« AnteriorContinuar »
highly distinguished. His name has been too long associated with every exertion to promote the growth of piety, both at home and abroad, not to have excited a very general solicitude for whatever may illustrate the history and character of a man, who has so often delighted the public by his eloquence, stimulated it by his zeal, and edified it by his example. It is to comply with this desire, as well as to fulfil the claims of a long and most confidential intercourse, that the present memoir is now presented.
The Rev. Legh Richmond was descended from an ancestry highly respectable on the side of both his parents, each of whom was related to some of the principal families in the counties of Lancaster and Chester. His father, Dr. Henry Richmond, practised as a physician, first at Liverpool, and afterwards at Bath, where he resided for several years. His death occurred at Stockport, in Cheshire, in the year 1806; of which place the Rev. Legh Richmond, grandfather to the subject of this memoir, was formerly rector.
Dr. Henry Richmond was the fifth in lineal male descent from Oliver Richmond, Esq., of Ashton Keynes, in the county of Wilts, on which estate his ancestors had resided from the time of the Conquest.
The mother of Mr. Richmond was the daughter of John Atherton, Esq., of Walton Hall, near Liverpool, and by the maternal side first cousin to Dr. Henry Richmond.
As some additional account of the family appears in the progress of this work, recorded by his own pen, any farther statement in this place is superfluous.
Legh Richmond was born at Liverpool, on January 29th, 1772. It was his privilege to have a most estimable mother, endued with a superior understanding, which had been cultivated and improved by an excellent education and subsequent reading; and who, with considerable natural talents and acquirements, manifested a constant sense of the importance of religion.
This affectionate and conscientious parent anxiously instructed him, from his infancy, in the Holy Scriptures, and in the principles of religion, according to the best of her ability; a duty which was subsequently well repaid by her son, who became the happy and honoured instrument of imparting to his beloved mother clearer and more enlarged views of divine truth than were generally prevalent during the last generation. It seems highly probable that the seeds of piety were then sown, which in a future period, and under circumstances of a providential nature, were destined to produce a rich and abundant harvest.
Ye that are mothers, and whose office it more peculiarly is to instill into the minds of your offspring an habitual reverence for God, and a knowledge of the truths of the Gospel; be earnest in your
endeavours to fulfil the duties which Providence has assigned to you, and which your tenderness, your affection, and the constant recurrence of favourable opportunities so admirably fit
you to discharge. Consecrate them to God in early youth ; and remember that the child of many prayers is in possession of a richer treasure than the heir of the amplest honours and the highest dignities ; for the child of many prayers can never perish, so long as prayer is availing. "To faith all things are possible, and the promise stands firm, “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring," — Isa. xliv. 3. Pray then for them, and with them. There is an efficacy in the bended knee, in the outstretched hand, in the uplifted heart, in the accents of prayer issuing from the lips of a mother, supplicating God to bless her child, which faith may interpret for its encou`ragement, and the future shall one day realize. There is also a solemnity in the act itself, peculiarly calculated to elicit all the best feelings of the heart, and to quicken it in the diligent use of the means best adapted, through divine mercy, to insure the blessing.
Discouragements may arise-impressions that once excited hope may vanish—the fruit may not be apparent; yet, in aftertimes, under circumstances of the most unpromising natureamid scenes, perhaps, of folly, vice, and dissipation-or in the more sober moments of sickness and sorrow; the remembrance of a praying mother may present itself with overwhelming emotions to the heart. The events of early days may
rise up in quick succession before the mind, until the long-lost wanderer, recovered from his slumber of death and sin, may live to be a monument of the pardoning mercy of God, and his last accents be those of gratitude and praise for a pious mother.
It was in the period of Legh Richmond's childhood, that the accident occurred which occasioned the lameness to which he was subject during the remainder of his life. In leaping from a wall, he fell with violence to the ground, and injured the left leg, so as to contract its growth, and impair its use. It is a remarkable coincidence that somewhat of a similar occurrence befel one of his own sons, and was attended with precisely the same effects. It was in consequence of this accident, that Mr. Richmond received the rudiments of his early education under the sole tuition of his father, who was an excellent classical scholar, and well acquainted with literature in general.
In addition to his proficiency in classical and other elementary studies, he made considerable progress, during this period, in the science of music ; a predilection for which, he retained to the end of his life.
The activity of his mind soon began to develope itself. Some specimens of the productions of his early years have been preserved by the partiality of his friends; and as youthful talent generally delights to assume a poetical form, his first efforts were devoted to the Muses.
We insert the following, which were written when he was twelve years
Before the earth and sea to man were given,
ON THE MORNING.
Behold, the earth is clad in sober grey,
And nature wipes away her dewy tears.-A few lines in imitation of Pope, may be considered as no unsuccessful illustration of the poet's rule :
''Tis not enough, no harshness gives offence,
Within a labyrinth, the line seems vext,
As if great Jove was storming from above. In the year 1784, when Legh Richmond was in his thirteenth year, he was consigned to the care of Mr. Breach, of Reading, for the purpose of obtaining further assistance on account of his lameness, as well as to pursue the course of his education. He was subsequently removed to Blandford, in Dorsetshire, and placed under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Jones, vicar of Loders, and curate of Blandford ; and having made a very creditable proficiency in his studies, and completed his education at school, he was finally sent, in the year 1789, being then seventeen years of age, to the university at Cambridge.
CHAPTER II. Comprising the period from his entrance at the University, till
his marriage, and acceptance of the curacy of Brading in the Isle of Wight.
MR. RICHMOND was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the month of August, 1789. The following particulars have been communicated in a letter from the Reverend A. J. Crespin, vicar of Renhold, Bedfordshire, a contemporary of his in the University, and with whom he formed an intimate friendship, which continued to the period of his death.
“I perfectly well remember that our dear departed friend came to Cambridge for admission about Midsummer, in the year 1789. _I was just one year his senior. It was then the custom at Trinity College, that one of the under graduates "should take the candidate for admission to the dean, and to one or two others, and then to the master, for examination. It fell to my lot to perform this office for Legh Richmond, and thus our friendship commenced. He came into residence, according to the usual plan, in the following October ; we were both among the candidates for foundation scholarships, and after a public examination of two or three days, we were happy on finding our names among the successful candidates ; and as we
afterwards dined every day at the same table, the bands of our friendship were drawn still closer.
“I can with perfect truth affirm, that during the under-graduateship of Mr. Richmond, he applied himself closely to his studies, and was considered and acknowledged by all, to be a young man of great abilities and correct conduct.”
A letter from the Rev. William Tate, chaplain of the Dockyard, Portsmouth, and tutor of the Naval Academy, contains a further and more detailed account of Mr. Richmond's residence at college.
“ Mr. Richmond and myself were of the same year at Cambridge, and had the same college tutor, the late Rev. Thomas Jones. We were not, however, in the same lecture room till within a year of our taking the degree of A. B.; hence, our intimacy did not commence till about the beginning of 1793. Mr. Richmond came to college with a high character for his proficiency, both in classics and mathematics. In fact, I often heard him spoken of as likely to be one of the third or fourth highest wranglers. At the annual college examination in May, he was each year in the first class, and consequently was a prize
I do not recollect that he ever was a candidate for a University prize ; indeed I think that although he was an ex. tremely good classic, he did not consider himself sufficiently practised in writing Greek or Latin verse, to venture a competition in this respect with the distinguished men from the great public schools.
“ That he had great fondness for social life is not to be wondered at, as he was so well informed on most subjects, and had such a fluency of language, that conversation with him never flagged, and his company was generally acceptable. He visited at the Lodge, Dr. Postlethwaith being then master, and was noticed by some of the senior fellows, in consequence, I presume, of their having been friends of his father, Dr. Richmond, who had himself been a fellow of the college, and whose name stands in the Tripos as having been the tenth senior optimè, in January, 1764. “ Mr. Richmond's great recreation was music,
in which I suppose you are aware he was eminently skilled. He always had a piano-forte in his room, and played on the organ also. To any tune he could, as he played, make an extempore thorough bass. His musical talents gave rise to a great intimacy and friendship with the late Dr. Hague, the professor of music, and also with Dr. Jowett, then tutor of Trinity Hall, who used to have frequent musical parties at his apartments, at which I be