Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 14.djvu/149

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Crowne of England, vntill the Beginning of his Maiesties happie Raigne,’ which was published at London in 1612, with a dedication to the king, and republished in 1613. Early in 1612 he came to England on Irish business, and on 20 April, finding that the arrangements for the holding of the Irish parliament (which was to meet in November) would not be completed before midsummer, he begged Cecil to procure him permission to practise in the meanwhile in London. He was detained in London until the end of September. The day finally appointed for the opening of the Irish parliament was 18 May 1613, on which day the members of the lower house assembled to elect a speaker. Sir Thomas Ridgeway proposed Davies, who had been returned for Fermanagh, as speaker, intimating that his appointment had been recommended by the king. Thereupon Sir James Gough, as champion of the catholic party, proposed Sir John Everard, a noted lawyer and a recusant. During the scene of disorder that ensued the catholic members contrived to instal Everard in the chair. As Everard refused to vacate the chair, Sir Oliver St. John and Ridgeway ‘took Sir John Davys by the arms, lifted him from the ground, and placed him in the chair, in Sir John Everard's lap, requiring him still to come forth of the chair.’ Eventually Everard was ejected from the chair, and withdrew from the outer chamber, in company with his ninety-eight supporters. When he had been formally presented to the lord deputy (21 May) and his election had been approved, Davies delivered a memorable speech, in which he reviewed at length the history of Irish parliaments. In the following September commissioners of inquiry from England arrived in Dublin to consider the grievances of the catholic members. One result of their inquiry was to confirm Davies's election to the speaker's chair. On the reassembling of the Irish parliament, 11 Oct. 1614, Davies delivered a congratulatory address to the members; and in the same year he was returned to the English parliament as member for Newcastle-under-Lyne (Willis, Not. Parl. iii. 173). He was associated at this time with Sir Robert Cotton and others in re-establishing the Society of Antiquaries. In 1615 was published at Dublin ‘Le Primer Discours des Cases et Matters in Ley resolues & adiudges en les Courts del Roy en cest Realme. Collect et Digest per Sr J. Davys,’ &c., fol.; 2nd ed. 1628, fol. He continued to hold office until 30 Oct. 1619, when he was succeeded by Sir William Ryves (Pref. to Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1603–6, p. lxvi). On 21 June 1619 he had written to Buckingham asking that Ryves might be appointed as his successor (Grosart, Memorial, Introduction, p. cix). He continued his professional practice as king's serjeant in England, and frequently went on circuit as a judge. His ‘ Charge to the Jurors of the Grand Inquest at York’ has been printed by Dr. Grosart from a manuscript copy. In the parliament of 1621 he sat as member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, and occasionally spoke on Irish matters. In 1622 he collected in a single volume his poems ‘Nosce Teipsum,’ ‘Astræa,’ and ‘Orchestra.’ His ‘Abridgement of Sir Edward Coke's Reports’ first appeared in 1651; and his treatise, ‘The Question concerning Impositions, Tonnage, Poundage, Prizage, Customs, &c. … Dedicated to King James in the latter end of his reign,’ was not published until 1656. Wood mentions a ‘Metaphrase of several of K. David's psalms’ among the ‘several MSS. of his [Davies's] writing and composing.’ A manuscript copy of ‘The Psalmes translated into Verse. An. dni. 1624,’ is preserved in the Laing collection, Edinburgh University Library, and there is strong internal evidence to show that these are the translations to which Wood referred. To the translations are appended some miscellaneous poems, which also seem, with one or two exceptions, to belong to Davies. The contents of the manuscript have been published by Dr. Grosart.

On 9 Nov. 1626 Chief-justice Crew was discharged from his office for refusing to countenance the legality of the king's forced loans. Davies, who had strenuously supported the king's demands, was appointed his successor; but he never took possession of the office. On the night of 7 Dec. 1626 he was at a supper-party given by Lord-keeper Coventry, and on the morning of 8 Dec. he was found in his bed dead of apoplexy. There is a coarse allusion to Davies's corpulence in Manningham's ‘Diary.’

His widow (who was remarried to Sir Archibald Douglas) was buried by his side in 1652. She published several fanatical books of prophecy. In her rhapsodical ‘Appeal,’ 1641, she states that one of her manuscript prophecies was burnt by Davies, ‘whose doom I gave him in letters of his own name (John Daves, Joves Hand) within three years to expect the mortal blow; so put on my mourning garment from that time.’ Three days before his death she ‘gave him pass to take his long sleep;’ whereupon he retorted ‘I pray you weep not while I am alive, and I will give you leave to laugh when I am dead.’ In 1633 she was imprisoned in the Gate House by order of the high commission court, and fined 3,000l. Among her books are ‘The Stay of the Wise,’ 1643; ‘The Restitution