Southwell, Nathanael (DNB00)


SOUTHWELL verè Bacon, NATHANAEL (1598–1676), jesuit, son of Thomas Bacon and Elizabeth his wife, and younger brother of Thomas Southwell [q. v.], was born in 1598 in Norfolk, probably at Sculthorpe, near Walsingham. He studied humanity in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer, and entered the English College at Rome for his higher course on 8 Oct. 1617 under the assumed name of Southwell. He was ordained priest on 21 Dec. 1622, and sent to the mission in England. He is named as a priest-novice in the list of jesuits, dated about 1624–5, among the papers seized at the novitiate at Clerkenwell in March 1627–8 (Nichols, Discovery of the Jesuit College at Clerkenwell, p. 46). After completing his noviceship he was recalled to Rome, and became minister and procurator at the English College there. On 30 Oct. 1637 he was appointed spiritual father and confessor of the college. Thence he was removed to the Gesù in Rome to become secretary to the father-general, Vincent Caraffa, and four succeeding generals—Piccolomini, Gottifred, Nickell, and Oliva—employed his services in that office for more than twenty years. On retiring from the office in 1668 he was still retained by father-general Oliva as his admonitor. He died at the Gesù, Rome, on 2 Dec. 1676.

The latter years of his life were devoted to the compilation of the great biographical work entitled, ‘Bibliotheca Scriptorum Societatis Jesu. Opus inchoatum a R. P. Petro Ribadeneira, ejusdem Societatis Theologo, anno salutis 1602. Continuatum a R. P. Philippo Alegambe, ex eadem Societate, usque ad annum 1642. Recognitum, et productum ad annum Jubilæi M.DC.LXXV. a Nathanaele Sotvello, ejusdem Societatis Presbytero,’ Rome, 1676, fol. This work is remarkable alike for research, accuracy, elegance of language, piety, and charity of sentiment. Southwell was also the author of ‘A Journal of Meditations for every Day in the Year, gathered out of divers Authors, written first in Latin by N[athanael] B[acon], and newly translated into English by E[dward] M[ico],’ 3rd edit. London, 1687, 8vo. The translator was Edward Harvey alias Mico, a jesuit who died in prison in 1678 (Catholic Magazine, November 1833, pp. 241–3). A memorandum made at Rome states that the ‘originale autographum ephemeridis Meditationum P. Sotovelli conservatur in cubiculo Procuratoris Montis Porti hoc anno 1694.’

[De Backer's Bibl. des Ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1872–6), ii. 57, iii. 877; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 312; Foley's Records, v. 521, vi. 284, vii. 26; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 38, 8th ser. x. 254; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 193.]

T. C.