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Walsh, Peter

WALSH, PETER [VALESIUS] (c. 1618-1688), Irish politician and controversialist, was born at Mooretown, co. Kildare, and studied at Louvain, where he joined the Franciscans and acquired Jansenist sympathies. In 1646 he went to Kilkenny, then in the hands of the rebel " confederate Catholics," and, in opposition to the papal nuncio Rinuccini, urged, and in 1649 helped to secure, peace with the viceroy Ormonde. Persecuted from this time by the irreconcilable supporters of the papal claims, and even in danger of death, after Cromwell's conquest of Ireland he lived obscurely in London and abroad. On the restoration he urged his patron Ormonde to support the Irish Roman Catholics as the natural friends of royalty against the sectaries, and endeavoured to mitigate their lot and efface the impression made by their successive rebellions by a loyal remonstrance to Charles II., boldly repudiating papal infallibility and interference in public affairs, and affirming undivided allegiance to the crown. For eight years he canvassed for signatures to this address, but in spite of considerable support the strenuous opposition of the Jesuits and Dominicans deterred the clergy and nearly wrecked the scheme. From 1669 until his death he lived in London, much respected for his honesty, loyalty and learning. Excommunicated by the Franciscan chapter-general in 1670, he remained a devout adherent of his church, although he maintained friendly relations with the Anglicans, accepting their orders and attending their churches. He made a full submission to Rome before his death, though the fact has been questioned. He wrote (1672-1684) a series of controversial letters against Pope Gregory VII. 's doctrine of papal supremacy over princes; a voluminous History of the Remonstrance (1674); Hibernica (1682), a worthless history of Ireland; in 1686 a reply to the Popery of Thomas Barlow (1607-1691), bishop of Lincoln; and other works. In these writings he consistently upheld the doctrine of civil liberty against the pretensions of the papacy.

See S. R. Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War; G. Burnet, History of his own Times, i. 195 ; T. Carte, Life of Ormonde (new ed. 1851); Diet. Nat. Biog. lix.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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