« IndietroContinua »
EDWARD COPLESTON, D.D.
BISHOP OF LLANDAFF.
SELECTIONS FROM HIS DIARY AND CORRESPONDENCE,
WILLIAM JAMES COPLESTON, M.A.
RECTOR OF CROMHALL, GLOUCESTERSHIRE;
AND LATE FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLege, oxford.
JOHN W. PARKER AND SON, WEST STRAND.
ROBABLY most sensible persons are of opinion that Memoirs and Remains occur too frequently, and that the editors of many such books have given proof of an amiable weakness, rather than of a sound discretion, in presenting them to the public. When a person of merit and distinction is gathered to his fathers, it is natural, alınost inevitable, that his immediate friends should fondly exaggerate those merits, and ascribe a greater degree of general interest to his memory than really attaches to it. I cannot, of course, feel absolutely secure that I have not been betrayed into the same error; but if it be so, I may be allowed to draw some excuse from the mortuary notices of Dr. Copleston that appeared in the public prints, and which, in their fulness and warmth of expression, went far beyond what
usually attend the decease of merely learned men, or dignified ecclesiastics. Moreover, I am sure that the expectations of a large circle of friends await my attempt, and thus lay me under a sort of obligation to undertake that, to which (if I know myself) no foolish ambition to appear in print would have moved me.
Having before me a carefully-kept diary, and a variety of letters, kindly supplied, I have made it my chief object to select and arrange these, giving but few of my own sentiments, and leaving the subject of my Memoir to speak, as far as possible, for himself. Of the letters, it is difficult to avoid saying either too much or too little; I will, therefore, content myself with remarking that, if not strikingly original in thought or expression (which was not, indeed, the bishop's manner), they are generally models of good English and good taste, having also those characteristic touches which give the effect of a truthful sketch, satisfying us the better, because it is unstudied, and suggestive of more than is actually before us. It may seem that both the letters and the diary (but particularly the latter), are in some instances quoted with trivial effect; but I hope it will be then remeinbered that, in order to set faithfully before the
reader the subject of my Memoir in all his views, habits, and tastes, slight as well as great points were to be noted.
Those friends to the memory of Bishop Copleston who have wished, and perhaps still wish, that his collected works should be given to the world, will see, in the letter given below, a very considerable reason for some hesitation. Posthumous publications stand, indeed, in a different predicament from those put forth during the author's life-time; and it is, therefore, possible that these restraining considerations may hereafter be set aside. Meanwhile, in the present volume, one light piece excepted, extracts only will be found; and, as regards those taken from the Charges, it is obvious that there need be no apprehension of my having offended against the spirit of the letter to which I refer. As regards the extracts from the Replies, I have sometimes found it difficult to give a valuable passage, without including here and there a trenchant sentence that tells of war gone by. But where it was possible to avoid such KÉVTOа without great sacrifice, I believe I have done so.
Sir Thomas Phillips, whose name is so well known as connected with the Newport riots, had, it seems,