We left Kilkinik (Kilkenny) and arrived at Kalon (Callan), six miles on the road. On our arrival, a gentleman, named Edward Comerfort,36 offered us his castle, where we rested, not being able to refuse so civil a request. The next day we were drenched by extraordinary rain, which obliged us to seek shelter in a castle,37where we were well received. The master of the house came to beg us to remain some days there; we could not excuse ourselves. This nobleman was called Lord Ikerin,38 and was general of the cavalry of the Irish Catholics. At
p.15supper a friar from Spain brought the conversation from Spanish diet to the religion of that country, and bearing a mortal dislike to the French, my countrymen, he could not refrain from giving vent to his antipathy in my presence, stating, that as we had no Inquisition in France, we were but a set of reprobates, and partial to heretics, whom instead of tolerating as we do, we ought rather to exterminate, as the progress of the Catholic faith could not co-exist with this pestilent sect (the Calvinists), whose very name ought to be abhorred by the people. That Spain had the advantage of never having been infected with heresy, and hence their monarch was called the Catholic King, and hence also the great preponderance of that power in war.
I felt it my duty thus to reply to this monk, whose zeal appeared to me to be most indiscreet. My reverend father, I am surprised that you, born in Ireland, a neutral country, should be so much under the influence of prejudice and womanish imbecility as to prefer Spain so unjustly to France, a land where religion and valour are equally found, if not in a higher degree. And whatever charms the Inquisition may have for you, and however useful you may think it as a means of purging a country of impiety and preserving religion in its integrity, the French nation is too well informed that faith, which is the basis and foundation of Christianity, cannot be established by persecution. And as to Spain, although it may be true as you assert that Huguenots
p.16never could thrive there, still the Moors and Infidels of Grenada are so mixed up with the population that you can hardly discriminate between them and real Catholics. Appearances often mislead us. The French, to outward semblance, seem free and careless but are in reality excellent Christians, while your Spaniard, with the look of a devotee and an angel, is very often the reverse at heart. As to the prosperous career of His Catholic Majesty's arms, he never will encounter the Most Christian King in fair fight without discomfiture.
From this castle we came in one day to Cachel, a distance of ten miles. This town is an archbishop's see, founded by St. Patrick. There are two convents, [one of] Dominicans, and [one of] Franciscans.