Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Webbe, Joseph
WEBBE, JOSEPH (fl. 1612–1626), grammarian and physician, was English by birth and Roman catholic in religion. He graduated M.D. and Ph.D. at some foreign university, perhaps Padua. In 1612 he published at Rome an astrological work entitled 'Minae Coalestes Affectus segrotantibus denunciantes, hoc anno 1612,' 8vo. Before 1622 he returned to England, and in 1623 was residing in the Old Bailey. He strongly advocated a colloquial method of teaching languages, proposing to extend it even to the classical tongues, and to substitute it for the pedantic manner of grammatical study in general use. In 1622 he published, in support of his views, 'An Appeale to Truth, in the Controuersie betweene Art and Vse' (London, 4to), which he supplemented in 1623 by 'A Petition to the High Court of Parliament, in the behalf of auncient and authentique Authors' (London, 4to), in which he says that his system has received encouragement from James I, and that he wishes to receive a monopoly of the right to teach by his method. John Gee [q. v.], in his 'Foot out of the Snare,' describes him in 1623 as residing 'in the Old Bayly,' where 'he pretendeth to teach a new gayne way to learne languages, and by this occasion may inveigle disciples.' His latest work, dedicated to Charles I, appeared in 1626, entitled 'Vsus et Authoritas' (London, 12mo), a treatise on hexameters and pentameters. Webbe was also the author of a translation of 'The Familiar Epistles of Cicero' (London, 12mo), undated, but probably published about 1620.
[Webbe's Works; Foley's Record of the English Province of the Soc. of Jesus, i. 683.]