Constable, John (1676?-1744) (DNB00)

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CONSTABLE, JOHN (1676?–1744), jesuit, was born in Lincolnshire on 10 Nov. 1676 or 1678, and entered as a scholar at the college of St. Omer about 1689, under the assumed name of Lacey, which was perhaps the family name of his mother. He was admitted into the Society of Jesus at Watten in September 1695, and was professed of the four vows on 2 Feb. 1713–14. For many years he was priest at Swinnerton in Staffordshire, the residence of the Fitzherbert family. He was also declared rector of the jesuit ‘college’ or district of St. Chad on 16 July 1735 (Foley, Records, vii. 159). In the parish register of Swinnerton is this entry:—‘1743–4, March 28, buried Mr. John Constable, from Mr. Fitzherbert's’ (ib. iii. 207). In Oliver's opinion Constable is unquestionably entitled to rank among the ablest and best informed men in the English province.

His works are: 1. ‘Remarks upon F. le Courayer's book in Defence of the English Ordinations,’ &c., 8vo, pp. 384, no place or date (Jones, Popery Tracts, 215). 2. ‘The Stratagem discovered, or an Essay of an Apology for F. le Courayer's late work in 4 vols. entitled “Défense de la Dissertation,” &c.; wherein strong instances are produced to show that he writes “Booty,” and is only a sham defender of these Ordinations, while he very much confirms the judgment of their invalidity. By Clerophilus Alethes,’ 1727, 8vo. 3. ‘The Convocation Controvertist advised against pursuing wrong methods in his endeavours to reduce Dissenters and convince Catholics. To which is annexed a Letter in the name of the Church of England to Mr. Trapp upon his strange Libel entitled “Popery Stated.” By Clerophilus Alethes,’ 1729, 8vo. This is in reply to Joseph Trapp, D.D. 4. ‘Reflections upon Accuracy of Style. In five dialogues,’ Lond. 1734, 8vo, 1738, 12mo. 5. ‘The Doctrine of Antiquity concerning the most blessed Eucharist plainly shewed in remarks upon Johnson's “Unbloody Sacrifice.” By Clerophilus Alethes,’ Lond. 1736, 8vo. 6. ‘The Conversation of Gentlemen considered. In six dialogues,’ Lond. 1738, 12mo. 7. ‘Deism and Christianity fairly consider'd, in four dialogues. To which is added a fifth upon Latitudinarian Christianity, and two letters to a friend upon a Book [by T. Morgan] entitled “The Moral Philosopher,”’ London, 1739, 12mo (anon.) 8. ‘A Specimen of Amendments, candidly proposed to the compiler of a work which he calls “The Church History of England.” By Clerophilus Alethes,’ Lond. 1741, 12mo. This is a sharp attack on the Rev. Charles Dodd [q. v.], the catholic church historian, with special reference to the manner in which he speaks of the jesuits and their policy. Dodd replied in ‘An Apology for the Church History of England,’ 1742. 9. ‘Advice to the Author of the Church History of England,’ manuscript preserved at Stonyhurst. This treats of the second volume of the History, and includes also a reply to the ‘Apology.’ It is said to be ‘searching, smart, and acute,’ but it was not deemed advisable to publish it, because the author ‘was not solicitous enough to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace’ (Oliver, Jesuit Collections, p. 73).

Authorities cited above; also Panzani's Memoirs, pref. p. 10; Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 38; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. i. 552; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), 654, 655.

T. C.