Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 14.djvu/278

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instruments he subsequently gave to Trinity College, on his departure from the university. He commenced M.A. in 1548. At midsummer that year he went beyond the seas again, taking with him letters testimonial under the seal of the university. He became a student at Louvain at midsummer 1548, and resided there till 15 July 1550, engaged in investigating the ‘original and fountain of arts and sciences’ On his arrival at Louvain he contracted an intimate friendship with Gerard Mercator (Dee, Dedication prefixed to his ‘Προπαιδεύματα ἀφοριστικά’). In the autobiographical fragment entitled a ‘Compendious Rehearsal’ he says that while he was in the Low Countries many foreign noblemen from the court of Charles V, and from Denmark and Bohemia, came to him, and that he instructed ‘Sir William Pykering’ in logic, arithmetic, and the use of astronomical instruments. While at Louvain he studied the civil law, and it has been conjectured that he took the degree of LL.D there. It is true that he was often called ‘Doctor’ Dee, but in reality the highest degree he ever took was that of M.A. (Smith, Vita Joannis Dee, p. 44). As late as 1595, when he was appointed warden of Manchester, he is simply styled M.A., and so he invariably signed his name in the college register (Lansd. MS. 983, f. 73).

On 15 July 1550 he left Louvain, and on the 20th of that month arrived at Paris. There in the College of Rheims he read, freely and publicly, lectures on Euclid's elements, mathematicè, physicè, et Pythagoricè. This had never been done before in any university of Christendom. His auditory was so large that many had to look in at the windows. He refused a tempting offer of one of the regius professorships of mathematics in the university of Paris with a stipend of two hundred crowns.

In 1551 he returned to England, and at the close of that year Sir John Cheke introduced him to Secretary Cecil and Edward VI. The king granted him an annual pension of a hundred crowns, which was afterwards exchanged for the rectory of Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, to which he was presented on 19 May 1553 (Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials, ii. 531, folio). In 1554 several of the principal doctors of divinity and masters of arts of Oxford offered him a good annual stipend to lecture on the mathematical sciences in that university. The offer was declined.

On the accession of Queen Mary Dee entered into correspondence with several of the Princess Elizabeth's principal servants while she was at Woodstock and at Milton. Two informers, Ferrys and Prideaux, accused him of an attempt to take away the queen's life by poison or magic. He was accordingly seized at Hampton Court just before the Princess Elizabeth was imprisoned there, and his lodgings in London were searched and sealed up. After having been in confinement for some time he was examined by Sir John Bourne, secretary of state, afterwards before the privy council, and finally before the Lord-chief-justice Brooke of the common pleas. Being at length brought before the court of Star-chamber he was, after a trial, discharged of all suspicion of treason, but was transferred to the custody of Bishop Bonner for examination respecting matters of religion. In the Bishop of London's prison he had for his bedfellow Barthlet Green, who was burnt for heresy. At last on 29 Aug. 1555 he was by an order of council, issued by the special favour of Philip and Mary, restored to his liberty, on entering into recognisance for his good behaviour (Smith, Vita Joannis Dee, p. 8). Foxe relates that Dee's sympathy with Barthlet Green brought him under the surveillance of Bonner on a suspicion of heresy. Consequently he appeared afterwards at the examination of John Philpot, where his enemies tried to test his soundness in the catholic faith (Acts and Monuments, ed. Townsend, vii. 638–41 n., 681, 756). ‘Master Dee,’ however, who was present at the examinations of Robert Smith and John Philpot, is described as chaplain to Bonner and a bachelor of divinity (cf. Examination and Writings of J. Philpot, ed. Eden, pp. 69, 80). It is also observable that in the ‘Acts and Monuments,’ after the Latin edition of 1559 and the English edition of 1563, Foxe has, for whatever reason, suppressed the name of Dee in every instance.

On 15 Jan. 1555–6 he presented to Queen Mary a supplication for the recovery and preservation of ancient writers and monuments. In this remarkable document he dwelt upon the dispersion of old manuscripts at the dissolution of monastic establishments, and prayed the queen to take the opportunity of forming at a trifling cost a magnificent royal library. He proposed that a commission should be appointed to report before the synod of the province of Canterbury. He also undertook to procure copies of famous manuscripts at the Vatican in Rome, St. Mark's in Venice, and at Bologna, Florence, and Vienna.

On the accession of Elizabeth, Dee was taken into the queen's service, being introduced to the royal presence at Whitehall by William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Leicester, the queen saying: ‘Where my brother