Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 24.djvu/93

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yet visited. He was at first received with considerable respect, and his sermons attentively listened to. Probably also he enjoyed at first some of the revenues of the see. But on the passing of the act for sequestration of the property of malignants, in which Hall was mentioned by name (April 1643), commissioners were sent to Norwich, who not only impounded all the rents of the see then due, but seized everything in the palace, ‘not leaving so much as a dozen of trenchers or the children's pictures.’ Some charitable friends, Mrs. Goodwin and Mr. Cook, paid to the sequestrators the amount at which the goods were valued, and the bishop was allowed to use them a little longer. Meantime, being now utterly destitute of resources, he applied to the committee of the eastern counties for an allowance, and they assigned him the 400l. a year which had been voted by parliament. This, however, was at once stopped by the London committee, which ordered that ‘the fifth’ allowed to the wives and families of ‘malignants’ should be the only payment made to him. There was considerable difficulty in ascertaining what these fifths amounted to, and the bishop and his family were still kept without payment. The bishop continued with great courage to hold his place, ordaining and instituting even after the passing of the covenant. He was frequently threatened and insulted. The townspeople forced their way into his chapel and obliged him to demolish the painted windows. They desecrated and wrecked the cathedral, with circumstances of the greatest profanity, and at length violently expelled the bishop and his family from the palace in so sudden a manner that they would have had to lie in the street all night had it not been for the kindness of a Mr. Gostlin, who gave up his house to them. The ‘Hard Measure,’ which relates all these troubles, was published in May 1647, and it is probable that the bishop's ejection from his palace took place not long before this, as no mention is made in it of his removal to Higham. To this village near Norwich he removed with his family, renting a small house near the church, which afterwards became the Dolphin inn; and here he lived for about ten years in retirement and devotional works, dying 8 Sept. 1656, in the eighty-second year of his age. A funeral sermon preached in Norwich at the bishop's death by the Rev. J. Whitefoot, the parson of Higham, states that when forbidden to preach, and afterwards prevented by infirmity, he still attended divine service. The bishop suffered much in his latter years from bodily diseases, but was remarkable for his patience and sweetness of temper. He was very generous in his charitable gifts, though his means were but small, ‘giving a weekly contribution of money to certain poor widows to his dying day.’ He does not seem to have resented the ill-treatment he had received, and took no part in public affairs after his forced retirement. Fuller's estimate of his works is probably as true as any that can be made. ‘He was commonly called our English Seneca for his pure, plain, and full style. Not ill at controversies, more happy at comments, very good in his characters, better in his sermons, best of all in his meditations’ (Worthies, p. 441).

By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of George Winiffe of Brettenham, Suffolk (she died 27 Aug. 1652, aged 69), Hall had six sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Robert Hall, D.D. (1605–1667), became canon of Exeter in 1629, and archdeacon of Cornwall in 1633. Joseph Hall, the second son (1607–1669), was registrar of Exeter Cathedral. George, the third son (1612–1668), bishop of Chester, is noticed separately. Samuel, the fourth son (1616–1674), was sub-dean of Exeter.

As a theological writer Hall occupies a middle place between Bishop Andrewes and Jeremy Taylor. He had somewhat of the pungent quaintness of Andrewes, without being so grotesque; and much of the eloquence and power of learned illustration of Taylor. His accommodating temper may be held by some to be his chief fault, but it is fair to attribute it rather to an excess of charity than a lack of honesty. Hall's devotional works are certainly his best. To this class rather than to that of exegesis we may assign his ‘Contemplations upon the Principall Passages of the Holy Storie,’ issued in eight volumes between 1612 and 1626, and again in the edition of his works in 1634. ‘Contemplations on the New Testament’ first appeared in the folio of 1662, after the bishop's death. Among the bishop's works are ‘Six Decades of Epistles,’ some of which run almost into treatises, and also a great number of essays or treatises upon various practical subjects. His work as a commentator is represented by his ‘Paraphrase of Hard Texts from Genesis to Revelation’ (1633, fol.). Something has already been said of his writings as a satirist and a controversialist. He was not free from the tendency to scurrility when arguing against the Roman church, though he did much to raise the tone of the English controversialists against Rome. Several folio editions of his works were published by the bishop in his lifetime, viz. in 1621, 1625, and 1634. The preface of the first folio has an extravagant laudation of King James, reprinted in the