March 1st, 1848 (Wednesday)
Sewell came out with Nugent Wade and a Mr Savory, a friend of Mr C. Marriott’s of Oriel. The fellows think he has his eye out upon a fellowship. He seems a nice man and a clever man, a good Catholic and musical.
March 4th, 1848 (Saturday)
Messrs Heathcote, Pollen, and Wynne came out; also a friend of Mr Pollen’s, – Sir Francis Scott. We had all such colds that we were not going to have choral service, but Heathcote wished it so much that we tried it. He says the improvement is great. Quite approves of the psalm tunes until we can get anthems.
A Mr Percy Smith, of Balliol, came to spend a day or two. Non mihi placet. He told Monk that Sewell had offered to nominate him to a fellowship, but that after “tossing up the pros and cons, he had declined”.
This was such a monstrous error and so coolly adopted, that I told Monk and Howard that he must be undeceived in a very plain way. No sooner said than done. Howard, went to him, and having elicited a repetition of the dream, started up in excitement, and said that “if he were to come hither announcing himself a fellow of the House, we should forthwith send him to Bedlam”. The gentleman bore it very well, and the next day was more subdued in his manner, for I had thought him a little too cool and easy.
March 5th, 1848 (Sunday)
Afternoon wet, so we had service in the College. Mr Smith returned.
March 6th, 1848 (Monday)
Sewell came out with his brother Robert. Has been in London, and saw Mr Sharpe, who is unhappily far from well. The latter has had a letter from Dr Todd, to say, that he has heard that Mr Sharpe has retained the unpaid half of the £1000, until they were about to build; that they had an offer of a 30 years’ lease at Stackallan; and that there is a place (in Queen’s County, I think) which they can get for £16,000, and one near Dublin, “Hollypark”, for £4000, – but that they must build Hall, School Room and Dormitory, which will cost £1000. (I wonder what is to be their size?) Sewell says he cannot remember that a word was said about a Chapel. Mr Sharpe’s intention was to answer that he must withhold all confidence from an institution, one of whose managers, (Dr E.) had joined the National Board. Would that all people had the courage to bear witness to truth in this way!
March 7th, 1848 (Shrove Tuesday)
Mr Potts rode over from Cuddesdon (the Bishop’s private chaplain) in company with Mr Robins of Oriel, and Pratt of Exeter. I am afraid we shall be annoyed by uninvited visitors. The Bishop will probably not be back till Trinity Sunday. I confess I am glad that we shall not see him here before Chapel is opened.
March 8th, 1848 (Ash Wednesday)
Made some extracts from my correspondence with the Trustees for Nugent Wade, who has quite changed his view about the whole affair which led to our secession. He was evidently lying under a false impression, (how originating it needs not to inquire) which began to disappear at his last visit to this place, after he had read the correspondence.
He read the whole of it again today to confirm the change, and is about to move them towards acknowledgement of their injustice in retaining property given for a wholly different purpose than their use of it, and to try, if he can, to get them to alter their statutes so as to meet the scruples of Church men. If not, then there is but a gloomy prospect for them.
March 10th, 1848 (Friday)
A letter from Mr Telford, inclosing a corrected proof of his printed notice about a performance on the organ in his factory before he sends it off. As the notice contains a description of it, we were very anxious that he should avoid any thing like puffing and unreality. He says:
“The organ goes on well, everything proving excellent on completion. The Great is most grand, and the mixtures brilliant and sparkling, being well felt with the reeds. The power is immense, and the tone extraordinarily rich.” This is very refreshing after the long delay we have had to endure. We hope that it will be here this day 4 weeks.
March 11th, 1848 (Saturday)
Sewell came out with the Sub Rector of Exeter. Before going away in the evening he sent Walter Baker into the School Room to send his nephew to him. Surprised at the delay which occurred, he went in, and there found Elliott (major) and other students were detaining Walter, and pulling and dragging him about, while Reynolds was standing near and looking on. Sewell was very much displeased, and told the elder boys that it was a disgrace to do or suffer such things, – that they were worse than worthless, and that he having been the person, who recommended them to me, would immediately acquaint me that I might look upon the recommendation, as ceasing to have any weight.
March 12th, 1848 (Sunday)
I accordingly sent for Reynolds to my room, and after pointing out to him the necessity for preserving the distinction of ranks in society, and that the consequence of familiarity with those of a lower tone was always that the lower dragged the higher down, instead of the higher raising the lower up, – asked him what his father would say if his younger brother were found taking liberties with stable boys, and that he stood by without saying or doing anything to check it?
“Now I stand in loco parentis, – then am I to do with you? Last Term I had got to love you very much, but I find my affection beginning to wane, now that you don’t seem to care for what I say. I usually can influence boys, but it is, I confess, somewhat humiliating as well as vexatious, that you seem to be so little affected by the College. If then I can not move you to energy and moral courage by either fear or favour, the sooner you make way for someone else the better.” His eyes filled with tears, the first of his I ever saw.
I proceeded to ask him what he would do, when, as he would be soon, into a dreary world, and beset with its temptations, – if he dare not at School, he the biggest boy in it, – raise his voice for truth, and set his face against evil? He then told me that some time ago he had censured this very thing – improper intercourse with the servitors; – and the tears coursed down his cheeks. This quite melted me; so I said I had now hope of his becoming a more active and a firmer character, – assured him of my true affection for him, – and said that all was over.
I then sent for Elliott, and gave him a good rowing, and set before him that thoughtlessness is a sin, and that it seemed to be his main fault. Said that this affair was particularly unfortunate, as I had but just written to his mother to say that he was going on well: however, that I was not disheartened, but that I must punish him by insisting upon his sending his mother a full account of the whole matter. This he promised to do: so making him engage, not to do no more giddy things, but in circumstances, which might be no more than doubtful, to try to remember that thoughtlessness was wrong, – shook hands with him and dismissed him. Took care to write to his mother to feel no alarm, and to be tender to him.
March 16th, 1848 (Thursday)
A letter from Mr Telford to say that the Pedal Organ was almost completed, and was “magnificent”. Expects to have the public exhibition of it in his factory next Monday, and to send some of it off by the Bristol steamer on Tuesday the 28th. If so, this will bring it a week sooner than we had thought.
Disturbances are apprehended in Dublin tomorrow, (St Patrick’s Day) but Government is prepared and has brought a great force into the city, – cavalry quartered in all directions, – four Troopers in Mr Telford’s own stable. He thinks it quite possible that he will have to dispense with the public exhibition, and humorously suggests the probability of the pipes being melted into bullets. However, the general opinion is that no great mischief will be done any where. This Revolution in France is setting people wild.
Mr Telford sent me Saunder’s News Letter, from which I have cut out this document. The Manifesto shows what a rebel Mr Stevenson must be. But how foolish for Morton to write in the newspapers about the matter! People will be sure to say that “there is no smoke without fire”, and only balance word against word. Mr Stevenson had expressed his treasonable sentiments, one may be sure, long ere he took such a leap as he has now done. Morton should have moved then, and got rid of him, but the remembrance of former things no doubt was an embarrassment. Instead of descending to the papers, he should have written to all the boys’ parents to say, that he had suspended Mr Stevenson from teaching, forbidden all access to the students, and called upon the Visitor to expel him. But it was hard, I suppose, for the friend of Dunoyer and Gabbett to be so stout.
The Guardian, received this morning, contains a favourable review of the Journal. We imagine that the writer is Mr Haddon, who was here once or twice. With a hit or two at Sewell, and at our Church principles, it is well done, and will no doubt do us good.
Dr and Mrs Elliott came to see their sons. Dr Elliot greatly pleased, and both very grateful for the way they (especially the elder) have been treated. Said that they were much attached, very happy, and amazed at the rapidity with which time passes. Dr Elliot said that he had never sent them to a boarding school for fear of their contracting impure habits. When I showed him the Dormitory, and explained our system there, he said there was no fear of what was rife in every school; – that, at least, it could never prevail to any extent; the great thing was to be aware of the danger.
Had a good deal of conversation with him, and found a cool, thoughtful, clever man, of considerable experience. Said what a fine scheme ours’ is, but expressed a doubt of our obtaining persons hereafter fit to work it. I answered that it was of course only an experiment, but one that was worth trying; that there seemed to be fair ground for hope that the English Church, quickened as she had been of late years, would be able to rear men, who for the sake of their own good and that of others, would embrace a life of some self-denial and small emolument; – that our nearness to Oxford would facilitate a supply, – and so on. He seemed to feel this, and said that we might get young hands, which, when wearied, might make way for others.
I listened to him with much attention, as to a person of a grave and cautious bearing, who moves a good deal in the world, and whose practice brings him into contact with all sorts of people.
They stopped til after tea, and went to town very much gratified. Dr Elliot mentioned that his only apprehension was lest our discipline might enervate the boys, – but that it was perfectly obvious that in fact it had no such effect whatever.
The article Singleton described as “this document” above was taken from the Evening Packet of March 13th. There are also copies of two subsequent articles in the Diary, from March 15th and March 18th.
March 18th, 1848 (Friday)
Glad to find that the means used to get Reynolds and Elliot to take an active and leading part among the boys are beginning to work. A day or two ago they went to the Sub Warden to lay a case before him affecting the whole school. It appears that Clutterbuck had volunteered to make a collection for the purpose of bladders for their footballs. In this way he had got 2s together, and 4 bladders were procured; but as 4 are to be had for 1/6, their remained a balance of 6d which was not forthcoming. This was deemed so grave a case as to require the intervention of the College, so they went to the Sub Warden, and he brought the matter to me. Called Clutterbuck, and found the charge true, admitting that he had purchased a pair of skates, which cost 8/6d to make up which sum he had to borrow 3/- from Elliot, and 6d from the football fund.
Therefore went into School and made a speech to the following effect. – That the elder boys were quite right to bring so grave a matter under the notice of the College, as it was one affecting the character and interests of the whole community. Then detailing the facts of the case, said that they bore some analogy to the instance in Holy Scripture, where the delinquents “kept back part of the price”, whose dismal end made it essential to take instant and severe notice of the first approach of dishonourable principles.1 That this was a case of breach of trust, of “fides violata”, whose natural issue would be in theft. Clutterbuck doubtless had intended to have replaced the deficiency, but the money was called for before the liability could be met, and thus the surreptitious act was disclosed.
This was fortunate for him, as there was no knowing whither a propensity of this nature, if not detected, would lead him. It was of the utmost consequence to be scrupulously clean in all matters relating to money. That I knew instances of persons, whose character at one time stood as high as it was possible, fall into difficulties, and to have themselves recourse to shift which ruined their moral sense, and turned them into swindlers. That half the misery in the world originated in low and loose views about money, which the Bible says is “the root of all evil”. That Clutterbuck’s fault was twofold, first a violation of that trust which was committed to him; – and secondly, the origin of it, – extravagance. With but 5s, he had no business to purchase a thing of 8/6d in value, and thus involve himself in a debt almost equal to his principle. That his weekly pocket money could scarcely provide for more than current and accidental expenses, – his own, and that of every boy in the School, having been forfeited, for a long time to come, in order to pay for the repairs of their former mischief. That it had been well for him, if he had experienced more difficulty in raising money, for that this facility only provided food for one of the worst forms of selfishness.
However, that I meant not to forbid the boys borrowing from one another, knowing that this would be to take away all scope for the self-denial of lending, which our Lord enjoins in the words; – “from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away”. That, nevertheless, it was often a duty to withhold, – such as in cases where the party soliciting was known to be reckless or profuse; – and that, at all times, consideration should be had to the proportion of the sum sought in relation to the ways and means of the borrower.
These were the chief points urged, during an address of ½ an hour, which I concluded by telling them that I had no intention of punishing Clutterbuck any further, for that he had been punished enough already by this public exposure. Implored them to forgive a companion, who seemed heartily ashamed at what he had done; to remember their now frailty, and who it was that said that “seventy times seven” offences ought to be forgiven to the penitent, – and how sacred a thing in the sight of the very angels was one sorrowing sinner.
1: The story of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11
March 19th, 1848 (Saturday)
Sang King’s Evening Service in F for the first time at Evening Prayer. Correctly done. It was the first we had at Stackallan.
A letter from Sewell to say that Mr Savory had committed himself as a candidate. All accounts of him very good. He is to come hither for a little time that we may satisfy ourselves.
Some time ago Tripp sent me a copy of a sermon which he had preached at Silverton for the National School, and printed afterwards. On the title he wrote “with the Author’s respectful remembrances”. In a letter to Sewell, previously, he had made admissions of impropriety of conduct, but by no means in such a way that I thought I could in conscience be satisfied. As it is evident that he wishes to resume our friendly relations, I thought it best to write openly and firmly, at the same time showing that I was really anxious to be on amicable terms: this letter I sent today.
March 21st, 1848 (Tuesday)
The Revd. ET Richards, from Farlington, Hants, came with a clerical friend, from Oxford, to inquire about the College with a view to sending his son. Had just been with Dr Pusey,1 who, I suppose, approved his making the inquiry. Seemed pleased; asked whether the boys followed any observance in Lent, to which I answered that the only difference made in their diet was that they had no puddings, – thus cutting of a luxury. I know not what he thought of this. Did not stop long, but I think it likely will send his son at Easter, for, as he has never been at School before, and Mr Richards has referred to Dr Pusey, I dare say there will be no difficulty.
Sewell came out with Mr Savory. Mrs Sheppard has, unsolicited, sent £500. Thus providence is giving us our daily bread.
Has been in London and seen Dr Wordsworth, who said that people would be sure to be with us, when they knew more. Went to Mr Page Wood, who gave us £100 for building at Stackallan, and seemed interested.
Sewell and I had a long talk about the Hall, etc, and settled about the general plan of it. It is to be 120 ft long, and at first to be divided into two, for dining room and school room. Underwood is to get regular plans at once; and Johnson is quite ready to begin.
1: See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
March 23rd, 1848 (Tuesday)
Battersby has given notice that he will not stay. I am very glad, for he is lazy and very stupid, and cannot manage the boys. A friend of Monk’s wrote a few days ago to say that a young man of Sutton, who was just out of his time as an apprentice to a watch-maker at Frome and was obliged to give up that business on account of threatened loss of sight if he continued in it, was very anxious to get a situation as School-Master, or to gain a livelihood in any other way. It struck Monk that he might do in Battersby’s place, as he knew him to be a very well-conducted, good, churchman. So Monk wrote, and got for answer that he was very willing to try, as, if he were scholar enough, he had no doubt about the rest. Monk then told him to come to the College as soon as possible, to see whether he would suit, and to make arrangements to remain if he did.
In the meantime Monk has written to Mr Dusautoy, late vicar of Frome, to inquire further about him, and received for answer that he (Mr Dusautoy) had just been about writing to Monk concerning this very person, who was anxious to be employed in some reputable way, Mr Dusautoy thinking that some situation connected with this place might suit him. Gave him the highest character, as an earnest, devout, Christian, whose quiet example had been of great value at Frome. Was in the habit of teaching in the Sunday-School, etc. Mr Dusautoy also enclosed a letter of Sutton’s to a friend of all the parties, in which, oddly enough, he says that he would like to become a Butler to a College, or a Verger to a Cathedral, in some way or other to be found in the service of an Ambassador of Christ.
All this looks well. By the way, Mr Dusautoy, who has the charge of some educational establishment under Government, has introduced our Litany, which is now sung in their Hall. He has some idea of coming to see us at Easter.
March 24th, 1848 (Friday)
A letter from Mr Telford. The public exhibition of the organ was to have taken place on Wednesday last. The Duke of Leinster and the Lord Lieutenant (if he could find time) were to hear it before it was taken down. Mr Telford says that the power is tremendous; that the “doubles” together are most grand, and have had the honour to make some ladies sick in their stomachs. The dulciana in the choir is the most beautiful he ever heard; – high praise from him, who rarely praises his own work. Hopes to be here on Thursday or Friday.
Sewell came out. Has had a letter from Tripp, mentioning the dismissal of Mr Stevenson, the Stackallan rebel. The same announcement was made in Thursday’s Guardian by the Trustees, – as if determined not to suffer the college to manage its own affairs.
March 25th, 1848 (Saturday)
We elected Mr Savory a fellow on Wednesday, who this day writes in acknowledgement of the compliment. “Allow me to thank you for your note, and the confidence in me implied in it”. Hopes to be here on the 10th or 11th proxo.
Mr Grimaldi called yesterday: has turned Davis out of the Park, or rather, the half which he had, and offered it to us, 112 acres for £120 per annum. Also Gould’s cottage is placed in our hands, for they will not require it, now that Norcott, Mr Kemp’s place, has been purchased by Mr Bowyer. It is only a mile off, – Norcott, I mean.1 Asked Mr Grimaldi to dine today to meet Sewell, when we can settle.
Had full choral service (though not the creed nor anthem) this morning, – King in F; – in the evening an anthem for the first time. Tallis’ 100th Psalm. The singing was very satisfactory. This day four years ago we got into our chapel at Stackallan. What a change in our circumstances since then! God grant that it may be truly for the better!
1: Norcott or Northcote appears to have been located around the eastern edge of modern Abingdon, near Thrupp. The land had been held along with Radley, by the Bowyers and the Stonhouses, since the early eighteenth century. See the entry for St. Helen’s in the Victoria County History for Berkshire.
March 27th, 1848 (Monday)
Letters from Ireland. K. and F.K. went to hear the organ on Wednesday; – both of them amazed and delighted. F. says; – “a glorious instrument it is. I never heard such a body of tone without one harsh note. Such magnificent trumpets, – such a magnificent case. Charmed more than I can express”. “Telford looked as if a king might envy him”. Mr Telford says; – “I feel no small degree of pleasurable pride in our success. The organ is all that I could wish, except in one or two minor points that are easily altered. The mixtures are just what they ought to be, and the reeds superb. The double trumpet adds most astonishingly to the manuals, and in the pedals is prodigious”. My mother and Samuel have heard it, and were greatly delighted.
If he can get enough off by tomorrow’s packet to keep him employed (with his men) for a week, he will, – but if not, all will (DV) come together next Tuesday week. “In any case”, he says, “we shall be able, I trust, to open a good share of it on Easter Monday”. “His Grace of Leinster asked the Lord Lieutenant to call, but he is so busy with the rebels that he could not spare time, and I would not consent to keep it up till next week”.
A Mr Trous, Vicar of Brompton, and brother-in-law to Melhuish, along with one of his curates, friends of the Sub-warden’s, dined. Greatly pleased.
Ropes have been put to the 2 small bells, and the clappers inserted, – and then swung. They are very fine indeed. Tomorrow we hope to have the same good turn done to the great bell. At tea we talked of the comfort of giving names to the former, as we had already done to the last: so we thought of ‘Columb’ for the smallest, in honour of Ireland; ‘George’ for the middle, in compliment to England; while in Great ‘Peter’ we have the Church the base of all. Someone suggested ‘Patrick’ instead of ‘Columb’, but this would never do, for the boys would dub the poor thing ‘Pat’ on the spot.
March 28th, 1848 (Tuesday)
The Great Bell swung; – deep, rich, grand. Sewell brought out a Dr Ogilby, connected with Burlington College, in Bishop Doane’s diocese of New Jersey: – seeking aid for it. I thought it was Dr Ogilvie, the Pastoral Professor in Oxford. Amazement great at his foreign appearance, and when introduced, at his warm shake of hand, saying how long and how much he had desired the acquaintance. By degrees, the delusion vanished. The least vulgar American I have seen. Marriott of Oriel accompanied them.
Sewell has had a letter from Mr Grimaldi, to say that he finds the rent of the Park, offered to us, is £190, instead of £120. A serious difference. Collingwood has resigned his half, and now the whole is at our disposal. Have written to say that we are inclined to take it all, by giving the rent that a competent person would pronounce it worth to a farmer, being willing to bear the loss which a gentleman would sustain under the same circumstances.
Sewell slept, and thinks of coming out to stay on 5th April, as his lectures will be over by then.
March 29th, 1848 (Wednesday)
Edwards Sewell drank tea, bringing with him a Mr Miller, a Fellow of New College. There has been some talk of the latter offering for a fellowship, but he is valued so much in his own College, that it is supposed they will not let him go.
March 31st, 1848 (Friday)
Sewell unexpectedly came out to breakfast, bringing with him the Revd. Wodehouse, (I do not know how to spell his name,) whom he wished to see the College, as Mr Wodehouse is thinking of founding a school in Wolverhampton for tradespeople’s sons. A very pleasing person, – good churchman, – much pleased with our work, and taking deep interest in it.
(Sewell told me since that it was the Rev G W Woodhouse, Vicar of Albrighton, Shropshire. That it is not he, but a friend, who is going to found the school. Said that St Peter’s was the most affecting sight he had ever witnessed, more like a vision than a reality.)