Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Martin, Gregory
MARTIN, GREGORY (d. 1582), biblical translator, a native of Maxfield, in the parish of Guestling, Sussex, was nominated one of the original scholars of St. John's College, Oxford, by the founder, Sir Thomas White, in 1557. He was admitted B.A. 28 Nov. 1561, and commenced M.A. 19 Feb. 1564-5 at the same time with Edmund Campion [q. v.], 'whom he rivalled, and kept up with in all the stations of academical learning' (Oxford Univ. Reg. ed. Boase, i. 244). They were college companions for thirteen years, having their meals, their books, and their ideas in common. Martin afterwards entered the household of Thomas Howard, fourth duke of Norfolk [q. v.], as tutor to Philip, afterwards Earl of Arundel, and his brothers. He was a devout catholic, and with the duke's connivance encouraged the ducal household to remain steadfast to the old religion. On one occasion when the duke visited Oxford he was welcomed at St. John's College in a Latin oration, delivered by a member of the society, who, referring to Martin, said : 'Thou hast, O illustrious Duke, our Hebraist, our Grecian, our poet, our honour and glory.'
In 1570, after the duke had been committed to the Tower, Martin, unable to conscientiously conform to protestantism, escaped to the newly established English College at Douay, where he was heartily welcomed by Dr. William Allen [q. v.], the founder, and by other fugitives with whom he had been acquainted at Oxford. He was ordained priest in 1573, took the degree of licentiate in divinity in 1575, and was employed by Allen in teaching Hebrew and lecturing on the scriptures in the college. Upon the establishment of the English College at Rome, he was sent there in 1577 with the first batch of scholars transplanted to the new seminary, but stayed no longer than was necessary for purposes of organisation. He returned to Douay, and in 1578 removed with the college to Rheims, on account of the civil commotions in Flanders. There he passed the remainder of his life, devoting most of his time to the task of translating the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate.
Constant study impaired his health, and Dr. Allen sent him to Paris in April 1582 to consult the ablest physicians, but, as it proved, he was too far gone in consumption. Returning, therefore, to Rheims, he died there on 28 Oct. 1582. He was buried on the same day in the parish church of St. Stephen, where a monument with a Latin inscription was erected to his memory. All the English at Rheims attended his obsequies, and Allen preached the funeral discourse. In the gigantic task of translating the Bible he was assisted by Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Allen, Dr. Richard Bristow [q. v.], William Rainolds or Reynolds [q. v.] of New College, Oxford, and other theologians. The work of translation,hovever,may be ascribed entirely to Martin, the others being only revisers. Martin's translation was not all published at one time. The New Testament first appeared at Rheims with Bristow's notes and the title : 'The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English, out of the authentical Latin, according to the best cor- rected copies of the same, diligently conferred with the Greeke and other editions in divers languages : With Arguments of bookes and chapters, Annotations, and other necessarie helpes, for the better understanding of the text, and specially for the discoverie of the Corruptions of divers late translations, and for cleering the Controversies in religion, of these daies: In the English College of Rhemes,' 4to, 1582. This was reprinted at Antwerp in 1600. The Old Testament was only published in 1609-10 under the direction of Dr. Worthington; the title-page ran: 'The Holie Bible, faithfully translated into English out of the Authentical Latin. . . . By the English College of Doway,' 2 vols. Douay, 1609-10. Martin's Bible, as revised by Bishop Challoner [q. v.] in 1749-50, is the so-called ' Douay version ' now current among English-speaking catholics in all parts of the globe. Later editionsare by George Leo Haydock [q. v.] (1812) and Frederick Charles Husenbeth [q. v.] (1850).
The appearance of the Rheims version of the New Testament caused great consternation among the protestant party in England, and translator and revisers were adversely criticised by Dr. William Fulke [q. v.], Thomas Cartwright [q. v.], and William Whitaker. The last critic was answered by Martin's friend, Dr. William Reynolds. The Douay version of the Scriptures has often been compared unfavourably with the later 'Authorised Version,' but Martin's work has left its mark on every page of the labours of James I's companies of revisers (Preface to the Revised Version of the N. T., 1881). It is asserted by catholic writers that in point of fidelity the Douay Bible is far superior to the protestant version. In the opinion of Cardinal Wiseman, Martin's translation was not improved by Challoner and later editors (cf. Henry Cotton, Rhemes and Doway, Oxford 1855, with manuscript notes by George Offor, in Brit. Mus.)
Martin's other works are: 1. 'A Treatise of the Love of the Soul,' Rouen, 12mo; again, St. Omer, 1603, 12mo. 2. 'A Treatise of Schisme. Shewing that al Catho likes ought in any wise to abstaine altogether from heretical Conuenticles, to witt, their prayers, sermons, &c.,' Douay (John Fouler), 1578, 16mo [see Carter, William]. 3. 'Roma Sancta: the holy Citie of Rome, so called, and so declared to be, first for Devotion, secondly for Charitie : in two bookes.' A folio manuscript of 368 pages, written in 1681 , apparently forpublication, and nowpreserred at Ugbrooke, Devonshire (cf. Catholic Magazine and Review, Birmingham, 1832, ii. 491). 4. 'A Discouerieof the manifold Corruptions of the Holy Scriptures by the Heretikes of our dates, specially the English Sectaries,' Rheims, 1582, 8vo. A reply, on which Thomas Ward afterwards based his ' Errata of the Protestant Bible,' was published by Dr. William Fulke [q.v.] in 1683. 5. 'A Treatyse of ChristianPeregrination. Whereunto is adioined certen Epistles written by him to sundrye his frendes: the copies whereof were since his decease founde amonge his wrytinges,' Rheims, 1583, 16mo. The first of the epistles, written to a married priest, his friend, he dates from Paris, 15 Feb. 1580; the second is to his best beloved sisters, who, it seems, were of the reformed church ; and the third is addressed to Dr. Whyte. 6. ' Gregorius Martinus ad Adolphum Mekerchum, pro veteri & vera Graecarum Literarum Pronunciatione,' Oxford, 1712, 8vo. Dedicated to Henry, earl of Arundel. This was reprinted with ' Moeris Atticista de Vocibus Atticis et Ilellenicis;' and reprinted in vol. ii. of Havercamp's ' Sylloge Scriptorum, qui de Graecfe Linguæ recta Pronunciatione scripserunt,' Leyden, 1740. Martin's original manuscript is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Pits also credits Martin with the following works in manuscript: 'Tragedy of Cyrus, King of Persia;' 'Of the Excommunication of the Emperor Theodosius,' formerly in Arthur Pits's library ; ' Dictionarium quatuor linguarum, Hebraicne, Gneca?, Latins, et Anglicse;' ' Compendium Historiarum;' 'Orationes de jejumo, de imaginum usu et cultu, fcc' formerly in the library of John Pits ; ' Carmina Diversa,'
[Addit. MS. 6343, p. 271 ; Coopers Athena Cantahr. ii, 361 ; Cotton's Rhemes and Downy, with Offor's manuscript notes; Dallaway's Rape of Arundel (Cartwright), vol. ii. pt. i. p. 162; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 121 ; Dublin Review, i. 367, ii. 476, iii. 428, xlir. 181, Julv 1881, p. 130; Fowler's Biog, of R. W. Sibthorpe; Lower's Worthies of Sussex, pp. 177, 240; Milner's Life of Challoner, p. 18 ; Houlton's Hist, of the English Bible, pp. 186-8 ; Newman's Tracts, Theological and Ecclesiastical, 1874, p.
357; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus. p. 781; Records of the English Catholics; Shea's Account of Catholic Bibles printed in the U.S.; Simpon's Campion, pp. 21, 88, 89, 93; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Wiseman's Essays on various Subjects, i. 73; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 487.]