Holden, Henry (DNB00)
HOLDEN, HENRY, D.D. (1596–1662), Roman catholic divine, was the son of Richard Holden, owner of a small estate at Chaigley, near Clitheroe, on the northern slope of Longridge Fell (Palatine Note-book, Manchester, 1882, p. 217). He was born in 1596, and on 18 Sept. 1618 he went to Douay, taking there the name of Johnson, and in 1623 he proceeded to Paris, where he gra- duated D.D. at the Sorbonne, and was appointed a professor. He was naturalised, became confessor to the church of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, and was one of the vicars-general of the diocese of Paris. In 1633 he took charge, during Thomas Carre's absence on a journey, of the three English Austin nuns, who had just arrived in order to found a convent. He threw himself into the heated controversy between the secular and regular clergy, and shortly after 1631 is said to have gone to Rome to assist Peter Fitton or Fytton (alias Peter Biddulph) in averting the dissolution of the English chapter. In 1647 he petitioned the House of Commons for toleration for catholics on condition of taking an oath of allegiance. He apparently expected better terms from the roundheads than from the cavaliers, which would account for his being described by Sir Edward Nicholas in 1651–2 as one of Cromwell's ‘pestilent agents’ in Paris, as ‘a great man with some at the Louvre,’ and as doing the royalists much mischief (Nicholas, Letters, Camden Soc. 1886). In 1651, moreover, Robert Pugh published in his ‘Blackloe's Cabal’ (see White, Thomas) private letters written by Holden, in one of which, addressed to Sir Kenelm Digby, he said: ‘If the independents do continue to second us, I fear not but Rome will content us; if not we shall find satisfaction elsewhere, and if the pope will not send us bishops it must be done without him.’ In 1652 Holden published at Paris ‘Divinæ Fidei Analysis,’ a concise exposition of catholic articles of faith as distinguished from matters of opinion. A short treatise on schism was appended to it. It was reprinted at Cologne in 1655 and 1782, and at Paris in 1685 and 1767, and in 1658 was translated into English by ‘W. G.’ A ‘Tractatus de Usura’ was prefixed to the second edition of this work. In 1656 Holden was engaged in a controversy with Antoine Arnault, the Jansenist, and Feret, parish priest of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet; his letters to Arnault were printed in the later editions of the ‘Analysis.’ In 1657 he published at Paris ‘A Letter to a Friend,’ &c., in defence of Blackloe. In 1660 he issued ‘Novum Testamentum brevibus annotationibus illustratum;’ in 1661 a letter gently criticising Thomas White's treatise on the intermediate state; and in the same year addressed a letter in Latin to an English friend on certain propositions extracted from White's writings. This latter letter was printed in the ‘Analysis,’ and probably also separately; in 1662 he published ‘A Check; or Enquiry into the late Act of the Roman Inquisition,’ &c. The manuscript of a treatise on the truth of Christianity, sent for perusal to a friend in England, was lost during the civil war. Du Pin considers Holden one of the ablest controversialists of his time. A rough passage, on returning from a visit to England in 1661, brought on quartan ague, and he died at Paris in March 1662. He appointed Carre his executor, and left most of his furniture, besides a sum of five hundred pistoles, to the English Conceptionist convent, of which he had been director since its removal in 1658 from Nieuport. He made other bequests to English subjects in France. Five years afterwards, when these had been paid, the French crown claimed the money, the droit d'aubaine precluding foreigners from inheriting property. There was a threat of seizing the newly founded St. Gregory's seminary to satisfy the claim, but through the exertions of Edward Lutton, the Austin nuns' chaplain, it was compromised by the payment of three thousand livres, lent by Walter Montagu.
[Manuscript Journal of Austin Nuns at Neuilly; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of English Catholics; Memoirs of Gregorio Panzani; Plowden's Remarks on ditto; Dodd's Church Hist.; Dupin's Bibl. Auteurs Ecclésiastiques; Cat. Bibliothèque du Roi (National Library, Paris); Butler's Hist. Mem. English Catholics.]