Peter Ramus, Edward de Vere, and the Basis of Logic
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William Cecil accepted Thomas Smith’s Ramist notions but diluted them in political practice. The unexpected death of Edward de Vere’s father in 1562 consigned the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford to the Court of Wards and Liveries. Queen Elizabeth had appointed Cecil master of this court in 1561. The young earl, who thrived intellectually in the humanist environment of Cecil House, cultivated his rounded attitude toward Ramism: he came to appreciate both its strengths and its weaknesses. In February 1571, Elizabeth raised Cecil to the Peerage. Ten months later, Burghley realized a dynastic ambition: he gave his daughter Anne in marriage to Oxford. Other matters soon overwrote Burghley’s satisfaction, however, with the event that martyred Peter Ramus: the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of August 1572.