Blackwell, George

, a learned English writer of the church of Rome, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, was born in the county of Middlesex, and admitted a scholar of Trinity college in Oxford at seventeen years of age, May 27, 1562, probationer in 1565, being then bachelor of arts, perpetual fellow the year following, and master of arts in 1567. But being more inclined to the Roman catholic than the Protestant religion, he left his fellowship, and retired to Gloucester hall, where he continued for some time, and was highly esteemed by Edmund Rainolds and Thomas Allen, two learned seniors of that hall. He afterwards went beyond sea, and spent some time in one of the English seminaries newly erected to receive the exiled English catholics andwas at last in 1598, with the permission of pope Clement VIII. constituted by Henry cardinal Cajetan, protector of the English nation at Rome, and superior of the English clergy, with the authority and name of Archpriest of England, and was appointed by that pope notary of the apostolic see. This affair being resented by the English catholic clergy, especially as they imagined that our author was absolutely under the influence of Henry Garnet, provincial of the Jesuits of England, it occasioned a warm contest between them in England. The Jesuits wrote and spoke against the secular priests in so virulent a manner, as to detract very much from BlackwelPs authority who upon this degraded them of their faculties, so that when they afterwards appealed to the pope, he caused them to be declared in a book schismatics and heretics. They vindicated themselves from this charge, and procured the censure“of the university of Paris in their favour; which was answered by our author. He also declared his abhorrence of the Powder Plot in 1605, and wrote two letters to dissuade the Roman catholics from all violent practices against the king and | government. He held the office of archpriest till 1607, when he was succeeded by George Birket. The reason of this change was, because our author having been seized at London June 24 the same year, he was committed to prison, and consequently deprived of the liberty required to act in his office. He was released soon after upon his taking the oath of allegiance. An account of this aft’air was published at London, 1607, in 4to, entitled” The examination of George Blackwell, upon occasion of his answering a letter sent by cardinal Bellarmine, who blamed him for taking the oath of allegiance." He died suddenly January 12, 1612-3, and was buried, as Mr. Wood supposes, in some church in London. He was esteemed by those of his own persuasion, and by others likewise, a man of great learning and piety, and a good preacher.

He was the author of “A letter to cardinal Cajetane io. commendation of the English Jesuits,” written in 1596. “Answers upon sundry examinations whilst he was a prisoner,London, 1607, 4to. “Approbation of the Oath of Allegiance letters to the Romish priests touching the lawfulness of taking the Oath of Allegiance,” and another to the same purpose, all of which were printed with the “Answers upon sundry examinations,” &c. “Epistolae ad Anglos Pontificios,London, 1609, 4to. “Epistolae ad Robertum cardinalem Bellarminum.” See the third volume of the Collections of Melchior Goldast, Francfort, 1613, fol. “Answer to the Censure of Paris in suspending the secular priests obedience to his authority,” dated May the 29th, 1600. This was replied to by John Dorel, or Darrel, dean of Agen the same year. “A treatise against lying and fraudulent dissimulations,” in manuscript, among those given to the Bodleian library by archbishop Laud. At the end of it is the approbation of the book written by Blackwell, and recommended by him as fit for the press; so that no other name being put to it, it has been ascribed to him whereas it is more justly supposed to have been written by Francis Tresham, esq. an English Catholic. 1


Wood’s Ath. vol. I.—Gen. Dict.—Collier’s Church Hist.