Samuel Butler.

The life and letters of Dr. Samuel Butler, head-master of Shrewsbury school 1798-1836, and afterwards bishop of Lichfield, in so far as they illustrate the scholastic religious, and social life of England, 1790-1840 (Volume 1) online

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Online LibrarySamuel ButlerThe life and letters of Dr. Samuel Butler, head-master of Shrewsbury school 1798-1836, and afterwards bishop of Lichfield, in so far as they illustrate the scholastic religious, and social life of England, 1790-1840 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 39)
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ifo
me

ity



EX LIBRIS
W. H. BEVERIDGE

Collegii

Magnae Aulae Universitatis

Oxoniensis
Socii 1^02
Ma&istri



THE

LIFE AND LETTERS

OF

DR. SAMUEL BUTLER.

VOL. I.



THE

LIFE AND LETTERS OF

DR. SAMUEL BUTLER,

HEAD-MASTER OF SHREWSBURY SCHOOL 17981836,
AND AFTERWARDS BISHOP OF LICHFIELD

IN SO FAR AS THEY ILLUSTRATE

THE SCHOLASTIC, RELIGIOUS, AND SOCIAL
LIFE OF ENGLAND, 17901840.



BY HIS GRANDSON,

SAMUEL BUTLER,

AUTHOR OF "EREVVHON," "THE TRAPANESE ORIGIN OF THE ODYSSEY," ETC.



VOL. I.

JAN. 30, 1774 MARCH I, 1831.



LONDON :

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
1896.



Printed by Hazel], Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.



PREFACE.



THE following work was begun in 1889, and was
completed in its original form by the summer of
1894. I was then so generally advised that it was too
long that in the summer and autumn of 1895 I reduced
it by about a third, and left it with Mr. Murray in
November 1895.

The length of time during which the work has been
in progress must be accounted for firstly by the great
bulk of the correspondence that came into my hands,
and the difficulty of finding the due dates of many
undated letters. Moreover I was deflected from it by
the pressure put upon me to write my book Ex Voto,
on the Sacro Monte of Varallo, and by some researches
into the topography and authorship of the Odyssey, the
fascination of which I found it impossible to resist. To
these delightful studies hardly, however, to myself more
delightful than J;hose which I am now leaving I hope
immediately to return.

When my sisters, Mrs. G. L. Bridges and Miss Butler,
presented me with almost all Dr. Butler's papers, I did
not at first realise the importance of keeping the collection
as far as possible together, and gave away some few to



20GG641



vi PREFACE.

friends as autographs. Some of the drafts, again, I found
so much cancelled and rewritten that I thought it better
to copy the final state of the draft and destroy the
original. I also destroyed, with the approval of the
authorities of the British Museum (but never without
this), any letters the preservation of which might cause
pain without serving any useful purpose, or again, which
were deemed not worth the acceptance of the Museum.
The rest I gave to the British Museum, and left those
in charge of the National Collection to decide what
letters should be made accessible to the public, and
what should be, at any rate for the present, kept
back.

I may say here, therefore, that all letters or documents
given in my book are in the British Museum, unless it
is stated otherwise at the head of the letter. It may
save readers the trouble of hunting in the index if I
give the numbers of the volumes for which they should
write if they desire to see the original of any given
letter, or to search for any letters they may hope to
find. The volumes are numbered as follows :



VOL.



ADDITIONAL
MSS.



L, 1764-1813 . . 34583

II., 18141819 . . . 345 g 4

III., 1820 March 1825 .... 34585

IV., April 1825 end of 1827 . . . 34586

V., 18281830 . .... 34587

VI., 18311833. . . .

VII, 1834-1835 . . .



- ... 34590

IX., 1837 June 3oth, 1838 . . . 3459I



PREFACE. vii

ADDITIONAL
VOL. MSS.

X., July 1838 December i6th, 1839, 1'
scriptions, Verses in Latin, Greek, and

English . . 3459 2

XL, Two Letter-books, 18181828 . . 34593
XII., A third Letter-book, and Dr. Butler's

Episcopal Letters .... 34594

XIII., Dr. Butler's Exercises when at Rugby . 34595

XIV., Review of Parson's Adversaria, etc., 1817 34596

XV., A Commonplace Book, dated 1816 . 34597

XVI., Journals of Foreign Tours . . - 34598

N.B. In every case "Additional MSS." must be on the ticket.

Very few letters reached me from other sources than
the one I have indicated above. I should, however,
thank Bishop Barry (as representing the family of the
Rev. T. S. Hughes), the Rev. Walter Scott, son of the
late Dean of Rochester, the Rev. J. Irvine of Colchester,
and J. Willis Clark, Esq., for the loan of letters, some of
which will follow in due order of date.

The reader is requested to bear in mind that this work
is intended to show the scholarship and the philology of
the time, so far as they have come before me in Dr.
Butler's papers. I am aware that much of the philology
will be held to be of no present interest ; its interest,
however, as showing the state of this science at the
beginning of the century, seems, at any rate to myself,
considerable. As regards letters connected neither with
scholarship nor education, I have selected them almost
exclusively on the ground of their livingness and the
interest attaching to the personality of the writer. If
the personality has attracted me, as in the case of Dr.



VI 11



PREFACE.



James, Mr. Tillbrook, Baron Merian, and half a score
of men and women whose names are now utterly
unknown, I have given letters, though they contained
little or nothing about either scholarship or education.

I have to express my thanks to Professor J. E. B.
Mayor for much assistance given me in the course of
my work. The account of Dr. Butler given in the
second volume of his invaluable edition of Baker's
History of St. John's is so full as regards quotations
from Dr. Butler's works, that I have been left free to
pass these over much more briefly than I should other-
wise have done, and to devote my space principally to
MS. documents, the existence of which was probably
as unknown to Professor Mayor as it was to myself
until they fell into my hands. I have also to thank
Mr. Prebendary Moss, the present Head-Master of
Shrewsbury School, for the warm interest he has shown
in the work and its progress, though I should perhaps
state that he has only actually seen a small part of it.

I would also express my sense of deep obligation to
Mr. John Murray, who has read the sheets with great
care, and called my attention to many slips, omissions,
and inadvertencies, besides supplying me with informa-
tion which I could not otherwise have obtained.

As regards the accentuation of Greek words, I believe
I may say that when the reader finds the accents omitted
or wrong, if he will be good enough to turn to the original
MS., he will find that I have followed it faithfully. At
first I found it irresistible occasionally to add an accent,
or to correct one ; but before long I was advised that



PREFACE. JX

it would be a sounder course in a work that aims at
being historical to let the accents, for better or worse,
stand as I found them. I could not bring myself,
however, to take out those I had put in, or to vitiate
the few that I had corrected ; Dr. Butler in his drafts
has generally omitted them, but when he gives them he
always does so correctly.

Lastly, I would caution the reader against confusing the
three Dr. Butlers who have all been eminent as school-
masters. They are :

1. Dr. Samuel Butler, Head-Master of Shrewsbury,

17981836.

2. Dr. George Butler, Head-Master of Harrow, 1805

1829.

3. Dr. H. Montagu Butler, Head-Master of Harrow,

Christmas 1859 1885, and present Master of
Trinity College, Cambridge.

The two Dr. Butlers of Harrow were father and son,
but there was no relationship between them and Dr.
Samuel Butler.

SAMUEL BUTLER.

February 25^, 1896.

P.S. Since writing the foregoing I have heard with
very great regret of the death of my cousin Archdeacon
Lloyd, more than once referred to in the following pages
as though he were still living.

March yd, 1896.



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



PAGE

INTRODUCTION . . [l]

CHAPTER I.
FAMILY HISTORY ... I

CHAPTER II.
SCHOOL AND COLLEGE 8

Captain Don. School Life at Rugby. Career at St. John's
College, Cambridge. -Letters from Dr. James, December roth,
1793, September jih, 1794. Engagement to Miss Harriet
Apthorp. Letters from Dr. James, December 27th, 1796,
January 23rd, 1797. Letter from S. T. Coleridge. First
Published Work. Mr. Butler commissioned by the University
to edit ^Eschylus.

CHAPTER III.
THE RUGBY CURRICULUM . 24

Installation at Shrewsbury. Dr. James's Letters of Advice
detailing the Rugby System under his Head-Mastership.

CHAPTER IV.
FIRST YEARS AT SHREWSBURY . .40

Appointment of Mr. Jeudwine as Second Master. The
Relations between him and Mr. Butler. Hostile Reception at
Shrewsbury? Candidature for the Head- Mastership of Rugby.

CHAPTER V.
HUGHES, PORSON, BLOMFIELD . . . 52

Thomas Smart Hughes. Death of Person. Publication of First
Volume of ^schylus. Blomfield's Reviews in the Edinburgh
Revieiv. Quarrel between Butler and Blomfield. Character of
Person. Butler's Letter to the Rev. C. J. Blomfield, B.A.



xii CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VI.

PAGE

INSTALLATION SERMON LUCIEN BUONAPARTE . 63

The Doctor's Degree. Correspondence, December i6th, 1810
February 4th, 1811. The Installation Sermon. Correspondence,
August i;th, 1811 December 5th, 1811. Translation of Prince
Lucien Buonaparte's Charlemagne. Correspondence, February
i8th, 1812 December 28th, 1812. Notes taken after a Visit to
Prince Lucien Buonaparte. Difficulties about the School Chapel.

CHAPTER VII.
GEOGRAPHY OWEN PARFITT 84

The Geography. Correspondence, January 29th, 1813 October
2Oth, 1813. -The Mystery of Owen Parfitt. Correspondence, June
i8th, 1814 October 20th, 1814.

CHAPTER VIII.
CORRESPONDENCE, JANUARY 29TH, 1815 MAY

28TH, 1816 103

CHAPTER IX.
WATERLOO, I8l6 BARON MERIAN . . . . I 16

Extracts from Diary, with a Visit to the Field of Waterloo, July
1816. Correspondence, November 2nd, 1816 June 3Oth, 1817.

CHAPTER X.
THE FORTUNATE YOUTH HUGHES'S INSCRIPTIONS 133

The Fortunate Youth. Correspondence on this Subject, October
29th, 1817 December 24th, 1817. Correspondence, October
3ist, 1817 June gth, 1818, with Review of Person's Adversaria.
Paper on some Greek Inscriptions that appear in Hughes's
Travels in Sicily, etc.

CHAPTER XI.
EPIDEMIC OF TURBULENCE 156

Disturbances within the School. Dr. Butler's two Circulars to
Parents. Correspondence, November 3Oth, 1818 May I7th,
1819.



CONTENTS. xiii



CHAPTER XII.

PAGE

FIRST VISIT TO ITALY 1 66

Tour in Switzerland and North Italy. Correspondence, August
5th, 1819 July loth, 1820.



CHAPTER XIII.
THE LETTERS TO HENRY BROUGHAM, ESQ., M.P. . 1 94

Correspondence, September aoth, 1820 December i6th, 1820.
Appointment to the Archdeaconry of Derby. Correspondence,
January 1st, 1821 December 3rd, 1821.

CHAPTER XIV.
UNIVERSITY REFORM 2IO

Two Pamphlets signed " Eubulus." Correspondence, January
3Oth, 1822 June i6th, 1822.

CHAPTER XV.
VISIT TO ROME 226

Third Foreign Tour. Correspondence, August I2th, 1822
November 3Oth, 1822. -Praxis on the Latin Prepositions.

CHAPTER XVI.
AN ARDUOUS UNDERTAKING 245

The School Lawsuit. Correspondence, January 4th, 1823 July
3rd, 1823. Kennedy takes the Person Prize whilst still at School.
His Rema/ks upon the Shrewsbury System. Correspondence,
August i;th, 1823 April igth, 1824.

CHAPTER XVII.

CORRESPONDENCE, MAY I3TH, 1824 DECEMBER

1824 . . 265



xiv CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XVIII.

PAGE

CORRESPONDENCE CHARGE LAWSUIT . . . 275

Correspondence, February i8th, 1825 April l8th, 1825.
Extract from a Charge delivered June 22nd and 23rd, 1825, at
Derby and Chesterfield. Correspondence and Progress of the
School Lawsuit, August 28th, 1825 December isth, 1825.



CHAPTER XIX.
CORRESPONDENCE CHARGE CORRESPONDENCE . 293

Correspondence, December (?), 1825 June I5th, 1826. Extracts
from a Charge on the Education of the Poorer Classes delivered at
Derby and Chesterfield, June I5th and i6th, 1826. Correspond-
ence, June 1 6th and I7th, 1826. Vote of Thanks from the
Trustees, October 1826.

CHAPTER XX.
THE CLERICAL SOCIETY 315

Correspondence, September I3th, 1826 February isth, 1827.
Conclusion of the School Lawsuit. Correspondence, April or
May, 1827 December I4th, 1827.

CHAPTER XXI.

CORRESPONDENCE THE " BEEF ROW " FOURTH

FOREIGN TOUR . 340

Correspondence, January 3rd, 1828 March 3<Dth, 1829. The
" Beef Row." Correspondence, April 1310, 1829 May 25th,
1829. Fourth Foreign Tour. Charge delivered June i8th, igih,
1829, and Correspondence, July ist, 1829 December i6th, 1829.

CHAPTER XXII.

CORRESPONDENCE, JANUARY 25TH, 1830 MARCH

IST, 1831 .... ... 367



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. I.

PORTRAIT OF DR. BUTLER Frontispiece

DR. BUTLER'S HANDWRITING AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN . To face p. 12
PORTRAIT OF MRS. BUTLER ,, 149



INTRODUCTION.



SOME few years ago I was asked to write a memoir of
my grandfather, Dr. Butler of Shrewsbury, for the
Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural
History Society, of which Dr. Butler was the first president ;
and shortly afterwards I was placed in possession of the
very voluminous correspondence which Dr. Butler had left
behind him. On going through this I found so much that
threw light upon public school education at the end of the
last and in the earlier years of the present century, that I
abandoned my original design for the work I now venture
to lay before the public.

Having been led to inquire into the facts of Dr. Butler's
life, I turned to Professor J. E. B. Mayor's well-known
edition of Baker's History of St. John's* in which the fullest
account of Dr. Butler heretofore published is to be found,
and was arrested by the following paragraph ascribed by
Professor Mayor to Dr. Robert Scott, formerly Master of
Balliol, and afterwards Dean of Rochester :

" Bishop Butler has gone to his rest, after such severe and pro-
tracted suffering as would have paralysed a less energetic mind.
He has gone full of labours and honours though not of years.
And yet it is to Be feared that he has gone with much of his merit
unappreciated. If, however, it be reasonable to suppose that the
education of the higher classes, and especially of the clergy, is at
least as important as that of the poor, and if the silent but most
practical reformation which has been at work in our public schools

* Cambridge, 1869.



2 ] INTRODUCTION.



for many years ever attracts the notice it deserves, then the time
will come when men will take an interest in tracing the steps of
the improvement ; and they will hardly fail to give honour due to
that scholar who first set the example in remodelling our public
education, and gave a stimulus which is now acting on almost all
the public schools in the country." (Quarterly Review, September
1842.)

I had not known that Dr. Butler's influence was so wide
or so important, and, on going through the letters addressed,
to him, was a good deal surprised at finding how com-
pletely the facts bore out what Dr. Scott had written. Dr.
Monk, Bishop of Gloucester, for example, on hearing of
Dr. Butler's intended resignation, wrote :

"There is nothing in scholastic history which can be fairly
compared with your career except that of Busby, and he did not,
like you, find a school with only a single scholar. I am sorry that
it has never happened to me to have an opportunity of expressing
publicly how much in my opinion the cause of good education
owes to you." (December i2th, 1835.)

It is possible that many a head-master since Dr. Butler's
time has wished that he too could have " found his school
with only a single scholar."

Mr. Drury of Harrow wrote :

" In common with all who have the slightest love for, or pre-
tence to, literature, your secession from Shrewsbury is the cause
of my regret. The advance of learning among the young has
decidedly, at all English schools of any note, generally taken its
impulse from you, and where it has not, as at Westminster, the de-
cadence has been doleful. Whatever Eton and Harrow may be, I
can safely say they would not have reached even any moderate
excellence if you had not been the agitator." (December 2gth,
'835.)

Dr. Longley, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, and
at that time just resigning the head-mastership of Harrow
on his appointment to the See of Ripon, wrote :

" We may mutually felicitate each other on approaching relief
urn our arduous duties; but I will not presume to compare my



INTRODUCTION. [3



own feelings on the occasion with those of one whose long and
most honourable career has been distinguished by a degree of
splendour and success unrivalled in the history of public schools."
(March i4th, 1836.)

Dr. Longley, on his appointment to Harrow, had come
to Shrewsbury in company with Mr. Drury, and had
attended a lesson to hear Dr. Butler's manner with the
boys. Dr. Butler alluded casually to this circumstance
in a first draft of the letter to the Master and Fellows of
St. John's announcing his intended resignation, but he put
his pen through the passage, and in the second draft of the
same letter there is no reference to an incident pleasing in
itself, and honourable both to Dr. Longley and Dr. Butler.

That Dr. Butler did sometimes let distinguished aliens
attend his lessons appears from the letter to the Master and
Fellows of St. John's just referred to, but he is careful to
explain that he never permitted this except in the case of
first-rate scholars.

Dr. Parr, indeed, if I may rely upon an excellent article
that appeared in Blackwood for April 1866, was allowed
not only to assist in rehearsing the boy's speeches, but,
Jwrresco referens, to smoke his pipe while doing so. The
writer does not say where he found this story, but his work
is so well done, and the story is so intrinsically probable,
that I accept it as far as the fact of Dr. Parr's smoking is
concerned ; whether, however, it was Dr. Butler who
invited Dr. Parr to come and to smoke, or whether it
was Dr. Parr who would come and would smoke, is a point
which I would not presume to decide. According, indeed,
to the writer in Blackwood, it was not at a rehearsal of the
speeches, but at the speeches themselves, that Dr. Parr
smoked, and this is hardly possible. The words of the
article run :

" On more than one speech-day, Dr. Parr, for whom Dr. Butler
VOL. I. b



4] INTRODUCTION



had an intense respect, was present, sitting in the seat of honour
next the Doctor, with his pipe in his mouth and his spittoon
before him an arrangement which, together with his buzz-wig
(probably the last surviving specimen), attracted considerable
attention from the boys. He was good enough to signify a
gracious approval of some of the speakers by the quiet tapping
of two fore-fingers of one hand on the palm of the other an
amount of applause which, as Butler assured the young per-
formers, meant a great deal from so great a man."

Returning to the letters of Bishop Monk, Mr. Drury, and
Dr. Longley, even after making allowance for the par-
tiality of personal friendship, there is more in the extracts
quoted than can be explained as mere politeness. In spite,
however, of the unbounded respect with which Dr. Butler's
character has inspired me, I should not have gone beyond
my original intention but for the consideration mentioned
by Dr. Scott I mean the importance and interest of tracing
the path of public school development during a time that
has been left, comparatively speaking, unchronicled. I
found so many letters that threw light upon the public
school life of the half-century between the years 1 790 and
1835, that I resolved to bring together as much of Dr.
Butler's correspondence as might be useful to a future
and more exhaustive historian of the religious, scholastic,
and social life of England between the years 1790 and
1840.

As regards the extract above given from Mr. Drury's
letter, not knowing what reforms could be intended I
consulted the late Professor Kennedy, and Dr. Welldon,
formerly of Tunbridge, then, as I believed, the last sur-
vivors of those who had been masters under Dr. Butler.
They told me Mr. Drury was referring to the introduction
of half-yearly examinations into public schools, and to the
moving of the boys in the sixth form according to the
results of their examination. I have since seen the follow-
ing extract from a letter by Dr. Kennedy, of which I was



INTRODUCTION. [5



unaware till the Rev. George Sandford kindly called my
attention to it :

" Dr. Butler was, of course, an excellent scholar, and no
ordinary teacher ; but his crowning merit was the establishment
of an emulative system, in which talent and industry always
gained their just recognition in good examinations. This it was
that made his school so successful and so great." (April 3oth, 1887.
Printed in Shrewsbury Shreds and Patches, February 1889.)

Given examinations at the universities, and examinations
at the public schools that lead up to them seem now to
follow as a matter of course, but the inference had not
been drawn and acted upon till Dr. Butler drew it, and
in the doing so, changed the face of public education all
through the public schools of England, and hence through-
out the world.

I am told that the examinations of a hundred years ago
did not originate with the masters of any given school^ and
were not conducted by them, but by the patrons and
visitors, with the object of examining not so much the
boys as the masters, and finding out whether these last
taught the boys or not. If, then, the boys failed in their
examination, it was not they who were punished, but
the masters a practice the revival of which would be
hailed with pleasure by not a few of our schoolboys. I
gather that some of our foremost head-masters consider
examinations to be at the present day overdone ; even they,
however, would hardly wish to return to the system, or
no system, universal in English schools before Dr. Butler's
time, and dispense with examinations altogether. From
Dr. Welldon I learned that it was the custom in public
schools at the beginning of this century to let the boys in
the sixth form move up by seniority, so that when once
he was in the sixth a boy was stimulated neither by fear
of falling nor hope of rising. Dr. Butler was the first to
put a stop to this, and to make even his head boy stand



6] INTRODUCTION.



or fall by the result of the half-yearly examinations.
These, in his hands, served to formulate and articulate
a spirit of emulation among boys as regards their school-
work, which had hitherto been at best chaotic ; he thus
produced an effect that will survive all changes in detail
in the subjects taught.

I find him throughout his long career insisting to the
under-m asters, in letters of which he carefully preserved
the drafts, that they should mark every lesson of every
boy, and thus furnish him with a bird's-eye view of each
boy's industry or idleness. When, as not infrequently
happened, he saw what his practised eye told him were
signs of careless marking, he remonstrated in a way that
shows him to have made frequent reference to the mark-
record of each individual boy. The following extract from
one of these drafts may illustrate his method :

To AN ASSISTANT MASTER.

" October loth, 1818.

" DEAR SIR, The extraordinary pressure of business this morn-
ing between the trustee meeting and the merit money, left me
not an instant from half-past seven till three to attend to the
subject of your complaint about the boys who did not say Greek
grammar. Their statement to me is that they had to learn the
whole rules comprised between the paradigm of the active voice
and the verb efyu, in which I cannot suppose they are correct,
for it contains the most difficult eleven pages in the Greek grammar ;
they add that they were not accustomed to say the whole of these
rules at a lesson, but only certain marked parts of them. The
latter is a very proper single lesson ; the former is as much as
I should think of setting them at two lessons. The circum-
stances of their statement appearing to me in a very questionable
light, I have made them known to you that I may get at the
facts.

" I feel myself also under the necessity of requesting that you
will be more particular with regard to your marks. I lay great
stress upon them, being the only clue I have to understand the
merits of the different boys, except what I can pick up from the
monthly examinations, and I observe your marks are greatly at
variance with mine on these occasions. I find you give almost



INTRODUCTION. [j



always the same unvarying w, and keep the order of the names
unaltered, when it would appear from my examinations that very
different marks and different order should be given ; and on sending
up to you a whole class which you had forgotten to mark this
morning, I find the marks were put in by you at once, without
hesitation and without reference to papers, which is an effort
of discrimination I should by no means be equal to myself. On



Online LibrarySamuel ButlerThe life and letters of Dr. Samuel Butler, head-master of Shrewsbury school 1798-1836, and afterwards bishop of Lichfield, in so far as they illustrate the scholastic religious, and social life of England, 1790-1840 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 39)