John Selden (1584-1654)

His treatise that tithes were not jure divino drew a great deal of envy upon him from the clergy. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, made him make his recantation before the High Commission Court. . . . After, he would never forgive the Bishops, but did still in his writings level them with the Presbytery. . . .

He died of a dropsy. He had his funeral scutcheons all ready . . . months before he died. When he was near death, the minister (Mr. Johnson) was coming to him to assoil him. Mr. Hobbes happened then to be there: said he, `What, will you that have wrote like a man now die like a woman?' So the minister was not let in.

—From Aubrey, Brief Lives, ii. 220,221.

In the beginning of September 1659 the library of the learned Selden was brought into that of Bodley. Anthony Wood laboured several weeks with Mr. Thomas Barlow and others in sorting them, carrying them upstairs, and placing them. In opening some of the books they found several pairs of spectacles which Mr. Selden had put in and forgotten to take out, and Mr. Thomas Barlow gave Anthony Wood a pair, which he kept in memory of Selden to his last day.

The Life and Times of Anthony Wood. . ., ed. Andrew Clark (1891-1900), i. 282.

« NEXT » « 17th Century Anecdotes » « All Anecdotes » « Humour » « Library »