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Thomas Dease

Priest; b. in Ireland, 1568; d. at Galway, 1651

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Dease, THOMAS, b. in Ireland, 1568; d. at Galway, 1651. He sprang from an ancient Irish family at one time possessing considerable landed property in Cavan and Westmeath. In youth he acquired some proficiency in the Irish language, in which language he wrote some poems. Having determined to become a priest, he proceeded to Paris, where after ordination he spent the first years of his priesthood. During this time he became rector of the Irish Seminary, the precursor of the present Irish College. In 1622 he was consecrated Bishop of Meath, returning to Ireland the same year. In spite of persecution and penal laws he continued loyal to England and preached loyalty to his flock. He regarded with disfavor the Confederation of Kilkenny, and resisted all the arguments and entreaties of the primate to join it. This conduct brought him toleration, if not favor, from the Government, though it made him unpopular with his Catholic fellow-countrymen. And it specially annoyed the nuncio, Rinuccini, who charged him with having sown the seeds of enmity between the Confederate generals Preston and O’Neill. The news of Dease’s death was therefore received, in 1648, by the nuncio with little regret. But the news turned out false, and the nuncio writing to Rome reported that the bishop still lived “to try the patience of the good”.

E. A. D’ALTON.


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