Rouse, John (DNB00)
|←Rousby, Clara Marion Jessie||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 49
ROUSE or RUSSE, JOHN (1574-1652), Bodley's librarian, born in Northamptonshire in 1574, matriculated at Oxford in 1591, and graduated B.A. from Balliol College on 31 Jan. 1599. He was elected fellow of Oriel College in 1600, proceeding M.A. 27 March 1604 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. early ser. iii. 1290; Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 212, pt. iii. p. 212).
On 9 May 1620 he was chosen chief librarian of the Bodleian Library, at which time he occupied 'Cambye's lodgings,' once a part of St. Frideswide's Priory. He afterwards sold the house to Pembroke College as a residence for the master. About 1635 Rouse formed a friendship with Milton. He importuned the poet for a complete copy of his works for the library, and Milton in 1647 sent two volumes to Oxford, the prose pamphlets carefully inscribed in his own hand 'to the most excellent judge of books,' and a smaller volume of poems which was stolen or lost on the way. To this circumstance we owe Milton's mock-heroic ode to Rouse (dated 23 Jan. 1646-7) inserted in a second copy, still preserved at the Bodleian [cf. art. Randolph, Thomas, 1605-1635].
Rouse's leaning was towards the parliament, but he was not a strong politician. On one occasion his prudent measures restrained some turbulent spirits who were bent on breaking open Bodley's chest, presumably for the use of the parliament. When Cromwell visited Oxford in 1649, Rouse made a speech at the banquet in the library.
He appears 'to have discharged his trust in the library with faithfulness' (Macray, p. 56). In 1645 he refused to lend King Charles the 'Histoire Universelle du Sieur d'Aubigné' because the statutes forbade the removal of such a book (ib. p. 99). The German professor of history at Nuremberg, Christopher Arnold, who visited Oxford in August 1651, calls him in a letter to a friend 'a man of the truest politeness.' He was also praised by Lambecius for his honesty and truthfulness. He died on 3 April 1652, and was buried in Oriel College Chapel. His portrait in clerical dress hangs in the library, to which he bequeathed 201. by his will. Rouse wrote a dedicatory preface to a collection of verses addressed to the Danish proconsul, Johan Cirenberg (Oxford, 1631, sm. 4to). He also issued an appendix to the 'Bodleian Catalogue' in 1635 (ib. pp. 56, 82-3).[Macray's Annals of the Bodleian Library, passim; Shadwell's Registr. Orielense; Leland's Itinerary, ed. Hearne, v. 288; Wood s Athenae Oxon.ed. Bliss, ii. 631, iii. 38, iv. 334, and Fasti, ii. 117; Masson's Life of Milton, i. 626, 738, iii. 644-50, iv. 350, vi. 689; Foster's Alumni Oxon. early ser. iii. 1 2, 90; Burrows's Visitation of Oxford, p. 536; Wood's Hist. Univ. Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 295, 565, 611, 620, 625, 713, 944, 951, and his Antiq. of the Colleges and Halls, pp. 135, 623; Hearne's Collections, i. 291, iii. 18, 39, 355, 364.]