When early eighteenth-century English Catholics looked back on the first wave of exiles in the sixteenth century, they remarked specifically on the importance of writing and record-keeping. Though they were otherwise vicious opponents in their attempts to discredit the other’s Catholic party, both the Jesuit Thomas Hunter and the secular priest Charles Dodd agreed that the sixteenth-century expatriate Robert Persons continued to participate in the mission through writing. Hunter celebrated the reputation of his predecessor in the Society of Jesus, stating that:

He [Robert Persons] was look’d upon by all, as the chief Support of Religion in England; hence no Endeavours were wanting to apprehend him, and because the Means made use of for this End brought grevous Inconveniencies upon most Catholick Families, it was thought proper, he should withdraw for some Time out of the Nation. There was another Motive which hasten’d his...

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