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ried Lætitia, daughter of Edward Russel, second son to SECT. Francis, Earl of Bedford; by whom he had issue Henry, who, living to the age of eight or nine years, died, and was buried in the chapel at Pyrgo, besides other children dying young. He had by his said wife a son named Edward, the only son surviving, and now enjoying the seat of Pyrgo in honour and reputation: who married a daughter of Sir William Ellis, of Nocton in the county of Lincoln, Bart. The daughters of the said Thomas and Lætitia are, Essex, unmarried, and Anne, wife of Sir Thomas Tipping, of Oxfordshire, Bart. This is the posterity male of Sir Thomas Cheke, grandson to our Sir John.

The daughters of the said Sir Thomas were five, all ho- His daughters, with nourably matched: 1. Frances, the eldest, was married to their Sir Lancelot Lake, of Canons, in the county of Middle- matches. sex, Knight. 2. Essex, the second daughter, was wife of Sir Robert Bevyl, of Chesterton, in the county of Huntingdon, Knight of the Bath; afterward of Edward, Earl of Manchester, Lord Chamberlain of the Household to King Charles II. by whom he had six sons and two daughters. 3. Anne, the third daughter, married to Richard Rogers, of the county of Dorset, Esq. and after to Robert Lord Rich, Earl of Warwick. 4. Isabel, the fourth daughter, married to Sir Francis Gerard, of Harrow-the-hill in Middlesex, Bart. And 5. Elizabeth, to Sir Richard Franklin, of More Park, in the county of Hertford, Bart.

Thus may we see the offspring of the righteous to flourish, and our good and religious Cheke signally blessed in a very honourable house and a flourishing descent now for above an hundred and fifty years; and his family spreading in much noble blood to this day.

Some learned men's characters of him.


Observations upon Sir John Cheke.


His natural disposition, and the endowments of his mind.


His qualifi- I HAVE finished the history of this eminent man, as to the external appearances and events of his life. There seems one thing yet wanting to be done, viz. to give the world a true idea of him in his inward qualifications, and the disposition of his mind: which may indeed in a great part be gathered from what hath been already said of him; yet, for the giving farther satisfaction in this matter, I shall add a few things more to all I have writ.

We must then, in the first place, declare him to be one of the learnedest and best men of that age; and one of the most extraordinary wits: such as Providence raiseth up now and then, (but very sparingly,) for great ends, to be public documents and examples, and to do some extraordinary service in the world. A very learned man in those times, contemporary with Cheke, and one that knew him well, speaking of these singular men, particularly mentions him to be one; attributing unto him, "a wit quick Schoolmast. without lightness, sharp without brittleness, desirous of "good things without newfangleness, diligent in painful "things without wearisomeness, and constant in good-will


to do all things well." And this, he said, he knew well was in Sir John Cheke. And another in those times, as

Dr. Wylson's trans

lat. of De- great a judge of learning as he, sometime Secretary of most. Orat. State to Queen Elizabeth, styles Cheke, “that rare learned

"man, and singular ornament of this land."

To make up the triumvirate to give their judgment of our excellent man; Nicolas Car, of Trinity college, Greek Professor after Cheke, one of the best scholars in Cam

bridge, styled him, "a One that did not exceed many in SECT. age, but all in learning, and was esteemed the very top " of Cambridge men in every respect."



tue and learning.

He had a mind, even from his tender years, much dis- His early disposition posed to virtue and study. And as a great advantage and towards virspur to both, he was educated under pious and wise parents; who perceiving the natural genius of the lad, spared for no care nor pains to cultivate his nature, and encourage his good inclinations. Therefore, if we may be- State Worthies,p.191. lieve one of our historians, they appointed a German scholar to take care of his younger studies, and a Frenchman of his behaviour; the godly matron his mother following him with good precepts; and this among the rest, that "he should take care of three things, his God, his soul, " and his company."

He was earnestly inquisitive after truth, and sagacious Inquisitive to find it. And this appeared both in the choice of his after truth. religion and of his learning; both being then overrun with error and corruption: which his clear and searching reason and parts soon discovered to him.


His learning.

UNDER the topic of his learning, several things deserve His diliremark, as first, his diligence. He stood upon no pains gence. to inform his understanding, and improve his knowledge, and to find out errors, and overcome them, and to restore learning, and advance it higher than it ordinarily shewed itself in the Universities, and among such as went in those times for learned men. We are told, that King Ed-State Worward said to Cardan, the learned foreigner that came to thies. wait upon him, " that he had two masters, Diligence and "Moderation;" meaning Cheke for the former, and Cox for the latter.

He sat not down contented in the present learning of Studies

Greek, and

a Qui ætate non multis, doctrina antecellis omnibus, quique princeps no- why. strorum hominum in omni genere putaris. In Epist. ad Chæc. de mort. Bucer.


CHAP. the Schoolmen, but had a mind to know what learning was, when the Greeks and Romans flourished, so celebrated for their learning. And therefore to compass that, he sedulously applied himself to know the Greek language, that he might the more thoroughly read and understand the books of the learned Greek philosophers, historians, orators, and poets. Which was an hidden sort of learning then, and very rare. And herein he found a strain of learning and language far beyond the present, which was all barbarous and corrupt in comparison with it. A learning proper to instruct, and excite to live virtuously, and to love and do just and worthy actions; and also to enable

he loves De

men to speak properly and persuasively in any argument. Especially And of all the Greek writers, he was most a lover of Demosthenes. mosthenes, the Greek orator; whose writings were so noble, and his spirit and ratiocination so inimitable, that he thought it pity none should be able to read him, but such as could read Greek. This put him upon translating him (which he did many of his orations) into Latin, for the greater numbers to read, learn, and improve by.

And here I will set down his judgment of that orator, and what skill he had in him, and why he judged him so fit to be read and studied. And all this in the words of a learned man in those days contemporary with him, viz. Dr. Thomas Wilson, the learned civilian before-menPreface to tioned. "The enterprise," saith he, "of translating De"mosthenes into English, if any might have been bold to "have taken upon him, Sir John Cheke was the man of "all that ever I knew, or do yet know in England: such "acquaintance had he with this notable orator; so gladly "did he read him, and so often, that I think there was "never old priest more perfect in his porteise, nor super"stitious monk in our Lady's Psalter, as they call it, nor

his translat. of Demosthenes.


yet good preacher in the Bible and Testament, than this 66 man was in Demosthenes. And great cause moved him 66 so to be. For that he saw him to be the perfectest "orator that ever wrote for this two thousand years al"most by-past, (for so long it was since he was,) and also

His judgment of him.


"for that he perceived him to have before his eyes in all SECT. "his orations the advancement of virtue, as a thing chiefly. "to be sought for, together with the honour and welfare of "his country.-Moreover, he was moved greatly to "like Demosthenes above all other, for that he saw him "so familiarly applying himself to the sense and under66 standing of the common people, that he sticked not to 66 say, that none ever was more fit to make an Englishman tell his tale, praiseworthily in an open hearing, "either in Parliament or pulpit, or otherwise, than this 66 only orator was.'" These were the things Cheke looked for from learning, that it might become truly useful to human life, and this was the reason he so valued this Greek author.

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Another branch of his diligence, was his ingenuous His emulaemulation to be as learned as the best. A good quality in a scholar, when the great proficiency of others beyond him provokes him to follow hard after, to arrive unto the same perfections. Cheke's first application of himself to good learning was occasioned by John Redman of St. John's college, (afterwards Dr. Redman, and Dean of Westminster,) who had lived and studied in the University of Paris, and came over very accomplished in the two learned languages: and by conversing much in the books of Tully, became both an excellent philosopher and orator. Redman's learning made him admired and much esteemed by all which Cheke and his fellow Smith well observed; and being themselves truly addicted to their studies, took occasion hence to pursue that sort of learning which Redman was become so eminent for. And thenceforth forsook the common course of studies in the Universities then used, which consisted in the barbarous terms and idle disputations of the modern schools and schoolmen, and betook themselves to the reading of good Latin and Greek Life of Sir authors, as I have observed elsewhere.


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