June 11th, 1848 (Whit Sunday)

June 11, 2010

A letter from Nugent Wade to say that Todd consents to have the Statute about Fasting run in the affirmative, obligatory form, which on the necessary revisal of their statutes can be easily introduced, and will, he has little doubt, receive the Irish Primate’s sanction. I confess this made me very happy; in fact, I reckon this is one of the happiest days of my life. How wonderfully Providence has brought things about! Instead of one cankered college we now have two sound ones. The fall of one has (humanly speaking) been the rise of both. For unless they had receded from their first principles, Sewell and we should not have retired, and this place would not have been established; and again, had not the prospects of St Peter’s been as promising as they are, they might not have had the courage, or the prudence, to return to their ‘status quo ante.’ We can now run on together, hand in hand, in the same course, and prove a mutual comfort and support. We can now say that St Columba’s is a failure neither in reality nor in appearance, a position which will carry great weight with the mass of mankind, who never look below the surface of things. We have, indeed, great cause for thankfulness.

Dr Todd is anxious for a reconciliation, and I am sure I would give anything to be once more cordial to an old friend of 20 years standing, but he did behave in such a way that I feel a great difficulty in conscience. Sewell, however, says that, bad as the case may be, it was not one of public scandal, and therefore that his retracing his steps in the matter of the Statue, and his wish to be at unity again, may be considered quite justification enough for me to drop all further scruple. This distinction appears to have so much force, that I have determined to leave the affair to be adjusted by Henry Sewell and Nugent Wade, and to do what ever they dictate: the latter knows all the circumstances from an attentive reading of the correspondence. Sewell who came out while we were at Church, and is going up to London at 5 o’clock, is to lay the matter before them. He takes up our Statutes, as Nugent Wade wants to see them with reference to the constitution of the ‘Prior Fellows.’

What chiefly takes Sewell to London is an application from the friends of the Bishop of Fredericton, who has sustained most severe loss through the villainy of a person, who had the management of his private property; and to whom it is now an immense object to get his sons educated with little cost. Application was made by Mr Upton Richards some time ago for decimal places for them, but we could hold out no hope. Sewell is now thinking of taking them for nothing, as an acceptable sacrifice to Heaven, in whose service the good Bishop has been labouring painfully. He is now collecting money in England for his Cathedral, which is only half-finished. Sewell means to make an immense compliment of it to Mr Richards, Judge Coleridge, and the Bishop’s other friends, and to found on it a claim to their exertions in our behalf. The sacrificing of £200 a year in our infancy and poverty is, and will no doubt be thought, great liberality.1

Mr Halse walked out, and was pleased to see Portman looking so fat and well.

Sewell (major) I find has been a regular communicant, so I had him and Reynolds for an hour, and gave them an affectionate talking to, and let them go to their cubicles before Church time. Had a very long and searching colloquy with Reynolds on Friday. He is so gentle and amiable that I quite love him. It is such an important period of their lives that I am very anxious about them. However, ‘greater is He that is for us than he that is against us,’ I do not find myself too much dispirited by thoughts of responsibility: hope it may arise less from indifference than from faith. Have great cause for thankfulness in a really nice set of boys, – gentlemanly and docile, and, with very few exceptions, very loveable.

1: The Bishop and his first wife had five sons and two daughters, although Singleton’s figure of £200 indicates that he was only contemplating the education of two of the sons. In the end, only one of the Bishop’s sons attended Radley: Spencer Medley entered the school in 1849 and left in 1850.


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