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WHITGift (John), archbishop of Canterbury in the reigns of queen Elizabeth and king James, and one of the most intrepid supporters of the constitution of the church of England, was descended of the ancient family of Whitgift in Yorkshire. His grandfather was John Whitgift, gent, whose son was Henry, a merchant of Great Grimsby in Lincolnshire. Another of his sons was Robert Whitgift, who was abbot de Wellow or Welhove juxta Grimsby in the said county, a monastery of Black Canons dedicated to the honour of St. Augustin. He was a man memorable, not only for the education of our John Whitgift, but also for his saying concerning the Romish religion. He declared in the hearing of his nephew, that “ they and their religion could not long continue, because," said he, “I have read the whole Scripture over and over, and could never find therein that our religion was founded by God." And as a proof of this opinion, the abbot alleged that saying of our Saviour, “ Every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Henry, the father of our archbishop, had six sons, of whom he was the eldest, and one daughter, by Anne Dynewel, a young gentlewoman of a good family at Great Grimsby. The names of the other five sons were William, George, Philip, Richard, and Jeffrey; and that of the daughter Anne.
Jobn was born at Great Grimsby in 1530, according to his biographers Strype and Paule, but according to Mr. Francis Thynne, quoted by Strype, in 1533 : the former, however, is most probably the right date. He was sent early for education to St. Antony's school, London, then a very eminent one, and was lodged in St. Paul's churchVOL. XXXII.
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yard, at his aunt's, the daughter of Michael Shaller, a verger of that church. Imbibing very young a relish of the doctrine of the reformation, he had of course no liking to the mass; so that though his aunt had often urged him to go with her to mass, and procured also some of the canons of St. Paul's to persuade him to it, he still refused. By this she was so much exasperated, that she resolved to entertain him no longer under her roof, imputing all her losses and domestic misfortunes to her harbouring of such an heretic within her doors; and at parting told him, " that she thought at first she had received a saint into her house, but now she perceived he was a Devil.”
He now returned home to his father in Lincolnshire; and his uncle, the abbot, finding that he had made some progress in grammatical learning, advised that he should be sent to the university. Accordingly he entered of Queen's college, Cambridge, about 1548, but soon after, removed to Pembroke-hall, where the celebrated John Bradford, the martyr, was his tutor. He had not been here long before he was recommended by his tutor and Mr. Grindal (then fellow, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) to the master, Nicholas Ridley, by which means he was made scholar of that house, and chosen bibleclerk. These advantages were the more acceptable to bim, as his father had suffered some great losses at sea, and was less able to provide for him. When Bradford left Cambridge in 1550, Whitgift was placed under the care of Mr. Gregory Garth, who continued his tutor while he remained at Pembroke-ball, which was until be took his degree of bachelor of arts in 1553-4. The following year, he was unanimously elected fellow of Peter-house, and commenced master of arts in 1557.
Soon after this, as he was recovering from a severe fit of sickness, happened the remarkable visitation of his university by cardinal Pole, in order to discover and expel the heretics, or those inclined to the doctrines of the reformation. To avoid the storm, Whitgift thought of going abroad, and joining the other English exiles; but Dr. Perne, master of his college, although at that time a professed papist, had such an esteem for him, that he under. took to screen him from the commissioners, and thus he was induced to remain; nor was he deceived in his confidence in Dr. Perne's friendship, who being then vicechancellor, effectually protected him from all inquiry, notwithstanding the very strict severity of the visitation.
In 1560 Mr. Whitgift entered into holy orders, and preached his first sermon at St. Mary's with great and general approbation. The same year he was appointed chaplain to Cox, bishop of Ely, who gave him the rectory of Teversham in Cambridgeshire. In 1563 he proceeded bachelor of divivity, and Matthew Hutton, then fellow of Trinity-college, being appointed regius professor of divinity, the same year Whitgift succeeded him as lady Margaret's professor of divinity. The subject of his lectures was the bouk of Revelations and the whole Epistle to the Hebrews, which he expounded throughout. These lectures were prepared by him for the press; and sir George Paule intimates, that they were likely in his time to be published; but whatever was the reason, they have never appeared. Strype tells us, that he saw this manuscript of Dr. Whitgift's own hand-writing, in the possession of Dr. Williain Payne, minister of Whitechapel London; and that after his death it was intended to be purchased by Dr. John More, lord bishop of Ely. This manuscript contained likewise his thesis, when he afterwards kept his act for doctor of divinity, on this subject, that “the Pope is Antichrist."
Soon after this he joined his brother professor, Hutton, and several heads of colleges, in a petition to sir William Cecil, their chancellor, for an order to regulate the election of public officers, the want of which created great disturbance in the university at that time. Two years after this he distinguished binself so eminently in the pulpit, that sir Nicholas Bacon, then lord-keeper, sent for bim to court to preach before the queen, who heard him with great satisfaction, and made him her chaplain. The same year (1565) being informed that some statutes were preparing to enjoin an uniformity of habits, particularly to order the wearing of surplices in the university, he promoted the writing of a joint letter privately to Cecil, earnestly desiring him to stop (if possible) the sending down any such orders, which he perceived would be very unacceptable to the university. But this letter gave so much offence at court, that he found it necessary to make an apology for the share he had in it. In the mean time he was so bighly esteemed at Cambridge, both as a preacher and a restorer of order and discipline there, that in June of the following year, the university granted him a licence under their common seal, to preach throughout the realm,
and in July following the salary of his professorship was raised, out of respect to him, from twenty marks to twenty pounds.
He had the year before been, a considerable benefactor to Peter-house, where, in 1567, he held the place of president, but was called thence in April to Pembroke-hall, being chosen master of that house, and not long after was appointed regius professor of divinity. In both these preferments he succeeded his old friend Dr. Hutton, now made dean of York, and to the first was recommended, as Dr. Hutton had been, by Grindal, then bishop of London. But he remained at Pembroke-hall only about three months, for upon the death of Dr. Beauchamp, the queen pronoted him to the mastership of Trinity-college. This place was procured for him, chiefly by ihe interest of sir William Cecil, who, notwithstanding some objections bad been made to his age, secured the appointment. The same year he took his degree of doctor in divinity; and in 1570, having first applied to Cecil for the purpose, he compiled a new body of statutes for the university, which were of great service to that learned community.
This work he finished in August, and the same month was the principal agent in procuring an order from the vice-chancellor and heads of houses, to prohibit the celebrated Cartwright (See CARTWRIGHT), who was now Margaret professor, from reading any more lectures without sume satisfaction given to them of his principles and opinions. Dr. Whitgist informed the chancellor of this step, and at the same time acquainted bim with Cartwright's principles, and the probable consequences of them, on which he received the chancellor's approbation of what had been done. Cartwright, having refused to renounce his opinions, was deprived of his professorship; but as be gave out that those opinions were rather suppressed by authority, than refuted by reason, Dr. Whitgift took an effectual method to remove that objection. At the chancellor's request, he wrote a confutation of some of the chief of Cartwright's sentiments, and sent them to archbishop Parker, in a letter dated Dec. 29, with an intention to publish them, which, however, was not done until afterwards when they were combined in his “Answer to the Admonition, &c.” hereafter noticed.
In 1671 Dr. Whitgift served the office of vice-chancellor. The same year an order was made by the archbishop