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ing, looking all glorious to behold in a new shovel-hat, and
his little sweet-looking boy was with him. He has been
brought here by the promotion of his brother 1 , the Bursar,
Professor, and Baron. Before long he may become a Baron in
more senses than one, for even now he is a Dean Dean of
Bristol to wit, with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging.
For his sake I rejoice, but for my own, I sorely lament. He
is a friend of thirty years standing, for whom I have always
felt great kindness ; and I only say the truth when I add that
an unkind word, or an unkind thought, never passed between
us since we were first acquainted. Such a friend is not to be
replaced. Still I rejoice, and so will you. But when are you

1 Thomas Musgrave. See above, p. 419, note.
S. I. 31


1837. to mount a shovel ? How well would it set off those vener-
t. 52. a bi e locks, and that grave visage of thine. By the way I
meant to have asked a question or two at you, as they say
over the Tweed, touching that false varlet who gave you such
a lying account of my hustings speech at Dent; but I have no
room for so big a subject. So I will conclude by telling
you a work of supererogation as you know it already that
I am your sincere and affectionate friend


The influenza cured, and the Scholarship Examination
despatched, Sedgwick was beginning to feel in working order,
when a fresh mishap occurred. "On Friday" he wrote "I
took a short ride ; and though I returned from it much
fatigued, I was certainly refreshed by the exercise. Yesterday
I again started on my horse ; and unfortunately (whether
from my own fault or not I hardly know) he fell with me. My
face is a good deal cut, and much disfigured, and my knee
received a severe contusion. Two University men were near at
the time, and one of them very kindly galloped to Cambridge,
and sent a fly to bring me home. My bruises were severe,
and I was much shaken by the shock of the fall. Last night
I was very miserable, and did not close my eyes in sound
sleep. But to-day, thank God, I am much better ; all fever
has left me... You never saw a more extraordinary phiz than
mine is at this moment. I have a great black patch running
horizontally across my face under my eyes, and my nose
is as red as flame, and my chin and cheeks scarified 1 ."

Towards the end of May, after a week at the seaside,
he was able to announce : " I am almost myself again ; " the
finishing touches were put to the long-expected paper, On the
Physical Structure of Devonshire, and on the Subdivisions and
Geological Relations of its older stratified Deposits, and it was
read to the Geological Society, 31 May and 14 June. It was
followed by a discussion which was evidently lively, but the

1 To R. I. Murchison, 16 April, 1837.


few words that Sedgwick wrote about it do not convey the 1837.
impression that it was at all hostile. On the following iEt - 5 2 -
day he told Canon Wodehouse: "We had a grand battle
at the Geological Society last night, in which I bore the
brunt on our side ; but, though well banged, I was not
beaten 1 ."

A few words must be bestowed on the pains with which
Sedgwick criticised Mr Babbage's Ninth Bridgewater Treatise
in the spring of this year. The proofs had been shown to Mr
Lyell and Dr Fitton, who both praised the work generally
but advised the omission of certain passages. To this the
author would not consent, and when other friends were
suggested as referees, he objected to all except Sedgwick 2 .
The proofs were accordingly sent, and Sedgwick who
appears to have had a genuine regard for the eccentric
inventor of the calculating machine went through them
carefully, and returned them to Lyell with the following
criticism : " I have gone over the slips, except the last page,
with some care ; and I think what I have thrown out may
be of some use. Don't show the paper to Babbage if you
think he will be offended at my freedom. But he ought
not, I am sure ; for I do to his sheets precisely what I do to
Whewell's, or those of any other friend, whenever they fall in
my way. If I can be a means of preventing Babbage from
publishing any of the expunged passages I shall have helped
you in doing him a service. The whole is too ambitious
in its style of writing, and the condemned passages I think
in dreadful taste, and also quite out of place. In the whole
there is too much attempt at swell and amplification. But
in that respect the author must of course have his own way.
Only his proof-men must try to make him reef a few of
his studding sails, spankers, and sky scrapers"

LyelPs next letter shows that Babbage had the good
sense to take Sedgwick's advice :

1 To Canon Wodehouse, 15 June, 1837.

2 From Charles Lyell, 5 April, 1837.



l8 37- My dear Sedgwick,

When I saw the outside of your letter, I said at once,
that I ought before to have thanked you for having so immediately,
and when out of sorts, complied with my wishes. Had I not fully
expected to see you last meeting I really should have written to say
that Babbage had prized the two capital pages of critique as they
deserved, and I hardly know anything else which would have induced
him to leave out the most offensive passages, on which you, Fitton,
and myself had vented our chief displeasure. The coincidence
outweighed the flattery of a certain popular preacher, I forget his
name, and some others (John Murray ! included), who thought those
very flights the finest things in the whole. Samuel Rogers, at whose
house we were last night, told us he had kept back the said
Bridgewater two months, and observed that, as usual, the author was
most attached to the most far-fetched and extravagant parts in the
whole. I told Babbage the critique was by you. He took it all in
excellent part, and had you been much more severe, as Fitton was,
he would not have been out of humour, though it would have
influenced him less. B. told me that when he had left out much of
what you had cut out all he could get from Fitton was, that "he
then believed the book would not disgrace him;" which B. thought a
marvellous relaxation of his former sentence. It has been a great
want of tact in Fitton that he has been so unmerciful, and has
scarcely done justice to the good parts which preceded what you saw.
If your letter had come two months earlier, before Fitton's, every
sentence struck out by you would have been omitted, but I dread
still to see the thing in print, as he has grown obstinate by too much
sweeping contradiction.

I suppose you read my Anniversary Address, and I hope you
approved of what I said of the Devon affair....! wish much you were
more and oftener in town. It is rare even in one's own pursuits to
meet with congenial souls, and Darwin is a glorious addition to my
society of geologists, and is working hard and making way, both in
his book and in our discussions. I really never saw that bore - so
successfully silenced, or such a bucket of cold water so dexterously
poured down his back, as when Darwin answered some impertinent
and irrelevant questions about S. America. We escaped fifteen
minutes of a vulgar harangue in consequence. Whewell does
famously in the chair. He will tell you of Owen's paper on Darwin's
Toxodon ____

We were very sorry to hear of your fall, and have every day since
had news of you from Whewell, Murchison, and others. Pray write
again if disposed, and believe me, Yours most truly,


Another, and a very different, matter, which occurred at
about the same time, gave Sedgwick no little anxiety. When
he first went to Norwich the see was occupied by Bishop


Bathurst. He was then ninety years of age, and could have 1837.
taken but little part in the affairs of the city or diocese. &* 5 2 -
Moreover, for some time before his death he had resided
almost continuously in London. In fact, though much
respected for his personal character and amiable disposition,
Bishop Bathurst had been throughout life a Bishop of the old
school, a man of letters and a politician rather than a church-
man, and a devoted whist-player. A good story is still
current respecting Sedgwick's first dinner with his diocesan.
The whist-table was set out as usual in the drawing-room, and
Sedgwick was asked to take a hand. He regretted his
inability to do so, protesting his complete ignorance of the
game. The Bishop said nothing, but afterwards lamented
his melancholy position in the following pathetic words : " I
have consistently supported the Whigs all my life I believe
I am called the only liberal Bishop and now in my old age
they have sent me a canon who does not know spades from
clubs !" The Bishop died in April 1837, an< ^ some of Sedg-
wick's friends were anxious that he should be his successor.
One gentleman let him know that he had pressed upon the
government " the benefits which would accrue to this diocese,
the Church at large, and the Ministry, by appointing you"
Sedgwick was much annoyed. "I found by a letter yester-
day " he said, " that a friend of mine had made a move as he
supposed in my behalf. But, unknown to himself, he was
trying to do me as great an injury as he could inflict upon
me 1 ." Before a week was over he was relieved by the news
that his friend had failed, and that the Rev. Edward Stanley
had accepted the Bishopric. He was not at first quite
satisfied with the appointment; but, before many months
were over, the Bishop and all his family became his most
intimate friends, and the palace was quite as much his home
in Norwich as his own residence.

By the middle of May Sedgwick had left Cambridge, and
for the next five months led an unusually wandering life.

1 To R. I. Murchison, 9 April, 1837.


1837. When he was back again at the end of October, he wrote:
t. 5 2 - " Since I last saw you I have had no resting-place for my feet.
From Norwich to London, from London to Westmoreland,
from Westmoreland to Cornwall, from Cornwall back again
to Westmoreland, from Westmoreland to Yorkshire, from
Yorkshire to Cumberland, from Cumberland to Liverpool
(where I halted one week among the flesh-pots and sections
of the British Association), from Liverpool to the Warwick-
shire and Leicestershire coal-fields, out of which I finally
emerged, and once again am enjoying the light of the sun in
the atmosphere of Cambridge. Is not this enough to make a
man's head turn round 1 ?" These journeyings to and fro are
further described in the following letters :

To Canon Wodehouse.

TRIN. COLL., July 8, 1837.
My dear Wodehouse,

I only reached Cambridge (on my way back from
Dent) about the middle of the day yesterday ; and I should
endeavour to leave it this afternoon were it not for the King's
funeral, which prevents all work from being done. Now a
man starting on a tour in Cornwall has need of certain
sartorial and sutorial helps, which put me in some perplexity,
and the end of it will be that I shall not be off the stocks
before Monday. Should you ask why I am in such a hurry,
I should reply that I have much work to do, and little time to
do it in. I have to examine a corner of Cornwall, and to be
in Yorkshire in time for the contest for the West Riding. In
short I have to do things which require a 4O-horse steam-
power to be done well. This is a power much beyond my
muster ; but I must do my best, and many a time and oft
shall I have to wipe my brow if I do all I hope for during the
next three weeks.

I left you in a very husky condition, and I continued so
till the weather fairly changed, when my sweet voice came

1 To S. Woodward, 26 October, 1837.


back again. After attending the Geological and Royal 1837.
Societies, I scampered down to Manchester by the break-neck &* 5*-
day-coach in eighteen hours, and the day following found my
way to Dent. The country on the way looked most charm-
ingly, and the crops among my native mountains were
almost as forward as I had left them near London. This
never happens except when a very severe spring destroys the
difference of climates, and makes them all start together.
You would have laughed at my solemnity had you seen me
for three days looking over papers, casting up accounts,
and making dividends among a set of legatees who were
anxiously waiting my arrival, and meanwhile solacing them-
selves by deep and long potations in the beershops. After
emancipating myself from this bondage, I was detained a
great part of another week in order that I might have the
happiness of laying the foundation-stone of a little chapel in
the upper part of the valley of Dent. The day was glorious,
the face of nature beautiful, and all parties in good humour
and charity. About seven hundred mountaineers, including
nearly two hundred Sunday-school children and about one
hundred strangers, some of whom came from the distance of
twenty miles, made a curious mixed procession in the wild
glen where the little chapel is now rising from the ground.
It is built upon the solid rock which forms the bed of a
mountain stream that washes the churchyard side, and over
which the waters descend in a long succession of rapids and
falls ; and it will be surrounded by birch, mountain-ash, and
other wild trees of the country. I trust God will bless the
undertaking which begins so smilingly. We began by making
the rocks echo back the old hundredth Psalm ; my brother
read one or two short prayers from our liturgy ; Mr Wilson
of Casterton made a short address ; I handled the trowel, and
laid the stone, and then addressed my countrymen, after
which we again uncoiled ourselves into a long string to the
tune of God save the King; and the strangers, school-children,
and some others went down to Dent and had cold meat and


1837. coffee at the old parsonage. My sister made thirty-six gallons
Et. 52. o f C offee in a brewing-vessel. Among the unexpected
strangers was that strange, wild, but very clever person
Hartley Coleridge. I must honestly say that I was a little
afraid of him, for he not only possesses the poetic powers of
his father, but he is an incomparable mimic. I believe,
however, the impression produced on him by the whole scene
was such as to save us from all risk of mockery. With all his
faults, and strange wild habits, he is a kind-hearted man, and
I believe by no means devoid of religious feeling, however
imperfectly it may in some instances have influenced his life.

On Monday I hope to be. in town, and in two days more
to be set down in Cornwall. My best address for the next
fortnight will be Launceston, and if you or any of your
young people would only take up the pen, it would be
charity. About the end of this month I shall probably be
facing about to the north again. The British Association
meets this year at Liverpool on the nth of September.
When the hurly-burly is over I hope to spend a week or two

in Cumberland.

Yours ever


To Mrs Lyell.


October ibth, 1837.
My dear Mrs Lyell,

I returned to my den this day week ; having been
absent (with the exception of one day in passing from
Yorkshire towards Cornwall) ever since the middle of May...
In June I ran down to Yorkshire and paid away ;8ooo one
morning among some countrymen of mine for whom I have
been made trustee. I also laid the foundation-stone of a little
chapel in a wild part of my native valley, and for the first
time in my life turned field-preacher, as I addressed about
eight hundred wild people for more than an hour, having a
large rock of mountain-limestone for my pulpit, and the vault


of heaven for my sounding board. Then I turned my face to 1837.
the south, halted in London just long enough to take in water &* 5 2 -
and get up my steam, whence by another move I was trans-
ported to the eastern flank of Dartmoor. I spent a delightful
week or two in battering its sides and cracking its crown, and
then I made an attack on Rough Tor and Brown Willy, and
might, for aught I can tell, have reached Land's End but for
the abominable election. But I had promised to return, and
head my radical countrymen against a combination of the
rural squires. So I packed up bags and hammers, and
(halting only one day with Conybeare) went back almost with
the speed of the wind to my native valley. A few hours after
myself arrived a cousin of mine at my brother's house, bent on
the same purpose. He heard of the election while in the
northern extremity of the Highlands, and moved southward
with the same speed as I had done northwards. Does not
this prove a little good whig leaven to be lodged in the blood
of the Sedgwicks ?

Having done the Squires to their hearts content, I went to
Cumberland a country of charms to every one who has a
germ of feeling, and a thousand times more charming to me
from being associated with the recollections of early life. I
dare say you have heard of the incursion old ocean made last
summer into Mr Curwen's collieries. He became indignant at
the thought of their lighting fires under his lower extremities ;
so he took a most effectual way of putting them out for ever.
By the way an old Irishman, ycleped Dan Brennan, acted a
most gallant part during the rush of waters, and saved the lives
of four fellow-labourers. I told the story in the geological
section at Liverpool in so moving a way that I brought a
shower, not of tears, but of half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences
amounting to 37, which I sent as a solace to the old hero. I
should never have succeeded so well, but for my previous
lesson in field-preaching. But I will not torment you any
more with the dismal atmosphere of a coal-pit. Let me then
transport you to Liverpool, among mountains of venison and


1837. oceans of turtle. Were ever philosophers so fed before?

Et. 52. Twenty hundred-weight of turtle were sent to fructify in the
hungry stomachs of the sons of science ! Well may they body
forth, before another returning festival, the forms of things
unknown ! but I will not anticipate the monsters of philosophy
which such a seed-time portends. The crop no doubt will be
of vast dimensions.

After a very laborious week, a large party adjourned to
Sir Philip Egerton's. We had one glorious day in one of the
Northwich salt-mines. Conceive a chamber of twenty-six
acres, with a flat roof supported by rows of rude pillars of salt
arranged in perfect symmetry; conceive this monstrous and
almost interminable perspective traced by 2500 candles ;
conceive all this represented to the sense of sight by a kind
of darkness visible, converted, ever and anon, into actual light
by the coruscations of fireworks; lastly conceive my attempting
to get upon stilts to describe such wonders, and then falling flat
on my face and breaking the nose of my imagination. When
you have done all this you will know so little about the
matter that it will be better for us both to shift the subject.

I have only time to say that I started with Greenough 1 and
two Cambridge 2 friends for the Warwickshire coal-field. G. B.
G.'s paces and mine did not suit ; so we parted with mutual
good-will, after going one day in the same harness. Tell
Mr Lyell that I have also been working in the Leicestershire
coal-pits and in Charnwood Forest. The poor miners are
really to be pitied. At one place they are soused in old
Ocean's watering-pots ; at another they are broiled by Pluto's
kitchen-fires. I descended one pit about uoo feet deep, and
in two hours was baked to the very marrow of my bones.
N'importe ! here I am, with vigour enough to torment you
with a very long rambling letter. I have just room for my

1 George Bellas Greenough, one of the founders and first President of the
Geological Society.

2 Sedgwick tells Murchison, 9 February, 1838, that one of these friends was
Mr J. B. Jukes, of St John's College, B.A. 1836. He was one of Sedgwick 's
geological pupils.


kind remembrances to all your family and to assure you, with 1837.
a long face, and a penitent heart *, that I am most truly &* 5 2 -



To R. I. MurchisoHy Esq.

TRIN. COLL., Oct. 29, 1837.

"Pray what news? where are you in your book ?
I think I told you that Greenough and I separated amicably
after the first day. His paces, and mode of working, did not
suit me. I made out all the tricks of the Nuneaton field.
The coal-field passes into the New Red series ; has beds of
limestone (fresh-water I suppose) near the separation; and the
lower part of the New Red has calcareous portions that are
burnt for lime.

The Leicestershire coal-field astonished me, but it is very
obscure. By the way, we found the Warwickshire coal-field
brought out by a synclinal dip several miles to the S. W. of
the line marked on the maps. Greenough, by his precipita-
tion, overran this phenomenon. And, what delighted us, we
found a single patch of the old slate rock tangling out by a
riverside to the west of this western flap ; and just where it
showed itself it set the coal strata so much on edge that in one
place they had been worked in a vertical position by gallery
under gallery, like a lead vein. Charnwood Forest I knew
before ; but was delighted with a second visit.

They got up a dinner for me at Leicester 2 , and I tried to
pay them by a kind of evening lecture on the structure of the
neighbourhood, endeavouring to prove that the money they
are spending near the town in sinking for coal is so much
thrown away. Some of them did not thank me for this
damper ; but honesty is the best policy in geology as in every
other thing."

The chapel of which Sedgwick joyfully records the foun-

1 Mrs Lyell's last letter was dated 21 April, and had lain unanswered in a
drawer during Sedgwick's summer excursion.

2 The dinner was given by the Philosophical Society.


1837. elation, and in which he ever afterwards took the liveliest
* 52. interest, is situated in the upper and contracted part of the dale
of Dent called Kirthwaite. The ancient name was Cogill or
Coegill, but this, by long usage, has become Cowgill, though
the correct pronunciation still survives. The circumstances
which led to the building of the chapel, have been narrated
by Sedgwick in the Memorial from which we have already
made long quotations. After describing how it had come to
pass that the inhabitants of Dent had sunk into "a state of
comparative poverty/' he proceeds : " the hamlet of Kirthwaite
partook of this change, and of the unhappy moral consequences
which gradually followed. In the first quarter of this century
many of the poorer inhabitants of the hamlet, especially those
in the remoter parts of it, were without instruction, of reckless
life, and without the common comfort and guidance of social
worship in the house of God. To meet these evils Mrs John
Sedgwick, the wife of the incumbent of Dent, personally
devoted the best efforts of her life. Year after year she worked
on in good hope ; and her pious work had its blessing. For
she gradually drew together an united body of Christians,
who were ready to sink out of memory all points of dissent or
difference, and with true hearts to join in common worship,
and in prayer for the erection of a chapel .to be lawfully
consecrated to the services of the Church of England.

" A site for a chapel and a chapel-yard was the first object
of inquiry ; and Mr Bannister of Cowgill gave generous help in
the hour of need. For he offered to convey to trustees the
materials of an old chapel 1 , with such addition from his family
freehold as would form a beautiful and convenient site and
burial-ground for a new chapel, which might become for ever a

1 Sedgwick says in a note (Memorial, p. 34) that the older chapel had been
built, so far as he had been able to ascertain by tradition, "by a member of the
family of Cowgill, who had while in Scotland adopted the doctrine and discipline
of the Presbyterian Church. For some years, while he lived, the chapel was
zealously attended, and the yard in which it stood was used as a burial-ground for
the congregation." After his death the congregation melted away, and the chapel
became a ruin.


chapel-of-ease to the old church of Dent. This offer was met 1837.
with heartfelt gratulations on the part of the inhabitants of &* 5 2 -
Dent. In conformity with such feelings, and in good hope, a
circular letter was published in July, 1836, calling upon all

Online LibraryJohn Willis ClarkThe life and letters of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick (Volume 1) → online text (page 43 of 48)