Page images

repositories of anecdotes in North's volumes, that of stories of circuits and eminent lawyers in his memoir of the Lord Keeper and his own autobiography, and the Turkish and Levantine sketches in the life of his brother Dudley. The latter gives a most curious picture of the relations of Mussulmans and Christians in the days when this was the fashion in which unbelievers were noticed by sultans :

• The great officers about the Grand Signor, with whom he [Dudley North] had transacted and familiarly conversed, told his majesty that there was now in the city of Constantinople an extraordinary gower [Giaour], as well for person as abilities to transact the greatest affairs. The Grand Signor declared that he would see this extraordinary gower : and accordingly the merchant was told of it; and at the time appointed an officer conducted him into the seraglio, and carried him about till he came to a little garden, and there two other men took him by the two arms and led him to a place where he saw the Grand Signor sitting against a large window open in a chamber not very high from the ground; the men that were his conductors, holding each an arm, put their hands upon his neck and bowed him down till his forehead touched the ground; and this was done more than once, and is the very same forced obeisance of ambassadors at their audiences. After this he stood bolt upright as long as the Grand Signor thought fit to look at him; and then, upon a sign given, he was taken away and set free again by himself to reflect on this his romantic audience.'

This “extraordinary gower' appears to have been the perfect ideal of an orientalized John Bull. Having, as his brother assures us, an uncommon disposition to truth,' it is surprising to find him actively concerned in the subornation of perjury in Turkish law-courts, but this Roger considers a demonstration of the strength of his mind:

• One must have a strong power of thought to abstract the prejudices of our domestic education and plant ourselves in a way of negotiating in heathen remote countries.'



Another biography of the time unknown to the age

which produced it, but a standard work Mrs. Hutchinson's

and general favourite since its republicaLife of Col. Hutchinson.

tion early in the nineteenth century, is

the life of Colonel Hutchinson, by his widow. Lucy Hutchinson, third daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, Governor of the Tower, was born in 1620, and in 1638 married Colonel John Hutchinson, of a good Nottinghamshire family, who, after having taken an active part on the parliamentary side during the Civil War, acted as one of the king's judges, and retired into private life rather than accept employment under Cromwell. He escaped prosecution at the Restoration, but afterwards, upon suspicion of engaging in plots, was imprisoned in Deal Castle, where he died from the unwholesomeness of his quarters. His widow wrote his life between 1664 and 1670, but it was not published until 1806. It is naturally an unqualified panegyric upon her husband, redeemed from insipidity by the conjugal affection and devotion which inspire it, and the elegant simplicity of the style. In panegyrizing her husband, Mrs. Hutchinson unwittingly extols herself; she has no doubt that he was among the wisest as well as the best men of his time, and her simple conviction is so touching, that the reader is almost persuaded to think so too. One of the most high-minded he certainly was, but his independence verged upon impracticability. The strictly historical value of the work is small, except as regards incidents of the Civil War in Nottinghamshire. Mrs. Hutchinson was a highly accomplished woman, and made a metrical translation of Lucretius, which is extant in MS. in the British Museum. The time of her death is not known.

The most important ecclesiastical biography by a con. temporary writer is the life of Archbishop Williams, by

Bishop Hacket (1592-1670), the munificent restorer of Lichfield Cathedral, which, although first published in 1693, was completed in 1657, and will be more fitly noticed under the

pre-Restoration period. This, though more Religious intrinsically valuable, is much less known Biography: than a series of little religious biographies

Izaak Walton,

which owe their fame partly to the superior 1593-1683.

attractiveness of the characters depicted, partly

to their more manageable compass, and partly to the charm of a tender and pious spirit, rather than of style. Singularly enough, the author owes a still larger measure of fame to another book composed in a similar spirit, but on a subject at first sight (were it not for the profession of St. Peter) wide as the poles asunder from ecclesiastical biography. Izaak Walton, biographer of Donne, and author of The Complete Angler, was born at Stafford in 1593, and died at Winchester in 1683. He appears to have settled in London as a draper about 1616, in a little shop over the Exchange, seven feet long and five feet wide.' In 1624 he was established in Fleet Street, near the south-west corner of Chancery Lane. In 1643, having secured a competency by trade, and probably finding that his churchmanship and royalism exposed him to annoyance in London, he gave up business and withdrew into the country, living, Wood says, ' mostly in the families of the eminent clergymen of England,' unquiet habitations in those times, one would imagine. He had, during his residence in London, greatly ingratiated himself with the dignified clergy, and distinguished himself as the biographer of one of the most eminent among them, though this seems to have been a mere accident, Sir Henry Wotton having requested him to collect materials for a life of

ne, which he intended to have written himself. Wotton dying without having performed his purpose, his mantle

[ocr errors]


fell upon Walton, whose memoir, prefixed to an edition of Donne's sermons, published in 1640, obtained so much success that he was requested to write the life of Wotton himself. This was completed in 1644, and appeared in

. 1651 along with the Reliquiae Wottonianae, a collection edited by Walton. The lives of Hooker and Herbert (the former a commission from Archbishop Sheldon) were written shortly after the Restoration, under the roof of Morley, Bishop of Winchester; the life of Bishop Sanderson was written as late as 1675. Meanwhile the Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man's Recreation, the book on which Walton's fame after all principally rests, had appeared in 1653, with copies of complimentary verse prefixed which seem to prove that it was ready for the press in 1650. One of these effusions, by Thomas Weaver, dated 1649, is a poem of unusual merit, much in the style of Marvell. Walton, who had married a sister of Bishop Ken, died in the house of his son-in-law, Prebendary Hawkins of Winchester, in 1683. His will, which he had himself drawn up a short time previously, shows the undiminished vigour of his faculties, and the endurance of his connection with his native county. His character may be read in every page of his writings, and is such as to prove that with him angling was indeed the recreation of a contemplative man.

The maxim noscitur a sociis is entirely in Walton's favour, for his ecclesiastical heroes are the flower of the Church of England of his day. His treatment is in general very satisfactory, entirely sympathetic, the first qualification of biography, and much less marred by prejudice and party spirit than was to have been expected from the agitated character of the times. The simple unaffected style almost verges upon garrulity. Though not a scholar, Walton seems to have possessed sufficient acquaintance with theology to avoid misrepresentation of eminent divines; while the chief value of his work consists in its portrayal of almost ideal charity, meekness, and learning; and in the curious anecdotes embedded in it, such as Pope Clement VIII.'s high appreciation of Hooker, James I.'s influence upon the composition of Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent, Charles I.'s translation of Sanderson (unfortunately lost), and his infatuated regret expressed to the same divine for having consented to the abolition of episcopacy in Scotland. Walton, into whose composition mirth entered, but not humour, records this with the same gravity with which he chronicles Charles's injunction to the Merry Monarch to be above all things diligent in the study of Richard Hooker. Some light may possibly be thrown upon the vexed question of the interpolation of the last three books of the Ecclesiastical Polity, by the statement of Hoole, a contemporary schoolmaster, when exhorting his scholars to good penmanship, that many of Hooker's sermons had been destroyed after his death from the impossibility of deciphering his handwriting.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »