[SEMINARIO JESUITA DE SEVILLA] Algunos motivos y razones que ay, para favorecer los seminarios ingleses

[Seville?], n.p., [c. 1630]


8vo. 4 unnumbered leaves. Roman and Italic letter, printed notes, drop-title with large woodcut initial. Margins restored in places affecting last line of text, 12 line early ms. note at the end, faded but largely legible. Light age yellowing. Generally good, in modern boards.

No other surviving copies are known. The pamphlet provides a valuable evidence of the special relationship between English Catholics and the Spanish monarchy, which led to the establishment of three English Catholic colleges in Spain: San Alban in Valladolid, San Jorge in Madrid and San Gregorio in Seville. St. Gregory’s College was founded by the English Jesuit Robert Persons (1546 – 1610) in 1592 and devoted to St. Gregory the Great, apostle of England, famous for the dictum non angli sed angeli and for his dispatch of a mission to England. According to Martin Murphy (Ingleses en Seville. El Collegio de San Gregorio, 1592-1767, Seville, 2012), for most of its existence St. Gregory’s College struggled with financial problems and low student numbers, until absorbed by the Royal English College of San Alban in Valladolid, after the suppression of the Society of Jesus. Despite this it was one of the best known cultural centres within the Jesuit organisational structure, providing full education and training for future missionaries, when England was already detached from the Catholic Church. During a solemn ceremony, the alumni vowed to return to England as Catholic priests. The pamphlet shows the place of the English Catholic colleges in the political strategy of the Spanish monarchy, from their foundation under Philip II onwards.

The text is divided into four chapters – the last one dedicated to “motivos particulares para favorecer este seminario inglés de Sevilla”. After a general introduction praising the glorious work of the English seminaries in Spain and giving a short history of their foundation, each of the four chapters puts forward different reasons why they should be supported by the Spanish crown. The first chapter, entitled “motivos de piedad”, refers to the common issue of the “limosina temporale”, pointing out that the spiritual faith of England depends on the material survival of these English Catholic colleges. For this reason, funds are necessary to repair Jesus’ temples and honour the sacrifice of those English Catholics persecuted in England from the origin of Church until the heretical reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Furthermore, the text especially highlights the talent and purity of the colleges students, who are excellent in rhetoric, poetry, Greek language, arts, theology, singing.

The second and third chapters, concerning “motivos de la nobleza Christiana” and “motivos de utilidad temporal”, explain that the English Catholic colleges always testified to the spiritual nobility of Spain. They defended the faith of Spain against the heretics of England, welcoming English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish exiles – persecuted for their anti-Protestant ideas – and commemorating the exploits of saints and apostles (St Gregory the Great, Saint Augustine, etc.) through their task of evangelisation. Eventually, the fourth chapter focuses on St. Gregory’s college history which stands out for its excellence and virtue among other good Jesuit institutions. By giving an overview of the financial difficulties, the chapter especially aims at emphasising the necessity of supporting the college which always lived on charity, and without any economic means.

Not in USTC. Not in Goldsmith. Palau, I, p. 211.

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