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JOHN SELDEN, the learned antiquarian, and stiled by Grotius the glory of England, was born December 16, 1584, at Salvington, in Sussex : he was first put to school at Chichester, and gave this specimen of his genius, at ten

age, in a Latin epigram wrote over the door of the house where he was born, which Dr. Wilkins says was to be seen in his time


years of

Gratus, Honeste, mihi; non claudar, inito, sedes.

bis; Fur abeas, non sum faéta soluta tibi. A 3


At fourteen years of his age liis schoolmaster finding him fit for the university, recommended him to his brother, Ms. Anthony Barker, Fellow of New College, Oxford. He was admitted iir Hart Hall, in 1598, Mr. Wood says 1600: he continued at the University four years, and made a great progress

, through his academical studies, mastering every difficulty that occurred to hiin in


of the sciences. When he left the university he removed to Clifford's Inn, and was admitted Socius of the Inner Temple, in May, 1604, where he pursued witli indefatigable, diligence and extraordinary success his studies, in searching into the origin of the law in all its various branches. He drew up a Treatise on the Civil Government of England before the Conquest, at the age of twenty-two years; this gained him great reputation amongst the learned of that time. In 1614. he published his Titles of Honour; a work exceeding all others on that subject. In 1616 he published his Notes on Sir John For



tescue, de Laudibus Legum Angliæ. About this time his reputation for learning was raised to the highest pitch, which alarmed the clergy, by an ata tenipt which he made to lessen the general opinion of their divine right to tythes : complaint being inade to King James, he was afterwards prosecuted in the High Commission Court, and. obliged, in a solemn mammer, to acknowledge his fault. In 162 1 he was comınitted to the custody of the sheriff of London, as a principal promoter of the protest made by the Commons respecting their privileges, being originally grants from the Crown, which the King had asserted in his speech to the Parliament; and for which protest the King was so angry that he tore it out of their journals with his own hands. During his confinement Mr. Selden re-vised the History of Eadmer, and published it in 1623; in folio. On the 1-2th of February, the same year, he was returned member of Parliament for Lancaster; and in the next year another Parliament was called, upon the


accession of King Charles to the thronej, he was returned for. Great Bedwin, in Wiltshire, in which he warmly declared against the Duke of Buckingham: and in the next Parliament of 1626, he was chosen one of the Committee for drawing up the articles of impeachment for that Minister, and afterwards appointed one of the Managers at his tryal. In 1627 he pleaded, as counsel for Mr. Hamden, In the third parliament of King Charles the First our author was returned a second time for Lancaster, in which he had a great share in all the leading steps towards preparing and establishing the famous Petition of Right; which being granted, he, in June, retired to Wrest, in Bedfordshire, where · he passed the-summer during the recess of Parliament; here he finished his Commentaries upon the Arundelian Marbles. In the next sessions he continued his opposition to the.Court, and soon after was committed to the Tower by. order of the Privy Council, and his study sealed up the 24th of March, 1628 : here he was a close prisoner for three


months, but magnificently supported at the King's expence. He was afterwards, at his own request, removed to the King's Bench, where the King sent his Chaplain, Morley, to suggest to him, that upon a petition he might be discharged. In 1631 he was admitted to bail, and to have the liberty of appeating in any of the courts of law upon the business of that suit. In July, 1634, he was freed likewise from this bail, and never more detained in prison. In 1636 he published his Defence of the King's Dominion over the British seas, in answer to Grotius; in consequence of which the Dutch relinquished their claim, and paid the King 30,00ol. for their permission to fish for that year. But notwithstanding Mr. Selden asserted the prerogative of the British Crown against the Dutch, he was not a friend to the court doctrine of the King's power to levy inoney on the subject without their consent; therefore in the Parliaments of 1640, and 1641, being returned for the university of Oxford, he both spoke


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