« PoprzedniaDalej »
affection he sunk into a doze, and at 9 o'clock quietly breathed his last.
Thus he departed, in the forty-third year of his age, and the second of his consecration, to the great loss of the Indian church; for the government of which, in all the various situations of difficulty into which its prelates must be thrown, his previous habits, as well as his natural endowments, had fitted him in an eminent degree. His mind was by nature quick and vigorous; and to the acquirements of a scholar, and a highly cultivated taste in the fine arts, he had added a large stock of general information, the result, not only of private study, but of much travel in foreign countries, and acute observation of human nature. Such accomplishments, united with sound judgment, most conciliating manners, and the more sterling recommendations of real Christian benevolence, and a warm and generous heart, readily won for him the esteem and regard of all who knew him, and made him the chosen adviser, not of his family only, but of his friends. Above all, he possessed a deep vein of sincere and genuine piety, diffusing an amiable cheerfulness over his temper, and showing its influence on his whole conduct and habits, as his guide in the daily concerns of life. Hence sprung an imperative sense of duty which rose superior to all considerations of self in those trying emergencies of life, which are sent to prove what is in the heart of man. To the Church of England he was firmly attached, because he considered it as exhibiting, not merely the best, but, as he often said, the only true scriptural form of Christianity; though, in some things, he lamented the decay of her discipline, and was desirous to model his own diocese, by adhering as strictly as possible to the spirit of her constitution. In the pulpit, he was an impressive and persuasive reasoner ; — in private exhortation, the less popular, but not less useful walk of ministerial duty, he was happy in his gentle way of applying the test of Scripture to the conscience of his hearer, and in so doing, always making himself felt as a kind friend, and not a harsh reprover. Mild, frank, and open in his disposition, winning in his address, prompt in decision, and possessing a
peculiar tact in all nice and difficult situations, he had qualifications which, as they fitted him in an eminent degree for the high office he was called to fill in the church, so, if it had pleased God that he should have lived to complete the career which he had so well begun, they would have placed his earthly name among those who shall be recorded to future ages in the ecclesiastical history of India, as having prepared and led the way to the "turning of many unto righteousness."
He was always of a contemplative and philosophical turn; and how tranquilly, how familiarly, he had accustomed his thoughts to dwell upon the approach of death may be seen from the following reflections, found in his pocket-book, and evidently written before he went to India:
"As for death, no one who has, in the course of his life, from illness or any other cause, once made up his mind to contemplate it calmly and religiously-no one who has ever resolutely regarded the hour of his dissolution as at hand,—ever loses the calming and soothing influence which that hour has once produced upon his soul: he will feel, because at such an hour he has felt, how unsearchable are the ways of Him that ruleth over all; he will believe, because he has then believed, that there is a saving mercy beyond the grave, and that faith in the Redeemer is the only thing that can bring a man peace at the last. And that feeling once attained, the sting and the pain of death are gone, and the joy in believing is full.”
As soon as the melancholy news reached Calcutta, a Gazette extraordinary was published; and every mark of respect to the high station of the deceased, and of mournful regret for the loss sustained by the Indian community, was shown by the Governor-general in Council; the flag of Fort William was hoisted half-mast high during the next day, and fortythree minute-guns, corresponding with the Bishop's age, were fired from the ramparts.
After a dismal and tedious passage, Mrs. James, with her little boy, reached Penang, Sept. 1., when a general order was immediately issued by the government, announcing the sad intelligence of the Bishop's death, and directing that, as a
tribute of respect to his rank, the flag at Fort Cornwallis should be hoisted half-mast high during the next day, and that forty-three minute-guns should be fired from the ramparts. It had been found necessary that the funeral should take place during the voyage.
Mrs. James, after having received from every one all the soothing attention which her melancholy situation called for, took her passage for England in the Berwickshire, Captain Madan, landed at Portsmouth on the 19th of March, 1829, and on the following day joined the two children she had left, with such different hopes, only nineteen months before, at her father's house at East Sheen.
SIR THOMAS STAINES,
CAPTAIN IN THE ROYAL NAVY; KNIGHT COMMANDER
THE MOST HONOURABLE MILITARY ORDER OF THE BATH; KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE ROYAL SICILIAN ORDER OF ST. FERDINAND AND OF MERIT; AND KNIGHT OF THE IMPERIAL OTTOMAN ORDER OF THE CRESCENT.
THIS brave officer was born at Dent de Lion, near Margate, in the county of Kent, in 1776; and commenced his naval career at the beginning of January, 1790, from which period he served as a Midshipman on board the Solebay frigate, commanded by Captain Matthew Squire, on the West India station, till the spring of 1792. We subsequently find him proceeding to the Mediterranean, under the command of Captain (now Commissioner) Cunningham, with whom he continued actively engaged in various ships, from the commencement of the French revolutionary war, until the surrender of Calvi, in August, 1794.
Two days after the final subjugation of Corsica, Mr. Staines was removed from the Lowestoffe frigate into the Victory, a first rate, bearing the flag of Lord Hood, in which ship he assisted at the destruction of l'Alcide French 74, near Toulon, July 13. 1795.* He afterwards served as mate of the signals, under the immediate eye of Sir John Jervis, by whom he was made a Lieutenant, and appointed to the Peterel sloop, July 3.
In December following, Lieutenant Staines landed on the coast of Corsica, which island had been recently evacuated by
* The Victory then bore the flag of Rear-Admiral Mann.
the British, where he took possession of a martello tower, and threw the gun, a long brass 12-pounder, over a precipice into the sea. This service was performed without any loss; but on returning to the Peterel, he found her aground within musket-shot of the beach, where she remained for three hours, exposed to a continual fire of small arms, by which three of her crew were wounded.
The Peterel was at that time commanded by the Hon. Philip Wodehouse, and subsequently by the late Lord Proby. Towards the latter end of June, 1797, Lieutenant Staines obtained permission from the latter officer to attack a French privateer, which had violated the neutrality of Tuscany, by taking forcible possession of several merchant-vessels that had arrived at Castiglione from Elba, under the protection of the Peterel. Two boats, containing twenty officers and men, being placed under his orders, he rowed up to the enemy, boarded, and succeeded in carrying her, after a sharp conflict, in which five of his party were wounded. Lieutenant Staines, on this occasion, was personally opposed to the French commander, who died soon afterwards in consequence of his wounds. The vessel thus taken mounted two long guns and several swivels, with a complement of forty-five men.
In September, 1798, the Peterel, then at Gibraltar, under the command of Captain Digby, was charged with despatches from Earl St. Vincent, and ordered to land them at Faro, on the coast of Portugal, in order that they might be forwarded to England by the Lisbon packet. In the execution of this service, Lieutenant Staines had a very narrow escape, the Peterel's jolly boat, in which he was proceeding to the shore, being upset by a heavy sea near the bar of Faro, by which accident four men, including the pilot, were drowned, and himself and the only other survivor exposed to the most imminent peril for upwards of four hours.
From an account given us by a gentlemen who formerly sailed with the subject of this Memoir, it appears that one of the unfortunate sufferers perished immediately the boat capsized, and that Lieutenant Staines had considerable difficulty