James, Richard

, nephew of the preceding, was born at Newport, in the Isle of Wight, in 1592, and admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, Sept. 23, 1608. In October 1611, he took the degree of B A. and in Jan. 1615, that of M. A. in which year also he became probationer fellow of his college. Having entered into holy orders, he preached frequently, and arrived to the degree of bachelor in divinity. Upon what occasion we know not, he travelled abroad; and was in Russia, in 1619, a tour to which country was very uncommon in those days. He was esteemed to be well versed in most parts of learning, and was noted, among his acquaintance, as a good Grecian and poet, an excellent critic, antiquary, and divine; and was admirably skilled i’n the Saxon and Gothic languages. As for his preaching, it was not approved of by any of the university, excepting by some of the graver sort. Of three sermons, delivered by him before the academics, one of them, concerning the observation of Lent, was without a text, according to the most ancient manner; another was against it, and a third beside it; “shewing himself thereby,” says Anthony Wood, “a humourous person.” Selden was much indebted to him for assistance in the composition of his “Marmora Arundeliana,” and acknowledges him, in the preface to that book, to be “Vir multijugae studiique indefatigabilis.” Mr. James also exerted the utmost labour and diligence in arranging and classifying sir Robert Cotton’s library; and it is somewhat singular that bishop Nicolson imputes the same kind of blame to him, of which Osborn, the bookseller, more coarsely accused Dr. Johnson, when compiling the Harieian Catalogue, viz. “that being greedy of making extracts out of the books of our history for his own private use, he passed carelessly over a great many very valuable volumes.” Nothing was wantnig to him, and to the encouragement of his studies, but a sinecure or a prebend; if he had obtained either of which, Wood says, the labours of Hercules would have seen/ted to be a trifle. Sir Symonds D’Ewes has described him as an atheistical profane scholar, but otherwise | witty and moderately learned. “He had so screwed himself,” adds sir Symonds, “into the good opinion of sir Robert Cotton, that whereas at first he only permitted him the use of some of his books; at last, some two or three years before his death, he bestowed the custody of his whole library on him. And he being a needy sharking companion, and very expensive, like old sir Ralph Starkie when he lived, let out, or lent out, sir Robert Cotton’s most precious manuscripts for money, to any that would be his customers; which,” says sir Symonds, “1 once made known to sir Robert Cotton, before the said James’s face.” The whole of these assertions may be justly suspected. His being an atheistical profane scholar does not agree with Wood’s account of him, who expressly asserts that he was a severe Calvinist; and as to the other part of the accusation, it is undoubtedly a strong circumstance in Mr. James’s favour, that he continued to be trusted, protected, and supported, by the Cotton family to the end of his clays. (See our account of Sir Robert Cotton, vol. X. p. 326 et seqq.) This learned and laborious man fell a victim to intense study, and too abstemious and mortified a course of living. His uncle, Dr. Thomas James, in a letter to Usher, gives the following character of him: “A kinsman of mine is at this present, by my direction, writing Becket’s life, wherein it shall be plainly shewed, both out of his own writings, and those of his time, that he was not, as he is esteemed, an arch-saint, but an archrebel; and that the papists have been not a little deceived by him. This kinsman of mine, as well as myself, should be right glad to do any service to your lordship in this kind. He is of strength, and well both able and learned to effectuate somewhat in this kind, critically seen both in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, knowing well the languages both French, Spanish, and Italian, immense and beyond all other men in reading of the Mss. of an extraordinary style in penning; such a one as I dare balance with any priest or Jesuit in the world of his age, and such a one as I could wish your lordship had about you; but paupertas inimica bonis est monbus, and both fatherless and motherless, and almost (but for myself) I may say (the: more is pity) friendless.

Mr. James published several Latin sermons, as, 1. “Anti-Possevinus, sive Concio habita ad Clerum in Acad. Oxon. an. 1625, in 2 Tim. iv. 13.Oxford, 1625, in 4to. 2. | Concio habita ad Clerum Oxon. de Ecclesia, in Matth. xvi. 18,Oxford, 1633, in 4to. And several English sermons, as, l “Sermon concerning the Eucharist, delivered on Easter- Day, in Oxford, on Matth. xxvi. ver. 26, 27, 28,London, 1629, in 4to. 2. “History of Preaching, or concerning the Apostles’ preaching and ours, on 1 Cor. ix. 16,London, 163O, 4to. 3. “Sermon concerning the observation of Lent-fast,London, 1630, 4to. There is no text prefixed to this sermon, but it is grounded on Luke iv. 2. 4. “Sermon concerning the times of receiving the Sacrament, and of mutual Forgiveness, delivered in Corpus Christi college at the election of a president, on 1 Cor. xi. 25.London, 1632, 4to. 5. “Apologetical Essay for the Righteousness of a miserable unhappy People, preached at St. Mary’s in Oxford on Psalm xxxvii. 25,London, 1632, 4to. He published also “Poemata qutedam in mortem clarissimi Viri Roberti Cottoni & Thomae Allen,Oxford, 1633, in 4to. With these poems he published sir Thomas More’s Epistle written from Abingdon in Berkshire in 1519 to the university of Oxford, for the cultivation of the Greek tongue, which had been for many years neglected among the members of it. He likewise translated into English Minutius Felix’s “Octavius,Oxford, 1636, 12mo. All the above-mentioned pieces, except the translation of the “Octavius,” he gave bound up in one volume to the Bodleian library, with a copy of verses of his composition written in a spare leaf before the first of them, beginning thus:

Dear God, by whom in dark womb’s shade I am to fear and wonder made, &c.

He wrote these verses, when he was closely confined by order of the House of Lords. He left behind him about 45 manuscripts either of his own composition, or collected by him from various authors, all written by his own hand, which came first into the hands of his friend Dr. Thomas Greaves, and afterwards into the Bodleian library. Those of his own composition are, 1. “Decanonizatio Thomae Cautuariensis & suorum,” folio. This book, containing 760 pages, begins thus “Viam regiam rnihi patefacit ad decanonizationem ficti & fucati Martyris,” &c. and the beginning of the epistle to the reader is this, “Amice Lector, rogatus sum ssepius,” &c. 2. “Comment, in Evangelia S. Johannis,” in two parts, 4to. The beginning- is, “Postmodo ad textum sacrse histories deveniam, ubi prius,” &c. | Both parts contain about twelve sheets. 3. “Notae in aliquot loca Bibliae,” in three sheets, 4to. The beginning is, “Videte sub ficu, Paraphrastes sub umbrosa ficu,” &c. 4. “Antiquitates Insulae Victae,” in seventeen pages, 4to. The beginning is “Angli Saxones Marciarum,” &c. and of the epistle to the reader, “Utrum moriar priusquam hoc opus perfieiam, Deus novit,” &c. It is only a specimen or a foundation for a greater work to be built upon. 5. “Epistoiae ad ainicos suos doctos.” The beginning of the first epistle, which was written to Dr. Sebast. Benefield of Corpus Christi college, is, “Sancte Deus,” &c. This manuscript is a thick 4to, and contains epistles chiefly written to those of his own college, epitaphs, and some English copies of verses. 6. “Epigrams in Latin and English,” with other “Poems.” 7. “Reasons concerning the attempts on the Lives of great Personages,” &c. These reasons, which are six or more, have this beginning, “Sir, if you please to learn my mind concerning the attempts on the lives of great personages,” &c. written in two sheets folio. 8. “Two Sermons: the first on James v. 14, the second on John xii. 32,” both written in folio. 9. “Iter Lancastrense.” It is in English verse, and was written in 1636, and hath this beginning, “High Holt of Wood,” &c. It contains two sheets and a half. 10. “Glossarium Saxonicum-Anglicum. It is a long pocket-book. 11.” Glossarium Sax. Angl.“another part in 8vo. 12.A Russian Dictionary, with the English to it. 13. “Observations made in his Travels through some parts of Wales, Scotland, on Shetland, Greenland,” &c. in four sheets, 4to. 14. “Observations made on the Countrey, with the Manners and Customs of Russia or Rusland,” ann. 1619, 8vo. It was intended to be transcribed, and to have other things added to it. Besides these fourteen books, Mr. Wood had another of “Epigrams,” chiefly in Latin, and some in Greek, in 8vo, dedicated to his tutor Dr. Sebast. Benefield. His collections are in twenty-four volumes in 4to, and seven in folio, and contain for the most part notes from ancient manuscripts, and sometimes from printed authors, relating to history and antiquity. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Biog. Brit. Supplement. —Gent. Mag. vol. XXXVII. p. 336. Nicolson’s Hist. Library, preface, p. 1.