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Mrs. S. A. Marriott fills Philander Chase in on a variety of issues including the appointment of a friend as Bishop of Tasmania (a penal colony), the appointment of her son Fitzherbert as Archdeacon of Hobart Town, meetings with friends in London and in the southwest of England, worries about the state of the Episcopal Church, and a former Kenyon student named Mr. Spencer who is now a missionary in New Zealand.
Mr. Nixon, Tasmania, Mr. Bowdler, Fitzherbert Marriott, convicts, Hobart Town, Exeter, Thomas Acland, Lady Acland, James Marriott, Bishop Hobart, Archdeacon Robert Wilberforce, Wharton Marriott, Oxford, Lord Kenyon, Lloyd Kenyon, Edward Kenyon, Duff Macfarlane, Crawley family, Wiggin family, religion, Scotland, Episcopal church, Ireland, Shakespeare, Sophia Marriott, Bessey Marriott, Library of the Father, New Zealand, Waiwate, Cleveland Missionary Society, Kenyon College, Maori, Mr. Spencer, Australia, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
Marriott, S. A., "Letter to Philander Chase" (1843). Philander Chase Letters. 1188.
Bitton near Rugby
My very dear Bishop Chase
I am half ashamed & quite grieved when I think how long it is since I wrote to you, so long that I am by no means [sure] when it was, but I verily believe not since last October, and the reason that has very often deterred me was one which might have been supposed to have expedited my [Pew], [being] that really important matters were going amongst us. On the supposition then that I have not written to you since then, (& if my memory is playing me false you will forgive a twice told tale,) I must go back to a [longish] history. Last Summer an intimate friend of our’s[sic] & [married] to a still older & more intimate one, Mr. [Nixon], Vicar of [Ash] in Kent was appointed Bishop of Van Diemen’s Land or as it is now called Tasmania-- Some little time after his Consecration he was invited to attend a meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to be held at Rugby, & he took that time to bring his Wife to pay us a visit. Here he also met Mr. Bowdler & some other good Clergymen, who were greatly distressed to find that he was going to that distant land & most arduous Diocese without a single Priest or even Deacon to share his labours, while the Roman Catholic Catholics [sic] were sending out a Bishop with 10 or more Priests. In our drawing room a plan was formed by Mr. Bowdler [?] & others to [raise] such a Fund as might enable the Bp to offer a [bare] maintenance to any good zealous Man who might be willing to accompany him & aid in recovering the National disgrace of utter neglecting 1,000 Convicts sent from [our] [own] Country, for Van Diemen’s Land is now our only penal Colony: They made the thing known among their friends & were [soon] enabled to communicate something [?] [?] to the Bishop. Meanwhile he & [Fitz’t] having constant & intimate communication, & it ended in his [conviction] that as he told me, he could wish nothing better for himself & his Diocese than that [Fitz’t]. would accompany him as his Chaplain, but that he had [?] from avowing this, lest it should seem an ill [return] to me to rob me of my [Son]. I bless God who enabled me to say I was willing to give him up at the call of his Master & mine, made through his appointed Channel. Dear [Fitz’t] like a dutiful Son of the Church & a worthy Child of his Sainted Father hesitated not. (Now I cannot be sure whether I wrote this much to you at the time, so many were the letters I had to write.) You may imagine how much there was to do & think of from this time. In January we accompanied him to Town & to pay visits to different friends & it was just then that the Bishop decided it would be desirable to make [Fitz’t]. his Archdeacon. At first he shrunk from the increased responsibility, but the Bp. after conferring with the Archbishop & Bishop of London who quite approved of the measure urged it upon him & he became the Venerable the Archdeacon of Hobart Town shortly after. All this seems [strange] so [short] a time does it appear in some points of view [since] you [were] addressing him on his Confirmation. We all, that is the Bishop, [Mrs] [Nixon] & their Children 6 in number, my two Girls, [Fitz’t]. & I went into Devonshire together, where we were received with most patriarchal hospitality by dear Sir Thomas & Lady Acland, & other of our friends in Exeter and its neighbourhood were not backward in forwarding a Christian Bishop & his fellow labourer on their way. On the 3’d of March we went to Plymouth & on the 7th they sailed out of that beautiful Habour [sic] in the Ship [Duke] of [Roxbury]. We have heard from them twice by homeward bound Ships & are hoping another fortnight will bring us letters from the Cape where they were to touch & remain a fortnight for the Bishop to confirm & Ordain, & at about the same period we may hope if the conclusion of their Voyage has been as prosperous as the beginning that they will be landing at Hobart Town. I am sure I may [reckon] on your prayers for the Son of your old friend, that he may guided [sic], supported & strengthened for all good. I cannot describe to you the blessedness it was to me to see his entire & ready self devotion, while feeling most acutely the leaving his Country & friends! I should be more unworthy than I am of being his Mother if I did not daily & [hevily] feel his loss, but daily & [hevily] bless God that he did not shrink from what he believed to be the call of duty. By a most happy arrangement for me we are not turned out of our home. The present Curate being a single Man & not having a Mother & Sister living with him as [Fitz’t]. had prefers a Lodging in the Village to the Parsonage in which the Rector permits us to remain [which] is a great comfort.
James Marriott, your old Friend Hobart’s only Son has just taken Orders, & as soon as he is in Priest’s Orders will take his own [Living] of [?]. He is likely to be an excellent Clergyman I think. He has been reading with, & is [now] Curate to Archdeacon Rob’t Wilberforce in Yorkshire, & I believe he could not have a better clerical friend and Guide. My son [Wharton] has lately been elected Scholar of Trinity, Oxford, & passed a most creditable examination, but he has been over [worked] & is very much out of [?], just now but we are encouraged to hope that two or three Months [compleet] rest will set him to [rights] - he hopes to go to reside at Oxford in October. - The rest of my Children are well thanks be to God.
When passing through London in May I saw our [dear] good friends Lord Kenyon, & Capt’n & Mrs Best, all well - Lord K. in much better health than he was a year ago, when he seemed very poorly. Lloyd & his Wife & numerous family have a house in Cheshire nearly opposite Liverpool. Edward’s Wife is shortly expecting her first [?] [?], which is a pleasure to them all.
Lord Kenyon takes the same warm interest in you & all that interests you that he ever did, though I think he gets a little more idle with his [Pew] as he grows older. I read with much interest the account you sent me of your conference respecting the Mennonite Lady - & have sent it on to [Fitz’t]. We shall be having another number of reminiscences ere very long I imagine. I wish I were at your elbow to correct the Press for there are a good many mistakes in the spelling of names of places & persons, which though of no great importance makes the book look less well to English eyes. Your old friend Duff I hear of & from pretty frequently. [Crawleys] too - even the old Man is still living & all his faculties about him. I called on the Wiggins when in London, but only saw Mr. W., who is greatly aged in appearance, but reported well of himself. If you see English Newspapers you will see how greatly our Church is disturbed, I dare not enter on the subject - it’s [sic] details I am incompetent to write upon. Those on whose judgment I can best trust, seem half frightened, not knowing what is impending.
There is, & has been, however, much good doing & done; less of that, which as I remember you said of Scott’s Bible, makes a Churchman hang down his head - some consistent acting out of our incomparable Liturgy - more frequent Services in our Churches, the want of which led [dearest] but unchurchlike spirits to prayer meetings & so on to dissenting Chapels - more frequent Communions & a more Churchlike [tone] of teaching. All this cannot be without the great [?] of Souls leading many into extremes, and so over the [?] [line] into positive Sin & error, but I cannot help hoping this great movement is on the whole for good, but they are trying times for all, especially for the Clergy. Then in Scotland the [Irish] is town to pieces by divisions. Perhaps Episcopacy will benefit. Ireland is in a fearful state politically from which the Church must suffer. However “there is one above all.” All is in His hands, & all must eventually be well with that “against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail.”
We are wishing very much to hear of you & Mrs. Chase, & of Mary & her great & important undertaking, tho’ I ill deserve a quicker reply to this tardy letter, but if you were ever a reader of Shakespeare you will remember
Give every man his [deserts].
And who shall ‘scape a whipping?
and will not I hope inflict one on me by imitating my bad example.
My children, Bessey, Sophia, & [Wharton], who are at present at home are as an Irishman w’d say all out, that is for the morning, or they would I am sure join in affect’e & respectful remembrances to you & Mrs Chase & love to their unknown young friend with my dear Bishop
Y’rs ever gratefully & affect’ly
S. A. Marriott.
Do you receive the Volumes of the Library of the Father in regular succession, & without more expense of Carriage than you [like] to [view]? I have great pleasure in sending them.
I was near omitting what I sh’d have been sorry to have forgotten. I wrote you [?] of our dearest most excellent friends Bp [Seleoque] & his Wife being gone to New Zealand. She writes from the Waiwate, a Miss’y Settlement where they have taken up their abode. “Not long ago an American arrived here sent out by the Cle. Miss. Soc’y who hopes to be ordained & is reading with a view to it with Mr. Cotton & Mr. Whytehead (the Bp’s Chaplains). He was brought up in Bp Chase’s College & has lived in his Diocese till he came here. He is a thorough American & we laugh at his Yankee Maori (the N.Z. language) but we like both himself & his Wife & get on extremely well. He does most thoroughly understand the art of getting on & making things [strait] about him [continued sideways on page 5] & I wish he may teach us. Mr. Spencer is settled in a Wooden Cabin in the Town Street of Waiwate. In one [room] he is studying Maori, Greek & Divinity, in the other his Wife & Child in their rocking chair.” I think you will like this account of your [?] pupil.