Patrick Lynch (1757-1830?)


Life
b. Quin, Co. Clare, 17 March.; ed. nr. Ennis under Donogh an Charrain; learned Greek, Latin and Hebrew through Irish, his master knowing no English; five years at the plough, then tutor; went to Carrick-on-Suir, stayed as teacher; estab. the first printing press in the town; printed The Chronoscope; also The Pentaglot Preceptor, or Elementary Institutes of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish Languages, Vol. 1: containing a Grammar of the English Tongue (1796); moved to Dublin and served as Sec. of Gaelic Society, 1815; later employed in Record Commission, Dublin;
 
undertook the completion of Haliday’s trans. of Keating’s History of Ireland [Foras Feasa ar Eirinn] and a version of Colgan’s Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae; issued A Geographical and Statistical History of Ireland; taught Irish at Linen Hall Library, counting Thomas Russell among his pupils; collaborated with Bunting on field-work and later made a journey to Castlebar, Co. Mayo, collecting songs for the former’s Ancient Irish Music, being financed by the McCrackens; arrested on suspicion of sedition;his contribs. to Bunting superceded at the eleventh hour by Thomas Campbell's “Exile of Erin” for security of the editor;
 
may have written the Life of St Patrick (1810) which was published by the printers to St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, in conjunction with his grammar; in it the author contests Protestant versions of Patrician hagiography and particularly berates Edward Ledwich; also purportedly issued a Life of Columbkille [sic]; compiled “Historical notices of the author’s family and life” in conjuction with the edition of the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs, or Review of the Civil War (1815);
 
issued An Introduction to the Knowledge of the Irish Language as now Spoken (1815); also The Classical Students Metrical Mnemonics, containing [ ] definitions and rules of the English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages (Dublin 1817); An Easy Introduction to Practical Astronomy in familiar verse, all the necessary in mnemonic verses and rhymic couplets (1817); his date of death is conjectured at 1830 by librarians but more often simply given as fl.1810. PI RAF

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Works
  • The Pentaglot Preceptor: or elementary institutes of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish, languages (Carrick: John Stacy, MDCCXCVI [1796]), [2], xvi, 122p.[details].
  • [Anon.,] The Life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland: to which is added [...] the Celebrated Hymn [of] Saint Fiech [...] Together with an abstract of Irish Grammar (Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick [for] College of St. Patrick, Maynooth 1810), 350pp. [12°; details].
  • Ed. Robert Gibson, A Treatise on Practical Surveying, demonstrated from its first principles: wherein everything that is useful and curious in that art is fully considered and explained [...] [6th edition; improved] (1810).
  • The Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs: or, His Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland [...] to which is prefixed, Historical notices of the author’s family and life [signed by Patrick Lynch] (Dublin: Espy & Cross 1815), xxxii, 184pp., 4° [details].
  • For-oideas ghnaith-Ghaoighilge na h-Eireand: An introduction to the knowledge of the Irish language, as now spoken ... arranged ... in fourteen short synoptic tables: To which are added, I. Examples of the Gaelic ... conjugations. ... II. The Lord's Prayer in the ... Irish and English characters; as also in the Gaelic of Scotland, in the Manx, and ... Welsh ... III. T. F. O’Malloy's poetical address to his countrymen, lamenting the neglected state of Irish Literature, &c. [By] Patrick Lynch, Secretary to the Gaelic Society of Dublin (Dublin: Gilbert & Hodges [&c.] 1815), 32pp.
  • The Classical Students’ Metrical Mnemonics, Containing in Familiar Verse All the Necessary Definitions and Rules of the English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew Languages (1817), xii, 103pp. [var. 104pp.], 12°.
  • A Geographical & Statistical Survey of the Terraqueous Globe: including a comprehensive compend[ium] of the history, antiquities and topography of Ireland (Dublin: John Barlow 1817), viii, 340pp. [18 cm; COPAC copy in Mancester UL].
  • An Easy Introduction to Practical Astronomy and the Use of the Globes; including in mnemonic verses and rhyming couplets, the necessary axioms, definitions and rules of chronology, geometry, algebra and trigonometry, with the prognostics of the weather, &c., ... for the use of schools (Dublin 1817), viii, [5]-246pp., 12°.
  • An Easy Introduction to the Latin Tongue, originally compiled for the use of Eton College [New edn., rev. by P. Lynch] (Dublin: Printed by N. Clarke 1818), 149, [3]pp. [17 cm]., and Do. [...] carefully revised, and enriched with many necessary articles not in any former edition[new edn.] (1822), 149pp.
See also Diary and Letters of Patrick Lynch [Sec. of the Dublin Gaelic Soc.], in Charlotte M. Fox, Annals of the Irish Harpers (1911), q.pp.

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Bibliographical details
The Pentaglot Preceptor: or Elementary Institutes of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish, languages. Vol. I: Containing a complete grammar of the English tongue For the Use of Schools, and peculiarly calculated for the Instruction of such Ladies & Gentlemen, as may wish to learn without the help of a Master. By Patrick Lynch (Carrick: printed by John Stacy, M,DCC,XCVI. [1796]), [2],xvi,122p., 8°, and Do., by Patrick Lynch, Secretary to the Gaelic Society of Dublin. [with an inserted preface dated May 1st, 1802, and unaltered t.p. incl. date of pub.] (Carrick [1802]) [ ESTCT106609; also Electronic version by Thomson Gale [Chicago] 2003; available online by licence]. See also 1805 edn., infra.

A Plain, Easy and Comprehensive Grammar of the English Tongue, in which the definitions and rules necessary to be committed to memory are composed in familiar verse. With a preliminary essay, containing ... a critical review of the most celebrated English Grammars, &c. / [by Patrick Lynch, Secretary to the Gaelic Society of Dublin] (Carrick: [John Stacy] 1805) [t.p. of the 1976 original also given].

A Treatise on Practical Surveying, demonstrated from its first principles: wherein everything that is useful and curious in that art is fully considered and explained [...] by Robert Gibson, Teacher of the Mathematics [6th edition; improved] (1810).

The Life of Saint Patrick, / Apostle of Ireland: / to which is added, / in the original Irish character / (with both a Latin and an English translation) / the Celebrated Hymn / composed above 1200 Years since / by his disciple, Saint Fiech; / comprehending a Compendious History of his Life / annexed is a / Copious Appendix /containing a summary account of the various ecclesiastical Institutions, Orders, Edifices, and Establishments in Ireland, since the introduction of the Christ Religion / also a Chronological Table/of the / Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, Cashell, and Tuam, from the death of St. Patrick till the present year. / [As anon. - given as Patrick Lynch in BML Catalogue.] for contents and extracts, see under St. Patrick [q.v.]

The Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs: or, His Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland; with his own engagement and conduct therein: containing also an appendix and post-script, enl. & cor. by himself; to which is prefixed, Historical notices of the authors family and life, comp. for this edition [by Patrick Lynch] (Dublin: Printed by Espy and Cross 1815), xxxii, 184pp., 4° [Incls. “Historical notices of the author's family and life” signed: P. Lynch.

 

Criticism
See Claire Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. I [Chap. 10], espec. p.4324f.

 

Commentary
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), calls him a rural polymath from Co. Clare; learned Hebrew as well as Greek and Latin; published in The Pentaglot Preceptor, or Elementary Institutes of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish Languages, vol. 1, containing a Grammar of the English Tongue (1796); went to Dublin as a schoolmaster and in 1815 became secretary of the Gaelic Society; no further vols. of Pentaglot appeared; The Classical Students’ Metrical Mnemonics, Containing in Familiar Verse All the Necessary Definitions and Rules of the English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew Languages (1817); also produced versions of Alvary’s Latin and Wetenhall’s Greek grammar as well as works on Irish and on Irish saints; Stanford regards Lynch as exemplifying the traditional omnivorousness and boldness of the native Irish scholars, a trait to be seen in writers like James Joyce. [37]

Charlotte Milligan Fox, "Diaries and Journals of Patrick Lynch", in Annals of the Irish Harpers (1911), writes: ‘The journal of Patrick Lynch had never seen the light, and Dr MacDonnell’s letters were of great interest.’ (Preface, p.x.) That journal is included in her book as "The Diary of Patrick Lynch", pp.227-58 [as Chap. XX, XXI and XXII; available at Internet Archive - online.]

[Chap. XX:] Patrick Lynch was born near Quin, County Clare, in 1757 or 1758. For many years he acted as a private tutor. And in 1790 settled in Carrick - on - Suir. Many writers incorrectly state that he was a native of Carrick. In 1791 he finished a work, entitled Chronoscope or a chronological tale of events, but finding no publisher he constructed a rude printing-press, and printed it himself. Two years later, John Stacy, a regular printer, set up in Carrick, and from his press there was issued in 1796 a book by Lynch called The Pentaglot Preceptor with instructions for the study of English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish. In 1800 he issued an Almanack, but though these books were printed in Carrick he was at the time of their publication already living in Belfast. He had, doubtless, been invited there by the group of eager students of Irish, who had been connected with the Harp Festival. There were many schools in Belfast, and doubtless the author of The Pentaglot Preceptor found occupation as an instructor of youth. Amongst those who studied Irish with him was Thomas Russell, one of the leaders of the United Irishmen, who had retired from the army, and had taken the position of librarian in the newly started Belfast Library. Russell, however, was arrested and taken out of Ireland as a state prisoner in 1796, and he and Lynch were fated not to meet for many years. After nine years in Belfast he went to live at Loughin [228] Island, in County Down, bringing with him his children, but from one of his letters we would conclude that he was then a widower.

This was his home when, in May 1802, he started out on the Connaught tour. In 1803 we shall see he fell into disfavour with his Belfast employers. Dr Grattan Flood tells us that he returned to Carrick, and published in 1805 his Plain, Easy, and Comprehensive Grammar. In 1806 he settled in Dublin and opened a private school. In December of the same year he became secretary of the newly founded Gaelic Society, which numbered among its members Father Denis Taaffe, Father Paul O’Brien, Edward O’Reilly (compiler of the well - known Irish Dictionary), Theophilus O’Flannigan, and W. A. Halliday. All these names will be familar to those interested in the history of the Gaelic revival. In 1808 he helped the Rev. W. Neilson with his Irish grammar, which, by the way, after a hundred years, has been largely drawn on by the Gaelic League compilers of phrase-books. It contains a fine version of the famous poem "Deirdre's Lament."

In 1808 and in 1810 Lynch edited Wogan's Gents, and Ladies Almanacks. He also got employment as a copyist of Gaelic MSS. in Trinity College, and the Royal Irish Academy. His death took place in 1829.

From all this you will gather that Lynch was a typical pedagogue, but of more than average capacity, even if we assume that there was a certain amount of pretension shown by the author of The Pentaglot Preceptor. What he had of Hebrew we know not, the proofs of his diligence as a collector of Irish Songs lies before us in his numerous note-books, and in the two large volumes in which he has made fair copies of the song words.

We shall now quote from his diary and letters. As Bunting was leaving Belfast for London only the first letter is addressed to him. It tells how Lynch arrived at the [229] house of Mr Anthony Bunting at Drogheda, and received directions and introductions. [...]

See Fox, Annals of the Irish Harpers (1911) - online.

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Quotations
The Life of Saint Patrick (1810): Lynch claims that St. Patrick was born in Tours, properly Naom (or Neam) Tour, in Armorican Gaul, on the Loire, a.d..373; Consecrated Bishop, and sent on the Irish Mission by Pope Celestine in 433; After 60 years spent in accomplishing the complete conversion of Ireland, d. in the 120 year of his age, March 17th, 493; reads ‘Nemthur’ in the Hymn to Fiech [Fiacc], rather than Nempthur, as often translated through error. He strenuously attests that the bishops of Ireland (R.C.) are in directly line of succession from Patrick, that the Irish Church has always been faithful to Rome and shared its doctrines. (For extensive extracts, see under St. Patrick, Commentary, infra.]

 

References
British Library Catalogue lists Patrick Lynch [Secretary to the Gaelic Society of Dublin], The Life of Saint Patrick, / Apostle of Ireland: / to which is added, / in the original Irish character / (with both a Latin and an English translation) / the Celebrated Hymn / composed above 1200 Years since / by his disciple, Saint Fiech; / comprehending a Compendious History of his Life / annexed is a / Copious Appendix /containing a summary account of the various ecclesiastical Institutions, Orders, Edifices, and Establishments in Ireland, since the introduction of the Christ Religion / also a Chronological Table/of the / Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, Cashell, and Tuam, from the death of St. Patrick till the present year. / Together with an abstract of Irish Grammar (Dublin: printed by H. Fitzpatrick, No. 4 Capel-Street, Printer and Bookseller to the R. C. College of St. Patrick, Maynooth 1810), 12o., entered in Stationers’ Hall. 350pp. Note: though author of the grammar attached, he is prob. not the author of the main text. [See Saint Patrick, q.v..]

 

Notes
Bolg an tSolair (20 April 1795): Editorial, probably by Thomas Russell, praised ‘Mr Lynch’s attempts to revive Grammatical and Critical Knowledge of the Irish language in this town’. (See Mary Helen Thuente, ‘The Literary Significance of the United Irishmen’, Michael Kenneally, ed., Irish Literature and Culture, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992, pp.35-62; p.42.)

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