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                                             Searc's Web Guide to 17th Century Ireland - John Lynch (1599-1673)


John Lynch was born in Galway where he was educated by the Jesuits. In 1616 he went to Dieppe, France to study for the priesthood and was ordained in 1622. Lynch, like most Irish religious of that time, had to remain in exile in Europe until following the 1641 Rising when he returned to his native Galway and founded a school. Lynch opposed the active interference of the Church in politics but he supported the Catholic Confederation of 1642 on the grounds of 'self-defence'. When Galway surrendered to Cromwellians in 1652, Lynch had to flee to France in fear of imprisonment. In exile Lynch translated Seathrún Céitín's Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn into Latin and, under the pseudonym Gratianus Lucius Hibernus, published Cambrensis Everus (St.Malo, 1662) a refutation of the 13th century works on Ireland by the Welsh historian Giraldus Cambrensis.
In 1669, Lynch became Bishop of Killala and afterwards Archdeacon of Tuam in absentia. He was imprisoned in 1671 and died in exile in Brittany in 1673. This extract is from Matthew Kelly's* 1848 translation of Lynch's Cambrensis Everus

The national soil and your country are synonymous, whence it is evident that wherever a man is born there is his native country. Right by birth is the strongest right any man can have to be regarded as the citizen of any state.
The accident of birth gives a stronger title than any other adventitious or acquired title. Wherever a man is born, there he is enrolled a native.
Why do some women, when in an advanced state of pregnancy, change the place of their abode, if not that the infant which is to be born should be a native of that place in which it first draws the breath of life?
Can it be denied that any person born in any city are, according to their rank, entitled to all the privileges of that city?
Is it not, then, shameful audacity for any man to presume to deny the name of Irishman to any man born in Ireland?
Stanihurst inveighs, with great justice and severity, against the folly of those who so distinguished between Ireland and Irishman, that they admit they are from Ireland but deny they are Irishmen. They are like the false butcher who asked fifteen drachmas for his sheep and would not accept five shillings which are equal to that sum...
Well may we sympathise with the just complaint of the descendants of those English who subdued Ireland to the English Crown, that they are hated by both English and Irish; the former denying to them the name of Englishmen and the latter insisting that they are English.
The complaint is thus expressed in Irish verse:
The Gaeidhil regard us as English,
The English proclaim us from our lands;
narrow our share of the earth,
we are like apples on a flood!

It is not the country of his ancestors, but the place of his own birth, that is a man's true country.
*Kelly belonged to the Celtic Society in which William Smith O'Brien and John Mitchel were also active.
© Searc's Web Guide 1997-2008

17th Century Irish Writers
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