THOMAS THELLUSSON CARTER, it must be acknowledged by all, whatever may be their beliefs or opinions, was one of the most distinguished men of his generation. He was distinguished above all else by his holiness. He lived for God. Those who had the privilege of close acquaintance with him, will bear about a remembrance of his life something like the impression of Alpine scenery, where one peak rose high above the rest and was resplendent with the sun's rays. His face was like the sunshine, ever bright.
His chief work, perhaps, was in the revival of Sisterhoods in our Communion, of which it has been said that when the history of English religion in the nineteenth century is written, that revival "will be looked back upon as one of the chief events, perhaps the chief." "Clewer" was the outcome of his devotion, and of his genius.
This volume, entitled "Life and Letters of Thomas Thellusson Carter," aims at most to enshrine and preserve some glimpses of the saintly man and what he achieved, and is no attempt at continuous biography. To delineate his beautiful character, to make a record of his ceaseless activities, to treat with any measure of completeness his literary work (which is said to cover one hundred and fifty entries in the Catalogue of the British Museum), to draw a picture of his marvellous self-sacrifice daily in the service of others, to attempt to enumerate his utterances in public, his speeches, sermons, addresses, etc., would require an immense volume. The object in writing a book of this size is to bring some outline of his life and work, his example and ministry, within the reach of all; and to reveal his mind by printing some of his spiritual letters, a species of literature which is not very prolific amongst us. There are some subjects touched upon about which there is considerable diversity of opinion; in these pages will be found his mind upon them. His sympathies were broader than his convictions.
From these letters (for letters are personal revelations) will be seen the spirituality of his mind, his elevation above all that is earthly or self-seeking, his warmth of affection, his intense delight in natural beauty, and Ms loyal faithfulness to the Church of England.
His love for God seemed to quicken his natural sensibilities. He delighted in beautiful ceremonial, but in other respects his sympathies were with the early Tractarians, and he deplored in teaching and ritual whatever he thought went beyond the doctrine and practice of the English Church.
I take this opportunity of thanking all those who have kindly entrusted to my care letters which they had received from Canon Carter, or given me any help. To select from the letters those which seemed suitable for publication has been a matter of no small difficulty. I have also to thank the representatives of Dr. Pusey, Dr. Liddon, Dr. Bright, etc., for allowing me to make use of some of their communications.
It is hoped that the following pages may have caught something of the spirit of the Warden of Clewer, and may preserve some of the elements of his character for admiration and imitation. Such saintliness as his, is the best evidence of the truth and reality of the English Communion as a part of the True Church.
W. H. H.
KIRBY MISPERTON RECTORY,