1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Robert Southwell

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 2:F 208.



This most worthy and accomplished Person, who was Son of Rob. Southwell of Kingsale in the County of Cork in Ireland, Esq; Vice-Admiral of Mounster and of the Privy Council there, (descended from the antient Family of his Name in Norfolk) was born in Kingsale, educated in Queen's Coll. in this University (where he was Batch. of Arts) and afterwards became a Barrister of Linc. Inn. On the 27th of Sept. 1664 he was sworn one of the Clerks of his Majesty's Privy Council, on the 20th of Nov. 1665 he received the honour of Knighthood from his Majesty, being then accounted a Gentleman of known worth and abilities, and fitted every way for the Service of his Majesty, who then thought good to give him the character of his Envoy-extraordinary to the King of Portugal, whither he was to go in a few days after. In the latter end of Oct. 1671 he was sent Envoy-extraordinary to Count de Monterey Governor or Vice-Roy for his Catholic Maj. of the Spanish Netherlands; was a Recruiter in the Parliament that began 1661, for Penryn in Cornwall before 1673, and in the beginning of Dec. 1679 (the Presbyterians and Fanatics being then rampant upon the account of the Popish Plot) he resigned his Clerkship of the Council. In Feb. following he was sent Envoy-Extraordinary to the Elector of Brandenberg, and after his return was much respected for the Services he had done for the Crown. Afterwards he was one of the Commissioners of the Customs for England, Secretary of State for Ireland, and one of the Privy Council for that Realm; and in the latter end of Nov. 1691 he was chosen President of the Royal Society, in the room of Dr. Walt. Charlton, having been Fellow thereof several Years before, &c. He hath a very hopeful Son named Edward Southwell lately a Gentleman Commoner of Mert. Coll. who hath translated into English An account of Virtue: or, Dr. Hen. More's Abridgment of Morals, Lond. 1690. oct. It is done so well, and the style is masculine and noble, that I know not as yet any Book written in better English.