Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/414

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Oxford Hands,’ 8vo, London, 1685 (pp. 196–199). In the ‘Annual Miscellany’ for 1694, being pt. iv. of ‘Miscellany Poems,’ &c., 8vo, London, 1694, he has translations from Seneca and Horace. He also translated Fontenelle's ‘A Plurality of Worlds,’ 12mo, London, 1688; other editions, 12mo, London, 1695; 16mo, London, 1702. The best of his poems have been reprinted in vol. iv. of Nichols's ‘Collection.’

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 689–90; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 383, 396; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 176, 111, 1196; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Will of Julius Glanvill, February 1710 (P. C. C. 33, Smith).]

G. G.

GLANVILL, JOSEPH (1636–1680), divine, third son of Nicholas Glanvill of Halwell, Whitchurch, Devonshire, was born at Plymouth in 1636, and entered Exeter College, Oxford, 2 April 1652. He took his B.A. degree 11 Oct. 1655; moved to Lincoln College in 1656, and graduated thence as M.A. in 1658. He became chaplain to Francis Rous [q. v.], one of Cromwell's lords and provost of Eton. On Rous's death in 1659 Glanvill returned to Oxford. He travelled from Oxford to Kidderminster to hear Baxter preach, but was not able to obtain a personal interview. He mentions this in an enthusiastic letter, dated 3 Sept. 1661, sent with his first treatise to Baxter. This was the ‘Vanity of Dogmatizing,’ in which he attacks the scholastic philosophy dominant at Oxford. He used, according to Wood, to lament that he had not been at Cambridge, where the new philosophy was in more esteem. He became an admirer of the Cambridge platonists, especially Henry More, and a friend of the founders of the Royal Society, of which (14 Dec. 1664) he was elected a fellow. He conformed upon the Restoration, and in 1660 received the rectory of Wimbish, Essex, from his brother Benjamin, a London merchant. In November 1662 he was presented to the vicarage of Frome Selwood, Somersetshire, by Sir James Thynne in place of John Humphrey, expelled for nonconformity. He exchanged this in 1672 for the rectory of Streat and Walton in the same county. On 23 June 1666 he was inducted rector of the Abbey Church at Bath. He became chaplain in ordinary to Charles II in 1672, and in 1678 received a prebend at Worcester through the influence of his wife's relation, the Marquis of Worcester. Some letters cited by Mr. Glanville Richards show that he was much troubled by the fanatics of Bath, who seemed to have gone back in spirit to 1643. During the excitement of the Popish plot he wrote a tract called ‘The Zealous and Impartial Protestant,’ in which he attacks the various nonconformist sects with great vivacity, and argues that the best preservative against popery is the maintenance of the privileges and discipline of the church of England. Baxter, for whom he makes a complimentary exception, protested against this intolerance in his ‘Second Defence of the Nonconformists,’ 1681. He says that Glanvill's principles were opposed to persecution, and prints the admiring letter already cited. Glanvill, he says, was a man ‘of more than ordinary ingeny’ whose death he regrets. Baxter says elsewhere (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 1696, i. 378) that Glanvill admired him ‘far above my desert,’ and offered to defend him when he was silenced. Glanvill died at Bath 4 Nov. 1680. He was buried in the Abbey Church, in the north aisle of which is an inscription to his memory. By his first wife, Mary Stocker, he had two children, of whom Maurice became rector of Wimbish in 1681. By his second, Margaret Selwyn, he had three children, Sophia, Henry, and Mary.

Glanvill was a voluminous author. His style is often admirable, not unfrequently recalling that of Sir Thomas Browne. His intellect was versatile, active, and sympathetic, but he is rather rhetorical than logical. In his dislike to the scholastic philosophy he followed Bacon and the founders of the Royal Society. Though he was in this direction a thorough-going sceptic, he was opposed to the materialism of Hobbes. His defence of witchcraft was the natural result of an attempt to find an empirical ground for a belief in the supernatural, and he formed with Henry More a virtual association for ‘psychical research.’ Glanvill himself visited the house of Mr. Mompesson at Tedworth, Wiltshire, and heard drummings and saw strange phenomena, caused by a vagabond drummer who had been turned out of the house, and revenged himself by witchcraft. The story oddly resembles that told by Wesley and by modern ‘spirit-rappers.’ It suggested Addison's ‘Drummer.’ Although Glanvill accepted More's theory of a pre-existence of souls, and he admired the ‘Platonists,’ he does not appear to have gone deeply into their philosophical system. His works are: 1. ‘The Vanity of Dogmatizing,’ 1661. It contains (p. 196) the story of the ‘Scholar Gipsy,’ which suggested one of Matthew Arnold's finest poems, and (pp. 182, 203) some very curious anticipations of the electric telegraph (‘to confer at the distance of the Indies by sympathetick contrivances may be as natural to future times as to us is a litterary correspondence’) and