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Sylvester Norris



(Alias SMITH, NEWTON).

Controversial writer and English missionary priest; b. 1570 or 1572 in Somersetshire; d. 16 March, 1630. After receiving minor orders at Reims in 1590, he went to the English College, Rome, where he completed his studies and was ordained priest. In May, 1596, he was sent on the English mission, and his energetic character is revealed by the fact that he was one of the appellant clergy in 1600. In the prosecutions following upon the Gunpowder Plot, he was committed to Bridewell Gaol. From his prison he addressed a letter to the Earl of Salisbury, dated 1 Dee., 1605, in which he protests his innocence, and in proof of his loyalty promises to repair to Rome, and labor that the pope shall bind all the Catholics of England to be just, true, and loyal subjects, and that hostages shall be sent "for the afferminge of those things". He was thereupon banished along with forty-six other priests (1606), went to Rome, and entered the Society of Jesus. He was for some time employed in the Jesuit colleges on the Continent, but in 1611 returned to the English mission, and in 1621 was made superior of the Hampshire district, where he died.

He wrote: "An Antidote, or Treatise of Thirty Controversies; With a large Discourse of the Church" (1622); "An Appendix to the Antidote" (1621); "The Pseudo-Scripturist" (1623); "A true report of the Private Colloquy between M. Smith, alias Norrice, and M. Walker" (1624); "The Christian Vow"; "Discourse proving that a man who believeth in the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc., and yet believeth not all other inferior Articles, cannot be saved" (1625).

SOMMERVOGEL. Bibl. de la C. de J., V (1808 09); FOLEY, Records of the English Province, S.J., VI, 184; III, 301; OLIVER, Collections towards Illustrating the Biography of S.J., s. v., GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., V, s. v.

James Bridge.








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