Our subject requires that we should give the place of honour to St. Patrick, whose biography, divested of its legendary adjuncts, may be consulted in the great work of Rev. Alban Butler. Jocelyn, Monk of Furness, most credulous of hagiographers, is our darling authority. Scant would have been his patience in following day by day the footsteps of the great Apostle, preaching the word of life, and indefatigable in instructing his neophytes in the principles of the Christian faith, had not these unceasing works of mercy been enlivened by romantic and miraculous incidents. From the bushel of wheat and chaff we offer our readers a measure filled at good Father Jocelyn's granary; we give our readers the privilege of carrying away one or the other. The outlines of the saint's life may be given in a few words.
Patrick was born, according to the best authorities, in the Roman colony of Tabernia, afterwards named Bo-nonia, now Boulogne-sur-Mer: his father, the Roman Calphurnus ; his mother, first a beautiful Gaulish captive, then wife to the Roman officer. In a descent on the coast by Nial of the Nine Hostages he was captured, and the next seven years of his life were spent in herding swine in the North of Ireland. Making his escape, he regained France; and finding within himself a strong vocation for the preaching of Christ to the Pagan Irish, he entered on the course of theological studies, and being in time ordained and appointed to the mission, he returned to Ireland. After some conversions in the North, and using a barn as his first cathedral, he preached before King Leoghaire (pr. Laere) and his court, and received the royal permission to teach the new faith through the island, provided he caused no social disturbance. From this period, a.d. 432, till his death, placed by some in 460, by others in 492, his missionary and episcopal labours never ceased, and before his departure the greater part of the island dwellers were Christian. Now, putting off the robe of the historian, we resume the easier garb of the legendary.