June 1st, 1848 (Thursday, Ascension Day)
Mr Underwood has not been here for an age, and has never seen the Chapel since it was near finished; so I asked him to dinner, – but he could not come. Mr Hallward dined. Messrs Corfe and Blythe, organists of Christ Church and Magdalen, came to Chapel, and afterwards played on the organ, with which they seemed struck. Mr Corfe has a noisy taste, and had a fancy for playing on all the reeds by themselves, which acquitted themselves well under so severe a trial. They admired the swell particularly, and singled out the trumpet for special praise, – but I do not think them critics of a high order. Mr Corfe said that the servitors did Monk great credit, that he was at St Paul’s the other day, where the boys did not sing nearly so correctly. The students, too, are beginning to sing some of the chants, which already adds sensible strength to the body of sound.
June 2nd, 1848 (Friday)
The Rector of Exeter came out to chapel and tea, accompanied by his mother-in-law, with her son and daughter. The former is Revd. Ffolliott Baugh, Preacher to the Charter House. At tea he said, ‘Dr Saunders (Head Master) will think that you want to ruin the Charter House.’ To which I replied that ‘we did not want to ruin anybody, but to save ourselves.’ He seems much struck with our system and general arrangements.
Mr Hardwick was to have come today with a friend of his, a Major Davis, but the military man was ordered on duty, and the civilian, as Under-captain of Special Constables, was expecting to be called upon to drive Chartists out of the street. I did not much expect that the Charter would have affected us so closely as this.
June 3rd, 1848 (Saturday)
Mr Coxe of the Bodleian, with Mrs Coxe and his sister-in-law, came to chapel and tea. It is near a year since the former two were here; – greatly gratified.
Sewell came out for the first time since his mother’s death. Talked about disposing of the grass in the Park by auction, which is to be done. Mr Saunders had proposed to him, what he had suggested to me several days ago when he came out, – that we should lease the whole of the Park, and let it to one respectable tenant, who would make it into a dairy farm. The three houses, where the dissenting washer-woman lives, would do, without case, for care-taker, etc. In fact, half the Park is not large enough to induce any grazier to take it, though the whole is. Mr Saunders is surveyor to the estate, and seems a man of intelligence and probity, – anxious to do his best to fall in with the interests of all parties, – which indeed will be no difficult matter, as our anxiety is, not to make money, but to represent the landlord. We are prepared, in fact, to lose money, for the great advantage of having the Park under our control.
Sewell likewise said that, now that the Bishop of Oxford would soon return to the country, (as he holds an ordination at Christ Church on Trinity Sunday) he was going to write to him to come to visit us as soon as possible. That afterwards he should call upon the Bishop of London and other bishops t give the countenance of their names, and support him in a work which they must allow is for the benefit, – or at least say why they hold off. Has had a very kind letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, wishing success to every really good object. By the way, Dr Bloxam1 was here the other day with Dr Brett, and mentioned that at St Augustine’s they found the present Archbishop far more easy to deal with than the late one; that he had offered no obstacle where the other continued to resist. I often think the ‘High and Dry’ people are among the worst enemies of the Church of England. It is stated, on good authority, that the Queen has intimated to his Grace her decided wish, that he should not oppose the Church party.
1: John Rouse Bloxam, Fellow of Magdalen College and Curate of Newman’s at Littlemore parish. Bloxam was regarded as the greatest proponent of ritualism associated with the High Church Movement. He was particularly responsible for the promotion of the choral tradition of Magdalen College. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
June 4th, 1848 (Sunday)
Thomas, Joseph and Henry have been telling untruths; so I had the whole six before me, and gave them a severe and lengthened lecture upon the sin, and consequences, of falseness of character. I am uneasy about Thomas, and I told him so; for I fear he has a habit of deceitfulness, which it will be hard to eradicate by and bye, when he ceases to be a boy. Charged them earnestly to confess their offences to God, both in Chapel and Dormitory. Wrung painful floods of tears from them, and have remarked that they have been more devout in manner during daily service. For the last 2 days kept Henry from Chapel and Hall, which seems to have been much felt.
June 6th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Revd Messrs Patterson and Meyrick, of Trinity College, called, bringing the Marquis of Lothian with them, whose mother is in Scotland what the Marchioness of Bath is in England. He is very young, not to enter the University for 1 ½ years. Mr Meyrick thought it desirable, in cultivating in him a taste for ecclesiastical things, to let him see our Chapel. The manners of the youth require polish. Patterson and Meyrick greatly pleased, and they are judges.
Mr Willis has been giving trouble. When he came on Easter Monday, he entreated us to flog his son for idleness and untruth. I did not do so, hoping that the visit of his parents might soften him and release me from the necessity. However, he told Savory a lie, and so he was sharply whipped. After this, his father wrote again, to beg me to flog him soundly for disobedience to his positive orders. This I did – and the very next day he told at least 20 lies about his sums, so I separated him entirely from the boys, kept him away from Chapel, and gave him a very simple diet, – intending to whip him again, when his back should be recovered, – which however, I did not do, hoping that the confinement would prove sufficient. Wrote the father an account of what had occurred, and of my intentions, feeling great comfort in the thought that he would thoroughly support me in all I was doing. But I reckoned without my host, – for such a violent letter as he sent I never received in all my life; – saying that the College was ‘wreaking its vengeance upon a lad, who was only bringing forth the natural fruits of the neglect of the College’; at the same time rating me sharply for not having flogged him twice at the very moment when he called upon me to do so. Then, ‘had I set him down to the piano? Had I looked at his drawings? His son would be ruined if he were not treated differently.’ Mrs Willis, too, must fire a philippic at me. The boy was made to do work far below his talents and powers, and, in order to save himself from labour more suited to them, had recourse to deceit. No doubt I had not yet discovered his love for poetry; – and so on. To all this outrageous, and insolent, nonsense, I simply replied, that if he did not retract every word of it, and moreover, make a promise never to interfere again between me and his son, I would send him home. What made it worse was, that he absolutely enclosed me a letter just received from the boy, showing how wicked he had been, detailing my mode of managing him, and saying that he was going ‘to do his best to please the warden.’ This morning I got a letter making the amplest apology. We all think Mr Willis is mad, and Howard has written to Mr Mason to ask him if he has ever been so. His manners are certainly very odd.
A letter from Mrs Elrington this morning. [from Stackallan] She says that Mr Stevenson has made Maurice a red-hot repealer. Dr Tripp has taken away Howard Tripp in a fright, and had done his best to induce Henry Tripp (the Fellow) to leave also. Gabbett had been there, and Mrs Elrington says that she should not be at all surprised if they were to make him a Fellow.
June 7th, 1848 (Wednesday)
Archdeacon Merriman1 and Mr White of New College, came out. Both are going to the Cape of Good Hope as missionaries, at the end of August. Highly pleased.
Sewell came to Chapel and tea. Disappointed at Mr Swales’ not having given us the help we expected; – but the reason most satisfactory as regards himself. However, the building has been suspended for the present. Mrs Sheppard has given another £500.
1: Nathaniel James Merriman, who later became Bishop of Grahamstown, Cape Colony. He was celebrated for his work among the Xhosa people of South Africa. He had been educated at Winchester College, a near contemporary of William Sewell. (Entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.)
Merriman’s son, John Xavier Merriman, was educated at Radley from 1856 until 1858, under the guardianship of William Sewell whilst his parents remained in South Africa. Whilst at Radley, J.X. Merriman was appointed one of the earliest prefects and rowed for the 1st VIII in one of its earliest matches at Henley. He served as Premier of Cape Colony from 1908 to 1910. (Entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.)
June 8th, 1848 (Thursday)
Three different sets of visitors. Among them Mr Burgon1 of Oriel, with a Mr Molyneux, curate to Mr Dodsworth,2 of Christ Church, Regent’s Park. So now we are known to the three highest churchmen in London, – Richard, Bennett and Dodsworth. Mr Molyneux had been Dr Elrington’s curate at Armagh, and seemed thoroughly to understand the Doctor’s character.
Have had a subject of some consequence to consider lately: – the question of admitting the sons of people in trade. The question has been raised by an application from Mr Lumley, a law-bookseller in Chancery Lane.3 Have had strong recommendations from Mr Upton Richards, and Mr Nicholl, of Stratford, – who say that Mr and Mrs Lumley have been for years excellent church people. Mrs Lumley writes that her son is designed for Holy Orders, and that she had intended sending him to Eton, but would far rather get him into St Peter’s, if we had no objection to the connection. To this I have replied that in the infancy of the College I did apprehend a danger, which at a more mature period would have no existence; and yet that I was very loath to exclude the son of Catholic parents,4 designed for the holy office, from the benefits of this place; – that, however, his only possible chance was to have furnished to us strong testimonials to his being a good and gentlemanly boy. After the matter had lain dormant for a long time, Mr Richards mentioned the case stringly when he was here, and the necessary document from the lad’s present Tutor having been obtained, – he is to be received after midsummer. Such a precedent I scarcely think can damage us. At all events we are absolute, and may reject without scruple, as we have no Committee, nor Council, nor Trustees to tie our hands behind our backs.
1: John William Burgon, antiquary. He is most celebrated for his poem ‘Petra’ which won the Newdigate Prize in 1845. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
2: William Dodsworth, influential Tractarian clergyman. In 1851 he converted to Roman Catholicism, following the Gorham case. This would have seriously upset Singleton, who probably regretted these statements of support. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
3: Edward Lumley of Chancery Lane, London, was not simply a book-seller and did not confine himself to law books. He was a publisher of ground-breaking scientific works, particularly a work on photography in 1847, and on geology and conchology in the 1840s. In the 1850s he published works on Norse mythology.
4: Anglo-Catholic rather than Roman Catholic.
June 10th, 1848 (Saturday)
Sewell came out with Sir Frederick Ouseley, a Mr Shaw Stuart and the Sub-Rector of Exeter. Sir Frederick is a great amateur musician, and played well on the organ, of which he seems to have formed a high opinion, – but I have asked him to dine on Monday, when he will make further acquaintance with it.
Sewell has had a letter from a Mr Low, a clergyman, dating from Market Bosworth, saying what interest he had taken in St Columba’s, and that he had laid by 2 or 300 volumes for its library; but having found that there was some cloud over it, he begged to present them to St Peter’s.
1: The visit of Sir Frederick Ouseley to Radley was one of the most significant of this time. In 1848 he was preparing himself for ordination and take the degree of BMus (1850), the first man of his background to take what was seen as an anomalous and slightly non-academic subject. He was passionately committed to the performance of services from the Book of Common Prayer as fully choral. In 1856 he founded the College of St Michael at Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire which was designed to train he personnel required to perform fully choral services in his parish church. This is part of the same musical and church movement that Monk and Singleton introduced with the servitors at Radley. See entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Grove Music Online.
2: Probably Rev Henry Low, BA St John’s, Cambridge, ordained in 1834. Served as Stipendiary Curate at Leicester St Mary from 1834. Source
June 11th, 1848 (Whit Sunday)
A letter from Nugent Wade to say that Todd consents to have the Statute about Fasting run in the affirmative, obligatory form, which on the necessary revisal of their statutes can be easily introduced, and will, he has little doubt, receive the Irish Primate’s sanction. I confess this made me very happy; in fact, I reckon this is one of the happiest days of my life. How wonderfully Providence has brought things about! Instead of one cankered college we now have two sound ones. The fall of one has (humanly speaking) been the rise of both. For unless they had receded from their first principles, Sewell and we should not have retired, and this place would not have been established; and again, had not the prospects of St Peter’s been as promising as they are, they might not have had the courage, or the prudence, to return to their ‘status quo ante.’ We can now run on together, hand in hand, in the same course, and prove a mutual comfort and support. We can now say that St Columba’s is a failure neither in reality nor in appearance, a position which will carry great weight with the mass of mankind, who never look below the surface of things. We have, indeed, great cause for thankfulness.
Dr Todd is anxious for a reconciliation, and I am sure I would give anything to be once more cordial to an old friend of 20 years standing, but he did behave in such a way that I feel a great difficulty in conscience. Sewell, however, says that, bad as the case may be, it was not one of public scandal, and therefore that his retracing his steps in the matter of the Statue, and his wish to be at unity again, may be considered quite justification enough for me to drop all further scruple. This distinction appears to have so much force, that I have determined to leave the affair to be adjusted by Henry Sewell and Nugent Wade, and to do what ever they dictate: the latter knows all the circumstances from an attentive reading of the correspondence. Sewell who came out while we were at Church, and is going up to London at 5 o’clock, is to lay the matter before them. He takes up our Statutes, as Nugent Wade wants to see them with reference to the constitution of the ‘Prior Fellows.’
What chiefly takes Sewell to London is an application from the friends of the Bishop of Fredericton, who has sustained most severe loss through the villainy of a person, who had the management of his private property; and to whom it is now an immense object to get his sons educated with little cost. Application was made by Mr Upton Richards some time ago for decimal places for them, but we could hold out no hope. Sewell is now thinking of taking them for nothing, as an acceptable sacrifice to Heaven, in whose service the good Bishop has been labouring painfully. He is now collecting money in England for his Cathedral, which is only half-finished. Sewell means to make an immense compliment of it to Mr Richards, Judge Coleridge, and the Bishop’s other friends, and to found on it a claim to their exertions in our behalf. The sacrificing of £200 a year in our infancy and poverty is, and will no doubt be thought, great liberality.1
Mr Halse walked out, and was pleased to see Portman looking so fat and well.
Sewell (major) I find has been a regular communicant, so I had him and Reynolds for an hour, and gave them an affectionate talking to, and let them go to their cubicles before Church time. Had a very long and searching colloquy with Reynolds on Friday. He is so gentle and amiable that I quite love him. It is such an important period of their lives that I am very anxious about them. However, ‘greater is He that is for us than he that is against us,’ I do not find myself too much dispirited by thoughts of responsibility: hope it may arise less from indifference than from faith. Have great cause for thankfulness in a really nice set of boys, – gentlemanly and docile, and, with very few exceptions, very loveable.
1: The Bishop and his first wife had five sons and two daughters, although Singleton’s figure of £200 indicates that he was only contemplating the education of two of the sons. In the end, only one of the Bishop’s sons attended Radley: Spencer Medley entered the school in 1849 and left in 1850.
June 12th, 1848 (Monday)
Sir Frederic Ouseley, Colenso,1 a Mr Gordon of Trinity College, Cambridge, and others came to dinner. Very wet; some wet through. Sir Frederic played splendidly on the organ. Had just come from a tour of organ inspection, 190 of which he has played on. I don’t know exactly what he thinks of ours. Some parts he certainly admires, but he says the diapasons are too reedy. I imagine he likes sweet diapasons, which I think is only to a certain extent good taste. Very much surprised at the Chapel service being got up so well in so short a time.
Sewell returned from London just before Chapel. Seems to think it by no means certain that the Bishop of Fredericton’s sons will be sent, though the compliment has been paid and is felt. Judge Coleridge says that the praise of St Peter’s is everywhere; Ernest Hawkins told him the same. St Augustine’s is to be opened on St Peter’s Day, and Sewell was asked to be present as representing this College, – an evident attention.
1: Possibly John William Colenso, later Bishop of Natal. Colenso began life as a member of a family of dissenters, whose father suffered bankruptcy when a tin mine was flooded in Cornwall. John Colenso then had to support himself through Cambridge, where he was a gifted mathematician, and, as a school master and housemaster at Harrow School. He gradually adopted a more ritualistic approach, and became editor of the journal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In 1848, his status both as a churchman and as a former school master, was still somewhat unclear, which is possibly echoed in Singleton’s failure to accord his title; conversely, the lack of an honorific may signify a closer familiarity with him than with the other dinner guests. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
June 13th, 1848 (Tuesday)
Had a letter from Nugent Wade, expressing his joy at the prospect of peace and harmony; though ‘fraternization’ is to be deferred till after the revised Statutes shall have been approved. Asks me whether I did not offer to retract my resignation at St Columba’s, if the Trustees would announce officially that Dr Elrington’s letter was not official, (for it bore every mark of being so) and what answer I got? I replied that Sewell communicated it to them in a letter to Todd, but he could never get any answer. This question made me draw out a brief but accurate account of the circumstances, which led to my retirement; as also, a statement of the grounds of my discontinuing all friendly intercourse with Todd. So now he may be master of the entire case. This took me hours to do, which, added to three choral services in the day, made me feel very much fagged at night.
June 14th, 1848 (Wednesday)
The boys are bent of having a band among themselves, which idea has been vastly encouraged by their having heard that we had one at St Columba’s. A great difficulty has been, – a covered place to practice in, at a distance from the house. Monk suggested the Venison Safe, which it appears may answer. He has selected 12 out of the 22, as most likely to forward the success of the project; – so I had them up to my room today, and spoke at some length on the importance of what they were about.
Said, that they probably had but little idea of the consequence which really attached to their proposal, not in a musical point of view (though I did not want to under-rate that) but in a moral. Their education was by no means confined to the School-room, but a serious part of it was carried on in their play hours; a healthy play was equally necessary with close study to the advance of virtue. The great thing was to be always employed; the devil hated industry. That in this view alone the cultivation of skill on a musical instrument was of consequence, provided it did not interfere with cricket, and other manly and muscular diversions. But, besides, as a far higher consideration, the practise, which it would require, had a manifest tendency to promote patience, industry, and other good habits, which it was in no small degree the object in studying Latin and Greek to infuse.
On the other hand, that, if on the appearance of labour and difficulty, and the discovery of the slow progress which would be made, they were tempted to give up, either in despair or in a pet, – the moral habit would be damaged, and thus a brass band would prove an injury instead of a benefit.
I therefore begged of them to pause before they embarked in the scheme, and to reflect on the toil and disappointment before they grasped possession. All this, which was rather abstract and dry, I managed to enliven in such a way as to excite merriment occasionally; and I think they comprehended what one was at. After drawing a darkish picture of matters, at the very end I strongly recommended them to proceed, to vanquish their musical instruments, and not to let the instruments vanquish them.
They have been very hot about the thing for some days, so I told them to settle the question within an hour, and then, if they were resolved to persevere, to write home for leave to blow, and means to buy. At the same time gave them fully to understand that the sanction I had just given was much less with a view to individual attainment than to general effect: and therefore that they were not to choose their own instruments, but to learn whatever was imposed upon them for the general good. If all were to fix on the cornet-a-piston we might by and bye have some tolerable solo-playing, but we could not have a band.
Monk is to go into town tomorrow to see about instruments, and to consult makers about the best to be fixed on for a small company of players.
June 17th, 1848 (Saturday)
Sewell has a letter from the Bishop this morning to say that he proposed coming on Monday evening, but that he must go up to London afterwards. It appears that he has to address some schools in the morning, and lay, or be present at the laying of, the foundation stone of a church in Headington.1 This will make him late, and uncertain, and hurried, here, – but it can’t be helped: it is well to have him on any terms. Sewell thought it best to drive over to Cuddesdon, which he did, and walked over hither afterwards. Told the Bishop that he had hoped to have had a longer visit from him, and to have brought together some persons to meet him; in fact, to have received him with more distinction than is now possible. The Bishop plainly expected this, but quite acquiesced in the reception being private, and in seeing matters in their everyday form. Sewell will try to get a few people, if not previously engaged, to come to tea.
Wednesday is to be our ‘Gaudy’ as St Columba’s Day fell on a Friday. A good many people are to come to dinner: – but more of this hereafter.
1: Probably the foundation stone for Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Road, Headington Quarry, Oxford. This church is an early work by George Gilbert Scott, built 1848-9.
June 18th, 1848 (Trinity Sunday)
Heathcote, E. and Henry Sewell walked over. The last has no doubt that all things may be satisfactorily arranged about St Columba’s, and is in good spirits. Also, – Todd now says that both Cotton and Elrington misrepresented him to me, and that I was right all through. The great difficulty against this is: – that when I quoted Cotton’s letter to him, in which he uses ‘we’ (himself and Todd) the latter never disavowed the language nor the matter. However, a rag to cover bareness is all I ask. It is quite settled that the reconciliation is to be deferred until the Statutes are definitively agreed on. Were they to fraternize openly with Radley now, the Primate and the rest would be alarmed.
June 19th, 1848 (Monday)
Mr and Miss Houblon are here in company with Gibbings. I have just told Gibbings of the affair about St Columba’s: he is in amazement. Has brought his carpet bag with him, and will stay till after Wednesday. How curious to have him here at the tine of all others we should most wish! The Houblons very plain, reserved people, but much interested.
Sewell has just come with the Bishop of Fredericton, whose very unpretending appearance would not lead you to think him the admirable man that he is. He is obliged to return to Oxford, but will be back again tomorrow or next day.
Just as he went, up drove the Bishop of Oxford accompanied by the Archdeacon of Oxfordshire (Clerke). Sewell, Sub-Warden and I were ready to receive them at the corner near the campanile, as the drive to the north entrance is rough and disreputable. Conducted them to the Bursary, where was a very nice cold collation laid out for them, though we guessed they would have had a good dinner at Headington: however they took some wine and water. Then conducted them over the house, with which seemed much pleased. Went into Chapel at the usual hour (6 o’clock) the Sub-Warden and self taking the Bishop to his seat in the Sacrarium, which was one of the carved chairs out of the house. For a desk we placed the lectern, covering it with some of the gold brocade, hanging full. Chanted the service, and then brought Bishop back same way, bowing to him as we came up. The tea, he on my right, Archdeacon on left. Both talked of the fine tones of the organ, which sounded grand through the high roof. Had some little pleasantry on Sewell discovering that he ought to have asked the Archdeacon of Berkshire (Berens) instead of, or as well as, Archdeacon of Oxfordshire. The Bishop was obliged to be at Abingdon Station by 8 o’clock.1 So after a cup of tea, according to a request from Sewell, he said a few words to the boys. Asked me a moment before what he ought to speak about; – not such an easy question to answer on the moment. However, – I immediately replied, – ‘thankfulness for their blessings, and obedience to their superiors’. He spoke for two or three minutes, and then Sewell, Sub-Warden and I conducted him to the carriage. A pity that his say was so short, – but, as I have said before, – it is well to have him on any terms. I do not doubt that he was gratified, and his manners were very courteous, – but that they are to everyone.
We were very glad to have Hobhouse, a Mr Baker, and some other persons, to help to entertain him. He had confirmed in Hobhouse’s church in the morning.
1: This reference to ‘Abingdon Station’ is puzzling. Great Western Railway had proposed a line to Abingdon, with a station, as part of Brunel’s London-Bristol line in 1835, but, following obstruction by local landowners, the proposed route was diverted via Steventon, four miles to the south of Abingdon. Abingdon itself did not receive a station until 1856 when a spur was built from the Oxford-Didcot line. This station was superseded in 1872, when the line was rerouted via Radley. There is little evidence that Steventon Junction was known as ‘Abingdon Station.’ [See Abingdon Junction and Abingdon Station]
It is more likely that the Bishop is referring to ‘Abingdon Road Station’, which was at Culham, about 1 ½ miles east of Abingdon. This was renamed Culham Station in 1856. [See the Culham entry in the Victoria County History.]
June 21st, 1848 (Wednesday) – Radley’s First Gaudy
This has been a day of great labour, and I am glad it is over, and well over.
Just before we went into Chapel, Monk came upon two boys, (Donnison and Wood ma.) engaged in a regular pitched battle. Came and told me. As he first step, desired him to forbid their going into Chapel, and I could not think of allowing them to join in worship while under the excitement of passion. Put them in separate rooms, and told Mrs Burky to have a look out after them. On returning to my room, Donnison came to me, crying bitterly, (he is a big boy), and imploring forgiveness. Said I would attend to him by and bye. Sub-Warden, Monk and Gibbings being in my room, asked them if they had any doubt that it was our duty as Christians to set our faces against fighting? Was it not a plain sin? When any of us came across an unquestionable instance of it, if we disregarded it, would it not be an absolute sanction of it? Would it not be unfaithfulness to our Lord to allow the lambs of his flock to ‘bite and devour one another’? To shrink from doing right because the public opinion in Public Schools would be against us? The feeble pretext, that it made boys understand their own level, could scarcely be adduced; – for in spite of us they would fight, – and there were other ways of estimating physical power besides boxing and beating. All seemed to agree in the soundness of this argument; – so I called the culprits, and made Donnison, as the elder, tell the history of the feud.
It appeared that Wood had been in the constant habit of calling him names, and that he had just been doing so, when Donnison proceeded to chastise, and Wood to retaliate. Told Donnison that ‘I was grieved to find it necessary now, for the first time, to censure him; – but that though I sympathised with him under the contumelious treatment which he had received, yet he ought to have borne the injury rather than resented it; – that was what his Saviour would have done. That he need not be afraid of patience, after a time at least, being mistaken for cowardice, – if he were careful to set an example of manliness and courage at cricket, and other games.’
To Wood I said that ‘he had no possible excuse for his behaviour, which only showed that he continued to be, what he had ever been, – a vulgar bully; that if he had not received sufficient chastisement I would undertake to administer the balance myself, as some security that he would know better for the future how to behave towards Christian gentlemen.’
They told me that they had shaken hands on the field of battle, after the fray was over. But I said that this made but little difference in my view of their conduct; – for that such hasty reconciliations had only a tendency to disguise the offensiveness of quarrelling, and formed no ground for the hope of true peace and brotherly love being established. Warned them both ‘not to let the sun go down on their wrath,’ and sent them to separate rooms, that they might have time to reflect upon all I had said to them. As Wood’s face bore traces of severe usage, I let them both out in an hour after. They were both terribly cut up with crying and dread of being sent away, – as I heard afterwards.
Sent for Reynolds, as I understood he had been present at the combat. Admitted that he had been present for 5 minutes, but that he had then put an end to it. Censured him for not having terminated it at first, for that if it were his duty to do so last, it was at least equally so before. Fidgeted about for clumsy excuses, which he is ready at finding, and scolded him for his constant defence of what is indefensible. His eyes filled with tears, and we parted on good terms. I have been particular in mentioning this affair, as it serves to show the principle on which I am satisfied to act.
Dr and Mrs Spyers came to see the College, with a view of sending a son, who is at Twyford. They are from Weybridge, where he keeps a school. A gentlemanly man, – well known to the Rector of Exeter. Asked him about his ideas of fighting, which seemed quite to coincide with one’s own.
Samuel Reynolds’ commentary about the incident between Donnison and Wood
‘On occasion of a fight between Donnison and Wood major, Mr Singleton consults with the Fellows what line they are to take. He allows that opinion at public schools does not condemn fights, but he resolves that they are to be condemned at Radley as unchristian, etc. Having settled this point, he sends first for the two boys who had been fighting; and finding that the cause of quarrel had originated with Wood, tells him that “he continued to be what he had ever been, a vulgar bully.” Finding also that Reynolds had been present at the fight for 5 minutes, and had then put an end to it, tells him that if it was his duty to put an end to it then, it was his duty to do so at once. Reynolds however “fidgeted about for clumsy excuses” and “was scolded for his constant defence of what is indefensible.”
If Reynolds had been listened to in his own defence, he would have said that as long as the fight was a fair fight he saw no reason for putting an end to it, but that he did stop it at once as soon as it was clear that one of the boys was over-matched and had no chance against the other; and he might have added that what he omitted to do and what he had done was what public opinion at public schools would have approved, and that he was not fixed with notice of Mr Singleton’s ex post facto law to the contrary.
This seems to me not a clumsy excuse, but a perfectly good defence; but since Reynolds was cut short and scolded, it was no doubt stated clumsily enough. That Wood major had always been a ‘vulgar bully’ is not true. I remember Wood perfectly well. He was a well conducted and fairly popular boy. If on this occasion he had provoked Donnison, it is certain too that he suffered for it, as Mr Singleton’s Journal shows. He could have been no match for Donnison, and he behaved very pluckily in standing up to him at all.’
Taken from Samuel Reynolds’ ‘Notes and remarks on Mr Singleton’s Journal,’ written in c1896 and deposited by Reynolds in Radley College Archives.
What between cold things provided at Oxford by Sewell, and hot viands here by us, we shall make out a very nice entertainment; – substantial and simple, – and not without elegance. Sewell has sent out two vases which he brought from Italy with him, and these are filled with flowers. Two tables are laid for guests, besides others for our 22 boys. A chair of distinction for the Bishop at my right.
- Miss H Richards
- William Sewell
- Bishop of Fredericton
- Mrs Markland
- Mr Dean
- Mr Markland
- Rector of Exeter
- Miss Markland
- Sub-Rector of Exeter
- Messrs. Bellairs, E. Sewell, Woolcomb, Curtis, Coleridge (Oriel), Gibbings, Andrews (Senior Proctor), Patterson
So that we sat down to dinner about 50 altogether, including the boys, the Hall being quite full. Sewell had brought out Hewlett and Bradley from Exeter; and the Rector had his little servant with him, so we were tolerably off for attendance. Roby is very competent, and thus saves me much trouble and fidget. I should say that in the invitations Sewell had reference, as much as possible, to the parties who were present at our institution a year ago, – a great many of whom he succeeded in getting together. Mr and Mrs Acland greatly distressed that a previous engagement, which they could not escape, prevented their coming.
After dinner was over, (2 courses), the Grace Cup was placed before me, when I rose and said a few words, chiefly with a view of thanking them for their presence, especially those who had been with us before, and had not ‘despised the day of small things.’ Then drank from the cup, and handed it to the Bishop, and so it passed all round, even through the students. At first we had great hesitation about giving it to them, for I felt that hereafter it might be the occasion of excess and trouble, – (for we cannot too carefully guard the introduction of precedents;) – however, desired Roby to go with the cup, and prevent accident and impropriety. Not that I had much fear of the latter, but caution in such a case is wisdom, and thus no objection can be raised here after by the boys, (that is, if we continue the custom) on the grounds of restriction or espionage. ‘It was always so’ is practically a very good argument; – and it is certainly a great point to make them feel themselves a part of the College, members of the same family with us.
This over, – Sewell got up, and spoke at some length, recounting many of the blessings we had received during the past year, and tracing our wonderful progress to the good hand of God, and the prayers of many of his servants: – then concluded by drinking the Bishop of Fredericton’s health. The Bishop returned thanks in a speech which struck us very much, for its high Christian tone. Plain but fluent, he gave us most useful advice; warning us of the danger of deterioration in our simple habits, which he lauded warmly, and praying for every blessing on our undertaking. Exhorted us to trust in God, who would be sure to give us all we wanted for our success in His own good time, and encouraged us by his own experience in connection with his cathedral, which was advancing, he scarcely knew how. The quietness and simplicity of his manner were most charming. Then, after grace, we walked about the house and grounds, (- it was a lovely day, though very close,) till chapel time. 6 ½ o’clock. (Went into chapel with John Ley, but speedily retired, on seeing the Bishop on his knees at the sacrarium.) Full choral service in our surplices.
After chapel – tea, with cakes and strawberries in plenty for everyone. Marriott (Oriel), Colenso, Wayte and [another] joined us before chapl. After tea, Monk played on the organ some solemn pieces: – and all went away delighted beond measure, – some saying that it was one of their happiest days, – others, that it was ‘a model of a Gaude’, – and so on. The Rector and Sub-rector of Exeter, very cool, unenthusiastic, men, seemed particularly gratified and struck.
I am glad all is so comfortably at an end; – for I am very tired. Forgot to say, that in the General Thanksgiving the special form was used, which I hope will in future be done.
June 22nd, 1848 (Thursday)
Dr Bull, canon of Christ Church came over with a letter from Sewell, accompanied by Mr Martin, Chancellor of Exeter. Sewell evidently did not wish us to be obsequious; so the Sub-Warden showed him over the College, and just before he went away, brought him (I am thinking of Dr Bull) to my room and introduced him to me. The Dr seemed much pleased with everything.
June 24th, 1848 (Saturday)
Sewell came out, and several others; – Huntingford of New College, whom I had met in 1845 at Winchester, – Church of Oriel, – Thompson of Queen’s, – Lowe, of Exeter, – all charmed. Sewell says that people were delighted with our ‘Gaude’, – and that the Bishop told him that he was quite affected. That, I suppose, was what took him into the Chapel. By the way, I forgot to mention that the Bishop is very musical, and that he consented to accept a copy of the Service book at my hands.
Sewell brought over a present of a splendid work of Weale’s consisting of views of stained windows, etc.1
1: Probably a copy of John Weale’s Divers works of early masters in Christian Decoration; with an introduction containing the biography, journal, and a critical account of the works of Albert Dürer: notices of Wohlgemuth, Pirckheymer, Krafft: with examples of ancient painted and stained glass … the works of Dirk and Wouter Crabeth, etc. 2 vol. London, 1846. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
June 26th, 1848 (Monday)
A constant influx of visitors today. Mr Willis (uncle to the student) with his curate, from Haddenham, Bucks, and a Lieut. Conjuit, RN. Then Colenso with a Mr Allen, Master of a school at Ilchester, a party of 7 or 8, – and last, – Captain and Mrs Moorsom, – remarkably nice people, who are thinking of sending a son. He is of the Scotch Fusilier Guards, quartered at Croydon.
June 28th, 1848 (Wednesday)
Went into Oxford, the first time, I think, for 5 months, – to see Sewell about silver and gold for the quarter-day. (Vigil of St Peter). Took the opportunity to call on the Rector of Exeter, Principal of Brasenose (both at Collections) President of Magdalen, and Dr Bloxam. President. Very kind, asked about our numbers, etc. Mr Lowe, Curate of Market Bosworth, who has given us the books, came with Mr Chretien, Fellow of Oriel. Very nice man, and highly pleased. Slept here.
June 29th, 1848 (Thursday, Feast of St. Peter)
Mr Barker of Christ Church came out to dine, accompanied by a nephew of Archdeacon Manning’s, and a son of Dr Pusey’s. This poor boy is a sad cripple, and nearly stone deaf. He enjoyed his visit greatly, and was especially charmed with the organ, which he heard very well when played loud. The Sub-Warden was particularly kind to him, and I felt rejoiced to be able to show any attentions to the son of such a man. Mr Barker a charming person. This is the Exeter ‘Gaude’, so I suppose they are now in the mysteries of turbot, venison and champagne. Yet all good men want to be emancipated from these vanities: perhaps we may live to see the day when religious houses shall have religious ‘gaudes’ and the feasting shall be more in the Chapel than in the Hall.
June 30th, 1848 (Friday)
Mr Jones of Brasenose, and Fellow at Stackallan, called, (having met Sewell in Oxford who invited him out, -) and asked leave to attend chapel. His appearance and manners are not prepossessing. Without being solicited, he talked of matters which he should not have mentioned. They have 36 boys, (I left there 35, – so they have gained nothing by their former trimming,) which is expected to increase to 40 in August, which number will again be thinned materially, by boys going to the University in October. Ever since Mr Stevenson’s secession, or rather, expulsion, (2 months), Gabbett has been there teaching mathematics. This is a public scandal, that I shall write to Wade to remonstrate. He told Monk that, of all the boys there now, Bomford was his favourite, and that he had him constantly to his room. It is quite clear what has become of all discipline.
Monk asked how they got on with their music after Calkin’s running away. He said that for 3 weeks they had none, and that then the boys petitioned to have the Psalms chanted without the organ; which they have continued to do.
Got a letter (I think today), from Revd. Money of Sternfield, Suffolk, to say that the Bishop of Oxford had recommended St Peter’s as a proper place to send his son. This speaks well for the Bishop’s feeling to us, which we have had no means of ascertaining since his visit.