Emma Jane Worboise.

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[Third Edition]

" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.'
REV. ii. 10.

" His spirit with a bound

Left its encumbering clay :
His tent at sunrise, on the ground

A darkened ruin lay.

" Soldier of Christ, well done !

Rest from thy loved employ :
The battle fought ; the victory won;

Enter thy Master's joy."



IN presenting to the public this brief sketch of the character
and career of so remarkable and truly great a man as Dr.
Arnold, I feel that no apology is required j for next to our
own individual, and too often dearly bought experience, the
records of one who has already fought the good fight, and
won the victory on the battle-field of human life, must
needs be of the highest value, and most significant import.

Lengthened prefatory remarks are likewise superfluous.
It were presumptuous as well as unnecessary to criticise
sentiments, to account for actions, to eulogise or to deprecate
details of character, that will be far better appreciated by
their natural development, as they arise in due order through
the course of the biography itself. The life of Dr. Arnold,
if it be not most unworthily written, ought to speak for
itself, to proclaim its own inherent value, and to convey
without note or comment that instruction which, in itself,
it is so wonderfully adapted to afford.

To Canon Stanley I beg to express my great obligation,
and my sincere gratitude, for his kindness and condescen-
sion, in allowing me so freely to avail myself of the letters
and journals, already published in his own invaluable
memoir of Dr. Arnold, to which, otherwise, I could have
had very limited or no access.



To his full and extended Biography my imperfect attempt
is just what the mere etching is to the highly finished por-
trait, glowing with colours laid on by the master's hand.
Still, there are thousands, whose means, whose time, and
whose opportunities, will not permit them to avail them-
selves of the treasures of the larger memoir, and for such
the present volume is expressly written ; and I cannot but
hope that in many cases my little book may prove, not only
the substitute for, but the pioneer of, Canon Stanley's more
weighty and more extensive work; for I flatter myself that
among my readers there will be those who, stimulated by
the perusal of what is written herein, may desire to know
more of the subject of this Memoir.

To the Author of "Tom Brown's School-days," I also
take this opportunity of rendering my acknowledgments.
His very graphic and most delightful book has frequently
furnished me with material, and aided by its truthful
sketches my own imperfect reminiscences of Rugby and its
school. And at the same time I would express my thanks
to all those Rugbaeans who have kindly aided me, in this
my responsible, but truly delightful labour of love.

In conclusion, I will only say, that if, by the perusal of
this little book, few, or only one of its readers should, by
the blessing of God, be led to consider the bright example,
whose lustre was all derived from the Master whom he
so loved to serve and to follow, and to imbibe somewhat of
the spirit that counted all things but loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, great will be
my reward.

E. J, W.






















LAST DAYS . > . . 258





FROM time to time, on the wide arena of Life's stormy
battle-field, there arise, and have arisen in all ages,
'/ great and noble natures, who, not content with passing
through the melee as quietly and creditably and safely
as may be consistent with mere reputation, seek to
prove themselves " good men and true ; " to quit
themselves "like heroes in the strife" that rages so
fiercely around us from the cradle to the grave ; to
fight bravely, unshrinkingly, and unselfishly, as real
soldiers of the Heavenly King, for the interests, and
for the extension, of Christ's Church militant here upon

Fame keeps ever proudly, and as she ought to keep,
the memory of those, who, true to altar, throne, and
hearth, have freely poured forth their life-blood for the
dear sake of liberty and Fatherland ; and she keeps too,
quite as proudly, but far less righteously, the records
of the conquerors of earth, who, sword in hand, mowed


down opposing armies ; and sweeping the land like
angels of destruction, bowed nation after nation to the
yoke, so building up for themselves a name enduring as
history itself.

And if this be so, shall not they who wage a grander
warfare they who, at the cost of scorn and slander and
misapprehension, have sought to make purer and better
and widei the Church of Christ; they who have
opposed, often single-handed, Satan, the world, and
their alien armies of bigotry, shallowness, and ancient
prejudice ; shall not they too have their meed, and
shall not the glory of their names rouse others from
their slothful rest and their supine neutrality, to work
while it is called to-day, lest the night, in which no
man can work, come suddenly upon them ?

Surely the time spent in the delineation and contem-
plation of such characters is most profitably bestowed.
To trace the history of such men, to watch their gradual
advances to the highest truths, their progress of mind,
their development of pure and lofty principles, the cir-
cumstances of their lot, their course of training, their
discipline, and their mode of action, is to learn deeper
and more abiding lessons than were ever conned from
the pages of the essayist, the philosopher, or the

The impartial life of a good, great man, is the visible
manifestation and application of those central truths, *
which sermons and lectures are intended to convey.
Principles and ideas thus exemplified, and woven in, as
it were, into the familiar sayings and doings and think-
ings of common every-day life, acquire a depth of mean-
ing, a power, and a reality, which may be perceived
and appreciated by all ; so that the force of comparison,
the involuntary glance of introspection, and the obvious


and frequent application which must ensue from the
consideration of such a life, cannot fail to awaken some
idle slumberer, some sentimental dreamer, who has
never yet found, or sought, or cared to find his
appointed task in the world's great field of labour ; to
rekindle the dying fires of some once warm and fervent
spirit, who has grown cold and careless in the Master's
service ; or to cheer the drooping soul of some who are
worn and weary, and discouraged at the very com-
mencement of life's long troublous campaign.

Such a life is the one now before us ; a life almost
devoid of startling incidents, or thrilling romance : a
sunny, serene life, yet not cloudless or untouched by
adverse breezes ; crowned with many of God's richest
and choicest blessings, yet crossed ever and anon by
the sense of weakness and pain and care and mutability ;
made up, in an exterior point of view, of very ordinary
materials, but rendered grand and beautiful by the
workings of the holy, steadfast, loving spirit within.

It was on the 13th of June, 1795, that a seventh
child, and youngest son, was born to William and
Martha Arnold, then resident at West Cowes, in the
Isle of Wight. The Arnold family were not aborigines
of the soil ; they had been settled on the Medina Estuary
for two generations only, and came originally from the
neighbourhood of Lowestoft, in Suffolk.

This child received in baptism the name of Thomas,
and became in process of time the Dr. Arnold of Rugby
celebrity. His father died suddenly of spasm in the
heart, March 3rd, 1801. His mother lived to see her
only surviving son the Head Master of Rugby School ;



settled in that position, and pledged to that great work,
for which he was remarkably qualified, and in which it
was permitted him to accomplish so much good, not
merely for the passing generation, but for all Time ;
nay, under the blessing of Almighty God, FOE ALL

His maternal aunt, Miss Delaneld, took charge of his
childish studies ; but at eight years of age he quitted
home for Warminster School, in Wiltshire, then under
the management of Dr. Griffiths. Here he read Dr.
Priestley's Lectures on History, which he quoted from
memory full thirty-eight years afterwards, when filling
the chair of Regius Professor of Modern History in the
University of Oxford.

Here, too, he formed his first boyish friendship.
Among the many who in later years he delighted to
call his friends, among those to whom his strong and
loving heart beat with a true, unutterable attachment,
the memory of George Evelyn always retained its
sweetness and its interest; although in 1806 they
were parted, never again to meet on earth. Indeed,
Arnold lost sight of Evelyn : for the currents of their
lives diverged so widely that he heard nothing of
him till 1829, when he was requested to write his

In a letter of remarkable simplicity, and deep feeling,
addressed to the widow of this, his earliest and long-
lost friend, he says: " Since the year 1806, I have
never seen him ; but the impression of his character
has remained strongly marked on my memory ever
since, for I never knew so bright a promise in any
other boy ; I never knew any spirit at that age, so
pure and generous, and so free from the ordinary mean-
nesses, coarsenesses, and littlenesses of boyhood."


So early, and so abidingly, did Arnold appreciate
purity and nobility of character.

In 1807 he left Warminster for Winchester College,
where he remained till his sixteenth year, and, in
common with nearly all those who have studied under
the time-honoured walls of that renowned seat of learn-
ing, he imbibed and always retained a strong Wyke-
hamist spirit. Though I have not at my disposal any
records of his four years' residence in this old city of
regal and Saxon antiquity, it needs but very slight
force of imagination to picture him, a shy, retiring
boy, moving quietly and gravely through the classic
halls of "William of Wykeham : to see him, treading
from day to day, as he MUST have done, those well-
remembered haunts of college, cathedral, city, or
upland-down; now pacing in meditative sort the
cloisters and quadrangles of his own special locality ;
now sitting in the beautiful chapel, at morning or
evening prayers, in the solemn light of the grand
eastern window, with its quaint genealogical tree,
and old Jesse the Bethlehemite recumbent at its roots ;
now rambling along the green flowery banks of the
Itchin, or gazing reverently at the gray towers of
St. Cross, or taking with his schoolfellows his pre-
scribed " constitutional " up the chalky steeps of fir-
crowned St. Catherine's Hill. His young footsteps
must have trodden the long, lofty aisles of the glorious
cathedral ; he must have passed by the ancient black
marble font, and the deserted chapels of the nave, and
he must have looked often on the gorgeous effigy of
Beaufort, the nameless, unhonoured grave of the ' l Red
King," the legendary tomb of St. S within, and the antique
chest where moulder, or are said to moulder, the dust
of kings and queens of Saxon and Danish dynasties.


Certainly, on a mind and taste like his, the architec-
tural beauties, the shadows of ages almost dreamlike in
their far-remoteness, and the rich historic associations
of Winchester, could not have failed to create a vivid
and a permanent impression. Meanwhile, his school-
days were marked by a peculiar stiffness and reticence,
which, however, entirely wore away during his subse-
quent residence at Oxford. He held tenaciously to his
opinions, " and," says one of his friends and com-
panions, " was utterly immovable by force or fraud,
when he had made up his mind, whether right or

So it is that strong, firm, uncompromising minds
frequently develop themselves in early youth : where
there is steadfast Christian principle, and earnest seek-
ing after truth, mere obstinate persistence gradually
merges into a settled conscientious adherence to that
which the heart and understanding acknowledge as the
right and governing principle, whether it be spiritual,
moral, or intellectual.

He was very fond of ballad poetry. Whilst yet a
schoolboy he composed a play, sundry poems, and an
imitation of Scott's "Mannion," which he called
" Simon de Montfort." Partly on this account, and
partly to distinguish him from another boy of the same
name, he received the cognomen of "Poet Arnold."
He was famous, too, for his repetition of certain spirited
ballads with which he delighted his Winchester school-
fellows, who were not so literary as himself. One very
early specimen of his juvenile talent has been pre-
served, a tragedy, written in his seventh year; its
subject, "Percy, Earl of Northumberland." This pre-
cocious composition is not, however, remarkable for
anything beyond correct orthography, good English,



and general regularity of construction merits, by the
way, which the productions of maturer genius do not
invariably exhibit.

Of a far more striking character were his attainments
in history and geography. The germs of that ardour
and delight in historic research and delineation, which
gave to his subsequent labours the aspect of recrea-
tion, rather than of toil, were discernible at a very
early period.

He remembered receiving from his father, a copy of
Smollett's History of England, when only three years
of age, as a reward for the exactness with which he
repeated all the little tales and anecdotes relating to
the successive reigns ; or rather to the pictures appended
to, and illustrative of, each reign in the aforesaid his<-
tory ; and when a boy at Winchester, he breaks out
into a very tornado of indignation against the bombast
and careless inaccuracy of the Latin writers. We meet
with the following philippic in one of his letters, written
at the age of fourteen: "I verily believe that half,
at least, of the Roman History is, if not totally false, at
least scandalously exaggerated. How far different are
the modest, unaffected, and impartial narratives of
Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon."

And now, having briefly considered the localities,
the actual pursuits, and the tendencies of Arnold's boy-
hood, let us turn aside, and take a cursory glance at
the character of the times in which his childhood and
youth passed away. They were right stirring days :
wars, and rumours of wars, were afloat month after
month, and year after year. The recollections of the
atrocities of the French Revolution were still fresh in
the memories of all Europe : the massacres of La Vendee,
and the noyades of Nantes, yet thrilled the hearts of


those, who, trembling and aghast, had recoiled from
the first recital of the horrors of revolutionary fury.

Sir Arthur Wellesley was winning his first laurels
at Assaye and Argaum ; Nelson was sweeping with his
victorious fleet the waters of the Mediterranean : the
name of Eonaparte stirred up everywhere wrath and
terror and despair; thrones were tottering, dynasties
crumbling away, and governments shifting and changing
like the chance combinations of the kaleidoscope. Poor
Sir John Moore was taking his rest in his warrior's
grave, beneath the walls of Corunna. Marengo, Tra-
falgar, and Austerlitz were " household words" then;
and a little later, Talavera, Salamanca, and Yittoria,
with other names no less famous and inspiring, were
the daily theme when men met for business, for wor-
ship, and for social intercourse. It was the old " war-
time, " as it came to be called long afterwards, when
peace had once more waved her olive-branch over the
carnage-weary, exhausted nations the war-time, when
every man knew that he might be called to leave hearth
and home, to do righteous battle for king and faith and
fatherland ; when the spirit of patriotism was rampant
in the breasts of those who, but a few years later, were
infuriated with the policy of their own rulers, and quite
ready to fan the smouldering fires of anarchy and dis-
content, that, once expanded into flame, must have
spread far and wide over the land, in the form of an
unscrupulous and impolitic revolution.

Such were the times in which Arnold learned from
his affectionate preceptress the first elements of know-
ledge ; in which he played, no doubt, like other children
of that day, at sieges, and battles, and maritime engage-
ments; in which he studied at "Warminster, and at
Winchester ; in which he saw, as things of course, men-


of- war riding gallantly out of harbour, or coming back
with the flag of victory hoisted high, and the great
cannon booming along the rocky shores of the Isle of
Wight ; as the proud vessels swept over the blue waters
of the Channel, to bring back the conquerors, the
wounded and the dying, to their native soil.

His earliest associations were of the sea, of soldiers,
and of sailors; and, as he says himself, "he was fami-
liar from a child with boats and ships, and the flags of
half Europe;" which, he goes on to remark, gave him
"an instinctive acquaintance with geography," and
taught him much also of the nature of nautical craft and
nautical technicalities, which boys who are born and
bred in the inland counties generally fail to acquire.
He counted both the sea and mountains as " great
points in education;" an acqi;aintance with the latter,
he was inclined to believe almost indispensable for the
development of certain powers, and certain influences ;
and in after life, we find Kim marvelling greatly at
the ignorance of some Rugby boys, who at seventeen or
eighteen were deficient in common geographical and
maritime information, and which he attributes to two
causes to their never having seen the sea, and to
their never having been in London : ' l and it is sur-
prising," he says in a letter dated 1829, "how the first
of these disadvantages interferes with their understand-
ing much of the ancient poetry ; while the other keeps
the range of their ideas in an exceedingly narrow

He felt as strongly as any man the deep and wide
interpretation which a sound mind gives to the momen-
tous word EDUCATION. He knew, none better, that
there are schools which are not institutions school-
masters who are not living, speaking men books whose


mysterious leaves never issued from mortal press, whose
teaching is fresh and pure from the Mighty Master of
the Universe !

In 1811, in his sixteenth year, he was elected,
" against several very respectable candidates," a scholar
of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. "He came to UP,"
says Mr. Justice Coleridge, "in Lent term, a mere boy
in appearance, as well as in age ; but we saw in a very
short time that he was quite equal to take his part in
the discussions of the common-room; and he was, I
rather think, admitted by Mr. Cooke at once into his
senior class."

Corpus Christi is a college small in numbers, and
without architectural pretensions ; but among its emi-
nent men occur the names of Jewell, Hooker, Coleridge,
Professor Euckland, and others remarkable for ability
and worth ! And now Corpus, with a mournful pride,
may add to the list of her dearest and most illustrious
sons, the revered name of " Arnold of Rugby."

In 1815 he was elected Fellow of Oriel College, and
in the same year, and in 1817, he took the Chancellor's
prize for the two University Essays, Latin and English !
How deeply, how entirely he loved Oxford ; with what
fondness he ever recurred to his old haunts, and his old
habits there, those who knew him best and longest can
bear faithful witness. How often in his letters, in his
common converse, he expatiated again and again on the
beauties of Bagley Wood, and Shot over Hill ! Amid
the level and monotonous scenery of Rugby, his heart
yearned for certain well-known nooks, special pretty
fields, and wild streams in the country round Oxford ;
and even on the banks of his own beloved Rotha, with
F airfield in full view, and old Loughrigg close at hand,
his affections clung to that oft-quoted Eagley Wood,


and to the many familiar beauties in the neighbourhood
of the University.

And when the great heresy of Newmanism arose,
and spread throughout Oxford, he beheld with bitterest
sorrow, and most vehement indignation, the develop-
ment of principles which he held to be utterly subversive
to the cause of truth, and most mischievous and fatal in
their influences on the National Church of his country.
Newmanism (or, as it afterwards came to be called,
Puseyism and Tractarianism) would have called forth
his conscientious protest, wherever it might have arisen ;
but that its pernicious seeds should first take root and
flourish in his own beloved and honoured Oxford, added
the climax to his grief, and excited his most indignant
denunciations. And it was the dream of his early
manhood, and the cherished hope of maturer years,
that in the decline of life he might be permitted to
hold office there, and, amid old scenes and old associa-
tions, plan and carry out his long-pondered schemes of
usefulness for his l ' ancient and magnificent Univer-
sity ;" and there, in comparative retirement, alternating
with his mountain home in the North, enjoy that repose
which a life of arduous effort and advancing age would
surely demand.

His fellow- student and beloved friend, Mr. Justice
Coleridge, in his valuable contribution to Canon Stan-
ley's " Life of Dr. Arnold," tells us that he was always
ready to take part in the discussions of the common-
room ; that he was fond of conversation on serious
matters, and vehement in argument; fearless too in
advancing his opinions, which even then seem con-
siderably to have startled his contemporaries. " But,"
continues the same authority, "he was ingenuous and
candid, and though the fearlessness with which, so


young as lie was, he advanced his opinions, might have
seemed to betoken presumption, yet the good temper
with which he bore retort or rebuke relieved him from
that imputation; he was bold and warm, because, so
far as his knowledge went, he saw very clearly, and he
was an ardent lover of truth ; but I never saw in him,
even then, a grain of vanity or conceit."

From the same impartial and authentic source we
learn that, during his curriculum, he greatly preferred
the philosophers and historians to the poets of antiquity ;
his passion was for Aristotle and Thucydides. For the
former he seemed to entertain a personal affection ; his
tone was deeply tinctured with the ideas, the expres-
sions, and the maxims of the " dear old Stagirite;"
and though much inclined, when he was selecting his
son's University, to choose Cambridge, he could not
make up his m*nd to send him where he would lose
Aristotle, and accordingly decided, on Oxford. Almost
equal in his regard was Thucydides ; he used him as a
constant text-book, and knew thoroughly the contents
of every individual chapter : and next in order came
Herodotus, whom in after years he continued to enjoy
with even more than youthful relish. Indeed, he was
to the last true to his favourite authors, as he was
faithful to his early friends. Aristotle and Thucydides
never lost their place in his affections ; but as he grew
older he learned to estimate at their real value those
grand productions of the ancient poets, which, at this
early period, he rather unduly overlooked. In his
correspondence of the year 1833, he writes thus:
" You will be amused when I tell you that I am

Online LibraryEmma Jane WorboiseThe life of Thomas Arnold → online text (page 1 of 24)