A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Hall, Joseph

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Hall, Joseph (1574-1656). -- Divine, b. at Ashby-de-la-Zouche, and ed. at Camb., he entered the Church, and became in 1627 Bishop of Exeter, and in 1641 Bishop of Norwich. He had a chequered career. He accompanied James I. to Scotland in 1617, and was a Deputy to the Synod of Dort. Accused of Puritanism, and at enmity with Laud, he fell on troublous days, and was, in 1641, imprisoned in the Tower for joining those bishops who protested against the validity of laws passed during their exclusion (owing to tumult in the streets) from Parliament. Returning to Norwich he found that his revenues had been sequestrated, and his private property seized. In 1647 he retired to a small farm near Norwich, where he passed the remainder of his life. Among his works are Contemplations, Characters of Virtues and Vices (1614), and his Virgidemiarum, or Satires (1597-8), the last written before he was in orders, and condemned by Archbishop Whitgift to be burned. Pope, however, thought them "the best poetry and truest satire in the English language." H.'s Divine Right of Episcopacy gave rise to much controversy, in which Archbishop Ussher, Milton, and the writers who called themselves "Smectymnuus" (a combination of their initials) took part.