Peter Talbot, S.J.,
later Archbishop of Dublin
From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 125 ff:
Peter Talbot succeeded in 1669. Peter was the son of Sir William Talbot and brother of the celebrated Colonel Talbot whom James II created earl of Tyrconnell and afterwards ennobled with the title of duke. Peter was born about the year 1620. Early in life, with a view of entering the ecclesiastical state, he repaired to Portugal, there became a Jesuit in 1635, and afterwards to Rome, where he completed his studies and was admitted to holy orders. From Rome he returned to Portugal and afterwards removed to Antwerp where he lectured on moral theology and published a treatise on the nature of faith and heresy the nullity of the Protestant church and its clergy. He is supposed to be the person who received, in 1656, Charles the Second into the Catholic religion while he was at Cologne and to have been sent privately to Madrid to intimate to the court of Spain the fact of his conversion. On the marriage of Charles II with the Infanta of Portugal he was appointed one of her chaplains and his vows as a Jesuit having been dispensed with he was promoted to the see of Dublin in 1669 and consecrated in the May of this year either at Antwerp or Ghent.
On his arrival in Dublin he found an assembly of the Catholic clergy sitting under the control of the primate Talbot asserting an authority to oversee the proceedings, the old controversy respecting the primatial right was revived. Both parties appealed to Rome where a decision was made in favor of Armagh as Archbishop Plunkett and after him Hugh Mac Mahon alleged. In 1670, Archbishop Talbot sojourned for a time at Ghent and having returned to Dublin in the May of this year he waited on Lord Berkeley, lord lieutenant of Ireland, by whom he was courteously received and permitted to appear in his archiepiscopal character before the council. On the 30th of August 1670, the archbishop held a synod in Dublin and again in the following year he convened a second one enforcing the publication of bans of marriages and prohibiting under pain of excommunication any Catholic male or female from contracting matrimony with the offspring of Jews, Turks or Moors and moreover interdicting any priest from solemnizing such.
The liberal Lord Berkeley being removed from the government of Ireland, the bigoted Essex replaced him and forthwith the storm burst upon the devoted heads of the Catholics and Peter Talbot was at once marked out for proscription. He was accused with an intent to introduce Roman Catholics into the common council of the Dublin corporation. Judging rightly of his danger and distrusting those who should adjudicate his cause, he fled and after wandering some time in disguise he arrived safely in the metropolis of France from which he addressed in 1674 a pastoral letter full of tenderness to those over whom he presided on the duty and comfort of suffering subjects.
In 1675, he ventured to return to England where he took up his residence at Pool Hall in Cheshire and fearing that his end was approaching he obtained through the influence of the duke of York a connivance to his restoration to Ireland. In 1678, he was arrested at Malahide on suspicion of being concerned in the popish plot as nothing was found in his papers to justify the charge and as his state of health did not permit his removal the security of his brother was accepted for his appearance. He was, however, on the arrival of the duke of Ormond in Dublin, removed to the castle a prisoner on the point of death. There he remained for two years treated with great severity until death put an end to his afflictions in the year 1680.
Patrick Russell, after a vacancy of three years, succeeded on the 2d of August 1683. In July 1685 he held a provincial synod at Dublin in which local and provincial regulations were made. In the following year, Archbishop Russel assisted at an assembly of the Roman Catholic clergy held in Dublin at which the primate of all Ireland presided. To this meeting of the clergy the earl of Clarendon alludes in a dispatch to the earl of Rochester dated the 15th of May. Again Patrick Russel presided at a diocesan synod held in Dublin on the 10th of June 1686 in which it was decreed that parochial clergymen having the charge of souls should provide schoolmasters in their parishes to instruct the children and should inspect the schools and remove the teachers if negligent. On the 1st of August, 1688, he held a provincial council wherein it was enacted among other things that every parish priest should under pain of suspension on the Lord's day explain some point of the Christian doctrine or give a short exhortation to the people after the gospel. During the residence of King James in the Irish metropolis, Archbishop Russel enjoyed the distinction of performing the holy rites of the Catholic church in the royal presence. The last rite which he celebrated before the king was the consecration of the Benedictine nunnery in Channelrow. On the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty, he fled to Paris, whence he returned to close his days in the land of his labors. At the close of the year 1692, he went the way of all flesh and was buried in the ancient church of Lusk.
Peter Creagh succeeded in 1693, was bishop of Cork for several years previous to 1686. It is probable that he was a relative of Sir Michael Creagh who was the lord mayor of Dublin in 1688, whose brother the mayor of Newcastle was also knighted by King James. On the flight of James and the surrender of Limerick, Peter left the country and resided in Paris until, on the 9th of March 1693, he was advanced to the archdiocese of Dublin. During the incumbency of Peter, the embers of persecution were rekindled the education foreign or domestic of Catholics was prohibited penal enactments succeeded in 1697. All popish prelates, vicars general, deans, monks, Jesuits and all others of their religion who exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ireland were ordered by act of Parliament to depart from the kingdom before the 1st of May, 1698, and in case of return were subjected to imprisonment and transportation to foreign parts, whence, if they returned, they were liable to be arraigned as traitors and it was moreover enacted that none should be buried in any monastery, abbey or convent not used for the Protestant service. In the same session was enacted the statute prohibiting the intermarriages of Protestants with Catholics. Such indeed was the success of the persecutors in the year 1698, that the number of regulars alone shipped from Ireland were one hundred and fifty three from Dublin, one hundred and ninety from Galway, seventy five from Cork and twenty six from Waterford, in all a total of four hundred and forty four. During all this time there is no public notice of Peter Creagh, the archbishop of Dublin, and such is the scarcity of materials in connection with his life that the period of his death is to be inferred from the appointment of his successor.