Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > Scholars and Scholarship, 1600–60 > Influence of French and Dutch scholars
  Close relations between English and continental scholars Roman Catholic scholarship  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

XIII. Scholars and Scholarship, 1600–60.

§ 3. Influence of French and Dutch scholars.

The direct influence of these great French and Dutch scholars was reinforced by the general state of culture prevalent among foreign protestants. Travelling was a constituent part of the education of the well-to-do. The travelling of men with messages of goodwill, or of advice to the various churches abroad, brought about an appreciation of standards of knowledge and learning. Correspondence between learned men and religious leaders filled the place of modern reviews and newspapers. Reports of new books and learned investigations penetrated into remote corners and at a pace unexampled in the previous history of the world. Frankfort and Leipzig fairs collected and circulated books broadcast. Dutch presses found a large English market. England was thus within reach of the best of foreign culture, because she was protestant after the Genevan type; and much of the most solid foreign scholarship, in the seventeenth century, was directly or indirectly under the spell of Calvin. An interesting indication of the religious sympathies which united English and foreign protestants is the growth of the custom of sending boys and girls to French Huguenot academies and pastors, or English youths to the university of Leyden; on the other hand, an English scholar such as Thomas Gataker could maintain for some time a private seminary in his house at Rotherhithe, and “many foreigners went and lodged with him, that they might enjoy the benefit of his advice.” Casaubon, when in straitened means in Paris, received lord Herbert of Cherbury as boarder as he had received young Henry Wotton in his house at Geneva. Before the Pilgrim fathers went to America, they had sojourned in Dutch cities, established congregations there and appointed ministers in Amsterdam and Leyden. There was an English congregation at Rotterdam, whose minister was William Ames, who, for twelve years, had been professor in the university of Franeker in Friesland. William Bedell, who was chaplain to Wotton at Venice for about three years, penned his sermons in Italian and Latin, wrote an English grammar so that Italians might learn to read English sermons and translated father Paul’s works into Latin for all protestant Europe to read. The great mathematician John Wallis wrote an English grammar (in Latin) for the use of foreigners. The great English disputant John Featley lived three years in France and “did great honour to his nation and protestantism by disputing successfully against the most learned papists.” Matthew Slade, an Oxford graduate, became rector of the academy at Amsterdam and distinguished himself by entering the lists against the scholar Conrad Vorstius. David Primrose, a Scot, became minister of the Huguenot church at Rouen. The chaplaincies of the Merchant companies of England, especially the Levant company, at Aleppo, furnished important opportunities for the cultivation of oriental languages. The greatest of these chaplains was Edward Pococke. The name of Thomas Davies, resident at Aleppo, is memorable for his services in securing oriental MSS. for archbishop Ussher (1624–7).   5
  Many were the distinguished foreigners who found a home in England. Antonio de Dominis, once Roman Catholic archbishop of Spalatro, was made dean of Windsor in 1617, and maintained the rights of national churches, but left England in 1622 and recanted. Saravia and Peter du Moulin, like Isaac Vossius, held English prebends. John Verneuil, of Bordeaux, was appointed second keeper of the Bodleian library in 1625. Matthias Pasor lectured on oriental languages at Exeter college, Oxford, 1625–9, whilst Christian Ravis of Berlin taught the same subjects in Gresham college, London, in 1642. John Milton, in 1649, was appointed secretary for foreign tongues, succeeding G.R. Weckherlin, a native of Stuttgart, fluent in German, French and English, and a writer of verses in each of those languages. The great Albericus Gentilis had lectured on law in Oxford. Isaac Casaubon took up his abode here from 1610 to 1614 and held a prebend at Canterbury with a pension of £300 a year.   6

  Close relations between English and continental scholars Roman Catholic scholarship  

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