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undertake to do, for that I suppose, they may so much concern the reader to know, that I may promise myself a pardon for a mort digression.
IN the year of our redemption, 1553, Nicholas Wotton, Dean of Canterbury (whom I formerly mentioned), being then Ambassador in France, dreamed that his nephew, this Thomas Wotton, was inclined to be a party in such a project, as, if he were not fuddenly prevented, would turn both to the loss of his life, and ruin of his family.
Doubtless the good Dean did well know that common dreams are but a senseless paraphrase on our waking thoughts, or of the business of the day past, or are the result of our over-engaged affections, when we betake ourselves to rest; and knew that the observation of them may turn to fillý superstitions, as they too often do. But though he might know all this, and might also believe that prophecies are ceased; yet, doubtless, he could not but consider, that all dreams are not to be neglected or cast away
without all consideration, and did therefore rather lay this dream aside, than intend totally to lose it; and dreaming the same again the night following, when it became a double dream, like that of Pharaoh (of which double dreams the learned have made many observations), and considering that it had no dependence on his waking thoughts, much less on the desires of his heart, then he did more seriously consider it; and remembered that Almighty God was pleased in a dream to reveal and to assure Monica the mother of St. Austin, " That he, her son, for whom she wept so bitterly, and prayed “ so much, should at last become a Christian”.” This, I believe, the good Dean considered; and considering also that Almighty God (though the causes of dreams be often unknown) hath even in these latter times also, by a certain illumination of the soul in sleep, discovered many things that human wisdom could not foresee: Upon these considerations he resolved to use so prudent a remedy, by way of prevention, as might introduce no great inconvenience either to himself or to his nephew. And to that end, he wrote to the Queen (it was Queen Mary), and befought her, “ That
- This dream is related by St. Augustin in Confefionum, Lib. III. c. ii.
" The would cause his nephew, Thomas Wotton, to be sent for out of Kent; " and that the Lords of her Council might interrogate him in some such
feigned questions, as might give a colour for his commitment into a “ favourable prison; declaring that he would acquaint her Majesty with " the true reason of his request, when he should next become so happy
as to see and speak to her Majesty'."
It was done as the Dean desired. And in prison I must leave Mr. Wotton, till I have told the reader what followed.
At this time a marriage was concluded betwixt our Queen Mary, and Philip King of Spain. And though this was concluded with the advice, if not by the persuasion, of her Privy Council, as having many probaa bilities of advantage to this nation; yet divers persons of a contrary persuafion did not only declare against it, but also raised forces to oppose it; believing (as they said) it would be a means to bring England to be under a subjection to Spain', and make those of this nation slaves to strangers.
And of this number Sir Thomas Wyat, of Boxley-Abbey in Kent (betwixt whose family, and the family of the Wottons, there had been an ancient and entire friendship), was the principal actor; who having persuaded many of the nobility and gentry (especially of Kent) to side with him, and he being defeated, and taken prisoner, was legally arraigned and condemned, and lost his life : So did the Duke of Suffolk, and divers others;
This account seems to be confirmed by Speed. “ Among many difikers of the Queen's “ marriage, it chanced one for some other offence to be committed to the Fleet, by the Councel, who, “ being an inward acquaintance of Sir Thomas Wyatt's, was supposed by him to have revealed the
conspiracie, whereupon he put himself in action, before the enterprize was altogether ripe." (Speed's Hift. of Great Britain. p. 1112.)— The author of the “ Account of the Deans of Canterbury," has ingeniously conjectured that this dream of the good Dean was a mere political contrivance, the result of deep deliberation, to preserve the life of his nephew, whose intimacy with Sir Thomas Wyat would probably have induced him to engage in the conspiracy. See also Biogr. Brit. in the Article WOTTON [E].
* It was generally supposed at this time, that, under the semblance of introducing the Romish religion into England, the secret design of Philip was to secure to himself the possession of the Imperial Crown of England, and to make the English vassals to the power of Spain. (Kennet's Hift. of England, Vol. III. p. 339.)
especially many of the gentry of Kent, who were there in several places executed as Wyat's assistants.
And of this number, in all probability, had Mr. Wotton been, if he had not been confined. For, though he could not be ignorant that “ Another * man's treason makes it mine by concealing it,” yet he durft confess to his uncle, when he returned into England, and then came to visit him in prison, “ That he had more than an intimation of Wyat's intentions,” and thought he had not continued actually innocent, if his uncle had not so happily dreamed him into a prison ; out of which place, when he was delivered by the fame hand that caused his commitment, they both confidered the dream more seriously, and both then joined in praising God for it;" “ That God, who ties himself to no rules, either in preventing of evil, “ or in shewing of mercy to those whom of good pleasure he hath chosen to love."
Of this Rebellion fee “Kennet's complete History of England," vol. II. p. 340. The following anecdote affords an example of loyalty and zeal at this time:
“ Ralph Rokeby, Serjeant at the Common Law, and of the antient family of Rokeby, of “ Rokeby, near Greta-bridge, Yorkshire, was so eminent in his profession, that he refused the “office of Lord Chief Justice, when offered to him on the cession of Justice Morgan, Sir “ Tho. Wiatt the rebell of Kent, against King Philip, Q. Mary, and the Spaniards, being “ noised to be coming towards London, this Ralph Rokeby went to Westminster in his Ser“ jeant's robes to plead, and under them a good coat-armour, and hearing att Charing-. “ Crofs, the near approach of the rebells, he hastned him to the Queen's Court at White“hall, strung and fetled an Archer of the Livery Guards? bow, that stood there unstrung, “ threw down the Serjeant's robes for that time, and went to the Gate-house to serve there “ with a bow and a sheaf of arrows, and there tarried till the enemy yielded, and thus in the “ time of need he was ready to fight with his body for his Prince against rebells, on whom “ he had jurisdiction in time of peace in the circuit of Northampton, Warwick, Coventre, “ Leceister, Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, and Rutland, to adjudge of their lives, lands, and “ goods, for there he was Justice of Allise and Goale Delivery.” (M$. Memoirs of the Røkebys, in the poleffion of Francis Smyth, Esq. of New-buildings, Yorkshire.)
* This sentiment happily illustrates the beneficence of Providence accomplishing its gracious purposes in a manner best suited to its own dispensations, in promoting the happiness of good Ren.
And this dream was the more considerable, because that God, who in the days of old did use to speak to his people in visions, did seem to speak to many of this family in dreams; of which I will also give the reader one short particular of this Thomas Wotton, whose dreams did usually prove true, both in foretelling things to come, and discovering things paft: And the particular is this. This Thomas, a little before his death, dreamed that the University Treasury was robbed by townsmen and poor scholars"; and that the number was five; and being that day to write to his son Henry at Oxford, he thought it worth so much pains, as by a postscript in his letter, to make a flight inquiry of it. The letter (which was writ out of Kent, and dated three days before) came to his fon's hands the very morning after the night in which the robbery was committed; and when the city and university were both in a perplexed inquest of the thieves, then did Sir Henry Wotton shew his father's letter, and by it such light was given of this work of darkness, that the five guilty persons were presently discovered and apprehended, without putting the university to so much trouble as the casting of a figure *.
And it may yet be more considerable, that this Nicholas and Thomas Wotton should both (being men of holy lives, of even tempers, and much given to fasting and prayer) foresee and foretel the very days of their own death. Nicholas did so, being then seventy years of age, and in perfect health'. Thomas did the like in the sixty-fifth year of his age; who, being then in London (where he died), and foreseeing his death there, gave di
Of the robbery here mentioned, no account whatever is recorded in the annals of the University
* Judicial Astrology was much in use long after this time. Its predictions were received with reverential awe; and men, even of the most enlightened understandings, were inclined to believe that the conjunctions and oppositions of the planets had no little influence in the affairs of the world. Even the excellent Joseph Mede disdained not to apply himself to the ftudy of Astrology.
* This is intimated in the inscription on his monument, erected in the Cathedral Church of Canterbury. “Hæc ille ante mortem et ante morbum quasi fatalem diem præfentiens et “ cygneam cantionem propheticé canens fuâ manu in Mufæo fcripta reliquit."
rection in what manner his body should be carried to Bocton; and, though he thought his uncle Nicholas worthy of that noble monument which he built for him in the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, yet this humble man gave direction concerning himself, to be buried privately, and especially without any pomp at his funeral.
This is some account of this family, which seemed to be beloved of God.
BUT it may now seem more than time that I return to Sir Henry Wotton at Oxford, where, after his optic lecture, he was taken into such a bosom friendship with the learned Albericus Gentilis? (whom I formerly named), that, if it had been possible, Gentilis would have breathed all his excellent knowledge, both of the mathematics and law, into the breast of
* This noted Civilian having left Italy along with his father, Matthew Gentilis, who had embraced the reformed religion, came into England and died at London in 1608, aged 58 years. He published three books, “ De Jure Belli;” which proved very useful to Grotius, in his
great work, “ De Jure Belli et Pacis," and also a tractate “ De Latinitate veteris Bibliorum Versionis,” with other works. ( Dictionairs Historique, &c.)
The following high encomium is given of him by Mr. Thomas Savile, in a letter to Mr. Camden. “ Albericum primarium olim in Italia Judicem, Christianæ Religionis ergô nunc in “ Anglia exulem, Oxonii Profefforem publicum, et tuo et meo nomine dignum, Virum re
peries non unum è Tricastinis, fed ipsam Humanitatem, meruin Candorem, alterum denique “ Camdenum." (Camdeni Epift. p. 8.)
Bayle mentions with much disapprobation a method observed by Albericus Gentilis, whose cagerness in the acquisition of knowledge impelled him to seek instruction not less from conversation than from reading. This circumstance is noticed by himself. “ Quid de Oxonien“ fibus meis? Vel repertoria mea testantur fatis quantum ego capiam fructùs ex eorum « virorum et juvenum colloquiis, nam in illis ego deferipfi non pauca quæ, dum minus id “ ipfi cogitant, disco tamen et asservo ex fermonibus familiaribus.” (Dial. III. de Juris Suterp. p. 36.)
• Civil Law. In several parts of his writings he has frequent allusions to the processes and practices observed in the ecclesiastical courts. “A libel, whose substance cannot be changed « after it is once given into a civil or ecclefiaftical court, may in some fort be declared or "amended before a replication be made thereunto. A witness, &c." (Preface to his Supplement to the History of Christendom.)