspicuous merit and learning: he was known in the Spanish Court as Don John of the powerful memory. Another was a priest remarkable for virtue, an Irish man named Father Stephen. He was a theological professor later on for many years at Dilligen. With their assistance Bathe classified the vocabulary into the sentences. He saw that single words, though easily committed to memory, are with equal ease forgotten again. But if sentences are constructed from the words, our minds can the more readily grasp and retain their contents, because they now have two aids, memory and understanding.”

Comenius, in the Novissima Linguarum Methodus, gives the same account, drawn from Schoppe’s text, and thus based on the interview which Schoppe professed himself to have had with Fr. Bathe, just before the latter’s death in 1614. Two of the collaborators thus admit of separate treatment, as they are mentioned by name: the others alluded to by Schoppe, are to be taken as the other Irish Jesuits who were on the staff of the Irish College, Salamanca, during Bathe’s period of residence there, 1604-1608. It is noteworthy that both the title-page, and all the various commendations in the Salamanca edition, mention the “Irish Jesuits in the college of their nation at Salamanca” as having been collectively engaged on the work. They are the cooperatores mentioned in Chapter V. of the Introductory Tractate, and of them the plural verb -decrevimus, censuerimus, credidimus-is frequently used. William Bathe is several times designated as the inventor or vocabulorum selector.

Of John Bathe, younger brother and heir to William, but little was till recently known, beyond the note about him furnished by Caspar Schoppe in the passage cited above. From it we may infer that he perhaps accompanied his elder brother to Spain in 1591-2, or that he was at the Court of Spain in 1603-1605, during the period when the Irish Nunciature was still in the balance. The latter period would seem the more likely, as it would afford greater opportunity of collaborating in the writing of the Janua. His elder brother would appear to have retained the legal ownership of his Dublin manors until December, 1 1648: Vol. II., p. 82 in Amsterdam folio, 1657.

1599, when he executed an assignment of them to his heir presumptive. At the same time, evidently by concerted arrangement. Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam assigned the manor of Balgriffin to William Bathe, and, in default of male heirs, to John Bathe, now of Drumcondra. The lands of Balgriffin had in 1534 been in possession of John Burnell, whose wife was daughter of the second Viscount Gormanston, William Bathe’s great-grandfather. Like most of the estates associated with these families, they had been confiscated under the Acts of Attainder which followed the rebellion of Thomas Fitzgerald, Vice-Deputy of Ireland: he was great-uncle of William Bathe of Drumcondra. In 1605 John Bathe signed the Petition of the Catholic Lords and Gentlemen of the Pale, declaring their loyalty to James I., and their detestation of Gunpowder Plot : the Petition had the extraordinary result of imprisonment within the Castle of Dublin for the chief signatories. In 1624, again, the Calendars of State Papers record that John Bathe of Drumcondra holds those lands, with Ballybough, as tenant-in-chief of the King, by tenure of knight-service. The Index to Prerogative Wills in Ireland shows that before his death in 1630 he had received knighthood: and it need scarcely be said that a Bathe of Drumcondra was among those “Old English of the Pale” named in the confiscation lists of 1641 and 1657. In the former year the lands were granted to James, Duke of York, then a mere child: the Puritan Commonwealth gave them to the Alderman Eccles, of Dublin, whose name is still borne by a street not far from Drumcondra and Ballybough. The Restoration would seem to have resulted in a partial reversal of the Cromwellian policy in this case, as in most others: there was a “James Bathe of Drumcondra” as late as 1686.

Of the “Pater Stephanus, Hibernus”, the only Jesuit expressly named as a collaborator with William Bathe, there is more to be said. The Salamanca lists make it quite clear that he was none other than Fr. Stephen White, a native of Clonmel, and by universal repute one of the most learned men of his time in Europe. On this it will suffice to cite the testimony of Ussher, who described him as “a man profoundly versed in the ancient records not of Ireland alone, but of other countries also.”^ He waa one of several of his name and kin who helped to establish in the Peninsula, with the generous aid of the kings who reigned there, those Irish colleges that did so much for a country where political and religious oppression debarred the great mass of the people from education at home. By tradition the Whites were notable teachers: Antony a Wood has recorded of Dr. Peter White, a kinsman of Stephen, that “a happy schoolmaster of Munster, he devoted himself to his beloved faculty of pedagogy, which was then accounted a most excellent employment in Ireland by Irish Catholics.” Stephen White, born in 1574, was just eighteen years of age when in 1592 a charter was issued by Elizabeth constituting a College of the Holy Trinity in Dublin, and giving it the status of a University The document was carefully drawn so as to avoid any mention of religious tests, and according to Lombard’

Many Catholic parents sent their sons there, only to withdraw them when the oath of siipremacy was tendered as a condition of collegiate emoluments and degrees. The charter named, as the first scholars of the college, three students who are named therein; and one of the three was called Stephen White. The Eev. Dr. E. Hogan, S.J., has advanced many reasons which make it most probable that this Trinity Scholar was the same as the subsequent collaborator in the Janua Linguarum.’^ His subsequent friendly relations with Primate TJssher, who was the second matriculated student of the college, would point to this identification: and it is known that many of the students withdrawn from Trinity College on religious grounds, proceeded to the Irish colleges which were being opened in Spain and Portugal from 1592 onwards. At Lisbon, Stephen White’s kinsman, Fr. Thomas White, S.J., had just opened such a road to education; he was afterwards to found the more famous Irish College of Salamanca. Its first student who joined the Irish Jesuits was Stephen White. Entering the Order at Villagarcia in 1596, he rapidly concluded his studies, and that with a success proved by his being appointed in 1602 to lecture on philosophy at Salamanca. Till the close of 1605 he held that position, and so would have been one of the community which William Bathe joined in 1603 or 1604.

Of Stephen White the domestic record says plurimum profecit in litteris, and so it was but natural that he should enter into the linguistic devices of the former student of Oxford. They parted company after a very few years, for on January 7, 1606, Stephen White took up duty as Professor of Theology at Ingolstadt, and continued in such work there and at Dilingen for nearly twenty years. By Pont-a-mousson and Metz he drew nearer home in his middle age, and in 1629 or 1630 he reached Ireland. The work before him was clear to friend and foe alike. Bishop Bedell knew it when he wrote, “I know that his Holiness has created a new University at Dublin, to confront his Majesty’s College there.”^ The Jesuit University in Dublin, thus audaciously opened in Back Lane, lasted from 1627 to 1629: the end came in a public seizure of the place by the combined forces of the Castle, the Corporation, and Trinity College, which was granted the confiscated building, and was in 1635 using it as a University Hall.^

Dr. Reeves has put on record a most interesting letter from Fr. Stephen White, S.J., written from Dublin on January 31, 1640, to his brother historian, Fr. John Colgan, O.S.F., at the Irish College of St. Antony, Louvain. It gives a full account of his recent interview with Primate Ussher, who also was deeply versed in Irish antiquities. The last years of Fr. White’s long and fruitful life were spent in Galway, and there, while the Confederation still held sway over four-fifths of Ireland, he went to his reward. Of his writings there is no need to speak in detail here. During the period when the Janua Linguarum was being completed at Salamanca, the Prefect of the Irish colleges directed by Irish Jesuits in Spain was Father James Archer, of Kilkenny (1550-1620). Like William Bathe,

.

lie had entered the Society when about thirty-one years of age, and after years spent among the Irish clans, he was sent to Rome to plead the Irish cause in 1600. The appointment of Mansoni as Nuncio, and doubtless the nomination of William Bathe to be the Nuncio’s travelling companion, were largely due to him. In 1601 he was back in southern Munster as chaplain to the Spanish commander in Ireland, Don Juan del Aguila, and on the disastrous failure of that expedition, he again made his escape to Spain. The secure foundation of the college at Salamanca was in the main due to James Archer. The bounty of Philip II. was supplemented by his exertions in Ireland, and some of his own colleagues even thought he favoured that one college overmuch.

On the close of the war he was appointed to the general supervision of the Irish colleges in the Peninsula, a post he still held in 1617, when he was senior in years among his colleagues in Ireland and on the Continent. That he would have interested himself in “William Bathe’s Janua is not unlikely, for he was before all things full of missionary zeal, and at the same time was noted at Rome for his “proficiency in letters.” Finally may be mentioned Richard Conway, of New Ross, as another Irish Jesuit who was at Salamanca in the years 1603-1614. Born in 1572, he became a Jesuit in 1592, and he appears to have succeeded James Archer as Superior-General of the Irish Colleges. He became in 1622 first head of the new Irish College at Seville, and died there in 1626.

It is not unlikely that besides William Bathe himself, all the other Irish Jesuits named above had some share in the work of preparing the Janua. No less than eight times, in the letters of permission and approval it contains, is its composition attributed to the staff of the college collectively: and no words, which clearly limit it to certain among them, are used. Comenius and his circle, in their numerous references to the work, whether in printed text or MSS., always speak of it as the work of the “Irish Fathers”, or the “Irish Jesuits” of Salamanca. It is so described in the registered title-page of the English edition, as entered in the records of Stationers’ Hall: and the whole drift of Bathe’s Preface and Tractate would go to show that while he was the inventor and chief worker at the new plan, he was aided in the execution of it by all his colleagues at Salamanca.

APPENDIX I: BIOGRAPHICAL ARTICLE ON WILLIAM BATHE (Published by Tanner, at Prague, 1694) P. Guilielmus BATHEUS. Natus est P. Guilielmus in Hybernia Dublini, anno 1566, parentibus illustrissimis, at multarum ditionum in Provincia Lagenia dominis; a quibus in omni virtute et pietat« educatus, eamdem cum fide catholica constanter retinuit, cum demortuo patri in jura omnia, tanquam major natu, successit. Cum vero per id tempus Hybernise Pro-Rex ad certa negotia componenda virum perquireret idoneum, Legati titulo ad Elisabetham Anglise Reginam mittendum, Guilielmum post longam deliberationem elegit, in juvenili setate cana prudentia senibus aequalem: quod munus magna Reginse gratia gessit, eo etiam nomine ipsi acceptissimus, quod omne genus musices instrumentorum scite et eleganter tractare nosset. Nihil tamen favores hi et blanditise Reginse, deliciseve florentis Aulas mentem Bathei de constantia in Religions, aut gradu virtutis moverunt, quin adeo robustior in utraque, et vanitatum mundi pertsesus, jam tunc decrevit totum se obsequio Dei addicere, et animo disciplinis omnibus exculto vitam coelibem in statu ecclesiastico amplecti. Reducem in Hyberniam, primarise familise affinem sibi, ditissimorum connubiorum delatione, fieri deposcebaht, quod non solum potentem opibus et ditionibus, sed gratia etiam singulari apud Reginam et Vice-Regem florere viderent: sed ille propositi tenax, repente magna omnium admiratione, jura primogeniti in fratrem suum juniorem transtulit, et rerum omnium abdicate dominio Oxonium ad Philosophiam transiit, non minus Uteris quam pietati, et studio poenitentiae se totum sacraturus. Vitam igitur exorsus omnino sanctam et omnimodis asperitatibus arduam; tempus omne studiis vacuum dabat orationi; dignus qui validis impulsibus a Deo vocaretur ad statum religiosum; quern amplecti jam certus, perplexe duntaxat haerebat et anxius, quern magis deligeret: solitudinis siquidem amore trahebatur inde ad Carthusiam: rigoris inde et poenarum ambitu ad Cappuccinos: desiderio autem et zelo juvandi proximos ad Societatem Jesu.

 

Notes

The following titles are cited in the notes - each keyed to a sentence in the text but imply listed here.

1. Foster, Memorial of the University of Oxford (1891): Vol. I.
2. State Papers, Ireland (Feb. 1598-99).
2. Ussher, Primordia.
3. Comment, de reguo Hiberniae, 1601 [ed. Cardinal Moran].
4. Waterford Archaeological Journal, Vol. III (1897).
5. Strafford Letters.
6 John Pentland Mahaffy, An Epoch in Irish History (London 1903 [On seizure of Jesuit University premises].