Зображення сторінки

fore the book, that he chose to entitle his work, “Archaeologus,” rather than “Glossarium,” as we commonly call it: for a glossary, strictly speaking, is no more than a bare explication of words; whereas this treats more especially of things, and contains entire discourses and dissertations upon several heads. For this reason, it was thought worthy not only to be consulted upon occasion, like common lexicons or dictionaries; but it ought to be carefully perused and studied, as the greatest treasure extant of the ancient customs and constitutions of England. About the time that he disposed of the unsold copies of his “Glossary,” sir William Dugdale acquainted sir Henry Spelman, that many learned men were desirous to see the second part published, and requested of him to gratify the world with the work entire. Upon this, he shewed sir William the second part, and also the improvements which he had made in the first; but told him, at the same time, the discouragement he had met with in publishing the first part. Upon his death, all his papers came into the hands of sir John Spelman, his eldest son; a gentleman, who had abilities sufficient to complete what his father had begun, if death had not prevented him. After the restoration of Charles II. archbishop Sheldon and chancellor Hyde inquired of sir William Dugdale, what became of the second part, and whether it was ever finished; and, upon his answering in the affirmative, expressed a desire that it might be printed. Accordingly it was published by sir William in 1664; but, as Gibson says, “the latter part in comparison of the other is jejune and scanty; and every one must see, that it is little more than a collection, out of which he intended to compose such discourses, as he has all along given us in the first part, under the words of the greatest import and usefulness.” It was surmised, for it never was proved, that because sir William Dugdale had the publishing of the second part, he inserted many things of his own, which were not in sir Henry Spelman's copy; and particularly some passages, which tend to the enlargement of the prerogative, in opposition to the liberties of the subject. This is noticed by Mr. Atwood, in his “Jus Anglorum ab antiquo;” and the authenticity of it is vindicated, and some curious particulars are related concerning it, by Dr. Brady, in his “Animadversions on Jani Anglorum facies nova.” Bishop Gibson also assures us, that the very copy from which it was printed, is in the Bodleian library in sir Henry's own hand, and exactly agrees with the printed book; and particularly under the word “Parlamentum,” and those other passages, upon which the controversy was raised. So far then as the copy goes, for it ends at the word “Riota,” it is a certain testimony, that sir William Dugdale did no more than mark it for the printer, and transcribe here and there a loose paper; and, though the rest of the copy was lost before it came to the Oxford library, on which account there is not the same authority for the Glossary's being genuine of the letter R ; yet it is not likely, that sir William had any more share in these last letters of the alphabet, than he had in any of the rest. There was a third edition in 1687, illustrated with commentaries, and much enlarged.

which began at M, where there were three M's that scandalized the archbishop—Magna Charta: Magnum Concilium Regis; and” (hiatus in MS.) This seems to confirm what bishop Gibson says, but another reason for discontinuing the work might be the want of public taste. He offered the work to Bill, the king's printer, for the small sum of five pounds for copy-right, and that to be paid in books, yet Bill


refused it, and this first part was therefore printed at sir Henry's expence. Bill, however, was not much to blame, considering the matter as a commercial speculation, for at the end of eleven years the greatest part of the impression remained unsold; but at that time, in 1637, two booksellers, Stephens and Meredith, ventured to bargain with him for the unsold copies.

In 1627, sir Henry compiled a history of the civil affairs of the kingdom, from the conquest to Magna Charta, taken from the best historians, and generally in their own words. This was printed by Wilkins at the end of his edition of the Saxon laws. His next great work was his “Collection of the Councils, Decrees, Laws, and Constitutions of the English church from 1066 to 1531.” In this he was particularly encouraged by the archbishops Abbot, Laud, and especially Usher. The deceased bishop Andrews had suggested this scheme to Dr. Matthew Wren, who had made some progress, but desisted when he heard that sir Henry Spelman was engaged in the same design. Archbishop Abbot lived to see some part of the copy, and greatly approved of it. He branched his undertaking into three parts, assigning an entire volume to each division: 1. “From the first plantation of Christianity to the coming in of the Conqueror in 1066.” 2. “From the Norman conquest to the casting off the pope's supremacy, and the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII.” 3. “The History of the Reformed English Church, from Henry VIII. to his own time.” The volume, which contained the first of these heads, was published in 1639, about two years before his death, with his own annotations upon the more difficult places. The second volume of the “Councils,” was put into the hands of sir William Dugdale, by the direction of Sheldon and Hyde. Sir William made considerable additions to it out of the archbishop's registers and the Cottonian library; and it was published in 1664, but with abundance of faults, occasioned by the negligence of either the copier, or corrector, or both. His revival of Saxon literature was of great importance to the study of antiquities. He had found the excellent use of that language in the whole course of his studies, and much lamented the neglect of it both at home and abroad; which was so very general, that he did not then know one man in the world, who perfectly understood it. This induced him to found a Saxon lecture in the university of Cambridge, allowing 10l. per annum to Mr. Abraham Wheelocke, presenting him to the vicarage of Middleton in the county of Norfolk, and giving him likewise the profits of the impropriate rectory of the same church; both which were intended by him to be settled in perpetuity as an endowment of that lecture: but sir Henry and his eldest son dying in the compass of two years, the civil wars breaking forth, and their estate being sequestered, the family became incapable of accomplishing his design. The last labour of sir Henry Spelman was his treatise on “The original growth, propagation, and condition of Tenures by knight service in England,” a remarkable proof of mental vigour at his very advanced age, for he was now approaching to eighty. His last days he passed with his son-in-law, sir Ralph Whitfield, in Barbican, at whose house he died in 1641, in the eighty-first year of his age. He was interred with great solemnity, by order of the king, in Westminster abbey, in the south isle, near the door of St. Nicholas chapel, at the foot of the pillar, opposite to the monument of his friend Camden. His biographer, Gibson, characterizes him as a “gentleman of great learning *, and a hearty promoter and en

* The following memorandums from Mr. Aubrey's MSS. lately published, may not be unacceptable : “When he (sir H. Spelman) was about 10 or 12 he went to schoole to a curst schoolmaster, to whom he had an antipathie. His master would discountenance him, and was very severe to him, and to a

dull boy he would say, “As very a dunce as H. Spelman.” He was a boy of great spirit, and would not learne there. He was (upon his importuning) sent to another schoolmaster, and profited very well.—I have heard his grandson say, that the Spelmans' witts open late. He was much perplexed with

courager of it: in his temper calm and sedate, and in his writings, grave and inoffensive; a true lover of the established church, and a zealous maintainer of her rights and privileges.” During the early part of king Charles's differences with the parliament, he allowed that the latter had some ground for complaint, and that abuses prevailed which he wished to see rectified; but it is too much to infer from this, as some have done, that sir Henry Spelman would have been less loyal, less a supporter of the constitution in church and state than he had always professed himself, had he lived to see the unhappy consequences of civil discord. As an encourager of learning, and above all a contributor to the knowledge of the antiquities of his country, he is entitled to the highest veneration. He patronized Speed and Dodsworth, and he brought forward Dugdale.

On the death of sir Henry, his papers became the property of his eldest son, sir John Spelman, whom he calls “ the heir of his studies.” Sir John, whom, by the way, Wood erroneously calls sir Henry's youngest son, received great encouragement and assurance of favour from Charles I. That king sent for sir Henry Spelman, and offered him the mastership of Sutton's hospital, with some other advantages, in consideration of his good services both to church and state; but sir Henry, thanking his majesty, replied, “that he was very old, and had one foot in the grave, but should be more obliged, if he would consider his son :” on which, the king sent for Mr. Spelman, and conferred that and the honour of knighthood upon him at Whitehall in 1641. After the rebellion commenced, his majesty, by a letter under his own hand, commanded him from his house in Norfolk, to attend at Oxford; where he resided in Brazen

lawe-suites and worldly troubles, so that he was about 40 before he could settle himselfe to make any great progresse in learning, which when he did, we find what great monuments of antiquarian knowledge he hath left to the world.—He was a handsome gentleman (as appears by his picture in Bibliotheca Cottoniana) strong and valiant, and wore always his sword, till he was about seventy or more, when finding his legges to faulter through feebleness as he was walking, "Now,” said he, * 'tis time to leave off my sword.”— When his daughter-in-law, (sir John's wife) returned home from visiting her


neighbours, he would always ask her what of antiquity she had heard or observed, and if she brought home no such account, he would chide her (jestingly.)—Sir William Dugdale knew sir Henry Spelman, and sayes he was as tall as his grandson, Harry Spelman. He has been told that sir Henry did not understand Latin perfectly till he was fourty years old. He said to sir William, “We are beholden to Mr. Speed and Stowe for stitching up for us our English history.’ It seems they were both taylors.” Letters by eminent persons, 1813, 3 vols. 8vo.


nose college, and was often called to private council, and employed to write several papers in vindication of the proceedings of the court. He was the author of “A view of a pretende 4 book, entitled, “Observations upon his Majesty's late Answers and Epistles,” Oxford, 1642, 4to. His name is not to it; but Dr. Barlow, who had received a copy from him, informed Wood that it was composed by him. Sir John wrote also “The case of our affairs in law, religion, and other circumstances, briefly examined and presented to the conscence,” I 643, 4to. While he was thus attending the affairs of the public, and his own private studies, as those would give him leave, he died July 25, 1643. His funeral sermon, by his majesty's special order, was preached by archbishop Usher. He published the Saxon Psalter under the title of “Psalterium Davidis Latino-Saxonicum vetus,” 1641, 4to, from an old manuscript in his father's library, collated with three other copies. He wrote also the “Life of king Alfred the Great” in English, which was published by Hearne at Oxford, 1709, 8vo. It had been translated into Latin by Mr. Wise, and was published by Obadiah Walker, master of University college at Oxford in 1678, fol. After sir John's death, his father's papers came into the hands of his son-in-law, sir Ralph Whitfield. In 1647, the rev. Jeremiah Stevens, who had assisted sir Henry in preparing the first volume of the “Councils,” printed from sir Henry's MSS. a work entitled “Sir Henry Spelman's larger Treatise concerning Tithes,” &c. in which the author shews the danger of changing tythes for any other kind of maintenance, as of a pecuniary stipend, which the alteration in the value of money might affect. He observes, that any change of the laws, which have existed above a thousand years, and of a right settled by common law, will produce many mischiefs, especially to the crown, in the payment of tenths and first-fruits; and he proves the propriety of this kind of support above all others, from this circumstance, that it puts the clergy on the same footing with the people, being equally gainers or losers according to the prices in times of plenty and scarcity. In 1656, a volume was published, entitled “Villare Angljeum; or a view of the towns of England, collected by the appointment, at the charge, and for the use, of that learned antiquary sir Henry Spelman.” Bishop Nicolson thinks this was jointly composed by sir Henry and Mr. Dods

« НазадПродовжити »