John England, first Roman Catholic bishop of Charleston, S. C, born in Cork, Ireland, Sept. 23, 1786, died in Charleston, April 11, 1842. He entered the college of Carlow in 1803, and while there founded a female penitentiary and poor-schools for both sexes. He was ordained priest Oct. 9, 1808, and appointed lecturer at the North chapel in Cork, and chaplain of the prisons. In the following May he commenced the publication of a monthly magazine called the " Religious Repertory." In 1812 he became president of the theological college of St. Mary, in which he also lectured on divinity. About the same time he exerted himself to put down bribery at elections, and in the "Repertory" attacked the existing system of criminal jurisprudence, and opposed the purchasing of Catholic emancipation by concessions to the English government. His boldness brought him before the courts, and on one occasion he was fined £500. He founded several religious and charitable institutions in Cork, and in 1817 was made parish priest of Brandon. In 1820 he was appointed bishop of the new diocese of Charleston, S. C, comprising the states of North and South Carolina and Georgia, with a scattered Catholic population of about 8,000, and only four priests, and arrived there in December. Here he established an academy and a theological seminary, in both of which he taught, supporting the latter institution by the revenue from the former.
He founded an anti-duelling association, visited every part of his diocese, had special services in the cathedral for the negroes, and established the " Charleston Catholic Miscellany," the first Roman Catholic paper published in America. In 1826 he preached before the senate at Washington. In 1832 he spent some time in Rome, when the pope appointed him apostolic legate to Hayti. He visited that island twice, and made voyages to Europe in 1833, 1836, and 1841. His learning, ability, and high moral character, and above all his heroism during a season of yellow fever, gave him a high standing in Charleston; and the spectacle was sometimes witnessed of the Catholic bishop preaching on Sunday in a Protestant church to a Protestant congregation. He left many writings, most of which appeared in the periodical press. A complete edition of his works was prepared by Bishop Reynolds (5 vols. 8vo, Baltimore, 1849).