The author has bestowed great labor in endeavoring to identify this person. After exhausting all the means of information within his reach, he is lead to the belief, that the last on the list of this company of Translators, who is designated simply as “Mr. Fairclough,” is Daniel Fairclough, otherwise known as Dr. Daniel Featley; which, strange to say, is a corrupt pronunciation of the name Fairclough. This is distinctly asserted by his nephew, Dr. John Featley, who wrote a life of his uncle, and printed it at the end of a book, entitled, “Dr. Daniel Featley revived.” The nephew states, that his uncle was ordained deacon and priest under the name Fairclough. The main ground for questioning the identity, is the age of Daniel Fairclough, who, when the Bible-translators were nominated, was only some twenty-six years old, which is considerably less than the age of most of his associates. He was, however, an early ripe, and a distinguished scholar; and comparatively young as he was, it devolved on him to preach at the funeral of the great Dr. Reynolds, who died during the progress of the work. This funeral service was performed with much applause, at only four days’ notice.
The birth-place of Daniel Fairclough, or Featley, to call him by the name whereby he is chiefly known, was Charlton, in Oxfordshire, where he was born about the year 1578. He was admitted to Corpus Christi College in 1594; and was elected Fellow in 1602. He stood in such high estimation, that Sir Thomas Edwards, ambassador to France, took him to Paris as his chaplain, where he spent two or three years in the ambassador’s house. Here he held many “tough disputes” with the doctors of the Sorbonne, and other papists. His opponents termed him “the keen and cutting Featley;” and found him a match in their boasted logic;
As tough as learned Sorbonnist.”
On returning to England, he repaired to his College, where he remained till 1613, when he became Rector of Northill, in Cornwall. Soon after, he was appointed chaplain to Dr. Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, also one of the Translators, by whom he was made Rector of Lambeth, in Surrey. In 1617, he held a famous debate with Dr. Prideaux, the King’s Professor of Divinity at Oxford. About this time, the Archbishop gave him the rectory of Allhallows Church, Bread Street, London. This he soon exchanged for the rectory of Acton, in Middlesex. He was also Provost of Chelsea College; and, at one time, chaplain in ordinary to King Charles the First.
Being puritanically inclined, Dr. Featley was appointed, in 1643, to be one of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. As he was not one of the “root and branch” party, who were for wholly changing the order of government, he soon fell under the displeasure of the Long Parliament. Some of his correspondence with Archbishop Usher, who was then with the King at Oxford, was intercepted. In this correspondence, he expressed his scruples about taking the “solemn league and covenant;” and for this, was unjustly suspected of being a spy. He was cast into prison, and his rectories were taken from him. The next year, on account of his failing health, he was removed, agreeably to his petition, to Chelsea College. There, after a few months spent in holy exercises, he expired, April 17th, 1645. “Though he was small of stature, yet he had a great soul, and had all learning compacted in him.” He published some forty books and treatises, and left a great many manuscripts. His other labors have passed away; “but the word of the Lord,” which, as it is believed, he aided in giving to unborn millions, “abideth for ever.”