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COPY OF A LETTER
MR. IZAAK WALTON,
DOCTOR KING, LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER.
Though a familiarity of more than forty years' continuance, and the constant experience of your love, even in the worst of the late sad times, be sufficient to endear our friendship; yet, I must confess my affection much improved, not only by evidences of private respect to many that know and love you, but by your new demonstration of a public spirit, testified in a diligent, true, and useful collection of so many material passages as you have now afforded me in the Life of venerable Mr. Hooker; of which, since desired by such a friend as yourself, I shall not deny to give the testimony of what I know concerning him and his learned books; but shall first here take a fair occasion to tell you, that you have been happy in
choosing to write the Lives of three such persons, as posterity hath just cause to honor ; which they will do the more for the true relation of them by your happy pen : of all which I shall give you my unfeigned censure.
I shall begin with my most dear and incomparable friend, Dr. Donne, late Dean of St. Paul's Church, who not only trusted me as his executor, but, three days before his death, delivered into my hands those excellent Sermons of his, now made public; professing before Dr. Winniff, Dr. Monford, and, I think, yourself then present at his bed-side, that it was by my restless importunity, that he had prepared them for the press ; together with which (as his best legacy) he gave me all his sermon-notes, and his other
papers, containing an extract of near fifteen hundred authors. How these were got out of my hands, you, who were the
messenger for them, and how lost both to me and yourself, is not now seasonable to complain. But, since they did miscarry, I am glad that the general demonstration of his worth was so fairly preserved, and represented to the world by your pen in the history of his life; indeed so well; that beside others, the best critic of our later time (Mr. John Hales of Eaton College) affirmed to me, he had not seen a life written with more advantage to the subject, or more reputation to the writer, than that of Dr. Donne's.
After the performance of this task for Dr. Donne, you undertook the like office for your friend, Sir Henry Wotton ; betwixt which two there was a friendship begun in Oxford, continued in their various travels, and more confirmed in the religious friendship of age : and doubtless this excellent person had writ the Life of Dr. Donne, if death had not prevented him ; by which means his and your pre-collections for that work fell to the happy menage of your pen,
a work which you would have declined, if imperious persuasions had not been stronger than your modest resolutions against it. And I am thus far glad, that the first Life was so imposed upon you, because it gave an unavoidable cause of writing the second : if not, it is too probable we had wanted both, which had been a prejudice to all lovers of honor and ingenious learning. And let me not leave my friend, Sir Henry, without this testimony added to yours; that he was a man of as florid a wit, and as elegant a pen, as any former (or ours, which in that kind is a most excellent) age hath ever produced.
And now, having made this voluntary observation of our two deceased friends, I proceed to satisfy your desire concerning what I know and believe of the ever-memorable Mr. Hooker, who
“Schismaticorum Malleus," so great a champion for the Church of England's rights against
the factious torrent of Separatists,' that then ran high against church discipline; and in his unanswerable books continues to be so against the unquiet disciples of their schism, which now, der other names, still carry on their design, and who (as the proper heirs of their irrational zeal) would again rake into the scarce closed wounds of a newly bleeding state and church.
And first, though I dare not say that I knew Mr. Hooker; yet, as our Ecclesiastical History reports to the honor of St. Ignatius, “that he lived in the time of St. John, and had seen him in his childhood ; " so I also joy, that in my
minority I have often seen Mr. Hooker with my father, who was after Bishop of London; from whom and others, at that time, I have heard most of the material passages which you relate in the history of his Life, and from my father received such a character of his learning, humility, and other virtues, that, like jewels of invaluable price, they still cast such a lustre, as envy or the rust of time shall never darken.
From my father I have also heard all the circumstances of the plot to defame him, and how Sir Edwin Sandys outwitted his accusers, and gained their confession ; and I could give an account of each particular of that plot, but that I judge it fitter to be forgotten, and rot in the same grave with the malicious authors,
I may not omit to declare, that my father's knowledge of Mr. Hooker, was occasioned by the learned Dr. John Spencer, who, after the death of Mr. Hooker, was so careful to preserve his invaluable sixth, seventh, and eighth books of " Ecclesiastical Polity,” and his other writings, that he procured Henry Jackson, then of Corpus Christi College, to transcribe for him all Mr. Hooker's remaining written papers, many of which were imperfect; for his study had been rifled, or worse used, by Mr. Chark and another, of principles too like his. But these papers were endeavoured to be completed by his dear friend, Dr. Spencer, who bequeathed them as a precious legacy to my father, after whose death they rested in my hand, till Dr. Abbot, then Archbishop of Canterbury, commanded them out of my custody, by authorizing Dr. John Barkeham to require and bring them to him to his palace in Lambeth; at which time, I have heard, they were put into the Bishop's library, and that they remained there till the martyrdom of Archbishop Laud, and were then, by the brethren of that faction, given, with all the library, to Hugh Peters, as a reward for his remarkable service in those sad times of the Church's confusion. And though they could hardly fall into a fouler hand, yet there wanted not other endeavours to corrupt and make them speak that language for which the faction then