Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Floyd, John (1572-1649)

FLOYD, JOHN (1572–1649), jesuit, called also Daniel à Jesu, younger brother of Father Henry Floyd [q. v.], was born in Cambridgeshire in 1572. After studying in the school of the English jesuits at Eu in Normandy, he was admitted on 17 March 1587–8 into the English College at Rheims, where he made his course of humanities and philosophy. Next he proceeded to Rome, was admitted into the English College there 9 Oct. 1590, and joined the Society of Jesus 1 Nov. 1592 (Foley, Records, vi. 185). On 18 Aug. 1593 he received minor orders at Rheims or Douay, and on the 22nd of the same month he was sent back to the English College at Rome with nine companions (Douay Diaries, pp. 232, 233). He taught philosophy and theology with great success, and acquired fame as a preacher. In 1609 he became a professed father of the jesuit order. He laboured long and zealously on the English mission. Having ventured to visit Father Edward Oldcorne in Worcester gaol in 1606, he was detained, and he was unable either by entreaties or bribes to escape the clutches of Popham (Morus, Hist. Missionis Anglic. Soc. Jesu, p. 287). After a year's imprisonment he was sent into exile with forty-six other priests, and he spent four years in preaching at St. Omer and composing controversial works. Then he returned to England, where he was often captured, and as often contrived by payments of money to escape from the pursuivants. Finally he settled at Louvain, where he was professor of theology. He died suddenly at St. Omer on 15 Sept. 1649 (Florus Anglo-Bavaricus, p. 51).

Wood describes him as ‘a person excellently learned, as well in philosophy as theology’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 483). He wrote the following works, some of which appeared under the pseudonyms of Daniel à Jesu, Hermannus Lœmelius, George White, and Annosus Fidelis Verimentanus, and the name Flud, and the initials J. R.: 1. ‘The Overthrow of the Protestants Pulpit-Babels, convincing their Preachers of Lying and Rayling, to make the Church of Rome seeme mysticall Babell’ [St. Omer], 1612, 4to. This contains an answer to ‘The Jesuites Gospell,’ by William Crashaw [q. v.], published in 1610. Floyd's work, which purports to be by ‘J. R., Student in Divinity,’ has been erroneously ascribed to Father Robert Jenison (Gillow, Bibliographical Dict. iii. 611). In reply to this or some other work by Floyd, Sir Edward Hoby wrote ‘A Counter-Snarle for Ishmael Rabshakeh, a Cecropedian Lycaonite, being an Answer to a Roman Catholic, who writes himself J. R.,’ London, 1613. 2. ‘Purgatories Triumph over Hell, maugre the barking of Cerberus in Syr Edward Hobyes Counter-Snarle. Described in a Letter to the said Knight, from J. R., authour of the Answere unto the Protestants Pulpit-Babels,’ 1613, 4to, to which Hoby rejoined in a book entitled ‘Curry-comb for a Coxcombe,’ 1615. 3. ‘Synopsis Apostasiæ Marci Antonii de Dominis, olim Archiepiscopi Spalatensis, nunc apostatæ, ex ipsiusmet libro delineata,’ Antwerp, 1617, 8vo, translated into English by Father Henry Hawkins, St. Omer, 1617, 8vo, and again edited by John Fletcher, D.D. [q. v.], Lond. 1828, 8vo. 4. ‘Hypocrisis M. A. de Dominis detecta, seu censura in ejus libros de Republica Ecclesiastica,’ Antwerp, 1620, 8vo. 5. ‘Censura X Librorum de Republica Ecclesiastica M.A. de Dominis,’ Antwerp, 1620, 12mo; Cologne, 1621, 8vo. 6. ‘God and the King; or a Dialogue wherein is treated of Allegiance due to … K. James within his Dominions, which (by removing all Controversies and Causes of Dissentions and Suspitions) bindeth Subjects by an inviolable band of Love and Duty to their Soveraigne,’ translated from the Latin, Cologne, 1620, 12mo. 7. ‘St. Augustine's Meditations,’ translated, St. Omer, 1621, 16mo, Paris, 1655, 16mo. 8. ‘Monarchiæ Ecclesiasticæ ex scriptis M. Antonii de Dominis … Demonstratio, duobus libris comprehensa, seu Respublica Ecclesiastica M. Ant. de Dominis, per ipsum a fundamentis eversa,’ Cologne, 1622, 8vo. 9. ‘A Word of Comfort; or a Discourse concerning the late lamentable Accident of the Fall of a Roome at a Catholike Sermon in the Black-Friars at London, wherewith about fore-score persons were oppressed … By J. R. P.,’ St. Omer, 1623, 4to. This relates to the ‘Fatal Vespers’ [see Drury, Robert, 1587–1623]. 10. ‘Of the Sacrifice of the Mass,’ translated from the Spanish of Antonio Molina, St. Omer, 1623, 4to. 11. ‘On the Real Presence,’ St. Omer, 1624, 12mo. 12. ‘An Answer to Francis White's [successively bishop of Norwich and Ely] Reply to Mr. Fisher's Answer to the Nine Articles offered by King James to Father John Fisher, S. J.,’ St. Omer, 1625, 4to. Francis Mason replied to Floyd in the second edit. of his ‘Vindiciæ Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ,’ 1625. 13. ‘An Apology of the Holy Sea Apostolicks Proceedings for the Government of the Catholicks of England during the tyme of persecution. With a Defence of a Religious State, written by Daniel of Jesus,’ Rouen, 1630, 4to. The first part is translated from the French. An enlarged Latin edition was published at Cologne and St. Omer in 1631. This work relates to the disputes between the jesuits and the secular priests in the matter of the episcopacy. It drew down the censure of the theological faculty of the Sorbonne upon its author, who replied with No. 15 below. 14. ‘A Paire of Spectacles for Sir Humphrey Linde to see his way withall; or, an Answeare to his booke called Via Tuta, a Safe Way,’ s.l. 1631, 8vo. This has been sometimes attributed to Father Robert Jenison, but with no apparent foundation. Lynde's ‘Via Tuta,’ 1628, was answered more fully by John Heigham. 15. ‘Hermanni Loemelii … Spongia quâ diluuntur Calumniæ nomine Facultatis Parisiensis impositæ libro qui inscribitur Apologia Sanctæ Sedis Apostolicæ circa Regimen Catholicorum Angliæ,’ &c., St. Omer, 1631, 8vo. A rejoinder was published on the part of the Sorbonne. Gillow gives a list of the principal books occasioned by Floyd's works against Dr. Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, and the French clergy who supported him (Bibl. Dict. ii. 304, 305). 16. ‘Answer to a Book intituled “Instructions for the Catholicks of England.”’ 17. ‘The Church Conquerant over Human Wit,’ St. Omer, 1638, 4to, being a reply to Chillingworth's ‘Religion of Protestants.’ 18. ‘The Total Summ,’ St. Omer, 1638, 4to, reprinted in 1639 with ‘The Judgment of an University Man on Mr. Chillingworth's Book, by Father William Lacy.’ 19. ‘The Imposture of Puritan Piety,’ St. Omer, 1639. 20. ‘A Treatise on Holy Pictures.’ 21. ‘Vita Brunehildis, Francorum Reginæ, liber primus,’ manuscript folio, at St. Omer. It is cited by Bollandus in his notes to the life of St. Nicet, bishop of Besançon, under 8 Feb.

[Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of the English Catholics; Foley's Records, iv. 237, vii. 268; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 94; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 38; Panzani's Memoirs, pp. 124, 125; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 449; De Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1869), i. 1888; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 105; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 195, iii. 92, 386, 995, iv. 309.]

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