Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A controversialist, politician, and secretary of the Duchess of York, date of birth unknown; executed at Tyburn, 3 December, 1678. He was the son of a Suffolk clergyman and, after a distinguished career at Cambridge, became a Catholic and was employed by the Duchess of York. As her secretary he became acquainted with continental statesmen from whom he sought pecuniary help when in difficulties. In 1675 he offered his services in favour of Catholicism to Père La Chaise, the confessor of Louis XIV ; again in 1676 he was in communication with Father Saint-Germain, offering his assistance to prevent a rupture between England and France. These attempts to procure money failed, but he succeeded later in obtaining £3500 from three successive French ambassadors whom he supplied with daily information regarding the proceedings of Parliament. He became a suspected character, and on the discovery of the Titus Oates Plot , conceived in 1678 for the ruin of the Duke of York whose Catholicity was suspected Coleman was named as one of the conspirators. Conscious of his innocence he took no steps to protect himself, allowed his papers to be seized, and gave himself up for examination. He was tried 28 Nov., 1678, being accused of corresponding with foreign powers for the subversion of the Protestant religion , and of consenting to a resolution to murder the king. His defense was that he had only endeavoured to procure liberty of conscience for Catholics constitutionally through Parliament, and had sought money abroad to further this object. He denied absolutely any complicity with the plot against the king's life. His foreign correspondence of 1675 and 1676, when examined, proved him to be an intriguer, but contained nothing that could connect him in any way with designs on the king's life. However, in spite of the flagrantly false testimony of Oates and Bedloe, he was found guilty, drawn to Tyburn, and there executed. He was a good linguist, writer, and controversialist. His controversy with Drs. Stillingfleet and Burnet resulted in the conversion of Lady Tyrwhit to the Catholic religion. His writings were: "Reasons for Dissolving Parliament", "Two Letters to M. La Chaise, the French King's Confessor" (London 1678, reprinted in Cobbett's "Parliamentary History"; "The Tryal of Edward Coleman" etc. (London, 1678); "Legacies; a Poem", etc. (London, 1679).

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • How to balance compassion with security concerns with influx of ...
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • St. John Berchmans: Saint of the Day for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen, a thousand of ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67
62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr ... Read More