Memoirs of Rev. John Barton of Cambridge 1836-1908 (1889).

John and his wife Emily Barton nee Elliott (1839-1924) wrote their memoirs side by side in the same volume. Hers is reproduced here. John’s is certainly less elegant and shorter, but it's no less interesting, especially to a family historian since it seems that John was quite a family historian himself. A lot of information from this memoir appears to have made its way into Cecil Barton’s book about his father. The full memoir however was transcribed only recently (October 2009) by Margaret Barton nee Barker, daughter-in-law of Cecil's son Ted (who transcribed Emily's memoirs in 1964).

It should be noted that John's memoirs are somewhat less factually reliable than Emily's. I (DBHB) have provided corrections for those errors that I have noticed. They can perhaps be forgiven since John was ostensibly working entirely from memory, writing - as he apparently was - on board the S.S. Siam en route to India in 1889.

PDF version here.





Family origins


My own birthplace, as all my children know, was at East Leigh near Havant but I was the first of our family who were born there, the property having been purchased by my father two years before, viz. 1834. He had previously lived since his marriage to my mother in 1820 and for some few years previously at Stoughton, a retired village lying among the chalk hills 6 miles from Leigh and about the same distance from Chichester. At Stoughton [between 1829 and 1834] my four elder brothers and sisters were born – Joseph, Anne, Elizabeth and Gerard. Previously to his going to Stoughton my father had resided at Chichester. There his mother spent the later years of her life and there she died and he himself, years after, when stricken with paralysis, returned thither to die. I was a boy of 14 when we left Leigh and went to live at Chichester and when my father died 2 years later, in 1852, I was a schoolboy at Highgate, my eldest brother Joseph having just entered Oxford and Gerard having entered a merchant’s office at Lewes.

Though my father spent so many years of his life in the south of England, he was really a north countryman by descent, his father having been the first to migrate southwards and the little hamlet of Ivegill, 6 miles south of Carlisle still contains the house in which probably seven or eight generations of our ancestors lived and which still bears on its porch the letter JB:JB:1694 carved on the massive stone lintel. The registers of the adjoining parish of Dalston, of which indeed Ivegill was formerly an outlying hamlet, show that these initials referred in all probability to the names of John Barton and Jane Barton. The same registers contain the names of many other Bartons extending as far back as 1564; and so far as can be gathered from these records the Bartons of Ivegill appear to have been of the class of Cumbrian yeomen or “statesmen” as they were then and are still so called, a statesman being one who own and farms his own land as distinguished from one who merely occupies as a tenant the lands for another. There are still as many as 96 of those small holdings, as the present vicar the Rev. R. Phillips, informs me in this one parish of Ivegill, though many of them have now passed into the hands of larger proprietors. Tradition further relates that many of the Bartons were Quakers and a field is still pointed out immediately behind the house in which they lived, as having been the Quaker burial ground. A small chapel in the dale close to High Head Castle also bears on its eastern face a tablet with an inscription of the date of 1682, containing the names of 13 of the principal landowners or parishioners when the chapel was doubtless either built or enlarged. The last two names in this list are those of Bernard Barton and John Barton.

It is remarkable that these two names should have come down two centuries later to their descendants; my own father’s name having been John, his father’s John before him, his brother names Bernard after his grandfather and so on.

I have already mentioned that the first of my ancestors to come south was my grandfather who in his second marriage to Miss Elsie Horne of London removed thither in 1784 and settled at Tottenham. The first of the Bartons however to leave Ivegill was my great-grandfather, Bernard Barton. He appears to have been a man of some mechanical genius for he invented a spinning jenny which I believe brought him considerable reputation, not enrichment. He lived for the latter part of his life in Carlisle inhabiting a house which afterwards became the Busham and died there in 1773, his remains being interred in St. Cuthbert’s churchyard. For the above particulars I am mainly indebted to a published memoir of my Uncle Bernard, the Quaker poet, published by his daughter in 1850, as also to a paper on the Dalton registers by Miss Kuper, a Cumbrian lady and herself a descendant of Bernard Barton of Carlisle whose antiquarian tastes have led her to make explorations in this field.

Of my grandfather, son of the inventor of the spinning jenny, we know but very little, but that little shows him to have been a man both of cultivated tastes and also of a very philanthropic spirit. His portrait [below] was painted in the year 1779 and is still to be seen in the library at Thornhaugh, having come into my Uncle Bernard’s, (the poet) possession by a cousin’s chain of circumstances, portrays him as surrounded by his books, a volume of Locke’s Essays in his hand, a flute lying on the table at his side. (Note by 'DMB': a photograph of this painting is on our attic staircase)

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Portrait of John Barton the Elder (1754-1789).

It is also certain that from an early age he identified himself with the cause of Negro emancipation and in Clarkson’s History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade his name appears as one of a committee of 12, most of them Quakers, with Mr Granville Sharp and Mr Clarkson at their head, who united themselves for this special purpose and did excellent service to the cause during the long years of Parliamentary warfare and agitation that followed. Not long after the establishment of this committee however, which took place on May 22nd 1787, my grandfather died, at the comparatively early age of 35 leaving behind him three children of his first family – Bernard the poet, Maria Hack, well known to an earlier generation as the writer of “Evenings at Home” and other interesting books for young people, and a second daughter Elizabeth. My father was not actually born until some months after his father’s death, viz. on June 4th 1789. His mother was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers as they were popularly termed. I think it probable that my grandfather and his immediate ancestors were Quakers also, though this point cannot now be ascertained with certainty. All that I know for certain is that when my grandfather moved south he had at that time joined the Quakers. It was partly no doubt owing to this fact that my father was brought up to a commercial life, though from his earliest years he appears to have inherited his father’s literary proclivities.

Of his early life I know nothing, nor am I able to explain what led him to take up his abode at Chichester though I have ascertained that his older sister Maria, married to Mr. Stephen Hack, was living there and that was no doubt the reason. He lived there from the time of his first marriage about the year 1811 till he went to live at Stoughton in 1826. His first wife was the daughter of a retired London merchant, a Mr. Woodruffe Smith, who had amassed a considerable fortune, and having only two daughters they found themselves at his death in the possession of considerable fortunes. This enabled my father at once to give up business and to devote himself exclusively to that which had always been the bent of his mind viz. the study of literature and the promotion of philanthropic enterprise. His voluminous notebooks and journals still exist to show how diligent a student he became and how wide as well as deep his reading was, including such abstruse mathematical studies as the differential calculus and other branches of pure mathematics, a wide range of history, and also political economy, this last being a subject of which he was especially fond and to which he devoted much time and thought.

He also took a lively interest in the formation of the Philosophical and Literary Society at Chichester in conjunction with Sir John Forbes and others and frequently lectured in connexion with it. He also took an active part in the promotion of the education of the poor and was one of the chief promoters of a school intended mainly for this class in what was known as the Lancastrian system. He was also one of the managing committee of the Savings Bank and some of my own best recollections of Chichester are those derived from being his companion in his weekly visits to that place for both at Stoughton and East Leigh he still retained his connexion with the old Cathedral account and spending the day with Mr and Mrs George Paully, a most worthy couple who lived at the Savings Bank, Mr Paully being also the headmaster of the Lancastrian School.

My father was also very fond of natural science and I have still a lively recollection of the experiments he used to show us with the electrical machine and air pump as much as of some more public lectures which he gave in physical geography and other allied topics in our own and other friends’ drawingrooms to specially invited audiences of 40 or 50 in number.

But I am anticipating. In 1822 his first wife died, having been for many years a great invalid. My father was thus set free to carry out what had long been the wish of his heart, viz. to pursue a regular course of study at the University of Edinburgh. He removed thither accordingly in 1823 and continued his studies for more than two sessions making the acquaintance meanwhile of several new friends, one whom was Dr. Chalmers who years after came once to visit him at Stoughton; and also Dr. Gordon who after the Disruption in 1843 became the Moderator of the Free Church. During his residence in Edinburgh my father took the opportunity of carrying out what had probably been a wish of his heart for some time, viz. the open profession of his faith in Christ by baptism. Having been brought up a member of the Society of Friends to which his mother was deeply attached, he had never been baptised in infancy and it had been as he grew to maturer years that he had begun to realise its importance. Possibly he was glad also of his residence in Edinburgh to take a step which must necessarily have caused his mother some pain.

Another event of importance marked his stay in Scotland, the forming of the acquaintance of Mr and Mrs Parker of Fairlie on the Clyde. He had met a daughter of theirs, Miss Susan Parker at the house of Mr. Thornton at Clapham and subsequently visited the parents several times in their Scottish home. The friendship thus formed ere long ripened into an attachment on his part and he made her an offer of marriage. This however was not accepted by her, possibly on religious grounds, but the result was that he never visited Scotland again. Miss Parker subsequently married Mr. Duncan Darroch (afterwards General Darroch) of Gourock House and on my visit to Scotland in 1859 I made the acquaintance of my father’s old friend and of her nice family of three sons and four daughters, and have kept up some intercourse with her ever since. She is a most elegant and dignified old lady, and must have been exceedingly attractive in her younger days. She is a most true Christian and a warm supporter of the Free Church, though since her husband’s death she has settled at Wimbledon and one of her sons has been ordained in the English church. Her eldest son was a contemporary of mine at Cambridge and went out in the same Natural Sciences Tripods with me in 1860.

In 1826 my father removed from Chichester to Stoughton, a little village lying nestled in the chalk hill about three miles from [???] Huntington, six from Chichester and six from East Leigh. There he continued his mathematical and political economy studies undisturbed, going over to Chichester every week to attend the meetings of the Philosophical Institute and interesting himself in the Lancastrian Schools and Savings Bank.


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In 1828 he met in London at the house I believe of Mr. Halsey Jameson of Stamford Hill, Miss Fanny Rickman, daughter of Mr. Joseph Rickman of Craven Street who had died in 1808 and his widow had married Mr. Edward Hughes of Smeeth Hill House near Ashford, Kent. My mother had but one sister of her own, one who still lives through God’s goodness to be the object of love to a large and devoted circle of grand-nephews and nieces who all vie in showing love and honour to dear “Aunt Rick”.

My step-grandfather, Mr. Hughes, had several children of his own by an earlier marriage, one of who attained eminence as a physician and was for many years resident physician of Guy’s Hospital. The issue of his marriage with my grandmother was one daughter only, known to us all as “Aunt Emily” who afterwards became the wife of Mr. Walter (???) Strut and still lives. My dear mother was taken from us when I was only 5 years old and therefore my remembrance of her is very faint and slight – but all who knew her have testified to her sweet and gentle spirit, too unworldly perhaps for the roughnesses and difficulties of life, but one in whom both husband and children might safely confide. Perhaps the friends from whom I have heard most of her are the Rev. Gerard Smith, vicar of East (???) Marson and his dear wife, both of whom had the deepest affection for her and who, for many years, extended to her children the love which they bore her till they too a few years since, were called to rejoin her in the home above.

Owing to the fact of my maternal grandmother’s second marriage, our “Aunt Phena” [probably a curious mistake: in every other place she is mentioned she was called 'Aunt Rick', as above; John's sister was known as Aunt Phena] as we always called her, spent the greater part of her time with her married sister and new brother in their country home and was the frequent companion of my father in his rides and walks, sharing in his botanical pursuits in which she took a keen delight and helping him in all his other work.

At Stoughton were born my two elder brother and two elder sisters, Joseph and Gerard, Anne and Elizabeth. Shortly after Gerard’s birth in 1834, my father, finding the home at Stoughton too small for his fast-growing family, removed to East Leigh which he purchased with the surrounding land including some 250 acres from a Mr. Holloway. He enlarged the house considerably in successive years, adding a bow window to both dining and drawing-room and building out a room at the back. In the winter of 1836 I was born, on a cold snowy day long remembered afterwards as one of the severest and most lasting snow storms that had ever been known. After me followed in 1838, 1840 1841 and 1842 four more girls, Sarah, Josephine, Fanny and Emily. The birth of my youngest sister Emily on 4th November 1842 proved to be a very sad and sorrowful time for us all for scarlet fever had invaded our house attacking Annie and then my sister Sarah and finally our dear mother and with two fatal results, Sarah dying on the 9th and our mother following her five days later.

Well do I remember the sad time for we were all sent away to Hayling Island on the day our sister died and there we remained for five weeks. Happily for us, God who thus so sorely visited us, spared our dear aunt to take on Mother’s place to us eight children and to be a comfort to our poor bereaved father. Still I always felt as if there was something wanting in our home – especially as regards the dear Father himself. He was always loving and tender and had pleasant smile for us all and I can now recall the kind fatherly hand laid upon my head with a whispered “God bless you” when he came into our bedroom and saw either of us on our knees. Still, I felt rightly or wrongly that he lived in a different world altogether from that in which we children lived and moved and it was with a sort of reverential awe that I went into the library with its shelves of deep and learned books reaching from floor to ceiling and saw him sitting there with his papers round him. For some time before we went to school we did have our Latin lessons with him but I think the work of teaching was more of a duty than a pleasure.

There were however some very enjoyable interludes in our quiet routine life as children on which I look back as red-letter days. Foremost among these were the constant visits to Chichester to which my father generally went on Wednesdays, being market day, and left us for several hours in the care of some worthy and most kind people, the actuary of the Savings Bank and his wife, Mr and Mrs. George Paull. Mr. Paull was also for a good many years the Master of the Lancastrian Boys School and I fancy my father had a good deal to do with his getting both of these appointments. However this may have been, I know that my Wednesdays spent in the two old houses, first in Eastgate and then in St Martin’s Square, were supremely happy times, partly no doubt on account of the emancipation thus obtained from the boredom and restraints of the schoolroom. Then there were the occasional picnics to King’s Vale and to Hayling Island and visits to the dockyard at Portsmouth and the biscuit factory at Gosforth. Altogether I think I must have come in for a good many of these pleasant outings.


Schooling, 1846-1852


In 1846 I was sent to school at Bishops Waltham, a small town about 16 miles from Leigh, about 10 miles south of Winchester. Here there was a small private school kept by the Rev. Thomas Scard and the Rev. William Allen. My two elder brothers were both there before me and the second remained for some three years with me till he went into a merchant’s counting house at Lewes. I have but little to say in favour of this school. I am sorry to say it had little enough to recommend it in the way of morals or of discipline or the tone of most of the boys and I certainly learned there as much evil as it is possible for boys to acquire from their schoolfellows. Had my father known anything of school life from personal experience I feel sure he would have sent us elsewhere but this school was near at hand and on the outside it seemed all that could be wished except that the headmaster in charge of it, The Rev. Thomas Scard, had a parish three miles off and only came to the school for the middle part of each weekday and not at all on Sundays. His partner however, The Rev. William Allen live in the house so there was sufficient supervision but he always seemed like one who made teaching a mere matter of business and not because he had any care for boys.

At this school I remained five years from Michaelmas 1846 to Christmas 1851. For the last two years I learned absolutely nothing, having risen to the first call by the time I was 12 and gone through all the Classical subjects, Horace’s Odes and Greek Analecta before I had been in it 12 months with the aid of Anthon’s Edition and suchlike helps. I employed my spare time accordingly in keeping a bank, taking charge of my schoolfellows’ pocket money at the beginning of the term and issuing small cheque books which they used to give to the old pie-woman and which I collected and cashed in due course. My commission for my trouble was obtained by the sale of the cheques. The plan certainly succeeded so far as I remember as the boys spent their money less freely and rapidly than if they had kept it all in their own hands while I had the occupation to amuse me and got some profit for my labour. One good thing was that it taught me to keep accurate accounts and no doubt it was owing to the fact of my having learnt to keep my own accounts accurately, being rewarded for the same at the rate of 2/6d (now 12½p) for each half-year I ventured to help my schoolfellows also.

Perhaps I ought also to chronicle the fact that at Christmas 1846 I gave my first contribution of 4/4 (or 1d a week) to the Church Missionary Society. As my pocket money allowance was only three-weekly I think my missionary enthusiasm must have been pretty well kindled at this time, yet I am quite unable now to explain how it came about. All that I can remember clearly about it is that I used to read with great interest Mr. Williams accounts of his missionary labours in the South Seas in which I was so much interested that I used to read about it to an old woman whom I used to go and see to read to on Communion Sundays while the elders were at church. I am afraid however that this missionary interest was somewhat transical in its character as I do not think I continued my missionary subscription for very long. There was certainly nothing in the associations of my school life to keep it alive and at Havant the meetings of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel were not very interesting. I suppose it was on this account that I preferred to give my contribution to the C.M.S. though I knew little enough about it, taking it to Mr. Sheppard, vicar of the adjoining parish of Emsworth a most warm friend of the CMS who only passed away this last year (1889) after a most useful and honoured service of some 44 years in that one charge. The copy of Williamsbook on the South Sea Missions was given to me by my brother Joseph out of the Leigh library two or three years back and I have had it bound and home my children will keep it in memory of their father’s first nascent missionary interest.

In 1851, the year of the first great Exhibition in Hyde Park, the first of the many that have been held since and celebrated for the erection of the first Crystal Palace for which the designer Sir Joseph Paxton, the Duke of Devonshire’s head gardener at Chatsworth, and the contractors Messrs. Fox and Henderson, received knighthoods, I and my brother Gerard paid our first visit to London staying with my uncle Mr. James Rickman in Wandsworth Road. I have still the most vivid recollections of all that I then saw and the wonderful Palace itself. Besides the many objects of interest gathered together within it from all quarters of the globe, I remember being particularly impressed with the building itself, especially as seen from one of the galleries overlooking the great transept with the birds chirping in the trees, the actual elm trees growing in the park which had been with much taste and skill enclosed within it. In the respect, its transparent lightness and grace, it far surpassed the Crystal Palace of Sydenham constructed out of it.

In 1852 I left Bishop’s Waltham and went to Cholmendely School at Highgate. By this time and indeed in 1850 we had removed to Chichester to be nearer medical advice for my father who in that year had been seized with a paralytic stroke from which he never fully recovered and finally died two years after in March 1852 when I was a little more than 15.

At Chichester we had many friends from my father’s long connexion with the place and received much sympathy at the time of his illness and death. His efforts for the benefit of the Lancastrian School for the children the poor were commemorated by a fund raised to present a bible annually to the most deserving boy in the school, an institution which for ought I know exists to this day.

While at Chichester I learnt three things, if not more:

1) to take long walks into the country often extending far into the chalk downs beyond Goodwood
2) to care for botanical pursuits, scouring the country in every direction for ferns for a rockery as much as for plants to add to Aunt Phena’s collection, already pretty complete, and far more than all
3) to care to read my bible and together my three younger sisters together during the holidays or rather vacations (for I had by that time entered Cambridge) and to read and pray with them.

My father’s death and the feeling that I was to a more or less extent my own master, helped no doubt to sober me a good deal and make me thoughtful. But it was not till the summer of 1856 that I first truly realized my Sonship and knew the peace and joy of forgiveness.

I left Highgate in the summer of 1854 and spent some weeks of that vacation with my brother Joseph at his curacy at Upham only three miles from Bishop’s Waltham the scene of my and his earlier schooldays though by that time the school had ceased to exist. From Upham I went with Aunt Rick on a visit to Gateshead Rectory where we were the guests of Dr and Mrs Davies [John Davies and Mary Hopkinson; their daughter Emily Davies (1830-1921) co-founded Girton College, Cambridge in 1869], some old Sussex friends, after which we went together to see Mr and Mrs Gerard Smith at Osmaston, near Ashbourne to which they had lately removed. To this visit I feel I owe much of the blessing which came to me later on, for I then first made the acquaintance of some dear friends whose influence, direct and indirect, had more effect than anything else in leading me to Christ, I refer to Mr and Mrs Wright of Osmaston Manor and the friendship especially of their two elder children Henry and Agnes. Henry, who was then at Oxford in his 2nd or 3rd year was extremely good to me and made me feel that I had at last met with a friend whom I could entirely trust and look up to. He seemed to me even then, almost perfect as a Christian gentleman and further subsequent knowledge only confirmed my first impressions.


Cambridge, 1854-1855


On my way from Osmaston to Cambridge I fell in with another friend to whom I also owe much, the Rev. Frederick Gell, Fellow and Hebrew Lecturer for Christ’s College (now Bishop of Madras). I changed carriages four or five times on the way from Derby to Cambridge and each time we happened to find ourselves in the same compartment. We got into conversation and before we parted he had told me who he was, asked me to call upon him, which I gladly did. He introduced me to some Christian undergraduates among them, (???) M. Whoard, afterwards a missionary in Calcutta, and was always ready to advise and help. Through his influence it mainly came to pass that I selected Christ’s as my college for when I went up in 1854 I had not made up my mind where to go; my object being merely to read there for three terms with private tutors being as yet only 17, and defer entering the university until October 1855.


I took lodgings at 8 Malcolm Street, going every day for dinner to what was then the Eagle Restaurant in Benet Street. It was rather a lonely life however for I knew scarcely any men in the university and not being connected with any college I was rather out of everything. In consequence of this I obtained permission from the authorities of Christ’s to let me enter at mid-Lent and to keep Hall and Chapel. This brought me at once to know several Christ’s men while it did not in any way interfere with my reading, as I was excused all lectures.

In June 1855, at the beginning of the Long Vacation, we went to Tunbridge Wells for a month and I there heard for the first time Canon Hoare, thought it was not till several years later that I knew him as a friend. We lived at Ephraim Villa, a house on the common, and I remember well our dear grandmother, Mrs. Hughes, coming to stay with us. I think this must have been the last time I ever saw her for she died in 18??


Holiday in the Lake District, 1855





In the autumn of this same year [1855] I paid my first visit to the English Lakes in company with Aunt Rick, my sister Bessie and Cousin Lucy Barton as she then was. The Finch’s of Staines joined us there and had lodgings near to us on the Chapel Hill. We spent a fortnight at Ambleside and another week at Portinscale near Keswick. I climbed Coniston Old Man, Skiddaw and other peaks. It was my first introduction to scenery which has never ceased to possess for me the charm of perfect landscape beauty, often as I have revisited it since. By a singular coincidence in the summer of that year (1855) we inhabited the very lodgings which we had then – 33 years before, though the owner’s name had changed from Harrison to Cousins.

On our way home from Portinscale we made a voyage of discovery to Ivegill, the birthplace of my forefathers. With some difficulty we found the place, and visited one or two of the houses in the valley and obtained a few particulars about our ancestors, but it was little enough, all of our immediate family having left the place for many years. The chief thing that interested us was the little chapel in the dale close to the old Manor House, or High Head Castle as it was termed, a former seat of the Richmond family. Over the porch of this chapel there was a date, 1682, indicating that it had at that date been either built or repaired. On a slab at the east end there were thirteen names inscribed representing as it would seem the chief occupiers of land in the parish, or perhaps the elected representatives of the whole body of parishioners. It was interesting to us to find on this list the names of John and Bernard Barton showing that these two names had been current in the family for more than 200 years. So far as I have been able to learn since there has never been a generation during that period without a John and usually a Bernard also in it.

We also went to see the house in which our Barton forefathers lived and in which there is to be seen to this day a stone chimney-piece bearing the following inscription IB:IB:1694. IB here stands no doubt for the John Barton of the chapel tablet but who his bride may have been I know not. A further search among the Dalston registers would no doubt throw light on the subject.

I may here mention what I was not aware of when I wrote the earlier portion of this family history, that I have since discovered two large collateral branches of Barton descendants. The first are the children of Margaret Barton, reputed a beauty in her day, afterwards married to Mr Robert Faulder, and the second those of Isaac Barton, born at Carlisle in 1771, only two years before my great-grandfather Bernard’s death. With the help of Miss Kuper, now of The Laurels, Thames Ditton, I have been able to compile a genealogical chart of our family from 1760 onwards. Miss Kuper is herself a lineal descendant of this Margaret Barton and I have recently made the acquaintance of several other members of the family, Miss White and Mrs. Barker, daughters of Mr James White who married Margaret Faulder and a Mr. Henry Barker, all of whom were able to give a very good account of themselves. Of Isaac Barton’s descendants one son is still living (November 1889) at the age of 80, John Charles by name. I made his acquaintance and his wife’s last autumn, as well as of the widow of his brother Bernard and very pleasant has our mutual friendship been since. Most of his life has been spent abroad, in Canada, and he only returned to England two or three years since.

In October 1855 I returned to Cambridge and commenced to keep my terms of residence as an undergraduate, for though as a special favour I had been allowed to go for the previous term and a half I had not matriculated or entered the University. Among the undergraduates who came up that year were Tom Causton and Frank Beresford Wright, a younger brother of Henry whom I had met at Osmaston the autumn before. His father brought him to me to introduce him and we soon became great friends, our tastes agreeing in many respects, as we were both fond of botany and other similar pursuits.



Osmaston Manor, 1856


The following Easter vacation (1856) I went home with him to spend a fortnight at Osmaston Manor and a very happy time it was. It was the first time in my life I had been thrown into the intimate society of those who not merely bore the name of Christians but who lived out in all its details the Christian life. The simplicity and reality of the religion which I there witnessed impressed me deeply and, if I was not then altogether persuaded to live for Christ myself, I was certainly greatly helped forward in the path of Christian decision.


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Osmaston Manor, from http://www.ashbourne-town.com/villages/osmaston/index.html. See article here.


Osmaston Manor was also the beau ideal of a place in its outward surroundings. Everything that ingenuity could devise and taste suggest or money purchase had been laid out upon it, while everything about it, even to the parapet which crowned its long stretch of roof, seemed to bear the motto “Holiness to the Lord” – the balustrade being itself composed from stone letters three or four feet high, visible half a mile off, representing that verse in Ecclesiastes – “The works of our hands are vanity but whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever.” On the clock tower there were four other bible motives two of which I remember were “Redeeming the time” and “Watch and pray”.

Then there was a large room, almost as long as the dining room which was called the Prayer Room and in which twice every day all that large household were gathered together – some 24 servants and often as many more visitors and friends. Nothing could have been more impressive that the way in which Mr. Wright, or as it often was, Mrs Wright, conducted that service, there was such a reality about it all. Then there would be a run on The Cake, or a ramble through the Derbyshire lanes, or an expedition to Dovedale seven miles distant, or a ramble through the woods. Nothing was lacking and made up a life of the most thorough enjoyment, all sanctified by the feeling that the Master and Lord of all was present as the chief and honoured guest to help all with His presence. Then on another day during my visit that Easter came a great gathering of friends and neighbours from all the countryside to hear of the work of some Irish Society for maintaining missionary work among Roman Catholics. The Great Hall was that day the pace of meeting and friends assembled must have numbered some 130, all of whom remained afterwards to lunch. I remember going down with Frank through the kitchens and larders the day before and seeing the provision made for entertainment and hearing that besides the 130 visitors to be provided for, upstairs there would be 80 coachmen and footmen also to have lunch in the servants’ hall. Such is a specimen of the way in which these dear people used their influence and wealth for Christ.

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Mr Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor. He was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1842. Image from http://www.thepeerage.com/p30478.htm#i304779.


I may further mention here that when Mr. Wright first came into the property by the death of an elder brother, the first thing he did was to rebuild the church at a cost of, I believe, £8000; then the schools, all in the best style, of rough-hewn mountain limestone with white freestone facings, and then set to work to build his own dwelling house. And as he and his dear wife thus ever sought to serve their divine Master and Lord with the wealth that He had given him and to be good stewards for Him. So their riches seem to grow larger and larger. He recognised their faithfulness as stewards by placing at their disposal more and more os this world’s goods to lay out for Him. It was indeed a living sermon that life at Osmaston Manor that one would be dull indeed not to understand.


Holiday in Wales, 1856



View John Barton's tour of Wales, 1856 in a larger map


The next event of family interest which I can recall as belonging to this year [1856] was the marriage of my eldest brother Joseph to Miss Eleanor Taylor, whose parents were at that time living at Liverpool. This took place at the end of June and I went to the wedding and afterwards took my two elder sisters for a little tour in North Wales passing through Beddgelert and Llanberis and finally parting from them at Conway, whence I walked over to Llandudno to spend the Sunday. And here one of those remarkable providential leadings, I might almost say interpositions, took place by which my onward life was brought into circumstances destined to exercise the most important influence on my whole future life.

During the course of the previous May Term Frank Wright and I had planned to spend the long vacation in North Wales together and he had undertaken to ask another friend, Filmer Sulivan of Trinity, whom he knew but I did not, to join us. As however, he (my friend Frank) had gone to Switzerland with his family and would not be back for two or three weeks later, I had not heard definitely when Sulivan would join us nor did I in the least know where he was to be heard of. So matter stood on that day when I went to Llandudno. There was no room in the church so great was the influx of visitors, so I went on to an overflow service in the schoolroom. There one of the first persons I saw was Henry Gedge whom I had come to know something of at Cambridge, the second son of old Mr. Gedge of Northampton, a younger brother of Sidney Gedge M.P. [John's nephew Hugh Barton (b.1867) married a Mary 'Polly' Gedge, perhaps from the same family]. After the service he spoke to me, introduced me to his father and sisters, and asked me to come home and have lunch with them, which I was glad to do. While talking together he asked if I knew Sulivan of Trinity. I replied that I did not but that I hoped to meet him in Wales and that I was about to write to him at an address Frank Wright had sent me, somewhere in the south of England. “Ah!” he said “he is now at Llanberis Hotel with his family”. “Llanberis”, I said to myself, “that is the very place I am bound for so I shall have a chance of meeting him before he leaves Wales.”

The next day I walked over to Bangor via Penmaenmawr, and the following day walked across the moors to Llanberis, returning to the lodgings in the village two miles up the pass where I had been staying with my sisters. The following day I walked down to the hotel, sent up my card and introduced myself to my new friend. He met me with the greatest cordiality and told me he had purposed to return to England that very week as he had heard nothing from Wright about our reading party and supposed it was at an end. I at once suggested that we should go together to Beddgelert and take up our quarters in the lodgings we had enjoyed there. To this he gladly agreed and the next week found us two installed there and we had a whole fortnight alone together before Frank Wright and the fourth member of our party, Beasly, with his cousin our tutor, joined us.

That fortnight was, I may truly say, a crisis in my inner life. We soon got down below the surface and had many close talks together and after a few days Sulivan proposed that we should read and pray together. It was altogether a new experience for me to open my lips in prayer and cost me a great effort but it was made a great blessing and step by step I was led on to a deep and fuller experience and realization of God’s love to me in Christ than I had ever known before. We used to take long rambles on the hills round Beddgelert and then stop and rest in some craggy knoll and sing hymns or repeat bits of poetry to one another. Amongst other hymns, that beginning “Jesus I rest in Thee, in Thee myself I hide” to a tune I had heard the Wrights sing at Osmaston Manor called Canterbury Chimes which for that time and for many years later continued to be a great favourite of mine.

We remained some eight weeks at Beddgelert and greatly enjoyed the many beautiful walks up and around the many spurs of Snowdon which reached down to the village itself. One evening we ascended to the top at sunset and had a most wonderful view, extending to the Wicklow Mountains which stood out sharp and clear in the glow of the setting sun though 110 miles distant as the crow flies. Another night we went up Snowdon to see the sun rise starting out about midnight. We had considerable difficulty in finding our way and when we got to the top the mountain was enveloped in clouds but as we descended on the Capel Curig side we soon immerged into the sunshine.

On leaving Beddgelert I went with my two companions to Barmouth and Dolgelly where we spent a few days. At the former place I first succeeded in swimming without the aid of belt. We used to bathe regularly at Beddgelert but in a very deep hole where one could not have safely ventured without a belt and one consequence of my learning to swim in this way has been that I have always found it easier to float than to swim, at least for any distance.

On returning home to Chichester that autumn [1856] I began to try and help my three younger sisters to know and serve Christ better. We used to read the bible and pray together in my study, a nice quiet room in our house upon the city wall. I was then nearly 20 and my sisters, Phena, Fanny and Emily were 16, 15 and 14 respectively. It was a new responsibility for me and I feel no doubt it greatly helped to stimulate and strengthen my own spiritual life thus to try and help others, for he who “watereth” is always “watered” himself.


Disputes over the Woodruffe Smith properties


In the following winter [1856-1857] (I think it was) my brother Gerard who had been learning farming at Starston in Norfolk with a connexion of ours on my grandfather Mr Hughes’ side, a Mr. Etheredge, was married to a Miss Hasard, daughter of a solicitor in the neighbouring town of Harleston. They came to live after their marriage in the little village of Singleton, 6 miles to the north of Chichester and it was there that their eldest child Gertrude was born. Two years later they removed to Fundenhall Grange near Wymondham where my brother and I had a farm between us, my half-share of which he subsequently bought of me when we came into the Woodruffe Smith property and where he lived, much respected by all around whether rich or poor, until 1877 when he was ordained and went to live in Norwich; and thither he was brought to be laid to rest in that peaceful old churchyard on October 14th 1889 to await the resurrection.

The mention just made of the Woodruffe Smith property calls for a further brief notice. My father’s first wife, as I have stated already, was a Miss Woodruffe Smith, daughter and co-heiress of a retired London merchant, her only sister, afterwards Mrs. Head, being two or three years younger. The father being of a somewhat eccentric turn made his own will, in which he left his property in equal shares to his two daughters, with the provision that if either died childless her share should revert to the survivor. The old gentleman however never seemed to have anticipated the contingency that both sisters might die without issue and of providing what should happen in that case. This however was what actually came to pass. The deficiency in the will was soon perceived and, on my father’s marriage to the elder sister a mutual arrangement was come to by the two sisters, providing that if such a contingency should arise, each moiety should, after the death of the survivor revert to her heirs or whomsoever she might have appointed by will. Such an arrangement would certainly to ordinary mortals appear alike equitable and natural, but not to Mr. George Head, an astute Carlisle banker who somewhere about 1825 married the younger sister Maria and soon persuaded both himself and his young wife that in making this mutual arrangement the sisters had both acted wrongly, while by an omission of a legal requirement in such a deed regarding the paying of a fine on the elder sister’s part, as being a married woman, he claimed that the agreement entered into by the two sisters became null and void. So entirely was my father led to suppose that Mr. Head had gained his point that he not only resigned his trusteeship of Mrs. Head’s marriage settlement he also appeared to the end of his life to think that the moiety which had once been his wife’s could never again become his.

Mrs. Head's death took place about 1855, three or four years after my father’s and our cousin Burwood Gooles of Lewes, being one of my father’s executors, was led to look into this old dispute with Mr. Head and soon came to the conclusion, in which he was strengthened by Counsel’s opinion, that the matter was at any rate worth fighting about, and that an attempt should at least be made to make Mr. Head disgorge what he had so unjustly taken possession of. So a law-suit was entered upon which dragged on its weary length as is usual with all such suits, for five or six long years; not being finally decided till the close of 1859 when a judgement was given by the Lord Chancellor of that day, Lord Hatherly [Hatherley was not Lord Chancellor until 1868, but may have dealt with the case as a Vice-Chancellor], which effectively disposed of Mr. Head’s claim and most satisfactorily vindicated our dear father’s character in all that had been done by him. The expenses of the suit were very heavy while it was going on, I believe about £6000, but as Mr. Head had to pay costs and all arrears of interest on the moiety from the time of his wife’s death, it all came back to us in the end and the accession of fortune this left to us eight brothers and sisters, about £600 a year each, has enabled us to live with a degree of comfort and freedom from all anxiety as to many matters which would have been felt otherwise, especially by us brothers with large families. Mr. Head, on the other hand, being childless, had his own wife’s moiety still, worth not much less probably than £4000 a year and also his own banking business, while to console himself for the loss of his suit he married about 1859 the only daughter of a Mr. Saul Gurney [actually Samuel Gurney] of East Ham who brought him in a second fortune of some £60,000, so at least it was reported.

I never myself saw Mr. Head but on one occasion while the suit was on in the Court of Chancery, but in later years I have heard a good deal more about him from members of the Gurney and Buxton families with whom he became connected. Indeed I also heard something of his own earlier history which contrasts curiously with that of my own grandfather living in the same city of Carlisle. He began life as it would appear as a grocer in which he did a good business. On once occasion Mr. Joseph John Gurney, or some other member of the well-known Norfolk firm of Gurneys, happened to be passing through Carlisle on his way south and ran short of money. The hotel-keeper, on being applied to, told him he could get a cheque cashed by Mr. Head. The latter was accordingly called upon and asked to do the needful. He willingly complied and was thus brought into business relations with the Gurneys. Being also a member of the Society of Friends he was invited later on to pay them a visit at Norwich and so a friendship sprang up between the two families. During the later years of his life when Mr. Head had become a wealthy man, he lived at Rickerby Hall near Carlisle and on his death, this together with his interest in the bank at Carlisle passed, I believe, to Mr. McInnes who still lives there.

[See court documents here]


Holiday in Scotland and meeting Catherine Wigram, 1857



View John Barton's tour of Scotland, 1857 in a larger map


I now return to the summer of 1857. That long vacation Frank Wright and I had agreed to spend together at Braemar in Aberdeenshire, inviting Beddine and Roger E. Clark, both of Trinity, to join us. On my way northwards at the end of June I was to spend a few days with him at Osmaston Hall [He means Osmaston Manor, which is different from Osmaston Hall]. When I arrived there I found them all in deep anxiety on account of the very serious illness of the eldest daughter, Agnes, a most beloved daughter and sister, and one whom it was indeed a privilege to have known and loved, her whole countenance betokening as it did the peace that reigned within and he unselfish thoughtfulness for the comfort of everyone making her the greatest help to her dear shy retiring mother and her somewhat over suppressed father.

I shall never forget those three or four days spent in that house – the solemn hush that fell upon us all as we realized that she was soon to enter the Better Land, and the calm cheerfulness which seemed to spread from that sick-room on all around, as if it would be wronging her and the dear Master whom she loved to wish for her aught else than He had appointed. I remember one afternoon going for a walk Henry Wright and we were talking of her when he suddenly exclaimed “Oh, Barton, I have been thinking so much today what a glorious thing it is to be a Christian!” And so indeed it was. It was in truth death swallowed up in victory. Dear Agnes had been ill ever since the early spring with some internal ailment. I had last seen her for a few minutes at St. Leonards at Easter. She looked then very frail and bore traces of much suffering but her face was peace. I would have like to see her once more if only for a moment but it was not to be and early in the morning of July 1st Henry came and told me that all was over. I had already arranged with Mr and Mrs. Gerard Smith who lived at the Parsonage close by to go to them so I quietly slipped out of the house and went over at once to them and remained there till the day of the funeral and a few days later I set out by way of Dovedale and Matlock on my way to Liverpool to catch the Glasgow steamer. There I met Beddine and Clark and we went on together to Braemar via Dunkeld and Blairgowrie, meeting Tom Causton who had agreed to come with us for the first fortnight till Frank Wright could join us.

We reached Braemar travelling by coach from Dunkeld by way of the Spital of Glenshee, about 6th July [1857], and were introduced to our lodgings, very plain and primitive looking but clean. Our hosts were an old retired post-runner, Gordon Cumming by name, who in the course of his thirty-six years service had performed the astonishing feat of walking 360,000 miles a distance equal to fifteen times the circumference of the earth. For this achievement he had received a silver cup from the inhabitants of Deeside on which was recorded in full the distance tracked by him weekly and the period during which it was kept up so that there can be no room for mistake or exaggeration. I saw the cup again on my visit to Braemar thirty-one years later in 1888 and found one of the daughters still living in the old house and as lively as ever.


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John (second from left) with friends at Braemar in 1857.



The day, or day but one, after our arrival was Sunday and on enquiring about the churches and services we found that our hosts were warm adherents of the Free Church and as they gave a very good account of their minister, the Rev. Hugh Cobham, we decided to go there. It chanced to be their half-yearly Communion Sunday and Mr. Cobham improved the occasion by giving an address specially sited to the occasion on Romans 12 verses 1-6. I remember now as if it were yesterday the masterly vigour of that sermon as he gave us first a brief résumé of the whole argument of the epistle and then pressed home the exhortation which follows – “I beseech you therefore all by the mercies of God .” We were all of us so delighted with the sermon and with the special communion address – “fencing the tables” they call it – that we resolved to stay on and go up to the Table ourselves being then wholly ignorant of Presbyterian ways and forms such as fast days and tokens. When our turn came to go and sit down at the Table, this being formed by the two front rows of seats with the tops turned down to meet each other inwards and from a sort of table two feet wide, the old Elder, the chief grocer in the village, came round to collect the tokens, as the evidence that each intending communicant had been duly passed by the minister and was qualified to come. I, knowing nothing of tokens, supposed in my ignorance that this was their way of collecting the offertory, so I quietly slipped a shilling into the elder’s hand as came round to me. Happily for me the old man took no notice of this scandalous proceeding on my part, doubtless recognising in me an English visitor new to their Scotch ways and I think his discernment did him much credit. Fancy one’s feelings had he been possessed of the spirit of some of the old covenanters and turned round upon me fiercely then and there with some such exclamation as this “Hauld, man, d’ye think that the gift of God is to be purchased with money?!” We afterwards became very intimate with Mr. Cobham and greatly did we enjoy his ministry of the Word. His preaching was of a very high order, one would have thought almost above the capacity of his normal congregation in that out of the way Highland village, but Braemar is an important place during the season as there is always a stream of tourists passing through and the little chapel was always well filled each Sunday we were there. I was glad to learn afterwards that my friend Mr. Cobham’s talents and gifts had been recognized by the leaders in his church and that he was invited a year or two later to preach before the Assembly in Edinburgh. Also on revisiting Braemar in 1888 I was still more pleased to find a fine church in place of the old chapel, the cost for which had been defrayed by some of Mr. Cobham’s friends and admirers. He himself went to Canada for some time and died, I believe, some ten years since.

It was during my stay at Braemar that I met for the first time one whose life was afterwards for a few short months to be linked with mine – Catherine Francis Wigram, elder daughter of Mr. Edward Wigram of 2 Connaught Place West, Hyde Park, a niece of our member for Cambridge University, Mr. Loftus Wigram and of the Bishop of Rochester of that day, and of a former vice-chancellor and distinguished member of the Chancery Bar, Sir James Wigram. She was travelling through Braemar with her cousin Mrs. Brown Douglas and the hotel being full, they put up at the manse with Mr. Cobham, We went in there to see them, being already acquainted with both in a measure from the fact of Mary Wright having just married a sister of Mrs. Brown Douglas [something about this statement is clearly a mistake!] whilst Miss Wigram’s eldest brother Frederic was a very good friend of Filmer Sulivan’s. They only stayed a night or two but it was a link in a chain of circumstances which add to a closer intercourse later on.

We greatly enjoyed Braemar and our rambles over its glorious hills extending to Ben-na-muich-dhui on one side where we spent a night under the Shotten Stone on the slopes above Loch Arn and climbed the next morning to the top to see the sunrise. Also to Glendale and Glen Callath on the Forfarshire side, where we gleaned a rich harvest of botanical rarities. Altogether it was a time which greatly refreshed both soul and body and on which I have always since looked back with thankfulness.

Early in September [1857] we broke up our reading party and I went down to Edinburgh to meet Aunt Rick and my three elder sisters also my brother Gerard and his wife who had arranged to go with me on a three week trip through the Western Highlands. We went to Dunkeld, Kenmore, driving the twenty-four miles to the last named place in one of the most original conveyances I have ever seen, a boat carriage, consisting of an actual boat mounted on wheels with a light awning overhead to keep our sun and rain and into which we had to mount by the help of a portable folding ladder, the luggage being all piled up in the bows. The “machine” as it is called in Scotch phraseology was by no means a bad one altogether and being extremely light we accomplished the run of twenty-four miles to Kenmore in two and a half hours with a pair of post-horses. I chronicle the fact as I have never come across a similar conveyance either before or since.

From Kenmore where we spent three very pleasant days exploring the beautiful ground of Taymouth Castle and the adjoining Loch Tay and getting a grand view of Schiehallion from Drummond Hill a rocky knuckle overlooking the valley, we drove on to Killin skirting the wooded slopes of Loch Tay for 18 miles and thence on to Loch Earn and Callander and so to the Trossachs. Thence we went on by way of Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond to Tarbet where we stayed two nights to explore Loch Lomond and see Dumbarton Castle at its far end. Then we took coach and went by way of Glencoe and Inverary to Oban a most beautiful drive, one of the very finest in Scotland. From Oban we visited Iona and Staffa and other places of interest in the neighbourhood and then took steamer on to Fort William and went up the Caledonian Canal to Inverness, returning to Edinburgh by way of Aberdeen and then on to Manchester to see the exhibition there with its wonderfully beautiful collection of pictures.

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Taymouth Castle.


Final year in Cambridge, 1857-1858


In October [1857] I returned to Cambridge and entered on my third year of residence. I believe it was in that term that Dr. Livingstone paid his first visit to Cambridge and gave his lecture in the Senate house, an event of no ordinary interest in itself, and out of which sprung two most useful institutions both of which have helped not a little to keep alive a missionary spirit in the University. I refer to the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa the first head and leader of which was Bishop Mackenzie, Fellow of Caius and the Church Missionary Union. This last was set on foot by an energetic but somewhat eccentric personage, Rev. W. H. Monk, then curate to the vicar of Barnwell, Rev. J. H. Titcomb. His idea at first was to form an association which should include university men of all schools of thought but it was found necessary soon after to link it to the Church Missionary Society. A good many undergraduates and senior members of the university joined at the first start, but Mr. Monk’s interest was soon drawn away in other directions and the Union dragged on a rather languid sort of life till the long vacation of 1858 when, at the urgent request of several of my friends, I took up the secretary-ship and by the help of a new committee of really keen friends we succeeded in getting it once more fairly on its legs. But I am anticipating,

Early in November 1857 at the invitation of my friend Filmer Sulivan I paid a short visit to him and his family at Redgrave Hall in Suffolk which his father had taken for a time. It was a lovely autumn and the fine old trees in the park had still a good part of their leaves upon them, reflected in the lake that lay at the foot of the slope on which the old Elizabethan mansion stood. The chief interest however to me of this visit was the fact that I there met again Frederic Wigram and his sister, and very many and delightful with the walks and talks that we had together – chiefly on holy things for no other subject had any great interest for her. I felt it to be another great help forward and so it proved for within a fortnight after my return to Cambridge came the great event which gave a new bent and direction to my life – my resolve to consecrate myself to the life of a missionary.

It came about in this way. Robert Clark, our first missionary to the Punjab, who had gone out to India with T.H. Fitzpatrick in 1852 had just come home on his first furlough. It was his brother Roger who had been one of our reading party at Braemar and so I felt a special interest in him, but it was at the rooms of another Trinity friend, K. T. J. Clarke, new vicar of St. Paul’s, York, that I first met him. We had breakfast together, a little party of four or five and in the course of conversation Mr. Robert Clark remarked that he had been reckoning up the number of Cambridge clergy and found that there were about 8000 altogether in the different parishes in the United Kingdom and the colonies – whereas of missionaries to the heathen he could only find nineteen. This simple remark was used by God to be a message to my soul and the question at one suggested itself “Ought I to be the 20th?” I went to my rooms but the thought would continue to follow me. I prayed about it and told the Lord I was willing to go if only He would make it clear to me that it was His will for me. Then I wrote to different friends, Harry Wright I remember for one and to my new but already dear friend Catherine Wigram for another, also to my Aunt Rick, whose wishes I felt to be as binding and sacred as those of a mother in such a matter – and received most kind and encouraging replies from all. No one wished to held me back, all seemed to rejoice in the thought that I had been called to such a work. So my way was made plain and before that October term had ended I felt that my life work was settled so far as human plans could shape it and began to look forward to the foreign field as that in which I was hereafter to labour.

That next Christmas vacation [1857] I went to spend a few days with the Wigrams at Brighton, where for some years past it had been their habit to spend the four or five winter months. They had taken 82 Marine Parade and it was then I was first introduced not only to Mr and Mrs. Wigram but also to Miss Dennis, commonly known then and since as Denny who had taught Cathy and Fred their letters in years gone by and was still governess to Louisa, the youngest sister then a girl of fifteen, who had her cousin Florence Deedes (now Mrs Saumerer Smith) to share her lessons with her. I also met some other friends whose lively interest in me and mine has ever since been among my greater blessings – Mr. Snowdon Smith and his eldest daughter Margaret, W. S. Smith’s twin sister, also Mr. Henry Venn Elliott, who was one of dear Cathie’s much-loved and valued friends, regarded by her almost as a second father. He had come to know the Wigrams through their having sent to ask for prayer on behalf of Cathie’s younger sister Emily who had died some two years previously of a most painful form of consumption and whom he subsequently visited during the rest of her illness, showing that deep fatherly interest in her case which was so characteristic of his character. It was this link to Brighton and the friendships I thus began to form there which I think mainly determined my Aunt Rick to move thither with my five sisters from Chichester which they did the following summer [1858], taking a house first in Upper Rock Gardens and afterwards removing to Eaton Place farther up the East Cliff and so our circle of friendships came gradually to widen and the blessing which God had so graciously bestowed on me came to be shared by them also.

Chichester was well enough in its way but the atmosphere of a cathedral town is never very lively or stimulating to either mind or spirit and I was very glad for them when they finally decided to leave it and migrate to Brighton with its many interests and wide circle of friends.

The long vacation of that year (1858) I decided to spend at Cambridge. Indeed I felt it was my only chance of obtaining a place in the Mathematical Tripos. For the first year I was at college I read both mathematics and classics together – coaching in each – then I dropped mathematics for a year, very unwisely I think and kept on with classics only reading with Seeley, now professor of history but then a Fellow of Christ’s but he took no interest in his pupils and I am afraid I grew very slack spending much more time over my fossils and herbarium than I did on Aristotle and Latin verses so that I dropped down lower and lower each year in the college examinations and when 1858 began I felt I must set to work in earnest or I should make a mess of my finals altogether. So I went to Routh, who was just then acquiring a reputation as a mathematical coach and asked him if he would take me. He very kindly agreed to do so and for the whole of the long vacation of 1858 and the following October term I worked very hard and very steadily in the hope of recovering some of my lost ground.

In September of that year [1858] after the vacation was over I went with my sister Annie to the English lakes. We spent a week together at Nab Cottage on Rydal Water and then another week at Grange in Borrowdale and most enjoyable were some of the walks we had together, including Helvellyn, Scafell Pikes, Esk Hawes, Wastwater, over Blacksail and Scarf Gap and several others.


First engagement and marriage, 1858-1859


And now followed another great event in my life, my engagement to the dear friend who had always helped me so much by her letters and deep religious earnestness, whose name has already been mentioned by me so often in this review of my life, Catherine Wigram. She had come to stay for a week or more with her brother Frederic who had been ordained just before to the curacy of St. Paul’s, Cambridge. For many months past we had corresponded as friends and certainly on my part without any thought of anything further or closer, but I then became instinctively aware that the friendship had on her side at any rate, ripened into love and the discovery soon developed a corresponding feeling towards her so that when I actually first spoke to her we found that we had both been for some time cherishing the same regard for each other. I think what had kept me back had been in great measure the uncertainty I felt as to the view which her parents might have of the matter as I was scarcely able at that time to call myself the possessor of any earthly wealth whatever hopes I might entertain of the ultimate result of our law-suit then pending. Both Frederic however and his father were very kind and gave me every encouragement, though Mr. Wigram did not wish the engagement to be regarded as a settled thing until my university course was over and I should be more in a position of independence. Somehow I was wonderfully kept from all anxiety in the matter and I went on with my mathematical studies and attended to the Church Missionary Union of which I had then become secretary, just as before. Indeed I remember feeling as if my usual routine duties had acquired a new zest and interest for me from the new brightness which had come into my life and the conscious possession of the lover of a kindred spirit.

That next January [1859] I went in for the tripos and succeeded in coming out fourth in the Junior Optimes, my friend Frank Wright being just below me. It was as good a place as I had ventured to expect, though much below what I might fairly have aspired to had I only stuck to maths throughout my whole course. After it was over however I felt the strain so great of all that I had gone through during the four previous months that I was obliged to give up going in for the classical tripos which followed two months later. Various reasons also combined to lead me to wish not to have our marriage delayed longer than was absolutely necessary, the chief being the state of my dear Cathie’s health which had been seriously undermined by a sharp attack of pleurisy which she had had whilst staying at Osmaston Manor during the previous year and which had left behind symptoms which the suspense and uncertainty of our engaged time tended considerably to increase. So in March or thereabouts of that year 1859 it was decided that our marriage should take place in May and that after taking a two months tour in Scotland and paying some visits we should settle in apartments in St. Giles where I had already arranged to work under the rector, Mr. Thorold, now Bishop of Rochester.

Our wedding day was accordingly fixed for May 5th [1859] and a most happy occasion it was. We were married at St. John’s, Paddington and afterwards drove down to Purley [Purley Hall, Berkshire?], the pretty country residence of my Cathie’s uncle, Mr. John Henry Smith. There we spent a fortnight in the most approved fashion. Our house, a charming bachelor’s snuggery was embowered in trees with a lovely bright garden to ramble about in a green meadow beyond stretching on to the foot of the chalk downs. From Purley we went to Osmaston to be present at the double wedding of two further Wright girls, the elder to Mr. Bridges Plumpton [actually 'Plumptre'] of Fredville, Kent and the younger, Fanny, to our dear brother Frederic Wigram. He had won her heart during the previous summer while detained at the manor by dear Cathie’s illness and the marriage was a subject of great rejoicing to both families as it was to ourselves individually. The wedding was without exception the prettiest and most perfect in all respects that I was ever present at or can expect to be again.

There is a practice in that part of Derbyshire known as the Tissington Well-dressing, consisting in the ornamentation of a board covered with a thick coat of wet clay with a tapestry formed out of the heads of freshly culled flowers, these being dibbed into the wet clay by means of a slate pencil and thus kept in position when the board is placed upright, while the moisture of the clay keeps them fresh. All sorts of coloured devices are made in this way – the different colours being represented by flowers of a corresponding hue. Such devices were introduced into the wedding festival decorations with great effect, the most striking being a huge shield suspended over Mr. Wright’s chair at the luncheon table which was served in the racket court, on which were again quartered, also in colours, the arms of the two bridegrooms. Along the gallery at the end of the racket court ran a band of golden gauze on which stood out in purple daisies, looking like the richest gold and purple velvet, “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb”.

There was a very large party of guests staying at the manor for the weddings. I think there were fifty-five who were actually guests in the house and entertained at meals, though of course a large number of these had to sleep out. At the wedding breakfast I believe we sat down eighty in all. Dear Mr. Wright seemed overflowing with thankfulness and there was a holy calm of peace and rest dispersed through the whole household which gave me a feeling wholly indescribable of the presence of the Lord in our midst. Out of the eighty guests present nine out of ten were earnest Christians and when, after the marriage service, we assembled in the prayer room for a few words of special prayer on behalf of the two dear couples and the parents whose happy home they were leaving, there could scarcely have been one unmoved heart among us. The Sunday before Mr. Wright had preached in the dear little church and I remember now his text and some of his words. He took as his subject John 10. “When He putteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them and the sheep follow Him for they know His voice.”

I have forgotten to mention that in the preceding Christmas, or perhaps it was in January 1858, I had paid Henry Wright and his wife a visit in their home at Batterly. I was I believe their first guest. It was soon after my decision had been taken to go abroad and I remember how much he helped me as he always did.

After the Osmaston weddings dear Cathie and I went there again to spend a few days with them. Mrs. Henry was a cousin of Cathie’s and a younger sister of Mrs. Brown Douglas. Then we went on into Scotland and stayed with the Brown Douglas’s at their house in Edinburgh where we met Mr. Brownlow North, Mr. Moody Stuart and several other friends. We then went on to Gourock House and stayed a few days with General and Mrs. Darroch, my father’s old friend, to whom I have referred above. They were both most kind and pleasant. I also met there for the first time Sholto Douglas, then just going up to reside at Cambridge, or possibly that may have been a year later.

From the Clyde we went on to Oban and up to Inverness, spending a night at Drumnadrochit Inn on our way, returning via Aberdeen to Edinburgh and thence making our way south.


Death of John's first wife and daughter, 1860




By the beginning of August [1859] we were in London once more and set to work at once to look for apartments in the neighbourhood of Bedford Square. We found some in Keppel Street and settled in there about August 15th. The weather was however very trying and dear Cathie, who had kept fairly well during the summer, soon began to flag. I took her down for a few days to Selsdon where the Wigrams were spending a few weeks in Mrs. Wigram’s old home but a few weeks more in London and the cold raw days of October soon brought on her cough and on calling in her family physician, Dr. Burrows, he gave it as his decided opinion that there was mischief in one of her lungs and that she most leave London at once.

We went accordingly to Brighton and took lodgings in the Crescent and a little before Christmas [1859] moved to Torquay. There it became increasingly manifest that consumption had laid its hand upon her and though I still hoped against hope, and trusted to the effect of our proposed move to India to restore her, yet her strength gradually declined. On the 17th of March [1860] she became the mother of a little girl, whom we had baptized privately as Emily Frances and from that time she sank rapidly. The end came at last somewhat suddenly on May 15th. We had removed to another house, Hervona (?), a detached villa, where we had much too many stairs to climb and on the 13th I had taken her out in her chair round the New Cut as it was called, a beautiful drive encircling the hill behind our house and commanding long views of the rocky coast with a lovely foreground of green meadow and pink and white apple orchards. Though very weak it seemed to revive her for the moment, but that very afternoon a fresh attack came on and it was soon evident that the end was very near. She was quite conscious almost to the last and in the intervals of spasm sent many precious messages to those she loved. I do not enter into details here, because I wrote at the time a very full record of those last days which any of my children who desire to do so may read. But I must quote one message here which she sent to Filmer Sulivan. She was sending texts to different friends and chose as her text for him 1 John 1.7. “Yes”, she said to one who was standing at her bedside, “give him that and tell him to preach it more and more. Tell him it’s the only resting place, nothing less will do and we want nothing more. It’s the only resting place when we come to die.”

And so after one short year and ten days of happy married life I was once more alone and yet truly not alone for a most blessed sense of God’s love and presence, the same presence which had lighted up that chamber of death, remained with me and kept me in perfect peace. That sweet hymn of Dr. Bickersteth’s had not then been written “Peace, perfect peace” but the thoughts it expresses were more than realized in my case.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round
In Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found;
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours;
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
It is enough! Life’s troubles soon shall cease
And Jesus calls us to heaven’s perfect peace.

Three days later we all returned to London, taking with us the dear remains and my motherless babe and the day after we laid her to fest in the family vault at Kensal Green, side by side with her sister Emily and her two brothers Oswald and Edward who had preceded her five or six years before to the home above.

We lade her down to sleep,
And not in hope forlorn;
We laid her but to ripen there
Till the last glorious morn.

Shortly after I went for a little quiet rest to my favourite haunt at Rydal, Knab Cottage, accompanied by my sister Fanny. The sweet peacefulness of that lovely valley was very soothing to my spirit and helped me to bear the further sorrow which it pleased God to send upon me. I think of June 13th [1860] in the removal of my little lamb to join her mother. She had always been a fragile little thing and had doubtless inherited her mother’s chest delicacy so we could not but feel that it had been ordered graciously and well – though it was sharp pang at the moment. Dear Fred and Fanny came up to join me shortly after and we had some nice times together and later on Aunt Rick and the rest of Eaton Place party joined us at Ambleside and we stayed at Harrison’s lodgings on the Chapel Hill. A fortnight later Annie and I went to pay some visits together and then I went to Scotland to join my dear friend and rector Mr. Thorold at Wemyss Bay where he was acting as chaplain for a month. On my way I spent a couple of days with an old Torquay acquaintance, Mr. Reeds, Fellow of St. John’s, who had been a fellow lodger of ours in (?) Lisbon Crescent, his fiancée Miss Effie Craig, a very sweet and interesting Scotch girl, daughter of a medical man at Raths being also there to help in nursing him. He had strength enough left to bear the journey back to Scotland, though it was evident that in his case also the end was drawing near. I found him, to my great joy, resting fully in Christ and in peace which he had not been in Torquay but patience had been doing its perfect work and he had learnt to say “Thy will be done”. I promised to return to Raths in the event of his being taken worse or their wishing to see me and before another fortnight had passed I was summoned but did not get there in time to see him alive. I stayed for the funeral and was glad to be able in any measure to comfort the poor sorrowing girl with the comfort with which I myself had been so comforted by God.



John's ordination, and meeting Arthur Elliott, 1860


And so the summer passed away. A valedictory meeting at the children’s home at Highbury followed about 28th September [1860] at which I and fifteen other missionaries were taken leave of and commended to God’s keeping. The address was given by Mr. H.V. Elliott and the commendatory prayer was to have been offered by Mr. Thorold but on that morning we received a telegram to say that his sweet little girl of six was dangerously ill and a few days after I heard that he too had for a second time been bereaved. Mrs. Thorold, I should have said above, died of consumption the very same autumn that my dear Catherine was first taken ill in London, viz. just a year before.

On September 23rd [1860] followed my ordination which took place at St. Peter’s, Croydon. My two sisters Phena and, I think Annie, came up from Brighton to be present at it and there met Tom Causton who was curate to Mr. Byers and an acquaintance began which afterwards ripened into a closer attachment.

My brother Joseph had by this time become curate in charge of a small country parish near the New Forest, Sherfield four miles from Romsey. It had been arranged that I should go down to him and preach my first sermon there which I did, taking us my text the words “Lovest thou me”

I then went on to Ryde, and spent a few days with Filmer Sulivan and his people in their pleasant seaside home at Wilmington and thence I proceeded to Brighton and on to Cambridge to say goodbye to all my friends. My old friend Mr. Fell had ceased to reside as he had become chaplain to Bishop Tait of London but he happened to be up for a few days and he asked me to his rooms to breakfast to meet Mr. H.V. Elliott who had just come up to bring his son Julius and his nephew Arthur to Trinity. Julius I had seen before at Brighton but Arthur I had never met though I was familiar with his name from having heard a Captain Orr speak of him at a meeting I attended in Torquay and of the great work he had been doing at Addiscombe where he was Senior Cadet.


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John in ~1860, when staying with Rev. Henry Venn Elliott (1792-1865).


That winter [1860] had been quite a time of spiritual quickening and revival all over the land. The previous spring and summer a remarkable spiritual renewal had taken place in the north of Ireland chiefly in the neighbourhood of Coleraine and many godly men, clergymen, evangelists and others had it laid upon their hearts to go about to different places in England and Scotland and tell of what they had seen. That January [1861] was also the occasion for a number of special prayer meetings held in response to an invitation which came from the American missionaries at Ludhiana. Everywhere throughout the land there seemed to be a great hunger and thirst after spiritual things and new agencies were then called into being which had never been known before and at any rate to anything like the same extent. I may note here as one of the many unheard indications and accompaniments of this movement that The Christian newspaper had its first origin in the year 1860, being called first The Revival. But to return to Julius and Arthur Elliott and our breakfast party at Mr. Fell’s rooms. We had a very happy time of converse and prayer all together and then I took toe two cousins out into the town and introduced them to the Church Missionary Union rooms and other places. There was something very striking about Arthur Elliott’s appearance. He looked so young and yet so full of purpose. His character had been wonderfully matured and deepened by the part he had had to take at Addiscombe – the profession of Christ involving not a little often painful treatment at the hands of his brother cadets but he had stood it all manfully and well; and when, at the close of his career he carried off the gold medal and sword as the first cadet of the year, there seemed every promise of a distinguished and successful career for him in India. God however ordered it otherwise and a severe illness obliged him to give up all thought of India. Hence it was that he came up to Cambridge with the view of eventually entering the ministry. How little did any of us think then that before another few years had passed the two cousins would be lying in their several graves at Interlaken and Grindeswald not far removed from each other – and that Arthur’s sister would be the wife of the friend he then met for the first and only time, and that our host, Mr. Fell, would be far away as Bishop of Madras.

I preached at St. Paul’s Cambridge during my stay from the words “Thy kingdom come” and also at the Abbey Church which I had been connected with during the last two or three years of my Cambridge life as teacher of a bible class. This was on October 17th [1860] and three days later on October 20th I left Brighton for Southampton and embarked on board the Ceylon for Alexandria. My journal of my voyage out still exists, having been copied out by my sister Emily and records very fully the experiences of that first and most interesting voyage to India. I was fortunate in meeting with and exceedingly nice set of passengers some of whom became my fast friends and have so continued to this day. We had family prayers every day in the salon and at the close of the voyage they presented me with an address and a souvenir of our voyage together purchased afterwards in Calcutta consisting of a pocket communion service with an inscription engraved upon its rim showing from whom it had come. Thus did God graciously follow and deep me as I went forth in His name all alone to do His work and seek to win souls for His kingdom. How true it is that to those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all things needful for our comfort and sustenance are graciously added.


Visit to the Holy Land


Before leaving England I had planned to make a detour of a month from Alexandria in order to see the Holy Land. I had some introductions and at Alexandria where I landed I was fortunate enough to meet a Jerusalem missionary returning to his work there, a Mr. Heston by name, connected with the London Jews Society. We went by French steamer to Jaffa, the ancient Joppa, and there hired horses to ride the distance of some 40 miles to Jerusalem stopping for the night at ?Renleh with a CMS missionary there. By noon on the following day we had begun to ascend the hills of the central region of Palestine in which Jerusalem stands and by the time we reached Kirjath Jearni, about 10 miles out we were joined by a large cavalcade of English and German friends who had ridden out as was their custom to meet the arriving guests and friends.

At Jerusalem I found comfortable quarters in a hotel situated on the margin of the ancient Pool of Tank of Hezekiah. The missionaries at Jerusalem were most kind and hospitable especially Captain Lazard the secretary of the London Jews; Committee who had arrived on a tour of inspection, Dr. Sandreski, a Polish Jew by birth who had for many years been one of the CMS missionaries there, and some others. Old Bishop Gobet was also still living there and received me very kindly. I preached in the beautiful little church on Bet Zim to a congregation composed to a large extent of Jewish converts from the words “Thy kingdom come” Dr. Sandreski took me out one day to Bethlehem where we went over the Church of the Nativity and saw the supposed site of the manger, though as usual in the most unlikely and unnatural of all places – a deep sunk cavity in the rock suggesting painfully the idea that the church had been built first and the cave hollowed out afterwards. Perhaps we become too suspicious as to the identity of so-called holy places, yet when one sees the mummery and often rascalish practices in the name of religion at these places it is difficult not to be incredulous about everything. It was the custody of these said holy places which led to the Russo-Turkish war of 1854.

Apart however from the genuineness of the so-called holy places, Bethlehem is a most interesting place in itself. There could be little doubt as to the site of the fields in which the shepherd were watching their flocks or that the town itself was substantially what it had been for 1800 years past and possibly much longer. We also paid a visit on our way back to Jerusalem to the Pools of Solomon some three or four huge cisterns dug out of the rock from which water was carried by aqueducts still partly existing, right into the Temple. The largest of these tanks would have been sufficient to accommodate the Great Eastern with ample room to spare. There seems little reason to doubt that these are the identical pools to which Solomon referred in Ecclesiastes 2.6 where he says I made the great pools there”.

Jerusalem itself is of course full of interest, only the filth and dirt of the narrow streets, seldom more than wide enough for two mounted riders to pass abreast. took away much of the pleasure we would have otherwise felt in exploring it. The so-called Church of the Holy Sepulchre seemed to me so obviously a construction of impostures that I felt little interest in it. It is there that the disgraceful hand to hand scrimmage takes place yearly between the Latin and
Greek pilgrims on the occasion of the so-called Miracle of the Holy Fire, where Christians are made to keep the peace by the presence of Mahomedan soldiers smiling disdainfully at the miserable spectacle.

Two spots did however interest me deeply – one outside the walls overlooking the deep valley of the Kidron where might have taken place, as it now seems, the scene of the crucifixion, for there alone can some of the requirements of the story be fulfilled such as the women standing afar off yet within sight and hearing to view the last sad agony and there too are still the gardens and the rock tombs ready for the reception of the bodies for their owners or their families This spot is also close to the building in which is still quartered the Turkish guard and which probably in our Lord’s time formed the prætorium. It is, to say the least, highly unlikely that the Lord would have been taken out through the narrow streets of the Via Dolorosa which would, of course, have been necessary had the crucifixion taken place as the modern Greeks and Latins pretend close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. One felt strongly inclined as one was shown all these so-called sites, - so singularly massed together within the enclosure of this one famous building – to say with Mary Magdalene though with a somewhat different application “They have taken away my Lord out of the sepulchre and I know not where they have laid Him!”

Another very interesting spot, though of a very different kind, which I visited more than once was the Jews’ Place of Wailing. This is situated down in the lowest part of the city, lowest in every sense of the word, as regards both its topography and elevation and the character of its surroundings. There lies the Jewish quarter, mostly poor dilapidated-looking houses, huddled together without plan or symmetry and the corners and courtyards choked up with heaps of accumulated dirt and rubbish Right in the midst of these houses and towering up high above them you come upon the walls of the Haran area, a sacred enclosure where once stood Solomon’s Temple and which is now the Mosque of Omar. The lowest courses of these walls are seen at once to be actual stones of the original temple and wonderfully massive structures they are measuring 33 feet in length and 5 feet in height and probably as many more in thickness. They bear on their outer edge the marks of that peculiar banding which marks all these old walls of that date and there can hardly be doubt that they are a part of the very walls of Solomon’s temple Between the stones there are great cracks and crevices several inches wide, and into these Jews old and young may be seen daily, though especially on Fridays, pouring forth their words of lamentation such as those of Psalm 137. “By the waters of Babylon” as they pace to and fro uttering their mournful lament you may see the tears running down their cheeks – but I was told afterwards a good deal of this was manufactured and not real grief, just put on for the occasions. Still it was a touching sight to behold and made one realise very vividly Jerusalem in her desolation, such as Jeremiah describes in his Lamentations. “The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion; he hath stretched out a line; He hath not withdrawn His hand from destroying’ therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament, they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground. He hath destroyed and broken her bars. The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence, they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth.

During the fortnight I spent at Jerusalem I made a very interesting expedition to the Dead Sea and Jericho, in company with Captain Lazard and an American missionary and his daughter. We went by way of the Monastery of ?Marsabe and spent the night in that weird, wild spot sleeping in our tents. So secluded is it and so fearful are the monks of the attacks of Arab robbers that no one is admitted without a letter of introduction from the affiliated monastery at Jerusalem and even then the letter has to be deposited in a basked let down from the top of the bastioned gateway by a string and fully examined to see that all is right before strangers are admitted. Marsabe is said to be still the home of the coney, a rabbit-like animal referred to in Psalm 104. From Marsabe we rode to the Dead Sea in the waters of which we bathed and made a practical test both of its extreme buoyancy and pungent bitterness, both arising from the same cause, the presence in the water of an unusually large proportion of mineral salts, and the excessive evaporation at that low level; the surface of Dead Sea being nearly 4,000 feet below that of the Mediterranean.

We bathed again in the Jordan at the pilgrims’ bathing place and were glad to get rid of the crust of salt that had gathered upon our bodies. We then retraced our steps to the site of ancient Jericho and encamped close to the Pool of Elisha still the only fresh spring amidst all those brackish streams and the third day returned by way of Bethany to Jerusalem, the path trodden by the traveller who fell amongst thieves.


Onward to Agra, India


I must not linger longer however on these scenes and incidents of Eastern travel interesting as they are to myself, but hurry on to India. The irregular departure of the steamers obliged me to return to Alexandria earlier than the actual time occupied in the journey to have rendered necessary. I had consequently nearly a week to spend in Egypt and had ample time to explore Cairo and its neighbourhood before the next mail steamer arrived bringing with it Puxly and ?Speekly bound for Travancore and a large complement of passengers. The rest of the voyage to Calcutta afforded little in the way of incident either of a pleasurable or amusing kind – we were far too crowded to be comfortable and had not the nicest of passengers on board so that we were glad to reach our destination, where I found myself the guest of an old friend of Wigram’s, Sir Charles Jackson, on of the ? Presiding Judges of the High Court. I stayed with him a few days and then moved to no 8 Chowringhi Road, the mission home where I was the guest of Rev. E.C. Stuart, the secretary. I had myself received a commission as joint secretary of the corresponding committee but this was in view of my being associated with Mr. Cuthbert who had gone home meanwhile. I therefore contented myself with becoming familiar in a general way with the work and preparing for priest’s order to which Bishop Cotton kindly promised to admit me. It was also arranged soon after my arrival in Calcutta that I should at one proceed to Agra to take charge of St. John’s College there during Shackell’s absence in England. I accordingly went up there about the middle of February and took charge at one of the whole institution, Mr. R.J. Belk assisting me as second master. I became greatly interested in my work and was soon led to modify very considerably the views I had been led to form jupon the subject of higher class missionary education – being convinced by personal experience not only that it was a legitimate form of mission labour but, what was more, that one was enabled thus to gain access to a class of natives who would not so easily or effectively been reached in any other way.

It so happened that when Shackell returned, he at his own earnest request, was released from college work and gave himself to preaching; so I remained on as principal for two and a half years until the Rev. C.Ellines came out to take my place in April 1863.

Agra is not a pleasant place of abode by any means. Still, I made some nice friends there, especially with Mr and Mrs Martin Gubbins, a Mr. Justice Edwards whose daughter I married in the spring of 1862 to Mr. Alexander Laurence, a son of General George Laurence, Agent for Rajhustan. In the autumn of 1861 I had a severe attack of jaundice and fever (and grew my beard in bed!), on recovering from which I paid a visit to the Punjab and met there Sir Donald MacLeod and other good friends of the cause, making my headquarters at Amritsur. The following March I visited Mr. Currie then chaplain at Bareilly as well as my friend Storrs at Lucknow. In August I went up to Dhurmsala at the invitation of General and Mrs. Lake, Commander of Jahundlur, to take the chaplain’s duties there. I stayed for the month I remained there in their house, and very happy and profitable was the intercourse I there enjoyed with these most loveable and warm-hearted Christian friends. The following December I again visited the Punjab to attend the United Missionary Conference which had its sittings for the best part of a month during the Christmas vacation.

Some of the principal officers of government as Sir Robert Montgomery, Sir Donald Macleod, Sir Herbert Edwards, General Lake and others took part in the proceedings and most interesting and useful were the discussions which took place. I was the guest of Mr. Douglas Forsyth, the Commissioner of Lahore, and it was in his house on the evening of my first arrival that I first met the beloved friend and partner of the happy 26 years which have since followed, and the mother of my eight dear children [Emily Elliott (1839-1924)].

I leave her to tell the story with her own graphic pen. All I would say further being to record once more all my heavenly father’s grace and goodness to me His unworthy servant during these many years and to ask Him to take and keep not only my heart, which I can truly say has been yielded to Him now these 32 years, but the hearts of my children also, that the aim and motive of their lives may be far more than of him who has penned these lines; “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”.


Written on the SS Siam, Indian Ocean, on my voyage out to India for the 5th time

November 9th 1889