Page images
PDF
EPUB

w:13 a particular delight to him, with two or three companions, to make what he called a skirmish across the country; on these occasions we deserted the road, crossed fences, and leaped di:ches, or fell into them: he enjoyed the country round Oxford, and while out in this way, his spirits would rise, and his mirth overflowed. Though delicate in appearance, and not giving promise of great muscular strength, yet his form was light, and he was capable of going long distances and bearing much fatigue.

You know that to his last moment of health he had the same predilections ; indeed he was, as much as any I ever knew, one whose days were

“ Bound each to each by natural piety.” His manner had all the tastes and feelings of his youth, only more developed and better regulated. The same passion for the sea and shipping, and his favourite lele of Wight; the same love for external nature, the same readiness in viewing the characteristic features of a country and its marked positions, or the most beautiful points of a prospect, for all which he was remarkable in alter life, we noticed in him then. When Professor Buckland, then one of our Fellows, began his career in that science, to the advancement of which he has contributed so much, Arnold became one of his most earnest and intelligent pupils, and you know how familiarly and practically he applied geological facts in all his later years.

In June, 1812, I was elected Fellow of Exeter College, and determined to pursue the law as my profession: my residence at Oxford was thenceforward only occasional; but the friendship which had grown up between us suffered no diminution. Something, I forget now the particular circumstance, led to an interchange of letters, which ripened into a correspondence, continued with rather unusual regularity when our respective occupations are considered, to within a few days of his death. It may show the opinion which I even then entertained of him, that I carefully preserved from the beginning every letter which I ever received from him: you have had an opportunity of judging of the value of the collection.

After I had ceased to reside, a emall debating society called the Attic Society was formed in Oxford,' which held its meetings in the rooms of the members by turns. Arnold was among the earliest members, and was, I believe, an embarrassed speaker. This I should have expected; for, however he might ap

1) In this society he formed or confirmed his acquaintance with a new circle of friends, chiefly of other colleges, whose names will appear in the ensuing correspondence by the side of those of an earlier date from Corpus, and of a somewhat later date from Oriel, Mr. Lowe, Mr. Hull, Mr. Randall, Mr. Blackstone, and Mr. Hare, and through him with his Cambridge brother, now Archdeacon Hare.

pear a confident advancer of his own opinions, he was in truth bashful, and at the same time had so acute a perception of what was ill-seasoned or irrelevant, that he would want that freedom from restraint which is essential at least to young speakers. This society was the germ of the Union, but I believe he never belonged to it.

In our days, the religious controversies had not begun, by which the minds of young men at Oxford are, I fear, now prematurely and too much occupied; the routine theological studies of the University were, I admit, deplorably low, but the earnest ones amongst us were diligent readers of Barrow, Hooker, and Taylor. Arnold was among these, but I have no recollection of any thing at that time distinctive in his religious opinions. What occurred afterwards, does not properly fall within my chapter, yet it is not unconnected with it, and I believe I can sum up all that need be said on such a subject, as shortly and as accurately, from the sources of information in my hands, as any other person can. His was an anxiously inquisitive mind, a scrupulously conscientious heart; his inquiries, previously to his taking orders, led him on to distressing doubts on certain points in the Articles; these were not low nor rationalistic in their tendency, according to the bad sense of that term; there was no indisposition in him to believe merely because the article transcended his reason; he doubted the proof and the interpretation of the textual authority. His state was very painful, and I think morbid; for I remarked that the two occasions on which I was privy to his distress, were precisely those in which to doubt was against his dearest schemes of worldly happiness; and the consciousness of this seemed to make bim distrustful of the arguments which were intended to lead his mind to acquiescence. Upon the first occasion to which I allude, he was a Fellow of Oriel, and in close intercourse with oņe of the friends I have before mentioned, then also a Fellow of the same college ; to him as well as to me he opened his mind, and from him he received the wisest advice, which he had the wisdom to act upon; he was bid to pause in his inquiries, to pray earnestly for help and light from above, and turn himself more strongly than ever to the practical duties of a holy life; he did so, and through severe trials was finally blessed with perfect peace of mind, and a settled conviction. It' there be any so unwise as to rejoice that Arnold, in his youth, had doubts on important doctrines, let him be sobered with the conclusion of those doubts, when Arnold's mind had not become weaker, nor his pursuit of truth less honest or ardent, but when his abilities were matured, his knowledge greater, his judgment more sober; if there be any who, in youth, are suffering the same distress which befell him, let his conduct be their example, and the blessing which was vouchsafed to him, their hope and consolation. In a letter

from that friend to myself, of the date of February 14, 1819, I find the following extract, which gives so true and so considerate an account of this passage in Arnold's life, that you may be pleased to insert it.

“I have not talked with Arnold lately on the distressing thoughts which he wrote to you about, but I am fearful, from his manner at times, that he has by no means got rid of them, though I feel quite confident that all will be well in the end. The subject of them is that most awful one, on which all very inquisitive reasoning minds are, I believe, most liable to such templationsI mean the doctrine of the blessed Trinity. Do not start, my dear Coleridge: I do not believe that Arnold has any serious scruples of the understanding about it, but it is a defect of his mind that he cannot get rid of a certain feeling of ohjectionsand particularly when, as he fancies, the bias is so strong upon him to decide one way from interest; he scruples doing what I advise him, which is, to put down the objections by main force whenever they arise in his mind, fearful that in so doing he shall be violating his conscience for a maintenance sake. I am still inclined to think with you that the wisest thing he could do would be to take John M. (a young pupil whom I was desirous of placing under his care) and a curacy somewhere or other, and cure himself not by physic, i. e. reading and controversy, but by diet and regimen, i. e. holy living. In the mean time what an excellent fellow he is. I do think that one might safely say as some one did of some other, One had better have Arnold's doubts than most men's certainties." »

I believe I have exhausted my recollections; and if I have accomplished as I ought, what I proposed to myself, it will be hardly necessary for me to sum up formally his character as an Oxford under-graduate. At the commencement a boy-and at the close retaining, not ungracefully, much of boyish spirits, frolic, and simplicity; in mind vigorous, active, clear-sighted, industrious, and daily accumulating and assimilating treasures of knowledge; not averse to poetry, but delighting rather in dialectics, philosophy, and history, with less of imaginative than reasoning power; in argumeni bold almost to presumption, and vehement; in temper easily roused to indignation, yet more easily appeased and entirely free from bitterness; fired indeed, by what he deemed ungenerous or unjust to others, rather than by any sense of personal wrong; somewhat too little deferential to authority ; yet without any real inconsistency loving what was good and great in antiquity the more ardently and reverenuly because it was ancient; a casual or unkind observer might have pronounced him somewhat too pugnacious in conversation and 10o positive. I have given, I believe, the true explanation; scarcely any thing would have pained him more than to be convinced that he had been guilty of wapt of modesty, or of delerence where it was justly due; no one thought these virtues of more sacred obligation. In heart, if I can speak with confidence of any of the friends of my youth, I can of his, that it was devout and pure, simple, sincere, affectionate and faithful.

It is time that I should close: already, I fear, I have dwelt with something like an old man's prolixity on passages of my youth, forgetting that no one can take the same interest in thein which I do myself; that deep personal interest must, however, be my excuse. Whoever sets a right value on the events of his life for good or for evil, will agree that next in importance to the rectitude of his own course and the selection of his partner for life, and far beyond all the wealth or honours which may reward his labour, far even beyond the unspeakable gift of bodily health, are the friendships which he forms in youth. That is the season when natures soft and pliant grow together, each becoming part of the other, and coloured by it; thus to become one in heart with the good, and generous, and devout, is, by God's grace, to become, in measure, good, and generous, and devout. Arnold's friendship has been one of the many blessings of my life. I cherish the memory of it with mournful gratitude, and I cannot but dwell with lingering fondness on the scene and the period which first brought us together. Within the peaceful walls of Corpus I made friends, of whom all are spared me but Arnoldhe has fallen asleep—but the bond there formed, which the lapse of years and our differing walks in life did not unloosen, and which strong opposition of opinions only rendered more intimate ; though interrupted in time, I feel not to be broken-may I venture, without unseasonable solemnity, to express the firm trust, that it will endure for ever in eternity. Believe me, my dear Stanley, Very truly yours,

J. T. C.

CHAPTER II.

LIFE AT LALEHAM.

Tole society of the Fellows of Oriel College then, as for some time afterwards, numbered amongst its members some of the most rising men in the University, and it is curious to observe the list which, when the youthful scholar of Corpus was added to it

, contained the names of Copleston, Davison, Whately, Keble, Hawkins, and Hampden, and shortly after he left it, those of Newman and Pusey, the former of whom was elected into

his vacant Fellowship. Amongst the friends with whom he thus became acquainted for the first time, may chiefly be mentioned Dr. Hawkins, since Provost of Oriel, to whom in the last year of his life he dedicated his Lectures on Modern History, and Dr. Whately, afterwards Principal of St. Alban's Hall, and now Archbishop of Dublin, towards whom his regard was enhanced by the domestic intercourse which was constantly interchanged in later years between their respective families, and to whose writings and conversations he took an early opportunity of expressing his obligations in the Preface to his first volume of Sermons, in speaking of the various points on which the communication of his friend's views had “extended or confirmed his own." For the next four years he remained at Oxford taking private pupils, and reading extensively in the Oxford libraries, an advantage which he never ceased to remember gratefully himself, and to impress upon others, and of which the immediate results remain in a great number of MSS., both in the form of abstracts of other works, and of original sketches on history and theology.

They are remarkable rather as proofs of industry than of power, and 'ihe style of all his compositions, both at this time and for some years later, is cramped by a stiffness and formality alien alike to the homeliness of his first published works and the vigour of his later ones, and strikingly recalling his favourite lines,

· The old man clogs our earliest years,

And simple childhood comes the last." But already in the examination for the Oriel Fellowships, Dr. Whately had pointed out to the other electors the great capability of growth” which he believed to be involved in the crudities of the youthful candidate's exercises, and which, even in points where he was inferior to his competitors, indicated an approaching superiority. And widely different as were his juvenile compositions in many points from those of his after life, yet it is interesting to observe in them the materials which those who koew the pressure of his numerous avocaljons used to wonder when he could have acquired, and to trace amidst the strangest contrast of his general thoughts and style occasional remarks of a higher strain, which are in striking, though in some instances perhaps accidental, coincidence with some of his later views. He endeavoured in his historical reading to follow the plan, which he afterwards recommended in his Lectures, of making himself thoroughly master of some one period,—the 15th century, with Philip de Comines as his text book, seems to have been the chief sphere of his studies, -and the first book after his election which appears in the Oriel library as taken out in his name, is Rymer's Federa. Many of the judgments of his maturer years on Gibbon, Livy, and Thucydides, are to be found in a MSS. of

« PreviousContinue »