Garnet, Henry

, a person memorable in English history for having been privy to the celebrated conspiracy called “The Gunpowder Plot,” was born in Nottinghamshire in 1555, and bred at Winchester school; whence he went to Rome, and took the Jesuit’s habit in 1575. After studying under Bellarmin, Saurez, and Christopher Clavius, he was for some time professor of philosophy and Hebrew in the Italian college at Rome; and when Clavius, professor of mathematics, was disabled by old age, he supplied his place in the schools. He returned to England in 1586, as provincial of his order; although it was made treason the year before, for any Romish priest to come into the queen’s dominions. Here, under pretence of establishing the catholic faith, he laboured incessantly to raise some disturbance, in order to bring about a revolution; and with this view held a secret correspondence | with the king of Spain, whom hs solicited to project n expedition against his country. This not proceeding so fast as he would have it, he availed himself of the zeal of some papists, who applied to him, as head of their order, to resolve this case of conscience; namely, “Whether, for the sake of promoting the catholic religion, it might be permitted, should necessity so require, to involve the innocent in the same destruction with the guilty?” to which this casuist replied without hesitating, that, “if the guilty should constitute the greater number, it might.” This impious determination gave the first motion to that horrible conspiracy, which was to have destroyed at one stroke the king, the royal family, and both houses of parliament; but the plot being providentially discovered, Garnet was sent to the Tower, and was afterwards tried, condemned to be hanged for high-treason, and executed at the west end of St. Paul’s, May 3, 1606. He declared just before his execution, that he was privy to the gunpowder plot; but, as it was revealed to him in confession, thought it his duty to conceal it. But besides this miserable subterfuge, it was proved that he knew something of it, out of confession. He has been placed by the Jesuits among their noble army of martyrs. He was pyobably an enthusiast, and certainly behaved at his execution in a manner that would have done credit to a better cause. It is said, however, upon other authority, that he declined the honour of martyrdom, exclaiming, “Me niartyretn O quale martyrem” “I a martyr! O what a martyr!” Dodd’s account of his execution is rather interesting. He published some works, among which are enumerated, i. “A treatise of Christian Renovation or Birth,London, 1616, 8vo. 2. “Canisius’s Catechism, translated from the Latin,” ibid. 1590, 8vo, and St. Omers, 1622. Several works were published in defence of the measures taken against, him. 1

1 Hist, of England. Dodd' an&Collier’s Church Histories.