IRLAND, JOHN (fl. 1480), divine and diplomatist, apparently a native of Scotland, settled in Paris, and became a doctor of the Sorbonne. A Johannes de Hirlandia, ‘baccalaureus Navarricus,’ appears in the index but not in the text of Bulæus (Hist. Univ. Paris, vol. v.) as rector of the university of Paris in 1469. Ireland's Scottish birth and proved ability caused Louis XI of France to send him to Scotland in 1480 to urge James III to declare war with England and to reconcile Alexander Stewart, duke of Albany [q. v.], with his brother, James III. In the latter object he failed, but he is said to have greatly impressed James, who induced him to return to live in Scotland, and gave him a rich benefice (Dempster, Hist. Eccl. Gentis Scotorum, No. 752). He was doubtless the Dr. John Irland, doctor of theology and rector of Hawick, who was one of the Scottish ambassadors sent in 1484 to France to receive the oath of Charles VIII to the treaty of 1483 (Crawfurd, Affairs of State, i. 45, ed. 1726; Michel, Les Écossais en France). On 23 Sept. 1487 Henry VII, at the request of King James, granted a safe-conduct to the Bishop of St. Andrews and John Irland, clerk (Fœdera, orig. ed., xii. 326). According to Dempster, Irland wrote:
- ‘In Magistrum Sententiarum,’ in four books.
- A book of sermons.
- ‘Reconciliationis Modus ad Jacobum III Regem super dissidio cum Duce Albaniæ’
- One book of letters.
[Dempster's Hist. Eccl. Gentis Scot. (Bannatyne Club), 1829; Michel's Les Écossais en France; Burton's Hist. of Scotland, iii. 22.]
IRLAND, ROBERT (d. 1561), professor of law at Poitiers, was the second son of Alexander Irland of Burnben in Lorn and Margaret Coutts. His family, an old and important one, was originally settled in the west of Scotland, but the elder male line becoming extinct the estates passed by marriage about 1300 to the Abercrombies. Irland, when a young man, went to France about 1496. Having completed his studies at the university of Poitiers, he there received the degree of doctor of laws, and in 1502 obtained one of the chairs of law in that university. Letters of naturalisation were granted to him by Francis I in May 1521. Irland, whose lectures were well attended, acquired a great reputation as a jurist. Philippe Hurault, chancellor of France, and de Harley, first president of parliament, and other well-known statesmen were among his pupils. Baron, professor of law at Bourges, whom Cujas termed the most learned man of his time, dedicated (25 Dec. 1536) to Irland in highly laudatory terms his work, ‘The Economy of the Pandects.’ Rabelais refers to Irland in treating of the decretals. ‘Il m'avint,’ he says, ‘un jour à Poitiers chez l'Écossais Doctor Decretalipotens, &c., &c.’ He occupied his chair for about sixty years, and died at an advanced age on 15 March 1561. He was twice married, first to Marie Sauveteau, by whom he had one son, John, who became counsellor in the parliament of Rennes; and again to Claire Aubert, of a noble family of Poitou, by whom he had two sons, Louis and Bonaventure.
Bonaventure Irland (1551–1612?) succeeded his father in the professorship of laws at Poitiers, was a colleague of Adam Blackwood [q. v.], and was a conseiller du roi of the city. He wrote: ‘Remontrances au roi Henri III, au nom du pays de Poitou,’ Poitiers, n.d., 8vo (Hoefer). A philosophical treatise entitled ‘Bonaventuræ Irlandi antecessorum primicerii sive decani et consiliarii regii apud Pictavos, de Emphasi et Hypostasi ad recte judicandi rationem consideratio,’ Poitiers, 1599, 8vo. By ‘Emphase’ he designated the false or misleading forms under which things may be presented so as to delude our apprehension or our judgment; and by ‘Hypostase,’ the truth or reality of things which is hid from us. He proposes, in a manner somewhat akin to that of Bacon in indicating his ‘Idola,’ to guard the mind against the seductions of the imagination. He refers to his master Ramus, whose errors he deplores. In the preface to this work he mentions that he had written a life of his father, and had dedicated it to the Chancellor de Chiverny. It does not seem to have been published. He also wrote a ‘Latin speech on the birth of the Dauphin Louis XIII, dedicated to Henry IV,’ Poitiers, 1605, 12mo. He died about 1612. According to a custom much in vogue during the sixteenth century his name of Bonaventure was frequently translated into Greek, Eutyches or Eutychius. Dreux du Radier states that some of his contemporaries called him indifferently by the one or the other name. The family of Irland intermarried with the best families of Poitou, and Robert Irland's descendants in France are very numerous at the present time.