March 18th, 1848 (Friday)

March 18, 2010

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


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