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Parsons, Robert

Parsons, Robert (1546–1610). Jesuit missionary. Born in Somerset to protestant parents, he resigned his Balliol fellowship and was received into the Roman church at Louvain, before offering himself to the Society of Jesus (1575). A workaholic with a powerful personality, he was sent to England with Campion in 1580, enjoined to stay apolitical, but his sole aim soon became its return, by persuasion or force, to Rome. He stayed a year in great danger. For nearly 20 years he was one of the most ardent promoters of the Spanish invasion, his diplomatic and language skills enabling him to deal easily with kings and popes. After failure of the Armada, he concentrated on his order's internal affairs, but, as a controversialist (one of the best writers of his day), made as many enemies amongst catholics as protestants because of his traitorous activities, especially after publication of his Conference about the Next Succession (1594), which supported the Infanta Isabella for the English throne. His missionary zeal combined with political intrigue contributed much to the popular image of Jesuitry.

A. S. Hargreaves

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Parsons, Robert

Robert Parsons: see Persons, Robert.

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