Heath, James

, an English historian, was born 1629, in London, where his father, who was the king’s cutler, lived. He was educated at Westminster-school, and was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1646. In 1648 he was ejected thence by the parliament-visitors, for his adherence to the royal cause lived upon his patrimony till it was almost spent and then married, which prevented his return to Christ Church at the restoration, where he might have qualified himself for one of the learned professions. To maintain his family he now commenced author, and corrector of the press. He died of a consumption and dropsy, at London, in August 1664, and left several children to the parish. He published, 1. “A brief Chronicle of the late intestine War in the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, &c.1661, 8vo, afterwards enlarged by the author, and completed from 1637 to 1663, in four parts, 1663, in a thick 8vo; a work which, on account of the numerous portraits, rather than its intrinsic value, bears a very high price. To this edition was again added a continuation from 1663 to 1675 by John Philips, nephew by the mother to Milton, 1676, folio. 2. “Elegy | upon Dr. Thomas Fuller,” 1661. 3. “The glories and magnificent triumphs of the blessed Restoration of king Charles II. &c. 1662,” 8vo. 4. “Flagellum or, the Life and Death, Birth and Burial, of Oliver Cromwell, the late usurper,1663, of which a third edition came out with additions in 1665, 8vo. 5. “Elegy on Dr. Sanderson, bishop of Lincoln,1662. 6. “A new book of loyal English Martyrs and Confessors, who have endured the pains and terrors of death, arraignment, &c. for the maintenance of the just and legal government of these kingdoms both in church and state,1663, 12mo. 7. “Brief but exact Survey of the Affairs of the United Netherlands, &.c.” 12mo. Heath, as a historian, is entitled to little praise on account of style or argument, but his works contain many lesser particulars illustrative of the characters and manners of the times, which are interesting to a curious inquirer. In the meanest historian there will always be found some facts, of which there will be no cause to doubt the truth, and which yet will not be found in the best; and Heath, who perhaps had nothing but pamphlets and newspapers to compile from, frequently relates facts that throw light upon the history of those times, which Clarendon, though he drew every thing from the most authentic records, has omitted. 1


Ath. Ox, vol. II. Letters by eminent persons, 3 vols. 8vo, 1813.