The Worthy Doctor Fuller
M.J. Cohen celebrates the life of Thomas Fuller, a pioneer historian and contemporary of Milton, with whom he shares a 400th anniversary.
History maketh a young man to be old, without either wrinkles or grey hairs; privileging him with the experience of age, without either the infirmities or inconveniences thereof. Yea, it not only maketh things past, present; but enableth one to make a rational conjecture of things to come. For this world affordeth no new accidents ... Old actions return again, furbished over with some new and different circumstances.
(Thomas Fuller in the Epistle Dedicatory to his The History of the Holy War, March 6th, 1639).
- Ship Money and Mr Justice Hutton
- The Wars of the Three Kingdoms
As he made plain in his actions and writings during the ‘troublesome times’ through which he lived, Fuller was always seeking a peaceful ‘accommodation’. This was partly out of self-interest, for, as a royalist, his position was vulnerable and his livings ever precarious. The Faithful Minister in Fuller’s The Holy State (1642) is characterized as ‘moderate in his tenets and opinions. Not that he gilds over lukewarmness in matters of moment with the title of “discretion”; but, withal, he is careful not to entitle violence, in indifferent and inconcerning matters, to be zeal.’ John Milton in his pamphlet Of Reformation of that year had no doubts whom the Parliamentary party blamed for the advent of civil war: