Rous, Francis (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

ROUS, FRANCIS (1579–1659), puritan, fourth son of Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick, Cornwall, by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Southcote, was born at Dittisham, Devonshire, in 1579. He matriculated from Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College), Oxford, on 6 July 1593, and graduated B.A. on 31 Jan. 1596-7. While there he contributed a prefatory sonnet to Charles Fitz-Geffrey's 'Sir Francis Drake his Honourable Life's Commendation '(1596), and composed, in imitation of Spenser, a poem in two books, entitled 'Thule, or Virtue's History,' London, 1598, 4to. A facsimile reprint of this very rare book was edited for the Spenser Society by the late J. Crossley, Manchester, 1878, 4to. Rous also graduated at the university of Leyden on 10 Feb. 1598-9. In 1601 he entered the Middle Temple, but soon afterwards retired to Landrake, Cornwall, and occupied himself with theological study. The first-fruits of his labours were 'Meditations of Instruction, of Exhortation, of Reprofe: indeavouring the Edification and Reparation of the House of God,' London, 1616, 12mo; and 'The Arte of Happines, consisting of three Parts, whereof the first searcheth out the Happinesse of Man, the second particularly discovers and approves it, the third sheweth the Meanes to attayne and increase it,' London, 1619 (also 1631), 12mo, by which, with his 'Diseases of the Time attended by their Remedies,' 1622, 8vo, and his 'Oyl of Scorpions,' 1623, 8vo, he established among the puritans the reputation of a sound divine. In 1626 he issued a reply to Richard Montagu's 'Appello Caesarem,' entitled 'Testis Veritatis. The Doctrine of King James, our late Soveraigne of Famous Memory, of the Church of England, of the Catholicke Church plainly shewed to be one in the points of Predestination, Freewill, Certaintie of Salvation. With a Discovery of the Grounds both Natural and Politicke of Arminianisme,' London, 4to; and in 1627 a hortatory address to the nation at large, entitled 'The only Remedy that can Cure a People when all other Remedies Faile,' London, 12mo.

In the first parliament of Charles I, 1625-1626, Rous represented Truro, and in the second, 1628-9, Tregony. In the latter he distinguished himself by the violence of his attacks on Dr. Roger Manwaring [q. v.], Arminianism, and popery. He also represented Truro in the Short parliament of 1640, in the Long parliament, and in that of 1654. In the Little or Barebones parliament of 1653 he sat for Devonshire, and in the parliament of 1656 for Cornwall.

In the Long parliament Rous opened the debate on the legality of Laud's new canons on 9 Dec. 1640, and presented the articles of impeachment against Dr. Cosin on 15 March 1640-1. On the constitution of the Westminster assembly, 12 June 1643, he was nominated one of its lay assessors, and on 23 Sept. following he took the covenant (Rushworth, Historical Collections, pt. iii. vol. ii. pp. 337-480). On 10 Feb. 1643-4 he was appointed provost of Eton College. He was also chairman of the committee for ordination of ministers constituted on 2 Oct. following, and a member of the committee of appeals appointed under the ordinance for the visitation of the university of Oxford on 1 May 1647. On 16 July 1648 he was sworn of the Derby house committee.

So far Rous had been a staunch adherent of the presbyterian party, but in the course of 1649 he went over to the independents; and in 1651-2 (February-March) he served on the committee for propagation of the gospel, which framed an abortive scheme for a state church on a congregational plan. This project was revived by the Little parliament, of which he was speaker (5 July-12 Dec. 1653), but with no better success. On that assembly voting its own dissolution, Rous was sworn of the Protector's council of state. On 20 March 1653-4 he was placed on the committee for approbation of public preachers; he was also one of the committee appointed on 9 April 1656 to discuss the question of the kingship with Cromwell, by whom he was created a lord of parliament in December 1657. He died at Acton in January 1658-9, and was buried on the 24th of that month with great state in Eton College chapel. Portraits of him are at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Eton College (cf. Catalogue First Loan Exhibition at South Kensington, p. 132). An engraving by Faithorne is prefixed to the 1657 edition of his 'Treatises and Meditations.' By his will, dated 18 March 1657-8, he founded three scholarships at Pembroke College.

Rous's piety was of an intensely subjective cast, as appears by his 'Mystical Marriage: or Experimental Discourses of the Heavenly Marriage betweene a Soule and her Saviour,' London, 1635, 18mo, 1653, 12mo; and 'Heavenly Academic,' London, 1638, 16mo. Both these tracts were reissued in a Latin translation with a third, entitled 'Grande Oraculum,' under the title 'Interiora Regni Dei,' London, 1655, 12mo; reprinted in 1674, and in English, in a collective edition of his 'Treatises and Meditations,' London, 1657, fol. Other works by Rous, all of which appeared in London, are the following:

  1. 'Catholicke Charity: complaining and maintaining that Rome is uncharitable to sundry eminent Parts of the Catholicke Church,' &c., London 1641, 4to.
  2. 'The Psalmes of David in English Meeter,' 1643, 24mo; 1646, 12mo; a version approved by the Westminster assembly, authorised by parliament for general use, and adopted by the committee of estates in Scotland, where it still retains its popularity.
  3. 'The Balms of Love to heal Divisions,' &c., 1648.
  4. 'The Lawfulness of obeying the Present Government,' &c., 1649.
  5. 'The Bounds and Bonds of Publick Obedience,' &c., 1649, 4to.
  6. 'Mella Patrum,' &c., 1650, 8vo; an inaccurate compilation from the fathers.

His more important parliamentary speeches (partly printed in Rushworth's 'Historical Collections,' pt. i. pp. 585 et seq. and 645 et seq., pt. ii. pp. 1362 et seq., pt. iii. vol. i. pp. 208 et seq.; Cobbett's 'Parliamentary History,' ii. 443 et seq. and in pamphlet form) are preserved with other papers by or concerning him in manuscript at the British Museum, the Cambridge University, and the Bodleian Libraries.

By his wife Philippa (born 1575, died 20 Dec. 1657, and buried in Acton church), Rous had issue a son Francis, born at Saltash in 1615, and educated at Eton and Oxford, where he matriculated on 17 Oct. 1634, and was elected to a postmastership at Merton College the same year. He afterwards migrated to Gloucester Hall. About 1640 he settled in London, where he practised medicine until his death in or about 1643. He contributed to 'Flos Britannicus veris novissimi filiola Carolo et Maryse nata xvii. Martii,' Oxford, 1636; and compiled 'Archaeologiae Atticae Libri Tres,' Oxford, 1637, 1645, 4to; third edition, with four additional books by Zachary Bogan [q. v.], under the title 'Archaeologiae Atticae Libri Septem,' Oxford, 1649, and frequent reprints, the last (9th) edition at London, 1688, 4to.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Nichols's Progr. James I, i. 218; Lysons's Magna Britannia, iii. 78, and Environs of London, ii. 6; Wood's Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 467; Thule, or Virtue's Historic (Spenser Soc. 1878), Introduction; Fitz-Geffrey's Affaniae, 1601, pp. 50, 121, 167; Peacock's Index of English-speaking Students at the Leyden University; Manningham's Diary (Camd. Soc.), p. 101; Gardiner's Hist. Engl.vii. 35, ix. 248; Parl Hist, ii. 377,444, 726; Cobbett's State Trials, iv. 23; Wood's Annals of Oxford, ed. Gutch, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 504; Baillie's Letters (Bannatyne Club), ii. 198, 23, iii. 97, 532, 548; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1648-9, pp.90, 130; Whitelocke's Mem. pp. 81, 560, 666; Autobiography of Sir John Bramston (Camden Soc.), p. 90; Somers Tracts, vi. 248; Clarendon's Rebellion, bk.xiv. 18-21; Burton's Diary, i. 350; Thurloe State Papers, i. 338; Noble's Protectoral House of Cromwell, i. 400-2; Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England, 2nd edit. iii. 107; Harwood's Alumni Etonenses; Diary of John Rous (Camden Soc.), p. 5; Brydges's Restituta, ii. 240, iii. 189, iv. 7, 425-6; Tighe's Annals of Windsor, ii. 184; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. ix. 440; Lords' Journals, vi. 419, viii. 277; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. pp. 457, 466, 6th Rep. App. p. 5, 7th Rep App. p. 19, 8th Rep. App. pt. i. p. 95; Bayley's Catalogue of Portraits in the possession of Pembroke College, Oxford; Masson's Life of Milton; Carlyle's Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches; Manning's Lives of the Speakers; Neal's Puritans; Chalmers's Biogr. Diet.; Rose's Biogr. Dict.; Boase aud Courtney's Bibliotheca Cornubiensis.]

J. M. R.