1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Rous the Elder

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 4:48.



Francis, son of Sir Anthony Rous, of Halton, in Cornwall, was burgess for Truro, in that county, in the reign of Charles I. He was a vehement declaimer in parliament against the innovations and abuses in church and state; and particularly against Arminianism, which he represented as popery in disguise. He was one of the few laymen appointed by the commons to sit in the assembly of divines at Westminster. His religious and political principles were perfectly accommodated to the party which he espoused, and seem to have ever varied with his interest, which appears to have had a much stronger hold upon him than his enthusiasm. He was appointed speaker of Barebone's parliament; and made a wild proposal to form the English commonwealth after the model of the Jewish. But as a theocracy was rejected, he thought fit to invest the regal power in Cromwell, whom he affected to look upon as a compound of the characters of Moses and Joshua. He was one of those who were called by the Protector to the upper house; and it was said "that he could not well do less than make that gentleman a lord, who had made him a prince," by the resignation of the instrument of government into his hands. He was called "the illiterate Jew of Eton;" but it does not appear, from his writings, that he deserved that appellation. Ob. 7 Jan. 1658-59. See more of him in Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion.