January 3rd, 1848 (Monday)
A.C. has been staying here for the last week. Said that an Oxford friend of his had been about the premises, and seen some of us coming out of Chapel with gowns on, upon which he built the rather hasty conclusion, – “that he never saw such an idolatrous place in his life.” I wonder what defence this zealot could offer for his own undergraduate career: for I suppose he occasionally has come out of chapel with a gown on himself. What a goose!
January 4th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Sewell came out with a cold. I never knew a more sickly season; every family has had one or more members laid up. Mr Telford has had a dismal house. His brother, and two sisters given over, – his father and then himself ill. This has delayed the organ, which will not be finished for 2 months. As yet, we have, thank God, escaped altogether.
Mr Wood’s sons it is settled are to come, and we know of several more that are certain, and a great many likely cases: I should not be surprised if we were full at Midsummer.
A kind letter from the Bishop asking Sewell and me to dine and sleep at Cuddesden on the Epiphany: we are to go.
January 6th, 1848 (Thursday) – Epiphany
A kind letter from Mr Grimaldi, announcing that on Friday week the 14th he was to preside at a dinner given to the Tenants, on occasion of the Bowyer family getting their property into their own hands, and asking Sewell and me, as Chief Tenants, to dine with them; at the same time adding, that our declining would not be considered as any want of courtesy. Sewell and I agreed that, it being a fast-day, we could not go: wrote to that effect, but with congratulations on the event.
Hon. And Rev. C. Harris, of Wilton, came to Oxford to preach before the University, and after sermon arrived here with a large party of gentlemen from All Souls, and elsewhere; – Messrs Lascelles, Belleairs, Pollen (brother of Merton Pollen) Sandford, Wynne and 2 Deans. The last time I had seen Mr Harris was at Stackallan in 1843, shortly after the College there had been constituted. He was an old pupil of Sewell’s, and Sewell wrote to him when he had resolved on beginning this; but he declined cooperation, on the ground that we “were taking the wind out of the sails of St Columba’s.” However, Sewell has told him the whole story, and I believe he thinks very differently of the affair now; but he is a very cautious man. He seemed quite to comprehend the falseness of organization, which gives the power to the Trustees and Visitor to do what they please with the Statutes. We impressed upon him the importance of his, and Abraham’s, and Coleridge’s, exerting themselves to set things right, for that they were the only parties, who would have the least influence. This he promised to see about.
The All Souls people were very much struck and delighted. This is the second large party we have had from that College, where and at Merton seems to be our great strength in the University. Mr Pollen, who is a gentleman of fortune, a very nice person, was particularly pleased, and said to Sewell, – “who would have dreamt of doing this 27 years ago?” “You have done every thing so handsomely and so well.” – “You must succeed”, – and so on. Much gratified at his coming up to me, shortly after being introduced, and saying, “I think it as well to put you on your guard, as there is a black sheep in the company. That gentleman with the light hair (‘a Mr Sandford’) is a great Whig in politics, if not a Latitudinarian in religion, – and so it would be well to be cautious in what we say. He is a relative of the Bedford family, where he was staying in the middle of the Hampden controversy. No one asked him to come, but he pressed himself into the party.” There was such freedom from restraint in his manner, and such an identification of himself with us, that one could not help warming towards him. This Mr Sandford asked me indirectly to show him the Communion plate, which was refused.
Mr Harris remained behind, and accompanied us to Cuddesdon, where he has been staying, and whence he is to return with us. The Bishop very kind, particularly so to oneself, whom he addressed and introduced by the official title of Warden. The party very, altogether, Anglocatholic. Messrs Crawley, Cornish, and Copeland, from Littlemore. Dinner very handsome, – Hock and Moselle, – too handsome. Bishop in low spirits, it is said. Sewell detected him, in a pause, drawing his hand across his forehead and sighing. He must have felt how all present must have lamented his letter in re Hampden.
Drawing room very drawing roomy. Has just finished a private Chapel; very nice. Not only candlesticks on the Altar, but an absolute Crozier by his own seat. It was candlelight of course, – but they say the painted glass is very good. Great draughts, – and a wretched, mean, tortuous passage leading to it. Service conducted partly by his Chaplain, Mr Pott in surplice etc., – and absolution pronounced by himself in a gown. Instead of Evening Prayer the service was a sad jumble of prayer book and home manufacture. Surely this is not honouring the Church, but disobeying her laws. How many clergymen will be emboldened by this example to carve, cripple and curtail, the prescriptions of the book, to which they are sworn wholly to conform.
Bishop spoke very kindly about the College, and is to come and see us after we meet again. Mentioned at dinner not long ago, with reference to some inquiry made about what we were, – “that we were a College for the purpose of imparting a thorough Church education.” – Hobhouse told us this.
January 10th, 1848 (Monday)
A Mr Knowles, a Gloucestershire clergyman came, in company with the eldest Mr Bowles of Milton Hill, Mr Knowles deeply interested, has sons of his own, and is to make a particular report to a Lady Young, who has already been in communication with Mr Dean, about her boy.
Mr Bowyer brought Lady Abingdon and another lady to see the College. Showed everything, including the Communion Plate. Lady Abingdon charming and charmed.
January 11th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Mr Halse has been trying to get Major Portman (brother of Lord Portman’s) to send his two sons; but Mrs Portman is so silly, and has heard such silly, such wicked, reports, – which previous letters from Sewell to Mr Halse and Hobhouse (likewise a friend of theirs) do not seem to have deprived of their mischief, – that Sewell has written positively declining to receive the boys. Has very politely, but firmly, told them that we will not undertake to educate boys, whose parents do not place full confidence in us. For that the docility, confidingness, and reverence which are essential to the successful training of youth, must be lost or lessened by the suspicious, if not expressed discontents, of their parents, whose feelings children very readily penetrate. I rather think that our refusal will astonish the Portmans. It is a most important principle, to which we are determined to adhere; and besides it is of no small consequence to teach people that we are conferring a favour upon them, and not they upon us, when we receive their sons.
A letter from Lord Charles Thynne to thank Sewell for his explanation of several matters. Asks “how many boys have you?” Don’t know whether this indicates any thing; – but if not, it is rather an odd question to ask in a note of a few lines long.
January 13th, 1848 (Thursday)
A letter from Mr Dean informing us that Mrs Nixon, the mother of the boy to whom we had intended giving the first “Decimal place“, in compliment to his early friendship for Radley, has very serious scruples about the principles of the College. These were conveyed to him through Miss Nixon, the boy’s aunt, who is greatly grieved at her sister-in-law”s folly. Dean is greatly annoyed, and has told us that he conceives they have forfeited all claim upon the College, and that he “must and will tell us the state of the case.” We have declined admitting the boy, – who I believe is no loss, as he is 14, and almost uneducated. Mrs Nixon is very right not to expose her son to unsound teaching, but this lightly, without due inquiry, to throw away a gratuitous education, for which others are only too glad to pay £100 a year, is folly so unintelligible as to be like monomania. Have written to Howard to tell his brother to get his son ready for the 27th, as Sewell waives his claim to the next vacancy for his nephew.
January 14th, 1848 (Friday)
Sewell met Dr Bliss today in Oxford, who asked warmly about us, – “how are you getting on at Radley,” – “I want you to be more known,” – “I want you to have planty of boys” – Sewell explained that it was much better to have a few boys at present, to get the body strong first, and when our system was thoroughly settled, then a large influx would be less to be dreaded than it would now. It is very satisfactory to find a cautious old gentleman like Dr Bliss, feeling so strongly.
Sewell met Mr Dean yesterday, who was delighted at our refusing Mrs Nixon’s son, and to have such a capital letter to show as Sewell wrote to him. As we supposed, he did not care for the Nixons particularly, though he interested himself in a deserving case, as he conceived. Glad that we have refused Major Portman’s sons, for he says Lord Portman is a troublesome person.
Brought out the 25th no. of the ‘Theologian and Ecclesiastic’, a High Church review, which contains a long notice of the Journal, expressing the strongest approval of our principles, and rejoicing in the effort to introduce a Catholic spirit into the work of education. The reviewer cordially agrees with our resolute recognition of the rule of fasting, and says boldly that this was “the rock upon which St Columba’s split,” and then mentions that “the Visitor refused to permit the observance of the Church fasts to stand part of the Statutes of the College”. So far as we know, this is the first time that the fact has been publicly disclosed. How curiously truth creeps out! The article “concludes with wishing St Peter’s a hearty God speed.” This notice of us is of some consequence, as it helps to spread a knowledge of our existence and nature, and shows the light in which we are regarded by a very high School, – which formerly used to abuse Sewell. Providence seems to be graciously raising us up friends as fast as we could wish them.
Under August 3rd I have mentioned that we had engaged Badcock as Head man servant. We have now had ample experience of a nearly total incapacity for the position. His ignorance could be borne with, if he had a head to learn; and every allowance would be, and has been, made for several other defects and faults; but what has decided us against him is his being wholly without influence over the boys (Servitors) who I fear despise him. Sewell has repeatedly spoken to him, and Mrs Burky is quite weary of fruitless efforts to teach him, but all to no real purpose. We are most reluctant to send any one away, but after ample trial of fitness, it would be injustice to the boys to keep over them a person, whom it is impossible for many reasons that they could respect. Accordingly wrote to a Serjeant Battersby quartered at Salisbury, of whom we have received the very highest testimonials from Sir Willoughby Gordon, Colonel Colville his commanding officer, and two clergymen who had been Chaplains at Croydon, where he was stationed. He came from London yesterday, where he was ordered, that he might receive a medal for good conduct. Bearing – honest, manly, and respectful; – height – tall; – frame – athletic; – so that he will be a great accession to our physical force. Is quite willing to take charge of the boys, whom he will surely bring on in habits of discipline and cleanliness. Has not been accustomed to wait at table, but will soon learn, I have no doubt, to do all such things sufficiently well for our purpose. I confess that in a case of emergency, requiring animal courage, I would rather trust to a Serjeant in the Scots Fusilier Guards than to many a one, who might be able to boast even more personal prowess than Battersby. Engaged the soldier.
Mr Bowyer’s dinner to the Tenants was given today. Though we told Mr Grimaldi that its being Friday prevented our dining, Sewell went down after dinner to say a few words to one of the toasts, (the health of the Bowyers). All rose when he came into the room, and listened attentively to all he spoke. He dwelt on the merits of their landlord, to whom they were more strangers than we, and said how anxious he was to promote their welfare, by encouraging the virtuous, and setting his face against the disorderly and ill-behaved, – told them what an open, generous and Christian spirit he had showed in all his dealings with us; – and so on. Mentioned that it was our anxiety to promote the comfort of the poor, and to give employment to those about us; – also, that so long as we were supplied with good, wholesome, articles of food, at a reasonable price, we would rather that the neighbours should enjoy the profit of production than that we should absorb it ourselves by home manufacture. This was received with cheers. He then told them how anxious we were to cooperate with the Vicar in maintaining order and religion in the Parish; and begged that they would not give credence to the idle rumours abroad about us, but to rest assured that the Church and Prayer Book were our guides, and that we were under the full control of the Bishop of the Diocese, who would be sure to check us if we went wrong; – concluding by proposing the Vicar’s health. Sewell says that the Vicar’s manner seemed sullen and offensive; however, he rose and returned thanks, and relaxed somewhat. Nothing more can be done after this to soften a man, who seems determined to be disagreeable.
Sewell very pleased with a white headed farmer of the Village, (Mr Collingwood) next whom he happened to be placed. He said that he had been reading the Journal, and was greatly delighted with it. It seems that some one got it in from London, and it is now going the round of all the Radley folk. The old man sits in a very large pew, which belongs to us, as he finds the draughts in the other parts of the Church too much for his hairless head. In this pew the Students sit also, so that he has an opportunity of witnessing their behaviour. “Looking to your young gentlemen on Sunday,” he said (in substance) to Sewell, “I could imagine that I saw the St Columba gentlemen before me.” A curious testimony to the success of our efforts hitherto.
January 15th, 1848 (Saturday)
A letter from Revd. Fitzhardinge Portman, (brother to Lord Portman and Major Portman) to whom Sewell had written to explain why we had refused to receive his nephews. Sorry that the boys are not to come, but exceedingly pleased with the letter, which he has sent to Lord Portman. Wishes us all success, and will come and see us, – promises what little pecuniary help he can manage towards our buildings.
Messrs Patterson (Trinity) Merriman (New College) Bathurst (I don’t know where) and Moberly, Sub-Warden of Trinity College Glenalmond, – came out from Oxford. Matters are not satisfactory at the Scotch College. No Chapel nor hall; – scarcely anything complete but dormitory, – and funds exhausted. People are afraid of the Church in Scotland; timidity everywhere. The College is groaning under a Committee and the system of nominations. In fact, I dread the results for Wordsworth’s sake: he has given them £5000, and I should not be surprised if he were sacrificed for the immolation of Wardens is rather a popular tragedy in these days.
Committees of management have extremely elastic consciences. Each man gets behind his neighbour, so that there is no catching any body; and thus huddled up they send moral obligation out by the back door, and prevaricate and swindle without any scruple. In their collective capacity they do with perfect complacency that from which, as private individuals, they would be deterred by a reverence for common honesty and the Queen’s bench.
January 17th, 1848 (Monday)
Sewell went into Oxford on Saturday to be at Exeter, for a day or two, as a sort of comfort to the Rector, who is seriously ill with ‘tic douloureux’. Brought out Revd [ ] Baine, of [ ], a hearty friend of St Peter’s. Was here in June, surprised and rejoiced to see progress. Is a person of influence and knows some people who are likely to give us money. Knows a Mrs Blunt, who, he thinks, when she hears of this place will probably send two sons. These boys she is bringing up strict Anglo-Catholics, taking them to daily service, etc.
Sewell brought a letter, just received from Mr Halse, inclosing one from Mrs Portman, in which she seems must cast down at the rejection of her boys; protesting that the scruples were not her own, and that she only put them forward to elicit replies to meet other peoples objections, for that she was much pressed by friends to have nothing to do with us. It appears that they have not seen the Journal, which clearly should place their request to see the Statutes in a far less unfavourable light. Upon the whole, we determined that if, after they had read it, they would place the boys under our care with full confidence, and set their faces against current calumnies, we would undertake the charge of them.
January 18th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Hon. & Rev. Arthur P. Perceval1 came out from All Souls, (of which he was a Fellow) and dined with me, returning in the evening. Very much pleased. “You see I have not brought my gown with me,” – was one of his first remarks. (Vid. Sewell’s Journal) He is one of the most active-minded men I ever knew. His ordinary correspondents are crowned Heads and Ministers of State, to all of whom he tells the plainest truth, and who therefore hate him very sincerely. I am amazed that the Queen does not deprive him of the chaplaincy in Ordinary. When Palmerston, who abhors the name of Perceval, does not answer his letters, he writes to Prince Albert and makes him. He has almost got possession of a glorious Church in Lubeck, which he wishes to devote for ever to the Anglican service, but diplomacy stands in the way. Given the library a copy of his Ecclesiastical tour, in which he puts forward the favourable inclination arising in Germany towards the English Church. Admirable man! He is so active, zealous, firm and plain-spoken, – that most men, who cannot comprehend truth, or the principle of contending for it, think him, as he says himself, ‘dementé’. Thank God for all the signs of life that the English Church is manifesting in so many places.
1: Arthur Philip Perceval was the fifth son of George Perceval, 2nd Baron Arden. He was associated with the Oxford Movement from its foundation, and was the author of three of Tracts for the Times. He was a prolific author. He was appointed Chaplain to George IV in 1826, and continued as royal chaplain to William IV and Queen Victoria, but was deprived of the appointment in 1850, following the Gorham case. He was connected to the family of the Earls of Egmont and to Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister, whose sons were among the earliest boys to attend Radley. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
January 19th, 1848 (Wednesday)
Revd. Henry Wall Tibbs came, in accordance with what is mentioned under December 15th. Would have been here before, but for illness. Is an A.M. of Dublin, and a Scholar on that foundation, where he knew Robert King very well. Also a licentiate in Theology of Durham; – has been in Priests orders for several years, and accustomed to chant the service. Testimonials of scholarship and knowledge of Divinity very high; – sound Anglican; sound musician, – in fact, just the sort of person we want. Explained the chief points of the Statutes to him, with which he was highly pleased, especially with our firmness about the fasts. Altogether, I was so well satisfied, that I said I would hold election the moment the fellows came back. He knows Morton intimately.
January 20th, 1848 (Thursday)
Sewell came out from Oxford for an hour or two. Is quite satisfied with Mr Tibbs, so I wrote to say that he would certainly be elected, and to beg him to come as soon as possible.
Sewell has had a letter from Todd complaining of the Journal, and saying that he believes that a jury of 12 English Churchmen would pronounce that the Trustees could not have acted otherwise than they have; but since they offered no resistance to the printing of the Journal before, he scarcely thinks they can do so now. Morton has written to Wade, enclosing Sewell’s letter, – and begging to know his opinion of its ‘animus’. To this Wade replied that it had ‘no animus at all’; and he took this opportunity of telling Morton that he had seen the whole correspondence between me and the Trustees, and that I could not have acted otherwise, a point upon which, moreover, there ‘could not be a second opinion.’ Thus is truth making its slow but sure way.
January 22nd, 1848 (Saturday)
Badcock is gone, and Battersby arrived.
January 24th, 1848 (Monday)
The Revd. Henry Willis, who is at present residing at Brighton for his health, having been obliged to give up parish work, came with a letter of introduction to Howard. Rev. Alfred Mason had mentioned this college to him, and recommended the Journal. So struck that he came off at once and asked me to receive his little boy, to which I at once consented, perceiving him to be a gentleman as well as a sound Churchman.
January 25th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Howard came unexpectedly. Had seen Upton Richards, of Margaret St. Chapel, – a very high Churchman, to whom he told the tale of my secession from St Columba’s. It seems that Bishop Hope, and all that party, (- for they are a party, with I do believe no sincere love of the Church of England, -) think that the present Statute there is a very good one, and that I ought to have been contented with it. Now, the meaning of the Statute is this; – that each individual may be at liberty to interpret the Church’s rule as he pleases, and even to think that she imposes no obligation at all. About this there can be no doubt whatever, for the Trustees acknowledge it. In fact, the object is, to be able to say to the strict Churchman that the law of the Church is the law of the College, he not dreaming that it may be evaded by any one who chooses to say that the Church really orders nothing; – and at the same time to say to the Puritan, or lax Establishmentarian, that the consciences of the Fellows are perfectly free. Now Mr Hope either knows all this, or he does not. If he does, he is unsound in condemning us, – if he does not, he is to blame in censuring upon insufficient information. I cannot but think that he and others of his stamp are jealous of Sewell for his firmness in detaching himself from that extreme party, and exposing their unquestionable tendencies. Mr Hope says that the Primate of Ireland laid the whole correspondence before him. Now, I don’t believe His Grace did, for I don’t believe His Grace has seen the whole himself. If he has, people are even worse than I thought. Whether or not, it is a very unpleasant position to find oneself in, – to be consulted by a man of highest station upon a point, which he has already ruled in one, very definite way.
The Servitors sang a Christmas carol under my windows, and hurraed loudly, – I suppose from delight that the College had begun to reassemble. They knew that Howard and I were at tea in my room. Poor boys, – they are very happy.
January 26th, 1848 (Wednesday)
The Sub-Warden and Monk returned this day before 1st day of Term, – according to Statute. Told them all about Mr Tibbs, and all agreed to elect him: so I wrote announcing the fact, pressing him to come as soon as possible.
January 27th, 1848 (Thursday)
This being the 1st day of Term, the Students began to arrive, – ten, besides our former three. All gentlemanlike, promising looking boys, with the exception of the two Hills, who are vulgar and ill-countenanced. They show pretty well what a low place Marlborough must be. I think however they are not past improvement; but if we cannot make something of them, we shall quietly ask Mrs Hill to take them away.
Sewell came. He had been to see a lady at Tunbridge Wells, who takes the deepest interest in St Peter’s. Told her the whole story about the fasting troubles; – she thought we were thoroughly right, and gave him £100.
Went to Mr Wilton at 79 Pall Mall to get a list of persons likely to help us, who mentioned that Dr Todd had written to him to know, “whether the subscriptions had fallen off, owing to Mr Sewell’s strange behaviour.” How highly improper to write in this way to a mere clerk in a public office! Wilton sent the letter to Nugent Wade, who wrote to say that whether there had been any failing in consequence of the Journal, he could not undertake to say, but that there was a large one, owing to their treatment of oneself. Indeed by Wilton’s account, I should gather that their supporters were reduced one half.
January 30th, 1848 (Sunday)
Got a letter from Mr Tibbs, who seems rejoiced at his election. Mentions a very close friend of his, of admirable tone, and sound Churchmanship, who would be likely to throw himself heartily into the work here. Is in Priest’s orders, an excellent musician and mathematician. Altogether, it would appear precisely what we want. Mr Tibbs is to see more of him, and let us know. Providence appears to be raising up fit instruments for us as we require them.
January 31st, 1848 (Monday)
Sewell came out and slept. A clergyman from Reading had called upon him, I believe with a view to boys, and said that the whole country will be with us. Has had a letter from the Head of some large school in Cheshire (or if not the Head, some person concerned) saying that he is labouring to get things on our model. Also a letter inclosing £26 presented at an offertory at Torquay for St Peter’s College. This no doubt is through the Duboulay’s. Every thing serves to show the general interest which is taken; – for which ‘Sans Deo.’