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John Percy

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( alias JOHN FISHER)

Born at Holmeside, Durham, 27 Sep., 1569; died at London, 3 Dec., 1641. Converted when only fourteen years, he went first to Reims, in 1586, then to the English College, Rome, 1589-94. Returning to Belgium, he entered the Jesuit novitiate, 2 May, 1594, and then set out for England in 1596. He was, however, arrested by the Dutch, tortured, and sent prisoner to London. He managed to escape, and became the companion of Father Gerard in several adventures. He was seized at Harrowden (November, 1605) at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, but was eventually banished at the request of the Spanish ambassador (1606). Retiring to Belgium he was for a time head of the English Jesuits, then professor of Scripture at Louvain, after which he returned again to England, and was again imprisoned and condemned to death (1610): He had already begun to write on current controversies, and when James I desired a series of disputations in 1622, Percy, who was then in a prison in London, was required to defend the Catholic side. In these disputations King James himself and Laud took a leading part. As a result of these disputations, Mary Countess of Buckingham, and Chillingworth became converts to the Church. These controversies were afterwards printed and discussed by Percy and Floyd on the Catholic side, and by Laud, Francis White, John White, Featley, and Wotton on the Protestant. Percy was eventually released in 1625 and ordered to banishment in 1635, but he was suffered to remain in London till his death.

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