Frances Waddington Bunsen.

A memoir of Baron Bunsen online

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of the greeting bestowed. After the Doctors, some Masters
of Arts were received, and then prize essays were recited ; a
Tiatin poem by Stanley ; then an English essay, vdth many
good things in it, on the classic and romantic styles, the au-
thor's name was Bernard ; an English poem on the Religions
of Lidia and their anticipated fall before the preaching of
the Kingdom of Peace, by Ruskin, whose beautiful drawings
(architectural) I have seen. At half-past three we came
back to a magnificently-spread luncheon-table at Oriel ; and
at half-past four the Arnolds departed, aflier which a short
interval was secured for rest, before the dinner vnth the
Dean of Christ Church, Dr. Gaisford. An agreeable party —
all the Aclands, and Sir Robert Liglis, besides many new ac-
quaintances. At ten o'clock, to Dr. and Mrs. Buckland — ^the
party entertaining ; but yet the hour of midnight and of rest
was gladly hailed.

This morning (Thursday, 13th) Sir Thomas Acland knocked
at the door before we were quite ready to be taken to New
College Chapel ; the morning beautiful, the chapel, chant-
ing, organ, all exquisite ; in the Cloisters one would gladly
have gazed longer, but we were bound to return to breakfast.
Every walk in Oxford is an inexpressible treat — leisure to
enjoy would have been all that could have been wished — and
yet how much has been enjoyed without leisure !

On Saturday, 15th June, a sunny drive of twenty-nine

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CHAP, miles brought Bunsen and his wife and son from the
^^^' hospitaUty of the Provost of Oriel, and the varied at-
tractions and excitements of Oxford, to Claydon, and a
reception of cordial kindness from Sir Harry and Lady
Vemey. ' Here the atmosphere is such as one can desire
to remain in — that was also felt at the Provost's; for he
and his wife are both good, and kind, and intelligent,
and there is no tittle-tattle in the house, but much lively
interest in all good things, such as have a right to in-
terest human creatures. In this place, with similar
advantages, there is the greater freshness of existence,
the ftiUer activity of body and mind. Sir Harry is like
a kind father to his pretty, clever, and charming wife,
who would seem to be an elder sister to the beautiful
little girl not yet three years old, who is the eldest of
three children.' On the 17th June, the party (increased
by George Bunsen from Pforta) arrived at Rugby, from
whence, on the 19th, they accompanied the Arnold
family to their beloved and beautiful abode of Fox How,
near Ambleside, Westmoreland, where the remaining
days of the month were passed in a constant succession
of social and intellectual enjoyment, heightened by the
habitual view of scenery, such as was capable, unaided,
to have filled and occupied mind and time, rendering
that short period an inexhaustible store of matter for
remembrance and thankful meditation. The grand
character, the impressive, commanding nature of Dr.
Arnold was then well taken in, fully estimated, and
honoured to the full extent of its rights and claims;
and, happily for those who contemplated this great and
good man, they knew not that this was the last oppor-
tunity they had for seeing him in comfort. After this
date, except for a short glimpse. Dr. Arnold was not
again seen by Bunsen. Could but the manifold interest
of the conversation of Dr. Arnold, the cheerfulness of the
social meal-times, the animation of the exploring walks,
the variety of information communicated by the mind

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which never slumbered, and never seemed weary — the chap.

grasp of intellect for which no subject was too great or 1

too insignificant, as long as the prime interests of hu-
manity were afifected by it — the ardent longing after yet
more knowledge, yet more capaciousness of spiritual
comprehension — could all this and more but have been
described and commemorated, as the hand of Bunsen
alone could have described the man whom he admired
and honoured! But it was not to be! To the for-
tunate auditors, however, of much of this rare inter-
course, nothing was more striking than Dr. Arnold's
power of putting questions, and exulting in having an
associate before whom he could lay any difficulty upon
which his mind was at work. ' No one can guess,' he
said, * the amount of gratification in being enabled once
again to learn, when one's life's business is perpetual
teaching ; when the occupation of communicating to the
ignorant the little one knows more than they, leaves
little or no leisure for labouring to diminish one's own

By the beginning of July, Bunsen was again in the
temporary home of his family, with Mrs. Waddington, in
Monmouthshire, and received shortly afterwards the an-
nouncement of his appointment as Envoy Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary fi-om the King of Prussia
to the Swiss Republic. The close of Bunsen's notes (on
the transactions, the result of which had been his re-
moval from Rome), after mention of the commission
received to work out an Opinion on the Law of Divorce,
and of his having, ' after considerable expenditure of
time and money, efiected and sent in at last a con-
scientious treatise on the subject, on which no comment
had been made, nor even its safe arrival aunounced ' —
contains merely the communication of the fact, that
* the pressing solicitations of the Crown Prince for an
appointment for him, the persevering hatred of his
opponents (preventing, it may be supposed, his being

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CHAP, named for a place at Berlin), and the faithful good, will

1 of the King, had effected his nomination to the post in


This was beyond comparison the best provision that
could have been made for Bunsen, under all the circimi-
stances of the case ; and he certainly estimated justly the
truly paternal kindness thus evinced towards him, and
affectionately responded to the well-judged decision of
the King, even though there was pain in the conscious-
ness of being excluded from Berlin — in the probably
long delay in the renewal of the personal intercourse
with the Crown Prince, so deeply enjoyed, and in the ap-
prehension (so very soon verified!) that he would not
again meet the benevolent glance of the Eang. ' I shall
never see the King again!' was the first ejaculation,
after an interval of silence, on receiving the official
communication. His short comment on the nature of
the office bestowed upon him, in the Notes so often
quoted, had best follow here : —

* The direction received for his conduct in Switzerland
was — to do nothing. Bunsen vowed secretly to follow
up the line pointed out; and did, to the best of his
knowledge, avoid the exertion of any political influence,
without being indifferent to the condition of things in
the country. The Pope's Nuncio, in combination with
Austria, endeavoured to stimulate the Catholic Cantons
to enter a protest against Bunsen's nomination ; but he
soon succeeded in prevailing upon his Austrian col-
league (Comte de Bombelles) not only to lay aside his
apprehensions, but to cause the cessation of attacks
upon him in the ultramontane periodicals. He himself
wrote not in his own defence in the papers, nor did
he cause anything to be written for him. Meanwhile
slumber fell upon the project of the law of marriage
and divorce, and deep sleep upon the Roman relations!'
Extracts from letters will show that the remaining
months of his residence in England continued to be

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filled with vivid and varied interests. On the 17th ™f?**

July, Bunsen was again at Oxford with Mr. Pusey, i

having been invited to witness a great meeting of the
Agricultural Society.

Bunsen to his Wife.

Worcester College, Oxford :
"Wednesday, 17th July, 1839, half-past six.

Here we are, well quartered, in the Rev. Mr. Cresswell's
rooms, in the midst of an unspeakable crowd, and a corre-
sponding confusion. Pusey had above fifty persons to ac-
commodate, and had not received my last letter, and yet had
that apartment been reserved, and though intended for me
alone, was found capable of containing also George and the

At five, we went with Pusey and Lord Sandon to the or-
dinary, where 500 persons had been calculated upon, and
600 came ; dear Pusey had secured a ticket for George, but
could not get a place for him — he went therefore to Worcester
Hall, where everything was in plenty, even space. I found
my name at the high table, on the right of the President,
Lord Spencer — on my right was Sir James Graham. The
American Minister, Stevenson, did not come — as Mr. Web-
ster had mistaken something and did not accept the invitation
for that day — only for the next. Of the 600 present, half were
farmers, from all parts of England and Scotland. The
Queen, and the whole Royal Family were drunk all together
in one toast, in decent silence, the temper of the assembly
being decidedly Anti-Whig ; then the Chancellor and * the
University ' with nine hurraiis — and an appropriate answer
from Buckland. Then * The city of Oxford ' — an Alderman
returned thanks, himself a brewer, making a very himiorous
si)eech. Then the * Agricultural Society of England and
Earl Spencer,' with tremendous cheers. He retiumed thanks
in a beautifully simple speech, saying his whole heart was
in farming, and his happiness to live among the farmers of
[England. He then said, the Association had much to learn
fi^m other countries, especially from Germany, France, and
Belgium ; and then he named me individually, proposing the
health of the foreigners present. Mr. Webster not being
there, and I having been named, I was obliged to make a

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CHAP, speech : on rising, I found I had friends in the room for I
^ was much cheered. I then said, how much this union of
all classes and occupations struck me — ^that there was the
strength of England, the agricultural interests being the
basis of the social system — there was the power of the em-
pire, whose greatness must be dear to every friend of hu-
manity. Now, you should have heard the burst of applause!
The gentlemen and farmers began to communicate observa-
tions on agriculture — and did it amply ; the farmers speaking
in most genuine language of their own, and with good John
Bull humour. One (from Sussex) challenged all England with
a hundred oxen ; Lord Spencer accepted the challenge for
next year, but insisted upon their being shown alongside. It
was half-past eight when we went away — Sir Thomas taking
me to * Tom,' and then to Buckland for coffee — Mr. Acland
being sent by his father to fetch George. When we arrived
in the Quadrangle of Christ Church, the great bell (called
Tom) began to pour forth 101 sounds — ^the sign for general
retreat. Dear Sir Thomas would not let me go in, till we
had heard it out, walking in the old cloisters ; then falling
in with O'Brien, he took him up the great staircase to sing^
and singing we went to Buckland 's, where the friends of the
high table were present, besides Sir T. Mackenzie, Mr.
Throckmorton, and other Soman friends. . . . To-day there
will be an incredible bustle — 2,500 persons are to dine in the
Quadrangle of Queen's College — ^the greatest dinner-party,
Lord Spencer said, that ever met in England. An organ is
placed there for the anthem. Pusey had a ticket for me, Sir
Thomas gave one to George — who is most happy.

London i 20th July, Saturday ; 23, Hertford Street, —
The whirlwind has carried me here, without leaving me a
moment to write you a second scrawl. On Wednesday we
ran through cattle and farming-shows, and the Bodleian,
most of the chapels, halls, quadrangles of the University, till
three o'clock, when we returned home half dead to be ready
for the dinner, 2,500 people and Tnore were assembled in that
magnificent court — a trumpet gave the signal for the dif-
ferent movements of the machinery of that colossal feast.
Lord Spencer spoke— with that delightftil frunkness and
absence of art that characterise him. I was quietly listen-
ing to the toasts, and observing the really grand scene, when

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I perceived that my neighbours at the high table were looking CBL^.
towards me, and telling me that my health had been pro- _
posed. I had heard some mention of the Eepresentative of
a Sovereign, &c., but as I am not one, and Mr. Stevenson and
others were to be there, I had not dreamt of applying it to
myself,— still so it was, and all told me I was to rise. So I
began my first quite imthought of speech, and spoke about
ten minutes (as you will see firom the * Times,') with a Latin
quotation and a joke at the end. I found it is with speaking
as with swimming — it is nowhere easier than in the great
sea — it bears you up. T became so bold, that I said what
came into my head, and the immense cheers of the good
farmers gave me time for breathing. . . . The fact is, people
were very good-humoured, and my speech successful . . . be-
sides Lord Spencer, Sir J. Graham and others came up to
wish me joy of it. . . . In the evening we assembled at
Pusey's — came away at one in the morning. ... At eleven
to-day we started; the weather for some hours beautiful
— ^we had a fine view of Marlow and the Thames ; stopped
at Slough, and went to see Windsor with Acland, with whom
we visited one of the new schools in which he takes interest
(a commercial one), from whence the schoolmaster accom-
panied us to the Castle ; after seeing which, we went on to
Eton. Professor Coleridge (brother of the Judge) brought
us to Provost Hawtrey, who was aU kindness. I went to
take leave of Dr. Goodall, who is said to be dying ; and
after George had seen the school, with Acland, we were off
again, and reached this house at nine — ^by ten I arrived at
Lady Hall's party. ...

Monday, 22nd July. — I took Gteorge on Friday to see

* Othello.' Kean and Cooper played much better than I had
expected. Saturday we saw St. Paul's and Westminster Hall —
my dear boy overjoyed to have seen each. Then we saw the

* School for Scandal,' an infinitely clever piece, masterly and
classically performed. It reminds both of Tom Jones and of
Hogarth ; it bears the character of the eighteenth century —
great depravity, great elegance and cleverness, and no genius.
I think, after all, there is more genius in Moli^re than in
Sheridan, but much more acuteness in Sheridan than in
Moli^re. Sunday morning I conveyed George to the steamer
— saw the Eeverend Mr. Peacock of Cambridge, and recom-

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CHAP, mended Gteorge to him. . . . Then Lepsins and I went down

;_ to Greenwich, philosophising on language — ^the day bean-

tifiil; returned by eight to go to Chelsea to dine with
Hamilton, where we met Millingen and Gerhard — returned
by twelve on foot.

Tuesday, 23rd July. — I had a delightful dinner-party at
Eogers's (yesterday) with Gerhard, Hamilton, Westmacott,
Williams, &c. &c.; all quite in the style of a rich Soman
of the time of Augustus— original drawings of Raphael Ac,
after dinner, vases before ; the beautiful Titians, &c., of the
dining-room ingeniously lighted, so that the table alone was
in shade.

The remainder of July was spent in the same animated
succession of interests and occupations, the day follow-
ing the last date being marked by * a delightful con-
versation of two hours with Dr. Lushington, whom I
am to see again to-morrow, and who has in the meantime
collected all books that I want still to know and read :
our principles as to that question agree almost entirely.'
Early in August Bunsen returned to Llanover, where
he had at last leisure to rest, after his fashion of resting —
applying himself with all his power to the execution of
the commission received. A cheering event to him and
his family was the reunion with their sons Ernest and
Charles, for the former of whom a leave of absence fix>m
his regiment was obtained for a few months, to accom-
pany his parents into Switzerland ; and the latter having
been withdrawn altogether ft'om the Blochraann Institu-
tion at Dresden, to carry on his preparation for the
University under his father's special superintendence.
A visit from Lepsius at Llanover again enhanced all
other pleasures ; and at length, the day before the fes-
tival of the Crown Prince's birthday, Bunsen departed
from the maternal home, for some concluding days of
business in London, accompanied by Lepsius and his
two sons — forming a joyous company on the top of the
stage-coach — as noticed in a letter from Bunsen, dated
Tuesday, 15th October: —

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With a heart fall of love and thankfulness, I have only chap.
time to scrawl a few lines to give you a sign of life, and to ^™-
dearest mamma, to whom I have written more than one sheet
in my heart. We had a beautiful journey, and were singing
and talking the live-long day from Monmouth to London.
We repeated * Ar hyd y nos,' and sung our Capitoline ^ God
save the King,' to the great amusement of all our English
fellow-travellers, who supposed us to be singing Welsh : the
people passing by on the road greeted us merrily, and we

I dismounted near Grosvenor Square, went to Pusey, talked
till near ten, fetched letters from the Legation, found at
home (Wimpole Street) a comfortable fire and tea with
Lep8ius,read a beautiful letter from Alexander von Humboldt
(which you shall have to-morrow copied), talked till one,
slept till seven, rose and wrote down the Song of Merlin's
Bards on the 15th October,* saw Neukomm, &c. &c. ... It
is almost six, and I must go and dine with Pusey ; the boys
come there in the evening with Lepsius.

24^fc October. — The last letter to be sent to Llanover ! I
have been revising the vote (or opinion of Divorce Law)
which goes to Berlin to-morrow. God bless your journey !
it is a great undertaking, but He will help you through
it. I reckon upon seeing our beloved mother at Southamp-
ton. Did I tell you Lepsius' expression about her, that
she had * the majesty of Queen Elizabeth, with the grace of
Mary, Queen of Scote? '

The last day and night in England, 28th October,
were passed by Bunsen and his wife at the Palace,
Salisbury, with the Bishop and his bride (their beloved
Louisa Ker Seyiner), Bunsen aniving there with his
sons from London, and she soon after him, having taken
the younger children from Llanover to Southampton.
And thus was the remarkable first period in England

• This was the first committing to paper of the ballad to the melody of
' At hyd j nos,' composed by Bunsen on that same October evening on the
journey just mentioned, and immediately sung on the top of the coach by
his young companions. As a record of the glowing anticipations of the time,
it n^ find place in the Appendix.

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closed, in thankfulness and hope, with reviving pro-

Bunsen to {Dr. Echcard Stanley) Bishop of Norvnch,

* Llanoyer : 19th August, 1830,

... I enclose to your Lordship the letters of introduction
which your son has desired to receive from me, and which I
am happy to give, in order to procure to some of my most
honoured friends the pleasure of becoming acquainted with
one of the most distinguished and amiable young English-
men I know. I always rejoice when I see lliat intellectual
miion between the two nations increase, from which alone,
according to my firm conviction, the world can hope (hu-
manly speaking) to get out of its political and spiritual

Allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to submit to
your kind consideration some thoughts respecting our com-
mon friend Dr. Arnold. Having had tiie happiness ci
passing some weeks with him, partly in Rugby, partly in
Westmoreland, I feel on the one side more than ever elevatdl
and edified by that rare union of a clear intelligence, great
acquirements, and deep piety, which must ever endear him
to his friends, and command even the respect of his enemies;
but also, on the other side, I cannot help being oppressed bj '
the moral certainty those visits have given me, that he mu^
sink at no remote period under the pressure of duties and
occupations, each of which requires separately the life and
strength of a man, strong in mind and body, to be carried
through for long together. It is useless to say in what a
manner he fills his place as head-master of a school which he
has made from a very indifferent one, if not superior to all
others, certainly inferior to none in England. Besides (not
to speak of his duties as the loving father of a numeroos
family, over whose education he constantly presides) he
preaches every Simday elaborate sermons, as the Christian
public knows from the volumes which are printed. He is
engaged in classical editions of the most important and
difficult Greek authors ; the second edition of his Thucydides
being almost ready for the press : and last, not least, he has
begun a work on Eoman History, in comparison witli which

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Jibbon's undertaking is a trifling task, it being in fact CHAP,
lothing less than the History of the World through eight ^^^'
jenturies before, and as many after Christ. This work I
sonsider as the great task of his life, as one by which with
ew others the learning, feeling, and in general the intellec-
ixial and moral standard of England and English thought
mil once be fixed, when all the bustle of party shall have
mbsided, and many an usurped reputation be forgotten.

Now it is my decided conviction that he will sink under
ihe weight of the work, if not relieved from the duties of his
present situation. If this is possible, it must be not only an
>bject of the wishes of his friends, but worthy of the most
jamest consideration of those whu preside over the destinies
>f the English nation and empire. I am aware that it is
mpracticable to place him on the episcopal bench ; I add,
}hat were it even practicable, I should as a friend not wish
it for him. In the present state of the Church of England
where the Chapters have no share in the immense charge of
bhe administration of a diocese (as they ought to have ac-
cording to the Canons, and as they actually have in the
Etonian Catholic Church) the Bishop who is conscientious
las no time for writing historical works, scarcely for reading

But it strikes me from what I have been enabled to observe
ji this country, that a Deanery is the very place for a man
ike Dr. Arnold. For in vain have I looked around to dis-
cover such a place for him, as would be his in Grermany, and
?vhich I must consider as the real destination of so eminent
I literary man. I mean a Professorship in one of the two
Universities, giving an honourable position, with a com-
petency, and an opportunity, by holding lectures, of exer-
cising those functions which are the most healthy for a
iterary life. There is no such place in England ! A Deanery
pvould ensure the means of providing for a numerous family ;
it would be equally honourable to Grovemment, to the
country, the Church, and himself. It would, moreover, en-
sure leisure to him, thus granting the truly enviable otium
'um dignitate which is all the mighty of this earth can give
x> a man of genius and character who honours his age.

If such a Deanery could be found vacant near a good
public Library, and, if possible, a literary establishment, it


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CHAP, would be ideaL Durham would perliaps be the most dr
^^^- sirable, not only because it is *the golden Deanery/ b
because it would give an opportunity of usefulness to ij
young institution, which still wants the sanction of a grwrl
literary name ; and also become a compensation for the bst]
of that communication with the rising generation, in whick
Dr. Arnold so much delights at Eugby.

Here, my dear Lord Bishop, you have the whole current a
ray thoughts. I knew I might allow them free course ii
addressing you, the more so, as I never have had any conv^
sation, or other communication, on the subject, with Dr.

Online LibraryFrances Waddington BunsenA memoir of Baron Bunsen → online text (page 49 of 58)