Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tomson, Laurence

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TOMSON, LAURENCE (1539–1608), politician, author, and translator, born in Northamptonshire in 1539, was admitted a demy of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1553, ‘and soon after became a great proficient in logic and philosophy.’ He graduated B.A. in 1559, was elected a fellow of his college, and commenced M.A. in 1564. He accompanied Sir Thomas Hoby [q. v.] on his embassy to France in 1566; and in 1569 he resigned his fellowship. Between 1575 and 1587 he represented Weymouth and Melcombe Regis in the House of Commons, and he was member for Downton in 1588–9. In 1582 he was in attendance at court at Windsor (Cal. Hatfield MSS. ii. 529). According to his epitaph he travelled in Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and France; was conversant with twelve languages; and at one period gave public lectures on the Hebrew language at Geneva. He was much employed in political affairs by Sir Francis Walsingham, after whose death he retired into private life. He died on 29 March 1608, and was buried in the chancel of the church at Chertsey, Surrey, where a black marble was erected to his memory with a curious Latin inscription which is printed by Wood.

His works are: 1. ‘An Answere to certeine Assertions and Obiections of M. Fecknam,’ London [1570], 8vo. 2. ‘Statement of Advantages to be obtained by the establishment of a Mart Town in England,’ 1572, manuscript in the Public Record Office. 3. ‘The New Testament … translated out of Greeke by T. Beza. Whereunto are adjoyned brief summaries of doctrine … by the said T. Beza: and also short expositions … taken out of the large annotations of the foresaid authour and J. Camerarius. By P. Loseler, Villerius. Englished by L. Tomson,’ London, 1576, 8vo, dedicated to Sir Francis Walsingham; again 1580, 1587, 1596. Several other editions of Tomson's revision of the Genevan version of the New Testament were published in the whole Bible. 4. ‘A Treatise of the Excellencie of a Christian Man, and how he may be knowen. Written in French. … Whereunto is adioyned a briefe description of the life and death of the said authour (set forth by P. de Farnace). … Translated into English,’ London, 1576, 1577, 1585, 8vo, dedicated to Mrs. Ursula Walsingham. 5. ‘Sermons of J. Calvin on the Epistles of S. Paule to Timothie and Titus … Translated,’ London, 1579, 4to. 6. ‘Propositions taught and mayntained by Mr. R[ichard] Hooker. The same briefly confuted by L. T. in a private letter’ (Harleian MS. 291, f. 183). 7. ‘Treatise on the matters in controversy between the Merchants of the Hanze Towns and the Merchants Adventurers,’ 1590, a Latin manuscript in the Public Record Office. 8. ‘Mary, the Mother of Christ: her tears,’ London, 1596, 8vo. 9. ‘Brief Remarks on the State of the Low Countries’ (Cottonian MS., Galba D vii. f. 163).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 44; Bloxam's Magdalen College Register, iv. 138; Cal. State Papers (Dom. Eliz.); Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 991, 1057, 1077, 1200; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714.]

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