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ANDREW FULLER (1954-1815)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 295 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ANDREW FULLER (1954-1815), English Baptist divine, was a lawyer and politician of some eminence, was born at Cambridge-port, Massachusetts, on the 23rd of May 181o. Her education was conducted by her father, who, she states, made the mistake of thinking to " gain time by bringing forward the intellect as early as possible," the consequence being " a premature development of brain that made her a youthful prodigy by day, and by night a victim of spectral illusions, nightmare and somnambulism." At six years she began to read Latin, and at a very early age she had selected as her favourite authors Shakespeare, Cervantes and Moliere. Soon the great amount of study exacted of her ceased to be a burden, and reading became a habit and a passion. Havi 11g made herself familiar with the masterpieces of French, Italian and Spanish literature, she in 1833 began the study of German, and within the year had read some of the masterpieces of Goethe, Korner, Novalis and Schiller. After her father's death in 1835 she went to Boston to teach languages, and in 1837 she was chosen principal teacher in the Green Street school, Providence, Rhode Island, where she remained till 1839. From this year until 1844 she stayed at different places in the immediate neighbourhood of Boston, forming an intimate acquaintance with the colonists of Brook Farm, and numbering among her closest friends R. W. Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and W. H. Channing. In 1839 she published a translation of Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe, which was followed in 1842 by a translation of the correspondence between Karoline von Gtinderode and Bettina von Arnim, entitled Gunderode. Aided by R. W. Emerson and George Ripley, she in 1840 started The Dial, a poetical and philosophical magazine representing the opinions and aims of the New England Transcendentalists. This journal she continued to edit for two years, and while in Boston she also con-ducted conversation classes for ladies in which philosophical and social subjects were discussed with a somewhat over-accentuated earnestness. These meetings may be regarded as perhaps the beginning of the modern movement in behalf of women's rights. R. W. Emerson, who had met her as early as 1836, thus describes her appearance: " She was then twenty-six years old. She had a face and frame that would indicate fulness and tenacity of life. She was rather under the middle height; her complexion was fair, with strong fair hair. She was then, as always, carefully and becomingly dressed, and of ladylike self-possession. For the rest her appearance had nothing prepossessing. Her extreme plainness, a trick of incessantly opening and shutting her eyelids, the nasal tone of her voice, all repelled; and I said to myself we shall never get far." On better acquaintance this unprepossessing exterior seemed, however, to melt away, and her inordinate self-esteem to be lost in the depth and universality of her sympathy. She possessed an almost irresistible power of winning the intellectual and moray confidence of those with whom she came in contact, and " applied herself to her companion as the sponge applies itself to water." She obtained from each the best they had to give. It was indeed more as a conversationalist than as a writer that she earned the title of the Priestess of Transcendentalism. It was her intimate friends who admired her most. Smart and pungent though she is as a writer, the apparent originality of her views depends more on eccentricity than either intellectual depth or imaginative vigour. In 1844 she removed to New York at the desire of Horace Greeley to write literary criticism for The Tribune, and In 1846 she publishes a selection from her articles on contemporary authors in Europe and America, under the title Papers on Literature and Art. The same year she paid a visit to Europe, passing some time in England and France, and finally taking up her residence in Italy. There she was married in December 1847 to the marquis Giovanni Angelo Ossoli, a friend of Mazzini. During 1848—1849 she was present with her husband in Rome, and when the city was besieged she, at the request of Mazzini, took charge of one of the two hospitals while her husband fought on the walls. In May 185o, along with her husband and infant son, she embarked at Leghorn for America, but when they had all but reached their destination the vessel was wrecked on Fire born on the 6th of February 1754, at Wicken in Cambridgeshire. In his boyhood and youth he worked on his father's farm. In his seventeenth year he became a member of the Baptist church at Soham, and his gifts as an exhorter met with so much approval that, in the spring of 1775, he was called and ordained as pastor of that congregation. In 1782 he removed to Kettering in Northamptonshire, where he became friendly with some of the most eminent ministers of the denomination. Before leaving Soham he had written the substance of a treatise in which he had sought to counteract the prevailing Baptist hyper-Calvinism which, " admitting nothing spiritually good to be the duty of the unregenerate, and nothing to be addressed to them in a way of exhortation excepting what related to external obedience," had long perplexed his own mind. This work he published, under the title The Gospel worthy of all Acceptation, soon after his settlement in Kettering; and although it immediately involved him in a somewhat bitter controversy which lasted for nearly twenty years, it was ultimately successful in consider-ably modifying the views prevalent among English dissenters. In 1793 he published a treatise, The Calvinistic and Socinian systems examined and compared as to their moral tendency, in which he rebutted the accusation of antinomianism levelled by the Socinians against those who over-emphasized the doctrines of free grace. This work, along with another against Deism, entitled The Gospel its own Witness, is regarded as the production on which his reputation as a theologian mainly rests. Fuller also published an admirable Memoir of the Rev. Samuel Pearce, of Birmingham, and a volume of Expository Lectures in Genesis, besides a considerable number of smaller pieces, chiefly sermons and pamphlets, which were issued in a collected form after his death. He was a man of forceful character, more prominent on the practical side of religion than on the devotional, and accordingly not pre-eminently successful in his local ministry. His great work was done in connexion with the Baptist Missionary Society, formed at Kettering in 1792, of which he was secretary until his death on the 7th of May 1815. Both Princeton and Yale, U.S.A., conferred on him the degree of D. D., but he never used it. Several editions of his collected works have appeared, and a Memoir, principally compiled from his own papers, was published about a year after his decease by Dr Ryland, his most intimate friend and coadjutor in the affairs of the Baptist mission. There is also a biography by the Rev. J. W. Morris (1816); and his son prefixed a memoir to an edition of his chief works in Bohn's Standard Library (1852).
End of Article: ANDREW FULLER (1954-1815)
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