Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/35

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Abbot

21

Abbot


Dugdale’s Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1730, p. 1099; Wood’s Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii, 141, 594; Cox’s Literature of the Sabbath, i. 193, 441, 476, ii. 29; Catalogues of Bodleian and Brit. Museum; article in Encyc. Brit. (9th ed.) by present author, partly reproduced by permission of Messrs. A. & C. Black.]

A. B. G.


ABBOT, JOHN, B.D. (fl. 1623), poet, received his education at Sidney College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1606–7, M.A. in 1610, and B.D. in 1617. Having embraced the catholic religion, he retired to the Continent, and in 1623 was a member of the convent of St. John the Baptist at Antwerp. He is the author of a very scarce poetical work, entitled ‘Jesus præfigured; or a Poeme of the Holy Name of Jesus, in five bookes (the first and second bookes), by John Abbot, Permissu Superiorum,’ 1623, 4to. It is believed that no further portion of this almost unique poem was printed. The volume has two dedications: the primary one to Charles, Prince of Wales, in verse, signed with the author’s name; the second in the Spanish language, addressed ‘Á la serenissima Señora Doña Maria de Austria, Infanta de España, Princessa de Gales,’ dated from the convent of St. John the Baptist at Antwerp, 12 Nov. 1623. The date is remarkable as tending to prove that the news of the rupture of the match had not reached the last-named city at that date, and readily accounts for the work not being continued through the other three books. Charles left Madrid 8 Sept. O.S. 1623.

[Dr. Bandinel’s Sale Cat., lot 707; Sion Coll. Libr. B. 5, 12; Farr’s Jacobean Poetry, p. xliii, 353; Lowndes’s Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn.]

T. C.


ABBOT, Sir MAURICE or MORRIS (1565–1642), an eminent merchant, governor of the East India Company, and lord mayor of London, was the fifth and youngest son of Maurice Abbot, a clothworker of Guildford, and was the brother of George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, and of Robert, bishop of Salisbury [q. v.]. Comparatively little is known of his early life. He was baptised at Trinity Church, Guildford, 2 Nov. 1565, was educated at Guildford grammar school, and was probably apprenticed in London to his father’s trade. Subsequently he became a freeman of the Drapers’ Company, and rapidly amassed great wealth as a merchant dealing in such various commodities as cloth, indigo, spices and jewellery.

It is Abbot’s connection with the management of the East India Company through a long and troubled epoch of its history that gives his career much of its importance. He was one of the original directors of the company, which was incorporated by royal charter in 1600, was among the earliest to invest large sums in its ‘stock,’ was a member of its special committee of direction from 1607 onwards, and was throughout his life foremost in defending its interests against its enemies at home and abroad. In 1608 he was appointed a representative of the company for the audit of the accounts of expenses incurred jointly with the Muscovy Company in ‘setting forth John Kingston for the discovery of the north-west passage.’ Early in 1615 he was one of the commissioners despatched to Holland to settle the disputes that were constantly arising between the Dutch and English East India companies as to their trading rights in the East Indies and their fishing rights in the north seas. But the conferences that followed produced no satisfactory result. In May 1615 Abbot himself paid a visit to the East Indies, and on his return was chosen deputy-governor of the company, an annual office to which he was eight times in succession re-elected. During subsequent years the disagreements with the Dutch increased in force, and in 1619 Abbot was one of those appointed to treat in London with commissioners from Holland as to the peaceful establishment of the two companies abroad. A treaty was signed (2 June), which secured two-thirds of the spice produce of the Molucca Islands, where the disputes had grown hottest, to the Dutch company, and the remaining third to the English (Rymer, Fœdera, xvii. 171). But this settlement was not a permanent one. In 1620 the Dutch infringed some regulations of the treaty, and Abbot in company with Sir Dudley Digges went on an embassy to Holland to set matters once again on a surer footing. The commissioners were at first well received (20 Nov. 1620) by the Prince of Orange and the states-general; but the Dutch were unwilling to make any concessions, and pursued the negotiations, according to the English accounts, with too much duplicity to admit of any effectual arrangement. In February 1620–1 Abbot returned to London, and in an audience granted him by James I he bitterly complained of the ‘base usage’ to which he had been subjected. It was clearly impossible to diminish the active feelings of jealousy that existed between the English and Dutch residents in the East Indies, and Abbot shared the sentiment too heartily to enable him to improve the position of affairs. In 1624 matters became more critical. News reached England that Amboyna, one of the chief trading depôts of the Moluccas, had been the scene of the murder of several English traders by the Dutch. At the time Abbot was holding the office of governor of the