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THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF
EDWARD LEE HICKS



VIATICUM

Or Traveller's Scrip

Chosen and arranged by
J. H. FOWLER.



TIMES:

"Mr. Fowler has the
scholar's instinct for the
great saying, and he
knows, too, that its great-
ness consists in the peren-
nial freshness of its power
to lift us out of ourselves.
As he says in an admirable
preface his quotations are
those on which the world
has set the seal of its
approval, . . . It is a
delightful little book."

DAILY NEWS:

" A chaplet of pearls,"

Boards, 1/6 net
Quarter Bound, 2/6 net

London: CHRISTOPHERS



THE LIFE AND LETTERS

OF

EDWARD LEE HICKS

(BISHOP OF LINCOLN 1910-1919)



EDITED BY

J. H. FOWLER




LONDON

CHRISTOPHERS

22 BERNERS STREET, W.i



First published in 1922



^






READER, WHAT NEEDES A PANEGYRICK S SKILL,

A limmer's pensill or a poet's quill,

THEY ARE BUT MISERABLE COMFORTERS

WHEN BADD ONES DIE THAT PAINT THEIR SEPULCHRES

AND WHEN THE LIFE IN HOLINES IS SPENT

THE NAKED NAME'S A MARBLE MONUMENT :

TO KEEP FROM ROTTING PIETY AND ALMES

DOE FARR EXCELL THE BEST EGIPTIAN BALMES ;

THEN whatsoe'er THOU ART THIS COURSE IS SAFE,

LIVE LIVE THY SELFE BOOTH TOOMBE AND EPITAPH.



[Copied by E. L. H. from an Inscription of 165 1
on a tomb in Ashton-under-the-Hill Church.']



CONTENTS



Letters ......

" Veni Creator Spiritus " (English version)
*' When I survey the wondrous cross " (Latin
version) ......

Three Translations ....



PAGB



Preface ........ ix

I. Oxford. Birth and Early Years: 1843-61 . i

IL Brasenose: 1862-6 10

in. Corpus Christi : 1866-73— Some Common-Room

Reminiscences 18

IV. Fenny Compton: 1873-86 .... 47

V. Hulme Hall, Manchester: 1886-92 . .81

VI. Salford : 1892-1910. (By Canon Peter Green) 103

VII. Salford : 1 892-1910— Home Life, Studies and

Holidays 135

Appendix



177
185

186
187
189



VIII. The Reformer

IX. Lincoln: 1910-19. (By Canon W. E, Boulter) 221
Appendix

Extracts from the Bishop's Charge at his Primary

Visitation, 19 12 . . . . . 267

Letters ....... 271

Two Typical Months in a Busy Episcopate . 272

X. Lincoln and Worthing. The Last Years : the

Last Weeks 274

XI. Ave Atque Vale. (By Canon W. E. Boulter) . 300
Index 307



PREFACE

SCHOLAR, reformer, saint, lovable human
being — the union of these characters in one
personaHty is so rare that it might be
held to justify a record, even if many who knew
Edward Lee Hicks had not asked that his story
should be written. The fullness of detail of the old
two-volume biographies has not been attempted
here ; still less has there been any desire to imitate
the more modern fashion of impressionistic por-
traiture, broad strokes and splashes of colour, or
the *' cleverness which never knows when it is
handling something too great for it, and is always
cutting capers when it had better be upon its knees."
What has been essayed is a study of the growth of a
mind and character — the influence of heredity, early
associations, religion, culture, friendships, the form-
ing of a creed and the application of it to life, the
practice of plain living and high thinking, of earnest
praying and strenuous working, in the career of
college tutor, country parson, city rector, political
reformer and ecclesiastical ruler.

The biographer's function is to interpret, not to
pass judgment. That his own view of every ques-
tion should be identical with that of the man he is
trying to represent is neither possible nor desirable.



X EDWARD LEE HICKS

To prevent misunderstanding, it may be right to
say here that, whilst I find myself in entire sym-
pathy with Hicks' aims, broadly stated, I have to
confess that in the matter of Temperance Reform I
am with those whom he, with Sir Wilfrid Lawson,
would have stigmatized as " silly sheep " — the
believers in a policy of " disinterested manage-
ment," who think not only that " half a loaf is
better than none," but even that in legislative re-
form *' the half is more than the whole " because it
does not offer the same dangerous provocation to
reaction.

When Mrs. Hicks asked me to undertake the
writing of the biography, I felt that I could not
refuse. It was the only chance left me of repaying
in part the debts of a friendship of thirty years — a
friendship in which, as the younger and less able
man, I had always received more than I had given.
But, apart from the personal reason, the story of a
man who had touched life at so many points, and
touched nothing that he did not adorn, seemed to
me full of inspiration ; and I thought it a worthy
ambition to commemorate it for those who loved
him, and to win for his character, if I should have
any success in my portraiture, yet other admirers.

But I could not have undertaken the task at all if
I had not received much generous help from others.
I have first to thank Mrs. Hicks, who has taken
infinite pains to supply me with material, to put me
in communication with other contributors, and to



PREFACE xi

contribute directly herself ; then Canon Peter
Green, for the whole of Chapter VI, for the writing
of which he had a threefold qualification as the
present Rector of St. Philip's, Salford, as Canon of
Manchester, and as contributor (in succession to
Hicks) of the weekly letter on Church topics to the
Manchester Guardian ; Canon W. E. Boulter, Prin-
cipal of St. Paul's College, Burgh, Bishop Hicks'
Chaplain at Lincoln, for the whole of Chapters IX
and XI ; Sir Samuel Dill, the Rev. C. Plummer,
Dr. Walter Lock, Archdeacon Stocks for Oxford
reminiscences ; Mrs. Scriven, Mrs. Westacott, Mr.
Philip Knight, for help with the Fenny Compton
chapter ; the late W. R. Paton, Mr. H. S. Perris,
the Rev. H. Stones, the Rev. C. F. Richardson, for
the Hulme Hall period ; Mr. Asquith, for his kind
permission to print the letter in which the offer of
the Bishopric of Lincoln was conveyed ; Mr. C. P.
Scott, for permission to reprint two articles of
Corpus recollections contributed by Hicks to the
Manchester Guardian ; the Rev. A. S. Cripps and
his publisher, Mr. Basil Blackwell, for leave to re-
produce the lines from Lyra Evangelistica on page i ;
the Rev. S. Proudfoot, Dr. F. A. Bruton, Mrs. E. V.
Knox and Mr. Edward Hicks for the contributions
to which their names are attached ; and other
relations and friends for the loan of letters and for
help in various ways too numerous to mention.

J. H. FOWLER.

Clifton, July 3, 1922.



THE LIFE AND LETTERS
OF EDWARD LEE HICKS

CHAPTER I

OXFORD— BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS: 1843-61

" Towers and crimson heaven and a two-day moon
Misting river meadows where the dusks are slow I
How could I renounce you ? Life is short enow —
Anywise our God-speed must have seemed too soon.

At your shrine-gate watching, never voice I knew,
Never voice nor vision. Were I lingering still —
I a withering Tithon, you with Time at will —
Would you yet reward me for my truth to you ?

Long ago, I left you, now at last you speak

O'er the wine-dark furrows of the estranging main.

Mortal feet that flee you, turning not again,

Lo your feet immortal to the world's end seek ! "

A. S. Cripps, Lyra Evangelistica.

SO writes an Oxford poet, wistfully looking
back to the vanished years from his volun-
tary exile in far Mashonaland. The chord
he touches awakens poignant memories. How
many sons of Oxford, even if they loved her deeply
when they were still with her, feel that in the heed-
lessness of youth they failed to make the most of a
priceless privilege !

Yet there are some few who can hardly have



2 EDWARD LEE HICKS

felt thus ; or, at least, we cannot feel it of them.
Children after her own heart, they seem to have
heard her voice and seen the vision of her from the
beginning, and as their life proceeds in orderly,
unbroken development, their love which endures
to the end is untouched by any remorse.

Of these was the subject of this memoir, Edward
Lee Hicks. He was born on December i8, 1843, at
15 Ship Street, Oxford — a house no longer in
existence, which abutted on the old city wall. In
1844 or 1845 the family removed to 77 High Street.
This house also has long since been swept away to
make room for the new Examination Schools. Here
it was that Edward passed the whole of his boyhood,
and the constant vision of that wonderful street, as
full of history and of beauty as any highway in
Europe, may have contributed to the moulding of
his tastes and character, just as his contemporary,
Mandell Creighton, may have owed the direction
of his career to the cathedral on which his childish
eyes looked out from his father's house in Carlisle.

Edward's father and mother both belonged to
Oxfordshire. The father, Edward Hicks, was
born at Wolvercote, where his family had lived
for many generations.

" They were some of the chief farmers of the place,
renting land under the Duke of Marlborough and also
possessing some freehold land of their own. They were
old-fashioned churchpeople, and my father's father or
grandfather had greatly resented the intrusion of the
Methodist preachers into the parish."



BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS 3

Edward Hicks, the father, was, as his son de-
scribed him from memory many years afterwards,

" a man of middle height, fair and somewhat sandy in com-
plexion ; volatile, excitable, full of fun, industrious but
unbusinesslike, dilatory, and often irritable. But his virtues
were many. He was absolutely free from affectation or
vanity, punctiliously neat, endlessly kind, generous, humble,
but of unshrinking truth and courage. He was very fond
of all children, and they of him. He was a good Liberal,
and worked hard for Edward Cardwell (afterwards Viscount
Cardwell and Minister of War) and for Sir William Harcourt,
successively members for Oxford. He took a vigorous part
in the farmers' election, when W. M. Thackeray put up as
a Radical against the ' Peelite ' Cardwell ; my father worked
hard and successfully for Cardwell, who at the time was
absent abroad. As a boy I remember finding among my
father's old papers a sheaf of Anti-Cornlaw League pam-
phlets. I remember sitting on his knee and speUing out
Peel's speeches ; and he told me that he once took me to
Gloucester Green, Oxford, seated on his shoulder, when
Cobden and Bright were speaking from a waggon, so that
in after years I might say I had heard these orators in their
campaign of agitation. He grew into a really devout and
religious man. He was fond of reading, especially religious
biography, and all sorts of foreign travel, which he devoured
steadily. He was also passionately fond of gardening, and
flowers and fruit-growing, his eye for colour being most
acute. He was devoted to sacred music, and had a fine
baritone voice. He loved an argument, and was full of
caustic sayings. He taught me by example to admire
goodness in any man, wherever found, and to be generous
in praise of it."

If the qualities that characterized Edward in later
years owed not a little to his father, as we may judge
from this brief description, they owed still more to



4 EDWARD LEE HICKS

his mother's strong personaUty. Her maiden name
was Catherine Pugh, and she was born in St. Ebbe's
parish, Oxford, in 1812. After her death in 1897
her son put together for his own children his recol-
lections of their grandmother. From this account,
though it was not intended to go beyond the home-
circle, some extracts may be given here.

" Her education had been very incomplete. Of many
things she seemed extraordinarily ignorant. Her sim-
plicity on some points surprised you. The next moment
you were astonished by her knowledge, her acuteness and
discernment. She had a very serious mind, and always
tried to rate things at their real value. She was never
betrayed by sentiment, and she disliked display of feeling.
She seldom jested, and she did not understand banter.
She enjoyed, however, reading or hearing of humorous
sayings and incidents, — provided they did not touch either
herself or hers too closely. Indeed she was very sensitive
and even touchy at times. She never put into my hands any
fairy tales ; she had the Puritan love of matter-of-fact.
When in later years she could use her time as she pleased,
she made a rule of never reading anything — except her Bible
and devotional books — during daylight. Daylight was
devoted to plain sewing and other needlework, chiefly for
the use of her children and grandchildren. Her sewing
was beautiful ; as all she did was good and thorough.
When candles were lit, she proceeded to read. Her
favourite books were Crabbe, Cowper, Goldsmith, and a
certain number of the best novels, e.g. Silas Marner^ and
the biogiaphies of eminent men whom she had known and
followed in her long life. Especially did she delight in the
lives of Pusey, Stanley, and divines of every school. In her
younger days, especially in Oxford, she had used every
opportunity of hearing and seeing great divines. There
was hardly a great preacher of any communion whoni she



BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS 5

liad not heard, and estimated for herself. She had Hstened
habitually to Goulburn at Holywell Church, and to Newman
when Vicar of St. Mary's. The latter deeply impressed her,
and I know how pleased she was when I gave her the por-
trait of Newman, given to me by Professor J. M. Wilson of
Corpus, and to him by Newman's well-known friend
McMullen of Corpus.

My children were devoted to her, and she to them. For
my wife she had the warmest admiration and love. As she
grew older, she wished to go : * My work is done,' she
used often to say. She was anxious to get rid of all she had,
before she died — books, trinkets, etc. She had always dis-
liked hoarding, and though keenly critical of the failings of
the poor, she was very generous. Everybody loved her,
and respected her. She was so strong and so tender in
soul ; and her talk so unexpected and unconventional.
She was an eager and careful student of current politics,
and an ardent admirer of Mr. Gladstone, and a staunch
Liberal always. When I read Margaret Ogilvie, I saw in
J. M. Barrie's mother many features of my mother's
character."

Catherine in her girlhood had been a Wesleyan,
and after her marriage she continued for some time
to attend the Wesleyan chapel and to take her
husband with her. Those were days of great con-
troversy within the Methodist church, when
Milton's old saying about " new presbyter " being
" old priest writ large " was receiving a new illus-
tration in the claims of the Wesleyan ministers to
the complete control of their churches. Mr. Hicks,
with his strong Liberal instincts, warmly espoused
the cause of the reforming ministers who were
ejected from the Wesleyan connexion. Weariness
of religious controversy, and the conviction that it



6 EDWARD LEE HICKS

hindered rather than helped the spiritual life, were
partly responsible, the son thought, for his father's
return to the Church of England. The High
Street house was in the parish of St. Peter's ; and
both father and mother were attracted by the
personaHty of the vicar, Edmund Hobhouse, Fellow
of Merton, and afterwards Bishop of Nelson, N.Z.
They became regular worshippers at St. Peter's,
and the father was repeatedly churchwarden, both
for the vicar and the parish.

Edward began his school life at a private school
in St. John's Street, Oxford, kept by a Mr. Crapper.
On his return home from his first day's lessons, his
mother asked him what he had learnt. '* To spell
a — c — h — e, substantive, pain," was his reply.
This anecdote, and a remarkably neat map of
Palestine, such as would have gladdened the heart
of Mr. John Smith of Harrow, executed before he
was ten years of age, are perhaps the only memorials
of his first school extant. From very early days it
must have been obvious that he was a boy of excep-
tional promise. There are few survivors whose
recollections go back so far as this ; but Dr. Cod-
rington, afterwards missionary to Melanesia, was at
this time an assistant-master at Magdalen College
School and curate at St. Peter's-in-the-East. He
still has " clearly in recollection the very intelligent
and attractive boy, wise and discreet beyond his
years," whom he saw in the Sunday-school and the
home. Edward had a beautiful voice, but when he



BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS 7

was taken by his father to the organist at Magdalen
it was already too late for him to try for entrance to
the choir. He was very musical and learnt to play
almost by himself. As an older boy he was for
some years organist for Magdalen College School.
A survivor from the choristers of those days, the
Rev. L. S. Tuckwell, " can see him about my own
age being brought to school by his mother ; and
we were told afterwards that her importunity had
prevailed upon the headmaster to accept him as a
day-scholar." This was probably in 1855. He ran
a brilliant course at the school, carrying off many
prizes ; and many years afterwards a letter from the
headmaster recalled with amusement " the day
when your mother's persuasive eloquence over-
came my stubborn reluctance to admit so backward a
boy at so advanced an age." The *' backwardness "
was, of course, due to the *' little Latin and less
Greek " taught at the private school ; and the fact
that the backward boy rose to be President of the
Classical Association and one of the most distin-
guished Greek scholars of his generation, may be
taken as a welcome indication that it is not neces-
sary for the maintenance of classical studies that
boys should learn two classical languages at the
preparatory school age.

The headmaster was the Rev. James El win
Millard, Fellow of Magdalen, who afterwards wrote
that Edward's career at school and college would
" always be among the most pleasant of his school



8 EDWARD LEE HICKS

reminiscences." Edward's copy of Liddell and
Scott's Greek Lexicon (i860) was given to him
when he was in the sixth form by the headmaster,
and bore the inscription, Spei gregis pastor amans.
He fully returned Dr. Millard's affection, and
always cherished his memory.

His younger brother, Fred, followed him to
Magdalen School and afterwards became a Demy
of Magdalen College. He remembers something of
Edward's school life.

" Edward fought the biggest fight in the school. They
fought for two or three days after chapel and before eleven
o'clock school. The boy was named Payne, and Edward
licked him. Edward was an excellent swimmer, and a keen
and impassable back-stop at cricket, and a very good oar ;
but, curiously enough, I do not remember his having any
pet amusement or hobby. He took play as it came, and
was generally very good at it ; perhaps music was most to
his taste."

It may be added that Edward was a good skater ;
Port Meadow provided many opportunities for the
exercise of this art.

Thus endowed with musical and athletic powers,
and with the attractiveness revealed in his early
portraits, he could not fail to make a favourable
impression upon the world of school. Yet he was
doomed, as the boy of exceptionally deep thought
and feeling nearly always is, to plough a somewhat
lonely furrow. To a boy of tender home affections
there is perhaps no pain more acute than can be
caused by the discovery that his schoolfellows think



BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS 9

slightingly, on the score of poverty or social dis-
tinctions, of those who are dearest to him in the
world. And the home-life was depressed during
these years, not merely by constraining poverty, but
by a growing burden of debt, as the father's health
fell off and his business declined with it. To the
end of his days it was a cause for gratitude with
Edward that his own children had been spared this
particular ordeal, as it was also one of his happiest
memories that his scholastic successes enabled him
to discharge his father's obligations and ease his
later circumstances. A sonnet written in 1861 "on
my Father's 49th birthday," already breathes this
pious aspiration ; and the feeling is not the less
deep and sincere for being expressed in an eighteenth
century mould of diction and metre :

" Mine be the task thy aged frame to free
From bustling life's unkindly harassings."

The hope was fully realized. He provided a quiet
home with a garden, in which his father spent his
last years in peace and the enjoyment of country
pursuits. Mr. Hicks was remarkable in his love of
Nature, and was quite a botanist ; and it was his
delight to grow beautiful fruit and rare ferns in the
open in the quiet Berkshire village where he lived
and died.



CHAPTER II

BRASENOSE : 1862-6

" Unknown, unthought of, yet I was most rich —
I had a world about me — 'twas my own ;
I made it, for it only lived to me.

And to the God Who sees into the heart. "

Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book III.

IN i860 Edward had reached the top of Mag-
dalen College School, being President's
Medallist for Greek and Latin Composition,
and in 1861 he was elected to an open classical
scholarship at Brasenose College, Oxford, and went
into residence in January, 1862.

He was placed in the First Class by the Classical
Moderators in 1863, and again by the examiners in
the Final School of Liter ce Humaniores in 1866.
But though he competed for university scholar-
ships and prizes, he was not successful in any
competition till after he had taken his bachelor's
degree. In 1863 he was placed sixth in the examina-
tion for the Hertford scholarship, and fifth for the
Ireland. The emoluments of these scholarships
are not great, but they were large enough to be of
considerable importance to a scholar who found
great difficulty in meeting his expenses and whose
home-life was more than ever clouded by his father's



BRASENOSE 11

pecuniary embarrassments. To be conscious, as he
could not fail to be, of his mental powers, to feel
the constraints of poverty and to be near to suc-
cesses which would at once have eased them and
assured his prospects for the future, and yet to miss
attainment — this was the severe discipline through
which he had now to pass. It all helped to deepen
and strengthen his character, but for the time it
must have tended to drive him in upon himself in
ways that were not wholly good.

We can reconstruct the inner history of his
development to some extent from two note-books
of the period. The reading of Hurrell Froude's
memoirs suggested to him, he tells us, the keeping of
a diary ; and though he did not keep one systematic-
ally for long, he '* related himself " to paper from
time to time with the frankness of an earnest nature
that found it difficult or impossible to lay itself


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Online LibraryJ. H. (John Henry) FowlerThe life and letters of Edward Lee Hicks (bishop of Lincoln, 1910-1919) → online text (page 1 of 21)