Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Case, John (d.1600)

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CASE, JOHN (d. 1600), writer on Aristotle, was born at Woodstock, and was a chorister at New College and Christ Church, Oxford. He was elected to a scholarship at St. John's in 1564. He was B.A. in 1568, M.A. 1572, and became a fellow of his college. He had a high reputation as a disputant. Being ‘popishly affected,’ says Wood, he ‘left his fellowship and married.’ His wife was the widow of ‘one Dobson, the keeper of Bocardo prison.’ He obtained leave from the university to read logic and philosophy to young men, chiefly Roman catholics, in his own house. He wrote various handbooks for their use, which were published and for a time popular, though they had fallen into disrepute in Wood's day. He also practised medicine, becoming M.D. in 1589, made money, and left various sums to St. John's College, New College, and the poor of Woodstock. In 1589 he was collated to a canonry in Salisbury. He died 23 Jan. 1599–1600, and was buried in the chapel of St. John's College. His portrait is in the Bodleian. His works are: 1. ‘Summa veterum interpretum in universam Dialecticam Aristotelis,’ 1584. 2. ‘Speculum moralium quæstionum in universam ethicen Aristotelis,’ 1585. This was the first book printed at the press presented to Oxford by their chancellor, the Earl of Leicester. 3. ‘Sphæra Civitatis,’ 1588. This book, like others by Case, was reprinted abroad, and Barnes, the printer, obtained an order from the university in 1590 that every bachelor should take one copy on ‘determining.’ 4. ‘Reflexus Speculi Moralis,’ 1596. 5. ‘Thesaurus Œconomiæ,’ 1597. 6. ‘Lapis Philosophicus,’ 1599. 7. ‘Ancilla Philosophiæ,’ 1599. These are comments on different writings of Aristotle. He also wrote an ‘Apologia Musices, tam vocalis quam instrumentalis et mixtæ,’ 1588, of which there is a copy in the Lambeth Library. ‘The Praise of Musicke; wherein … is described the sober and lawful use of the same in the Congregation and Church of God,’ 1586, is also attributed to him. This is dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh by the printer Barnes, who calls it ‘an orphan of one of Lady Musicke's children.’ A contemporary, Thomas Watson, wrote some verses, now in the Rawlinson MSS., to Case on the publication called ‘A Gratification unto Mr. John Case for his learned book lately made on the Praizes of Musick.’

There are three letters from Case in the Harleian MS. 6995. He prefixed a letter to Nicholas Breton's ‘Pilgrimage to Paradise.’

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 686; Fasti, i. 179, 189, 249, 250, 252; Wood's Annals (Gutch), ii. 233, 269, 954; Wood's Colleges and Halls (Gutch), pp. 540, 551, 561; Haslewood's British Bibliographer, ii. 541; Strype's Annals, vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 499, 518, pt. ii. p. 395; Boase's Register, i. 267; Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 654; Nichols's Illustrations, iv. 169.]