Pastorini


Life
[pseud. of Charles Walmsley, 1722-1797]; Catholic prelate and mathematician, b. Lancashire; ed. Douai and Paris; Sorbonne, DD; Benedictine monk, 1739; travelled in Italy; published important astronomical and mathematical papers, 1745-61; FRS 1750; titular bishop of Rama, Dec. 1756; resided in Bath, administering western district, 1757-97;
 
published The General History of the Christian Church, from her Birth to her Final Triumphant States in Heaven (Dublin 1771 & reps.), a millenial text and source of the prophecy that the Catholic Church would emerge triumphant in 1825, widely believed in Ireland, an edition (6th) being published in Cork; Carleton speaks of the popularity of his work;
 
Pastorini is thought by James S. Donnelly, Jr., to have been the inspiration of the Rockite sectarian riots in Munster, 1821-24 [see under Commentary, infra]. ODNB [OCIL].

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Commentary
R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), bio-note: ‘millenial expectations ... focussed around the phenomenally popular Prophecies of Pastorini, promising a delivery from bondage and the destruction of Protestantism, in the year 1825 ... desseminated with extraordinary speed, especially in Co. Limerick, possibly through network of Ribbonmen printers.’ ‘anti-Protestant millenialism’ [Cf. Lawless’s view of peasant millenium].

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Jonathan Bardon, A History of Ulster (1992) cites Pastorini, the pseud. of an 18th c. English Catholic bishop [who] foretold the violent destruction of Protestant Churches in 1825; cheap edns. circulating freely (p.243).

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Fintan O’Toole, ‘Captain Rock and a hard place’, review of Captain Rock: The Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824, by James S. Donnelly Jnr, in The Irish Times (13 Feb. 2010), Weekend Review, p.12: ‘[...] Above all the Rockite rebellion is hidden because it was nakedly sectarian. The revolt was undoubtedly shaped by rational economic factors [... b]ut Donnelly argues convincingly that the extremity of the violence was also fuelled by a millenarian anti-Protestant fervour. Rockism was a religious cult as well as an economic revolt. Though respectable Catholic opinion, led by Daniel O’Connell, did its best to cover up this dimension of the violence, it is clear that the ideology of the rebels was defined by the exotic watchword of Pastorini. / Signor Pastorini was the pen name of Bishop Charles Walmesley, whose reading of the Book of Revelations led him to predict in the 1770s that God’s wrath would be poured out to punish Protestant heretics in 50 years’ time. During the famine and fever of 1817, condensed versions of Pastorini’s prophecies began to circulate very widely among rural Irish Catholics. The idea that Protestants would be wiped out by 1825 gained a powerful hold. [...]’ (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

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Notes
William Carleton: Carleton’s story ‘The Poor Scholar’ makes reference to Pastorini’s prophecies: ‘An; doesn’t Pastorini say it? Sure, when Twenty-five comes, we’ll have our own agin, the right will overcome the might - the bottomless pit will be locked - ay, double bolted, if St. Pether gets the kays, for he’s the very boy that will acommodate the heretics wid a warm corner; an’ yit, faith, ther’s many o’ them that myself ‘ud put in in a good word for, afther all.’ (p.253); ‘Pastorini says that there will soon be a change, an’ tis a good skame it’ill be to have him a sogarth when the fat livins will be walkin’ back to their ould owners.’ (Barbara Hayley, ed., Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, 1843-44 Edn., Vol. II, Facs. rep. Gerrards Cross, 1990, p.261).

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