Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/138

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


and it was generally believed that he died of a broken heart, owing to the queen's disregard of his twenty-six years' service. His body was embalmed, and he is reported to have been buried in Yattendon Church, Berkshire, but there is no entry in the parish register. His father is said to have given him the neighbouring manor-house, but he had had little leisure to spend there. A monument, with a long inscription which very incorrectly describes his services, still stands in the church, and his helmet hangs above it (Newbury and its Neighbourhood, 1839, p. 229). His effigy also appears in the Norris monument in Westminster Abbey. The queen sent to his parents a stately letter of condolence (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595–1597, p. 502; Nichols, Progresses, iii. 420). Popularly he was regarded as one of the most skilful and successful military officers of the day, and his achievements in Holland and Brittany fully supported his reputation. But his failure in Ireland in later life proved him incapable as a diplomatist, and prone to dissipate his energy in futile wrangling with colleagues whom it was his duty to conciliate.

A portrait by Zucchero has been engraved by J. Fane.

[Authorities cited; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors, vols. ii. and iii. passim; Cal. of State Papers, Domestic and Ireland, esp. 1595–7; Cal. of Carew Papers; Bertie's Life of Lord Willoughby in Five Generations of a Noble House; Birch's Memoirs; Fuller's Worthies; Collins's Sydney Papers; Motley's Dutch Republic and United Netherlands; Markham's Fighting Veres; Edwards's Life of Raleigh; Churchyard's Civil Wars in the Netherlands, 1602, which includes chapters on Norris's services in both Brittany and Ireland.]

S. L.

NORRIS, JOHN (1657–1711), divine, was the son of John Norris, incumbent of Collingbourne-Kingston, Wiltshire, where the son was born in 1657. The elder Norris afterwards became rector of Ashbourne, Wiltshire, and died on 16 March 1681. A tract written by him against conventicles was published by the son in 1685. The younger Norris was educated at Winchester, and in 1676 entered Exeter College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. on 16 June 1680. A dispute was going on at this time between the warden and the fellows of All Souls', the fellows refusing to take an oath which would prevent them from disposing of their offices for money. The warden forbade an election, and the appointment thereupon lapsed to the visitor, Archbishop Sancroft, who at the warden's suggestion appointed Norris to one of the vacant places. The warden described him as an ‘excellent scholar,’ and he soon became a prolific author. His earliest writings (see below) show that he was already of mystical tendencies, and was a student of Platonism. In 1683–4 he had a correspondence with the famous Platonist, Henry More [q. v.], upon metaphysical problems (appended to his ‘Theory of Love’). A sermon on the ‘Root of Liberty,’ published in 1685, is dedicated to More, with whom he had discussed the theory of the freedom of the will contained in it. Other early writings show that he was a decided churchman, opposed both to whigs and nonconformists. On 22 April 1684 he took his M.A. degree, and was soon afterwards ordained. In 1687 he published his most popular book, the ‘Miscellanies.’ It includes some poems characteristic of his religious views, one of which (‘The Parting’) contains a line about ‘angels' visits, short and bright,’ afterwards adopted in Blair's ‘Grave’ and Campbell's ‘Pleasures of Hope.’ In 1689 he accepted the living of Newton St. Loe, Somerset, and married. In the following year he published his ‘Christian Blessedness,’ the appendix to which contains his criticism upon Locke's recently published ‘Essay.’ In 1692 he became rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury—the former home of George Herbert. The income, we are told, was 200l. or 300l. a year, and welcome to a man with a growing family. He says, however, himself in 1707 that his clear income was little more than 70l. a year, and that the world ran ‘strait and hard with him.’ He remarks also that he had no chance of preferment in the diocese, of which Burnet was then bishop (Aubrey, Letters, &c., 1813, pp. 156–8, and see anecdote in Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 640). Some of his books were popular, and went through many editions, but apparently brought him little profit. According to John Dunton [q. v.] he supplied many hints to the ‘Athenian Gazette,’ and would take no reward, though his strong memory and wide reading made him very useful. His theories led him into various controversies. He attacked the quakers for what he held to be their ‘gross notion’ of the inner light as compared with his philosophy, and he replied to Toland's attack upon Christian mysteries. He corresponded with the learned ladies, Mary Astell and Locke's friend, Lady Masham, with the last of whom he had a controversy upon the exclusive love of God. He then devoted his time to his chief performance, the ‘Essay towards the Theory of an Ideal and Intelligible World,’ which appeared in two parts in 1701 and 1704. Norris was a disciple of Malebranche, and expounds his master's doctrine of the vision of all things in God, in