[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]




Bishop’s-Court, Dec. 8, 1763.

Once more, thank God ! I am safe arrived at my own country house ; with no accident in my travels, and little: or no cold caught, after being two hours of three days successively in a damp church, pierced with sharp draughts of wind.

What my friends at Douglas heard of my indisposition was in part true : I was confined to my bed great part of one day, with a retching headache But, when appointments are made, and business calls, I generally then exert all my courage, if able to stir ; and bugbears about weather and sloughy roads are dissipated from my imagination ; although, as with other people of our order, they are sometimes apt to terrify me.

Our brother Gill’s leg, which was healing, has been obliged to be laid open ; and flying gout in his stomach has rendered him almost unable to use a pen. I have engaged to exchange with. Mr. Curghey next Sunday, if alive and well, for the service of Lezayre ; and am willing to continue to take my share, Or perhaps more than my share, in supplying the necessities of the church, that I may not eat my bread in idleness in the land, where I am capable of being but of little use 1.

I presume your Douglas assistant will be disposed to breathe a little northern air among his relations on this side, at the ensuing holidays, and then he will be at hand to try his voice at Lezayre. Has he made a Manks sermon yet? if he has not, ‘tis fit he should ; unless he is one of those geniuses of the South, who think the cultivation of that language unnecessary. If I were not fraught with full conviction of its utility, and with resolution to pursue my undertaking, what with the coolness of its reception by some, and the actual disapprobation of it by others, I should be so discouraged as to give it up. This, I believe, is the only country in the world, that is ashamed of, and even inclined to extirpate, if it could, its own native tongue. :

Corlett now stays by his own choice, in London, to see the Acs of the Apostles finished from the press ; and therefore we cannot. expect him much before Christmas.

As to the demurrer about the power of the temporal keys2 it is at present out of my hands. It appeared to be attended with as much difficulty to settle, as the power of the keys spiritual in the Bangorian controversy. I thought that point, when I was called. upon to decide it, corarn non judice ; and second chancellor like, I craved the assistance of more judges : a prayer, which was readily allowed by all present to be reasonable, but is not yet answered by those to whom it was referred. . ‘

What is going forward at Castletown, as an appendage to the great point, is out of my ken :I only hear a bit now and then. Wherever I am concerned to act, I am of the hoc age family,’ not of the cunctatores : the latter, I well know, are a flourishing race in this land ; but I am an alien.

I think I have now noted every particular in both your letters, excepting your surprize at the phrenomenon of a Dissenting teacher in the Church of England canonicals. On which I have only to observe, that their having taken up, may possibly be owing to those of our church having of late nearly laid aside the black toga, by hiding it under the white in the pulpit, and throwing it off, as soon as may be, when out of it. Yours, PHILOSTOLUS.


* Of which the Rev. John Gill was vicar This gentleman had a considerable hand in the Manks version. See pp. 252, 253.

1- In another letter he says, " The necessities of the church; I have often heard of in this land, with aching heart !"

2 The twentyfour persons , so named were anciently, and in certain respects are still, the representatives of the islanders. " They are so called,"says bishop Wilson, "from their unlocking, as it were, the difficulties of the law’." On important occasions they constituted the Grand Jury of the isle ; were present at all trials, which might affect the life of the subject; and from the decisions of the common or municipal law, the injured might appeal to their jurisdiction.


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