Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/38

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Abbot
Abbot
24

stance of well-directed energy and enterprise; it is one of the earliest examples we have of the creation of enormous wealth by the application of great personal abilities to commerce, and illustrates the extraordinary development of the English foreign trade at the close of the sixteenth and opening of the seventeenth centuries.

[Life of Dr. George Abbot, reprinted by Onslow from the Biographia Britannica, with the lives of his two brothers (Guildford, 1777); Remembrancia of the City of London, 166, 304; W. N. Sainsbury's Colonial State Papers (East Indies, China, Japan), 1600–24; Foster's Collectanea Genealogica, vol. i.; Brayley and Mantell's History of Surrey, i. 392–3; Heywood's Porta Pietatis, edited by F. W. Fairholt, in Percy Society's Publications, x. part ii. pp. 55–78; Calendars of Dom. State Papers, addenda, 1580–1625, and from 1619 to 1639.]

S. L. L.

ABBOT, ROBERT (1560–1617), bishop of Salisbury, elder brother of George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Guildford in Surrey, about 1560, and educated at the free school there. The talent he evinced in a school ‘oration’ on the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession (17 Nov. 1571) appears to have led to his election to a scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, where he shortly after entered (Life by Featley, in Fuller's Abel Redivivus, ed. 1651, p. 540). He was elected fellow in 1581, proceeded M.A. in the following year, and in 1597 was admitted D.D. Having entered holy orders and been appointed lecturer both at St. Martin's Church in Oxford and at Abingdon in Berkshire, he soon began to attract attention by his abilities as a preacher, and a sermon delivered at Worcester resulted in his appointment as lecturer in that important centre, and subsequently to the rectory of All Saints in the same city. About the same time a sermon which he preached at Paul's Cross procured for him the valuable living of Bingham in Nottinghamshire, to which he was presented by John Stanhope, Esq., an ancestor of the present patron, the Earl of Chesterfield. His oratory, as contrasted with that of his brother, the archbishop, is thus characterised by Fuller: ‘George was the more plausible preacher, Robert the greater scholar; George the abler statesman, Robert the deeper divine; gravity did frown in George, and smile in Robert’ (Worthies, Surrey, p. 82).

Abbot's reputation was increased by the publication in the year 1594 of his ‘Mirror of Popish Subtleties,’ designed as a refutation of the arguments advanced by Sander and Bellarmine against the protestant theory of the sacraments. On the accession of James I he was appointed one of the royal chaplains in ordinary. In the same year he published his ‘Antichristi Demonstratio,’ also designed as a reply to Bellarmine. This treatise was regarded by James with so much approval that he directed that a portion of his own commentary on Revelations (on the passage xx. 7–10) should be appended to the second edition — an honour unaccorded, says Abbot's biographer, to any other of the ‘great clerks’ of the realm (Abel Red. p. 541). It may be added that James's high estimate appears to have been concurred in by Bishop Andrewes. But the work which chiefly served to establish Abbot's reputation with his contemporaries was his ‘Defence of the Reformed Catholike of Mr. William Perkins’ (published in three separate parts 1606–9). The ‘Reformed Catholike’ of that eminent divine was admitted by writers of the Roman party to be the ablest exposition of heretical belief, and Abbot, in his ‘Defence,’ clearly indicates his sympathy with the puritan party, deriving the true tradition of the early church through the Albigenses, Lollards, Huguenots, and Calvinists, in distinct opposition not only to Tridentine doctrine, but also to the views of the Arminian party, which were then beginning to gather strength within the English church (pt. ii. p. 55). In the concluding part Abbot drew ‘the true ancient Roman Catholike’ as he himself conceived the character. He dedicated his performance to Prince Henry, who acknowledged the dedication in an autograph letter in which he promised that Abbot should not be forgotten in the future distribution of church preferment. In 1609 he returned to his own college at Oxford as master, a piece of preferment for which he was indebted mainly to Archbishop Bancroft's influence. He continued to preside over the society at Balliol until his promotion in 1615 to the see of Salisbury. His rule (of which his biographer gives a detailed account), while notable for assiduous care for the general welfare of the students, appears, like that of Whitgift at Trinity College, Cambridge, to have been distinguished by a rigorous enforcement of discipline, and especially of religious observances (Abel Rediv. p. 543). In 1610 he was appointed a fellow of the newly founded college at Chelsea, designed by King James as a school of controversial divinity and a bulwark against popery. In the same year he also obtained the prebend of Normanton attached to the ancient church of Southwell, ‘the mother church’ of Nottinghamshire. In 1612 he was appointed by King James