Pool, Matthew

, a learned Nonconformist, was born in the city of York in 1624. He was the son of Francis Pool, esq. by a daughter of alderman Toppin of York, and was descended from the ancient family of the Pools or Pooles, of Sprinkhill, in Derbyshire, | but his grandfather, being obliged to leave that county on. account of his attachment to the reformation, lived at Sikehouse, and afterwards at Drax-abbey, in Yorkshire. Our author was educated at Emanuel-college, Cambridge, under the learned Dr. Worthington, and took the degree of M. A. in which he was incorporated at Oxford, July 14, 1657. Having long before this adopted the prevailing notions during the usurpation, concerning ecclesiastical polity, on the presbyterian plan, he was ordained according to the forms then used; and about 1648, was appointed rector or rather minister of St. Michael le Querne, in London, in which he succeeded Dr. Anthony Tuckney.

His first publication appeared in 1654, against the Socinian tenets of John Biddle, and was entitled “The Blasphemer slain with the sword of the Spirit, or a plea for the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, wherein the Deity of the Spirit is proved, against the cavils of John Biddle,” 12mo. In 1657 he went to Oxford, to be present at the installation of Richard Cromwell, who then succeeded his father Oliver, as chancellor of that university, and it was upon this occasion that Mr. Pool was incorporated M. A. In the following year he published a schemeof education under the title of, “A model for the maintaining of students of choice abilities at the university, and principally in order to the ministry. Together with a Preface before it, and after it a recommendation from the university; and two serious exhortations recommended unto all the unfeigned lovers of piety and learning, and more particularly to those rich men who desire to honour the Lord with their substance,1658, 4to. Among the learned persons who approved this scheme, we find the names of John Worthington, John Arrowsmith, Anthony Tuckney, Benjamin Whichcot, Ralph Cudworth, and William Dillingham. Its object was to provide a fund, out of which a certain number of young men might be maintained at the university, who could obtain no other maintenance by exhibitions, scholarships, &c. Dr. Sherlock, afterwards deaa of St. Paul’s, was indebted to this fund, being supported, out of it in taking his bachelor’s degree. The whole sum. raised was about 900l. but the restoration put a stop to any farther accumulation.

In support of the opinions of himself and his party, he published in 1659, a letter, in one sheet 4to, addressed to the lord Charles Fleetwood, and delivered to him o,n the | 13th of December, which related to the juncture of affairs at that time and in the same year appeared “Quo Warran to a moderate debate about the preaching of unordained persons election, ordination, and the extent of the ministerial relation, in vindication of the Jus Divinum Ministerii, from the exceptions of a late piece, entitled” The Preacher sent.“4to. In the title-page of this” Quo Warranto“it is said to be written by the appointment of the provincial assembly at London. In 1660 he took a share in the morning exercise, a series of sermons then preached by those of the London clergy who were deemed puritans; and he contributed some of the most learned and argumentative of their printed collection. The same year he published a sermon upon John iv. 23, 24, preached before the lord mayor of London at St. Paul’s, Aug. 26, in the preface to which he informs us that he printed it exactly as it was preached, in consequence of some misrepresentations that had gone abroad one of which, says he, was” that I wished their ringers might rot that played upon the organs.“This expression he totally denies, but admits that he did dislike and speak against instrumental or vocal music when so refined as to take up the attention of the hearersI appeal,“he adds,” to the experience of any ingenuous person, whether curiosity of voice and musical sounds in churches does not tickle the fancy with a carnal delight, and engage a man’s ear and most diligent attention unto those sensible motions and audible sounds, and therefore must necessarily, in great measure, recall him from spiritual communion with God; seeing the mind of man cannot attend to two things at once with all it’s might [to each], and when we serve God we must do it with all our mig;ht. And hence it is, that the ancients have some of them given this rule that even vocal singing [in churches] should not be too curious, sed legenti similior giiam canenti. And Paul himself gives it a wipe, Eph. v. 19, Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in your hearts to the Lord“This sermon was revived in 1698, 4to, with the title ofA reveres to Mr. Oliver’s Sermon of Spiritual Worship." The descendants of the nonconformists have, however, in our times effectually got rid of their prejudices against organs.

However Mr. Pool might vindicate himself against the misrepresentations of this sermon, he refused to comply | with the act of uniformity in 1662, and therefore incurred an ejectment from his rectory upon which occasion he printed a piece in Latin, entitled “Vop clamantis in deserto” He then submitted to the law with a commendable resignation, and enjoying a paternal estate of one hundred pounds per annum, sat down to his studies, resolving to employ his pen in the service of religion in general, without interfering with the controversies of the times. With this view, he formed the design of a very laborious and useful work, which procured him much credit at the time, and entitles him to the regard of posterity. This was his “Synopsis Criticorum,” published in 1669, and following years, in 5 very large volumes in. folio, some account of which may not be uninteresting, as it throws some light on the state of literary trade and public spirit in those clays. As it was probable that this work, which was suggested by bishop Lloyd, would be attended with an enormous expence, Mr. Pool, after he had formed his plan, and partly prepared his materials, endeavoured first to discover what likelihood there was of public encouragement, and with this view published as a specimen of the work, the sixth chapter of Genesis, with an address and proposals. In these he solicited the subscriptions of “the friends of religion and learning” to the “Synopsis,” which was to consist of three volumes folio, of 280 sheets each, at 4l. each copy, and the number of his subscribers, there is reason to think, was from the beginning very great, men of all parties discovering an eagerness to encourage a work the utility of which was so obvious. That the subscribers might be satisfied as to their money being properly expended, a committee of divines and gentlemen of property consented to act as trustees for the m,anage*­ment of the fund. These were, sir James Langham, Dr. Patrick, Dr. Tillotson, Dr. Micklethwait, Dr. Wharton, John King, of the Inner-Temple, esq. and Mr. Stiliingfleet, any three of whom might impower the treasurer, William. Webb, esq. to issue money for carrying on the work.

Along with this specimen and proposals, Mr. Pool published the opinions of “several eminent, reverend, and learned persons, bishops and others,” in favour of the work, and of his ability to execute it, of which he wa$ authorized to make this use. Among the prelates -who recommended the “Synopsis,” as a work which they “were persuaded would tend very much to the advancement of | religion and learning, were Morley, bishop of Winchester, Reynolds of Norwich, Ward of Salisbury, Rainbow of Carlisle, Blandford of Oxford, Dolben and Warner of Rochester, Morgan of Bangor, and Hacket of Lichfield and Coventry and among the other divines, several of whom afterwards were raised to the episcopal bench, were Dr. Barlow, provost of Queen’s college, Oxford; Dr. WilIdns, Dr. Castell, Dr. Lloyd (whom some, as we have observed, make the first instigator), Dr. Tillotson, Mr. Stillingfleet, Dr. Patrick, Dr. Whichcot; Dr. Bathurst, president of Trinity college, Oxford, Dr. Wallis and Dr. Lightfoot, with the most eminent and learned of the nonconformists, Baxter, Owen, Bates, Jacomb, Horton, and Manton. Most of these signed their opinions in a body; but bishop Hacket, Dr. Barlow, Dr. Lightfoot, and Dr. Owen, sent him separate letters of encouragement, in language which could not fail to have its weight with the pubJic. He also acknowledges, with great gratitude, the munificent aid he received from sir Peter Wentworth, K. B.” who appears to have been his chief patron, and from sir Orlando Bridgman, the earls of Manchester, Bridgwater, Lauderdale, and Donegal the lords Truro, Brooke, and Cameron, sir William Morrice, sir Walter St. John, sic Thomas Clifford, sir Robert Murray, &c. &c. &c.

With much encouragement he had also some difficulties to encounter. When the first volume was ready for the press, an obstruction which appeared very formidable was thrown in his way by Cornelius Bee, a bookseller, who, in a paper or pamphlet called “The case of Cornelius Bee,” accused Mr. Pool of invading his property. To understand this it is necessary to know that this Mr. Bee, unquestionably a man of an enterprizing spirit*, equal perhaps to any instance known in our days among the trade, had published a very few years before, i. e. in 1660, the “Critici Sacri,” or a body of criticisms of the most learned men in Europe, amounting to ninety, on the Old and New Testament, given at large from their works, and extending to nine volumes folio. Bee had a patent for this


Fuller, after mentioning that ‘Knighton’s History was “fairly printed with other historians, on the commendable cost of Cornelius Bee,” adds, in his quaint way, “Thus it is some comfort and contentment to such, whom nature hath denied to be mothers, that they may be drye nurses, and dandle babes in their laps, whom they cannot bear in their wombs. And thus this industrious stationer (though no father) hath been foster-father to many worthy books, to the great profit of posterity.” Fuller’s Worthies, Leicestersbire, p, 133.

| work, and unquestionably deserved every encouragement and protection the law could give, but the language of his patent seems to have given him a narrow notion of literary property. It stated that no person should print the Critics either in whole or in party and therefore he considered Mr. Pool as prohibited from taking any thing from this vast collection of criticisms which separately were in every persons’ hands, or from making any abridgment, or compiling any work that resembled the “Critici Sacri,” however improved in the plan, or augmented, as Pool’s was, from a variety authors not used in it. He also complained that he should sustain a double injury by the “Synopsis:” first, in the loss of the sale of the remaining copies of his own work, for which he did Mr. Pool the honour to think there would be no longer a demand; and secondly, in being prevented from publishing an improved edition of the “Critici Sacri” which he intended.

In answer to this, Mr. Pool said, that as soon as he heard of Mr. Bee’s objections, he took the opinion of counsel, which was in favour of his proceeding with the “Synopsis” that he also offered to submit the matter to arbitration, which Bee refused, and that he, in vain proposed other terms of accommodation, offering him a fourth part of the property of the work, which Mr. Bee treated with contempt; “but,” adds Pool, “I doubt not Mr. Bee will be more reconciled to it the next time that Mr. Pool shall make him such another offer,” which we shall see proved to be true. With regard to the supposed injury that would accrue to Mr. Bee, part appears imaginary, and part contradictory. We learn from this controversy, that the price of the “Critici Sacri” (which, as well- as of the “Synopsis,” has been, in our time, that of waste paper) was originally 13l. 10s. and Bee says in his preface, and truly, that for this sum the purchaser had more works than he could have bought separately for 50l. or 60l. But as he had blamed Pool for Occasioning a depreciation of the remaining copies of the “Critici Sacri,” the latter tells him that if this was a crime, he was himself guilty of it in two ways for first when he brought down the price of divers books from 50l. or 60l. to 13l. 10s. the possessors of those books were forced to sell them at far lower prices than they cost; and secondly, Pool contends that his projected new edition of the “Critici Sacri” would be a manifest injury to hundreds who bought the old one at a | dear rate, and would now find them worth little more than waste paper.

After some farther exchange of altercation, in which the prevailing opinions of the lawyers and others of that day are decidedly against Mr. Bee’s monopoly of biblical criticism, the parties in 1668 agreed to refer to two of his majesty’s privy-council, the marquis of Dorchester and the earl of Anglesey, who determined in favour of Mr. Pool, and, as it would seem, even to the satisfaction of Mr. Bee, whose name appears, as a vender in the title-page of vol. I. published in 1669. Pool had previously obtained his majesty’s patent, expressed in the same terms as that granted to Bee for the “Critici Sacri,” forbidding the printing of the “Synopsis” either in whole or in part, without his leave, for the space of fourteen years, under penalty of confiscation, &c. This is dated Oct. 14, 1667.

We have said that Mr. Pool intended to have comprized the whole in 3 vols. folio, for which the subscription price was 4l. but he had not proceeded far before he found that he had made a wrong calculation, and that it would be necessary to add a fourth. This appears to have given him great uneasiness, for he considered his first proposals as implying a sacred and inviolable compact. As soon* therefore, as he perceived his error, he issued “A Proposition” concerning this fourth volume, plainly -showing that it was unavoidably necessary, but at the same timq betraying very serious apprehensions as to the fate oi$J His subscribers, however, soon dissipated his fears, sand the bishops and other divines who had originally recoin*. mended the work to the public, being now better acquainted with his merit in executing it, and with the pla&v he had adopted, again came forward with a new and liberal testimonial in his favour. To the former names of his clerical patrons were now added those of Dr. Mews, Dr. Allestree, Dr. Pocock, Dr. Pearson, &c. The priceof this volume to subscribers was I/, and when it became farther necessary to extend it to the size of two, as usually bound, he left it to his subscribers 7 option to receive the fifth without paying more, or, if they pleased, to contribute another sum of ten shillings. He even hopes that this last will be the case, and trusts that “he shall not be cenr sured by any ingenuous person, as a transgressor of the rules either of justice or modesty.” The number printed, of the whole work was four thousand, and it was so favourably received that before the fifth volume appeared, there | were not two hundred copies of the preceding four unsold. And notwithstanding many hindrances of the press, &c. for which Mr. Pool thought it his duty to be frequently apologizing, the other volumes appeared in the following order; vol. I. in 1669, vol. II. in 1671, vol. III. in 1673, vol. IV. in 1674, and vol. V. in 1676, the whole in about seven years, during which, according to his own account, he had very little copy before-hand, but continued supplying two presses with incredible diligence. Calamy informs us, that while employed on this work, “his common rule was to rise very early in the morning, about three or four o’clock; and take a raw egg about eight or nine, and another about twelve, and then continue his studies till the afternoon was pretty far advanced, when he went abroad, and spent the evening at some friend’s house in cheerful conversation;” in which, he observes, “he was very facetious, as well as very true to his friend.” It may be doubted whether the British press of the eighteenth century has produced many works of equal risk and value with Walton’s “Polyglot,” the “Critici Sacri,” and the “Synopsis.” The price of the two latter has within these few years advanced very considerably; but the reputation of the “Synopsis” seems to have been longer preserved abroad than in this country. Notwithstanding the impression extended to four thousand, many of which were probably disposed of on the continent, a second edition was printed at Francfort in 1678, 5 vols. fol. and a third at Utrecht, edited by Leusden, in 1686. A fourth edition was printed at Francfort in 1694, in 5 vols. 4to, in a very small type, and a fifth at the same place in 1709, 6 vols. folio. This last, as well as the former has additions and improvements, criticisms on the Apocrypha, and a defence of the learned author against the censures of father Simon.

In the midst of this employment Mr. Pool found leisure to testify his zeal against popery, in a treatise concerning the infallibility of the church, printed in 1666, 8vo, which was followed by another the next year, 8vo, entitled, “Dialogues between a Popish priest and an English Protestant, wherein the principal points and arguments of both religions are truly proposed, and fully examined.” Besides these, he published a “Seasonable Apology for Religion,” on Matthew xi. 14, London, 1673, 4to. The first of these pieces was reprinted in 1679 his other works | are some sermons, already mentioned, in the “Morning Exercise;” a poem and two epitaphs upon Mr. Jeremy Whitaker; two others upon the death of Mr. Richard Vines; and another on the death of Mr. Jacob Stock; a preface to twenty posthumous Sermons of Mr. Nalton’s, together with a character of him. He also wrote a volume of “’English Annotations on the Holy Scripture;” but was prevented by death from going farther than the 58th chapter of Isaiah. Others undertook to complete that work, whose names Ant. Wood has mistaken. From Calamy we learn that the 59th and 60th chapters of Isaiah were done by Mr. Jackson of Moulsey. The notes on the rest of Isaiah and on Jeremiah and Lamentations were drawn up by Dr. Collinges Ezekiel by Mr. Hurst Daniel by Mr. Cooper the Minor Prophets by Mr. Hurst the four Evangelists by Dr. Collinges the Acts by Mr. Vinke the Epistle to the Romans by Mr. Mayo the two Epistles to the Corinthians, and that to the Galatians, by Dr. Collinges; that to the Ephesians by Mr. Veale the Epistles to the Philippians and Colossians by Mr. Adams the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, by Dr. Collinges; that to the Hebrews by Mr. Obadiah Hughes; the Epistle of St. James, two Epistles of St. Peter, and the Epistle of St. Jude, by Mr. Veale three Epistles of St. John by Mr. Howe and the Book of the Revelations by Dr. Collinges. These Annotations were printed at London 1685, in two volumes in folio, and reprinted in 1700, which is usually called the best edition, although it is far from correct. We have the original proposals for this work also before us; but there is nothing very interesting in them, unless that they inform us of the price, which was I/. 5s. per volume, or a penny per sheet, which appears to have been the average price of folio printing at that timeWhen Oates’s depositions concerning the popish plot were printed in 167,9, Pool found his name in the list of those that were to be cut off; and an incident befel him soon after, which gave him the greatest apprehension of his danger. Having passed an evening at alderman Ashurst’s, he took a Mr. Chorley to bear him company home. When they came to the narrow passage which leads from Clerkenwell to St. John’s-court, there were two men standing at the entrance one of whom, as Pool came along, cried out to the other, “Here he is” ijpon which

the other replied, “Let him alone, for there is somebody | with him.” As soon as they were passed, Pool asked his friend, if he heard what those men said and upon his answering that he had, “Well,” replied Pool, “I had been murdered to-night if you had not been with me.” It is said, that, before this incident, he gave not the least credit to what was said in Oates’s deposition; but then he thought proper to retire to Holland, where he died in Oct. of the same year, 1679, not without a suspicion of being poisoned, as Calamy relates. His body was interred in a vault belonging to the English merchants at Amsterdam.

It has been said that Pool lived and died a single man. This, however, was not the case. Niceron tells us that he had a son who died in 1697, a piece of information whicli he probably took from the account of Mr. Pool, prefixed to the Francfort edition of the “Synopsis,1694; and in Smith’s Obituary (in Peck’s “Desiderata”) we have a notice of the burial, Aug. 11, 1668, of “Mrs. Poole (wife to Mr. Matthew Poole preacher), at St. Andrew’s Holbornj Dr. Stillingfleet preacher of her funeral sermon.1


Biog. Brit. —Calamy. Gen. Dict. Birch’s Tillotson. Granger. —Ath. Ox-., vol. II. Comber’s Life of Comber, p. 51. Proposals respecting his Synopsis, in a volume of Tracts, in the possession of the Editor. —Niceron, vol. XXIV,