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And, if they do reply,
So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing, Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing; Yet stab at thee who will, No stab the soul can kill.
WILLIAM CAMDEN, son of Sampson Camden, paper-stainer of Lichfield, who had settled in London, was born in the latter city in 1551. The rudiments of his education he received at Christ's Hospital; but at twelve years of age, having been greatly injured in his health by the plague, he remained for some time in so languid a condition, that he was unable to pursue his studies. On his recovery, he went to St. Paul's school till he was fifteen, and was then sent to Oxford, and admitted a servitor in Magdalen College. Here he finished his classical learning in the school belonging to that society, under the care of Dr. Thomas Cooper, afterward Bishop of Lincoln. Being disappointed of a demy's place in his College, he removed to Broadgate-Hall (now Pembroke College) and there continued his academical pursuits for two years under Dr. Thomas Thornton; who conceiving sentiments of high regard for his young pupil, became his first patron, and on his promotion to a canonry of Christ Church, took
* AUTHORITIES. Biographia Britannica, and Life of Camden by Gibson, prefixed to his Edition of the
him along with him, and lodged him in his own apartments.
The number of Camden's friends quickly increased, and by their persuasion he offered himself as a candidate for a fellowship in All Souls' College; but, the influence of the Popish party prevailing, the election was carried against him. In 1570, he met with a still more severe mortification, being refused the degree of B. A., though no reason was assigned for so extraordinary a circumstance.
About this time he formed a close friendship with Richard and George Carew, gentlemen of respectable families and fortunes in Devonshire, the latter of whom was created Earl of Totness by James I. His new friends were antiquarians, and from conversing with them Camden derived an inclination to study this branch of history; with which he was at length so fascinated, that he says, 'he could never hear any thing mentioned relative to it, without more than ordinary attention.' It thenceforward engrossed all his spare-hours, and his festival-days. To the pursuit of it he voluntarily sacrificed every other view, and even renounced what are more commonly denominated domestic pleasures; lest preferment, or marriage, should interrupt his favourite occupation. Of these laudable researches, the antiquities of his own country were the object; and both before and after he left the University he made frequent excursions, sometimes in company with the Carews, and at other times alone, into the different counties, * in order to procure materials for those
* His own words are, Relictâ Academia, studio incitatus satis magnam Angliæ partem fide oculatá obivi.
collections, from which he subsequently composed his 'Britannia.'
In 1571, he accepted an earnest invitation from Dr. Gabriel Goodman Dean of Westminster, and Dr. Godfrey Goodman his brother, to settle near them in Westminster; they undertaking to supply him with books, and every other accommodation, till he should meet with preferment suitable to his merit. In 1573, he went to Oxford, and remained there nearly two years, during which time he is supposed to have taken his degree of B. A.; and in 1575, through the interest of his friend the Dean, he was appointed second master of Westminster school; in which station he eminently signalised himself, and strengthened his useful connexions. He could, now, only devote his leisure-hours to his favourite study; yet he had already made such a progress in it, that his reputation as an antiquary daily increased, and procured him the esteem of men of the highest literary distinction. Hotoman, the celebrated French civilian, and Secretary to the Earl of Leicester; Justus Lipsius, the critic; James Dousa (or VanderDoos) the younger, of the Hague; and Gruter of Antwerp, an illustrious philologist, kept up a constant correspondence with him: while Peiresc, the great patron of learning, with Pithoeus and Puteanus, was ranked among the number of his friends. To these may be added the illustrious English names of Sir Henry Savil, and his brother Mr. Thomas Savil; Sir Henry Spelman; Archbishop Usher, who assisted him in the affairs of Ireland; and Dr. Johnston of Aberdeen, to whom upon the subject of Scottish antiquities he was indebted for similar favours. But the chief promoters of his Britannia' were Sir