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

XIII. Scholars and Scholarship, 1600–60

§ 2. Close relations between English and continental scholars

Besides native sources of wider development than could be gained from the Bible centre alone, the close connection of English scholars with foreign scholars must be taken into account. England was drawn close to the continent after the return of protestant exiles. Of the twenty–one bishops whom queen Elizabeth appointed, thirteen had passed most of queen Mary’s reign in Germany or Switzerland, and the 650 letters on theological subjects published by the Parker society show the close relationship between English protestants and their fellow believers abroad. English bishops remembered Geneva in the days of her tribulation, by the practical method of sending remittances for the relief of distress when the duke of Savoy was harassing that city. In 1583, by royal brief, a collection for the Genevese was made in the churches of England, which brought in £5039. Calvin’s Institutes was translated into English in 1559, by Thomas Norton, and ran through many editions. Almost all the chief Elizabethan divines were Zwinglian or Calvinist in doctrine, and were in communication with foreign theologians and scholars. When the Spanish armies of Alva were devastating the Low Countries, distressed protestant Fleming refugees came to England in hundreds, while the earl of Leicester and Sir Philip Sidney took some thousands of Englishmen to fight for the Dutch cause. Previously, Sir Walter Ralegh had fought for the Huguenots in France. The duke of Buckingham’s duplicity and feebleness in attempting the relief of La Rochelle in Charles I’s reign caused boundless indignation in England. The sympathy of Cromwell and the English people with the protestants of Piedmont was sufficient, in 1655, to open the national exchequer for grants to schoolmasters, ministers, physicians, even to students in divinity and physic.

The continuity of these close relations, political and personal, with foreign protestants, is of capital importance in understanding the history of English scholarship. For, while England largely owed its concentrative group of Bible studies to Geneva, the greatest classical scholarship of the sixteenth century had been shown by French Huguenots, and the chief glories of scholarship in the seventeenth century were clustered together in Holland; and France and Holland, in each age, respectively, were the countries with which our divines and scholars were in closest touch. Thus, in the sixteenth century, French scholarship had been transfigured by the genius and research of Budaeus, Turnebus, Lambinus and the Stephenses, and the succession into the seventeenth century included Casaubon and Salmasius. In 1593, Joseph Scaliger went to Holland to the university of Leyden (founded 1575). Dutch scholarship was the ripest in Europe from 1600–60 and included G.J. Vossius, Isaac Vossius (his son), Claude Saumaise or Salmasius, P. Cluverius, Daniel Heinsius, N. Heinsius (his son), Hugo Grotius, J.F. Gronovius. The interest of this list consists in the fact that all these distinguished scholars were in direct touch with English scholars. The older Vossius corresponded, for instance, with Thomas Farnaby; Isaac Vossius actually left Holland and lived in England, where he held a prebend at Windsor for sixteen years (1673–88). Salmasius had the famous controversy with Milton. From his contemporary, Daniel Heinsius, Ben Jonson borrowed freely in his Timber. Heinsius’s son Nicholas travelled in England. Hugo Grotius wrote his famous Mare liberum (1609) to assert the international right of the seas, and John Selden in 1635 published his answer Mare Clausum, written about 1619. The brother-in-law of G.J. Vossius, Franciscus Junius, himself a man of no mean learning, left Holland to come to England as librarian to the earl of Arundel, and remained in this post for 30 years. He published his De Pictura Veterum, in Latin, in 1637, and, in English, in 1638. Junius was drawn into the enthusiasm for British antiquities and produced an edition of Caedmon, in 1655, and the Moeso-Gothic text of Ulfilas in 1664–5; and he left in MS. an English etymology which served the turn of Johnson’s Dictionary.