The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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WORTHING                            137
than it afterwards became for a man to rise from the ranks, and Selden's career has some points of resemblance with that of Roger Ascham. He won everybody's respect, and Clarendon says of him, " He was a person whom no character can flatter, or transmit any expressions equal to his merit and virtue. He was of so stupendous a learning in all kinds and in all languages—as may appear in his excellent writings—that a man would have thought he had been entirely conversant amongst books, and had never spent an hour but in reading and writing." In 1636 he dedicated to the king his Mare Clausum, written in answer to Mare Liberum, in which Grotius had maintained the right of the Dutch to fish in English waters. In 1640 he was sent to represent Oxford University in the House of Commons, and in the disputes that followed he was on the side of the Parliament, but looked at the whole matter from a legal standpoint and would not go so far as many. He refused Crom­well's invitation to answer Eikon Basilike. His learning inclined him to more tolerance than was] the fashion of that age, and his constantly referring the members of the Westminster Assembly to the original Hebrew or Greek instead of their pocket gilt-edged editions of the Scriptures was little appreciated by those eminent divines.
His secretary, who afterwards became Canon Milward, of Windsor, compiled a volume of "the excellent things that usually fell from him," which in 1689 was published under the title Selden's Table Talk, a work greatly and justly admired by Dr. Johnson. A few quotations will give some idea of Selden's general attitude to life.
"To have no Ministers but Presbyters 'tis as if
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