Southwell, Thomas (1592-1637) (DNB00)


SOUTHWELL verè Bacon, THOMAS (1592–1637), jesuit, son of Thomas Bacon and Elizabeth his wife, and elder brother of Nathanael Southwell [q. v.], was born at Sculthorpe, near Walsingham, Norfolk, in 1592. He studied at Lynn in his native county, and afterwards made his humanity course in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer. He was admitted a student of the English College at Rome on 10 Nov. 1610, entered the Society of Jesus in July 1613, and was professed of the four vows on 19 April 1626. For eight years he was professor of theology in the college of his order at Liège, and he was once vice-rector of that college. Sir Tobie Matthew [q. v.], writing from abroad to Francis Bacon as Viscount St. Albans, after January 1621, said: ‘The most prodigious wit that ever I knew of any nation and of this side of the sea is of your lordship's name, though he be known by another.’ In all probability Matthew was referring to Southwell. The quotation has been tortured into an assertion that Francis Bacon was writing works under the name of another, who has been absurdly identified with Shakespeare. Southwell died at Watten on 11 Dec. 1637.

His works are:

  1. ‘Vindiciæ pro Nicolao Smitheo,’ Liège, 1631.
  2. ‘Regula viva seu Analysis Fidei in Deo per Ecclesiam nos docentis auctoritatem,’ Antwerp, 1638, 4to. De Backer's statement that this work was translated into Flemish by Father James de Villegas is incorrect.
  3. ‘Quæstio sexagesima S. Thomæ de Sacramento in genere,’ a manuscript in the library of the university of Liège.
  4. A treatise on ‘The First Part of the Sum of St. Thomas Aquinas;’ this was prepared for the press, but never published.

[De Backer's Bibl. des Ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1876) iii. 880, (1890) i. 755; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 312; Florus Anglo-Bavaricus, pp. 33, 50; Foley's Records, v. 520, vi. 259, 284, vii. 27; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 195; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 759.]

T. C.