Daniel Counihan brings to light some neglected writings by Campion.
NEAR THE start of his mission in England, Edmund Campion wrote a document intended as a final vindication in case of his arrest or summary execution. In it, he proclaimed that he was a priest and a Jesuit, send under obedience to England, to preach the gospel, minister the Sacraments, and instruct the simple. He said he was strictly forbidden "to deal in any respect with matters of State or Policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I do gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts".
He then stated that the Catholic case was unanswerable. and that the Faith was absolutely satisfactory to the mind, enlisting all knowledge and all reason in its cause: and that it was completely compelling to any who gave it an "indifferent and quiet audience". He offered to maintain this in disputation with its principal adversaries. saying, " ... the better furnished they come. the better welcome they shall be."
Evelyn Waugh, Campion's biographer, says that this document. known as Campion's Brag, and soon widely and rapidly circulated, became. as by its spirit and form was eminently suitable, the manifesto of his mission".
Campion's Brag says towards its conclusion that the Jesuits had made a league "cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery. while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn. or to
be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons." It ends: "I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us His grace. and set us at accord before the day of payment. to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten."
Evelyn Waugh. in his Edmund Campion, records Campion's
"elaborate portrait of the ideal student", as disclosed in an oration at Douai, which insisted on "piety. modesty. kindness, obedience ... grace of deportment and civility of manners".
Here are some of his specific recommendations for the student. ' His pronunciation must be specially cultivated, his mind "subtle, hot and clear, his memory happy, his voice flexible.
sweet and sonorous: his walk and all his movements lively, ...gentlemanLyauld subdued".
His recreations are painting, playing the lute. singing at sight, writing music with facility and correctness.
He must master all histories. classical and modem, the ethics and politics of Aristotle and Plato, logic and natural science.
His habits of study must be regular and collected; he must not "dull himself with unseasonable vigils" but allow seven hours sleep at night and a proper attention to toilet and appearance.
He must neither write licentious and amorous verses, nor fall into the puritanical extreme of eschewing the great literature of the past which occasionally bore this character.