A letter from Gibbings resigning the Fellowship which was at his disposal. Has been wrought upon by his Rector, Mr Houblon, and his parishioners. We are not pleased with him, as he has betrayed fickleness of character. At the same time it is better not to have any one in our body so deficient in firmness.

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The Rev. J.B. [sic] Lowe, the chaplain at Madeira whom the government dismissed for obeying the Prayer Book, has just been here.1 A most pleasing person, – charmed with the College.


1: Although Singleton clearly writes ‘J.B.’ he must mean Richard Thomas Lowe, (1802-1874), naturalist, friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin and Thomas Wollaston. He was appointed Chaplain to the Anglican Church at Madeira in 1832/3, having studied the natural history of the islands since 1828. He was strongly influenced by Tract No. 1 and his subsequent enthusiasm for the Oxford Movement brought him into lengthy conflict with his parishioners. In 1847, Queen Adelaide attempted to resolve the argument when on her visit to Madeira, but without notable success. On 22 November 1847, Palmerston removed Lowe from his position, replacing him with Thomas Brown. Lowe and his wife finally left Madeira in 1852. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

November 23, 1848 (Thursday)

November 23, 2010

Dr and Mrs Elliot came about their son Gilbert, who has been offered a midshipmancy in the Indian Navy. The poor fellow would much rather not go to sea. He would much prefer becoming an engineer or a clergyman; – but he has not head for the sciences, and a degree would be difficult to acquire; – besides Dr Elliot says he has no interest to push him on as a clergyman. The position offered is said to be a good thing so I have nothing to oppose to his taking it, though I grudge him to the Indian Navy; – indeed I am very sad about his going. The boy will do just as his friends wish; so it seems a settled matter. He is the first student we have lost in the ordinary course of things. He begs me, however, to let him come down in January to be confirmed with the other boys before he sails.

He is a most improved being, – and deeply affectionate, – a striking proof of the influence of Radley upon a vulgar, ill-tempered bully. We have offered to give him private tuition, promising a degree to industry, – but the offer is not accepted.


1: Gilbert Elliot, b.1833, was 16 years old in November 1848 and a suitable age to leave school and take up a post of midshipman, the most junior level of officers in the navy. He did eventually take a degree, at Brasenose College, Oxford. He eventually became a station owner in New South Wales. He died following a carriage accident at Young, NSW, on 10th February 1874, aged 41.

Mrs, Miss and Revd. William Cotton, and Dr and Mrs Acland, dined.

Wade went away. He has been here for a few days. Had been in Ireland, and seen the Primate, who will consent to the new statutes of St Columba’s. His Grace was very indignant at the gifts being withheld from me and others, who presented them on the distinct understanding that the whole discipline of the Church should be carried out. This is just what we expected from his honest mind. We knew all along that the Trustees were keeping him in the dark, as to the true position of things; yet Sewell called upon them to lay a letter of his on the subject before the Archbishop. I confess to some uneasiness about the termination of the whole affair; I fear want of firmness.

A letter from Bishop ‘entirely agreeing’ with what had been written, and appointing a time, somewhere ‘about’ the 4th week in January.

November 14th, 1848 (Tuesday)

November 14, 2010

Several of the boys being now quite old enough for confirmation, – I have written to the Bishop, to ask him how it could best be managed. A letter from him this morning to say how fully he agrees with all I said, – and that he would confirm in our own chapel. This is very kind of him, and precisely the arrangement we should like best. He proposes, however, some day early in December, – which, I think, would be too soon, – so I have written to him to say no. It seems very desirable to bring the boys to Communion immediately, – all of which requires more time for preparation than this would allow. Besides the proximity of the examination and the holidays would cause much destruction of mind, at a time when the mind ought to be kept particularly tranquil.