"Lord, Thy Church, in latter days,
Wanteth much those holy ways;
Wanteth much that gain, which lies
Ever in self-sacrifice."
Spiritual Songs by the late Rev. Dr. Monsell.
As mentioned at the close of the last chapter,, a portion of the winter 1850-51 was spent in Bermuda: the See of Nova Scotia had become vacant in the autumn of 1850 by the death of Bishop Inglis, and a proposal was made in some quarters to attach Bermuda once more to that diocese from which it had been separated twelve years before: another proposal to found what is now the See of Nassau and to attach the Bermudas to the Bahamas seemed more promising; the bishop offered to give up 200l. per annum, and regretted that with the increased expenses of the Cathedral, the College, the Church ship, and the many other schemes, which were dependent largely on his munificence, he could not offer a larger portion of his own income. In the end nothing was done; and Bermuda still forms part of the diocese of Newfoundland, and for the future it will be intimately connected with the history of the See, as it gave to the great bishop who for thirty-two years laboured so abundantly for every portion of the diocese an honoured tomb.
On his return to S. John's, the bishop made a Visitation of Harbour Briton, holding an Ordination in the Church on Trinity Sunday; from this place he continued his voyage along the southern and western coasts, being afloat more than three months. The condition of the Church ship added to his anxieties: in 1849 large repairs were declared to be necessary, but the shorter voyages of the following year had been made with the ship in an unsafe state. It was plain that the Hawk must either be repaired or sold, and the bishop, after the year's cruise was ended, gave the following account of what he called his "stewardship or apprenticeship":--
"As I was to be afloat several months, it was quite requisite, both for safety and comfort, to lay down a new deck before going to sea. From June 6, when I went on board, I did not sleep one night on shore till I reached Halifax en route for Canada in the month of September. I dined on shore very seldom. I had always three, and frequently four, companions on board, so that the necessity of making the decks strong and tight, for safety and comfort, will be sufficiently apparent. Some other repairs of gear and furniture were also required, and attended to as usual; but I have not yet ventured, on account of the expense, to move the copper. The necessity, however, of doing this has become unavoidable, and will not admit of longer delay in consequence of our having run upon a reef of rocks in my last voyage (on which we remained fixed, though happily not transfixed, for nearly two hours), and on another occasion having grounded in going into a harbour. It seemed quite wonderful (as it was most merciful) that no (apparent) serious damage was done to the good Church ship on either of these occasions. All, I believe, on board expected "when we ran upon the reef, as we were going fast before the wind, and were brought up (as the sea phrase is) all standing, that the vessel must have stoved, or sprung a leak; but beyond scraping and bruising no injury appeared to be done. The tide providentially was down when she struck, and after lightening the vessel, by taking out the anchors and two brass guns, and letting off all the water, we rose with the returning flow, and continued our journey with glad and grateful hearts. When, afterwards, we grounded in entering a harbour, we again remained two hours upon the rocks, but we did not strike with the same violence as in the former instance. These circumstances made an examination of the keel and bottom of the vessel indispensable; but on proceeding to heave her down for that purpose, on my return to S. John's, it was found that the seams were so much open and the sides so much decayed, that she could not safely be laid down without previous extensive repairs to the hull. This state of things will not appear extraordinary when it is remembered that the good Church ship was over twelve years old when she came out here, and that she has now been seven years and upwards in this trying climate, exposed to frost and snow in winter (for we have no means of putting her under shelter) and to fogs and rain in summer. These repairs, therefore, preliminary to laying the vessel down, were attended to, and occupied the remainder of the summer or autumn. There remains now that last and greatest trouble and expense of laying down and coppering, with some renovation of rigging and other gear. Instead of copper we intend to use the Muntz metal, which is much less expensive, and ought to last live or six years; and it will be a miracle if the good ship's term of days extends to such a period. That she has escaped so long and with so little injury is a matter to me of continual wonder and thankfulness. Now these various repairs cannot be completed for less than 220l. in addition to the ordinary yearly expenses of fitting out.
Hitherto I have been enabled to meet the yearly expenses of repairs and voyage (not less on an average than 300l.) partly from my ordinary income, and partly from the Special donations. The Newfoundland Church Society has contributed 50l. currency towards each of the last three voyages; and I have thought it right to appropriate from the Labrador Fund, one year 40l. and the other 30l., for, or towards, the charge incurred on that coast. By these means I have been enabled to keep the good ship in sufficient repair, and to perform my Visitation, not only with as much comfort to myself as such a service is capable of, but, I trust, with considerable satisfaction and benefit to the clergy and others concerned: having afforded a lodging and entertainment to the missionaries in their respective districts, when visiting them; and celebrated service on board in many settlements which have no church, or other convenient room, for the purpose. In truth, in this respect I imagine I may be an object of envy to many of my brethren even in England; that my palace and cathedral have accompanied me through all my Visitation, and I have had no occasion to disturb any clergyman's domestic or parochial arrangements. I cannot look forward to the discontinuance, or interruption, of these Visits, so full of holy interest and usefulness, without much concern and anxiety; but, while my other expenses (chiefly in the Cathedral and College) are increasing, the Newfoundland Special Fund, so liberally supplied hitherto (and I hope I may add faithfully and carefully applied) is at length exhausted; and I must depend, as in good. reason I ought to do, upon, my ordinary income and the contributions in Newfoundland. When I say the fund is exhausted, I ought in justice to myself, and for the satisfaction of numerous kind friends and contributors, to remark that I have expended fully 3,000l. in valuable roperty in S. John's for the purposes of the College and Collegiate School. One house (used for the Collegiate School) is quite sufficient, and very suitable, for a bishop's residence, if it should be required for that purpose. The college buildings in which I now reside (in the absence of the vice-principal, who was obliged to return to England before Christmas on account of impaired eyesight) afford accommodation for six students and a vice-president, if unmarried; and the site is admirably adapted for the larger establishment which we require and desire. I have also purchased an excellent site for the Ladies' School; but alas! it lies unoccupied and unprofitable for want of funds. In the meanwhile, my Ladies' School nourishes in a hired house, and is of great benefit, as lately has been testified in a memorial, signed by the most respectable inhabitants of S. John's, praying the Governor to receive and recommend my application for a grant of money to enable me to build a house of brick or stone for that purpose. At present the School is kept in a wooden house, and the danger of fire is very great and very terrible.
I hope I may be allowed to leave to my successors, and the successors of my present flock, at least the sites and rudiments of educational establishments capable of use and increase according to the growing requirements of the Church in this colony. If, however, circumstances should render such an application of the property not necessary or not expedient, it will be something to have provided a decent and sufficient residence for the bishop of the diocese; and if the worst comes to the worst, I have little doubt that the property might be disposed of for 3,000l., or an income realized equal to the interest at 5 per cent, on that sum.
I am at present in need of, and desirous to obtain, the services of a vice-principal or tutor; but of course have to contend with the usual difficulty of nulla bona or no funds.
Let me then mention, what I should require, or at least desire, in, and of, my vice-principal or tutor. In him, a clergyman, unmarried; a fair scholar, apt to teach, and not unwilling to be taught; able and disposed to take part in Sunday duty either in S. John's or the neighbouring out-ports, and to walk occasionally for that purpose eight or nine miles. Need I say that all external gifts, powers, and accomplishments would be of little value without a sound understanding, a right mind, and an honest and good heart,--a heart zealous in the cause, pro ecclesia Dei. Of him I should expect or desire that he would instruct the students (chiefly in the classics) under the principal's direction or mine; live with the students (that is, in the same house, and taking meals at the same table, but of course with separate rooms for study, &c.); take the entire domestic management, under my direction--say the service morning and evening, and assist in the Sunday duty at church, either, as I said before, in S. John's or the neighbouring out-ports. And all this for 1001. a year? No, my good brother. That sum will provide things necessary and convenient for the present life, but the recompense must be looked for elsewhere, and will not be withheld; 'he shall in no wise lose his reward.' Why should not one of the Jesus College Missionary Fellows undertake such an office? Is the thought too presumptuous?
But the most pressing of all my requirements, which it was my chief desire and design therefore to press upon the attention and sympathy of the Societies and other friends of the Colonial Church in England, is that of more clergy. But what is to be done for these poor scattered sheep? and for their scattered shepherds, overborne with toiling and watching and running from fold to fold? Suppose I could raise 200l. or 300l. a year; surely two or three might be found who, being so far provided against want and distress, would be ready to endure hardness for these poor fishermen and for Christ's sake. This is, and I fear always will he, my greatest need; greatest in importance, greatest in the difficulty of meeting and supplying it. I tremble whenever I think or hear of a probable vacancy."
On Christmas Day, 1851, the vessels, books, and pastoral staff presented by anonymous friends in England to the cathedral were solemnly consecrated by the bishop, the form of prayer and dedication used on the occasion being taken from one which was used by Archbishop Sancroft in the consecration of the plate given by Lord Digby for the use of the church of Coleshill, in the county of Warwick, in 1685. The bishop was careful to instruct the people as to the propriety of the service and the great authorities for its use, viz. Bishop Andrewes, Bishop Patrick, and others. He showed that the same reasons held good for the consecration of vessels and books as for the consecration of a new church; that the consecration of a church did indeed formally include all vessels and furniture presented at the time, and that for this reason the Rubric specifies that "the vessels for the Holy Communion are to be placed on the holy table," and that when, as in the case of the cathedral, vessels have been subsequently presented but the bishop's presence has not been possible, the use has consecrated such gifts: nevertheless, the bishop being at hand, it seemed that "unless wise and pious men have greatly mistaken the teaching of God's Spirit and of holy writ, we may humbly hope that God, for His dear Son's sake, will allow and accept this service." The services were simple, but full of interest and instruction, and all who were present seemed to have been much impressed by their solemnity and fitness.
The greater part of 1852 was spent in S. John's, where the bishop lived in the college, acting as vice-principal; "and very pleasant the life is to me," he wrote. He succeeded partially in his endeavours to obtain from the Government an adequate share of the grant made for educational purposes; the Romanists obtained their share, as was right and just; but the balance was voted for Protestant education generally: the bishop declined to allow the Church, of which he was the ruler, to be ranked as one of the Protestant sects, and to assert the proper position of the Church cost him much labour and exposed him to some obloquy.
In January, 1853, the bishop was in England after an absence of six years, but his stay was a brief one. In the first week of March he set forth again from Liverpool, where again he had the comfort of the Holy Eucharist with his friends in the church of the Rev. Cecil Wray. Truly he needed all support and comfort: he was sick in mind and body, and the discomforts that were awaiting him were many. When his double voyage was ended and he was landed at Bermuda, he wrote the following letter to a friend in England who was his frequent correspondent and ever-ready comforter:--
"BERMUDA, April 2, 1853.
"I had the pleasure of receiving your note at Mr. Wray's on the morning of my departure; and for it, and all the kind and encouraging words in it, I was and am truly grateful. A friend in need is a friend indeed, and a word of encouragement when leaving friends and home is doubly dear and valuable. I was at the time sick in body and mind; my hand and foot were both dressed by my doctor the morning of my embarkation, but it is not so easy to minister to a mind diseased or distressed; as I am not ashamed to confess mine was at the time. I was under medical, or surgical, treatment several days on board, but other comfort or relief, 'more needed, more desired,' I found none. My companions, or fellow-passengers, were the most unsatisfactory set of people I ever encountered. Of seventeen or eighteen for Newfoundland three or four only, besides myself, were members of our Church, and of those in the saloon (nine in number) five were Roman Catholics, three Presbyterians, and one only of our communion! These were they which were not a comfort to me. Had I not reason to cry, 'Woe is me, that I am constrained,' &c.? and fourteen long days this trial endured, with bad weather, and in an overloaded vessel. Thank God we arrived safe at Halifax on the Friday (March 18). The Bishop of Nova Scotia met me and took me to his house. The next morning I started in a wretched little screw-steamer, which had twice broken her shaft, for Bermuda. I believe it was expected some accident would happen. The bishop said he should keep a room ready for me. It is impossible to describe the misery of the noises, thumps, and jerks occasioned by the screw, with the rolling and pitching of the little vessel going before a gale of wind, and taking in quantities of water. However, we were not destined to endure all this misery very long, for before ten hours had passed the shaft again snapped, or as the black waiter said, 'went smash.' What a prospectus! We had no choice but to proceed, as it was blowing a gale, and we continued to scud before it all the following night and day. In the middle of the second night a great sea washed our binnacle and lamps overboard, and the man at the wheel nearly shared the same fate. The propeller, or tan, after the shaft is broken, hangs astern, and probably greatly hinders the vessel's way, but renders it almost impossible to steer her, and to tack. The first three days we had a gale from the north-west, and then another from the south-west, and in consequence we were carried so much to the eastward of our course that the captain doubted whether he should fetch Bermuda at all, and talked of running for the West Indies. I was obliged the second night to abandon my berth (in consequence of the wet, which came in through the side-light), and roll myself among the mail-bags. Ten days we were in this plight--and what days!--the 'day of days' and all the long week: and with what companions--three Presbyterians (the captain and two passengers), and the fourth of no particular Church or denomination, as he himself told me, but his father was a Methodist, and he is married to a Presbyterian; sometimes he attends the service of the Church of England, sometimes of the Presbyterians, but most commonly none. With these, in very close and uncomfortable proximity, I spent all the Holy Week and Easter Sunday and Monday, without any other soul to speak to. On the morning of Easter Tuesday we most happily and providentially came right down upon Bermuda, having passed the previous night in some anxiety from not having seen the 'light.' We did not make out the place till within about ten miles, quite near enough to put us into some difficulty if the wind had not been quite fair. Try to think of a bishop in such a wretched little vessel, with such company, and in such dreadful weather, all Passion and Eastertide; remembering also what he had left behind in dear old England. However, on Easter Tuesday we did arrive without harm or accident; and I hope there was one, at least, who did obey the Psalmist's injunction, to praise the Lord for His goodness, &c. I hope to be at S. John's by Pentecost."
The Charge delivered to the clergy in Bermuda on S. Mark's Day, 1853, is especially of interest, inasmuch as it contains the impressions which had been made on the bishop's mind during his brief stay in England. During the years that he had been absent from his native land the Church had made substantial progress, which struck a visitor from afar more than it impressed those who were daily engaged in Church work. Specially he noticed the tokens of increased life in the multiplication of churches and schools, in the restoration of dilapidated fabrics everywhere, and in the restoration of the naves of certain cathedrals to their proper use: he observed too with satisfaction, that the funds for these holy works were not "provided, as too frequently in former days, by questionable bequests of questionably acquired wealth, but by gifts and offerings which involve in each case large sacrifice of present means and emoluments, and have no other object in view than the glory of God and the good of His people." The Church Penitentiary Association, with the houses of mercy connected with it and dotted about the land, was a novelty full of interest to the bishop; the foundation of theological colleges, the discussions of Convocation, and the establishment of S. Augustine's College at Canterbury, were cheering signs of spiritual vigour which drew forth expressions of joyful thankfulness from his very heart of hearts. The things which he had seen in England led him to urge the Island clergy to many reforms, and especially he recommended them to meet periodically under the presidency of their Rural Dean for the consideration of things pertaining to their ministry and its efficiency.
S. John's was reached before Pentecost, as had been intended, and on Trinity Sunday an Ordination was held. The bishop, it may here be stated, rarely, under any pressure of apparent necessity, ordained except at the appointed seasons; it seemed to him to be cruel to candidates and unjust to the Church to deprive them of the benefit of the prayers of the faithful everywhere offered at the Ember seasons. On June 15 the Hawk, having been repaired and refitted, was ready for sea. The bishop wrote:--
"I celebrated as usual the Lord's Supper in the cathedral, as the surest and meetest method of strengthening my friends and brethren, and being myself strengthened for our separation, and of comforting and being comforted in my long absence. Many of my friends accompanied me to the wharf, and I embarked with the companions of my voyage between three and four o'clock p.m., but finding that matters on board were still in much confusion, we returned to the Evening Prayers in the cathedral at five o'clock.
Soon after six we re-embarked, and at seven o'clock were sailing out of the harbour, our friends still attending on the shore, and saluting us with hands and handkerchiefs, which we knew were tokens of praying and well-wishing hearts. These were to be seen, and were seen till we reached the mouth of the Narrows, when just on losing sight of these we passed a large vessel at anchor, the name of which painted both on the sides and stern was 'Blessing.' The word caught every eye, and I believe spoke to every heart. We seemed to depart with a 'blessing' from the shore and on the sea, and if so, surely we might fondly hope also from heaven above--'Blessed' we surely were in our going out!"
The cruise was intended to include a thorough visitation of the Labrador, where the Rev. G. Hutchinson, who had left his pleasant parsonage at West Malvern, was to be stationed. [Mr. Hutchinson died in his Mission of Topsail on October 5, 1876.] The course shaped was along the eastern shore of Newfoundland, where the mission of Greenspond was visited, and the clergyman, the Rev. Julian Moreton, was cheered by the sight of his bishop and friends after an absence for six months of all such intercourse. Fair winds brought the ship rapidly to Forteau, where the Rev. A. Gifford, whose first settlement at this remote spot in 1849 has been already mentioned, greeted the party with a joy which none can realise who have not known what he had experienced. His worldly lot had been much improved. He no longer shared a fisherman's cabin and kitchen; a wooden mission-house had been built, and wife and sister had come to share its accommodation.
"I was delighted," wrote the bishop, "to hear that not only Mr. Gifford, but his wife and sister, who had shared with him the trials and privations of a Labrador winter, were and had been all along in excellent health. Their solitude had been relieved, and their troubles lightened by the birth of a child, who had not suffered in any degree from the severity of the climate, but was lively and lovely as any 'happy English child.' We gladly accepted an invitation to drink tea in the mission-house, and, saving the wooden walls of the room, and the side of the Canadian stove flush with the wall (the body of the stove being in the kitchen, and serving for culinary purposes as well as warmth), we might have fancied ourselves in one of the neat parlours of an English parsonage, with all its hospitalities and comforts. And I doubt whether all or many English parsonages would have seen Helmore's Psalter and Hymnal brought out, and used as was done in the Labrador mission-house on this occasion by nearly the whole party. They did not separate without prayers, and a bishop's blessing."
On the following day commenced the circuit of Mr. Gifford's mission, extending eighty miles in a straight line, which may be doubled in a sea-voyage. The Church ship was made useful in towing some baulk and carrying dock-loads of timber, which the people were willing to give for the purpose of building churches, but which could never have been carried to the site where they were required but I for the help of the Hawk . Even in these remote places the demon of discord had found an entrance, the Methodists from Carbonear dissuading the people from confirmation as savouring of superstition, while the use of a school chapel which had been built formed a fruitful source of disagreement, some desiring to throw it open, as probably their sympathizers in England would desire to do with our parish churches--to the ministrations of "any good man that comes along; "others objecting to such indiscriminate uses. The Confirmation was held, the lumber for the church was placed on the ground, the cemetery was consecrated, and the bishop congratulated the people on the difference in their spiritual state since his last visit. "Then," he said, "I left a single minister in deacon's orders, a stranger and strange among them. By the blessing of God upon him and his labours, he has not only purchased for himself a higher degree in the ministry, but has united so far at least their hands that they have decently fenced their grave-yard, and petitioned for its consecration; have laid the foundations of a chapel, with a good prospect of carrying it on to completion; their children have been duly baptized, and the heads of the families been confirmed by the bishop. I earnestly besought them to remember, with devout gratitude, not only the great Source from which all these blessings had originated, and descended to them and theirs, but the church and the ministers also, by or through which they had been conveyed and received; and forgetting dissension and difference, to unite heart and hand in carrying forward the good work for their own edification, the comfort of their minister, the honour of the Church, and that end of all ends, the glory of God."
Going on to Battle Harbour the bishop introduced the Rev. G. Hutchinson to his future flock; his goods were landed from the Hawk and then a visit was paid to S. Francis Harbour. Here, as on former visits to Labrador, important news arrived from the outer world; a vessel from Liverpool brought tidings of the rupture between Russia and Turkey On the following Sunday the church which was designed on the former voyage was consecrated by the name of S. John the Baptist, "partly to show its connection with and dependence on the Church in Newfoundland, and partly to show that he who preaches and ministers here must come in the spirit of the holy Baptist, content to live in a wilderness, and on food almost as simple and natural."
Amid the barrenness of this region every flower is noticed with admiration, and the bishop's love of nature found much gratification even in the stern scenery by which he was surrounded. "In a walk over Caribou Island, the only tree or shrub we passed or saw rising three inches from the ground was a small mountain ash, which had taken advantage of a sheltered nook in the side of the hill quite protected from all northerly winds, Hid had contrived to shoot up some three feet high. Still there are
-----------" Earth and sky,
And some flowers to bloom and die,"
which the poet of the Christian Year reminds us may suffice to infuse 'lowly thoughts.'"
The time had now come for Mr. Hutchinson to be inducted into his parsonage at Battle Harbour; and the account of deficiency of house-keeping materials testifies to the kind forethought of the bishop who wished to test the resources of the Mission-house, while there was yet time to supply what was lacking.
"Mr. Hutchinson was anxious to entertain his bishop and companions in the Church ship, and we were equally anxious to be entertained at the new parsonage; but, upon overhauling the crockery, it appeared there were only two teacups, and both those cracked. This deficiency, however, was easily supplied from the Church ship; and the first entertainment at the Battle Harbour parsonage came off after evening service. It was late before we sat down to tea, which gave us an opportunity of discovering that there were no candles in the house; and, when some dips had been procured from the store, there were no snuffers. It was partly with the view of discovering these deficiencies that I desired the entertainment on shore; they did not, however, prevent our enjoyment of the cocoa and preserves kindly sent from Jersey for Mr. Disney by some friends, who show the same considerate attention to Mr. Gifford's comforts. We had indeed a most agreeable, happy evening; and did not depart without praising the Lord for His goodness, and sanctifying His gift with the Word of God and with prayer. To make the induction and occupation more complete, Mr. Hutchinson remained on shore for the night, and took possession of Mr. Disney's ottoman bed. The rest of the party returned to the Church ship."
At Quirpon and other places on the N.E. coast, the eagerness with which the ministrations of the Church were received added much to the regret with which the poor people were left again to their destitute state. Four years had elapsed since the last visit, and now barely two days could be given to one place. At Twillingate with its church and schools, and resident clergyman, things afforded a bright contrast; the bishop spent a Sunday here, visiting the Sunday-schools, and "really almost feeling at home again, a happy English parson."
At Ward's Harbour even pleasanter things awaited the bishop: here a church was consecrated whose very existence surely testified to much piety and zeal. "Mr. Boone went on shore, and found the principal planter, through whose exertions chiefly the little church (a very humble but neatly-finished structure) was built, prepared to receive and welcome us. He showed his church with modest satisfaction, which, though only a wooden room, twenty-four feet by eighteen, with five square windows, has cost him some seventy pounds, besides labour; as great a sacrifice or expenditure perhaps for him, as the whole cost of a cathedral would be to some of those 'that have riches.' He was very desirous to have the building consecrated, and with it the land adjacent, which he and his neighbours had marked out for a grave-yard. I felt little or no difficulty about the church, but could not consent to consecrate the grave-yard while it had no fence. He met that difficulty by engaging to put up a temporary fence of stakes and nets to-morrow, and a more substantial one of rails and pickets before the winter. Feeling sure that his promise, God willing, would be performed, I did not hesitate to grant all his request. He spoke to me with much deep and right .feeling of a neighbour who had been his chief associate and assistant in planning and building their church, and whom, after watching over and tending in a long illness, as the physician of both body and soul, he had lately consigned to his last resting-place, in the grave-yard of their own choice. 'He had been wild,' he said, 'in his younger days, but for three years he had been an altered character, and before his death he told me all he had done wrong.' The poor man, it seems, had recognised the duty, if not the privilege, of the Apostle's injunction 'Confess your faults one to another;' and that other duty and privilege had not been forgotten by his friend, 'to pray one for another.'"
In the newly-dedicated church many were confirmed, three generations of the same family kneeling together. The people everywhere in these harbours greatly cheered the bishop's spirit. "When will the gold-fields produce such characters?" he wrote, "and .many such I have found, formed and fashioned in this life of toil, and privation, and separation from the jealousies and suspicions of marts and markets, and of strivings about the truth."
At Catalina, after Confirmation had been administered, and the Holy Communion celebrated, another function remained to be performed, and the sketch which the bishop gives of a Newfoundland parsonage, and the difficulties of erecting it, is too good to be omitted:--"At the evening service, Mr. Walsh preached. We then proceeded to inaugurate the new parsonage, taking tea in it, and concluding the evening with prayer, hymns, and Holy Scripture. It was the first time of using it, but within a month or six weeks, it is hoped, the good missionary may be rewarded for his patient occupation for five years of a very cabin (affording but one room as 'parlour, kitchen, and all,' for himself and family), by removing to this, in comparison, comfortable and commodious, though really small and modest parsonage. It consists of one sitting-room and one kitchen on the ground-floor; and, over these, two good bedrooms, with two good-sized closets. In the roof is space for two sleeping apartments, but the cold would be too great to allow of their use in winter. It has cost about 229£, besides the sticks for the frame, and some gratuitous labour. The offices, however, remain to be provided, which should cost from 20l. to 30l. more. Such is a Newfoundland parsonage, five years in construction, but which might have been completed in as many months, with command of sufficient means."
In the mission of Trinity, "the most polished and picturesque of all Newfoundland settlements," a more lengthened stay was made; on the festival of S. Matthew, the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral, a little church was consecrated in Trouty Cove. Although only thirty feet by fifteen, it had taken thrice as long to complete as the cathedral; the whole cost was only 60l., but a considerable part of the material had been provided, and much of the work done by the fishermen's own hands. A worthy planter, who had been active in promoting the building, was present, and, the bishop said, "appeared as pleased with and proud of his little wooden house of prayer, and as thankful for the day of its completion and consecration as many are with the churches which have exhausted the skill of a Scott or Butterfield, and been beautified with all the ornaments and enrichments that wealth can supply. He entertained his bishop and clergy with an excellent Newfoundland dinner, viz. tea, hard and soft bread, with butter, eggs, and roasted caplin in abundance."
Before this mission was left, an ordination was held in its church on Sunday, September 25, when two were added as deacons to the ministry of the Church, and two deacons were ordained priests. The seventh voyage of the bishop was now drawing to a close. "At 1 A.M., on Michaelmas Day," the bishop writes, "the anchor went down, and on going on deck I found that we were once more at our first starting-place, all returned safe and sound. My companions, indeed, were safe and sound in their berths; and after congratulating and commending the 'skipper' and crew, I had but one other duty to perform before I 'turned in,' and was at rest.
I did not go on shore till the hour of divine service (11 o'clock). I then went up with my friends to the cathedral, and publicly returned thanks, fully prepared to join in the beautiful Collect for the festival, and to thank that everlasting God by whose appointment His holy angels had succoured and defended us by land and by sea.
The whole service seemed most appropriate to our condition and circumstances, and I never entered so fully and gratefully into it. It was a good day, holy and happy, as Wordsworth sings--
'One of those happy days that never die.' "
While the good bishop was thus actively engaged in labours that were truly apostolic, for the benefit of this scattered people, unscrupulous attempts were made to upset the financial system which he had long before instituted with the approval of the leading laity of the diocese, and by which alone either the Church could be maintained, or the people taught to value their religious privileges. As may be expected the bishop was unmoved, although the governor of the colony took an active part against him, which seems to be inconsistent with the position which he occupied. There were found also persons in England who did not scruple to take up the cry, and one newspaper, that never has failed in hostility to the bishop or any other consistent Churchman, was true to its antecedents on this occasion. It is unnecessary to allude at greater length to this miserable affair. The bishop could point to the increasing funds of the Church Society, against which this opposition was directed, and to the readiness with which each household, capable of doing so, contributed their yearly quintal of fish, valued at ten shillings, and his criticism on the condition of things was worthy of himself. "The Church is gaining strength," said he, "and strength of the right sort, strength to suffer as God sees fit."
The year 1854 was full of trials and anxiety; the Home Government determined to extend to Newfoundland the questionable blessing of responsible government, the immediate result of which was to place all matters in the hands of the majority, which in this case consisted of Roman Catholics; at the same time some of the leading merchants were quitting the island, and finding other fields in which to invest their capital. Then popular feeling, encouraged by persons who were offended at the bishop's action with regard to the Church Society, ran very high, and seriously impeded him in his labours. Although the question at issue was purely a financial one, the odium theologicum was dragged into the controversy, which it inflamed and protracted. The cry of Puseyism and Tractarianism was freely raised. It would fall very flat now, because we have all, consciously or otherwise, imbibed the teaching which those reproachful terms were supposed to cover; just as the cry of Ritualism will fall flat in ten years' time, when we shall all have become, consciously or otherwise, Ritualists: but in 1854 it answered the purpose for which it was raised. In the summer S. John's was visited by cholera. The bishop made to the Board of Health an offer of the college to be used as a cholera hospital, and when the plague was stayed he suggested that the most fitting form in which the gratitude of the preserved could be exhibited would be the erection of an asylum for the widows and destitute; for this he offered a site close to the rectory and cathedral, and assistance towards the building, adding that he "should esteem it an honour and privilege to build and maintain it at his own cost, but he neither had the means, nor if he had should he think it right to deprive others of a share in such a work."
Early in 1855 the bishop was again in Bermuda, and on Ascension Day he consecrated a new church, which was to be a quasi-cathedral. After only five days spent on his return in S. John's, he started on a three months' visitation of the southern and western coasts, and to his great thankfulness was enabled to accomplish one very important work, which is described in the following letter:---
"THE CHURCH SHIP, BURIN, Sept. 26, 1855.
"Several years ago (nine or ten, I believe) the inhabitants of Channel (all fishermen) built for themselves a place of worship, to be used, as they said, 'by any good man who came along'--clergyman, Methodist preacher, Baptist, or any other professed Protestant. The majority, however, after my visit to the place in 1849, were desirous of making over the building to the bishop to be consecrated, and of procuring a resident missionary; but a few of the more wealthy planters, who had contributed most largely to the building, were strict Methodists, and refused to consent to the consecration, and relinquish their rights, without being paid the value of their contributions in work and material. In the hope of obtaining a settlement, I sent Mr. Boland to the place, and all parties willingly consented to his occupying and using the building, and some progress was made towards satisfying some of the recusants. But there was really no residence to be had in the place for love or money, and after remaining for some months (I believe nearly twelve months), in part of a fisherman's house with Mrs. Boland and his son, to the great discomfort of all parties, he was obliged to quit, and removed to Sandy-point, S. George's Bay, then just deserted by Mr. Meek. No sooner had he gone than the Methodists again made a descent upon the place. On my arrival at Channel in July, I found that Mr. Du Val had so far succeeded with the people that all but two were willing to give up the building and consent to the consecration, without payment, and that these two would also give up and consent upon being paid, and, moreover, that his congregation undertook to subscribe to purchase a residence to the amount of 100£.--a very handsome sum for these fishermen. Under these circumstances, I did willingly, and I may say joyfully, give, on behalf of our Church Society, fifty pounds to secure the church, and another fifty towards the parsonage; and I had the great satisfaction of consecrating the building on S. James's Day, by the name of 'The Church of S. James the Apostle,' and on the same day of holding a Confirmation in it (the first ever celebrated in the district); and finally of taking possession of the modest wooden mission-house, which Mr. Du Val is to occupy, after some repairs, on Michaelmas Day.
I have been as far as Bonne Bay and the Bay of Islands on the western coast (places, alas! not visited by any clergyman but myself and my companions in the Church ship); I have called and celebrated services at all the principal settlements on the western and southern coasts--have seen and spent some days with all the clergy--have consecrated five new churches and seven cemeteries--have given the Lord's Supper at fifteen and Confirmation at eighteen settlements, sometimes on shore sometimes in the Church ship. During the whole voyage (of three months' duration) I have only slept on shore one night, and on that occasion because the weather was so bad that even the sailors could not return to the ship.
The good Church ship has been again most mercifully preserved and prospered, and but for the expense (this voyage will not cost me less than 600l.) and the want of exercise, which seriously affects my health, I would be content to live on board altogether. We have lately had rather tempestuous weather, which tries the Hawk 's rigging and spars--getting old and weak and hardly safe. I have just completed the circuit of Mr. Meek's (late White's) immense mission, upwards of 100 miles; and am now detained in Burin (Placentia Bay) by adverse winds and fog. I have only two more settlements to visit between this place and S. John's (155 miles), passing, alas! many populous ones, wholly occupied by Roman Catholics. If, therefore, we are favoured and prospered as we have hitherto been, we may hope to complete our voyage within a week from this date."
The year 1856 opened full of promises and of hopeful schemes--but it proved to be more full of sorrows than any of its predecessors to the bishop and the Church. A visit to the Moravian stations on the northern shores of Labrador, extending almost to Hudson's Bay, had long been contemplated and now seemed likely to be accomplished. The bishop, by advertisements in several English papers and by all means within his reach, endeavoured to obtain the companionship of an English clergyman. He mentioned the attractions which such a cruise offered to the naturalist, the physiologist, and the ethnologist as well as to the lover of souls: with the Moravians themselves he intended no interference, but rather desired to learn their method of conducting their missions, and in one or two parts of the Labrador that were unoccupied ,he hoped to establish missions--but where were the men? This subject was ever weighing him down, and he wrote (February 5, 1856):--"Can no real clergymen be found to volunteer their services? Must the Colonial Church (which the present Archbishop of Canterbury has most truly and most feelingly said ought to be served by the elite) be always made to recruit her clergy from behind counters and desks, or from the ranks of national schoolmasters and Scripture-readers? I greatly trust that S. Augustine's may, in some degree, supply the deficiency if not correct the fault; but until men of family and fortune can be brought to enter S. Augustine's, with a view and determination of serving the Colonial Church, or promoting the missionary cause, there is too much danger of its degenerating into a Protestant Maynooth." But the expected voyage had to be abandoned, for the bishop and diocese met with a great loss by the death of Archdeacon Bridge. The bishop thus describes his sorrow and distress to a friend in England:--
"March 5, 1856.
"I had gone (on the 10th ult.) to take the place and duty of one of my overworked clergy on the mission of Island Cove in Conception Bay--a mission with four churches and 2,000 souls, left without shepherd and without service. The missionary, C. Walsh, who had been laid up for two months with a dangerous sprain, was removed to Harbour Grace, for rest and medical attendance. I had proposed to remain, if necessary, till Easter, in the fisherman's cottage, in which Mr. Walsh resides when at home. I had, however, scarcely been absent from S. John's a fortnight when I was summoned back by a report of the archdeacon's dangerous illness. I arrived on Monday, the 25th ult., and had the melancholy satisfaction of watching by his bed three days and three nights, till he passed I trust into that day which is not succeeded by night.
Never was a more real case of a man 'worked to death.' Finding that he could no longer afford a curate (and if he could, I know not where he would have procured one) he laboured more abundantly and unceasingly than ever, for nothing could prevail with him to lay aside a single service or duty once entered upon. The consequence was foreseen, I believe, by many, and foretold by more than one; and by myself represented to him repeatedly, but to no purpose. His sun has gone down while it was yet day. It is impossible to describe the sensation, the grief and distress caused by his death, though you may gather something from the account published in the paper."
The vacant place had to be filled at once by the bishop himself, for he had no one to whom he could assign the duties of the cathedral and parish; of what nature these duties were, and all along had been, may be gathered from an extract from the bishop's letter of April 19, 1856:--
"I can give you an idea of what the Archdeacon's work was, by telling you what I have been called on to perform in his stead. In the Octave of Easter I administered the Holy Communion ten times, the first time in the cathedral to nearly 200 persons, assisted only by one clergyman. I also performed myself on that day two full services. On the following Sunday I performed three full services unassisted and alone, and said prayers at a fourth service. Such and more was the Archdeacon's work, for to these public ministrations he added continual visits to sick and poor by day and night."
But more--much more--was yet to come, and the following letter written in June and giving an account of a clergyman frozen to death three months before, the news of which had only just reached the capital, gives incidentally a sketch of the conditions of life in Newfoundland which would not otherwise be realized.
"S. JOHN'S, June 25, 1856.
"With wearied hand and eyes and a heavy heart, I have now to inform you of another sad vacancy in our small missionary band. Poor Mr. Boland was caught in a drift some time in the month of March and frozen to death. This is indeed blow upon blow, and sorrow upon sorrow, but I know all is ordered by a wise and good GOD, who chastens us for our profit. May He grant us to reap all the profit, and that His Church may not suffer for my faults and offences which deserve scull correction.
It may help you to understand some of the peculiarities, and I may add peculiar difficulties of this country and diocese, to inform you that up to this time I have not received, and no person in S. John's. has received, any direct communication from S. George's Bay, though the melancholy event took place early in March."
The vacant Archdeaconry was accepted by the Rev. Jacob Mountain, whose work in Harbour Briton has been several times mentioned, and whose arrival in 1847 had been so great a comfort to the bishop. He served in this capacity but for a very brief period; a fever had raged through S. John's with the fury of an epidemic, and Mr.' Mountain had been unsparing in his ministrations to the sick: especially he had devoted himself to nursing, a man servant to whom he was much attached. At length he was seized by the fever himself, and, his constitution being already weakened, he could not struggle against it; he entered into his rest on the feast of S. Michael and All Angels, nursed for the last days and nights of his life by his bishop, who knew not how to provide for the bare maintenance of the Church services, so many had been his losses.
In the midst of these anxieties, one of the Labrador clergy, the Rev. A. Gifford, who had started for England in ill-health, and had got as far as Quebec, came back at once, knowing the emergency of the position. Of another the bishop wrote--
"Good Mr. Hutchinson has just been brought from his barren rock on the Labrador by the man-of-war steamer Argus after three years' separation from his brethren and friends. In all that time he has never tasted nor seen fresh beef. He was very much debilitated when taken on board, but he is recovering health, strength, and spirits, and hopes to return in about ten days to his poor place and people."
Amid these graver sorrows, the decision of the Court of Arches by which a credence table was declared to be unlawful did not much distress the bishop. He wrote: "Dr. Lushington's judgment, or, rather, want of judgment, will not give me much trouble. I shall conform, but it must be reversed, and then I can put back the credence table." [The Bishop was right: the judgment was reversed on an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.] He did conform and had the credence removed from the cathedral and a stone altar from another church: he published a thoughtful pastoral letter which he caused to be road in the cathedral, in which he insisted on the Rubric being observed in its integrity, and, alluding to the order of the judge for the erection of the Ten Commandments at the east end of the church, he called attention to the fact that the canon which enjoined this enacted that "other chosen sentences be written on the walls of churches and chapels," and this he commended to the people. On another point, often a controverted point, he wrote:--
"This remark leads me to add a few words on the occasional Decorations of Churches at particular seasons, and chiefly at Christmas. The lawfulness of such decorations is fully established by the general and almost universal practice in England, from the .Reformation, without interruption, to the present day. The nature and character of such decorations will, of course, differ (no rule being prescribed) according to season, country, taste, feeling, and various other circumstances. Thus in my own parish in England it has been the custom from time immemorial to deck the church at four seasons of the year with the fairest flowers or shrubs then available: at Christmas chiefly with holly and other evergreens. In the other colony of this diocese, at this season, the pillars and galleries are hung with roses and geraniums, while texts of Scripture are fastened on the walls, with suitable emblems formed of oleander and palmetto leaves. Here we must be satisfied, with such boughs and branches as a sterner climate furnishes, to take our share in these simple but significant acknowledgments of God's mercy in bringing round to us the great seasons of Christian joy and hope. Emblems, appropriate to the season, are designed for the same end as the chosen sentences and texts of Scripture. Both are designed, and ought, to edify as well as please, both being in acknowledgment of the mercy then commemorated; as at Christmas His nativity who is Emmanuel, God with us; at Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles; at Easter, His glorious Resurrection; on Holy Thursday, His Ascension. Our only care must be, while we thus strive to please and edify, to give no just or reasonable ground of offence. It could hardly be supposed that the members of a Church, who are reminded of their Saviour's birth by that beautiful figure of Scripture, 'The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee--the fir-tree, and the pine-tree and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary,' as is done in the lesson appointed to be read at the beginning and end of Christmas-tide; and of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles by the leading of a star at Epiphany--it could hardly be supposed that the members of our Church would be otherwise than pleased and edified by the further illustration of these great truths with appropriate emblems."
In 1857 the bishop was abundantly occupied in S. John's and the neighbourhood; on Trinity Sunday he held an Ordination, and on S. Peter's Day set sail with the Rev. W. W. Le Gallais, a young deacon, for a three months' voyage, Mr. Le Gallais understanding that before the voyage was over he would be stationed at some harbour which seemed most to need his services. He was in the end sent to Channel, where he laboured in a way that testified to the training he had received under Mr. Mountain, much of whose zeal and fervour he imbibed. This mission he never deserted: it may be said of him--
"Nor e'er had changed nor wished to change his place."
Calls of sickness, however distant the sufferer may be, the Newfoundland priests never neglect, and it should be added that the fishermen are always ready to take their clergy in their boats on such errands without thought of fee. A call of this kind came to Mr. Le Gallais in 1869: in an open boat he set forth for Isle aux Morts, but the upturned boat washed ashore was the only sign ever vouchsafed to make known his not inglorious death.
A letter to the Rev. Canon Seymour gives an interesting account of the voyage of 1857, and opinions and criticisms on other matters of much importance to the Mother Church.
"THE DELTA, en route to BERMUDA, Jan. 18, 1858.
"My dear Brother and Friend,--I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for the space, I think, of nearly two years for a convenient and sufficient opportunity of acknowledging and replying to your kind and interesting letter, and thanking you for your sermon and pamphlet on admission of the laity into the Convocation. I have, however, never found an opportunity, though I have, I assure you, constantly and carefully desired and watched for it. I do not think you will accuse or suspect me of exaggeration, when I say I have scarcely an hour or a moment which is not, or might not be, occupied with pressing matters of duty or business. And this remark applies not only to my land but my sea life: for whenever I can write at sea (and happily I can write as long as any person I have ever met with), I have Newfoundland behind me and Bermuda before me, or vice versa; and therefore, both before and behind me abundant employment for the pen of a far more ready writer than myself. But at sea, I need not tell you, it is frequently impossible for the most ready writer to use or to hold his pen; and very nearly five months of last year were so spent, I mean at sea, and little opportunity afforded of corresponding with relatives and friends. I left S. John's on my voyage of Visitation last year on the 24th of June, and did not return until the 24th or 23rd of October, and soon after had to cross and re-cross Conception Bay on a Visitation which occupied the whole of November. On the 1st of this month I left S. John's for Halifax, Nova Scotia, en route for Bermuda, which place (Halifax) we reached after a tempestuous and most trying passage in six days, during which I only could write for one day and a half, and no person else attempted to write at all. I expected to start again in two days for Bermuda, but we were detained at Halifax by heavy weather till yesterday (Sunday) morning, when we left at 8 a.m. I am now taking advantage of tolerably moderate weather on Monday morning, before we reach the Gulf Stream, to attempt some answer to, or at least acknowledgment of, your interesting and instructive communications.
Let me in the first place say that you will not measure my appreciation of, and gratitude for, your kind remembrance of me by my unworthy, but do not say, unwilling returns. You express some wish to know my sentiments on the great question which has justly occupied so much attention, and to the proper understanding of which you have so largely contributed. My opinion, however, is worth nothing; indeed, I have not sufficiently considered the subject to have formed an opinion which I would care to express. Taking the first Council in Jerusalem as a guide or pattern, it seems that while the Apostles and Elders came together to consider, and S. James, as presiding bishop, gave sentence, the brethren also, or the whole Church (including, I presume, the laity), concurred in sending the letters, and, therefore, were doubtless present, and to that extent took part. I should not however suppose that this Council gives any authority to lay interference in considering and determining matters of doctrine, which I should consider an unsuitable and unsafe proceeding. Excepting points of doctrine, I should think laymen might very properly assist in Convocation, especially when ecclesiastical matters do not, or ought not to, come before Parliament. I believe the presence of the laity has been of great service in the Conventions of the United States, hut I hardly think you can infer from this circumstance that they would be equally so in England or elsewhere. One thing appears very plain and certain, that the very different state of things in the Church and the Nation as compared with our state before the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act and the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, and yet more as compared with our state before the Reformation, requires some change in the constitution and proceedings of Convocation. But will not you, before you admit the laity, suffer your colonial brethren, or at least the bishops, to creep in by some side door? I am really almost ashamed of having written so much on a subject I understand so little, but I cannot but feel its importance, and cannot help having and expressing some thoughts about it, trusting to your indulgence: for those who have most studied the subject will best perceive and most readily acknowledge its difficulties.
The most interesting events in my late voyage were the Confirmation of some Esquimaux; the first, probably, ever confirmed by a bishop on the coast of Labrador--(I say on the coast of Labrador, because it is very likely, although I do not know such to be the case, that the Bishop of Rupertsland has confirmed others in the Hudson's Bay Territory)--the consecration of two churches on that coast, and the wreck of my little vessel off the coast of Newfoundland. She ran upon a sunken rock through the ignorance or carelessness of our pilot, and remained there, Prometheus-like, for some hours. We succeeded at length in getting her off with the high tide, having taken out the ballast, but in such a leaky state as to require to be taken into dock, and I was not able to use her the rest of the season. I consequently performed the latter part of my Visitation in fishing vessels, boats, &c., sleeping sometimes at the houses of the clergy, and sometimes at those of planters and fishermen, and living as fishermen do, on bread and butter, and tea, and fish. Tea is more commonly used than any other beverage by the fishermen of Newfoundland, more commonly than by the labourers in England. It is used, in fact, at every meal, or rather it is with biscuit and butter their every meal. Many of the clergy live in the same way.
I can report, I think, considerable improvement in the manners and morals of the fishermen of my flock, both on the coast of Newfoundland and of the Labrador, since I first visited them: I do not mean that my visits have caused or contributed to that improvement (except so far as they may have profited by the gifts of grace which a bishop, however unworthy, is commissioned to convey), but the lives and labours of the clergy have produced, with God's blessing, an impression on their rude--but not hard--hearts. The Newfoundland fishermen are earnest and industrious: of good understanding and kindly disposition; and when the clergy are of similar earnestness and good sense, a great effect may be produced. Oh that I had a few more Mountains among them! but, alas! the missionary spirit, if it prevail at all in England, does not carry men of such a stamp to my poor diocese. I have, indeed, the greatest difficulty in keeping up, or rather I cannot keep up, the necessary supply of men taken from shops, and offices, and national schools, to fill the existing missions, and I require at least six additional clergymen. Think of a clergyman with flocks on seven or eight different islands with five or six churches many miles apart; the different flocks amounting together to 1,500 to 2,000 souls: or rather, think of these flocks, or most of them, visited by their shepherds two or three times only in the year. And such is the case with at least six missions on the coast of Newfoundland, while many poor scattered sheep are never visited at all, others only by myself once in four years. It is heartrending to see such destitution, and to be unable to relieve it, and rather to expect a worse than an improved state of things.....
I thank you very much for mentioning your children. I read what you told me with much interest, and hope you will occasionally favour me with further particulars: I have still a tolerable recollection of what they were some sixteen or seventeen years ago, and if you will occasionally mention them to me I hope you will more frequently remind them of me, as one who needs and desires their sympathy and prayers. I need not ask the same of yourself and Mrs. Seymour, as I am sure you will not forget me and my poor diocese, for Christ's and His Church's sake. . . .
Your faithful Brother and Friend,
The visit to Bermuda lasted until Eastertide, when the bishop delivered his Charge to the clergy. In the church which he had consecrated on his previous visit, daily service had been for nearly three years the uninterrupted custom, and on this, and the beauty and reverence of the services, he congratulated both priest and people. His own time in the island had been a busy one, when he could state that he had held one Ordination, a Confirmation in every parish save one, had preached twice in each church and in several more frequently, and had examined and inspected not only every school, but, as he thought and believed, every child. The reasons for not having printed the Charge delivered three years before seem to be so full a resume of the bishop's labours and troubles in 1856 and 1857, that they may well find a place here:--
"It is due to you to state the reasons, or reason, why I have not printed, after a repeated expression of your wish to that effect, my last Charge, addressed to you in this place nearly three years ago.
The reason is simply this, I have never had time and opportunity to make such revision and correction as were necessary to prepare, I will not say fit, it for publication, or for the printer's hands. You are aware that in a few days after its delivery I took my departure, and I think it can be hardly necessary to inform you that every moment of that interval was fully occupied. When your second application reached me, I was afloat in my Church ship visiting far-off harbours and settlements where the snow was still, at that time, in the month of August, remaining on the mountains. Soon after my return to S. John's, when the winter was sufficiently advanced to enable me to travel over the snow, I went to a distant mission to supply, as I might be able, the place of an excellent clergyman absent through illness, who had four churches and four large congregations under his charge. Scarcely had I remained there a few weeks, when I was summoned back to the capital by the heart-rending news of my dear and valued Archdeacon's dangerous illness, which you are a we re terminated fatally. His place in the parish was, after a considerable interval, supplied by a most worthy successor--and I began to look forward to visiting and serving you again at the usual and appointed time; when it pleased God to take from me that dear brother and fellow-helper also, and to leave the duty of the parish upon my hands; hands which could not, you may be sure, but hang down with labour and grief. It was not till the month of May that I obtained such relief and assistance as to permit of my leaving S. John's; and in the following month I commenced a Visitation on the coast of Labrador and the north-east shores of Newfoundland, which occupied me with a very short interval (I cannot say of rest) in S. John's till December."
The strife which had raged on former occasions seemed now to have been laid aside, and the bishop, while thankfully acknowledging this, reminded the Bermudians that such a condition had its own perils. "Still waters may too easily become stagnant, or, where there is no fire, lukewarm, neither hot nor cold; and we are all aware how such a state is reprobated in the Scriptures, and what a strong figure is employed to express how such persons are disowned and rejected of God. The signs of such a state are seen in the routine perfunctory discharge of certain outward religious duties as occasional, or, it may be, regular attendance at church once, or one day in the week, without religious studies or religious exercises in the interval;--in being content with some fixed gifts and charities, without seeking to enlarge them as occasions and opportunities are afforded; and lastly, in living at ease and in pleasure, without any increase of self-denial or self-control."
On his return to S. John's, the bishop established a Clergy Widow and Orphan Fund, the necessity for which had been painfully impressed on his mind by the deaths of several clergy who, it is needless to say, could have made no provision for their families out of the pittance which they received. 800l., was raised in donations the first year.
On June 24, the Visitation of the Clergy was held; the Charge, as usual, was lengthy and minute, dealing with almost every subject of interest to the Church, whether in England or in the colony. The vacancies in the ranks of the clergy which had been unusually numerous since the last Visitation were sorrowfully alluded to, and full justice was done to the labours of those who had entered into their rest. Of one, and that one the foremost in intellectual and spiritual gifts, who had been taken away in the prime of his years and in the midst of his labours, the bishop bore the following testimony:--
"Of Mr. Mountain I would say, if he was less generally known, that must be put to his praise; for it was by his own choice, and in sincere self-denial and deep humility, that he laboured for seven years in an obscure and remote mission in this island; when he might have obtained and would have adorned a high position in the Church at home, amid numerous fond and admiring friends. But he was prepared, in the true spirit of a disciple and minister of Christ--he was prepared and enabled by God's grace, to leave all for Christ's and the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. It is not, I trust, improper to mention that, conscious of a high and fiery temperament by nature, he continually sought by prayer and fasting, in denial of self and labours of love for others, that this and every other kind of evil spirit might be cast out. His labours, and I might truly add, his sufferings as a missionary were, in some respects, peculiarly great and exemplary, inasmuch as, always afflicted more or less by sea-sickness, he continued to visit the numerous settlements of his extensive district in the boats and vessels of the fishermen, as well as in one built for himself: and, though by nature and education of highly refined taste, never drew back from the meanest lodging or coarsest fare. Often in the fisherman's cottage he would sleep, or pass the night, on a bench or settle, to be ready with or before the dawn to meet the men going forth to their work, that they might not go without prayers and a blessing. His boat was built chiefly that he might have opportunities of private conference with those who sought, or who, without seeking, might be induced to receive his counsels and instructions. His own residence was always open as a place of lodging and refreshment to the poorest of his flock; and on some occasions the sick and diseased were received only to die there in comparative comfort, having things necessary for their bodily and spiritual wants. I cannot forbear the expression of my special admiration of, and gratitude for, the manner in which he fulfilled all the duties required of him in the new and arduous office of Rural Dean; visiting frequently all the clergy of his district, corresponding with them, receiving and entertaining them at his own house, and in all ways and occasions instructing, counselling, and encouraging them not by word only, but by example. In his church the order of Morning and Evening Prayer daily throughout the year was never intermitted for any cause but his own illness or absence from home. His collections for the Church Society increased to a large amount, and were duly transmitted from a poor district, though we may be sure he felt all an English gentleman's repugnance to require or receive contributions, which were supposed, or represented, to be for his own support or benefit. He was persuaded that such acknowledgments are due to the Church always and in all places, and in this country necessary for the spiritual maintenance and growth as well of the individual members as of the Church at large. Even the poor, he thought, might thus prove, and improve, their .devotion to their church and minister; and, by acknowledging this among their first debts, might find the sure and full reward of their honesty and industry. I have dwelt longer upon these parts of his life and ministry, both because in these the exceeding grace of God in him was specially manifested, and because to the majority of you they may be specially instructive and encouraging. And, for the same reasons, I must not omit to mention, that, in the midst of these manifold labours and services, he ever remembered and kept his promise to 'be diligent in Prayers, and in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same,' by which studies he arrived at those sound and enlarged views of divine truth which our Church has instructed us to preach as gathered out of the old Fathers. To these, with a view to the knowledge of Holy Scripture, he gave much time and attention; and the result and reward were, as I believe generally to be the case, that deeper insight into and appreciation of the Catholic faith, and of the necessity of keeping it whole and undefiled."
The spiritual condition of the diocese was such as gave the bishop much satisfaction: he urged the clergy to continue in that fearless reproof of evil doing "the blessings of which were already in some cases seen and felt, not, it may be, in revivals or any outward demonstrations, but in the very fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
The controversies which had raged and culminated at the previous Visitation had now subsided: the newspapers had ceased to revile the bishop, and now with much dignity and gentleness he ended his Charge with the following comment on the storms which had passed away:--
"Having sustained the trial, I may, now without inconsistency, congratulate you and myself, and humbly thank God for the absence at this time of all such causes of; irritation and distress. I think it right now to inform you, in explanation of a remark in my last Charge (that I was then probably addressing you for the last time), that in , consequence of the complaints and accusations circulated against me, and the manner in which they appeared to be entertained in England, I felt it my duty to submit to the Bishop of London, at whose instance I was promoted to this office, and to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, by whose liberality I am so largely supported, that I was more than ready, more than willing to resign, if in their judgment the work of the Church or the interests of: the Society were hindered or prejudiced by the course I had adopted, and which I felt bound in honour and conscience to pursue. My presence here at this time and on this occasion is a sufficient intimation of the answers I received, substantially the same from both parties; sufficient to show that such a change was not then thought necessary or expedient. And where are now the attackers and their attacks? Let us humbly hope that God has graciously heard and answered that prayer which our Church has instructed us to use, and which I trust we did, and do, and shall use in every such case, that it may please Him to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts. God forgive them and us--God make them and us more sensible of our faults and offences, our infirmities, and our sins--God enable us to know--for how otherwise can we know?--that which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked--our own heart. When that and all its hidden evils are known, and by God's abundant grace for His dear Son's sake corrected, it will be time to take up the weapons of Controversy. Till then, prayers and tears are the weapons of the Church."
The bishop spent the rest of the year in S. John's. The archdeacon had gone to Canada for a few weeks, the bishop taking charge of the cathedral and other services and duties. "I have the diocese and the cathedral on my hands just now," he wrote; "they are always on my heart!"
Thus ended 1858.