Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jane, Joseph

JANE, JOSEPH (fl. 1600–1660), controversialist, was sprung of an old family which had long been influential in Liskeard, Cornwall. His father was mayor there in 1621, and in 1625 Jane represented the borough in parliament. In 1625 he was himself mayor of Liskeard, and in 1640 was again returned to represent the borough in the Long parliament. He was a royalist, and followed the king to Oxford in 1643. Next year he was one of the royal commissioners in Cornwall, where in August 1644 he entertained Charles I in his house. During 1645 and 1646 he was in correspondence with Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, on the state of the royalist cause in Cornwall. On the failure of the same cause Jane lost his estates, and had to pay a heavy composition. Remaining true to his principles, in 1650 and again in 1654 he was named clerk of the royal council (Clarendon State Papers; Calendar, passim). He also undertook to answer Milton's ‘Eἰκονοκλάστης’ in a work ‘Eἰκών Ἂκλαστος; the Image Unbroken, a Perspective of the Impudence, Falsehoode, Vanitie, and Prophaneness published in a libel entitled “Eἰκονοκλάστης against Eἰκών Βασιλικὴ,”’ published in 1651 (without place) (Athenæ Oxon. iv. 644). It is a somewhat feeble and tedious answer to Milton, and takes his paragraphs in detail. Writing to Secretary Nicholas in June 1652, Hyde said ‘the king has a singular good esteem both of Joseph Jane and of his book.’ Hyde shared this high opinion of the man, but doubted whether the book was worth translating into French, the better to counteract the effect of Milton's, as had been proposed. Jane's son, William, is separately noticed.

[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 268; Courtney's Parliamentary Representation of Cornwall, p. 252; Nicholas Papers, Camd. Soc.; Todd's Milton, i. 115; Masson's Life of Milton, iv. 349.]

M. C.