Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kellison, Matthew
KELLISON, MATTHEW, D.D. (1560?– 1642), president of the English College at Douay, born about 1560 at Harrowden, Northamptonshire, was son of 'a servant and tenant of the Lord Vaux, in whose family his infancy did suck-in the Romish perswasions' (Fuller, Worthies, ed. Nichols, ii, 172). In 1581 he entered the English College of Douai, then temporarily removed to Rheims, and in September 1582 he was sent with six of his fellow-students to the English College at Rome. In August 1587 he received orders, probably those of sub-deacon, and in September 1589, the year of his advancement to the priesthood, was sent back to Rheims to succeed Dr. William Giffard as professor of scholastic theology. He removed to Douay with the other professors and students of the college in 1593, and matriculated in the university there on 1 April 1594 [Douay Diaries, p. 382). Afterwards he returned to Rheims, and having taken the degree of D.D., he was appointed in 1601 regius professor, and on 30 Jan. 1605-6 magnificus rector or chancellor of the university. When Arras ColIege was founded at Paris by Thomas Sackville in 1611 to associate a few of the most learned scholars for the purpose of writing controversial works, Kellison was one of the five first admitted. He frequently visited the college (Husenbeth, English Colleges and Convents on the Continent, 18; Dodd, Church Hist., ed. Tierney, iv. 136).
During the disputes at Douay College, in consequence of the subservience of the president, Thomas Worthington, to the jesuits, the cardinal-protector summoned Worthington to Rome, and appointed Kellison to assume the provisional government of the college. Kellison arrived at Douay on 10 June 1613, and for some months acted not only as regent, but on 11 Nov. in the same year, by virtue of a patent from Rome, he was publicly installed as the fourth president of the college. He resigned his preferments at Rheims, despite the inducement to remain held out by the Duke of Guise. At Douay he appointed able professors, obtained the discharge of the jesuit confessor, withdrew the scholars from the jesuit schools in the town, and rid the college of jesuit influence. His reforms made him many enemies, hut the nuncios at Brussels and Paris supported him. The English secular clergy thrice without result recommended him for the episcopal dignity, in 1608, 1614, and 1622. After presiding over Douay College for twenty-seven years he died there, on 21 Jan. 1641-2.
Dodd highly commends his qualifications for his office. In person 'he was above the common size, with a majestic carriage, and despite a somewhat forbidding countenance was known for his affability and agreeable conversation (Church Hist., iii. 69).
His works are: 1. 'A Survey of the New Religion. Detecting manie grosse absurdities which it implieth,' Douay, 1603, with dedication to James I; 'newly augmented,' Douay, 1605, 4to. Dr. Matthew Sutcliffe [q. v.], dean of Exeter, published two replies in 1606. 2. 'Kellison's Reply to Sutcliffe's Answer . . ., in which most points of the Catholike doctrine is explicated, and al is averred and confirmed; and almost al pointes of the New Faith of England disproved,' Rheims,1608, 8vo. 3. 'Oratio coram Henrico IV, Rege Christianissimo,' Rheims, 4to. 4. ' Examen Reformationis novae praesertim Calvinianae, in quo Synagoga et Doctrina Calvini, sicut et reliquorum hujus temporis novatorum, tota fece ex suis principis refutatur,' Douay, 1616. 8vo. This work and Kellison's 'Reply to Sutcliffe' were attacked by Francis Mason, archdeacon of Norfolk, in his 'Vindication of the Church of England,' London, 1613. fol., translated into Latin in 1625, 5. 'The Right and Jurisdiction of the Prelate and the Prince, a Treatise of Ecclesiasticall and Regall Authoritie. Compyled by J. E., Student in Divinitie, for the ful Instruction and Appeacement of the Consciences of English Catholikes, concerning the late Oath of Pretended Allegiance,' Douay, 1617 and 1621, 8vo. 6. 'Report to the Nuncio at Brussels upon the English Colleges and Convents established in Flanders,' 1622, Printed in the 'Douay Diaries,' i. 209. 7. 'A Letter to His Majesty King James,' 1623, manuscript, written to clear himself from a charge of having in his treatise on the oath of allegiance not only approved the 'deposing power' of the pope, but also the 'murder' of excommunicated princes. The object of his anonymous accusers was to prevent his nomination as bishop from being acceptable to the king. 8. 'The Gagge of the Reformed Gospell. Briefly discovering the errors of our time, with the refutation by expresse textes of their owne approved English Bible,' Douay, 1623, 8vo; republished, under the title of 'The Touchstone of the Reformed Gospel,' sine loco, 1675, 18mo; re-edited by Bishop Challoner under the title of 'The Touchstone of the New Religion,' London, 1734, 8to, and frequently reprinted. A reply, written by Richard Montague [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Chichester and of Norwich, was called 'A Gagg for the New Gospel?' 1624, 4to. 9. 'A Treatise of the Hierarchie and divers Orders of the Church against the Anarchie of Calvin,' Douay, 1629, 8vo. This work, which gave offence to the regular clergy, was attacked by the jesuit fathers, John Floyd [q. v.] and Edward Knott, and gave rise to a protracted controversy. 10. 'A brief and necessary Instruction for the Catholicks of England, touching their Pastor,' 1631, 8vo, answered by Floyd. 11. 'Commentarii ac Disputationes in tertiam partem Summae Theologicae S. Thomas Aquinatis,' Douay, 1632 and 1633, fol. 12. 'A Devout Paraphrase on the 50th Psalme, Miserere Mei,' Paris. 1655, 12mo.
Many of Kellison's letters and papers are preserved in the Catholic Chapter of London, George Street, Manchester Square (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. pp. 403 sq.)[Letters and Memorials of Cardinal Allen, p. 158; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 389. iii. 88, also Tierney's edition, v. 45-81; Dodd's Hist. of the English College at Douay. pp. 22, 26; Douay Diaries, pp. 14, 21, 179, 190, 227, 251, 282, 374; Duthillœul's Bibl. Douaisienne, p. 88; Foley's Records,vi. 156; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Hunter's Modest Defence of the Clergy and Religions, pp. 91-3; Panzani's Memoirs, pp. 88, 89, 97, 118, 123, 130n; Pits, De Angliae Scriptoribus, p. 811.]