« PoprzedniaDalej »
write with less asperity, and to speak of the society and the church with a little respect. He was finally replied to by Dr. Apthorpe in a Review of Dr. Mayhew's remarks, to which the American doctor prudently declined making any reply.
Not long after this, the archbishop engaged in refuting a most ridiculous, but malevolent calumny, which had appeared in a pamphlet, accusing bishop Butler with having died a papift.
When the Confessional of Blackburne came out, one of the emptiest and most impertinent libels that ever was pub. lished against the Church of England, the archbishop employed Dr. Glofter Ridley in writing an answer to it, which he performed in three masterly letters, addressed to the anonymous.calumniator.
In the composition of these letters, the archbishop had himself a great share; and though Blackburne had never the modefty to recant any of his false assertions, or scurrilous invectives, he very wisely. Ihrunk away from the unequal contest.
The archbishop had the welfare, credit, and the good influence of the clergy entirely at heart, and he omitted nothing that could be done to promote their interests. Men of worth and eminence in the Church he cherished and befriended, and he endeavoured to bring them forward into stations wherein they might be moft useful. Above all, he distinguished with peculiar marks of his favour, the conscientious and diligent parish priest ; being of opinion, that the main fupport of piety and morals consisted in the parochial labours of the clergy; and that if this country is to be preserved from utter profligacy and ruin, it must be by their means.
The conduct which he observed towards the several de-'. nominations of Christians, was such as showed the most liberal and catholic temper. The profelyring spirit of Popery, indeed, he was justly of opinion, should be always kept under proper restraints. He observed its movements with care, and he exhorted his clergy to do the same, especially those who were settled near Roman Catholic families of distinction. He took all fit opportunities of combating the errors of the Church of Rome in his own writings; and the best answers which were published to some of the apologies for its doctrines, were written at his instance, and by his help. He had the good fortune to preserve some persons of consequence from embracing that communion, and to receive several converts from it, into the Church of England.
: Towards his protestant brethren of all persuasions, he de. meaned himself with great mildness and moderation; and with many of the dissenters he kept up a good correspon. dence. Some of the most éminent and learned of them were his intimate friends; particularly Watts, Doddridge, Leland, Chandler, and Lardner.
Nor was his concern for the protestant cause confined to his own country and the colonies.. He was well known as its great patron in yarious parts of Europe; from whence he had frequent applications for assistance, which never failed of being favourably received. To several foreign protestants he allowed pensions, to others he gave occasional relief, and to some of their universities he was an annual subscriber. · In public affairs, he acted as an honest citizen and a wor. thy member of the legislature. From his first entrance into the house of lords, his parliamentary conduct was uni. formly upright and noble. He kept equally clear from the two extremes of factious petulance and servile dependance ; never wantonly opposing administration from a spirit of party zeal, private pique, personal connection, or the desire of popular applause; neither on the other hand, joining the minister in every thing, from motives of interest or ambi. tion. He seldom spoke in the house, except when the interests of religion and virtue seemed to require it; but whenever he did, it was with propriety and force, and he was always heard with great attention and respect.
During more than ten years that Dr. Secker enjoyed the fee of Canterbury, he resided constantly at Lambeth; as being not only most conveniently situated for his own studies and employments, but also for all those who, on various occasions, were continually obliged to have recourse to him.
There is an anecdote in the life of Dr. Eachard, prefixed to Dayies's edition of his works, which is too pleasing and characteristic of the archbishop, to be omitted. It relates to the mode of entertaining guests in the archiepiscopal palace, which prevailed before his advancement, and was inserted to i vindicate archbishop Sheldon from an invidious censure of Dr. Warburton.
“ It was a practice I suppose from time immemorial," says the editor, “when any guests dined at Lambeth, for the archbishop, when dinner was over, and after drinking two or three loyal toasts, to invite some part of the company into a withdrawing chamber. The rest went up with the chaplains into their own room, situated in the highest tower
of the palace, where they amused themselves with a pipe of tobacco, as honest Wood says, and a sober glass, till the bell invited the family to prayers.
“ In archbishop Potter's time, I am told, this old custom received some small alteration : after the usual toasts, that prelate invited such of the company as chose it, to drink coffee in another room, and immediately withdrew.
“ At length archbishop Secker made a very considerable alteration in the etiquette of the palace of Lambeth. He broke through the strange and unpolite practice of diftin. guishing one guest from another. He laid aside the austerity of the high facerdotal character, as unfit for festivity, and conversed at his table with the ease and freedom of a private gentleman. His constant method of entertaining his guests, was such as became the primate of all England, who ought to be at once a pattern of hospitality, and an example of fobriety. His meals were chearful, and always seasoned with discourse equally agreeable and instructive to all who were invited. When the hour of parting arrived, all the company went away together."
This good and great prelate had been for many years subject to the gout, which in the latter part of his life returned more frequently and violently, leaving the parts affected very weak for a long time. About eighteen months before be died, he was attacked with a pain in the arm, near the shoulder, which continued about a year, and then a similar pain seized the upper and outer part of the opposite thigh, on which the arm became easier. But the pain in the thigh was soon more grievous than the former, as it disabled him from taking exercise, and kept him almost in continual torment. During this time he had two or three fits of the gout; but neither these nor medicines alleviated his pains. ·
On Saturday July 30, 1768, as he sat at dinner, he was taken with a fit of sickness at the stomach. He recovered before night, but the next evening, while the physicians were in attendance, and his fervants were raising him on his couch, he exclaimed that his thigh-bone was broken. He lay for some time in great agonies, but when the surgeons 'arrived and discovered that the bone was certainly broken, he felt, perfectly resigned and never afterwards asked a question about the event. A fever soon followed ; and on Tuesday, he fell into a lethargy, in which state he continued till about five o'clock next morning, when he expired in the 75th year of his age.
On examination, the thigh-bone was found carious about four inches in length, which disease arose from the inner part, and had so completely destroyed the substance, that nothing remained but part of the outward integument which had also many perforations. It was evident that the torture, which his grace endured during the corrosion of the bone, must have been very great. Yet he bore his pains above six months with surprising patience and fortitude; conversing with his friends, and mixing with his family at the usual hours, with his wonted cheerfulness; and retaining nearly all his faculties in full vigour till within a few days of his death.
He was buried, according to his own directions, in a pas. fage leading from a private door of the palace to the North door of Lambeth church; but, he forbade any monument or epitaph to be placed over his remains.
He appointed Dr. Daniel Burton, canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and Mrs. Catherine Talbot, his executors: and lest thirteen thousand pounds in the three per cent. an. nuities to Dr. Porteus, and Dr. Stinton, his chaplains, in trust to pay the interest thereof to Mrs. Talbot and her daughter during their lives, and that of the survivor ; * and
* Miss Talbot did not long survive her good friend the archbishop. In October 1769, she took to her bed and was soon given over. Her disorder was a cancer, which had for three years been kept a profound secret from all her friends, except the archbishop and Mrs. Carter, principally from the pious wish that her mother might not have the grief of seeing her languish of a disease which had been pronounced incurable. Contrary to all expectation, however, she lived to the 9th of January, 1770, when she expired with the greatest fortitude and most devout resigna. tion, in the forty-ninth year of her age. Her most intimate friend, Mrs. Carter, published a few months afterwards, “ Reflections on the Seven Days of the Week,” a small but elegant and pious tract, which was found among the papers of Miss Talbot. Of this valuable performance, numerous editions have since appeared. To this work, Mrs. Carter afterwards added two duodecimo volumes of Essays, Poems, and other detached pieces, written by the same excellent person. These also have passed through the press several times.
Mrs. Talbot was upwards of eighty when she met with this irreparable loss, which she bore with greater fortitude than could have been expected. She survived her ingenious and pious daughter many years, and died at the advanced age of ninety-two.
Pennington's Life of Mrs. Eliz. Carter. after their deaths, then eleven thousand of the said sum to be transferred to charitable purposes. He left also one thousand pounds to his servants, and some legacies; and the residue of his eftate, which was by no means large, went to his nephew. He left to the library at Lambeth, all such books in his private collection as were not there before, and a great number of manuscripts, among the most valuable of which were his notes on the Scriptures, of which, that pro. found critic and elegant scholar, bishop Lowth, made con. fiderable use in his translation of Isaiah, as he acknowledges in his preliminary dissertation. His words are these : “ I am greatly obliged to several learned friends for their ob. servations on particular paffages. To one great person more especially, whom I had the honour to call my friend, the late excellent archbishop Secker ; whose marginal notes on the Bible, deposited by his order in the library at Lambeth, I had permission to consult by the favour of his most worthy fucceffor. There are two Bibles with his notes : one a folio English Bible interleaved, containing chiefly corrections of the English translation; the other a Hebrew Bible of the edition of Michaelis, Halle, 1720, 4to. the large margins of which are filled with critical remarks on the Hebrew text, collations of the ancient versions, and other short annotations; which stand an illustrious monument of the learning, judgment, and indefatigable industry of that excellent person : I add also, of his candour and modefty; for there is hardly a proposed emendation, however ingenious and probable, to which he has not added the objections, which occurred to him against it. These valu. able remains of that great and good man will be of infinite service, whenever that necessary work, a New Translation, or a revision of the present Translation of the Holy Scriptures for the use of our Church, shall be undertaken.”
In the Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, by her nephew Mr. Pennington, is a letter written by that learned and ex. cellent woman to a friend, in which she gives the following character of the archbishop. .'" I am much obliged to you for the concern you express for my friends (Mrs, and Miss Talbot) and me, of the late melancholy event at Lambeth. You rightly judged how much I must be struck by the death of that great and good man, with whose friendship I had been honoured for more than twenty years, and to whom I had such innumerable obligations.