"Bind, Infect, and Poison Deeply”
THE FULL EXTENT OF RICHARD BAINES'S TRUE OPINIONS ON MATTERS sacred and secular must have come as a shock to the college authorities in Rheims—especially to Dr. Allen. Not that Allen was politically or theologically prudish, but it appears he had not previously suspected the depth of Baines's deviations from Roman Catholic norms, until, that is, around the time Baines was betrayed by his fellow student. What is not clear from Allen's letter of May 28, 1582, is whether this student alerted Allen to Baines's activities, or whether Allen, already suspicious of these two students, forced a denunciation from Baines's "dearest friend.” Allen only informs Agazzari that Baines sent messages daily to members of the Privy Council ("consiliariis Reginae”) while believing he was not yet suspected or detected.
In a letter that has not previously come to light, 1 written (in English) by Allen to George Gilbert on May 12, 1582, seventeen days before Baines was incarcerated, Allen makes an extremely ambiguous remark concerning Baines. The relevant sentence comes in the last paragraph of a long letter concerning the affairs of the English Mission and reads: "Mr Tirell writeth that he hath written som what to me before concerning Mr. Banes, 2 for whose troobles I am right sory; but tell him, I pray you, that I have not received his letters.” 3 When Allen's declared feelings for Baines on May 12 are compared with his feelings toward him on August 5—when he called him a "ﬁlius perditionis”—it can be seen that, on the face of it, a huge change had occurred in his opinion of Baines in these few months. It would seem that if Baines had not confessed everything by August 5, he must have confessed enough to have precipitated Allen's apparent volte-face. However, it must also be borne in mind that Baines had "had the strapedo” and had been "often tormented” (my emphasis) in the days, possibly weeks, immediately prior to