Casaubon, Meric

, son of the preceding, was born at Geneva, August 14, 1599, and had the name of Meric from Meric de Vicq, a great friend and benefactor to his father. His first education he received at Sedan, but coming to England with his father, in the year 1610, he was instructed by a private master till 1614, when he was sent to Christ Church, Oxford; and being put there under a most careful tutor, Dr. Edward Meetkirk (afterwards Regius Hebrew professor), was soon after elected a student of that house. He took the degree of bachelor of arts, May 8, 1618, and that of master, June 14, 1621, being even then eminent for his extensive learning; and the same year, though he was but two and twenty, he published a book in defence of his father, against the calumnies of certain Roman catholics, entitled “Pietas contra maledicos, &c.” Loud. 1621, 8vo. This book made him known to king James I. who ever after entertained a good opinion of him; and also brought him into reputation abroad, especially in France, whither he was invited | with offers of promotion, when his godfather, Meric de Vicq, was keeper of the great seal of that kingdom. Three years after, he published another vindication of his father, written by the command of king James I. and entitled, “Vindicatio Patris, &c.1624, 4to. About that time he was collated by Dr. Lancelot Andrews, bishop of Winchester, to the rectory of Bledon in Somersetshire; and June 1628, took the degree of bachelor of divinity. He had now formed the design of continuing his father’s “Exercitations against Baronius’s Annals,” but was diverted by some accident. At length, when he came to maturity of years for such a work, and had acquainted archbishop Laud, his great friend and patron, with his design, who was very ready to place him conveniently in Oxford or London, according to his desire, that he might be furnished with books necessary for such a purpose, the rebellion broke out in England. Having now no fixed habitation, he was forced to sell a good part of his books; and, after about twenty years’ sufferings, became so infirm, that he could not expect to live many years, and was obliged to relinquish his design. Before this, however, in June 1628, he was made prebendary of Canterbury, through the interest of bishop Laud; and when that prelate was promoted to the archbishopric of Canterbury, he collated him, in Oct. 1634, to the vicarage of Minster, in the Isle of Thanet; and in the same month, he was inducted into the vicarage of Monckton, in that island. In August 1636, he was created doctor in divinity, by order of king Charles I. who was entertained at the same time, with his queen, by the university of Oxford. About the year 1644, during the heat of the civil wars, he was deprived of his preferments, abused, fined, and imprisoned. In 1649, one Mr. Greaves, of Gray’s inn, an intimate acquaintance of his, brought him a message from Oliver Cromwell, then lieutenant-general of the parliament forces, desiring him to come to Whitehall, on purpose to confer with him about matters of moment; but his wife being lately dead, and not, as he said, buried, he desired to be excused. Greaves came again afterwards, and Dr. Casaubon being somewhat alarmed, desired him to tell him the meaning of the matter; but Greaves refusing, went away the second time. At length he returned again, and told him, that the lieutenant-general intended his good and advancement; and his particular errand was, that he would make use of hi* | pen to write the history of the late war; desiring withal, that nothing but matters of fact should be impartially set down. The doctor answered, that he desired his humble service and hearty thanks should be returned for the great honour done unto him; but that he was uncapable in several respects for such an employment, and could not so impartially engage in it, as to avoid such reflections as would be ungrateful, if not injurious, to his lordship. Notwithstanding this answer, Cromwell seemed so sensible of his worth, that he acknowledged a great respect for him; and, as a testimony of it, ordered, that upon the first demand there should be delivered to him three or four hundred pounds, by a bookseller in London, whose name was Cromwell, whenever his occasions should require, without acknowledging, at the receipt of it, who was his benefactor. But this ofter he rejected, although almost in want. At the same time, it was proposed by Mr. Greaves, who belonged to the library at St. James’s, that if our author would gratify him in the foregoing request, Cromwell would restore to him all his father’s books, which were then in the royal library, having been purchased by king James; and withal give him a patent for three hundred pounds a year, to be paid to the family as long as the youngest sou of Dr. Casaubon should live, but this also was refused. Not long after, it was intimated to him, by the ambassador of Christiana, queen of Sweden, that the queen wished him to come over, and take upon him the government of one, or inspection of all her universities; and, as an encouragement, she proposed not only an honourable salary for himself, but offered to settle three hundred pounds a year upon his eldest son during life: but this also he waved, being fully determined to spend the remainder of his days in England. At the restoration of king Charles II. he recovered his preferments; namely, his prebend of Canterbury in July 1660, and his vicarages of Monckton and Minster the same year: but, two years after, he exchanged this last for the rectory of Ickham, near Canterbury, to which he was admitted Oct. 4, 1662. He had a design, in the latter part of his days, of writing his own life; and would often confess, that he thought himself obliged to do it, out of gratitude to the Divine Providence, which had preserved and delivered him from more hazardous occurrences than ever any man (as he thought) besides himself had encountered with; particularly in his escape | from a fire in the night-time, which happened in the house where he lived, at Geneva, while he was a boy: in his recovery from a sickness at Christ Church, in Oxford, when he was given over for dead, by a chemical preparation administered to him by a young physician: in his wonderful preservation from drowning, when overset in a boat on the Thames near London, the two watermen being drowned, and himself buoyed up by his priest’s coat: and in his bearing several abuses, fines, imprisonments, &c. laid upon him by the republicans in the time of his sequestration: but this he did not execute. He died July 14, 1671, in the seventy-second year of his age, and was buried in the south part of the first south cross aile of Canterbury cathedral. Over his grave was soon after erected a handsome monument with an inscription. He left by will a great number of manuscripts to the university of Oxford. His character is thus represented. He was a general scholar, but not of particular excellence, unless in criticism, in which probably he was assisted by his father’s notes and papers. According to the custom of the times he lived in, he displays his extensive reading by an extraordinary mixture of Greek and Latin quotations and phrases. He was wont to ascribe to Descartes’s philosophy, the little inclination people had in his time for polite learning. Sir William Temple very highly praises his work, hereafter mentioned, on “Enthusiasm;” and unquestionably it contains in any curious and learned remarks; buthisbeingamaintainer of the reality of witches and apparitions, shews that he was not more free from one species of enthusiasm than most of his contemporaries. In his private character he was eminent for his piety, charity to the poor, and his courteous and affable disposition towards scholars. He had several children, but none made any figure in the learned world; one, named John, was a surgeon at Canterbury *.

His works, besides his two vindications already mentioned, are, 1. “Optati Libri vii. de Schismate Donatistarum, cum Notis & Emendationibus,” Lond. 1632, 8vo. 2. A translation from Greek into English of “M. Aurelius Antoninus’s Meditations concerning himself, with notes,” Lond. 163 4-, and 1635, 4to; again with additions and corrections, Lond. 1664, 8vo. 3. “A Treatise of Use and Custom,” Lond. 1638, 8vo. 4. “The Use of

* A writer in a late volume of the —Gent. Mag. (vol. LXXVIII. p. 40?.) claims descent from this family.
| daily public Prayers in three positions,” Lond. 1641, 4to. 5. “Marci Antonini Imperatoris de Seipso & ad Seipsum libri xii. Guil. Xylander Augustanus Graece &, Latine primus edidit: nunc vero, Xylandri versionem locis plurimis etnendavit, & novam fecit in Antonini libros Notas & Emendationes adjecit Mericus Casaubonus, Is. F. In eosdem Xylandri Annotationes,” Lond. 1643, 8vo, a neat and accurate edition. 6. “The original of Temporal Evils; the opinions of the most ancient Heathens concerning it examined by the Sacred Scriptures, and referred unto them, as unto the source and fountain, from whence they spring,” Lond. 1645, 4to. 7. “A discourse concerning Christ his Incarnation and Exinanition. With an introduction concerning the principles of Christianity and Divinity,” Lond. 1646, 4to. 8. “De verborum usu, & accuratse eorum cognitionis utilitate Diatriba,” Lond. 1647, 8vo. 9. A more complete edition of his father’s notes upon Persius, than that of 1605. “Persii Satyrse cum notis Isaaci Casaubon,” Lond. 1647, 8vo. 10. “De quatuor Linguis Commentationis, Pars I. Quse de Lingua Hebraica & de Lingua Saxonica. Accesserunt Gulielmi Somneri ad verba vetera Germanica Lipsiana Notae,” Lond. 1650, 8vo. He had not an opportunity of finishing the two other languages, Greek and Latin. 11. “Terentius, cum notis Thomoe Farnabii in quatuor priores Comoedias, & Merici Casauboni in Phormionem & Hecyram,” Lond. 1651, 12mo. Farnaby dying before he had finished his notes upon Terence, the bookseller engaged Casaubon to write notes upon the two last comedies, the Phormio and the Hecyra. 12. “Some Annotations on the Psalms and Proverbs.” He tells us, that these observations were extorted from him, by the importunity of printers, when he was not very well furnished either with books or leisure; but, worst of all, of will, when nothing could be expected to be acceptable and welcome, but what relished of schism and rebellion. These Annotations were inserted in one of the latter editions of the “Assembly’s Annotations on the Bible.” 13. “In Hieroclis commentarium de Providentia & Fato, notae & emendationes,” Lond. 1655, 8vo, and 1673, 8vo. To this he only added a few grammatical and critical notes at the end. 14. “A Treatise concerning Enthusiasm, as it is an effect of Nature; but is mistaken by many for either divine inspiration, or diabolical possession,” Lond.- 1655, 8vo, 15. “De nupera | Homeri editione Lugduno-Batavica Hackiana, cum 'Latina versione, & Didymi Scholiis sed & Eustathio, & locis aliquot insignioribus ad Odysseam pertinentibus. Item super loco Homerico dubise apud antiques interpretations, quo Dei in hominum tarn mentes quam fortunas imperium asseritur, binse dissertationes,” Lond. 1659, 8vo, reprinted in Almeloveen’s edition of Casaubon’s Letters. 16. “Epicteti Enchiridion, Graere & Latine, cum notis Merici Casauboni & Cebetis Tabula, cum notis ejusdem,” Lond. 1659, 8vo. The Latin translation in this edition is that of Jerom Wolfius. 17. An English translation of, and notes on, “Lucius FJorus’s History of the Romans,” Lond.

1659, 8vo. 18. “A true and faithful relation of what passed for many years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits,” &c. And put in the beginning a long preface, to confirm the truth of what is said in that relation concerning Spirits, Lond. Io59, fol. 19. He was author of, 44 A Vindication of the Lord’s Prayer as a formal prayer, and by Christ’s institution to be used by Christians as a prayer. Against the antichristian practice and opinion of some men. Wherein also their private and ungrounded zeal is discovered, who are so strict for the observation of the Lord’s-day, and make so light of the Lord’s- prayer,“Lond. 1660. The first occasion of this treatise, as the author tells us in the preface, was a strange report that in St. Mary’s church in Oxford, Dr. John Owen, dean of Christ-church, who had the chief government of that university from 1652 to 1657, put on his hat when the Lord’s prayer was repeating by the preacher. This Dr. Owen denied afterwards. 20.A King and his Subjects unhappily fallen out, and happily reconciled, in a sermon preached at Canterbury,“on Hosea iii. ver. 4, 5,” Lond.

1660, 4to. 21. “The Question to whom it belonged anciently to preach? And whether all priests might or did? Discussed out of antiquity. Occasioned by the late directions concerning preachers,” Lond. 1663, 4to. These directions were set forth by the king, October 14, 1662, to restrain the abuses and extravagances of preachers. 22. “Notse & emendationes in Diogenem Laertium de Vitis, &c. Philosophorum” added to those of his father, in the editions of Laertius printed at London 1664, fol. and Amsterdam in 1692, 4to. 23. “Of the necessity of Reformation in and before Luther’s time, and what visibly hath most hindered the progress of it Occasioned by some | late virulent books written by papists, but especially by that, entitled, Labyrinthus Cantuariensis,” Lond. 1664, 4to. This is chiefly an answer to “Labyrinthus Cantuariensis,” printed at Paris in 1658; which pretends to confute “Archbishop Laud’s relation of a conference with Fisher the Jesuit.” 24. “An answer concerning the new way of Infallibility lately devised to uphold the Roman cause; the ancient fathers and councils laid aside, against J. S. (the author of Sure-footing) his Letter lately published,” Lond. 1665, 8vo. This letter of J. S. (i, e. John Sarjeant, the author of Sure-footing, &c. so learnedly confuted by archbishop Tillotson) was a sort of an answer to some passages in Dr. Casaubon’s book “Of the necessity of Reformation,” &c. and was printed at the end of Sarjeant’s Surefooting in Christianity. 25. “A Letter of Meric Casaubon, D.D. &c. to Peter du Moulin, I). D. &c. concerning natural experimental philosophy, and some books lately set out about it,Cambridge, 1669, 4to. 26. “Of Credulity and Incredulity in things natural, civil, and divine; wherein, among other things, the sadducism of these times in denying spirits, witches, and supernatural operations, by pregnant instances and evidences is fully confuted; Epicurus his cause discussed, and the juggling and false dealing lately used to bring him and atheism into credit, clearly discovered; the use and necessity of ancient learning against the innovating humour all along proved and asserted^” Lond. 1668, 8vo, two parts. The third part was printed at London, 1670, 8vo, under the title “Of Credulity and Incredulity in things divine and spiritual: wherein (among other things) a true and faithful account is given of the Platonic philosophy, as it hath reference to Christianity: as also the business of witches and witchcraft, against a late writer, fully argued and disputed.” The late writer, attacked only in the two last sheets of this book, was Mr. John Wag-staff, who published “The question of Witchcraft debated; or a discourse against their opinion, that affirm witches,” Lond. 1669, 8vo. But these two parts of Dr. Casaubon’s book remaining unsold, he printed a new title to them, running thus, “A treatise proving Spirits, Witches, and supernatural operations by pregnant instances and evidences, &c.London, 1672. 27. “Notse in Polybium,” printed for the first time in Gronovius’s edition, Amsterdam, 1670, 8vo. 28. “Epistolae, Dedicationes, Prsefationes, Prolegomena, | & Tractatus quidam rariores. Curante Theodore Janson ab Almeloveen;” printed at the end of Isaac Casaubon’s Letters, Roterodami, 1709. 29. “De Jure concionandi apud antiques.” This seems to be the same as the treatise mentioned above No. 22, or perhaps it was a Latin translation of it. 1


Gen. Dict. Biog. Brit.