Langbaine, Gerahd

, a learned English writer, was son of Mr. William Langbaine, and born at Bartcukirke-, in Westmoreland, about 1608. He had the first part of his education in the free-school at Blencow, in Cumberland, whence he was removed to Queers-college, in Oxford, in 1626; where being admitted a poor servitor, he became afterwards a scholar upon the foundation, and thence a fellow of the college. He became B. A. in 1630, M. A. in 1633, and D. D. in 1646. He had acquired a good reputation in the university some years before he appeared in the literary republic; when his edition of Longinus was printed at Oxford, 1636, in 8vo. This was followed by several other publications, which were so many proofs of his loyalty to Charles I. after the breaking out of the civil wars, and of his zeal for the church of England, in opposition to the covenant. These writings, with his literary merit., made him very popular in that university, so that, in 1644, he was unanimously elected keeper of their archives, and in 1645, provost of his college; both which places he held till his death, Feb. 10, 1657-8. He was interred about the middle of the Inner chapel of dueen’s-college, having a little before settled 24l. per annum on a free-school at the place of his nativity.

Our author was much esteemed by several learned men of his time, and held a literary correspondence with Usher | and Selden. He was screened from the persecutions of the then prevailing powers, to whom he so far submitted as to continue quiet without opposing them, employing himself in promoting learning, and preserving the discipline of the university, as well as that of his own college. With what spirit he did this, is best seen in the following passages of two letters, one to Usher, and the other to Selden. In the first, dated from Queen’s-college, Feb. 9, 1646-7, he gives the following account of himself: “For myself, I cannot tell what account to make of my present employment. J have many irons in the fire, but of no great consequence. I do not know how soon I shall be called to give up, and am therefore putting my house in order, digesting the confused notes and papers left me by several predecessors, both in the university and college, which I purpose to leave in a better method than I found them. At Mr. Patrick Young’s request, I have undertaken the collation of Constantino’s Geoponics with two Mss. in our public library, upon which I am forced to bestow some vacant hours. In our college I am ex officio to moderate divinity-disputations once a week. My honoured friend Dr. Duck has given me occasion to make some inquiry after the law; and the opportunity of an ingenious young man, come lately from Paris, who has put up a private course of anatomy, has prevailed with me to engage myself for his auditor and spectator three days a week, four hours each time. But this I do ut explorator, non ut transfuga. For, though 1 am not solicitous to engage myself in that great and weighty calling of the ministry after this new way, yet I would lothe to be teiTrorautriit as to divinity. Though I am very insufficient to make a master-builder, yet I could help to bring in materials from that public store in our library, to which I could willingly consecrate the remainder of my days, and count it no loss to be deprived of all other accommodations, so I might be permitted to enjoy the liberty of my conscience, and study in that place. But if there be such a price set upon the latter as I cannot reach without pawning the former, I am resolved. The Lord’s will be done.” The other letter to Selden, is dated Nov. 8, 1653; “I was not so much troubled to hear of that fellow, who lately, in London, maintained in public that learning is a sin, as to see some men, v.onld he accounted none of the meanest among ourselves here at home, under pretence of piety, go about to | banish it th university. I cannot make any better construction of a late order made by those whom we call visitors, upon occasion of an election last week at All-Souls college to this effect, that for the future, no scholar be chosen into any place in any college, unless he bring a testimony, under the hands of four persons at least (not electors) known to these visitors to be truly godly men, that he who stands for such a place is himself truly godly; and by arrogating to themselves this power, they sit judges of all men’s consciences, and have rejected some, against whom they had no other exceptions, (being certified by such to whom their conversations were best known, to be unblameable, and statutably elected, after due examination and approbation of their sufficiency by that society), merely upon this account, that the persons who testified in their behalf are not known to these visitors to be regenerate. I intend (God willing) ere long to have an election in our college, and have not professed that I’will not submit to this order. Howl shall speed in it, I do not pretend to foresee; but if I be baffled, I shall hardly be silent.” Dr. Langbaine’s works were, 1. his Longinus, Oxon. 1636 and 1638, 8vo. 2. “Brief Discourse relating to the times of Edward VI.; or, the state of the times as they stood in the reign of King Edward VI. By way of Preface to a book intituled The true subject to the rebel: or, the hurt of sedition, &c. written by sir John Cheek.Oxford, 1641, in 4to. To this Dr. Langbaine prefixed the life of sir John Cheek. 3. “Episcopal Inheritance; or, a Reply to the humble examination of a printed abstract; or the answers to nine reasons of the House of Commons against the votes of bishops in Parliament,Oxford, 1641, 4to. To which is added, “A determination of the late learned Bishop of Salisbury (Davenant) Englished.” These two pieces were reprinted at London in 1680. 4. “A Review of the Covenant: wherein the original, grounds, means, matter, and ends of it are examined; and out of the principles of the remonstunce*, declarations, votes, orders and ordinances of trie prime covenanters, or the firmer grounds of scripture, law, and reason, disproved,1644. It was reprinted at London, 1661, in 4to. 5. “Answer of the Chancellor, master and scholars of the university of Oxford, to the petition, articles of grievance, and reasons of the city of Oxford; presented to the committee for regulating the University of | Oxford, 24 July 1649,Oxford, 1649, 4to; reprinted in 1678, with a book entitled “A defence of the rights and privileges of the University of Oxford,” &c. published by James Harrington, then bachelor (soon after master) of arts, and student of Christ-church, at Oxford, 1690, 4to. 6. “Quacstiones pro more solenni in Vesperiis propositac ann. 1651,Oxford, 1658, 4to. Published by Mr. Thomas Barlow, afterwards Bp. of Lincoln, among several little works of learned men. 7. “Platonicorum aliquot, qui etiamnum supersunt, Authorum, Graecorum, imprimis, mox Latinorum, syllabus alphabeticus,Oxford, 1607, 8vo, drawn up by our author at the desire of archbishop Usher, but left imperfect; which being found among his papers, was, with some few alterations, placed at the end of “Alcini, in Plutonicam Philosophiam Introductio,” published by Dr. John Fell, dean of Christ-church. 8. There is also ascribed to our author, “A View of the New Directory, and a Vindication of the ancient Liturgy of the Church of England: in answer to the reasons pretended in the ordinance and preface for the abolishing the one, and establishing the other,Oxford, 1645, 4to, pages 112, Dr. Langbaine also published, 1. “The Foundation of the university of Oxford, with a Catalogue of the principal founders and special benefactors of all the colleges, and total number of students,” &c. London, 165I,4to f mostly taken from the Tables of John Scot of Cambridge, printed in '622. 2. “The Foundation of the University of Cambridge, with a Catalogue,” &c. printed with the forme? Catalogue, and taken from Mr. Scot’s Tables. He likewise laboured very much in finishing archbishop Usher’s book, entitled “Chronologia Sacra,” but died when he had almost completed it, which was done by Barlow. He translated into Latin “Reasons of the present judgment of the university concerning the solemn League and Covenant,” and assisted Dr. Robert Sanderson, and Dr. Richard Zouch, in the drawing up of those Reasons. He translated into English “A Review of the Council of Trent, written in French by a learned Roman catholic,Oxford, 1638, fol. in which is represented the dissent of the Gallican church from several conclusions of the Council. He left behind him thirteen 4tos, and eight 8vos, in manuscript, with innumerable collections in loose papers, collected chiefly from ancient manuscripts in the Bodleian library, &c, He had also made several catalogues of | manuscripts in various libraries, and of printed books likewise, with a view, as was supposed, to an universal Catalogue. Dr. Fuller tells us that he took a great deal of pains in the continuation of Brian Twyne’s “Antiq. Academ. Oxon.” and that he was intent upon it when he died. But Mr. Wood observes, that Dr. Thomas Barlow and Dr. Lamplugh, who looked over his library after his death, assured him that they saw nothing done towards such a design. Dr. Langbaine assisted Dr. Arthur Duck in composing his book “De usu & authoritate Juris Civilis Homanorum in Dominiis Principum Christianorum,London, 1653, 8vo. In Parr’s collection of Usher’s letters, are several letters of our author to that prelate. 1


Ath. Ox, vol, II, Gen. Dict. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol. p. 517.—Usher’s Life and Letters.