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LETTER OF ARCHBISHOP WHATELY.
Dublin, 7th July, 1845. My dear Lord,
I am bound to send, and you to receive, as a kind of lord of the soil, every production of my pen, as a token of acknowledgment that from you I have derived the main principles on which I have acted and speculated through life. Not that I have adopted anything from you implicitly, and on authority, but from conviction, produced by the reasons you adduced. This, however, rather increases the obligation, since you furnished me not only with the theorems but the demonstrations-not only with the fruit, but the trees that bore them.
It cannot, indeed, be proved that I should not have embraced the very same principles if I had never known you ; and, in like manner, no one can prove that the battle of Waterloo would not have been fought and won if the Duke of Wellington had been killed the day before; but still the fact remains that the Duke did actually gain that battle. And it is no less a fact that my principles were learnt from you.
When it happens that we completely concur as to the application of any principle, it is so much the more agreeable; but in all cases the law remains in force, that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap :' and the credit, or the discredit, of having myself to reckon among your works must, in justice, appertain to you. Believe me to be, at the end of forty years, Your grateful and affectionate
Friend and Pupil,
The date at once shows that the subjoined note was not written in answer to the above; but it evi. dently responds to a communication so very like the above, that I do not hesitate to place it here:
Deanery, St. Paul's, 3rd February, 1837. My dear Archbishop,
Your kind and too flattering note, intended for yesterday,* did not reach me till this morning. It has often happened to me to receive the most grateful acknowledgments from those on whom I had least claim ; but no case has exhibited a greater disproportion of this kind than yours. If it be a general truth that qui docet discit, how forcible must it be, when ideas have been transplanted from my mind to yours, and have been received back in a state of fructification, of which I had no prospect when I reared them in my own ground.
My natural indolence and variations of health, and increasing cares of a practical kind, will, I fear, effectually stifle many an embryo plan, which I once hoped to develop and communicate to the world. As I am now entering on my sixty-second year, the improbability of ever carrying them into execution is increased; but I now and then look over my common-place book,f and find a stock of materials which ought not to perish without an attempt at turning them to some account.
The thought which composes me under these meditations is, that I may leave them as a bequest to you, and that
you will probably extract from the rubbish something of value.
For some years, however, if I live, I shall please my fancy with the possibility of doing it myself. Your intellectual monument is already sufficient, but I know you will yet enlarge and adorn it.
Accept my best thanks for this friendly remembrance, and believe me ever, my dear Archbishop, Sincerely and affectionately yours,
* His birthday
EXTRACTS FROM DIARY.
Diary resumed, in 1825.
June 27. Dined with Mr. T. Courtenay, purposely to meet Mr. Canning. His manner hearty, open, and affable. He had himself proposed this meeting. He came from the House of Commons, where he had been speaking on the combination laws, at half-past seven, and at ten returned to the House, which sat till after two in the morning. He seems worn by this fatiguing life, but in good spirits.'
While running through the following entries, the reader will be reminded of what has been said before of the bishop's taste for genealogical and antiquarian researches.
Friday, Sept. 9. Set out (from Exeter) on horseback for the north of Devon. Rode to Chulmleigh, and in the evening to King's Nympton Park. Searched the register for the name of Nicolas, or Walter Pollard, the supposed ancestor of the Pollards, of Castle Pollard, in Ireland, but in vain.'
Monday, Sept. 12. To Bude, thence to Stowe, in Kilkhampton : found an immense chest of papers of the Grenville family in the farm-house.'*
‘Sept. 13. From Holdsworthy to Oakhampton by Hatherleigh. Spent a delightful afternoon at Oakhampton, rambling about the park, &c.'
'Wednesday, Sept. 14. Rode to Exeter to breakfast in three hours, twenty-two miles. Hard rain the whole way.
The whole of this excursion was interesting and agreeable, especially the visit to Stowe, and the sight of the family papers.'
Oct. 8. Began my journey to Oxford. At Crewkerne, examined the registers there for the name of Copleston, but found nothing beyond what my former search procured.'
* This Stowe had been a seat of the Grenvilles scarcely less famous than the more modern Stowe of Buckinghamshire.
·Dec. 14. Sent off the last sheet of the article on the London University to the Quarterly Review—an article written under extreme depression of spirits, and much anxiety from college business, &c.'
The bishop's attachment to his county, and especially to the place of his birth, was strong—the stronger, no doubt, from the picturesque character of that district. Without any pretensions to that higher style of scenery which attracts the tourist, Offwell affords many examples of pleasing and piquant landscape—such as those who know Devonshire will readily picture to themselves, and such as all who love steep green slopes, wooded dells, and clear brooks, will understand better than I can describe. That quick apprehension of nature's beauties which belonged to the bishop, was apparently as instinctive in him as the attachment to the home of his childhood. He did not call in aid those pleasing text-books on the picturesque-Gilpin and Uvedale Price, for the subject was his own from the beginning. With these tastes and feelings, the bishop had cherished the hope, in very early life, that he might one day possess for himself, and mould to his own fancy, the woodlands in which he had roamed and mused as a boy. These woodlands, together with some adjacent farms, did become his own in the course of years, and Copleston, like Shenstone, had his “ Leasowes.'
Allusion to these green retreats is frequently made in his letters, and in one, which I here give, to his friend Mr. John Duncan, it is more than
LETTER TO MR. JOHN DUNCAN.
allusion—it is a con amore description; though it must be allowed that, in one passage of it, the bishop, while enhancing his own triumph over the loca senta situ, somewhat compromises the native dryads and their original dwelling.
Nov. 22, 1825. My dear Duncan,
If everything coming from you did not excite powerful counteracting emotions, I should say that the series of unrequited kindnesses I have received since I last saw you created a feeling of self-reproach, at least for having been so long silent.
For the work on Botano-Theology I am the most indebted, not only because it is the result of your favourite thoughts and studies, but because it will instruct me how to think and feel when I meditate on a department of science, in which I grieve to say that I am almost a novice. Natural history is the food of my vacation hours, and I shall take your precious little volume with me when I next go to saunter and ramble in my Offwell woods. It would do
my heart good to have you one day to join me in those rambles over the scenes of my infancy, and I should be sorry indeed to think that there was no prospect of realizing such a pleasure. My chief boast is, that I have converted a squalid, unsightly, impassable dell into an agreeable range for pedestrians of all tastes : the domestic stroller, the contemplative lover of nature, the planter, the naturalist, even the sportsman, may enjoy a little recreation in this valley, which was once an impervious morass. It holds out to me the hope also of continual improvement, and I cannot but entertain a wish that my excellent poetical friend may hit off a few lines on the spot, which may be perpetuated on some rustic tablet. But let me not enlarge too much on this theme, lest you should fancy it more