« PreviousContinue »
of late adjudged in the court of Aides in Paris, "No part of the clergy should have this privilege, to be exempted from tithes.” But we remember they were sword-men, and that aweth all into obedience, &c. &c.
The above extract, though it contains some curious information, is not, perhaps, a very striking specimen of Fuller's very singular style of writing. But it is difficult, out of voluminous works, always to please one's self.
6. The year after his death, or in 1662, was published his “ History of the Worthies of England." He had this work in hand during seventeen years. It possesses no very high character for authenticity; yet it deserves to be consulted, since it contains many lives not to be found elsewhere prior to the author's time. It besides proposes to give an account of the native commodities, manufactures, buildings, proverbs, &c. of all the counties of England and Wales, as well as their great men in church and state. According to bishop Nicholson, the best things in it are, “ The cata
logues of the sheriffs, and the lists of the gentry, as they were returned from the seves ral counties, twelve only excepted, in the twelfth year of Henry VI.; (and that) his chief author is Bale for the lives of his eminent writers; and those of his greatest heroes are commonly mis-shapen scraps mixed with tattle and lies."
R. Turner Qinquadrs, who laboured to revive the everlasting fame of Paracelsus, says that, “ His sleeping ashes have been ignominiously unraked out of their silent grave by one whose scribbling pen was Fuller of scandals than modesty; his head seemed owl-like, Fuller of folly than wit, and his words Fuller of falsehood than truth; else certainly he would not have fallen so foul
the dead whom he never knew; and if he had, was not capable of making him an answer, but dwarf-like, tramples on a dead giant,” [Preface to Paracelsus of Chemical Transmutation, &c.]
Besides, these works, he published sermons, and various other tracts, which it is unnes cessary to particularise. His compositions abound in the quaintest wit, in puns and quibbles; as if his design had been to give to the history of the church in particular, in some places, the ridiculous air of fable and ro
Fuller was a most singular and surprising character. His memory was tenacious and extraordinary. He could repeat five hundred unconnected words after hearing them only twice, and could preach a sermon verbatim, which he had heard only once. In passing to and fro, from Temple-bar to the furthest end of Cheapside, he once undertook to tell at his return every sign as it stood in order, on both sides the way, repeating them either backwards or forwards; and performed it exactly:-No wonder also he was quaint ! “That which was most strange and very rare in him, was his way, of writing, which, something like the Chinese, was from the top of the page to the bottom; the manner thus : he would write near the margin the first words of every line down to the foot of the paper ; then would, by beginning at the head again, fill up every one of these lines, which, without any interlineations or spaces, but with the full and equal length, would so adjust the sense and matter, and so aptly connex and conjoin the ends and
beginnings of the said lines, that he could not do it better (as he hath said) if he had writ it all out in a continuation.” [Life of Dr. Thomas Fuller, 1661.]
The biography of Milton is so familiar to every reader, that I need only observe in this place, that he was born in 1603, and died in 1674. His prose works are numerous, occupying two folio volumes. I shall enumerate them in the order in which they appeared.
1. Of Reformation in England, and the Causes that have hitherto hindered it; in two Books; written to a Friend ; 1641.
2. Of Prelatical Episcopacy; and whether it may
be deduced from the apostolical times, by virtue of those testimonies which are alledged to that purpose in some late treatises ; one whereof
goes under the name of James, archbishop of Armagh; 1641,
3. The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy; in two Books ; 1642. From this piece I select the following admir