Knott, Edward

, a learned Jesuit and controversial writer, whose true name was Matthias Wilson, and who, | in some of his works, takes the name of Nicholas Smith, was born at Pegsworth near Morpeth in Northumberland, 1580. He was entered among the Jesuits in 1606, being already in priest’s orders; and is represented in the “Bibliotheca Patrurn societatis Jesu,” as a man of low stature, but of great abilities: “vir magnis animi dotibus bumili in corpore praeditus.” He taught divinity a long time in the English college at Rome, and was a rigid observer of that discipline himself which he has as rigidly exacted from others. He was then appointed sub-provincial of the province of England; and, after he had exercised that employment out of the kingdom, he was sent thither to perform the functions of provincial. He was twice honoured with that employment. He was present, as provincial, at the general assembly of the orders of the Jesuits, held at Rome in 1646, and was elected one of the definitors. He died at London, January 4, 1655-6, and was buried in the church of St. Pancras, near that city.

This Jesuit was the author of several works, in all which he has shewn great acuteness and learning. In 1630, 'he published a small volume, called “Charity mistaken, with the want whereof Catholics are unjustly charged, for affirming, as they do with grief, that Protestancy, unrepented, destroys salvation.” This involved him in a controversy, first with Dr. Potter, provost of Queeu’s-college, Oxford, who, in 1633, wrote “Want of Charity justly charged Oh all such Romanists, as dare, without truth or modesty, affirm, that Protestancy destroyeth salvation;” and afterwards with Chillingworth, who, in answer to this Jesuit, wrote his “Religion of Protestants;” of which, as well as of his controversy with Knott, we have already given an account in his life (vol. IX.) It only remains to be added here, that Chillingworth’s latitude of principles afforded Knott many advantages, which, at that time, would be more apparent than now. Knott’s larger answer to Chillingworth did not appear until 1652, when it was printed at Ghent, under the title of “Infidelity unmasked; or, the confutation of a book published by W. Chillingworth, &c.” Knott was also the author of “Monita utilissima pro patribus missionariis Anglicanis,” or useful advice for the fathers of the English mission; but this work was never printed. 1


Biog. Brit.; Supplement.- Gen. Dict. Life of Chillingworth, Dodd’s Ch. History, vol. III.