NICHOLAS FRENCH (1604-1678), bishop of Ferns, was an Irish political pamphleteer, who was born at Wexford. He was educated at Louvain, and returning to Ireland became a priest at Wexford, and before 1646 was appointed bishop of Ferns. Having taken a prominent part in the political disturbances of this period, French deemed it prudent to leave Ireland in 1651, and the remainder of his life was passed on the continent of Europe. He acted as coadjutor to the archbishops of Santiago de Compostella and Paris, and to the bishop of Ghent, and died at Ghent on the 23rd of August 1678. In 1676 he published his attack on James Butler, marquess of Ormonde, entitled "The Unkinde Desertor of Loyall Men and True Frinds," and shortly afterwards "The Bleeding Iphigenia." The most important of his other pamphlets is the "Narrative of the Earl of Clarendon's Settlement and Sale of Ireland" (Louvain, 1668).
The Historical Works of Bishop French, comprising the three pamphlets already mentioned and some letters, were published by S. H. Bindon at Dublin in 1846. See T. D. McGee, Irish Writers of the 17th Century (Dublin, 1846); Sir J. T. Gilbert, Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652 (Dublin, 1879-1880); and T. Carte, Life of James, Duke of Ormond (new ed., Oxford, 1851).
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