Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/331

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Allen
Allen
317

of whom were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge. Small as were its beginnings, the new seminary received, within the first few months of its existence, the approbation and confirmation of Pope Pius V. It thus ranks first, in point of time, among the seminaries which the council of Trent ordered to be established in the different provinces and dioceses of Christendom. The cares attendant on the direction of the college did not hinder Allen from prosecuting his own theological studies. In 1569 he performed the three acts required for the degree of B.D.; in the following year he was admitted to the license; and in 1571 he was created D.D. In 1570, after having obtained the license, he was appointed regius professor of divinity at Douay with an annual stipend of 200 gold crowns. To carry on his great undertaking he relied mainly on the alms of the faithful in Belgium and England. When the precarious supplies from these two sources began to fall off, he made an appeal to Pope Gregory XIII, who, in 1575, granted to the seminary a monthly pension of 100 gold crowns. The college thus possessed a permanent means of support, and, in spite of the rigorous laws passed in England against persons frequenting foreign seminaries, the number of students largely increased.

On 4 Dec. 1575 Allen set out on his second journey to Rome, whither he had been summoned by Gregory XIII, to give his advice on the subject of a seminary which the pope proposed to found in Rome, and to combine with the hospital in the Via di Monserrato, established about the year 1382 by John Shepherd, a London merchant, for the reception of English pilgrims and travellers. About this time the pope conferred upon Allen a canonry in the church of Our Lady at Cambray.

On his return to Douay (30 July 1576), after an absence of eight months, he found everything in a flourishing condition. There were 80 English students in the seminary and 160 in the university; and at Michaelmas the number of students in the college had increased to about 120. But this state of prosperity was about to be rudely disturbed by the political strife which agitated the Low Countries. The Calvinists belonging to the party of the Prince of Orange stirred up the common people at Douay against the English exiles, on the plea that they were partisans of Spain. They were subjected to domiciliary visits, and it became unsafe for them to make their appearance in the streets. News arrived from various trustworthy sources in England that assassins had been sent over to make away with some of the principal members of the seminary. Moreover, there had been seen lurking about Douay some Englishmen of sinister aspect, well mounted, and to all appearance suited for the execution of such a crime. It was deemed unsafe for Allen to remain at Douay, and he withdrew for a time to Paris. When at last the revolutionary party were installed in power at Douay, the English were summarily expelled in March 1578 at a few hours' notice. The students repaired to Rheims, where the college was re-established under the friendly auspices of the Guises, who were the avowed champions of the catholic cause in France. Philip II ordered that the annual sum of 1,600 florins should be paid to the English seminary, and Gregory XIII granted it an extraordinary donation of 500 crowns for the expenses of the removal from Douay.

Allen made his third journey to Rome in 1579 for the purpose of regulating the affairs of the English college there, which was a kind of offshoot from the seminary of Douay. The new foundation was in great danger of perishing in its infancy, owing to the national rivalry and jealousy of the English and Welsh students. The college was now placed under the management of the Jesuits, who retained the charge of it till the suppression of the order in 1773. The subsequent history of the college may be briefly narrated: After 1773 it was administered by Italian priests, and was rendered almost useless to the English mission. In 1798 the college was seized by the French, and it remained closed for twenty years. At length, in 1817, Cardinal Consalvi procured the reestablishment of the college by Pope Pius VII, and since then it has belonged to the English secular clergy.

During his third visit to Rome, Allen conferred with the pope on the affairs of the English college, and he also induced the Jesuits to take part in the English mission, the result being that in 1580 Father Parsons and Father Campion were chosen to lead the way to this new field of labour. The mission of the Jesuits and the labours of Allen's secular priests together provoked Queen Elizabeth to issue a proclamation which denounced the principles taught in the foreign seminaries, commanded all persons whose children, wards, or relatives were being educated abroad to recall them within four months, and forbade all her subjects to harbour or relieve a Jesuit or seminarist. It was in answer to this proclamation that Allen, in 1581, after his return from Rome, wrote and published his ‘Apology for the two English Colleges’ at Rome and Rheims, ‘against certaine sinister informations given up against the same.’

In spite of the laws against the foreign seminaries the establishment at Rheims con-