Hales, John

, an eminent divine and critic, usually distinguished by the appellation of The Ever Memorable, was the fourth son of John Hales, of High Church, near Bath, in Somersetshire, by Bridget his wife, one of the Goldsburghs of Knahill, in Wiltshire. He was born April 19, 1584, at Bath, where his father then resided, but according to his register at Corpus college, Oxford, at Highchurch. His parents, who are stated to have been of “genteel quality,” placed him to school at Mells and Killmaston,‘in Somersetshire, until fit for the university, in which he was entered of Corpus college April 16, 1597, but being then under age, was not sworn till April 17> | 1599. He continued at this college until he toolc his bachelor’s degree in arts July 9, 1603, and had distinguished himself in the interval by equal diligence and proficiency in his studies. The reputation he thus acquired engaged the attention of sir Henry Savile, then warden of Mertoncollege, who being always desirous of increasing the number of its learned members, persuaded him to remove; and accordingly he was chosen probationer of Merton in September, and admitted fellow Oct. 13, 1606. He proceeded to his master’s degree in 1609. He had not been long in this station before the warden availed himself of his assistance in preparing his edition of St. Chrysostom’s works, and found him a very able coadjutor, as he was an excellent Greek scholar. His reputation indeed for skill in this language was such as to procure him the place of lecturer in Greek in the college.

On the death of sir Thomas Bodley, Jan. 28, 1613, he was appointed by sir Henry Savile to deliver the funeral oration at Merton -college, where sir Thomas was buried; and this was published the same year at Oxford, “Oratio funebris habita in collegio Mertonensi, a Johanne Halesio, magistro in artibus, et ejusdem collegii socio, anno 1613; Martii 29, quo die clarissimo equiti D. Thoniae Bodleio funus ducebatur,” 4to. It is reprinted in Bates’s “Vitae selectorum.

On May 24 of this year, Mr. Hales quitted his fellowship at Merton, and was admitted fellow of Eton college. He was then in orders, and had acquired fame as a preacher. In 1616 he held a correspondence with Mr. Oughtred, as appears by a letter of his to that excellent mathematician, printed in the General Dictionary, hi 1618 he accompanied sir Dudley Carlton, ambassador to the Hague, as his chaplain, by which means he procured admission into the synod of Dort, though he was not properly a member. This indeed seems to have been his principal view in accompanying sir Dudley, who, besides his brother the bishop of Llandaff, first English commissioner, recommended him to Bogerman, president of the synod, and some other leading men. Ail this afforded him a favourable opportunity of collecting that information respecting the proceedings of the synod, which was afterwards published in his “Golden Remains.” The effect of these proceedings on his own mind was, that he became a convert to Arminianism. His friend Mr. Faringdon. informs | us that “in his younger days he was a Calvinist, but that some explanation given by Episcopius* of the text in St. John iii. 16, induced him, as he said, to” bid John Calvin good night.“It does not appear, however, from his sermons, that he became a decided anti-predestinarian, although he pleads strongly for a toleration between the two parties, and thinks they may remain in Christian charity with each other. It is more remarkable that he should be induced by the arguments advanced in this synod, to think with indifference of the divinity of Jesus Christ as a necessary article of faith. This, however, seems obvious from some passages in his” Tract on Schism;“and such was his free and open manner both of talking and writing on these subjects, that he soon incurred the suspicion of inclining to Socinianism. Dr. Heylin went so far as to attribute two works to him, published with fictitious names, which have been since printed in the” Phoenix;" but it has been proved that they were written by Socinian authors. His biographers, however, all allow that he may be classed among those divines who were afterwards called Latitudinarians. He returned from the synod Feb. 8, 1619.

About 1636 he wrote his tract on “Schism” for the use of his friend Chilling-worth, in which, as already noticed, he expresses his sentiments on liturgies, forms of worship, &c. in exact conformity with those who are for dispensing with all obligations of the kind in established churches. Being informed that archbishop Laud was displeased with it, he drew up a vindication of himself in a letter addressed to his grace, who in 1638 sent for him to Lambeth, and after a conference of several hours, appears to have been reconciled to him. Of this conference we have a curious account by Dr. Heylin, in his “Cyprianus Anglicus,” some particulars of which have been eagerly contested by Des Maizeaux, in his Life of Hales. What seems most clear is, that Hales made some kind of declaration to the^ archbishop, purporting that he was a true son of the church of England, both in doctrine and discipline, which certainly implies a change or intended change of opinion, unless we allow to the writer of his life in the Biographia Britannica, that “a true son of the church,” or an “or­* Such is the story given by all his 87 and 92, we shall see more reasor. biographers; but if we consult his to think that he was influenced by the Letters in the” Golden Remains,“p. opinions of Martinius. | thodox son of the church,” were phrases used, not in opn ^ition to heretics, but to puritans. In either way, the archbishop appears to have been satisfied, and informed Mr. liuies that he might have any preferment he pleased. Hales at this time modestly declined the offer, but the year following was presented by the archbishop at a public dinner, with a canonry of Windsor, in which he was installed June 27, 1639. With respect to the letter above-r ttientioned, which he wrote to the archbishop, it is said to have been first published by Dr. Hare in the seventh edition of his pampnlet entitled “Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the study of the Scriptures in the way of private judgment.” Des Maizeaux says it was probably found among the papers of archbishop Laud, which after the restoration were taken from Prynne; but this conjecture is erroneous; it was found in the house of Mrs. Powney, where Mr. Hales died, and there are even some reasons for doubting whether it was ever sent to the archbishop, although this is certainly not improbable. The original is at Eton, and appeared in print before it fell into the hands of Dr. Hare, the author of “Difficulties and Discouragements,” if indeed Dr. Hare was that author, which has been questioned.

In 1642 his tract on “Schism” was printed* without his consent, as favouring the disorganizing principles then prevailing, a clear proof that its tendency before had not been mistaken; but this procured our author no favour; for the same year he was ejected from his stall at Windsor. About the time of archoishop Laud’s death, in 1644, Mr. Hales retired from his lodgings in the college to a private chamber at Eton, where he remained for a quarter of a year unknown to any, and spent in that time only sixpence a week, living upon bread and beer; and as it was his custom formerly to fast from Tuesday night to Thursday night, now in his retirement he abstained during the same time from his bread and beer; and when he iieard of the archbishop’s murder, he wished that his own head had been taken off instead of his grace’s. Another account

* It was published with the title " A printed in the same year R. C. i.e.

Tract concerning Schism* and Sdiis-Richard Cud worth’s Tract, <c The

matiques; wherein is briefly discovered Union of Christ and the Church in a

the original causes of all schisme. Shadow. ’ The tract on Schistn has a

Written by a learned and judicious curious wood-cut in the title-jjage. If,

divine," London, 4to, printed for R. B. occasioned some controversy, not uew

supposed, to be Richard Bishop, who worth reviving. | forms us that he was bursar about the time when the contest began between the king and parliament, and when both armies had sequestered the college rents, so that he could not get any to pay wages to the servants, or to buy victuals for the scholars. But after nine weeks hiding himself to preserve the college writings and keys, he was forced to appear. The old woman that concealed him demanded but six-pence a week for his brown bread and beer, which was all his meat, and he would give her twelve-pence. This concealment was so near the college or highway, that he used to say, “those who searched for him might have smelt him if he had eaten garlick.

He continued in his fellowship at Eton, although he refused the covenant, but was ejected upon his refusal to take the engagement “to be faithful to the Common-wealth of England, as then established without a king, or a house of lords.” His successor, a Mr. Penwarn, or Penwarden, kindly offered him half the profits of his fellowship; but Mr. Hales refused to accept it, saying, if he had a right to any part, he had a right to the whole. Both Wood and Des Maizeaux have misrepresented this expression, which we give on the authority of Mr. Montague, one of his executors. About the same time he refused a liberal offer from a gentleman of the Sedley family, in Kent, of 100l. his board, and servants to attend him. In this spirit of independence he retired to the house of a Mrs. Salter, at Rickings, near Colebrook, accepting of a smaller salary of 50l. with his diet, to instruct her son. Here he also officiated as chaplain, performing the service according-to the liturgy of the church of England, in company with Dr. Henry King, the ejected bishop of Chichester, who was in the same house. But this retirement was soon disturbed by an order from the ruling powers, prohibiting all persons from harbouring malignants, or royalists; and although Mrs. Salter assured Mr. Hales that she was prepared to risk the consequences, he would not suffer her to incur any danger upon his account, but retired to the house of Hannah Dickenson, in Eton, whose husband had been his servant, and who administered the humble comforts she could afford with great care and respect. But being now destitute of every means of supporting himself, ne was obliged to sell (not the whole, as Wood says, but) a part of his valuable library to Cornelius Bee, a bookseller in London, for 700l. which, Walker informs us, and the fact | seems to be confirmed by Dr. Pearson in his preface to the “Golden Remains,” he shared with several ejected clergymen, scholars, and others.

We shall now relate a story which has appeared in the various accounts of his life, and which is at least interesting-, but in most particulars questionable. It is thus related,: “His friend Mr. Faringdon” (See Faringdon) “coming to see Hales some few months before his death, found him in very mean lodgings at Eton, but in a temper gravely ch earful, and well becoming a good man under such circumstances. After a slight and homely dinner, suitable to their situation, some discourse passed between them concerning their old friends, and the black and dismal aspect of the times; and at last Hales asked Faringdon to walk out with him into the church-yard. There this unhappy man’s necessities pressed him to tell his friend that he had been forced to sell his whole library, save a few books which he had given away, and six or eight little books of devotion which lay in his chamber; and that for money, he had no more than what he then shewed him, which was about seven or eight shillings; and ‘ besides,’ says he, < I doubt I am indebted for my lodging.‘ Faringdon, it seems, did not imagine that it had been so very low with him, and therefore was much surprised to hear it; but said that ’ he had at present money to command, and to-morrow would pay him fifty pounds, in part of the many sums he and his wife had received of him in their great necessities, and would pay him more as he shoukl want it.‘ But Hales replied, < No, you don’t owe me a penny; or if you do, I here forgive you; for you shall never pay me a penny. I know you and yours will have occasion for much more than what you have lately gotten; but if you know any other friend that hath too full a purse, and will spare me some of it, I will not refuse that.‘ To this Hales added, ’ When I die, which I hope is not far off, for I am weary of this uncharitable world, I desire you to see me buried in that place in the church-yard,‘ pointing to the place. l But why not in the church-/ said Faringdon, * with the provost (sir Henry Savile), sir Henry Wotton, and the rest of your friends and predecessors?’ ‘ Because,’ says he, * I am neither the founder of it, nor have I been a benefactor to it, nor shall I ever now be able to be Sq.'| Dr. Walker, who relates this story, informs us of the persons from whom he received it; but it is now unnecessary to trace a narrative so flatly contradicted by Mr. Hales’s will,*


The following: is a copy of his will, from Eton college register. “In Dei nomine Amen. May 19, 1656. My soul having been Ion;: since bfqutaihed unto the mercies of God in Jesus Christ my ouly Saviour, and my body naturally bequeathing itself to dust and ashes, out of which it was taken, I John Hales, of Eton, in the county of Bucks, C’eik, by this my last will and testament, do dispose of the small remainder of my poor and broken-estate, in manner and form following. First, I give to my sister Cicely Combes, 51. I give to my sister Bridget Guilliford, J/. More, I give to the poor of the town of Eton, to be distributed at the disci etion of iny executrix hereafter named, 51. More, I give tosix persons, to be appointed by my said executiix to carry my body to the grave, 31. to be distributed among them by even portions. More, I give to Mr. Thomas Mansfield, of Windsor, grocer, 51. More, I give to Mrs. Mary Collins, wife to Mr. John Collins, of Eton, 51. to this end and purpose, that she would be pleased to provide her a ring in what manner she listeth, to remain with her in memory of a poor <ler< aser friend. All which monies here bequt^ted, do nt this present rest intrusted in the hands of ray singular good friends Mr. William Smith, and Mr. Thomas Montague. ”Moreover, all my Greek and Latin books (except St. Jerome’s works, which 1 give to Mr. Thomas Montague), I give to my most deservedly beloved friend William Salter of Richkings, esq. to whom 1 further give 51. to this end, that he would provide him a fair seal-ring of gold, engraven with his arms and hatchments doubled and mantled, to preserve the memory of a poor deceased friend. All my English books, together with the remainder of all monies goods and utensils whatsoever, I give and bequeath to Mrs. Hannah Dickenson of Eton, widow and relict of John Dickenson, lately deceased. In whose house (for her’s indeed it is, and not mine, as being bought with her money, howsoever for some reasons I have suffered the public voice to entitle me to it) in whose house I say, I have for a long time (especially since my unjust and causeless extrusion from my college) been with great caieand good respect entertained. And her the said Hannah, I do by these presents constitute and ordain my sole executrix. And unto this my last will I make overseers rny very good friends Mr. Thomas Montague and Mr. William Smith, of Eton, and to each of them I give 5l. humbly requesting them to be assistant to my said executrix with their besr advice to help, it so be^he chance to find any trouble. “Now because monies are many times not at command, but may reqtfire some time to take them up, I ordain, that in six months after my departure, she see all these my bequests and legacies orderly and faithfully discharged. As for my funeral, I ordain that at the time of the next evensong after my departure (if conveniently it may be) my body be laid in the church-yard of the town of Eton (if 1 chance to die there), as near as may be to the body of my little godson, Jack Dickenson the elder; and this to be done in plain and simple manner, without any sermon, or ringing the bell, or calling the people together; without any unseasonable comme-sation or compotatiou. or other solemnity on such occasions usual. And t strictly command rny executiix, that neither of her own head, nor at the importunity or authority of any other, neither upon any other pretence whatsoever, to take upon her to dispense with this part of my will; for as in my life I have done the church no service, so I will not, that in my death, the church do me any honour.” Mr. Montague, mentioned here as an overseer or executor, was at that time usher of Eton school, afterwards head-master, and then fellow of the college. Mrs. Dickenson afterwards was married to Simon Powney, and has already been mentioned by that name.

in which we find him bequeathing a very | considerable property, and a very considerable part of his library, and indeed leaving such friendly legacies as are wholly inconsistent with the circumstances of a man reduced to a few shillings, and in debt for his lodging.

His last illness was of short duration, nor did it appear serious to his friends, with whom he conversed as freely as if in perfect health, within half an hour of his death. Mr. Montague, to whom he had been talking, left the room for about that time, and found him dead on his return. During this sickness, being aware that he was suspected of holding opinions adverse to the faith of the church of England, he made a declaration of his belief to his pupil, Mr. Salter, and appears to have recanted, if ever he held, opinions unfavourable to the doctrine of the Trinity. Mr. Salter made a memorandum of this from his mouth, which was long in possession of that family, as Mr. Fulman, when collecting materials for Hales’ s life, was credibly assured, both by Mr. Salter and by Mr. Montague. There is an article indeed in his “Remains” which seems to confirm this point, entitled his “Confession of the Trinity,” and may probably be the manuscript which Mr. Salter penned.

He died May 19, 1656, aged seventy-two, and was buried, according to his own desire, in Eton church-yard, where a monument was erected over his grave by Mr. Peter Curwen. In person, he was of an ingenuous and open countenance, sanguine, cheerful, and vivacious; his body was well proportioned, and his motion quick and sprightly. As to the excellence of his character, all writers seem agreed. Whatever his errors, he was esteemed a good man by those who knew him, and an able writer, as appears by the testimonies of lord Clarendon, lord Say and Sele, Dr. Pearson, bishop of Chester, Dr. Heylin, Andrew Marvel, Wood, Sailing-fleet, and others, quoted by sir David Dalrymple lord Hailes, in his fine edition of Hales’s works, and in the Biographia Britannica. “They,” says lord Hailes, “who are acquainted with the literary and political history of England, will perceive that the leading men of all parties, however different and discordant, have, with a wonderful unanimity, concurred in praise of the virtues and abilities of the ever memorable Mr. John Hales of Eton.

We do not find that Hales ever suffered any thing to be published in his life-time, except his oration at the funeral of sir Thomas Bodley. Bishop Pearson says, that “while | he lived, none was ever more solicited and urged to write, and thereby truly teach the world, than he; but that none was ever so resolved, pardon the expression, so obstinate against it.” In 1659, however, there appeared a collection of his works with this title, “Golden Remains of the ever-memorable Mr. John Hales of Eton college, &c.” which was enlarged with additional pieces in a second edition of 1673. This collection consists of sermons, miscellanies, and letters; all of them written upon particular occasions. In 1677 there appeared another collection of his works, entitled “Several Tracts by the ever-memorable Mr. John Hales, &c.” The 1st of which is, “Concerning the. Sin against the Holy Ghost;” 2. “Concerning the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and whether the Church may err in Fundamentals;” 3. “A Paraphrase on the 12th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew;” 4. “Concerning the power of the Keys, and auricular Confession;” 5. “Concerning Schism and Schismatics;” and some short pieces entitled “Miscellanies.” There is no preface nor advertisement to this volume, which seems to have been put out by the editor, who was thought to be sir Robert Filmer, with caution: but it is finely and correctly printed, with a portrait of Mr. Hales. To these volumes of posthumous works we must add the letter to archbishop Laud, mentioned before, which was printed in 1716. In 1765 lord Hailes edited a beautiful edition of his whole works, 3 vols. 12mo, with a very few alterations of obsolete words, and corrections in spelling, &c. Dr. Johnson blamed him for taking these liberties. We are more inclined to blame him for omitting bishop Pearson’s preface to the “Golden Remains,” with Faringdon’s Letter, which give a particular value to the edition of 1673. On the other hand, lord Hailes has added some letters and other articles which enhance the merit of his labours.

It remains to be mentioned, that Wood informs us that Mr. Hales not only associated with, and was respected by the wits of his time, sir John Suckling, sir William Davenant, Ben Jonson, &c. but would sometimes divert himself with writing verses; and that he had a talent for poetry he thinks appears from sir John Suckling’s tioning him in his “Session of Poets:

Hales, set by himself, most gravely did smile To see them about nothing keep such a coil. Apollo had spied him, but knowing his mind, Past by, and called Falkland that sat just behind.| But there is no proof that Mr. Hales of Eton was meant here, and still less proof of a letter in verse by sir John Suckling having been written to Mr. Hales at Eton, and beginning“” Sir, whether these lines do find you out," &c. It has more the appearance of one written to some person, at Oxford or Cambridge, than at Eton.

Mr. Faringdon had collected materials with a view to the life of Mr. Hales, which, Mr. Zouch informs us, were on his demise consigned to the care of Isaac Walton, by Mr. Fulman of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, who had proposed to finish the work, and on that occasion had applied for the assistance of Mr. Walton. Mr. Zouch adds, that “the result of this application is not known.” Having, however, by the kindness of Henry Ellis, esq. of the British museum, had access to a transcript of Mr. Fulman’s Mss. in Corpus college, as far as they regard the project of writing Hales’s life, we are enabled to say that it was a Mr. Milington, and not Mr. Fulman, who sent Faringdon’s materials to Mr. Walton, and that the latter gave Fulman every information in his power. By the same Mss. we have been enabled to correct many mistakes in Des Maizeaux’s life of Haiti, as well as in those in the General Dictionary, and Biographia Britannica. 1


Gen. Dict. Biog. Brit. Des Maizeaux’s Life interleaved with ms notes and corrections, apparently intended as materials for a life. Letters by eminent persons, 3 vols. 8vo, 1813.