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MISCELLANY SCOTLAND, PARSONS,AND CARRAFIELLO BY Thomas M. McCoog, SJ. In his review of The Society ofJesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England 1541-1588: "Our Way of Proceeding?" (ante, LXXXIII [October, 1997], 805806 ), Dr. Michael Carraflello dismisses my claim that I could find no documentary evidence of Robert Parsons's involvement in any political intrigue before mid-1581 by suggesting that I "need have looked no further than Parsons' own memoirs." More than once I have consulted Parsons's writings and, despite allegations originally made by Dr. CarrafleUo in his article, "English Catholicism and the Jesuit Mission of 1580-1581," in The Historical Journal, 37 (1994), 761-774, and repeated in his review, such evidence is not there. Because I hope to write a more detaUed article on "Spain, Scotland, and the Society ofJesus in England, 1580-81," I shaU try to be brief here. Dr. CarrafieUo informs us that we can find proof that a "primary reason" for the English Jesuit mission was "to seek a conversion ofJames VI as a means of restoring Catholic government and society in England" in Parsons's writings from the late 1570's. With the exception of a few documents in the archives of BaUiol CoUege, the novice register in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, and three letters ,' I know of no other extant writing from the 1570's—unless Dr. CarrafieUo has discovered something in some archives he has not named. In the extant works known to me I find no reference to James VI and Scotland. Perhaps I am being too literal. Should I assume, as does Dr. CarrafieUo, that Parsons is referring to "the forcible restoration of England to the catholic fold" in his statements that some are "quite ready to shed their blood for the Catholic reUgion in England, if occasion should offer" and "there wanteth not desire in divers to adventure there bloud in that mission" (art. cit., p. 765)? Are these statements about rmlitary preparedness or religious commitment: there are Catholics ready to suffer anything, even death, for their faith? Moreover, can we assume that Parsons Ln- 'His entry in the register can be found in Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rom. 171/A, fol. 35'. The letters can be found in Leo Hicks, SJ. (ed), Letters and Memorials of Father Robert Persons, SJ. (London: Catholic Record Society, 1942), CRS, Vol. 39, pp. 1-28. The material in the archives of Balliol College is discussed in Peter Norris, "Robert Persons, SJ. (1546-1610),and the Counter Reformation in England:A Study ofHis Actions within the Context of the Political and Religious Situation of His Times" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 1984). 302 BY THOMAS M. McCOOG, SJ.303 tended something military simply because he used the word "enterprise" in a letter to WUUam Good because this "term," according to Dr. CarrafieUo, "certainly had a political meaning a decade later" (ibid.)? I quibble over words. I would rather address Dr. CarrafieUo's evidence. In the review we are told that Parsons recalled "many times" in later years that the "Scottish strategy" was a motive for the English mission. In his article the "many times" are reduced to two (art. cit., p. 769). The first cited source is "Father Persons ' Autobiography" edited by John H. Pollen, SJ.2 Dr. CarrafieUo correctly quotes the foUowing passage: An other cause also of my coming over was to make a mission of Scotch fathers into Scotland, which by letters I had procured before from the General , and f. E" Hayes and f. Wm Critton were appointed, but first to take direction from me: wherefore upon conference with f. Critton at Roan he went to Scotland and I sent Rafe Emerson with him, and promised to expect his returne at Roan as I did.3 If Dr. CarrafieUo had read the rest ofthe page, he might have reaUzed that he has misdated the passage. Parsons was discussing events between the capture of Edmund Campion in July of 1581 (first line on the page) and Father Crichton's return from Scotland in AprU of 1582 (first line of paragraph following the above cited text). He was explaining reasons for his "coming over...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 302-304
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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