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            This reverend clergyman was of a respectable family, and was born at London, in 1567. He entered at Hart Hall, Oxford, where he took his first degree. He was then elected Fellow of Lincoln College, where, by unwearied industry, he became very eminent in the languages, divinity, and other branches of science. Having, taken his degrees in arts, he became, in 1595, Rector of Quainton in Buckinghamshire, in which benefice he spent his days. He was made Doctor in Divinity in 1605. He was renowned in his time for vast attainments, as well as revered for his piety. “He was skilled and versed to a criticism” in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and Ethiopic tongues. He published a number of erudite works, all in Latin. It is recorded of him, that “he was a most vigilant pastor, a diligent preacher of God’s word, a liberal benefactor to the poor, a faithful friend, and a good neighbor.” This studious and exemplary minister, having attained this exalted reputation, died in 1637, at the age of seventy, and lies buried in the chancel of Quainton Church, whore he had dispensed the word and ordinances for three and forty years.


            The author has bestowed great labor in endeavoring to identify this person. After exhausting all the means of information within his reach, he is led to the belief, that the last on the list of this company of Translators, who is designated simply as “Mr. Fairclough,” is Daniel Fairclough, otherwise known as Dr. Daniel Featley; which, strange to say, is a corrupt pronunciation of the name Fairclough. This is distinctly asserted by his nephew, Dr. John Featley, who wrote a life of his uncle, and printed it at the end of a book, entitled “Dr. Daniel Featley revived.” The nephew states, that his uncle was ordained deacon and priest under the name Fairclough. The main ground for questioning the identity, is the age of Daniel Fairclough, who, when the Bible translators were nominated, was only some twenty-six years old, which is considerably less than the age of most of his associates. He was, however, an early ripe, and a distinguished scholar; and comparatively young as he was, it devolved on him to preach at the funeral of the great Dr. Reynolds, who died during the progress of the work. This funeral service was performed with much applause, at only four days’ notice.

            The birth-place of Daniel Fairclough, or Featley, to call him by the name whereby he is chiefly known, was Charlton, in Oxfordshire, where he was born about the year 1578. He was admitted to Corpus Christi College in 1594; and was elected Fellow in 1602. He stood in such high estimation, that Sir Thomas Edwards, ambassador to France, took him to Paris as his chaplain, where he spent two or three years in the ambassador’s house. Here he held many “tough disputes” with the doctors of the Sorbonne, and other papists. His opponents termed him “the keen and cutting Featley;” and found him a match in their boasted logic; 

“For he a rope of sand could twist,

As tough as learned Sorbonnist.”

            On returning to England, he repaired to his College, where he remained till 1613, when he became Rector of Northill, in Cornwall. Soon after, he was appointed chaplain to Dr. Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, also one of the Translators, by whom he was made Rector of Lambeth, in Surrey. In 1617, he held a famous debate with Dr. Prideaux, the King’s Professor of Divinity at Oxford. About this time, the Archbishop gave him the rectory of Allhallows Church, Bread Street,- London. This he soon exchanged for the rectory of Acton, in Middlesex. He was also Provost of Chelsea College; and, at one time, chaplain in ordinary to King Charles the First.

            Being puritanically inclined, Dr. Featley was appointed, in 1643, to be one of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. As he was not one of the “root and branch” party, who were for wholly changing the order of government, he soon fell under the displeasure of the Long Parliament. Some of his correspondence with Archbishop Usher, who was then with the King at Oxford, was intercepted. In this correspondence, he expressed his scruples about taking the “solemn league and covenant;” and for this, was unjustly suspected of being a spy. He was cast into prison, and his rectories were taken from him. The next year, on account of his failing health, he was removed, agreeably to his petition, to Chelsea College. There, after a few months spent in holy exercises, he expired, April 17th, 1645. “Though he was small of stature, yet he had a great soul, and had all learning compacted in him.” He published some forty books and treatises, and left a great many manuscripts. His other labors have passed away; “but the word of the Lord,” which, as it is believed, he aided in giving to unborn millions, “abideth for ever.”

The fourth company of these famous scholars was composed of Oxford divines; and to them, as their portion of the work, were assigned the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Revelation of St. John the Divine.


            This person, the president of his company, was born of worthy parentage, at Maiden, in the County of Surrey. He was bred at Westminster School; and then entered, in 1575, as student of Christ’s Church, one of the Oxford colleges. As it is a matter of some interest, shewing that he went through an extensive course of study, the dates of his various degrees will be given. In 1578, he graduated as Bachelor of Arts; in 1581, he proceeded as Master of Arts; in 1589, he became Bachelor in Divinity; and in 1595, he was made Doctor in Divinity. The successive degrees of the greater part of the persons belonging to the list of Translators could be given; but are omitted for the sake of brevity. It is enough to record, that they nearly all attained to the highest literary honors of their respective universities.

            Dr. Ravis, in 1591, was appointed rector of the Church of All-hallows, Barking, in London. The next year, he became Canon of Westminster, and occupied the seventh stall in that church. Two years later, he was chosen Dean of Christ’s Church College. He was also, in 1596 and the year following, elected Vice-Chancellor of the University. In 1598, he exchanged his benefice at All-hallows Church for the rectory of Islip. He also held the Wittenham Abbey Church, in Berkshire. All these preferments and profitable livings mark him as a rising man. His holding a plurality of churches for the sake of their revenues, in neither of which he could perform the duties of the pastoral office, was one of the cases that justified the complaint of Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, at the Conference in Hampton Court. His lordship complained of this practice, as occasioning many learned men at the universities to pine for want of places, while others had more than they could fill. “I wish, therefore,” said he, “that some may have single coats, or one living, before others have doublets, or pluralities.” To this, the frugal Bancroft, then Bishop of London, who kept his own ribs thoroughly warmed with such investitures, made the thrifty reply, – “But a doublet is necessary in cold weather!” This prelate, a fierce persecutor of the Puritans, was reputed to have manifested very little “saving grace,” except in the way of penurious hoardings. The graceless wags of his day made this epitaph upon him;


“Here lies his Grace, in cold clay clad,

Who died for want of what he had!”

            The pernicious custom of pluralities, whereby a man receives tithes for the care of souls of which he takes no care, fleecing the flock he neither watches nor feeds, is one of those abuses still continued in the Church of England, and calling for thorough reform.

            In 1604, soon after Dr. Ravis was commissioned as one of the Bible-translators, the Lords of the Council requested his acceptance of the bishopric of Gloucester, for which there were very many eager suitors. Three years later, he was translated to the bishopric of London. Anthony Wood says, that he was first preferred to the see of Gloucester, which he reluctantly accepted, on account of his great learning, gravity, and prudence; and that though his diocese “was pretty well stocked with those who could not bear the name of a bishop, yet, by his episcopal living among them, he obtained their love, and a good report from them.” If he deserved this commendation while at Gloucester, he changed for the worse on his translation to London, where he not only succeeded the bitter Bancroft in his office, but also in his severe and exacting behavior. So true is the remark, that “bishops and books are seldom the better for being translated” No sooner had he taken his seat in London, than he stretched forth his hand to vex the non-conforming Puritans. Among others, he cited before him that holy and blessed man, Richard Rogers, for nearly fifty years the faithful minister of Wethersfield, than whom, it is said, “the Lord honored none more in the conversion of souls.” In the presence of this venerable man, who, for his close walking with God, was styled the Enoch of his day, Bishop Ravis protested, – “By the help of Jesus, I will not leave one preacher in my diocese, who doth not subscribe and conform.” The poor prelate was doomed to be disappointed; as he died, before his task was well begun, on on the 14th of December, 1609. On account of his high offices, and his dying before the translation was completed, it is not probable that he took so active a part in that business as some of his colleagues. Though too much carried away by a zeal for the forms of his Church, which was neither according to knowledge nor charity, he lived and died in deserved respect, and hath a fair monument still standing in his cathedral of St. Paul’s.


            This distinguished ecclesiastic was a native of Guildford, in Surrey. He was the son of pious parents, who had been sufferers for the truth in the times of popish cruelty. He was born October 29th, 1562. At the age of fourteen, he was entered as a student of Baliol College, Oxford; and in 1583, he was chosen to a fellowship. In 1585, he took orders, and became a popular preacher in the University. He was created Doctor of Divinity, in 1597; and a few months after, was elected Master of University College. At this time began his conflicts with William Laud, which lasted with great severity as long as Abbot lived. Dr. Abbot was a Calvinist and a moderate Churchman; while Dr. Laud was an Arminian, and might have been a cardinal at Rome, if he had not preferred to be a pope at Canterbury.

            In 1598, Dr. Abbot published a Latin work, which was reprinted in Germany. The next year he was installed Dean of Winchester. In 1600, he was elected Vice-Chancellor of the Universi ty; and was re-elected to the same honorable post in 1603 and 1605. It was about this time, that he was put into the royal commission for translating the Bible.

            Dr. Abbot went to Scotland, in 1608, as chaplain to the Earl of Dunbar; and while there, by his prudent and temperate measures, succeeded in establishing a moderate or qualified episcopacy in that kingdom. This was a matter which King James had so much at heart, that he ever after held Dr. Abbot in great favor, and rapidly hurried him into the highest ecclesiastical dignities and preferments. He was made Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry on the 3d of December, 1609; and then, in less than two months, was translated to the see of London. In less than fifteen months more, he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, and Primate of all England. Thus he was twice translated himself, before he saw the Bible translated once. Though an excellent preacher, he had never exercised himself in the pastoral office, rising at one stride from being a University-lecturer to the chief dignities of the Church.

            When he reached the primacy, he was forty-nine years of age; and was held in the highest esteem both by the prince and the people. In all great transactions, whether in church or state, he bore a principal part. And yet, at times, he showed, in matters which touch the conscience, a degree of independence of the royal will, such as must have been very distasteful to the domineering temper of James, and very unusual in that age of passive obedience, and servile cringing to the dictates of royalty. Thus it was, when the King, under the pretence that the strict observance of the Sabbath, as practiced by Protestants, was likely to prejudice the Romanists, and hinder their conversion, issued his infamous “Book of Sports.” This was a Declaration intended to encourage, at the close of public worship, various recreations, such as “promiscuous dancing, archery, leaping, vaulting, May-games, Whitsunales, or morrice-dances, setting up of May-poles, or other sports therewith used.” This abominable edict was required to be read by all ministers in their parish-churches. Its promulgation greatly troubled the more conscientious of the clergy, who expected to be brought into difficulty by their refusal to publish the shameful document. Archbishop Abbot warmly opposed its enforcement, and forbade it to be read in the church of Croydon, where he was at the time of its publication. The opposition was too much, even for the ruthless king; and he, at last, gave up his impious attempt to heathenize the Lord’s Day.

            It was in 1619, that the Archbishop founded his celebrated hospital at Guildford, the place of his nativity, and nobly endowed it from his private property. In that same year, a sad mischance befel him. His health being much impaired, he had recourse to hunting, by medical advice, as a means of restoring it. This sort of exercise has never been in very good repute among ecclesiastics. Jerome recognizes some worthy fishermen who followed the sacred calling; but says, that “we no where read in Scripture of a holy hunter.” While his Grace of Canterbury was pursuing the chase in Bramshill Park, a seat of the Earl of Ashby de la Zouch, an arrow from his cross-bow, aimed at a deer, glanced from a tree, and killed a game-keeper, an imprudent man, who had been cautioned to keep out of the way. This casual homicide was the cause of great affliction to the prelate. During the rest of his life, he observed a monthly fast, on a Tuesday, the day of the mishap. He also settled a liberal annuity upon the poor game-keeper’s widow, which annuity was attended with the additional consolation, that it soon procured her a better husband than the man she had lost. For the Primate, however, who was ever a celibate, there was no such remedy of grief, and all the rest of his life was overcast with gloom. This business subjected him to many hard shots from them that liked him not. Once returning to Croydon, after a long absence, a great many women, from curiosity, gathered about his coach. The Archbishop, who hated to be stared at, and was never fond of females, exclaimed somewhat churlishly, “What make these women here!” Upon this an old crone cried out, – “You had best to shoot an arrow at us!” It is said that this tongue-shot, which often goes deeper than gunshot, went to his very heart.

            His enemies made a strong handle of this accidental homicide. It was insisted, that the canon-law allows no “man of blood” to be a builder of the spiritual temple; and that the Primate who had retreated after the accident to his hospital at Guildford, was disenabled from his clerical functions. The King appointed a commission to try the question, Whether the Archbishop was disqualified for his official duties by this involuntary homicide? After long debate, in which the divines on the continent took part, it was the general decision, that the fact did disqualify. Nevertheless, King James, in his usurped character as supreme head of the English Church, an office which rightly belongs only to the King of kings, issued, in 1621, a full pardon and dispensation to the humbled Primate. Still, several newly-appointed bishops, who had been awaiting consecration, and among them Dr. William Laud, then bishop elect of St. David’s, refused to receive it from his hands, and obtained the mysterious virtues of “episcopal grace” from other administration. Others, however, as Dr. Davenant, bishop elect of Salisbury, and Dr. Hall, bishop elect of Norwich, were solemnly consecrated by their dejected metropolitan.

            All this did not discourage Archbishop Abbot from making vigorous opposition, in the following year, to the proposed match between Charles, Prince of Wales, and the Infanta, or Princess Royal, of Spain. Though this foolish, unpopular, and unsuccessful scheme was a favorite piece of policy with the King, who was quite unused to be thwarted by his courtiers, Dr. Abbot continued to enjoy his confidence till the King’s death in 1625.

            When Charles the First succeeded to the throne, he was crowned and anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Nevertheless, the latter soon found himself in deep eclipse. His inveterate foe, the resolute Dr. Laud, then Bishop of Bath and Wells, came between, and intercepted the sunshine of royal favor. The matter of the fortuitous homicide seems to have been revived against him, as ground for his sequestration. Charles required him to live in retirement, which he did at Ford; and in 1627, appointed a commision of five prelates, to suspend him from the exercise of his archiepiscopal functions. These prelates were Dr. Mountaigne, Bishop of London; Dr. Neile, Bishop of Durham; Dr. Howson, Bishop of Oxford; and Dr. Laud, Bishop of Bath and Wells. When the instrument for the Archbishop’s suspension was drawn up for their signature, the four senior bishops declined to set their hands thereto, and appeared to manifest much reluctance and regret. “Then give me the pen!” said Bishop Laud; and “though last in place, first subscribed his name.” The others, after some demur, were induced to follow his example. From that time, it is said, the Archbishop was never known to laugh; and became quite dead to the world.

            Next year, however, the fickle king saw fit to alter his course; and, about Christmas time, restored Dir., Abbot to his liberty and jurisdiction. He was sent for to Court; received, as he stepped out of his barge, by the Archbishop of York and the Earl of Dorset, and by them conducted into the royal presence. The king gave him his hand to kiss, and charged him not to fail of attendance at the Council-table twice a week. He sat in the House of Peers, and continued in his spiritual functions without further interruption till his death some five years after, when he was succeeded in his see by his implacable and ill-starred rival, William Laud.

            Dr. Abbot’s brief sequestration had made him popular in the country, and his restoration was probably owing to a desire to conciliate his influence in the parliament, with which the king was already in trouble. The Archbishop rather countenanced the liberal party, and stiffly resisted the slavish tenet of Dr. Mainwaring, which raised such an excitement. This divine had publicly maintained, as was supposed with the royal approbation, “that the King’s royal will and command, in imposing laws, taxes, and other aids, upon his people, without common consent in parliament, did so far bind the consciences of the subjects of this kingdom, that they could not refuse the same without peril of eternal damnation.” Here was the “divine right of kings with a vengeance!

            Dr. George Abbot continued in office during those troublous times which preceded the civil wars, till he died, at his palace of Croydon, on Sunday, August 4th, 1633, at the age of seventy-one, quite worn out with cares and infirmities.

            He was a very grave man, and of a very “fatherly presence,” and unimpeachable in his morals. He was a firm Calvinist, and a thorough Church-of-England-man. He was somewhat indulgent to the more moderate Puritans; but the more zealous of them accused him sharply of being a persecutor, while the high-toned churchmen vehemently charged him with disloyalty to their cause. It is also said, that as he had never exercised the pastoral care, but was “made a shepherd of shepherds, before he had been a shepherd of sheep,” he was wanting in sympathy with the troubles and infirmities of ministers. He was severe in his proceedings against clerical delinquents; but he protested that he did this to shield them from the greater severity of the lay judges, who would visit them with heavier punishments, to the greater shame of themselves and their profession. He was, in truth, stern and melancholy. As compared with his brother, Robert Abbot, the Bishop of Salisbury, it was said, that “gravity did frown in George, and smile in Robert.” The other brother of these bishops was Lord Mayor of London.

            The Archbishop was regarded as an excellent preacher and a great divine. Anthony Wood speaks of him as a “learned man, having his learning all of the old stamp,” – that is to say, vast and ponderous. He published lectures on the book of Jonah, and numerous treatises, mostly relating to the political and religious occurrences of the times. But to have borne an active part in the preparation of the most useful and important of all the translations of the Bible, is an honor far beyond the chief ecclesiastical dignities and the highest literary fame.


            Dr. Eedes was a native of Bedfordshire, born at Sewell, about the year 1555. At an early age he was sent to Westminster school. He became a student of Christ’s Church, in Oxford, in 1571. He subsequently took his two degrees in arts, and two more in divinity. In 1578, he became a preacher, and arose to considerable eminence. In 1584, he was made Prebendary of Yarminster, in the cathedral church of Salisbury; and two years later, became Canon of Christ’s Church, and chaplain to Queen Elizabeth. In 1596, he was Dean of Worcester, which was the highest ecclesiastical preferment he attained. He was chaplain to James I., as he had been to the illustrious queen who preceded him; and was much admired at court as an accomplished pulpit orator. In his younger days, he was given, like some other fashionable clergymen, to writing poetry and plays; but, in riper years, he became, as the antiquarian of Oxford says, “a pious and grave divine, an ornament to his profession, and grace to the pulpit.” He published several discourses at different times. Dr. Eedes died at Worcester, November 19th, 1604, soon after his appointment to be one of the Bible-translators, and before the work was well begun”, so that another was appointed in his place. But let him not be deprived of his just commendation, as one who was counted worthy of being joined with that ablest band of scholars and divines, which was ever united in a single literary undertaking.


            This good man was a native of “famous London town.” In 1571, he entered University College, Oxford; and, in 1580, was elected Fellow of All Souls’ College. A few years later, he was out in a shower of appointments, “with his dish right side up.” He was, at that lucky season, made divinity lecturer in Magdalen College; chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, as was his friend, Dr. Richard Eedes; Prebendary of Repington; Canon residentiary of Hereford; and Rector of Pembridge in Herefordshire. He was a most eminent preacher. He became Doctor in Divinity in 1602; and was, in that year, appointed Dean of Windsor. In virtue of this latter office, he acted as Registrar of the most noble Order of the Garter.

            Dr. Tomson took a great deal of pains in his part of the translation of the Bible, which he did not long survive. He was consecrated Bishop of Gloucester, June 9th, 1611; and a year after, June 14th, 1612, he died, at the age of fifty-nine, “to the great grief of all who knew the piety and learning of the man.” Man is like the flower, whose full bloom is the signal for decay to begin. It is singular that Bishop Tomson never visited Gloucester, after his election to that see.


            Some have doubted whether the “Mr. Savile,” on the list of Translators, was the renowned scholar afterwards known as Sir Henry Savile But the matter is put beyond doubt by Anthony Wood and others. Savile was born at Bradley, in Yorkshire, November 30th, 1549, “of ancient and worshipful extraction.” He graduated at Brazen Nose College, Oxford; but afterwards became a Fellow of Merton College. In 1570, he read his ordinaries on the Almagest of Ptolemy, a collection of the geometrical and astronomical observations and problems of the ancients. By this exercise he very early became famous for his Greek and mathematical learning. In this latter science, he for some time read voluntary lectures.

            In his twenty-ninth year, he travelled in France and elsewhere, to perfect himself in literature; and returned highly accomplished in learning, languages, and knowledge of the world and men. He then became tutor in Greek and mathematics to Queen Elizabeth, whose father, Henry VIII., is said by Southey to have set the example of giving to daughters a learned education. It is to her highest honor, that when she had been more than twenty years upon the throne, she still kept up her habits of study, as appears by this appointment of Mr. Savile.

            In 1686, he was made Warden of Merton College, which office he filled with great credit for six and thirty years, and also to the great prosperity of the institution. Ten years later, he added to this office, that of Provost of Eton College, which school rapidly increased in reputation under him. “Thus,” as Fuller says, “this skilful gardener had, at the same time, a nursery of young plants, and an orchard of grown trees, both flourishing under his careful inspection.” He was no admirer of geniuses; but preferred diligence to wit. “Give me,” he used to say, “the plodding student. If I would look for wits, I would go to Newgate; – there be the wits!” As might be expected, he was somewhat unpopular with his scholars, on account of the severity with which he urged them to diligence.

            Soon after his nomination as one of the Translators, having declined all offers of other promotion, whether civil or ecclesiastical, he was knighted by the King. About the same time, he buried his only son Henry, at the age of eight years. In consequence of this bereavement, he devoted most of his wealth to the promotion of learning. He translated the Histories of Cornelius Tacitus, and published the same with notes. He also published, from the manuscripts, the writings of Bradwardin against Pelagius; the Writers of English history subsequent to Bede; Prelections on the Elements of Euclid; and other learned works in English and Latin.

            He is chiefly known, however, by being the first to edit the complete works of John Chrysostom, the most famous of the Greek Fathers. He spent large sums in procuring from all parts of Europe, manuscripts, and copies of manuscripts. He not only made learned and critical notes on his favorite author, but procured those of Andrew Downes and John Bois, two of his fellow-laborers on the Translation of the Bible. His edition of one thousand copies was published in 1613, and makes eight immense folios. All his expenses in this labor of love amounted to above eight thousand pounds, of which the paper alone cost a fourth part.* (*Making the usual allowance for the difference in the value of money then and now, he expended to the value of more than three hundred thousand dollars!) It was fifty years before all the copies were sold. The Benedictines in Paris, however, through their emissaries in England, succeeded in surreptitiously procuring the labors of the learned knight, sheet by sheet, as they came from the press. These they reprinted as they were received, adding a Latin translation, and some other considerable matter, and forming thirteen mighty folios. By this transaction, the friars may have gained the most glory, but surely are not entitled to much honor.

            Sir Henry Savile also founded two professorships at Oxford, with liberal endowments; one of geometry, and the other of astronomy. It is related of him; that he once chanced to fall in with a Master Briggs, of the rival University of Cambridge. In a learned encounter, Briggs succeeded in demonstrating some point in opposition to the previous opinion of Sir Henry. This pleased the worthy knight so well, that he appointed Mr. Briggs to one of his professorships. He made other valuable benefactions to Oxford, in land, money, and books. Many of his books are still in the Bodleian library there.

            Sir Henry Savile died at Eton College, where he was buried, February 19th, 1621, in his seventy-second year. He was styled, “that magazine of learning, whose memory shall be honorable among the learned and the righteous for ever.” He left an only daughter, Elizabeth, who was married to Sir John Sedley, a wealthy baronet of Kent. Sir Henry’s wife was Margaret, daughter of George Dacres, of Cheshunt, Esq. It is said that Sir Henry was a singularly handsome man, and that no lady could boast a finer complexion.

            He was so much of a book-worm, and so sedulous at his study, that his lady, who was not very deep in such matters, thought herself neglected. She once petulantly said to him, “Sir Henry, I would that I were a book, and then you would a little more respect me.” A person standing by was so ungallant as to reply, “Madam, you ought to be an almanac, that he might change at the year’s end.” At this retort the lady was not a little offended. A little before the publication of Chrysostom, when Sir Henry lay sick, Lady Savile said, that if Sir Harry died, she would burn Chrysostom for killing her husband. To this, Mr. Bois, who rendered Sir Henry much assistance in that laborious undertaking, meekly replied, that “so to do were great pity.” To him, the lady said, “Why, who was Chrysostom?” “One of the sweetest preachers since the apostles’ times,” answered the enthusiastic Bois. Whereupon the lady was much appeased, and said, “she would not burn him for all the world.” From these precious samples, it may be inferred that your fine lady is much the same in all ages of the world, no matter whom she may marry.

            It is enough for our purpose, that Sir Henry Savile was one of the most profound, exact, and critical scholars of his age; and meet and ripe to take a prominent part in the preparation of our incomparable version.


            Dr. Peryn was of St. John’s College, Oxford, where he was elected Fellow in 1575. He was the King’s Professor of Greek in the University; and afterwards Canon of Christ’s Church. He was created Doctor of Divinity in 1596. When placed in the commission to translate the Bible, he was Vicar of Watling in Sussex. His death took place May 9th, 1615. These scanty items may serve to show, that he was fit to take part, with his learned and reverend brethren, in preparing our English Bible for the press.


            This was the Vicar of Eyston Magna, who was made Doctor of Divinity in 1595. He died in 1616. It is thought that he did not act, for some reason, under the King’s commission; and that Doctors Aglionby and Hutten were appointed in place of him, and of Eedes, who died before the work was begun.


            A native of Newbury, in Berkshire. He was educated in William de Wykeham’s School at Winchester; and also at St. Mary’s College, founded by the same munificent Wykeham at Oxford. “Manners make the man, quoth William of Wykeham,” is a motto frequently inscribed on the buildings of his School and College. Mr. Harmar became a Fellow of his College in 1574. He was appointed the King’s Professor of Greek in 1585, being, at the time, in holy orders. He was head-master of Winchester School, for nine years, and Warden of his College for seventeen years. He became Doctor of Divinity in 1605. His death took place in 1613. He was a considerable benefactor to the libraries both of the school and the college of Wykeham’s foundation. For all his preferments he was indebted to the potent patronage of the Earl of Leicester. He accompanied that nobleman to Paris, where he held several debates with the popish Doctors of the Sorbonne. He stood high in the crowd of tall scholars, the literary giants of the time. He published several learned works; among them, Latin translations of several of Chrysostom’s writings, – also an excellent translation of Beza’s French Sermons into English, by which he shows himself to have been a Calvinist, the master of an excellent English style, and an adept in the difficult art of translating. Wood says, that he was “a most noted Latinist, Grecian, and Divine;” and that he was “always accounted a most solid theologist, admirably well read in the Fathers and Schoolmen, and in his younger years a subtle Aristotelian,” Of him too it may be said, “having had a principal hand in the Translation,” that he was worthy to rank with those, who gave the Scriptures in their existing English form, to untold millions, past, present, and to come.


            The fifth company of Translators was composed of seven divines, who held their meetings at Westminster. Their special portion of the work was the whole of the Epistles of the New Testament. The president of this company was Dr. William Barlow, at the time of his appointment, Dean of Chester. He belonged to an ancient and respectable family, residing at Barlow, in Lancashire. He was bred a student of Trinity Hall, in the University of Cambridge. He graduated in 1584, became Master of Arts in 1587 and was admitted to a fellowship in Trinity Hall in 1590. Seven years later, Archbishop Whitgift made him sinecure Rector of Orpington in Kent. He was one of the numerous ecclesiastics of that day, who were courtiers by profession, and studied with success the dark science of preferment. When Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was beheaded for high treason in the year 1600, Dr. Barlow preached on the occasion, at St. Paul’s Cross, in London. He was now a “rising man.” In 1601, the prebendship of Chiswick was conferred upon him, and he held it till he was made Bishop of Lincoln. In the year 1603, he became at the same time, Prebendary of Westminster and Dean of Chester. This latter prebendship, he held in “commendam” to the day of his death.

            When, soon after the accession of James Stuart to the throne of England, the famous Conference was held at Hampton Court, that monarch summoned, as we have said, four Puritan divines, whom he arbitrarily constituted representatives of their brethren. To confront them, he summoned a large force of bishops and cathedral clergymen, of whom Dean Barlow was one, all led to the charge by the doughty king himself. At the different meetings of the Conference, the Puritans were required to state what changes their party desired in the doctrine, discipline, and worship, of the Church of England. As soon as they ventured to specify any thing, they were browbeaten and hectored in the most abusive manner by the monarch and his minions. In his time, when comparing his reign with the preceding, it was common to distinguish him by the title Queen James; and his illustrious predecessor, as King Elizabeth. When his learned preceptor, Buchanan, was asked how he came to make such a pedant of his royal pupil, the old disciplinarian was cruel enough to reply, that it was the best he could make of him! This prince, who fancied himself to be, what his flatterers swore he was, an incomparable adept in the sciences of theology and “kingcraft,” as he termed it, was quite in his element during the discussions at Hampton Court. He trampled with such fury on the claims of Puritanism, that his prelates, lordly and cringing by turns, were in raptures; and went down on their knees, and blessed God extemporaneously, for “such a king as had not been seen since Christ’s day!” Surely they were thrown off their guard by their exultation, when they set such an impressive example of “praying without book.”

            This matter is mentioned here the more fully, because the principal account we have of this Conference is given by the Dean of Chester. It is not strange that the Puritans make but a sorry-figure in his report of the transactions. Gagged by royal insolence, and choked by priestly abuse, it could hardly have been otherwise. Indeed, they were only summoned, that, under pretence of considering their grievances, the King might have an opportunity to throw off his mask, and to show himself in his true character, as a determined enemy to further reformation in his Church. Dr. Barlow’s account is evidently drawn up in a very unfriendly disposition toward the Puritan complainants, and labors to make their statements of grievances appear as weak and witless as possible. Had the pencil been held by a Puritan hand, no doubt the sketch would have been altogether different. The temper of the King and of his sycophantic court-clergy may be inferred from the mirth, which, Dr. Barlow says, was excited by a definition of a Puritan, quoted from one Butler, a Cambridge man, – “A Puritan is a Protestant frayed out of his wits!” The plan of the King and his mitred counsellors was, the substitution of an English popery in the place of Romish popery. Their notions were well expressed, some years afterward, in a sermon at St. Mary’s, Cambridge, – “As at the Olympic games, he was counted the conqueror who could drive his chariot-wheels nearest the mark, yet not so as to hinder his running, or to stick thereon; so he who, in his sermons, can preach near popery, and yet not quite popery, there is your man!”

            As we have already related, almost the only request vouchsafed to the Puritans at this Conference was one which was well worth all the rest. The King granted Dr. Reynolds’s motion for a new translation of the Bible, to be prepared by the ablest divines in his realm. Dr. Barlow was actively employed in the preliminary arrangements. He was also appointed to take part in the work itself; in which, being a thorough bred scholar, he did excellent service.

            In the course of the work, in 1605, being, at the time, Rector of one of the London parishes, St. Dunstan’s in the East, Dr. Barlow was made Bishop of Rochester. He was promoted to the wealthier see of Lincoln in 1608, where he presided with all dignity till his death. He died at a time when he had some hopes of getting the bishopric of London. His decease took place at his episcopal palace of Buckden, where he was buried in 1613. He published several books and pamphlets, which prove him not out of place when put among the learned men of that erudite generation of divines.


            This very learned man was a native of the county of Suffolk. He became a student of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1577. He was elected Greek lecturer for that College, being then but nineteen years of age. His election was strenuously, but vainly, opposed by Dr. Reynolds, partly on account of his youth, and on the ground of some irregularity in his appointment. Perhaps this opposition was also to be ascribed to the fact, that young Spencer early attached himself to that party in his College which dreaded Puritanism quite as much as Popery. In 1579, he was chosen Fellow of the same College.

            He was the fellow-student, and, like Saravia, and Savile, and Reynolds, the intimate friend of Richard Hooker, the author of that famous work, “The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.” This work, in the preparation of which Spencer was constantly consulted, and was even said to have “had a special hand” as in part its author, and which he edited after Hooker’s death,—this work is to this day the “great gun” on the ramparts of the Episcopal sect. Its argument, however, is very easily disposed of. It is thus described by Dr. James Bennett; – “The architecture of the fabric resembles Dagon’s temple; for it rests mainly upon two grand pillars, which, so long as they continue sound, will support all its weight. The first is, 'that the Church of Christ, like all other societies, has power to make laws for its well-being;' and the second, that ‘where the sacred Scriptures are silent, human authority may interpose.’ But if some Samson can be found to shake these pillars from their base, the whole edifice, with the lords of the Philistines in their seats, and the multitude with which it is crowded, will be involved in one common ruin. Grant Mr. Hooker these two principles, and his arguments cannot be confuted. But if a Puritan can show that the Church of Christ is different from all civil societies, because Christ had framed a constitution for it, and that where the Scriptures are silent, and neither enjoin nor forbid, no human association has a right to interpose its authority, but should leave the matter indifferent; in such a case, Hooker’s system would not be more stable than that of the Eastern philosopher, who rested the earth on the back of an elephant, who stood upon a huge tortoise, which stood upon nothing.”

            After the death of Hooker in 1600, his papers were committed to Dr. Spencer, the associate and assistant of his studies, to superintend their publication. He attended carefully to this literary executorship, till the translation of the Bible began to engross his attention, when he committed the other duty, though still retaining a supervisory care, to a young and enthusiastic admirer of Hooker. The publication was not completed at the time of Dr. Spencer’s death, and the papers of Hooker passed into other hands.

            When he became Master of Arts, in 1580, John Spencer entered into orders, and became a popular preacher He was eventually one of King James’s chaplains. His wife was a pupil of Hooker’s, as well as her brothers, George and William Cranmer, who became diplomatic characters, and warm patrons of their celebrated teacher. Mrs. Spencer was a great-niece of Thomas Cranmer, that Archbishop of Canterbury, whom Queen Mary burnt at the stake for his Protestantism. In 1589, Dr. Spencer was made Vicar of Alveley in Essex, which he resigned, in 1592, for the vicarage of Broxborn. In 1599, he was Vicar of St. Sepulchre’s, beyond Newgate, London. He was made President of Corpus Christi College, on the death of Dr. Reynolds, in 1607. Dr. Spencer was appointed to a prebendal stall in St. Paul’s, London, in 1612. His death took place on the third day of April, 1614, when he was fifty-five years of age. Of his eminent scholarship there can be no question He was a valuable helper in the great work of preparing our common English version. We have but one publication from his pen, a sermon preached at St. Paul’s Cross, and printed after his decease, of which Keble, who is Professor of Poetry at Oxford, says, that it is “full of eloquence, and striking thoughts.”


            This clergyman was a native of Lancashire. He was Fellow of Pembroke Hall, in Cambridge University. For many years, he was “the painful, pious, learned, and beloved minister” of St. Stephen’s, Walbrook, London, to which he was admitted in 1601. He was also presented by the Queen to the Rectory of St. Bennet’s, Sherehog, which he resigned in 1606, for the vicarage of Chigwell, in Essex. He was also collated, in place of Bishop Andrews, to the Prebendship of Pancras in St. Paul’s cathedral, where he was Penitentiary of St. Paul’s. His prebendship of Pancras also made him, (so Newcourt says,) Rector of that church. He died January 16th, 1616, aged fifty years. He was buried under the communion-table of St. Stephen’s, where there is a monument erected to his memory by his parishioners, with an inscription expressing their affection toward him as a pastor eminent for his piety and learning.

            His principal publication is described as a “solid treatise” against usury. His most intimate friend was Dr. Nicholas Felton, another London minister. The following singular incident is related of them by good old Thomas Fuller; – “Once my own father gave Dr. Fenton a visit, who excused himself from entertaining him any longer.’Mr. Fuller,' said he, 'hear how the passing bell tolls, at this very instant, for my dear friend, Dr. Felton, now a-dying. I must to my study, it being mutually agreed upon betwixt us, in our healths, that the survivor of us should preach the other’s funeral sermon.’But see a strange change! God, 'to whom belong the issues of death,' with the patriarch Jacob blessing his grand-children, 'wittingly guided his hands across,' reaching out death to the living, and life to the dying. So that Dr. Felton recovered, and not only performed that last office to his friend, Dr. Fenton, but survived him more than ten years, and died Bishop of Ely.” By that funeral sermon, it appears that Dr. Fenton was free of the Grocers’ Company, a wealthy guild, to whom belonged the patronage of St. Stephen’s Church. He was also Preacher of Gray’s Inn, a society or college of lawyers. Bishop Felton says of him, – “None was fitter to dive into the depths of school divinity. He was taken early from the University, and had many troubles afterward; yet he grew, and brought forth fruit. Never a more learned hath Pembroke Hall brought forth, with but one exception.” This nameless exception was doubtless the great Bishop Lancelot Andrews. Dr. Fenton suffered severely in regard to health, in consequence of his sedentary habits. “In the time of his sickness,” says his friend, “I told him, that his weakness and disease were trials only of his faith and patience.”

            Oh no, he answered, they are not trials but corrections.* (*Non probationes, sed castigationes.)


            Dr. Hutchinson, at the time of his appointment, was President of St. John’s College, having entered that office in 1590. This, which marks him as a learned man, is all we can tell of him.


            He was educated at Westminster School, and admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, May 8th, 1587. He was chosen Fellow in 1593. He became Bachelor in Divinity in 1601. The next year he was appointed Greek lecturer. In 1604, he was appointed Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London. He was elected on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor and Heads of Colleges in Cambridge, and also of several of the nobility, and of the King himself. The King in his letter to the Mayor and Aldermen of London, calls him “an ancient divine,” not in allusion to his age, but his character. This appointment was given him as a remuneration for his undertaking to do his part in the Bible-translation. He was considered peculiarly fit to be employed in this work, on account of “his skill in the original languages.” In 1606, he was chosen Dean of Trinity College; but died a few months after, on the second day of October, being less than forty years of age. Though taken away in the midst of his days, and of the work on account of which we are interested in him, he evidently stood in high repute as to his qualifications for a duty of such interest and importance.


            All we can tell of him is, that he was a Bachelor in Divinity, and Rector of the Church of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, London.


            The bare name is all that is left to us with any certainty. Wood mentions a Thomas Sanderson, D. D., of Baliol College, Oxford, who was installed Archdeacon of Rochester in 1606; but does not say whether he was one of our Translators.

            The sixth and last company of King James’s Bible-translators met at Cambridge. To this company was assigned all the Apocryphal books, which, in those times, were more read and accounted of than now, though by no means placed on a level with the canonical books of Scripture.* (*The reasons assigned for not admitting the apocryphal books into the canon, or list, of inspired Scriptures are briefly the following. 1. Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament. 2. Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration. 3. These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord. 4. They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church. 5. They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures, but themselves; as when, in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places. 6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection. 7. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation. For these and other reasons, the Apocryphal books, which are all in Greek, except one which is extant only in Latin, are valuable only as ancient documents, illustrative of the manners, language, opinions and history of the East.) Still this party of the Translators had as much to do as either of the others, in the repeated revision of the version of the canonical books much to do as either of the others, in the repeated revision of the version of the canonical books.


The president of this company was Dr. Duport, then Master of Jesus College, and Prebendary of Ely. He was son of Thomas Duport, Esquire; and was born at Shepshead, in Leicestershire. He was bred at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became Fellow, and afterwards Master, which latter office he exercised with great reputation for nearly thirty years. He was a liberal benefactor of the College. In 1580 he was Proctor in the University; and in the same year he was made Rector of Harlton in Cambridgeshire. He afterwards bestowed the perpetual advowsance of this rectory on his College. He was soon after Rector of Bosworth and Medbourn, in his native County. In 1583, he was collated to the rectory of Fulham, in Middlesex, which was a sinecure. Such frequent change of parishes, in a clergyman of the Anglican Church, is a sign of great prosperity; as they are always changes from a poorer benefice to a better, and are considered as “preferments.”

            Almost every parish, whenever vacant, is in the gift of some man of wealth, or high officer in church, state, university, or other corporation: Hence frequent removals to more desirable parishes tend to shew that a clergyman has very influential friends or is in high esteem. Still this does not necessarily follow, inasmuch as a very great part of this business is mere matter of bargain and sale. The person who has the right of presenting a clergyman to be pastor of a vacant church is called the “patron;” and the right of presentation is called the “advowson.” These advowsons are bought, sold, bequeathed or inherited, like any other right or possession. They may be owned by heretics or infidels, who are under very little restraint as to their choice of ministers to fill the vacancies that occur. If the bishop should refuse to institute the person nominated, it would involve the prelate in great trouble, unless he could make out a very strong case against the fitness of the rejected presentee. Meanwhile the flocks, who pay the tithes which support the minister, have no voice in the matter, except in comparatively few parishes. They may be dearly loved for their flesh and fleece; but they must take the shepherd who is set over them. If they dislike his pasture, and jump the fences to feed elsewhere, they must pay tithes and offerings all the same to the convivial rector, fox-hunting vicar, or Puseyite priest, who has secured the “benefice “or “living.”It is astonishing, that, under such an ecclesiastical system, the Church of England is not more thoroughly corrupted. And it is astonishing, that such a system can be endured to the middle of such a century as this, by a nation whose loudest and proudest boast is of liberty.

            While Dr. Duport was rapidly rising in the scale of preferment, he retained his connection with Jesus College. After he was made Master in 1590, he was four times elected Vice-Chancellor, the highest resident officer, of the University. In 1585, he became Precentor of St. Paul’s, London; and in 1609, was made Prebendary of Ely. He married Rachel, daughter to Richard Cox, Bishop of Ely. They were very happy in their son James Duport, D. D., a distinguished Greek professor and divine. The father died about Christmas, in 1617, leaving a well-earned reputation as “a reverend man in his generation.” Let him also be reverend in this generation, for his agency in the final preparation of the Bible in English.


            Of Dr. Brainthwaite we recover but little. He spent his life in Cambridge University, where he was first a student of Clare Hall, then Fellow of Emanuel College, and at last Master of Gonvil and Caius College. He was in this last office, when he was named in the royal commission as one of the Translators. He was a benefactor of the last-mentioned colleges; and in 1619, was Vice-Chancellor of the University. These few items go to mark him as a learned, reverend, and worshipful divine.


            Dr. Radcliffe was one of the Senior Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1588, he was

Vicar of Evesham; and two years later, he was Rector of Orwell. He was Vice-Master of his College in 1597. In the year 1600, he was made Doctor in Divinity, both at Cambridge and Oxford. Thus he, too, is to be ranked as a scholar and a divine by calling. His death took place in 1612.


            This was a man of mark, – “a vast scholar.” He was a native of Bishop’s Middleham, in the county of Durham. His father was a gentleman of “more ancientry than estate.” He studied at Cambridge, where he was at first a student of Christ’s College, then a Fellow of Emanuel, and afterwards Master of Sidney Sussex College. He entered upon this latter office in 1609, and occupied it with great usefulness and honor till his death, thirty-four years after. His college flourished greatly under his administration. Four new fellowships were founded, all the scholarships augmented, and a chapel and new range of buildings erected, all in his time. He was distinguished for the gravity of his deportment, and for the integrity with which he discharged the duties of his Mastership.

            Being appointed chaplain to the royal favorite, Bishop Montague, he was by that prelate made Archdeacon of Taunton in 1615, and also Prebendary of Wells. The King next year presented him to the rectory of Much-Munden in Hertfordshire; and also appointed him one of his chaplains. In 1617, the excellent Dr. Toby Mathew, archbishop of York, made him Prebendary of Ampleford in the cathedral church of York; and this stall Dr. Ward retained as long as he lived.

            King James sent him, in 1618, to the Synod of Dort, in Holland, together with Bishops Carleton, Davenant, and Hall; as the four divines most able and meet to represent the Church of England, at that famous Council. After a while Dr. Goad, a powerful divine and chaplain to Dr. Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, was sent in the place of Dr. Hall, recalled at his own request, on account of sickness. The English delegates were treated with the highest consideration; and having exerted a very happy influence in the Synod, returned with great honor to their own country, after six or eight months’ absence. The sittings of the Synod began November 3d, 1618, and ended April 29th of the next year. During all this time, the States General of Holland allowed the British envoys ten pounds sterling each day; and, at their departure, gave them two hundred pounds to bear their expenses; and also to each of them a splendid gold medal, representing the Synod in session.

            At this celebrated ecclesiastical council, Walter Balcanqual, B. D., Fellow of Pembroke Hall, and afterwards Master of the Savoy, by order of King James, represented the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. There were also, besides the members from the Dutch provinces, delegates present from Hesse, the Palatinate, Bremen, and Switzerland, all of whose churches practised the Presbyterial form of discipline and government. The Church of England, through its “supreme head,” acknowledged and communed with all these as true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, – sitting and acting with them, by its delegated theologians, in a solemn ecclesiastical assembly. Surely the spirit of the Anglican Church in those days was widely different from what is manifested now.

            The object of the Synod, which was convened by order of their High Mightinesses, the Lords States General, was to settle the doctrinal disputes which then convulsed the established Church of the Netherlands. For some ten years the dispute had been very sharp between the Calvinists, who adhered to the old national faith, and the followers of Arminius, who innovated upon the old order of things. The points in dispute related to divine predestination, the nature and extent of the atonement, the corruption of man, his conversion to God, and the perseverance of saints. These five points are explained in some sixty “canons,” which were “confirmed by the unanimous consent of all and each of the members of the whole Synod” The Dordrechtan Canons are, perhaps, the most careful and exact statement of the Calvinistic belief, in scientific form, that has ever been drawn up. It is wisely framed, so that all the usual objections to these doctrines are forestalled and excluded in the very form of their statement. Although the decrees of Dordrecht had not the desired effect of quelling the errors of Arminianism, they are worthy of all it cost to procure them. At the time of their adoption, King James was very hostile to the Arminians. He soon, however, became more lenient toward them, when convinced by Bishop Laud, that the laxity and pliancy of Arminianism made it far more supple and convenient for the purposes of “kingcraft” and civil despotism, than the stiff and unyielding temper of Calvinism, whose first principle is obedience to God rather than to man. The court favor took such a turn, that it was not many years till, in answer to a question as to what the Arminians held, it was wittily said, that they held almost all the best bishoprics and deaneries in England.

            Before going home to England, the British delegates made a tour through the provinces of Holland, and were received With great respect in most of the principal cities. On his return, Dr. Ward resumed his duties as head of Sidney College. In 1621, he was Vice-Chancellor of the University. In the same year, he was made the Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity, which office he sustained with great celebrity for more than twenty years. The English Bible, which he actively assisted in translating, was formally published in 1611. Some errors of the press having crept into the first edition, and others into later reprints, King Charles the First, in 1638, had another edition printed at Cambridge, which was revised by Dr. Ward and Mr. Bois, two of the original Translators who still survived, assisted by Dr. Thomas Goad, Mr. Mede, and other learned men.

            When the Assembly of Divines was convened at Westminster, 1643, Dr. Ward was summoned as a member, but never attended. In doctrine, he was a thorough Puritan; but in politics, a staunch royalist. In the sad and distracted times of the civil wars, as Thomas Fuller, his affectionate pupil, says, “he turned as a rock riseth with the tide. – In a word, he was accounted a Puritan before these times, and popish in these times; and yet, being always the same, was a true Protestant at all times.” When hostilities broke out, he joined the other heads of Colleges at Cambridge, in sending their college-plate to aid the tyrannical Charles Stuart, whose character, partially redeemed by some private virtues, has been so admirably exposed by Macaulay. “Faithlessness,” says that philosophic historian, “was the chief cause of his disasters, and is the chief stain on his memory. He was, in truth, impelled by an incurable propensity to dark and crooked ways. It may seem strange that his conscience, which, on occasions of little moment, was sufficiently sensitive, should never have reproached him with this great vice. But there is reason to believe that he was perfidious, not only from constitution and from habit, but also on principle.” This historical judgment may seem severe; but its truth is maintained by other competent critics. James Stuart was undoubtedly one of the worse sort of monarchs; but of him Coleridge frankly says, – “James I., in my honest judgment, was an angel, compared with his sons and grandsons.”

            Dr. Ward, no doubt, like many other good men who disliked the King’s proceedings, was compelled, by his conscientious belief in the long established doctrine of the “divine right of kings,” to uphold his sovereign. In consequence of his sending the college-plate to be coined for the King’s use, the parliamentary authorities deprived Dr. Ward of his professorship and mastership, and confiscated his goods. He was also, in 1642, with three other heads of colleges involved in the same transaction, imprisoned in St. John’s College for a short time. During his confinement, he contracted a disorder that proved fatal in six weeks after his liberation, which was granted on account of his sickness. He died, in great want, at an advanced age, in 1643, and was the first person buried in Sidney Sussex Chapel. A beautiful character is drawn in some Latin verses addressed to him by Dr. Thomas Goad, the close of which is thus given in English by Fuller; –

“None thy quick sight, grave judgment, can beguile,

So skilled in tongues, so sinewy in style;

Add to all these that peaceful soul of thine,

Meek, modest, which all brawlings doth decline.”

            Dr. Ward maintained much correspondence with learned men. His correspondence with Archbishop Ushur reveals traits of diversified learning, especially in biblical and oriental criticism.* (*Dr. Usher, in one of these letters, corrects a misprint in the Translator’s Preface, where the name Efnard should be Eynard, or Eginhardus.) In his letters to the elder Vossius he animadverts upon that distinguished author’s History of Pelagianism. His character cannot be better described than in the following beautiful passage from Dr. Fuller’s History of the University of Cambridge. “He was a Moses, not only for slowness of speech, but otherwise meekness of nature. Indeed, when, in my private thoughts, I have beheld him and Dr. Collins,* (*Samuel Collins, Provost of King’s College, and for forty years Regius Professor. “As Caligula, is said to have sent his soldiers vainly to fight against the tide, with the same success have any encountered the torrent of his Latin in disputation,”) (disputable whether more different, or more eminent in their endowments,) I could not but remember the running of Peter and John to the place where Christ was buried. In which race, John came first, as youngest and swiftest; but Peter first entered the grave. Dr. Collins had much the speed of him in quickness of parts; but let me say, (nor doth the relation of pupil misguide me,) the other pierced the deeper into underground and profound points in divinity. Now as high winds bring some men the sooner into sleep, so, I conceive, the storms and tempests of these distracted times invited this good old man the sooner to his long rest, where we leave him, and quietly draw the curtains about him.”


            Dr. Downes was Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. For full forty years he was Regius Professor of Greek in that famous University. He is especially named by the renowned John Selden as eminently qualified to share in the translation of the Bible. Thus it is the happiness of Dr. Downes to be “praised by a praised man;” for no man was ever more exalted for learning and critical scholarship than Selden, who was styled by Dr. Johnson, “monarch in letters;” and by Milton, “chief of learned men in England;” and by foreigners, “the great dictator of learning of the English nation.” His decisive testimony to Downes’s ability was given from personal knowledge. Andrew Downes was one of the revising committee of twelve, composed of the principal members of each company, who met at London to prepare the copy for the press. This venerable Professor is spoken of as “one composed of Greek and industry.” He bestowed much labor on Sir Henry Savile’s celebrated edition of the works of Chrysostom, and many of the learned notes were furnished by him. “His pains were so inlaid” with that monument of erudition, that “both will be preserved together.” He died, February 2nd, 1625, at the great age of eighty-one years.


            This devoted scholar was a native of Nettle-stead, in Suffolk, where he was born January 3rd, 1560. His father William Bois, a convert from papistry, was a pious minister, and a very learned man; and at the time of his death, was Rector of West Stowe. His mother, Mirable Poolye, was a pious woman, and a great reader of the Bible in the older translations. He was the only child that grew up. He was carefully taught by his father; and at the age of Jive years, he had read the Bible in Hebrew. By the time he was six years old, he not only wrote Hebrew legibly, but in a fair and elegant character. Some of these remarkable manuscripts are still carefully preserved. This precocious scholar, who yet lived to a ripe and hale old age, was sent to school at Hadley, where he was a fellow-student with Bishop Overall. He was admitted to St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1575. He soon distinguished himself by his great skill in Greek, writing letters in that language to the Master and Senior Fellows, when he had been but half a year in College. Bois was a pupil to Dr. Downes, then chief lecturer on the Greek language, who took such delight in his promising disciple, that he treated him with great familiarity, even while he was a freshman. In addition to his lectures, which Dr. Downes read five times in the week, he took the youth to his chambers, where he plied him exceedingly. He there read with him twelve Greek authors, in verse and prose, the hardest that could be found; both for dialect and phrase. It was a common practice with the young enthusiast to go to the University Library at four o’clock in the morning, and stay without intermission till eight in the evening.

            When John Bois was elected Fellow of his College in 1580, he was laboring under that formidable disease, the small pox. But, with his usual resolution, rather than lose his seniority, he had himself wrapped in blankets, and was carried to be admitted to his office by his tutors, Henry Coppinger and Andrew Downes. He commenced the study of medicine; but fancying himself affected with every disease he read of, he quitted the study in disgust, and turned his attention to divinity. He was ordained a deacon, June 21st, 1583; and the next day, by a dispensation, he was ordained a priest of the Church of England.

            For ten years, he was Greek lecturer in his college; and, during that time, he voluntarily lectured, in his own chamber, at four o’clock in the morning, most of the Fellows being in attendance! It may be doubted, whether, at the present day, a teacher and class so zealous could be found at old Cambridge, new Cambridge, or any where else, – not excluding laborious Germany. At this time, Thomas Gataker, afterwards one of the most distinguished of the Westminster Divines, was a pupil to Bois.

            On the death of his father, Mr. Bois succeeded to the rectory of West Stowe, but soon resigned it, and went back to his beloved College. The Earl of Shrewsbury made him his chaplain; but this too he soon resigned. When he was about thirty-six years old, Mr. Holt, Rector of Box-‘worth, died, leaving the advowson of that living in part of a portion to one of his daughters; and requesting of some of his friends, that “if it might be procured, Mr. Bois, of St. John’s College, might become his successor.” The matter being intimated to that gentleman, he went over to take a view of the lady thus singularly portioned, and commended to his favorable regards. The parties soon took a sufficient liking to each other, and the somewhat mature lover was presented to the parsonage by his future bride, and instituted by Archbishop Whitgift, October 13th, 1596. He fulfilled the other part of the bargain, by marrying the lady, February 7th, 1598; and so resigned his beloved Fellowship at St. John’s. He could not, however, wholly separate himself from old associates and pursuits. Every week he rode over from Boxworth to Cambridge to hear some of the Greek lectures of Dowries, and the Hebrew exercises of Lively, and also the divinity-acts and lectures. Every Friday he met with neighboring ministers, to the number of twelve, to give an account of their studies, and to discuss difficult questions.

            While thus absorbed in studious pursuits, he left his domestic affairs to the management of his wife, whose want of skill in a few years reduced him to bankruptcy. He was forced to part with his chief treasure, and to sell his library, which contained one of the most complete and costly collections of Greek literature that had ever been made. This cruel loss so disheartened him, as almost to drive the poor man from his family and his native country. He was, however, sincerely attached to his wife, with whom he lived in great happiness and affection for five and forty years.

            In the translation of the Bible, he had a double share. After the completion of the Apocrypha, the portion assigned to his company, the other Cambridge company, to whom was assigned from the Chronicles to the Canticles inclusively, earnestly intreated his assistance, as he was equally distinguished for his skill in Greek and Hebrew. They were the more earnest for his aid, because of the death of their president, Professor Lively, which took place shortly after the work was undertaken. During the four years thus employed, Mr. Bois gave close attention to the duty, from Monday morning to Saturday evening, spending the Sabbaths only at his rectory with his family. For all this labor he received no worldly compensation, except the use of his chambers and his board in commons. When the work had been carried through the first stage, he was one of the twelve delegates sent, two from each of the companies, to make the final revision of the work at Stationers’ Hall, in London. This occupied nine months, during which each member of the committee received thirty shillings per week from John Barker, the King’s printer, to whom the copy-right belonged. Mr. Bois took notes of all the proceedings of this committee.

            He rendered a vast amount of aid to his fellow-translator, Sir Henry Savile, in his great literary undertaking, the edition of Chrysostom. Sir Henry speaks of him, in the Preface, as the “most ingenious and most learned Mr. Bois;” and it is said that the aged Professor Downes was «o much hurt at the higher commendations bestowed on his quondam pupil’s share in that labor than upon his own, that he never got entirely over it. Mr. Bois, however, did not cease to regard his veteran instructor with the utmost respect and esteem. For his many years of hard labor bestowed upon Chrysostom, he received no compensation, except a single copy of the work. This was probably owing to the sudden demise of Sir Henry Savile, who was intending to make him one of the Fellows of Eton College.

            Mr. Bois continued to be quite poor and neglected, till Dr. Lancelot Andrews, then Bishop of Ely, and who had also been employed in the Bible-translation, of his own accord made him a Prebendary of the cathedral church of Ely, in 1615. He there spent the last twenty-eight years of his life, in studious retirement, providing a curate for Boxworth. After his removal to Ely, he visited Boxworth twice a year, to administer the sacraments and preach, and to relieve the wants of the poor. He left, at his death, as many leaves of manuscript as he had lived days in his long life; for even in his old age, he spent eight hours in daily study, mostly reading and correcting ancient authors. Among his writings, was a voluminous commentary in Latin on the Gospels and Acts, which was published some twelve years after his decease.

            He was of a social and cheerful disposition, and had a great fund of anecdote at command. He kept up a strict family government. His charity to the necessitous poor was limited only by the bottom of his purse; though he “chode the lazy,” knowing that charity’s eyes should be open, as well as her hands. He was “in fastings oft,” sometimes twice in the week; and punctual in all religious duties. His preaching was without notes, though not without much prayer and study. In performing this solemn duty, his main endeavor was to make himself easily understood by the humblest and most ignorant of his hearers. This is a wise and noble trait in one of such vast acquirements; and one to whom Dalechamp, in dedicating to him a eulogy on Thomas Harrison, said with truth, that he was “in highest esteem with studious foreigners, and second to none in solid attainments in the Greek tongue.” He was so familiar with the Greek Testament, that he could, at any time, turn to any word that it contained.

            His manner of living was quite peculiar. He was a great pedestrian all his days. He was also a great rider and swimmer; and possessed a very strong constitution, which all his hard study could not impair. He took but two meals, dinner and supper, and never drank at any other time. He would not study between supper and bed-time; but spent the interval in pleasant discourse with friends. He took special care of his teeth, and carried them nearly all to the grave. Up to his death, his brow was un-wrinkled, his sight clear, his hearing quick, his countenance fresh, and head not bald. He ascribed his health and longevity to the observance of three rules, given him by one of his college tutors, Dr. Whitaker: – First, always to study standing; secondly, never to study in a draft of air; and thirdly, never to go to bed with his feet cold!

            He had four sons and three daughters. The first-born son died an infant. The second son and eldest daughter he saw married. The third son died of consumption, at the age of thirty, at Ely, where he was a canon in the cathedral. The youngest son died of the small-pox, while a student of St. John’s College. Thus the father was not without his sore afflictions. These seem to have been sanctified to his good. He said of himself, near the end of his life, – “There has not been a day for these many years, in which I have not meditated at least once upon my death.” Thus he met death, at last, with great joy, as an old acquaintance, and long expected friend. Having survived his wife for two lonesome years, Mr. Bois had himself carried about five hours before his end, into the room where she died. He there expired, on the Lord’s Day, January 14th, 1643, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. “He went unto his rest on the day of rest; a man of peace, to the God of peace.”

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