IT was Father Jones's lot to be a man of contention and strife; but it was only because he was called on to suffer and fight for the principles of the Church, which he valued more than peace and ease. Those who knew him intimately knew what a tender heart and affectionate disposition he had. His kindness of heart could not but attract to him all who came into any sort of close relationship with him. In such a memoir as this it cannot therefore be out of place to publish such letters and extracts as tend to illustrate this phase of his character. Some such have already been given in the course of this memoir as bearing on the circumstances of his history. The Vicar of Carnarvon, Rev. J. Wynne Jones, son of his first and only Rector, writes of him:
My earliest recollections are of his company. We used to ride a donkey, commandeered for the purpose on Gwalchmai Common, to go to tea with him. As curate on p£8o a year he was very hospitable, and had always a good bottle of wine for his friends. His memory is still cherished at Gwalchmai and Llanegryn. He was not averse to a day's shooting when he came to see my father, but once got into disgrace as a sportsman with my brother, for he was crooning over some old Church music with the keeper (Tom Jones, still alive) instead of going up to the dogs, who were pointing. He often came up to Aberdare in my time. When Bishop Ollivant forbade the wearing of birettas at the opening of Cwmbach Church, he put a red handkerchief over his head and said, "Ask the Bishop how he likes my biretta." Bishop Ollivant came up, greeted him warmly, and never noticed the handkerchief. The trouble the Father took with me when I went to Aberdare and his endless kindness I cannot forget as long as I live. He sent me his Easter and Good Friday circulars up to the last. He had learned the great secret in dealing with Welsh people--through their feelings--and could teach them Catholic truth in evangelical form. This I hope I learned from him.
One of his former curates, the Rev. C. W. James, who took charge of the Mission District at the Docks in 1880, wrote:
I had always had the greatest affection and admiration for him: he was so kind, so buoyant in spirit, so courageous. When I first saw him on Cardiff railway platform twenty-six years ago (he had come to meet me on my visit to look at the curacy) I felt he was no ordinary man. The impression which his strong character and joyous temperament made upon me during my four years' curacy at S. Mary's is still with me, and I owe much to him for the brightness of hope he gave me. The memory indeed of those Cardiff clays and the clergy-house life with his fascinating personality have helped me, I believe, in those hours of depression which a parish priest sometimes has to go through in the course of pastoral work.
"What do you know about Father Jones, Vicar of S. Mary's, Cardiff?" was the question a representative Churchman asked a Western Mail writer at one time. "I know a great deal," was the writer's reply, "and I'll tell you more: Father Jones, like good wine, improves on further acquaintance."
The following sketch is a detailed reply to the Churchman's question:
Had the Father lived in the Middle Ages he would have been one of the Schoolmen, and his name, probably, would have been handed down to posterity as "The Silent Doctor." He is silence personified: moves silently around the room, walks absolutely noiselessly along the street, and every act of his outside the church is as devoid of sound as the moon in the sky. He is a walking shadow--something to be seen, not heard. It is quite an interesting sight to see Father Jones glide along the street, wrapped up in his cloak, which, for all one knows, may have been the one S. Paul left at Troas. Under his arm is the inseparable gingham. There he goes, slowly, soundlessly, treading softly; the very grass would not have bent under his feet. It would take him the days of Methuselah to go round the globe. One can never imagine Father Jones covering two miles an hour. He is evidently thinking of something. Where are his thoughts? Goodness knows. Probably they are somewhere in S. Mary's, or they cluster around some object or affair connected with the parish or the church. Maybe he is thinking of a poor old soul about to take its departure from the body in a small, cheerless room on Canal-side. Father Jones wends his way home to Loudoun Square, and is escorted by a chattering group of little girls, some hanging on to his coat-tails, some seizing him by the hands, and all looking up into his smiling, genial face, bright with kindness and love. Father Jones is the friend of little children all over the parish. . . . He is as young and as guileless as any of them. White though his locks are, and though his form is bent with age, the freshness of youth is in his heart and in his wonderfully sympathetic eyes. Father Jones is one of those men who can never grow old. And the children know it. There never was a parish priest who lived more in the thoughts of the little ones. They idolize him, run to meet him from a distance, and if they had nests to build they would build them under the vicarage eaves. They do monopolize the vicarage doorsteps occasionally in playing "dandoes." There is nothing more beautiful in connection with the Church in Cardiff than the mutual attachment which exists between the pastor and the lambs, and, consequently, the whole flock, in S. Mary's, where Father Jones has spent twenty-eight of the best years of his life. The bulk of the population, therefore, have grown up under his eyes--he has christened them, churched the mothers, trained and presented the boys and girls for their Confirmation, confessed them, and given them their first Communion. He has joined many scores in matrimony, solaced those that were in sickness, and administered to others the comforts of religion in the last hour. Father Jones is an excellent parish priest, and lives and acts the whole life of the Church.
One of Father Jones's customs for many years was his annual outing with the churchwardens, his friends Mr. Dobbin and Mr. Thatcher. These little excursions were greatly enjoyed by all three, and much looked forward to by the churchwardens. They both appreciated the Vicar's joyous spirits, and recognized how at the same time he was always anxious to say his Mass every Sunday when he was away on these holidays whenever he could get an opportunity of doing so. Mr. Thatcher recounts the following incidents:
I remember [he writes] we, Vicar, Dobbin, and myself, were waiting on the platform of a certain station down south when the Vicar spied a convict in charge of two warders apparently being taken from Portland to London for some purpose. Without a word he left us, and, pushing past the warders, he shook hands with and spoke a few words of sympathy to the poor convict. Looking back at it now, I cannot help thinking how few men would have risked opposition from the warders and taken the trouble to walk quite to the other end of the platform in order to cheer and brighten, if only for a few minutes, the life of a man in distress.
On another occasion during a visit to Winchester, as we were walking round the Cathedral the Vicar noticed a group of boys, and having got them to look through the screen surrounding the tomb of William of Wykeham he told them a little of the history of the great Bishop: how he used to come, when a little boy, every morning, sometimes at five o'clock, to worship at the Altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and that years after, when God had blessed him with riches and honour, he founded Winchester School, New College, and did other good works.
The wonderful way in which the dear old Vicar won the confidence of children is well known, so it was not surprising that he became quite chummy with a poor blind boy whom we chanced to have as a fellow-passenger in the railway carriage on our way to Salisbury. The poor afflicted one had a regular romp with the Vicar, and wound up with pulling the Vicar towards him and asking him quite confidentially in his ear, "Can you play the Jew's-harp."
These outings with his churchwardens were only for quite a short period, but in the later years of his life he frequently paid visits to the Continent with his friends the Rev. R. W. Gordon and Mrs. Gordon, of Nottage Court. Several tours with them are recorded in his diary--to Paris, Normandy, Belgium, Switzerland, North Italy, South of France, etc. He seems to have made a point of attending Mass almost every morning; if there was an opportunity of receiving Holy Communion at the hands of an English chaplain on Sundays he would avail himself of it, but not so as to prevent him from being at the High Mass or principal Mass of the day at the cathedral or parish church where he happened to be staying. He notices most carefully the ceremonial used, and any local peculiarity or detail differing from the accustomed ritual is noted down in his diary. As in his diary recording his first visit abroad just before his ordination, he notices the devotion of children especially, e.g. "children coming from school with their books and satchels came in and genuflected." "Saw a kind of fishwoman [this was at Boulogne] and a mite of a child come in; both mother and the child went to the holy-water stoup and signed themselves; after genuflecting before the High Altar the child stood on a chair, and her mother kneeled behind her with her arms around her, seemingly encouraging the child to say a prayer." "S. Peter's: two little dots of boys held out hands for me to shake at the door as I came out." "Got in when the Priest was communicating people. Two or three little boys turned and knelt at a Prie-dieu just long enough to say a prayer and then out." "The boy server in red cassock and surplice wore clogs which made a clatter like Havannah boys."
This mention of Havannah boys reminds one that something should be said in this memoir of one most interesting feature of our work at S. Mary's, in which he took a great interest. There were when Father Jones came to Cardiff three of Her Majesty's ships used for pacific purposes, i.e. the Thisbe, which was afloat in the Bute Dock, and was used as a Seamen's Chapel and Institute, and the Hamadryad, which was stranded near the Docks, and served as a hospital for sailors of all nations; these were visited by the Seamen's Chaplain working under the Missions to Seamen's Society, but at that time holding a curate's licence under the Vicar of S. Mary's. The Seamen's Mission had, and we believe still supports, three chaplains in the Diocese of Llandaff at the Docks at Newport, Cardiff, and Penarth, besides several readers, keepers, and boatmen, who look after the spiritual and social welfare of the sailors visiting these ports. A third man-of-war, though never actually used for war, was the Havannah. It was originally built for missionary enterprise, though manned by officers holding Her Majesty's commission; at Cardiff it was used as an industrial ship for boys, who attended the service on Sundays at S. Mary's. Year after year twelve to twenty of these boys were presented for Confirmation after instruction by one of the parochial clergy, who also usually held a class at other times weekly or monthly on board the ship. Several of the boys formed the choir at the Mission held in Penarth Road. The Vicar naturally took great interest in these boys (none of whom, it may be mentioned, had actually been convicted--it was an industrial school, not a reformatory), and he always, however busy at the time, made a rule of being present at the annual Christmas treat given them by his friend, and for some lime Churchwarden, Sir Edward Hill, of Rookwood, Llandaff. We well remember on one of these occasions a very small boy being brought in by a policeman, who had found him homeless and neglected. The little chap looked rather frightened, and then very astonished, when he found himself brought on the covered deck of a man-of-war, with rows of tables, at which sat boys dressed as sailors and drinking hot claret negus, pulling crackers, and singing songs quite uproariously, though soon he found himself washed and similarly attired and put under the care of a most kind matron, to make himself at home and as merry as the rest.
During the troublous times at S. Mary's, when the question of the removal of the pulpit was made an occasion for stirring up strife, the Vicar had no more staunch supporter than Colonel Hill (afterwards Sir E. Hill), of Llandaff, whose Dry Dock was situated not far from S. Mary's Church. Sir Edward Hill gave a very beautiful rercdos to the Church, a painting by Westlakc of the Adoration of the Shepherds. Another ornament at S. Mary's, a handsome brass eagle lectern, is the gift of an equally steadfast friend of his, Alderman Hughes, the first Lord Mayor of Cardiff; the lectern was given by Mr. Hughes during the first month of his Mayoralty of 1905 in remembrance of the Vicar's thirty-two years' incumbency. Alderman Hughes has left it on record how much he owes of his success in life to the training he had under Father Jones:
When [he said] the Vicar came to Llanegryn I was an infant and he was head master of the Endowed School. When I grew a little older I sang in the parish choir. The Vicar was a good sportsman, and I used to carry his rabbits for him. He was then much beloved by every one, just the same as in Cardiff. Out of three livings presented to him Father Jones selected S. Mary's, because it presented the best opportunities for work, he being at that time in the full vigour of his life. If ever there was a saint it was he. I certainly know that on many occasions Father Jones, with the late Bishop Smythies and the Rev. Father Puller, had kept within the fold young men with Romanizing proclivities.
It was Father Jones's desire that there should be sponsors for those who were to be confirmed, according to the rubric which states that "every one shall have a godfather or a godmother as a witness of their Confirmation." In carrying this out, he was greatly helped by the Men's and Women's Guilds. It was his custom on the Sunday before the Confirmation at S. Mary's, which was usually a month or so before Easter, to assemble the candidates and the sponsors (i.e. those who would be witnesses of their Confirmation, not necessarily those who had answered for them at Baptism); at this service he would address the sponsors as well as the candidates, and urge on them the duty of helping spiritually the newly confirmed, as e.g. to be with them at the first Communion, and to look them up if they omitted to be at Church, or had neglected the Sacraments.
As one of our most devoted Sunday-school teachers, Robert Hughes was in great requisition as a sponsor for the boys of his class; if any such boy who had been confirmed and was neglecting his Communion had been brought back, and if one of the clergy asked how it was, the answer would probably be from Mr. Hughes, "I did tell him." In fact, these words became a kind of proverb with us as to any returned prodigal: "Robert Hughes" (or some one like-minded) "did tell him"; and it meant that he was told that he ought to go to confession and properly prepare for Communion. The first Lord Mayor of Cardiff has made many eloquent and forcible speeches in his lifetime as Chairman of the Conservative Working Men's Association, as President of the Cymrodorion, or as Mayor of Cardiff; but perhaps none have so charmed the angels of God by their eloquence as those simple words, "I did tell him."
The following reminiscences appeared in a notice of Father Jones in The Church Times, as sent by one of the authors of this memoir:
My earliest recollection of Father Jones goes back rather more than thirty-three years ago. He had just been refused a faculty to move a huge pulpit which stood immediately in front of and obscured the altar. I remember, while walking with him through Bute Street, Cardiff, meeting one of his strongest opponents, whom he greeted most cordially, but when our friend exulted over their victory, "Never mind," said Father Jones, in a most cheerful way, "the pulpit will serve very well from which to preach the Catholic faith." That I consider characteristic of his tone and policy. The battle which he was called on to fight raged, so to say, specially round two things--his teaching about and hearing confessions, and his desire to turn what was arranged as a meeting-house into something more like the House of God as fitted for Catholic worship. In both of these respects he overcame the Protestant opposition. The noisiest Easter Vestries took place at a time when there was nothing approaching to high ceremonial at S. Mary's; and when the faculty was granted by Chancellor Ollivant, and S. Mary's Church adorned and beautified, the opposition practically ceased. Though no Ritualist in the popular sense of the term, Father Jones was most ready to claim our rights, as Catholics, to full Catholic ceremonial. At one of the earliest Diocesan Conferences he spoke out most clearly on this point; and I remember him again and again, amid many cries of "No, no," asserting "Yes, we must have incense; yes, yes." And at these Conferences, however much opposed, he was always greeted with affection which he ever most warmly reciprocated.
The Rev. R. J. Phillips, who was Chaplain to Seamen at Cardiff from 1880 to 1885, has sent us the following reminiscences:
I was appointed Chaplain for Missions to Seamen in Cardiff Docks in 1880. As the work lay in S. Mary's parish mostly, Bishop Ollivant licensed me to that parish. One of the first visitors we received on board of the old mission ship (H.M.S. Thisbe) was the Vicar, I remember how cheered and encouraged I was by his sympathy and kindness. Though this work amongst the seamen was carried on within his parish, and possibly not on the lines he would have wished, I never knew him in any way interfere, or even suggest, any other methods than those employed, and this I believe was the experience of my predecessors and successor. I remember going up the side of the East Dock one day and seeing the Vicar on his hands and knees in the coal dust helping a poor sailor replace his clothes, etc., which had been flung out and emptied on to the quay by a Board of Trade man who fancied that Jack had sonic cigars and plugs of tobacco which had not paid duty. The Vicar's kindness and goodnature I feel sure prevented the officer from being roughly handled, as great indignation was expressed at the time by some seamen who witnessed the scene. And how the children loved him! Almost any day you might see him somewhere in Bute Road with a dozen or so of boys and girls round him, some hanging on to his coat, others holding his hands and legs, he smiling down upon them and talking to them all the while.
It was on April 1, 1895 [writes Mr. Smallpeice], that I first saw the old Vicar at S. Mary's Clergy House, after a twelve hours' journey from Yorkshire. "A dear old man, with a delightful face: kind, simple, innocent, and childlike," was the remark I made in my diary on that occasion. I remembered the fuss there had been in 1889 when the present Archbishop of Armagh preached at High Mass in S. Mary's on the opening of the Church Congress, when I was at Cambridge, and knew that the Vicar had been one of the pioneers of the Catholic Revival in Wales. It was agreed on the following day that I should have the vacant curacy, and three weeks later I look up my quarters in the Clergy House, which was to be my home for the next five years--years which, in spite of many anxieties, both personal and parochial, I shall always rank among the happiest of my life. The Vicar was at that time nearly sixty-eight, and "went among men for an old man," so that I have no personal knowledge of what he was like in his younger and more vigorous days, nor indeed of what S. Mary's was like in its more militant days, and before so many of its devouter attendants had migrated to Roath and elsewhere, and had found in those places other churches which offered them the same teaching and types of service that they had learned to value at S. Mary's. But though the glories of S. Mary's may have been somewhat on the wane in my time, the Vicar was a man under whom one felt it an honour to be allowed to serve, and the other members of the staff were men with whom it is a privilege to have been associated.
The feature which would probably first strike a stranger in the Clergy House was its interior dinginess and the simplicity of its furniture. There was no glebe house, and the Vicar rented two houses in the corner of Loudoun Square, and had them thrown into one to form the Clergy House, where he and the assistant clergy all lived together. We did not, indeed, go in for sanded floors; but the carpets, furniture, wallpapers, paint, and whitewash all presented an air of venerable age and unstudied simplicity. Unstudied, for I do not suppose that the Vicar ever thought it a merit not to have things nice about him: there the things were, and he simply never thought about having them different. They were good enough for him, and I don't suppose it ever occurred to any of us to question their being good enough for us also. The Oratory, where we said the Lesser Hours, was approached down some stairs, and was very damp. Its walls had at some prehistoric period been distempered bright blue à la Reckitt, but had acquired some form of mural eczema which gave them a variegated appearance; the Office books, well thumbed inside, were mouldy outside, and clammy to the touch. Behind the prie-dieu where the officiant knelt was a simple dossal and ledge, and a plaster crucifix. On two brackets on the walls were very grimy plaster figures of Our Lady and S. Michael, patrons of the two churches in the parish. It was only on very rare occasions--in my time--that the Vicar joined in the Oratory Offices; it was really much too cold and damp a place for him; but he always made a point of saying the Offices in private. And here I am reminded of something which always struck me as very characteristic. Every Sunday evening towards the close of supper he used to invite us to come up to his room after Compline, and as regularly as clockwork he would conclude his invitation by remarking (as though he were lulling us something rather unusual), "I don't think I shall come down into the Oratory this evening: I shall say my Compline upstairs." Never was man more tenacious of purpose than the Vicar, and never did man cling more closely than he to regular customs. One can imagine how hard he must have felt it when first he found himself obliged to give up taking his part in the Oratory Offices, and how he must have liked to fancy that it was only for a linn:, until at length the innocent little fiction, which deceived nobody, became a stereotyped formula.
Dear old man! never during the five years I spent under his roof did I receive an unkind word from him, and both during that time and on the occasions of all my visits to Cardiff since I left the town he treated me with the utmost kindness, confidence, and consideration.
On Monday, May 20, 1895, I wrote to my father: "You will like to hear how I am getting on. I am pegging away at my district, which has about 650 houses in it, and am trying to find out the names of the inhabitants and other things about them.
"Chadwick came back from his holiday on Saturday, so we at last have our full staff of five priests, and were able to have High Service yesterday. . . . Our ordinary routine is as follows; On Sundays each of the three churches has services at 8, 11, and 6.30. Coe confines himself on Sundays to S. Dyfrig's, and Chadwick to S. Michael's. The Vicar, Ward, and I officiate at S. Mary's, but Ward and I, when not celebrating at S. Mary's, take the early Eucharist either at S. Dyfrig's or S. Michael's, so as to save Coe or Chadwick, as the case may be, from having to duplicate, as each of them has a late Missa Cantata as well as the 8 o'clock service in his own church. The late Mass at S. Mary's is taken in turn either by the Vicar, Ward, or myself, so that each of us has a turn once in three weeks. The 8 o'clock service at S. Mary's is taken by the Vicar on Sundays when he is not celebrating at 11, and on the other Sundays it is taken either by Ward or by me.
"Then at S. Mary's we say Mattins and Litany, plain, at 10.20, with a congregation of three or four people: and at 11 the Sunday Service begins--namely, on ordinary Sundays Missa Cantata, sung by one priest, with sermon: or at festival seasons High Service, where the priest is assisted by deacon and subdeacon in dalmatic and tunicle, and incense is used. The Service is over about half-past twelve, and the celebrant on getting home has a cup of tea and some bread-and-butter. At one o'clock we all dine, and about 2.30 we go to our respective Sunday schools. The Church stands in the middle of my district (which rejoices in the name of Tiger Bay), so the children from my schools, boys, girls, and infants, being close to the church, come into S. Mary's after their lesson at 3.30, and I have a catechising which lasts till 4. Then I wait till 4.15, and take any baptisms and churchings that may turn up, and after that return home. We have tea at 5; Evensong is at 6.30. At 8.30 we have supper, and after Compline the Vicar invites us all up into his room, where we sit and talk till about 10.30. The Vicar and I smoke; the others don't. Such is our Sunday programme. The ordinary weekday programme is as follows: At 8 a.m. Mass at the side altar (on red-letter days it is at the high altar at 7 and 8), followed about 8.30 by Mattins, which is over a few minutes before 9. The celebrant stays to say his Thanksgiving, and the rest go home and say Terce in the Oratory; after which we breakfast off coffee, bacon (or, on ordinary Fridays, eggs), and marmalade. On fast days breakfast consists of coffee, bread, and salt. Towards one o'clock we say Sext, and then lunch off bread-and-cheese and plum-loaf. On fast days cheese is replaced by stewed prunes. Then we say Nones. At six we dine. At 7.30 we say Evensong at S. Mary (with sermon on Wednesdays); after which, if there be no guild meeting or other such thing, Ward and I (and Chadwick since his return) have tea and toast. At 9.30 we say Compline. Our other employments, such as schools, visiting, mothers' meetings, classes, etc., of course, vary from day to day. On Tuesdays and Fridays we teach in the day schools in our respective districts, in order to which we have Mattins at 7.30 on Tuesdays, and at i i on Fridays, so as to get to breakfast about a quarter to nine. I teach in the North Church St. National Schools from 9.45 to 10.15, taking the upper and lower divisions and the infants in rotation, and on Fridays I also take the S. Gwendolen's girls for half an hour from 10.15. S. Gwendolen's is a private school worked by the Sisters, and is not under Government. Each of the other districts has a group of National schools: Ward's in Bute Terrace, Coc's in Wood Street, and Chadwick's near the Docks."
[On five Sundays in the year, at Christinas-time, Easter, Whitsunday, the Patronal Festival, and All Saints'-tidc, there was a general catechising of the children of all the Sunday schools in the parish at 3.15, followed by a procession, in which the children took part. The catechising on these occasions by each of the assistant clergy in turn. On Maundy Thursday, Ascension Day, Corpus Christ! Day, All Saints' Day, and at the Patronal and Dedication Festivals, there was High Service at which the children of the day schools were present.]
The chief events that happened during my curacy at S. Mary's, taken in order of time, were: first, the formation of S. Dyfrig's district into a separate parish and Coe's institution as its first Vicar on May 29, 1895, exactly a week after he had completed twenty years' service with the old Vicar. He did not give up living in the Clergy House till the end of the following July.
Secondly, the opening of a new mission room in Blaenclydach Street, Penarth Road, in Ward's district. Ward had his first service there on Lady Day 1897. This was the egg from which later on was hatched the new Mission Chapel of S. Samson.
Thirdly, the receipt by the Vicar on Monday in Holy Week (April 12) 1897 of a very kind letter from the Bishop, offering him the living of Llandesand. This was kept a secret from the people till Easter Monday, when the Vicar let it be known at the Easter Vestry. After carefully considering the matter he finally declined the offer on April 22.
Fourthly, the offer of Llantarnam which came to Ward on June 19, 1897, from the Bishop, and which, after much consideration, he accepted on June 26. On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, he celebrated for the last time as Curate of S. Mary's, when between fifty and sixty persons were present, of whom forty-six communicated; and on the afternoon of the same day he was instituted and inducted at Llantarnam.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, 1898, Cardiff was favoured by a visit from the late Mr. John Kensit, who lectured in the Cory Memorial Hall on "Idolatry in the Church of England." The hall was full, the audience consisting chiefly of Dissenters and the rest Catholics. A Baptist minister was in the chair, and another Dissenting preacher led off with what was called a prayer, but what was really a speech. A picturesque Quaker, ritualistically attired in exactly the same manner as the "Quaker Oats" advertisement, was on the platform. The meeting was enlivened halfway through by the aromatic fames of sulphuretted hydrogen diffusing themselves in the immediate vicinity of the platform. The bottle wherein they were being generated was found and removed, but the person who put it there was not discovered. Not a single clergyman or layman known to be a Churchman could be found to support the lecturer.
Owing to the distressing scenes which had occurred in various well-known churches where Mr. Kensit and his followers had presented themselves for Communion, and then loudly protested against the use of "wafer bread," the Vicar thought it prudent to announce that at the midday Eucharists only those who had given notice in accordance with the rubric were to communicate, and that non-parishioners should communicate at their own parish churches. In order not to lay himself open to the charge of enforcing one little-recognized rubric while ignoring the one which seems to require at least three to communicate with the priest at each celebration, he arranged for a rota of the more earnest communicants, who should make themselves responsible for there being three or four besides the priest at each late Mass, and this arrangement was first carried out on Sunday, Aug. 28, 1898, when four persons besides the priest communicated, of course fasting, at midday. A like arrangement had, I believe, been made on the occasion of the famous Congress Service in 1889.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, 1898, when the Dedication Festival was kept and there were specially grand services, there was some fear that disturbances might take place, as this particular Sunday had been appointed by Mr. Kensit to be observed throughout the country "as a specially Protestant Sunday," and it was announced that organized disturbances were to be made that day in a thousand parishes. But all passed off quite peaceably, and S. Mary's was allowed to keep its Dedication Festival unmolested.
At Easter, 1899, the Sisters found themselves obliged to close their middle-class school, S. Gwendolen's, which they had carried on in North Church Street for twelve years.
On July 37, 1899, the Archbishop's famous "Opinion" was delivered as to the illegality of the liturgical use of incense and of the use of portable lights, and on the following Sunday, Aug. 6, it being the Feast of the Transfiguration, we had High Mass at S. Mary's. There was no procession, that being only usual at the greater festivals, but in the Mass itself everything was done as usual, the Altar being censed at the Introit and Offertory, the choir and people censed at the Offertory, and incense swung at the Consecration; the usual lights were carried at the procession of the Gospel, and the Gospel book was censed, all exactly as usual. The local papers made absurd remarks about this, and said that the Vicar was defying the authority of the Archbishops, entirely ignoring the obvious fact that, even if the "Opinion" carried any binding force, the Vicar was under no obligation to take any notice of it until his own Bishop should have officially communicated to him his wishes on the matter.
The Bishop of Llandaff, almost the first among his episcopal brethren, lost no time in addressing the incumbents of his diocese in a letter dated Friday, Aug. 11, which appeared in the morning papers of Saturday, Aug. 12, on which same day the episcopal circular reached the respective incumbents. The Vicar was away from Cardiff at the time, and was not to return till evening. I had succeeded Ward as Senior Curate, and when that same morning a reporter called to ask what we thought of the Bishop's letter, I told him I hadn't seen it; I didn't know what it contained, or anything about it, except that I had been given to understand that there was a letter in the morning paper; that the Vicar was away, and until he came home and received an intimation from the Bishop in some more direct way than through a newspaper, we could take no notice of it, and I absolutely refused to give him any information or expression of opinion. The Vicar came home that evening at 6 p.m., and found the Bishop's circular awaiting him. He decided to make no alteration in the arrangements that had been made for the next day's service; he felt it too sudden, and wrote that evening a respectful letter to the Bishop saying that he must beg leave to think and talk over the matter before making sudden alteration. It so happened that the next day, the Sunday within the Octave of the Holy Name, which we specially kept as the Festival of the Guild of the Good Shepherd, there was to be High Mass and Solemn Evensong with procession of the Guild. The services had been announced in the Parish Magazine before ever the Archbishop's "Opinion" was published. The High Service went exactly as usual, except that, owing to the absence of one candle-boy and one server, Gospel lights and elevation lights had to be dispensed with. At Solemn Evensong, too, everything was as usual, but at the procession which followed it we had to dispense with incense and carried lights, as again one candle-bearer was absent, and the regular thurifer also. The latter's place was supplied by dear old Hodge at the Magnificat, but as he was carrying the Cross in the procession he could not manage the incense too. So that as it happened, without intending it, we carried out half of the Bishop's request, in that no candles were carried either in the Gospel procession or in the procession after Evensong. In the evening an unfortunate reporter who had not been able to get to S. Mary's for any of the services, as he had had to busy himself at some of the Roath churches, made vigorous efforts to draw me about what had happened. At last he remarked despairingly that he supposed he wouldn't be able to put anything into the paper; so I said, "My dear fellow, surely you don't suppose we want you to put anything in? Considering the sort of things that have been said about us lately, is it likely that we should feel particularly anxious to help you?" He admitted that it wasn't, and said that personally he didn't think we had been fairly treated, but that he had to do what his editor wanted, and when he got back to the office he would be told to go out again and find somebody who had been present at S. Mary's. I told him I was sorry; I had no quarrel with him personally, but I couldn't help him. "However," I said, "if you just sit down and invent something out of your own head it will be about as near the mark as the account of our doings last Sunday which appeared in last Monday's paper. They said we all three wore gorgeous chasubles, and also that both side altars were ceremoniously censed as well as the High Altar; whereas we've only got one side altar, and it was not censed."
As illustrating the style in which the local papers dealt with Church matters, one might quote from a paragraph in The South Wales Daily News of Sept. 2, 1899, which after printing several extracts from S. Mary's Parish Magazine, under the heading "Ultra-Ritualism in Cardiff," concludes by the charmingly naive remark, "Both at S. Mary's and S. Dyfrig's, a church in the same parish, there will be the 'Exaltation of the Holy Cross,' on the 14th, and on the 20th there will be the ember-day vigil."
On Sunday, Aug. 27, a very enthusiastic and unanimous meeting of the S. Mary's people was held after Evensong, at the instance of the churchwardens, none of the clergy being present. [The Church Times of Sept. 1, 1899, reports it, and gives a copy of the letter addressed to the Vicar on that occasion.] The Vicar wrote next day to the Bishop, enclosing a copy of the letter addressed to him at that meeting by the churchwardens and communicants. A little later the Vicar wrote a letter to the Bishop which he posted on Monday, Sept. 4. Relying on the fact that the Archbishop's "Opinion" had laid stress on the literal interpretation of Acts of Uniformity, and of the Prayer Book-construed as a schedule of an Act of Parliament, the Vicar claimed the right to interpret the Bishop's request for submission to that "Opinion" in the same manner; and quoting the authority of J. H. Blunt, he represented that the expression "Liturgical use of incense," must be taken as meaning "its use during the Liturgy, i.e., the Holy Communion Service." He undertook, therefore, to give up the use of incense during the Prayer Book Service of Holy Communion, viz. from the beginning of the first Lord's Prayer to the end of the Blessing. This, of course, would not prejudice its use in processions, at the Introit, or at other Services than the Holy Communion. The Bishop, however, was not satisfied, for as my diary on Sept. 6 records, "The Vicar had a letter from the Bishop this morning, refusing to accept his interpretation of the expression 'Liturgical use of incense' as meaning its use 'in the Liturgy,' i.e. during the Mass, from the first 'Our Father' to the Blessing. The Bishop threatens to be nasty (that is, he says his future course of action will greatly depend on an exact compliance with his wishes in this matter) if the Vicar doesn't promise to give up the use of incense in any way as part of a public service, and other than in the way of 'sweetening the church' (meaning, I suppose, that he may employ a charwoman to brandish a warming-pan full of pastilles up and down the church on Saturday afternoons). Vicar saw Beck this morning and consulted him. Beck thinks there is no help for it, so the Vicar has written to the Bishop, promising to give up, until further notice, the ceremonial use of incense at any public service, and the use of carried lights in processions."
What the consequences of refusal would be, the Bishop did not say, but the Vicar was not in a position to stand a siege. The parish was understaffed, the Vicar had found it almost impossible to get priests; two of the clergy were at this time deacons: and if the Vicar were to stand out, the Bishop might have made difficulties about ordaining them to the priesthood; he might refuse to license any fresh assistant, and he might even revoke all our licences and leave the poor old man, then in his seventy-third year, single-handed, thus forcing his resignation; and then perhaps pressure might be put on the patrons to nominate as his successor a "Moderately High" Churchman, who would undo all his work. What would actually have happened, it is impossible to say, but any or all of those things might have happened, and the only line which he could well have taken was the line he took, viz. to yield gracefully, under protest.
Dear old Vicar! How shall one describe him? "Father Jones had the tenderest heart and the strongest will ever found in man," said The Western Mail, and all who knew him must feel how truly it was said. I would just single out four points, though all of them will probably have been better dealt with by others. One is his love for little children and their love for him. It was a sight to see him pass along the streets, with the children running up, crying "Vicar, Vicar!" and clinging with their grimy hands to his cloak, that cloak which a Western Mail reporter, with a touch of Celtic imagination, once declared must be the very one which S. Paul left at Troas. Then there is his strong belief in and real reverence for the Sacrament of the Altar. True, he could never say Mass without indulging in a score of rather trying peculiarities: littering the Altar with a dozen or so of little books and papers, among which he invariably lost his way; sending the server on all sorts of errands; occasionally wandering off himself to open or shut a window or to light or lower a gas jet; those were some of his idiosyncrasies; but under them all it was not hard to see how really reverent he was. And when he was away from home, if a daily Eucharist was at all within his reach, I believe he always tried to avail himself of the privilege of being present at it. Another point is the firmness of his belief in the value of the Ministry of Reconciliation, both for himself and for others. And lastly, in speaking of one who would doubtless have been regarded by many as a very thinly disguised Romanist, one would like to recall the fact that not only did he himself remain to the last a priest of the Anglican Communion, but that of the thirty-four assistant clergy who have served under him during his vicariate of S. Mary's, not one has ever seceded.
A meeting, called at the instance of the churchwardens, was held, after Evensong, at the vestry adjoining S. Mary's Church, on Sunday. A large number of the congregation attended, and the letter, herewith appended, addressed to the Vicar on the subject of the threatened disuse of incense, was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted. A touching incident took place during the meeting, when two blind men came forward and pleaded for the continuance of the use of incense. One of them, in a pathetic speech, said that nothing in the whole Service appealed to him more than the sweet smell of incense, which seemed to him to go up to heaven in union with the intercession of our dear Lord and Master.
CARDIFF, August 1899.
REVEREND AND DEAR VICAR,
We, the communicants and worshippers at the Parish Church of S. Mary the Virgin, Cardiff, learn with feelings of deep regret and sorrow that you have been requested by the Lord Bishop of Llandaff to take away from us those beautiful and symbolical adjuncts to Divine Worship which have been in use amongst us for so many years, and which we have all learned to value, believing them to be permitted and sanctioned, not only by the Church of England, but by every branch of Christ's Holy Catholic Church.
We remember with pleasure and gratitude that it was in response to our earnest request, and after careful consideration on your part, that incense was introduced into S. Mary's Church with the full approval of the worshippers, and we appreciate most cordially your kindly consideration for us and our feelings by so thoughtfully submitting to us the circular received by you from the Bishop. We desire further to express to you our heartfelt sympathy in this your time of real anxiety and trouble.
For many months past you and the clergy and laity who agree with you in this matter have been, subjected to the most outrageous insults and slanders from the pulpit, the platform, and the press. During the whole of this trying period you have set us a splendid example of Christian patience and fortitude. For this and all the many other blessings we have been permitted by God's infinite mercy to enjoy under your devout ministrations, we cannot express in words as fully as we could wish our sincere gratitude.
We can only assure you of our continual prayers to God on your behalf, that He in this your time of trial, and at all other times, may pour upon you the continual dew of His blessing. Whatever response you may deem it your duty to make in reply to the Bishop's circular, we are most desirous that you should express to his lordship how bitterly we feel the injustice of this attempt to deprive us and our children of the privileges we have hitherto enjoyed. Among the sacred ceremonies of the Church there is none we regard with greater reverence and value more than the offering to Almighty God of "incense at the time of the Holy Oblation." There is nothing in the worship of the Church for which we can plead so fully the sanction and authority of Holy Scripture and of the whole Catholic Church as the ceremonial use of incense. It is impossible to find a single text in the New Testament which forbids, or in any way discountenances, the use of incense in Divine Worship. On the contrary, God, by the mouth of the prophet Malachi, declares that in the Gentile Church it shall be used: "For from the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, My Name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a pure offering. For My Name shall he great among the heathen, says the Lord of Hosts." We have always been taught that the worship of God on earth is to fit us to take part in the worship of the Angelic Choirs of Heaven, and we read in the Revelation of S. John the Divine, who saw Heaven opened: "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, and the smoke of the incense which came with the prayer of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." Furthermore, the Archbishops, in their recent Pronouncement, say as follows: "We are far from saying that incense is in itself an undesirable or unsuitable accompaniment to Divine Worship. The instructions for its use by Divine authority in the Jewish Church would alone forbid such conclusion." Notwithstanding all that has been said lately upon this subject, we believe that incense is one of those innocent and Scriptural accessories of Divine Worship "which doth neither endanger the Church of God nor offend the minds of sober men," and as such is one of those ceremonies which the Church of England in the Thirtieth Canon expresses her desire to retain with reverence. We view with alarm the Erastian spirit which pervades the Pronouncement of the Archbishops, and we take this opportunity to protest against the idea of the Church being subject to Acts of Parliament in matters relating to ritual or doctrine. If this spirit of Erastianism is to be encouraged by our Bishops, then it will become a matter of grave consideration whether we are not paying too dear for our connection with the State. We trust that you will be able to lay before the Bishop of the diocese how deeply we regret, and how keenly we feel, the threatened deprivation which compliance with the Bishop's request will entail upon us.
Signed at the request and on the behalf of the communicants and worshippers of S. Mary's,
HENRY J. THATCHER, Churchwardens.
From The Times, Tuesday, June 11, 1895. AN IMPRESSION OF CARDIFF.
. . . Perhaps the best way to give as clear an impression as may be of the character of the population of Cardiff and of the conditions under which the clergy work will be to describe the scenes which I looked upon recently. With the fine street in which, apart from the dock offices and the offices of commercial men near the docks, the business life of Cardiff is concentrated, it is not necessary for the present purpose that we should concern ourselves here. Nor need much, if anything, be said of the interminable rows of villas and residences of men and women in comfortable circumstances. To appreciate the character of the residences, to understand the conditions in which the clergy are compelled to perform their work, it will be well for the visitor to turn his footsteps away from the striking buildings, away from the comfortable houses, and walk down the long street which leads towards the Bute Docks. Here the character of the houses on either side, the legends in various languages which they bear, the goods in which the shops deal, the speech and the very complexions of the men--sailors for the most part, who lounge along the pavement, are highly significant. Ever so many of the houses are sailors' boarding-houses, and in the shops are strange things without number. They hold out to the mariner inducements in almost every known tongue. The throng of sailors, not only here but in the square by the shipping offices, where they stand for hire, includes representatives of every race that ever takes to the sea for a livelihood. Here are two or three negroes, there Malays; here is a group of Norsemen, there a knot of Italians; Frenchmen are here, and Germans, and Americans, and Spaniards. Englishmen, Welshmen, Irish, and Scots are to be distinguished by their accent. Babel itself never heard ·d more confused medley of tongues. If you turn aside to the right you find a network of mean streets, or, turning to the left and passing through a desert of railways to a fringe of houses upon the edge of the docks, you find yourself in the midst of a scene of squalor hardly to be matched in the East-end of London. The houses themselves are not, apparently, of particularly mean structure; indeed, the buildings of the lowest quarters of Cardiff are better than those in seaports of more ancient history. But the lower windows are all boarded up. Innumerable children, unkempt and dirty, are playing in the filthy roadway, from which the sun causes a ftid smell to rise; groups of slatternly women, one in three bearing a black eye, loaf upon the pavement; now and then a loud-voiced harridan darts from one of the dirty entries to pour forth a volley of abusive threats against some person or persons unknown. And the listless men, some of them obviously mere hangers-on of a port and sodden with drink; while others, as the stains about their feet show, are dock labourers, or "hobblers," who cannot find a job, are a sight, if possible, more depressing than the women.
The whole of the maritime community and of that society which lives upon it supplies a field in which missionaries of every Church and every sect may labour and do labour continuously without fear that their work can come to an end. For there is here a never ending crop of irreligion, of indifference, of dishonest)-, and of flagrant immorality.
In the midst of brothels and shebeens the clergy in whose parishes are these sinks of iniquity live and work, and their work is done with effect. "I assure you," said one of them to me, "that there are men and women living in the midst of this wickedness who live saintly lives. 'They see the evil every day, they grew up in it, and have become so familiar with the sight of every kind of sin and excess in it that such things must have seemed to them part of the order of nature. But their lives are absolutely pure and their religion is real." If it be asked how a clergyman, one of those whom political Nonconformists would describe as the occupant of a fat living, passes his life amidst these surroundings, the answer may be given best by describing the environment of the occupant of a benefice in Cardiff when your correspondent called upon him in a clergy-house one morning. To name the clergyman is needless--for those who know him the description of his circumstances will afford information quite sufficient to establish his identity; to those who know him not the addition of his name, which is not uncommon in Wales, would convey nothing in particular. He is a man who, through evil report and through good, has worked in most unostentatious fashion in the worst parts of Cardiff for many a year. The luxury of his residence would not impress any man accustomed to the sumptuous extravagance of a Bloomsbury lodging at 18 s. a week. The waiting-room was more like the waiting-room of a small cottage hospital than anything else in the world; his style of living was one of Spartan simplicity; the square in which he and the other clergy lived was precisely such as one might expect to find to the right hand or to the left of Commercial Road, E. His work is among the people, and he feels it to be his duty to live among them--that is all.
From him and from others I gathered that the conclusion which I reached at Aberdare--namely, that the prosperity of the Church in Wales was in proportion to the height of the ritual--was just. Here there is no desire to express any opinion as to the comparative merits of High Churchmanship and Low, of ceremonious and simple ritual, or to attempt to conjecture whether it is the doctrine or the ritual of the High Church party which attracts congregations in Wales. The important thing, from the present point of view, is the fact that the High Churchmen seem, on the whole, to be able to attract the larger following. But, it must be added, this is a comparatively recent phenomenon in Church development, for the original tone of the stock Welsh Churchmen was Low, so Low, indeed, as to border upon Calvinism, and it is certainly correct to say that all over Wales, and in Cardiff particularly, the High Churchmen have had an extremely difficult and harassing battle to fight. For their opponents were not Nonconformists merely, but those of their own household--Churchmen, that is to say, who deemed that they saw, under the cloak of vestments and ritual, the cloven hoof of Rome. But the fight is over now, and, whatsoever opinion may remain at bottom, the sincerity and the earnestness and the devotion of the High Church clergy are recognized, no less than those of the Low Churchmen, on all sides.