Peter Walsh, D.D.

Walsh, Peter, D.D., Professor of Divinity at Louvain, was born at Moortown, County of Kilkenny, early in the 17th century, and was educated in the College of St. Anthony, Louvain. He returned to Ireland in 1646, joined the Ormond party, and wrote a treatise against Rinuccini. In 1661 he was made procurator or representative in London of some of the Catholic hierarchy. He was the ally of Ormond in the political complications of the period — especially in the matter of the "Remonstrance," the discussion regarding which raged fiercely for three years. The document was condemned by a synod of Catholic clergymen that met in June 1666, some of whom were imprisoned through his instrumentality. For this he was suspended and excommunicated by his own Church. The Duke of Ormond obtained for him a situation of £100 a year in London.

The Earl of Orrery entered into a pamphlet war with him in Irish Colours Displayed, to which Walsh replied by his Irish Colours Folded. In 1672 he published his valuable History of the Remonstrance. D'Arcy McGee says: "It has great candour, abounds in bond fide documents, letters, decrees, and state papers. Without it, the great Catholic confederacy could not be well understood by our times, or rescued from misrepresentation by the lovers of true history." Walsh endeavoured upon one occasion to convert his friend and patron, Ormond, to Catholicism. Dr. Walsh died in 1687, and was buried in St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, London. His character is thus sketched by the Bishop of Salisbury: "He was the honestest and learnedest man I ever knew among them [the Catholics], and was indeed in all points of controversy almost wholly a Protestant, but he had senses of his own, by which he excused his adhering to the Church of Rome, and maintained that with these he could continue in the communion of that Church without sin: and he thought no man ought to forsake that religion in which he was born and bred, unless he was clearly convinced that he must certainly be damned if he continued in it. He was an honest and able man, much practised in intrigues."


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