Fitzherbert, Thomas

, grandson of sir Anthony, and a very ingenious and learned man, was born in the county of Stafford, in 1552; and sent to either Exeter or Lincoln-college, in Oxford, in 1568. But having been bred a catholic, the college was uneasy to him; and though he would now and then hear a sermon, which was permitted him by an old Roman priest, who lived privately in Oxford, and to whom he recurred for instruction in matters of religion, yet he would seldom go to prayers, for which he was often admonished by the sub -rector of the house. At length, seeming to be wearied with the heresy of the times, as he called it, he receded without a degree to his patrimony: where also refusing to go to his parish church, he was imprisoned about 1572; but being soon set at liberty, he became still more zealous in his religion, maintaining publicly, that catholics ought not to go to protestant churches; for which, being like to suffer, he withdrew, and lived obscurely with his wife and family. In 1580, when the Jesuits Campian and Parsons came into England, he went to London, found them out, was exceedingly attached to them, and supplied them liberally: by which, bringing himself into dangers and difficulties, he went a voluntary exile into France, in 1582, where he solicited the cause of Mary queen of Scots, but in yam. After the death of that princess, and of his own wife, he left France, and went to Madrid, in order to implore the protection of | Philip II.; but, upon the defeat of the armada, in 1588, he left Spain, and accompanied the duke of Feria to Milan. This duke had formerly been in England with king Philip, had married an English lady, and was justly esteemed a great patron of the English in Spain. Fitzherbert continued at Milan some time, and thence went to Rome; where, taking a lodging near the English college, he attended prayers as regularly as the residents there, and spent the rest of his time in writing books. He entered into the society of Jesus in 1614, and received priest’s orders much about the same time; after which he speedily removed into Flanders, to preside over the mission there, and continued at Brussels about two years. His great parts, extensive and polite learning, together with the high esteem that he had gained by his prudent behaviour at Brussels, procured him the government, with the title of rector, of the P^nglish college at Rome. This office he exercised for twenty-two years, vrith unblemished credit, during which time he is said to have been often named for a cardinal’s hat. He died there, Aug. 27, 1G40, in his eighty-eighth year, and was interred in the chapel belonging to the English college.

Wood has given a list of his writings, containing ten different works, chiefly of the controversial kind, in defence of popery, and directed against Barlow, Donne, Andrews, and other English divines. But the treatises which were received with most general approbation by protestants and papists, are, 1. “Treatise concerning Polity and Religion,” Doway, 1606, 4to, wherein are confuted several principles of Machiavel. The second part of the said treatise was printed also at Doway, 1610, and both together in 1615, 4to. A third part was printed at London, in 1652, 4to. 2. “An sit utilitas in scelere, vel de infelicitate Principis Machiavellani” Romae, 1610, 8vo, The language of these pieces is a little perplexed and obscure, and the method, according to the manner of those times, somewhat embarrassed and pedantic; but they evince strong sense, a generous disposition, with much reading and experience, and abound with matter, which has served as a fund to several authors, who have since written against Machiavel. 1


Biog. Brit. Dodd’g Church Hist. —Ath, Ox, vol. I.