June 12th to July 5th – unabridged entry
July 4, 2009
Reached Kingstown, and found my mother there in good health. Went to Mr Telford, whose premises were full of the elements of the organ, the wood-work of which had gone night to empty them. Settled with him, during my stay in Ireland, to introduce some changes and several additions, so that now it will be as near perfect as need be. He still hopes to have it ready by the 1st of November, though some of the pedal pipes may have to be omitted for the present. Mr de la Motte’s plan of the front was so full of blunders, that he got a young artist in Dublin, a Mr Price, to draw one out, and certainly he has produced something far superior to it. However, so erroneous was the former that Mr Price (who was obliged to follow it to a great extent) is now employed upon a fresh one. Just before I left Ireland, I settled upon the final plan and details of the front. The centre pipe will be 20 feet long, (including the leg,) and will be made of pure tin without alloy, and look like silver. We anticipate a very fine tone from this metal, – but these large pipes will cost a great deal of money. They are usually now made of zinc, and therefore light, and cheap. But zinc is an ugly metal, and we will not have any gilding: so we are driven to tin and expense. Tin is now £120 a ton.
I found the Irish newspapers devoted to our injury. The Meath Herald on the authority of the Church and State Gazette assumed that the College of St Columba was forthwith to be removed to the more genial atmosphere of Oxford, and therefore thought fit to rejoice. Saunders News-Letter copied the triumphs of the Meath Herald into its columns, and in a day or two announced ‘on authority’ that ‘Mr Singleton was not its Warden and that it had no connection whatsoever with Mr Sewell, or with his plans, whatever they may be.’ How grateful ‘authority’ is to those who devoted themselves, body, mind and purse to found it!
Here I cannot help setting down an incident which occurred after my return to England. On Sunday July 11th, Sewell and I were walking up and down the terrace walk, which he had got made, during my absence, at the south front of the house. The unfortunate martens, who had been dispossessed from their quiet retreats in the angles of the Windows, had made fresh ones in the great projecting Cornice traversing the top of the house. Near one of these which had been lately completed, sat a cock-sparrow, the picture of impudence. I knew very well by the airs he had put on him, and from an observation of the dishonest and burglarious principles of his species, that he had driven away the builders of the nest from their rightful property and their home. I therefore said, – ‘Sewell, I can set no bounds to my indignation against that rogue of a bird up there. He would not take the trouble of making a nest for himself, but has secured a comfortable berth without labour, by sacrificing the helpless and innocent. It is the triumph of vulgar force against gentility and justice.’ To which Sewell replied, – ‘My dear Singleton, that sparrow must evidently be a Trustee.’
To return. When the Meath Herald found it was misinformed, it sincerely lamented that the obnoxious College was not to be removed to England, for that, though Messrs Sewell and Singleton had nothing to do with it, they had no confidence in such a Puseyite place. This was the sense of their remarks, so that, as we said from the very first, their abandonment of their principles at Stackallan only had the effect of cooling or alienating their friends, without the softening or gaining over one enemy.
While at Kingstown, Sewell sent me a copy of an admirable letter that he had written to the Archbishop of Armagh, proving by reference to documents and fact, that I could not have actetd otherwise than I had done about the discipline of fasting, and that it was notorious and past dispute that I had always relaxed, rather than pressed, the Founders’ Rule on the Subject. To this His Grace subsequently replied, without the smallest effort to disprove or weaken what had been urged, that ‘the opinion which he expressed in his former letter remained unaltered.’ Surely this is hard usage.
I met Dr Elrington one day by accident in Grant & Bolton’s shop. I immediately went up to him and we were quite friendly. I afterwards called at his house, but he was examining in Trinity College. However I sat some time with his Sister, Miss Elrington. I was at St Patrick’s one Sunday afternoon, and Dr Todd preached. I could not bear to turn my face towards him, so I heard but saw him not. On another occasion I was at Grant & Bolton’s, when Gabbett came in, but of him I would take no notice. He was one of the main promoter’s of St Columba’s ruin, just as sister ‘Flavie’ was of that of Port Royal. I believe, however, that he and all his co-partners were extremely sorry for what they had done, but if the sorrow were of a right sort, he would have repaired the damage caused by a public defamation of the College and its officers, – by an equally public acknowledgement of his error and sin. This he has never done; therefore I cannot make light of such wicked behaviour by amity, thought I heartily forgive him for his bad treatment of oneself.
Received a letter from the Sub-warden to say that on the 10th, immediately after my leaving, Mr Ratcliffe, the Vicar, called upon me. I understand he is softened towards us. The next Sunday, by Sewell’s directions, (it being Holy Communion) the Sub-warden placed upon the offertory plate £5, rolled in a small parcel, on which was written, ‘- From the Warden and Fellows of S Peter’s College for the poor of Radley.’ This will surely show him that we have no design of disturbing his Parochial position, or of embarrassing him in any way with his people.
Soon afterwards got a note from Sewell, saying that we were very likely to have a formal application for a Fellowship from a Mr Jones of Queen’s. He bears a very high character in every way, and is an excellent classic, having taken a 2nd Class, and got the Ireland Scholarship. This is very satisfactory as it shows (what indeed we fully expected) that men of high attainments will be ready to devote themselves to the work.
On leaving Ireland I brought with me a pair of handsome old silver candlesticks, a present from K. to the College, and a dinner drinking cup from F.; both of which pleased Sewell very much. Returned by the Isle of Man, and spent a day with Allen Cliff at Hampton Lacy, reaching the College in the evening of July 5th.