« PreviousContinue »
pected to form an aggregate of 200,0001, hapsfar less likely to become unfriendand by degrees a still Targer amount. ly or indifferent to them than some These retrenchments must be viewed other classes of the community. But with considerable satisfaction; but it must be remembered that tiii lately they seem in a great degree to stultify the agricultural interest has had little he reasoning employed for the pre-comparatively to try the strength of servation of the second postmaster- its principles. Now therefore, when generalship.
own parts, considerable depression is felt among we regret that the reductions should its members, it behoves the clergy have fallen so heavily on clerks with in particular, who are closely consmall salaries, who can ill support a nected, by means of their tithes, with diminution of income, and we should this portion of society, to guard against have preferred seeing 2500l. saved to
the first inroads of a complaining the public by the suppression of the or factious spirit. We notice the above office, to the subduction of 101. point, chiefly because, in some of from each of 250 clerks.
the late proceedings of agricultural We are sorry to report some symp- meetings, observations were made by toms of insubordination among a part sonie leading members of the landof the peasantry in Norfolk and Suf ed interest, in a strain very different folk, whose displeasure seemed di- froni what we had been accustomed rected chiefly against the use of ma
to hear in those quarters.
We do chinery. We allude to the circum- not by any means regret that country stance with a view to remind those of gentlemen should become staunch adthe country clergy and gentry who vocates for retrenchment and econoperuse our pages, of the peculiar duty my; but let ihem beware of enlisting incumbent upon them, at the present as the partizans of a systematic opposimoment, of watching against the first tion, or of throwing unnecessary diffirisings of a discontented or factious culties in the way of those who are spirit in themselves or those under appointed to conduct the affairs of heir influence. Whatever part of the state. community happens, for a time, to be - The condition of Ireland remains in a state of depression, is apt to cool much as before. An inquiry is about in its loyal and Christian principles. to be instituted in Parliament into The landed interest has long support- the tithe-system in that country, ed a character for attachment to the which we trust may lead to some becivil and religious institutions of the neficial arrangement as respects that country; and on the whole is per-' fruitful source of ill-will and litigation.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. S.; W.C.; F.; W.; Veridicus; F. S.; G. E. L. ; CHRISTIANUS; H.; C. W.;
RESPONDENS; S. F.; and A CONSTANT READER, are under consideration. It is not our plan to insert Obituaries, or papers as “ original communications,"
which have appeared, or are anuounced, to appear, in other periodical publications, Bean's Family Prayers, or Cotteril's, or Jeuks’s revised by Mr. Simeon, would
probably answer our correspondent's purpose. A constant Reader may procure inforination on the subject of his inquiry from
the publications of the National Society, the British and Foreign School So
ciety, &c. We have not received the work mentioned by B.C. A LANCASHIRE CURATE may send his douation of books for the Calcutta College
Library, to the Secretary of the Society for propagating the Gospel, St. Mar-s. tin's Library, London. We have left Mr. Bugg's papers at the publisher's; also the packet of A CONSTANT.
[No. 4. Vol. XXII.
Tothe EditoroftheChristian Observer. all times the most happy, certainly
nation, though it may not be at T bas been a very frequent re- gives a relief to the picture that
mark that the life of a good wonderfully increases its effect. parish priest is more useful in the Among Christian pastors who reality, than entertaining in the have adorned their profession by posthumous narration. Being con- piety, fidelity, and zeal, there will fined for the most part to one sphere be found no one, perhaps, whose hisof ministerial exertion, and con- tory better deserves to be recorded sisting in the repetition of duties, than the late Mr. Fletcher, the which, however important, are still far-famed Vicar of Madeley. His nearly uniform, it presents little, life, independently of those pecucomparatively speaking, to gratify liarities of character which render curiosity, or to excite expectation. it an interesting exhibition to the Those at least who require the sti- philosophic observer of mankind, mulus of amusement will turn from affords more variety than we usualthe history of one who has “ kept ly meet with in the career of a mithe noiseless tenor of his way” in nister of the Gospel. a course of pastoral usefulness and the circumstance of his having activity, to divert themselves with been a foreigner, naturalized as it the memoirs of the statesman, the were upon English ground, attracts warrior, or the navigator ; to ole attention by its rarity; and adds low the footsteps of the traveller something to the interest which the through distant countries, and view of his talents, virtues, and amongst barbarous tribes; or per- attainments is so well calculated to haps to attend on the adventures excite. of some imaginary hero, whom the It is my intention, in the present skill of the novelist has dressed up paper, to offer some observations in the colours of nature or the upon this extraordinary man. In tinsel of romance.
attempting to delineate his life and But the life of an exemplary character, I shall select my inciChristian minister, while it always dents chiefly from the last publishcommunicates instruction, which is ed biographical memoir of Mr. more than can be said of the writ- Fletcher, recently given to the ings just mentioned, is not always world by the Rev. R. Cox, Perincapable of affording enteriain- pelual Curate of St. Leonard's, ment. Peculiarity of character, Bridgenorth. I am not aware that for example, may make amends for Mr. Cox has added much to the the want of variety of incident. stock of materials amassed by Mr. It is this circumstance which ren- Benson, Mr. Gilpin, and other meders the life of Skelton one of the morialists of Mr, Fletcher. Inmost amusing pieces of biography, deed, his work is professedly a comin modern times. There ihe ec- pilation; so much so that he often centric Irishman is constantly seen incorporates the words as well as in contact with the faithful minister the facts of his originals in his narof the sanctuary; and this combi- rative, wherever they seemed proCHRIST, OBSERV. No. 244.
per to his purpose. Still his me- and piety, very unusual at that moir is the best that has appeared; period of life. At an early age, he Mr. Gilpin's consisting of only was sent to the university of Gedetached memoranda, and Mr. neva, where he soon became reBenson's being liable to consider-markable by his talents and appliable exception, as those of your 'cation. He frequently spent the readers will recollect who have pe- greater part of the night in study. rused your Review of it in your At the same time, his constitution volume for 1805, p. 349.
was vigorous and active. He was sober Christian, Mr. Cox has not fond of fencing and swimming; and represented his hero as the subject be excelled particularly in the latof miraculous deliverances, though ter accomplishment. After going doubiless his life affords, as does through the usual course of sludy, that of many an unrecorded indi- at the university, he was sent by vidual, some remarkable instances bis father to Leutzbourg, where he of the constant presence of a mer- studied German, and, after leaving ciful superintending Providence; ihat place, remained for some time as a lover of peace, he has abstain- at hoine, engaged in learning Heed from interlarding his narrative brew, and reading mathematics. with unprofitable controversies; He had evinced a disposition to and as a consistent churchman, he enter the church, to which his has not been indifferent to, much parents were not averse; but, feelless extolled, those parts of Mr. ing some conscientious scruples on Fletcher's conduct which were open the subject, particularly respecting to censure on the score of ecclesias- the Calvinism of the Geneva Artitical discipline. On these grounds, cles, he directed his views towards such a narrative as Mr. Cox has the army. This was a profession drawn up was much wanted, not- by no means unsuited to his perwithstanding the several memoirs sonal courage, and the natural vi. of Mr. Fletcher which have been vacity of his temper. He had an already written. I will only add uncle in the Dutch service, who had in this age of book-making, that procured bim a commission. But Mr. Cox's narrative has the merit ibe ratification of peace soon afterof comprizing much in a little, and wards cooled his military ardour; giving the purchaser the full value and, having now no particular enof his money, in solid matter of gagement, he visited England, partly fact and interesting information. to improve himself in literature,
I shall first present your readers and partly with the hope of obtainwith a rapid sketch of Mr. Fletch- ing some situation sor his support. er's life, and then proceed to offer This visit to our country seems to some reflections on bis character, bave been a tide in his affairs, interwoven with a few of the most which, uuder Providence, delerinteresting anecdotes which are mined the future current of his life. related of him.
He was recommended to a Mr. It is well known that bis original Burchell, in Hertfordshire, under name was Jean Guillaume de la whose direction he studied the Eng. Flechere. He was born at Nyon, lish language and polite literature. in Switzerland, in the year 1720, of Being a younger son, and bis prorespectable, and even distinguished vision slender, he was induced to acparentage; bis family being, by the cept a situation, in which he might report of one of his nephews, allied support himself, without being a burto the house of Sardinia. His den 10 bis family, and accordingly, father had been an officer in the he engaged bimself as tutor in the French service. The childhood of family of Mr. Hill, M.P. for ShrewsFletcher appears to have been dis- bury. tinguished by tokens of reflection His views now opened again gradually towards the ministerial office. happy in bringing religious truth to He thought much and deeply upon bear with force upon rude, unculthe subject, and gave himself to tivated minds. He had for his enestudy and an abstemioùs regimen. mies, publicans, colliers, and proIn both these he appears to have fligates; and he appears to have carried matters to an extreme, and understood the art of dealing with in some degree to have injured his them, quite as well as Whitefield constitution. In the year 1756, he or Wesley, but with more mildness lost his father; and in the month of of spirit, and greater simplicity of March, of the following year, en- deportment. tered into full orders in the Church After ten years of indefatigable of England. He was now twenty- exertion at Madeley, he at length eight years of age. Between this consented to visit his relations on period and his entrance upon the the Continent. On the eve of vicarage of Madeley, he preached his departure, he had to contend in different places, as occasion with some Roman Catholics, who offered; and assisted Mr. Wesley, had opened a chapel in his parislı, whose cast of piety was in many and succeeded in preventing them respects similar to his own. Dur- from inaking any great progress in ing this interval, also, he was urged that neighbourhood. Accompanied by bis mother, in the most pressing by his friend Mr. Ireland, he now manner, to visit her in Switzerland; visited the south of France, with but, strange to say, he refused to part of Italy, and took Switzerland comply with her request. She was on his return. In this journey he now a widow, and her son was com- displayed much active and enlightparatively at leisure. He ought, ened curiosity, in inquiring into iherefore, doubtless to have obeyed the doctrine and worship of the the summons; and the reasons which Catholics. He also visited the he assigned for not doing so, savour rempant of the poor Huguenots, strongly of that spirit of enthusiasm who had been the victims of Lewis's from which his character was by tyranny, on the revocation of the po means free, and which had pro- Edict of Nantes. He went to them bably derived strength and iutlu- in the character of a pilgrim, ence from his recent counexion charmed the cottagers of the Cewith Mr. Wesley and the Metho- vennes with his manners and condists.
versation, edified them by his Through the influence of Mr. prayers and instructions, attended Hill, Mr. Fletcher was presented, on their sick, and had much dis. in 1759, lo the vicarage of Madeley, course with the Protestant pastors which he retained, without any of the country.
He afterwards other preferment, during the re- proceeded to Marseilles and Genoa, mainder of his life. The value of and thence to Rome. Here his zeal the living was very moderate, and against Popery burst forth in imthe duty was laborious; but it was prudent remarks, which, but for just such a sphere of exertion as he ibe caution of his fellow-traveller, was qualified to occupy and adorn. might have been productive of uuThough a perfect gentleman in pleasant consequences. The Apmiod and manners, his extreme sim. pian Way reminded him of St. Paul; plicity, and his rigid habits of life, and he alighted from his carriage, perbaps rendered his labours more' that he might not ride over ground, accepiable and successful in a popu- where the Apostle had formerly Jous country parish,than they would walked, chained to a soldier. After have been in the midst of a polished visiting the ruins of Herculaneun and luxurious metropolis. His de- and Pompeii, he returned home by vout zeal and activity will be noticed way of Switzerland, and preached hereafter. He was particularly with success at Nyon, bis uative
place. At his departure, weeping reaping the expected benefit, be multitudes crowded round bis car- determined upon another journey riage. He arrived in England in to his native mountains. Accomthe summer of the year 1770, after panied again by his friend, Mr. an absence of five months.
Ireland, be travelled through France The next remarkable circum- to Aix and Montpellier, and so far stance of his life was bis connexion recovered strength as to be able with Lady Huntingdon's semi- to preach at both those places. In nary at Trevecca, in South Wales. the Spring of the year 1778, be He seems to have acted there in again visited Nyon, and continued the capacity of an authorised visitor in that neighbourhood nearly three and general superintendant; but he years ; during which time, ihe clisoon found it necessary to withdraw mate, together with the affectionate from his office. The doctrinal sen- attentions of his friends, gradually timents of the Foundress materially restored him to health. differed from his own; and divisions turned to England in April, 1781. sprang up in the college, which in
Mr. Fletcher, from bis age, as well volved him in a painful controversy. as from the state of his health and As no man was naturally more habits, appeared unlikely to marry; averse to doctrinal disputes than but now, at length, when turned of Mr. Fletcher, so few men upon the fifty, he united himself to Miss Bowhole, and considering all the cir- sanquet, an old acquaintance, and cumstances of the case, have con- a lady of eminent piety and respectducted them in a more Christian able connexions. The marriage spirit. He certainly was, on some took place in November, 1781. occasions, severe in his remarks, This union, during the short time it though in general he maintained lasted, seeins to have been remarka far better temper than most ably happy. It was founded on of his allies and opponents in Christian principle, and cemented the whole of that singularly acri- by a similarity of taste and temper. mopious controversy. With regard In the object of his choice he to his powers as a polemic, he will found
an help meet for him," hardly be thought a match, in meta- with respect to his ministerial exphysics, for President Edwards, ertions. The remainder of his life, even by those who think that Presi- with few interruptions, was passed dent Edwards is in the
wrong. in the bosom of his beloved parish, Mr. Fletcher soon after engaged, and in unwearied labours for the upon religious grounds, in the poli- souls of men. To those labours tical controversy respecting the be at last fell a sacrifice; for, venright of resistance to taxation turing into the pulpit, one Sunday, claimed by our American Colonies. under the influence of a cold and His praise of the British Consti- fever, he so increased his disorder, tution will be cordially admitted by that he only survived the effort many, who might disapprove of his about a week, and expired on Sungeneral reasoning on the question day, August 14, 1785, in the fiftyof colonial dependence.
sixth year of his age. His deathsubject of Great Britain," said he, bed corresponded with the uniform “is to be the happiest subject of tenor of his life. We are informed any civil government in the world.” by his friend, Mr. Gilpin, that he
His incessant studies and labours experienced vot merely the ordibegan now to affect his health. nary consolations, but the triumphs, Change of air being recommended, of faith ; and that, when deprived he again quitted Madeley in the of the power of speech, his counteautumn of 1776, and, after spend. nance discovered him to be secretly jog some time in travelling and engaged in the contemplation of making visits to his friends, without eternal things.- I shall not detail
". To be a