« Campello, Count Enrico de Campion, Edmund Camp-meetings »

Campion, Edmund

CAMPION, EDMUND: Jesuit; b. in London Jan. 25, 1540; hanged there at Tyburn Dec. 1, 1581. He won much distinction for ability and scholarship at school in London, and had a brilliant career at St. John's College, Oxford (B.A., 1561; M.A., 1565); in 1567 he was ordained deacon in the Church of England, but, having always been a Roman Catholic at heart, in 1569 or 1570 he went to Ireland, hoping to find employment in a new university to be located in Dublin. The scheme fell through and he returned to England, went thence to Douai, where he openly renounced Protestantism, finished his theological studies, and took the degree of B.D. In 1573 he joined the Jesuits in Rome, and was sent to Prague, where he was ordained deacon and priest in 1578. In June. 1580, he entered England as a missionary of his order, and preached and worked there with success until July, 1581, when he was arrested and committed to the Tower. He was treated with much severity, was several times examined under torture, and in November was condemned, after an unfair trial, upon a charge of having conspired to dethrone the queen. He is described by Protestants as well as Roman Catholics as a man of uncommon ability, an eloquent orator, of much diplomatic skill, and amiable in disposition and life. His chief work was the Decem rationes, in which he challenges the Protestants to meet him in debate and professes himself ready to prove the falsity of Protestantism and the truth of the Roman Catholic religion by argument upon any one of ten topics, finished about Easter, 1581, and printed ostensibly at Douai, but really in or near London, the same year; it was spread broadcast at commencement at Oxford in June (best edition by Silvester Petra-Sancta, Antwerp, 1631; Eng, transl., 1606, 1632, 1687, 1827). While in Ireland he wrote a history of the country which was used by Holinshed in compiling his Chronicles (1577), and was printed by Sir James Ware in his History of Ireland (Dublin, 1633; reprinted in Ancient Irish Histories, 1809).

Bibliography: R. Simpson, Edmund Campion, a Biography, 374London, 1867 ("perhaps the most able monograph of Catholic history"); J. A. Froude, History of England, vol. xi., chap. xxviii., London, 1870; E. L. Taunton, The History of the Jesuits in England, 1580–1773, ib. 1901; J. Gillow, Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics, i. 376–392, London, n.d. (a full list of his works is appended); DNB, viii. 398–402.

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