« VorigeDoorgaan »
took his Master's degree, April, 1813. He spent some time after leaving the University, still pursuing his studies, under his father's roof. Between Mr. Broadbent, Sen., and Mr. Belsham a strong friendship existed, and knowing well the classical attainments of his friend's son, it was natural that he should exert his influence to obtain the benefit of them for the Unitarian Academy, in the prosperity of which he felt a growing interest. His mediation was ultimately successful, although, as his letters shew, there were many difficulties to overcome. Mr. Broadbent's residence in London during two years was made serviceable to religion and sacred learning by his undertaking, in addition to his Tutorship, the supply of the pulpit at Princes Street, by his assisting in the preparation for the press of an edition of the Improved Version, and by his transcribing for his venerable friend at Essex Street a portion of his Translation and Exposition of the Epistles of Paul. Rev. Thomas Belsham to Rev. Robert Aspland.
“ Essex Street, May 19. “My dear Sir,-I have this morning heard from Mr. Broadbent, and I regret to say that he and his son finally decline our proposals. Shall I venture to ask him again to make trial, if it is but for a year? I know not where else we can look for help. And I dread the thoughts of the London interest falling into the hands of unknown adventurers.
“Have you seen Wright's Letters to me? They are written with temper, but they require little reply. It affords, however, a tempting opportunity of giving a rapid view of the argument from early testimony, which my friend Wright's Letters help to confirm. But I fear I should occupy too many of your pages and too much of your readers' patience.
“ Mr. Turner's account of Warrington is interesting, but he ought not to go off scot free for his attack upon the theological discussions of Daventry. Warrington cold morality and theological ignorance and indifference have ruined almost all the Presbyterian congregations in Lancashire.
“Adieu, my dear Sir. May the good work long prosper in your hands, and may you find able coadjutors.--Yours most sincerely,
“Essex Street, May 25, 1814. “My dear Sir,-I enclose two pounds from my worthy friend, Percival North, Esq., as a donation to the Unitarian Fund.
“I cannot help flattering myself that if you succeed in engaging Mr. Broadbent for the next session as your Classical Tutor, it may pave the way to a permanent connection, which appears to me an event devoutly to be wished.
“I know his father means to come to town next summer to take his son back to Warrington. Would there be any impropriety in asking Mr. Madge to change turns with him? It is hardly probable he will be in London two years in succession, and I dare say he would like to preach your sermon.
“I think you should ask £100'for a lay-student; it is no more than fifty pounds thirty years ago; and you can hardly afford to take them for less, unless your numbers very much increase, which I sincerely wish they may.
It is not at all necessary to depart from the original plan of your institution; but I think the public should be fully apprized that provision is made for giving a complete education to those who are desirous of it, whether intended for the ministry or for other professions.
“Wishing you all possible success in your active exertions to promote the interests of truth and virtue, I am, dear Sir, most sincerely yours,
T. BELSHAM. “I hear that our friend Pickbourn has paid the debt of nature. Life in his circumstances was no longer desirable.”
“Manchester, Sept. 20, 1814. “My dear Sir,-I must take to myself the blame of all the eccentricities of my friend T. Broadbent; but I will answer for it that when he once begins to move in his regular orbit, he will pursue his course as steadily as old Saturn himself.
“By the desire of my friends at St. Alban's, I have been prevailed upon to stay over the Sunday, and I have peremptorily fixed to return to Essex Street on Monday morning. I have requested my sister to provide a piece of roast beef for our dinner at four o'clock; and I now request you to favour us with your company to meet us at that time, and to allow me to introduce my young friend to you. I have, for the present, recommended it to him to take lodgings in Arundel Street, as being nearly equidistant from his two charges at Westminster and Durham House. If this should be found inconvenient, it will be easy to form a new arrangement. And though I shall be far from opposing any plan which may be conducive to his comfort and usefulness, I shall regret if he removes bis quarters to an inaccessible distance from me. “I cannot help flattering myself that this proposed winter visit of my
friend Broadbent to London may issue in his permanent connection with the metropolis; and I cannot but congratulate myself upon having been instrumental to so auspicious an event. I am sure that you will find him a most able and amiable colleague; and I have no doubt that his services will be highly acceptable at Princes Street.
" He desires me to give his best respects to you and thanks for your kind letter: he is greatly obliged to Mr. Christie for his kind invitation, which he hopes to be able to accept another time, though circumstances prevent him from waiting upon him next Sunday.
" If you cannot meet me on Monday, I will accompany Mr. B. to your house on Tuesday morning; and with my best compliments to Mrs. Aspland and all friends who may do me the honour to inquire after me, I remain, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and obedient servant,
T. BELSHAM." The manner in which Mr. Broadbent discharged his duties as Classical Tutor during the years 1814–1816, was described to be such as secured “not only the improvement, but the affection and gratitude of his pupils,* together with the high approbation of his learned colleagues and the managers and supporters of the institution.”+
He resigned his office at the close of the session 1815-16, but did not long survive. By his very sudden death, under circumstances peculiarly striking and affecting, Nov. 9th, 1817, prospects of no common usefulness and happiness were in a moment destroyed.
A successor to both the Mathematical and Classical department of the Academy was found in Rev. John Morell, LL.D. He was descended from Huguenot ancestors, and was born at Maldon, in Essex, May 16, 1776. His parents were attached to the principles of the Independents, and destined him for the ministry amongst the “ orthodox” Dissenters. He received his academical education at Homerton, and subsequently settled with congregations at Foulmire, Blandford, Daventry and Enfield. The latter charge he was induced to resign in 1802, partly from a failure of his voice and partly from a change in his religious views. He devoted his talents, subsequently to this, to
Mr. Goodier said, “ Mr. Broadbent is a most agreeable teacher, and were I in health I should have almost every advantage for mental improvement." + Mr. Belsham's Memoir of Rev. T. B. Broadbent, M.A., Mon. Rep. XIII. 2.
See Rev. J. Reynell Wreford's interesting Memoir, appended to the Funeral Sermon preached by Rev. Henry Acton,
the education of the young. For this employment, according to the testimony of one of the most gifted of his pupils,* he was eminently fitted both by the constitution of his mind and the compass of his attainments. On the breaking up of the Academy at Hackney, he settled at Brighton, where he officiated at the Unitarian chapel as min conducted a flourishing school, and educated or assisted to prepare several young men for the ministry. The closing years of his life were spent on the continent and in the city of Bath, where he died April 11, 1840, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.
With the aid of such colleagues, Mr. Aspland had the happiness of beholding the Academy realize during its short career many of the hopes of its founders; and had not his own health broken down under his heavy and complicated labours, and the funds proved quite inadequate to the required expenditure, it might probably have been continued with advantage for many years longer.
The plan of the Academy, as has already appeared in Mr. Belsham's letter (of the date May 25), soon outgrew the narrow limits at first assigned to the period of study. At first, two years was the term appointed for the course of study of each student; but power was given to the Committee to extend it. Experience soon taught the managers of the institution that two years were not sufficient for the objects at which they aimed. The uncertainty as to the length of the course prevented the Tutors and students from making from the first the best arrangement of it. The addition of a third year to the course of instruction had not, therefore, removed all the inconveniences of their original plan. In 1816, the Committee recommended to the Governors of the Academy to extend the curriculum to four years in the case of those whose studies included the classics, and to limit it strictly to two with those whose studies were confined to English literature and general theology. But, alas for human plans ! in four years the Academy had ceased to exist.
From the first, the students were practised in whatever would assist to make them useful and effective preachers. Exercises in elocution, particularly the reading of Scripture, and extempore prayer in the family, were much encouraged by their Theological Tutor. He also wished them to take part in the weekly religious conferences held at the Gravel-Pit lecture-room. Between the managers of the Academy and the Committee of the Unitarian Fund there was cordial co-operation. The pulpits of several chapels kept open by the help of the Fund were often supplied by the students of the Academy. Their vacations were spent chiefly in missionary excursions, in which, under the judicious guidance of Mr. Wright or some other experienced friend, they gained knowledge of human nature and acquired facility in popular addresses, while they improved their health and acquired strength and spirits for the severer duties of their studies. By two of the Hackney students the writer has been favoured with their recollections of their studies at the Academy.
The Rev. John Smethurst says, “ With respect to our studies, the order of the different pursuits was often changed; but the general
* Rev. Henry Acton.
+ The Hebrew teachers were Mr. Bright and Mr. Bolaffey. VOL. IV.
rule, I believe, was, that we were three days of the week with Mr. Aspland, who gave us instruction in History (ecclesiastical and general), Rhetoric and the Belles Lettres, Composition, particularly that of a sermon and its delivery. I have his lectures on the latter subject in shorthand, which I copied from his manuscript. We had also, and I think previously to the last-mentioned course, some lectures on Prayer. In addition to this, your father gave us more general directions in our theological studies by pointing out the authors he wished us to read, mentioning the difficulties we might expect to meet in making up our minds on this or that subject, and helping us to get over them, &c.
“ The rest of the week was devoted to Classics and Mathematics, two days to the former and one to the latter. Mr. Broadbent was our Classical Tutor, I think, for two sessions, but I am not quite certain whether it was one or two; and Mr. Joyce took the Mathematical part. Dr. Morell, however, during my last year, was both Classical and Mathematical Tutor. In Mathematics, Horsfield and myself, who formed a class, got through Bonnycastle's Algebra and Euclid, and during our last year did a little in Trigonometry.
“In Classics, we read together Virgil and Horace, Quintus Curtius, Livy, some of the minor Greek Classics, and a little of Homer.
“ To fill up odd hours—of which, by the way, your good father seemed to think we had far more than was really the case—he had us with him to read Grotius, which, being considered extra work, made his crabbed Latinity any thing but a favourite with us; and I have to this day something like my old feelings on this subject whenever I consult his ‘Annotationes.'
The Rev. William Stevens says, “The Tutors, during the first year of my term, were Mr. Broadbent for the Classics, Dr. Morell the Mathematics. In the second, Dr. Morell was both Classical and Mathematical Tutor, the students attending at his own house at Homerton. On the Dr. removing to Brighton, Mr. Fox was appointed to the Classical Tutorship. Much the largest portion of the labour devolved upon Mr. Aspland, -Divinity, History, Mental and Moral Philosophy, the Pastoral Office, Composition and Elocution; in which last, if I might particularize one above the rest, he certainly took very great pains, evidently aware that it matters but little what talents, attain. ments or character, a minister may have, if he has a bad elocution he will never be a popular preacher. Admirable and pure as his own elocution was, this care could not but be of very great advantage to the students, some of whom came with dialects that pretty strongly marked whence they came. I believe we were all deeply sensible of the advantage we thus received. The teaching of languages formed no part of Mr. Aspland's province as Tutor, but nevertheless we read Grotius de Veritate with him; and in addition to the subject matter, it was an exercise in Latin construing which, from the extremely minute and careful analysis to which it was subjected by him, I shall ever regard as one of the most profitable lessons of that kind I enjoyed during my stay at Hackney. If my memory serves me, your father's lectures were three days in the week, from eleven till about two, and this through the whole of my term, with the exception of two or three months at the close, when he had a long and very serious illness. As domestic Tutor he likewise frequently gave up considerable portions of his time to the students, in such manner as prolonging the breakfast hour much beyond what would have been necessary, by exercising them in reading, and reading with them, papers from the Spectator, Rambler, Poetry, &c. I believe there was not one among them who was not deeply sensible of and grateful for the kindness and fidelity with which Mr. A. laboured to fit them for the office they were intended to fill.”
It was the custom at the Academy for each student in turn to perform the duties of monitor, one of which was to keep a general diary of the proceedings and studies of the pupils. An extract or two from one of the volumes of the diary, which has alone escaped destruction, will shew something of the discipline.
"1813. Oct. 4.-Began at 61. Studied Latin till breakfast. Cooper prayed and Goodier read Psalm viii. *Studied our various lessons—Testament, Delectus, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Selectæ e Profanis, till Mr. Aspland came in. Then we first read to him, and afterwards he read to us, Dr. Taylor's Charge to his Pupils; then went over our lessons, and read the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Afterwards we studied Hebrew, and read Vidler's last letter to Mr. A. Goodier studied Logic. After dark, Goodier read Matthew viii. in R. T. and Improved Version, and a part of chap. vii. in Latin Testament, and together we read Watts on the Improvement of the Mind, and the 1st chapter of Job and the 1st of Matthew; prayed and went to bed. At supper, Mr. A. read the two first books of Pope's Essay on Man.
“Oct. 5.-6. Wrote a little, studied our Latin lessons. At breakfast, Mr. A. read Psalm li. and Acts i., also Bingley's Animal Biography. We then studied again till Tutor came in; then he read to us the Prodigal Son, in the words of Mr. Bourn, of Norwich, who by turning it into modern language, and considerably enlarging it, has entirely destroyed its beautiful simplicity. We then went over alí our lessons. In the afternoon I went to London. Goodier read Latin and Logic, and worked one hour in the garden. Spent the evening in the parlour. Read Monthly Repository to Mrs. A. After supper, G. read the Messiah, by Pope, to Mr. A. Mr. A. read Book iii. of the Essay, and we then each read the Fable of the Farmer's Wife and the Raven,' and after conversing some time retired to the study. Read John iii. and Matt. iii., prayed and went to bed.
“ Oct. 15.—63. Wrote diaries. Composed a little of our themes. I read and Cooper prayed. Wrote a little more; then studied Latin lessons; read our themes to Mr. A. when he came in, and he corrected them; then a part of our lessons. We studied Latin till after dinner. Cooper wrote. Went to see Mr. J-, &c. Read Watts an hour. We then wrote for some time; then I studied Logic till 101; then supped. I read a chapter in Mason's Pas
Ve afterwards conversed some time with Mr. A., chiefly on Grotius. In the study we read two chapters, prayed, and went to bed about 12."
The system of instruction pursued by Mr. Aspland with the young men preparing for the ministry, was rather to turn their attention to the best authors on the several subjects of study, than to deliver set lectures. The class was always small, and instruction was best communicated in the most familiar manner. Two or three series of lectures were, however, prepared and read to them on Ecclesiastical History, including a description of religious sects and denominations; Athanasius and his Creed; English Deistical Writers; and Sketches of the Protestant Reformation. These lectures were necessarily popular in their character. They were used in the Lectures to Young Persons at the Gravel-Pit; and some of them were afterwards printed in the early volumes of the Christian Reformer (First Series, in 12mo). Other lectures were read by him to the students, particularly five on the Com