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Selden, John

Born: 1584 AD
Died: 1654 AD
Nationality: English
Categories: Jurist, Scholars

1584 – John Selden, English jurist, legal antiquary and oriental scholar, born on the 16th of December at Salvington, in the parish of West Tarring, Sussex.

1600 – Commenced his education at the free grammar school at Chichester, from where he proceeded to Hart Hall, Oxford.

1603 – He was admitted a member of Clifford’s Inn, London.

1604 – Migrated to the Inner Temple.

1610 – Appeared his England’s Epinomis and Janus Anglorum; Facies Altera, which dealt with the progress of English law down to King Henry II; and The Duello, or Single Combat, in which he traced the history of trial by battle in England from the Norman Conquest.

1612 – He was called to the bar.

1613 – He supplied a series of notes, enriched by an immense number of quotations and references, to the first eighteen cantos of Drayton’s Polyolbion.

1614 – He published Titles of Honor, which, in spite of some obvious defects and omissions, has remained to the present day the most comprehensive and trustworthy work of its kind that we possess.

1616 – Published his notes on Fortescue’s De laudibus legum Angliae and Ralph de Hengham’s Summae magna et parva.

1617 – His De diis Syriis was issued, and immediately established his fame as an oriental scholar among the learned in all parts of Europe.

1618 – His History of Tithes, although only published after it had been submitted to the censorship and duly licensed, nevertheless aroused the apprehension of the bishops and provoked the intervention of the king.

1621 – He was the instigator and perhaps the draftsman of the memorable protestation on the rights and privileges of the House affirmed by the Commons.

1623 – He was returned to the House of Commons for the borough of Lancaster, and sat with Coke, Noy and Pym on Sergeant Glanville’s election committee.

1626 – He was elected for Great Bedwin in Wiltshire, and took a prominent part in the impeachment of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.

1628 – He was returned to the third parliament of Charles for Ludgershall in Wiltshire, and had a large and important share in drawing up and carrying the Petition of Right.

1629 – In a session, he was one of the members mainly responsible for the tumultuous passage in the House of Commons of the resolution against the illegal levy of tonnage and poundage, and, along with Eliot, Holles, Long, Valentine, Strode, and the rest, he was sent once more to the Tower.

1631 – He employed his leisure at Wrest in writing De successionibus in bona defuncti secundum leges Ebraeorum and De successione in pontificatum Ebraeorum, and was published.

1635 – He dedicated his Mare clausum, and under the royal patronage it was put forth as a kind of state paper.

1640 – Absorbed in his oriental researches, publishing De jure naturali et gentium juxta disciplinam Ebraeorum.

1643 – He participated in the discussions of the assembly of divines at Westminster, and was appointed shortly afterwards keeper of the rolls and records in the Tower.

1645 – He was named one of the parliamentary commissioners of the admiralty, and was elected master of Trinity Hall in Cambridge, an office he declined to accept.

1646 – He subscribed the Solemn League and Covenant.

1650 – He passed the first part of De synedriis et prefecturis juridicis veterum Ebraeorum through the press.

1652 – Wrote a preface and collated some of the manuscripts for Sir Roger Twysden’s Historiae Anglicae scriptores decem.

1653 – His last publication was a vindication of himself from certain charges advanced against him and his Mare clausum by Theodore Graswinckel, a Dutch jurist.

1654 – He died at Friary House in Whitefriars in London on the 30th of November, and was buried in the Temple Church, London.