Matthew, Tobias

, an eminent English prelate, was the son of John Matthew, a merchant of Bristol, and born in that part of the city which lies in Somersetshire, in 1546. He received the first rudiments of learning in the city of Wells, and at the age of thirteen became a student in the university of Oxford, in the beginning of 1558-9. In Christ Church college he took the degree of bachelor of arts, Feb. 11, 1563, and in June 1566, was made master of arts; about which time he entered into holy orders, and was greatly respected for his learning, eloquence, conversation, friendly disposition, and the sharpness of his wit. On the 2nd of November 1569, he was unanimously elected public orator of the university; which office he filled with great applause. In 1570, he was made canon of the second stall in the cathedral of Christy-church, and November 28 following was admitted archdeacon of Bath. In 1571, he petitioned for his degree of bachelor of divinity, but was not admitted to it for two years. In 1572, he was made prebendary of Teynton-Regis with Yalmeten in the church of Salisbury; and in July following was elected president of St. John’s college, Oxford: at which time, being in high reputation as a preacher, he was appointed one of the queen’s chaplains in ordinary. On December lOth, 175S, he was admitted bachelor of divinity; and next year, May 27, proceeded doctor. On the 14th of June, 1576, being archdeacon at Bath, he was commissioned by archbishop Grindal, with some others, to visit the church, city, and deanry of Bristol. In the same year, he was made dean of Christ-church; and then obtained, from the pen of Camden, the distinguished character of " Theologus praestantissimus/‘ Camden adds, that learning and piety, art and nature, vied together in his composition. Sir John Harrington is also full of his praises, and even Campian the Jesuit speaks highly of his learning and virtues.

In 1579, he served the office of Vice-chancellor of the university. At a convocation held in 1580, archbishop Grindal being then under the queen’s displeasure, it was | agreed, that our prelate, then dean of Christ-church, should, in the name of that assembly, draw up an humble address to her majesty, for the archbishop’s restitution; but it was not favourably received. June 22, 1583, he was collated to the precentorship of Salisbury; and Sept. 3 following, was made dean of Durham, being then thirtyseven years of age, on which he resigned his precentorship. From this time, says Le Neve, to the twenty-third Sunday after Trinity in 1622, he kept an account of all the sermons he preached, the place where, the time when, the text what, and if any at court, or before any of the prime nobility; by which it appears, that he preached, while dean of Durham, seven hundred and twenty-one; while bishop of Durham five hundred and fifty; and while archbishop of. York, to the time above mentioned, seven hundred and twenty-one; in all one thousand nine hundred and ninety-two sermons; and among them several extempore. This prelate, adds Le Neve, certainly thought preaching to be the most indispensible part of his duty; for in the diary before quoted, wherein, at the end of each year, he sets down how many sermons he had preached at the end of 1619, “Sum. Ser. 32, eheu! An. 1620, sum. ser. 35, eheu! An. 1621, sore afflicted with a rheume and coughe diverse months together, so that I never could preach until Easter-daye. The Lord forgive me!” On the 28th of May, 1590, he was inducted to the rectory of Bishopwearmouth, co. Durham; and in 1595, April 13, was consecrated bishop of Durham, and resigned Bishopwearmouth.

Our prelate was much engaged in political matters: Strype gives a letter of his, dated April 9, 1594, whilst dean of Durham, to lord Burleigh, touching Bothwell’s protection; in which he says, “I pray God the king’s protestations be not too well believed, who is a deep dissembler, by all men’s judgement that know him best, than is thought possible for his years.” Such was the character he gave of the prince who was shortly to come to the throne of England. In 1596, commissioners were appointed by the queen to treat with Scotland, and redress grievances on the borders: the English commissioners were the bishop of Durham, sir William Bowes, Francis Slingsby, esq. and Clement Colmer, LL.D. The place of convention was Carlisle, and many months were spent on that duty; but the good effect of their assiduous | application to the work of peace was much retarded, and almost rendered abortive, by the outrages repeatedly committed on the eastern and middle marches. The first article of this treaty, however, says Ridpath, in his “Border History,” does honour to the character of the prelates of the church, one of whom stood first in the list of commissioners from each nation. In this article it was resolved, “that the sovereigns of each king should be addressed, to order the settlement of ministers at every border-church, for the sake of reforming and civilizing the inhabitants, by their salutary instructions and discipline: and for this purpose, the decayed churches should be repaired: and for the safety of the persons of their pastors, and due respect to be paid them in the discharge of their offices, the principal inhabitants of each parish should give security to their prince.

Notwithstanding the unfavourable opinion he had formed of king James VI. when that monarch was on his journey to take possession of the throne of England, our prelate met him at Berwick, and preached a congratulatory sermon before him. He was also at the Hampton -court conference, in January 1603, of which he gave an account at large to archbishop Button. On the 26th of July, 1606> he was translated to York, and enjoyed that dignity till March 29, 1628, on which day he died, at Cawood, and was buried in our lady’s chapel, at the east of York cathedral, with a very prolix Latin epitaph inscribed on his tomb. He married Frances Barlow, daughter of Barlow bishop of Chichester, who was first married to Matt. Parker, son of Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury. She has also a monument in York cathedral, the inscription upon which is too remarkable to be omitted. “Frances Matthew, first married to Matt. Parker, &c. afterwards to Tobie Matthew, that famous archb. of this see. She was a woman of exemplary wisdom, gravity, piety, beauty, and indeed all other virtues, not only above her sex, but the times. One exemplary act of hers, first devised upon this church, and through it flowing upon the country, deserves to live as long as the church itself. The library of the deceased archbishop, consisting of about 3000 books, she gave entirely to the public use of this church: a rare example that so great care to advance learning should lodge in a woman’s breast; but it was the less wonder in her, because herself was of kin to so much | learning. She was the daughter of Will. Barlow, bp. of Chichester, and in k. Henry VIII.‘s time ambassador into Scotland, of the ancient family of the Barlows in Wales. She had four sisters married to four bishops, one to Will. Whickham, bishop of Winchester, another to Overton bp. of Coventry and Litchf. a third to Westphaling bp. of Hereford, and a fourth to Day, that succeeded Whickham in Winchester; so that a bishop was her father, an archbishop her father-in-law; she had four bishops her brethren, and an archbishop her husband.” She died May 10, 1629, in the seventy-sixth year of her age.

By this lady he had three sons, Tobias, John, and Samuel; of whom he once said to lord Fairfax, who inquired why he appeared so pensive: “My lord,” said the archbishop, “I have great reason of sorrow with respect to my sons. One of them has wit and no grace, the other grace but no wit, and the third neither grace nor wit.” Lord Fairfax replied, “Your grace’s case is sad, but not singular: I am also disappointed in my sons. One I sent into the Netherlands, to train him up as a soldier, and he makes a tolerable country-justice, but is a mere coward at fighting: my next I sent to Cambridge; and he proves a good lawyer, but is a mere dunce at divinity; and my youngest I sent to the inns of court; and he’s good at divinity, but nobody in the law.

Archbishop Matthew appears to have been a man of great wit (including perhaps the punning rage of the time), of a sweet disposition, very bountiful and learned, and as a divine, most exemplarily conscientious and indefatigable both in preaching, and other duties. Preferment never once induced him to desist from preaching, and there was scarcely a pulpit in the dioceses of Durham or York, in which he had not appeared. No imputation, says Mr. Lodge, remains on his memory, except the alienation of York house in the Strand to the duke of Buckingham, for which he is said to have accepted lauds in Yorkshire of inferior value.

Notwithstanding Dr. Matthew was so industrious a preacher, it is rather singular that we have nothing of his in print, except his “Concio apologetica contra Campianum,1581 and 1638, 8vo. Fuller has since printed a long letter, which was written by him in the name of the convocation, respecting archbishop Grindal’s suspension; and Dr. Parr another to Usher. Dr. Smith has also printed | a letter of his to Catnden, and Strype a remarkable one concerning the Hampton-court conference. In Mr. Lodge’s “Illustrations,” are a few of his letters; and probably many more, as well as Mss. of other kinds, are among the archives of the cathedral at York, to which, as already mentioned, his widow gave his library. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Harrington’s Biief View. Le Neve, vol. II. p. 94. —Strype’s Parker, p. 376, 517. —Strype’s Annals. —Strype’s Whitgift, p. 674 3. Hutchinson’s Durham, vol. I. and vol. If. p. 15’2. Lodge’s Illustrations. Birch ms. 4461, in the British Museum contains extracts from his Diary. Fuller s Worthies.