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John Chetwode Eustace

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Antiquary, b. in Ireland, c. 1762; d. at Naples, Italy, 1 Aug., 1815. His family was English, his mother being one of the Chetwodes of Cheshire. He was educated at Sedgley Park School, and after 1774 at the Benedictine house, St. Gregory's, Douay. He did not become a Benedictine though he always retained an attachment to the order, but went to Ireland where he taught rhetoric at Maynooth college, where he was ordained priest. He never had much sympathy for Ireland and, having given some offence there, returned to England to assist Dr. Collins in his school at Southall Park. From there he went to be chaplain to Sir William Jerningham at Costessey. In 1802 he travelled through Italy with three pupils, John Cust (afterwards Lord Brownlow), Robert Rushbroke, and Philip Roche. During these travels he wrote a journal which subsequently became celebrated in his "Classical Tour". In 1805 he resided in Jesus College, Cambridge, as tutor to George Petre. This was a most unusual position for a Catholic priest, and Eustace's intercourse with leading members of the university led to his being charged with indifferentism. Dr. Milner, then vicar Apostolic, charged him with laying aside "the distinctive worship of his priesthood, in compliment, as he professed, to the liberality of the Protestant clergy, with whom he associated" and with permitting Catholics under his care to attend Protestant services. "This conduct", wrote the bishop, "was so notorious and offensive to real Catholics, that I was called upon by my brethren to use every means in my power to put a stop to it." On the other hand, an intimate friend says, "he never for a moment lost sight of his sacred character or its duties " (Gentleman's Magazine, see below). When Petre left Cambridge, Eustace accompanied him on another tour to Greece, Sicily, and Malta. In 1813 the publication of his "Classical Tour" obtained for him sudden celebrity, and he became a prominent figure in literary society, Burke being one of his chief friends. A short tour in France, in 1814, led to his "Letter from Paris ", and in 1815 he travelled again to Italy to collect fresh materials, but he was seized with malaria at Naples and died there. Before death he bitterly lamented the erroneous tendency of certain passages in his writings. His works were: "A Political Catechism adapted to the present Moment" (1810); "An Answer to the Charge delivered by the Bishop of Lincoln to the Clergy of that Diocese at the Triennial Visitation in 1812"; "A Tour through Italy" (London, 1813, 2n ed., 1814); "A Classical Tour through Italy ", 3d edition of the previous work, revised and enlarged (1815). A seventh edition of it appeared in London in 1841. It was also reprinted at Paris in 1837 in a series "Collections of Ancient and Modern English Authors", and "The Proofs of Christianity" (1814). The manuscript of his course of rhetoric, never published, is at Downside.

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