Project Canterbury

The Life and Work of the Most Reverend John Medley, D.D.,
First Bishop of Fredericton and Metropolitan of Canada

By William Quintard Ketchum
Rector of St. Andrews, N.B.

Saint John, N.B.: McMillan, 1893.

Chapter VI. Rev. John Medley, D. D., Consecrated the First Bishop of Fredericton--His Boyhood--Scholar and Student--Presentation on leaving England, and Farewell Addresses--Early Years of his Ministry

THE matter concerning the endowment was now satisfactorily arranged. No time was lost by the proper authorities in the nomination to what was henceforth to be known as the See of Fredericton. The appointment of the Rev. John Medley was confirmed by the crown, and letters patent to that effect were issued.

Bishop Medley was the son of Mr. George Medley, of Grosvenor Place, London, and was born December 19th, 1804. Mrs. Medley writes as follows with reference to his early years:

A life of the Bishop would be incomplete without some mention of his mother, whose careful training he always spoke of with affection and gratitude.

His father died whilst he was very young, and on her devolved the bringing up of their only child. She was a woman of great decision of character, high principles, benevolent, devout, and a firm disciplinarian. She devoted him to the ministry from his birth, and all her training tended that way. "John," she would say, "you cannot do, or have everything you want like other boys; you are to be a clergyman!" This was always kept before his mind, and influenced his whole life. His earliest recollection was of "preaching the Revelation," from an upturned chair, with his pinafore turned back to front as a surplice.

His daily lessons were from the Bible, and to this he attributed his great knowledge of its contents. He knew the Psalter faultlessly, and in later life, in any temporary indisposition, never needed a book given to him when the daily portions were read. He knew the style of the different writers in both the Old Testament and the New so well, that he could at once tell where a text was taken from, and turn to it with ease. In his mother's Bible (1769) are these entries: "John, born December 19,1804." "John began to learn the Psalms April 3, 1808." Then follows a list of eight Psalms, and the dates when they were learnt, ending with "John can say the 119th Psalm, aged six years." At four years he could say the 1st and the 23rd Psalms, but the effort of memory needed to learn the 176 verses of the longest Psalm in the Psalter, at the early age of six years, is indeed remarkable.

On one occasion he unfortunately fell asleep in Church during the sermon, and slipping from the little bracket, where he was perched in the high pew, struck his forehead against the sharp corner of his mother's footstool, and naturally whimpered a little. His mother took no notice, but on their return home, he was well whipped for disturbing the service, and never remembered transgressing in like manner again. He was sent early to school, as she felt he needed the companionship of other boys. The Bishop had many amusing stories to relate of school-boy life at Bristol, Bewdley and Chobham.

The following extracts from his mother's Journal will show how constantly she kept his preparation for the ministry before his mind and her own, and how untiringly she prayed for a blessing on each act of his life:

1810--April 27. John began Latin (aged six years) with Mr. Biddulph, a private tutor.

1812--July 12. John first went to Rev. J. Sawyer's school.

1813--Brown, a soldier of the East Middlesex Militia, came to teach John his exercises.

1814--March 10. John began Greek (aged ten).

1815--July 28. Dear John went to school in Bristol.

1816--John began Hebrew (aged twelve). 1818--Our beloved John confirmed (aged fourteen) at Chertsey, by the Bishop of Lincoln, June 28. "Confirm him, O Lord, in Thy ways, for Thy Name's sake.

1822--Received a letter from dear John with his decision about going to Oxford.

November 14--My beloved John went to Oxford to enter at Wadham College. "O God, give him grace to devote all that he is and has to Thy service."

1823--April 10. My dear John left for Oxford, his first term (aged nineteen). "O Lord, be Thou with him to bless him, and make him a blessing to others."

1825--December 19. My beloved John is of age this day--twenty-one years. "Help him, O Lord, to devote his life to Thy honour and glory."

December 25--Received a present this day from my dear John of £100. "Grant, O Lord, that what he layeth out it may be paid him again, and Thy blessing added to it."

After his confirmation, and when about fourteen years of age, he began work as a Sunday School Teacher, a thoughtful, reserved, and earnest-minded boy. He also began about this time to write sermons, and submitted his first to his mother with the following note:

"My Very Dear Mother:

"I have sent this attempt to you, hoping you would not wholly despise this first essay towards making a little sermon. But may the Lord grant that at some time hence I may be able to compose what may really be styled sermons. Give my kindest love to dear aunt, and accept the same yourself.

"I remain,
"Your dutiful and affectionate son,

"P. S.--I have considered myself in a church preaching to very rustic auditors."

[This is doubtless the sermon of which the Bishop's son, Rev. John Medley, writes: "I have a sermon by my father, written when he was a boy fourteen years old. The text is Isaiah xxviii., 16: "Behold I lay in Zion," etc.; and this note is added at the end: "Written on the 20th September, 1818." In persuading those he is addressing to come to the Lord, he makes a quotation (I do not know from whom): "If you wait till you are better, you will never come at all."]

The tie between mother and son seemed to strengthen as years passed on, and her prayers were unceasingly offered in his behalf. In 1828, when he received Holy Orders, the following written prayer is found pinned in her book of devotions:


O Almighty God, who hast (I trust) given him the will, grant him also the power to perform the same; accomplish the work Thou hast begun in him, endow him with a double portion of Thy Spirit, and clothe him with power from on high. Increase his love for souls. Impress his mind deeply and constantly with a sense of the solemn account he must one day render to Thee of his stewardship. Enable him faithfully to exercise the gifts bestowed upon him. Lift up his hands whenever they hang down, and strengthen his feeble knees. Help him to be in Thy hands as clay in the hand of the potter, willing to be fashioned, ruled and employed by Thy godly wisdom, in the manner and in the service Thou thinkest proper. May he ever feel he is nothing in himself; may his eyes be ever directed to Thee, in whom the fatherless find mercy. Thou art a faithful God, remember and fulfil that promise to him, "I will put my fear into their heart, that thou shalt not depart from Me." Enable him at all times to depend on Thee, believing Thou never failest those who trust in Thee. Hear me, Heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

At Wadham College, Oxford, the Bishop graduated with honors in 1826. [In the hall of Wadham College, Oxford, there is a life size oil painting of the Bishop in his robes.] He was ordained deacon in 1828, and in the year following advanced to the priesthood. For three years he was curate of Southleigh, Devonshire. From 1831 to 1838 he was incumbent of St. John's, Truro. From that time, to his nomination to the Bishopric, he was vicar of St. Thomas, Exeter, and prebendary of Exeter Cathedral. As a parish priest, he is said to have been most efficient, zealous and untiring. In a letter recently published by one of his successors, the present vicar of St. Thomas, it is said:

In material things also the late Bishop has left his mark broad and deep upon his old charge. Not only was the chancel of St. Thomas adorned and beautified by his taste and liberality, but St. Andrews, Exwick, was erected through his zeal and munificence, and the pretty chapel at Oldridge, enlarged and almost entirely rebuilt.

Speaking of the early years of the Bishop's ministry, a clergyman in this Diocese writes: -

From the University, the transition was wide to the retired fishing village of Beer, just on the border of the Devonshire coast. But the young curate brought that sturdy individuality and genial face, which New Brunswick knows so well, to bear upon the descendants of smugglers and wreckers; and "Parson Medley" is still talked about by some of the village grandsires, as they watch the matchless prospect across Seaton Bay.

In Devonshire, he found the very characteristics which suited him, the simplicity, humour, force, and a certain almost Caledonian clannishness of country folk, helped by a local accent, which, once heard, is ever loved, and never forgotten. So, after a sojourn in Cornwall, it is no wonder that he returned to take the rectory of St. Thomas, in Exeter, the ever-faithful city, where he laboured until his call across the Atlantic, there to spend the strength and maturity of his life.

To those who only know the new world, it is hard to describe the beauties of an old world city like Exeter; the Cathedral, solid and almost lowly in its unassuming strength and beauty; the old wood-carved houses in the High street; the Guild Hall, where Charles I. was welcomed by the burgesses in the course of his daring western march in 1644 to intercept Essex; the market day, when the quiet streets are filled with the country farmers, and re-echo with the cheerful Devonshire tones until the evening, when by each devious and hilly road, return the belated visitor, after a jovial dinner at the "ordinary," the day not having been entirely passed in total abstinence, but whose safety is well ensured by the steady progress of the "old mare," ambling along the well-known road, the reins hanging loose on her neck, and the driver usually fast asleep.

What a change to New Brunswick, as it was in 1845! This, only those can measure who know our Province as it then was. For one coming from the old-fashioned life of Devonshire, and the cultivated society of Coleridges and Bullers, there was a wide chasm to pass in order to understand the state of affairs of those days.

The Rev. Henry Budd Morris, of Bairdsville, Victoria County, N. B., writes as follows:

My grandfather, Rev. Richard Budd, was rector of Ruan Lanishorne, in Cornwall, in the same rural deanery with Truro (that of Powder), and was intimate with Bishop Medley when he was at Truro. I enclose some reminiscences of him sent by my uncle, Rev. Theodore Budd, Vicar of E. Dereham, Norfolk.

My mother sends the following note:

Rev. S. T. Trist, Vicar of Veryan Trist, was, at that time, Rural Dean, and he persuaded Mr. Medley to write a paper on Episcopacy. This was read at the meeting of the Chapter, and was so excellent that it was printed by request, and Mr. Trist playfully said: "If you ever are made a Bishop, remember it was my doing."

Reminiscences by Rev. Theodore Budd:

When I was at school at Truro, I had a class in Mr. Medley's Sunday School. One Sunday there was a total eclipse of the sun, probably 1835--in the afternoon. Mr. Medley got appliances to explain the subject to the elder boys in his garden, and in the evening preached on the words: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon."

The living of Crediton fell vacant. The parishioners had the appointment; Mr. Medley was a candidate and went up to preach a sermon. He stood at the head of the list. The supporters of Mr. Hill, next on the list, would not give way to the supporters of Mr. Medley, and so the living passed to number three on the list, and Mr. Medley returned to St. John's Chapel of Ease at Truro, much to the gratification of his congregation, where he remained till he removed to St. Thomas, Exeter.

While at St. Johns, Truro, Mr. Medley held a class of Sunday School Teachers in his drawing room every Sunday morning at nine o'clock, explaining the Collect for the day, and giving us an extemporaneous prayer.

The monument erected the other side of the street to the memory of the Brothers Lardner, explorers of North Africa, fell down, but the work of Mr. Medley fell not, for it grew and multiplied, and still lives in many hearts of the West.

One day I was returning home from college, accompanied by a sweet young lady on a visit to us; on our reaching the station at Exeter, whom should we see emerging from the same train but Dr. Medley, just consecrated to the Bishopric of Fredericton, holding a tolerably heavy oak box--the communion plate for his new Diocese, or Cathedral; so he put it down at our feet saying: "There, you stand by that till I come again."

The Bishop was twice married--first to Christiana, daughter of John Bacon, Esq., Jun. (a son of the eminent sculptor), whose effigy, "wrought by the hand of her father," adorns the chancel of St. Thomas; and, secondly, to Margaret, a younger daughter of the late Mrs. Hudson, of Crossmead, in the parish of St. Thomas, Exeter. By his first marriage his lordship had five sons and two daughters, of whom there still survive--the Rev. John Bacon Medley, M. A., Oxon, till lately rector of Orchardleigh with Lullington, Somerset; Captain 'Spencer Medley, R. K; and the Rev. Edward S. Medley, B. A., vicar of Hopton, Great Yarmouth. Another of his lordship's sons who entered Holy Orders, but died some three years ago, was the Rev. Canon Charles S. Medley, M. A., well known in New Brunswick for many years as the esteemed rector of Sussex and Studholm, and secretary of the Diocesan Synod.

His future high attainments show the Bishop must have continued a diligent student. He came into note as an accomplished scholar at a marked period--when the greatest minds of the present century were beginning to employ their powers in a movement which was to exercise such a vast influence in the future work of the Anglican Communion. With these great men, Dr. Medley was in many ways a co-worker. He was the intimate friend of John Keble.

In the preface to the translation of the Homilies of St. Chrysostom, it is said: "For the translation, the editors are indented to the Rev. John Medley, M. A., of Wadham College, Vicar of St. Thomas, in the city of Exeter, and also to Rev. H. K. Cornish, late fellow of Exeter College. The indices are almost entirely the result of Mr. Medley's valuable assistance."

On the 4th day of May, 1845, Rev. John Medley, the first Bishop of Fredericton, was consecrated at the Chapel of Lambeth Palace, London.

A public meeting was held at Exeter on the 13th May, to present the Bishop with a testimonial on the eve of his departure for his Diocese. The meeting was largely attended. A local paper of that day states: "We have seldom seen a more respectable or influential assemblage on any public occasion. Among those present were all the clergy of the city and its neighbourhood, and a number of country gentlemen. On the platform were displayed the valuable gifts presented for the use of the Cathedral."

The Lord Bishop of Exeter was in the chair. Among the addresses was one from the Right Rev. Bishop Coleridge, who spoke as follows:

My Lord Bishop,--It is a subject to me of peculiar gratification that I have been selected to present to your Lordship, in the presence of our revered Diocesan, and of this numerous assembly of your friends--and in their names--a parting token of esteem and regard. Other modes might have been chosen for the expression of our feelings, but there is none, I am assured, more in unison with your own than that, so wholly detached from all private considerations, which has been adopted. Called, as you have happily been, to preside over a distant portion of the Lord's vineyard, it will be a primary object of your solicitude, not only under the Divine blessing, to feed the flock committed to your charge with the wholesome doctrine of the Gospel, and duly to administer the discipline of the English Church, but to exhibit also, before the eyes of your people--to their hearts and to their understandings--the scriptural ritual of that Church, in all the fullness and impressiveness of a faithful outward observance-. For this end, you have judged rightly, my Lord, in proposing to erect, with as little delay as possible, after your arrival in your Diocese, an adequate and becoming edifice for the public worship of God--worthy, I might hesitate so to speak, even of the costliest achievements of architectural science, yet worthy, in some sense--in all humility, be it spoken--of that Being, who, though He dwelleth not in temples made with hands, ever deserveth the best from us. Built, as you are desirous it should be, after an ancient model, of singular beauty, and cathedral appropriateness; and of dimensions sufficient, not only for the ordinary services of the Church, but for administering the more solemn rites of confirmation and ordination, and for accommodating those larger assemblages, which, as in the cathedral of this Diocese, will, we trust, be annually brought together in yours, with the same gratifying results, at the pressing call of Christian charity. Your friends, my Lord, entirely concur with your lordship, in the desirableness and importance of this undertaking; they deem it a privilege to be permitted to contribute towards it--they confidently anticipate, that the colony of New Brunswick will heartily respond to your wishes; and whilst they deeply regret on their own personal account, your approaching separation from them--a separation, however, which, from the shortness of the distance, and the facility of communication, precludes not the hope of your revisiting, from time to time, your native land--they have deputed me to assure your lordship that you Will carry away with you from your native shores, their most fervent wishes and prayers for the success of your spiritual labours; and to express the hope, that the pecuniary contribution which they now offer for your acceptance, will be an encouragement to you to go forth the more cheerfully, on your high and holy mission, and prove a nucleus, around which the future contributions of the colony will abundantly gather, and be received by you as a mark, however inadequate, of the very great and affectionate respect in which you are held among us, and of the lively interest, with which, though absent in the flesh, yet present in the spirit, we shall watch your movements, "joying," in the words of the apostle of the gentiles--"and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ," I will not trespass, my lord, further on your feelings; but as one who has trodden, with whatever step, the same field of labour before you, and has largely tasted, through God's unmerited mercy, of the consolations, which, amid difficulties, privations, and dangers, are ever springing up to gladden the path of ministerial duty, I may claim the especial privilege--with a full heart, and in much hope--to commend you and yours, to the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation, in and through Christ Jesus our Lord.--[The Right Rev. Prelate then placed a cheque for £1,500 in the hand of the Lord Bishop of Exeter and resumed his seat.]

The Lord Bishop of Exeter then arose, and addressed the Lord Bishop of Fredericton nearly as follows: In spite of the apprehension that I may weaken the effect of that most touching address which you have just heard, I cannot permit myself to be made the channel of conveying to you this interesting testimonial, without expressing my own special sentiments on this occasion. In you I have had one of the most valuable and exemplary of my clergy. To me, therefore, and to my Diocese--to this city especially--this day, though it is a day of thankfulness, is not one of unmixed gratification. We regret that you are about to leave us; but we are thankful that you are called to a larger and nobler field of labour; and we humbly hope that the God who has called you to it, will give you strength and grace to work for Him there, as you have worked for Him here. And let me express one sentiment--the only thing, as it appears to me, wanting, in what has been said so well by my right rev. brother on my left--let me express one sentiment which he, probably, was restrained by his modesty from uttering. We cannot adequately rejoice to see--that, while colonies are led forth to the distant possessions of this country--while missionaries go there to instruct them--they are no longer to go, without being blessed with the superintendence of that high officer of the church, whom Christ Himself has appointed, to be over her in His name.... May it be long, my lord, before we may have occasion to thank you for the services which you have rendered. May it please God to give you such health and strength, as will permit you to spend, and to be spent, in the field to which He calls you; and though we look forward with joy and hope, to the gratification of occasionally meeting you, may we always see you as about to return again, to the Church over which you have been called to preside.--[His Lordship handed the cheque to the Bishop of Fredericton.]

On an occasion of such deep interest, it seems fitting to subjoin the reply of the Bishop in full:

The Lord Bishop of Fredericton rose and said,--My Lord Bishop of Exeter, Bishop Coleridge, and dear and valued friends--so many of whom I meet on this occasion, with very mingled feelings--feelings indeed of a very painful character--'for one cannot separate one's self, with whatever hope one goes forth, from friends so loved and valued as mine have been to me, without pain--though I trust that feelings of faith and hope do triumph and will triumph over those feelings, which would swallow up the rest--I hope I may say, without any want of humility, that I feel that God has called me to this post. The circumstances under which it was offered to me--the circumstances which preceded it--with all that followed and accompanied it--have been of such a character as to leave no doubt upon my own mind that it is God's calling; and how untrue and unfaithful a servant of the Church should I have been, if, having this conviction, I had not obeyed the call. Bishop Coleridge, and you, my Lord Bishop, were quite right, when you said that a present made in this particular form was much more congenial to my feelings than it would have been in any other. it would, indeed, have been most painful to my feelings--most immixedly painful--if any other form had been adopted--if any of those personal testimonials, which are now so common and so cheap, had been presented to a Bishop of the English Church, going out to perform a spiritual duty, in an important Diocese. I should have felt that our own tone had been lowered by it--that we had gone back from the spirit of the Gospel to the spirit of the world--that we had exchanged good gold for wretched dross--and had sacrificed high and solemn considerations in order to gratify a momentary feeling of vanity. In accepting this valuable tribute, I do it as the servant of the Church--as your trustee, for the fulfilment of a high and holy trust. I accept it as a proof that you believe the doctrines of the Church--that you love the principles of the Church--that you are prepared to live and die in the service of the Church--and that whatever difference of opinion there may be, upon some points, between different individuals among you--you are in the main agreed--a body of sincere, and faithful, and conscientious churchmen. Upon no other condition could I consent to accept your gift; but I do accept it, because I believe I have interpreted rightly, the feelings with which it is presented, and it will be, I assure you, a matter of great gratification to me, if I find that it is received in the colony of New Brunswick with that cordial welcome, which I have reason to believe awaits it. As a proof that I have ground for this hope, I may mention one fact; a gentleman connected with my own, family, who is a missionary in New Brunswick, had sent home to his friends in England to solicit contributions towards the restoration of his own Church, which was falling into decay; but no sooner did he hear that a Cathedral was to be erected at Fredericton, than he wrote to me to request that no such collection should be made, but that his friends should contribute in lieu of it to the Cathedral fund. I am happy to be able to say, on behalf of the gentleman who manifested this strong interest in our work, that those valued friends of his, who had intended to contribute towards his Church, gave their contribution still, but they did not on that account, withhold their aid from our own Cathedral. The occasion on which we are met, is doubly pleasant to us all, inasmuch as it evinces a growing power of expansion in our beloved Church--it shows that the time has come, when God will lengthen her cords and strengthen her stakes--and it shows that, whatever divisions may arise among us--and no man can lament them more than I do--there is, in the Church herself, that growing power, which proves her to be sound at heart, and which could not be manifested if there were not soundness of heart. We all know that coldness, in. a person who is about to die, begins at the extremities, and where we find that the extremities are warm, we hope that the heart, and all the vital organ?, continue to perform their functions. So also, when we find the Church sending forth her missionaries to the distant colonies of the empire, and her clergy and her bishops supporting them, we may feel assured that God is giving His blessing, and that, somehow or other, all will come right at last. I am sure that in going forth to a distant colony, that unless we do go forth in the spirit of hope, we may as well not go at all. With what advantage should I go forth, as the missionary of the Church, to a distant land if I were in despair of the Church at home? What use would it be for me to attempt to carry out the liturgy of the Church among the colonists of New Brunswick--to express an affectionate zeal for their welfare--to multiply churches and clergymen among them--and to exhibit to them there the Church in all its fullness, if I felt all the time that the Church at home was going to decay. But I have no such feeling. I am confident that the more we exert ourselves to give to those who are at a distance, the Church in all its fullness, and in all its efficiency, the more surely shall we find it return, in blessings upon ourselves. I will now take the liberty of stating to you, what is the actual position of the Diocese of New Brunswick; and in doing so, I shall pass no censure on any. I must, however, remind those who hear me, that the state of things there is totally dissimilar from anything that we find in England. The government, from whatever cause--for I know not, and will not stay to inquire--are acting, in the colonies, rather upon the numerical principle--giving assistance to various denominations of Christians, but scarcely recognising the Church as an established church, and only allowing her to take her own position, as she may be able by her own exertions to attain it. Whether this is right or wrong, I will not stop to discuss. It is sufficient that the fact is so, and we should be very foolish indeed, if we did not consider it in all its bearings and effects, before considering what we ought to do for the colonies, with a view to the relief of their spiritual destitution. Its disadvantages of course are obvious, and I need not, therefore, dwell upon them, but let us look for a moment at the other side; and let us consider in what way a Bishop of the Colonial Church is affected by such a state of things. It leads him then, not to look to his connection with the state, so much as to the spiritual power and authority given him by the Lord Jesus. It leads him to look far above men, or the smiles of princes, for support; it strengthens the tie that binds him to his flock; and it makes him feel that, in proportion us he can unite the richest and the poorest of that flock in one brotherhood with himself, in that proportion will his Church flourish, and, let princes smile or frown, he will still be enabled to carry out the Gospel of Christ, in all its fullness and Apostolic purity, and to make Jerusalem a praise and a glory in the earth. No person will understand, that, in the remarks which I have made, I intend to cast censure, either on the state or on individuals; but we cannot shut our eyes to the plain fact, and we cannot help seeing--when no distinction whatever is made between truth and error--and when it is openly professed that the state cannot have a conscience--that the Church must rely more and more on its own resources--and we must tell the people of England that they must come forward yet more zealously to support that Church which depends, in a great measure, on their exertions. There are in the colony of New Brunswick eighty-seven parishes; when this division took place I am not able to inform you, but the number is quite clear. For these eighty-seven parishes there are thirty clergymen, and forty-seven churches. A single clergyman has often the charge of two or three churches, separated by great distances from each other--and it occasionally happens that one clergyman has charge of a district of one hundred and twenty miles in extent. Many parishes are left without the ordinances of religion, ministered in such a way, as we, of the Church of England, believe to be the right way, and to be most conducive to the purity and spread of the Gospel. I only mention this that you may see what is necessary to be done, and I trust, if God's blessing shall attend me, I may yet live to see the day when the same result shall follow, which gladdened the heart of my right rev. friend, Bishop Coleridge, in his own Diocese of Barbadoes--when the clergy of New Brunswick shall be doubled--trebled they ought to be at once, to secure even an approach to efficient pastoral superintendence in that important sphere of labour. Bishop Coleridge, allow me to thank you, in the name of the Diocese of New Brunswick, as well as in my own, for that most touching and affectionate appeal which you have made on our behalf, and for the warmness and kindness which you have shown towards me, on this, and on many other occasions. That kindness will not be forgotten by me, and I shall always rejoice to recollect the time, when I met you in this place, with one, whom but lately I was accustomed to look up to, as my spiritual father in Christ, and from your hand receive this valuable testimony of affection and respect. One word more as to the wants of the Colony of New Brunswick--and first we want Men--we want men who will go forth to minister as the servants of the living God--we don't want the refuse of England for the Diocese of New Brunswick--we don't want men to be sent out there because they can't be employed at home--we want the best blood of England, in order to show what England can do. Therefore--if you send out clergymen from this country to gladden my heart--send out men who' have a due appreciation of the work in which they are to engage--men with missionary hearts, and missionary spirits--men who are anxious for their own eternal salvation, and are therefore desirous to communicate the blessing of salvation to others--send not men to me whom the Bishop of Exeter would refuse--let no father place their children in the Church, in the belief that anything will do for a distant land. Such men as these we do not want; but we want holy men of God--men of earnestness and pious zeal--of reflection, of consideration, of judgment--better men if possible than you have need of at home. At the same time, allow me to observe, if you do send men out to New Brunswick, let them be earnestly attached to the communion to which they belong--men anxious to carry out all the injunctions of the Church, and ready to yield due obedience to her rulers--let them be men possessed, in every respect, of the spirit of the gospel Then shall I hail their approach with joy--shall receive them with brotherly affection, and my only delight shall be to minister to them by every means in my power. We must have men. It is impossible that a population, comprehending at present 150,000 souls, and constantly increasing by emigration, can be rightly ministered to without a great increase of labourers--I had hoped to have taken out persons from England with me--alas! only one, at present accompanies me--I had hoped that there was more of the missionary spirit--I will only appeal to you, and through you to those who shall hear my words, though they do not listen to my voice, to recollect how great is the reward laid up for such as possess the missionary spirit and the pastor's heart, and who think it a joy and an honour to embark in their master's cause. I will only remind you that though absent in the body we may still be present in the spirit; that in that Cathedral which we shall build, the same strains will be sung as we have been wont to listen to here, with so much delight--that those who worship there will use the same liturgy--will have the same Church to embrace them--the same Spirit to animate them, and the same God to love, to bless, and to reward them, I have now to thank you, my lord, for all that kindness which you have shown me during my stay in your lordship's Diocese; for, at your hands, I have never received anything but kindness, which I know I have too little merited. I thank also, all those who, with the utmost zeal and affection, and Christian feeling, have contributed on this occasion. I have received many testimonies, on this occasion, of a very pleasing character; children have contributed to this blessed work, and have thought it an honour and a comfort to be permitted to do so. I am surrounded by many memorials, which will come before me often hereafter; and whenever the Holy Sacrament shall be administered in the Cathedral Church of Fredericton, I shall bear before me, and have engraven in my heart, the names of those who, with so much Christian zeal, have contributed towards the erection and decoration of the building. I shall feel that, though far distant, nothing really separates us, and that, as I am one with you, in that true Christian affection, which, I hope, nothing in this world can shake, so I trust I shall be one with you hereafter, in another and a better world. In taking leave of those kind friends who are with me here to-day, I cannot but recollect that human life is short, and uncertain, and that, chequered as ray life has been, with sickness and with sorrow, I may be taking leave of you for the last time. But whether it be so or not;--whether I ever re-visit the shores of England or not--I shall never forget this day--I shall remember it with thankfulness to God--and shall pray to Him for a blessing on your lordship's labours--for a blessing on the laity and clergy here present--and I shall never cease to hope that your prayers may accompany me on my voyage to a distant land, and that when I arrive there, I may still have the happiness of knowing, that I continue to enjoy the prayers of those of whom I now take leave, with so much affection and respect, blessing you in the name of the Lord.

Before proceeding to speak of Bishop Medley's arrival in New Brunswick, a few words may be added to what has already been related regarding the circumstances under which he was appointed first Bishop of the new Diocese. [For the particulars here given, the writer is again indebted to Mrs. Medley.]

The years immediately preceding the Bishop's appointment to the See of Fredericton were marked by unusual domestic sorrow and trial.

In 1839, his second son, Thomas Fisher, died. In 1841, his young and beautiful wife faded away from his side in consumption, leaving six children, one an infant of a year old.

In 1843, his eldest daughter, Emma, who had taken charge of the house and family, was suddenly snatched away by scarlet fever; a most severe blow to him, as she had shown quite a womanly power of managing the household and a devoted care of her father. His mother then broke up her own house and went to the Vicarage to take charge of the family, but in the autumn of the following year (September, 1844) she was killed in a carriage accident by his side. She had not been in an open carriage for some years, but wishing to see a church in the Parish, at the hamlet of Oldridge, which she had assisted her son to restore, she determined to take the drive of about six miles.

In returning, the horses ran away down a steep, newly-stoned hill, and near the bottom the double seated carriage broke in two, and all were thrown out. The Bishop was badly cut, bruised and stunned; his mother was instantly killed. When consciousness returned, he asked for her, the doctor answered "she is in no pain," and he did not inquire further. His left arm was so seriously injured that the doctor decided it must come off, but the Bishop was so opposed to this, that other means were tried, and in time circulation was restored and it became useful, though it always remained weak.

Shortly afterwards the letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, offering him the Bishopric, arrived, and in all probability this was the first real intimation he received respecting his appointment to the See of Fredericton.

The position was entirely unsought; indeed it is said the Bishop never knew the names of those who first recommended him to the Archbishop as a suitable man for the post he was destined to fill with so much ability.

None can do otherwise than admire the brave, manly way in which he entered upon the duties of what was well known to be an arduous and difficult position. In addition to the responsibilities of his office, there was thrown upon his shoulders the care of a large motherless family of young children. He was still suffering physically from the effects of the terrible accident, destined to leave a permanent mark on his form and features, and above all, there was the sad bereavement sustained in the tragic death of a mother so greatly revered and so tenderly loved. Yet in the face of what would have crushed one with less faith and courage the Bishop bravely came out to New Brunswick, loyally identifying himself with his Diocese from the very first, and forming the mental resolve years afterwards reaffirmed in the presence of a vast assembly in the mother land, "the Lord do so to me, and more also if aught but death part thee and me."

The Archbishop's letter just referred to is as follows:

October 3lst, 1844.

REVEREND SIR,--It has been determined to separate the Province of New Brunswick from the Bishopric of Nova Scotia, of which it now forms part, and to erect it into an independent Bishopric.

It is most desirable that this important station should be filled by a clergyman well qualified by learning and ability, by temper and judgment, by piety and soundness of doctrine, to discharge its arduous duties.

I have been informed by competent judges that you possess these qualifications in no ordinary degree, and their report has been fully confirmed by the answer of the Bishop of Exeter to my inquiries. I therefore request your permission to mention your name to Lord Stanley as Bishop.

The office is not to be coveted on account of its emoluments. The income will be about nine hundred a year, or perhaps a little more; but the style of living in the country is not expensive. That which will recommend it to you will be the consideration of the benefit which the Church and the cause of religion in general will derive from the superintendence of a zealous and judicious Bishop, which in the present state of the colony is much needed. There are indeed few situations in which a good man could be more useful.

If you have any doubts, you will, of course, take time for deliberation. I have only to request that, in case you should decline the proposal, you will consider this communication as confidential. I remain, Reverend Sir,

Your humble and obedient servant,

Rev. John Medley.


After due deliberation, a favourable reply was returned to the Archbishop's letter, and "Mr. Prebendary Medley" at the same time informed his own Diocesan, the famous "Henry of Exeter," of his decision, from whom the following gratifying letter was received in reply:

BISHOPSTONE, 26th November, 1844.

MY DEAR SIR,--I receive your communication with very mixed feelings. Personally, and as Bishop of this Diocese, I deeply lament the loss which both myself and the Diocese are about to sustain. As a Bishop of the whole Church, I rejoice in the prospect of so important a post as the See of New Brunswick being filled by such a man.

It will give me much pleasure to receive you here, if you can spare to me time for a visit before you leave England. If not here, I hope I shall see you in Exeter. Wherever you may be, accept my warmest assurances of my brotherly feelings towards you. Yours, my dear sir,

Very faithfully,

Rev. Prebendary Medley.


As has been already stated, the Rev. John Medley was consecrated at Lambeth, May 4th, of the following year. The Bishops taking part in the consecration, in addition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, were the Bishops of London, Lincoln, Rochester, Hereford and Lichfield.

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