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prophecies and miracles.

Footnote 3:

“Siste, viator; juxta situs est J. L. Si qualis fuerit rogas,
mediocritate suâ contentum se vixisse respondet. Literis innutritus
eousque tantum profecit ut veritati unicà studeret. Hoc ex scriptis
illius disce; quæ, quod de eo reliquum est, majori fide tibi
exhibebunt, quam epitaphii suspecta elogia. Virtutis si quas habuit,
minores sane quam quas sibi laudi, tibi in exemplum proponeret. Vitia
una sepeliantur. Morum exemplum si quæras, in evangelio habes
(vitiorum utinam nusquam), mortalis certè quod prosit hic et ubique.
Natum . . . . Mortuum . . . . Memorat hac tabula brevi et ipsa

That which has assured to Locke imperishable fame is the ‘Essay
concerning Human Understanding.’ This great work, however, met with
considerable obloquy at first: the heads of colleges at Oxford even
endeavoured to prevent its being read in their University. The Essay is
in the hands of all; the writings of its opponents, comparatively
speaking, are forgotten. It will be generally admitted, that in it Locke
laid the foundation of modern metaphysical philosophy.

Two of Locke’s chief works, the ‘Treatise on Civil Government,’ and
‘Essay on Education,’ are more capable of a short analysis. The former
may be taken as an expression of his own opinions in defence of the
Revolution. It is divided into two parts. The first contains an exposure
of the fallacies of Sir Robert Filmer’s ‘Patriarcha,’ arguing that Adam
had not such natural or gifted right of dominion as Filmer pretends;
that if he had, his heirs had not; that if they had, yet there is no
general law, divine or human, which determines the right of succession,
much less of bearing rule; lastly, that if such right had been
determined, yet the eldest line from Adam being unknown, no man can
pretend more than another to that right of inheritance; consequently,
that some other source of political power must be found than “Adam’s
private dominion and paternal jurisdiction.” Locke proceeds in the
second part to declare his opinion as to what this other source may be.
He argues, that originally the executive power was in the hands of each
individual; but, by mutual consent, for mutual benefit, as men grew into
societies, political power was created, and given to persons chosen from
the whole body by the major part of such societies. He protests against
absolute power, as not expressing the will of the majority; but defends
prerogative, as a discretionary power lodged in the hands of the
executive government. He maintains that this compact must be held
sacred, but reverts to the society if its duration was declared
temporary, or upon the misconduct of rulers or delegates. When
forfeited, the will of the society may create new forms of government;
or, under the old form, continue it in other hands.

The Essay on Education is expressly for the use of gentlemen, since “if
that class be properly tended the rest will follow of course.” The
child, he says, should have much air and exercise, should be accustomed
to little sleep and early habits. That superstitious terrors, and the
frequent use of the rod should be carefully avoided; that the boy should
be used to suffer pain gradually, to harden him, but not as a
punishment; that the parents’ authority should be perfect over the
child, and be gradually taken off, till the relation between them
becomes a confiding friendship; that particular attention be paid to his
manners, so that his courage, learning, wit, plainness, and good-nature,
do not turn to brutality, pedantry, buffoonery, rusticity, and fawning.
He says, that the child’s curiosity should be encouraged; that he should
learn by games, and his attainments never be forced; that he should not
be left to flounder in difficulties, but helped through them. Locke
prefers a careful tutor to a public school: he says that a boy stands a
better chance of being both virtuous and well-bred under the care of the
former. What he should know is Latin, Greek, a little mathematics, how
to keep accounts; the less of logic the better; he should write a good
hand; and a virtuous youth so bred, “one may turn loose into the world
with great assurance that he will find employment and esteem
everywhere.” He further recommends that the boy should travel between
the ages of eight and sixteen, rather than between sixteen and twenty
one; and that when he comes of age he had better not marry according to
the usual custom, but wait some years, that his children “may not tread
too closely on his heels.”

The habit of Locke’s mind was perhaps originally severe; but from
constant social intercourse with men of all characters and opinions, was
rendered mild and equable. Nothing seems to have provoked him into a
loss of temper so much as being forced into argument with professed
logicians. He calls the logical method taught at Oxford an ill, if not
the worst way of acquiring knowledge and seeking truth. He was fond of
the society of children, and would enter into the enjoyments of riper
youth with facility. He was entrusted by his patron with the education
and marriage of his son, who was the father of the author of the
‘Characteristics.’ The latter nobleman (the third Earl of Shaftesbury)
owed much to Locke’s care, and was his eulogist.

Locke was of a cautious if not timid disposition. This appears from many
of his letters, and may be inferred from the anonymous publication of
most of his writings. His weak health, the political persecution to
which he was exposed during great part of his life, and the discipline
to which he was subjected in childhood, which was strict and severe, in
some measure account for this failing. His friendships were very steady;
witness his close adherence to his patron Shaftesbury. Sydenham’s
contemporary and friendly character of Locke is remarkable: he says, in
a prefatory letter to one of his works, that “if we consider his genius,
his penetrating and exact judgment, and the strictness of his morals, he
has scarcely any superior, and few equals now living.”

[Illustration: [Reverse of a French Medal of Locke.]]


_Engraved by Rob^t. Hart._


_From a Picture attributed to Sir Peter Lely in the Bodleian Library,

Under the Superintendance of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful

_London, Published by Charles Knight, Ludgate Street._



John Selden was born at Salvington, a hamlet of Tarring, near Worthing,
in the county of Sussex, December 16, 1584 (O.S.). His father, according
to Wood, “was a sufficient plebeian,” who, through some skill in music,
obtained as his wife Margaret Baker, a daughter of a knightly family of
the county of Kent. The baptism of his eminent son, as well as his own
musical talents, are noticed in an existing parish registry in these
words: “1584.—Johnne, sonne of John Selden, the minstrell, was baptised
the XXX^{th} day of December.” The house in which the family lived was
called Lacies, and the estate of the father consisted, in 1606, of
eighty-one acres, of the annual value of about twenty-three pounds. John
Selden, the son, received his early education at the Free Grammar-School
of Chichester. At the age of fourteen he entered at Hart Hall, Oxford.
After residing four years at the University, he was admitted, in 1602, a
member of Clifford’s Inn, one of the dependencies of the greater inns of
court, in which students of law were formerly accustomed to commence
their legal education. He removed in May, 1604, to the Inner Temple. His
attention appears to have been early drawn to the study of civil and
legal history, and antiquities; he did not court the more active
business of his profession, and his employment at the bar was limited.
In 1607, he prepared for the press his first work, entitled ‘Analectωn
Anglo-Britannicωn,’ being a collection of civil and ecclesiastical
matters relating to Britain, of a date anterior to the Norman conquest.
This was soon followed by three other works of a similar character, and
in 1614 he printed his ‘Treatise upon Titles of Honour.’ The last of
these works has been considered in our courts of law to be of great
authority, and has been usually spoken of with much commendation.
Pursuing his legal inquiries, he edited, in 1616, two treatises, one of
Sir John Fortescue, the other of Sir Ralph Hengham, and in the same year
wrote a ‘Discourse on the Office of Lord Chancellor.’ In the next year
he printed a work, ‘De Diis Syris,’ which added to his celebrity, but is
not compiled with that attention to the value of the respective
authorities cited, so essentially necessary to the accurate
consideration of historical questions. His next work was a ‘History of
Tithes,’ printed in 1618, which excited against him the bitter hostility
of the clergy. The doctrine of divine right, as the foundation of many
ecclesiastical claims, was at this time jealously maintained, and was
considered to be peculiarly connected with the right of the clergy to
tithes. Selden drew no direct conclusion against the divine nature of
the right to tithes, but he had so arranged his authorities as to render
such a conclusion inevitable. The nature only of the title was
contested, and so far from the clergy having had any reason to look upon
Selden as an enemy, he in fact strengthened their claim to tithes by
placing it upon the same footing as any ordinary title to property. As
soon as the ‘History’ appeared it was attacked. The High Commission
Court summoned Selden before it, and to this tribunal he was compelled
to apologise. The terms of his submission very accurately state the
offence, and are expressive of regret that “he had offered any occasion
of argument against any right of maintenance _jure divino_ of the
ministers of the gospel.” The work received several answers, but Selden
was forbidden by James I., under a threat of imprisonment, to notice
them. “All that will,” said he, “have liberty, and some use it, to write
and preach what they will against me, to abuse my name, my person, my
profession, with as many falsehoods as they please, and my hands are
tied: I must not so much as answer their calumnies. I am so far from
writing more, that I have scarce ventured for my own safety so much as
to say they abuse me, though I know it.”

Hardly had this storm passed, when he became involved in the disputes
between the Crown and the House of Commons. One of the earliest steps of
that body, upon the convocation of Parliament in 1621, was to present a
remonstrance on the state of public affairs. This was succeeded by the
memorable protestation of December 18, in which the liberty of the
subject was asserted, and the right of the Commons to offer advice to
the Crown was insisted on. This protestation was erased from the
journals of the House by the King’s own hands, and the parliament was
dissolved. Selden, whose advice, though he was not then a member, had
been requested by the House in this dispute, was in consequence
imprisoned, and detained in confinement five weeks. His release was
owing to the intercession of Bishop Williams, who represented him to be
“a man who hath excellent parts, which might be diverted from an
affectation of pleasing idle people to do some good and useful service
to his Majesty.” On his release, he dedicated to Williams his edition of
Eadmer’s contemporary ‘History of England, from the Norman Conquest to
the death of Henry I.,’ which he had prepared for the press during his

When the next parliament assembled in 1624, Selden sat in it as member
for the borough of Lancaster. Though nominated upon several committees,
he took no active share in the general business of the House. About this
time also he was appointed one of the readers of the Inner Temple; but
he refused the office, and was in consequence for some time disabled to
be advanced to the rank of a bencher of the inn. Upon the accession of
Charles I. a new parliament was called, in which Selden sat for the
borough of Great Bedwin. This parliament was almost immediately
dissolved, and another summoned, to which Selden was again returned for
the same borough as before. The Commons immediately entered upon a
consideration of the conduct of the Duke of Buckingham, and his
impeachment being resolved on, Selden was one of the members appointed
to prepare the articles, and was named a manager for their prosecution.
These proceedings were stopped by another dissolution of parliament in
June, 1626. But the necessities of the Crown requiring those supplies
which parliament refused without a redress of grievances, forced loans
were resorted to in the exercise of certain pretended owners of the
prerogative. In several instances these loans were refused; among others
by Sir Edward Hampden, who was imprisoned in consequence: and the
illegality of his commitment was very ably argued by Selden in the
King’s Bench. In the third parliament, called by Charles I. in 1628,
Selden sat for the borough of Ludgershall; and in the debates which
immediately took place upon illegal commitments, the levy of tonnage and
poundage, and the preparation of the Petition of Rights, he took a very
active share. The attack upon the Duke of Buckingham was renewed, and it
was proposed by Selden, that judgment should be demanded against him
upon the impeachment of the former parliament. As affecting a great
constitutional question, only finally determined in 1791, of the
continuance of impeachments, notwithstanding a dissolution of
parliament, the suggestion was remarkable. Further proceedings were,
however, stopped by the assassination of the Duke.

During the prorogation of parliament, Selden again devoted himself to
literary pursuits. The Earl of Arundel, a great lover and promoter of
the arts, had received from the east many ancient marbles, having on
them Greek inscriptions. At the request of Sir Robert Cotton, these
inscriptions were transcribed under the superintendence of Selden, and
were published under the title of ‘Marmora Arundeliana.’ In January,
1629, parliament again assembled, and the debates upon public grievances
were renewed. The goods of several merchants, in the interval of the
meeting of parliament, had been seized by the Crown, to satisfy a claim
to the duty of tonnage and poundage. Among the sufferers was Rolls, a
member of the House. It was moved, that the seizure of his goods was a
breach of privilege. When the question was to be put, the Speaker said
“he durst not, for that the King had commanded to the contrary.” Selden
immediately rose, and vehemently complained of this conduct: “Dare you
not, Mr. Speaker, to put the question when we command you. If you will
not put it, we must sit still: thus, we shall never be able to do any
thing. They that come after you may say, that they have the King’s
commands not to do it. We sit here by the command of the King under the
great seal, and you are, by his Majesty, sitting in his royal chair
before both houses, appointed for our Speaker, and now refuse to do your
office.” The House then adjourned in a state of great excitement. When
it re-assembled, the Speaker was called upon to put the question, and
again refused. On this Holles and Valentine thrust the Speaker into the
chair, and held him down, while Sir Miles Hobart locked the door of the
house and took possession of the key. A declaration was then produced by
Sir John Elliot, which Colonel Stroud moved should be read, and himself
put the question. The motion was declared to be carried; and the
Speaker, refusing to act upon it, was charged by Sir P. Heyman with
cutting up the liberty of the subject by the roots. Selden moved that
the declaration should be read by the clerk, which was agreed to. The
House then adjourned to a day, previous to which the King came to the
House of Lords and dissolved the parliament, on account of “the
undutiful and seditious carriage of the Lower House,” without the
attendance of the Commons. Selden, and the other members concerned in
the violence offered to the Speaker, were committed to prison. This was
his last and most rigorous confinement. For some time he was denied the
use of pens, ink, paper, and books. When, after many weeks had elapsed,
he was brought up with the other prisoners before the King’s Bench upon
a writ of _habeas corpus_, their discharge was offered upon condition of
their finding bail for their good behaviour. “We demand,” said Selden,
“to be bailed in point of right; and if it be not grantable of right, we
do not demand it. But finding sureties for good behaviour is a point of
discretion merely, and we cannot assent to it without great offence to
the parliament where these matters, which are surmised by the return,
were acted.” They were remanded, and remained for a long time in prison,
where Elliot, one of the ablest members of the popular party, fell a
victim to his confinement. In 1634, Selden was suffered to go at large
upon bail, which was discontinued upon his petition to the Crown. During
his imprisonment he wrote a treatise, ‘De Successionibus in Bona
Defuncti ad Leges Ebræorum,’ and another, ‘De Successione in
Pontificatum Ebræorum.’ Both those works he dedicated to Archbishop
Laud; probably upon account of his being indebted to the Archbishop for
the loan of books. Not long after the recovery of his liberty, Selden
obtained the favour of Charles I., and dedicated to him his celebrated
essay on the ‘Mare Clausum,’ an argument in favour of the dominion of
the English over the four seas, copies of which were, by order of the
Privy Council, directed to be placed in the council chest, the Court of
Exchequer, and the Court of Admiralty.

To the Long Parliament, which commenced its sittings in 1640, Selden was
unanimously returned by the University of Oxford; but neither this new
connexion with the clergy, nor the favour of Charles, appears to have
affected his opinions. Upon the first day of the sitting of parliament
he was nominated a member of the committee to inquire into the abuses of
the Earl Marshal’s Court, and was appointed with others to draw up a
remonstrance upon the state of the nation. He also sat upon the
committees which conducted the measures preparatory to the impeachment
of the Earl of Strafford, but he was not one of the managers before the
House of Lords; and his name was posted in Old Palace Yard as one of
“the enemies of justice,” a title given to those who were regarded as
favourable to the Earl. It is not very clear what his opinions upon the
impeachment were. That he should have been satisfied with all the steps
taken by his party is not possible, for his opinions were undoubtedly
moderate, and his studious habits must have checked any disposition to
violence. He was also nominated to frame the articles of impeachment
against Laud, and was a party to the resolutions against the legislative
powers of the bishops. The court, however, appears to have considered
him favourable to its interests, until he spoke against the commission
of array. Upon this question, Clarendon represents the influence of his
opinion upon the public to have been very prejudicial to Charles I.
About this time the great seal was offered to him. He declined it,
according to Clarendon, on account of his love of ease, and “that he
would not have made a journey to York or have been out of his own bed
for any preferment.” The reason which he himself assigned for refusing
it, was the impossibility of his rendering any service to the Crown. He
sat as member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and took the
covenant; yet he was not well affected to the Puritans, and declared
that “he was neither mad enough nor fool enough to deserve the name of
Puritan.” Upon the death of Dr. Eden, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge,
in August, 1645, Selden was elected his successor, but declined to
accept the office. About this time he appears to have gradually
withdrawn from public business. His fondness of ease and his increasing
age, and the silence he preserved upon many important events, all
contribute to leave the inference of his approval or disapproval of much
of the conduct of the parliamentary leaders open to adverse parties. He
certainly never openly abandoned the popular side, nor does he appear to
have forfeited its respect; and yet at the same time he continued to be
esteemed by many of the leading Royalists.

The studies of Selden were continued to the latest period of his life,
and he was near the age of seventy when his last work was published. The
influence he possessed with the parliamentary leaders was frequently
exerted in favour of letters. When Archbishop Laud’s endowment of the
professorship of Arabic in the University of Oxford, was seized, on the
attainder of that prelate, he procured its restitution. Archbishop Usher
having preached against the divines of Westminster, and excited their
anger, was punished by the confiscation of his library. Selden
interfered, and saved it from sale and dispersion. When prelacy was
abolished, the library attached to the see of Canterbury was by his
efforts transferred to the University of Cambridge, where it remained
until the Restoration. Through his entreaties, Whitelocke was induced to
accept the charge of the medals and books at St. James’s, and thus
secured their preservation. The services which he rendered to the
University of Oxford were no less valuable, and were acknowledged in
grateful terms by that learned body; and it was through his interference
that the papers and instruments of Graves, the Professor of Mathematics,
which had been seized by a party of soldiers, were restored.

Selden died November 30, 1654, and was buried in the Temple church. He
left behind him no immediate relations, and he bequeathed nearly the
whole of his fortune, amounting to nearly 40,000_l._, to his four
executors, giving only one hundred pounds to each of the children of his
sister, the wife of John Barnard, of Goring. His books and manuscripts
he had originally given by his will to the University of Oxford; but
that body having demanded of him a heavy bond for the restitution of a
book which he desired to borrow from the public library, the bequest was
struck out, and they were directed to be placed “in some convenient
public library or college in one of the universities.” Sir M. Hale and
his other executors, considering that they were the executors “of his
will, and not of his passion,” transferred them to the Bodleian Library
at Oxford.

To learned men Selden was liberal and generous; and there is a letter
from Casaubon in Parr’s ‘Life of Archbishop Usher,’ in which that
distinguished scholar with great feeling says, “I was with Mr. Selden
after I had been with your Grace, whom, upon some intimation of my
present condition and necessities, I found so noble, as that he did not
only presently furnish me with a very considerable sum of money, but was
so free and forward in his expressions, as that I could not find in my
heart to tell him much (somewhat I did) of my intention of selling, lest
it should sound as a farther pressing upon him of whom I had received so

Milton terms Selden “the chief of learned men reputed in this land;” and
Whitelocke states, “that his mind was as great as his learning, being
very generous and hospitable.” Clarendon, who could not regard Selden
with any political partiality, though he had in early life been on terms
of intimacy with him, describes him to have been “a person whom no
character can flatter or transmit in any expressions equal to his merit
or virtue. He was of so stupendous learning in all kinds and in all
languages (as may appear in his excellent and transcendent writings),
that a man would have thought he had been entirely conversant among
books, and had never spent an hour but in reading and writing; yet his
humanity, courtesy, and affability were such, that he would have been
thought to have been bred in the best courts, but that his good nature,
charity, and delight in doing good, and in communicating all he knew,
exceeded that breeding.”

The motto adopted by Selden was περὶ παντὸς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν (above all
things, liberty), and it is to be found neatly written upon the first
page of many of his MSS. Its spirit he extended to religious questions;

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