April 22nd, 1848 (Saturday)

April 22, 2010

Savory went into Oxford, and heard at Spiers’ sundry theories and ideas about St Peter’s. Among others, that it was so very thoroughly Romish, – that even the very locks were got from the Inquisition. I suppose that this is some marvellous view of the lock on the Chapel door, which is certainly very remarkable for elaborate and beautiful workmanship, but not quite the sort of thing for a door of a dungeon.

Mr Young came to take his son home for a few days, but on finding that it was contrary to our Statutes, instantly acquiesced. Told him what we had done by Mr Kinnard, that as he had heard warnings of our Roman tendencies and of certain “dangers”, – and so on, – it seemed impossible that he could commit his sons to our care with that unreserved confidence which we believe to be absolutely necessary for their successful training, – and therefore we must decline receiving them. Mr Young was very sorry, and said that he knew Mr Kinnard would feel greatly disappointed, for that he had long made up his own mind, though female scruples could not so easily be got under.

A letter from Mr Grimaldi to say that he approved of a proposal which we had made, – for Mr Bowyer to drain the Park, and increase the rent. It is very wet, and it is hard to get graziers to take it, in consequence.

Sewell went to London and saw Mr and Miss Sharpe, who will be down on Wednesday with their little cousin. Miss Sharpe has offered two orange trees in tubs. Mr Sharpe’s £30 is to be laid out in an Eagle which is in hand for us, – his annual subscription helping the purchase still further.1

Saw also Nugent Wade, who has had a letter from Todd, consulting him upon the posture of affairs at Stackallan. He (Todd) has been down there and finds the Englishmen in a great fidget, and disposed to leave. Also he believes that Irish gentlemen cannot afford to send their sons. All which is very likely; for Morton never really cared about the College, nor would his being the Head of it materially increase his interest; still less would the disturbed and seditious state of it. Then for the gentry, there are but very few in the whole country who value anything of a sound education, and of those few many are poor. Todd says that he never was in despair until now, for that if the Englishmen go, it is impossible to supply their places by Irishmen. He asked Nugent Wade for his advice, and the latter has written very firmly to say, that he has shown the Statutes to a first-rate lawyer, (Roundell Palmer) who has declared that the Statute giving the Visitor and Trustees power to alter the constitution, without the College having a voice, is simply fatal: – that this law must, therefore, be altered. (I may here remark that I objected to this very law when Todd showed me privately the draft of the last Statutes before they were imposed; but I was over-ruled.) Than, that it is absolutely necessary that Dr Elrington should resign, having joined the National Board: – and further, that they should return to me all my gifts to the College. It is understood that Mr Sharpe, and others, approve of this letter. I cannot see how they can survive this pressure on every side.

1: An eagle lectern to hold the Bible in the Chapel. It appears in photographs of the interiors of both the original chapel built by Singleton and Sewell in 1847-8, and its replacement, the new chapel built in 1895. Radley College Chapel does not now possess an eagle lectern – its fate is unknown.


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