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Devotion, grounded on dogmatic Christianity, and that which results from the spirit of Faith and philosophical Meditation respectively can give, and I solemnly declare that, at all times, the latter has been to me the highest. The usual Devotion has always agitated my feelings, the philosophical Devotion has settled and becalmed them; the one has distressed me by a longing of more assurance and certaintysomewhat in the way of the Torture by the Pulley, when the body is suspended by an arm, so that the great toe of one foot shall just touch the ground, and induce the sufferer to stretch himself in search of support; the other has always given me a point of rest, more or less broad, but always solid and steady, with the additional conviction, that it is madness to wish for more in this Life.
EXTRACTS FROM JOURNALS AND CORRESPONDENCE.
LETTER TO THE REV. JOHN HAMILTON THOM.
Begun . Aug. 8.
“My dear Friend, “When, yesterday,* you asked for directions concerning the letters which may be found among my papers, at the time of my death, I could not but express to you my regret that the very imperfect state in which I leave the second part of my Memoirs, would give you a great deal of trouble, since your kind consent to finish and publish them will require an attentive examination of my various notebooks. It is true, that from them and from the
Observations on Heresy and Orthodoxy,' a satisfactory view may be collected of the development of my views from the time that I separated myself from the Church of England to the present; but it will be a great satisfaction to me, to leave a clue which may diminish the labour of your task. Perhaps I may here repeat things which I have already stated; but I do not think that any reader who may take a
[* See vol. i. p. 406.]
serious interest in the examination of my mind, will object to such imperfections in the execution of these Memoirs.
“In the year 1826, having received a diploma conferring upon me the degree of Master of Arts of the University of Oxford, I was confirmed in the resolution, which I had conceived a short time before, of taking my residence there. I cannot well describe the pleasure I felt upon finding myself again in that beautiful city, not, as before, a stranger to the University, but a graduated member of it, and enjoying all the rights and privileges of a Master. I felt young again, and in the full vigour of my early academical life. My health improved under these pleasurable impressions. Frank, sociable, and unambitious of any thing but kindness, though I had been mortified by the opposition which my degree had met, there was now not one feeling of resentment in my breast against the person who prevented the unanimity of the Convocation in my favour. Nor had I any suspicion of the spirit which is not unfrequently found among the fellows of colleges, who constitute a kind of Aristocracy among the Masters. (It may be called Hetairocracy; a name which, if the state of the University should be thoroughly examined, would be frequently wanted to explain its internal life.) Oriel College, to which I requested admission, was, at that period, one of the most distinguished bodies of the University, and its Common Room—the Fellows' Common Room, as it is
called, though Masters not on the Foundation may be admitted as members,-united a set of men who, for talents and manners, were most desirable as friends and daily companions. In the Oriel Common Room I met with great kindness. I now imagined I had found a home, but this was a delusion, which vanished as soon as I understood the constitution of the Club (for the Common Room is nothing else) to which I had been admitted. I imagined that this admission had placed me upon an equality with the other Members; but it was not so. I found that even a probationary Fellow took precedence of me, whatever might be my seniority as a member of the Common Room. I was, in fact, only to be tolerated. The exceedingly good feeling of the Members who admitted me concealed my inferiority from me, for some time, till I first learnt it from the impertinence of a servant. Under these circumstances, I feared that notwithstanding the unresisting manner in which I submitted to my condition, the evil of it would increase in the course of two or three years, too much to be daily endured. As there is a perpetual change of Fellows, and their vacancies are recruited with very young Bachelors, it was evident that the time would soon arrive when I should find myself much too old indeed for my superiors of the Common Room. I must, however, thankfully acknowledge, that the various individuals who were elected Fellows during the five or six years that I spent as a resident Member of Oriel, treated me with the utmost kindness. But I was in a false position: individual good nature could only relieve, but not remove my uneasiness.
“I had brought to Oxford the ideal of a Collegea place for the education of youth, for the improvement and completion of early learning during the vigour of life, and of external repose and internal activity for a few old votaries of knowledge, who, probably in consequence of that devotion, had continued an unmarried life till age had left them with only a few friends or distant connections. To this ideal the English Colleges did, in a great degree, answer, a century ago : but they are at variance with it in the present day. I conceive, nevertheless, that if my intellectual character had been in accordance with the Genius Loci, I might have found a resting-place at Oxford. But that result demanded a strict dependence on the most bigoted party, which will always govern the University. I began my residence in a state of the nearest approach which my mind could bear towards that party; from feelings which have been stated and explained elsewhere. I had silenced my understanding in favour of the Church of England, but this acquiescence was more an act of devotion than of conviction, least of all was it a voluntary surrender of my Reason: to that supreme faculty I
"I must make particular mention of the Rev. Dr. Hawkins, now Provost of Oriel, and at the time of my reception, Dean of the College. We lived a great deal together, especially during the long vacations: both then and at all subsequent times his friendship to me has been as unreserved and affectionate, as if we had been brought up together.”