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15. Mr. Briggs, that famous, industrious, learned mathematician, that was reader at Gresham college', and after chosen to be professor at Oxford, would solemnly affirm (he being one of the Virginia company, and a great lover of Nicholas Ferrar) that in that art and science he far passed hiin. When he was to leave the place and go to Oxford, he went to the mercers' company, who have the giving of that place, that they should by all means go to Mr. N. Ferrar, and entreat him to accept of the place : for he was like, if he set to it, to be the ablest man in the world. He thought so of him, and would for ever honour the city that he was born in. The masters and wardens of that company of mercers came to persuade him to accept of it, neither could it hinder him much in his other designs, for it was but in term time. He most humbly thanked them, but said his good friend Mr. Briggs was much mistaken in him, his affection and goodness
Honorable Henry Earle of Southampton, whose industry together with that of those two brethren John and Nicolas Farrars the successive deputies have giuen much content to many,
but to diuers others matter of complaint; wherein I am an unfit Judge.”—Purchas, iv. 1779.
1 See Biogr. Brit., Ward's Gresham Professors, Wood's Athenæ, ii. 491. He resigned his Gresham professorship July 25, 1620. In 1622 he published a 4to tract on The Northwest Passage to the South Sea, through the continent of Virginia and Hudson's Bay.
The mercers (says Ward in Peckard, 93, n.) appoint to the chairs of law, physic and rhetoric; the city to those of divinity, astronomy, geometry and music.
towards him had misled his judgement :-he best knew his own informities, prayed them to pitch upon some worthy man, whereof Mr. Briggs knew many, but for himself he must not undertake that, which he was but a novice in at best.
16. The sixth stage of his life after his father's death (1620)', and his abode there at London with his mother unto 1624, that he went to Gidding, his ordering his father's estate, continuation in the Vir ginia business, chosen deputy to the company under the earl of Southampton's time of government, chosen parliament man 1624, helps his brother John in his private estate.
17. Now his father being dead, and he his sole executor, and with all care, love, and fidelity ordering and managing it, and being a continual exceeding stay and comfort to his dear mother,—she not permitting him to be absent from her, but to reside with her in her house, many daily occurrents happened, wherein he shewed his great wisdom and dexterity. His father left him an estate®.
18. Now I shall relate briefly, that in the year 1624 he was chosen a parliament man, so great was his reputation and worth. An intention there was that there should be a complaint made to the parliament of those several persons that had abused the king's ears, and so highly wronged the company,
1 See Appendix.
3 “Then follows a long and large account of the Virginia affair &c." BAKER.
whereof as one of the actors and principal contrivers was the lord treasurer Cranfield, earl of Middlesex. The parliament sat, and Nicholas Ferrar being in many things made of the committee, often was chosen by the committee to make report of such things to the house'. All which he performed so well and pleasingly, that there was great notice taken of him, and in that parliament besides sir Edwin Sandys, there were above one hundred parliament men, that were of the Virginia company, and all these did to their fellow parliament men highly extol Nicholas Ferrar. Amongst other things, at last came in a charge against the earl of Middlesex, then lord treasurer, for bribes? and other exorbitances, and in fell the Virginia affairs and his activity to take the patent from the company, under the pretence that it should be and yield to the king a greater revenue than it did, if it were ordered by his directions. Now the house appointed the lord Devonshire, then a member of the lower house , sir Edwin Sandys and Nicholas Ferrar to draw up
1 Commons' Journals, March 13, April 26, 29, May 19 (a. m. and p. m.), 20, 22, 24, 25, 28. See a long account of the company in Peckard, 84-168, and the authorities in Anderson, i. 352 seq.
2 See the proceedings in Lords' Journals, Apr. 8, 1624, et seq. esp. Apr. 16, Cobbett's Parl. Hist. i. 1411-1477, Hacket's Life of Williams, i. 189, Cabala (ed. 1663), 327.
3 Lord William Cavendish is mentioned as one of the chief promoters of this charge in Lords' Journals, Apr. 15, 1624. Cf. Comm. Journ. Apr. 23.
charge against him and all those others that had been ill instruments in that vile action. This was not long a doing, they having the materials ready in their hands, and brought it to the house, and the house turned into a committee to hear it. And so well it was handled, that the longest and largest part fell to Nicholas Ferrar, who though he was long above an hour, the abundance of matter that he had to deliver requiring it, yet her with that eloquence of speech, solid matter, and every way most pleasing substance, as the house liked him so well, as many said when he had ended, they wished he had as much more to say : so great contentment and delight he gave to their ears. And from that time forth every parliament man was very willing to be acquainted with him ; for then he was fully even in his abilities. In brief, his charge stuck so fully home upon the treasurer, that it was said, it laid such load as it helped much to sink him at that time. He was put out of the house of lords, fined, &c. Many desired to have his speech, but he craved pardon. The Virginia business was close followed and put on sir Edwin Sandys and Nicholas Ferrar by that parliament; and the parliament so sensible of the great benefit and happiness that might in short time happen to England in many respects, and what an affrightment the Spaniard took at the then reputation of the action,
1 Supply [spoke].
that the house resolved to take all into their consideration, and the lords joined in the business, and they would have confirmed the company and plantation by act of parliament. But king James then sent them a message', that he had and would take it into his serious consideration and care, and by the next parliament they should all see it, he would make it one of his masterpieces, as he said it well deserved to be. And thus the matter then stood : but God knows, these were but fair words, as the event shewed, for all was let loose and to go to six and seven, as the proverb is, which requires a long story, not here to be inserted.
But Nicholas Ferrar, before the Quo Warranto came out',- foreseeing the storm, as he feared they would cause all the court-books, registers, and all writings, instructions, letters, &c. to be taken from the company's hand,—did fairly copy out all the court-books, registers, &c. (which cost him £50), carried them to the noble earl of Southampton and gave them him.
1 See Commons' Journals, Apr. 29 (779 a, ad fin.), May 25 (794 ).
2 Stith's History of Virginia, 298 seq. On the roth of November, 1623 (Bancroft's Hist. of the Un. States, 77, Edinburgh, 1848).
3 See Peckard, 154 seq. "The copy, having been purchased by a Virginian, was consulted by Stith, and gave to his history the authority of an original record.”—Bancroft, u. 8. who refers to Burk, i. 274, Hening, i. 76.–Baker adds “Then