Barnes, John

, was an English Roman Catholic, of the seventeenth century, whose history has been imperfectly related. According to Moreri (who refers to “Memoires du temps”) he was an Englishman by birth, and studied with great success at Lou vain. Wood savs he was of a Lancashire family, and educated for some time at Oxford, whence he went to Spain, and studied divinity and philosophy under the famous Dr. J. Alph. Curiel, who, adds Wood, was wont to call Barnes by the name of John Hiiss, because of a spirit of contradiction which was always observed in him, but which, it appears by his writings, was a spirit of thinking for himself that could not be very | acceptable to his superiors. He is said to have been young when he entered among the English Benedictines near Douay, for fear of the inquisition, with which he was threatened at Louvain and some time after he was obliged to leave the Benedictines, under the same alarm, for holding some sentiments they did not approve. Wood says, that before this he was sent into England on a mission, but being discovered there, he was imprisoned and sent to Normandy with certain priests and Jesuits. Moreri says, that on leaving Douay, he took refuge in Paris, where he was protected by some persons of distinction, and admitted into the friendship of several men of learning. In 1625, at which time he was one of the confessors of the abbey of Chelles, he published a work against mental reservation, entitled “Dissertatio contra equivocationes,Paris, 8vo, of which a French translation was published at the same time. In the approbation of the faculty of theology at Paris prefixed to this work, he is styled doctor of arts and divinity, professor of the English mission, and first assistant of the congregation of Spain. This work made a considerable noise, and was attempted to be answered by father Theophilus Raynaud in 1627. His next work, entitled “Catholico-Romanus Pacificus,” gave yet more offence, and the pope wrote to the king of France, and to cardinal Richelieu, desiring they would send the author of these publications to Rome. Barnes was accordingly taken up in December 1625. He wrote also an answer to Clement Reyner’s “Apostolatus Benedictinorum in Anglia,” which Wood makes to precede the former. It appears certain, however, that in consequence of the moderation of his opinions, he was hurried like a malefactor from place to place through Germany. While confined at Mechlin, he contrived to make his escape from the room by means of the strings of a bass viol, of which he had procured a quantity under pretence that the dampness of the place had injured what belonged to his instrument; but he was discovered while stepping into a vessel at Antwerp, and conveyed to Rome. Here he was put into the prison belonging to the inquisition, in which he died, after thirty years confinement. During part of this time, his sufferings had brought on insanity. An edition of his “CatholicoRomanus Pacificus” was printed at the theatre at Oxford in 1680, 8vo, and part of it had been before made use of by Dr. Basire in his “Ancient Liberty of the Britannic | church.” Wood mentions other writings by Barnes, but without specifying their titles. 1


Wood’s Ath. vol. I. —Moreri. Gen. Dict.