Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Abbot
Abbot
20

in the Valteline, which appears in the seventh edition of Foxe’s ‘Acts and Monuments,’ 1631–2, and the ‘Judgment on Bowing at the Name of Jesus,’ published at Hamburg in 1632. He is also said to have shared with Sir Henry Savile the expense of republishing in 1618 Bradwardine’s ‘Cause of God against the Pelagians.’ Abbot drew up biographical accounts (1) of his connection with the Essex divorce case, printed in the ‘State Trials’ (ii. 805–62); (2) of his accident in Bramshill Park, printed, with other documents on the subject, in ‘Reliquiæ Spelmanniæ’ and in the ‘State Trials’ (ii. 1165–9); these papers, although written in the third person, may be confidently attributed to his pen (copies of them in manuscript are among the Tanner MSS. at Oxford); and (3) of his sequestration, printed in Rushworth’s ‘Historical Collections’ (i. 434 et seq.), and reprinted by Mr. Arber (1882) in his ‘English Garner,’ iv. 535–76. Several of his letters remain in manuscript at the Bodleian among the Tanner MSS.

Abbot’s portrait was several times painted, and engravings after Vandergucht and Houbraken are often met with. A portrait was engraved in 1616 by Simon Pass, in oval, with a view of Lambeth in the background, and eight Latin lines beneath (Evans, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 1, ii. 1). A half-length portrait, of uncertain authorship, is in the chapel of Abbot’s hospital at Guildford. There is a gloominess of expression in these pictures which, while confirming the moroseness of disposition usually ascribed to him, is yet tempered, on closer examination, by much natural kindliness.

[The fullest accounts of Abbot’s life are to be found in the Biographia Britannica and in Hook’s Lives of the Archbishops. The former was by William Oldys, and was reprinted at Guildford, in a separate volume by Speaker Onslow, a fellow-townsman of Abbot, in 1777. It is full of references to all printed authorities accessible in the eighteenth century. Hook’s Life (1875) attempts to incorporate with the older biography some more recently discovered information, but is only very partially successful; it is disfigured by many errors as to dates and by want of sympathy with Abbot’s position. Hook gave a less elaborate, but more valuable, account of Abbot in his Ecclesiastical Biography, 1845. By far the best account of Abbot is to be found in Mr. S. R. Gardiner’s sketches of him in his History of England. Original authorities for Abbot’s biography are his own papers and works, referred to above, which should be compared with Laud’s diary and Heylin’s Cyprianus Anglicanus, or the Life of Laud, on the other side. Abbot’s will was printed at Guildford by Onslow in 1777. Hearne’s biographical notice in Rawlinson MS. C. 146, f. 386, and Dr. White Kennet’s biographical notes on Abbot in Lansdowne MS. 984, are of very little value. The Domestic State Papers from 1600 to 1633 are full of references to his public and private life, and contain a vast number of his letters. The Rolls of Parliament; Wood’s Athenæ Oxonienses; Strype’s Annals; Winwood’s Memorials; Rymer’s Fœdera; Hacket’s Life of Williams; and the publications of the Camden, Abbotsford, and Bannatyne Societies concerning the reign of James I throw occasional light on Abbot’s life; Nichols’s Progresses is very useful for his relations with the court. It is important to compare the views taken of him in Clarendon’s History, in Fuller’s Church History, and in Neal’s History of the Puritans.]

S. L. L.


ABBOT, GEORGE (1603–1648), religious writer, has been persistently mistaken for other George Abbots. He is invariably described as a clergyman, which he never was, and as son of Sir Maurice (or Morris) Abbot, who had indeed a son George, but not this George. Similarly, in the bibliographical authorities, he is erroneously designated nephew of George (Abbot), archbishop of Canterbury. He was of a different family from both Sir Maurice Abbot and the archbishop. This George Abbot was son or grandson—it is not clear which—of Sir Thomas Abbot, knight, of Easington, East Yorkshire, and was born there in 1603–4, his mother (or grandmother) being of the ancient house of Pickering.

Of his early, as of his later education, nothing has been transmitted. Whilst his writings evidence ripe and varied scholarship and culture on somewhat out-of-the-way lines, e.g. Hebrew and patristic—there is no record of academic training.

He married a daughter of the once famous Colonel Purefoy of Caldecote, Warwickshire: and as the inscription on his tomb—still extant there—tells us, he bravely held the manorhouse against the Princes Rupert and Maurice during the great civil war.

As a layman and nevertheless a theologian and scholar of original capacity and remarkable attainments, he holds a unique place in the literature of the period. His ‘Whole Book of Job Paraphrased, or made easy for any to understand’ (1640, 4to), is in striking contrast with the prolixity of contemporary commentators and expositors. His ‘Vindiciæ Sabbathi’ (1641) had a deep and permanent influence in the long Sabbatarian controversy. His ‘Brief Notes upon the whole Book of Psalms’ (1651, 4to), as its date shows, was posthumous. He died 2 Feb. 1648.

[MS. collections for History of the Abbots, by J. T. Abbot, Esq., F.S.A., of Darlington;