The Life of Richard Carew
The Life of RICHARD CAREW
of Antonie Esq;
By HUGH C******* Esq;
RICHARD CAREW, the Celebrated Author of the Survey of Cornwall, was born of an antient Family at East-Antonie (a), the Seat of his Ancestors, in the Year 1555, if we may credit Mr. Wood (b). He was the Son of Thomas Carew by Elizabeth Edgecumb, Daughter to Sir Richard Edgecumb, a Gentleman says our Author (c), in whom Mildness and Stoutness, Diffidence and Wisdom, Deliberateness of Undertaking, and Sufficiency of Effecting, made a more commendable, than blazing mixture of Vertue. He adds, that Sir Richard, at his fine House, call’d to this day Mount-Edgecumb,
“during Queen Mary’s Reign, entertain’d at one time for some good space, the Admirals of the English, Spanish, and Netherland Fleets, with many Noblemen besides.
But”, pursues he, “not too much of this, lest a partial Affection steal, as unawares, into my Commendation, as one, by my Mother, descended from his Loins, and by my Birth a Member of the House (d).”
But Mr. Carew hath given us an account of his Ancestors, which I shall set down here, that the Reader may see they were no less distinguished by the great Estates in their possession, than by the Noble Families they were allyed to. Speaking of the Lyner, which, with the Tamer, discharges itself into the Sea above Plymouth;
“A little within this Mouth of Lyner”, says he (e), “standeth East-Antonie, the poore home of mine Ancestours, with which in this manner they were invested:
Sir John Lerchedekne ———- of Ashton in Devon.
Touching our Stock in general”, pursues our Author
(f), “and my Family in particular ——————-
The Pregnancy of his Parts being much above his Age, he was sent to
Oxford in the Year 1566, being then but eleven Years old, and
“(g) became a Gentleman Commoner of Christ Church …….
but had his Chamber in Broadgate’s Hall:”
And three Years after he was call’d to dispute with the incomparable
Sir Philip Sidney, who was a Year older than he (h).
Dr. Fuller and Mr. Wood have taken notice of this memorable Dispute, without mentioning from whence they had that Particular, which, as we have seen already, is related by Mr. Carew himself.
“He was bred”, says Dr. Fuller (i), “a Gentleman- Commoner in Oxford; where, being but fourteen Years old, and yet three Years standing, he was call’d out to dispute ex tempore, before the Earls of Leicester and Warwick, with the matchless Sir Philip Sidney.
Si quaeritis hujus
Fortunam pugnae, non est superatus ab illo.
Ask you the End of this Contest ?
They neither had the better, both the best.”
Mr. Wood expresses it thus:
“At fourteen Years of Age”, says he (k), “he disputed ex tempore with the matchless Philip Sidney, (while he was a young (l) Man, I suppose) in the presence of the Earls of Leicester, Warwick, and other Nobility, at what time they were lodged in Christ-Church, to receive entertainment from the Muses.”
Mr. Wood says afterwards, that
“After Mr. Carew had spent three Years in Oxon, he retired
to the Middle Temple, where he spent 3 Years more” (m) ;
which may be true, tho’ he brings in no Authority for it. But what he adds, that
“then he was sent with his Uncle (Sir George Carew as it seems) in his Embassage unto the King of Poland; whom when he came to Dantzick, he found that he had been newly gone from thence into Sweden, whither also he went after him :”
“After his return, and a short stay made in England, he was sent by his Father into France with Sir Hen. Nevill, who was then Ambassador Leiger unto K. Hen. 4. that he might learn the French Tongue, which by reading and talking, he overcame in three quarters of a Year :”
All this, I say, cannot hold, if it be true that, tho’ he understood
Italian, French, High-Dutch, and Spanish, he had never been out of
England ; as his Countryman Charles Fitzgeffry seems to assert in the
following Compliment to him:
Quis Deus tibi tam bene invocatus (n), Disertissime millium trecentum Idemq; optime omnium CARAEE, (Seu quis multiplicem eruditionem, Seu quis, quo magis emicas elenchum Morum ponderet elegantiorum, Virtutumq; tot auream coronam) Quis (inquam) Deus (o Deus profecto!) Tantis te spoliis, tot & trophaeis Terrarum locupletat exterarum, Domi perpetuo interim morantem Et libris patriaeque servientem? Quo Graij tibi, quo tibi Latini Auri pondera tanta? quove Hetrusci, Galli, Teutones, invidiq; Iberi Tam assatim te opibus suis bearunt? O si tot Deus ora, totq; linguas Mihi idulserit, ut tuas referrem Laudes, quot dedit ora quotq; linguas Tibi uno Deus ore, lingua in una?
I may add, that Mr. Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, giving an account of the eminent Men born in that Dutchy, reckons among the Civilians Doctor Carew (o) :
“In the Civil Law”, says he (p), “there lived of late Doctor Kennals, and now (q) doth Doctor Carew, one of the antientest Masters of the Chancery; in which Calling, after his younger Years spent abroad to his benefit, he hath reposed himself.”
He mentions him again among the Persons employed in State Affairs, and therethrough stept to Preferment (r).
“Master George Carew”, says he, “in his younger Years gathered such Fruit as the University, the Inns of Court, and Foreign Travel could yield him. Upon his Return, he was first call’d to the Bar, then supply’d the Place of Secretary to the Lord Chancellor Hatton; and after his Decease, performed the like Office to his two Successors, by special Recommendation from her Majesty, who also gave him the Prothonotaryship of the Chancery; and in anno 1598 sent him Ambassador to the King of Poland, and other Northern Potentates, where through unexpected Accidents, he underwent extraordinary Perils; but God freed him from them, and he performed his Duty in acceptable manner : And at this present the Commonwealth useth his Service, as a Master of the Chancery.”
Had our Author attended this worthy Person in his Embassies, it is hardly possible he should not have taken some notice of it here; being elsewhere so ready to honour himself with the Friendship or Acquaintance of the Great Men of his Time.
As to what Mr. Wood adds, viz. that Mr. Carew was sent by his Father into France with Sir Henry Nevill…. that he might learn the French Tongue, &c. I am afraid he hath mistaken our Author for his Son, who, in effect, went into France with a Nevill, in order to learn the French Tongue ; as it appears by the following Verses of the aforesaid Fitzgeffry, upon his Return.
Ad (s) RICHARDUM CARAEUM, Ri. Filium, e Gallijs reducem. Melligo juvenum Caraee, quotquot Damnoni occiduis alunt in oris : Ecquid Fama sinistimae (t) auricellae Veris se insinuat meae susurris, Te longae peregrinitates omnes Exanclasse (v) molestias, marisq; Emensum omnia taedia, ad parentes Patremq; unanimum, piamq; matrem, Membrorum incolumi statu redisse, Onustum omnigenae eruditionis Gazis & Spoliis, quot aut Camoenae Dant vaenum emporio Lutetiano Aut culto Aureliae urbis in Lycaeo. Qua tibi Aonii latus NEVILLI Phoeboeumq; TRELAVNIVM sequuto Aulam invisere curiamq; magni Regis contigit, aemulam tonantis. At o Liligeri potentis Aula AEtatem bene sit tibi, quod almum CAREUM modo patriae patriq; Post desiderium utriusq; longum, Salvumq; incolumenq; reddidisti. At tu non modo stemmatum opumq; Verum & laudis & eruditionis Patritae genuinus artis haeres Cresce in spem patriae, hostium timores, Patris delicias, Elisae amores, Donec concilijs senex, at ore Et membris juvenis sat intigellus (x) Totum Nestora vixeris, tuisq; Album feceris Albiona factis : Melligo juvenum CARAEE quotquot Damnoni occiduis alunt in oris.
Learning is not only useful, but necessary in all Conditions and States of Life; but I will presume to say, that it is more particularly so to all Gentlemen, who are allotted to live in the Country. And if they cannot pass their leisure Hours in reading, or cultivating Arts and Sciences, they will spend that time in such things as must be detrimental to their Families, and, at the end, fatal to their own Persons. Our Author could never fall into those Inconveniences : He loved Letters, and not only made them subservient to his own Entertainment, but sometimes useful to the Publick.
As he was a great Master of Languages, he delivered his Opinion upon the true and ready way to learn the Latin Tongue, in answer to a Quaere, Whether the ordinary way by teaching Latin by the Rules of Grammar, be the best way for Youths to learn it (y)? He wrote likewise a Dissertation, shewing the Excellency of the English Tongue (z) : and published a Translation of the Examen de Ingenios para las Sciencias, written by Juan Huerte, that ingenious and learned Spanish Physician. It was printed at London in 1594, with this Title: The Examination of Mens Wits. In which, by discovering the Variety of Natures, is shewed for what Profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein (A).
His Proficiency in natural Philosophy, enabled him to improve Agriculture and Husbandry to such a degree, that he was accounted among his Neighbours the greatest Husband, and most excellent Manager of Bees in Cornwall (B).
The Enquiries he had made into the History and Antiquities of Nations, and chiefly of Great Britain, engaged him to attempt a Description of Cornwall; as it is natural to every Man to have a particular Fondness for his native Country:
Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine cunctos Ducit & immemores non finit esse sui.
This he only undertook for his private Satisfaction and Entertainment; but was afterwards prevail’d upon by his Friends to publish it, as we shall see anon. Mr. Camden, who had seen it, and was an excellent Judge in those Matters, thought himself obliged to do justice both to the Author and his Performance, in the first Edition of his Britannia, printed in the Year 1586:
“But these Matters” (says he, at the end of his Account of Cornwall) “will be laid open more distinctly and fully, by Richard Carew of Antonie, a Person no less eminent for his honourable Ancestors, than his own Virtue and Learning, who is writing a Description of this Country, not in little, but at large.”
Sed haec planius & plenius docebit Richardus Carew de Antonie, non minus generis splendore, quam virtute & doctrina nobilis; qui hujus regionis descriptionem latiore specie, & non ad tenue elimat (D).
Our Author’s Knowledge in the Laws, his Love for Justice and Equity, and his Affection to the Government, rais’d him to all the Posts of Honour, that are consistent with a Country Life. Mr. Wood assures us (E), that he was made Justice of the Peace in 1581, High-Sheriff of Cornwall in 1586, and about that time was the Queens Deputy for the Militia. And indeed we find in his Survey of Cornwall, that he was Justice of the Peace, and one of the Quorum (F) : and that in the Year 1599, (Sir Walter Raleigh being then Lieutenant General of Cornwall) Mr. Carew was one of the Deputy Lieutenants, Treasurer of the Lieutenancy, and Colonel of a Regiment, consisting of five Companies, or 500 Men, armed with 170 Pikes, 300 Musquets, and 30 Calivers, appointed for Causam Bay (G).
There was at that time a Society of several Gentlemen, eminent for their Learning and Merit, such as Sir Robert Cotton, Mr. Dodderidge, (afterwards Sir John Dodderidge, who died one of the Judges of the King’s-Bench) Mr. Camden, Mr. Stow, &c. who had regular Meetings, or Conferences, for the Improvement and Illustration of the History and Antiquities of England. That Society had a particular Claim to our Author; and in 1589 he was elected a Member of the College of the Antiquaries (H). The Oration he made at his Introduction, contained, (as I am informed by a Gentleman who saw it)
“an elegant Display of the Devastations Time so swiftly makes upon all things; thence it subsides to the Advantages and Commendations of that kind of Study, they had chosen to be the Subject of their Conferences : and concludes with a pathetical Exhortation to his Auditory, That they would persevere in establishing what they had so nobly begun, and continue to employ their Labours upon those things, which were worthy of them; that so they might not be drawn into Oblivion themselves, by that which they would rescue from it, and that Time might not rob them of aught more considerable than that which they should restore.”
Thus flourished that Illustrious College of Antiquaries, whose Meetings were chiefly held at Sir Robert Cotton’s House (I). For they had no publick Place for it. And therefore these Gentlemen considering that they were but a private Society, which several Accidents might either interrupt, or even dissolve, and did besides want some Accommodations, in order to fix and perpetuate an Institution so beneficial to the Publick, they resolved to apply to the Queen for a Royal Charter, and for some publick Building, where they would perform their Exercises; and intended to erect a Library suitable to it. And they had the more reason to believe they could obtain such a Grant, that the Queen, not contented with a superficial Smattering of Learning, back’d with Conceit and Talkativeness, (which is the highest pitch Persons of the first Rank do commonly arrive to) was truly and solidly learned, and a real Encourager of Letters : wherein she had the ready Concurrence of her Ministers, who were no less conspicuous for their Learning, than for their Integrity and consummate Wisdom. But as fair as the Hopes of this famous College appeared in its Bloom, they were soon blighted by the Death of that ever-memorable Princess, like those Fruits, which for want of the Sun’s genial Rays, cannot arrive at due Maturity. For all the Applications they made for the same purpose to her Successor, proved vain and unsuccessful. But what else could be expected from a Man who never had a relish for polite Literature, or any kind of useful Learning, and only delighted in pedantick scholastical Divinity; and fancy’d himself the Wisest and most glorious Prince in the World, (a second Solomon forsooth) if he could but scrible a Pamphlet against Witches, or against tobacco: a Man, in short, whose Genius and Taste were as low and mean, as his Soul and Inclinations! As for our learned Antiquaries, they were obliged to dissolve themselves, and break their Society, lest (such was the Wisdom of those Times) they should be prosecuted as a Cabal against the Government : Ne quicquam mali contra Rempublicam illos moliri Rex, Conciliariive suspicarentur (K).
Mr. Carew published his Survey of Cornwall, in the Year 1602 (L) and did dedicate it to his Friend Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Warden of the Stannaries, Lieutenant-General of Cornwall, &c.
“This mine ill-husbanded Survey”, says he to that great Man, ” long since begun, a great while discontinued, lately reviewed, and now hastily finished, appealeth to your Lordship’s Direction, whether it should pass; to your Corection if it do pass; and to your Protection when it is passed. Neither unduly : for the same intreateth of the Province and Persons, over whose Bodies and Estates, you carry a large, both Martial and Civil Command, by your Authority ; but in whose Hearts and Loves you possess a far greater Interest, by your Kindness. Your Ears and Mouth have ever been open to hear and deliver our Grievances, and your Feet and Hands ready to go, and work their Redress; and that, not only always as a Magistrate of yourself, but also very often, as a Suiter and Solicitor to others, of the highest Place. Wherefore, I, as one of the common beholden, present this Token of my private Gratitude. It is Duty and not Presumption, that hath drawn me to the Offering; and it must be Favour, and not Desert, that shall move your Lordship to the acceptance. And so I take humble leave, resting no less willing to serve you, than under you.”
The Reader will, I hope, excuse my transcribing here the whole Epistle. These Addresses are a true Test of an Author’s Wit and Genius. And who can be displeased with so just a Character of one of the greatest Men of our Nation? Mr. Carew subscribes himself, His Lordships poor Kinsman, Richard Carew of Antonie; but how he was related to him, I could not yet find. Sir Walter Raleigh had a Son, whose Christen-name was Carew; and probably our Author was his Godfather.
In his Preface, Mr. Carew observes, that when he first composed this Treatise, not minding that it should be published in Print, he caused only certain written Copies to be given to some of his Friends …… But since that time, Master Camden’s often mentioning this Work, and his Friends Persuasions, had caused his Determination to alter, and to embrace a pleasing Hope, that Charity and good Construction would rest now generally in all Readers.
“Besides”, says he, ” the State of our Country hath undergone so many Alterations, since I first began these Scriblings, that, in the reviewing, I was driven either likewise to vary my Report, or else to speak against my Knowledge….
Reckon therefore (I pray you) that this Treatise plotteth down Cornwall, as it now standeth, for the particulars, and will continue, for the general.”
Mr. Carew’s Survey of Cornwall was receiv’d, when it came out, (as it hath been ever since) with a general Applause; as it appears by the Encomiums pass’d upon it, which it would be too long to enumerate. Mr. Camden, in the sixth Edition of his Britannia, printed in 1607, acknowledges, at the end of his Account of Cornwall, that our Author had been his chief Guide through it (M). But as ’tis usual to Authors of an inferior rank to be the best pleased with their Works, so the best Authors are the least satisfy’d with their Performances, and the most severe Censors to themselves.
The Approbation of the Publick only excites them to mend their Writings, and give them all the Perfection they are capable. Mr. Carew was uneasy at the Errors of the Printers, and some Oversights of his, that had crept into his Book; and desired to improve it by the Observations of others, who had writ on the same Subject. Being told in the Year 1606, that Mr. Dodderidge, who was then Sollicitor-General, had published some Account of the Dutchy of Cornwall, (which was not true, for that Tract did not come out till 1630) he desired Mr. Camden to send him a Copy of it.
“I make bold”, says he (N), ” to use my thanks for your kind remembring me by Sir Anthony Rouse, as a Shoeing- horn to draw on a Request; and this it is : I learn that Master Sollicitor hath compiled a Treatise of our Cornish Dutchy, and dedicated it to the Prince : this I much long to see, and heartily pray by your means to obtain a Copy thereof. The first publishing of my Survey was voluntary; the second, which I now purpose, is of necessity, not so much for the enlarging it, as the correcting mine and the Printers Oversights: and amongst these, the Arms not the least, touching which mine Order, suitable to your Direction, was not observed, and so myself made an Instrument, but not the Author of Wrong and Error. I imagine that I may cull out of Master Sollicitor’s Garden many Flowers to adorn this other Edition; and if I wist where to find Mr. Norden, I would also fain have his Map of our Shire; for perfecting of which, he took a Journey into these Parts.”
Mr. Carew never published a second Edition of his Book, tho’ he lived fourteen Years after the writing of that Letter. And whether he left behind him a Copy of it revised and corrected for a new Impression, does not appear. It hath indeed been reported, that there was a Copy extant with large Additions (O); but they don’t tell us whose Additions they are. They can hardly be the Author’s own Additions, since they are said to be large ones; and we have seen that Mr. Carew’s Design in the intended second Edition of his Survey, was not so much for the enlarging it, as the correcting his and the Printers Oversights. However it be, we may reasonably wonder that a Work so valuable, and the only compleat one we have on that Subject, should not have been reprinted since the Year 1602; whereby it is become so scarce, and bears such an excessive Price. Perhaps this is owing to the false Rumours which have been spread from time to time, that it was going to be reprinted with large Additions. For these idle common Reports have often prevented new Editions of useful and necessary Books. But it is to be hoped, that some publick-spirited Persons will reprint it, as it was first published. If any body hath any Additions or Supplements to it, they may print them separately.
Mr. Carew (P)
“was intimate with the most noted Scholars of his Time, particularly with Sir Henry Spelman, who in an Epistle (*) to him concerning Tythes, doth not a little extol him for his Ingenuity, Vertue, and Learning. ‘Palmam igitur cedo’ (saith he) ‘& quod Graeci olim in Caria fua gente, admirati sunt, nos in Caria nostra gente agnoscimus, ingenium splendidum, bellarumque intentionum saecundissimum, &c.'”
And a famous Scotch Poet (+)
“stiles him another Livy, another Maro, another Papinian, and highly extols him for his great Skill in History, and Knowledge in the Laws (Q).”
“died on the sixth day of November, in fifteen hundred and twenty, and was buried in the Church of East-Antonie among his Ancestors. Shortly after, he had a splendid Monument set over his Grave, with an Inscription thereon, written in the Latin Tongue (R)”
As I have not seen that Inscription, I cannot tell whether it be the same with the following Epitaph, written by Mr. Camden (S), probably at the Request of Mr. Carew’s Family.
M.S. Richardo Carew de Antonie Armigero, Filio Thomae Carew ex Anna Edgcombia, Nepoti Wimundi Carew Militis ex Martha Dennia, Pronepoti Joannis Carew ex Thomasina Hollandia: Viro Moribus modestis, mente generosa, Eruditione varia, Animo erga Deum devato; Qui inter medias de caelesti vita meditationes Placide in Chrifto obdormivit, Anno aetatis Lxiij. E. Arundelia uxor marito charissimo, Conjugalis fidei ergo, Et …. Filius Patri optimo, Officiosi obsequii ergo, Posuerunt. Obiit ………….
(a) In the Eastern Parts of Cornwall, within some Miles of Plymouth. (b) Anth. Wood Athen. Oxon. vol. 1. c. 452. 2d Edit. (c) The Survey of Cornwall, fol. 100. (d) The Survey of Cornwall, fol. 100. (e) Ibid. fol. 102. (f) Ibid. fol. 103, 104. (g) Wood, ubi supra. (h) Sir Philip Sidney was born in 1554. Wood ibid. c. 226. (i) The History of the Worthies of England, p. 205. (k) Ubi supr. (l) What Mr. Wood means by this Parenthesis, I leave to the reader to determine. (m) Ibid. (n) Caroli Fitzgeofridi Assaniae: sive Epigrammatum Libri tres &c. Oxon. 1601, in 8vo. Lib. 3. Ep. 33. (o) Afterwards Sir George Carew. (p) Survey, fol. 59. ver. (q) The Survey of Cornwall was published in the Year 1602. (r) Ibid. fol. 61. (s) Ubi supr. Epi. 40. (t) Lege, sinitimae (v) Leg. exantlasse. (x) Leg. integellus. (y) It was printed in 1654. See Wood, ubi supr. c. 453. (A) Wood, ibid. (B) Ibid. (D) Britannia, &c. Londini 1586, in 8vo. (E) Ubi supr. c. 452. (F) Survey, &c. fol. 88. (G) Ibid. fol. 83. (H) Wood, ubi supr. (I) See Dr. Smith’s Life of Sir Robert Cotton. (K) Dr. Smith, ubi supr. (L) In 4to. (M) Quemque mihi preluxiss non possum non agnoscere. (N) Gul. Camdeni Epistolae, &c. Epist. LVIII. pag. 72. That letter is dated 13th of May 1606. (O) W. Nicolson, The English Historical Library, chap. II. p 11, 12 of the 2d Edition. (P) Wood, ubi supr. c. 453. (*) In his Apol. of the Treatise de non temerandis Ecclesiis, &c. Lond. 1646, 4to. (+) Joh. Dunbar Megalo-Britannus in Epigrammat. suis, cent. 6. numb. 53. (Q) Wood, ibid. (R) Wood, ibid. (S) Camdeni Epistolae, &c. pag. 106.