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It is true, Sir, I do not pretend to be either the first or only writer of his Life. For Gerard Langbain, D. D. in the time of the civil wars, and David Lloyd since, and Holland before them both, have done something that way. But their writings are so slight, superficial, and deficient, and so full of errors and impositions upon the reader's credulity, that something more full and correct was necessary, to give a better representation of this gentleman to the world: which I have endeavoured to do; and perhaps I have had greater advantages than others to do it.
My inclinations (I know not how) have carried me now for many years to search more curiously into the affairs of that age. And in my pursuits I have conversed with many records, manuscripts, original letters, as well as other old thrown-by printed books, and some of them rare ones too. And from the multifarious collections and transcripts taken thence, I have been furnished with materials for the composing this tract. Which (whatever it be) I have done with all care, faithfulness, and integrity. For as I love not to be imposed upon myself, so neither to impose upon others. The opportunities I have had (I will not say, the pains I have taken) in making myself acquainted with Cheke's life and actions, may appear by that catalogue of books and papers set down afterwards, which I have made use of.
There was, Sir, another reason excited me to this undertaking. It was not long ago I printed the Life of Sir Thomas Smith, his dear friend and contemporary in the same University; both joint
promoters of true religion and good literature; both King Henry's Scholars; both raised and brought to Court by the fame of their learning; and both at length Privy Counsellors and Secretaries of State, and both sufferers for religion; so that I reckoned my work but half done, while Cheke's Life remained unwritten. Which therefore I have now done; and do shew (somewhat to my own satisfaction) this incomparable pair to the English world.
And, Sir, methinks it is not to be passed over without a remark, how the parallel between these two great men still continues; that the heirs of both flourish to this day, in two noble seats in the same county, mounted upon two pleasant hills, in prospect one of another, viz. Hillhall and your Pyrgo; remaining lasting remembrances of the names of Smith and Cheke. But as God hath blessed each of you with an hopeful heir male, so may they prove the best monuments of their blessed ancestors and may they become excellent patterns of wisdom, sobriety, and usefulness; the best way to entail God's blessing upon both your houses and families, and to perpetuate them in wealth and honour. Which is the prayer of,
Your most humble Servant,
At the end of this Life is added a Discourse made by Sir John Cheke concerning Superstition; which he set before his Latin translation of a tract of Plutarch upon the same subject, by way of dedication to King Henry VIII. It hath lien, for ought I know, this hundred and fifty years and more in obscurity; but lately discovered in the library of University college, Oxon, by the Reverend Mr.W. Elstob, then a Fellow of that house: who did not only courteously transcribe it for me, but hath now voluntarily taken the pains to translate it out of Cheke's elegant Latin into English, for the more common benefit. It is indeed imperfect, and defective of some pages, which is great pity; but the greatest part is remaining, and worthy to be preserved, to shew the learning of the writer, and likewise his good intention and desire of forwarding a reformation of the Church of England in those times, and of exciting King Henry, as far as he durst, to cast off the superstitions and corruptions mixed with the public worship of God then used.
And as we have retrieved this piece of this learned man, so it is heartily to be wished that other of his works and writings might come to light.
CHAPTERS AND CONTENTS.
A VIEW of Sir John Cheke, from his birth to his leaving
the University, and advancement at Court.
Sect. 1. Cheke's birth and family; vindicated. His nativity. Ann. 1514,
Parents. Sect. 2. His education, proficiency; usefulness at St. 1534,
John's college. Sect. 3. Made the King's Greek Professor. Re- 1542,
forms the pronunciation of Greek. Sect. 4. Letters between
Cheke and the Chancellor of the University about it. Sect. 5.
What and how Cheke read. Sect. 6. Cheke, University Orator.
From Cheke's coming to Court, to his advancement to the
Sect. 1. Cheke removed to Court. Instructs the Prince. The Ann. 1544,
wife offends the Duchess of Somerset. Sect. 4. Preferred at
Court, and does good offices for men of religion and learning.
Sect. 5. Procures Ascham to go Secretary in an Embassy to the
Emperor. Sect. 6. Cheke translates the Communion Book. His
friendship with Martyr and Bucer. Hath son. Sect. 7. Reads
Aristotle's Ethics in Greek to the King. Instructs him for
government. Sect. 8. Concerned about the death of Bucer, the
King's Divinity Professor at Cambridge. Sect. 9. Writes piously
From the time of Cheke's knighthood, to his being made
Sect. 1. Cheke is knighted. Sect. 2. Inquisitive after Dr. Red-
man's declaration concerning religion at his death. Sect. 3.
His disputations concerning the Sacrament. Sect. 4. Resigns
his Greek Professorship. Gets Leland's MSS. Falls sick. Sect. 5.
Cheke at Cambridge. Departs thence to the King. Places con-
From Sir John Cheke's highest advancements to his exile;
and from thence to his surprise, imprisonment, recanta-
Sect. 1. Cheke's highest advancements. A Privy Counsellor.
Secretary of State. Stands for the Lady Jane. Sect. 2. Com-
mitted, indicted, pardoned. Travels abroad. Sojourns at Stras-
burg. Sect. 3. Some letters of his printed. Writes to Cecil.
His condition become mean. Reads a Greek lecture at Stras-
burg. Taken prisoner, and brought to England. Sect. 4. Too
credulous to astrology. Betrayed. Complies. Subscribes, Re-
cants. Sect. 5. His submission to Cardinal Pole as the Pope's
Legate; and his recantations. Sect. 6. Observations upon
Cheke's recantations. The Queen grants him lands in exchange.
Sect. 7. What happened to him after his recantation. Trou-
bled. Repents. Dies. Sect. 8. His circumstances at his death.
His arms. His person. His lady. Her fortune. Mac Williams