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“Qui in maximarum artium disciplinis prudentiâque civili instructissimus, pluri
marum linguarum callentissimus, legationibus honoratissimis perfunctus, et inter Britannos Indicarum Americarum explorator primus.” Indeed he was the first Englishman that discovered America; and his several voyages are largely described in Mr. Hackluit's Travels.
This English Columbus had by two wives twenty children, whereof Sir William Waad was the eldest, a very able gentleman, and clerk of the council to queen Elizabeth. This Armigel died June 20, 1568; and was buried as is aforesaid.
MARTIN FROBISHER, Knight, was born nigh Doncaster in this county.* I note this the rather, because learned Mr. Carpenter, in his Geography, recounts him amongst the famous men of Devonshire (but why should Devonshire, which hath a flock of Worthies of her own, take a lamb from another county ?) because much conversing therein.
He was from his youth bred up in navigation; and was the first Englishman that discovered the north way to China and Cathai, whence he brought great store of black soft stone, supposing it silver or gold ore; but which, upon trial with great expense, proved useless; yet will no wise man laugh at his mistake, because in such experiments they shall never hit the mark who are not content to miss it.
He was very valiant, but withal harsh and violent (faults which may be dispensed with in one of his profession); and our chronicles loudly resound his signal service in eighty-eight, for which he was knighted. His last service was, the defending of Brest haven in Britain, with ten ships, against a far greater power of Spaniards. Here he was shot into the side, the wound not being mortal in itself; but swords and guns have not made more mortal wounds than probes in the hands of careless and skill-less chirurgeons, as here it came to pass. The chirurgeon took out only the bullet, and left the bumbast about it behind, wherewith the sore festered, and the worthy knight died at Plymouth, anno 1594.
GEORGE CLIFFORD, Lord Clifford, Vescye, &c. Earl of Cumberland, was son to Henry second earl of that family, by his second lady, a person wholly composed of true honour and valour, whereof he gave the world a clear and large demonstration.
It was resolved by the judicious in that age, the way to humble the Spanish greatness was, not by pinching and pricking him in the Low Countries, which only emptied his veins of such blood as was quickly refilled; but the way to make it a cripple for ever, was by cutting off the Spanish sinews of war, his money from the West Indies.
* Stow's Chronicle, p. 809.
In order whereunto, this earl set forth a small fleet at his own cost, and adventured his own person therein, being the best-born Englishman that ever hazarded himself in that kind.
His fleet may be said to be bound for no other harbour but the port of honour, though touching at the port of profit in passage thereunto; I say touching, whose design was not to enrich himself but impoverish the enemy. He was as merciful as valiant (the best metal bows best); and left impressions of both in all places where he came.
Queen Elizabeth, anno 1592, honoured him with the dignity of the Garter. When king James came first out of Scotland to York, he attended him with such an equipage of followers, for number and habit, that he seemed rather a king than earl of Cumberland. Here happened a contest between the earl and the lord president of the north, about carrying the sword before the king in York;* which office, upon due search and inquiry, was adjudged to the earl as belonging unto him; and whilst Clifford's Tower is standing in York, that family will never be therein forgotten. His anagram was as really as literally true :
“ Georgius Cliffordius Cumberlandius."
Doridis regno clarus cum vi fulgebis. He died 1605, leaving one daughter and heir, the lady Anne, married to the earl of Dorset; of whom, see before in the Benefactors to the Public in Westmoreland.
PHYSICIANS. SIR GEORGE RIPLEY (whether knight or priest not so soon decided) was undoubtedly born at Ripley in this county, though some have wrongfully entitled Surrey to his nativity. That Yorkshire was the place of his birth, will be evidenced by his relation of Kindred, reckoned up to himself;t viz. 1. Yevarsel; 2. Ripley ; 3. Madlay; 4. Willoughby ; 5. Burham; 6. Waterton; 7. Fleming ; 8. Talboys :-families found in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire; but, if sought for in Surrey, to be met with at Nonsuch. Secondly, it appeareth by his preferment, being canon of Bridlington in this county; and to clear all, in patria Eboracensi, saith my author. I
But Philemon Holland hath not only erroneously misplaced, but (which is worse) opprobiously miscalled him, in his description of Surrey : “In the next village of Ripley was born G. de Ripley, a ringleader of our alchemists, and a mystical impostor:” words not appearing in the Latin Britannia; and therefore
Stow's Chronicle, 1 Jac.
Holland herein no translator of Camden, but traducer of Ripley.
Leaving this land, he went over into Italy, and there studied twenty years together in pursuance of the philosopher's stone; and found it in the year 1470, as some collect from those his words then written in his books, “ Juveni quem diligit anima mea,” (spoken by the spouse,*) so bold is he with Scripture in that kind.
An English gentleman of good credit reported, that in his travels abroad he saw a record in the isle of Malta, which declares that Sir George Ripley gave yearly to those knights of Rhodes one hundred thousand pounds towards maintaining the war (then on foot) against the Turks.t This vast donation makes some suspect this Sir George for a knight (who by this might have been Eques auratus), though indeed never more than Sir Priest, and canon of Bridlington.
Returning into his native country, and desiring to repose his old age (no philosopher's stone to quiet retirement), he was dispensed with by the Pope to leave his canon's place (as to full of employment), and became a Carmelite-anchorite at Boston in Lincolnshire; where he wrote no fewer than 25 books, though his “ Compound of Alchemy ” carrieth away the credit of all the rest. It presenteth the reader with the twelve gates, leading to the making of the philosopher's stone, which are thus reckoned up in order :
1. Calcination : 2. Solution : 3. Separation : 4. Conjunction; 5. Putrefaction: 6. Congelation : 7. Cibation : 8. Sublimation: 9. Fermentation : 10. Exaltation: 11. Multiplication : 12. Projection.
Oh for a key, saith the common reader, to open these gates, and expound the meaning of these words, which are familiar to the knowing in this mystery! But such who are disaffected thereunto (what art hath not enemies ?) demand whether these gates be to let in, or let out the philosopher's stone; seeing projection, the last of all, proves but a project, producing nothing in effect.
We must not forget how the said Sir George beseecheth all men, wheresoever they shall meet with any of his experiments written by him, or that go under his name (from the year 1450 to the year 1470), either to burn them, or afford them no credit, being written according to his esteem not proof; and which, upon trial, he afterwards found false and vain.
For mine own part, I believe his philosophy truer than his chemical divinity; for so may I call his work, wherein he endeavours to equal in merit for mankind, the compassion of the Virgin Mary with the passion of Christ. He died about the
year of our Lord 1492 ; and some of his works are since
• Canticles iii. 4.
exactly set forth, by my worthy and accomplished friend Elias Ashmole, esquire, in his “ Theatrum Chymicum Britannicum."
Thomas Johnson was born in this county, not far from Hull ;* bred an apothecary in London, where he attained to be the best herbalist of his age in England, making additions to the edition of Gerard. A man of such modesty, that knowing so much he would own the knowledge of nothing. The university of Oxford bestowed on him the honorary degree of doctor in physic; and his loyalty engaged him on the king's side in our late civil war. When in Basing-house, a dangerous piece of service being to be done, this doctor (who publicly pretended not to valour) undertook and performed it. Yet afterwards he lost his life in the siege of the same house, and was (to my knowledge) generally lamented of those who were of an opposite judgment. But let us bestow this epitaph upon him :
Hic, Johnsone, jaces ; sed, si mors cederet herbis,
Arte fugata tuâ, cederet illa tuis.
Sure Death had been declined by his art."
WRITERS. ALPHRED of BEVERLEY, born therein (a town termed urbs or city, by Balet), or thereabouts, and bred in the university of Cambridge. Hence he returned to his native place, where he was made treasurer of the convent: thence (as some will have it) commonly called Alphedus Thesaurarius : others, conceiving this his topical relation too narrow to give him so general a name, will have him so styled from being so careful a storer up (God send more to succeed him in that office !) of memorable antiquities. Indeed with the good householder “he brought out of_his treasury things new and old ;" writing a chronicle from Brutus to the time of his own death, which happened anno 1136.
GULIELMUS REHIEVAILENSIS, or WILLIAM of RIEVAULX, was so named from the place of his nativity in this county, being otherwise a monk of Rushford. His learning was great according to that age, and his genius inclined him most to history; whereof he wrote a fair volume of the things done in his own age, himself being an eye-witness of a great part thereof. For, though generally monks were confined to their cloisters, more liberty was allowed to such persons whose pens were publicly employed. And when monks could not go out to the news, news came home to them : such was their intelligence from
So his near kinsman, an apothecary living on Snow-hill, informed me.-F.
clergymen, who then alone were employed in state offices. It was no wonder that the writings of this William did, but had been a miracle if they did not, savour of the superstition of the times. He dedicated his book to Ealread abbot of Rievaulx, and died anno Domini 1146.
EALREAD, abbot of Rievaulx, lately named, was one eminent in his generation for piety and learning. He was most intimate with David king of Scotland ; and had the rare felicity to adventure on desperate differences betwixt great persons;* and yet, above human hope, to complete their agreement.
He had “ Saint Augustine's Confessions” both by heart, and in his heart; yet generally he is accounted the English Saint Bernard, and wrote very many books, whereof one “ De Virginitate Mariæ," and another, “De Abusionibus Claustri,” shewing twelve abuses generally committed in that kind of life. Yet, as Saint Paul “honoured widows that were widows indeed," he had a high esteem for monks who were monks indeed; so addicted to a solitary life, that he refused all honours and several bishoprics proffered unto him, He died in the 57th year of his age, 1166; and after his death attained with many the reputation of a saint.
WALTER DANIEL was deacon to Ealread aforesaid, and it is pity to part them. Leland saith, that he followed his abbot “ sanctâ invidiâ ;" (give me leave to English it, “ with holy emulation"); and they who run in that race of virtue, neither supplant such who are before them, nor justle those that are even with them, nor hinder those who come behind them. He trod in his master's footsteps ; yet so, that my author saith, “Non modò æquavit, sed superavit;" writing a book on the same subject, "De Virginitate Mariæ.” He flourished anno 1170, under king Henry the Second; and was buried in his own abbey.
Robert the SCRIBE (but no Pharisee, such his humilitynot hyprocrite, such his sincerity) was the fourth prefect of Canon Regulars at Bridlington in this county. He had his surname from his dexterity in writing, not a little beneficial in that age; Erasmus ingeniously confessing, that his father Gerard got a handsome livelihood thereby. But our Robert, in fair . and fast writing, did reach a note above others; it being true of him what was said,
Nondum lingua suum dextra peregit opus. “ The tongue her task hath not yet done,
When that the hand her race hath run." And he may be said to have had the long hand of short hand
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. ii. num. 99. † i Tim. v. 3. $ In his Life, written by himself.