Carier, Benjamin (DNB00)

CARIER, BENJAMIN, D.D. (1566–1614), catholic controversialist, born in Kent, in 1566, was son of Anthony Carier, a learned minister of the church of England. He was admitted of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 28 Feb. 1582, proceeded B.A. in 1586, was elected a fellow of his college 8 March 1589, and commenced M.A. in 1590. Soon afterwards he became tutor and studied divinity, especially the works of St. Augustine, This reading inclined him to the church of Rome. However, he proceeded B.D. in 1597, and was appointed one of the university preachers, and incorporated at Oxford the same year. Soon after this he was presented by the Wootton familv to the rectory of Paddlesworth in Kent, which he resigned in 1599. He was presented to the vicarage of Thurnham in the same county, with the church of Aldington annexed, on 27 March 1600, and held that benefice till 1613. In 1602 he was presented, by Archbishop Whitgift, whose domestic chaplain he then was, to the valuable sinecure rectory of West Tarring in Sussex. In the same year he was created D.D. at Cambridge, and his fellowship was declared vacant. At this time Carier appears to have been considerably mortified by his failure to obtain the mastership of his college. Soon, afterwards he was appointed one of the chaplains in ordinary to James I. On 29 April 1603 he was collated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the living of Old Romney in Kent. On 29 June 1608 he obtained a prebendal stall at Canterbury; and he was nominated one of the first fellows of Chelsea College, projected by Dr. Matthew Sutcliffe as a seminary for able defenders of the protestant religion.

At this period he believed that a union might be effected between the church of England and the Roman church, but when he perceived that this was impossible, he obtained the king's leave to go to Spa for the benefit of his health, really intending to study the actual working of catholicism abroad (A Treatise written by Mr. Doctour Carier, p. 12). He soon resolved to join the Roman communion, and proceeded from Spa to Cologne, where he placed himself in the hands of Father Copperus, rector of the Jesuit College. King James ordered Isaac Casaubon and others to write to him (August 1613), with a peremptory injunction to return to England. Carier at first gave no positive answer, either as to his returning or to the suspicions concerning his religion; but when his conversion could be kept a secret no longer, it was highly resented by the king. In his printed ‘Missive,’ addressed to the king from Liège, 12 Dec. 1613, he says: ‘I haue sent you my soule in this Treatize, and if it may find entertainment, and passage, my bodie shal most gladly follow after.’

He received several congratulatory letters upon his conversion from Rome, Paris, and several other places. Cardinal du Perron invited him to France, desiring to have his assistance in some work which he was publishing against King James. Carier accepted the invitation, and died in Paris before midsummer 1614 (Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, ed. 1685, p. 438), though another account states that his death occurred at Liège (Harl. MS. 7035, p. 189).

His works are: 1. ‘Ad Christianam Sapientiam brevis Introductio,’ a treatise written for the use of Prince Henry, and preserved in manuscript in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. 2. ‘A Treatise written by Mr. Doctour Carier, wherein he layeth downe sundry learned and pithy considerations, by which he was moued, to forsake the Protestant Congregation, and to betake hym selfe to the Catholicke Apostolicke Roman church’ (Liège, 1613), 4to; reprinted under the title of ‘A Carrier to a King; or, Doctour Carrier (chaplayne to K. Iames of happy memory), his Motiues of renoncing the Protestant Religion, & imbracing the Cath. Roman’ (Lond.?) 1632, 12mo; again reprinted with the title of ‘A Missive to His Majesty of Great Britain, King James, written divers years since, by Doctor Carier,’ Lond. 1649, 1687, 4to, with a long preface by N. Strange, and a list of university men and ministers who were converts to catholicism. An elaborate answer by Dr. George Hakewill to Carier's ‘Treatise’ was published at London in 1616. 3. ‘A Letter of the miserable Ends of such as impugn the Catholick Faith,’ 1615, 4to.

[Addit. MS. 5865, f. 27; Catholic Miscellany (1826), v. 1; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 424, 508–515; Faulkner's Chelsea, ii. 225; Foley's Records, i. 623; Guillim's Display of Heraldry (1724), 224; Hasted's Kent, 8vo edit. v. 532; Lansd. MS. 983, f. 132; Masters's Corpus Christi Coll., with continuation by Lamb, 461; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 54; Pattison's Life of Casaubon, 310, 435; Register and Magazine of Biography, i. 9; Strype's Whitgift, 578, 581–3, Append. 240, fol.; Whittaker's Life of Sir G. Radcliffe, 119.]

T. C.