[From Letters & Memoir of Bishop Shirley, 1849]
ON the3rd of January, 1847, theArchdeacon preached his farewell sermon, in Shirley church, on Heb. vii. 1, 2, coupled with the two last verses of the sixth chapter. It was simple and affecting. The congregation was large and attentive, and the number of communicants unusually great. Two days afterwards he received, at the hands of Mr. Wright, as the representative of his Osmaston parishioners, the offering of plate mentioned in one of the previous letters. On that occasion the new school-room, the appointed place of meeting, was completely filled with his friends and parishioners. On the 6th, accompanied by his family, he went to Derby, to meet there a deputation of the clergy of the archdeaconry, for the purpose of receiving from them a farewell address, which was numerously signed. On the same morning he attended, for the last time in that town, one of those Diocesan Church Extension meetings in which he had always taken such an active part.
The speech he made on that occasion may be reckoned among his best; he spoke with deep feeling, and was heard with great attention ; and when he quitted the room pale and exhausted, he was followed by many an anxious eye, and many hearts seemed to wish him " God speed."
He attended a similar meeting, at which he spoke, at Chesterfield, on the 7th; and on the 8th was on his way to town with his wife and children, and parents. A serious anxiety, however, awaited him there. His mother had scarcely reached the end of her journey before she was seized with an attack of bronchitis, which threatened her life. She was in so much danger on the 9th, that it was thought prudent to conceal its extent from her son. She rallied, however, so far, on the morning of the consecration, as to be able (though not without imminent risk) to be present at the ceremony. It took place on Sunday morning the 10th, in the chapel at Whitehall. The Bishop of Carlisle officiated for the Archbishop of York, assisted by the Bishops of Lichfield and St. Asaph. The Rev. Thomas Hill, the newly appointed Archdeacon of Derby, preached on the occasion, from Rev. chap. ii. 1, 2, 3 ; and after the sermon, the sacrament was administered to the small congregation who remained in the church ; the new Bishop's family were of the number. They little foresaw under what circumstances they should again assemble together to partake of the emblems of their Saviour's love.
The Bishop was less fatigued by the service than had been expected, and felt nearly well, when, in the following week, he was called upon to do homage to the Queen. On the 25th he set off for the Isle of Man, leaving his wife to make all the necessary arrangements in Derbyshire.
TO THE REV. R. GRANT, A NEW COLLEGE COTEMPORARY.
London, Jan. 12th, 1847.
MY DEAR GRANT,
It gave me great pleasure to hear of you that the Lord had sought and found you, a sheep wandering in the wilderness, and brought you home to his fold, and set you with a willing heart to feed his sheep ; and I was glad to hear from you that you remembered me with interest, and that there was ever anything in my conduct to suggest better thoughts to your mind. I should indeed have been deeply guilty, worthy of many stripes, had I been altogether as others, for I possessed many privileges, and was the child of many prayers; but I have often reproached myself for not having done more for my Master when at New College, by greater consistency and boldness. He has had mercy on us both, and we have both had much forgiven. May we love much; and show that love by continually increasing devotedness to the blessed work to which He has been pleased to call us by putting us into the ministry. May the Lord bless you, and make you a blessing.
My dear Grant,
Yours very faithfully,
W. A. SODOR AND MAN. TO HIS WIFE.
Derby Castle, Jan. 30th, 1847.
I can hardly tell you how welcome your full packet of letters was last night. It found me in the midst of an evening party here; but I could not resist the temptation of opening the seals to see that all was well. . . . . Then the news about Shirley, and the prospect for Brailsford, connected with the appointment of Mr. Hill for the Archdeaconry, is so blessed, that I know not how to spew forth all my praise to God for his wonderful mercy to me an unworthy sinner. I am sure that we have abundant reason for very special devotion of all we have and are to His only service ; and this thought has pressed much upon my mind when thinking of all the arrangements we have to make for our personal comfort.
TO THE SAME.
Government House, Castletown, Feb. 1st, 1847.
Having got into my room, I will occupy this sheet by carrying on my journal from Saturday last. The library looks like my own room, with so many old friends around me. I have one entire division filled with the books which came out of the boxes marked B. L., and I long to be at work upon them. On Saturday I was occupied, as you know, with visitors and letters, and had no time to expand my sermon notes into something like a MS., which Bishop Short had almost persuaded me to do. Moreover, I did not feel well; and I repented having engaged to preach on Sunday. However, I retired early, was blessed with a good night's rest, and found myself so much better in the morning that I determined to fulfil my promise of preaching at the two * orphan churches of St. George's (the aristocratic church in the town) and Kirk Braddon, the mother church of Douglas. At St. George's, I preached from Rom. i. 15, 16, to a large, respectable, and attentive congregation. The Attorney General, Mr. Ogden, having offered me the use of his carriage at any time, I availed myself of his kindness, and was taken by him to his house from St. George's, immediately after the service. He lives close to Kirk Braddon church, in a house where I have a right to lodge when I embark or disembark, as I think I told you. I walked with Mrs. Ogden to church, through a churchyard crowded with the tombs of the dead, and with living men and women, many of whom had come from Douglas (two miles) to hear me preach again; but hardly one of them gave me a friendly look or the slightest salutation, and stood either staring at me, or talking to each other, probably about me. This is rather characteristic of the people, especially in the towns, and results, I believe, from a mixture of barbarism, radicalism, and dissent. However, there was a crowded congregation, which .I was sorry to hear was three times the ordinary number; they sang nicely, (at least to my ignorant ears,) chaunting the " Gloria Patri," " Nunc Dimittis," &c., and were very attentive. I preached to them from John iii. 14-16. After the service I called four churchwardens into the vestry, and having said some kind and civil things to them, lectured them about their vestry, which is literally a coal-hole; and then told them they should pray that we might be guided in the choice of a vicar for them. This morning the Archdeacon arrived to breakfast at nine o'clock, having left his home soon after five A.M. After breakfast he drove me here by twelve o'clock; and all necessary arrangements having been made, I proceeded with the Governor, in my robes, to join the clergy at the court-house, and to walk with them to the church. . . . . . I pronounced the benediction, my first episcopal act. We then went to the courthouse, where I took my seat on the right hand of the Governor, and the Clerk of the Rolls administered several oaths to me, amongst which, one was to abjure the Pretender, and another was to promise to do my duty as a member of the Church. When this was done, the High Bailiff of the town stood up and read the address, which I enclose, and for which I was not in the least prepared, but I made him such a reply as the circumstances suggested. The Bishop has usually entertained the clergy at the inn, but the Governor most kindly urged me to allow him to receive us at his house ; and finding he really wished to have the opportunity of doing an act of kindness to the clergy, and that the clergy would have been much disappointed if 1 had deprived them of the greater entertainment of dining with the Governor, I yielded, nothing loth, to say the honest truth,
We have had a very pleasant day, and I have had many opportunities of important conversation with the clergy (about thirty present) and Governor. This morning the Governor's little boy, about three or four years old, came to my door with his frock so full of my letters and papers (more than thirty of the former, and seven of the latter) that he could hardly toddle. I was obliged to transact business with the Governor till half-past eleven, A.M., and it then took me more than an hour to read my letters. After which I had to visit the College; it is now half-past two, P.M., and I must go to dress at forty-five minutes past three, as we start for Sir M. Blakiston's dinner at fifteen minutes past four, P.M. I wish the great dinner of this evening were well over; for those things are usually dull, tedious, and unprofitable. I am sorry that I cannot give you more of my thoughts; but on the whole, I am encouraged to think that there is a work of much interest before me here.
* The incumbents of these two churches were recently dead, and the livings vacant.
TO HIS SON.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 5th, 1847.
I have asked your mother to show you a letter to her, in which I gave a description of my enthronement; the last formal act necessary to put me in full possession of my very interesting and very responsible charge. You will understand one feature of this responsibility, when I tell you that though I am patron of only four vicarages, these livings, with some chapelries recently constituted in my gift, comprise more than half the population of the island, and have not an aggregate income of one thousand pounds per annum; besides which I have the additional difficulty that the Manx language is required in most of them, which limits my choice to men who, for the most part, are behind the English in vigour, education, habits of business, and even piety and their moral standard. I have also the appointment of all the schoolmasters in the island. In addition to this, the liberty and independence of other Bishops, and English notions, and university degrees, which I enjoy, while it gives great freedom of action, obliges me to consider each case on its own merits, and is full of minute responsibilities; but the most minute matters are of importance in a small island like this. It is, however, parva non contemnendo that I must benefit this island; and there are some very hopeful points in it; among others, King William's College is full of encouragement; a school, admirably conducted, with nearly 160 boys, on which I hope to engraft a class of divinity students.
I came here yesterday, and have eaten my first solitary dinner, and, what I feel even more, have drunk my first solitary tea; but I hope now to devote myself thoroughly to the Bampton Lectures. I have purchased No. 9 of the Prospective Review, and have ordered the rest on your recommendation. I know the shop from which it issues, and have already some of the publications of that school. Blanco White, Emerson, Martineau, were or are of the set, and a very mischievous set they are ; all at sea, and likely to germanize into atheism, where they will probably meet Newman, on his arrival at the same point via Rome. I have not had time to read No. 9, and it does not seem to contain a directly theological article; but I intend to look over it to-morrow. It is clearly important that I should read it, but I doubt the present expediency of your doing so, and think that you will consult your own spiritual health and comfort by living on more wholesome food. " Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit."*[Col. ii. 8]. The New Testament seems to me to settle the question of the inspiration of the Old Testament; that is to say, that the holy men by whom the record of God's government of the world has been given to us, wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. If we admit a limited inspiration, (for which there is no scriptural warrant,) I do not see where we can stop, or find certainty. The question is, were the minds of those writers divinely inspired or not? If they were, we are their disciples ; but if not, we are their critics. I will write more when I have read more. In the meantime, my clearest Walter, aim at a close, childlike, humble walk with God, for that only will give a man present and eternal peace.
TO HIS WIFE
Bishop's Court, Feb. 8th, 1847.
I am most thankful that we did not buy a clarence, for our present carriage will be quite good enough, and I had rather be under-appointed than the contrary, while there is so much distress, and I am prevented from giving what I could wish. I find gradually that one must not look at things here with English eyes, but be content to be plain among a plain people.
After writing to you on Saturday, I walked out with my secretary and registrar, Mr. Brown, the Vicar of Kirk Michael, on our magnificent sands, where at low water you may ride or drive for many miles. It is a splendid, bold sea. In short, it is really altogether a very interesting place, and one to which I could fancy myself becoming much attached; but, if we were discouraged by ranters and methodists at Shirley, what should we say here, where the churches are cold and empty to a fearful degree ? My grand aim must be to build up what is fallen. On Sunday I preached at -, to about eighty people, and a Sunday-school of eleven girls and nine boys, out of a population of 1,376 [Kk Michael in 1841]. In the afternoon I went to --- [? probably Ballaugh], where the congregation was not much better, the sermon pious and spiritual, but without point or power. Next Sunday I hold my first confirmation at Ramsey ; 21st I am engaged to preach at Peel for the local distress there. I have been to Peel (seven miles) today. The ruins of my cathedral, and of the castle, are very striking, and must be extremely interesting, but it snowed too much for me to visit them; besides which, I was taken up from 11.30 A. M. to nearly 3 P M. by a succession of visitors.
It is very strange to me to be in this wide house and very retired situation quite alone, and I long to see you; but you will be glad to hear that my eyes are so much stronger that I am able to read and write by candle-light, using only one candle, and fixing to it the shade I had in church at Shirley. My only candlesticks are those elegant ones which remind me continually of our dear Osmaston friends. All bad symptoms have disappeared, and I gain strength daily. When I rode with L. Mann, on Friday, six miles and back, I felt rather tired, but yesterday was refreshed by my ride to Peel in a storm of snow. So this also must be added to our rich list of mercies. God bless and keep you, dearest one, and prepare your heart as well as mine to praise our God not only with our lips but in our lives, "by giving ourselves up to his service, and by walking before Him all the days of our life !"
TO ARCHDEACON HILL.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 8th, 1847.
MY DEAR ARCHDEACON,
I am always glad to hear from so true a friend as you are, for we thoroughly sympathize in each other's work. I have, as you suppose, fairly entered upon my deeply interesting office here, and am going about through the towns and villages preaching in my plain way, just as I did at Shirley, the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. I have preached every Sunday hitherto, and am engaged for every remaining Sunday until I go to Oxford for my Bampton Lectures for March 7th. Next Sunday I am to have my first confirmation at Ramsey. Owing to the manageable size of this interesting and favoured diocese, our confirmations are parochial, and even the ordinations are held in the church where the candidate is to minister. Yet, with these and many other advantages, dissent is prevalent to a degree which I have never witnessed in England. Its causes, effects, and remedies, form a grave problem.
Many thanks for the copy of your interesting and excellent circular, which ought to have the effect of stirring up the archdeaconry to do more than it has done. The people as well as the gentry must be addressed, and a detailed canvass of the principal towns made, if anything effective is to be done. Pray remember that you are in duty bound to pay me a visit in the summer. I am thankful to say that I am feeling quite well. My heart is cheered by seeing all my former charges in faithful hands. Kind regards to Mrs. Hill.
W. A. SODOR AND MAN.
After referring to a comfortable arrangement which had been made for his late excellent curate, the Rev. Thomas Cupiss, he goes on to say,
Bishop's Court, Feb. 9th, 1847.
Thus the only point in the disposition of my parishes, and the changes consequent upon my removal, about which I had any remaining anxiety, is settled to my heart's content; and it is with much joy, and I hope deep thankfulness, I say, " Surely goodness and mercy have followed me."* Never do I remember to have experienced so many mercies in so short a period. You know some of them ; but there are others, and those the most precious, of which few know except my self. I receive them as answers to the many fervent prayers which have been offered up on my behalf.
Pray give my kindest regards to Mrs. Cupiss and your brother.
Yours, my dear Sir, Very faithfully, W. A. SODOR AND MAN.PS. xxiii 6.
TO THE REV. GEORGE BLISSET.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 8th, 1847. The Bampton Lectures get on slowly in the midst of many interruptions. To-day, for instance, my whole morning has been taken up with visitors. The clergy walk from six to eight miles distance ; make a luncheon-dinner, and stay till they are rested. It is all right, and a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with them, but " amici fures temporis." My eyes are better, and my general health, thank God, much improved, so that I can read and write by candle-light, without which I do not know how I could get on. I wish you could come and pay me a visit in the summer, when the Bampton Lectures are over, for I should like to interest you about my little old-fashioned diocese.
There is a great work to be done here ; to raise the tone of everything, and to recover the people to the church of their fathers; for I never saw so much dissent; and this must be done by infusing more earnestness into the clergy, and by real christian education. I wish I could get such a man as Mr. Goulburn of Merton to be my examining chaplain, and pay me a visit once a year. Can you help me? Do you know him ? I have preached every Sunday since my arrival, and am engaged till the end of the month; so that I feel myself a pastor, and regard the island as one great parish, through which it is my privilege to go preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.
May the Lord bless and keep you, my dear friend. What a mercy that my archdeaconry and two livings are to be in good hands.
TO HIS DAUGHTER.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 9th, 1547. The country is, generally speaking, very bare of trees, but the rides from this to Ramsey on the north, and to Peel on the south, are very striking. The scenery about Ramsey is, I am told, very beautiful; but I have hitherto only been within two miles of the town to Lezayre. On Sunday next I am to hold my first confirmation at Ramsey. What a blessed and interesting day it will be, if the Lord grant it, when I lay my hands on the head of my dear A., and dedicate her with a glad and willing heart to be the Lord's soldier and servant to her life's end. May your heart, my darling child, be preparing now for that solemnity!
Peel is a very curious place. If you look at the map, you will see that there is there a small circular peninsula connected with the main land by a narrow strip of land. This was once a small island, and is now covered with the very striking and interesting ruins of the castle, of my cathedral, and of two other churches. The only occupants at present are rabbits; and even these do not belong to me, but to the Queen. Peel is eight miles from this, and the road runs in and out by the side of the hills generally within sight of the sea; and a most glorious sea it is, with splendid sands, on which we can ride or drive for many miles. In addition to this, we have mountains close to the house, covered with heath, and as the people burn a good deal of peat, I have little doubt but that with diligence we may find bogs as deep and dirty as at Edale.
The enclosed paper will give you a short and not very satisfactory account of my enthronement, but it will interest you. Had you seen me the next day in Tynwald court, hearing counsel respecting the discharge of a prisoner, discussing the reform of the House of Keys (our House of Commons), and legislating about allowing the brewers to employ sugar instead of malt, you would have been amused at papa's novel occupation; which, to say the truth, amused me for the first hour or two, but Manx business proceeds at a very slow pace, and I began to wish myself elsewhere and otherwise employed; for all this does not promote the Bampton Lectures, in which I have done very little since I came to the island; but am now going to work in good earnest.
Last Saturday I sent in my carts to Douglas for a cargo of goods from Shirley, and I told the man to bring back a codfish if he could get one. He brought a cod weighing thirty pounds, and the price was two shillings, so that one may live cheap on fish here, when it is to be had, which is by no means always. The postman is here, so I must conclude.
TO THE REV. CHARLES MONEY.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 13th, 1847.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your letter of the 9th reached me, together with twentythree others, at about half-past twelve o'clock to-day, and the post went out again at two, P. M., in order to be in time for the packet which sails this evening, and will not sail again till Wednesday next, when it will be the bearer of my answer; such is the sad nature of our postal arrangements, the greatest drawback, except the separation from ready personal intercourse with those we love, to a residence in the island. In other respects it is full of interest, and I am as happy here as I well can be alone.
I like your little tract *[* On the Lord's prayer.] much, but I feel the difficulty of the subject to which the second, third, and fourth question refer. The fact is, that only the regenerate can use this prayer, or any other; and we teach it to children only on the ground that having been baptized, and received as God's children on the profession made in their name, we assume charitably that they have that regeneration, of which baptism is the sign and conveyance, in a legal sense. If a man has the title-deed to an estate, we assume that he is the owner, until the contrary is proved, but it is capable of proof. I think, therefore, that I should give rather more prominence to the effect of baptism as the seal of the promise, and the visible title of our adoption. May every blessing attend you in your work. Give my kindest regards to your mother and sister. Believe me,
W. A. SODOR AND MAN.
TO HIS WIFE.
Feb. 13th, 1847.
I send the copy of my pastoral letter which has come for my chapel of St. Nicholas. It would gladden the hearts of some of our altitudinarian friends to see me having prayers there every morning. On Wednesdays and Fridays I have the Litany, and on other days a short abridgment of the prayers; I go as far as " the Lord's name be praised," then read and expound a short portion of the sacred Scriptures, (I am now going through the Ephesians,) after which I take either the prayer for " all sorts and conditions of men," with the general thanksgiving, or the prayer for " Christ's church militant here on earth," and then return to the prayers at the end of the morning service for the clergy and people, and the prayer of St. Chrysostom. Perhaps, however, they would be rather scandalized by the abridgment, and by seeing me habited in a cloak and black cap. It is very cold, which I really should like to remedy, if possible, without a visible stove and pipe. Mr. Wright must advise when he comes here.
I dined yesterday at the Archdeacon's, a party of fourteen: old Deemster Christian, a good old man and a gentleman; my Vicar-general; the High Bailiff (or Mayor) of Ramsey; the captain of the Archdeacon's parish, an office which dates from the times when the island was exposed to invasions. The captain has a small wooden cross, which he has a right to send round from house to house, each man handing it on to his neighbour, and this is a summons which every one who receives it must instantly obey, to meet at the place of rendezvous ; there were two doctors, and the rest clergymen.
Dispose of me as you like for Sunday, March 7th. I should like to preach at Shirley and Osmaston. I sat up till one, A. M., writing my charge to the catechumens for Sunday next; very naughty, you will say, but I was so interested in the subject, and found my pen run on so much easier than it does with the Bampton Lectures, that I could not stop, and was surprised to find that it was so late. The Archdeacon tells me that there is a report that Mrs. Shirley dislikes the idea of crossing the sea so much, that she will never come to the island. If this be so, I tell them that I shall soon resign the Bishopric. He tells me, also, that some persons who are bound by their tenure to present an ox (compounded for by two pounds Manx) to every new Bishop, think of getting up a remonstrance to Lord John Russell for sending them so many. I find that I have a right to kill deer in this parish, if any can be found! I have also some salmon fisheries, which do produce something. There is hardly any game in the island, but the head gardener has just succeeded in killing a fine fat hare that has long been feeding on his young cabbages.
TO HIS PARENTS.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 15th, 1847.
MY DEAR FATTIER AND MOTHER,
M will have told you that I do not preach at Oxford, March 7th; but still mean to leave the island, March 3rd, and to spend some time with you and other friends before the 13th, when I must be at Oxford. Yesterday was full of interest to me, for I held my first confirmation. It was my first decidedly episcopal act, and I felt as though I really was the chief pastor of this people. The confirmation was only for one parish, so that I had only twenty-nine catechumens. Great pains had been taken with them, and their conduct was very devout and pleasing, and the whole congregation (which was a large one) was very attentive. I threw my whole heart into the service, and hope that some good may have been done. When the service was over, I kept back my catechumens until the congregation had withdrawn, and gathering them around the communion table, talked to them in a more private and personal manner. I told them about Louisa Frances,*[A late member of the congregation at Osmaston.] who owed her conversion, her peace, and her present glory, I believe, under God, to confirmation.
My Bampton Lecture does not get on as I could wish. It is not the kind of work that I like or am best fitted for, and I am longing to be more entirely engaged in my proper and suitable employment. I hope, however, soon to talk over all these matters with you.
On my way home from confirmation, I preached at the church of a clergyman who is ill. He is the son of one of our deemsters or judges, and a very devoted man; but, alas! his lungs are affected, and I fear his work is done, and we must be content to let him rest with God. I called on him, and went to prayer with him.
Your affectionate and dutiful Son, W. A. SODOR AND MAN.
TO HIS WIFE.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 16th, 1847. Strange to say, I have hardly anything to write about, except my confirmation last Sunday. There is, however, one very important matter which I have omitted to mention before, and that is the want of a school-mistress for Kirk Michael. I wish we could get over a suitable person, but it must be at our own risk, for there is no endowment. There is what they call a house here, but it is not a fit residence for the sort of person I should like to have. Yesterday, as soon as I was released from visitors, 3 P. M., I set off with a groom to ride over the mountains in the direction of Douglas, and got about half way, that is six miles. The wind was so powerful that my horse was more than once blown sideways off the road. The groom had his hat blown off, and found it full of water under a small water-fall. It was very wild indeed, and certainly not safe in foggy weather without a guide. I rode as far as one of our mountain chapels, called B-[Baldwin], where there is a good man ministering among the mountaineers. He lives in the farm-house occupied by his wife's mother, a widow; a plain, sensible, worthy farmer's wife. She was making snow soap, and gave me a piece of it, with which I washed my hands this morning very effectually, though the scent was not of the most delicate kind. I took down the receipt, which is a curiosity.* The good dame furnished me with a piece of black ribbon, so that my hat escaped the fate of my groom's.
I have a water-tub which conveys the water from the sea, and is placed under the window of the room in which you wish to have the bath. Then there is a pump with a leather pipe, which forces the water through the opened window into the bath. The bath is like one we once saw at Brussels, with a water-lapped stone at the foot, and a pipe to convey the smoke into the bed-room chimney. So you see I am not without my luxuries, and I am thankful to say that I am remarkably well; if these frightful Bampton Lectures were off my mind, I should be as happy as a lark, and I hope in my heart sing as cheerful and grateful a song.
* Common kitchen soap 3½ lbs. Snow 21 lb Add to this 3 table spoonfuls of salt and it will make 17 lbs. of soap.
TO HIS PARENTS.
Feb. 18th, 1847.
My enthronement has a grand name, but it really is nothing more than induction. In the island it is usually called installation. After all, Epovos means a chair, and it is the placing a Bishop in his episcopal chair. I have three of these chairs or thrones in the island, at Castletown, Douglas, and Kirk Michael, and all of them simple enough.
Yesterday I had service in my chapel at 11 A. M., and 6.30 P.M., and had a congregation of about thirty on both occasions. They were chiefly my own servants, and labourers, gardeners, &c., and came in my time at 11 A. M., but in the evening it was their own free will. I expounded Psalm exxx. to them, and enjoyed myself. I visited some poor people, and found a sick man, with whom I went to prayer. I shall be glad to have more of this pastoral work, for it refreshes my soul ; but at present I want all spare time for exercise. On Monday I had a rough ride over the mountains, and on Tuesday I had a delightful canter over the sands, which are magnificent.
Assure our friends at Ashbourn how much I value an interest in their prayers at the meeting. I feel that I have been much indebted of late to the prayers of christian friends.
The Bishop of Oxford has got the very man on whom I had set my heart as an examining chaplain. He is one of the first men of the day in some respects.
Many thanks for the extract from the Bishop of Calcutta's admirable work on Colossians.
In my reply to the high bailiff, I said, "Mr. High Bailiff, I beg to thank you, and through you those whom you represent, for this affectionate address, and assure you that it is with feelings of deep humiliation I find myself placed in the chair which has been occupied by the eminent and pious prelates to whom you have alluded. The revered Bishop Wilson has hallowed the chair in which he sat so long, and left to his successors an example which they will, I trust, ever be excited to imitate. We may, I think, almost say that the memory of that good man rescued this see from the annihilation with which it was threatened; for men were unwilling to blot out a diocese which was connected with his name. I thank you for your allusion to my dear friend, Bishop Bowstead, now with God. He first raised me to a position of dignity in the Church, and I am happy in the thought that in doing so he prepared the way for my being brought, by the providence of God, to preside over a diocese where he laboured so faithfully, though for a short period, and where he was so much beloved. I must not forget the many important lessons which I have received from my able, devoted, and munificent predecessor, the present Bishop of St. Asaph, and the example he has set me of unwearied zeal in promoting the best interests of the diocese. Pray that I may also be a blessing to this island, and that God may give me grace and wisdom to discharge the duties to which he has called me." My answer was so wholly unpremeditated that I did not know what the high bailiff was about when I saw him on his legs, until the governor told me, but I believe that the above is as nearly as possible what I said. Memory is the reflection of attention, and on the principle that the angle of reflection is equal to that of incidence, when the attention is strongly excited (as it was in my case) the memory is clear in proportion.
My appointments have only been of Surrogates, though they are of some importance, in consequence of the foolish vanity which makes the lowest people marry by licence. I reappointed the Vicar-general, which is an office worth £400 per annum. He is an important officer as judge of the consistory court, and must be acquainted with Manx law.
The Manx papers amuse me now and then with letters from correspondents about what Bishop Shirley ought to be made acquainted with, and how he ought to act. The great point of discussion is whether Manx-speaking clergymen are to be exclusively appointed to livings. I have appointed one to the vacant vicarage; but they are a heavy set, and will soon be exhausted, for their children do not understand Manx. I am glad to hear that the children in the streets play in English. The Manx is a language without a literature, except the Bible and Prayer-book lately translated, and as far as I can make out, has neither dictionary nor grammar deserving of the name. It is an unmitigated portion of the curse of Babel. I will send you a Manx paper-it is sad stuff.
TO THE VENERABLE ARCHDEACON HILL.
Accompanying his presentation to the chaplaincy. Bishop's Court, Feb. 20th, 1847.
I am well aware that it is emphatically true of the inclosed appointment that "the gift doth stretch itself as 'tis received," for it has no value but what you are pleased to put upon it. I hope, however, that you will not consider it quite a sinecure, but that I may have the great pleasure, in the course of the summer, of your ministrations in my little chapel of St. Nicholas. I have service always on the last Sunday in the month, when the service at the parish church is in Manx, and I should be very glad if you can time your visit so as to spend one of those Sundays with me.
You will be glad to hear that I am very well and very happy in my work, which is full of interest in this primitive diocese. Last Sunday I had a parochial confirmation, with twenty-nine catechumens, so that I was able to repeat the words to every four of them, which appears to me more impressive than the English method, and I had an opportunity of gathering them round the Communion Table when the congregation had left the church, and of talking more privately to them. This is the quiet and personal manner in which the episcopal functions might be discharged if you had more limited dioceses.
TO HIS SON.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 22nd, 1847.
I received your letter of the 16th on the 19th, but owing to an accident, all my English letters were delayed until it was too late to answer them, greatly to my annoyance, and, I fear, also of others, who will calculate upon hearing from me. But I feel that I must regard myself as a missionary here, and be content with such things as I have; and certainly I have great reason to be content, though there are serious drawbacks, if I chose to dwell upon them, out of which I could make a very piquante letter. In one word I may say that the aspect of everything painfully reminds me of Ireland, and even of those parts of Ireland where bogs are extensive, and hedges and trees few. It smells of Ireland from the burning of peat. The women go about with great blue cloaks and no bonnets, often with bare feet. The very language is of the same family. It is Ireland fifty years after its conversion to Protestantism by means of the methodists; for the church here is at a very low ebb, though there is a good deal of religious feeling among the people, and so little serious crime that I wrote to say that Brutus*[* The house dog.] would be quite a supernumerary here.
I preached to a crowded congregation yesterday at Peel, and it was very spirit-stirring; but they will almost all be at the methodist chapel next Sunday. However, my calling clearly is to do what I can to raise up the Church of England, that it may be effective to win souls to Christ. My predecessor did his very best, in his way, and with no small success, and I must do my very best, in my way, as God may enable me.
I do not wonder at your feeling Oxford a coming down after Rugby; but, remember that you were tired of Rugby, and be quite sure of this, that there is a bright side of Oxford, and I should advise you to get on it, for it is the warmest and the pleasantest. There must be a transition state, and you are in it; make the best of it, and get out of it as soon and as well as you can, but quietly and unconsciously, without any violent and precocious determination to be a citizen of the world.
On Saturday the carriage and horses, Frederick, and the housekeeper arrived. They brought two of A.'s cats as far as Liverpool, but there the tortoise-shell escaped to liberty and ruin; only the white one arrived, which A. used to abuse for want of genius; all the fuschias which you gave her have come, and seem to be very happy with those here. This place is really very pretty, though a large portion of the country certainly looks like what Pat would call a " dissolute island"
TO THE VEN. ARCHDEACON HILL.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 22nd, 1847.
I have just given away the Mother Church of Douglas, after many anxious thoughts. The people here crowd to hear me preach, so that I shall have that opportunity of delivering my Master's message; and as there have always been several of the clergy, I aim at setting them an example of great plainness of speech. There is a great work to do in this little island. Your Derbyshire church people are I fear little aware of their privileges, or the danger they are in of losing them. If the Church had not awaked out of its lethargy, all England would by this time have been like this island, and much worse, for we have few great crimes, though, I fear, a very low and carnal standard of morals in the midst of much religious excitement. Your invitation is very tempting, but until my lectures are delivered I must " salute no man by the way," except to remain quiet where I can read and write.
To HIS WIFE.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 22nd, 1847. Yesterday I preached at Peel, for the local distress, in the morning and at six P.M. In the morning there was a good congregation, but in the evening the church was more than full, and it really was very encouraging to preach to so attentive and interested a congregation. Preaching from church to church will be one of the most important, and certainly one of the most delightful of my duties here. I hope that we shall both feel as missionaries here, sent to revive a feeble Church. I came home from Peel very tired, and slept full eight hours.
Thursday I shall have to sit as judge in my own court, and Friday will be entirely taken up with the promulgation of laws on the Tynwald Hill. All would be right and easy if I had not to deliver these lectures, but they make little progress, and haunt me. F. thinks the island looks "a wilderness place;" but he says that my farm is " excellent land, and will carry anything."
Tuesday, 23rd.-1 feel much better to-day than I did yesterday, but I had visitors from 12.30 to 2.30 P.M. These people sit and talk, and sometimes they sit without talking, as if the sun stood still for them as it did for Gideon. I am sadly teazed with applications for ordination, from a most unlearned and questionable set of people; there is not one applicant whom I feel that I can heartily encourage; it is a very fearful responsibility. I hope to have a personal interview with one or two of them in England. There is a sad system here of vagrancy, of which Bishop's Court is the great encouragement. I was looking at my stack-yard, and asked the bailiff what should be done with a small stack of barley; he said, "I suppose it had better be grand doon for the poor;" (he is a Scotchman.) I am devising means for putting this on a better footing, for I am sure that it does much mischief. The tone wants to be raised in every direction, or this place will become a little Ireland.
TO R. H. CHENEY, ESQ.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 23rd, 1847.
I dare not take a quarto sheet like yours to thank you for your nice, long, friendly letter, for this is the seventeenth I am preparing for the post this evening. Let me explain, in the first place, that, owing to an accident, I did not get your letter of the 13th in time on the 19th to answer it by that post, and we have a mail to England only on Saturdays and Wednesdays in winter, and winter lasts, I am told, eight months. This is one of the drawbacks on my situation, and it is not the only one; but, on the whole, I have great reason to be thankful and contented, and believe that it is a very good thing for me to be thrown into this retirement. I have a strange mixture, here, of luxuries and discomforts, of great simplicity combined with a good deal of real power, position, and consideration. It is a very peculiar state of things here ; a transition state, and I hope for the better. The old language is, I am thankful to say, in articulo mortis, so that I should be even more mischievous than certain Welsh gentry of my acquaintance if I were to attempt to preach in Manx or give prizes for Manx bards. Bards, indeed, there are none, nor any literature, except the Bible and Prayer-book, which were translated during the last century. The appearance of things is painfully like Ireland; and when O'Connell is dead, and the Methodists have converted Ireland to their way of thinking and ranting, (which is the case here,) the improved Ireland will be very much what the Isle of Man is now. You will feel that this state of things is very critical, and one into which a minister of Christ should throw himself with all his weight; and I see before me a work of great interest; but, just at present I do as little as I can, and look and listen, making my Bampton Lectures my plea for remaining quiet, though I should say that in four Sundays I have held a confirmation and preached seven times.
My residence is a very nice one, and I. have even a humble imitation of the Dingle, we call it the Glen, and people here who have no Dingle to excite them to odious comparisons, think my Glen something very delightful, and many lions from Douglas honour it with their presence in summer. Then we have really a lion of the first order at Peel, where, in a small peninsula which was once an island, there are the ruins of my cathedral, two other churches, and a castle; and they are a very striking group, which you must draw some day. I wish I could accept your very tempting invitation to Badger, for I should like to be with you alone, to look at your works, and to consult you about my lectures; but I must give the only few days at my disposal to my Parents, to whom my separation is a great trial, as it is to me.
. . . . I believe, that I have thought better of the Fathers than they deserved. Our early reformers attributed too much to their authority, and have communicated something of that feeling to their symbolical treatises. In point of earnest piety several of the Fathers are full of interest ; but the gnosticism of one age, the asceticism of another, and the narrow spirit of all, perverted their views. And most of them in an age when few had access to the Bible, and when the memory of apostolical teaching and still more of apostolical discipline had hardly passed away, attributed more than was due to tradition even then, and far more than we can attribute to it now. But I must try to see you, or at least to send you one or two of my lectures, for I should much like to set the lay mind at work upon them. I should like to meet your friend ; I have no doubt that he is right in thinking that Puseyism is the result of conceit much more than of study; most of those whom I have met are painful and supercilious coxcombs. I am saved the annoyance of these people here, where everything runs the other way, and I should like to infuse some ecclesiastical feeling into their minds. But I really long to see you here, that you may realize my situation and my work. When I have preached my last lecture, -June 13th, I shall be ready for episcopal work, or talking with you, or playing with my children, and certainly there is no work which need oppress me, or prevent me from feeling quite comfortable.
TO HIS WIFE.
Bishop's Court, Feb. 27th, 1847. In the prospect of meeting you so soon, please God, I need not write at any length, and indeed have little to tell you. On Thursday I sat, for the first time, in my consistorial court, in solemn state, with my Vicar-general in his wig on one side of me, and my Registrar on the other. There were complaints against executors for having returned only the fourth part of a wheel-barrow instead of having returned the whole vehicle ; and other such-like matters, which not only did not interest me, and made me feel that I had spent my time to very little purpose, but made me question the expediency of my presence there altogether, unless there be some really ecclesiastical matter before the court, for I am not sent here to be a " divider " of wheel-barrows "among them." At any rate I shall appear there very rarely. This morning I have signed the judgments, which all pass in my name. In England the common law courts have gradually drawn away the business- of the courts spiritual; but it is not so here, and therefore everything touching the administration of wills, all disputes with executors, all family contentions arising out of our very objectionable law, which gives the children, on the death of their mother, a right to half the father's property; hence the dividing of wheel-barrows; all these, and many kindred matters, are tried in my courts, but they shall be tried without me. Well, on Thursday I was judge, and on Friday I acted the part of legislator, and met the Tynwald on the Hill for the promulgation of four laws; one of which was to oblige the Vicar of Kirk Braddan to consent to the formation of Douglas into a separate parish. I have explained to you the rude and simple state which is observed on these occasions. When the business was over, I moved in Tynwald, that a committee of the legislature be appointed to draw the boundary of the proposed parish of Douglas, and to prepare heads for an act to constitute the parish, and make all civil and ecclesiastical arrangements, and to report the same to Tynwald. The committee I proposed were the Attorney-General and Archdeacon, of the Council, and the Speaker, Secretary, and one other member (having local knowledge) of the House of Keys, which was carried and ordered accordingly. So that is set in motion, and is a matter of great importance.
I filled my carriage with clergymen, and kept open house at breakfast and dinner for those who passed this way. We dined at five o'clock, and at half past six we went to the chapel for prayers. I gave a short exposition, or rather a sacramental address, for the benefit of those who are to communicate with me to-morrow, from part of the first lesson, Dent. viii. 2, 3, compared with Matt. iv. 4; there is another life besides that of the body, and that life is sustained by feeding on Christ, the incarnate Word of God. We were between thirty and forty, including my guests, and I hope some good may have been done. I feel that every sermon I preach in the presence of the clergy is like a Charge, and I am anxious to set them an example of a simple and natural way of preaching.