Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Keynes, John

KEYNES, JOHN (1625?–1697), jesuit, born at Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset, about 1625, was probably brother of George Keynes [q. v.] After studying humanities in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer, he removed to the college of St. Alban at Valladolid, and entered the Society of Jesus on 30 July 1645. Subsequently he taught philosophy at Compostella, and theology for nine years at Valladolid, Salamanca, and Pampeluna. He was made prefect of the higher studies at Liège, and obtained permission to devote himself to the care of the English soldiers in the Low Countries while the plague was raging among them. In this service he caught the infection, and for the recovery of his health was sent to England. He was professed of the four vows on 15 Aug. 1662. At the time of the pretended popish plot he was superior of his brethren in the ‘college of St. Ignatius’ or London district, and although the government diligently searched for him, he succeeded in escaping to the continent in March 1678–9. His name is in the list of the intended victims of Titus Oates, who frequently mentioned Keynes. In 1680 he was appointed rector of the college at Liège, and three years later provincial of the English province, in succession to John Warner. He held the latter office for six years, being succeeded in 1689 by William Morgan. Dr. Oliver states that he governed the province ‘with singular ability, prudence, and credit.’ The establishment of the jesuit college at the Savoy Hospital in the Strand in 1687, and of the smaller college near the residence of the Bavarian ambassador in the city of London, was effected by Keynes, who also witnessed the destruction of the two colleges at the outbreak of the revolution in 1688. Keynes then withdrew to the continent, and died at Watten, near St. Omer, on 15 May 1697, in his seventy-third year. He composed ‘A Rational Compendious Way to Convince, without any dispute, all Persons whatever dissenting from the true Religion, by J. K.,’ sine loco, 1674, 12mo. This work was translated into Latin by the author, Liège, 1684, and into French by Gonneau, under the title of ‘La Guide des Croyans,’ St. Omer, 1688, 8vo. It was answered by Dr. Gilbert Burnet, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, in ‘A Rational Method for proving the Truth of the Christian Religion,’ London, 1675, 8vo. Keynes was the principal author of ‘Florus Anglo-Bavaricvs Serenissimo Principi Maximiliano Emmanveli Duci Bavariæ, &c. et Mariæ Antoniæ Leopoldi Cæsaris filiæ, auspicato Nuptiarum fœdere conjunctis inscriptus,’ Liège, 1685, 4to, pp. 207. The first part of this rare work contains an account of the foundation of the English jesuit college at Liège, with a brief history of that institution, and the second part gives a curious history of Oates's plot, with biographies of the English jesuits who were alleged to be implicated in it.

Southwell erroneously attributes to Keynes the authorship of two pamphlets attacking Stillingfleet, dated 1671 and 1673 respectively. Both were by the jesuit John Warner.

[De Backer's Bibl. de la Compagnie de Jésus; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 315; Foley's Records, v. 296, vii. 416; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 126; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 466.]

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