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of literary eminence (with the exception of sir Thomas More) published any piece of consequence in English. On this account, the vernacular language, long after the invention of printing, instead of being refined, was corrupted by various affected additions and barbarisms. In the extract from the Toxophilus, we have seen Ascham complaining of this; and feeling its impropriety, he was the first, after More, who had the resolution to throw off the fetters of a learned language. The Toxophilus (as above noticed) was published the last year of Henry VIII. or in 1545.
This universal attention to polite literature, the prominent feature in the literary character of the age of which we are treating, had one bad effect: it excluded philosophy We need not regret, perhaps, that the redoubted logicians and metaphysicians Duns Scotus, and Thomas Aquinas were abandoned; but we have reason to lament that words usurped the place of things, to the knowledge of which they are merely secondary and subservient. The improvement of society can never be greatly advanced by mere verbalists. These men had their use in their day; but it re
quired the genius of a Bacon to illumine, with light full and clear, the benighted intellects of men, by instructing them, that it is only by the successive accumulation of facts susceptible of useful or refined applications, to which society can be indebted for a certain and rapid progression.
JOHN Fox, divine, and ecclesiastical historian, was born at Boston, in Lincolnshire, in 1517, being the same year that Luther began the reformation in Germany. His father dying when he was young, the care of his early education was undertaken by a father-inlaw; and at the age of sixteen, he entered at Brazen-nose College, Oxford, where, in the years 1538, and 1543, he took his degrees in
He engaged with great ardour in the study of divinity, and had embraced the principles of the reformers without any previous intercourse with any of them. But in order to make himself master of the theological controversies which then disturbed and divided all Europe, he began to examine into the history of the church, both in ancient and modern
times. In this course of study, before the age of thirty, he had read over all the Greek and Latin fathers, the schoolmen, the councils, the consistories, and had also attained a com→ petent skill in the Hebrew language. The consequence of this examination was, that he adopted on principle the tenets of the reformers; was convicted of heresy, and in 1545, was expelled the university, narrowly escaping with life.
He afterwards became preceptor successive ly to the children of sir Thomas Lucy, of Warwickshire, and to those of the earl of Surry, nephew of the duchess of Richmond, under whose inspection the children had been from the committment of the earl, and his father the duke of Norfolk, to the Tower. In this last situation he continued during the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII. the reign of Edward VI. and part of that of Mary; when through fear of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, who had issued a warrant to ap prehend him, he was compelled to fly his country; and at Basil in Germany, a common resort of our countrymen of those times from the persecutions of bigotry, supported himself
and family, by correcting the press for Opos rinus, the celebrated printer.
On the settlement of Elizabeth on the throne, he returned to England, obtained a prebend in the church of Salisbury, which, though a non-conformist, he retained to his death.
The respect of his cotemporaries would have advanced him to the first preferment in the church, could he have been prevailed upon to subscribe to the established canons. He died in 1587, at the age of seventy.
His principal work is his History of the Acts and Monuments of the Church, commonly called, "Fox's Book of Martyrs." It was first published at London, 1563, in one thick volume folio; and was afterwards printed in two, and then in three. The ninth edition was published in 1684, with copper-plates. The full title is, "Acts and Monuments of these fatter and perilous days, touching matters of the church, wherein are comprehended and described the great persecutions and horrible troubles that have been wrought and practised by the Romish prelates, specially in this realm of England and Scotland, from the