English Men of Letters: Crabbe eBook

Alfred Ainger
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about English Men of Letters.


[Footnote 3:  Richard Turner of Yarmouth was a man of considerable culture, and belonged to a family of scholars.  His eldest brother was Master of Pembroke, Cambridge, and Dean of Norwich:  his youngest son was Sir Charles Turner, a Lord Justice of Appeal; and Dawson Turner was his nephew.  Richard Turner was the intimate friend of Dr. Parr, Paley, and Canning.]

[Footnote 4:  Readers of Lockhart’s Biography will remember that in one of Scott’s latest letters to his son-in-law, before he left England for Naples, he quoted and applied to himself this stanza of Sir Eustace Grey.  The incident is the more pathetic that Scott, as he wrote the words, was quite aware that his own mind was failing.]




“When in October, 1805, Mr. Crabbe resumed the charge of his own parish of Muston, he found some changes to vex him, and not the less because he had too much reason to suspect that his long absence from his incumbency had been, partly at least, the cause of them.  His cure had been served by respectable and diligent clergymen, but they had been often changed, and some of them had never resided within the parish; and he felt that the binding influence of a settled and permanent minister had not been withdrawn for twelve years with impunity.  A Wesleyan missionary had formed a thriving establishment in Muston, and the congregations at the parish church were no longer such as they had been of old.  This much annoyed my father; and the warmth with which he began to preach against dissent only irritated himself and others, without bringing back disciples to the fold.”

So writes Crabbe’s son with his wonted frankness and good judgment.  Moreover, besides the Wesleyan secession, the mischievous extravagances of William Huntington (S.S.) had found their way into the parish.  To make matters worse, a former gardener of Crabbe’s had set up as a preacher of the doctrines of this fanatic, who was still attracting crowds in London.  Then, too, as another fruit of the rector’s long absence, strange stories of his political opinions had become current.  Owing, doubtless, to his renewed acquaintance with Dudley North at Glemham, and occasional association with the Whig leaders at his house, he had exposed himself to the terrible charge that he was a Jacobin!

Altogether Crabbe’s clerical position in Leicestershire, during the next nine years, could not have been very comfortable.  But he was evidently still, as always, the devout and kindly pastor of his flock, and happily for himself, he was now to receive new and unexpected tributes to his popularity in other fields.  His younger son, John, now eighteen years of age, was shortly to go up to Cambridge, and this fresh expense had to be provided for.  To this end, a volume

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