Page images
PDF
EPUB

STATESMEN-JUDGES.

329

land in Lincoln's-Inn, wherein such his proficiency, king James made him lord chief justice in Ireland.

Here he practised the charge king James gave him at his going over (yea, what his own tender conscience gave himself); namely, “not to build his estate on the ruins of a miserable nation;" but aiming, by the impartial execution of justice, not to enrich himself, but civilize the people, he made a good progress therein. But the king would no longer lose him out of his own land, and therefore recalled him home about the time when his father's inheritance, by the death of his five elder brethren, descended upon him.

It was not long before offices and honour flowed in fast upon him, being made

By king James : 1. Attorney of the Court of Wards : 2. Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, 18th of his reign, Jan. 29: 3. Lord Treasurer of England, in the 22d of his reign, December 22: 4, Baron Ley of Ley in Devonshire, the last of the same month.*

By king Charles : 1. Earl of Marlborough in this county, immediately after the king's coronation : 2. Lord President of the Council; in which place he died, anno Domini 1629.

He was a person of great gravity, ability, and integrity; and, as the Caspian Sea is observed neither to ebb nor How, so his mind did not rise or fall, but continued the same constancy in all conditions.

Sir Francis COTTINGTON, Knight, was born nigh Mere in this county, and bred, when a youth, under Sir --- Stafford. He lived so long in Spain, till he made the garb and gravity of that nation become his, and become him. He raised himself by his natural strength, without any artificial advantage; having his parts above his learning, his experience above his parts, his industry above his experience, and (some will say) his success above all: so that at the last he became chancellor of the Exchequer, baron of Hanworth in Middlesex, and (upon the resignation of doctor Juxon) lord treasurer of England, gaining also a very great estate. But what he got in few years he lost in fewer days, since our civil wars, when the parliament was pleased (for reasons only known to themselves) to make him one of the examples of their severity, excluding him pardon, but permitting his departure beyond the seas, where he died about the

year 1650.

CAPITAL JUDGES. Sir Nicholas Hyde, Knight, was born at Warder in this county, where his father, in right of his wife, had a long lease of that castle from the family of the Arundels. His father, I

* J. Philipot, in his Catalogue of Lord Treasurers, p. 84.

say (descended from an ancient family in Cheshire) a fortunate gentleman in all his children (and more in his grand-children); some of his under-boughs out-growing the top branch, and younger children (amongst whom Sir Nicholas) in wealth and honour exceeding the heir of the family.

He was bred in the Middle Temple, and was made serjeantat-law the first of February 1626; and on the eighth day following was sworn lord chief justice of the King's Bench, succeeding in that office next save one unto his countryman Sir James Ley (then alive, and preferred lord treasurer, born within two miles one of another), and next of all unto Sir Randall Carew lately displaced. Now, though he entered on his place with some disadvantage (Sir Randal being generally popular), and though in those days it was hard for the same person to please court and country, yet he discharged his office with laudable integrity; and died 1631.*

SOLDIERS. First, for this county in general, hear what an ancient author, who wrote about the time of king Henry the Second, reporteth of it, whose words are worthy of our translation and exposition :

“ Provincia Severiana, quæ moderno usu ac nomine ab incolis Wiltesira vocatur, eodem jure sibi vendicat cohortem subsidiariam, adjecta sibi Devonia et Cornubia.” +

(“The Severian Province, which by modern use and name is by the inhabitants called Wiltshire, by the same right challengeth to itself to have the rear, Devonshire and Cornwall being joined unto it.")

The Severian Province.—We thank our author for expounding it Wiltshire ; otherwise we should have sought for it in the north, near the wall of Severus.

By the same right.-Viz. by which Kent claimeth to lead the vanguard, whereof formerly. I

To have the rear.–So translated by Mr. Selden § (from whom it is a sin to dissent in a criticism of antiquity); otherwise some would cavil it to be the reserve. Indeed the rear is the basis and foundation of an army; and it is one of the chief of divine promises, “ The glory of the Lord shall be thy rear-ward.”||

We read how the Romans placed their triarii (which were veteran soldiers) behind, and the service was very sharp indeed, cùm res rediit ad triarios. We

may say

that these three counties, Wiltshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall, are the triarii of England; yet so that in our author Wiltshire appears as principal

, the others being added for its assistance.

Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, was born at Dinton in this county in the year 1608, and was created lord chancellor of Great Britain by king Charles II. -ED.

+ Johannes Sarisburiensis, de Nugis Curialium, vi. cap. 18. I See Kent, under the head Soldiers, vol. ii. p. 145.-ED. In his notes on Polyolbion, p. 303. || Isaiah lviii. 8.

SOLDIERS-WRITERS.

331

Here I dare interpose nothing, why the two interjected counties betwixt Wilts and Devon, viz. Dorset and Somerset, are not mentioned, which giveth me cause to conjecture them included in Devonia, in the large acception thereof. Now amongst the many worthy soldiers which this county hath produced, give me leave to take special notice of

Henry D'ANVERS.–His ensuing epitaph on his monument in the Church of Dantsey in this shire, will better acquaint the reader with his deserts, than any character which my pen can give of him :

“Here lieth the body of Henry Danvers, second son to Sir John Danvers, knight, and dame Elizabeth, daughter and coheir to Nevill lord Latimer. He was born at Dantsey in the county of Wilts, Jan. anno Domini 1573, being bred up partly in the Low Country wars under Maurice earl of Nassau, afterward prince of Orange; and in many other military actions of those times, both by sea and by land. He was made a captain in the wars of France, and there knighted for his good service under Henry the Fourth, the then French king. He was employed as lieutenant of the horse, and serjeant-major of the whole army in Ireland, under Robert earl of Essex, and Charles baron of Mountjoy, in the reign of queen Elizabeth. By king James the First he was made baron of Dansey, and peer of this realm, as also lord-president of Munster, and governor of Guernsey. By king Charles the First he was created earl of Danby, made of his privy council, and knight of the most noble order of the Garter.' In his latter time, by reason of imperfect health, considerably declining more active employments, full of honours, wounds, and days, he died anno Domini 1643.- Laus Deo.

For many years before, St. George had not been more magnificently mounted (I mean the solemnity of his feast more sumptuously observed) than when this earl, with the earl of Morton, were installed' knights of the Garter. One might have there beheld the abridgment of English and Scottish in their attendance: the Scottish earl (like Zeuxis' picture) adorned with all art and costliness ; whilst our English earl (like the plain sheet of Apelles) by the gravity of his habit got the advantage of the gallanty of his co-rival' with judicious beholders. He died without issue in the beginning of our civil wars; and by his will, made 1639, settled his large estate on his hopeful nephew Henry D'Anvers, snatched away (before fully of age) to the great grief of all good men.

WRITERS. OLIVER of MALMESBURY was (saith my author *) “in ipsius Monasterii territorio natus ; so that there being few paces betwixt his cradle and that convent, he quickly came thither, and became a Benedictine therein. He was much addicted to mathematics, and to judicial astrology: A great comet happened in his age, which he entertained with these expressions:

* Pits, de Illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus, anno 1060.

“Venisti ? venisti ? multis matribus lugendum malum! Dudum te vidi ; sed multò jam terribilius, Angliæ minans prorsus excidium.”

(“ Art thou come? art thou come? thou evil to be lamented by many mothers! I saw thee long since; but now thou art much more terrible, threatening the English with utter destruction.”)

Nor did he much miss his mark herein; for, soon after, the coming in of the Norman conqueror deprived many English of their lives, more of their laws and liberties, till, after many years, by God's goodness, they were restored.

This Oliver, having a mind to try the truth of poetical reports, an facta vel ficta, is said to have tied wings to his hands and feet, and taking his rise from a tower in Malmsbury, flew as they say a furlong,* till, something failing him, down he fell, and brake both his thighs. Pity is it but that, Icarus-like, he had not fallen into the water; and then

“ Oliver Ol’varis nomina fecit aquis." I find the like recorded in the Ecclesiastical History of Simon Magus,t flying from the Capitol in Rome high in the air, till at last (by the prayers of St. Peter) he fell down, and bruised himself to death. But that Simon did it by the black, our Oliver by the white art; he being supported by ill spirits, this by mere ingenuity, which made him the more to be pitied.

He wrote some books of astrology; and died anno Domini 1060, five years before the Norman invasion; and so saw not his own prediction (prevented by death) performed; it being the fate of such folk, “ut sint oculati foras, et cæcutiant domi," (that when they are quick-sighted to know what shall betide to others, they are blind to behold what will befall to themselves.)

William, quitting his own name of SUMMERSET, assumed that of MALMESBURY, because there he had (if not born) his best preferment. Indeed he was a duallist in that convent (and if a pluralist no ingenious person would have envied him), being chanter of that church, and library-keeper therein. Let me add, and library-maker too; for so may we call his “ History of the Saxon Kings and Bishops” before the Conquest, and after it until his own time; a history to be honoured, both for the

* Pits, de Illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus, anno 1060.

+ Abdis Babilon A post. Hist. lib. i. ; Egesippus, lib. iii. cap. 2 ; Epiph. lib. tom. 2, hæres. 21. ; Anton. chro. part i. tit. 6, cap. 4.

| Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent ii, num. 51.

[blocks in formation]

truth and method thereof. If any fustiness be found in his writings, it comes not from the grape, but from the cask. The smack of superstition in his books is not to be imputed to his person, but to the age wherein he lived and died, viz, anno Domini 1142, and was buried in Malmsbury.

Robert CANUTUS.—His surname might justly persuade us to suspect him a Dane, but that Bale * doth assure him born at Cricklade in this county; and further proceedeth thus in the description of the place:

“Leland, in the life of the great king Alfred, informs us, that, during the flourishing of the glory of the Britons, before the university of Oxford was founded, two scholars were famous both for eloquence and learning, the one called Greeklade, where the Greek, the other Latinlade, where the Latin tongue was professed; since corruptly called Cricklade and Lechlade at this day.”+

Having so good security, I presumed to print the same in. my “Church History,” and am not as yet ashamed thereof But, since my worthy friend Doctor Heylin (whose relations living thereabouts, gave him the opportunity of more exactness) thus reporteth it, that Cricklade was the place for the profession of Greek, Lechlade for physic and Latin, a small village (small indeed, for I never saw it any map) hard by the place where Latin was professed.

But to proceed : our Canute went hence to Oxford, and there became chief of the canons of Saint Fridswith. He gathered the best flowers out of Pliny's “Natural History;" and, composing it into “ a Garland” (as he calleth it), dedicated the book to king Henry the Second. He wrote also his “Comments on the greater part of the Old and New Testament;" and flourished anno 1170.

RICHARD of the Devises.-A word of the place of his nativity. The Vies, or Devises, is the best and biggest town for trading (Salisbury being a city) in this shire; so called because anciently divided betwixt the king and the bishop of Salisbury, as Mine-Thine (corruptly called Minden), a city in Westphalia, had its name from such a partition. Now because the Devises carrieth much of strange conceits in the common sound thereof, and because Stone-henge is generally reputed a wonder, country people who live far off in our land mis-apprehend them (distanced more than twelve miles) to be near together. Our Richard, born in this town, was bred a Benedictine in Winchester, where his learning and industry rendered him to the respect of all in that age. He wrote a history of the reign of king Richard the First, under whom he flourished, and

In vità Roberti Canuti, Cent. iii. num. 4.

+ Idem,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »