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Fuller Thomas

Fuller, Thomas, D.D., was born at Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, in 1608. Possessing excellent abilities, he went to Queen's College, Cambridge, where his uncle was president, and took his M.A. degree in 1628. For a year or two he held a curacy in Cambridge, but in 1631 he received a prebend in Salisbury, and, soon afterwards, the rectory of Broadwindsor, Dorset, where he spent six years in parish work and in composing The Holy War, in which he deals with the Crusades, and The Holy and Prophane States, a series of character sketches. Meanwhile his own social qualities and literary merits, with the help of family interest, had brought him into prominence as a popular London preacher and a member of Convocation. In 1640 was published his first volume of sermons, Joseph's Parti-Coloured Coat, and in that year he married. He was sent to Oxford with the Westminster Petition (1643), but his mission broke down. That year also witnessed the death of his wife and his own flight to the king at Oxford. He showed his devotion to the cause by joining Lord Hopton's regiment as chaplain, and he subsequently took part in the defence of Basing House, whence he proceeded to Exeter, and spent two years in that city. During this period he was assiduously collecting materials for his Church History and his Worthies of England. He now came to terms with the Parliamentarians, and returned to London, where in 1646 he brought out his Life of Andronicus. a veiled satire on the Roundhead leaders, and followed it up with Good Thoughts in Worse Times, The Wounded Conscience, and a translation of the Annates of Ussher. Lord Carlisle now gave him the curacy of Waltham Abbey, and here he settled down to his great task - the completion of the Church History, which appeared in 1655. Before this he had composed A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine (1650), and was attacked by South and Peter Heylin. The Hon. George Berkeley gave him the living of Crawford in 1658, and next year was printed his reply to Heylin under the title The Appeal of Injured Innocence. The proposal to institute an oath of fealty to the Commonwealth drew from him, in 1660, An Alarm to the Counties of England and Wales, and Mixt Contemplations in Better Times, wherein the approaching Restoration was plainly foreshadowed. He visited Charles II. at the Hague just before that event, which he celebrated in a poem entitled A Paneggrick to His Majesty on his Happy Return. His preferments were at once restored to him, but he did not enjoy them long, for an attack of typhus carried him off in 1661, before he had prepared the Worthies for the press. He was remarkably free from narrow prejudice and imbued with shrewd practical wisdom as well as with a love of goodness and truth.