Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/225

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James
James
219

ton,' he never held any cure of souls there. After Sir Robert Cotton's death in 1631 James remained in the service of his son, Sir Thomas, at whose house in Westminster he died early in December 1638 of a quartan fever. He was buried in St. Margaret's Church on 8 Dec.; the register describes him as 'Mr. Richard James, that most famous antiquary.' James was unmarried. Some of his early poems are addressed to a lady, whom he styles Albina, afterwards the wife of Mr. Philip Wodehouse.

James enjoyed a great reputation as a scholar. Wood says 'he was noted by all those that knew him to be a very good Grecian, poet, an excellent critic, antiquary, divine, and admirably well skilled in the Saxon and Gothic languages.' D'Ewes, in his spiteful notice, calls him 'a short, red-bearded, high-coloured fellow ... an atheistical, profane scholar, but otherwise witty and moderately learned.' He had a wide circle of scholarly friends, including, besides those already referred to, Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir John Eliot (with whom he corresponded during his imprisonment, and whom he helped in preparing his treatises 'De Jure Majestatis' and 'Monarchy of Man'), Sir Henry Spelman (to whom he dedicated his sermon on Lent), Ben Jonson (to whom he addressed a poem on his 'Staple of Niews first presented'), Sebastian Benefield [q. v.], Thomas Jackson (1579-1640) [q. v.], Brian Twine [q. v.], and Thomas Greaves [q. v.] He was a man of strong protestant opinions, which coloured his political views. In a curious note prefixed by him to a manuscript of 'Giraldus Cambrensis de Instructione Principum' (Cott. MS. Julius B. xiii.) he speaks of the treacherous pretence of religion under which the Norman princes intended 'omnes Brytanniarum insulas reducere sub monarchiam Gallicanam, quod mysterium hodie operator in pragmaticis Hyspanorum.'

James published under his own name the following: 1. 'Anti-Possevinus, sive Concio [on 2 Tim. iv. 13] habita ad clerum in Academia Oxoniensi,' Oxford, 1625, 4to. 2. 'The Muses Dirge, consecrated to the Remembrance of ... James, King of Great Brittaine, &c.,' London, 1625, 4to, pp. 16. The last four pages contain 'Anagrammata Anglica-Latina, or certaine Anagrams applied unto the Death of our late Soueraigne.' 3. 'A Sermon concerning the Eucharist [on Matt. xxvi. 26-8]. Delivered on Easter-Day in Oxford,' London, 1629, 4to. 4. 'A Sermon delivered in Oxford concerning the Observation of Lent Fast,' London, 1630, 4to. 5. 'A Sermon [on 1 Cor. ix. 16] delivered in Oxford concerning the Apostles' Preaching and ours,' London, 1630, 4to, with an epistle to Sir R. Cotton. 6. ' A Sermon [on 1 Cor. ii. 25] concerning the Times of receiving the ' Sacrament, and of Mutual! Forgivenesse. Delivered in C. C. C. at the election of a President,' London, 1632. 7. 'An Apologeticall Essay for the Righteousnesse of Miserable Vnhappy People: deliuered in a Sermon [on Psalm xxxvii. 25] at St. Marie's in Oxford,' London, 1632, 4to, with a poetical preface addressed to Selden. 8. 'Concio [on Matt. xvi. 18] habita ad clerum Oxoniensem de Ecclesia,' Oxford, 1633, 4to, with a dedication to Sir Kenelm Digby. 9. 'Epistola T. Mori ad Academiam Oxon. . . . cui adjecta sunt quondam poemata,' 1633, 4to. The poems at the end of this volume, which is also dedicated to Digby, consist of two to Sir R. Cotton and one to Thomas Allen of Gloucester Hall. 10. 'Minucius Felix his Dialogue called Octavius; containing a Defence of Christian Religion. Translated by Richard James,' London, 1636, 24mo, dedicated to Lady Cotton, widow of Sir Robert. In the same volume there are three poems 'A Good Friday Thought,' 'A Christmasse Caroll,' and ' A Hymne on Christ's Ascension.'

James was also the author of some lines on Felton; Sir James Balfour says, under date 27 Nov. 1628: 'At this time one Mr. James, an attender on Sir Robert Cotton, a grate louer of his country and a hatter of all suche as he supposed enimies to the same, was called in question for wretting some lynes wich he named a Statue to the memory of that worthy patriot S. Johne Feltone' (Hist. Works, ed. 1825, ii. 174-5). The lines are reprinted by Dr. Grosart, and in Fairholt's 'Poems and Songs relating to George Villiers,' pp. 69-70 (Percy Soc. 1850). James has also been credited, on very slight grounds, with the lines 'On Worthy Master Shakespeare and his Poems,' which were prefixed to the second folio edition of 1632, with the initials J. M. S., i.e. JaMeS (Hunter, New Illustrations of Shakespeare, p. 310). They are assigned with greater probability to Jasper Mayne [q. v.]

James left a number of manuscripts, which at his death passed into the possession of Thomas Greaves, with whose library they were acquired in 1676 for the Bodleian, where they now are. These manuscripts, forty-three in number, are all in James's handwriting, and consist for the most part of collections and extracts from medieval chronicles unfavourable to the Roman church. Original works of more interest are:

  1. MS. James 1. 'Decanonizatio T. Becket,' with an index by Thomas Greaves. A work of vast learning, to which reference has already been made.
  2. MS. James 9. 'Antiquitates Insulae Vectae,' pp