12 MARCH 1864, Page 24

St. Patrick Apostle of Ireland. A Memoir of his Life

and Mission. By James Henthorne Todd, D.D., Senior Fellow of Trinity College,

Dublin. (Hodges, Smith, and Co.)—This elaborate volume is every- thing except a history of St. Patrick, which is not, perhaps, altogether the fault of the writer, for the history of the Saint is one great contro-

versy. The effect, however, on the reader's mind remains the same—

that every incident in the book is only a more or less probable. hypothesis selected out of some half a dozen other rather less probable hypotheses. A biography of that sort is not pleasant reading, but Dr.

Todd's handsome volume has nevertheless its attraction for students. It is a mine of learning on early Irish history, the early Irish Church, the Irish languages, and Irish antiquities. Controversial in tone, its temper and moderation are throughout admirable. But it is, perhaps, open to the charge of leaning unduly towards theories which tend to establish the alleged antagonism between the Church of the Irish and the Church of the Pale—an antagonism which was real enough, no doubt, but had, we think, little reference to the Papal supremacy. Dr. Todd's book is, we repeat, entirely to be recommended to students of Irish history and antiquities, but a popular biography of the Saint free from supersti- tious tales has yet to be written.