Life of John Coleridge Patteson: Missionary Bishop of the Melanesian Islands
by Charlotte Mary Yonge
There are of course peculiar advantages as well as disadvantages in endeavouring to write the life of one recently departed. On the one hand, the remembrances connected with him are far fresher; his contemporaries can he consulted, and much can be made matter of certainty, for which a few years would have made it necessary to trust to hearsay or probable conjecture. On the other, there is necessarily much more reserve; nor are the results of the actions, nor even their comparative importance, so clearly discernible as when there has been time to ripen the fruit.
These latter drawbacks are doubled when the subject of the biography has passed away in comparatively early life: when the persons with whom his life is chiefly interwoven are still in full activity; and when he has only lived to sow his seed in many waters, and has barely gathered any portion of his harvest.
Thus what I have written of Bishop Patteson, far more what I have copied of his letters, is necessarily only partial, although his nearest relations and closest friends have most kindly permitted the full use of all that could build up a complete idea of the man as he was. Many letters relate to home and family matters, such as it would be useless and impertinent to divulge; and yet it is necessary to mention that these exist, because without them we might not know how deep was the lonely man's interest and sympathy in all that concerned his kindred and friends. Other letters only repeat the narrative or the reflections given elsewhere; and of these, it has seemed best only to print that which appeared to have the fullest or the clearest expression. In general, the story is best told in letters to the home party; while thoughts are generally best expressed in the correspondence with Sir John Taylor Coleridge, to whom the Nephew seems to have written with a kind of unconscious carefulness of diction. There is as voluminous a correspondence with the Brother, and letters to many Cousins; but as these either repeat the same adventures or else are purely domestic, they have been little brought forward, except where any gap occurred in the correspondence which has formed the staple material.
Letters upon the unhappy Maori war have been purposely omitted; and, as far as possible, such criticisms on living personages as it seemed fair towards the writer to omit. Criticisms upon their publications are of course a different thing. My desire has been to give enough expression of Bishop Patteson's opinions upon Church and State affairs, to represent his manner of thinking, without transcribing every detail of remarks, which were often made upon an imperfect report, and were, in fact, only written down, instead of spoken and forgotten, because correspondence served him instead of conversation.
I think I have represented fairly, for I have done my best faithfully to select passages giving his mind even where it does not coincide completely with my own opinions; being quite convinced that not only should a biographer never attempt either to twist or conceal the sentiments of the subject, but that either to apologise for, or as it were to argue with them, is vain in both senses of the word.
The real disadvantage of the work is my own very slight personal acquaintance with the externals of the man, and my ignorance of the scenes in which the chief part of his life was passed. There are those who would have been far more qualified in these respects than myself, and, above all, in that full and sympathetic masculine grasp of a man's powerful mind, which is necessarily denied to me. But these fittest of all being withheld by causes which are too well known to need mention, I could only endeavour to fulfil the work as best I might; trusting that these unavoidable deficiencies may be supplied, partly by Coleridge Patteson's own habit of writing unreservedly, so that he speaks for himself, and partly by the very full notes and records with which his friends have kindly supplied me, portraying him from their point of view; so that I could really trust that little more was needed than ordinary judgment in connecting and selecting. Nor until the work is less fresh from my hand will it be possible to judge whether I have in any way been allowed to succeed in my earnest hope and endeavour to bring the statue out of the block, and as it were to carve the figure of the Saint for his niche among those who have given themselves soul and body to God's Work.
It has been an almost solemn work of anxiety, as well as one of love. May I only have succeeded in causing these letters and descriptions to leave a true and definite impression of the man and of his example!
Let me here record my obligations for materials—I need hardly say to the immediate family and relations—for, in truth, I act chiefly as their amanuensis; but likewise to the Bishop of Lichfield, Bishop Abraham.
Lady Martin, the Rev. B. T. Dudley, the Rev. E. Codrington, and Captain Tilly, for their valuable aid—the two first mentioned by correction and revision, the others by contributions such as could only be supplied by eye-witnesses and fellow-workers. Many others I must thank for kindly supplying me with letters.
CHARLOTTE MARY YONGE. ELDERFIELD, September 19, 1873.
CHILDHOOD AT HOME AND AT SCHOOL, 1827-1838.
So much of a man's cast of character depends upon his home and parentage, that no biography can be complete which does not look back at least as far as the lives of the father and mother, from whom the disposition is sure to be in part inherited, and by whom it must often be formed. Indeed, the happiest natures are generally those which have enjoyed the full benefit of parental training without dictation, and have been led, but not forced, into the way in which they should go.
Therefore it will not be irrelevant to dwell on the career of the father whose name, though still of great weight in his own profession, may not be equally known to the younger generation who have grown up since the words 'Mr. Justice Patteson' were of frequent occurrence in law reports.
John Patteson, father of the subject of the present memoir, was son to a clergyman of a Norfolk family, and was born at Coney Weston, on February 11, 1790. He was educated at Eton, and there formed more than one friendship, which not only lasted throughout his life, but extended beyond his own generation. Sport and study flourished alike among such lads as these; and while they were taught by Dr. Groodall to delight in the peculiarly elegant and accurate scholarship which was the characteristic of the highest education of their day, their boyhood and youth were full of the unstained mirth that gives such radiance to recollections of the past, and often causes the loyalty of affectionate association to be handed on to succeeding generations. The thorough Etonian impress, with all that it involved, was of no small account in his life, as well as in that of his son.
The elder John Patteson was a colleger, and passed on to King's College, Cambridge, whence, in 1813, he came to London to study law. In 1816 he opened his chambers as a special pleader, and on February 23, 1818, was married to his cousin, Elizabeth Lee, after a long engagement. The next year, 1819, he was called to the Bar, and began to go the Northern circuit. On April 3, 1820, Mrs. Patteson died, leaving one daughter, Joanna Elizabeth. Four years later, on April 22, 1824, Mr. Patteson married Frances Duke Coleridge, sister of his friend and fellow-barrister, John Taylor Coleridge. This lady, whose name to all who remember her calls up a fair and sweet memory of all that was good, bright, and beloved, was the daughter of James Coleridge, of Heath's Court, Ottery St. Mary, Devon, Colonel of the South Devon Volunteers. He was the eldest of the numerous family of the Rev. John Coleridge, Master of Ottery St. Mary School, and the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was the youngest.
The strong family affection that existed between all Colonel Coleridge's children, and concentrated itself upon the only sister among them, made marriage with her an adoption into a group that could not fail to exercise a strong influence on all connected with it, and the ties of kindred will be found throughout this memoir to have had peculiar force.
John Coleridge Patteson, his mother's second child and eldest son, was born at No. 9, Grower Street, Bedford Square, on the 1st of April, 1827, and baptized on the 8th. Besides the elder half-sister already mentioned, another sister, Frances Sophia Coleridge, a year older than, and one brother, James Henry, nearly two years younger than Coleridge, made up the family.
Three years later, in 1830, Mr. Patteson was raised to the Bench, at the unusually early age of forty.
It is probable that there never was a period when the Judicial Bench could reckon a larger number of men distinguished not only for legal ability but for the highest culture and for the substantial qualities that command confidence and respect. The middle of the nineteenth century was a time when England might well be proud of her Judges.
There was much in the habits of the Bench and Bar to lead to close and friendly intimacy, especially on the circuits. When legal etiquette forbade the use of any public conveyance, and junior barristers shared post-chaises, while the leaders travelled in their own carriages, all spent a good deal of time together, and it was not unusual for ladies to go a great part of the circuit with their husbands, especially when it lay in the direction of their own neighbourhood. The Judges' families often accompanied them, especially at the summer assize, and thus there grew up close associations between their children, which made their intimacy almost like that of relationship. Almost all, too, lived in near neighbourhood in those parts of London that now are comparatively deserted, but which were then the especial abodes of lawyers, namely, those adjacent to Bedford Square, where the gardens were the daily resort of their children, all playing together and knowing one another with that familiarity that childhood only gives.
'Sir John Patteson's contemporaries have nearly all, one by one, passed away,' writes one of them, Sir John Taylor Coleridge. 'He has left few, if any, literary monuments to record what his intellectual powers were; and even in our common profession the ordinary course and practice are so changed, that I doubt whether many lawyers are now familiar with his masterly judgments; but I feel that I speak the truth when I describe him as a man of singularly strong common sense, of great acuteness, truthfulness, and integrity of judgment. These were great judicial qualities, and to these he added much simplicity and geniality of temper and manners; and all these were crowned by a firm, unhesitating, devout belief in the doctrines of our faith, which issued in strictness to himself and the warmest, gentlest charity to his fellow-creatures. The result was what you might expect. Altogether it would be hard to say whether you would characterise him as a man unusually popular or unusually respected.'
Such was the character of Mr. Justice Patteson, a character built upon the deep, solid groundwork of religion, such as would now be called that of a sound Churchman of the old school, thoroughly devout and scrupulous in observance, ruling his family and household on a principle felt throughout, making a conscience of all his and their ways, though promoting to the utmost all innocent enjoyment of pleasure, mirth, or gaiety. Indeed, all who can look back on him or on his home remember an unusual amount of kindly genial cheerfulness, fun, merriment, and freedom, i.e. that obedient freedom which is the most perfect kind of liberty.
Though this was in great part the effect of having such a head of the family, the details of management could not but chiefly depend upon the mother, and Lady Patteson was equally loved for her tenderness and respected for her firmness. 'She was, indeed,' writes her brother, 'a sweet and pious person, of the most affectionate, loving disposition, without a grain of selfishness, and of the stoutest adherence to principle and duty. Her tendency was to deal with her children fondly, but this never interfered with good training and discipline. What she felt right, she insisted on, at whatever pain to herself.'
She had to deal with strong characters. Coleridge, or Coley, to give him the abbreviation by which he was known not only through childhood but through life, was a fair little fellow, with bright deep-blue eyes, inheriting much of his nature from her and her family, but not by any means a model boy. He was, indeed, deeply and warmly affectionate, but troublesome through outbreaks of will and temper, showing all the ordinary instinct of trying how far the authorities for the time being will endure resistance; sufficiently indolent of mind to use his excellent abilities to save exertion of intellect; passionate to kicking and screaming pitch, and at times showing the doggedness which is such a trial of patience to the parent. To this Lady Patteson 'never yielded; the thing was to be done, the point given up, the temper subdued, the mother to be obeyed, and all this upon a principle sooner understood than parents suppose.'
There were countless instances of the little boy's sharp, stormy gusts of passion, and his mother's steady refusal to listen to his 'I will be good' until she saw that he was really sorry for the scratch or pinch which he had given, or the angry word he had spoken; and she never waited in vain, for the sorrow was very real, and generally ended in 'Do you think God can forgive me?' When Fanny's love of teasing had exasperated Coley into stabbing her arm with a pencil, their mother had resolution enough to decree that no provocation could excuse 'such unmanliness' in a boy, and inflicted a whipping which cost the girl more tears than her brother, who was full of the utmost grief a child could feel for the offence. No fault was lightly passed over; not that punishment was inflicted for every misdemeanour, but it was always noticed, and the children were shown with grave gentleness where they were wrong; or when there was a squabble among them, the mother's question, 'Who will give up?' generally produced a chorus of 'I! I! I!' Withal 'mamma' was the very life of all the fun, and play, and jokes, enjoying all with spirits and merriment like the little ones' own, and delighting in the exchange of caresses and tender epithets. Thus affection and generosity grew up almost spontaneously towards one another and all the world.
On this disposition was grafted that which was the one leading characteristic of Coley's life, namely, a reverent and religious spirit, which seems from the first to have been at work, slowly and surely subduing inherent defects, and raising him, step by step, from grace to grace.
Five years old is in many cases an age of a good deal of thought. The intelligence is free from the misapprehensions and misty perceptions of infancy; the first course of physical experiments is over, freedom of speech and motion have been attained, and yet there has not set in that burst of animal growth and spirits that often seems to swamp the deeper nature throughout boyhood. By this age Coley was able to read, and on his birthday he received from his father the Bible which was used at his consecration as Bishop twenty- seven years later.
He had an earnest wish to be a clergyman, because he thought saying the Absolution to people must make them so happy, 'a belief he must have gleaned from his Prayer-book for himself, since the doctrine was not in those days made prominent.' The purpose was fostered by his mother. 'She delighted in it, and encouraged it in him. No thought of a family being to be made, and of Coley being the eldest son, ever interfered for a moment. That he should be a good servant at God's altar was to her above all price.'
Of course, however, this was without pressing the thought on him. He grew on, with the purpose accepted but not discussed, except from time to time a half-playful, half-grave reference to himself as a future clergyman.
Reverence was strongly implanted in him. His old nurse (still his sister's valued servant) remembers the little seven years old boy, after saying his own prayers at her knee, standing opposite to his little brother, admonishing him to attention with 'Think, Jemmy; think.' In fact, devoutness seems to have been natural to him. It appears to have been the first strongly traceable feature in him, and to have gradually subdued his faults one by one.
Who can tell how far this was fostered by those old-fashioned habits of strictness which it is the present habit to view as repellent? Every morning, immediately after breakfast, Lady Patteson read the Psalms and Lessons for the day with the four children, and after these a portion of some book of religious instruction, such as 'Horne on the Psalms' or 'Daubeny on the Catechism.' The ensuing studies were in charge of Miss Neill, the governess, and the life-long friend of her pupils; but the mother made the religious instruction her individual care, and thus upheld its pre-eminence. Sunday was likewise kept distinct in reading, teaching, employment, and whole tone of conversation, and the effect was assuredly not that weariness which such observance is often supposed to produce, but rather lasting benefit and happy associations. Coley really enjoyed Bible- reading, and entered into explanations, and even then often picked up a passage in the sermons he heard at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields from the Rev. J. Endell Tyler, and would give his home-oracles no peace till they had made it as clear to his comprehension as was possible.
The love of his home may be gathered from the fact that his letters have been preserved in an unbroken series, beginning from a country visit in 1834, after a slight attack of scarlet fever, written in the round-hand of a boy of seven years old, and finished off with the big Roman capitals FINIS, AMEN, and ending with the uncompleted sheets, bearing as their last date September 19, 1871.
The boy's first school was at Ottery St. Mary, in Devonshire, of which his great-grandfather and great-uncle had both been head- masters.
There was much to make Ottery homelike to Coley, for his grandparents lived at Heath's Court, close to the church, and in the manor-house near at hand their third son, Francis George Coleridge, a solicitor, whose three boys were near contemporaries of Coley, and two of them already in the school.
From first to last his letters to his parents show no symptom of carelessness; they are full of ease and confidence, outpourings of whatever interested him, whether small or great, but always respectful as well as affectionate, and written with care and pains, being evidently his very best; nor does the good old formula, 'Your affectionate and dutiful son,' ever fail or ever produce stiffness.
The shrinking from rough companions, and the desire to be with the homelike relatives around, proved a temptation, and the little boy was guilty of making false excuses to obtain leave of absence. We cannot refrain from giving his letter of penitence, chiefly for the sake of the good sense and kindness of his uncle's treatment:—
'April 26, 1836.
'My dear Papa,—I am very sorry for having told so many falsehoods, which Uncle Frank has told mamma of. I am very sorry for having done so many bad things, I mean falsehoods, and I heartily beg your pardon; and Uncle Frank says that he thinks, if I stay, in a month's time Mr. Cornish will begin to trust me again. Uncle Frank to-day had me into his house and told me to reflect upon what I had done. He also lectured me in the Bible, and asked me different questions about it. He told me that if I ever told another falsehood he should that instant march into the school and ask Mr. Cornish to strip and birch me; and if I followed the same course I did now and did not amend it, if the birching did not do, he should not let me go home for the holidays; but I will not catch the birching...
'So believe me your dear Son,
'J. C. PATTESON.'
On the flap of the letter 'Uncle Frank' writes to the mother:—
'My dear Fanny,—I had Coley in my room to-day, and talked to him seriously about his misdeeds, and I hope good has been done. But I could scarcely keep my countenance grave when he began to reduce by calculation the exact number of fibs he had told. He did not think it was more than two or three at the utmost: and when I brought him to book, I had much to do to prevent the feeling that the sin consisted in telling many lies. However the dear boy's confession was as free as could be expected, and I have impressed on his mind the meanness, cowardice, and wickedness of the habit, and what it will end in here and hereafter. He has promised that he will never offend in future in like manner, and I really believe that his desire to be away from the school and at ease among his friends induced him to trump up the invitations, &c., to Mr. Cornish, in which consisted his first fibs. I shall watch him closely, as I would my own child; and Cornish has done wisely, I think, by giving the proper punishment of confining him to the school-court, &c., and not letting him go to his friends for some time. The dear boy is so affectionate, and has so much to work on, that there is no fear of him; only these things must be looked after promptly, and he must learn practically (before his reason and religion operate) that he gains nothing by a lie... He is very well, and wins one's heart in a moment...
'Ever your affectionate Brother,
'F. G. C.'
The management was effectual, and the penitence real, for this fault never recurred, nor is the boy's conduct ever again censured, though the half-yearly reports often lament his want of zeal and exertion. Coley was sufficiently forward to begin Greek on his first arrival at Ottery, and always held a fair place for his years, but throughout his school career his character was not that of an idle but of an uninterested boy, who preferred play to work, needed all his conscience to make him industrious, and then was easily satisfied with his performances; naturally comparing them with those of other boys, instead of doing his own utmost, and giving himself full credit for the diligence he thought he had used. For it must be remembered that it was a real, not an ideal nature; not a perfect character, but one full of the elements of growth.
A childish, childlike boy, he was now, and for many years longer, intensely fond of all kinds of games and sports, in which his light active form, great agility, and high spirit made him excel. Cricket, riding, running-races, all the school amusements were his delight; fireworks for the 5th of November sparkle with ecstasy through his letters, and he was a capital dancer in the Christmas parties at his London home. He had likewise the courage and patience sure to be needed by an active lad. While at Ottery he silently bore the pain of a broken collar-bone for three weeks, and when the accident was brought to light by his mother's embrace, he only said that 'he did not like to make a fuss.'
Consideration for others, kindness, and sweetness of nature were always his leading characteristics, making him much beloved by all his companions, and an excellent guardian and example to his little brother, who soon joined him at Ottery. Indeed, the love between these two brothers was so deep, quiet, and fervid, that it is hard to dwell on it while 'one is taken and the other left.' It was at this time a rough buffeting, boyish affection, but it was also a love that made separation pain and grief, and on the part of the elder, it showed itself in careful protection from all harm or bullying, and there was a strong underlying current of tenderness, most endearing to all concerned with the boys, whether masters, relations, friends, or servants.
BOYHOOD AT ETON. 1838—1845.
After the Christmas holidays of 1837-8, when Coley Patteson was nearly eleven years old, he was sent to Eton, that most beautifully situated of public schools, whose delightful playing fields, noble trees, broad river, and exquisite view of Windsor Castle give it a peculiar charm, joining the venerable grandeur of age to the freshness and life of youth, so as to rivet the affections in no common degree.
It was during the head-mastership of Dr. Hawtrey that Patteson became, in schoolboy phrase, an Eton fellow, being boarded in the house of his uncle, the Rev. Edward Coleridge, one of the most popular and successful Eton masters. Several of his cousins were also in this house, with other boys who became friends of his whole life, and he was thoroughly happy there, although in these early days he still felt each departure from home severely, and seldom failed to write a mournful letter after the holidays. There is one, quite pathetic in its simplicity, telling his mother how he could not say his prayers nor fall asleep on his first night till he had resolutely put away the handkerchief that seemed for some reason a special link with home. It illustrates what all who remember him say, how thoroughly a childlike being he still was, though a well-grown, manly, high-spirited boy, quite able to take care of himself, keep his place, and hold his own.
He was placed in the lower remove of the fourth form, which was then 'up to' the Rev. Charles Old Goodford, i.e. that was he who taught the division so called in school.
The boy was evidently well prepared, for he was often captain of his division, and his letters frequently tell of successes of this kind, while they anticipate 'Montem.'
That of 1838 was a brilliant one, for Queen Victoria, then only nineteen, and her first year of sovereignty not yet accomplished, came from the Castle to be driven in an open carriage to Salt Hill and bestow her Royal contribution.
In the throng little Patteson was pressed up so close to the Royal carriage that he became entangled in the wheel, and was on the point of being dragged under it, when the Queen, with ready presence of mind, held out her hand: he grasped it, and was able to regain his feet in safety, but did not recover his perceptions enough to make any sign of gratitude before the carriage passed on. He had all a boy's shyness about the adventure; but perhaps it served to quicken the personal loyalty which is an unfailing characteristic of 'Eton fellows.'
The Royal custom of the Sunday afternoon parade on the terrace of Windsor Castle for the benefit of the gazing public afforded a fine opportunity for cultivating this sentiment, and Coley sends an amusingly minute description of her Majesty's dress, evidently studied for his mother's benefit, even to the pink tips of her four long ostrich feathers, and calling to mind Chalon's water-colours of the Queen in her early youth. He finishes the description with a quaint little bit of moralising. 'It certainly is very beautiful with two bands playing on a calm, blessed Sunday evening, with the Queen of England and all her retinue walking about. It gives you an idea of the Majesty of God, who could in one short second turn it all into confusion. There is nothing to me more beautiful than the raising one's eyes to Heaven, and thinking with adoration who made this scene, and who could unmake it again.'
A few days later the record is of a very different scene, namely, Windsor Fair, when the Eton boys used to imagine they had a prescriptive right to make a riot and revel in the charms of misrule.
'On the second day the Eton fellows always make an immense row. So at the signal, when a thing was acting, the boys rushed in and pulled down the curtain, and commenced the row. I am happy to say I was not there. There were a great many soldiers there, and they all took our part. The alarm was given, and the police came. Then there was such a rush at the police. Some of them tumbled over, and the rest were half-knocked down. At last they took in custody three of our boys, upon which every boy that was there (amounting to about 450) was summoned. They burst open the door, knocked down the police, and rescued our boys. Meantime the boys kept on shying rotten eggs and crackers, and there was nothing but righting and rushing.'
A startling description! But this was nothing to the wild pranks that lived in the traditions of the elder generation; and in a few years more the boys were debarred from the mischievous licence of the fair.
Coley had now been nearly a year at Eton, and had proceeded through the lower and middle removes of the fourth form, when, on November 23, he achieved the success of which he thus writes:—
'Rejoice! I was sent up for good yesterday at eleven o'clock school. I do not know what copy of verses for yet, but directly I do, I will send you a copy.... Goodford, when I took my ticket to be signed (for I was obliged to get Goodford, Abraham, and my tutor to sign it), said, "I will sign it most willingly," and then kept on stroking my hand, and said, "I congratulate you most heartily, and am very glad of it." I am the only one who is sent up; which is a good thing for me, as it will give me forty or fifty good marks in trials. I am so splitting with joy you cannot think, because now I have given you some proof that I have been lately sapping and doing pretty well. Do not, think that I am praising myself, for I am pretty nearly beside myself, you may suppose.'
One of his cousins adds, on the same sheet: 'I must tell you it is very difficult to be sent up in the upper fourth form, and still more so in the middle remove.'
The subject of the Latin verses which obtained this distinction was a wreath or garland, and there must have been something remarkable in them, for Mr. Abraham preserved a copy of them for many years. There was something in the sweetness and docility of the boy, and in the expression of his calm, gentle face, that always greatly interested the masters and made them rejoice in his success; and among his comrades he was a universal favourite. His brother joined him at Eton during the ensuing year, when the Queen's wedding afforded the boys another glimpse of Royal festivity. Their tumultuous loyalty and audacity appear in Coley's letter:—
'In college, stretching from Hexter's to Mother Spier's was a magnificent representation of the Parthenon: there were three pillars, and a great thing like this (a not over-successful sketch of a pediment), with the Eton and Royal arms in the middle, and "Gratulatur Etona Victoria et Alberto" It cost 150, and there were 5,000 lamps hung on it. Throughout the whole day we all of us wore large white bridal favours and white gloves. Towards evening the clods got on Long Walk Wall; and as gentle means would not do, we were under the necessity of knocking some over, when the rest soon jumped off. However, F—- and myself declared we would go right into the quadrangle of the Castle, so we went into the middle of the road and formed a line. Soon a rocket (the signal that the Queen was at Slough) was let off, and then some Life Guards came galloping along, and one of them ran almost over me, and actually trod on F—-'s toe, which put him into dreadful pain for some time. Then came the Queen's carriage, and I thought college would have tumbled down with the row. The cheering was really tremendous. The whole 550 fellows all at once roared away. The Queen and Consort nodding and bowing, smiling, &c. Then F—- and I made a rush to get up behind the Queen's carriage, but a dragoon with his horse almost knocked us over. So we ran by the side as well as we could, but the crowd was so immensely thick, we could not get on as quick as the Queen. We rushed along, knocking clean over all the clods we could, and rushing against the rest, and finally F—- and myself were the only Eton fellows that got into the quadrangle. As we got there, the Queen's carriage was going away. You may fancy that we were rather hot, running the whole way up to the Castle, besides the exertion of knocking over the clods and knocking at doors as we passed; but I was so happy.'
Such is bliss at twelve years old!
The first half-year of 1839 had brought Patteson into the Remove, that large division of the school intermediate between the fourth and fifth forms. The work was harder, and his diligence somewhat relaxed. In fact, the Coley of this period and of a good while later had more heart for play than work. Cricket, bathing, and boating were his delight; and though his school-work was conscientiously accomplished, it did not interest him; and when he imagined himself to have been working hard and well, it was a thunderbolt to him to find, at the end of the half-year, that a great deal more had been expected of him by his tutor. It shows how candid and sweet his nature was, that, just as when he was a little fellow at Ottery, his penitent letter should contain the rebuke he had received, without resentment against anyone but himself:—
'Aunt has just called me down into the drawing-room and shown me my character. I am stupefied at it; it is so shocking just when I most wanted a good one on account of mamma's health. I am ashamed to say that I can offer not the slightest excuse; my conduct on this occasion has been very bad. I expect a severe reproof from you, and pray do not send me any money, nor grant me the slightest [favour?]. Whilst ....., who has very little ability (uncle says), is, by plodding on, getting credit, I, who (my tutor says) have abilities, am wickedly neglecting and offending both my heavenly and earthly Father by my bad use of them. Aunt called me into the drawing-room, and very kindly showed me the excessive foolishness of my conduct; but from this very moment I am determined that I will not lose a moment, and we will see what the next three weeks will produce.'
Poor little fellow! his language is so strong that it is almost a surprise to find that he was reproaching himself for no more heinous fault than not having worked up to the full extent of his powers! He kept his promise of diligence, and never again incurred reproof, but was sent up for good again in November. His career through the school was above the average, though not attaining to what was expected from his capabilities; but the development of his nature was slow, and therefore perhaps ultimately the more complete, and as yet study for its own sake did not interest him; indeed, his mind was singularly devoid of pleasure in classical subjects, though so alert in other directions.
He was growing into the regular tastes of the refined, fastidious Eton boy; wrote of the cut of his first tail-coat that 'this is really an important thing;' and had grown choice in the adorning of his room and the binding of his books, though he never let these tastes bring him into debt or extravagance. His turn for art and music began to show itself, and the anthems at St. George's Chapel on the Sunday afternoons gave him great delight; and in Eton Chapel, a contemporary says, 'I well remember how he used to sing the Psalms with the little turns at the end of the verses, which I envied his being able to do.' Nor was this mere love of music, but devotion. Coley had daily regular readings of the Bible in his room with his brother, cousins, and a friend or two; but the boys were so shy about it that they kept an open Shakespeare on the table, with an open drawer below, in which the Bible was placed, and which was shut at the sound of a hand on the door.
Hitherto No. 33 Bedford Square had been the only home of the Patteson family. The long vacations were spent sometimes with the Judge's relations in the Eastern counties, sometimes with Lady Patteson's in the West. Landwith Rectory, in Cornwall, was the home of her eldest brother, Dr. James Coleridge, whose daughter Sophia was always like an elder sister to her children, and the Vicarage of St. Mary Church, then a wild, beautiful seaside village, though now almost a suburb of Torquay, was held by her cousin, George May Coleridge; and here the brothers and sisters climbed the rocks, boated, fished, and ran exquisitely wild in the summer holidays. Christmas was spent with the Judge's mother at Ipswich, amongst numerous cousins, with great merriment and enjoyment such as were never forgotten.
Colonel Coleridge had died in 1836, his widow in her daughter's house in 1838, and Heath's Court had become the property of Mr. Justice Coleridge, who always came thither with his family as soon as the circuit was over. In 1841, Feniton Court, about two miles and a half from thence, was purchased by Judge Patteson, much to the delight of his children. It was a roomy, cheerful, pleasantly-situated house, with a piece of water in the grounds, the right of shooting over a couple of farms, and all that could render boy life happy.
Feniton was a thorough home, and already Coley's vision was, 'When I am vicar of Feniton, which I look forward to, but with a very distant hope, I should of all things like Fanny to keep house for me till I am married;' and again, when relating some joke with his cousins about the law-papers, of the Squire of Feniton, he adds: 'But the Squire of Feniton will be a clergyman.'
Whether this were jest or earnest, this year, 1841, brought the dawn of his future life. It was in that year that the Rev. George Augustus Selwyn was appointed to the diocese of New Zealand. Mrs. Selwyn's parents had always been intimate with the Patteson family, and the curacy which Mr. Selwyn had held up to this time was at Windsor, so that the old Etonian tie of brotherhood was drawn closer by daily intercourse. Indeed, it was from the first understood that Eton, with the wealth that her children enjoyed in such large measure, should furnish 'nerves and sinews' to the war which her son was about to wage with the darkness of heathenism, thus turning the minds of the boys to something beyond either their studies or their sports.
On October 31, the Rev. Samuel Wilberforce, then Archdeacon of Surrey, and since Bishop of Oxford and of Winchester, preached in the morning at New Windsor parish church, and the newly-made Bishop of New Zealand in the afternoon. Coley was far more affected than he then had power to express. He says: 'I heard Archdeacon Wilberforce in the morning, and the Bishop in the evening, though I was forced to stand all the time. It was beautiful when he talked of his going out to found a church, and then to die neglected and forgotten. All the people burst out crying, he was so very much beloved by his parishioners. He spoke of his perils, and putting his trust in God; and then, when, he had finished, I think I never heard anything like the sensation, a kind of feeling that if it had not been on so sacred a spot, all would have exclaimed "God bless him!"'
The text of this memorable sermon was, 'Thine heart shall be enlarged, because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces also of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.' (Is. lx. 5.) Many years later we shall find a reference to this, the watchword of the young hearer's life.
The Archdeacon's sermon was from John xvii. 20, 21: 'Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be One, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be One in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.' And here again we find one of the watchwords of Coley's life, for nothing so dwelt with him and so sustained him as the sense of unity, whether with these at home in England, or with those in the inner home of the Saints. When the sermon concluded with the words, 'As we are giving of our best, as our Church is giving of her best, in sending forth from her own bosom these cherished and chosen sons, so let there go forth from every one of us a consenting offering; let us give this day largely, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, as Christian men, to Christ our Lord, and He will graciously accept and bless the offerings that we make'—the preacher could little guess that among the lads who stood in the aisle was one in whom was forming the purpose of offering his very self also.
For at that time Coleridge Patteson was receiving impressions that became the seed of his future purpose, and the eyes of his spirit were seeing greater things than the Vicarage of Feniton. Indeed, the subject was not entirely new to him, for Edward Coleridge was always deeply interested in missions, and had done his best to spread the like feeling, often employing the willing services of his pupils in copying letters from Australia, Newfoundland, &c.
When the Bishop of New Zealand came to take leave, he said, half in earnest, half in playfulness, 'Lady Patteson, will you give me Coley?' She started, but did not say no; and when, independently of this, her son told her that it was his greatest wish to go with the Bishop, she replied that if he kept that wish when he grew up he should have her blessing and consent.
But there was no further mention of the subject. The sisters knew what had passed, but it was not spoken of to his father till long after, when the wish had become purpose. Meantime the boy's natural development put these visions into the background. He was going on with ordinary work and play, enjoying the pageantry of the christening of the Prince of Wales, and cheering himself hoarse and half-frantic when the King of Prussia came to see the school; then on his father's birthday writing with a 'hand quite trembling with delight' to announce what he knew would be the most welcome of birthday presents, namely, the news that he had been 'sent up' for a very good copy of seventy-nine verses, 'all longs, on Napoleon e Seylhia profugus, passage of Beresina, and so forth.' His Latin verses were his strong point, and from this time forward he was frequently sent up, in all twenty-five times, an almost unprecedented number.
In fact he was entering on a fresh stage of life, from the little boy to the lad, and the period was marked by his Confirmation on May 26, 1842. Here is his account both of it and of his first Communion. The soberness and old-fashioned simplicity of expression are worth remarking as tokens of the quietly dutiful tone of mind, full of reverence and sincere desire to do right, and resting in the consciousness of that desire, while steadily advancing towards higher things than he then understood. It was a life and character where advancement with each fresh imparting of spiritual grace can be traced more easily than usual.
It is observable too that the boy's own earnestness and seriousness of mind seem to have to him supplied the apparent lack of external aids to devotional feeling, though the Confirmation was conducted in the brief, formal, wholesale manner which some in after-life have confessed to have been a disappointment and a drawback after their preparation and anticipation:—
'You will know that I have been confirmed to-day, and I dare say you all thought of me. The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Lincoln, and I hope that I have truly considered the great duty and responsibility I have taken upon myself, and have prayed for strength to support me in the execution of all those duties. I shall of course receive the Sacrament the first time I have an opportunity, and I trust worthily. I think there must have been 200 confirmed. The Bishop gave us a very good charge afterwards, recommending us all to take pattern by the self-denial and true devotion of the Bishop of New Zealand, on whom he spoke for a long-while. The whole ceremony was performed with the greatest decorum, and in the retiring and coming up of the different sets there was very little noise, and not the slightest confusion. I went up with the first set, and the Bishop came round and put his hands on the heads of the whole set (about forty), and then going into the middle pronounced the prayer. The responses were all made very audibly, and everyone seemed to be impressed with a proper feeling of the holiness and seriousness of the ceremony. After all the boys had been confirmed about seven other people were confirmed, of whom two were quite as much as thirty, I should think.'
'I have just returned from receiving the Holy Sacrament in Chapel. I received it from Hawtrey and Okes, but there were three other ministers besides. There was a large attendance, seventy or eighty or more Eton boys alone. I used the little book that mamma sent me, and found the little directions and observations very useful. I do truly hope and believe that I received it worthily... It struck me more than ever (although I had often read it before) as being such a particularly impressive and beautiful service. I never saw anything conducted with greater decorum. Not a single fellow spoke except at the responses, which were well and audibly made, and really every fellow seemed to be really impressed with the awfulness of the ceremony, and the great wickedness of not piously receiving it, I do not know whether there will be another Sacrament here before the holidays, or whether I shall receive it with you at Feniton next time.'
No doubt the whole family (except the yet unconfirmed younger brother) did so receive it in the summer holidays, the last that were to be spent in the full joy of an unbroken household circle, and, as has been already said, one of unusual warmth and kindliness, binding closely into it all who were connected therewith. Each governess became a dear friend; the servants were deeply attached, and for the most part fixtures; and one, the nurse already mentioned, says she never recollects a time when Master Coley had to leave Feniton for London without his offering the servants to take charge of their messages or parcels. All dependents and poor people, in fact whatever came under Judge Patteson's genial, broad-hearted influence, were treated with the like kindness, and everything alive about the place seemed full of happiness and affection.
The centre of this bright home had always been the mother, fervently loved by all who came in contact with her, fragile in health, and only going through her duties and exertions so cheerily by the quiet fortitude of a brave woman. In the course of this year, 1842, some severe spasmodic attacks made her family anxious; and as the railway communication was still incomplete, so that the journey to London was a great fatigue to an invalid, her desire to spend Christmas in Devonshire led to her remaining there with her daughters, when her husband returned to London on the commencement of term.
He had been gone little more than a fortnight when, on November 17, a more severe attack came on; and though she was soon relieved from it, she never entirely rallied, and was firmly convinced that this was 'the beginning of the end.' Her husband was summoned home, Judge Coleridge taking a double portion of his work to set him at liberty, and the truth began to dawn on the poor boys at Eton. 'Do you really mean that there is anything so very, very dreadful to fear?' is Coley's cry in his note one day, and the next, 'Oh, Papa, you cannot mean that we may never, unless we come down to Feniton, see mamma again. I cannot bear the thought of it. I trust most earnestly that it is not the case. Do not hide anything from me, it would make me more wretched afterwards. If it shall (which I trust in His infinite mercy it will not) please Almighty God to take our dearest mamma unto Himself, may He give us grace to bear with fortitude and resolution the dreadful loss, and may we learn to live with such holiness here that we may hereafter be united for ever in Heaven.' This letter is marked twice over 'Only for Papa,' but the precaution was needless, for Lady Patteson was accustoming all those about her to speak freely and naturally of what she felt to be approaching. Her eldest brother, Dr. Coleridge, was greatly comforting her by his ministrations, and her sons were sent for; but as she did not ask for them, it was thought best that they should remain at their Uncle Frank's, at Ottery, until, on the evening of Sunday, the 27th, a great change took place, making it evident that the end was drawing near.
The sufferer was told that the boys were come, and was asked if she would see them. She was delighted, and they came in, restraining their grief while she kissed and blessed them, and then, throwing her arms round their father, thanked him for having brought her darling boys for her to see once more. It was not long before she became unconscious; and though all the family were watching and praying round her, she showed no further sign of recognition, as she gradually and tranquilly fell asleep in the course of the night.
To his cousin, Mrs. Martyn, Coley wrote the following letter just after the funeral:—
'We only came down from our rooms to go to church, and directly the beautiful service was over we went upstairs again. I need not tell you what we then felt, and now do feel. It is a very dreadful loss to us all; but we have been taught by that dear mother, who has been now taken from us, that it is not fit to grieve for those who die in the Lord, "for they rest from their labours." She is now, we may safely trust, a blessed saint in Heaven, far removed from all cares and anxieties; and, instead of spending our time in useless tears and wicked repinings, we should rather learn to imitate her example and virtues, that, when we die, we may sleep in Him as our hope is this our sister doth, and may be finally united with her in Heaven. Yesterday was a day of great trial to us all: I felt when I was standing by the grave as if I must have burst.
'Dear Papa bears up beautifully, and is a pattern of submission to us all. We are much more happy than you could suppose, for, thank God, we are certain she is happy, far happier than she could be on earth. She said once, "I wonder I wish to leave my dearest John and the children, and this sweet place, but yet I do wish it" so lively was her faith and trust in the merits of her Saviour.'
A deep and permanent impression was left upon the boy's mind, as will be seen by his frequent references to what he had then witnessed; but for the present he was thought to be less depressed than the others, and recovered his natural tone of spirits sooner than his brother and sisters. The whole family spent their mournful Christmas at Thorverton Rectory, with Dr. and Mrs. Coleridge and their daughter Fanny, their chief comforters and fellow-sufferers; and then returned to London. The Judge's eldest daughter, Joanna, who had always been entirely one with the rest, had to take her place at the head of the household. In her own words, 'It was trying for a lad of fifteen and a half, but he was very good, and allowed me to take the command in a way that few boys would nave done.'
'It has struck me as remarkable that friends and relations have again and again spoken of different incidents as 'turning-points' in Coley's life. If he had literally turned at them all, his would have been a most revolving career; but I believe the fact to have been that he never turned at all, for his face was always set the right way, but that each of these was a point of impulse setting him more vigorously on his way, and stirring up his faithful will. Such moments were those of admission to religious ordinances, to him no dead letters but true receptions of grace; and he likewise found incitements in sorrows, in failures, in reproofs. Everything sank deeply, and his mind was already assuming the introspective character that it had throughout the period of growth and formation. One of his Eton companions, four years younger, has since spoken of the remarkable impression of inwardness Patteson made on him even at this time, saying that whenever he was taken by surprise he seemed to be only ruminating till he spoke or was spoken to, and then there was an instant return to the outer world and ready attention to whatever was in hand.
The spring found him of course in the full tide of Eton interests. The sixth and upper fifth forms, to the latter of which he had by this time attained, may contend in the public examination for the Newcastle scholarship, just before the Easter holidays, and it is a great testimony to a boy's ability and industry if his name appears among the nine select for their excellence. This time, 1843, Coley, who was scarcely sixteen, had of course but little chance, but he had the pleasure of announcing that his great friend, Edmund Bastard, a young Devonshire squire, was among the 'select,' and he says of himself: 'You will, as I said before, feel satisfied that I did my best, but it was an unlucky examination for me. It has done me a great deal of good in one way. It has enabled me to see where I am particularly deficient, viz. general knowledge of history, and a thorough acquaintance with Greek and Roman customs, law courts and expressions, and Greek and Roman writers. I do not find myself wanting in making out a stiff bit of Greek or Latin if I have time, but I must read History chiefly this year, and then I hope to be selected next time. My tutor is not at all disappointed in me.'
This spring, 1843, Patteson became one of the Eleven, a perilously engrossing position for one who, though never slurring nor neglecting his studies, did not enjoy anything so much as the cricket-field. However, there the weight of his character, backed by his popularity and proficiency in all games and exercises, began to be a telling influence.
On November 2, 1843, when the anniversary of his mother's death was coming round, he writes to his eldest sister:—
'I had not indeed forgotten this time twelvemonth, and especially that awful Sunday night when we stood round dear mamma's bed in such misery. I never supposed at that time that we could ever be happy and merry again, but yet it has been so with me; and though very often the recollection of that night has come upon me, and the whole scene in its misery has passed before me, I hope I have never forgotten, that though a loss to us, it was a gain to her, and we ought rather to be thankful than sorrowful.... By the bye, I do not really want a book-case much, and you gave me the "Irish Stories," and I have not yet been sent up. I would rather not have a present, unless the Doctor means to give me an exercise. Do not lay this down to pride; but you know I was not sent up last half, and if this passes, a blank again, I do not deserve any fresh presents.'
This piece of self-discipline was crowned by joyous notices of being 'sent up for good' and 'for play' in the next half; when also occurs a letter showing a spirit of submission to a restriction not fully understood:—
'My dearest Father,—Hearing that "Israel in Egypt" was to be performed at Exeter Hall on Friday night, I went and asked my tutor whether he had any objection to my running up that night to hear it, and coming back the next morning, quite early at six. My tutor said that, without any absurd feelings on the matter, he should not think himself of going to such a thing in Lent. "It was not," he said, "certainly like going to the play, or any of those sort of places," but he did not like the idea of going at all. Do you think that there was any harm in the wish?
'I do not ask because I wish you to write and say I may go, but because I wish to learn whether my asking at all was wrong. Even if you have no objection, I certainly shall not go, because for such a trifling thing to act in opposition to my tutor, even with your consent, would be very foolish.
'...Good-bye, my dearest Father. God bless you, says your affectionate and dutiful Son,
'J. C. P.'
This year, 1844, the name of Patteson appeared among the 'select.' 'I shall expect a jolly holiday for my reward,' he merrily says, when announcing it to his sisters. He had begun to join the Debating Society at Eton, and for a while was the president. One of the other members says, 'His speeches were singularly free from the bombast and incongruous matter with which Eton orators from fifteen to eighteen are apt to interlard their declamations. He spoke concisely, always to the point, and with great fluency and readiness. A reputation for good sense and judgment made his authority of great weight in the school, and his independent spirit led him to choose, amongst his most intimate friends and associates, two collegers, who ultimately became Newcastle scholars and medallists.
'That the most popular oppidan of his day should have utterly ignored the supposed inferiority of the less wealthy section of the school, and looked on worth and high character as none the worse for being clothed in a coarse serge gown, is a fact seemingly trivial to ordinary readers, but very noticeable to Eton men. As a rank and file collegian myself, and well remembering the Jew and Samaritan state that prevailed between oppidans and collegers, I remember with pride that Patteson did so much to level the distinctions that worked so mischievously to the school. His cheerfulness and goodness were the surest guarantee for good order amongst his schoolfellows. There was no Puritanism in him, he was up to any fun, sung his song at a cricket or foot-ball dinner as joyfully as the youngest of the party; but if mirth sank into coarseness and ribaldry, that instant Patteson's conduct was fearless and uncompromising....'
Here follows an account of an incident which occurred at the dinner annually given by the eleven of cricket and the eight of the boats at the hotel at Slough.
A custom had arisen among some of the boys of singing offensive songs on these occasions, and Coley, who, as second of the eleven, stood in the position of one of the entertainers, gave notice beforehand that he was not going to tolerate anything of the sort. One of the boys, however, began to sing something objectionable. Coley called out, 'If that does not stop, I shall leave the room;' and as no notice was taken, he actually went away with a few other brave lads. He afterwards found that, as he said, 'fellows who could not understand such feelings thought him affected;' and he felt himself obliged to send word to the captain, that unless an apology was made, he should leave the eleven—no small sacrifice, considering what cricket was to him; but the gentlemanlike and proper feeling of the better style of boys prevailed, and the eleven knew their own interests too well to part with him, so the apology was made, and he retained his position. The affair came to the knowledge of two of the masters, Mr. Dupuis and Mr. Abraham, and they gratified their warm sense of approbation by giving Patteson a bat, though he never knew the reason why, as we shall see in one of his last letters to one of the donors.
His prowess at cricket must be described in the words of his cousin, Arthur Duke Coleridge, who was at this time in college: 'He was by common consent one of the best, if not the best, of the cricketers of the school. The second year of his appearance at Lord's Cricket Ground was the most memorable, as far as his actual services were concerned, of all the matches he played against Harrow and Winchester. He was sent in first in the Harrow match; the bowling was steady and straight, but Patteson's defence was admirable. He scored fifty runs, in which there was but one four, and by steady play completely broke the neck of the bowling. Eton won the match easily, Patteson making a brilliant catch at point, when the last Harrow man retired. Full of confidence, Eton began the Winchester match. Victory for a long time seemed a certainty for Eton; but Kidding, the Winchester captain, played an uphill game so fiercely that the bowling had to be repeatedly changed. Our eleven were disorganised, and the captain had so plainly lost heart, that Patteson resolved on urging him to discontinue his change of bowling, and begin afresh with the regular bowlers. The captain allowed Patteson to have his way, and the game, though closely contested, was saved. His powers of defence were indeed remarkable. I saw the famous professional cricketer Lillywhite play once at Eton in his time, and becoming almost irritated at the stubbornness and tenacity with which Coley held his wicket. After scoring twenty and odd times in the first, and forty in the second innings, (not out), Lillywhite said, 'Mr. Patteson, I should like to bowl to you on Lord's Ground, and it would be different.' 'Oh, of course,' modestly answered Coley; 'I know you would have me out directly there.'
The next cricket season this champion was disabled by a severe sprain of the wrist, needing leeches, splints, and London advice. It was when fixing a day for coming up to town on this account that he mentioned the occurrence of the previous year in a letter to his father:—
'I have a great object in shirking the oppidan dinner. I not only hate the idea of paying a sovereign for a dinner, but last year, at the cricket dinner, I had a great row, which I might possibly incur another time, and I wish very much to avoid.'
Then, after briefly stating what had passed, he adds: 'At this dinner, where the captain of the boats manages it, I should be his guest, and therefore any similar act of mine would make matters worse. You can therefore see why I wish Tuesday to be the day for my coming up.'
The sprain prevented his playing in the matches at Lord's that summer, though he was well enough to be reckoned on as a substitute in case any of the actual players had been disabled. Possibly his accident was good for his studies, for this was a year of much progress and success; and though only seventeen, he had two offers of tutorship for the holidays, from Mr. Dugdale and the Marchioness of Bath. The question where his university life was to be spent began to come forward. Studentships at Christchurch were then in the gift of the Canons, and a nomination would have been given him by Dr. Pusey if he had not been too young to begin to reside, so that it was thought better that he should wait and go up for the Balliol scholarship in the autumn.
In the October of 1844 he describes to his eldest sister the reception of King Louis Philippe at Eton, accompanied by the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Duke of Wellington:
'The King wore a white great coat, and looked a regular jolly old fellow. He has white frizzle hair and large white whiskers. The former, I suspect, is a wig. The cheering was tremendous, but behind the royal carriage the cheers were always redoubled where the old Duke, the especial favourite hero, rode. When they got off their horses in the schoolyard, the Duke being by some mistake behindhand, was regularly hustled in the crowd, with no attendant near him.
'I was the first to perceive him, and springing forward, pushed back the fellows on each side, who did not know whom they were tumbling against, and, taking off my hat, cheered with might and main. The crowd hearing the cheer, turned round, and then there was the most glorious sight I ever saw. The whole school encircled the Duke, who stood entirely alone in the middle for a minute or two, and I rather think we did cheer him. At last, giving about one touch to his hat, he began to move on, saying, "Get on, boys, get on." I never saw such enthusiasm here; the masters rushed into the crowd round him, waving their caps, and shouting like any of us. As for myself, I was half-mad and roared myself hoarse in about five minutes. The King and Prince kept their hats off the whole time, incessantly bowing, and the King speaking. He walked arm-in-arm with the Queen, who looked well and very much pleased. The Duke walked with that Grand Duchess whose name you may see in the papers, for I can't spell it.'
Very characteristic this both of Eton's enthusiasm for the hero, and of the hero's undemonstrative way of receiving it, which must have somewhat surprised his foreign companions.
A week or two later, in November 1844, came the competition for the Balliol scholarship, but Coley was not successful. On the Saturday he writes:—
'The scholarship was decided last night; Smith, a Rugby man, got the first, and Grant, a Harrow man, the second.... I saw the Master afterwards; he said, "I cannot congratulate you on success, Mr. Patteson, but you have done yourself great credit, and passed a very respectable examination. I shall be happy to allow you to enter without a future examination, as we are all quite satisfied of your competency." He said that I had better come up to matriculate next term, but should not have another examination. We were in about nine hours a day, three hours in the evening; I thought the papers very hard; we had no Latin elegiacs or lyrics, which was rather a bore for the Eton lot. I am very glad I have been up now, but I confess it was the longest week I ever recollect. I feel quite seedy after a whole week without exercise.... The very first paper, the Latin Essay (for which we were in six hours), was the worst of all my papers, and must have given the examiners an unfavourable impression to start with. The rest of my papers, with the exception of the Greek prose and the critical paper, I did very fairly, I think.'
A greater disappointment than this was, however, in store for Coley. He failed in attaining a place among the 'select,' at his last examination for the Newcastle, in the spring of 1845. Before the list was given out he had written to his father that the Divinity papers were far too easy, with no opportunity for a pretty good scholar to show his knowledge, 'the ridicule of every one of the masters,' but the other papers very difficult.
'Altogether,' he adds, 'the scholarship has been to me unsatis- factory. I had worked hard at Greek prose, had translated and re- translated a good deal of Xenophon, Plato, and some Demosthenes, yet to my disappointment we had no paper of Greek prose, a thing that I believe never occurred before, and which is generally believed to test a boy's knowledge well. My Iambics were good, I expect, though not without two bad faults. In fact, I cannot look back upon a single paper, except my Latin prose, without a multitude of oversights and faults presenting themselves to me... I almost dread the giving out of the select. Think if my name was not there. It is some consolation that Hawtrey, yesterday, in giving me an exercise for good, asked how I liked the examination. Upon my saying, "It was not such a one as I expected, and that I had done badly," he said "That is not at all what I hear," but this cannot go for much... I want exercise very badly, and my head is very thick and stupid, as I fear this last paper must show the examiners.'
The omission of Patteson's name from among the select was a great mortification, not only to himself but his father, though the Judge kindly wrote:—
'Do not distress yourself about this unfortunate failure as to the Newcastle. We cannot always command our best exertions when we want to do so, and you were not able on this occasion to bring forward all you knew. It was not from idleness or want of attention to school business. Work on regularly, and you will do well at Oxford. I have a line from your tutor, who seems to think that it was in Juvenal, Cicero and Livy, and in Iambics, that the faults principally were. I cannot say that I am not disappointed; but I know so well the uncertainty of examinations and how much depends on the sort of papers put, and on the spirits and feeling one is in, that I am never surprised at such results, and I do not blame you at all.' Those who knew Coley best agree in thinking that this reverse took great effect in rousing his energies. This failure evidently made him take himself to task, for in the summer he writes to his father:—
There are things which have occurred during my stay at Eton which cannot but make me blame myself. I mean principally a want of continuous industry. I have perhaps for one half or two (for instance, last Easter half) worked hard, but I have not been continuously improving, and adding knowledge to knowledge, half by half. I feel it now, because I am sure that I know very little more than I did at Easter. One thing I am improved in, which is writing themes; and you will be pleased to know that Hawtrey has again given me the School Theme prize, worth 5L., which counts for another sent up exercise.'
In reply, the Judge, on July 22, wrote in the midst of the circuit, from Stafford, a letter that might well do a son's heart good:—
'I rejoice in your finale, and shall be glad to see the exercise. You have gone through Eton with great credit and reputation as a scholar, and what is of more consequence, with perfect character as to truth and conduct in every way. This can only be accounted for by the assistance of the good Spirit of God first stirred up in you by the instructions of your clear mother, than whom a more excellent human being never existed. I pray God that this assistance may continue through life, and keep you always in the same good course."
A few days more and the boy's departure from the enthusiastically loved school had taken place, together with his final exploits as captain in the cricket-field, where too he formed an acquaintance with Mr. C. S. Roundell, the captain of the Harrow eleven, which ripened into a lifelong friendship.
'You may suppose,' writes Coley, 'that I was really very miserable at leaving Eton. I did not, I assure you, without thanking God for the many advantages I have there enjoyed and praying for His forgiveness for my sin in neglecting so many. We began our match with Harrow yesterday, by going in first; we got 261 runs by tremendous hitting, Harrow 32, and followed up and got 55: Eton thus winning in one innings by 176 runs, the most decided beating ever known at cricket.'
So ended Coleridge Patteson's school life, not reaching to all he saw that it might have been; but unstained, noble, happy, honourable, and full of excellent training for the future man. No sting was left to poison the fail-memory of youth; but many a friendship had been formed on foundations of esteem, sympathy, and kindness which endured through life, standing all tests of separation and difference.
UNDERGRADUATE LIFE AT BALLIOL AND JOURNEYS ON THE CONTINENT.
University life is apt to exert a strong influence upon a man's career. It comes at the age at which there is probably the most susceptibility to new impressions. The physical growth is over, and the almost exclusive craving for exercise and sport is lessening; there is more voluntary inclination to intellectual application, and the mind begins to get fair play. There is also a certain liberty of choice as to the course to be taken and the persons who shall become guides, and this renders the pupilage a more willing and congenial connection than that of the schoolboy: nor is there so wide a distance in age and habits between tutor and pupil as between master and scholar.
Thus it is that there are few more influential persons in the country than leading University men, for the impress they leave is on the flower of English youth, at the very time of life when thought has come, but action is not yet required. At the same time the whole genius loti, the venerable buildings with their traditions, the eminence secured by intellect and industry, the pride that is taken in the past and its great men, first as belonging to the University, and next to the individual college, all give the members thereof a sense of a dignity to keep up and of honour to maintain, and a certainty of appreciation and fellow-feeling from the society with which they are connected.
The Oxford of Patteson's day was yet untouched by the hand of reformation. The Colleges were following or eluding the statutes of their founders, according to the use that had sprung up, but there had been a great quickening into activity of intellect, and the religious influences were almost at their strongest. It was true that the master mind had been lost to the Church of England, but the men whom he and his companions had helped to form were the leaders among the tutors, and the youths who were growing up under them were forming plans of life, which many have nobly carried out, of unselfish duty and devotion in their several stations.
Balliol had, under the mastership of Dr. Jenkyns, attained pre- eminence for success in the schools, and for the high standard required of its members, who formed 'the most delightful society, the very focus of the most stimulating life of the University,' within those unpretending walls, not yet revivified and enlarged.
Here Coleridge Patteson came to reside in the Michaelmas term of 1845; beginning with another attempt for the scholarship, in which he was again unsuccessful, being bracketed immediately after the fourth with another Etonian, namely, Mr. Hornby, the future head-master, His friend, Edmund Bastard, several of his relations, and numerous friends had preceded him; and he wrote to his sister Fanny:—
'You cannot think what a nice set of acquaintance I am gradually slipping into. Palmer and myself take regular familiar walks; and Riddell, another fellow who is the pet of the College, came up the other evening and sat with me, and I breakfast with them, and dine, &c. The only inconvenience attaching itself to such a number of men is, that I have to give several parties, and as I meant to get them over before Lent, I have been coining out rather strong in that line lately, as the pastry-cook's bill for desserts will show in good time.
'I have been asked to play cricket in the University eleven, and have declined, though not without a little struggle, but cricket here, especially to play in such matches as against Cambridge, &c., entails almost necessarily idleness and expense.'
The struggle was hardly a little one to a youth whose fame in the cricket field stood so high, and who was never happy or healthy without strong bodily exercise. Nor had he outgrown his taste for this particular sport. Professor Edwin Palmer (alluded to above) describes him as at this time 'a thorough public schoolboy, with a full capacity for enjoying undergraduate society and undergraduate amusements, though with so fond a recollection of Eton that to some of us he hardly seemed to appreciate Oxford sufficiently.'
Again, Mr. Roundell (his late adversary at Lord's) says: 'He was a reluctant and half-interested sojourner was ever looking back to the playing-fields of Eton, or forward to the more congenial sphere of a country parish.' So it was his prime pleasure and glory that he thus denied himself, though not with total abstinence, for he played occasionally. I remember hearing of a match at Ottery, where he was one of an eleven of Coleridge kith and kin against the rest of Devon. His reputation in the field was such that, many years later, when he chanced to be at Melbourne at the same time with the champion English eleven, one of the most noted professional cricketers, meeting him in the street, addressed him confidentially, 'I know, sir, the Bishop of Melbourne does not approve of cricket for clergymen in public, but if you would meet me in private at five o'clock to-morrow morning, and let me give you a few balls, it would be a great satisfaction!'
Some resolution thus was required to prevent cricket from becoming a tyrant, as so often befalls those whose skill renders them valuable. Tennis became Coley's chief recreation, enabling him to work off his superfluous energy at the expense of far less time than cricket matches require, and in this, as in everything active, he soon excelled.
As to the desserts upon which the young men in turn were spending a good deal out of mere custom, harmlessly enough, but unnecessarily; as soon as the distress of the potato famine in Ireland became known, Patteson said, 'I am not at all for giving up these pleasant meetings, but why not give up the dessert?' So the agreement was made that the cost should for the present be made over to the 'Irish fund.'
Another friend of this period, now well known as Principal Shairp of St. Andrews', was then in the last year of a five years' residence. He has been kind enough to favour me with the following effective sketch of Coley as an undergraduate:—
'Patteson as he was at Oxford, comes back to me, as the representative of the very best kind of Etonian, with much good that he had got from Eton, with something better, not to be got at Eton or any other school. He had those pleasant manners and that perfect ease in dealing with men and with the world which are the inheritance of Eton, without the least tincture of worldliness. I remember well the look he then had, his countenance massive for one so young, with good sense and good feeling, in fact, full of character. For it was character more than special ability which marked him out from others, and made him, wherever he was, whether in cricket in which he excelled, or in graver things, a centre round which others gathered. The impression he left on me was of quiet, gentle strength and entire purity, a heart that loved all things true and honest and pure, and that would always be found on the side of these. We did not know, probably he did not know himself, the fire of devotion that lay within him, but that was soon to kindle and make him what he afterwards became.'
In truth he was taking deep interest in the religious movement, though in the quiet unexcited way of those to whom such doctrines were only the filling out of the teachings of their childhood. He was present at that sermon on the 'Entire Absolution of the Penitent,' with which, on the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 1846, Dr. Pusey broke his enforced silence of three years.
The same evening Coley wrote to his sister Fanny:—
'I have just returned from University sermon, where I have been listening with great delight to Pusey's sermon on the Keys for nearly two hours. His immense benevolence beams through the extreme power of his arguments, and the great research of his inquiry into all the primitive writings is a most extraordinary matter, and as for the humility and prayerful spirit in which it was composed, you fancied he must have been on his knees the whole time he was writing it. I went early to Christ Church, where it was preached, and, after pushing through such a crowd as usually blocks up the entrance into Exeter Hall, I found on getting into the Cathedral that every seat was occupied. However, standing to hear such a man was no great exertion, and I never was so interested before. It will probably be printed, so that you will have no occasion for any remarks of mine. It is sufficient that he preached the doctrine to my mind in an invincible manner.' The letter has a postscript—'Easter vacation will be from three weeks to a month. Hurrah! say I; now a precious deal more glad am I to leave Oxford for the holidays than Eton, though Feniton is better than either.'
Even in the last undergraduate year, the preference for Eton remained as strong as ever. Coley intended to remain at Oxford to read for honours through great part of the Long vacation; and after refreshing himself with a run to Eton, he wrote:—
'Now for a very disagreeable contrast, but still I shall find great interest in my work as I go on, and reading books for the second or third time is light work compared to the first stodge at them. I am, however, behindhand with my work, in spite of not having wasted much time here.... I really don't see my way through the mass of work before me, and half repent having to go up for class.
'...I went to the opera on Tuesday, but was too much taken up by Eton to rave about it, though Grisi's singing and acting were out and out; but, in sober earnest, I think if one was to look out simply for one's own selfish pleasure in this world, staying at Eton in the summer is paradise. I certainly have not been more happy, if so happy, for years, and they need no convincing there of my doting attachment to the place. I go down to Eton on Election Saturday and Sunday for my last enjoyment of it this year; but if I am well and nourishing in the summer of 1849, and all goes right with me, it is one of the jolliest prospects of my emancipation from the schools to think of a month at Eton. Oh! it's hard work reading for it, I can tell you.'
Thus Coley Patteson's work throughout his undergraduate three years was, so to speak, against the grain, though it was more diligent and determined than it had been at Eton. He viewed this as the least satisfactory period of his life, and probably it was that in which he was doing the most violence to his likings. It struck those who had known him at Eton that he had 'shaken off the easy-going, comfortable, half-sluggish habit of mind' attributed to him there, and to be earnestly preparing for the future work of life. His continued interest in Missions was shown by his assisting to collect subscriptions for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In fact, his charm of manner, and his way of taking for granted that people meant to do what they ought, made him a good collector, and he had had a good deal of practice at Eton in keeping up the boys to the subscription for the stained glass of the east window of the Chapel which they had undertaken to give.
That Long vacation of study was a great effort, and he felt it tedious and irksome, all the more from a weakness that affected his eyelids, and, though it did not injure his sight, often rendered reading and writing painful. Slight ailments concurred with other troubles and vexations to depress his spirits; and besides these outward matters, he seems to have had a sense of not coming up to his ideal. His standard was pitched higher than that of most men: his nature was prone to introspection, and his constitutional inertness rendered it so difficult for him to live up to his own views, that he was continually dissatisfied with himself; and this, in spite of his sweet unselfish temper, gave his manner at home an irritability, and among strangers a reserve—the very reverse of the joyous merry nature which used to delight in balls, parties, and gaieties.
Though an ardent friend, he became disinclined to enter into general society; nor was the distaste ever entirely overcome, though he never failed to please by the charm alike of natural manner and of Christian courtesy; the same spirit of gentleness and kindness very soon prevailed in subduing, even in family life, any manifestation of the tender points of a growing character.
In the autumn of 1849, he obtained a second class in the school of Literae humaniores, a place that fairly represented his abilities as compared with those of others. When the compulsory period of study was at an end, his affection for Oxford and enjoyment of all that it afforded increased considerably, though he never seems to have loved the University quite as well as Eton.
As he intended to take Holy Orders, he did not give up his residence there; but his first use of his leisure was to take a journey on the Continent with his brother and Mr. Hornby. It was then that, as he afterwards wrote, his real education began, partly from the opening of his mind by the wonders of nature and art, and partly from the development of his genius for philology. Aptitude for language had already shown itself when his sister Fanny had given him some German lessons; and even on his first halt at Cologne, he received the compliment, 'Sie sprechen Deutsch wohl' and he found himself talking to a German on one side and a Frenchman on the other.
His letters throughout his foreign travels are more copious than ever, but are chiefly minute descriptions of what he saw, such as would weary the reader who does not want a guide-book even full of individuality. Yet they cannot be passed by without noticing how he fulfilled the duty of study and endeavour at appreciation which everyone owes to great works of art, instead of turning aside with shallow conceit if he do not enter into them at first sight.
After the wonders of Vienna and the mines of Salzburg, the mountain scenery of the Tyrol was an unspeakable pleasure, which tries to express itself in many closely written pages. Crossing into Italy by the Stelvio Pass, a sharp but passing fit of illness detained Coley at Como for a day, and caused him to call in an Italian doctor, who treated him on the starvation system, administered no medicines, and would take no fee. The next day Coley was in condition to go on to Milan, where his first impression of the Cathedral was, as so often happens, almost of bewilderment. He did not at first like the Lombardo-Gothic style, but he studied it carefully, and filled his letter with measurements and numbers, though confessing that no part pleased him so much as the pinnacles terminating in statues, 'each one a very beautiful martyr's memorial.' Two more visits of several hours, however, brought the untutored eye to a sense of the harmony of proportion, and the surpassing beauty of the carvings and sculpture.
It did not need so much study to enjoy Lionardo da Vinci's great fresco, of which he wrote long and elaborately, and, altogether, Milan afforded him very great delight and was a new world to him. It was the farthest limit of his travels on this occasion. The party returned by way of Geneva; and Coley, alone with four guides, attempted the Col du Geant. Then following is his account of the danger in which he found himself:—
'On Monday at 4.15 A.M. we started from the Montanvert, with our alpenstocks, plenty of ropes, and a hatchet to cut steps in the ice. We walked quickly over the Mer de Glace, and in about three hours came to the difficult part. I had no conception of what it would be. We had to ascend perpendicular walls of ice, 30, 40, 50 feet high, by little holes which we cut with the hatchet, and to climb over places not a foot broad, with enormous crevasses on each side. I was determined not to give in, and said not a word, but I thought that no one had a right to expose himself to such danger if known beforehand. After about three hours spent in this way, (during which I made but one slip, when I slid about twelve feet down a crevasse, but providentially did not lose my head, and saved myself by catching at a broken ridge of ice, rising up in the crevasse, round which I threw my leg and worked my way up it astride), got to the region of snow, and here the danger was of falling into hidden crevasses. We all five fastened ourselves to one another with ropes. I went in the middle, Couttet in front, then Payot. Most unluckily the weather began to cloud over, and soon a sharp hailstorm began, with every indication of a fog. We went very cautiously over the snow for about three hours, sinking every now and then up to our middles, but only once in a crevasse, when Couttet suddenly fell, singing out "Tirez! tirez!" but he was pulled out instantly. We had now reached the top, but the fog was so dense that I could scarcely see 30 feet before me, and the crevasses and mountains of snow looming close round us looked awful. At this moment the guides asked me if I must make the passage. I said instantly that I wanted to do so, but that I would sooner return at once than endanger the lives of any of them. They told me there was certainly great danger, they had lost their way, but were unwilling to give up. For an hour and a half we beat about in the fog, among the crevasses, trying every way to find the pass, which is very narrow, wet to the skin, and in constant peril; but we knew that the descent on the Chamouni side is far more difficult than that on the Courmayeur side. At last all the guides agreed that it was impossible to find the way, said the storm was increasing, and that our only chance was to return at once. So we did, but the fearful difficulties of the descent I shall never forget. Even in the finest weather they reckon it very difficult, but yesterday we could not see the way, we were numbed with intense cold, and dispirited from being forced to return.
In many places the hail and sleet had washed out the traces we trusted as guides. After about four hours, we had passed the most dangerous part, and in another hour we were safely upon the Mer de Glace, which we hailed with delight: Couttet, who reached the point of safety first, jumping on the firm ice and shouting to me "Il n'y a plus de danger, Monsieur." Here we took off the ropes, and drank some more brandy, and then went as hard as we could, jumping across crevasses, which two days before I should have thought awkward, as if they were cart ruts. We reached Chamouni at 8.30 P.M., having been sixteen and a quarter hours without resting. I was not at all tired; the guides thanked me for having given so little trouble, and declared I had gone as well as themselves. Indeed I was providentially unusually clear-headed and cool, and it was not till the danger was over that I felt my nerves give way. There was a good deal of anxiety about us at Chamouni, as it was one of the worst days ever seen here. Hornby had taken all my clothes to Geneva, so I put on a suit of the landlord's, and had some tea, and at 11 P.M. went to bed, not forgetting, you may be sure, to thank God most fervently for this merciful protection, as on the ice I did many times with all my heart.
'On reviewing coolly, to-day, the places over which we passed, and which I shall never forget, I remember seven such as I trust never again to see a man attempt to climb. The state of the ice and crevasses is always shifting, so that the next person who makes the ascent may find a comparatively easy path. We had other dangers too, such as this: twice the guides said to me, "Ne parlez pas ici, Monsieur, et allez vite," the fear being of an ice avalanche falling on us, and we heard the rocks and ice which are detached by the wet falling all about. The view from the top, if the day is fine, is about the most magnificent in the Alps; and as in that case I should have descended easily on the other side, the excursion would not have been so difficult. I hope you will not think I have been very foolish; I did not at all think it would be so dangerous, nor was it possible to foresee the bad weather. My curiosity to see some of the difficulties of an excursion in the Alps is fully satisfied.'
After this adventure, the party broke up, James Patteson returning home with Mr. Hornby, while Coley, who hoped to obtain a Fellowship at Merton, and wished in the meantime to learn German thoroughly in order to study Hebrew by the light of German scholarship, repaired to Dresden for the purpose; revelling, by the way, on the pictures and glass at Munich, descriptions of which fill three or four letters. He remained a month at Dresden, reading for an hour a day with a German master, and spending many hours besides in study, recreating himself with German newspapers at the cafe where he dined, and going to the play in the evening to hear colloquialisms. The picture galleries were his daily enjoyment, and he declared the Madonna di San Sisto fully equal to his anticipations. There is that about the head of the Virgin which I believe one sees in no other picture, a dignity and beauty with a mixture of timidity quite indescribable.'
Returning home for Christmas, Coley started again in January 1851, in charge of a pupil, the son of Lord John Thynne, with whom he was to go through Italy. The journey was made by sea from Marseilles to Naples, where the old regime was still in force. Shakespeare and Humboldt were seized; and after several hours' detention on the score of the suspicious nature of his literature, Mr. Patteson was asked for a bribe.
The climate was in itself a great charm to one always painfully susceptible to cold; and, after duly dwelling on the marvels of Vesuvius and Pompeii, the travellers went on to Rome. There the sculptures were Coley's first delight, and he had the advantage of hints from Gibson on the theory of his admiration, such as suited his love of analysis. He poured forth descriptions of statues and pictures in his letters: sometimes apologising.—'You must put up with a very stupid and unintelligible sermon on art. The genius loci would move the very stones to preach on such a theme. Again: The worst is, that I ought to have months instead of days to see Rome in. I economise my time pretty well; but yet I find every night that I can only do a little of what I propose in the morning; and as for my Italian, an hour and a half a day is on an average more than I give to it. I suffer a good deal from weakness in the eyes; it prevents my working at night with comfort. I have a master every other day. I tried to draw, but it hurt me so much after looking about all day that I despair of doing anything, though I don't abandon the idea altogether.'
There are many letters on the religious state of Rome. The apparently direct supplications to the Saints, the stories told in sermons of desperate sinners—saved through some lingering observance paid to the Blessed Virgin, and the alleged abuse of the Confessional, shocked Patteson greatly, and therewith he connected the flagrant evils of the political condition of Rome at that time, and arrived at conclusions strongly adverse to Roman Catholicism as such, though he retained uninjured the Catholic tone of his mind.