Edmund Campian

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Campian, Edmund, an English writer, author of a well-known history of Ireland, was born in London in 1540. He won distinction at Oxford, and went to Ireland in 1568, where he collected materials for his History, published in 1571. Suspected of Catholicism, he fled to England, and eventually to the Low Countries, where at Douay, in 1571, he openly renounced Protestantism. He was admitted to the order of Jesuits, and taught at several universities on the Continent. Sent to England in 1580, he was active in the dissemination of his principles. His work Rabsaces Romanus attracted considerable attention; he was arrested, sent to the Tower with a label on his hat, "Edmund Campian, a most pernicious Jesuit," and was eventually racked and executed at Tyburn, 1st December 1581. He left several works that won for him reputation as a writer. His History of Ireland consists of two books — the first principally a cotemporary description of the country and its inhabitants; the second, a history from the invasion to 1570. The preface to "The Loving Reader," is dated from "Droghedah, the 9th of June 1571." The work is extremely interesting to students of Irish history. His geographical knowledge of the island was but slight, in common with most writers of the day: "In proportion it resembleth an egge, blunt and plaine on the sides, not reaching forth to sea, in nookes and elbowes of land, as Brittaine doth."

Sources

310. Spencer, Campion, Hanmer, and Marleburrough, Ancient Irish Histories. 2 vols. Dublin, 1809. See also No. 188a.

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.

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