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Humano generi utilius NIHIL arte medendi.
ROS COM M O N.
ENTWORTH DILLON, earl of
Roscommon, was the son of James Dillon and Elizabeth Wentworth, fifter to the earl of Strafford. He was born in Ireland during the lieutenancy of Strafford, who, being both his uncle and his godfather, gave him his own surname. His father, the third earl of Roscommon, had been converted by Usher to the Protestant religion ; and when the Popish rebellion broke out, Strafford thinking the family in great danger from the fury of the Irish, fent for his godson, and placed him at his own feat in Yorkshire, where he was instructed in Latin ; which he learned so as to write it with purity and elegance, though he was never able to retain the rules of
Such is the account given by Mr. Fenton, from whose notes on Waller most of this account must be borrowed, though I know not whether all that he relates is certain. The instructor whom he assigns to Roscommon is one Dr. Hall, by whom he cannot mean the famous Hall, then an old man and a bishop.
When the storm broke out upon Strafford, his house was a shelter no longer; and Dillon, by the advice of Usher, was sent to Caen, where the Protestants had then an university, and continued his studies under Bochart.
Young Dillon, who was sent to study under Bochart, and who is represented as having already made great proficiency in literature, could not be more than nine years old. Strafford went to govern Ireland in 1633, and was put to death eight years afterwards. That he was sent to Caen, is certain : that he was a great scholar, may be doubted.
At Caen he is said to have had some preter-natural intelligence of his father's death.
66 The lord Roscommon, being a boy of “ ten years of age, at Caen in Normandy, • one day was, as it were, madly extrava“ gant in playing, leaping, getting over the " tables, boards, &c. He was wont to be “ “ fober enough; they said, God grant
this 6 bodes no ill-luck to him ! In the heat of “ this extravagant fit, he cries out, My father " is dead. A fortnight after, news came from 66 Ireland that his father was dead. This ac66 count I had from Mr. Knolles, who was “ his governor, and then with him,fince “ secretary to the earl of Strafford ; and I “ have heard his lordship’s relations confirm “ the same.” Aubrey's Miscellany.
The present age is very little inclined to favour any accounts of this kind, nor will the name of Aubrey much recommend it to credit : it ought not, however, to be omitted, because better evidence of a fact cannot easily be found than is here offered, and it must be by preserving such relations that we may at last judge how much they are to be regarded. If we stay to examine this account, we shall see difficulties on both sides : here is the re
lation of a fact given by a man who had no interest to deceive, and who could not be deceived himself; and here is, on the other haud, a miracle which produces no effect; the order of nature is interrupted to discover not a future but only a distant event, the knowledge of which is of no use to him to whom it is revealed. Between these difficulties, what
thall be found? Is reason or testimony to be rejected ? I believe what Ofborne says of an appearance of lanctity may be applied to such impulses or anticipations as this: Do not wholly Night them, because they may be true ; but do not exfily trust them, because they may be false.
The state both of England and Ireland was at this time such, that he who was absent from either country
little temptation to return : and therefore Roscommo!, when he left Caen, travelled into Italy, and amused himself with its antiquities, and particularly with medals, in which he acquired uncom
At the Restoration, with the other friends of monarchy, he came to England, was made