9 Annotations

First Reading

Emilio  •  Link

An extract can be found here:


Fuller was known for his wit, but sheer length and amount of detail still make the Church History a long slog. The experience is livened by conceits like the following, though:

"as it hath been observed that the sin of drunkenness was first brought over into England out of the Low Countries, about the midst of the reign of queen Elizabeth; . . . so we must sadly confess, that since that time, in a spiritual sense, many English souls have taken a cup too much of Belgic wine; whereby their heads have not only grown dizzy in matters of less moment, but their whole bodies stagger in the fundamentals of their religion."

"And how dangerous it is for wit-wanton men to dance with their nice distinctions, on such mystical precipices, where slips in jest may cause deadly downfalls in earnest, the Roman orator doth in part pronounce, Mala est et impia consuetudo, contra Deum disputandi, sive seriò id fit, sive simulatè.”

We can still get some sense of why Sam was captivated by this book.

dirk  •  Link

"drunkenness was first brought over into England out of the Low Countries"

Obviously this is not true, rather wishful thinking on the part of Fuller. The funny thing is that by the time he was writing this, wine production in the Low Countries was on the verge of disappearing.

Originally introduced by the Romans, local wines had never been great (due to the climate), and from the 16th century onwards could not compete with French, German, Spanish and Italian wines - which were now easy to obtain. The home market in the Netherlands was also more beer oriented - the traditional drink. Wine was rather for the elite, who found their tastes better suited for by import wines.

Ports in the Low Countries (particularly Antwerp) did however serve as turning point of a lively transit trade. So the "Belgic wines" Fuller is referring to almost certainly were of German (most likely) and/or mediterranean origin.

vincent  •  Link

all politicians of all stripes do like to find the estranger that led me to the waters of evil and of course I drank, fool me [ for I know not wot I do]My kind , could not, did not, do not, lead me in to temptation, 'tis always the kid next door......
Men's fault do seldom to themselves appear
Bard - Rape of of Lucrece

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Fuller, Thomas, 1608-1661.

The church-history of Britain; from the birth of Jesus Christ, untill the year M.DC.XLVIII. Endeavoured by Thomas Fuller.
London : printed for Iohn Williams at the signe of the Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, Anno 1656.

2mo., [8], 171, [9], 200, 153-427, [9], 235, [9], 114, [2], 115-116, [2], 117-238 p. : port. Each part has either a divisional or special t.p. with separate paging.
Wing (2nd ed.), F2417 -- [There was an earlier edition in 1655]

PL 2437

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The church history of Britain; from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year M.DC.XLVIII
Endeavoured by Thomas Fuller.
London : printed for Iohn Williams at the signe of the Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, Anno 1655.

(Googlw book scan) http://is.gd/hjQxO

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys often read this book:

Concerns about the print publication of private diaries had been explicitly raised in one of his favorite books. Thomas Fuller’s "Church-History of Britain"(1655) was a work to which Pepys repeatedly returned.

In it, Thomas Fuller discussed the trial and execution of Archbishop Laud.

Laud’s diary had been found in his pocket during his imprisonment; extracts from it were then printed in 1644 by order of Parliament for “the public view of the world.” Besides exposing Laud’s “unlawful Actions,” the printed edition of his diary contained accounts of his dreams, allusions to seemingly sexual sins, and jokes that the editor deemed “Childish, scurrilous, ridiculous.”

Reflecting on this episode, Fuller argued that Archbishop Laud should not be criticized for keeping a personal diary, nor for keeping it where it could be found:
“He can hardly be an ill husband, who casteth up his receipts and expenses every night, and such a soul is, or would be good, which enters into a daily Scrutiny of his own actions. But such who commend him in the making, condemn him keeping such a Diary about him in so dangerous days. Especially he ought to untongue it from talking to his prejudice, and should have garbled [i.e., removed] some light trivial and joculary passages out of the same. Whereas sure the omission hereof argued not his carelessness but confidence, that such his privacies should meet with that favor of course, which in equity is due to writings of that nature.”

As described by Fuller, there was much in Archbishop Laud’s behavior as a diarist that would resonate with Pepys’ experience: at the time Pepys first read the Church-History, he was also keeping a diary in “dangerous days.”

Kept partly to facilitate personal “Scrutiny” of his actions, his diary contained self-incriminating passages (such as accounts of his taking of bribes and his assaults on women), along with a good deal of "trivial and joculary" material (including rude jokes and neighborhood scandals).

Pepys, despite knowing Laud’s cautionary precedent, did not choose to remove damaging passages from his journal — that was a responsibility taken up by his 19th-century editors. Fuller proposed that Laud believed, as hPepys did, that the “privacies” of diaries merited favor “of course.” By this, he primarily meant that charitable interpretation was “customarily” due to private writings made public, but he also may have intended the implication that such favor would come “in due course” or “in time.”

Judging by Pepys’ decision to preserve his journal in a semipublic collection, he not only anticipated that the journal might eventually be printed but also shared Fuller’s view that it behooved his future public to assess his private papers generously.

If this equitable assessment was not forthcoming, then the error lay with the journal’s readers, not its writer.


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.