John Crocker and several other men were occupied for some weeks in marking the boundaries of the manor; they met with extraordinary opposition from the landowners, and on June 14 Dee alludes to a riot that took place at Newton, Captain Bradley and others endeavouring to hinder the college employees in their labour. What with opposition abroad and difficulties with his curate at home, Dee was finding the coveted appointment no bed of roses. He records another of his characteristic dreams - the dreams of a bibliophile, to whom books are treasures as dear almost as his children: -
"This night I had the vision and shew of many bokes in my dreame, and among the rest was one great volume, thik, in large quarto, new printed, on the first page whereof as a title in great letters was printed Notus in Judaea Deus. Many other books methought I saw, new printed, of very strange arguments. I lent Mr. Edmund Hopwood of Hopwood my Malleus Maleficarum to use till New Year's tyde next, a short thik old boke, with two clasps, printed anno 1517."
It was now early August. So Hopwood, who was bent on mastering the subject of witchcraft, was to have about four months to study The Hammer for Witches, a book first issued in 1489, after the Bull against sorcery of Pope Innocent VIII., by the three sorcery inquisitors. It was translated into German, Hexenhammer, and formed the text-book of procedure against witches in Germany. Its authors give emphasis to their learned observation that witch-craft is more natural to women than men, because of the inherent wickedness of their hearts! In mediaeval times there appeared, alas! no safe and inconspicuous path for ordinary women. The entire sex consisted apparently of either angels or devils.
On a Sunday in August, Dee entertained the Earl and Countess of Derby at a "banket at my loding at the College, hora 4 1/2." They had newly taken up their residence at Alport Park, which had been the college property before the dissolution of the monasteries. It is now inthe heart of the city, somewhere near the Midland Railway works.
There was scant time for literary labours amid so much entertaining topographical work and litigation; abut in September Dee sent to his former friend, now Sir Edward Dyer, a treatise he had some time written on "The Queen's Title Royal and Sea Sovereignty in St. Georges Channel and all the Ocean adjoining to England, Scotland and Ireland." He quotes in it so freely from his British Monarchy (see ante, p. 39) that he encloses a copy of that work, written twenty years before, in case his correspondent does not possess one handy. The letter gives such a graphic picture of the state into which the college affairs had fallen, and of the characteristic energy with which Dee set about to try and reform them, that it must be quoted at some length. When the accompanying volume and manuscript have been fully discussed, the writer passes on to the
"intricate, cumbersome, and lamentable affairs of estate of this defaced and disordered college, whereunto not only I am assigned for my portion of mayntenance, for me and all myne, but allso, by college oath, bownde to see unto the right and dignitie thereof. Which hat bred unto me already, both wonderfull care of mynde and no little payne taking, ever since my entrance, and daylie doth and will brede me more and more. And hath browght me likewise in great debt, by reason of the pore Revenue of my stipend (of only iiijs. a day for me and all myne), and that in these tymes of very great dearth here, yea, so great, that unleast (inhis most fatherly Providence) the Almighty God had stirred up some mens hartes to send me, this present yere, from Dantzig, some barrells of kye; from Wales some cattall, and from Hull some fish for Lent: God knoweth that it passed all our wittes and habilitie to devise or use any other meanes, sufficient to the preserving of the lives of me and my familie togither, being now but of eightene persons, most nedefull: I my wife and our children, being the one half of them. So hard and thynne a dyet, never, in all my life, did I, nay was I forced, so long to use: Neyther did ever any household servants of myne have so slender allowance at their Table. And yet all that hath not so much pynched me inwardly as the cares and cumbers for the college affaires have done, for they have altered, yea barred and stayed my whole course of life, and bereaved me of my so many yeres contynued Joyes, taken in my most esteemed studies and exercises.
"But as it pleaseth the king of heven and earthe thus to deale with me: So I beseche him to give me grace to like best of this his long leading of me per multas tribulationes. And Beside all the rest, This encreaseth my grief: that I know no one as yet of her Majesties most honorable Privy Counsaile, who willingly and comfortably will listen unto my pitifull complainte and Declaration: How this Colledg of Manchester is almost become No College, in any respect; I say in any respect, forr I can verifie my wordes to[o] manifestly. But why do I cumber yr wurship (thus abruptlie) with such my colledg cumbers? Pardon me, I pray you, the pang of my mynde, half amazed, when the multitude of these cumbers and of the confused and intricate causes of this Colledge, do russh at once into my fantazie. But, undowtedly, either God will give me grace sufficient and send me might help (tempore opportune) to end them, or else they will help to hasten my deliverance from these and all other vayne and earthly Actions humayne.
"Sir, how well (and that hartily) not onely I, but my paynfull Jane, and my children of discretion, allso do, at God's handes, wich unto yr wurship, you my easyly gesse, for it is our duetie.
"And so, I beseche your wurship undowtedly to perswade your selfe of us. Manchester, September 8, A. 1597.
"Yor wurships in fidelitie and sinceritie,
|Previous page||Table of Contents||Next page|