Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eden, Richard

EDEN, RICHARD (1521?–1576), translator, was born in Herefordshire about 1521, and studied at Queens' College, Cambridge, 1535–44, under Sir Thomas Smith; held a position in the treasury 1544–6, and married in the following year. He was private secretary to Sir W. Cecil, 1552. He published in 1553 a translation of Münster's ‘Cosmography.’ Next year he obtained a place in the English treasury of the Prince of Spain, and in 1555 published his great work, ‘The Decades of the Newe Worlde, or West India,’ a collection of travels of great interest, translated from many sources, part of which, ‘The Travels of Lewes Vertomannus, 1503,’ is reprinted in Hakluyt's ‘Voyages’ (iv. 547, edit. 1811). Hereupon he was cited by Thomas Watson, bishop of Lincoln, before Bishop Gardiner, for heresy, but escaped with the loss of his office.

In 1559 he revised Geminus's ‘Anatomy,’ and two years later translated Martin Cortes's ‘Arte de Navigar,’ to which he wrote a preface. A letter of his to Sir W. Cecil is published in Halliwell's ‘Letters on Scientific Subjects.’ He entered the service of Jean de Ferrières, vidame of Chartres, in 1562, whom he accompanied to Havre, and then to Paris and Germany. In 1569 he came to London, returning next year to Paris, and after narrowly escaping the massacre of St. Bartholomew, he reached London in 1573, when the vidame petitioned Elizabeth, unsuccessfully, to admit Eden as one of the ‘poor knights of Windsor.’ In 1574 he translated John Taisner's ‘De Natura Magnetis,’ in the dedication of which, addressed to Sir W. Winter, he alludes to the death of Sebastian Cabot. This book and his translation of Ludovico Barthema's ‘Travels in the East in 1503’ were posthumously published by R. Willes in 1577, under the title ‘The History of Travayle in the East and West Indies,’ &c. Eden died in 1576, having achieved great reputation as a scholar and man of science.

[Arber's First Three English Books on America, 1885, pp. xxxviii–xlviii; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabrigienses, 1861, ii. 2; Watt's Bibl. Brit. 1824, i. 329; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 1748; Biddle's Memoirs of Sebastian Cabot, 1832, pp. 62–70; Bale's Scriptorum Illustr. Cat. 1559, p. 110, supplement; Laurence Humphrey's Interpretatio Linguarum, 1559, p. 520 (by Bale and Humphrey he is called John; Tanner erroneously distinguishes John from Richard); Brit. Mus. Cat.; W. Oldys's Brit. Libr. 1738, pp. 139, 147, 153.]

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