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which occasion, his father observed to a pupil, “My son is sent to college: he'll turn out a great man, - very great indeed. I'm very certain of it; for he has by far the clearest head I ever met with in
life.” While resident there, much agitation took place on the part of those who prayed for relief from a subscription to articles of faith as practised by the church of England. Young Paley appeared friendly to their views; but when urged to join, he used jocularly to allege in excuse for his refusal, that she could not afford to keep a conscience !”
Having become chaplain to the celebrated Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle, he soon after preached an ordination sermon, in which he insisted, that “ frugality is a virtue of the first importance:" he, at the same time, inculcated the advantage of “ learning to live alone,” since retirement is the foundation of almost every other good habit.
After being presented, in succession, with the respectable ecclesiastical appointments of Archdeacon and Chancellor of Carlisle, Dr. Paley most unexpectedly obtained from Dr. Barrington, the present Bishop of Durham, the valuable rectory of Bishop Wearmouth, estimated at 12001. per
It was during his residence there that Mr. Meadley became first known to him. “ The writer of these Memoirs, who, during the period of his acquaintance with Dr. Paley, made three separate excursions into foreign countries, generally underwent the most minute investigations after his return. On their first interview, after a voyage of several months to the South of Italy and the Levant, Dr. Paley pressed him with a succession of enquiries, both as to the direct objects of his attention and incidental occurrences, during many hours; nor was the discourse closed even then, but was frequently renewed in conversation afterwards. The queries thus proposed were pertinent, often very forcibly expressed, and pointing to the answer required, but by no means methodically pursued. It is much to be lamented that the heads of such conversations could not be accurately preserved ; for they were strongly
marked with Dr. Paley's keen and sagacious manner of putting questions, and with his extraordinary grasp of intellect.”
The author concludes his interesting volume, with a very favourable character of his ecclesiastical friend, whom he praises for having discharged all the offices of life with distinguished reputation. He was a good husband, an excellent father, and a warm-hearted friend; and his charity was so extensive as even to include the street beggar.
“ Few men,” we are told, “ enjoyed the pleasures of life with greater zest than Dr. Paley; few men bore more firmly with its pains. He always appeared well satisfied with the lot assigned him, and in all the changes of his fortune, attributed more to the munificence of his patron, than to his own deserts. His life he often stated to have been a happy one, and his success to have far exceeded his most sanguine hopes. His early preferments he deemed a liberal provision, much exceeding his pretensions; and the ecclesiastical situations in which he was afterwards placed, as more than adequate to every object of reasonable ambition. *
“ Dr. Paley, indeed, could never be deemed a prefermenthunter in any period of his life; he was not of a nature to take root; he had a mind superior to all those little arts, by which patronage is too frequently acquired. The patronage actually bestowed on him, was either the fruit of private friendship, or the reward of great and universally acknowledged merit. That such a man, in this enlightened age and nation, was not advanced to a bishopric, will ever remain an indelible blot on the character of those, who dispensed the honours of the British hierarchy during his latter years. It has, however, been reported that a late prime minister did actually recommend him for a vacant mitre; but that a very high dignitary of the church being consulted, prevented his elevation by hinting against some passages in his works. His most important services to Christianity were therefore, as it
* Natural Theology, Dedication, p.iv.
seems, neglected; because, in one department of his writings, he had boldly maintained the claims of conscience and religious liberty; and, in another, had given a forcible expression to some obvious but uncourtly truths.
66 The promotion of Dr. Paley to a bishopric, would have done honour to the administration of Mr. Pitt, as it might justly have been attributed to disinterested motives. But, unfortunately for the reputation of the premier, and for the public interest, whilst men, whom it is no disparagement to call inferior, were successively raised to that dignity, Dr. Paley passed through life in comparatively private stations, and died a rector, a prebendary, and a sub-dean.
“ But the truly liberal, of his own and succeeding times, will confer the highest honours on his name. They will ever rank him in the number of those who, by the exertions of a clear and vigorous understanding, have risen to the office of instructing nations, and of contributing, by their wisdom, to benefit the most essential interests of mankind."
Soon after the death of that very extraordinary woman, Mrs. Jebb, Mr. Meadley, at the request of a gentleman, mentioned in the following dedication, undertook to write her life.
We are told, by way of introduction, that “to preserve the memory of departed worth, and more especially to display the advantages of intellectual and moral culture, and their united influence in alleviating the pains of bodily suffering, and making age at once happy and venerable, is the object of these brief memoirs.” The maiden name of Mrs. Jebb, was Ann Torkington: she was the eldest daughter of the Reverend James Torkington, by Lady Dorothy Sherard, daughter of Philip, second Earl of Harborough. The birth of this accomplished female took place, November 9, 1785, at King's Rippon in Huntingdonshire, of which her father was rector.
" As her education was for the most part private, and her early life passed chiefly in retirement, her manners, when she was first introduced into society, were unusually timid and reserved. But by cultivating a turn for reading and reflection she had so sedulously improved herself, as to display, even then, the promise of a vigorous and comprehensive mind. In person, she was thin and small; her complexion was pale and wan, indicating a very delicate constitution ; but her figure and her hand were elegantly formed, and her countenance, beaming with animation and benevolence, was strikingly characteristic of her heart.
“ At a ball in Huntingdon, she was introduced to Mr. Jebb, a young clergyman, residing at Cambridge, as a private tutor in the university, and a fellow of Peter House. As • their hearts and understandings were formed for each other,' a mutual attachment soon ensued, and they were married December 29, 1764, when Mr. Jebb had been recently presented to his first preferment in the Church. His connection with the university, however, was not closed with the loss of the fellowship, and his lectures on mathematics and theology were, for several years, most respectably attended. Amongst his friends and pupils he was highly and deservedly esteemed, as well for the superiority of his talents and attainments, as for the integrity of his principles and the maniy independence
of his mind. In Mrs. Jebb, he had chosen a companion of sentiments and feelings congenial to his own, and regarding her with the liveliest affection, he consulted her opinion on every subject in which he was successively engaged.”
This accomplished lady now presided over the “ tea parties" at which her husband and herself were accustomed to receive their friends; her conversation, we are told, and, indeed, we ourselves know, was sprightly, argumentative, and profound ; and it was soon discovered by her friends, that such superior powers of female intellect were, by no means, inconsistent with the liveliest sensibilities of a female heart. On all occasions, she was an able advocate for, and gave the most decided support to the opinions of her husband, both ecclesiastical and academical.
• At length," observes her biographer, “ the great controversy on the propriety of receiving subscription to articles of faith, as practised by the Church of England, led to a more general display of those abilities, which had hitherto been confined to the intercourse of her private life. Mr. Jebb, conceiving every attempt to interfere with the rights of conscience in the interpretation of Scripture, to be an infringement of the truc protestant principles, was one of the most active of the clerical petitioners, vindicating, in the boldest language, the justice of their claim to relief; and Mrs. Jebb, who entered into all his feelings, was equally strenuous in their support: by turns appalling the most formidable champions of subscription, whose productions appeared, like her own, in the newspapers, or whose sermons and charges more openly provoked her attack. Amongst others, she repeatedly addressed herself to Dr. Randolph (the President of C. C. C., and Archdeacon of Oxford,) Dr. Hallifax (afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph), and Dr. Balguy (Archdeacon of Winchester), in the London Chronicle, under the signature of PRISCILLA, detecting the weak point of their argument, and exposing the sophistry by which it was maintained. But superior to the little arts of controversy, she defended her cause by reasoning alone.