Roger Twysden.

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[no. xlv.]




FOR THE YEAR 1848-9.


THOMAS AMYOT, ESQ. F.R.S., F.S.A. Director.



JOHN PAYNE COLLIER, ESQ. Treas. S.A. Treasurer.










WILLIAM J. TIIOMS, ESQ. F.S.A., Secretary.


The Council of the Camden Society desire it to be under-
stood that they are not answerable for any opinions or observa-
tions that may appear in the Society's publications ; the Editors of
the several works being alone responsible for the same.


The valuable treatise which is now for the first time committed
to the press is the work of one of the most laborious and judicious
antiquaries that the seventeenth century produced. Many of our
countrymen, of various ranks and in various branches of learning,
were indeed distinguished at that period for a wide and sound eru-
dition, and for a generous devotion to historical inquiry, which have
never been surpassed by any generation of scholars. It was the age
which comprehended the great names of Coke and Bacon, and
Camden, Selden, Somner, Spelman, Evelyn, Digby, D'Ewes, Ash-
mole, Dugdale, Junius, Usher, Gill, Cotton, Savile, Whelock, and,
though last not least, Twysden. Yet, amidst all this company of
earnest, learned, and accomplished men, sir Roger Twysden occupies
no secondary place. Like Selden and sir Symonds D'Ewes, he was
engaged in the business of active political life, during the most
exciting and troublous period of our history : he was a country
gentleman, deeply mixed up with the affairs of his county ; a careful
landlord, responsible for the conduct of a large estate, and the welfare
of a numerous tenantry ; a justice of peace, and in the commission of
oyer and terminer ; a commissioner in the matter of ejected
ministers ; a deputy lieutenant at a time when lieutenancy was really
a military function, and imposed other duties than wearing an
uniform at a levee ; last of all, he was a husband, and the father of



a numerous family ; and it was then not easier than it now is to pro-
vide for daughters and younger sons a position consistent with the
honour and dignity of the family from which they sprung. Primo-
genitura facit appanagium : but courtiers then swallowed up employ-
ments which have in later times been a happy resource for the
scions of influential county families ; and the squire of the seven-
teenth century had to provide means for cadets, which a more skilful
age has sought in other modes of provision than a careful and frugal

And yet, amidst all the distractions of political and public life, and
the cares imposed upon him by his station and domestic circum-
stances, undeterred by difficulty, undismayed by persecution, we
find him devoting the energies of a powerful mind to the investiga-
tion of our national antiquities, rendering some of our earlier autho-
rities accessible for the first time to his fellow countrymen, and
final] v producing two of the most remarkable contributions we yet
possess to our ecclesiastical and political history.

The student in an age like this, when the means of collecting-
knowledge are widely diffused, and the aids to its co-ordination and
implication sufficiently supplied, can form but a faint notion of the
difficulties which, in the seventeenth century, still beset the path of
the historical inquirer. Much that is now accessible through a
never resting press was then still locked up in manuscripts, too often
guarded with jealous care from the eye of a stranger. No British
Museum opened its hospitable doors to every respectable applicant ;
and even though Cotton and D'Ewes, and other equally noble men,
gave great facilities to all who had any claims upon their notice, in
many cases long negotiations and no little diplomacy were necessary
in order to obtain sight of a rare book or valuable manuscript.


Continental works of tlie greatest note were not then easily obtained,
and even when picked up by the travelling Englishman were only to
be purchased at a high rate, and at imminent risk of miscarriage in
the transport to this country. Above all, historical studies were but
in their infancy : nor had the zeal and labour of successive genera-
tions of scholars yet established that critical apparatus, without which
so many problems in chronology and philology would still remain

And yet it is impossible to deny that no age has produced a more
vigorous race of thinkers, or one to which we owe more gratitude
for their labours.

It does not, however, seem difficult to account for this. It was
an age of restless mental activity, in which every energy of mind
was braced and trained by the daily exigences of public life : when
great principles were still to be brought into light, great ends still to
be struggled for, and when strong minds eagerly took part in the
struggle, to which circumstances irresistibly hurried them on. The
storm of the Reformation had not so long passed away, but what the
whole frame of society still rocked and swayed with the convulsion.
Men were yet living who had seen the fires of Smithfield, or trem-
bled at the savage insolence of Bonner : more had shouted when the
Jesuits were turned off at Tyburn, or had appeared in the array at
Tilbury, or had joined in the rejoicing over the ruin of the Armada,
and the salvation of the Protestant interest in Europe. The sudden
awakening of the human intellect from its sleep of ages had been
followed by a prodigious activity, and that had necessarily been
directed upon the questions which were now of vital and incompa-
rable interest. The upholders of the papacy had learnt that acts of
parliament and royal proclamations were not sufficient to repress the


dangerous opinions of innovators who appealed to the word of God
and the traditions of history. The fagot and the scaffold are poor
arguments, that may silence, but cannot convince: and, like the
dragon's teeth of old, each martyr's blood gave birth to a new army.
In their despair the papists appealed also to the past, and the battle
was soon shifted to the field of philology and history. From that
moment the result was inevitable. Then all at once every earnest
and thinking man found that the weapons with which he was to
combat must be drawn from a new armoury. The innovators
appealed to the bible, the works of the fathers, the ecclesiastical
historians : their adversaries were compelled to deny the accuracy
of the translations, the correctness of the deductions. Philology
and logic, the two stern muses, were at once made the arbiters of
the contest. Men of all classes, whose eternal salvation de-
pended upon their really ascertaining the truth, laboured over
Hebrew rolls and toiled through Greek manuscripts: tradesmen
and shop-keepers, soldiers, country-gentlemen, peers, and privy-
councillors adopted the studies which had been neglected by bishops
and cardinals : one by one every gross error was purged away, and
the full triumph of the Reformation secured. Neither the passions
of Henry the Eighth, nor the profligate infidelity of Leo, no r th
rude violence of Luther, did it, though all aided it : in truth, the
time was come when the creat intellectual birth of the ao;e was
become too big for swaddling clothes.

But even therefore the power thus raised was not to subside when
the circumstances that had evoked it passed away. The com-
mencement of the seventeenth century saw parties very differently
situated from those of the sixteenth. The fury of vulgar persecu-
tion had indeed been allayed, and neither the pile nor the scaffold


were now the daily resources of exasperated polemics ; but contro-
versy had not been silenced abroad, even if it were compelled to
mutter in secret here: and good service was yet to be done in
refuting Spanish and French and Italian champions, who, compre-
hending at last the new nature of the contest, brought to it logical
and philological weapons, scarcely less keen and polished than those
of their opponents.

Moreover, although the cause of the Reformation had triumphed,
the reformers themselves were very far from agreed as to the
system which was to be set up in place of that which had been over-
thrown. The articles of the Church, after much botching and
patching, had been left in a condition little consistent with the
general tendency of the Liturgy. The germs of the Low and High
Church parties, big with future convulsions, had already shown
themselves. The successors of Cranmer and the predecessors of
Laud were already measuring one another's powers for a deadly
struggle : and puritanism, bred in the midst of civil discord, growled
and scowled in the distance. That unanimity which had never been
attained under the leaden despotism of a Church which strained
every nerve to assure it, was little likely to result from the studies
of a thousand men, of all varying powers, — the sternly logical, the
imaginative, the enthusiastic, the savage and persecuted, the refined
and instructed. The bible had indeed been proclaimed the sole rule
of faith, but then there were differences of translation as to various
passages, differences of opinion as to its doctrines, and nearly as
many controversies as readers. For the great misfortune of man-
kind its chapters had been divided into verses, which might be
quoted for any purpose, good or bad, without reference to the con-
text, Manv still hankered after what their adversaries called the


flesli-pots of Egypt, and, even less complimentarily, the abominations
of the harlot that sitteth on seven hills. In fact, it is not very easy
after an earthquake to reconstruct, upon the old model, the palaces
and houses it has levelled with the ground. — So the tradesmen and
shop-keepers, and soldiers and peers and country-gentlemen con-
tinued to read the Hebrew and the Greek, and the works of the
fathers, and bandied amongst themselves the heavy blows they had
once unanimously bestowed on the common enemy. The cup of
polemical bitterness was full to overflowing.

At this ill-omened conjuncture, the throne of England was filled
by a narrow-minded and contemptible prince, whose absurd notions
of the royal office, taken up in chorus by a host of obsequious cour-
tiers, were seen at once to be contrary to all the rights which
Englishmen had inherited from their remotest ancestors, and which
in many a fearful crisis had been purchased and repurchased with
their blood. Ungainly in his person, effeminate in his manners,
without the dignity of a king, or the principles of a gentleman,
James the First had rudely shocked the expectations and disappointed
the hopes of a people who had been disposed to receive him with
hereditary loyalty. Given up to worthless favourites, who pillaged
the subject at home, while they degraded the national honour
abroad, now scolding, now railing, now boasting of his skill in king-
craft, now shrinking from the manifestation of a single manly feeling,
he had deeply shaken the respect with which Englishmen had been
accustomed to regard the office of their sovereign, and the affection
they had ever willingly paid to the person of their ruler. To such
a despicable prince they were now called upon to yield up more
than had ever been claimed by the most energetic and fortunate of
lite Plantagenets, or the most despotic and crafty of the Tudors.


The man whom they could not respect for his public virtues, or love
for his personal good qualities, they were compelled to fear, as a
systematic encroacher upon the national liberties ; while the stern
and angry reformers looked with the utmost jealousy upon a succes-
sion of ill-advised measures which rendered the king's secret leanino-
towards popery at least a matter of grave suspicion. Concessions to
Rome, which the great mass of the nation undoubtedly abhorred,
begun to be whispered about, as the conditions of an alliance with
the Spaniard, odious to every patriotic Englishman. To conciliate
those who had loaded the ships of their Armada with fetters and
thumbscrews, whose armies were officered with Jesuits, and whose
victory would plant the "Inquisition" on our shores, the noble
blood of Raleigh had flowed by an iniquitous sentence. In his
hatred of the puritans, whom he comprehended with instinctive
cowardice, and detested with all the detestation of a weak and
narrow mind, James had manifested a leaning to the papists, or the
Arminians, who were little less obnoxious than papists themselves to
the zealous Calvinists of the English Church. In their turn
Arminians of the Church of England had adopted and openly
avowed opinions delightful to the despotic pedant on the throne, but
which even the most loyal Englishmen at once denounced as fatal to
the national liberties, and contrary to every tradition of the national

Thus was the venom of political added to that of religious con-
tention, and the agitation of the Reformation still kept alive : nor
was the direction of men's studies changed ; for the same history which
had been appealed to in the affairs of the Church, furnished authority
as to affairs of the state. It was not easy to read the ancient
chronicles which refuted the pretensions of popes, without meeting


with many details very hostile to the doctrines popular at court. If
the Anglo-Saxon remains told of archbishops who denied transub-
stantiation, of gospels read to the people in the vulgar tongue, and of
married priests, of justification by faith, and the power of the keys
given to all duly ordained persons; if they entirely ignored the
existence of ecclesiastical courts, and proved the subjection of the
clergy to the tribunals of the State, they also told very intelligibly of
limited monarchs, popular rights, and witenagemots controlling every
act of the crown.* In them was not to be found a trace of the
preposterous theories of divine right, arbitrary and patriarchal power,
passive obedience, or non-resistance, that were growing up under
James's fostering care, that were to embitter the struggle in which
monarchy and aristocracy should be struck down together, and that
were finally to be silenced only when a cruel, cold-blooded, and
incapable bigot, attacked, upon their own principles, the warmest of
their supporters.

Mr. Macaulav, in one of the most brilliant passages of Ins brilliant
history, f has given a picture of the country gentleman in the latter
half of the seventeenth century, which I believe to be hardly just to
that distinguished and powerful class. He represents them generally
as men without refinement or education, little above their grooms
and gamekeepers in maimers or acquirements, hardly capable of

* The revival of Anglo-Saxon study was contemporaneous with the Reformation ;
Parker, L'Isle, and Fox, wielded it as a weapon against popery. But it was continued
also, for the sake of history, in the later times, when, though every educated man was a
theologian, theological struggles were no longer the exclusive ohjects of attention. Spel-
man Selden, Somner, D'Ewes, and Twysden, all cite Anglo-Saxon usages and phrases,
publish Anglo-Saxon laws or councils, and quote Anglo-Saxon homilies. Among the
Surrenden MSS. is a very creditable Anglo-Saxon vocabulary in the hand of the cele-
brated Sir E. Dering, and obviously formed by himself in the course of his own reading.

f Hist, of England, i. 320.


more than signing their names to a mittimus, and separated from
their rude neighbours and dependents only by their wealth, station,
and the exercise of a barbarous hospitality. It may easily be al-
lowed that twenty-five years of civil disturbance, during which the
country-gentlemen had been the greatest sufferers both in person and
property, may have greatly diminished the amount of learning or
polite letters to be found among the members of their body. And
we may therefore admit the squires of 1666 to have been somewhat
less distinguished as a body than those of 1640; or, what is much the
same tiling in this respect, those of 1620. But it is hardly possible
to believe the difference to have been so great, the degradation so
sudden, or the distance so vast between the one generation and the
other. Even under James the Second the country-gentlemen appear
to me, as a class, to have merited a better note than they have
received in Mr. Macaulay's attractive volumes. Very little earlier
this was the class that produced Wentworth, Carew, Osborne,
D'Ewes, Cotton, Dugdale, and Twysden; and that had produced
Wyat and Raleigh. No doubt there were, even among them, many
vulgar, and some brutal men ; but when we look at the figure made
by many of this class in the House of Commons, the works they sent
to press, the public papers they prepared in their grand juries and
magistrates' meetings, and the petitions they drew up to kings and
parliaments, we must necessarily claim for them a far higher amount
of civilisation than their learned and able critic has allowed to the
generation that immediately succeeded them. He speaks with dis-
respect of their books and book-learning ; yet many of them, in spite
of difficulty and expense, collected large and excellent libraries, still
in the possession of their descendants. So late as 1653 thirteen copies
of the "great Hebrew Bible" — that is, Walton's Polyglott — were



subscribed for by twelve Kentish squires, Sir Roger Twysden's
friends and relatives,* at a cost of not less than ten pounds a copy,
— a large sum for those days, and perhaps more than equivalent to
five-and-thirty now. And, without disrespect to the honourable suc-
cessors of those men, I may be allowed to doubt whether a similar
work would now meet with a similar reception in any English
county.f Sir H. Spelman's energetic zeal for learning is recorded
not less in the elaborate works which he published himself, than in
the patronage he extended to Wheloc, and the attempted establish-
ment at Cambridge of a Professorship of Ecclesiastical History and

The anxiety which sir Roger Twysden felt about his own collec-
tion of books is shown in the following note :

" I would not have them come after me sell any of my bookes, ney
though they find I haue two of one and y e same sort, assure hymself
there was somewhat why 1 kept them. Ney, if it so fortune I haue
y e same edition twise, as certayn workes of Padre Paolos and others
printed at Venice 1606 and 1607, during the tyme y l republique
was interdicted by Paolo V t0 . yet put them not away, for they are
such bookes as are not to be got, at least of y* edition, nor neuer will
bee prynted again w th equall authoryty by y e approbation of y* state ;
see the Trattato del' Interdetto, prynted at Venice an . 1606, not
only by y e alowance of y e repub. but w th y e armes of that state, and
I haue two of them of y* impression w cl1 I keepe, fearing I may loose

* Twysden's MS. Journal.

-f" There is also an entry of sums paid by him on account of Castell 1 s Dictionary in 1658,
towards which lie obtained six subscribers, at three pounds a copy, in the same county.

J This failed only through the breaking out of the Civil War; but the papers referring
to it, including letters which show how warmly Usher entered into the scheme, are still
preserved in the <-;u-<> of the registrar at Cambridge.


one of them, or it might haue some mischance ; and one or more of

" Now for books y* it may bee my sonne cannot vnderstand, yet put
them not away, for some may come after vs y* will hyghly esteeme
them: my father was a great Hebrician and left many bookes of
y* tongue, w ch though I haue little knowledge of, yet I neuer parted
w th any of them, though I could haue sold them well. So perhaps
I haue bookes of Italian, French, Spanish, and some manuscripts
w ch my sonne will not reguarde, perhaps can not read, yet let them
not bee sold, for perhaps hys sonne may esteeme them as much
as I doe.

" In short, I would haue my library bee an earthloome, or heyrloome
as wee call it, to the fainyly of Twysdens for euer."

Among his MSS. was the excellent copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses
which Farnaby used for his edition : it is now in the British Museum.

Nor will Mr. Macaulay's description justly apply to the wives and
daughters of these gentlemen: undoubtedly they were busy and
careful house-wives, spun, made puddings and eye-water, and decoc-
tions for the yellow jaundice, and looked closely to the affairs of their
families ; and some of these functions we perhaps now see performed
more satisfactorily through the wise application of a great principle,
— the division of labour. Worse educated than the men they no
doubt were, wrote ill, spelt worse, and probably read neither Racan
nor Ariosto ; but then again they certainly had the advantage of not
reading Dudevant and Balzac, and of escaping the sentimental poison
of Halm Halm. Moscheles and Bordogni would have smiled dis-
dainfully at their performance on the spinet and their execution of
madrigals, nor would they probably have appreciated the jioriture of
Mademoiselle Lind, or the tender expression of Signor Mario ; but
they were genuine, hearty women, strict mothers, careful, sub-


missive, and affectionate wives, active managers, and honest matrons :
their familiar letters, of which we have a few, are distinguished, as
women's letters so often are, by the most agreeable as well as endearing
qualities; and then- religious exercises give us occasionally the very
highest opinion of their talents as well as piety. Some of the Lady
Anne Twysden's — Sir Roger's mother — can hardly be excelled.*

* As these are most characteristic and beautiful, I have not scrupled to print one of
them here, though in a note, that it may not interfere with the text. It is taken from a
little manuscript handbook of passages selected from the Gospels, and prayers, once the
property of Isabella, Sir R. T.'s wife, as appears from the following note on the title-page,
in that lady's hand: "This was my Lady Anne Twysden booke, the plases of scriptvre
all of hir owne election and plasing, which she had all by hart. Hir whole delight was
on the Lord Jesus, and the waye to him, with whom she now is, and injoyes what all hir
life she so mvch desired and longed for. The three first prayers hirselfe made; that
which is to be sed in sieknes was, in hirs, often on hir command red to hir, and some
verses which she had set together for that same pvrpus, which she likewise many times
repeated. Extrem desirus she was to leve this vaine world, for so she held and calde it,
and to be with hir Savior, intreating all to beleve and love him, and onanother for his
sake. A more nobell, virtivs, religivs lady this earth bears not. The 14. of October,
1638, she left vs and this life to be a most blessed saint in heaven. As dearly as hir owne
she loved me, and my love was more to hir than I can expres. This book she gave me ;
for whose deare sake I will never part from it, that am hir most humble davghter,

Isabella Twysden."

" Lady Anne's Prayer for the Sick.
" O thou Eternall Word, by whome in the beginning all things were made, that wert
God and with God, at and before all beginninge and eternally soe, hast yet been pleased to
take on thee the forme of a servant to saue vs otherwise lost creatures, borne slaues to
Sathan by the sinnes of our first parents, and the continuall increase of our own, still