Edward Forset

(c. 1553—1629) government official and political writer

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James I (1566—1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland

Robert Parsons (1546—1610)



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Edward Forset was born in London died there late in 1629 or early in 1630. The son of a London lawyer, he was educated at Christ's College and then Trinity College, Cambridge. Forset took the BA degree in 1572, and the MA in 1575. He was a Fellow of Trinity from 1574 to 1581. In 1583 he rented the manor of Tyburn, Middlesex from the Crown, buying it outright in 1611. He served as a Justice of the Peace, and in 1606 was involved in the trial of the Gunpowder plotters. James I was anxious to secure the conviction of Henry Garnet (the Superior of the Jesuits in England) for complicity in the Plot, but though Garnet was captured it proved difficult to make him talk. So he was placed in a cell close to that of another Jesuit. Forset and a second agent were asked to eavesdrop. They carried out their task successfully, and Garnet was executed. It was also in 1606 that Forset was elected a Member of Parliament for Wells, and in the same year he published A Comparative Discourse of the Bodies Natural and Politique (1606), his best-known work. In the wake of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, Parliament passed an oath of allegiance requiring Catholics to renounce the claim that the pope was authorized to depose temporal sovereigns. The Jesuit Robert Parsons was one of those who attacked the oath. Forset responded to Parsons in A Defence of the Right of Kings, which was written around 1612–14 and published (without Forset's permission) in 1624.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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