Entries for October 1848

October 2nd, 1848 (Monday)

Dr Harington called and asked permission to send his son at Easter, which was readily conceded.1 He has been a warm and steady friend to us from an early period of our history, and we would do anything in our power to gratify him. The Head of a leading College in Oxford sanctioning the principles of this place in so unmistakable a way as this, must have a more than ordinary share of honesty and firmness.

1: Rev. Richard Harington, DD, Principal of Brasenose College. His son, Charles, entered Radley at Easter 1849 and left in 1851.

October 3rd, 1848 (Tuesday)

The Sub-Warden had occasion to go into Oxford to see Mr Ratcliffe. He found the old gentleman wonderfully civil, and had to answer many questions about the College, which he put with apparent interest. Whence this sudden revulsion of feeling? Why has sullenness given place to cordiality? There are probably many reasons at work. The College is growing in size and in public esteem; now it is not wise to be opposed to what is successful, or if you are, you must be very sure of your principle of resistance, and of all things pique and personal feeling must be carefully excluded. Then the Landlord continues to give unequivocal approval: the people, too, are benefitted by our residence, and I daresay we are popular with them. Heads of Houses, also, and many Tutors, in Oxford, are well known to be more than favourable. But, above all, the Bishop has given the strongest proof of his confidence in us by asking the Vicar to consent to the license for our chapel, and the Vicar is not in a position to frown upon anything on which the Bishop pleases to smile. Perhaps, too, he is really won by our continued courtesy, when he contrasts it with his own continued uncivility, – for he has never been inside our doors.

We are now entirely out of his way, and he can do what he likes at Parish Church, even to preaching the same sermon twice running if he likes it. The real cause may probably borrow something from all these considerations, and perhaps from some higher principle than we give him credit for. He is said to be at bottom a kind-hearted person. At all events, it is well to have him for a friend, as few are so great as to afford to have an enemy, – few so petty as not to be mischievous.

October 7th, 1848 (Saturday)

Some time ago the Revd. H.E. Lowe, who was doing duty at Market Bosworth, wrote to Sewell, to say that he had taken great interest in St Columba’s, and had intended to offer for its acceptance about 200 volumes, of different degrees of merit, if they were worth having. That now having heard of St Peter’s, he was anxious to transfer the offer to us, which was accepted. The books arrived today, and prove to be an acquisition, though there is some trash, – and all are in a very dirty condition. Sewell never saw Mr Lowe.

Yesterday morning, immediately after breakfast, Annie Burky came in a hurried way into the Common Room, and asked for the Warden. “What’s the matter?” “Sir, there is smoke coming out of the chapel, and we can’t get the key to get in.” This was alarming enough, and in a moment all the horrors of the fire at Stackallan rushed to my mind. Rushed up the staircase, and found the chapel full of smoke, but no fire. On examination, it appeared that some paper which had been put on the flue of the stove, had ignited, – or at least had come to ashes. The Chapel Porter, Daniel, had some time ago wrapped some folds of brown paper round a joining in the flue, to prevent the emission of smoke. It had suddenly become very much over heated, and reduced the paper to ashes. This is the second instance of such carelessness. So he shall go away. It can be readily imagined how relieved we were to find a very serious danger so comfortably terminated.

October 11th, 1848 (Wednesday)

Been much pained to find in a variety of ways that Young is a bully, which obliged me on a late occasion to address the whole school upon the subject. At that time impressed upon the boys that it was not only unchristian, but cowardly, for the strong to oppress the weak, whom they ought rather to protect. That while I had no intention of interfering in their private disputes, which I hoped they would always settle amicably among themselves, remembering the plain command in the Gospel ‘to love one another,’ – yet the College was resolved to prevent the vulgar, unmanly, ungodly, practice of bullying. That I knew of its existence, though aware of its having decreased, and that I had my eye upon one boy, who came from home with such a character, and who, notwithstanding the well-known repugnance of the College to such behaviour, was still guilty of it. Then, without mentioning Young’s name, warned him publicly to refrain from worrying the little boys, for that if he was caught doing so, – nothing would save him from a flogging.

However, this did not succeed in stopping him, for Richards came to me, and detailed such a system of ill usage offered to him by Young, and so utterly unprovoked and unjustifiable, that I was resolved to do this, as the suffering boy told me he was willing to bear, and had borne, a great deal, – but that it was now become quite intolerable. He is an odd boy, and is made rather a butt of.

So went into School this evening, and after a short speech to the boys, – had Young conducted to the present shoe-room, which is separated from the School room by an oak partition, so that while the patient is invisible his cries can be heard. There, with a stout rod of elm twigs, gave him severe chastisement. Very miserable at having to do it, for I have lately got fond of the boy, and to raise red wheals upon fair flesh is not exactly to my taste. He once turned round and said to me; “Oh! Mr Warden you don’t know how you hurt.” I was sad, but inexorable. This case, and the way in which it has been treated, will settle for ever any doubts that might be entertained of the opinion of the College on such matters.

October 14th, 1848 (Saturday)

Sewell has been in London and elsewhere. The Bishop of London is quite satisfied about us, and has promised £100. He has also offered Sewell the preachership at Whitehall. All this is a public proof of confidence.

Mr Currie (near Abingdon) has presented us with a complete edition of the Delphin Classics, which arrived today.

Dr Gilden and Mr Groome, a friend of Howard’s, came to see St Peter’s yesterday. The former had three sons at Stackallan. (I have heard since they were here that they were not particularly pleased with the place.)

October 17th, 1848 (Tuesday)

Sam Singleton came on a visit to me. After having been in the army, and chiefly in Australia, for 9 years, he left it, came home, and resumed his position as a commencing Senior Freshman in Trinity College, Dublin, which standing he had attained before he got his commission. After securing his degree with credit, he entered the Engineering School in the University, and when, at the end of 3 years, he was getting ready to answer for his diploma, K. his physician told him that he would never be able to bear the exposure of an engineering life, and that he must abandon the thought of it. I have therefore got him to come and pay me a visit, with this view, – that if he likes the sort of life, and if the Fellows like him, we may elect him a Member of the Common Room, and he may come and be my guest, until something or other turns up for him.

October 21st, 1848 (Saturday)

William Gowan Todd came over from Oxford with Mr Chamberlayne. He is a brother of Dr Todd’s, and has all along entirely sympathised with us in our Stackallan struggles. I was quite glad that he should see a practical proof of the strength of that principle, for which we had all earnestly contended.

Angels corbels put up in chapel.

October 22nd, 1848 (Sunday)

To our surprise Mr Ratcliffe called upon us. He came into the Common Room, and mentioned a case of a parishioner who was in ill health, whom Sewell had made some kind of a promise to relieve. Sewell and I each gave him a sovereign, which put the old gentleman into excellent humour. He has never been inside the walls before since we came hither.

October 24th, 1848 (Tuesday)

Kennett has been counterfeiting the premonitory symptoms of cholera, – but we found him out, and made him get out of his bed. He came and made a full confession. A bad little boy, and yet never was at school before. No doubt has been mixing with the idle boys in the streets of Chiswick. He wants the rod, and the rod will cure him, I think. Wrote to his father.

October 27th, 1848 (Friday)

Sam Singleton caught cold during his journey hither, and has been confined for a week with an attack of rheumatism, but the last few days has been able to come into Common Room. He likes the Society very much, and if agreeable to it, would be glad to come and live with me, until something turns up for him. He is willing to do anything to relieve my labours, so as not to be without employment. He will keep the accounts, or teach the servitors, – any thing. He left us today.

The College has been increasing so much of late that very soon Monk will be unable to teach all the boys music, as the only available time during the whole day is the hour and a half between tea and bed. Besides, if any accident occurred to his fingers, or if he were ill, or obliged to go away for a time, the organ would be dumb, and we should be much embarrassed in the chapel services. These considerations have pressed upon us the necessity of getting him an assistant. Yet here is great difficulty. To be a successful teacher, he must be something of a gentleman, – must be a Member of our Common Room, and dine at our table, – and so on. It would never do for his position amongst us to be such as would induce the boys to look down upon him. Teaching is of little worth, where the taught despise the teacher. But how difficult to get among musicians a person competent to his duty, and yet combining with skill in his art modesty and gentleman-like manners.

Monk has got a younger brother who is an excellent pianiste, and who has been with Mr Horner at Wells, as organist, and teacher of vocal music at St Andrew’s House. He has left that situation, and Monk is very anxious to get him hither. Mr Horner has a high opinion of him, and Mr Telford knows him, and thinks he would answer us well. There is a great advantage in Monk’s having his brother, rather than a stranger, as he has every confidence in him, and would be sure to have perfect control over him, as he is much younger. Altogether we determined that he should come on a visit, that we might make up our minds; so he came yesterday, – and appears to be just what we heard of him.

October 28th, 1848 (Saturday)

Mr Young came to see his son. I told him the whole affair lately mentioned [11th October 1848]. Nothing could exceed his satisfaction at the way in which the case has been treated; – no small comfort.