Marten, Henry (1562?-1641) (DNB00)
|←Marston, Philip Bourke||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 36
Marten, Henry (1562?-1641)
|Marten, Henry (1602-1680)→|
MARTEN, Sir HENRY (1562?-1641), civilian, son of Anthony Marten by Margaret, daughter of John Yate of Lyford, Berkshire, born in the parish of St. Michael Bassishaw, London, probably in 1562, was educated at Winchester School and New College, Oxford, where he matriculated 24 Nov. 1581, aged 19, and was elected to a fellowship in 1582. He had also a little property in London, left him by his father, worth 40l. a year. By the advice of Lancelot Andrewes [q. v.] he applied himself to the study of the civil and canon law, and adopted the practice of holding weekly disputations on moot points raised by cases pending in the high commission court. He graduated B.C.L. in 1587 and D.C.L. in 1592, and was admitted a member of the College of Advocates on 16 Oct. 1596. In August 1605 he took part in the disputations held before the king at Oxford. Marten early acquired an extensive practice in the admiralty, prerogative, and high commission courts, and was appointed official of the archdeaconry of Berkshire. On 3 March 1608-9 he was made king's advocate, and in March 1612-13 he was employed on a mission to the Palatinate in connection with the marriage settlement of the Lady Elizabeth. He was appointed chancellor of the diocese of London in 1616, was knighted at Hampton Court on 16 Jan. 1616-17, and in the following October was made judge of the admiralty court. He was one of the commissioners appointed in January 1618-19 to negotiate a treaty of peace between the English and Dutch East India Companies, and in common with his colleagues was thought to have sold the interests of the English company for money (Court and Times of James I, ii. 183).
On 29 April 1620 Marten was placed on the high commission. He also sat on the special commission which in October 1621 tried and determined in the negative the curious question whether Archbishop Abbot was incapacitated for his functions by his involuntary homicide. As judge of the admiralty court the case of Sir John Eliot and the pirate Nutt came before him in July 1623, but only on a special reference to take the necessary evidence and report to the privy council. His conduct in keeping strictly within the terms of the reference, and expressing no opinion on the merits of the case, has, on insufficient grounds, been censured as subservient (Forster, Life of Sir John Eliot, 2nd edit. i. 34 et seq.) On 4 Aug. he wrote to Secretary Conway, urging Eliot's release on bail, and as he had not to try the case it is not clear that he could have done more. His subsequent relations with Eliot were those of close friendship. In September 1624 he was one of the commissioners for the settlement of the Amboyna affair. The same month Archbishop Abbot conferred upon him the places of dean of the arches and judge of the prerogative court of Canterbury', vacant by the death of Sir William Bird (5 Sept ), both of which he retained on the deprivation of the archbishop 9 Oct. 1627. He stood well with King James, who complimented him 'as a mighty monarch in his jurisdiction over land and sea, the living and the dead,'
Marten entered parliament as member for St. Germans, Cornwall, on 22 April 1625, and made his maiden speech at the opening of the Oxford session on 1 Aug., when he supported Eliot in the attack upon the Duke of Buckingham. His tone, however, in this and succeeding debates was studiously moderate. Nevertheless, in the next parliament, to which he was again returned for St. Germans (10 Jan. 1625-6), an attempt was made to exclude him on the ground of his complicity in the committal of Sir Robert Howard [q. v.] by the high commission during the prorogation of parliament in March 1624-5. He was, however, allowed to take his seat on pleading ignorance of the distinction — in regard to matters of privilege — between prorogation and dissolution. He sat for the university of Oxford in the parliament of 1628, and took an important part in the debates on the Petition of Right. His speech against the lords' addition at the conference of both houses on 23 May — a master- piece of tact, firmness, and moderation — is printed in Rushworth's ' Historical Collections,' i. 579 et seq., and the 'Parliamentary History,' ii. 366. Though he had come into sharp collision with the Duke of Buckingham in the matter of a French ship, the St. Peter of Newhaven, seized on suspicion of carrying Spanish goods, and illegally detained by the duke's orders, Marten, nevertheless, opposed (13 June 1628) the insertion in the Remonstrance of a clause expressly censuring the duke. In January 1628-9 he was placed on the committee of inquiry as to the affair of the Clerkenwell Jesuits.
Though reputed the first civilian of his time, Marten was much hampered in the administration of the admiralty court by writs of prohibition issuing from the king's bench, against which he unsuccessfully appealed to the king in Easter term 1630. He was one of the commissioners for the repair of St. Paul's appointed 10 April 1631, and sat in the Painted Chamber as judicial assessor to the court of chivalry on the trial of Lord Reay's appeal of battle against David Ramsay on 28 Nov. following. He had a hand in the revision of the statutes of the university of Oxford, the title, *De Judiciis,' being referred to him by the revisers in 1633, and was one of the commissioners through whom the completed work was transmitted by the king to the university in June 1636. He argued before the privy council for several days ' with his utmost skill,' says Clarendon, against the validity of the ' new canons ' framed by convocation after the dissolution of the Short parliament of 1640. In that parliament he eat for St. Ives, Cornwall, but was not returned to the Long parliament, by which he was fined 250/. for his part in the imprisonment of Sir Robert Howard.
Marten was superseded by Sir John Lambe as dean of the arches in the autumn of 1633, but retained his place in the high commission court until its abolition by the Long parliament, and the judgeship of the admiralty and prerogative courts until his death on 26 Sept. 1641. He was buried in the parish church of Longworth, Berkshire, where was his principal seat. He had several other estates in the same county. His town house was in Aldersgate Street. Gay ton (' Letter to Col. Marten,' prefixed to his Family Letters of Harry Marten) termed him ambiguously ' the bluenosed Romanist.' At his death several petitions charging him with misfeasance in his various judicial capacities were pending in the House of Lords. By his first wife, Elizabeth, who died 19 June 1618, Marten had issue, two sons, Henry [q. v.] and George, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Jane, and Mary. Marten apparently married a second wife, who died in 1077. Le Neve (Knights, p. 372) represents her as the mother of the regicide, out this is probably a mistake. Some of his decisions have been printed for the Camden Society in 'Cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission,' and 'Documents illustrating the Impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham.' Marten's name is frequently spelt Martin.
[Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 146 ; Wood's Annals, ed. Gutch, 1796, ii. 387, 403 ; Athene Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 17 ; Fuller's Worthies. 'London;' Reg. Univ. Oxford, ed. Clark, vol. ii. pt. i. pp. 232-3, pt. ii. p. 109, pt. iii. p. 146; Coote's Cat. of Civilians, p. 64 ; Nichols's Progr. James I, i. 535 ; Metcalfe's Book of Knights, p. 69; Court and Times of James I, i. 387, ii. 35,