1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Jackson

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 1:633.



THOMAS JACKSON, the Ornament of the University in his time, was born at Witton on the River Weer in the Bishopric of Durham on the Day of S. Thomas the Apostle, an. 1579, became a Student in Queen's Coll. under the tuition of Crakanthorpe, in Midsummer Term 1595, was admitted Scholar of C.C. Coll. 24 March 1596. and Prob. Fellow 10 May 1606, being then M. of A. and had laid the Grounds carefully in Arithmetic, Grammar, Philology, Geometry, Rhetoric, Logic, Philosophy, Oriental Languages, Histories, &c. with an insight in Heraldry and Hieroglyphics. All which he made use of to server either as Rubbish under the Foundation, or as Drudges and Day-labourers to Theology. In 1622 he proceeded D.D. and two Years after left his Coll. for a Benefice in his own Country, which the President and Society thereof had then lately conferr'd on him. But he keeping the said living not long, was made Vicar of S. Nicholas Church in Newcastle upon Tine, where he was much followed and admired for his excellent way of Preaching, which was then Puritanical. At length being elected President of C.C. Coll. partly with the helps of Neile Bishop of Durham, (who before had taken him off from his precise way, and made him his Chaplain,) but more by the endeavours of Dr. Laud, and also made Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty, he left the said Vicarage, and was made Prebendary of Winchester, Vicar of Witney in Oxfordshire, and Dean of Peterborough in the place of Dr. Joh. Towers promoted to the Episcopal See thereof, by the favour of the said Laud, an. 1638. He was a Person furnished with all learned Languages, Arts and Sciences, especially Metaphysics, which he looked upon as a necessary Hand-maid to Divinity. He was also profoundly read in the Fathers, and was of a wonderful and deep Judgment, as it appears by his Works that are much admired by all Persons. None wrote more highly concerning the Attributes of God, and more vigorous in some of his Works, against the Church of Rome, than he — "I speak in the presence of God (saith one [Barnab Oley]) I have not read so hearty, vigorous a Champion against Rome, (amongst our Writers of his Rank) so convincing and demonstrative, as Dr. Jackson is. I bless God for the confirmation which he hath given me in the Christian Religion against the atheist, Jew, and Socinian; and in the Protestant against Rome, &c." In a word, he was a Man of blameless Life, studious, humble, devout towards God, and exemplary in private and public, beloved of Laud Archb. of Cant. and blamed by none in any respect, but by the restless Presbyterians; the chief of whom, Will. Prynne, who busily concerned himself in all Affairs, doth give him this Character in the name of the Brethren. — "Dr. Jackson of Oxon is a Man of great Abilities, and of a plausible, affable, courteous deportment, till of late he hath been transported beyond himself, with Metaphysical Contemplations to his own infamy and his renowned Mother's shame, I mean the University of Oxon, who grieves for his defection; from whose duggs he never sucked his poysonous Doctrines." — Also that "he is (as in another place he tells us) of civil Conversation and Learning, which made his Errors and Preferments more dangerous and pernicious, and that it was his Arminian Errors, not his Learning or Honesty, that were the ground of his advancement to his Dignity &c." He tells us also in another place, that "he was convented in the last Parliament, yea openly accused in the last Convocation for his heretical Arminian Books, which have been censured by Mr. Hen. Burton in his Seven Viols, and particularly answered by the acute and learned Dr. Twisse, &c." The Parliament that Prynne means, was that which sate in 1628, wherein he had like to have been sore handled for certain Tenets, I cannot say, so far driven by him, as by some Men since, and now, they have, and are, with great applause. His works are these [list omitted]. He was living in Septemb. 1644, being then the Senior Prebendary of Christ Church in Canterbury, and died shortly after, having before cast a stone against Archbishop Laud when he was to be tried for his Life, being then a Witness against that Prelate, who had before given him an Hospital.