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John Morris (4 July 1826, Ootacamund, India – 22 October 1893, Wimbledon) was an English Jesuit and historical writer.



He was educated partly in India, partly at Harrow School, partly in reading for Cambridge with Dean Alford, the New Testament scholar. Under him a great change passed over Morris's ideas. Giving up the thought of taking the law as his profession, he became enthusiastic for ecclesiastical antiquities, took a deep interest in the Tractarian movement, and resolved to become an Anglican clergyman.

Going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1845,[1] he became the friend, and then the pupil of F. A. Paley, grandson of the well-known divine, and already one of the leading Greek scholars of the university. The conversion to Catholicism of John Henry Newman, followed by many others, impressed him, and he was converted by Bishop Wareing, 20 May, 1846.

A storm followed, beginning in The Times, which made itself felt even in Parliament. Paley had to leave Cambridge (which led to his subsequently joining the Catholic Church), while Morris was practically cast off by his family. He then went to the English College, Rome, under Dr. Thomas Grant, and was there during the revolution of 1848.

Soon after the restoration of the English Catholic hierarchy in 1850, he was made Canon of Northampton, and then returned as vice-rector to Rome (1853-1856). He now became postulator for the English Martyrs. Returning to England, he took part in the third Synod of Westminster, became secretary to Cardinal Wiseman, whom he nursed on his death-bed, and served under Archbishop Manning, until he became a Jesuit in 1867.

He taught Church History from 1873-1874; he was Rector of St. Ignatius' College, Malta, from 1877-78; master of novices in 1879; and director of the writers of the English Province in 1888. He died in the pulpit, uttering the words, "Render to God the things that are God's."


His principal works are:

  • "The Life and Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket" (London, 1859 and 1885);
  • "The Life of Father John Gerard" (London, 1881), translated into French, German, Spanish, and Polish;
  • "Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers" (3 vols., London, 1872-1877);
  • "Letter-books of Sir Amias Poulet" (London, 1874);

and many contributions to The Month, The Dublin Review, Archæologia, and other periodicals.


His father was John Carnac Morris, F.R.S., known as a scholar of Telugu.


  1. ^ Morris, John in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  • John Hungerford Pollen, Life and Letters of Father John Morris (London, 1896);
  • John Morris, Journals kept during Times of Retreat (London, 1895);
  • Carlos Sommervogel, Bibl. de la C. de Jésus, V, p. v-viii; IX, 692.

This article incorporates text from the entry John Morris in the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.



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