King, Paul (DNB00)

KING, PAUL (d. 1655), Irish Franciscan, was the son of Cornelius King, who was employed by Lord Upper Ossory as a clerk or secretary. His uncle, the Rev. Murtagh King, was a convert to protestantism, and beneficed by William Bedell [q. v.], bishop of Kilmore, who employed him to translate the Old Testament into Irish. According to Richard Bellings [q. v.], King was christened David. His name in religion was Paulus a Spiritu Sancto. In early life he was imprisoned among the Moors, and owed his liberation to Luke Wadding [q. v.] In 1641 he taught moral theology at Brindisi, and in 1644 he was doing similar work at Kilkenny, where he was made guardian of the convent and, as it seems, of the whole province, by the nuncio Rinuccini, whose cause he espoused both against Ormonde and against the supreme council of the confederate catholics. In July 1648, when acting as the nuncio's confidential agent (Cardinal Moran, Spicilegium Ossoriense, i. 422), he was arrested by order of the council, and his guardianship of the convent conferred on Peter Walsh (Aphorismical Discovery, ed. Gilbert, i. 238). A few days later he wrote to Macmahon, bishop of Clogher, inviting Owen Roe O'Neill [q. v.] to seize Kilkenny and all the nuncio's enemies before Ormonde's arrival in Ireland. The letter was intercepted, and King fled to the continent. According to Bellings he had openly committed innumerable crimes, but the abortive plot to betray Kilkenny is alone mentioned. At Louvain he wrote a bitter diatribe against Rinuccini's opponents and the Anglo-Irish party generally; and this pamphlet, which professes to have been written from the Irish camp some months before, was carefully circulated by the wandering Franciscans in France, Spain, and Italy. Bellings dissects it sentence by sentence in the second part of the ‘Vindiciæ.’ Innocent X is believed to have blamed the nuncio much, but the Franciscan order generally sustained him, and in 1649 King was made guardian of St. Isidore's at Rome (Spicilegium Ossoriense, i. 326). The famous John Colgan [q. v.] recommended him as a proper person to be commissary over the Franciscan colleges on the continent, and he was for some years secretary to the procurator-general of the order. Bellings regrets (Vindiciæ, preface to part ii.) having had no opportunity of showing that punishment was deserved rather than promotion; but his antagonist John Ponce, himself a Franciscan, says King was worthy of even much greater honours. and defends him against a charge of publishing scurrilous verses. While at Rome King projected a book in ten volumes in honour of his order (‘nostri seraphici ordinis’), but only lived to publish a kind of syllabus, which was licensed for the ‘Index’ as ‘earnest of a great work.’ King, who was a professor of theology, was learned in Greek and Hebrew. He records his preference for an obvious and easy style, and wrote with vigour, but incorrectly, though he was a pupil of the famous latinist, Bonaventure Baron [q. v.] He died, it is believed at Rome, in 1665.

King's published writings, all in Latin, are: 1. Letter to the Bishop of Clogher, August 1648, printed in Bellings's ‘Vindiciæ,’ i. chap. 14, and in Cox's ‘Hibernia Anglicana.’ 2. ‘Epistola nobilis Hiberni ad amicum Belgam scripta ex castris catholicis ejusdem regni, die 4 Maii, anno 1649,’ printed in ‘Vindiciæ,’ pt. ii., and in Gilbert's ‘Contemporary History,’ ii. 211. 3. ‘Idea Cosmographiæ Seraphicæ concepta et concinnata a Fr. Paulo King, Hiberno, … Romæ,’ 1654. 4. An Elegy on Cardinal Ximenes.

[Vindiciæ Catholicorum Hiberniæ, authore Philopatro Irenæo (Richard Bellings), Paris, 1650; John Ponce's Vindiciæ Eversæ, Paris, 1653; Gilbert's Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland; information kindly supplied by the Rev. F. L. Carey, late guardian of St. Isidore's.]

R. B-l.