Project Canterbury

Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the College.

From Occasional Papers from St. Augustine's College, No. 156 (July 25, 1873).

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2008


WE were collecting our material available for an Occasional Paper, doubtful whether it would be sufficient to fill it, when the approaching Commemoration bade us postpone every other consideration to that one business. And now that it is all so happily and so successfully over, it must be our first employment to give what account we can to our old Students of the


Our earliest invitations were naturally addressed to them, being at the greatest distance from us. And though too should have hailed the largest number of them, that could have been present with us, and though their own desire for the same was uniformly so strong, yet such is the temper of Augustinians for abiding by their appointed work, such the scantiness of their pecuniary means, such the numerous ties they have contracted to their spheres of labour, that only six were found out of their whole body able to be amongst us at the happy time; and they were, for the most part, compelled to come to England for a while, owing to broken health or other affliction.

Our next step was to invite all the survivors (few alas! out of many), of the occupiers of Stalls in the Chapel, at its Consecration; and though, as it was to be expected, several were unable to accept the invitation whom we should have rejoiced to see present, we were particularly [1/2] successful in securing those who were the most intimately concerned, in the first conception of a Missionary College, the collection of the funds, the first mention and the subsequent purchase and donation of the site of St. Augustine's Abbey, and the chief founders and benefactors,--a goodly band, who rallied heartily round us after a lapse of twenty-five eventful years in the history of the College.

The best proof of this will be the names we proceed to give; being such as those of A. J. B. Beresford Hope, Esq., M.P., the munificent donor of the site, and by far the largest contributor towards the funds, as well as the hearty and unflagging friend of the College from the first to the present moment; Lady Mildred Beresford Hope, whose interest and co-operation, though less conspicuous, has been none the less real, and who occupied the same place in our Ante-Chapel which she did five-and-twenty years ago; the Rev. Edward Coleridge, (accompanied by Mrs. Coleridge, ) whose incessant and fruitful labours gathered the original funds, and whose deep devotion to the Church fixed the principles, of the infant College; Robert Brett, Esq., whose letter of indignation at the desecration of the Abbey ruins to the English Churchman, in 1844, resulted in the purchase of the site by Mr. B. Hope; William Butterfield, Esq., the Architect of the College; the Rev. Prebendary Gilbert, one of the oldest friends of the real founder of our Missionary College, Bishop Broughton, of Australia; J. C. Sharpe, Esq., the London Banker, whose conduit in the midst of our quadrangle is but a small token of his large benefactions to the original design; the Primus of Scotland, to represent our sister Church there (unfortunately at last unable to come); the Hon. and Rev. Francis Grey, of Morpeth, to represent the Province of York; the Earl Nelson; the Ven. Archdeacon Harrison, and the Rev. Canon Robertson, of our own Cathedral Chapter; the Revds. William Butler, George H. Hodson, Canon Jeffreys and [2/3] others, of the Parochial Clergy; the Rev. E. C. Woolcombe, of the University of Oxford; the Hon. Wilbraham Egerton, M.P., representing, with many others by his side, our later and staunch friends, the officers of Missionary Studentship Associations; the Rev. F. G. Burnaby, whose "left hand knew not what his right hand did" in 1848; the Revs. G. C. Pearson, and A. P. Moor, survivors of the original College Staff; the Ven. Archdeacon Balston, once Head Master of Eton College, from the pupils of which so many noble gifts came at the very first mention of a Missionary College; the Rev. Prebendary Dalton, recalling his father-in-law, Bishop Blomfield, and bringing with him a fine chalk drawing by Richmond, of Archbishop Harcourt, of York, as a present to the College; Sir Walter James, Bart., and Matthew Bell, Esq., from our county gentry; and the Rev. R. F. Sweet, of U.S.A., as our brother from Nashotah. These, and many others, filled up every vacant seat in our Chapel from time to time, and every chair in our Hall.

And now we must proceed to a brief narrative of our successive gatherings. The first was in Hall on Saturday evening, for distribution of Prizes to Colbeck, Shildrick, and Allen; and for the presentation to Mr. Beresford Hope, by the Students, of a handsome Album, containing Photographs of the College. Thence we adjourned to Chapel, where our usual service was preceded by the Installation of six Honorary Fellows, whose names were given in our last, the Rev. Canon Curteis, who is the seventh, being the only absentee, owing to close duties at Lichfield. They henceforth appeared in surplice and hood, cap and gown, a visible and significant enlargement of our Collegiate foundation.

Later in the evening arrived our Celebrant and Preacher for the next day, the man of all others to fufil those offices in our Missionary College, and more we would not say,--[3/4] the Bishop of Lichfield; at whose Consecration to the oversight of the Diocese of New Zealand in 1841 Bishop Coleridge was the Preacher.

And so, on St. Peter's Day, bright with a clear sky, at eight o'clock, we assembled in the Chapel Crypt, and filed up the stairs, singing the ninety-sixth Psalm, Probationers, Catechist Students, late Students, Honorary Fellows, Fellows, Subwarden, Warden, Right Rev. Celebrant, and (Rev. T. Skelton) Chaplain; and the solemn service began. The Creed, Tersanctus, and Gloria in Excelsis, were sung. The Epistle was read by the Rev. E. Coleridge, and the offerings collected by Mr. Beresford Hope and the Subsacrist. These (to the amount of £775) were the beginning of a Fund now opened, for the Endowment of an Oriental Fellowship in the College. After the presentation of the Offerings, the Warden read the names of the outgoing Students, Allen to Melbourne, Almond and Talbot to Fredericton, Z. Vallespinoza to Jamaica. He then delivered them their Testimonials, and invested them with the College Hood. This was also given to Colbeck, who is going to remain with us another Term, in order to prosecute his Oriental Studies. Before the Offertory, the Warden recited from the College Diptychs the names of the chief benefactors departed out of this life, "whose works do follow them."

After Chapel succeeded general breakfast in Hall, and then came another interesting ceremony in our new Reading Room, the presentation to the College, by old Students, of a handsome painting in oils, by E. U. Eddis, Esq., of Alfred Lochée, Esq., M.D., who has from the first to the present day given gratuitous instruction in Medicine to the Students--with what results it is superfluous here to say. The honour was feelingly acknowledged by him; and the company dispersed for a while.

[5] At eleven o'clock Mattins commenced. A processional hymn was sung. The Service was intoned by the Warden and Mr. Wedgewood; the Proper Psalms were the 45th and 72d; and the special Lessons were read by two of our Honorary Fellows, Messrs. Moor and Pettigrew. The Sermon was then delivered by the Bishop of Lichfield, from part of Isaiah, lx., 5, "Thine heart shall fear and be enlarged," of which words he gave two illustrations; the first, from the history of St. Peter, the second, from that of the Missionary College. The discourse was full of moving touches and allusions, and will be treasured up in the memories of all who heard it, to yield fruit, we cannot doubt, after its kind. Then came the Commemoration Service, and "Memorial of late Students." The good deeds of those, whose names had been before recited, were recounted at greater length, and "the Righteous Souls" sung, as usual, with impressive softness. Our absent brethren were all remembered before the Throne of Grace, and we had the comfort of knowing that they, in turn, remembered their old College, and all who were assembled within its walls.

After luncheon in Hall, which was well filled, we all moved off to the Cathedral, where another eloquent Sermon was preached by the Bishop on behalf of the S.P.G.

The occurrence this year of St. Peter's Day on a Sunday necessitated a somewhat peculiar arrangement for the evening. Had the weather proved fine, we should have received our friends in the open air; but as the rain had fallen heavily between five and six o'clock, we prudently gathered together in Hall, joined by a good many ladies from the Precincts and elsewhere, at seven o'clock, for a talk about things past and present. The Warden opened the proceedings by showing from examples how powerful [5/6] the religious system of the College had proved in moulding late Students, who had often come to us with very unformed notions, in the Church's doctrine and practical life--a thing contemplated at first as one of its chief objects, and now fulfilled. Mr. Beresford Hope dwelt upon the two thoughts which had often occurred to him during the day, How old the College was, and, How new it was; and, from the past administration and success of the College, which he eulogized in unqualified terms, he augured a future of still greater and wider reputation. Mr. Brett described his visit to St. Augustine's in 1844, and Mr. Gilbert his old reminiscences of the place, when it was given up to sports and recreation of the vulgar. He also brought up the memory of Bishop Broughton, as the real originator of the scheme for a Missionary College; and in this strain he was appropriately followed by Mr. Coleridge. The Bishop of Lichfield concluded the conversations by giving some advice to the Students, on their future ministerial work.

After this, a brief time was given to refreshment in Hall. Evensong was intoned at the usual hour, the Hymn chosen being No. 38 in our Missionary Hymn Book, "Lord of every tribe and nation." The day, we need not hesitate to say, and we would say it with devout gratitude, was a perfect success; the seed plot, we doubt not also, of much fruit to God in distant years, and in many a clime.

Our Programme, in a single line, provided us with a very full forenoon of work on Monday. The "Conference of Authorities, Visitors, and late Students, on Degrees," began at 9.30 a.m., and continued till 1 p.m.

The opportunity was one of rare advantage to us, for we had present not only our six old students, Messrs. Stephenson, Slade, Cooke, Parkinson, Padfield, and Danvers, but our new Honorary Fellows, and sundry other friends of [6/7] experience, with whom to take counsel. The Warden began by a historical statement of the case. That in the original proposal of locating the Missionary College near Oxford, the attainment of a degree by approved students was one of the advantages designed; that the subject had, naturally, slumbered for some years when it was founded at St. Augustine's; that, from time to time expressions had come over from single students, both in the Colonies and in our Eastern Dependencies, of the disadvantage they lay under in not possessing a degree; that degrees were now become common among ministers and missionaries of all denominations; that some students had actually put themselves to great inconvenience and expense in coming back to England for the purpose of studying and obtaining a degree, in order to increase their, usefulness; that others contemplated following their example; that old students were deterred from sending their sons to the College because of this want; that a memorial to the College had been presented by a body of old students in the Diocese of Melbourne (this was read at the meeting); that the existing students in College some years ago had presented a similar memorial to the authorities, with a request that it might be forwarded to his Grace the Visitor of the College; that Students represented it would be easy for them to obtain, by purchase or otherwise, degrees from Universities in the United States or in the Colonies, but that such would be of no value in their eyes, and what they wanted, and would appreciate ten times more, was a degree of some sort from the College itself.

Following upon these manifold forms of expression and action, the Warden said, must come the discussion, (1) Whether a degree was advisable, (2) Whether it was [7/8] possible, (3) By what method it was best attainable. And he proceeded to relate the measures which he and his Colleagues had taken from time to time in order to bring these questions to a satisfactory solution; measures which hitherto had failed of any practical effect. And the College had been looking forward to this occasion for effectual counsel and assistance.

The ensuing discussion was of the most animated and useful character, and was carried on by Mr. Beresford Hope, the Earl Nelson, the Rev. E. Coleridge, the Rev. Canon Jeffreys, the Rev. A. P. Moor, the Subwarden, and others, the late Students being particularly useful to us, in explaining, from their diverse experience, what it was they really wanted, and what would be of the most service to, them. It was felt by all that it must be something that should be fairly earned, after a bona fide examination, and that, of course, this implied that some must be expected to fail, if they fell below the mark. It was felt as a point of essential importance that all Theological Colleges of the Church of England should be induced to act together in this matter. Much more was said, and many ways of seeking degrees discussed, but ultimately the following Resolution, proposed by A. J. B. Beresford Hope, Esq., and seconded by the Rev. E. O. Woolcombe, of Balliol College, Oxford, was carried unanimously.

"That a Deputation, to be arranged by the Warden, and comprising the friends both of St. Augustine's College and of other Colleges in connection with the Church of England, should wait, if his Grace agrees to receive it, upon the Archbishop of Canterbury, to confer with him upon the possibility of arranging terms for granting the degree [8/9] of B.A. to Students from St. Augustine's and the other Colleges, who shall have passed such examination as may be satisfactory to the Archbishop."

This Conference over, we prepared to receive our friends at luncheon, to the utmost capacity of our Hall; the Dean and Chapter, together with the Bishop of Barbados, Bishop Jenner, and many other friends from town and country, being added to our number. The venerable walls of the building re-echoed with unwonted cheers and hurrahs during the half hour which was devoted to the employment, unusual with us, of proposing and receiving a succession of toasts called forth by the occasion. These were, "Church and Queen;" "Floreat Collegium" (with enthusiasm); "the Preacher, the Lord Bishop of Lichfield," by Mr. Beresford Hope; "the College Staff," by the Bishop of Lichfield, (with enthusiasm); "the Honorary Fellows," by the Warden; "the Visitors," with name of the Earl Nelson, by the Warden; "the late Students," with name of the Rev. J. Stephenson, by Earl Nelson; "Nashotah," with the name of Rev. R. F. Sweet, by the Warden.

The city Meeting for the S.P.G. followed immediately at St. George's Hall. An unexpected and most gratifying testimony was borne at this Meeting by the Rev. Prebendary Dalton, who spoke at some length upon his experience as one of the Examining Board of the S.P.G. for more than twenty-five years, of the Students sent up from St. Augustine's. They brought with them, he said, a thorough knowledge of the Word of God, and passed examinations that would do credit to any Candidates from Oxford and Cambridge. More than that, they showed abundant proof that they had been trained up to soundness in the faith, [9/10] and to habits of devotion, to everything in short that could qualify them for their future vocation. Many of our guests repaired to this meeting, but the ebbing away of many more from Canterbury had already commenced; and by the evening, another new set of guests had arrived in College, which brings us to the next part of our narrative.

This was preparatory to our Quadriennial Conference of Missionary Studentship Associations, held on Tuesday morning. Distance, expense, and previous engagements prevented many from being with us, but we had the good fortune to secure the presence of a considerable number, with whom we took counsel for some hours on points, not indeed new to us, but of great importance in the effectual, prosecution of our work through its several stages.

And the conclusions we all arrived at were, (1) that the support given to any Student should be limited, as far as possible, to one Association, or group of Associations; (2) that special care should be taken, not only to secure spiritual qualifications, or in other words the true vocation, in a Candidate for College--a pre-requisite, of course, indispensable--but a fair promise, too, of physical fitness for Student and Missionary life, and of intellectual capacity also; (3) that more endeavours be made to obtain Candidates of a higher social standing; (4) that the selection of artizans for Missionary brotherhoods was certainly a very important point, and one likely to increase in importance, but was only indirectly connected with the subject under discussion, i.e. the finding of Candidates for a College life.--A strong wish was expressed for the renewal of a day of Intercession, and an earnest hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury would see fit to appoint one.

[11] After a brief interval, we held another Conference of the Missionary Union. Through lapse of time, deaths, removals, changes of name, &c., it has become impossible to construct a catalogue with any approach to accuracy. It was thought, therefore, that an attempt must be made to recover the information necessary for this purpose; a sum of money was contributed by those present for the immediate expenses; and it was agreed to ask all Members for at least a shilling a year towards future printing and postage. The Warden announced to the Meeting, that the Occasional Papers which have been so widely circulated, and so highly valued, were now becoming very infrequent in consequence of the non-arrival of letters, (always spontaneous,) from old Students to fill them. The close of the series could not, he feared, be far off. It was agreed to obtain the services of a Secretary, either honorary or paid, for the working of the Union, which has been hitherto, since its formation in 1859, undertaken, not without great consumption of time, by the Warden himself.

It was now luncheon-time, and our business was brought to a close. We once more entertained our remaining guests at dinner in the evening, and so ended the Triduum, which must from henceforth occupy a distinguished place in the Annals of the College.

Our narrative has been as simple as we could make it, and of the same character must be the further facts which remain to be grouped round it, and the few reflections, which the limits of our Paper will admit. The College, (besides performing the necessary, though delicate, duty to the Church, of sifting off numbers of unpromising Candidates) has trained and sent out more than two hundred Students, to more than forty Colonial and Missionary Dioceses. Many of them have risen to posts of great honour, and are the chosen confidants of their several Bishops. Many have occupied the foremost posts of difficulty and danger in the wide Mission Field. Few, comparatively, have revisited their native land; and of them, some have come home only to die, some to draw breath awhile for fresh labours, some are permanently invalided, and scarcely more than one remains away from his work without adequate reason. Beyond the "St. Augustine's Home," which is as yet little more than a name, [11/12] no special provision exists for them or their families against the time of sickness, old age, and death.

Another thought must be registered here. Full of encouragement and significance was the gathering together and the cordial intercourse of the chief founders and friends of the College, after the lapse of the critical and testing period of its first quarter of a century. The culmination of this cordiality in the enthusiastic reception of the toast of "The College Staff," at the Luncheon on Monday, rendered the proper acknowledgment of it, at the time, simply impossible. But the words which could not then be spoken may now be written. And this is the sum of them. That the honest and consistent endeavour to administer the affairs of this Missionary College, in the spirit of its first foundation, as to religious principles, teaching, and discipline, notwithstanding the manifold difficulties of the problem, and imperfections inseparable from all that is human, has proved, by God's blessing, a marked success, in the estimation of those best able to judge.

Lastly, the College Staff must be reinforced by more teaching power. The college bids fair to be more than full next Term. An additional Fellow is imperatively required, and the modest endowment has still to be raised. Our readers are all urgently requested to send or get us help towards this object.

Attention is earnestly called to the following considerations:--

The original proposal for the foundation of a Missionary College contemplated, as part of the instructions which would be supplied in the new Institution, a knowledge of Oriental languages; and familiar acquaintance with the histories, religions, usages, and traditions, of the Heathen Nations, and, as in the case of the Hindoos, with their sciences and metaphysics; for want of which it has often befallen a Missionary to spend the first and most vigorous years of his enterprise in learning on the spot things which should have been intimately known, before he set forth on his field of labour. The whole theory and habit of catechetical instruction needs to be elaborated with a special reference to the condition, intellectual, moral, and social of the unconverted Heathen, and many similar details might be added.

In the prosecution and successful issue of these objects the College ought to take a definite part, and that is, to have on its own staff a Fellow whose proper and recognized duty shall be marked out by his Fellowship being called the Oriental Fellowship.


Printed for St. Augustine's College Press, Canterbury, by S. Hyde.

Project Canterbury