Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Manning, Robert

MANNING, ROBERT (d. 1731), catholic controversialist, was educated in the English College at Douay, and he was for some time professor of humanity and philosophy there. Afterwards he was sent to the English mission, and composed various controversial treatises, which, says Dodd, were 'much esteemed by the learned on account of their easy flowing style.' He appears to have been chaplain to Lord Petre, baron of Writtle, to whose family, as he remarks, he was indebted for all he possessed in this world. He died in Essex on 4 March (O.S.) 1730–1.

His works are:

  1. 'The shortest Way to end disputes about Religion. The Answer to all Objections against Infallibility contained in a book entitled The Case Stated' (between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. By C. Leslie). Two parts, Brussels, Antwerp, 1716, 8vo; another edition, Brussels, 1716, 8vo. In the latter edition the errata are corrected and part ii. is without title-page; reprinted, Dublin, 1827, 12mo. A reply appeared under the title of 'A Treatise of infallibility … By a Presbyter of the suffering Church of Scotland,' Edinburgh, 1762, 8vo.
  2. 'Modern Controversy; or, a plain and rational Account of the Catholick Faith: in three parts,' 1720, 8vo.
  3. 'The Case Stated between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, in a second Conversation betwixt a Roman Catholick Lord and a Gentleman of the Church of England,' sine loco, 1721, 8vo (anon.); reprinted, with an address by Richard Coyne, under the title of 'The celebrated Answer to the Rev. C. Lesley's Case … printed word for word, and refuted sentence after sentence,' Dublin, 1839 and 1842, 12mo.
  4. 'England's Conversion and Reformation compared, or the Young Gentleman directed in the Choice of his Religion' (anon.), Antwerp, 1725, 8vo; reprinted, Belfast, 1817, 8vo; first American edition, Lancaster, 1818, 12mo. A reply by Joseph Trapp, D.D., appeared under the title of 'The Church of England defended against the Calumnies and False Reasonings of the Church of Rome,' London, 1727, 8vo. This elicited from Manning
  5. 'A Single Combat, or personal dispute between Mr. Trapp and his anonymous antagonist … Whether Mr. Trapp or the Author [of 'England's Conversion and Reformation compared'] has writ nonsense?' Antwerp, 1728, 8vo.
  6. 'The Rise and Fall of the Heresy of Iconoclasts, or Image-Breakers. Being a brief Relation of the Lives and Deaths of those Emperors of the East, who first set it up … or … oppos'd it. From the year 717 to 867. Collected by R. M.,' London, 1731, 8vo (cf. Notes and Queries, 4th ser. i. 32).
  7. 'Moral Entertainments on the most important Practical Truths of the Christian Religion,' 3 vols. London, 1742, 12mo. Dedicated to Lord Petre.

A posthumous publication. A treatise 'Of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary,' extracted from this work, was published at London, 1787, 12mo.

[Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 488; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. vol. i. Preface p. xiii; Cat. of Library of Trin. Coll. Dublin; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xi. 28.]

T. C.