Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 18.djvu/300

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him preach before the king ‘a very formal discourse, and in blank verse, according to his manner.’ Fell was vice-chancellor of Oxford in 1666, the next two years, and part of 1669, and he set himself to bring back the university to the state in which it had been in the days of Laud. He rigidly enforced the use of the proper academical dress. He reformed the schools, and attended personally at examinations for degrees, and when the examiners were lax or incapable would personally conduct the examination. All masters of arts (or inceptors) were still bound to lecture publicly; but the audiences at these lectures were so small that they were commonly called ‘wall lectures,’ as being addressed to bare walls. Fell caused the students to attend, and was himself constantly present at the disputations for the higher degrees. The fact of the disputations being held in St. Mary's Church was distasteful to Fell's reverential ideas, and it was chiefly through his influence that Archbishop Sheldon erected the fine building which bears his name to be the place for holding the ‘acts.’

Fell did much for the University Press. He improved the style of printing in Oxford. A letter which he wrote on the subject to Sancroft appears in Gutch's ‘Collectanea Curiosa,’ i. 269. He was most liberal in dispensing his money for public purposes, sometimes leaving himself almost without funds for his private expenses. He gave free instruction to Philip Henry and other poor scholars (Life of Henry, 4th ed. pp. 22–3), was the patron of John Mill the biblical scholar, and employed John Batteley [q. v.] in collating manuscripts. William Nichols was his amanuensis for seven years (Hearne, Collect. ed. Doble, ii. 299). Langbaine lent him books (ib. p. 109). Dr. Thomas Smith dined with him at the deanery once a week, and showed great respect for his learning (ib. p. 76). Humphrey Prideaux was a special friend, and helped him with a projected edition of ‘Florus’ (cf. Life of Prideaux, and Prideaux's Letters to John Ellis). Henry Dodwell the elder undertook his ‘Dissertations upon St. Cyprian’ at Fell's suggestion, and Fell had the Bodleian MSS. of St. Augustine's works collated for the use of the Benedictines of Paris, who were preparing a new edition. He also projected the printing of a Malay gospel. Among other costly schemes he employed two scholars to translate Wood's ‘History of Oxford’ into Latin (1674). Wood complained of Fell's ‘taking to himself liberty of putting in and out several things according to his own judgment,’ and of the errors made by the translators, an opinion borne out by Henry Wharton. The ‘Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores Veteres’ (1684–91) was begun by William Fulman [q. v.] under Fell's patronage. Further services to literature are commemorated by Dr. Thomas Smith in prefaces to his ‘Vitæ’ and his edition of Camden's ‘Epistolæ,’ 1691.

In 1675–6 Fell's manifold labours were increased by his promotion to the see of Oxford, in succession to Dr. Henry Compton, translated to London. He was allowed to hold his deanery in commendam with his bishopric, and also the mastership of St. Oswald's Hospital at Gloucester. He is said to have been opposed to the Exclusion Bill, although his attitude seemed dubious to his friends (Hearne, ii. 300). On 6 Nov. 1684 the Earl of Sunderland wrote to Fell urging him to expel from Christ Church John Locke, then a student there. Locke and Fell had been very good friends in early days. In 1675 Locke had left for Holland, on account, it was said, of failing health, but he was at the time suspected of being author of a pamphlet obnoxious to the government. Fell now replied (8 Nov.) that Locke's conduct had been unexceptionable, but that he would issue a summons ordering him to return to Christ Church by 1 Jan. 1685, and if he disobeyed he would be dismissed for contumacy. But on 11 Nov. James II directed Fell to expel Locke at once; and with this order the bishop immediately complied (Fox, James II, Appendix; King, Locke, i. 274–91; Fox Bourne, Locke, i. 483–6). In 1685 he summoned the undergraduates of Oxford to take up arms against Monmouth.

Burnet speaks highly of Fell's work as a bishop, and describes him as ‘a most exemplary man, but a little too much heated in the matter of our disputes with the dissenters.’ Wood speaks of him much more unkindly as a bishop than he did as dean. Perhaps the former notice was written after he had been offended by the alterations of his ‘History.’ ‘He left behind him,’ he says, ‘the character of a valde vult person, who, by his grasping at and undertaking too many affairs relating to the public (few of which he thoroughly effected), brought him untimely to his end.’ His principal work as bishop was the rebuilding of the episcopal house at Cuddesdon. Fell died 10 July 1686, worn out by the multiplicity of his labours, and was buried in the cathedral of Christ Church, where a monument with a long inscription records the chief events of his life. Evelyn, recording his death, speaks of it as an ‘extraordinary loss to the poor church at this time.’ Fell was known to be one of the staunchest opponents of popery.

Though living so busy a life, Fell was able to publish some valuable works. The chief