Page images
PDF
EPUB

diary. It was only an extension of this feeling that made him to be curious about such cases of extraordinary longevity as that to which the following notice relates :

March 22. Called on Patrick Gibson at Chelsea, a pensioner of the navy, aged 110. He was born near Cashel, bred a land-surveyor. At the age of thirty-seven, having taken his passage at Waterford for America, where he had claim to the inheritance of lands, he was pressed into the royal navy—was made clerk—soon after purserwas at the taking of Quebec, and assisted in conveying Wolfe, after his mortal wound, down the heights on board ship-never had above three days' illness in his life. Had walked a mile the day I called on him—very heartystrong lungs-civil and communicative-apparently much gratified by the opportunity of relating the events of his life. His father was born at Derry during the famous siege of 1688, and was a land-surveyor. His grandfather was a captain in the garrison of Derry, and married (as he said) a niece of John duke of Argyle, called Catherine Mynford.'

Sunday, July 4. At St. James's Palace, at two o'clock, with the archbishops and bishops, to be presented to the king. After kissing hands in the closet, the king addressed us in a speech of about ten minutes, declaring his firm attachment to the Church of England, and his resolution to maintain all her privileges. He adverted to the Romancatholic Relief Bill, which he regarded purely as a political question, not in any degree intended to weaken the Established Church, or to encourage Popery. He frequently repeated his sentiments of love and esteem for the Church of England, and declared that he wished for the heads of the church to be present when he received the sacrament at the commencement of his reign — to mark in the

strongest manner his veneration for it, and to assure them of his fixed determination to support and defend it. He adverted to the attacks now frequently made on the church —the invidious mention of her revenues, which he wished were greater instead of less, and condemned those who reproached the clergy with improving their temporalities, whereas it was a duty, and deserving of commendation, and in any other station of life would be commended. He thanked the Bishop of London for his sermon, and requested a copy of it ; and then, with many expressions of regard, dismissed us. The king's elocution was ready, correct, and fluent; his manner earnest, respectful, kind, and even affectionate.'

Sunday, July 18. Preached at Offwell : present, my father and mother, my brother, and most of his sons and daughters. It was on July 20, 1800, that I preached my first sermon, and in the same pulpit, before many of the same audience.'

Sept. 29. Left Piercefield at eight, after an early breakfast; called on Mr. Davies, the schoolmaster at Devanden ; arrived at Usk in good time for the confirmation.'

Oct. 8. Confirmation at Landilo. the last day of diocesan duties, I returned alone to Lansanfraed, glad of retirement after so much public duty, but much gratified with the whole of my progress through the diocese, with the reception I met with publicly and privately from the clergy and others, and with the evident improvement in all that concerns the church.'

· Christmas Day. Preached at St. Paul's, on the ignorance of Christ's real character, even among his kindred and neighbours, at the commencement of his ministry, notwithstanding the supernatural circumstances which attended his birth.'

· Dec. 26. Preached on the martyrdom of St. Stephen.'

This being

On these occasions, it may be considered that decanal rather than episcopal obligations were discharged; but it is well known that, in his diocese, Dr. Copleston was no “unpreaching bishop;' and frequently, in the course of his diary, notices appear of sermons preached on two consecutive days.

The following fragment, from a letter to his dear friend, the late Dean Bruce Knight, will show what the bishop would have had a clergyman's manner in the pulpit to be. He includes, indeed, the reading. desk, and some may be inclined to demur to this part of his wish :

'I wish clergymen would read and preach as they talk when earnestly engaged in conversation upon a serious subject; but they put on a tone together with their surplice, grave, indeed, and solemn and decorous, but altogether removed from that of ordinary life, and therefore seldom engaging the attention, although a sense of duty and the importance of the matter may preserve it.'

'January 2, 1831, Sunday. Assisted at the consecration of Dr. Phillpotts as bishop of Exeter. Lambeth-palace being unfinished, except the chapel and the library, we were received in the library, and had a collation there after the service. It is to be hoped that this practice, which is much more becoming and convenient than the old one, of eking out the day and dining there, will supersede the other.'

'January 12. Wilmot Horton, Senior, and Whately dined here; at eight o'clock went to Horton's lecture, at the Mechanic's Institute, on taxation. Diminution of taxes would afford no perceptible relief to the people when there is a redundancy of labour. 'Emigration the only effectual relief.''

March 9 and 10. Heard part of the debates in the

House of Commons on the Reform bill. North's, an eloquent and finished oration. O'Connell pithy, forcible, strong sense, and expressive idiom-a dramatic display of intense feeling Graham sensible, but not animated. Attwood vehement, wordy, and involved, but much practical good sense.'

It will be seen that not only the date, but the greater part of the contents of the following letter, addressed to myself, determines its place. The first part of it, relating personally to myself, I am induced to give, because it shows how the bishop's kindness towards his relations was tempered and regulated by a restraining sense of duty. Having three nephews in holy orders, he did not, as bishop, prefer either of them, nor, it may be added, ask for preferment for them; in his private capacity always aiding and befriending those of his own family-in his public, always considering who had the first claims upon him.

Deanery, St. Paul's, January 26, 1831. My dear William,

Your answer in regard to is just what I expected. I did not feel myself at liberty to make you an absolute offer of it, knowing that there are several clergymen in my diocese of great merit, and much in want, yet if there had been on your part a strong desire to settle there, I should probably have yielded to it. The living will, I hope, be the means of rewarding one of the most meritorious of my clergy, and of conducing to an arrangement that will promote the happiness of a large and excellent family. If so, it will not only do them and the parish good, but it will serve the cause of the church generally, when people know that the choice is made

without reference to anything but merit.

These are anxious and alarming times. There have been worse times, it is true, for the church in our own history, especially in the reign of Charles I. But the press is a new engine of frightful power, and it is, unhappily, in the hands almost entirely of our enemies. Laws upon parchment will never save the establishment, if the public mind is quite alienated. Indeed, those laws would soon be changed, especially by such a parliament as the reforming party wish to have. I hope the church party will be moderate but firm, that is, not stickling for everything that can be called a right, if the public opinion or feeling, or even prejudice, is universal against it. A concession to this feeling, although we may regard the feeling as unenlightened, is not cowardly, and it certainly is prudent. But the chief fear is, that the advocates for parliamentary reform will do too much at once. If the House of Commons is chosen entirely by the people, there is an end of monarchy and aristocracy, for in the House of Commons has long resided virtually, though not nominally, the whole power of the state. The only thing that has kept us from pure democracy has been the influence of the crown and the nobility, or great proprietors in the representative body. A few of those who see this danger, and who have no care for the church, may think to pacify the republicans by sacrificing the interests of the church. But this would be merely as a sop thrown to a surly dog. As soon as his appetite returned he would be more ravenous than before. I hope, therefore, a strong resistance will be made in the first instance, and that Lord Grey will prove himself the champion of the constitution. Lord Brougham, too, is, I am persuaded, anything but a democrat, or antiaristocrat, or anti-churchman. And they two, for eloquence, are a match for the whole House of Peers. In the House of Commons the strength is not with the ministry,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »