Fabricius, John Albert

, one of the most eminenjt and laborious scholars of his time in Europe, was descended both by the father’s and mother’s side from a family originally of Holstein. His father, Werner Fabricius, a native of Itzhoa, in Holstein, was director of the music at St.Paul‘p in Leipsic, organist of the church of St. Nicholas in that city, and a poet and a man of letters, as appears by a work be published in 1657, entitled “Delicias Harmonicas.” His mother was Martha Corthum, the daughter of John Corthum, a clergyman of Bergedorff, and the descendant of a series of protestant clergymen from the time of the reformation. He was born at Leipsic Nov. 11, 1668. His mother died in 1674, and his father in 1679; but the latter, while he lived, had begun to instruct him, and on hig death-bed recommended him to the care of Valentine | Albert, an eminent divine and philosopher, who employed, as his first master, Wenceslau* Buhl, whom Mayer calls the common Msecenas of orphans; and he appears to have been taught by him for about five years. He also received instructions at the same time under Jo. Goth. Herrichius, rector of the Nicolaitan school at Leipsic, an able Greek and Latin scholar, whose services Fabricius amply acknowledges in the preface to Herrichius’s “Poemata Graeca et Latina,” which he published in 1718, out of regard to the memory of this tutor. In 1684, Valentine Albert sent him to Quedlinburgh to a very celebrated school, of which the learned Samuel Schmidt was at that time rector. It was here that he met with, in the library, a copy of Barthius’s “Adversaria,” and the first edition of Morhoff’s “Polyhistor,” which he himself informs us, gave the first direction to his mind as to that species of literary history and research which he afterwards carried beyond all his predecessors, and in which, if we regard the extent and accuracy of his labours, he has never had an equal. Schmidt had accidentally shown him Barthius^, and requested him to look into it; but it seemed to open to him such a wide field of instruction and pleasure, that he requested to take it to his room and study it at leisure, and from this he conceived the first thought, although, perhaps, at that timfe, indistinct, of his celebrated Bibliothecas. After his return, to Leipsic in 1686, he met with Morhoff, who, he says, gave his new-formed inclination an additional spur. He now was matriculated in the college of Leipsic, and was entirely under the care of his guardian Valentine Albert, one of the professors, with whom he lodged for seven years. During this time he attended the lectures of Carpzovius, Olearius, Feller, Rechenberg, Ittigius, Menckenius, &c. and other learned professors, and acknowledges hisobligations in particular to Ittigius, who introduced him to a knowledge of the Christian fathers, and of ecclesiastical history. It is perhaps unnecessary to add of one who has given such striking proofs of the fact, that his application to his various studies was incessant and successful. His reading was various and extensive, and, like most scholars of his class, he read with a pen in his hand.

Such proficiency could not escape the attention of his masters, nor go unrewarded, and accordingly we find that he was admitted to the degree of bachelor of philosophy, as it is styled in that college, Nov. 27, 1686, and on Jan | 26, 1688, to that of master. In this last year, he produced his first publication, a dissertation “de numero septuagenario;” and in the same year published his “Scriptorum recentiorum decas,” a sort of criticism on ten eminent writers, George Morhoff, Christ. Cellarius, Henning Witte, Christian Thomasius, William Salden, Abraham Berkelius, Servatius Gallaeus, James Tollius, George Matthias Konig, and Christian William Eyben. This was published at Hamburgh, without his name, and having been attacked by an anonymous opponent, he replied in a “Defensio decadis adversus hominis malevoli maledicum judicium, justis de causis ab auctore suscepta.” He was a young man when he assumed such a decisive and disrespectful tone, of which his good sense soon made him ashamed, and he afterwards abstained from this opprobrium of controversial writing, and received every criticism or remark on his works with perfect submission and temper. It was peculiar to him that the more he knew, the more he learned how to excuse the imperfections of others, and to speak diffidently of his own acquisitions.

In 1689, he published his “Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum Centuria,” in which he assumed the name of Faber. To this was added a dissertation on the GreeK Lexicons, which he enlarged afterwards, and inserted in the fourth volume of his “Bibl. Graeca.” This same year he edited a corrected and enlarged edition of Weller’s Greek grammar. In 1691 he published, in Greek and Latin, the books of the Apocrypha, with a preface and new translation of the book of Tob’it; and at the same time, a new edition of Lewis Cappel’s “Historia apostolica.” For his degree of doctor in philosophy, he supported two theses: one in March 1692, on the sophisms of the ancient philosophers, and particularly the stoics; and the other in 1693, on the Platonism of Philo.

Besides his studies in the belles lettres and philosophy, he had much inclination to that of medicine, and would probably have pursued it as a profession; but Berger, the medical professor, under whom he studied, being removed from Leipsic, he thenceforth devoted himself entirely to divinity. In April 1692 he had been admitted a preacher, and his four disputations on subjects of theology procured him the highest praises from his tutors. In 1693 he went to Hamburgh, without any immediate design, except that of visiting some relations, particularly his maternal uncle. | but intended afterwards to travel, from which he was diverted by an unexpected event. His guardian Valentine Albert now wrote to him that his whole patrimony, amounting only to 1000 German crowns, had been expended in his education, and that he was indebted to him for a considerable sum advanced. Fabricius returned an answer to this letter, expressing his concern at the news, but full of gratitude to his guardian for the care he had taken of him and his property. He had, however, to seek for the means of subsistence, and might have been reduced to the greatest distress, had he not found a liberal patron in John Frederick Mayer. This gentleman was minister of the church of St. James at Hamburgh, ecclesiastic-counsellor to the king of Sweden, and honorary professor of divinity at Kiel. Being made acquainted with Fabricius’s situation, and probably no stranger to the fame he had acquired at Leipsic, he gave him an invitation to his house, and engaged him as his librarian, on which office Fabricius entered in June 1694,* and during his residence here, which lasted five years, divided his time betwixt study and preaching, in the church of St. James, and other churches. In the month of August 1695, he sustained a disputation at Kiel on the irrational logic of the popes, in the presence of the dukes of Holstein and Brunswick. In 1697 he published the first edition of his “Bibliotheca Latina,” in a small volume, 8vo, and appears to have prepared some of his other works for the press; but a fuller list of these, with their dates, will be given at the conclusion of this article.

In 1696 he went into Sweden with M. Mayer, who introduced him to Charles XL; and after their return, Mayer endeavoured to procure for him the professorship of logic and metaphysics, vacant by the resignation of Gerard Ma’ier. Fabricius accordingly became a candidate, and sustained a public cjisputation, without a respondent, the subject of which was “Specimen elencticum historic logicte, &c.” After the other candidates had exhibited their talents, their number was reduced to Fabricius and another, Sebastian Edzard. The votes on the election happened to be equal, and the matter being therefore determined by casting lots, Edzard was chosen. Fabricius, however, was not long without a situation befitting his talents. In the same year, 1699, he was unanimously chosen to be professor of eloquence, in the room of Vincent Placcius, who died in April; and on June 29, Fabricius delivered his inaugural speech | on the eloquence of Epictetus,” and he now settled at Hamburgh for the remainder of his life, having a few months before taken his degree of doctor in divinity at Kiel. On this occasion he supported a thesis “De recordatione animae humame post fata superstitis.” In April 1700 he married Margaret Scultz, daughter of the rector of the lower school in that city, to which situation Falmcius was presented in 1708, in order to keep him at Hamburgh, for he had many tempting invitations from other universities, particularly in 1701, when his friend and patron Mayer left Hamburgh to settle at Grypswald, and procured Fabricius the offer of the divinity-professorship in that university, with a salary of 500 crowns. On entering on the duties of his new situation, as rector of the schools, he began, as usual, with an oration, on the causes of the contempt of public schools but after the deaih of M. Scultz, Fabricius resigned this office in 1711, as interfering too much with the duties of his professorship. In 1719, the landgrave of Hesse Cassel offered him the professorship of divinity at Giessen, and with it the place of superintendent of the churches of the confession of Augsburgh. Fabricius had some inclination to have accepted this offer; but the magistrates of Hamburgh, sensible of the value of his services, made a very considerable increase of his salary, the handsome manner of offering which, more than the value of the money, induced him to adhere to his resolution of never leaving Hamburgh; and in this city he died April 30, 1736. His last illness appears to, have been a complication of asthma and fever, attended with great pain and difficulty of breathing, which he bore with unexampled patience; and employed his last powers of speech in pious reflections and exhortations to his family and servants. His whole life had been spent in the practice of piety and the accumulation of learning, and his death was regretted as an irreparable loss to the university to which he belonged, and to the learned world at large. Few men, indeed, have laid scholars under greater obligations; and he has contributed, perhaps, more than any man ever did to abridge the labours of the student, and facilitate the researches of the most minute inquirer. He had a prodigious memory, and a great facility in writing; and both enabled him to accomplish labours, at the thought of which many a modern scholar would be appalled. Never, perhaps, was there such an instance of literary and professional industry. In the first | six years of his professorship he devoted ten hours a day to his scholars; and afterwards seldom less than eight, unless when his last illness obliged him to reduce his hours to four or five. With such employment in public, it is, with all the explanation his biographers have given, difficult to comprehend how he could find time and health, not only for his numerous printed undertakings, but for that vast extent ’of correspondence which he carried on with the learned men of his time, and for the frequent visits of his friends, whom he received with kindness.

Besides many funeral orations, poems, &c. in honour of Fabricius, Reimar, his scholar and colleague, and afterwards his son-in-law, published a “Commentarius de Vita et Scriptis,” which contains many curious particulars of Fabricius, and a complete list of his writings; extracts from the correspondence of his friends, &c. Of his separate publications, although a few have been incidentally mentioned, the following chronological account cannot be uninteresting, as a stupendous monument to his industry and erudition.

1. “Scriptorum recentiorum Decas,” Hamburgh, 1688, 4to, without his name. 2. “Defensio Decadis, &c.” 4to, without place or date. 3. tf Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum centuria,“Leipsic, 1689, 4to. 4.” Grammatica Graeca Welleri,“ibid. 1689, 8vo, often reprinted, but Fabricius never put his name to it. 5.” Bibliotheca Latina, sive notitia auctorum veterum Latinorum, quorumcunque scripta ad nos pervenerunt,“Hamburgh, 1697, 8vo, afterwards enlarged in subsequent editions, the best of which is that of 1728, 2 vols. 4to. An edition of a part of this work has been more recently published by Ernesti, in 3 vols. 8vo, which is not free from errors. 6.” Vita Procli Philosophi Platonici scriptore Marino Neapolitano, quam alteraparte, de virtutibus Procli theoreticis ac theurgicis auctiorem et nunc demum integram primus edidit, &c.“Hamburgh, 1700, 4to, dedicated to Dr. Bentley. 7.” Codex Apocryphus N. T. collectus, castigatus, &c.“ibid. 1703, 8vo. 8.” Bibliotheca Graeca, sive Notitia Scriptorum Veterum Graecorum, quorumcunque Monumenta integra aut fragmenta edita extant: turn plerorumqtie ex Manuscripts ac Deperditis.“This consists of 14 vols. in 4to, and gives an exact account of the Greek authors, their different editions, and of all those who commented, or written notes upon them, and with | the” Bibliotheca Latina,“exhibits a very complete history of Greek and Latin learning. Twelve volumes of a new edition of the” Bibliotheca Graeca“have been published by Hades, with great additions, and a new arrangement of the original matter. 9.” Centuria Fabriciorum scriptis clarorum, qui jam diem suum obierunt,“Hamburgh, 1700, 8vo, and” Fabriciorum centuria secunda,“ibid. 1727, 8vo. It was his intention to have added a third and fourth century, including the Fabri, Fabretti, Fabrotti, Le Fevre’s, &c. but a few names only were found after his death among his manuscripts. 10.” Memoriae Hamburgenses, sive Hamburgi et virorum de ecclesia, requepublica et scholastica Hamburgensi bene meritorum, elogia et vitae,“Hamburgh, 1710 1730, 7 vols. 11.” Codex pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti,“as a companion to his preceding account of the apocryphal writers of the New Testament times; ibid. 1713, 8vo, reprinted with additions in 1722. 12.” Menologiunj, sive libellusde mensibus, centum circiter populornm menses recensens, atque inter se conferens, cum triplice indice, gentium, mensium et scriptorum,“ibid. 1712, 8vo. 13.” Bibliographia Antiquaria, sive introductio in notitiam scriptorum, qui antiquitates Hebraicas, Graccas, Romanas et Christianas scriptis illustrarunt. Accedit Mauricii Senonensis de S. Missae ritibus carmen, nunc primum editum,“1713, 4to, and an enlarged edition, in which Mauricius’s poem is omitted, 1710, 4to. 14.” Mathematische Remonstration, &c.“Hamburgh, 1714, 8vo, a work in German against Sturmius, on the institution of the Lord’s Supper. J 5.S. Hippolyti Opera, non antea collecta, et pars nunc primum a Mss. in lucem edita, Gr. et Lat. &c.“ibid. 1716 and 1718, 2 vols. fol. 16.” Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica,“ibid. 1718, fol. a very valuable collection of notices of ecclesiastical writers and their works from various biographers, beginning with Jerome, who goes to near the end of the fourth century, and concluding with Miraeus, who ends in 1650. 17.” Sexti Empirici Opera,“Gr. and, Lat. Leipsic, 1718, fol. 18.” Anselmi Bandurii Bibliotheca Nummaria,“Hamburgh, 1719, 4to. 19. S. Philastri de Hicresibus Liber, cum emendationibus et notis, additisque indicibus, ibid. 1721, 8vo. 20.” Delectus argumentorum et syllabus scriptorum, qui veritatem religionis Christianas adversus Atheos, Epiciireos, Deistas seu Naturalistas, Idolatras, Judaeos, et Mohammedanos lucubrat;onibus suis | asseruerunt,“Hamb. 1725, 4to. This performance, very valuable in itself, is yet more so, on account of the Proemium and first chapters of Eusebius’s” Demonstratio Evangelica,“which are wanting in all the editions of that work, and were supposed to be lost; but which are here recovered by Fabricius, and prefixed to the” Delectus,“with a Latin translation by himself. 21.” Imp. Caes. Augusti temporum notatio, genus, et scriptorum fragmenta,“ibid. 1727, 4to. 22.” Centifolium Lutheranum, sive notitia literaria scriptorum omnis generis de B. D. Luthero, ej usque vita, scriptis et reformatione ecclesiae, &c. digesta,“ibid. 1728 and 1730, 2 parts or volumes, 8vo. 23. A German translation of Derham’s” Astro-theology,“and” Physico-theology,“1728, 1730, 8vo, by Weiner, to which Fabricius contributed notes, references, an analysis, preface, &c. 24.” Votum Davidicum (cor novum crea in me Deus) a centum quinquaginta amplius metaphrasibus expressum, carmine Hebraico, Graeco, Latino, Germanico, &c.“ibid. 1729, 4to. 25.” Conspectus Thesauri Literariae Italiae, premissam habens, praeter alia, notitiam diariorum Italiae literariorum, &c.“ibid, 1730, 8vo. Every Italian scholar acknowledges the utility of this volume. 26.” Hydrotheologise Sciagraphia,“in German, ibid, 1730, 4to. 27.” Salutaris Lux Evangelii, toti orbi per divinam gratiam exoriens: sive notitia historico-chronologica, literaria, et geographica, propagatorum per orbern totum Christianorum. Sacrorum,“Hamb. 1731, 4to. This work is very curious and interesting to the. historian as well as divine. It contains some epistles of the emperor Julian, never before published. 28.” Bibliotheca Mediae et infitnse Latinitatis,“printed in 5 vols. 8vo, 1734, reprinted at Padua, in 6 vols. 4to, 1754, a work equal, if not superior, to any of Fabricius’s great undertakings, and one of those, which, like his” Bibliotheca Graeca,“seems to set modern industry at defiance. 29.” Opusculorum Historico-critico-litterariorum sylloge quse sparsim viderant lucem, nunc recensita denuo et partim aucta," Hamburgh, 1738, 4to.

Besides these, Reimar gives a list of fifteen works to which he contributed additions and dissertations; thirteen original dissertations, or academical theses, published from 1688 to 1695; sixteen programmata thirteen lives; six prations, and thirty-eight prefaces, all from the pen of this | indefatigable writer: he left also a considerable number of unfinished manuscripts. 1


Himar ubi supra. —Chaufepie.Moreri. —Niceron, vol XL. —Saxii Onomast.