MR. BAILEY'S LIFE OF FULLER.* - Tins is a biography
of the " antick " sort, to borrow one of Fuller's phrases. A book of 800 pages, closely printed, and of the largest size which this degenerate age will bear, alarms a busy generation, which has to struggle in its daily newspaper alone through the equivalent of a moderate library. The method, too, of the book is suggestive of boundless leisure. It is ' a mighty maze,' which we might affirm to be without a plan,' could we not perceive that its plan is to be as exhaustive as possible, not only about Fuller himself, but also about every one with whom he was even remotely connected. We begin with biographical sketches of a number of other Fullers, some of them related to the divine, some of them possessing no claim beyond the fact that they have been mistaken for him. Mistakes of this kind, indeed, have been common ; how common the reader may imagine, when he hears that Andrew Fuller, an eminent Baptist minister, who was born very nearly a century after Thomas Fuller's death, has been confounded with him. Every step in our hero's life intro- duces us to a confusing variety of characters. It was inevitable that besides a father—a propos of whom we hear of the great Fuller tribe—he should also have a mother, and also inevitable that with the mother should appear upon the scene a multitude -of Davenants. Four double-sized pages are filled with the pedigree of this family ; and as they seem to have been a prolific race, we can only be grateful that the four are not extended to forty. But besides parents and kins- men, Fuller of course had neighbours ; he went to Cambridge, and there had contemporaries ; he received and lost prefer- ment, and indeed wandered about much, as might be expected of a man whose manhood coincided with the troublous twenty years that passed between 1640 and 1660. Everywhere he had friends and patrons, whom he did know, and a still larger number of men whom he might have known ; last of all, be had two wives. In- deed we should not be surprised if Mr. Bailey, as he looks at the narrow compass into which he has crowded such a wealth of materials, is " astonished at Hs own moderation."
Mr. Bailey, however, must take our jesting in good part. We sincerely admire the industry and the discretion with which he has collected and employed all the available knowledge that could be gathered for his subject. We would not have his volume cur- tailed. It is far better worth reading than nine out of ten books that we see now-a-days. Above all, it is just such a biography as its subject would have delighted in. The author of The Worthies would have scorned such an economy of space as forbad the mention of this long array of worthy noblemen, learned bishops, powerful divines, with whom he appears in company.
Fuller was born at Aldwinkle, in Northamptonshire, a county of which we are told, as we might be told of every county in England, except perhaps Middlesex, that the natives are especially proud. His father, who had been a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, was rector of the parish, a village notable as the birth-place of Dry- den. At the age of twelve he was sent to the University of Cambridge. It is curious to note the diversity of practice which prevailed at this time with regard to the age of students. Of three men who were nearly contemporaries, Thomas Randolph, Milton, and Fuller, the first seems to have gone up at the age now usual ; the second when old enough, according to our notions, for a public school sixth form ; the third while still too young, in the judgment of many, for school at alL Queen's College was selected for the young
• The Life of Thomas Fuller, D.D., with Notices of his Books, Ms Kinsmen, and his Friends. By John Eglingten Bailey. Louden: Pickering. 1874.
student, because it was presided over by Dr. Davenant, his uncler whose rule, indeed, had been highly successful. Davenant, how-
ever, was even then Bishop Elect of Salisbury, to which he had been promoted in the room of another uncle of Fuller's, Dr.
Townson. The new ruler did not regard with particular favour the kinsman of the old, and the Bishop in vain exerted himself to get a fellowship for his nephew. Fuller finally removed to Sidney Sussex, and shortly afterwards was presented by Corpus Christi to the living of St. Benet, a preferment valued at a little more than £4 per annum. It indicates a laxity in ecclesiastical matters that he was yet a layman when the presentation was made. Bishop Davenant, however, who had a most Christian sense of the duty of providing for those of his own household, did not long suffer him to starve upon this stipend, but gave him the prebend of Netherbury-in-Ecelesia, a preferment estimated at about £40. This sum, however, does not adequately represent its value. The farm attached to it was let on lease for three lives, and a fine was payable on renewal. We may thus account for the otherwise anomalous fact that in 1291 its value had been put at £60. It was then probably let at a rack-rent. The patronage of the vicarage was attached to it, and Fuller him- self describes it as " one of the best prebends in England." He still retained his Cambridge living. Here his chief parishioner was the Hobson immortalised by Milton. The outbreak of plague whichprovedfatalto the old carrier—not directly, it was said, but because it hindered him from taking his wonted journey—hap- pened during the occupancy of Fuller, who gained credit from remaining at his post. The bishop's benevolence was not ex- hausted by the gift of the prebend ; the rectory of Broad-Winsor, valued at £70, followed, in 1634. Fuller was then twenty-six, and had commenced his ecclesiastical career, it must be allowed, very successfully. His prebend must have been given to him when he was only a deacon. But men began their lives early in those days. At Broad-Winsor, for instance, Fuller contracted a friend- ship with Denys Rolle, of Bicton. Mr. Rolle died in his twenty- fourth year ; he had already been high sheriff, and what is, per- haps, more surprising, he left six children. Fuller's epitaph on his friend is so favourable a specimen of his manner, that we shall quote it —
" His earthly part within this Tombs doth rest,
Who kept a Court of honour in his Breast; Birth, Beauty, Witt, and Wisedome sate as Peeves, Till Death mistook his virtues for his yeares ; Or else Heaven envied Earth so rich a treasure, Wherein too fine the ware, too scant the measure.
His mournful Wife, her love to chew in part, This Tombs built here ; a better in her heart.
Sweet Babe, his hopeful Heyre (Heaven grant this Boon), Live but so well ; but, oh I dye not so soon."
At Broad-Winsor, Fuller wrote his first important work, a history of the Crusades, a subject which he characteristically con- cealed under the title of The holy Warre. This, and the share he took in a very unhappy session of Convocation, are the note- worthy events of this period. In 1641 died Bishop Davenant. His will is a very curious document, which Mr. Bailey gives at length. The good bishop—for he was a good man, though a most deter- mined nepotist—bequeaths separately every bed and blanket and stool of which he is possessed. Thomas Fuller got ten pounds, his wife, Ellen (for he had been married two or three years) "a dozen of my silver spoones and a beere-bowle." One curious be- quest is of a hundred pounds to the city of New Sarum, " to be imployed onlie for settinge the poore on worke in the new work- house."
Evil times were now approaching. Shortly after the civil troubles had commenced, Fuller left Wiltshire, and settled in London. Here he became preacher at the Savoy Chapel. But his ministrations were not acceptable to the party in power. They could hardly be so indeed, when he selected such a text as, " Yea, let him take all, for as much as my Lord the King is come again in peace unto his own house," for a sermon on the anniversary of the King's accession. Yet he held his ground till he was almost the last of the Royalist clergy left in London. In 1643 he fol-
lowed the leaders of the King's party to Oxford, and took up his quarters at Lincoln College. But residence in the city was dis- tasteful to him. The expense, among other things, was ruinous. He complained that seventeen weeks in Oxford cost him more than seventeen years at Cambridge had done. Nor was he much more pleasing as a preacher to the Cavaliers than he had been to the Roundheads. He loved peace as passionately as Lord Falkland had done, and did not hesitate to express in very plain words the hope that God would scatter the people that delighted in
war. He was glad to attach himself as chaplain to Sir Ralph
Hopton. Hopton had won the battle of Roundway Down, but his subsequent campaigning was not very successful, as he was beaten at Alton and at Cheriton Down. Fuller seems to have been with him at these reverses, and he afterwards spent some time in the famous Basing House—" Basting" House, the wits of the time called it—which the old Marquis of Winchester defended -so gallantly against the Parliament. There must be a mistake, by the way, in Fuller's epitaph upon Johnson the herbalist, which is quoted &propos of Basing House,— " Hie Johnson facet, sed si more eederet herbie,
Arte fugata tna eederet ills tale."
Hence he returned to Oxford, and when Henrietta Maria left that city, he followed her to Exeter. At Exeter he remained in the capacity of chaplain to the infant princess who was born there. He was included in the capitulation of Exeter, and so obtained more favourable terms than most of his party. He had, indeed, no reason to complain of harsh treatment during the Protectorate. His rich preferment he did not indeed recover, but he found friends and patrons ready and able to help him. He had the living of Waltham Cross, and held successively various lectureships, in the City of London. Lionel, third Earl of Middlesex, made him the splendid present of all that was left of his father's library. This period, in- deed, was one of great literary activity. The Pisgah View of Pales- tine appeared in 1650, and The Church History of Britain in 1655. The Worthies, perhaps now his best known book, appeared in an imperfect condition after his death, for he died little more than a year after the Restoration, and in his fifty-fourth year. The cause of his death was typhus fever, or rather the doctor who bled him, as the custom of those times was. He had preached, though with great difficulty, on the morning of Sunday, August 12, and died on the following Thursday.
Fuller could say what few authors so voluminous and occupied with the same subjects have been able to say,—" Hitherto no stationer has lost by me." Popular as he was among his con- temporaries, the following century, to which indeed his style was not likely to be acceptable, entirely neglected him. In our own days he has met with more appreciation, The Church History having been reprinted five times and The Worthies twice since the begin- ning of the century. His fame chiefly rests upon his humour, a quality in which no writer of his age, Butler only excepted, sur-
passed him. But he possessed also in rare excellence learning, wisdom, and piety, and a moderation which, could he have im- pressed it on the leaders of his party, lay and ecclesiastical, might have saved England many troubles. His memory has never been more worthily honoured than by this volume.