Sanders, Nicholas

, a Roman catholic writer of considerable fame, and one of the principal champions of popery in the sixteenth century, was born about 1527, at Charlewood in Surrey, and educated at Winchester school, whence he removed to New college, Oxford. Here he studied chiefly canon law, and was made fellow of his college in 1548, and in 1550, or 1551, took the degree of bachelor of laws. When queen Mary came to the throne, he had the offer of being Latin secretary to her majesty, which he declined for the sake of a studious, academical life, and remained at Oxford during the whole of her reign. In 1557 he was one of the professors of canon law, and read what were called the “shaggling lectures,” i. e. lectures not endowed, until the accession of queen Elizabeth, when his principles induced him to quit England. He arrived at Rome about the latter end of 1560, and studying divinity, became doctor in that faculty, and was ordained priest by Dr. Thomas Goldwell, bishop of St. Asaph, who at that time resided in the English hospital at Rome. Soon after, cardinal Hosius, president of the council of Trent, hearing of his abilities, took him into his family, and made use of him, as his theologal, in the council. When the council broke up, Dr. Sanders accompanied the cardinal to Poland, Prussia, and Lithuania, where he was instrumental in settling the discipline of the Romish church; but his zeal disposing him to think most of his native country, he returned to Flanders, and was kindly entertained by sir Francis Englefield, formerly privy-counsellor to queen Mary, and then in great favour with the court of Spain; | through whose hands a great part of those charitable collections passed, which his catholic majesty ordered for the subsistence of the English popish exiles. Sanders was appointed his assistant, and being settled at Louvaine, together with his mother and sister, he lived there twelve years, and performed many charitable offices to his indigent countrymen. Much of this time he employed in writing in defence of popery against Jewell, Nowell, and other eminent protestant divines.

Some years after, having received an invitation from the pope, he took a journey to Rome, whence he was sent as nuncio to the popish bishops and clergy in Ireland, and landed there in 1579. At this time Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Desmond, was in arms, as he pretended, in defence of the liberties and religion of his country; but in 1583 his party was routed and himself killed. The part Sanders took in this rebellion is variously represented. Camden says that he was sent over purposely to encourage Desmond, and that several companies of Spanish soldiers went over with him, and that when their army was routed, he fled to the woods, and died of hunger. All that the catholics deuy in this account, is, that Sanders was sent purposely i but this they deny very feebly. With regard to the manner of Sanders’s death, Dodd seems inclined to prefer Wood’s account, who says that he died of a dysentery, and Dodd likewise adopts the report of Rushton and Pits, who say that he died at the latter end of 1580, or the beginning of 1581, because this was long before Desmond’s defeat, and consequently dissolves in some measure the supposed connection between him and Sanders. Dodd, however, who is generally impartial, allows that several catholics, his contemporaries, were of opinion that he was engaged in the Spanish interest against queen Elizabeth; and his writings prove that he maintained a deposing power both in the church and people, where religion was in danger. He was, according to all accounts, a man of abilities, and was considered as the most acute adversary for the re-establishment of popery in England, which his party could boast of. He had, however, to contend with men of equal ability, who exposed his want of veracity as well as of argument, and few of his works have survived the times in which they were written. Among them are, 1. “The Supper of our Lord, &c.” a defence of the real presence, being what he calls “A confutation of Jewel’s Apology, as | also of Alexander Newel’s challenge,” Louvain, in 1566, 1567, 4to. 2. “Treatise of the Images of Christ and his Saints; being a confutation of Mr. Jewel’s reply upon that subject,” ibid. 1567, 8vo.- 3. “The Rock of the Church/ 1 eoncerning the primacy of St. Peter, ibid. 1566, 1567, St. Omer’s, 1624, 8vo.' 4.A brief treatise on Usury,“ibid. 1566. 5.” De Visibili monarchia Ecclesia,“ibid. 1571, folio, Antwerp, 1581, Wiceburg, 1592. 6.” De origine et progressu Schismatis Anglicani,“Colon. 1585, 8vo, reprinted at other places in 1586, 1588, and 1590, and translated into French in 1673, with some tracts on the tenets of his church, which seem not of the controversial kind. Mo’st of the former were answered by English divines of eminence, particularly his large volume” De visibili monarchia ecclesise," by Dering, Clerk, and others, of whose answers an account may J>e seen in Strype’s Life of Parker. That on the English schism is refuted, as to his more important assertions, in the appendix to Burnet’s History of the Reformation, vol. II. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. I. Dodd’s Ch. Hist. —Strype’s Parker, p. 377 and 381 Burnet’s Reformation. Collier’s Ecclesiastical History.