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Doubly bless'd was she-making religion all her aim—
Here a coronet and there a crown, and name above all others."
TRETWR, or Tretower, is a hamlet in the parish of Llanfihangel-cum-ddû, county of Brecon, South Wales. The manor or "township of the tower" has passed successively through the families of Bloet, Berkeley and Herbert, and is now held by the Beaufort family. It is a place of no considerable importance, with a scanty population, but it is picturesque and quiet, and these are attractions to town-worn people. In the immediate neighbourhood of the hamlet are the remains of the Old Castle, a conspicuous and romantic ruin. In its neighbourhood, also, is a College for Dissenting ministers, founded by the pious and benevolent Countess of Huntingdon.
Of the life and labours of this noble lady it is unnecessary to dwell at any considerable length. We cannot, however, omit the opportunity of averting to one so eminently distinguished for her piety and devotion.
Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, was born in 1707. She was one of three daughters and co-heirs of Washington Shirley, Earl Ferrers; the other two being Lady Kilmorey and Lady Elizabeth Nightingale. Selina, the second daughter, married, in 1728, Theophilus Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, with whom she lived very happily till his sudden death, in October, 1746. She had several children, four of whom died young.
Probably these heavy afflictions disposed this lady to take such deep interest in religion. It was at the time when the founders of Methodism, Wesley and Whitfield, were exerting in England a spirit of more intense devotion than was generally prevalent, and the Countess of Huntingdon embraced their doctrines with her whole heart.
She rather inclined to Whitfield's peculiar doctrines than to Wesley's; but she chose to be herself the founder of a sect, which were called "The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion." She had the control of a large income during her forty-five years of widowhood, and as her own personal expenses were small, and she was assisted by other opulent persons, she supported a college at Trefecca, in Wales, for the education of ministers, and built sixty-four chapels, the ministers of which she assisted to support. Her largest chapel
was at Bath, which she frequently attended. She created a trust for the support of her college and chapels after her death. And not only did she thus merit the title of public benefactor, but she also expended, annually, large sums in private charities. She lived for others, and at her death, which took place June 17th, 1791, was deeply mourned by all who knew her; even those who regarded her conduct as the result of mistaken enthusiasm, respected her for the noble virtues of her character and her Christian conduct.
Between an ancient castle and a modern college there is a very wide difference but whatever interest may attach to the former-of whatever heroic struggles it may have been the scene-it is to the latter that we turn with a warmer and more sympathetic attention. The quiet bookmen have won nobler battles than the men of the sword, and have served the world better than the proudest knight who ever drew falchion.