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More than twenty years having elapsed since the death 
of the subject of this biography, some explanation is, 
perhaps, due, from the Author, respecting the publication 
of a work which has been so long delayed. 

On this point it might be sufficient to observe, in 
general, that those lives, the histories of which best 
deserve the attention of mankind, are, at the same time, 
those which are least dependent for their interest, upon 
the circumstances of time or place. With more par- 
ticular reference, however, to the present work, it may 
be fairly asserted, that the value which may be reason- 
ably supposed to belong to a faithful Memoir of the 
Life and Character of the late Isaac JMilner, is, by no 
means, of an ephemeral nature. The history of a man 
whose mental endowments raised him from poverty and 
obscurity to wealth and fame, must always command 
attention, and possess an enduring worth ; and if it were 
the sole object of the following pages to exhibit an 
eminent instance of the success which, almost invariably, 
in a greater or less degree, rewards the vigorous and 
])ersevering exercise of superior talents, such an object 
would amply justify their publication. That life must 
surely be worthy of being recorded, of which the whole 
course affords a striking illustration of the animating 
truth, that, in this free country, ability and industry are 
the passports to honourable distinction. In the case of 
Dean JMilner, however, another and a more powerful 
source of interest is superadded. If he were distin- 

a 2 


giiished by his intellectual superiority, he was yet more 
distinguished by his Christian piety. Confessedly in the 
first rank of the mathematicians and philosophers of his 
day, he was " content to receive the kingdom of God as 
a little child*." Gifted with extraordinary mental 
powers, and beyond the generality of his fellow-men, a 
master of reason in its own province, he learned to 
submit his gigantic understanding to the humbling doc- 
trines of Revelation. 

A faithful record of the history and character of such 
a man has a peculiar value. There arc persons who 
secretly, if not avowedly, associate the ideas of piety and 
imbecility ; and who, however illogical such a conclusion 
may be, do not hesitate to decide, that he who professes 
to be governed by Christian principles, must be deficient 
in natural understanding. 

Upon Dean Milner no suspicion of mental weakness 
can rest. Born in a cottage — labouring with his hands 
in early youth — indebted for the advantages of education 
chiefly to the elder brother to whom he afterwards 
owned his obligations " with tears of gratitude and affec- 
tion f," his supereminent abilities gained for him the 
highest academical honours, and subsequently placed him 
in the Mathematical Chair at Cambridge. 

The oj)inions of such a man, on any subject to which 
he had ap])lied the jiowers of his mind, must necessarily 
carry along with them as much authority as can belong 
to any human opinions whatever. The " natural man," 
indeed, whatever may be his mental endowments, "re- 
ceiveth not the things of the Sj)irit of God, * * * 

• Luko xviii. I?, 
t See Dean AIilner's lAfc ot'Iiis Urotlier. 


neither can he know them, because they are i;!])iritually 
discerned*," — yet it is something to show, by a brilliant 
example, that the possession of the most acute and 
vigorous intellect is no bar to the reception of those 
Christian doctrines which, though far above, are no wise 
opjiosed to human reason. 

The religious character of Dean Milner presented a 
remarkable union of light in the understanding and 
warmth in the affections. Having deeply studied the 
scheme of Christianity, and possessing a knowledge of it, 
perhaps as accurate and complete as the capacity of the 
human mind will admit, he was distinguished by a 
fervour of feeling not often found in conjunction with 
high intellectual attainments. 

His religious sentiments, however, together with the 
growing influence which those sentiments obtained over 
his character and conduct, are sufficiently unfolded in 
the following pages — and that, not only in formal trea- 
tises, of which some few which were found among his 
papers after his decease have been inserted in this 
Memoir — but also in his familiar letters, and in the still 
more private records of his secret meditations. 

Of the regular discussions on religious subjects con- 
tained in this volume, those respectively entitled, " A 
Dissertation on Jonathan Edwards's Posthumous Re- 
marks on Faith and Justification by Faith," — " Remarks 
upon Dr. Kipling's Work on the Articles of the Church 
of England," — "Thoughts on Baptism and Regenera- 
tion," — and "An Exposition of the Confession in the 
Church Service," are, perhaps, among the most im- 

* 1 Cor. ii. 11. 


Tlie value of familiar letters, as materials for a 
biographer, is universally acknowledged. Sir James 
Mackintosh somewhere observes, that — " It is impossible 
to read a considerable number of any man's letters, how- 
ever sei)arately insignificant, without insensibly gaining 
a just notion of his character." 

The truth of this opinion will, probably, be generally 
admitted ; and, as I trust, that the numerous letters and 
extracts from letters, which have been selected for the 
present work, far from being deemed " separately insig- 
nificant,'* will be found to possess an individual, and, in 
some instances, a powerful interest, I venture to hope, 
that their aggregate value will be materially enhanced. 

Among the letters professedly treating of religious 
topics, one addressed to the late Charles Grant, Esq., on 
Calvinism and Arminianism, one to the late Archbishop 
of (/anterbury, on the subject of the Bible Society, and 
one to the present Archdeacon R. Wilberforce, on the 
rite of Confirmation, may be mentioned as peculiarly 

Of the j)rivate religious memoranda which have been 
admitted into the following Memoir, it is needless, here, 
to say more, than that an inspection of the irregular and 
diminutive fragments of paper upon which many of them 
are written, might convince even a sceptical observer, 
that he saw before him a genuine record of the writer's 
most secret thoughts; and, as Dean Milner Ims himself 
remarked, in his Life of his brother, — " It is, perhaps, 
in)jiossil)le, under any circumstances, in the ])rcsent state 
of our existence and cai)acity of mutual coninmnication, 
to penetrate more effectually, or with greater certainty, 
tlie secret recesses of tlic human heart, than })y reading 
ni('nn>iau(hiins of tliis iiatiiri'.' 


Another source of whatever interest may be thought 
to belong to this Life of Dean Milner, will be found in 
the various reminiscences of him, so characteristic in 
themselves, and so graphically expressed, with which I 
have been favoured by many eminent persons ; among 
whom I may particularize Mr. Baron Alderson, the 
Right Hon. T. B. JNIacaulay, Lord Teignmouth, the Rev. 
Temple Chevallier, the present Dean of Ely, and the 
present Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Were I, 
however, to offer my grateful acknowledgments to each, 
by name, of those who have enabled me to enrich my 
book with their personal recollections, these prefatory 
observations would be extended much beyond their due 
limits; and still less can I allow myself space to enu- 
merate the kind friends who have placed at my disposal 
letters written by my late relative, or who have other- 
wise assisted me in the execution of my task as his 
biographer. I must not, however, omit to mention, 
among those to whom I am especially indebted. His 
Grace the Archbishop of York, who has, most kindly, 
permitted me to publish some highly interesting epis- 
tolary correspondence between himself and his late friend 
the Dean of Carlisle, and the Right Hon. the Earl of 
Lonsdale, who, both by the communication of letters, 
and by other kindnesses, has rendered me essential aid. 
My best thanks are likewise due to the Rev. William 
Richardson, the nephew of the late Rev. William Rich- 
ardson, of York, for some invaluable letters from the late 
Dean to that excellent and highly valued friend ; and to 
the Rev. Edward Stillingfleet, for some most interesting 
and characteristic letters from the pen of the late Rev. 
Joseph jNIilner. From Archdeacon R. Wilberforce, I have 
received the most effective assistance, in the shape of valu- 


able letters, from Dean Milner to Lis dear aiul intimate 
friend, the late William Wilberforce; and, among the 
multitude of other friends who have conferred upon me 
kindness of a similar nature, I am bound to mention the 
Rev. William IMandell, of Queen's College, Cambridge, — 
William Smyth, Esq., Professor of JSIodern History, in the 
same University, — the Rev. George Cornelius Gorham, 
to Avhose active friendship I am especially indebted, — 
the Rev. William Jowett, — the Rev. Richard Kerrich, 
the son of one of Dean jNIilner's oldest and most intimate 
friends, — Colonel T. P. Thompson, to whom a similar 
description would be applicable, — the Rev. John Faw- 
cett, — G. G. Babington, Esq., — and JNIrs. Maclean, the 
daughter of the late Professor Carlyle. 

To those numerous kind friends, whose names are 
not inserted in this already long catalogue of benefactors, 
but Mho, by their assistance in various ways, have greatly 
facilitated the execution of this undertaking, I must be 
content, in this place, thus generally to present the 
expression of my gratitude. There yet, however, remains 
one obligation which must be particularly acknowledged; 
I mean the important favour, on the part of the President 
and Fellows of Queen's College, Cambridge, of the loan 
of Oj>ie's fine portrait of Dean iNIilner, for the purpose of 
its being engraved for this work. 

Of the manner in which 1 have acquitted myself in 
this endeavour to lay before the public an authentic 
account of the life and character of Isaac INIilner, I must 
leave others to judge. If I cannot claim for myself the 
praise of absolute impartiality, I can truly say, that I 
have laboured to guard against the influence of that 
favourable bias which is commonly, and often justly, 
imputed to tlioso mIio \(MitJire to Ijocomc tlio biograj)hers 


of near and dear relatives. It may be, however, that, 
notwithstanding my utmost vigilance, some traces of such 
a bias may be detected in the following pages ; if I have 
not magnified Dean jNIilner's great and good qualities, I 
may be suspected of liaving diminished or veiled his 
foibles and imperfections. I know not, that I have given 
any cause for such a suspicion, but if it be so, my excuse, 
though not my justification, must be, that having lived, 
from infancy to womanhood, with him whose character 
I have attempted to portray, my intimate and most 
familiar knowledge of him, — the most severe of all the 
tests to which human infirmity can be subjected, — has 
left upon my mind such a conviction of his greatness 
and his goodness, as, combined, doubtless, with the 
inevitable effect of the recollection of benefits innume- 
rable and always utterly unrequitable, conferred with 
unwearied and most tender affection throughout the 
seasons of infancy and childhood, and the still more 
capricious and exacting period of youth, may have ren- 
dered me unwilling to censure, or, perhaps, unapt to 
perceive those slight blemishes which, at the time 
during which I possessed the advantage of daily con- 
templating the admirable character of Dean JNIilner, 
were lost in its general excellence. 

The main facts of the early jjortion of the career of 
Dean JMilner are already notorious ; and if his private, 
and especially his religious character, be more fully 
displayed in the following pages, or exhibited in a 
stronger light than has hitherto been cast upon it, it is 
chiefly by means of his own writings, his confidential 
letters, and his private meditations, — a species of evidence 
the most convincing imaginable. 

The name of Isaac JMilner has been long enrolled 


in the list of those distinguished men who, by superior 
intelligence and never-tiring industry, have achieved an 
honourable fame. I venture to indulge the hope, that 
while his title to this proud distinction is strengthened, 
his simple and affectionate character, his eminent private, 
and social virtues, and, above all, his Christian excel- 
lence, may be illustrated by the publication for which 
I now solicit the favourable judgment of the public. 

Mary JMilner. 

T}i£, Vicarage^ Applehy^ WestDiorcIaiuI, 
May 21, 1842. 




Birth of Isaac Miliier.— Notice of his Parents.— Cluiructer ef his Fathei*. 
— Of his Mother. — Outline of his Childhood by Himself. — His early 
turn for Matiiematics. — Premature Death of his Father. — His Mother 
obliged to abandon the plan of giving him a Literary Education. — He 
is apprenticed to a Woollen Manufacturer at Leeds. — Distinction 
obtained by .Joseph Milner, the elder brother of Isaac, at Cambridge. 
— His subsequent Success in Life. — He releases his brother Isaac 
from his Engagements at Leeds. — Takes him under his own Tuition. — 
Makes him his Uslier in the Grammar School at Hull. — Isaac Milner 
sent by his Brother to Queen's College, Cambridge. — Gratitude of 
Isaac to his Brother. — Strong affection between these Brothers. — 
Isaac, while an Undergraduate, refuses to sign a Petition against Sub- 
scription to the Articles. — Takes his Degree of B.A. — Is Senior 
Wrangler, with the distinction of Incomparabilis. — Becomes a Mem- 
ber of the Hyson Club. — Declines the office of Tutor to a Polish 
Prince. — Early friendship with the late William Hey, Esq., of 
Leeds. — Notice of Mr. Milner by an early Friend still living. — ^Ir. 
Milner enters into Holy Orders ..... 


Mr. Milner is elected Fellow of Queen's College. — Takes his degree of 
SI. A. — Is elected Tutor of Queen's. — Makes a communication to the 
Royal Society. — Is ordained Priest. — Presented to the Rectory of 
St. Botolph's, Cambridge. — Makes various comn7unications to the 
Royal Society. — Injures his Healtii by inhaling a noxious Gas. — Is 
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. — Is Moderator. — Reads Public 
Lectures in Chymistry. — Is Proctor. — Commencement of his acquaint- 
ance with William Wilberforce, Esq. — ^Correspondence. — Letter from 
Joseph Milner to the Rev. James Stillingfleet. — Isaac Milner is 
elected to the Jacksonian Professorship. — Gives alternate courses of 
Lectures in Ch^miistry and Experimental Philosophy. — Correspond- 
ence. — Assists in the Formation of a Society for the promotion of 
Philosophy and General Literature. — Travels on tiie Continent with 
Mr. Wilberforce. — Voyage down the Rhone. — House at Nice. — ^lar- 
seillcs. — English Society at Nice. — ^Ir. Milner's Religious Princi- 
ples. — Religious Conversation with Mr. Wilberforce. — Returns with 
Mr. Wilberforce to England. — Is Moderator. — Climate of Nice. — 



rerilous Accident.— Second Journey with Mr. Wilbcrforcc to the 
Continent.— Religious Conversation.— Meeting with Lavater. — Mys- 
tical turn of Lavater's mind. — Letter from him to Mr. Milner. — 
Rev. Thomas Scott's account of Mr. ISIilner's Travels with Mr. Wil- 
berforce. — Correspondence. — Tissot . . . .12 


Mr, Milner takes his Degree of B.D.— Professor Smyth's Recollections of 
his Divinity Act. — Bishop Watson's Account of the same Act, — Re- 
collections of Mr. Milner as a Lecturer. — Dr. Maskelyne, — Corre- 
spondence. — Mr, Milner as Jacksonian Professor endeavours to obtain 
from the Crown an annual Stipend in support of the Science of 
Chymistry, — Bishop of Llandaff. — Mr, Milner's mode of Life as a 
Lecturer,— Accident and Illness. — "N'isits his Brother at Hull.— Board 
of Longitude. — Attempt to alter its Constitution.— Energy of Mr. 
Milner. — A'isit to London. — Chymical Pursuits. — Letter from Dr. 
Priestley. — Visit to Rayrigg, in Westmoreland. — Mode of Life there. 
— Convei-sational Powers. — Visit to IIuU . . . .31 


Mr. Milner is elected President of Queen's College. — Improvements in 
the internal management of the College. — Letters. — Feelings on 
being elected President. — Popular Philosophical Writers. — Ferguson. 
— Martin. — Maclaurin, — View of Public Affairs on the Illness of the 
King. — Letter from Joseph Milner to the Rev. James Stillingfleet. — 
Illness. — Letter from Joseph ^Milner on his Brother's Illness, — Cor- 
respondence. — Communication to the Royal Society.— Formally ex- 
cused on account of Ill-health, from delivery of Jacksonian Lectures. 
— Letters from Drs. Hunter and Fothergill. — Lectures continued 
with assistance. — Fondness for practical Meciianics. — Extracts from 
CoiTospondencc with the Rev, T. Ludlam, — Sentiments concerning 
Card-Playing, — Private Religious Diaiy . . . .40 


Extracts from Private Diary. — Prayers and Religious Meditations . 5G 


Mechanical Pursuits. — Nominated to the Deanery of Carlisle. — Corre- 
spondence. — Illness of Joseph Milner. — Dr, Paley. — Distinguishing 
Traits in tlie character of Dean Milner. — Slave Trade Abolition. — 
licvolutionuiy Sjiirit in I'nglaiid. — Correspondence. — Mr, Milner 
takes the degree of D.D. — Visits his lirother at Hull, — Letter from 
Joscpii Milner to tlic Rev, James Stillingfleet. — Explanation of some 
Peculiarities in Dr. Milner's conduct. — Extracts from Correspondence 
with William Hey, Escj. — Certificates of Ill-health. — Dr. Milner 
elected Vice-Chancellor. — Corresi)ondenco. — State of the Country. — 
C)l)servationa on the Character of Fo.\. — ^fr. Pitt re-elected M.P. for 
tiie University of Cambridge . , . 7<> 




Socinian Principles in tlie University. — Mr. Frcnd. — Ilis Seditious Pamph- 
let. — Meeting of the Masters and Fellows of Jesus College. — Care of 
the Vice-Chancellor to procure the best Legal Advice. — fleeting of 
•' Tlie Twenty-Seven " at Queen's Lodge. — Determination to insti- 
tute against ^Ir. Frcnd proceedings in the Vice-Chancellor's Court. — 
Citation of Mr. Freud. — His Trial,— Sentence of Banishment from 
the University pronounced upon him by the Vice-Chanccllor. — Mr. 
Frend appeals to the Senate. — Confirmation of the sentence of the 
Vice-Chancellor, pronounced by the Court of Delegates. — Firmness 
of Dr. Milner. — His unflinching attachment to the Doctrines of the 
Establislied Cliurch. — Notice of Mr. Freud's Trial by Professor 
Smyth. — Dr. Milner's Speech at the conclusion of the Trial. — Ad- 
dress to the Undei-graduates. — Impressive style of his Eloquence. — 
Visit of Joseph Miluer to his Brother at Cambridge. — Mr. Simeon. — 
State of Religion. — Dr. Milner takes formal possession of the 
Deanery of Carlisle. — Remarkable Dream . . . .84 


Conduct of Dr. Milner as Head of a College. — Letter to a Friend on the 
Death of his Daughter. — Publication of the first volume of the Ilis- 
tory of the Church. — Public Afl^'airs. — Political Conduct of ^fr. Wilber- 
force. — Extracts from Dr. Milner's Letters to him at this junctui-e. — 
Publication of the second volume of the Church History. — Dr. INlilner's 
Chymical Pursuits. — Correspondence with Mr. Kirwan and the Bishop 
of LlandafF. — Their Letters. — Dr. Buchanan. — Visit to Hull. — Wil- 
lingness of Dr. Milner to pi-each for his Friends. — Extracts from Cor- 
respondence. — Visit to Buxton. — Letter from Joseph Milner to the 
Rev. James Stillingfleet. — His testimony to his Brother's plainness of 
speech in the Pulpit. — Declaration of Dr. Paley. — Extract from one 
of the Dean's early Sermons. — Society at Buxton. — ^liss Sewai"d. — 
Lord Erskine. — Correspondence. — Illness. — Gradual and constant im- 
provement in Rehgious Character. — Publication of the third volume 
of the Church History. — Correspondence. — Wilberforce's Practical 
View. — Visit to Bath. — Public Afi^airs. — Letter on Reform. — Mr. Til- 
lotsou . , . . . . . .103 


Joseph Milner visits his Brother at Carlisle. — Appointment of Joseph 
Milner to the Vicarage of Hull. — His Letters, — Religious condition of 
Carlisle in 1797. — Feelings of Joseph ililuer on his promotion to the 
Vicarage. — Correspondence of Dr. Milner. — Rev. Mr. Thomason. — 
Declining health of Joseph Milner. — Dr. Milner's Opinion concerning 
Private Tutoi-s. — Important Change of Char.acter. — Joseph ^lilner's 
last Illness. — His Letters to his Brother and to Mr. Stillingfleet. — His 
Opinion of Dr. Johnson. — Great change which had taken place in his 



Religious Sentiments. — Tlis Death. — Monumental Inscription.— Ex- 
tracts from Correspondence of Dr. Milner. — Opium.— Letter to the 
Rev. William Richardson.— Joseph Milner's Style.— Publication of 
his yermons.— Lettei-s, — To Mi-s. Carlyle.— To Mr. Wilbeiforce.— 
Affairs of Trinity College. — Importance of the Expulsion of Mr. 
Frend. — Disturbed State of Ireland.— Duel between Mr. J'itt and 
Mr. Tierney.— Variety of Dr. Milner's Information. — Mendoza. — 
Irish Affairs.— The Bishop of D . • • -129 


Dr. Milner is elected Professor of Mathematics.- Opposition of Mr. Frend. 
— Opinion of Counsel. — Con-espondence. — Domestic Affliction.— 
" Rational" way of Preaching.— Luther's Letter to Caspar Aquila. — 
Publication of a second edition of the fii-st volume of the Church 
History. — Correspondence.— Letter to the Rev. William Richardson. 
— Dr. Milner's Religious Experience. — Jonathan Edwards . 



Dissertation on .Jonathan Edwards' Posthumous Remarks on Faith, and 
Justification by Faith. — Quotation from a Sermon by Dean Milner on 
the same Subject . . . . • • .181 


Animadversions upon Lord Grenville's Answer to Buonaparte's Letter to 
George III. — Correspondence. — Religious Experience. — William 
Hey, Esq. — Liberality of Dean Milner towards the poor of Leeds. — 
Letters to the Rev. Wm. Richardson. — Distress of mind. — Professor 
Carlyle. — Remarks on the Religious Experience of Dean ^lilner. — 
Letters. — Dr. Ilaweis's Impartial History of the Church. — Dean Mil- 
ner's Life of his Brother. — Subsequent additions to the Life, respect- 
ing the change in Joseph Milner's Religious Views. — Dr. Milner's 
Feelings dui-ing the Writing of the Life. — Elasticity of Spirits. — 
Cliarge of Irregularity recently brought against the late Rev. .Joseph 
Milner. — Dr. Hook. — Letter to the Rev. .James Stillingfloet. — Dr. 
Haweis. — Letter to a J^'ricnd on the dangerous Illness of his Son. — 
Letters to the Rev. Wm. Riciiardson. — Ojiiniou of tlie present Bishop 
of Calcutta upon Dean Milner's Religious Publications. — Dr. Milner's 
attachment to Cambridge. — His conscientious Employment of Time . 202 


Commencement of Dr. Milner's acf|uaintancc with Henry Martyn. — 
Fourth volume of the History of the Church of Christ. — Luther. — Com- 
mentary on the (Jalatians. — Professor Sniytli. — Passage in his pub- 
li.shed Lectures. — Dean .Milner's alleged partiality to i^uthci-. — Cor- 
respondence. — Rev. W. Tcrrot. — Letter to a young Friend in his last 
Illness, — New edition of Joseph Milner's Sermons. — Internal Manage- 



ment of Queen's College. — Tutors. — Correspondence. — London Bridge. 
— Professor Farish. — Sunday Travelling. — Dr. Haweis. — Rev. T.Lud- 
lani. — New edition of tlio Life of Joseph Aliliier. — Sir William 
Wynne.— Letters.— Mrs. Stillingfleet .... 229 


Confidential Correspondence. — Chapter Business. — Illness. — Sermon at 
Whitehall. — Rowland Hill. — Fourth volume of Ecclesiastical History. 
— Vigour and Perseverance of Dean Milner. — Accident on Stainmore. 
— Prominent Trait in Dean Milner's Mind. — Anecdotes. — Rev. Mr. 
Church. — Letters. — Domestic Affairs. — Discovery of the Invisible 
Girl . . . . . . , ,251 


Misunderstanding between the President and the Fellows of Queen's Col- 
lege. — Written Docimients. — Industry of Dr. Milner. — Election of 
Fellows by Royal Dispensation. — Comparative Advantages of Open 
or Close Colleges. — Domestic Affliction. — Board of Longitude. — Sen- 
timents with respect to Public Affairs. — Letter to the Rev. Wm. 
Richardson. — Preaching at Carlisle. — Fourth volume of the Church 
History. — Accui-acy of the History. — Dr. Milner's Qualifications as an 
Ecclesiastical Historian. — Habitual Study of Theological Subjects. — 
Remaiks upon Dr. Kipling's Work on the Articles of the Church of 
England. — Hebrew Language. — State of the Countiy. — Recollections 
of Dean Milner by a Clergyman formerly of Queen's College — Chris- 
tinn Observer''s Critique iipon Milner's Church History. — Dr. Milner's 
Remarks on the Critique. — His Opinion of the Christian Observer . 265 


Correspondence. — Religious Experience. — Professor Carlyle. — Letter to 
his Sister on his Death. — Domestic Affairs. — Religions Memoranda. — 
Hints for Sermons. — Private Thoughts. — Helps to Self-examination. 
— Religious Correspondence. — Library at Lambeth. — Affairs of the 
Board of Longitude — History of the Chtirch. — Perseverance. — Inves- 
tigation of the Sawston Mystery. — Letter to John Pearson, Esq., on 
the Deatli of his Daughter. — Kindness of Heart. — Visit to London . 294 


Gradual alterat«)n in the nature of the Examinations for Fellowships 
at Queen's College. — Letter to the present Archbisliop of York (tlien 
Bishop of Carlisle) on the death of his Son. — Contested Election for 
the University of Cambridge. — Lord Palmerston. — Lord Heni-y Petty 
(the present Lord Lansdowne). — Correspondence witli Mr. Wilber- 
force. — Dr. Milner's want of ear for Music. — Experiment on the 
subject, tried by himself and his brother. — Dr. Milner's knowledge of 
the science of Music. — Recollections of him bv Dr. Crotch. — Jlr. La 



Trobo. — Dr. Jowett. — Dr. Hague. — Mr. Aspland. — Dr. Milner's want 
of eye for iJCi-spcctivc Drawing. — Management of the atlairs of the 
Univei-sity Press. — Personal exertions. — Sir Samuel Romilly. — 
Hobby-horses. — Short-hand.— Arbitration. — Habits of life at Carlisle. 
— Rose Castle. — Lowther Castle. — Anecdotes. — Serious occupations. 
— Visits to a person under sentence of death. — Judicious treatment of 
the sick and dying. — Treatment of a man who had attempted 
suicide . . . . . . . .314 


History of the Church. — Third' volume translated into German. — Trans- 
lation of Joseph Milner's Sermons into German. — Letter to the 
Bishop of Meath. — Visit to Cambridge of the Chancellor of the 
University. — Professor Person. — University Press. — Rev. T. Thoma- 
son. — Professor Smyth. — Dr. Milner's Sermon at [St. Mary's, against 
Catholic Emancipation. — Consistency of character. — Address to the 
King. — General Election. — Busy CJiapter at Carlisle. — Musical Fes- 
tival. — Thoughts respecting Preaching. — Private Reflections. — Rev. 
Christian Ignatius La Trobe. — Musical Society at Cambridge. — 
Dr. Jowett's musical parties. — Discussion concerning certain disputed 
points of Clu-onology. — Correspondence. — Governorsliip of Sierra 
Leone. — Second volume of Joseph Milner's Sermons. — Fifth volume 
of Ecclesiastical History. — Board of Longitude. — Carlisle. — Corre- 
spondence. — Assize Sermon. — Dr. Buchanan. — Dean Milner's senti- 
ments respecting Races and Theatrical Representations. — Letter on 
the proposed erection of a Theatre. — Advice respecting College 
Lectures. — Reading lamp. — Dr. Edward Daniel Clarke. — New edition 
of Milner's Works. — Kensington Gore. — Rev. Thomas Kerrich. — 
Social intercourse. — Evening visits from old Friends . . 334 


Examination for Smith's Prize. — Recollections of tliis Examination by 
Sir Edward H. Alderson. — Fifth volume of the Church History. — 
Joseph Milner's Sermons. — Correspondence. — Board of Longitude. — 
Revival of Luther's character. — Tlic term " Methodism." — Thoughts 
on Baptism and Regeneration. — Establishment of a National Scliool 
at Carlisle. — Opinions of Dr. Buchanan concerning the History of the 
Church of Christ. — Visit to Hull. — Anecdote. — Return to Cambridge , 369 


Dr. Milncr unexpectedly elected Vicc-Chaucellor. — Difficult circum- 
stances. — Satisfaction of Friends. — Right of the Univei-sity to take 
cognizance of Causes between its own Members. — Extracts from Dr. 
Milner's private Memoranda. — Communication to Dr. Browne. — 
Holding of the Vice-Ciiancellor's Court. — Cause dismissed. — Speech 
of the Vice-Cliancellor. — Minute of "Acta Curia," drawn up by Dr. 
Milner. — Private letter to Counsel. — Approbation of P'riends. — Bishop 



of Bristol. — Riots at Cambridge. — Court held at Queen's Lodge. — 
Sentence pronounced. — Dr. Boll's donation to the University for the 
founding of Eight New Scholarships. — Expulsion of three Students. 

— Public admonition of Air. . — Communication from the 

Bishop of Bristol. — Extent and variety of business. — Devotional 
studies. — Letter from Dr. Bell on the founding of his Scholarships. — 
Commencement Sunday. — Dr. Buchanan's Sermons. — Apj)robation of 
them expressed by Dr. Alilner.— Correspondence with Dr. Bell. — 
First Election of Scholars upon this Foundation. — Anecdote of the 
Examination. — Dr. Milner's humour qualified by his good nature. — 
Anecdote. — L'Eau Me'dicinale. — Attempts to discover its ingredients. 
— Attention to the interests of Religion. — Rev. Mr. Kerrich. — His 
Portrait of Dr. Milncr.— His opinions concerning portrait-painting. — 
Correspondence with the Bishoi) of Carlisle. — Alethodical mode of 
transacting business. — John Bowdler, Junr., Esq. — Dr. Stewart's 
method of treating Consumption. — Continued fondness for ^Mechanics. 
— Clepsydra. — Letter to the Bishop of Bristol on the death of hia 
Son. — Vice-Chancellor's Dinners — Mode of conducting them. — Dr. 
Milner's social temperament. — Remarks on this subject by the present 
Bishop of Calcutta ....... 381 


Observations by Dr. Milner ujion the principal events and circumstances 
of his Vice-Chancellorship, with an explanation of his conduct in 
regard to them; embodied in an "Address to the Heads of Colleges 
and to the other Members of the Senate." — Honourable mention of 
Dr. Paley . . . . . . . .421 


Extracts from coiTespondence. — Application from a poor Workman of 
Leeds. — Engraving of Portrait. — Heraldry. — Bell's Scholars — Re- 
marks on the Bishop of Lincoln's Refutation of Calvinism. — Religious 
course of reading. — Habit of lending religious books. — History of 
Religion in Scotland. — Catholic Question. — Love of Children. — 
Camera Obscura. — Board of Longitude. — Election of University Chan- 
cellor. — Of Representative in Parliament. — Energy of Dr. Milner. — 
Confidential Correspondence. — Ancient walls of the City of Carlisle. — 
Memorial to the Lords of the Ti-easury. — Letter to Mr. Perceval. — 
Extensive Correspondence. — Dr. Bell. — Installation of the Duke of 
Gloucester. — Mr. Wilberforce. — Mr. Henry Thornton. — Conversa- 
tion. — Journey to Carlisle. — New edition of Milner's Works. — Confi- 
dential Letter to a Relative on the loss of a younger Brother. — 
Excellent judgment in matters of decoration. — Rundell and Bridge. 
— Sugai- castor. — Return to Cambridge. — The Comet. — Dr. Browne 
elected Vice-Chancellor. — Dr. Milner's rule of conduct in delicate 
circumstances. — Letter to Lady C G . — Books recom- 
mended. — Ciencral opinion respecting Boarding Schools . . 44;{ 





Organization of the Cambridge Auxiliary Bible Society. — Caution of Dr. 
Mihier. — His Conduct misunderstood. — Outline of Circumstances. — 
Proper Conduct of U^idergraduates. — Dr. Milncr's Advice to them. — 
Conference with Dr. Jowett, ^Ir. Simeon, I'rofussor Farish, <ic. — Dr. 
Marsh's Address to the Senate. — Correspondence Avith Dr. Jowett. 
— Lutlier. — Letter of Mr. Vansittart. — Meeting at the Town Hall on 
the Twelfth of December. — Speech of Dr. Milner. — Enthusiastic 
Reception. — Extract of Letter from the Bishop of Bristol . . 4C3 


The New Year. — Correspondence with Government. — Catholic Question. 

— Preparation for Answer to Dr. Marsh's Inquiry. — Correspondence 
with Mr. Wilberforce — Perceval. — Bible Society. — Rev. Mr. Stein- 
kopff. — Diocesan School at Carlisle. — Correspondence with the Bishop. 
— Opinions of the two Archbishops. — Mechanical pursuits. — Concert 
of Ancient Music. — Advice to a Person desirous of receiving Orders. 
— Mastership of Downing College. — Letters to the Archbishop of 
York. — Visit of Louis XVIH. to the Univereity. — General Monk. — 
Petition against Catholic claims. — Domestic Affliction. — Letters. — To 
Bishop of Carlisle. — From Mr. Vansittart. — Mode of Reading. — Mar- 
ginal Annotations. — Speech of Robert Hall at the Leicester Bible 

Society Meeting. — Correspondence with Dr. . — Anecdote. — 

Solitary Residence at Carlisle. — Reminiscences by a surviving Friend. 
Death of Dr. Milner "s Niece. — He returns to Cambridge. — Death of 
Mr. Tillotson. — Conscientious Testimonials to Clergymen. — First 
Anniversary of the Cambridge Auxiliary Bii)le Society. — Dr. Milner's 
Speech. — Correspondence. — Meaning of the term, pretty good Classic. 

— Accurate knowledge of Grammar .... 483 


Examination for Smith's Prize. — Recollections of Dean Milner by Sir 
.John Herschel, the Dean of Ely, and Lord Teignmouth. — Catholic 
Question.— Letter to the Bishop of Meath. — Publication of Strict iire.t 
on the Writings of Dr. Marsh. — Letter to the ArchbTshop of Canter- 
bury on the subject of the Bible Society Alleged neutrality of the 

Archbishop. — Management of National Schools. — Interests of the 
Established Church. — Importance of the Bible Society. — Objects of 
the Strictures. — E.xtracts. — History. — Natural Philosophy. — Doctrine 
of Probabilities, — Study of Divinity. — Value and use of the Prayer 
Book. — Sentiments on Predestination. — Conclusion. — Review of Stric- 
tures in the Christian Observer. — Correspondence. — Right Hon. N. 
Vansittart. — National Schools. — Recollections of a Visit to Queen's 
Lodge, by the Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay. — Correspondence.— 
Bishop of Carlisle. — Bishop of Durham. — Opinions of Friends concer- 
ning the Strictures. — Affairs of Eiust India College. — Extracts from 
Letters. — Z. Macaulay, E.s(j. — Lady Olivia Sparrow. — Hannah More. 

— Point of Similarity Ixtwecn the Characters of Dr. Milner and Dr. 
Johnson.— Busy ('iia])tpr. — Lawsuit. — Sunday Consultations. — Assize 


Sermon at Carlisle. — Sir E. Alderson. — Alteration in the Conduct of 

the Assizes introduced by Dean Milner. — Uis Opinion concerning the 
Management of tlie Diocesan School. — Religious Correspondence. — 
Labours in the Pulpit. — Indisposition. — Modes of taking Exercise. — 
Establishment of the Carlisle Auxiliary Bible Society.— Conduct of 
Dean Milner. — Letters. — Duke of Norfolk. — Lord Morpeth. — greet- 
ing. — The Dean's Speech. — Coi-respondence respecting the Bible 
Society. — Dislike of Fruitless Disputation. — Increasing attachment 
to the Bible Society. — Keturn to Cambridge. — Indifferent Health. — 
Mental Energy. — Attendance on Professor Tennant's Lectures. — The 
Rev. W. Whewell. — Galvanic Battery. — Death of Dr. .Towett. — 
Second Anniversary of the Cambridge Auxiliary Bible Society. — Me- 
moir of Dr. .lowett. — Letter to the Chairman of the Cambridge Bible 
Society Meeting. — Euler's IVorks. — Inscription to the Memory of Dr. 
Jowett. — National Schools. — Letter to the Bishop of Norwich. — Visit 
to Kensington Gore ...... 524 


Feelings on the loss of Dr. Jowett. — Society of Dr. Buchanan. — Pro- 
fessor Lee. — Dr. Milner becomes a Fellow of the Society of Anti- 
quaries. — Recollections of a second visit at Queen's Lodge by the 
Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay. — Luther. — Melancthon. — Declining 
Health. — Occupations and Studies. — Opinion of Physicians. — Family 
"Worship. — Expositions of Scripture. — Letter from a Clergyman con- 
taining a remarkable account of his Religious Experience. — Rev. 
Josepli Milner's observations on a case of sudden Conversion. — Dean 
Alilner's Letter to the Chairman of the First Anniversary Meeting 
of the Cai-lisle Auxiliary Bible Society. — Detained at Carlisle through 
the winter. — Letter intended to be read at the formation of an Aux- 
iliary Church Missionary Society at Cambridge. — Sentiments respect- 
ing the management of the Church Missionary Society. — Lettei-s. — 
Democratic Spirit prevalent at Carlisle. — Establishment of The Patriot 
Newspaper. — Correspondence with the Archbishop of York on the 
death of his Daughter. — Contributions to The Patriot. — Maps. — Philo- 
sophical Ai^paratus. — Testimonial. — Grammar School at Leeds. — 
Hints for the conducting of a Grammar School. — Second Letter from 
a Clergyman, with further account of his Religious Experience and 
Conduct. — Extracts from Religious Correspondence . . 592 


New Year's Day. — Tranquil State of Jlind. — Amended Health. — Ex- 
tracts from Correspondence. — Return, to College. — Visit to London. 
— Dean Milner makes his "Will. — Returns to Carlisle. — Thunder 
Storm. — Danger of Lightning. — Busy Summer. — Election of Regius 
Professor of DiA-inity at Cambridge. — Correspondence with the Rev. 
Charles Simeon. — Extracts from confidential Lettei-s. — Assizes. — 
Strictness of Principle. — Affability of Manners. — Baptismal Contro- 
versy. — Dr. Mant's Tracts. — Proceedings of the Society for Promoting 
Christian Knowledge. — Bishop of Calcutta.— Rev, John Scott.— Dr. 



Laurence. — General Observations on Adult and Infant Baptism. — Re- 
marks on the Rev. J. Scott's Sermon on Baptism. — Absence of a dicta- 
torial tone. — Retvirn to Cambridge. — Death of the Princess Charlotte 629 


Religious Reading. — Examination of Candidates for Smith's Prize.*— 
Recollections of this Examination by the Rev. Temple Chevallier. — 
Pulmonary Diseases. — Their Treatment. — Observations addressed to 
Charles Grant, Esq. on Calvinism and Arminianism. — Domestic 
Affairs. — Recreations at Carlisle. — ^Mechanics. — Natural History. — 
Religious Correspondence and Studies. — Letter to a Godsou previous 
to his Confirmation. — Letter from Charles Giant, Esq. — Departure 
from Carlisle. — Amended Health ..... 052 


Board of Longitude.— Chapter Business. — Friendship and Correspondence 
with the late Rev. Robert Goodenough. — Dean ililner becomes Presi- 
dent of the Carlisle Church Missionai-y Association. — Correspondence. 
— Modes of Usefulness. — Conversation. — Family Prayer. — Private 
Religious Meditations. — Improvement of Health. — Attendance at the 
Board of Longitude. — Sir Samuel Romilly. — Meeting with old Friends. 
— Letter to the Bishop of Carlisle. — Strong Expression of Satisfaction 
in the Dispersion of the Bible. — State of the Country — General Tone 
of Newspapers. — Louis Dix-huit. — New Churches at Carlisle. — Conclu- 
sion of the Year ... .... 672 


Examination for Smith's Prize. — Board of Longitude. — Influence of Dean 
ililner's Character. — Visit to London. — Pi'ofessor Lee. — Undimi- 
nished Energy of Character. — Increasing interest in matters con- 
nected with Carlisle. — Cheerfulness. — Benevolence. — Scientific Pur- 

f suits. — Correspondence. — Letter on the Death of "William Hey, Escj. 
of Leeds. — Increasing Seriousness and Spirituality of Mind. — Bishop 
of Peterborough's Questions to Candidates for Orders. — Declining 
Health. — Visit of the Chancellor to Cambridge at tiie Commencement. 
— Correspondence. — Professorshipof Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh. 
— Testimonial in favour of Dr. Chalmers. — Testimonial in favour of 
Charles Babbage, Esq. — Correspondence. — Bishop of Carlisle. — Disaf- 
fection at Carlisle. — Last Attendance at the Board of Longitude. — 
Religious Correspondence.— Vigour of Mind. — Last Examination for 
Smith's Prize. — Reminiscences of a Visit at Queen's Lodge, by the 
Riglit Hon. T. B. Macaulay. — Final Departure ot Dr. Mihier from 
Cambridge. — La-st Visit to Kensington Gore. — Recollections of tlic 
Dean by a Lady then visiting at Mr. Wilberforcc's. — His Vivacity 
and Kindness. — Conversation on PhiIosoj)liical Subjects. — Exposition 
of the Confession. — Religious Conversation. — IC.xtracts from Corre- 
spondence. — Last Illness. — Death. — Funeral. — Personal A])pearance. 
— Character ....... {m\ 




Birth of Isaac Milner. — Notice of his Parents. — Character of his Father.— 
Of his Mother. — Outline of his Childiiood by himself. — His early turn for 
Mathematics. — Premature Death of his Father. — His Mother obliged to 
abandon the plan of giving him a literary education. — He is apprenticed 
to a Woollen IVIanufacturer at Leeds. — Distinction obtained by Joseph 
Milner, the elder Brother of Isaac, at Cambridge. — His subsequent suc- 
cess in Life. — He releases his Brother Isaac from his engagements at 
Leeds. — Takes him under his own tuition. — Makes liim his Usher in the 
Grammar School at Hull. — Isaac Z\Iilner sent by his Brother to Queen's 
College, Cambridge. — Gratitude of Isaac to his Brother. — Strong affection 
between these Brothers. — Isaac, while an Under-graduate, refuses to sign 
a Petition against subscription to the Articles. — Takes his degree of B.A. 
— Is Senior Wrangler, witli the distinction of TncomparabUis. — Becomes 
a Member of the Hyson Club, — Declines the office of Tutor to a Polish 
Prince. — Early Friendship with the late William Hey, Esq., of Leeds. — 
Notice of Mr. jMilner by an early Friend, still living. — :Mr. Miluer enters 
into Holy Orders. 

A.D. 1750. /ETAT. L 

Isaac Milner^ the third son of his parents, was born, as 
a})pears from the register of baptisms kept in the parish chm-ch 
at Leeds, in Mabgate, in that town, on the 11th day of Januar)', 
in the year of our Lord 17^0^ aii<-^ "^vas baptized on the 13th day 
of the same month. 

Of the eondition of his father little is known, except that he 
had lieen unsuccessful in business, and that his circumstances 
had suftered exceedingly from accidents during the Rebellion of 
1/45; insomuch, that he had very little to spare from the neces- 
sary demands of his family*. It appears by the register already 
mentioned, that his eldest son, Samuel, was born in Mabgate, 
on the 10th of October, 1739, and his second son, Joseph, 

* See Dr. Milxeh's Life of [his brother,] Ihe Rev. Joseph Milner. 


2 CHAP. I. A.D, 17o0, yETAT. 1. 

afterwards the Historian of the Church of Christ, at Quarry 
Hill, on the 2nd of January-, 1/43. It is, however, prohable, 
that notwithstanding the different wording of the registers, there 
was no change of residence, Quarry Hill and Mabgate joining 
upon each other, and their respective limits being not very 
clearly defined. They are now densely inhabited parts of the 
to-«ni of Leeds; but the house now, or till very lately, known 
and shown as the birth-place of Isaac Milner, and situated 
near to St. Marj^s, or as it is sometimes called. Quarry Hill 
Church, must, probably, at the date of even the latest of the 
registers, have stood almost in the country. The house has 
been, within the last few years, altered and improved in appear- 
ance, by having been plastered in imitation of stone. An outer 
door, studded with large-headed nails, like the door of a prison, 
has also Ijeen removed. 

That the father of the young Milners was a man of strong 
sense and extraordinary industry and self-denial, there is aljun- 
dapt evidence. Having experienced, in his own case, the want 
of a good education, he early resolved, that, at whatever inconve- 
nience to himself or his family, his children should possess that 
advantage; and this resolution he kept, although at the cost of 
many personal sacrifices, till his sudden death; an event which 
took place soon after his son Isaac had attained his tenth year. 

The mother of Isaac Milner, "a good and valuable mother" 
he calls her, in the work already cited, seems to liave been, upon 
the whole, a partner well suited to her husband. She was not, 
indeed, a woman of good temper, but she was remarkable for 
her sound and vigorous understanding, for the active turn of her 
mind, and for a vein of shrewd liumour wliich rendered her 
conversation, uneducated as she was, acceptable to persons of 
the highest attaimnents. She reached a great age; and although 
her mind did not retain its powers to the last, she was permitted 
to enjoy, in the advancement of her two yt>ungor sous, the 
reward of lier early slruggk's; and died beloved and respected, 
at the house of her son Joseph, at Hull, in the vear 1/^0*. 

* Soino particulars in tliis iicooimt rated liy tlio recolK'ctioiis of a gontlo- 
of Dr. ililiier's uiother are corrybo- imiu now liviug, aud fyiiucrly u pupil 

CHAP, I. A.D. 1756. iETAT. 6. 

An outline of Dr. Milner's childhood, has been thus traced 
hy his own hand: 

" Isaac, when a little boy of six years old, began to accom- 
pany his In-other Joseph everj^ day to tlie Grammar School*; 
and at ten years of age could construe Ovid and Sallust into 
toleral)le English, and was then beginning to learn the rudi- 
ments of the Greek language. The premature death of their 
father ruined all the prospects of Isaac's advancement in learn- 
ing. His mother was obliged to abandon the prosecution of 
her husband's plan; and, that her son might acquire a hveli- 
hood Ijy honest industry, she wisely emjiloyed him in learning 
several branches of the woollen manufactory at Leeds.^^ 

Two circumstances which, in this simple and beautiful ac- 
count of his own childhood, have been omitted by Dr. Milner, 
are here supplied. 

His turn for mathematical studies exhibited itself very early, 
He frequently, towards the close of his life, spoke of a sundial 
which he had constructed at the age of eiglit years; and said. 

of the Eev. Joseph Mihier, at the 
Grammar School at Hull. " I re- 
member," says he, in a letter to the 
author of tliis Memoir, " what must 
have been your great-grandmother, the 
motlier of your uncles Joseph and 
Isaac. She lived in the liouse with 
your iincle Josej)h, and was of a great 
age, and, I believe, had rather out- 
lived her faculties. She used to be 
my teiTor, for I had to go once a week 
into the house to help to bring out a 
globe, to, what we called, 'do globes,^ and 
the old lady used to seize me by the 
long hair, sucli as boys wore in those 
days, and declare she wanted it for a 
wig, and piiU most uncommonly hard, 
as if by way of realizing her design, 
while I was both unable to bear, and 
afraid to resist." 

Anotlier anecdote, characteristic of 
the shrewd humour of Mrs. Milncr, 
before her faculties were blunted by 
age, I have myself frequently heard 
from the lips of her son Isaac. 

"One evening, a party of fi-iends 
assembled at the liouse of the Rev. 
Joseph ]\Iilner were discussing, among 
other religious topics, the character of 
St. Paul ; Joseph Milner expressed 
very strongly his idea of the privilege 
and happiness of those persons who 
enjoyed opportunities of personal in- 
tercourse with the Apostle; and said, 
that he could scarcely conceive a 
higher gratification than to have sat in 
his company and heard him converse. 
* Ay, bairn,' interposed his mother, in 
her broad Yorkshii-e dialect, 'but thou 
would'st not have let him have all tlie 
talk to himself, — thou would'st have 
put in thy word, I'll warrant Ihee.' 
Joseph IMiluer, who was, in fact, when 
he liked his comjmny, a great talker, 
joined very heartily in the laugh tlius 
raised at his expense." 

* The Grammar Scliool at Leeds, 
of which school the Rev. A[r. Moore 
was, at that time, head mastei-. 

n 2 

4 CHAr. I. A.D. 1759. /ETAT. 9. 

that during one of his visits to Leeds, after he became Dean of 
Carhsle, he had earnestly endeavoured to discover the marks of 
it upon a wall near the house in which he was born. Another 
circumstance omitted by Dr. Milner, is, his having been taken 
during his childhood, — by whom, or on what occasion, cannot 
now be known, — to London. It is certain, that in later hfe he 
used to relate, " that the first time he ever heard about ivar or 
the French, was when he was a little child in London. He was 
taken,^^ he said, " out of bed late at night, and carried to the 
window. All the street was alive, though it was midnight; the 
watchman was calling, ' Past twelve o'clock, Quebec taken' 
The news,'' he said, ^' came late ; and the Lord Mayor had 
given orders that the watchmen should cry it, with the hour, 
all through the city." 

The date of the taking of Quebec of course fixes this journey 
to London to the ninth year of Dr. Milner's life. 

And now there appeared every reason to expect that the 
future life of Isaac Milner wovdd be spent " in labouring with 
his hands in the maiuxfactories of Yorkshire j" but Providence 
had, for him, other things in store. 

By the kindness of Mr. Moore, who had early discovered his 
great abilities, and by the liberality of other friends, Joseph 
Milner, the elder brother of Isaac, had been sent to the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge, M'here he had fulfilled the promise of his 
youth, by obtaining, Ijcsides a very honourable place in the list 
of Mathematicaland Philosophical honours*, the highest distinc- 
tion which that University can bestow upon classical learningf. 

Joseph Milner had now left college, and was established as 
head master of the Grannnar School at Hull, in which town he 
was, shortly afterwards, elected afternoon lecturer at the principal 
church. His success in obtaining these situations was "owing," 
says his Ijrother, " partly to the splendour of his character, and 
partly to the reconnncndation of ])o\verfid friends at Leeds J." 

Being jiow raised above poverty, his annual income amount- 

* He was third Senior Optime. 
t He wtts one of tlie Chaiicelloi'H 
Mcdalliata in the year llOH, the caiuU- 

dates being in that year unusually 
nnnieroiis and able. 
X Sec Life of the Rev. Joseph Milner, 

CHAP. I. A.D. 170c. /ETAT. IC. 5 

ing, upon the whole, to upwards of 200/., " the bowels of 
Joseph yearned upon his younger brother*.'^ He imme- 
diately resolved to release him from his obligations at Leeds, 
and, with that view, requested the Rev. Myles Atkinson, the 
minister of St. Paul's Church, in that town, to examine into the 
qualifications of Isaac, to become his usher in the Grammar 
School at Hull. Upon proceeding to the work-room in which 
Isaac Milner then lal)oured, Mr. Atkinson found him seated at 
his loom with Tacitus, and some Greek author lying by his side. 
Upon further examination, it appeared that, notwithstanding his 
long absence from school, and the interruption of his literary 
pursuits, his knowledge and his love of classical learning re- 
mained unimpaired. After a private interview with Mr. Atkin- 
son, during which the terms of the apprentice's emancipation 
were agreed upon, the master of the establishment entered 
the work-room, and addressing young Milner, said to him, 
" Isaac, lad, thou art off." The delight exhibited by the youth, 
on hearing these words, was declared by Mr. Atkinson to be 
quite indescribable. 

Isaac Milner, who, as he himself says, had been well 
grounded by Mr. Moore in the Latin and Greek languages!, 
now proved himself aii able assistant to his brother in teaching 
the lower boys| of his crowded school at Hull ; and while he 
instructed them, he redoubled his efforts, under his brother's 
tuition, and with his assistance, to 'wo^toxq himself , and to make 
up for lost time. 

During this period of his life, Isaac Milner not only made 
himself a competent classical scholar, but also found time to 
master the elementary parts of mathematics. When, in the ordi- 
nary business of the school, any difficulty occurred in algebra, 
&c., it Avas customary with his brother Joseph to call up Isaac 
to solve it ; for although the point might be one which, with 

* See Life of the Rev. Joseph Milner. 

t Ibid. 

X Among vhoni, at that time, was 
William "NVilbcrforce, afterwards liis 
own most intimate friend. Of him 
Dr. Milner used to relate, that, at 

seven years of age, he read so well* 
that it was customary to place hun 
upon a table in the sclicol-ioom, and 
to make him read aloud for the benefit 
of the other bovs. 

9 CHAP. I. A.D. l/fJfJ— 1770. yETAT. 10—20. 

sufficient thought, he could, perhaps, have made out for himself, 
all trouble Avas saved l)y the readiness of Isaac on such subjects. 

In the year 17/0, Isaac Milner was sent l)y his brother 
to Queen's College, Cambridge. 

Towards that excellent brother, he expresses his grateful affec- 
tion in a touching passage, in the Life of the Reverend Joseph 
Milner, already referred to. In that passage, after declaring, 
that, Under Providence, he owed his lionoura])le and elevated 
situations, as Dean of Carlisle, President of Queen's College, 
and Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge, 
nay, that he owed " all that he had, to the kindness of this same 
brother," he " willingly acknoAvledges the obligation, with tears 
of gratitude and affection;" and concludes with the beautiful 
and apposite quotation, *' He made Isaac glad with his acts, and 
his memorial is blessed for ever*!" 

Tlie affection which bound these brothers to each other, was, 
perhaps, as strong as ever subsisted in that relation of life. It 
began in childhood ; was cemented in youth, by more than ordi- 
nar}' fraternal kindness on the one part, and by cordial gratitude 
on the other; and, far from suffering interruption or abatement 
in after life, it increased in fervour, till the death of the elder 
brother separated these tenderly-attached relatives. 

" Never," says the sun-ivor, " was separation more bitter or 
afflicting." An entire agreement in their religious sentiments, 
of which agreement the sequel of this narrative will aflbrd 
abundant evidence, was, doubtless, effectual in draAnng still 
closer the Ijonds of natural affection which united these excel- 
lent men. 

Isaac Milner entered Queen's College as a Sizar. Sizars 
are, for the most part, as is generally known, students, who 
enjoy certain pecuniary privileges, and who, formerh', were 
required, at Caml^ridge, to perform various menial services, 
from which tliey are now, and have l)cen for many years, 
exempted. These services, whi(;h consisted in the ringing of the 
chapel l)cll, the serving uji of the first dish to the fellows at dinner, 
^c, were exacted at Queen's, when Isaac Milner became an 

• 1 Maccab. iii. 7. 

CHAP. L A.D. 1770-1772. Tirr AT. iJ(»— 22. 

undergraduate, and were undoubtedly finally abolished l)y him, 
■when he l^ecame President of the College ; but whether the 
following anecdote, frequently told in reference to this subject, 
l)e strictly correct, may, perhaps, be doul)ted. Isaac Milner, 
happening one day, while engaged in the execution of his duties 
as a Sizar, to overturn upon the floor of the liall a tureen of 
soup, intended for the fellows' table, is said to have exclaimed, 
in reply to some tart reljuke, " When I get into power, I will 
abolish this nuisance." This expression of the unpolished 
Yorkshire lad, " TF/ien I get into power^^ occasioned, as it is 
said, much merriment among the fellows ; who, of course, did 
not detect, under the rough exterior of the Sizar, the future 
President of their College. 

Tliere is no evidence, that, at this early period of his life_, 
Isaac Milner had been led to entertain those religious views 
which he afterwards adopted, and of which he became so able 
and zealous an advocate ; but an incident which occurred during 
his undergraduateship, effectually put to the proof, and firmly 
established his character, as a man of inflexiljle integrity and 
conscientious resolution. Many of the then governing members 
of Queen's College were supposed to be far from orthodox in 
their religious faith ; and, with their approbation, a petition, 
against subscription to the Articles of the Established Church, 
was presented for signature to the students. This petition, 
supported as it was by his superiors, Isaac Milner alone, among 
the students of his OAvn college, refused to sign*. 

The brilliant success of Isaac Milner at the University 
fully evinced the penetration, and justified the advice, of those 
early friends of his parents, who had exhorted them to strain 
every nerve in order to give him a literary- education. A circum- 
stance which occurred during the last term of his undergradu- 
ateship, tended to prepare his cotemporaries for the honours 
which awaited him. 

Keeping an Opponency in the Schoolsf, he made use of an 

* To this refusal, after an interval 
of above forty years, lie alludes, with 
evident satisfaction, in his Slricturcs 
on the IVritiiiffs of Dr. Marsh, 

+ The practice of keeping Acts and 
Opponencics, has been lately disused 
in the University of Ciuubridge. 

8 CHAP. I. A.L). 1774. /ETAT. 24. 

argument, subsequently well known at Cambridge, and fre- 
quently used on similar occasions ; but at that time quite new. 
The Moderator was the late Dr. Pearce, afterwards Public 
Orator, ^Master of Jesus College, and Dean of Ely. The argu- 
ment was new to him, and he thus addressed the opponent: 
" Domine opponens, argnmentum sane novum et difficile; nee 
pudet fateri meipsiun nodmn solvere non posse." 

This anecdote was sometimes told by Dr. Mihier in after 
life. The words of the Moderator were accurately remembered 
by him, not only on account of the compliment which they 
implied, but also, because Dr. Pearce was celebrated in the 
University for the purity- and elegance of his Latinity. 

Dr. Milner, however, never failed to add, that he had received 
from Dr. Pearce, in the evening of the same day, a complete 
answer to the novel argument which he had adduced. 

Genius, or even superior excellence, is usually accompanied 
by much modesty and diffidence. Dr. Milner, when induced, 
in later life, to speak of his ovm degree, invariably said, that he 
had been, at the time, very far from sanguine respecting his 
success — nay, that he even feared he might have completely 
failed. His fears were, indeed, groundless ; since he had, from 
the first, fixed his eye upon the highest honours of the Uni- 
versity, and had spent the time of his undergraduateship in 
indefatigable study. He took his degree of B.A. in 177^, and 
was the Senior Wrangler of his year, with the honourable dis- 
tinction of ^' Incomparahilis" the Moderators being Thomas 
Kipling, M.A., of St. John^s, and Tliomas Parkinson, M.A., of 
Christ^ s — themselves Senior Wranglers of a few years standing. 

At this distance of time, there can be no indehcacy in stating, 
that, on occasion of the competition for Smith's Prize, Isaac 
Milner had to contend with more than the ordinary difficulties. 
The Professor of Mathematics, one of the Examiners for this 
prize, was more than suspected of favouring a particular candi- 
date, a relative of his own. Such conduct must always have 
formed a rare exception to the uiideviating rectitude usually 
obsers'ed upon such (x-casions. Al)ility and industr}'^ seldom, 
however, fail of success, be the obstacles what they may ; and 
the man who, in the Senate House, had been pronounced 

CHAP. I. A.I). 1774. /ETAT. 24. 9 

" Incomparabilis" was declared to be first Smith's Prize- 
man — lionours which, it is needless to say, are the very highest 
which the University of Cambridge can confer*. 

Having taken his degree of B.A., Mr. Milner was admitted a 
member of the " Hyson Club," a society originally formed by 
the Wranglers of the year 1758, and composed of the most 
eminent men then resident in the University. A brilliant so- 
ciet}', doubtless, in its day, was this Hyson Club, enrolling in 
its list of members the names of Waring, Watson, Paley, and 
others equally known to fame. Of these distinguished men, 
few now remain ; but the memory of the powerful mind, and 
extraordinary conversational powers of Mr. Milner, is still pre- 
served, as having materially contributed to the interest and 
hilarity of the meetings of this once brilliant company. 

Another consequence of the sj^lendid success of Mr. Milner, 
at the commencement of his Universit}' career, was a notifica- 
tion communicated to him, that the office of tutor to a relative 
of the Polish Prince Poniatowski awaited his acceptance. This 
offer, however, advantageous as it must have appeared at the 
time, he at once declined. 

Great as was Mr. ^lilner's proficiency in mathematical 
studies, they did not, even at this time, occupy the whole of his 

The follo'wang extract from a letter, dated March 27th, 1/74, 
and, consequently, WTitten within a few weeks after Mr. Milner 
became Bachelor of Arts, illustrates the comprehensive turn of 
his mind, and shows the estimation in which, at this period of 
his life, he was held by his cotemporaries : 

" Dear Milner, "March 27, 1774. 

"As you are holding strange converse with Philosophy, I 
shall propose what I have to say to you, under the form of 
queries." * * * Here follow a number of metaphysical 
questions concerning the nature of the immaterial principle, in 

* In after life, Dr. Milner nsed 
sometimes to observe, that he was on 
this occasion tempted to commit his 
fii-st act of extravagance. In the pride 

of his heart, he ordered from a 
jeweller a rather splendid seal, bearing 
a finely-executed head of Sii* Isaac 


ClIAr. I. A.D. 1774. yETAT. 24. 

man, and in the lower animals, such as, " Can the soul, which 
is the eye of the mind, any more than the eye of the body, see 
itself, its own nature, and inherent powers ?" " Have not the 
brute creatures a living immaterial substance within them ? 
And are they incapable of immortality and happiness ? Does 
the condition of their nature render them incapable of receiving 
any recompense in another life, for the sufferings they endure in 
this ?" " Quid meruistis, ores, placidum pecus, &c." " Can 
you clear and justify tlic ways of God towards them ? Could 
you satisfy me in these doubts you would be mild Magnus 

'\^Tiile an Undergraduate, Mr. Milnerbecame acquainted with 
the late celebrated William Hey, Esq., of Leeds, having occa- 
sion to consult him for a complaint partly produced by intense 
application to study. His superior talents and attainments 
were quickly discerned and justly appreciated by Mr. Hey, who 
invited him to his house, and put him, as Dr. Milner aftenvards 
said, '^upon a completely new system of habits." He remained 
during several weeks the guest of Mr. Hey ; and the acquaint- 
ance thus commenced, ripened into a friendship which suffered 
neither diminution nor interruption till the friends were sepa- 
rated by death. During this intimacy of nearly fifty years con- 
tinuance, many letters were exchanged, some extracts from 
which will appear under their proper dates. 

Another gentlemanf who became acquainted with Mr. Milner 
about this period of his life, and who was himself Senior 
Wrangler not long afterwards, speaks of him in the following 
terms. " My acquaintance with Dr. Milner commenced on his 
return to Cambridge at the close of the year 177^5 to my great 
advantage, being greatly inde1)ted to him for his valuable assist- 
ance in my mathematical studies. I had afterwards opportuni- 
ties of knowing and admiring tlie extraordinary^ strength of his 

• The wTiter of this curious lettei* 
•was of Queen's College, and took his 
degree of IJ.A. in 1774. He has been 
flcad many years, and the answer to 

this communication has not boon found 
among his pnjxTs. 

t The present Archdeacon Oldcr- 

CUAP. I. A.L). 1775. vETAT. 25. 11 

understanding, and the great variety and extent of his know- 
ledge ; and I retain a high veneration for his memory." 

"Tlic mathematical papers wliich Mr. Milner used to make 
out for his pupils were so remarkable, at the time, for their 
neatness and elegance, that they were very much in request 
whenever they could be had* ;" indeed, so highly prized were 
his demonstrations of mathematical propositions, that an in- 
stance occurred in which a bed-maker of Queen's was bribed 
to obtain some of those papers, to be copied by a student of 
another college. 

On Sunday, the l/th day of December, in the year 1775, 
Isaac Milner entered into holy orders, being ordained a 
deacon, at a general ordination held in the Chapel of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, by the Lord Bishop of Peterborough. 

* This was conimuuicated to me by Dr. Procter, the present JNIaster of 
Catherine Hall, Cambridge. 



^Ir. Miluer is elected Fellow of Queen's College. — Takes Ins degi*ee of M.A. 
—Is elected Tutor of Queen's. — Makes a communication to the Royal 
Society. — Is ordained Priest. — Presented to the Rectory of St. Botolph's» 
Cambridge. — Makes various communications to tlie Royal Society. — In- 
jures his health by inhaling a noxious gas. — Is elected a Fellow of the 
Royal Society. — Is Moderator. — Reads public Lectures in ChjTnistry. — 
Is Proctor. — Commencement of his acquaintance with William "Wilber- 
force, Esq. — Correspondence. — Letter from Joseph Alilner to Rev. 
James Stilliugfleet. — Isaac Milncr is elected to the Jacksonian Professor- 
ship. — Gives alternate courses of Lectures in Chyniistry and Experimental 
Philosophy. — Correspondence. — Assists in the formation of a Society for 
tlie promotion of Philosophy and General Literature. — Travels on the 
Continent with Mr. "Wilberforce. — Voyage down the Rhone. — House at 
Nice. — Marseilles. — English Society at Nice. — Mr. Milner's religious 
principles. — Religious conversation with ^Ir. AVilberforce. — Returns with 
^Ir. "Wilberforce to England. — Is ^loderator. — Climate of Nice. — Perilous 
accident. — Second journey witli Mr. "Wilberforce to the Continent. — Reli- 
gious conversation. — Meeting with Lavater. — Mystical turn of Lavater's 
mind. — Letter from him to Mr. Milner. — Rev. Thomas Scott's account 
of Mr. Milner's travels witli Mr. Wilberforce. — Correspondence. — Tissot. 

A.D. 1777. ^TAT. 27. 
On the 10th of Januar}", 1776, Mr. Milner was elected a Fellow 
of Queen's College. He proceeded, in the year 1777, to the 
degree of Master of Arts, and, during the same year, was 
appointed Tutor of his College, in which capacity he acquired 
a distinguished reputation. 

In the spring of tliis year he communicated to the Royal 
Societ)- a paper, entitled, " Obsen'ations on the Limits of Alge- 
braical Equations; and a General Demonstration of Des Cartes's 
Rule for finding tlicir number of Affirmative and Negative 
Roots'*.^' This paper, which was presented to the Society by 

• See Transactions of the Royal 
Society for the year 1777- With re- 
ference to this subject, the following 
passage occurs in the Preface to l)r. 
Waring's Mcdilalioncs Alyebraica;, 3rd 
edition, p. 13 : 

"Milner invenit eequationem ax" — 
(a-f b) p x"'-f (a + 2b) (IX"'' -(a -I- 3 b) 
r x"'^-f- &c. = 0,710/1 semper habere ra- 
(licctn inter minimam affirmativam el mi- 
nimam neyativam rarlircm (Pquatiouis \n 
-px"'-fqx"'-.rx"3-|-/tc. = O poei- 

CHAP. II. A.D. 1778. yETAT. 28. 


Dr. Shepherd, at that time Plumian Professor at Cambridge, 
was read at the meeting of that learned body on the 2Gth of 
February, 1777« 

On Sunday, the 22nd of March, Mr. Milner was admitted to 
priest's orders in the Chapel of Trinity College, by the same 
bishop who had ordained him a deacon, and who, on this occa- 
sion, acted for the Bishop of Ely. 

He now, on some few occasions, assisted his friends by 
taking their duty in the neighbouring country churches; and, on 
the 10th of October, 1778^ was presented by his college to the 
rectoiy of the parish of St. Botolph, Cambridge, which prefer- 
ment, although, in consequence of the infirm state of his health, 
seldom able to officiate in person, he retained till the latter end 
of the year 1792, reUnquishing it on his advancement to the 
deanery of Carlisle. 

During this year Mr. Milner again addressed a paper to the 
Royal Society. This paper, which, like the last, was communi- 
cated l)y Dr. Shepherd, is entitled, " Reflections on the Com- 
munication of Motion, by Impact and Gravity." It was read at 
the meeting of the Royal Societj^, February'' 26, 1778*. 

In the year 177^, a paper "On the Precession of the Equi- 
noxes produced by the Sun's Attraction," was, through the 

tarn. Sit cequatio (A) Xn — p x""' -fq x°'^ 
— &c.=0, cujus radices sint a,/3, y, 8, &c. 
quarum a major nit quam /3, ^ quam y, 
&c.; sint ir, p, cr, &c., radices aquationis 
(B) nx-'-(n-l) px°-=' + &c. = 0, in- 
ter a et ^, ^ et y, &C. respective posita ; 
turn, si h el m eadein habeant signa, in 
hoc opere probatur radices eequationis 
h A+m B=:0 inter a et it, ^ et p, &c., 
respective positas esse ; si vera h et in 
diversa habeant signa, turn probatur unam 
radicem csqualionis h A+m BzrO ma- 
jorem esse quam a ; cceteras vera inter tt 
et ^, p et y, iX-C. respective poni ; si vero 
h et m eadem habeant signa, turn duas 
radices csquationis h A+m BxrrO in- 
ter minimam affinnativam 6 et minimam 
7iegativam —i data aquationis A=:0 po- 
ni, quarum una affirmativaf altera vero 

negativa erit : si mode detur mutatio sig- 
norum de + m — , vel — in + a penultimo 
ad ultiimim dates eequationis terminum ; 
turn affirmativam radicem inter 6 et o, 
negativam vero inter— p. et — \ poni j sin 
aliter, turn affirmativam radicem inter 6 
et p, et negativam inter o et — i poni, ubi 
u sit radix eequationis ux"''— (n— 1) 
px°"^+&c.=rO inter minimam affirma- 
tivam et minimam negativam data eequa- 
tionis X" — p x"' +&c.=0 rarfice/n jooij/a, 
qua: erit negativa vel affirmativa prout 
detur mutatio signorum de + in — vel —in 
-\- a penultimo ad ultimum datie eequationis 
[terminum] necne ; plura consimilia de 
hue re in hoc opere cojitinentur." 

• See Transactions of the lioyal 
Society for 1778 

14 CHAP. ir. A.D. 1779—1780. /ETAT. 29—30. 

same Dr. Shepherd, communicated by Mr. Mihier to the Royal 
Society, and read on the 24th of June*. 

Intent, however, as Mr. Mihier's mind seems at this period 
to have been, upon mathematical science, he at the same time, 
engaged in the pursuit of chymical knowledge with an ardour 
which, whatever might be the object of his attention, always 
characterized him ; and wliich, when directed to this science, 
speedily placed him among the first chymists of his day. It 
was about this time, that, by incautiously inhaling some noxiousi 
gas, he laid the foundation of a serious pulmonary- complaint, 
from which he never entirely recovered. During many subse- 
quent years, he confined himself, by the advice of his physi- 
cians, to a milk diet ; and although at length, the natural strength 
of his constitution so far prevailed over the disease, as to render 
needless such strict attention to regimen, the wound in his lungs 
was never completely healed. 

On the 15th of June, in the year 1780, Mr. Milner was 
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. 

At this 'period of his life, before his originally strong consti- 
tution had given way under the repeated attacks of illness, to 
which, from the time of undergraduateship, he was subject, Mr. 
Milner was most actively engaged in the pursuit and furtherance 
of learning and science, and in the duties which devolved upon 
him, as a clerg^^man, and a member of the Universit}\ As a 
clergyman, he was indeed unable to undertake much public duty ; 
but he deeply and critically studied both the Scriptures and the 
WTitings of the ancient fathers of the church; thus doubtless laying 
the foundation of that sound and extensive theological knowledge, 
which is apparent in the productions of his later life. 

In this year he filled the oftice of Moderator; an office of 
great importance, and demanding, for the due discharge of its 
duties, much active exertion f. 

In the year 1781-2, it fell to Mr. Milner's lot to hold the 
office of Proctor; and by his firm, yet good-humoured, discharge 

* Seo Transactions of the Hiiij(d liis Anecdotes of his own Life, thus 
Sociclij for 1 77*>. 1 speaks : 

+ Of this ofl'ice, IJisliop "Wutboii, in ' *' I look iiijoii tlio ofllce of AFo- 

CHAP. IT. A.D. 1782. /ETAT. 32. 


of his duty, he contrived to escape unpopularity, even under 
circumstances the most Hkely to produce it. 

In 17S2 he read pul)Uc lectures in Chymistry. A Syllahus 
of one course of these Lectures, bearing the appropriate motto, 
"Non fingendum aut excogitandum, sed inveniendum qviid natura 
faciat aut ferat*,^' was published at Can>bridge in the year 1784, 

It may here be mentioned, that in the midst of his academical 
duties and pursuits, Mr. Milner never neglected to show libe- 
rality and kindness even to the most distant of his poor relatives 
and connexions, both at Leeds and at Hull. This, if it were 
ever proper to publish such deeds of private beneficence, might 
be proved by letters still in existence. Tliose, hoM^ever, who 
were personally acquainted with the subject of this Memoir, 
will have no need of such proof; and to the public in general, 
such details would be uninteresting. 

The precise period of the commencement of the intimate 
friendshij) which Mr. Milner, to the end of his life, maintained 
with the late William Wilberforce, Esq., is uncertain. Their 
epistolary correspondence seems to have begun soon after Mr. 
Wilberforce left college. Of the numerous letters which remain, 
the earliest are dated 1781, or 1782; but some of these letters 
obviously refer to others of a still earlier date. 

The father of Mr. Wilberforce had materially contributed, by 
the exercise of his influence in the town of Hull, to establish 
Joseph Milner, as the Master of the Grammar School in that 
place ; and the relationship which existed between the family of 
Wilberforce, and one with which, by the marriage of his niece, 
Mr. Milner was subsequently connected, would tend to cement 
yet more firmly, the friendship already established between 
William Wilberforce and Isaac Milner. 

In a letter addressed to Mr. Wilberforce, and dated "Queen's 
College, March 11, 1782," Mr. Milner after some slight obser- 

derator to be the most difficult to exe- 
cute, and the most important to the 
interest of the University, when well 
executed, of any that there is ; not ex- 
cei)ting the Professorship of Divinity 
itself." If tliis remark be tliought to 

exhibit somewhat of that disposition 
to self-complacency which was cer- 
tainly a distinguishing trait in Dr. 
Watson's character, it is not on that 
account the less worthy of notice. 
'■' Bacox. 

16 CHAP. II. A.D. 1782. /ETAT. :i2, 

rations upon tlie " tottering" position of the Prime Minister, 
makes some remarks upon the consequently clouded state of his 
own prospects in life ; jocularly adding, " A chaplaincy on board 
a man of war, from Keppel, is all that I now look for.'" Some 
inquiries propounded with a view to the advantage of his brother 
Joseph, respecting a vacant living supposed to be in the gift 
of John Thornton, Esq., conclude this communication. 

Tlie following truly excellent letter contains but a very slight 
allusion to Isaac Milner ; but it throws so much light upon the 
character and religious views of the brother for whom he was 
anxious to obtain preferment, that it may properly be admitted 
here : 

"To THE Reverend James Stillixgfleet*. 
*'Dear Stilo, "Hull, October 4th, 1782. 

" I thank you for yours, and indeed generally hear from you 
with pleasure ; and the more serious and weighty your mood 
and feelings about divine things, the more acceptable. 

"The mind that is in Jesus is a rare mind indeed. It is 
remarkable, that though there is scarce a topic of Scripture but 
is niliblcd at, in these days of infidelity, yet you don't find the 
hardiest sceptics middle with the moral character, temper, and 
conduct of Jesus Christ. It is a tacit confession of its victori- 
ous excellence, and there is great truth in an assertion of a 
modern publication concerning his moral character, which I saw 
quoted the otlier day, to this efi'ect ; ' that it was not 'possible 
such a character could have l>eeu feigned. It must have been 
real : it proves its Divinity by its own light.' 

" All we want and should aim at (repentance from dead works 
being supposed) is reduced, I think, to these two particulars ; 
to have ^ grace always most thankfully to receive his inestimable 
Ijenefit, and also daily to endeavour ourselves to follow the bles- 
sed steps of his most holy life.' Tlie first is the substratum. 
We must be in him; and quietly and confidently in him, as 
our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. As 
we have it not in our nature to do any thing good to procure 

Mr. Stillingflcet was rector of Ilotliani, iiud one of tlic most intimate 
and attached friends of Isaac Milner and lii« brother Joseph. 

CHAP. II. A.D. 17fi2. yETAT. 32. I7 

the Divine favour, so, thanks be to God, we need not. All is 
done to our hand. We have only to receive eternal life, as the 
inestimable gift worthy of infinite liberality. It is bad mixin^^ 
foundation and building together, as Owen observes. Sanctifica- 
tion is a consequence of grace rather than grace itself. I use the 
M'ord grace, in its strictest and most Scriptural sense, as the gift 
of eternal life in Jesus Christ. The fruits of the Spirit must not 
be made use of to get peace to our consciences, that is to say, 
relief from the guilt of sin. They should never be conceived to 
exist in that relation. If we follow the mind that is in Jesus, it 
is an obedience of love, thanksgiving, humility, filial reverence. 
It is not an obedience of selfish, proud, constrained, service ; no 
more should ours. So that the very endeavour to follow the 
blessed steps of his most holy life, is as inimical to a self-righte- 
ous spirit as possible. How shocking then that we should 
pervert it to that end ! You will pardon my constant drift 
against self-righteousness. My oAvn experience makes it 
necessary for me to abound in such meditations. 

" Well, my dear friend, let us daily begin our Christianitj^ in 
this way. Begin with Christ as ours already by his own pre- 
cious donation, grounding our title purely on the Word. Then 
taking a good heart to ourselves, and not being discouraged at 
our imperfections, which in this life we shaU always see to be 
very, very, very great, unless the Devil deceive us with an 
accursed pride indeed, let us l^e looking, however, constantly at 
the beautiful copy which he has set us ; and though we make 
poor scribbling work of it, and many a foul blot, yet let us 
write on, and try again and again to cut our strokes cleaner and 
cleaner. If we go on thus, using in proper place and order, 
without juml)ling them together, the tw-^o parts of the Collect, 
we shall do well enough, and sing at last, O be joyful ! 

"Remember me kindly to Mrs. Still. 

" 1 am always yours affectionately, 

"Joseph Milxer. 

"N.B. My 1)rother told me, before he returned to Camljridgc, 
that he had tried the water, found an earth in it, but no metal at 
all. The slates he has done nothing with here ; but as he most 
probably took them with him, I may hear afterwards about them." 


18 CHAP. II. A.D. 17fi2. /ETAT. 32. 

From this characteristic letter, -which, it siiould be observed, 
was addressed to one who thoroughly entered into the rehgious 
A-iews of the writer, and by whom therefore his meaning would 
not be misunderstood, it appears, that Isaac Milner this year 
passed, according to his usual custom, a part of the Cambridge 
long vacation with his mother and brother at Hxill. 

On these occasions he freqviently assisted his brother in the 
duties of his school ; in fact, he almost resumed his former cha- 
racter of usher. A gentleman still living well remembers his 
instructing the scholars, particularly in the use of the globes ; 
and relates, that " he was a great favourite vdth the boys — the 
delight of the school — more especially from his playful, kind 
manner, and very clear mode of explaining things." All who, at 
any period of his life, knew Dr. Milner, will acknowledge this 
account of him to be strikingly characteristic. 

In the following year, in which he was again Moderator, Mr. 
Milner Avas elected to the Professorship of Natural and Kxperi- 
mental Philosophy, then recently founded by the Reverend 
Richard Jackson, and called, in consequence, the Jacksonian 

He now gave, and continued to give during several years, 
alternate courses of Lectures, in Chymistry and Experimental 
Philosophy ; sciences for which he retained his love, throughout 
the whole of his subsequent life. 

On the 17th of February, 1783, this short entry appears in 
the published diary of William Willjcrforce, Esq. : " Walked 
down morning to House, to get Milner into Gallerj'." 

The following extract from a letter, dated " Queen% Feb. 
24th," Avill probably be deemed an interesting comment upon 
this apparently unimportant circumstance : 

" My dear Sir, 

" I was much oljligcd to Bankes for his ])unctuality, and for 
introducing me into the gallery, where I stayed till about eleven 

"In point of eloquence, I think Pitt was not so much at 
liberty as usual; which only sers'cs to convince me farther, that 
ffood sense and mailer arc rather against fluency of expression. 

CIIAr. II. A.D. 17a4. yETAT. 34. 19 

"On the Avhole, I was so well satisfied with what he said, that I 
was the less sorry at being obliged to retreat before he answered 
tlie ol)jections ; because I really thought that he had fully an- 
ticipated tlic principal of them. I only wish and liopc, that the 
article concerning wliat the Irish arc to perform on their part, 
will not he frittered away, notwithstanding what Fox says about 
the confidence he has in the liberaUty of that country. * * 

" Yours aflectionately, 

" Isaac Milner. 

" To miUam Wilberforce, Esq,'' 

In the year 1784, Professor Milner assisted several gentlemen 
at Cambridge in the formation of a literaiy clul), called, '^' Tlie 
Society for the promotion of Philosophy and General Literature." 

The names of the distinguished men M'ho, on the 18th of 
February, 1 784, enrolled themselves members of this society, each 
of them engaging to furnish occasionally original papers, of which 
a selection should afterwards be printed, will, even at this dis- 
tance of time, be perused by academical readers with interest. 
The indi^dduals hereafter mentioned, most of whom are still 
well remembered at Cambridge, composed this learned body : 
Dr. Milner, Archdeacon Coxe, Dr. Jowett (Professor of Civil 
Law), Mr. Carlyle (Professor of Arabic), Mr. Atkinson, Dr. 
Coulthurst, and Professor Parish. 

These gentlemen soon added to their number, Mr. Pearce, 
Professor Yince, Sir Busick Harwood, Mr. Relhan, Mr. Jones, 
Professor Person, Mr. Emperius, Professor Marty n, Mr. Popple, 
Mr. Brundish, Professor Tennant, Professor WoUaston, and 
Mr. Ainslie. 

To this Society, which, for want of adequate support, was 
dissolved within two years after its formation, Mr. Milner con- 
tributed several papers, some of which are printed in the Phi- 
losophical Transactions''^'. 

It may be worth while to observe, that this list of members 

* A papev on "The Tides," and 
one on " Tlic Jloon's Apsides," ap- 

by Dr. Milner, in his private memo- 
randa of a much later date, as having 

jiarently -written for the Cambridge been printed. They have not, how- 
Philosophical Society, are mentioned \ ever, been discovered. 

C 2 

20 CIIAr. II. A.D. 17«1. ;ETAT. 34. 

of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, comprises the names of 
most of the academical friends with whom Dr. ^lilner, in after 
life, maintained an intimate connexion. Among these friends 
the late Dr. Jowett must be particularly mentioned. In his 
company Dr. Milner, from the time of his undergratuateship, 
regularly spent two evenings in every week — Sunday and 
Thursday. These meetings, which, at first, were held alternately 
at their respective rooms, took place in later years, always at 
Queen's Lodge, and were c(jutinued till Dr. Jowett's death. 

It seemed proper to make some mention, in this place, of 
this long and Christian friendship. Further notices of it will 
appear hereafter. 

During this part of Mr. Milner's academical career, his va- 
cations were, almost invariably, spent with his brother, at Hull. 
To the frequent intercourse which he was thus enabled to enjoy 
with that excellent relative, may, doubtless, under Providence, 
be attriljuted the gradual establishment of those religious 
opinions, which, even at this time, he had begun to entertain. 

In the summer of the year 1784, Mr. Wilberforce, then in 
the hey-day of youth and spirits, and recently elected member 
of parliament for Yorkshire, visited York, for the purpose of 
participating in the gaieties of the races. While there, he invited 
a gentleman, with whom he was intimately acquainted, to 
become his companion in a continental tour. That gentleman 
declined the invitation, which was, ])y letter, sul)sequently trans- 
ferred Ijy Mr. Wilberforce to his friend, Isaac Milner, whom, on 
leaving York, he had met at Scarborough, and in whose com- 
pany he had there spent much time. The solid sense and 
great literary attainments of Mr. Milner, would naturally re- 
commend him to his friend as an eligiljle companion in a tour 
on the Continent ; but the idea of that companionship does not 
appear to have i)rcsented itself, for the first time, to the mind 
of Mr. AVil])erforcc, on occasion of tlic meeting at Scarborough. 
His grandfatlier, at least, had previously made a declaration in 
reference to this subject, in terms which infer a strong suspicion, 
that reports, even at that time, had gone forth, respecting the 
bias of Isaac Milner's mind towards, what are called, evangelical 
sentiments. " Billy," said he, " shall travel with Milner, as soon 

CHAP. II. A.D. 17«4. yETAT. 31. 


as he is of age ; but if Billy turns Methodist, he sliall not have 
a sixpence of mine*." 

Mr. Milner was very desirous to accept the invitation thus 
given ; but to this step his academical engagements presented 
many obstacles. Several letters passed between the friends pre- 
vious to their departure for the Continent; an extract from 
one of which is here submitted to the reader : 

"Hull, September 19, 1784, 
"My dear Sir, "Friday Mom. 

" Upon receiving your first letter, I wrote to Carlisle, to my 
friend, Mr. Carlyle-j*, to get him to read College Lectures for 
me, in the ensuing winter, as I understood, that he intended to 
reside in College. I have not yet received his answer, but I 
have little doubt of succeeding. I wrote to the Master of 
Queen's^, to obtain his approbation of my absence, and, till I 
hear from him, I am not without some suspicion of objection 
on his part, arising from his verj'^ severe notions of regularity 
and form, which notions are both natural to him, and have been 
rivetted by age. He is, however, a very worthy man. 

" In my letter to you, I mentioned that I was unluckily 
engaged to be Moderator the next year — in doing which, I assure 
you, I was far from meaning to refer to any relinquishment of 
profit arising from that office, (which is but al)out 50/. for the 
year,) biit solely and entirely to the inconvenience to which I 
might put Mr. Johnson of King's Coll. He is a gentleman I am 
not at all acquainted with. Johnson is to be Proctor next year. 
The Proctor always procures the Moderator, and, I apprehend, 
there may be considerable difficulty to find and settle with 
another person, when there is so little time before the 10th 
of October, and when everybody is dispersed throughout the 

" However, as the proljability is now very much against the 
foreign tour, I will thank you to give me a single line the mo- 

* Life of Mr. Wilbcrforcc, by liis 
Sons. Vol. I. 

-f Afterwards Trofcssor of Arabic 

in the University of Canibriilge. 
X Dr. riuniptrc. 

22 CFIAP. IT. A.D. 17fi4. JET AT. 34. 

ment you have positively determined, in order that I may •wTite 
to Johnson immediately; for though the relinquishment of even 
considerable matters, would, I trust, never he of any weight when 
I can ol)lige you, and of course, myself, essentially, yet, as I re- 
side in the Universit}', I may as well have the office in question 
next year, if possi1:>le ; especially as I don't think its profits will 
be found an inconvenience to me, when the bills come in for 
electrical apparatus, air-pumps, furnaces, crucibles, &c. 

'' Seymour will gravely tell you, that the alchymists, notwith- 
standing their pretences, were always poor." 

>;; ;!; IK * * * 

Here follows a passage referring solely to the family affairs 
of Mr. Wilberforce. 

The letter concludes thus : 

" I endeavour to flatter myself Avith a hope that something 
or other will some time happen, that may aft'ord us more fre- 
quent and tranquil opportunities of conversation. — At least, as 
TuUy says, on another occasion, ' Nunc quidem certe cogitatione 
quadam spcque delector. 

" I am, dear Sir, very much yours, 

"Isaac Milner. 
" To WiUiam Wilberforce, Esq.'' 

The foregoing letter is valuable, not only as throwing light 
upon Mr. Milner^s plans and prospects at the time, but as afford- 
ing a contrast to his later letters to the same friend. It is per- 
fectly friendly in its tone, but it does not exhibit either the 
warmth of affection, or the sympathy in religious opinion and 
feeling, M'hich, as the intimacy between these correspondents 
becomes closer, is gradually more and more apparent in the 
subsequent letters. 

The obstacles whicli stood in the way of tlic continental ex- 
cursion were, subsequently, removed or overcome. Mr. Milner 
accepted liis friend's invitation, and the ])arty, consisting of Mr. 
Wilberforce, his niotlicr and sister, two or three other ladies, 
and Mr. Milner, set forth on their journey towards France, on 
the 20th day f)f Oct()l)er, 1781, one carriage l)eing occupied by 
Mr. Wilberforce and his friend, tlie otlier l)y the ladies. 

CllAP. il. A.l). 17«4. /1:TAT. 34. 23 

Dr. Milner, like Dr. Johnson, was, perhaps, not gifted with a 
very vivid perception of the beauties of natural scenery : yet he 
used occasionally, in after life, to speak of the delicious voyage 
down the Rhone to Avignon ; and still more frequently of the 
exquisitely lovely situation of the house at Nice, in which the 
party established themselves, — a house close to the Mediterra- 
nean, and emljosomed in a grove of orange trees. 

The life and bustle of Marseilles, — a city upon whose quays 
men of all nations and languages meet together, — had, also, for- 
cibly struck him ; and a picture which he had there seen, by 
whom i^ainted I know not, representing a scene during the 
plague with which the city was visited, in the year 1720, and the 
exertions of "Marseilles' good Bishop," during that dreadful 
calamity, had left a deep impression upon his imagination. 

At Nice, the party entered freely into the English society 
which the place afforded, and which was composed, for the most 
part, of persons of high rank. Among other distinguished indi- 
viduals, the Duke of Gloucester was there, with his children. 
Prince William*, and the Princess Sophia ; who, like all other 
young persons who knew him, were attracted by Mr. Milner's 
child-lo\'ing disposition ; while he, on his part, in the simplicity 
of his character, was accustomed to caress them, or to amuse 
them with his sprightly talk, with as much freedom as he would 
have used towards any other children. 

Tlie account given l)y Mr. Wilberforce -f* of this memorable 
visit to Nice — memorable surely, on account of the important 
change which, under Providence, it was the means of effecting 
in the religious sentiments of that excellent and celebrated man, 
throws considerable light upon the character of Isaac Milner. 
Affectation of every kind, and most especially, religious affecta- 
tion he abhorred ; and it might be, that this hatred, in conjunc- 
tion with his naturally vivacious and cheerful temperament, oc- 
casionally, or even frequently, induced him, at this early period 
of his life, to participate in diversions, and to accommodate him- 
self to practices, which his judgment might not entirely approve; 

* Aft crwanls Chancellor of the Uiii- I t Life of Mr. IV Uboforcc, hy his 
versity of Cambridge. I Sons. Vol. I. 

24 CHAr. II. A.D. 1784. jETAT. 34. 

and he therefore, probably, "appeared" to most persons, "m 
all respects like an ordinar)- man of the world." It is, however, 
certain, that the religious principles which actuated him to the 
end of his life, had, even at this time, taken deep root in his 
mind ; and this fact Mr. Wilberforcc had discoA'ered before they 
became fellow-travellers, although happily for himself and the 
world, not till after the invitiition had been given and accepted. 

At a pul)lic table at Scarborough, the conversation had turned 
upon the character of a particular clerg}^man ; " and I," says Mr. 
Wilberforce, " spoke of him as a good man, l)ut one who carried 
things too far. ' Not a bit too far,' said Milner ; and to this 
opinion he adhered, when we renewed the conversation, in the 
evening, on the sands. This declaration greatly surprised me ; 
and it was agreed, that, at some future time, we should talk the 
matter over. Had 1 known, at first, Avhat his opinions were, it 
would have decided me against making him the offer. So true 
is it, that a gracious Hand leads us in ways that we know not, 
and blesses us, not only without, but even against, our plans and 

Another circumstance, mentioned l)y Mr. Wilberforce, as 
having occurred just before the journey to Nice, distinctly shows 
the nature of the religious views which Mr. Milner at this time 
entertained. Mr. A^'ill)erforce accidentally met with a volume 
of the works of Doddridge — his Rise and Progress of Religion 
in the Soul — and, casting over it a cursory glance, asked his 
friend Milner, what sort of a book it was. " It is one of the 
best books ever written," was the answer which he received ; 
" let us take it with us, and read it on our journey." They did 
so ; and the discussions wliich arose respecting it, Avere produc- 
tive, so far as Mr. Will^erforce was concerned, of the happiest 

This was not the only journey in which Mr. Milner was the 
sole companion of Mr. Wilberforce. The latter gentleman 
being recalled to Kngland by the duties of his station as a 
Member of Parliament, and the former holding, for the third 
time, tlic oOicc of Modcriitor in llio University, they returned 
home togctlier; the ladies of llie party remaining at Nice. This 
return to England took place late in January, 17^^; over roads 

CHAP. II. A.D. 1781. ^TAT. 34. 25 

buried in snow. Of tlie sudden transition from the compara- 
tive summer which they had left at Nice, to very severe cold. 
Dr. Milner frequently spoke in after life ; explaining the causes 
which render the climate of Nice much milder than could 
be expected from the mere consideration of its latitude ; and 
consequently, highly favoural)le, at certain periods of the year, 
to persons affected with, or threatened by, diseases of the 

During this journey, the travellers were once, in danger of 
instant destruction ; the weight of their carriage having over- 
powered the horses, when on the ver}- 1)rink of a precipice. 
The danger was, however, averted 1)y the timely exertions of 
Mr. Milner, who being possessed of great personal strength, 
arrested the descent of the carriage in the moment of peril. 

On this occasion, Mr. ^lilner was, probaljly, not accountable 
for the great weight of his friend's carriage : but it was one of 
the little peculiarities by which Doctor Milner was afterwards 
distinguished, that, travel where he might, his carriage was 
always of an extraordinar)- weight. This Avas in a great measure 
occasioned by his invariably carrying "about, with him an assort- 
ment which, to most persons, appeared uselessly large, of imple- 
ments of a heavy kind — such as scissars of various sizes, pincers, 
files, penknives, razors, and even hammers. The boxes adapted 
to different parts of his carriage — and they were xery numerous 
— A\ere laden with such things ; and many a good-humoured jest 
did he bestow upon the masters of the different inns at Mhich, 
during his frequent journeys, he Avas accustomed to rest, by Avay 
of reconciling them to the extra weight thus occasioned. 

On the 7th of July in the same year, Mr. Wilberforce and 
Mr. Milner set out together on their return to the Continent, 
and joroceeded to Genoa, whither, in tlie mean time, the ladies 
of their part}- had removed. They travelled alone, as before ; 
and their conversation again turned, with increased seriousness, 
upon religious topics. Tliey read together tlie Greek Testament 
— Mr. Milner sedulously explaining tojiis friend, /«5 views of the 
doctrines therein laid doAvn ; "until," says Mr. Wilberforce, 
" by degrees I imbibed his sentiments." * * * * * 
* * * « Milner, though full of levity on all other subjects. 


CHAP. II. A.D. 17fl5. yETAT. 35. 

never spoke on this, but with the utmost seriousness ; and all 
he said tended to increase my attention to religion*." 

During a tour in Switzerland, the friends met, at Zurich, the 
celebrated Lavater — a man who made a very favourable impres- 
sion upon Mr. Milner's mind. Superstitious and mystical he 
was, no doubt — as a story, told to tlie travellers by himself, and 
related at length in the Life of Mr, Wilberforce, abundantly 

Of this stor}^, the following slight outline was frequently 
given by Dr. Milner : 

Being urgently pressed by a friend in distress to lend him a 
certain sum of money, Lavater at length, very reluctantly, con- 
sented to advance it from the funds of some charity of which 
he Avas treasurer. This done, he felt, as was natural, extremely 
dissatisfied with the course he had adopted; and, on finding that 
his friend, contrar}- to his (Lavater's) confident expectations, 
could not repay him, he prayed earnestly, that some mode might 
present itself, by which he might be saved from casting disgrace 
upon his religious profession, l)y ap2')arent dishonesty. Having 
arisen from his knees, he began, with nervous anxiety, to search 
every closet and drawer which his dwelling contained, and while 
thus occupied, found, to his great amazement, a small paper 
parcel containing the precise sum of which he stood in need ! 
This occurrence he regarded as a special answer to his prayer. 

Mr. Milner subsequently endeavoured, by letter, to reclaim 
Lavater, whose simplicity and warmth of heart had greatly won 
upon his affections, from his mystical opinions ; but, — if we 
may judge from the following reply of the Smss physiognomist, 
which, however, discovers mucli real and simple piety, — without 
much success. 

Letter from Lavater to Mr. Milner. 

" J'ai reij'u, cher Millnerf, votre lettrc — ct je repond imme- 
diatement, seh)n ma fa(;on, mon temps, et les circonstances, — 
tres court. 

* f,ifr of Afr. WillicrfdiCf. 

t Tliia letter is trauscribcd without 

any cliaii^'c of (trlliograpliy, accent, 
puuctuution, &.C. 

CHAP. II. A.D. 17«5. yiLTAT. 35, 27 

"1. Toute la Bil)lc, d'un bout u I'autre, recommendc la 
priere positife, et promet — exauditiones. On ne pas croit la 
Bible, si on ne croit pas cela. 

" 2. Tous les hommcs sont enfans de Dieu — ont les memos 
devoirs, et les memes droits. Unus Dominus omnium, satis 
dives, et sufficiens onniibus. 

"3. Les Aputres ne reconnoissent pas aucun autre Saint 
Esprit que celui qu'ils avoient eux-memes. lis promettent 
CELui a tous les enfans d'Abraham, dans les terns les plus 

" 4. Tout ce que Dieu opere, est surnaturel pour nous, naturel 
pour Jul. 

"5. L'image de Dieu, regne comme lui, sur toutes choses. 
Tout est a vous, dit St. Paul. Nous sommes de sa race. II 
pent tout, par I'homrae qui croit. 

"6. Clierchez, trouvez, s'il est possible, un seul passage, 
oil il est dit, ^Les promesses faites aux Apotres et premiers 
Chretiens, ne regardent qu'eux. Nous, ne sommes nous pas 
baptizes sur le meme Nom ? Nous, ne celebrons nous pas la 
meme Sainte Cene ? Unus Dominus, Una Fides. 

" 7' Lisez simplement — comme si vous lisiez la premiere fois 
I'Evangile — Vous verrez — et n'oubliez pas ce que je vous ai 

" La Grace soit avec vous, 

"J. Gaspar Lavater." 

The permanent effect -which, under Providence, was pro- 
duced upon the mind of Mr. Wilberforce during these journeys, 
renders them so important, that it may be allowable here to 
quote the account given of them by the late Rev. Thomas Scott: 

"In the latter part of the year 1784, and again in 1785," 
says Mr. Scott, " Mr. Wilberforce travelled on the Continent 
with a party of friends. The late Dean of Carlisle, Dr. Isaac 
Milner, was his companion in the same carriage ; and on tlicse 
occasions these highly-gifted friends discussed together various 
interesting topics. Religion was of the numl^er ; and Mr. '\\i\- 
berforce having, on one occasion, expressed respect for a pious 

28 CHAr. II. A.D. 17C5. ^ETAT. 35. 

clerg)-man, but having added that ^he carried things too far/ 
liis friend pressed him on this point. 'What did he mean/ 
asked Mihier, 'by carrying things too far, or l)eing too strict? 
On what ground did he pronounce this to be the case ? When 
we talked of too far, some standard must necessarily be re- 
ferred to. AVas the standard of Scripture exceeded ? or could 
any other standard be satisfactorily adopted and maintained ? 
Perhaps it would not easily be shoAvn that, where things were 
carried, as it was alleged, too far, they were carried beyond 
the rules of Scripture, although tliey might be carried beyond 
what was usually practised and approved among men.' 

" Mr. Wilberforce, Mhen thus pressed hy his friend, endea- 
voured to explain and defend his position, as well as he could ; 
but he was dissatisfied with what he had to offer : in short, he 
felt that his own notions upon the subject, were vague and un- 
tenable. A lodgment was thus made in his conscience : matter 
for serious thinking was suggested, and his thoughts could find 
no rest till they found it from the Word of God, and the adop- 
tion of a Scriptural standard, by which to form all his judgments, 
and regulate all his conduct." 

From this period Air. Milner maintained a frequent corres- 
pondence with this excellent friend upon religious topics ; and 
was thus, under Providence, instrumental in confirming him in 
those views of the great doctrines of Christianity, to which Mr. 
Wilberforce adhered to the end of his life, and of which he 
became so useful and so disthiguished an advocate. 

Soon after his return from abroad, Mr. Milner was attacked 
by a disease of the lungs, which threatened to disable him from 
delivering his usual covirse of lectures, as Jacksonian Professor. 
"\A'ith reference to this sul)ject, he thus, with much warmth of 
affection, writes to Mr. Wilberforce : 

" I am ]iarticularly unhappy, that your desire of a letter from 
me should have arrived t()-(kiy. * * * * * J j^u-, very 
sorry that I said so imuli aljoiit myself, because I know it will 
dwell oil your miiul, and, if you are like nic, the more so, because 
we are absent from each other. Things are mai:;nified l)y dis- 
tance. I almost wish I liad never opened on the suljject of my 

CHAP. II. A.D. 17«5. yETAT. 3o. 29 

feelings. — In our first journey, I liad many a head-ache, and what 
is worse, heart-ache, in silence; but we closed so by degrees, that 
there appeared a sort of unfriendliness in concealment. * * 
If I had written to you yesterday, I should have given a better 
account. — I am very sorry. — I know this will hurt you. 

" The misfortune is, this lousiness of mine must either go on, 
or stop entirely. There is no sort of provision. — My professor- 
ship is absolutely void if I do not go through the course. Don't 
let this account bring you here. — I should be more hurt ; and I 
have not a moment to spare. 

" God bless you, my dear friend." 

The remainder of this very affectionate letter has reference 
to the continued illness of a lady M'ho had been one of the con- 
tinental party ; and is chiefly interesting as aflfording an instance 
of the extreme clearness and perspicuity which constantly 
characterized the conceptions and statements of Mr. Milner, 
whatever might be the subject which happened to engage 
his attention. After suggesting a list of questions respecting 
the case in question, as apposite and as distinctly put as they 
could have been if proposed by a physician, Mr. Milner thus 
proceeds : 

" I have a great regard for , and am concerned 

at the inclosed account. Certainly there can be no harm in 
writing to Tissot. I dare say he will remember the case — pi'o- 
bably he keei^s a register of cases. I have a very good opinion 
of him ; but I have no idea, that as good advice is not to be had 
in England. Probal>ly her case will prove obstinate, which is a 
stronger reason for l^eginning with English advice. 

"Ever your I. M." 

Mr. Milner, during his residence abroad, had himself con- 
sulted Tissot ; who, from the elaborate opinion which he wrote, 
seems to have paid very great attention to his case. He attri- 
butes mucli of Mr. Milner's ill-health to " nn travail sontemi de 
la tele ;" and expresses his hope, that by means of " I'exercise 

30 CHAP. II. A.D. 1780. /ETAT. 35. 

en plein air, les eaiix de Spa, ensuite les eaux de PjTmont, et les 
l)ains froids," Lis patient "peut Acnir a jouir de la plus parfaite 

He concludes thus: "Je ne conseille aucun remede pharma- 

"7 Oui*, 11S5. TissoT." 

Thus spelled in the manuscript opiuiou. 



^fr. Milner takes his degree of B.D. — ri-ofessor Smyth's Recollections of his 
Diviuity Act. — Bishop Watson's account of the same Act. — Recollections 
of Mr. Milner as a Lecturer. — Dr. Maskelyne. — CoiTespondcnce. — Mr. 
Milner, as Jacksonian Professor, endeavours to obtain from the Crown, 
an annual stipend in support of the Science of ChjTnistry. — Bishop of 
Llandaft". — 'Mr. Milner's mode of life as a Lecturer. — Accident and illness. 
— Visits his brother at Hull. — Board of Longitude. — Attempt to alter its 
Constitution. — Enei-gy of Mr. !Milncr. — Visit to London. — Chymical 
Pursuits. — Letter from Dr. Priestley. — Visit to Rayrigg, in Westmore- 
land. — :Mode of life there. — Conversational powers. — Visit to Hull. 

A.D. 178G. .^TAT 3G. 

Mr. Milxer took his degree of Bachelor of Divinity in the 
summer of the year 1786 ; which year was distinguished in his 
academical career, by the splendid Divinity Act which he kept 
against the late Dr. Coulthurst*. Of this Act, which was 
rendered memorable by the superior powers of both the dis- 
putants, I have been favoured by an eye and ear witnessf^ with 
the following recollections : 

" Dr. Milner was always considered as one of the first men 
of talents in the place, during all the time I have known the 
University, and his Act, I remember when I was an Under- 
graduate, excited the greatest interest. 

" Dr. Coulthurst, on account of his talents also, M'as selected 
to be his opponent. 

" Tlie subject was * Paulus Apostolus, de fide et operibus dis- 
serens nee sibi, ncc aliis apostolis, nee rectce rationi contradicit.' 

" So that the disputation turned on the nature of Faith and 
Works ; and I remember very well the Bishop of LandafFJ say- 
ing, ' Non necesse est descendere in arenam. Arcades enim 
am bo estis,' — which we all thought a well-turned and well- 
merited compliment paid to such distinguished men.'^ 

* Dr. Co\dthurst was second 
Wrangler in the year 1775. 

•j- AVilliam Smyth, Esq., Professor 
of Modern History in the University 

of Cambridge. 

J Dr. Watson, then Professor of 
Divinity at Cambridge. 

32 CHAP. III. A.D. 178C. JETAT. 3G. 

Bishop Watson gives a strong incidental testimony to the 
surpassing excellence of this Act, in his Anecdotes of his own 
Life. After speaking of the usefulness and importance of scho- 
lastic disjiutations, he proceeds thus : " An evil custom has, 
within these last few years, been introduced into the University: 
* * * it is the custom of dining late. When I was ad- 
mitted, and for many years after, every college dined at twelve 
o'clock, and the students after dinner flocked to the philoso- 
phical disjiutations, which began at two. If the schools, either 
of philosophy or divinity, shall ever be generally destitute of an 
audience, there will be an end of all scholastic exertion. I re- 
member having seen the Divinity Schools (when the best Act, by 
Coulthurst and Milner — Arcades umbo — was keeping, that I ever 
presided at, and which might justly be called a real academic 
entertainment) filled with auditors from the top to the bottom ; 
but as soon as the clock struck three, a number of masters of 
arts, ])elonging to colleges which dined at three, slunk away 
from this intellectual feast ; and they Avere followed, as might 
have been expected, by many under-graduates, — I say as might 
have been expected ; for in all seminaries of education, relaxa- 
tion of discipline l^egins with the seniors of the society." 

Wliatever may be thought of the correctness of Dr. Wat- 
son's opinions concerning the utility of disputations in the 
schools, his testimony thus incidentally given to the excellence 
of the Act of Coulthurst and Milner, is unquestionably valuable. 

During this year, and the six following years, Mr. Milner 
continued to read alternate courses of philosophical and clie- 
mical lectures. Witli reference to these lectures, Professor 
Smyth thus s]-)eaks : — 

" Dr. Milner was always considered as a very capital 
lecturer. The chemical lectures were always well attended; 
and what with Jiiin, and what with his German assistant, Hoff- 
man, the audience was always in a higli state of interest and 

Tlie greater part of the long vacation of this year was passed 
l)y Mr. Mihier, as usual, at the house of liis l)rother, at IIuH. 

Among tbc friends Avith Avliom, at this period of liis hfe, 
he maintained u frequent epistolary intercourse, was the late 

CHAP. III. A.D. 1787. /ETAT. 37. 33 

Dr. Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal. Letters treating almost 
exclusively of astronomical topics contain, of course, but little 
of general interest; yet a brief postscript to one from Dr. Maske- 
lyneto Mr. Milner, dated " Greenwich, Nov. 1, 1786," may be 
admitted. " I have given," writes Dr. Maskelyne, " a paper, 
now printed, to the Royal Society, about the return in the 
autumn of the year 1788, with great southern declination, of tlie 
Comet of 1532 and 16G1." * * * * " I take this opportunity 
to mention, that as I read your valuable paper on the ' Preces- 
sion of the Equinoxes' with much pleasure, so I am satisfied of 
the truth of your theory, having proved it from my own separate 
investigation. What then are we to think of D'Alembert's labo- 
rious book and methods which lead to a contrary conclusion?" 

In the beginning of the year 1787? Mr. Milner, as Jackso- 
nian Professor, was anxious, in consideration of " the xery con- 
siderable onus imposed by the founder, and the expensive nature 
of the lecture," to olitain from the Crown an annual stipend, in 
addition to that already enjoyed under Dr. Jackson's will, in 
support of the science of Chymistry. Dr. Watson, Bishop of 
LlandafF, and Mr. Mihier's own chymical tutor, appeared a 
likely person to further his A^ews; and, in company with Mr. 
Wilberforce, he waited upon the bishop, by appointment, at his 
house in London, to discuss the subject. This visit was paid at 
aliout ten o'clock in the evening; and, on their way, the friends 
had jestingly speculated upon the probable nature of the occu- 
pation in which they might find his Lordship engaged. They 
were admitted, and found the prelate reading St. Augustine. 
Those who believe that Bishop Watson was a thorough actor, 
will, perhaps, suspect that the ponderous folio was a part of the 
preparation made for the expected visitors; and his Lordship's 
remark at their entrance, " There are not many of the Bench 
whom you would find thus engaged at this hour of the night," 
might seem to favour such a suspicion. Be this as it may, the 
bishop appeared friendly to the plan submitted to his consider- 
ation, and Mr. Milner, subsequently, made his appUcation to 
the King. 

A peculiar consistency, certainly, pervaded the character of 
the subject of this Memoir. Li youth and \\\ age he was the 

34 CHAP. III. A.D. 1787. ^TAT. 37. 

same man. Of this consistency of cliaracter the memorial which, 
on this occasion, he addressed to the Crown, affords an instance. 
T\\e same mixture of caution, prudence, firmness, and independ- 
ence, which cliaracterizes this document, is apparent in the 
whole course of Mr. Milner's conduct; and this both before and 
after his mind was brought under the steady influence of reli- 
gious principle. The records of his later life will confirm the 
truth of this oliservation. 

Without entering into a more particular account of the me- 
morial in question, it may suffice to say, that it answered, at 
least to a considerable extent, the purpose of its author. 

The following letter contains an account of Mr. Milner's mode 
of Hfe as a lecturer; its object being to induce the friend to whom 
it was addressed to postpone an intended visit to Cambridge. 

" Queen's, Thursday, 
" My dear Sir, March WtU, 1787. 

" Your kindness touches me most sensibly ; but the more I 
am convinced of that kindness which induces you to take this 
journey on my account, the more it becomes my duty to open 
myself fully to you. 

" Then at once — in these circumstances, I think you had 
l>etter not come. 

" In college I lecture from eight to ten in the morning — 
from that time till four in the afternoon, I am absolutely so 
engaged that I can scarcely steal half an hour from preparing 
my lectures, to dine. At half-past five, I get my coflee, go to 
chapel, and tlieu lie down for an hour. — I then rise, take my 
milk — look out various articles, and make notes of natural his- 
tory', &c., for the succeeding day. This coming every day, keeps 
me on sucli a contiiuied stretch, that I am often very much done 
up with fatigue; and if Mr. Metcalfe, of Christ's Coll., did not 
assist me, I should not be able to get through. 

" Now were you to come, I know I should l)e induced to 
steal some hours, tlie want of wliicli would be felt, and I sliould 
be ton times more liurricd and fretted. As this is strictly and 
literally the case, you will think I draw the proper conclusion in 
advising you to desist, at ])resent, from your most kind views, 

CHAP. Til. A.l). 1787. /ETAT. 37. 35 

the execution of which would certainly distress me.— But 1 will 
say no more on that at present. 

" Al)out next Tuesday or Wednesday se'night, I shall have 
finished the laborious and pressing part of these lectures; and 
then I shall only have about ten or eleven lectures more to 
make up the number, and those ten or eleven require no prepa- 
ration or time, beyond the single hour. I hope I sliall be able 
to get througli, as I have now just turned the middle page of 
the difficulties. * * >!c * * * * A bad accident 
happened to me last Saturday. I was standing on a very 
higli table in the lecture room, and stepping from the table to a 
chair, the bottom of the chair flew up, and I fell witli my whole 
weight, on my right side, l)reast, and ribs, on the edge of the 
chair — a mercy I was not killed. The pain I suffer is incredible, 
upon breathing, &c., and at nights. I wish I had acquiesced in 
bleeding at first, as I was advised; but, if possible, 1 wish not to 
protract my lectures a day. Tlie ver}^ first leisure I have, I shall 
say many things to you. 

'^ Your affectionate friend, &c., 
« To Wm. Wilberforce, Esq." " Isaac Milxer. 

The long vacation of this year, like that of the last, was 
passed by Mr. Milner with his mother and brother at Hull. 
His health was, at this time very precarious: a spitting of blood, 
apparently produced by the accident mentioned in the foregoing 
letter, still threatened consequences of the most serious nature; 
and an intermitting pulse, — a symptom which never afterwards 
forsook liim, and which occasioned great apprehension in the 
minds of his physicians, Drs. Baillie and Pitcairne, one of whom, 
on a subsequent occasion, declared, that " with such a pulse a 
man's life was not worth one minute's purchase," — seems now 
first to have alarmed Mr. Milner and his friends. Under these 
circumstances, he had recourse, as was his wont, to Mr. Hey, of 
Leeds; to whose judicious advice, at this critical juncture, tlie 
prolongation of his life may, perhaps, under Providence, be 
mainly attributed. 

Mr. Isaac Mihier was at tliis time, and continued till his 
death, a Member of the Board of Longitude; a body composed 

D 2 

36 CHAP. III. A.D. 17«7. ^TAT. 37. 

of the most scientitic men of the period. This Board, as its 
name in some measure imports, met for the purpose of taking 
into consideration, and reporting to the Government, any 
discoveries calculated to facilitate navigation under dangerous 
circumstances; and, in particular, any inventions, which, by 
tending to the perfect and constant accuracy of chronometers, 
might, in the absence of other means, assist navigators to 
determine their exact position at sea. 

Since it is unnecessary to dilate upon the affairs of a Board, 
which is now dissolved, it may be sufficient to say, that at this 
time, as well as at a later period of Mr. Milner's life, an 
attempt was made to induce the Government to alter the 
constitution of the Board of Longitude in a manner which to 
him, and to other learned members of that body, especially to 
the Astronomical Professors of the University' of Cambridge, 
appeared calculated to cast a stigma upon their reputation. 
Under these circumstances, Mr. Milner exhibited the energy 
M-ith which he invariably engaged in whatever he undertook; 
and his efforts were proportionately successful. 

As illustrative of the vigour, which was a distinguished trait 
in his character, it may be mentioned, that the influence which, 
on more than one subsequent occasion, he brought to bear upon 
the House of Commons, wjien measures, -which he judged to be 
inimical to tlie interests of science, or to the rights of the Uni- 
versity, or of the College which he governed, were in preparation, 
astonished even some of those intimate friends M'ho thought that 
they knew him thoroughly. 

In the winter of this year Mr. Milner was again alarmed by 
s)'mptoms threatening serious pulmonary disease. His friend 
Mr. Willjerforce, who was at Bath, urged him, with nuich 
earnestness to join him at that i^lace. To this arrangement, 
however, his duties as Tutor of a College offered insuperable difii- 
culties ; and had it been otherwise, his ^' mother and l)r()ther," 
as he wrote to the same friend, made " their comfort depend so 
much upon" liis "being with them" whenever an opportunity 
presented itself, that he had little leisure to bestow upon other 
friends, however valued. A dangerous illness of Mr. Wilber- 
force in the ensuing spring did, liowcver, induce Mr. Mihier, 

CHAP. III. A.D. 1787. .'RTAT. :q. 37 

ever under the influence of the warmest and most affectionate 
feehngs, to pay him an unexpected visit, of which visit Mr. 
Wilberforce thus writes in his Diarj'-: "March 1st. Mibier 
came by breakfast time, having put off his Lectures, &c. out of 
soUcitude to see how I was going on*." 

In the interv'als during which he had enjoyed moderate 
health, Mr. Mihier had, for several years past, sedulously 
applied himself to the study of chymistr)'. His attention had 
been turned in particular, to the production of nitrous acid 
and nitrous air ; and upon this subject he had, at variot;s times, 
made several novel and higlily interesting experiments. 

It is known to most persons conversant wdth similar inqui- 
ries, that the attention of the celebrated Dr. Priestley was, aljout 
this jDcriod, fixed upon the same subject. 

To Dr. Priestley, Milner communicated an account of some 
of his experiments with their results ; and from him received 
in consequence the following letter : — 

"To THE Reverend Isaac Milner. 

"Dear Sir, ^'Birmingham, June lAth, 1788. 

" I have not yet repeated your verj' interesting experiments ; 

but 1 cannot have any doubt of their succeeding, and wish you 

would prosecute them yourself, as I am not fond of putting my 

sickle into another man^s harvest. I shall, however, as I have 

your leave, mention the facts to my friends ; as they cannot but 

do you great honour. I shall be happy to hear of your progress, 

and am, 

"Dear Sir, 

" Your very humble servant, 

"J. Priestley. 
" P.S. — I direct to Mr. Kirwan, only in Dublin." 

" Mr. Kirv\'an" was an Irish chymist of note. He was the 
second president of the Royal Irish Academy, — being successor 
to the Earl of Charlemont, of Volunteer celebrity, the founder of 
that institution. Mr. Kirwan publislicd several papers in the 

* See Life of WUbcrforcc. 

39 CHAP. III. A.D. 1788. ^TAT. 38. 

Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. A letter from him 
to Mr. Milner, upon the formation of nitrous acid, will be 
found under its proper date*. 

In the course of this month of June, Mr. Wilberforce, ha-vdng 
settled himself in the house which he had, for some summers 
pastj rented at Rayrigg, in Westmorland, was -vdsited by Mr. 
Milner, whom the long vacation released, at that season, from 
his academical duties. 

The house at Rayrigg was filled throughout the summer, 
with a continual, but ever-changing succession of guests ; and it 
will be easily believed, that, in such circumstances, the social 
temperament, comiDrehensive kjiowledge, and extraordinar}^ con- 
versational powers of Isaac Milner, were fully appreciated : had 
he, like Johnson, been provided with a Boswell, a specimen of 
" Table-talk,'^ perhaps almost unequalled, might have been pre- 
sented to the public. 

Mr. Pitt, who had intended to visit Rayrigg, in an excursion 
to Scotland planned during the preceding summer, was pre- 
vented by the pressure of public business from executing his 
purpose ; but there was no lack of brilliant company. " The 
Duchess of Gordon and Lady Charlotte,'^ says Mr. Wilber- 
force in his Diar)', July 3rd, "by tapping at our low window, 
announced that they had discovered our retreat, and would take 
no denial." ****** Milner and I went and supped 
with them at Low Wood/* " Saturday the 5th. Lord Camden 
comes to dinner." " 7th. Balgonies came." " 10. Muncaster 
came." "11th. Milner off." In the midst, however, of this 
gaiety, " a perpetual round of dissipation," as Mr. Wilberforce 
calls it, some serious conversation took place between him and 
his friend. "Milner and I," says he, "had much talk about 
this being a most improper place for me, and resolved upon not 
continuing in tlie house." " Improper," it must have been for 
one who had "tliis summer looked for much solitude and quiet; 
the banks of the Thames being scarcely more public, than those 
of Windermere ;" and, in compliance with his friend's advice, 
Mr. Wilberforce gave up this favourite residence. 

* See chap. viii. 

CUAP. 111. A.D. 17««. KTAT. 3», 39 

On finally quitting Rayrigg, in the month of October follow- 
ing, Mr. Willjerforce paid a short visit to Hull ; and there again 
met Mr. Milner, who had exchanged the gaieties of the West- 
moreland villa, for the sober duties or occupations of solacing 
his aged mother or occasionally assistijig his brother in the 
business of his school. 

With reference to this meeting, Mr. A\'. thus writes in his 
Diar}'. **>{;*« Milner's excellent advice at Hull, in 
addition to his lecture at Rayrigg, de levitate — ^ Nihil enim per 
se amplum est, nisi in quo judicii ratio extat,^ — of being a man 
of business, &c. May God enable me to profit from his hint, 
and make me properly grateful to him for this true proof of 

By receiving in this spirit these honest animadversions, Mr. 
Wilberforce surely gave proof that the constant affection of his 
friend was worthily bestowed. 



Mr. Milncr is elected President of Queen's College. — Improvements in the 
internal management of the College. — Letters. — Feelings on being elected 
President. — Popular Philosophical Writers. — Ferguson. — Martin. — Mac- 
laurin. — View of PubUc AflTairs on the Illness of the King. — Letter from 
Joseph Jlilner to the Rev. James Stillingflect. — Illness.— Letter from 
Joseph Milner on his Brother's Illness. — Correspondence. — Communica- 
tion to tlie Koyal Society. — Formally excused, on account of ill health, 
from delivery of Jaclcsonian Lectures. — Letters from Drs. Hunter and 
Fothergill. — Lectures continued with assistance. — Fondness for Practical 
Mechanics. — Extracts from Correspondence with the Rev. T. Ludlam. — 
Sentiments concerning Card-playing. — Private Religions Diary. 

A.D. 1788. iETAT. 38. 

By the death of the Rev. Dr. Pkxmptre, in the year 1788, the 
office of President of Queen's College became vacant, and to 
this honourable situation Mr. Milner was elected. 

After the lapse of more than half a century, there can be no 
impropriety or indelicacy in stating, that, previous to the elec- 
tion of Mr. Milner to the mastership. Queen's College had 
greatly decreased in reputation. From that time, however, the 
college, once distinguished by the residence of Erasmus, steadily 
and rapidly advanced in character and importance. The number 
of students increased ; and, as it was the paramount desire of 
the president, that the college which he governed should yield 
to none in the means of instruction which it afforded, he intro- 
duced — from other colleges, when necessar}- — men fitted by their 
abiUties and acquirements for the important and responsilile 
station of tutor ; and such men invariably found in him a con- 
stant friend and patron. In the internal management of the 
college many abuses, sanctioned by long prescription, were re- 
formed ; and if some part of the oljloquy wliich is too often the 
lot of those who originate important improvements fell upon 
Mr. Milner, he had sufficient fortitude to brave opposition, and 
to persevere in the course which he l)clieved to be the path of 

"As president of a college,'^ says the author of a slight 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 178«. ^TAT. ' 8. 41 

biographical sketch of the life and character of Dr. Milner, 
"his constant aim was to encourage learned men that belonged 
to his own Foundation, as well as to introduce improvements 
which might tend to the happiness of the students, and to the 
advancement of the University at large." 

This statement, the truth of which is undeniable, comprises 
all that needs, in this place, to be said of Mr. Milner as head of 
a college. Further notices of his conduct in that capacity will 
appear in the course of this Memoir. 

At this period, that portion of Mr. Milner^s career which 
may, perhaps, be more especially called his public life, may 
be considered to begin ; and although harassed by continual 
attacks of ill-health, and, consequently, often almost incapaci- 
tated for duties which he, nevertheless, deemed himself called 
upon to perform, the remainder of his Hfe was spent in a course 
of persevering exertion for the advancement of religion and 
learning, not often surpassed even by persons enjoying uninter- 
rupted health and strength. 

It is, however, unnecessary here to anticipate that, of which 
the sequel of this work vrill afford satisfactor}- proof. In the 
mean time his omti letters may best carry forward his histor)\ 

" I would not," he writes to Mr. Wilberforce, on the 16th 
of November, 1788, "lead the life I have passed these last ten 
days, for all below the moon. Ceremony without end. I have 
been xery much ad cap every day — and must continue so. I 
foresee plent)- of new expenses, I promise you, which did not 
occur before ; but old Jackson * will stand in the gap, and, I 
think, about make ends meet, and that's all. 

" Your stay at Bath, I take to be entirely uncertain at pre- 
sent, on account of the king's health ; and if it were not so, I 
have little hopes of being able to join you. I meaned to have 
gone a week or two to Hull, for the reasons mentioned in my 
letter to you at York; but even that plan I am not sure of being 
able to compass. This is the time of year when the college rents 
are settled, and are falling in by degrees; and I not only aim to 
do my duty in my new situation, but wish to avoid doing any 

His Jackfioniau Professorship. 

42 CHAP. IV. A.D. 1788. .ETAT. :i8, 

thing that may look hke neglect of Ijusiness. Such conduct 
would vex my friends^ and prove a triumph to my opponents. 

" I dare say I deceive myself, but I have it strongly on my 
mind to lead something of a neiv life. I am sure, that a new 
situation, as sucli, is favourable to a change. All is folly, my 
dear friend, but the great change, and v.'ill, most assuredly, be 
found so at last ; but we don't look an inch before us. 

" I think of Miss often, and of the conversation 

I have had with her. Your bodily complaints do not resemble 
mine more exactly than many of my mental weaknesses resemble 
her's ; and I may add, that I have often as little solid satisfac- 
tion as she can have, when loose hands all around suppose our 
hearts run over with gaiety and spirits. 

" I am, most affectionately and truly, yours, 

"I. M. 

" Write that you have received this.*' 

The following answer to an inquiry made by Mr. Wilberforce, 
concerning the then existing proper books to be put into the 
hands of a person desirous of obtaining some popular knowledge 
of philosophy, may be read with some interest : 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" Queen's, Wednesday Night, 
"My dear Sir, November, 1788. 

"The philosophical writers for j'jopular hands are such as 
Ferguson. He is excellently adapted to the purpose; I can 
speak positively to his merits in this point of view, but I have 
not been able to make out to-day the exact title of his books; 
for we don't use them much. Ferguson's Astronomy there is; 
and I think in particular, there is a book called, Ferguson's 
Dialogues on Astronomy for Ladies. He wrote also on Me- 
chanics. In general whatever he has written on such su1)jects 
is to the purpose. 

" Martin, the late mathematical instrument maker, is another 
such hand; but I cannot make out whether be calls his book, 
Martin's Philosophv, or Martin's Philosophical Grammar, or 
what. Uc hvcd in Fleet .Street. 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 1788. .^ITAT. 38. 48 

" A very reasonable and intelligible account of the History 
of Philosophy is to be found in Maclaurin's View of Newton's 

" Yours affectionately, I. M." 

In the course of the next month, Mr. Milner, always sin- 
cerely interested in public affairs, and always disposed to think 
and decide for himself, on questions of politics, as well as of 
literature or thecjlogy, wrote, to the same friend, in the following 
terms, concerning the political arrangements probably consequent 
upon the illness of the king. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" My dear Sir, " Hull, Dec. 8ih, 1788. 

" I am determined to write instantly, merely to inform you, 
how much satisfaction your letter brought me this morning, in 
affirming that there will be no coalitiox. 

"No honoura1)le coalition, with such men, can be formed; 
nor can I conceive any necessity which could justify the step. 
And yet I do not absolutely say, that no such necessity can 
exist, though / find it impossible to conceive the case. 

" When the case happens, I shall judge as fairly as I can. 
At present I am perfectly persuaded that all Pitt's disinterested 
well-wishers among what may be called moderate life (which 
forms a very large part of the community), think as I do on this 
subject, and will embrace the ex-minister more cordially than 
they ever did the minister. I cannot say, that I was without 
fears of some sort of coalition or other. I had no good ground 
for the apprehension, except the general one, viz., that j^ersons 
in these high situations are more subject to delusions and are 
seldom complete/y directed by the ordinary principles of good 
sense and integrity. But the more fears I had on this head, the 
more I shall honour the man who proves, by his conduct, that 
there was no ground for these fears; and I am sorry for the 
injustice of the conception. 

" Independent of the rectitude of the thing, mere political 
considerations suggest the same line of conduct. I make no 
scruple to say [fremant omnes) that Fox has not sense to govern 

44 CHAP. IV. A.D. 1780. -ETAT. 3!). 

this nation; because se7ise includes disci'etion. But if they join, 
from that moment there is an end of that great distinction which 
I wish ever to see between them. All will then be a scramble; 
the cry will be, * They are all alike.' Pitt is deprived of his best 
ornament, they must fight with the same weapons, and he mtII 
])e beaten; for they know how to use such weapons better than 
he does. 

*' So much I could not help pouring forth from the fulness 
of the heart. * * * * 

" N.B. Young "Willis has written to me, to say a word about 

introducing his father. I hope he will succeed; he is a man of 

strong sense and much experience. 

" Yours trulv, 

" I. M." 

A letter written about this time to the Rev. James Stilling- 
fleet, Rector of Hotham, Yorkshire, by Joseph Milner alluding 
both to the advancement of Isaac to the mastership of his 
college, and to the illness of the king, will be interesting to 
many readers. 

" Dear Stilo, " Hull, Dec. 3rd, 1788. 

*' I am in arrears with you, and have to thank you for two 
letters. But I do as little as possible in the epistolary way, even 
with my best friends, that I may have some time for necessary 

" I thank you for your congratulations about my brother. 
I wish it may answer a good end to him, and to the Church of 
Christ; God only can effect it. 

" Probably by this time they find the king's disorder to be 
some species of insanity. Awful Providence! It may last long. 
Regencies are generally turbulent things. I am glad that those 
in authority had the heart to direct jirayer to be made to Ilim 
wlio is a refuge in troul)le. It has a good look to see so public 
an acknowledgement of dejjendencc upon the Almighty; rather 
an unusual idea with great people. Many pray fervently for it, 
I doubt not; 1 hope we may iind a gracious answer. 

" If all be well, I shall probably visit you during a little of 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 1788. ^TAT. 38. 45 

the time that my Anti-Ladlam l)eing a-printing, I must be 
called more than common from home. 

"But I beg you would not make a fuss (as Ludlam says) 
about expectmg me. I am an old battered hackney; I shall 
come to refresh my body and mind among you, and indeed I am 
not able to do what once I did, through frequent infirmities. 
Pray that I may be strengthened, after having preached to 
others, to walk in the way of holiness for my own soul, and not 
myself be a cast-away. 

" I beg my kind regards to Mrs. Stillingfleet and Miss 

H f not forgetting Edward. 

"Always yours affectionately, 

"Joseph Milner. 

" P.S. — I thank you for the hare. 
" To the Rev. J. StiUingfleet:' 

The expression Anti-Ludlam, in the foregoing letter, may 
require some explanation. 

The work spoken of as in the press, was an edition of 
Joseph Milner's Essays on the Ivfluence of the Holy Spirit^-, a 
publication partly occasioned by the Rev. William Ludlam's 
attack upon Mr. Milner's observations upon Gibbon's Account 
of Christianity. With reference to these Essays, the author 
himself thus writes : " Personal resentment can scarce be sup- 
posed to exist against an author who has certainly avoided all 
personal abuse; and my concern for the reputation of a former 
workf, attacked by him in some of its most important views, is, 
I hope, a small thing with me, compared with the magnitude of 
the truths I undertake to defend, the real glory of God, the best 
interests of men, and the preciousness of vital Christianity'', which 
in no age was ever more speciously undermined than in the 

Dr. Milner, in an account subsequently given by him of his 
brother's writings, says, " His Essays on the Influence of the 
Holy Spirit were exceedingly well received, and have been of 

* Now printed in MiLNER'sfFor**, i t Gibbon's Account of Christianity 
vol. viii. Considered. 

46 CHAP. IV, A.D. 1788. yETAT. 38. 

great service in tlie church. This M'ork, though small, is a 
durable monument of the author's sound principles, good sense, 
and power of discrimination in argument ; and will, doubtless, 
prove a valuable protection against heretical and fanciful inter- 
pretations of Scripture, through succeeding generations/^ 

The prayer of the pious writer of the foregoing letter, that his 
brother's advancement might " answer a good end to the church 
of Christ," has been abundantly granted. Queen's College, 
under the government of Isaac Milner, became remarkable 
for the number of religious young men who studied there, and 
of whom many are still, in various places, sers'ing God and their 
generation, as able and faithful clergymen of the establishment, 
or in other influential stations. 

On the 24th of December, Mr. Milner again writing to Mr. 
Wilberforce, chiefly Avith reference to the subject discussed in 
his former letter, says, ^'The papers yesterday gave me great 
satisfaction indeed — as I had conceived that the majority might 
have been the other way. Politics run very high here. * * 
Always yours, with the most affectionate feelings, 

«I. M." 

The meetings of the Board of Longitude requiring his at- 
tendance in London three times a year, Mr. Milner, on these 
occasions, staid at the house of this same friend ; and the fre- 
quent personal intercourse thus secured, doubtless tended to 
quicken the tender solicitude with which these excellent men 
regarded each other. Among the many intimations of their 
mutual affection with which the published Diary of Mr. Wilber- 
force abounds, the following passage may be fitly inserted here. 

" April 3rd, 1789. Heard from Milner, that ill of a fever; 
but, after a short debate, found that I must give up the slave 
business if I went to him, so resolved against it." * * * * 

" Milner much on my mind — B with me — had ex- 
pected poor Mihier — very comfc^rtablc here but for tlunigiits of 
poor Mihicr." 

Mr. Mihicr being dangerously ill, and greatly debilitated by 
fever, was nmch disappointed at the non-appearance of his 
friend. Tliis appears from the following very aflecting letter: — 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 178r». /ETAT. 3f>. 47 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 
"My dear Sir, ^'Queen'fi, Monday. 

"You will be glad to see my own hand, and, therefore, I 
struggle to effect a few lines. 

" When I last wrote to you, the fever ran extremely high, 
and appeared likelj- to be very soon critical. Judge of my 
situation — with many things on my mind, and among strangers. 
My heart was almost broken when you did not appear. I did 
not wisli you to have staid — but I wished to see yon. * * * 
" I wrote to my brother by the same post. * * * God 
has been merciful. The fever is abated, but my state of en- 
feeblement is infinitely bevond what I ever before experienced. 
It must be a work of time, and long time, to recruit. 

" I cannot yet bear to see people ; all are excluded except 
one or t\\'o. 

"My heart is full — but you must forgive me — writing this 
proves too much. 

" Yours, in the sincerest affection, 

"I. M." 

Mr. Wilberforce was, at this period, putting forth all his 
strength in the great cause of the abohtion of the slave trade, 
and his exertions were frequently encouraged by the sympathy 
of his suffering friend. 

In May, 1789, Mr. Milner thus ^'rites to him : — 

"My dear Friend, 

" I am sensibly loarmed by your letter of this morning, in 
finding that you got through the great trial""'' so much to your 

Energetically, however, as Mr. Milner here expresses him- 
self, he was still suffering from severe indisposition ; and his 
friend, as may be supposed, was not proof against the appeal 
made to him in tlie foregoing letter. 

A siicf ch witli which Mr. Wilberforce opened the debate on the slave 


48 CHAP. IV. A.D. 1789. ^TAT. 39. 

Accordingly, the following entry appears in Mr. Wilberforce's 
Dlar)', on " Friday, May 29th. Set off for Cambridge to see 
poor Milner — found him much weakened — in a very pious state 
of mind. His brother and Tillotson*, arrived about eleven.^' 

Joseph Milner, whose arrival at Cambridge is here notified, 
had announced to his friend, Mr. Stillingfleet, his intention of 
immediately visiting his afflicted brother, in the following ver}' 
characteristic letter : — 

" Dear Still., "Hull, 28M Maij, 1789. 

" I had better suffer any crossing of my will, than be left to 
myself altogether, as a self-important, and self-consequential 

fool ! You and I saw enough of that in poor lately. 

Though your kindness is real, I should be in danger from you 
and my other good friends at Hotham. To be made much of, 
suits one's pride but too well. God has deprived me of this. 
I fear I was but too fond of coming to Hotham. 

" I had a stroke this morning like a thunderbolt. Alas, my 
brother ! I must go to him directly ; I much fear the conse- 
quence of his fever's relapsing. 

"Pray, that lie may be renewed in truth, before he depart 

hence. I have good hope of this ; not much of tlie recovery of 

his health. 

" With love to Mi's. Stillingfleet, 

" I am, yours affectionately, 

" The Rev. J. Stillingfleet:' ' "Joseph Milner. 

Within a short period, Mr. Milner being somewhat recovered, 
though still obviously in a state of great weakness, wrote to Mr. 
Wilberforce as follows : — 

"Mr DEAR Sir, "Sunday niyht, 1789. 

"My ])r()ther went away last Tuesday. * * * * I 
have liad hard struggles ever since. The fever has been making 
continual efforts, Init by tlie blessing of God, has been kept 
unclcr. Friday and Saturday most insupportable headaches. 

An old friend who bulpcquently lived witli Dr. Milner, 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 178:^. .«TAT. 39. 49 

which threatened a complete relapse, as this complaint began 
with great pain and stupor in the head. I am better to-day. 
How much have I to be thankful for ! 

" It is great pain to me to write, and, therefore, I can only 
just assure you, that 1 think many times a day of your present 
state of fatigue and aiixiety. 

" I was sorry to be told by Dr. Jowett, that you did not look 
healtliy — I know that in this hurry, you will neglect yourself. 

"Yours, "I. M. 

"My chvmical helper is fallen ill of tlie same complaint. 
" To Wm. in/berforce, Esq.'' 

Having some time aftenvards ventured upon a visit to 
London, Mr. Milner on his return wrote to the same friend, a 
letter containing the following striking passage : — 

" I thought the journey to London and back useful — and so 
it may still have been ; but on Wednesday last, I grew verj^ ill. 

« * * * J must be short ; I write M'ith difficulty — and 
I leave it to you to infer and supply. 

" I laid three days and nights in bed, without at all moving 
— a thing I never did in my life for two days. 

'' Nevetheless, God was with me more than ever before ; 
I don't pretend to prove this to another, but it is so. Blessed 
be God ! I wish 1 could say so thoroughly ; I do in part, 

" God bless you, my dear Sir. 

" L M." 

About this time Mr. Milner communicated to the Royal 
Society a paper, upon a subject which has already been men- 
tioned as occup}ang a considerable portion of his thoughts — 
" The Production of Nitrous Acid and Nitrous Air*." This 
paper was read at the meeting of the society, July ?nd, 1789. 
Of Mr. Milner's discoveries on this subject, as applied to the 
making of gunpowder, the French are known to have availed 
themselves, much to their national advantage. 

* See Traiuactions of the Royal Society fortlie year, 178». 


50 CHAP. IV. A.D. 1790. ^TAT. 40. 

Some letters relating to these discoveries, from persons 
eminent for chymical knowledge, will be fomid under their 
proper dates. 

During the years 1790 and 1791, Mr. Milner's health was 
such as to render it necessary that he should be formally excused 
from the deliver)'^ of his accustomed lectures as Jacksonian 
professor. Accordingly a certificate to this effect, from Sir 
Isaac Pennington, M.D., and a permission, signed by William 
Cooke, Provost of King's College, T. Postlethwaite, Master of 
Trinity College, and William Craven, Master of St. John's 
College, gave licence to the Jacksonian professor, " in considera- 
tion of his great dihgence and punctuality in former years, in 
the discharge of his duty, and on account of his ill-health," to 
omit his lectures in 1 790, and to procure a proper assistant or 
deputy, in 1/91. 

At this period, Mr. Milner corresponded upon the subject 
of his health, both with Dr. Fothergill, a physician of consider- 
able repute, and with the celebrated John Hunter. 

The letters which still exist from both these eminent medical 
advisers are as remarkable for their friendly sympathy, as for 
their professional abilit}\ 

Dr. Fothergill, who was a member of the Society of Friends, 
thus writes : — 

" Respected Friend, 

*' I have perused and considered thy case ^^^th much atten- 
tion. It is the description of a most unhappy being, and the 
wretchedness is increased by reflecting on the miseries of the 
past, and the hopeless prospects of the future — a situation of 
mind which is perpetually increasing the disorder and rendering 
it more difficult to cure ; yet how to prevent it is as difficult to 
conceive. ***** it will be worth while, not only to 
think like a philosopher, but to act like one, — I mean that thou 
shouldest look as little as possible upon the past disappoint- 
ments in respect of health, and cherish hope of better days." 

" Dear Sir," writes John Hunter, a few months later, " I 
received the favour of your letter on the 17th of last month. 

CIlAl'. IV. A.U. I7!)0. .CTAT. 40. 31 

and, at first, was almost frigliteued to read it, and laid it down 
to be taken up again when I could give time to read and consider 
the contents. The case is a singular one, and is such as (I think) 
MO man can say at once, what should be done." 

Still, however, although not compelled by any authority, Mr. 
Milner, unless absolutely incapacitated by ill-health, continued, 
with the assistance of Hoflfman, the German, to give chymical 
lectures, until his pronu)tion to the deanery of Carlisle, on 
which event, he, from principle, resigned the office of Jackso- 
nian professor. 

It is very generally known, that Dr. Milner took great 
delight in practical mechanics. So fond, indeed, was he of 
ingenious manual laliour, that there was at Queen's Lodge, a 
large room, known in the family by the name of the Work- 
shop, fitted up witli latlies, furnaces, work-benches, grind-stones, 
l)ellows, blow-pipes, electrical apparatus, &c. &c., in which 
apartment, either alone, or with some intimate friend of cor- 
responding tastes, he used frequently to employ himself in 
various mechanical operations, as well as in chemical experi- 

llie following brief extracts from an extensive correspon- 
dence which he maintained with the Rev. Thomas Ludlam, of 
Leicester — a man of considerable eminence as a mathematician, 
and a great lover of mechanics — are highly characteristic ; and 
exhibit, in a very strong light, the enthusiastic eagerness with 
which, throughout his life, Isaac Milner devoted himself to 
whatever pursuit chanced, for the time being, to engage his 

This peculiar constitution of mind has been thought, by 
some persons, to have led him to a misapplication of his time 
and talents. To say, that such an effect was never, in any 
degree, produced by it, would, perhaps, be to make too unguarded 
an assertion ; since it is undoubtedly true, that he would some- 
times expend much close and energetic research, and, of course, 
a considerable portion of time, upon the elucidation of topics, 
which, to most persons, appeared unworthy of such sacrifices, — 
it may however, be safely affirmed, that, upon (he whole, this turn 

E 2 


CHAP. IV. A.D. 1790. ^TAT. 4». 

of mind was not only highly advantageous to its possessor, but, 
that it was, in fact, the principal cause both of his achieve- 
ments in science and of his worldlv advancement. 

"To THE Reverexd T. Ludlam*. 

" Dear Sir, " Queen's College, June 13, 1790. 

" Our election of members of parliament comes on next 
Thursdavt ; and till that bustle be over, I expect neither to 
hear nor see anything reasonable or decent, and to have no time 
for anv thina: Ijut nonsensical talk with fresh faces. I then 
mean to set off immediately for Hull ; both on my own account 
and that of my mother, who is in her eightieth year. It is very 
desirable for me to get into the country', near the air of the sea 
or Humber, as soon as may be : if I were in London, I could 
not go much about this hot weather, in search of the precious 
metals (as William Ludlam used to call steel and brass) ; and 
any thing that can be transacted by letter, can be done as well 
at the distance of two hundred miles, as of fifty. * * * 

" We knew beforehand, that steel often flies and casts in 
the hardening: therefore, why are we surprised? The laws 
of nature are not to be suspended because I want a mandril. I 
only wish I knew with accuracy, what those laws were ! The 
present ingot, I think, ought not to be thrown aside so long as 
there is any of it left. 

" By all means try again. H: ******** 

" N.B. — I shall wait patiently for your next account; but 
upon seeing the outside of the letter, shall be in such a pucker 
as to lose all philosophy. 

" I am very sincerely, 

" Your oljliged servant, 

«I. M. 

" P.S. — A celebrated French mathematician, M. D'Alembert, 

• It may be proper to observe, that 
certain theological writings of the Ilev. 
T. Ludlam, aniiniulviTtod upon by ])r. 
Milnor, in liis account of his brotlier's 
worits, were not published till some 

years after the date of these letters. 

t Mr. Pitt and Lord Euston were 
re-electod Members for tlu' University 
of Cambridge in 1790. 

CHAP. IV. A.U. 1790. Ml AT. 40. 53 

has written, in his Opuscules, a tract on probabihties, to shew 
that nature delights in variety; so that if a halfpenny has fallen 
heads, ten times together, it is more than an equal chance, that 
it will fall tails the eleventh time. 

" Though I can conceive hardly anything more absurd, or 
irrational, yet I confess, that my weakness in such cases, is 
rather on that side; and I feel myself inclined to imitate the 
above-mentioned great man, in this instance of human infirmity, 
particularly as it makes for us. 

" The mandril has failed once -• Courage! Success (/rotes more 
probable from failure. True gamblers act on the opposite 
principle. They always back theman who is in luck. Most 
sensible men hkc to have the winning seats at whist; and I 
have been told, that money is frequently given for them, by 
those who should understand such things. I am suffering 
to-dav from bodily indisposition, l)ut my head is clear as a 

The game of whist being, in the foregoing letter, incident- 
ally alluded to, it may be as well here to say a few words 
concerning Dr. M liner's sentiments with regard to card- 

So far as his omii practice was concerned, I have frequently 
heard him say, that he gave up the habit of plapng at cards 
long before he entertained any thoughts respecting its innocence 
or guilt — propriety or impropriety, simply because " it ran away 
with time which would otherwise have been better employed;" 
" besides," he used to add, " my fingers were often so stained 
by operations in the laboratorj-, that I really was ashamed to 
exhibit them." Afterwards, indeed, when his religious principles 
became fixed, it was impossible that a subject, so often agitated, 
could escape his notice; and were it my especial object to 
recommend him to the approbation of the many excellent 
persons who regard card-playing as, in itself, a sin, I might 
dismiss the matter ^^^th the remark, that subsequent to that 
period, he never joined a card-party. Those, however, who 
have taken the trouble to possess themselves of the little know- 
ledge of Dr. Milner's character which may be gleaned by the 

54 CHAP. IV. A.D. 17!)0. ETAT. 40. 

perusal of the foregoing pages, will be prepared to believe, that 
he nevei' laid much stress upon merely external matters. Card- 
plavin^ as a means of gambling, he reprobated; and, as oft'end- 
ing the feelings and opinions of many sincere Christians, he 
would certainly, on St. Paul's principle, have abstained from it, 
even if he had considered it altogether irreprehensible, or had been 
inclined, as a mere amusement, occasionally to practise it. But 
farther than this he did not go. Cant and aflfectation of every 
kind he abhorred; and to say the truth, he was rather partial to 
what are called tricks with cards, especially such as depended 
upon reasoning or calculation. When I was a child, he used 
often to amuse me by shewing me such tricks, and explaining 
the principles upon which they depended. Nor did he take any 
pains to conceal the nature, or the implements, of our entertain- 
ment. I well remember his answer to an old and intimate friend, 
who, on entering his study, observed a pack of cards on the 
table, and addressed to him a remonstrance on the occasion: 
" While you live,'^ said Dr. Milner, " never be afraid of biig- 

Among the numerous letters to Mr. T. Ludlam, written 
about this period, there are many in which the sympathizing 
friendship of Mr. Milner is as apparent as his mechanical 
enthusiasm ; and all exhibit the eager earnestness with which 
the writer was accustomed to pursue his object, however com- 
paratively trifling. His ardent temperament would not suffer 
him to rest satisfied with anything short of the utmost perfection 
which it was possible for him to attain in any art or science to 
which his attention was once turned; and to the possession of 
such a temperament, joined to mental powers of the first order, 
may doubtless be attributed the extraordinarj- extent and variety 
of his knowledge. 

Mr. Milner^s thirst of knowledge was a trait in his character 
which could not escape the observation of any who had oppor- 
tunities of associating with him; but the growing influence wiiich 
religious principle was, at this period, obtaining over his mind, 
was probably unknown even to soinc of liis intimate friends. If 
what is here stated be thouglit inconsistent with the simplicity 
of his character, it should be considered, thai, in addition to his 

CHAP. IV. A.D. 1790. .flTAT. 40. 55 

genuine abhorrence of anything hke ostentation in reUgious 
matters, he felt and retained to the end of his hfe, a salutary fear 
of saying more on such subjects than his feelings strictly 
warranted — a pernicious practice from which he thought some 
truly religious persons not altogether free. Be this as it may, 
he was, at this time, in the habit of keeping a private diary 
with a view to his spiritual improvement; and while, to most 
persons, he appeared a mere man of the world, eager in the 
pursuit of learning or preferment, he was, in truth, a humble 
Christian, " hungering and thirsting after righteousness." 



Extracts from Private Diary. — Prayers and Religious Meditations. 
A.D. 1790. iETAT. 40. 

Much diversity of opinion, exists concerning tlie propriety of 
giving to the public, any extracts from private diaries of a 
religious nature. " Is such a step fair to the deceased ?" is a 
question which Isaac Milner very seriously debated with 
himself, before he resolved upon the publication of some of the 
private religious reflections of his departed brother. 

From any anxious consideration of this question, the present 
biographer is, however, relieved by the fact — perhaps much to 
be regretted by the religious world — that Dean Milner, some 
time previous to his death, gave express directions for the 
destruction of the greater part of the papers containing his 
private religious meditations. 

It is, however, considered allowable to publish the following 
ver\^ interesting extracts from the diary alluded to in the last 
chapter, and not included among the papers directed to be 
destroyed : — 

"May 2d, 1790. Hom' much reason have I to be thankful, 
that it hath pleased God to lay this affliction of bodily sickness 
upon me ! Assuredly I was going in the broad way to destruc- 
tion. For though there was nothing openly gross or scandalous 
in my conduct, yet a very little reflection convinces me, that my 
life had nothing to do with that of a Christian. — God was not 
in my thoughts. I consulted self only. — I transacted my ordi- 
nary' lousiness with diligence and credit to myself ; but the rea- 
sons of my conduct were pride, ambition, love of reputation, 
hopes of advancement, and such hke : to which, however, I may 
add the pleasure I took in the study and improvement of natural 
philosophy and mathematics; but all this began and ended in 
self-gratification, and, as I had Jio better motives rnvsclf, it was 

ClIAr. V. A.T). 1700. ,ETAT.40. 57 

impossible that I should teach others to regulate their (;onduct 
by superior or more holy principles than the above mentioned 
— love of fame, of consequence, and of advancement, and the 
prospect of much mental pleasure in study. But how self-con- 
demned do I a])pear, when I recollect that, all the while, / knew 
better things ! There is some excuse for numbers that live 
around me and with me — the]/ have never been in the way of 
true instruction ; whereas I have been acquainted with evange- 
lical truth for many years, and yet, in defiance of convnction, I 
have gone on for years breaking God's commandments, and 
encouraging others to do so by my example. Oh ! Lord, forgive 
me ! and have mercy on thine afflicted serv^ant ! Oh ! let my 
mouth be stopped, and let me never say, that Thou dealest 
hardly with me, in continuing the pains of my body." 

The next extract from these interesting papers consists of 
reflections, CA'idently intended as helps to self-examination at 
the close of a week; and of hints concerning the proper end and 
employment of the Sabbath.^' 

" Saturday Evening. 

" 1 . The end of another week. 

" 2. Make us serious in reviewing the week ; day by day — 

are we better — ^c. — 
" 3. Have we grown in grace ? 
"4. If we cannot give satisfactory answers, let us dedicate 

ourselves to God afresh ; and take confusion of face, 
"5. As means — prepare for the Sabbath — use God's means, 

and don't dispute about it. 
"6. The End of the Sabbath — service of God — prayer — 

thanksgiA-ing — meditation. 
" 7. Mav holv men throughout the world be employed well 

— prav for the king, parliament and magistrates ; for 

religion and piety. 
" 8. For protection during the day — for God's forbearance." 

Dr. Milner has himself observed in his Life of his brother, 
that "when we are presented with a regular diary of private 
meditations, the internal evidence of piety and good sense is not 

58 CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. vETAT. 40. 

usually found sufficient to convince us of the perfect integrity of 
the writer." Few persons, however, will suspect the writer of 
the above unfinished reflections, of ha-sang had the smallest 
intention of courting tlie applause of posterity, through their 
medium. — 

Of these reflections, that marked 4, is precisely in accordance 
with the advice which Dr. Milner invariably gave to persons 
who consulted him, under convictions of spiritual declension. 
" Never attempt," he would say, " to bolster up the past — go to 
Christ afresh, as a believing and repentant sinner." 

The following observations, apparently of the same date, 
seem to have been suggested by the perusal of the 15th chapter 
of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: — 

" Romans xv. 1 3th verse. 

"The pleasure a minister takes in perceiving fruit of his 
labours. It is reasonable to value it. — He knows the value of 
an immortal soul. A similar pleasure all feel, whp have turned 
the wicked from their way. 

"Verse 25. Some of St. Paul's prayers were answ'ered — 
others not directly — lie was delivered into the hands of the Jews 
— but that brought him to Rome — where he preached. 

" God answers prayers differently — He likes to be waited on." 

Of the following prayers and meditations, apparently written 
during this year, some appear to have been partly intended for 
family worship, and some suggested by Mr. Milner's private 
reading of particular portions of Scripture. 

"Evening Prayer. 

" O Lord ! we fall down before Thee, and desire to acknow- 
ledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which, from 
time to time, we have committed against Thee. We have lived 
a great part of our lives as though there had been, in the world, 
no God who considers men's actions, and will assuredly recom- 
pense them according to their deserts. If we have been re- 
strained from the commission of gross crimes, we must ascribe 
tlio restraint to thy merciful superintending kindness, which 

CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. yETAT. 40. 59 

daily protects us, in numerous instances, though we continue 
careless and unthankful. Sometimes a sense of decency, some- 
times self-interest, or a regard to character, has preser\-ed us 
from open transgressions, or private indulgences ; but, on 
reviewing and well considering our past conduct, in how few 
instances can we truly say, that we have been influenced by a 
love to God, by a desire of promoting his glory in the world, 
and by a grateful remembrance of the sufferings and death of 
our Saviour ! O Lord ! we have neither been faithful to the light 
which we have had, nor have we been useful to others, in setting 
them examples of diligence and piety. We have lived in the 
world under the name of Christians, but we have been utter 
strangers to the power of Christ's doctrine, and have brought 
forth no fruits unto holiness. O Lord! when we think on these 
things, we are covered with shame and confusion, and can only 
cry out, God be merciful to us sinners ! 

" How abundantly thankful, then, ought we to he for that 
great kindness, long-suffering, and forbearance, by which we are 
at this moment numbered among the living, and permitted to 
approach the throne of thy grace, there honestly to confess our 
sins, and to entreat for their remission, through the all-prevailing 
name and intercession of Jesus Christ! Thou mightest, very 
justly, have dealt severely with us, and we might now have been 
receiving the proper wages of our sins, of our long neglect of 
thy holy laws, and of our rejection of proffered grace through 
the gospel. But Thou hast not dealt \nth us according to our 
works ; in thy wrath Thou hast thought on mercy, and we are 
monuments of thy patience and forgiveness. 

" Grant, O Lord, that thy goodness may lead us to re- 
pentance, and that we may become thy faithful and willing 

" Dreadful will it be, if tliy long forbearance with us should,. 
in the end, only sers'e to manifest our greater perverseness and 
hardness of heart, and to increase our condemnation ! 

"At the same time that we hope better things, and desire 
to return Thee most hearty thanks, that by thy Holy Spirit, 
Thou hast put into our minds any wishes to serve Thee better 

60 CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. ^TAT. 40. 

in future, teach us, O Lord, in no respect to rely on ourselves 
for change of heart and amendment of conduct. 

" Teach us to know experimentally, that without Christ 
assisting us by his Holy Spirit, we can do nothing effectually : 
and, that all our resolutions, endeavours, and prospects of success, 
will be fruitless and vain. In His strength therefore — through 
His assistance, we oifer up to Thee our souls and bodies, as a 
lively and reasonable sacrifice : we commit ourselves to the 
protection of our Lord, as our king: we rely on Him as our 
priest to make atonement for us, and we applv to Him as our 
prophet, for wisdom, and instruction in spiritual things. O 
Lord ! it is easy, on our bended knees, to use these words, and 
to make these resolutions ; but the natural corruption of our 
hearts, and our habits of sin and negligence, will soon prevail, 
and bring us into an indolent and formal state of contentment, 
and of fatal security, unless Thou be continually near, warning 
us from sloth, and protecting vis from temptation, or chastening 
ns with misfortunes and adversity. While, therefore, we pretend 
to commit oiu*selves to thy care and guidance, teach us to submit 
with patience, to thy dispensations. 

" Thou hast jiroved our merciful protector during the past 
day; we have gone out and come in, ajul no liarm has happened 
unto us; and Thou hast provided us abundantly with daily bread, 
and with exery thing needful and convenient, while many are in 
want, and in distress. Guard and keep us safe during the dark- 
ness of the night ; let no mischief come near our bodies, nor 
any temptations assault our minds; and if it please Thee to 
refresh us with sleep, and to raise us up to see another day, 
grant that we may spend it in thy service, and to thy glor)'^, and 
to the furtherance of our inunortal interests." 

"Saturday Evexixg. 

" O, Almighty God, who, by thy holy apostles, hast taught 
us, that in the religion of Jesus Christ, neither circumcision nor 
uncircumcision availetli any tiling, but a new creature; mIio didst 
vouchsafe, hot li to llic Jews and to the (ientilcs, the gift of tlie 
Hfdv (ihost, and w1h» didst shew lo flic first Christians, llial 

CHAP. V. A.D. 17!»0. /I-rrAT. 40. 61 

there was no diflference between Jew and Gentile except that 
which consisted in the purifying of their hearts by faith ; give 
unto us, we beseech Thee, that most excellent gift of faith, by 
which, as the Scriptures teach us, the heart believeth unto righte- 
ousness. We know, O God, that without faith, it is impossible 
to please Thee, for the Scripture expressly declares it, and adds, 
that whoever cometh unto Thee, must believe, that Thou art, 
and that Thou art a rewarder of them that diligently seek Thee. 
We have no reason to expect thy blessing, so long as we con- 
tinue in a careless, indifferent, or sensual state — so long as we 
are given up to worldly enjoyments, or, so long as our minds are 
improperly and unreasonably concerned in worldly cares, and 
worldly pursuits. iVs little are we to expect thy blessing, if, 
after having discharged certain duties of the day, in a tolerably 
decent manner, we say to our soul, ' Well done, thou hast 
deserved praise and rcM'ard at thy Maker's hands.' Keep us, 
good Lord, by thy might}' protection, from these dangerous 
extremes : keep us mindful of duties, and at the same time, 
disposed to reckon our best services as 'filthy rags.' Give us to 
know, that, in our own strength, we cannot so much as do one good 
action, or think one good thought : and that it is only through the 
merits of thy beloved Son, and through faith in his blood, that 
our best and most active services are accepted by Thee. Give 
us to see, that, without thy constantly superintending grace, we 
are for ever prone to deviate from the path of Christian holiness, 
and, that it is only by this grace, wdth persevering watchfuhiess, 
that we can hope to preserve ourselves ' unspotted from the 
world,' and to retain a ' conscience void of offence.' 

" Grant, Lord, that we may not grieve and quench thy Holy 
Spirit, whereby alone we can be ' sealed unto the day of redemp- 
tion ;' but that by continuance in well-doing, we may render our 
* calling and election sure.' 

" After unfeignedly thanking Thee for the mercies of the day 
past, and begging of Thee to give us a grateful insight into the 
true value of daily protection, daily sustenance, and daily com- 
forts and conveniences, we entreat Thee to defend us against the 
perils and dangers of the night. As we knew not, in the morn- 
ing, what this day might bring forth, so do we not know what 

62 CHAP. V. A.L). 17t)0. -CTAT. 40. 

may be required of us in tlie succeeding night. O give us a 
watchful spirit, and a spirit of prayer ! Thou art a prayer-hear- 
ing God, and givest hberally to them that ask it of Thee, and 
upbraidest not. Enable us, through thy beloved Son, to ask 
and to obtain that state of spiritual preparation, that we may 
not be taken unawares, or with our lamps untrimmed, and with- 
out oil, at whatever hour Thou mayest choose to call upon us. 
Grant us, O Lord, this great blessing, for thy Son, Jesus Christ's 
sake. Once more we pray Thee to take us into thy protection 
this night ; and, if Thou dost preser\'e us to another day, grant, 
that we may rise in the morning to praise Thee with joyful lips. 
So do Thou lead us on from day to day, till, at last, we come to 
that bright and eternal day, when the sun shall set xo more." 

*^ O Holy, and ever blessed God, it is very meet, and our 
bounden duty, to return Thee hearty thanks for the discovery of 
thy rich mercies, contained in the Holy Scriptures. Among the 
many distinguished mercies and blessings which we, in this 
happy and highly-favoured country, enjoy, teach us, with true 
gratitude and thankfulness, to acknowledge thy fatherly good- 
ness, in permitting us to read those sacred books which open to 
us the way of Everlasting Life. While many persons in distant 
countries and climates which the Gospel has yet never reached, 
are in extreme ignorance, doubt, or apprehension, about their 
future state, it is our own fault, if we do not both know what 
belongs to our salvation, and also take care to secure it. 

" It is not owing to the severe and rigid character of God, 
if we are not justified by faith, and if we have not peace Avith 
Him, through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

" As then, O Lord, Thou hast given us access by faith unto 
this grace, enable us, by thy Spirit to rejoice with thy holy 
apostles, and with all good men, in tlie hope of the glory of 
God. And should it ])lease Thee in thy M-isdoni to lessen, or 
to deprive us of several of our worldly comforts, grant tiiat 
we may also 'glory in tribulation;' and know, by a spiritual 
and happy experience, that 'tribulation worketh patience, and 
patience, experience, and experience, hope. Let us never 

CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. >ETAT. 40. 6.^ 

forget, that while we were yet siiiners, Christ died for the 
ungodly. In this wonderful way, He commended his love to us, 
and saved us from eternal wrath. ' How,' then, ' shall we escape, 
if we neglect so great salvation ?' There remaineth no further 
sacrifice for sin : no further hope of a fresh dispensation for 
fallen and ungrateful man. There is only left a ' certain fearful 
looking for* of a day of judgment. 

" Defend, O Lord, and protect us from a careless and negli- 
gent spirit, while we exist in this world, which is our state of 
prohation : and grant, that we may honestly receive our Lord 
and Master, in all his offices, and so become acquainted with 
that ' hope' which ' maketh not ashamed.^ May we earnestly 
press for an interest in his merits, and become his faithful soldiers 
and servants unto our lives' end. Guard us, on all occasions, 
from offending Thee, and from quenching thy Spirit by idle and 
sensual indulgences ; and keep us humble in our spirits, and 
active, diligent, and conscientious in the discharge of our duties. 

" Whatever we pray for ourselves, we pray also, for our friends 
and relatives, and for all who are near and dear unto us. Do 
Thou make them near and dear unto Thee : enlighten their 
minds with true understanding of thy word ; and make them 
zealous and fervent Christians, devoted to thy service, all the 
days of their lives. So shall we, at last, meet them, in a happy 
and glorious eternit)', and for ever sing praise together, to ' God 
and to the Lamb.' 

" We bless Thee, that no harm has happened to us this day. 
May we lie down in peace, and safely rest under the protecting 
shadow of Thy Almighty wings. If Thou art with us, no ev\\ 
shall happen unto us; if Thou forsake us, we become a prey to 
wicked men, to ^^^cked spirits, and to our own wicked imagina- 
tions. If it please Thee, that we should survive another day, 
may we live that day in Thy sers-ice. Prepare us, good Lord, 
for every event, and every event for us." 

The above compositions are not presented to the reader, as 
they certainly were not intended by the %\Titer, as models of 
supplicator}- addresses to the Almighty. They are peculiar in 
their character, and seem to partake of the nature both of 

64 CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. iT:TAT. 40. 

prayers, and of religious meditations. In fact, the readers of 
them are, perhaps, admitted into as close an intimacy with the 
feehngs of him who wrote them, as is possible in this state of 
existence. They are, as it were, present in his closet, and 
witness the actual current of his thoughts while prostrate before 
his Maker. Such effusions coming from the pen of such a man, 
are, doubtless, intrinsically valuable; and it is needless to add, 
that they must be especially interesting to the surviving friends 
of Dr. Milner. 

The remaining prayers and meditations, seem to have been 
suggested by passages occurring in Mr. Milner's private perusal 
of the Scri})tures. 

" Romans, ii. 

"O ever blessed God! It is our bounden duty to fall down 
before Thee, and with the deepest humility to confess our 
manifold sins and wickedness, and to thank Thee for thy great 
mercy towards us, miserable sinners. O grant that we may 
approach Thee, not with a form of words only, but with the 
heart! We are encompassed with dangers on every side; and 
not the least of those dangers is, lest our prayers, instead of 
being acceptable to Thee, should, on account of negligence, 
levity, or formality, become an abomination in thy sight. O that 
we may be effectually secured against a careless spirit! Let the 
remem])rance of our past lives be ever present with us. Like 
sheep we have gone astray; from our earliest infancy we have 
repeatedly broken thy express laws; we have followed the devices 
and desires of our own hearts; we have walked according to the 
course of this world, according to the ' prince of the power of 
the air;' 'the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobe- 
dience;' we have stifled the dictates of conscience; and it is of 
thy great mercy, that we are not now receiving the wages of our 
iniquity, in a state of punishment. Sometimes, O God, we are 
ashamed and confounded, when we think on these things, and 
are less disposed to trifle with Thee, our Maker, our bountiful 
Protector, and our compassionate Redeemer. But how soon are 
these injpressions effaced; liow cold and slotlifid do we speedily 

CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. ^TAT. 40. ^.5 

grow; and how reaclilv do our tlujughts wander from connnuni- 
cation with Thee! In our distresses, indeed, we remember our 
disobedience and our backslidings, and we call upon the name 
of the Lord; but no sooner is the storm blown over, than we 
sink again into tlie mir)- jiaths of worldly vanities, pride, ambi- 
tion, or sensuality. 

" What an awful lesson have I read to-night, in the writings 
of thy holy apostle, Saint Paul, respecting the ancient Jews. 
They digged doM'u thine altars, they killed thy prophets, and 
proceeded to such a pitch of obdurate and practical wickedness, 
that, in thy righteous determination. Thou didst punish them 
with a judicial blindness. Thou gavest them the spirit of slumber 
— eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not 
hear, even in tlie day when the blessed gospel of salvation was 
preached unto them. We, O Lord, are in nowise better than 
they. We have rebelled against clearer light and greater know- 
ledge; but Tliou hast not dealt with us according to our iniqui- 
ties. Oh! let the remembrance of thy great mercies, and long 
forbearance, at last lead us to repentance. 

" We desire to be thankful to Thee, O God, if Thou hast on 
any occasion alarmed our consciences, and made us sensible of 
our perilous situation. If Thou hast made us to flee to Thee, in 
any degree, with a penitent heart, and with desires of at length 
becoming thy true and faithful servants, O grant that these 
awakenings may be the sm-e dawn of a more perfect day, in due 
time to be revealed; and, that at length, before we die, the day- 
star of hope, of consolation, of joy in believing, may arise upon 
our hearts. Pardon the many sins of vanity, folly, and careless- 
less, which thy pure eyes have seen in us to-day. We said, that 
we would 'take heed unto our ways,' but how prone are we to 
forget thy commandments, and our own promises: how apt are 
we to be drawn astray by the trifling temptations of this wicked 
world, and the more numerous delusive suggestions of our own 
hearts. The cure of all this is a more lively faith in the Redeemer, 
a deeper insight into the holiness of the law of God, a greater 
hatred of sin, and a more ardent love and panting after commu- 
nion with Thee. O enable us, with holy David, to say with 
sincerity, that our soul pantetli after Thee, as the hart panteth 

f)f> CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. JETAT. AO. 

after the water-brooks. Blessed be God and our merciful 
Redeemer, that, amidst all this weakness, and all this wickedness, 
we have the blood of Jesus to flee to — the blood which cleanseth 
from all sin. Let this be our hope and sure anchor, both in life 
and in death. May we this night lie down in peace, firmly 
relying on this hope ; and if Thou shouldst please to grant unto 
us a safe and peaceful night of rest, may we awake in the 
morning with our bodies refreshed and our minds still relying 
on the hope and prospect of a blessed immortaHty, through our 
Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

" May this Christian faith and hope, and this glorious pros- 
pect, carry us through to-morrow and every day which Thou 
mayest please to vouchsafe unto us. And may we, with hearty 
desires of serving Thee better than we have hitherto done, become 
improving Christians, and thy faithful soldiers and serv^ants, unto 
our lives' end." 

" ' O come, let us sing unto the Lord.' 

" ^ O come let us worship and fall down, and kneel before 
the Lord our maker; for he is a great God, and a great king 
above all gods.' 

" Enable us, O Lord, to call Thee our God, for we are ' the 
people of thy pasture, and the sheep of thy hand.' 

" If we reflect at all from whence come the numerous good 
things which we enjoy, we must be sensible, that they are all 
derived from thy bounty. When we are hungr)', who shall 
satisfy us, if Thou shouldest withhold thy plentiful hand ! Who 
else can supply us when we are thirsty! And if we be naked 
and exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, to whom must we 
look for covering, but to the same bountiful Giver, who foresees 
all our wants, and who not only provides for our necessities, but 
also gratifies our feelings with a superfluous abundance of com- 
forts and pleasures. But these blessings are so common, that 
we are apt to receive them as things of course; or if we do think 
about them, we are prone to suppose, that we have a sort of right 
to them, and thus to fly in the face of Thee, the powerful and 
bountiful Author and Giver of tlicm all. 

" Notwithstanding this our ingratitude, Thou continuest to 

CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. jKTAT. 40. 67 

do us good, and to bless us with health, with plent\% and with 
prosperit)'. If our health fail, or if adversity overtake us, if 
Thou see good to j)lague us with public famine, or to lessen our 
domestic comforts, we then, for a time, acknowledge our un- 
worthiness, and show some signs of repentance ; but no sooner 
does the darkness disperse, no sooner do the winds and storms 
abate, than we return to our usual practice of slothfulness, in- 
dulgence, and sensualit)'. Oh ! put us continually in mind, that 
' we are the people of thy pasture ;' and, if it be necessary, O 
Lord, chasten us ; but ' not in thine anger, lest thou bring us to 
nothing.' Above all, feed us wath the bread and with the water 
of life, that we may neither hunger nor thirst again. Give us 
spiritual blessings, and make our souls to prosper in A-igorous 
and active health. 

" It is said, ' to-day , if ye will hear his voice/ O grant that 
we may not harden our hearts, as the hearts of the children of 
Israel were hardened in the Avilderness, when, during so many 
years, they tempted and provoked Almighty God. Let the con- 
sideration of the danger of putting off, from day to day, the things 
that concern our immortal interests, effectually alarm us, and 
bring about a thoughtful, diligent, and watchful state of mind. 
' Now is the accepted time' — ' to-day, if ye Avill hear his voice.' 
To-morrow, it may be, in many ways, too late. AVe may be 
numbered with the dead, and our lot may be reckoned among the 
transgressors ; or we may be alive, and may have sinned till our 
liearts are hardened and thoroughly impenitent ; we may have 
rejected the proffered offers of mercy, we may have quenched 
thy Holy Spirit so often, that thou wilt no longer * strive' with 
us — God ' will not always strive with man.' Although there be 
mercy for ever)^ returning sinner, although all that are weary 
and heavy laden with the burden of sin are sure to find rest, 
upon a sincere application to our Redeemer ; yet we may neg- 
lect to make this application, till we are no longer disposed to 
make it, and till the God of mercy and forgiveness, may swear 
in his wrath, that we shall not enter into his rest. If, then, on 
any occasion, Thou, O most merciful Father, puttest into our 
minds good desires, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be 
faithful to these convictions, and not abuse thy long forbearance 

F 2 

68 CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. ^TAT. 40. 

and patience. And whenever it lias pleased Thee to enable us 
to pray, with any degree of warmth and sincerity, grant that we 
may possess a waiting spirit — a spirit which expects its prayers 
to be answered, and which is uneasy if they be not answered. 

" Tliy pure eyes have seen in us much amiss in the course of 
the day past : glory be to Thee, that we have a Redeemer to apply 
to, as a foundation for the expecting of forgiveness at thy hands. 
Teach us to be, in future, more careful, more simple-minded, and 
more spiritual. Teach us to examine our conduct, with a 
jealous attention ; and where we find ourselves to be unusually 
weak and liable to sin, may we be, in those points, more on our 
guard, and more solicitous and importunate in imploring assist- 
ance at the throne of grace. So shall we approach nearer and 
nearer to the perfect man. 

" Bless our king, and all who are in authorit}' under him. 
Bless our near friends and relatives, and all mankind, and 
do imto them every good which we can ask, or imagine for our- 
selves ; but, above all, let their immortal sovds be precious 
in thy sight. May they, and we, together walk like true Chris- 
tians, whose eyes are steadily fixed on futurit)'. So shall we 
together enjoy a blessed eternity, purchased for us by our dear 
Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen." 

"I. Corinthians, x. 
" Grant, O Lord, if it please Thee, that we may read thy 
Holy Scriptures with advantage. Grant, that our ideas may be 
spiritualized, and, that, through thy grace, we may be enabled 
to drink freely of the water which floweth from Christ, the 
spiritual Rock, and never thirst again. AVe have been baptized 
in his name, and have a much clearer revelation of the nature 
of his salvation than was vouchsafed to the Israelites, who were 
only initiated into the true religion by types and emblems ; and 
it is our own fault, and will be our condemnation, if we do not 
turn to good account this superior knowledge and information. 
O may we, in the great day of account, be found to have been 
faithful stewards of thy mysteries ! as, most assuredly, since more 
is given, more will be required at our hands. 

CHAP. V. A.D. 1790. iETAT. 40. 69 

" How alarming is the history of the favourite people of 
God! And their histor)'^ is assuredly written for our example. 
They tempted God, and provoked Him by multiplied transgres- 
sions, till He ' sware in his wrath, that they should not enter 
into his rest.' O make us watchful and humble ; and * Let 
him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall !' " 

" I. Corinthians, xiii. 
" Give us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that love to God and 
man, which will abide when faith is superseded by sight, and 
hope is swallowed up in enjoyment. Give us to know thy true 
character, and make us to live, as always in thy presence. 
Grant that we may not be eye-ser^■ ants, but, that it may be our 
pleasure to sen^e Thee from love and gratitude. We shall then 
neither ' behave' ourselves ' unseemly,' nor ' seek' our ^ own,' 
nor be ' easily provoked ;' we shall ^ think' * no evil ;' we shall 
* bear all things,' ' believe all things,' ' endure all things ;' we 
shall exemplify Christian principles, and improve in Christian 



Mechanical pursuits. — Nominated to the Deanery of Carlisle. — Con'espondence. 
— Illness of Joseph Milner. — Dr, Paley. — Distinguishing traits in the cha- 
racter of Dean Milner. — Slave-trade abolition. — Revolutionary spirit in 
England. — Correspondence. — Mr. Milner takes the Degree of D.D. — 
Visits his Brother at Hull. — Letter from Joseph Milner to the Rev. 
James Stillingfleet. — Explanation of some peculiarities in Dr. Milner's 
Conduct. — Extracts from Correspondence with William Hey, Esq. — 
Certificates of Ill-health. — Dr. Milner elected Vice-Chancellor. — CoiTe- 
spondence. — State of the Country. — Observations on the Character of Fox. 
— Mr. Pitt re-elected M.P. for the University of Cambridge. 

A.D. 1791. VETAT. 41. 

The intervals of leisure which, in the spring of the year 1791^ 
Mr. Milner's various duties as president of a college and a 
public lecturer allowed him, seem to have been principally em- 
ployed in mechanical and philosophical pursuits. This appears 
from several passages in his letters. Thus, on the 29th of.April, 
he writes from Queen's Lodge, " I have been here now for some 
weeks working exceedingly hard — for working agrees verj^ well 
>vith me, when the weather is not too hot — it amuses, and it tends 
to lessen nerv'^osities, and to dull pain, &c., &c., and I see plainly 
that I must reckon upon being an invalid ;" and again, to ano- 
ther friend, " In good truth there is scarce a day passes, but I 
think of you many times ; and this without any manner of com- 
pliment ; for there is constantly rising either some new difficult)', 
or I want some new tool, or some instruction how to use the tools 
I have ; insomuch, that were an intelligent adviser at hand, 1 
should feel the comfort of him to a ver)^ great degree." Again, 
to Mr. Ludlam, '' I have been a great dabbler in air-pumps, and 
have spent a great deal of money on them. I have now one by 
me, which cost GO/, and upward.s, exclusive of the ap])aratus — 
and yet they are all defective, at least when compared and mea- 
sured by my fancies." * * « Q,i reading over this letter, I 
am quite asliamed of the troubli* I give you: but they arc hol)by- 
h(jrscs, and tlicre is no saying what leiigtlis a man will not go, to 
gratify himself in such cases." 

CHAP. VI. A.D. 1791. ^TAT. 41. 71 

In accordance with his usual custom, Mr. Milner passed the 
summer of this year with his aged mother, his brother, and his 
other relatives, at Hull. The commencement of the Cambridge 
term called him to college at the usual time ; and, in the month 
of December, he was nominated to the dignified station of Dean 
of Carlisle, vacant by the recent death of Dr. Ekins. 

For this preferment he was chiefly indebted to the active 
indness of his friend. Dr. Pretyman*, Bishop of Lincoln; who 
before his elevation to the episcopal bench, had been tutor to 
Mr. Pitt. "The bishop," writes Mr. Milner to Mr. Wilber- 
force, in a letter dated " Hull, December 3d, 1791," "espoused 
my cause mth such a glow of friendship as is never to be for- 
gotten. In short he said ' he should never rest till he saw me 
settled in a comfortable income.^ " Mr. Milner proceeds to say, 
that, in consequence of the Bishop of Lincoln's representations 
to Mr. Pitt, he had himself received, from the prime minister, 
" a most handsome and substantial letter," informing him, that 
he 1 ad been recommended to his Majesty for the vacant deanery 
of Carlisle. 

In the midst of the brilliant prospects which now appeared 
to open upon Mr. Milner, promoted as he was to the high situa- 
tions of President of Queen's College and Dean of Carlisle, he 
was at this time suffering, besides bodily indisposition, very 
great distress of mind, on account of the dangerous illness of 
his revered and dearly-beloved brother. The following extract 
from a letter addressed by him to his friend, Mr. Hey, on the 
28th November, 1791^ exhibits, in so true and strong a light, the 
exquisite tenderness of his heart — a qualit)^ often quite unobserved 
by persons who saw and knew him only in the ordinarj'^ inter- 
course of society — that, although certainly wTitten in the most 
unrestrained confidence, it may be here, properly, inserted. 

Speaking of his brother's illness, Mr. Milner thus expresses 
himself : 

" My heart is almost broken : I neither eat nor sleep ; and 
unless it please God to enable me to submit more calmly, I shall, 
assuredly, be overset. My dear fviend, you are a father, and 

* Afterwards Dr. Toinline. 

72 CHAP. VI. A.U. 1791. JETAT. 41. 

know how to feel tenderly — Oh ! my dear and only brother ! 
who hast comforted me so often in my sufferings ! * * * * 
The last time I saw him, I told him, I saw plainly, that I had 
not learned to submit to God's dispensations ; he said, * The 
thing is, Isaac, you don't make God your suimnum bonum.' " 

This extract surely displays, in a most affecting manner, the 
tender love of Mr. Milner towards his brother Joseph, and the 
anxiety of that brother, in the midst of his own affliction, to 
confirm in Isaac, a practical acquaintance with tliose Christian 
principles which alone can produce true resignation to the will 
of God, and consequent calmness under tlie most painful dispen- 
sations of his proA-idence. 

The foUoxN^ng entr)' appears in Mr. Wilberforce's Diary, 
December 13th, 1791 : " Received a most affecting letter from 
Milner about his brother." 

Of this " most affecting letter,'' dated " Hull, December 3d, 
1791," we have seen, that the first part related to Mr. Milner^s 
presentation to the deanery of Carlisle. 

After expressing, in that letter, his fears tliatsome "journeys 
and ceremonies," would be " necessary by and by ;" and that 
" a doctor's degree" would be '' needful, or at least proper," 
Mr. Milner quits the subject of his new appointment, and turns 
to one much nearer to his heart. He proceeds thus : 

" My health has suffered very severely by the bitterest afflic- 
tion I ever experienced in my life. My brother was seized, a fort- 
night ago, Avith a fever, pleurisy, and spitting of blood. All this, 
added to his naturally asthmatical state, put his life, for some 
days, in the most imminent danger. I consider his situation as 
still critical, though the disease ceases to be called acute. I hope 
God will be gracious, and permit his continuance a little longer 
with us; but I verily believe, his lungs are so much impaired, that 
he will never be able to do business again. The fact is, he is worn 
out with labouring in the best of causes : he never could be indu- 
ced to spend a moment idle. I never saw liis equal in that res- 
pect; and I have long wished to see him relieved from a load of 
l)usiness, particularly the school-teaching ; (you may remember I 
mentioned this to you, as well as my fears concerning him, many 
vears ago,) and I have wished for it with much greater earnest- 

CHAP. VI. AD. 1791. tETAT. 41. 73 

ness than ever I did any thing for myself. My fear now is, that 
preaching at High Church* will be too much for him ; but this 
must be considered, if he should recover. At present he is 
confined to his chamber, and likely to continue there. 

" You know the terms my brother and I have lived on, from 
infancy. You must also be aware of the great comfort he has 
been to me, as an affectionate friend and faithful adviser, during 
my long illness. Judge, my dear friend, what I must have felt 
on the prospect of seeing him snatched away. My aged mother . 
is so afflicted, that, * * * * in short, without the positive 
interference of God's all-supporting hand, I must ine\atably have 
sunk, if the prospect had still darkened. 

" I never felt thus on my own account. I applied at the 
throne of grace, with all the steadiness and fervour I could 
nmster ; but I told my brother, that I saw plainly, I had not 
learned to submit to the Divine will. ^The thing is, Isaac,' 
said he, when at worst, ' you don't make God your &ummu/u 
bonum.' Oh ! my dear friend, the views of religion concerning 
which vou and I have so often conversed, are the only ones that 
can help in time of need. May God, of his infinite mercy, grant 
that you and I may truly and practically become acquainted with 
them. How necessarj- is the rod of correction! it leads to self- 
examination. I rememljer you always affectionately. I. M." 

The admonition of Joseph Milner to his brother, '* Isaac, 
you don't make God your summum bonum," which seems to have 
made a deep impression upon that brother's mind, is here men- 
tioned to Mr. Wilberforce, in almost the same terms which Mr. 
Milner had employed in his letter to Mr. Hey, of the preceding 

With regard to Mr. Milner's promotion to the deanery of 
Carlisle, it has been insinuated l^y one of the numerous biogra- 
phers of the late Dr. Paleyt, that that eminent man felt some 
degree of jealousy and dissatisfaction upon the appointment. 

The churcli of the Holy Trinity, at Hull, where Mr. Joseph Milner was, at 
this time, al'teruoon lecturer, was commonly called High Chuich. 
t Meadlev. 

/4 ClIAI'. VJ. A.D. 1791. .ETAT. 41. 

Nothing, apparently, can be further from the truth. " So far was 
he," says his son, the Rev. Edmund Paley, " from suspecting, 
much less from being conscious, that Dr. Mihier was preferred 
before himself, that he came into his house one day much 
delighted with the news being announced of their new dean, as 
it opened a prospect of their having so eminent a man amongst 
them. He said, he could not have been better pleased, except 
it had been himself." 

The following very friendly letters from Dr. Paley to the 
dean, are in perfect accordance with this statement. 

"To THE Very Reverend the Dean of Carlisle. 

"Sir, " Carlisle, December I8th, 1791. 

" Mr. Carlyle I liope will have expressed to you my con- 
gratulations, and, what is of much more value, the general satis- 
faction with which your appointment is received here. You may 
depend upon it that I shall in ever}^ thing have pleasure in 
endeavouring to render your situation as easy and agreeable to 
you as it is in my power to do. 
" I am. Sir, 
" With great regard, your faithful and obedient servant, 

"W. Paley.'' 

Mr. Milner was formally appointed to the Deanery of 
Carlisle on the 30th day of Januar)', 1792; but being pre- 
vented by illness from being installed in his new dignity in 
person, the ceremony of installation was, with the consent of the 
bishop*, who had himself been consecrated to the See of Carlisle 
during the same year, performed by proxy. 

On this occasion, Dr. Paley wrote to the dean as follows: 

«' Dear Sir, " Carlisle, Feb. Srd, 1792. 

"The installation of your proxy was performed yesterday with 
due gravit)\ This ceremony completes your possession of the 
Deaner)' of Carlisle, in which I sincerely wish you every possiljle 

' The invsnit Linfl Aiclilii^lKni of York. 

CHAP. VI. A.D. 1792. AiTAT. 42. 7') 

"" 1 should have been liappy to liave received a more favour- 
able account of your health. Preferment is reckoned a wholesome 
thing; and I hope you will find it so. 
" I remain, dear Sir, 

"^Your faithful and obedient servant, 

"W. Paley." 

In a letter of nearly the same date. Dr. Paley thus -vATites to 
a friend: "We have got a new dean, a great friend of Mr. 
Sheepshanks and Mr. Carlyle, and a man of great reputation, so 
that the appointment gives us great satisfaction.^' Dr. Paley left 
Carlisle about three years after the appointment of Mr. Milner to 
the deanery. So that, as Mr. Edmund Paley, in his life of his 
father, observes, these eminent men had not much opportmiity 
of forming a ven,' intimate acquaintance. They met, however, 
frequently, both in public and in priA'ate; and, in particular, the 
dean is said to have occasionally attended a meeting consisting 
of a few literary men, who assembled alternately, on the Sunday 
evenings, at each other's residences, for the pvirpose of discuss- 
ing, in an easy way, such religious subjects as circumstances 
might suggest. 

It is impossible to read the congratulatory^ letters, at this 
period addressed to Dean Milner, without at the same time 
commiserating his afflicted condition both of body and mind. 

Two distinguishing characteristics were, however, obsers'^able, 
throughout the whole of Dr. Milner's life. Bodily suffering did 
not diminish the energy of his mind; and he was ever ready, 
whatever might be his own position, or circumstances, to sym- 
jmthize with, and to assist his friends. 

Mr. Will^erforce was, at this time, actively engaged in the 
great cause of the slave-trade abolition; and his efibrts were 
constantly encouraged by the solid and well-directed advice of 
Dean Milner. 

The revolutionary- spirit which was, at this period, raging in 
France, had, in some measure, infected our own country^; and, as it 
could not be denied, that among the friends of abolition, there 
were some who held revolutionary opinions, many supporters of 
the .slave trade took an unfair advantage of this circumstance, bv 

7ii CHAP. VI. A.D. 179-'. /ETAT. 42. 

branding with the name of Jacobin every friend of the abohtion 

Upon this subject Dean Mihier thus wrote to Mr. Wilber- 
force : 

« * * * * would tell you, that he had had a long 
conversation with nie. I wish him better health and better 
notions in politics: no government can stand on such principles 
as he appeals to and maintains. I am verj' sorry for it, because 
I see plainly that advantage is taken of such cases as his, in 
order to represent the friends of abolition as levellers. This is 
not the only case where the converse of a proposition* does not 
hold. Levellers certainly are friends of abolition." 

Early in the month of April, the dean, who had constantly 
stirred up his friend to continued exertions in the slave-trade 
cause, again Avrote to him in the follo%A'ing terms, on the occasion 
of his ha\ang carried his motion for the gradual abohtion of that 
detestable traffic. 

" I thought of you most unremittingly the whole day of 
April 2nd, and a good deal of the night; which, to me, was a 
ver)'^ restless one. I bless God, and surely you have great 
reason to be thankful, that it pleases Him to endow you with so 
much bodily energ}', that you are able to exert your talents so 
steadily, and for so long a time, on such great occasions. 
Greater occasions can hardly ever occur, and I think there can 
be no doubt but you have gained some ground; though I find 
many people think othenvise. On the first view I thought so 
too, but on reading the debates I am satisfied that much ground 
is gained, as far as respects public opinion; the opposers are 
plainly overawed and ashamed. The worst circumstance is this 
* * * *. Nobody thinks well of him. Duplicit}- and artifice 
are esteemed parts of his character; he is judged to do what he 
does, unwillingly, and with design, in the worst sense. Ne 
graveris upon my making tliese observations on him. I know 
he says, you have as pure a heart as ever inhabited a human 
breast. Such things you can %Aithstand, but there is a stream 

* It is, perhaps, lu'edloss to observe, that, the exjiression converse of a pro- 
position, if intended btrictly as a logical term, is, in this passage, incorrectly used. 

THAP. Vr. A.I). 179?. /KTAT. 42. 77 

of more delicate applause, which is likely to have more effect, 
and against which it is more difficult to guard." 

On the 23rd of this month, Mr. Dundas brought forward his' 
resolutions for a gradual abolition. "After a hard struggle," as 
Mr. AVilberforce writes, he and his friends succeeded in fixing 
the period of the abolition for January 1st, 1796, Mr. Dundas 
having proposed 1800. On this occasion, Dean Milner wrote to 
Mr. Wilberforce in the following terms of encouragement and 

" Not long ago I had no expectation of success respecting 
the slave trade; then again, you seemed to be carr)nng every- 
thing; and now, we are downi in the mouth again, both because 
four years are allowed, and because there seems the greatest 
danger from the House of Lords. However, you have great 
reason to be thankful, for God seems to bless your labours; 
and, as I remember I told you long ago, if you carry this point 
in your whole life, that life will be far better spent than in being 
prime minister many years." 

In the summer of this year, Dean Milner proceeded to the 
degree of Doctor in Divinity, and spent, as was his custom, 
some part of the long vacation with his relatives at Hull. During 
all such visits he frequently took occasion to look in upon the 
school where he had formerly been usher; and, as a still sun i- 
ving pupil of Jose])h Milner* bears witness, "he was always 
a great favourite with the boys, teaching and conversing with 
them in a pleasant affable manner." 

Of this particular visit of Dr. Milner to Hull, a hint is given 
by his brother Joseph, in a letter which is so characteristic, 
that its insertion here may be pardoned. 

"To THE Rev. James Stilling fleet. 

"Dear Still., "Hull, Aug. 26th, 1792. 

" I begin to fear you will suspect something of me as want- 
ing in kindness, by my not sooner answering your letter. I hope 
I scarce need to say, the delay was by no means owing to any 
diminution of regard. I am sure I have no reason. Mav our 

* The Rev. Mr. Bioinhv, the prosoiit Vicar of Hull. 

/» CHAP. VI. A.D. 1792. iETAT. 42. 

friendship only be cemented and sweetened with more of the mind 
that is in Christ Jesus, and partake more of his Spirit ! * * * 

" I would adore the providence of God which tenderly pre- 
served you, in your danger by the little Welsh horse. Pray ride 
the ill-natured beast no more. We are not sufficiently thankful 
for such interpositions. I had one myself, of another kind. 
While I was at Carhsle, some wanton fellows, with more bold- 
ness than wit, brake into my school one night; and though a desk 
with my history, sermons, &c., happened to be there, unlocked, 
they did no harm to them. They only threw some books about, 
&c., and though they tore some leaves out of the school Ains- 
worth, they only tore out the part which contains bad Latin. So 
fond was Bacchus, it seems, of good Latinit}'. One would have 
thought that Horace himself, in some of his ' lo Bacche' moods, 
had done it, and in the midst of his revelling still preser\-ed his 
tenderness for classical purit}% 

" Mother is much the same ; so is Isaac. As to myself, I 
have reason to be thankful for the improvement of my health l)y 
the Carhsle journey. I sent my sentiments to Beverley, with 
equal strength and sincerity, about the address, though I like to 
avoid dinners in public. Alas ! worldly company neither suits 
my body nor my soul. I feel it needful to watch and pray, that 
I may have a little spiritual strength before I go hence, and be 
no more seen. 

"My kind love to Mrs. Still., &c., 
" Always yours, 

"Joseph Milner." 

Towards the close of this year, Dr. Milner was elected to 
the office of Vice-Chancellor of the University. Before, how- 
ever, proceeding to the account of his Vice-Chancellorship, 
which was distinguished by some very remarkable occurrences, 
it will be proper to introduce, from a letter to William Hey, 
Esq., of Leeds, a few e.xtract.s, which may tend to place in its 
true light a part of Dr. Milner's conduct, which has been some- 
times animadverted ujjoii with much illiberalit)'. 

CHAP. VI. A.D. nu-2- /KTAT. 42. 79 

" Dear Sir, " Hull, September 22tid, 1 792. 

"There is nothing which for a hmg time has been more 
upon my mind, and which I have more ardently wished for, 
than to be able to attend divine sendee. Not only the general 
reasons make this an object to me, but also some additional 
reasons peculiar to my circumstances. 

^' For example, it is exceedingly desirable, that, as Master of 
Queen's College, 1 should be able, along with the College, to be 
present at daily prayers, in our private chapel. I always used 
to be a regular attendant. 

*'2ndly. It is equally desirable that I should attend the 
Cathedral at Carlisle during my residence there in the summer. 

"3rdly. It is not improbable, but that, next November, 
I may be elected Vice-Chancellor ; and then, I ought to attend 
St. Mary's twice every Sunday, and also the congregations 
in the Senate-House. 

"Yet I have never been able to attend divine senice at 
any one of these places, since my illness in March, 1789) 
without ver)' great injur)'; nor do I wonder much at it, con- 
sidering the nature of the paroxysms to which I am subject." 

Here follows an account of the WTiter's indisposition, which 
appears to have been of an aguish nature; of his sometimes 
" falling to work, and working for hours with a file, harder than 
any smith in the toMTi," for the purpose of "acquiring heat," 
and, at other times, of his being unable " to walk a few times 
across the room," without being " bathed in immoderate per- 

He proceeds thus : 

^' From such accounts as these, added to my former accounts, 
judge you, whether, under these circumstances, I ought to 
attempt, in case I should be elected Vice-Chancellor to sit 
motionless twice in a day, in a cold church, in the month of 

*^Dr. Jowett* has kindly undertaken to attempt either 

Dr. Jowett, already mentioned as one of Dr. Milner's earliest aiul most 
valued friends, was at this time staying with him at Hull. 

80 CHAP. VI. A.U. 1792. .ETAT. 42. 

to get me totally excused, or to effect some arrangement that 
will make the matter easier to me. 

"One or more certificates of my situation from medical 
gentlemen, will be useful. If you think you can properly give 
me one, I shall be obliged to you to do so. Dr. Jowett will 
explain to you what sort of a certificate is necessary. 

" I request no account to be given of me but what is most 
strictly true. But the points that are to be particiUarly cleared 
up are these : 

"1st. That this complaint is not of that class which is 
properly called nervous or hj^ochondriacal, and in which 
business, and plenty' of exercise in the open air, is recom- 
mended. Yet I do not wonder that such an idea has gone 
forth respecting me ; because I now look well, and am always 
in good spirits when I do appear in public. Tliis idea cannot be 
done away with, by anything / can say ; and is only to be 
opposed by professional opinions. 

" 2dly. The other fact to be insisted upon, and clearly 
set forth, is, my incapacity for bearing the open air, or the 
air of rooms not constantly warmed by fires. ***** 
My present state is certainly a complication ; viz., the relics of 
a severe ague, combined with a constitutional afiection of twenty 
years' standing. This affection you have seen a great deal of 
in my case ; and you know, nobody was more active than I was, 
or used more exercise in the open air, of various kinds. I rode 
on horseback as long as I could, and ever}' morning before 
breakfast, and in all weathers. Aften\'ards, I got into a phaeton, 

"The other part of my complaint, viz., the aguish aftcctioii, 
you have not seen so much of; yet you have heard of me from 

others, and, I think from Dr. B , who once told me, that he 

had conversed with vou particularly, concerning this ])eculiar 
incapacity of l)earing the open air. 

" You are to put these things together, and to judge for 
yourself whether you can certify what you believe to be my 
case ; and in such a way as to enforce the truth, and thereby 
undo any conception of tiiis sort ; viz.^ that I only want resolu- 

CHAP. VI. A.D. 1792. ;ETAT. 42. 81 

tion to go out, and, that any office that obUged me to go out, 
would do me good. 

" I am affectionately yours, 
" To William Hey, Esq." "Isaac Milner." 

Ever)' candid person must feel the force of this letter ; to 
which Mr. Hey returned the following answer : — 

"Leeds, October 5th, 1792, 
"Dear Sir, Friday. 

" I have inclosed a letter to you, which is to serve the pur- 
pose of a certificate for you, to warrant your refusal to accept 
the office of V. C, an office which I think you ought by no means 
to accept, in your present indisposition. 

" I have written what 1 think to be true ; and I think it not 
impossible that you may, at some future time, be able to fulfil the 
duties of that important and honourable office. 

" I am your affectionate friend, 

"William Hey." 

By a physician resident in the town of Hull, Dr. Milner 
was furnished with another certificate, setting forth, that from 
the writer's "own knowledge," he (Dr. M.), "was unable to 
bear the open air, though by no means deficient in resolute 
endeavours to get out as often as possible." 

In a work purporting to be a Life of Dean Milner, it would 
be improper to omit all notice of this subject, and although what 
has been already said can scarcely be otherwise than satisfactory 
to ever)' unprejudiced mind, it may be advisable to quote from 
a work published by Dr. Milner*, a passage directly bearing 
upon the point in question. 

After stating, that when elected vice-chancellor, for the first 
time, more than twenty years previous to the time then present, 
three physicians and one or two surgeons had subscribed a report 
on the nature of his bodily complaints, for the inspection of the 
heads of colleges, in consequence of wliich report they under- 
took to di\nde among themselves almost all that part of the Vice- 

Strictures on some of the Publications of the Rev. Herbert Marsh. 


82 IHAI'. VI. A.U. 179-2. yl.TAT. 4-'. 

Chancellor's duties which required him to leave his room. Dr. 
Milner proceeds thus : — 

" At present I am absolutely supported by large doses of the 
most powerful medicines, repeated several times ever)' day ; and 
although I am thereby enabled to make considerable exertions 
at home, I can rarely stir out, for any length of time, wnth safety, 
and seldom do stir out, without suffering very considerable incon- 

" I am not sorn,', that, among the many disagreeable circum- 
stances unavoidable in a controversy of this sort, a fair occasion 
has been afforded me of explaining certain peculiarities in my 
own conduct, the reasons of which, though well understood by 
my friends and familiars, for many years past, have, neverthe- 
less, sometimes furnished a handle to the uncandid for misre- 
presentations of various kinds. I rest assured that no conside- 
rate person wall expect me to be more explicit in this matter." 

Of Dr. Milner's rational and enlightened piety, many evi- 
dences appear in the course of his correspondence, during this 
year. Thus, in the month of October, Mr. Wilberforce having 
expressed to him his earnest desires after a more rapid growth 
in holiness, the dean thus replied : "If you have truly learned 
to feel the insufficiency of your own powers, you have made 
more progress than you think of; and if you can support that 
feeling, and act upon it, for any time together, your advance is 
very considerable*." 

Numerous other passages might be quoted from various let- 
ters, with a similar view. 

In the month of November, 1792, Dr. Milner was elected 
Vice-Chancellor, and, in consideration to the assistance proffered 
to him l)y the other heads of colleges, accepted that important 

The peculiar circumstances which, on this occasion, rendered 
the vice-chancellorship at Cambridge unusually onerous, will be 
related in the next chapter. 

The political prospects with which this year closed were 
rapidly darkening. The democratical excitement which raged 

Life of William IVilberforce, Etq. 

( JIAI'. VI. A.I). 17!>-2. ^riAT. 42. 83 

in a neighbouring country had, in an alarming degree, tainted 
the English poj)ulation ; and the northern comities had by no 
means escaped the virulent infection. 

Early in December, Dr. Milner thus wrote to Mr. Wilber- 
force: — 

" At Carlisle we had many reports concerning tumults and 
sedition, and the affair seemed to be of considerable magnitude. 
Some few gentlemen, I understand, are disposed to favour 
French principles ; Mr. has considerable influence in pro- 
moting this sort of work by his conversation, which has a strong 
tendency to destroy all sul)ordination, and to bring rulers, of 
ever)'^ description, into contempt. He is naturally very good- 
tempered, and my stay there was short. These two circumstances 
alone prevented our coming to a rupture. I have given myself 
little or no concern about politics, for years ; but of late, the 
aspect has been so black, that I could not help attending to our 
future prospects, with some anxiety. 

" Supposing Fox to oppose, I think it well, at this critical 
moment, that he has gone so far. There is scarce one of his old 
friends here at Cambridge, who is not disposed to give him up ; 
and most say, that he is mad. I tliink of him much as I always 
did : 1 still doubt whether he has bad principles, but I think it 
pretty plain, that he has none ; and I suppose he is ready for 
whatever turns up. The tide at present seems setting strongly 
in support of government, among all ranks. I believe this 
arises, in great measure, from the alarm of the moment ; and 
when that is over, or abates, I fear the democratic principles 
will be found to have firmer roots." 

The University annals for the year 1792 close with the 
re-election of Mr. Pitt, as its representative in parliament. 
The critical position, however, of public affairs, at this period, 
prevented Mr. Pitt, as he wrote to Dr. Milner, from being 
present on the day of election. 

O 2 



Socinian principles in the Univei-sity. — Mr. Frend. — Ilis Seditious Pamphlet. 
— Meeting of the Masters and Fellows of Jesus College.— Care of the Vice- 
Chancellor to procure the best Legal advice. — Meeting of the "Twenty- 
Seven," at Queen's Lodge. — Determination to institute, against Mr. Frend 
proceedings in the Vice-Chancellor's Court. — Citation of Mr. Frend. — His 
Trial. — Sentence of Banishment from the University pronounced upon him 
by the Vice-Chancellor. — Mr. Frendappeals to the Senate. — Confirmation of 
the Sentence of the Vice-Cliancellor, pronounced by the Court of Delegates. 
— Firmness of Dr. Milner. — His unflinching attachment to the Doctrines 
of the Established Cliurch. — Notice of Mr. Frend's trial by Professor 
Smyth. — Dr. Milner's Speech at the conclusion of the Trial. — Address to 
the Undergraduates. — Impressive style of his eloquence. — Visit of Joseph 
Milner to his Brother at Cambridge. — Mr. Simeon. — State of Religion. — 
Dr. Milner takes formal possession of the Deanery of Carlisle. — Remark- 
able Dream. 

A.D. 1793. ^TAT. 43. 

The occurrences which distinguished and rendered peculiarly 
responsible the vice-chancellorship of Dr. Milner, were the trial 
and expulsion from the University of Cambridge, of AVilliani 
Frend, A.M. and Fellow of Jesus College. 

During some years past, a party of men in the Universit)% 
entertaining Socinian principles, had been endeavouring to 
propagate their pernicious doctrines. Although professing them- 
selves members, and being, in some cases, clergymen of the 
church of England, and as such, having subscribed to her 
Articles, these persons, a leader among whom was Mr. Frend, 
did not hesitate to attempt to subvert the faith to which they 
were thus solemnly pledged. Mr. Frend went so far as to publish 
and circulate within the precincts of the University, a pamphlet, 
of so olinoxious a character, that the Vice-Chancellor was called 
upon to exert the authority entrusted to him, for the suppression 
of conduct so flagrant. 

Of the judicial proceedings in this remarkable trial — a trial 
protracted, by the artifices of the defendant, to tlie utmost 
possible length — and of the circumstances which led to those 
proceedings, a very brief acc^ount may here l)e sufficient. 

Mr. Frend liaviriii; publisiied aiul <'iiculatcd within the 

CHAP. VII. A.D. 1793. .ETAT. 43. 85 

University an irreligious and seditious pamphlet, entitled Peace 
and Union recommended to the associated bodies of Republicans 
and Anti-Republicans, a meeting, consisting of the master of 
the college and the major part of the resident fellows, was held 
at Jesus Lodge on the 22nd of February, 1793, and the follow- 
ing resolution drawn up : — 

" Resolved, That a pamphlet, entitled Peace and Union, S^c. 
lately published by W. Frend, A.M., Fellow of this college, 
appears to us to have been written with the evil intent of pre- 
judicing the clergy in the eyes of the laity, of degrading in 
the public esteem the doctrines and rites of the Established 
Church, and of disturbing the harmony of society. And, that, 
as we feel it to be our particular duty to disavow principles 
calculated to mislead the minds of young men entrusted to 
our care, a copy of the said pamphlet be sent both to the 
Vice-Chancellor of the University, and to the Visitor of the 
College, inclosed in a letter to each, expressing our disapproba- 
tion of the opinions therein delivered, and humbly requesting 
them to take such measures as, in their judgment, may appear 
most proper for the effectual suppression of their dangerous 
tendency." ******** 

Here follow the signatures. 

Of the exertions used by Dr. Milner to procure, with respect 
to ever)' part of this important transaction, the very best advice, 
the numerous letters which still exist, from the most eminent 
legal authorities of the day, afford sufficient evidence. In this 
affair, as in every other the conduct of which was committed to 
him, Dr. Milner spared no labour which might qualify him to 
perform, in the best possible manner, the duty required of him. 

On the 4th of March, 1793, a meeting, composed of the 
persons who had signed the Resolution already recorded, and 
of other members of the Senate, amounting in all to the number 
of twentj'-seven, took place at the Vice-Chancellor's Lodge at 
Queen's ; and by this meeting — the members composing which 
were known in the University by the name of " the Twenty- 
seven" — it was determined, that proceedings against Mr. Frend 
should be instituted in the Vicc-Chauccllor s Court. On the 

86 CHAP. VII. A.D. 17!K5. inAT. A3. 

23rd of April a citation was accordingly served upon William 
Frend summoning him to appear before the Vice-Chancellor at 
his next court, to be held on the 3rd day of the May next 
follo\\'ing, then and there to answer to the accusation preferred 
against him of having violated the statutes of the University, 
by the publication and dispersion, within its precincts, of the 
pamphlet entitled Peace and Union. 

Mr. Frend appeared, as summoned ; and after a full, delibe- 
rate, and impartial trial was convicted of the charge brought 
against him. He refused to retract or confess his error, and 
sentence was consequently pronounced upon him by the Vice- 
Chancellor, on the 13th day of May, in the following terms : — 

" I, Isaac Milner, D.D., Vice-Chancellor of the University 
of Cambridge, do decree and pronounce, that William Frend, 
Master of Arts, and Fellow of Jesus College, having offended 
against the statute ' de Concionibus, ^c.,' by Amting a pamphlet, 
entitled Peace and Union, &c., and by publishing the same 
within the University of Cambridge, and having refused to retract 
and confess his error and temerity, in the manner prescribed to 
him by me the Vice-Chancellor, with the assent of the major part 
of the Heads of Colleges, has incurred the penalty of the statute, 
and that he is therefore banished from this University. 

(Signed) " Isaac Milner, V. C, &c. &c." 

From this decision, Mr. Frend appealed to the Senate ; but 
Dr. Milner, acting with his accustomed prudence and foresight, 
had not pronounced judgment, without first, as has been already 
intimated, availing himself of the best advice which could be 
obtained. The highest legal authorities had concurred in his 
view of the meaning of the particular statutes against which 
Mr. Frend had offended ; the sentence pronounced by the 
Vice-Chancellor M'as confirmed by the Court of Delegates, and 
the offender was compelled to quit tlic University. 

it is almost needless to say, that both at the time and after- 
wards, Dr. Milner was, in some quarters, much censured for the 
decided and conscientious part which he had acted; but his 
conduct upon this occasion commanded the universal approba- 
tion of all the friends of religion and social order. 

CHAP. VII. A.U. 1793. yETAT. 43. 8^ 

A full and impartial account of the trial of William Frend 
has, so far as I know, never been given to the public ; the only 
published narrative of that affair being written by the defendant, 
and disfigured by much misrepresentation. It is, however, 
evident, even from Mr. Frend's imperfect, and, in many respects, 
unfair, representation of his own cause, that the University had 
abundant reason to rejoice, that the office of Vice-Chancellor 
was, at this juncture, filled by a man equal to the arduous and 
important occasion. The French Revolution was at its height 
— Jacobinical principles had infected England to a fearful 
degree — and, even in the University of Cambridge, a party of 
Socinians, holding republican opinions, were resolutely prepared 
to go all lengths with Mr. Frend. 

Dr. Milncr had deeply studied the subject at issue ; and he 
was, moreover, a man of immoveable firmness of mind. It has 
been already intimated that, while yet an undergraduate, and at 
a time when unflinching attachment to the doctrines of the 
Establishment was supposed to be far from popular among the 
leading members of his college, he had, at the imminent hazard 
of all his prospects of worldly advancement, refused to join in a 
petition against subscription to the Articles of the National 
Church. His conviction of the truth and importance of the 
principles by which he had been then actuated, had continually 
increased in strength, and he was therefore, fully prepared to 
endure any reproach, or any ridicule, which a steady adherence to 
those principles might now bring upon him. And when, in after 
life, he was led to refer to his conduct upon the occasion of Mr. 
Frend's trial, he seldom quitted the subject without expressing 
his grateful satisfaction, on a review of the part which he had, at 
that time, been enabled to sustain*. 

Of Mr. Frend's trial. Professor Smyth, whose recollections 
have already enriched this memoir, thus speaks: "I remember Mr. 
Borlase, the Registrar at the time, observing to me, that ' it was 
very well for the University that Dr. Milner M-as Vice-Chancellor 
at that time ; that he shewed great ability, and often addressed 
the audience, and the undergraduates, in a most impressive 

* Sec tt Letter written by Dr. Milner in the year 1798. Chap. ix. 

88 CHAP. VII. A.D. 1703. ^TAT. 43. 

The follo>ving speech was dehvered by Dr. Mihier, in the 
Senate House, at Cambridge, at the conclusion of this memor- 
able trial: — 

"When the University, in the month of November last, 
elected me Vice-Chancellor, I acquiesced in their determination 
with much diffidence and anxiety. The discharge of the ordi- 
nary duties of this important office seemed incompatible with 
my indifferent state of health ; and if any unforeseen trouble or 
difficulty should arise in the course of the year, I considered 
myself as utterly unfit for the management and direction of it ; 
and I foresaw, that while the remains of my health might pro- 
bably be wasted in a diligent and conscientious attempt to do 
the best in my power, my mind would also be agitated with this 
painful reflection, viz. : that the dignity of the office of Vice-Chan- 
cellor might suffer, and the discipline and general interests of the 
University might be essentially injured, through my incapacit}'. 

" But though apprehensions of this sort were naturally sug- 
gested by the circumstances, I still cherished a secret hope, that 
our academical pursuits of learning and science might, for the 
present year, go on smoothly and without interruption, and our 
tranquillity be disturbed by no odious or troublesome investiga- 
tion of the causes of irregularit}' or riot. 

" Little did I then imagine, that in the very short space of 
four months, so refreshing a hope was entirely to vanish, and 
that I should be loudly called upon, publicly to animadvert, not 
upon the rash and intemperate sallies of an inexperienced youth, 
but upon the premeditated and offensive conduct of a gentleman, 
with whom I had myself long been acquainted, whose standing 
in the University was very considerable, and for whose talents 
and attainments I entertain the most sincere respect. 

" Improbable, however, as such an event might be, it actually 
took place, and nothing remained for the Vice-Chancellor but 
the painful task of investigating the nature of the offence com- 
mitted, and the punishment assigned by the laws of the Univer- 
sity; and of publicly explaining both, in the most open and 
perspicuous manner in his power. 

" On such an occasion, the situation of the judge of this 

OIIAP. VII. A.D. 17!>3. ^TAT. 43. 89 

court is not to be envied. Our times, whatever be the offence, 
are singularly unfavoural)le to tlie enforcement of rigid discipline ; 
and in regard to the degrading and vilifying of establishments, 
either of church or state, it is scarcely supposed possible, by many 
persons, that an offence can be committed. Produce existing 
laws against such practices, and you are told, such laws ought 
never to have been made — they are a disgrace to the country — ■ 
they are obsolete — and, perhaps, that you dare not enforce them. 
Others, with more temper and plausil)ility, admit that offences, 
like the present, are highly blamable in themselves, and that if 
you could confine your punishments to such gross and indecent 
examples, there would be no room for complaint; but, say they, 
when you have once begun to inflict penalties for the propaga- 
tion of opinions, there will be no bounds to the operation of 
such laws ; unfair advantages will be taken by men of captious 
and arbitrar)' principles; the most inoffensive and laudable 
endeavours after improvement will be stifled; not a syllable 
must be uttered against what has once been established; the 
slightest objections, or hints at amendments, either of our reli- 
gious or poUtical establishments, will be construed into a 
conspiracy against government ; there is an end of the exercise 
of our faculties, in the dispassionate inquiry' after, and investiga- 
tion of truth. Then the parties cry out, ' Persecution ! tyranny 
over the conscience! no freedom of discussion'/ and thus, under 
the fair disguise of moderation and liberality of sentiment, the 
clamours of the ignorant or the disaffected are to be now an 
answer to ever)' sober argument that can be advanced in favour 
of the most sacred and venerable institutions that are to be 
found in the histor}' of mankind ! 

" It is true, indeed, that such popular and delusive clamours 
can produce no conviction of the judgment of thinking persons; 
but it is no less true, that they too frequently influence our 
practice. The soundest mental constitution is never wholly 
secure against the contagion of opinion; and, therefore, the 
safest rule in all these difficult cases is, to turn a deaf ear to 
every argument or suggestion that has a tendcncv to draw the 
mind from the direct contemplation of the point in question, 
and to pay not the least regard either to those who cry out 

90 CHAP. VII. A.D. 1703. *:TAT. 43. 

*^ tyranny" and 'persecution/ or to those who cry out ' sedition' 
and 'heresy.' 

*^ With such views and impressions, I entered upon the 
investigation of this unpleasant affair. It is a cause of the 
greatest importance. A bold and indecent attack has been 
made upon the religious institutions of the country: the statutes 
of this University have been openly violated; and if an offence 
of this magnitude be suffered to pass unnoticed, I think the 
very existence of the University may soon be endangered. 

" I do not deny that cases of libellous publications frequently 
occur, in which it is much better to treat an impudent offender 
with neglect and contempt, than to gratify the obscure and 
deluded author, by bringing him forth into public notice, and 
inflicting upon him that precise sort of martyrdom which he has 
justly deserved, and is absurdly anxious to suffer; but I maintain 
on the present occasion, that the case of Mr. Frend is separated 
and distinguished, by peculiar circumstances, from that class of 
offences, which, from motives of discretion, it might be proper 
to pass over in silence and contempt. 

"The author of this pamphlet is a person of considerable 
standing in the University, and we are all of us ready to bear 
testimony to his talents and attainments. He has been in the 
important situation of a public tutor of a college; he resides a 
good deal among us; and by his industry, his zeal, and his per- 
severance, he is well qualified to make impressions upon the 
unsuspecting minds of youth. He is well known to have 
objections to the established doctrines of the Church of England, 
and if he be permitted tlms to defame M'ith impunity, the solemn 
institutions of our religion, and the public functions of the clergy, 
I am sure, that great advantage will be taken of such forbear- 
ance and lenity: our undergraduates will soon be taught to 
insult the doctrines and ceremonies of the Cliurch to which they 
belong: they will believe them to be mere political contrivances; 
they will conclude, that as we ourselves dare not support and 
defend them, even wlicn we have the law on our side, we also, 
as well as others, arc convinced, that they are indefensible by 
reason; and they will believe, that we are only induced to adhere 
to them from pusilliinimity. or self-interest. Suclu I think, is 

CHAP. VIT. A.D. 1703. ETAT. 43. 91 

the natural inference which a sensible young man would draw 
from the silence and indifference of the governing part of the 
University, upon the appearance of such a pamphlet as this. 

" I may, perhaps, be told, that these are mere speculations of 
my fancy. I instantly repel the insinuation by affirming a well- 
known fact, viz.: that a numerous and respectable body of this 
University appear to have been influenced, in a great measure, 
by sentiments of the same sort: for while I myself was hesitating, 
whether, as Vice-Chancellor, I were not, ex officio, called upon, 
by a flagrant breach of public decorimi, to animadvert, in a sum- 
mary way, upon the author of this pamphlet, I was released from 
doubt on this head, by the application of thirty-four members 
of the Senate, most of them of distinguished reputation, who 
requested the Vice-Chancellor to take cognizance of an offence, 
which appeared to them dangerous in its tendency, and degrading 
to the clerg\' of the Establishment. And here, I must say, in 
justice to the laudable and zealous efforts of the respectable 
characters who stood fonvard on this occasion, that I think it 
impossible to conceive a business of this sort to have been con- 
ducted with less appearance of private animosity or resentment; 
and I feel myself bound to declare, that in the application of no 
one of these gentlemen could I discover the slightest trace of 
a wish to injure or distress Mr. Frend. On the contrary-, every- 
one explained the grounds of his application in the most distinct 
and guarded manner, professing himself to be solely influenced by 
a desire of maintaining the honour and credit of the Universit}'. 
" After having advanced so much respecting my own views 
and the motives of others, I suppose the minds of several who 
hear me may be disposed to object to the inaptitude and 
irrelevancy of these reflections, and to suggest the propriety of 
proceeding directly to the consideration of the evidence, and to 
the administration of the justice of the case. 

" I openly and freely acknowledge the force of this objection: 
and if I have introduced reflections which seem, in a degree, 
foreign to the sul)ject, it is only because great stress is frequently 
laid upon such topics; and particularly by persons who affect 
more than ordinary candour and liberality of sentiment; and in 
order that arguments derived from such sources may have no 

92 CHAP. Vll. A.D. 171)3. ^TAT. 4.3. 

more than their just weight and influence, I have been tempted to 
oppose this sort of reasoning, by counter-arguments of a similar 

" Having freely acknowledged so much, let us now seriously 
and solemnly approach the cause itself. Let us hear no more of 
't}Tanny' and * persecution' on the one hand, nor of ^heresy* 
and * sedition ^ on the other. 

"A grievous charge is brought against Mr. Frend; and, as 
Judge of this Court, I find myself bound by the most solemn 
obligations, to enforce the statutes of the University. I do not, 
in the slightest degree, mean to insinuate that the 45th statute 
is an uinvliolesome or impolitic law; but this I say, that, in my 
present situation, I have nothing to do with explaining or 
justifying the policy of that law — I find it in existence, and I 
am bound to execute it. Dr. Kipling, the promoter of this 
cause, has produced no arguments to show that the offence 
comes under any general sweeping clauses of the statutes, such 
as that it is contra bonos mores, modestiam, or the like: on which 
account I feel myself much relieved from that embarrassment 
which naturally attends a conscientious discharge of duty in a 
case where much is left to the decision of the judge ; but he has 
pointed out certain and particular statutes, which he affirms to 
have been violated; and, therefore, in case of conviction, the 
Court has no ojotion. Now the conviction or acquittal of Mr. 
Frend depends entirely upon the solution of two questions. 
1st. Is Mr. Frend the author and publisher of this pamphlet? 

" On this question we have not the slightest embarrassment 
— we think, that Dr. Kipling has produced a great deal of 
superfluous evidence. The 2nd question is. Does the pamphlet 
contain matter by which the 45th statute is violated? 

"We arc all satisfied that it does: nor has the eloquence of 
Mr. Frend convinced us, that the most offensive passages in the 
pamphlet do not apply and were not intended to apply to the 
(/liurch of Fiiigland, as well as to the Church of Rome. 

" Then 1 say, tiie Court has no option. Yet I am willing to 
pause for a moment, and to consider what might be the conse- 
quences of a supposed discretionary power in this Court. 

" Finimicrato, t])cii,thc circunistaiiccs that should induce the 

CHAT. VII. A.D. 17'Ja. ;ETAT. 43. 93 

Vice-Chancellor and hi.s assessors to mitigate the penalties of 
this statute; Did this pamphlet make its appearance at a time 
when every well-wisher of his country entertained the most 
serious apprehensions for its safety and tranquillity? Does the 
oldest of us ever remember so general — 1 had almost said so 
universal— a concurrence, and union of sentiment, in the best 
characters of all parties, uniting to oppose the influence of 
seditious meetings and seditious publications? At such a critical 
time as this, did the author of this pamphlet inculcate the 
necessity of peace and good-order? Or did he exhort the lower 
ranks of the people to be patient and submissive in bearing the 
additional burthens which might be necessar)', in order to enable 
us to repel, by force, the unjust attacks of an outrageous and 
insolent enemy? Or again, when the National Convention of 
France had filled up the measure of their crimes by murdering 
their king and destroying all lawful government, when their 
deliberations breathed nothing but atheism and anarchy, and 
when they were threatening every country in Europe with the 
introduction of similar principles, did the author of this 
pamphlet inculcate a respect for the king and parliament of this 
country, and for the reformed religion, and the functions of the 
clerg)"^ as established by law ? I ask not whether he entered into 
nice disquisitions concerning improvements, or reformation in 
smaller matters, but I ask, in one word, whether the plain object 
of the author, at least in some parts of this pamphlet, were not 
to teach ^the degraded laity,* as he calls them, Hhat, like brute 
beasts, they were sitting tamely under an usurped authority'? 
Is there any satisfactor}- answer to be given to these questions? 
" In the title page, it is true, there stands in great letters, 
* Peace and Union.' Is it satisfactory to be told, that all the 
offensive passages apply to the members of the Church of 
Rome, and not to the members of the Church of England ? I 
answer, as I have often heard my Lord Mansfield instruct a 
jury : ' Take the writing, and read it, as any plain man would 
do, and tell us the obvious meaning of the passages ;' and 
upon this principle, I firmly believe that my assessors, the 
heads of colleges, who have unanimously concurred Avith me 
in opinion, have conscientiously acted. 

94 CHAP. VII. A.D. 179:{. .T^TAT. 43. 

" But perhaps the author is sorr)- for his offence : this would 
plead strongly in mitigation of censure ; and I wish I could have 
perceived in the whole conduct of this affair, the slightest 
vestige of contrition. 

" Mr. Frend had certainly an undoubted right to use his 
o\\ni judgment in conducting his defence ; yet still I cannot but 
think that he has mistaken the proper mode in several ways. 

" 1st. He has not treated this cause with a sufficient degree 
of seriousness. Did he expect to make an impression on the 
minds of the judge and his assessors, by legal quibbles and 
strokes of wit, by allusions to novels, or by endeavours to excite 
smiles in the galleries ? 

" 2dly. He might have avowed the authorship ; and, if 
conscious of ha^•ing gone too far in the propagation of his 
principles, he might ingenuously have said, This 1 maintain to 
be true — that may be defended — but Jiere I wish 1 had stopped. 

*^3dly. If not conscious of having gone too far, he might 
have boldly confessed and defended his principles, and in a 
manly way have submitted to the infliction of penalties, which, 
accordirtg to his judgment, were arbitrary'' and unreasonable. 

" Whichever of these modes of defence he had chosen to 
pursue, I do not perceive that he would have endangered his 
reputation as a man of honour and veracity. 

"■ It was certainly laudable in Mr. Frend to use every fair 
and honest exertion of his talents to exculpate himself from 
these charges ; but the Court has been at a loss to comprehend 
in what way the continued application of satirical remark and 
virulent invective on the character of Dr. Kipling, and on the 
characters of the rest of the gentlemen who disapproved of this 
publication, could be considered useful to this purpose. 

" Can Mr. Frend now say, as the great Roman did of old, 
' Si nulla alia in re, modestia certe et temperando linguae 
adolescens senem vicero ?' 

" Such satire and invective might indeed have a tendency to 
debauch the sentiments of the galleries, but could not well be 
supposed to make any impression upon the minds of the Vice- 
Chancellor or liis assessors, or of any gentleman who had care- 
fully read and considered the pamphlet. 

CHAl'. \ 11. A.D. 179a. -ETAT. 43. 9') 

" III the course of this defence, it was more than insinuated 
that the promoter of this cause could neitlier write nor speak a 
sentence of pure Latin. Suppose, for a moment, that this were 
true ; suppose, for a moment, that the Bishoj^ of Llandaflf, 
whose authority was, on Friday last, so confidently appealed to, 
could permit the most important professorship in the University 
to be so scandalously degraded and neglected, as this imputation 
on Dr, Kipling implies ; how would all this exculpate Mr. 
Frend from the charges which have been brought against him ? 

" Again : suppose it possible, for a moment, that calumny 
could, by possibility, fix itself upon the respectable characters of 
Dr. Glynn, or Professor Mainwaring, of twelve tutors and 
lecturers of this University, and of thirty-four members of the 
Senate, who all applied to the Vice-Chancellor to induce him to 
take cognizance of this offence, I still ask, how would all this 
exculpate Mr. Frend from the charges which have been brought 
against him ? 

"But Mr. Frend has not contented himself with applying 
the most disrespectful appellations to this considerable body of 
academical gentlemen ; he has, in effect, maintained, that their 
evidence on oath ought to be rejected in this cause. To this 
part of his argument, I confess, I listened with the utmost 
astonishment. Let us try the truth of these principles, bv a 
ver}' possible supposition. 

" Suppose an offence to have been of so gross a nature, that 
not only thirty-four, but twice that number — suppose, even, 
that the particular friends and intimates of the offender should 
have joined the cabal, as it has been termed — suppose, that the 
whole University in a body, or by delegates, had apphed to the 
Vice-Chancellor, saying, ' Sir, you must take cognizance of this 
offence ; our character and credit in the world demand it :' 
will any man say, that the evidence of all these gentlemen, 
speaking on oath, not to the intrinsic merits of the pamphlet, 
but to a plain fact, as the buying of a book, or the hand- 
writing of a person, is to be rejected in such a cause ? This 
would indeed be an alarming proposition, and enough to startle 
any considerate person. It amounts to no less an absurditv 
than this — that the ver^- greatness of a crime might properly- 
become its sheUer and defcii o. 

96 CUAP. VII. A.I). 1793. .liTAT. 43. 

" Before I put an end to this unpleasant affair, by finally 
dissolving the court, I feel myself called upon, by the extra- 
ordinar)' circumstances of this cause, to say a few words to the 
junior part of this University. 

" You have shewn yourselves to be much interested in the 
investigation, and in the event of this trial ; and now that it is 
brought to a conclusion, I wish to engage your most serious 
attention for a few moments, while I propose to your considera- 
tion the following advice. 

^^I have no intention to animadvert upon the noisy and 
tumultuous irregularities of conduct, by which our proceedings, 
on some of the former court days, have been interrupted. Let 
these be consigned to oblivion ; but let the principles from 
which these irregularities arose be well considered ; and let me 
seriously exhort you to be on your guard, in future, against the 
consequences of their dangerous and delusive operation. I 
cannot suppose, that you have even heard distinctly, much less, 
that you can have digested ever)- thing that has been advanced 
in the course of this trial. Your passions and affections, 
therefore, are not, in this case, founded on a knowledge and 
understanding of the subject. Examine yourselves, and you 
wall perceive that they are founded on certain vague ideas, that 
the accused person has been persecuted. 

" Such an unreasonable persuasion, if not effectually 
opposed by sober argument and reflection, will soon produce 
the most destructive consequences on your practice ; and I 
think it the more necessary, at this time, to advertise you of 
your danger, when this country has just escaped and survived a 
most alarming crisis ; and when several turbulent and democratic 
spirits still endeavour to persuade the public, that every attempt 
to punish libellous attacks upon the constitution and govern- 
ment of the kingdom, by enforcing wholesome and established 
laws, is a species of persecution, and contrary to the im- 
prescriptil)le rights of man. 

*' Now, I afhrm that, in this country, wherever there is fair 
ground for an accusation, and where the accused person has had 
a fair hearing, there can be no such thing as persecution. 

" On those two essential points 1 rest the merits of the 

CHAP. VTT. A.D. 1793. /ETAT. 43. 97 

"When, therefore, I h)()k on llie junior jiart of tins 
University, and see in it the future supports and ornaments 
botli of the civil and ecclesiastical establishments of England ; 
and when I consider that they have been sent and entrusted 
to our care and nurture, by relations and connections who 
venerate these establishments, I feel myself authorized to 
interrogate them closely ; and I demand whether, being 
educated from earliest infancy in the practice of frequenting 
the Church, and of reverencing her institutions, you are now 
prepared to say, on reading this pamphlet, that the accusation 
of having impugned the Estal^lished Church was either frivolous 
or oppressive ? 

" I know very well how you must answer this question; and 
I am well persuaded, that the ingenuous dispositions of youth 
only needed to have this matter clearly stated. 

" In regard to the second question, viz., whether the accused 
person has had a fair hearing, I have no anxiety. Whatever 
notions you may have inconsiderately entertained before the 
trial, I have no doubt but that now, after the trial, you will tell 
your fathers, your guardians, and your friends, that you never 
heard or read of a trial where the accused person had a more 
full, deliberate, or impartial hearing : you will also tell them 
that the only doubt which you could entertain of the propriety 
of these proceedings might be, whether the Judge of this 
Covirt, through an extreme unwillingness to interrupt the 
accused person in his defence, did not carry his patience and 
forbearance to an almost unwarrantable length, while he per- 
mitted the defendant to proceed in an unbounded strain of 
irrelevant invective. Then you will add, and I trust with some 
effect, that the University of Cambridge will not suffer the 
sacred and venerable institutions of the Established Church to 
be derided and insulted; and that, at a time when a profane and 
licentious spirit of infidelity and irreligion makes rapid advances, 
and threatens the destruction of our ecclesiastical fabric, there 
were to be found in these seminaries respectable characters, 
who could accuse with liberalitv and decorum, and judges, who 
could condemn with firnmess and moderation. 

" The rcm.iining part of my advice to you will not fatigue 


98 CHAP. VII. A.D. 1793. yETAT. 43. 

vour memories. It is l)rief. hut it is important, and well worth 
your most serious consideration. Beware of entering into 
religious controversies at this period of your lives. Whatever 
may be the profession for which you are intended, improve your 
understandings by the diligent pursuit of academical studies; 
obey your tutors ; frequent the service of God according to the 
established forms, both in your private Colleges and in the 
University Church. At present, take it for granted, that our 
forefathers had some good reason for steadily adhering to, and 
supporting, these venerable institutions. I repeat it, at present, 
take this for granted ; and those persons whom I perceive to be 
objecting to these words, will themselves tell you, that it has 
not been my way to take things for granted. All I contend 
for is, that this is not your time for becoming parties in 
controversial matters of religion. It is your business to culti- 
vate your understandings, and to take care that the good seed 
sown in these retirements should ^ take root downwards, and 
bear fruit upwards,' and increase to a mighty harvest in your 
lives and practice. 

" Against those who would openly attack the religious prin- 
ciples in which you have been educated it is easy to guard. I 
have more apprehensions from those who are perpetually 
talking of candour and liberality, of thinking for themselves, of 
examining things thoroughly, of the newly-discovered modes of 
interpreting the Scriptures, and of the opinions of fallible men. 

" These, and such like topics, are exceedingly captivating to 
the unsuspecting minds of youth. Impressions of the most 
durable consequence are made in a few conversations ; and, in 
this way, I have more than once seen the finest talents and 
the most amiable dispositions perverted, or rendered useless, — 
talents and dispositions which, doubtless, in happier circum- 
stances, and with better cultivation, might have rendered their 
possessors eminently serviceable to their country, either in 
Church or State. 

'•' Remember, then, the warm and zealous advice of a person 
who thus addresses you from the purest motives of good will, 
and who wishes for your best interests — of a person whose 
imagination and temper have never been heated with religious 

niAP. VII. A.D. 179r{. T.TAT. 4:i. 99 

disputes — whose pride and amhition it lias ever been to ol)tain, 
in the various branches of useful science, solid information for 
himself, and to communicate it to others — and whose health has 
been almost exhausted by academical labours. Remember, 
then, I say, the advice of a person who now addresses you, not 
with the authority of a vice-chancellor, but with the friendship 
and affection of an experienced academic — of a person who has 
never been suspected of being desirous of possessing offices or 
dignities — who has bitterly lamented that the necessity for this 
inquiry should have taken place in the present year ; but who, 
when the inquiry was once instituted, thought it his duty to go 
through with it with all the energy in his power, and who found 
it iijipossiljle to acquit Mr. Frend without sacrificing every 
principle of truth, of justice, and of honour." 

Of those who listened to this speech, and to the warm and 
manly address to the undergraduates with which it concludes, 
few now survive. It will still, liowever, afford sufficient evidence 
of Dr. Milner's ability as a speaker, and of the dignified and 
impressive style of his eloquence. The effect, indeed, of his 
public speaking was so much enhanced by his sonorous, yet 
melodious voice, by his distinct enunciation, and even by his 
commanding person and manner, that, perhaps, no one who has 
not heard Dr. Milner address an audience, can, however justly 
he may estimate the intrinsic merit of his speeches, fully con- 
ceive the impression which those speeches produced. 

It may here be mentioned, that a memorandum book for 
the year 1794, in Dr. Milner's hand-writing, contains the fol- 
lowing entry: "To write a general account of Trend's business." 
The purpose thus intimated was, I believe, never executed. 
The speech above given was found among his papers, in his own 

During the long vacation of this year, Joseph Milner visited 
his brother at Cambridge. A letter which he wrote from thence 
to his friend Mr. Stillingfleet, contains a slight notice of Mr. 
Frend's trial; and, like all Joseph Milner's letters, is valuable 
and interesting. It treats, at some length, of the state of 
religion at Cambridge at that period, and of Mr. Simeon's 
ministry, but an extract only can be given. 

H 2 

100 CHAP. VII. A.D. 1703. MTXT. 43. 

" I preached yesterday to a .serious congregation at Simeon's 
church, in the morning, and heard him preach a faithful dis- 
course in the evening. I regret that I shall lose his company 
so soon: he is going to Portsmouth. My brother joins with me 
in best respects to you. He is as Avell as one can expect after 
so much fatigue. You have heard, I suppose, that Frend is 
foiled repeatedly; first, by the Vice-Chancellor's Court, and 
then by the unanimous voice of the Court of Delegates. It uill 
do some good here ; even his arrogant and unchristian conduct 
will not be without its fruits. This place has obtained more 
evangelical means since I was here last. There is now Simeon; 
and it is to be regretted that his congregation is not so large as 
were to be wished. Of those, however, who do attend, there are a 
number of solid Christians ; and whether God may please again 
to make this place a nursery for the Gospel, as doubtless it was 
in a very high degree at the time of the Reformation, we know 
not. But times are different. Tlien, persons of rank and emi- 
nence, some of them at least, attended to the Gospel ; now, in 
general, the low^er orders only regard such things, and the great 
and the high have, all over Europe, forgotten that they have 
souls. It the more becomes us, my dear friend, to watch and 
pray ; it is an hour of temptation. Set a watch over my mouth 
that I offend not with my tongue ; let me not eat of their 
dainties. I feel need to pray continually, lest 1 1)e carried away 
even by the civilities of the world. We began as despised 
preachers of Jesus ; in meekness and simplicity may we con- 
tinue so to the end, and nourish our own souls with the doctrine 
which we preach to others. 

" How is your health, and that of Mrs. Still. ? I beg my 
love to her." ********* My own healtli, I 
thank God, is pretty good ; and I seem to have a prospect of 
more preaching while here ; I hope you also find opportunities 
to speak for * Him who loved us.' To Him, I recommend you 
and yours ; not forgetting Edward ; may he pray, and be 

" I am, dear Still., 

" Always your.s, afTcctionatcly, 
" 'J'o the Rcr. Jairms SliUinyfleet." "J. Milner. 

CHAP. Vir. A. P. 1793. ^TAT. 43. 101 

The notice of Mr. Simeon contained in tliis letter, comiiiti', 
as it does, from such a source, cannot fail to be interesting to 
the vast numbers of Cambridge students, still living, who, in 
later years enjoyed the privilege of attending upon the ministry 
of that most laborious and useful servant of God. 

It was not till the month of Deceml)er, in this year, that 
Dr. Milner was enabled to take formal possession of his 
deanery of Carlisle, by reading prayers in the Cathedral. This 
appears from a memorandum attested by the signatures of 
William Paley, and two other persons. 

Thus commenced Dr. Milner^s personal connection with the 
city of Carlisle — a connection, which was doubtless, by the bless- 
ing of God, rendered instrumental to the salvation of many souls. 

And now, since it must surely be the duty of the biographer 
of a man whose personal history deserves to be recorded at all, 
to give a full and true idea of his character, and mental consti- 
tution, as well as an account of the CA'cnts of his life, it may, 
perhaps, be worth while to relate a circumstance which certainly 
left a considerable impression upon Dean Milner's imagination. 
It should be premised, that, like Dr. Johnson, he possessed a 
temperament easily affected by whatever appeared to him to 
approach to the supernatural; and often, in conversation, 
defended and justified the interest which he avowedly took in 
the investigation of mysterious stories, whether of dreams or of 
apparitions, by the remark, that supernatural events, supposing 
them occasionally to occur, are not, — according to the common 
objection of those who are sceptical concerning all such 
matters, — useless ; but, that, on the contrary, they have the 
great and important use, of keeping up, in the minds of men, a 
vivid idea of the reality of the unseen world. 

Some time before his appointment to the deanery of 
Carlisle, Dr. Milner dreamed, that he was led, by a friend, 
through the different appartments of a large rambling old 
house, which, he was given to understand, would, shortly, 
belong to himself. After shewing him several rooms, his con- 
ductor opened a door which proved to be the entrance to a steep 
stone staircase, and desired him to ascend. He did so; and on 
turning the corner at the top of this flight of steps, was suddenly 
arrested by the sight of a tomb-stone, l^caring the inscription. 

102 CHAP. VII. A.D. 1793. «TAT. 43. 





♦ * * * * 

/rV/e/i, happily for himself, he could not discover; for in the 
extr'emity of his eager effort to read the date of the year, which 
he perceived was given — he awoke. 

This dream, striking as it was, gradually faded from Dean 
Milner's mind; and would, probably, in time, have been 
entirely forgotten, but for a circumstance which, strangely and 
forcibly, recalled it to his recollection. On going over his 
deanery for the first time, in company, I think, with Dr. Paley, 
a door was thrown open which discovered a steep flight of stone 
steps, leading to the tower; and so exactly resembling those 
which he had seen in his dream, that, as he always declared, 
when induced to mention the circumstance, he absolutely 
feared to ascend and turn the corner at the top — so strong was 
the impression, that the tombstone would appear. Nor did he 
ever ascend that staircase with perfect indifference. 

By those persons who boast of their scepticism respecting 
whatever seems to favour the idea of the possibility of inter- 
course between the visible and invisible world, the circum- 
stances above related will, perhaps, be deemed mere matter of 
ridicule : but even such persons, in common with those who 
profess no such unlimited incredulity, may reasonably feel some 
degree of interest in an anecdote which tends to reveal, with 
reference to a mysterious subject^ the intellectual conformation 
of such a man as Dean Milner. 

Without intending to assert, that Dr. Milner considered the 
remarkable similarity between the actual staircase at the deanery 
and the imaginary flight of steps which he had seen in his 
dream as anything more than a curious coincidence, it is 
proper to say, that he certainly made a practical use of the 
dream with its sequel, by regarding the deep and lasting 
impression made uj^on his mind, as an intimation of the transi- 
tory and unsatisfactory nature of worldly prosperity, and as an 
admonition to set his " affections upon thing.s above." 



Conduct of Dr. Miliier as Head of a College. — Letter to a Friend on the Death 
of his Daughter. — Publication of the first volume of the History of the 
Church. — Public Affairs. — Political Conduct of Mr. Wilberforce. — Ex- 
tracts from Dr. Milncr's Letters to him at this Juncture. — Publication of 
second volume of the Church History. — Dr. Milner's Chymical Pursuits. — 
Correspondence with INIr. Kirwan and the Bishop of Llandaff. — Their 
Letters. — Dr. Buchanan. — Visit to Hull. — Willingness of Dr. Milner to 
preach for his Friends. — Extracts from Correspondence. — "Visit to 
Buxton. — Letter from Joseph Milner to the Rev. James Stillingfleet.— 
His testimony to his Brother's plainness of speech in tlie Pulpit. — Decla- 
ration of Dr. Paley. — Extract from one of the Dean's early Sermons. — 
Society at Buxton. — Miss Seward. — Lord Erskine. — Cori'espondence. — 

Illness. — Gradual and constant improvement in Religious Character. 

Publication of the third volume of the Church History. — Correspondence. — 
Wilberforce's Practical View. — A'^isit to Bath. — Public Affairs. — Letter 
on Reform. — Mr. Tillotson. 

A.D. 1794. vETAT. 44. 
The year 1794, with the exception of those months during 
which, as dean, lie was required to reside at Carlisle, was sjient 
by Dr. Milner in the vigorous discharge of his duties as 
President of Queen's College. " A head of a college," to use 
his own words, in a letter to the late Rev. William Richardson, 
of York, " is supposed to have little or nothing to do ; so," 
continues Dr. Milner, " I once thought: but he has all the 
property of the college to manage; and, what is far worse, he 
has the tempers of parents and guardians to humour about 
their children and wards. He has abundance of letters to 
write, and he is exposed to many temptations." The truth of 
this representation will, probably, be acknowledged by all 
whose experience qualities them to form a judgment upon the 
subject in question; but, with regard to some branches of the 
duty of a head of a college, Dr. Milner's warm and benevolent 
heart perhaps induced him to bestow upon them even more 
care than his situation might be supposed to render absolutely 
incumbent upon him. 

The beneficial regulations which he introduced respecting 
tlic class of students called Sizars liavc l)ccn already adverted 

104 CHAP. VIII. A.D. 1704. .^TAT. 44. 

to; but besides these general improvements, some of which 
were, doubtless, suggested to him by the recollection of the 
degrading services which he had himself, in the early part of 
his academical career, been called upon to perform. Dr. Milner 
constantly exercised a conscientious superintendency over the 
conduct of all the young men belonging to his college, and 
actively interested himself in the welfare of such as gave any 
promise of future eminence. 

It would be indelicate to mention, in support of this state- 
ment, the names of living persons; but there can be no impro- 
priety in adducing, in proof of it, the name of one eminent 
and excellent man, who,, if he were yet alive, would be among 
the most anxious to do justice to the memory of Dr. Milner in 
thiji particular. The late Dr. Buchanan, who was sent to the 
University of Cambridge by the Christian liberality of Henry 
Thornton, Esq., was entered at Queen's College, " chiefly 
because Mr. Thornton was acquainted with the President, and 
thought tJtat circumstance might be advantageous to him*." 
The correctness of this opinion of the late Mr. Henry Thorn- 
ton was demonstrated on various occasions in the course of 
Dr. Buchanan's life: and it would be easy to cite the names of 
many other eminent and excellent persons to whose success in 
life Dr. Milner, by the faithful performance of his duties as 
head of a college, and by his subsequent advice and influence, 
mainly contributed. 

During the spring of this year, an old and dear friend of 
Dr. Milner was thrown into deej) affliction by the death of a 
grown-up daughter. On this calamitous occasion, Dr. Milner 
endeavoured to administer consolation to the sorrowing father, 
in a letter from which here follows an extract. 

"Dkar Sir, " Queen's College, March 7, l7i>^. 

" I suppose there can hardly be a greater trial for human 

nature than tlie loss of grown-up, and promising children. 

lioth the cases, however, in whicli it has pleased (jod, at so 

* See Ml moils ij' l/u: l.ife iind IViitini/s of the lieu. Cluwliu^ Bue/ianan, by 
the Ilcv. I'tAiisoK, vol. i. 

CIIAr. VIH. A.D. 17!»1. -ETAT. 11. 105 

short an interval, to try your faitli, patience, and resignation, 
have been attended with those circiunstances which alone can 
render such distressful scenes less distressful, and take away 
their sting. God had been preparing her for this change for 
some time past. 

" I remember that my brother, some time last summer, 
spoke of her Christian state of mind, in the warmest terms; 
and observing upon her anxiety, he said, ' They are always the 
most distressed who have the least reason to be so; it is the 
best sign in the world.' " 

In the long vacation of this year Dr. Milner enjoyed, as 
usual, tlie company of his brother; being his guest at Hull, 
and his host at Carlisle. Joseph Milner, who had already 
distinguished himself as an author, by his able defence of 
revealed truth against the insinuations and misrepresentations 
of Gibbon and of Hume, was now about to publish the first 
volume of his History of the Church of Christ; a work of which 
the author's own account gives the best idea. " It is certain," 
says he, " that from our Saviour's time to the present, there 
have ever been persons whose dispositions and lives have been 
formed by the rules of the New Testament: men who have 
been reaJ, not merely nominal Christians: who believed the 
doctrines of the Gospel, loved them, because of their divine 
excellency, and suffered gladly ' the loss of all things, that they 
might win Christ and be found in Him*.' It is the history of 
these men which I propose to write." 

In the preparation of the subsequent volumes of this 
history for publication, Joseph Milner was assisted by his 
brother the Dean; who, however, suggested few alterations 
except such as related merely to style. It cannot be doubted, 
that, by the reading of the manuscript sheets of this work with 
their author, he ind)ibed much of that taste for ecclesiastical 
history which, joined to his own learning and ability, eminently 
qualified him to carry forward the design of the deceased 

* Philip, iii., H, \). 

106 CHAP. VIII. A.D. 1795. /KTAT. 45. 

In common Avith every lover of his country, Dr. Milner, at 
this period, felt much anxiety concerning the state of public 

On most points his sentiments were in accordance with 
those of Mr. Wilberforce; but there were subjects respecting 
which he differed from his friend. 

Actuated, unquestionably, by the most conscientious 
motives, Mr. Wilberforce, about this time, withdrew his support 
from Mr. Pitt respecting tlie continuance of the war, and on 
the occasion of the meeting of Parliament, on the 2nd of 
January, 1795, appeared in open opposition by moving an 
amendment to the address. He, afterwards, repeatedly divided 
with the party in opposition, and " it was not without pain 
that he heard Mr. Fox, in a friendly visit which he paid him 
about this time, express a confident expectation of his speedy 
enrolment in their ranks." " The same reasons also which led 
the opposition party to claim him as their own, rendered him 
suspected by the bulk of sober-minded men." " ' Your friend 
Mr. Wilberforce/ said Mr. Wyndham to Lady Spencer, ^ will 
be very happy any morning to hand your ladyship to the 
guillotine.' " " And others, less violent than Mr. Wyndham, 
partook in a great measure of the same suspicions*." Under 
these circumstances, Dr. Milner, frequently by letter, addressed 
his friend in a tone of friendly advice; for instance: "The 
opposition," wrote Dr. Milner, " will rejoice either in getting 
you virtually to their side, or in ruining you in the public 
opinion; and further, say or think what you will, I am sure it 
Avill not be long Ijcfore there M'ill be a coldness Ijetween you 
and the government. Both opposition and your disgusted 
friends of administration, are inclined to admit a notion, that 
you are endeavouring to raise a consequential party of your 
own; and, on that score, 1)oth sides will concur in having a 
fling at you." 

A short time before the meeting of Parliament Dr. Milner 
wrote to Mr. Wilberforce a letter, containing the following 
acute and pertinent suggestions : " I do not perceive the nature 

• LiJ'e oj It'ilbci force, vol. ii. 

CHVP. VJII. .\.1». 175<5. /ETAT. 45. 107 

of the oi')i)Obiition to Pitt which you are likely to make. Weigh 
it well, my dear friend. I hope you will not prove a dupe 
to the dishonest opposition, who will be glad to make use of 
you in hunting down Pitt, and for no other purpose. All will 
not be so sincere as you will l;e; nor will they be proof against 
the artifices of Fox, Sheridan, &c. You may, I see clearly, 
raise a phalanx, but it may turn out that you will not be able to 
(Urect its motions. I speak plainly, because I wish well to the 
country, and love you personally." 

On the 4th of January, after Mr. Wilberforce had taken 
the decisive step of moving an amendment to the address. 
Dr. Milner wrote to him in the following truly friendly and 
Christian manner : " I think that you are in a very critical 
situation, both as to the general good, or bad effect, which your 
conduct may produce in national affairs, and also in regard to 
the judgment which will be formed of you personally. On 
Friday night I read over the debates; and I can truly say, I 
never was so much concerned about politics in my life ; I was 
quite low, and so I continue. There was not any one of the 
speeches that I liked. In the first place, I never conceived 
that you had intended to take so decided a part in this business 
as to lead the opposition against Pitt. There is not the slightest 
doubt but you will be represented as having gone over to the 
opposition, nor will it be easy to do away the impression ; for, 
1st, you opposed Government in the great question of peace 
or war ; 2ndly, you made the motion ; 3rdly, the oj^position 
approved of it, and hailed the accession of their new forces. I 
wish I may be mistaken; yet, as I understand your amend- 
ment, and the consequent division, it will certainly tend to 
weaken the Government and to divide the sentiments of the 
country; to strengthen a factious opposition, and to encourage 
the Frencli Convention." * * "Let it but be supposed, that 
you are against the war, that you are for peace, and your name 
and authority are made use of to a much greater extent than 
you ever intended. The part you take is of great consequence. 
I am very low about public affairs, and am looking for 
something more tremendous: the prospect is constantly before 
me. We ought, every one for himself, to ' make haste and 

108 CHAP. \IU. A.D. 1705. ;ETAT. 45. 

keep HIS commandments.'" * * * * Again, 

Dr. Milncr wrote this year from Carlisle : " The bulk of people 
think you are doing a great deal of mischief. A very few, who 
know your sincerity, and think pretty closely, believe that you 
may be doing a great deal of good by drawing the Minister to 
his senses, and hastening peace. But even these are not 
without doubts : it is an intricate and thorny business. The 
sentiments of your constituents through the West Riding, 
respecting the part you have taken in parliament, I have had 
some opportunity of learning; and I am sorry to say, that, 
excepting a few notorious democrats, I have not met with a 
single person who does not disapprove your conduct. The same 
sentiments pervade the most sensible people in these parts, the 
democrats still excepted." From Cambridge, Dr. Milner after- 
wards wrote as follows : " I pray God to bless you for writing me 
so affectionate a letter. I wish that you should learn from others, 
rather than from myself, how vehemently I have defended you 
from the attacks of Drs. Kipling, Jowett, Turner, &c. ; some of 
whom hold, that you have done the country much more harm 
than any defeat could do." * * * * " It is 
now, more than ever before in your life, that the consequence 
and force of your independence is felt." 

On a subsequent occasion, Dr. Milner addressed to his 
friend the following very kind and judicious advice : " Your 
old friends have everything at stake, and you must bear with 
them if they are now and then unreasonaljle. Guard yourself 
against saying anything satirical at Government ; let there be 
no bitterness, nor the slightest ground for suspecting peevish- 
ness, or a disposition to thwart. Your opposition, in one point 
of view, must do great mischief; this you cannot help; but 
there is the more reason for avoiding exacerbations of every 
sort, among which is to be reckoned nihbliiiy altercation" 

During this year was pul)lished the second volume of Joseph 
Milner's Cluirch History, llie manuscript of which Dr. Milner 
read with his Ijrother. 

Dean Milner had never ceased to pursue, so far as his 
precarious health and diminislied leisure permitted, his chy- 
mical investigations, lie was, at this time, in correspondence 

CITAP. VIII. A.D. 1795. yETAT. 45. 109 

with Mr. Kirwan, the eminent Irish chymist already mentioned; 
and in the month of October received from him the foHowing 
letter, relative to the methods used by the Frcjich in the 
manufacture of nitre. 

" To THE Very Rev. the Dean of Carlisle. 

" Dear Sir, "Dublin, October 25, 1795. 

" Your letter required no apology; or, if any, it is for 
containing one. It is always a pleasure to me to hear of you, 
and particularly from yourself. The French kept their method 
of making nitre a secret, but things led me to think that they 
formed nitrous acid in the manner you discovered. 

" 1st. The embargo laid on potash, and the quantity of it 
sent even from Bordeaux to Paris, as I have been assured 
by persons from that city. 

"2nd. The quantity of manganese they had stored in Paris, 
as you may see in the ninth volume of the Annates cle Chimie, 
p. 340. 

" And, lastly, as I knew no other method of procuring it. 

" I am exceedingly happy to find you have been restored to 
a better state of health, both for your own sake, and for that of 
science ; and am, 

" With the most distinguished regard and esteem, 

" Your most affectionate and humble servant, 

«R. Kirwan." 

Dr. Milner hkewise maintained a correspondence on chy- 
mical topics with the late Dr. Watson, bishop of Llandaff. 
The followng letter has reference to the sul)ject treated of in 
the letters of Dr. Priestley* and Mr. Kirwan. 

" To THE Very Rev. the Dean of Carlisle. 

"Dear Sir, " Great Georye Street, Feb. 18, 179G. 

" I lose no time in answering your letter. It is a very high 

honour to you to have discovered the mode of making the 

nitrous acid ; and though our enemies avail themselves of your 

See Chapter III. 

110 CHAP. VIII. A.l). 179f!. jETAT. 4(i. 

ingenuity, vet, it may, in future be of use to your own country. 
Any unfavourable revolution in India, would leave us as destitute 
of saltpetre as France would have been without your discovery. 
I still doubt, as I did when you shewed me the experiment, the 
practicability of making saltpetre at as cheap a rate as it may 
be imported ; but have no doubt in thinking that the experi- 
ment ought to be tried in the large way, by the Board of 
Ordnance. I think there is a manufactory of sal ammoniac in 
the Borough, where the volatile alkali is extracted from bones. 
The bones of the meat daily consumed in this capital, together 
M'ith such other matters as might, by proper arrangements, be 
saved, would supply plenty of volatile alkali ; and as to manga- 
nese, I believe there is great abundance of it in the country ; 
and I have some suspicion that manganese is not the only 
mineral which might be used. I speak from recollection, when 
I say, that Mr. Stanley, I think it was, of Ponsonby, in Cum- 
berland, informed me, about thirty years ago, that he had in 
his estate immense beds of manganese which laid very near the 
surface, and were at present of no value ; I left a large specimen 
of this mineral in the chymical schools, opposite your college, 
but whether it is still there I cannot say. I shall return to 
Westmoreland as soon as my children have had a little benefit 
from their masters, and will then, or before, if you wish it, 
make inquiry relative to Mr. Stanley's mineral, and give you 
any assistance in my power in the prosecution of your design. 
Your scheme appears to me to be well enough imagined for the 
purpose, though it may admit a doubt whether pure volatile 
alkali might not be as useful or, perhaps, as cheap, every thing 
considered, as filling a large vessel with cheap materials from 
which only a small portion of alkali can be obtained. 

" I begin to feel the effects of London air and London life ; 
nothing but constant exercise in the country can preserve my 
frame in any tolerable state. 

" I am, dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, 

" Your faithful friend and servant, 

"R. Llandaff." 

In the early part of this year, the friends by whose Chris- 

LllAl". VJIJ. A.D. 17!)*;. ^KTAT. 4(;. Ill 

tian kindness and liberality, the late Dr. Buchanan '• had been 
introduced into the Church, conceiving that his talents might 
be more advantageously employed abroad, recurred to the plan 
which had, for some time, been more or less in their view, and 
resolved to endeavour to obtain for him the appointment of a 
chaplain in the service of the East India Company." In pur- 
suance of this determination, it was necessary to procure such 
testimonials as might " amply certify the qualifications of Mr. 
Buchanan for the office to which he was recommended*." 
Copies of these testimonials arc ifiserted in the Life of Dr. 
Buchanan already cited. The first, is from the President and 
Fellows of Queen's College, and expresses, in general terms, 
the high opinion entertained by the governing part of the 
College, of Mr. Buchanan's character and talents. This certi- 
ficate was transmitted by Dr. Milner to Mr. Grant t, with tlie 
following letter, in which he bears a more particular and 
decisive testimony to the merits of Mr. Buchanan. 

"To Charles Grant, Esq. 

"Dear Sir, " Queen's College, Cambridge, March 8, 179C. 

" I inclose you the College's testimonial of Mr. Buchanan's 
good behaviour, expressed in general terms ; but if it were 
needful to be more particular, I could add a great deal. 

" In my judgment much may be expected from his ability, 
industry, and discretion. He has an uncommon zeal for every- 
thing that is praise-worthy, and this zeal is tempered and 
directed by a sound and well-informed understanding. His 
good sense and attainments must procure him respect every 
where. He will certainly be on the watch to do good. Mr. 
Buchanan obtained both classical and mathematical prizes at 

" I am, dear Sir, yours, 

"Isaac Milmer." 

It seemed proper to insert, in this place, this just and very 
cordial testimony to the merits of so eminent and excellent a 

* See Life of the Rev. Claudius Buchanan, by the Rev. Hugh Pearson. 
+ The fatlier of the present Lord Glenelg. 

112 CITAP. VTTT. A.D. 17f)C. ETAT. 46. 

man as the late Dr. Ruclianan ; and it may be added, that the 
hi^h opinion invaria1)ly expressed by Dr. Mihier, concerning 
Dr. Buchanan's character and attainments, had, subsequently, 
much influence in inducing the Marquis Wellesley to appoint 
him Vice-Provost of the College of Fort William, in Bengal. 

Dr. Milner never ceased to maintain a frequent intercourse 
with his brother, either by visiting him at Hull, during the 
university vacations, or by receiving him, as occasion oft'ered, at 
Carlisle, or at Queen's Lodge. 

In the summer of 1796, while on his way to Carlisle for the 
purpose of keeping his residence there, he visited his brother 
at Hull, and took him with him to spend his school vacation at 
the Deanery. Mr. Wilberforce, who, was at the same time at 
Hull, on a visit to his aged mother, thus writes in his Diary: 
^'June 9, 179G. Milner preached — very practical and good. 
Joseph Milner dined with us — simple and pleasant." 

Nothing can be less extraordinary than that Dr. Milner 
should have preached for his brother, while sojourning with him 
at Hull ; but it is not generally known how ready and willing 
he was, upon all suitable occasions, to occupy the pulpit wher- 
ever he might happen to be. Many of the present inhabitants 
of Carlisle well remember his frequent sermons on the Wednes- 
day evenings, at St. Cuthbert's Church ; and many persons still 
living at Hull can bear witness to his frequent and impressive 
addresses from the pulpit of St. John's, during the visits which 
he paid to the town of Hull, after the decease of his brother. 
Nay even if detained during Sunday on a journey — for it is 
needless to say, that he did not travel on the Sabbath — he was 
always ready to preach if requested to do so, or if he had reason 
to think, that his doing so would be acceptable to the clergyman 
of the place. Thus, on more than one occasion, being com- 
pelled, by circumstances, to pass the Sunday at Ferrybridge, 
during his journey from Cambridge to Carlisle, he preached at 
the neighbouring church of Brotherton ; and other instances, 
of a similar nature, might easily be adduced. 

The numerous letters written by Dr. Milner during the 
early part of this summer treat, for the most part, cither of 
college business or of ])hiiosoj)hical subjects. His letters to his 

CHAP. VIII. A.D. \iun. .ETAT. 4«. U.3, 

intimate friends were, at thi.s i)eriod, very various in tlieir 
character — sometimes half jocular — more frequently seriou.s — 
and occasionally almost melancholy. Thus, on one occasion to 
Mr. Wilherforce, who was spending the season at Buxton, he 
writes, "As I am very infirm myself at present, and in weak 
spirits, so that I have wept in secret several times lately without 
nmcli apparent reason, it will be a real pleasure to me to hear 
frequently from you, and to know that you go on well." Happily, 
however, the natural elasticity of Dr. Milner's mental tempera- 
ment soon produced its effect. He proceeds in the same letter, 
(July 1st,) to inquire into the particulars of a plan, in which 
Mr. Wilberforce was much interested, for the relief of the dis- 
tressed French emigrants, then so numerous in England, adding, 
" I hope to he able to promote the subscription among the ladies 
here*. Send me a few of your printed papers. 
"N.B. Pray beware of the Buxtoyi Docfor.t. 
" Ever, dear Sir, 

"Very affectionately your friend, 

"Isaac Milxer." 

Later in the summer, Mr. Wilberforce being called, by the 
illness of his mother, to Hull, there met Dean Milner, who, 
with his brother Joseph, had just returned from his residence at 
Carlisle, and induced him to accompany him on his return to 
Buxton. The following letter from Joseph Milner, written 
just after his return with his brother from Carlisle, and before 
the Dean's departure with Mr. Wilberforce for Buxton, contains 
much interesting matter. 

"To THE Rev. James Stillixgfleet. 

" Dear Still., " Hull, August 3rd, 1796. 

" I was glad to hear from you on my arrival liere with my 

brother from Carlisle, last Saturday night. You guessed right 

about the times of the holidays and my travels. Fawcett is 

well, and his family. He and, I hope, and , are 

walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the faith of the Gospel. 

• At Carlisle. 

114 CHAP. YIII. A.D. 1700. .'ETAT. 4G. 

I was afraid he Avoiild have no opportunity to minister the 
word in Carlisle; he has only preached once there all this time;' 
the number of clergy there gives him little opportunity. He 
has had, however, opportunities of preaching oftcner in the 
country. He seems desirous of embracing any service which 
the Lord may call him to, and he is acceptable in his office 
there, and in all his conduct. 

" The Dean and myself have preached at the Cathedral. He 
has preached several times with great faithfulness and downright 
plaiimess on the first and most fundamental truths. There is 
a shaking among them. There seems to want a following up 
of the blow, by a constant repetition of such preaching; for 
many hear with eagernes. Some real good, I trust, is done; 
and one sermon there is more regarded than thirty in this part 
of the world. 

"I thank you for your good advice about passing through 
evil report/^ * * * "My health is pretty good at present, 
and I am going on with the History; but as I come nearer the 
Reformation, major mihi nascitur ordo. Indeed the work is 
very laborious ; I did not think it to be so great as it is before 
I undertook it. The Lord take it into his own hands, and 
magnify himself by it ; and may I be helped to disburden 
myself of all anxious care concerning it, Avhile I do what He 
enables me to do. 'Be careful fornothing;' that is the precept 
I have felt the want of for years. I am always prone to excess 
of care and thinking; pray, my dear friend, that it may not 
overcome me in my growing age and infirmities. The sim- 
plicity of faith I vastly need ; to live by faith is my wisdom and 
happiness ! How very little do I know of it! 

"Give my love to the venerable old servant of God* at 
whose house I hope this may reach you. I have only to wish 
him a gentle and placid departure to Abraham's bosom. He 
has fought a good fight and has finished his course. 

" I hope your hcaltli continues well, and that Mrs. S. has 
had no violent returns of her disorder. I shall never, I hope, 
forget the sweetness of friendship which I liave tasted from you 

Tlic late Itov. Rfr. Voiiii, 

CHAP. A^III. A.D. 1700. /ETAT. 4«. 115 

l)oth ; and I pray you may both l)e brought safe home, and in 
the fuhiess of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. 

" I am glad you find employment in the pulpit, and I trust 
it will not be in vain. We have need to pray for the Church 
and nation. Things are very dark; they maybe darker still; 
and yet I trust the Lord will not give us over to the enemy. 
He will repay them to their face, because they hate Him, 
There is an evident growth of faithful labourers in the Churcli. 
One young man has been at Carlisle, who was awakened under 
Mr. Porter, at Leeds ; he seems serious and humble, and is 
going to be fixed in an Episcopal Church in Scotland. The 
Bishop of Carlisle, by the Dean's recommendation, has promised 
to ordain him to it. The greatest evil is the plain want of 
national humiliation, and the continuance of profaneness, 
luxury, pleasures, &c. No wonder we are scourged and brought 
low. But let us mind our Ijusiness, the Lord will take care of 
his. After all, we know of more evil Avithin us than we do of 
all the gross outward sins of the land. Indwelling sin is our 
burden. Out of the depths we must keep crying to the Lord: 
and, as circumstances now are, it behoves us specially to take 
care that we be not drawn into a wrong spirit on the one hand, 
by the evils of professors, and on the other, by the agreeal)le 
(jualities of the profane. The Lord uphold us, and cause us to 
liear a voice behind us, saying, This is the way, walk, &c. 

" The foul proceedings in the late election at Hull were a 
bitter potion to me, and a great reproach to this place. But 
why always harping on the worst? God is with his Church, 
and his cause shall prosper. 

« With love to Mrs. S., 

" I am alway yours, 

"Joseph Milxer." 

To Dean Milner's ^'faitlifulness" and "downright plainness" 
in the pulpit, mentioned in the foregoing very pious letter, there 
are, doubtless, still many living witnesses; although the greater 
part of the generation who, from Sabbath to Sabbath, during 
his various residences at Carlisle, were admonished by liis 
warning voice in the Cathedral, have passed away. Of recorded 

I 2 

116 CHAP. A^II. A.D. 179C. ^TAT. 40. 

testimony to his powerful mode of preaching there is, however, 
no lack. Among a cloud of witnesses, Dr. Paley may be men- 
tioned as having, about the year 179^? expressed himself in the 
following terms to the present Professor of Modern History at 

" I remember," says Professor Smyth *, " that Dr. Paley 
said to me, when I happened to mention Dr. Milner, and what 
were supposed to be the great powers of his mind, ' Why, yes ; 
I told the Bishop of Carlisle t, that about the evangelical doc- 
trines themselves, I must leave him to judge, but that if he 
chose to hear them verged with great ability, and placed in the 
most striking point of view, he must go and hear our dean.' " 

In perfect agreement with the conversation here recorded, 
Dr. Paley, about this time, thus wrote to a friend: "When the 
Dean of Carlisle preaches you may walk upon the heads of the 
people. All the meetings attend to hear him. He is indeed 
a powerful preacher." 

This testimony of Dr. Paley, concerning the crowds who 
attended at the Cathedral whenever the Dean preached, might 
be confirmed by many living witnesses. Indeed, the very 
words, or nearly so, employed by Dr. Paley, occur in a letter 
lately addressed to myself by a professional gentleman, still 
resident at Carlisle. "When it was known," says he, "that 
the Dean was to preach in the Cathedral, I have seen the aisles 
and every part of it so thronged, that a person might have 
walked upon the heads of the crowd. It was pleasing to see 
how religious persons of different denominations flocked around 
the pulpit. » * * 

" I well remember at times, while preaching, his being so 
absorbed in his subject, that the expression of his countenance 
had in it something more than earthly. He has told me, that 
lie always felt doubly assured when he was preaching the Truth." 
* * * "In one of his discourses he recommended it to his 
hearers, ' not to busy themselves in the inquiry, whether 
the preacher were right in every particular point, but rather 

* In a letter to myself, 
t 'I'lie ])resent Lord Archbishop of York. 

CHAP. VIII. A.D. 17!MJ. ETAT. 40. 117 

to inquire whether the3' themselves were right in the main 
point.' * * * 

"After one of the powerful sermons that he preached in the 
Cathedral from the words, 'AVherefore halt ye l^etween two 
opinions?' Sec, a young gentleman from Liverpool, who had 
heard him, called upon him, and with tears in his eyes, thanked 
him for his discourse. The Dean told me, that the same sermon 
had been instrumental in bringing one or two other persons to 
a sense of the importance of religion. He did not say this as if 
boasting, but was only thankful that he should have been the 
means of bringing any to a knowledge of the Truth." 

Some brief extracts from one of the first sermons which 
Dean Milner delivered from the pulpit of the cathedral of 
Carlisle, and one to which, after the lapse of nearly twenty 
years, he, from the same pulpit, alluded with satisfaction, as 
having been rendered, by the blessing of God, singularly useful, 
may serve as a fair specimen of his style and manner of 
preaching; and cannot be unacceptable to those who feel an 
interest in the subject of this biography. 

The sermon in question treats of the history of Enoch*, and 
its scope is, to convey "a just idea of what is meant by ^walking 
with God.' " "However excellent a thing it be," says the Dean, 
" to walk with God, it is no more than what all men in all ages 
ought to do. We are led, then, to suspect that the generality 
of persons in Enoch's time walked not with God, but after the 
course of this world, after the ' spirit which now worketh in the 
children of disobedience.' In truth, the fall of man was pre- 
sently followed by the most dismal effects. Witness the account 
given of the blood of righteous Abel, and of the earth being 
filled with violence, and of all flesh having corrupted their way 
upon the earth. Moreover, the Lord was induced to sweep 
away the whole generation of mankind, except eight persons, 
by a flood. But before things proceeded to this extremity, it 
pleased God, by an act of singular and distinguished favour 
towards righteous Enoch, to show to mankind that ' there is a 
God that judgeth the earth;' that there is another life, in which 

See Dr. Milner's Sermons, Vol. i., Sermon 11. 

118 CHAP. VIII. A.D. 1796. /ETAT. 4G. 

his faithful servants shall enjoy their God forever; and that 
the present life is too poor and low a scene for immortal spirits 
to set their affections upon." * * ♦ « Por it is not to be 
supposed but that the circumstances of Enoch's translation 
were such as to give full evidence that the fact was real ; as 
was the case with Elijah's translation to heaven long after — 
wliich event also took place at a period of much wickedness and 
contempt of God." * * * " Three hundred and sixty-five 
years was the whole of Enoch's existence on earth; and, 
according to the length of men's lives at that time, he might be 
called a young person. But he lived long enough to shame an 
evil world by tiie height of his piety. While others walked 
after the sight of their eyes, and according to the imaginations 
of their hearts, he lived by faith in God. He saw the invisible 
God with the eyes of his understanding, and walked with Him 
as a friend. He maintained a connexion with Him in all he 
did : his whole course of life was directed to please Him. He 
received the law from his mouth, and it was dearer to him than 
anything besides. No doubt lie conversed with Him by prayer, 
praise, and meditation, and had a holy and reverend commu- 
nion with Him, such as it becomes obedient creatures to have 
witii their Creator. The account is very short, but doubtless 
he wa s reconciled to Him by faith in the promised seed who 
was to bruise the serpent's head, for Enoch had sin as well as 
otlier men. He Avas saved by grace, and he was conscious of a 
Divine principle of grace, which gave him this happy turn of 
mind, and drew his affections up to God. Were it not for 
God's revealed promise of grace in Christ, he could have had 
no comfortable affiance in God from the light of nature, for 
that teaches no sinner how to obtain reconciliation with God. 
Revelation alone can do this for any man; and Hiow can two 
walk together except they l)e agreed?' 

" Enoch was reconciled with God, and therefore walked with 
him as a friend. Pleasant and precious privilege ! Oh ! what 
so delightful as to call God, Father, — to enjoy his favour, and 
peace of coiiscicn(!e, — to be indulged with the tokens of his 
presence, and tlie manifcslation of his Divine perfections ! 
To such a jiian. dufv is a dcliglif, the will of God is freedom, 

CHAP. vrir. a.ix i7!m;. .13TAT. 4«. 119 

and holiness is the health of the soul." * * * * a After 
Enoch had 'walked with God* three hundred years, he was no 
more found on earth; for God had removed him to Himself by 
a happy miraculous translation. In the eleventh chapter of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, we are told, that ' by faith he was 
translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, 
because God took him: for before his translation he had this 
testimony, that he pleased God.' But how did he please him ? 
It is added, ' without faith it is imi:)Ossible to please Him; for 
he that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he 
is a rewardcr of them that diligently seek him.* Enoch had a 
lively influential persuasion, that there is a God that judgeth 
the earth; that He is to be found by tliem that seek Him, as 
their portion and happiness; and this, we know, cannot be 
dune, except, in substance, upon real Christian principles. 
Guilt cannot be taken out of the conscience but by faith in 
God's promises respecting the Redeemer; nor can the heart of 
such a creature as man be renewed and made holy, but by a 
principle of grace from above." * * * * " To walk with 
God, as Enoch did, is the duty of every reasonable creature : 
and, in truth, what can be so reasonable, so pleasant, and so 
altogether excellent ^ Nay, I might add, that guilty creatures 
hke men, being, through Jesus the Mediator, allowed thus to 
walk with God, as a forgiving, reconciled Father, is, in some 
respects, more delightful than if no breach had ever been made: 
for surely, humility and gratitude are most truly Christian 
sensations, and the exercise of them will, I doubt not, form 
one of the most precious enjoyments of heaven and immor- 

It is needless to say, that the above extracts give but a very 
meagre idea of the admirable and affecting discourse from 
which they are taken. The same, however, might be said, and 
said with a considerable measure of truth, if the discourse were 
given entire: for all who have heard Dean Milner speak from 
the pulpit, will agree, that to communicate anything like an 
adequate conception of the impressive dignity of his manner, 
or of the effect which his sermons produced, would be a vain 
attempt. His deep conviction of the infinite importance of the 

120 CHAP. VIII. A.I). 179t). /ETAT. 4(i. 

subjects which, as a preacher, he had to handle, gave to his 
addresses from the pulpit a force and a reality, which, under 
other circumstances, compositions incomparaljly more regular 
and polished, must have failed to possess. In short, the secret 
of his eloquence, or rather of the impression which he made 
ii])on his hearers, lay, if the expression may be. permitted, in 
tlie intensity of his sincerity. 

Having been induced, as has been already intimated, to 
accompany Mr. Wilberforce on his return from Hull to Buxton, 
Dean Milner, with his friend, generally dined at the public 
table, in company with Lord Erskine, Miss Seward, and a 
crowd of visitors. 

Of this joint visit to Buxton, Mr. Wilberforce's Diary 
affords the following characteristic notices. 

" Heard Miss Seward repeat and read Cornaro. * * * * 
Erskine much with her — his free conversation with Milner 
about religion." 

" Miss Seward M'ent on Friday. Erskine, Milner, and I, too 
much with her, flattering her, &c." 

'■' Our friend the Dean is tolerable, and much amused, and 
not a little amusing." 

During this visit to Buxton, the Dean preached at least 
once, and that with an earnestness and solemnity which ren- 
dered his discourse exceedingly striking to the gay congregation 
Avhom he addressed. 

The Christmas of this year was passed by Dr. Milner, at 
that time in very indifferent health, at Hull. In a letter to 
Mr. Wilberforce, dated '•' Christmas morning," he enters, after 
tlie discussion of much other matter, upon a subject which, even 
between friends as intimate as were these attached correspond- 
ents, must have been felt to be one of some delicacy; but of 
which the mention may here be properly introduced as affording 
an illustration of Dean Milner's simple and affectionate cha- 

Mr. Wilberforce, habituated from his youth to the most 
unrestrained intimacy with Dr. Milner, had communicated his 
wish to have a general iii\ itation or licence to take u]) his abode 
in Queen's Lodge for any length of time, wlicncvcr it might be 

CllAP. YUI. A.I), nw. vKTAT. 4(j. 121 

agreeable to liiin 1o do so, without notice, or previous arrange- 
ment; and this, either in the presence or the absence of the 
President; nor Avas there, in this proposal, anything which, 
under different circumstances, would have been otlicrwise than 
agreeable to his friend. As it was, however, Dr. Milner hesi- 
tated to enter into such an agreement; and with the perfect 
sincerity which always marked his character, yet M'ith the 
utmost kindness and consideration, he states to Mr. Wilberforce 
his feelings upon the occasion. 

It will be readily supposed, that the precarious state of Dr. 
Milner's health formed one chief ground of objection to his 
friend's proposal; but, besides this, there existed College reasons 
of great cogency, which militated against Mr. Wilberforce's 
plan. Without, however, entering more minutely into these 
circumstances, it maybe allowable to quote from Dean Milner's 
letter one characteristic passage. " You and I," he writes, " if 
in the same house at Cambridge, should reciprocally thwart 
each other's way of going on. The fact is we have too many 
common acquaintance." * * * * uj ^^^^ y^^^^ sq little; 
and I should for ever be attempting to bear something; and 
after all, I should be reckoned queerer and queerer; my health 
would soon be broken down, and my little arrangements for 
doing what good I can in college, defeated. 

"We are alike in many respects; but your hours and capabi- 
lities differ much from mine. 

" If it were necessary to add anything more to make you 
understand my feelings on such an occasion, I would say, that 
there is no man's house in the world, I like to be in, so much 
as yours ; nor would I voluntarily come up at all to London, 
but to you. Yet, even in your house, I am often forced to be 
with fellows for hours more than I like; often meet foul fellows 
in the breakfast room, whom I wish gone ; and then I keep up 
a deceitful sort of mock character. 

"'Retire to your bedroom,' you say; that is not pleasant; it 
is a sort of succedaneum: one's things are not about one there ; 
and one is not well waited on there. 

" My good friend, I hope you will not judge harshly of me — 
my heart is full; and tears run down my cheeks while I am 

122 ClIAr. Vlir. A.I). 17!1«. -ETAT. IC. 

induced to state these facts. In some points of view, there is 
no man on earth who has fewer wants than myself — in others, I 
own, 1 am all caprice, &c. You don't half know me yet. 

" It has long been my opinion, that with a little management 
and previous arrangement and foresight, you might spend at 
Cambridge a good deal of time with comfort and advantage to 
both of us. But if so, a new leaf must be turned over. 

"A priori, one would have thought, that with the data we 
had at Buxton, we might have gone on without encroachment on 
each other's retirements, comfortably and usefully. I think we 
did not do so well as we might have done ; and God knows, I 
take upon me my share of the mismanagement." 

Here follows, in the shape of a very livel}'* account of some 
college disputes, and of the M'riter's position as president, one 
of those abrupt transitions from "grave to gay," which, not 
unfrequently, occur in Dr. Milner's confidential letters. 

There was certainly little danger, that the truly friendly 
communication from which the foregoing extract is taken, could 
be misunderstood by him to M'hom it was addressed. On the 
contrary, the increasingly tender nature of the regard which 
subsisted between these excellent friends is, perhaps, even more 
strikingly manifested in their subsequent correspondence. 
Early in the succeeding January, the Dean thus wrote, to Mr. 
Wilbcrforce, at Bath. 

" I pray God, my dear Sir, to bless you, and to make this 
journey useful to you. 

" It is impossible for me not to perceive, and in several of 
your late letters particularly, a most tender regard to my 
feelings, and a solicitude and anxiety to administer comfort to 
my whimsical and unreasonable frame. Sincerity constrains 
me to say, tliat your endeavours have not always the effect 
you intend them to have ; for though tlicy make me love you 
better, and make me grateful, in a degree, they also tend to 
mortify mc ; Ijcsidcs, I cannot read these letters without weep- 
ing; I wish you woukl not be so anxious about hurting me — 
you arc afraid of dropping the sliglitcst word — such an extreme 
anxictv, I say, ncillicr becomes you nor me; for I trust we 

CHAP. via. A.D. 17'J7. -KTA'J'. -J?. 123 

shall never misconstrue one auotlicr^s real meaning — I am sure, 
I see yours, and, as I have said, that consideration makes me 
love you better. 

" I will briefly mention a material thing, which I am afraid 
may make it improper for me to be absent from Queen^s, (at 
least farther than London,) for some weeks to come. 

" 's brother, (Dr. ,) who is now talked of for 

the next bishop, is printing his Lectures on Divinity, at the 
university press, and with our sanction. In these lectures he 
advances a most extraordinary and ****** opinion, that 
articles of religion, are to be considered as articles of union not 
of faith ; and in short, that a person may subscribe anything : 
I really think, that I do not misrepresent. Dr. Jowett, myself, 
and others, have inadvertently countenanced the publication, 
not knowing how much he has laboured this point. There are 
likely to be some very serious meetings of syndics on this 

" Yours, very affectionately, L M. 

" To William Wilberforce, Esq." 

Within a short period from the date of the preceding letter. 
Dr. Milner was invited by his friend to join him at Bath. 
This invitation was at first declined. "What a sad way," 
writes the Dean, " are you going on in, calling on this gang of 
acquaintance! I'll warrant you, I shovikl have a sweet time 
among such fellows." Another letter from Cambridge is much 
more serious in its tone : " I am very sure that it is good for 
me to have been afflicted. I say this with some thankfulness, 
but with tears of regret. It is very true ; I am very sure of it ; 
but it is a sad thing that less will not do. 

" I shall, probably, be here for some months. I have no 
particular pressure of business; I am nursing myself quietly, 
and endeavouring to profit by retirement: if I don't profit then, 
I never do. For anything I know, I shall be quite alone till 
the latter end of March, or perhaps longer ; in fact, till towards 
Easter, when Carlyle will come to his residence as Arabic 
Professor ; so if you can come here now, or by and by, I can 
receive you with comfort. 

124 CHAP. Vlir. A.l). 17'J7. /ETAT. 4?. 

"That most unpleasant affair about Dr. 's book is 

not yet settled. 

" I have had an affecting letter this post from poor 
T. Willis, who has been, and is, very poorly, but not in his 
old way. 

'' There is but one sort of true wisdom ! 

" xVlways yours affectionately, 

" Isaac Milnek. 
" To William Wilberforce, Esq.'' 

One other passage may be quoted from a letter to the same 
friend, dated " February 23, 1797?" ^i^t^ written under a severe 
attack of " those terrible head-aches," with which Dr. Milner 
was at this period of his life frequently afflicted. 

" God knows," he writes, " whether I am to have any more 
intervals of tolerable health ; ])ut you will judge of my state, 
when I tell you, that last Monday I had most seriously, as 
nearly as jiossible, determined to leave all here, and go and 
wait God's will near my friends at Hull. 

" I wish I could but keep my trust in Him without wavering. 
Oh ! a great deal passes my mind ! but you will excuse my writing 
more at present. 

^' Surely I should be glad to see you; but at present I am 
too ill to enjoy your company. 

" Yours, with the best and most affectionate wishes, 

"I. M." 

It is surely impossible to read the story of Dr. Milncr's 
life, illustrated as it is by his confidential letters, without 
l)erceiving a progressive improvement in his religious character. 
It is true, indeed, that even in early life, his views of revealed 
truth were theoretically correct; but the man who, notwith- 
standing the soundness of his religious opinions, had in his 
youth seemed to desire and value, alwve all other objects, 
literary attainments with the honourable distinction which they 
confer, has, in his maturer age, evidently learned '' to seek first 
tlic kingdom of God and His righteousness." 

Early in this year appeared the third volume of Joseph 

CHAP. viir. A.D. 1707. .t:tat, at. 125 

Milner's History of the (Uiurcli of Chriat, the last volume which 
lie lived to publish. 

This volume, which contains the history of the Christian 
Church from the end of the fifth, to the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, — a period which, though occasionally 
illumined by bright beams of light, has justly obtained the 
appellation of " the dark ages," — illustrates and justifies a 
remark of Dean Milner respecting his brother's Church 

"Mr. Milner," says the Dean*, "is constantly in quest of 
the true folloAvers of Jesus Christ; he is, on all occasions, 
delighted to find them, whether they be in caves or monas- 
teries, in the papal, or in any other communion; in great cities, 
or in the valleys of Piedmont; in established churches, or in 
dissenting congregations. With him the character is decided, 
whenever it appears that the conduct is practically influenced 
by the essentials of Christianity; and, hence, he is often 
induced to make candid and large allowances for trying 
circumstances and seasons of darkness, corruption, and pre- 

This volume, as M-as that which preceded it, was read over 
in manuscript by Dean Milner, in company with his brother. 

On the 15th of April in this year. Dr. Milner, in a letter to 
Mr. Wilberforce, thus briefly alludes to the Practical View of 
Ch'istiauity then recently published by his friend. 

" I thank you for your books. I have sent them according 
to the directions : and I find already that I shall have plenty of 
discuss about the contents. My report, however, must be 
deferred till I see you, and am able to converse fully on the 
subject, if it please God ever so much to recruit my strength." 

Although Dr. Milner had at first declined Mr. Wilberforce's 
invitation to join him at Bath, he was not proof against the 
solicitations addressed to him, when he became aware that 
those solicitations had a particular object. 

At Bath, during this season, Mr. Wilberforce, to use the 
words of his sons, " had formed the acquaintance of one whom 

See Animadversions on Dr. Ifaireis, 

126 CHAP. VIII. A.I). I7n7. /'ETAT. 4?. 

he judged well-fitted to be liis companion through life, and 
towards whom he contracted a strong attachment ;" and he 
was very naturally desirous that Dr. Milner, one of his oldest 
and most tried friends, should see tlie lady who had gained his 

Advice, asked under similar circumstances, is proverbially 
useless ; and, with regard to the present case, it is more than 
needless to say, that the opinions of the most anxious friends 
of Mr. Willjerforce must have concurred with his own. Had 
it, however, been otherwise, certaiix symptoms which struck 
the keen eye of Dr. Milner, on his joining the circle at Bath, 
and to which he often jocularly alluded, when referring in later 
life to this visit, convinced him, that counsel, in this particular 
case, would have come too late. 

Mr. Wilberforce's marriage, which took place in May, l797j 
is alluded to in a letter written by Dean Milner upon a subject 
to which the occurrences of late years have given additional 
interest. The practical good sense which this letter exhibits, 
as brought to bear upon a difficult question, will be recognised 
by most persons who knew the writer, as exceedingly charac- 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

"My dear Sir, " Hull, June 'Jth, 1797. 

" I arrived here on Saturday last, which day was as much like 
a winter's day as could be, both in boisterous wind and cold 
rain. Remember me always affectionately to your better half, 
and explain to her, at proper times, the oddities of your old, 
but sincere friend ; otherwise, I fear, her favourable disposition 
towards me will weaken, not strengthen. My earnest prayer 
is that this change in both your situations may be for your 
mutual good. 

" Nothing can be more awful than public aftairs. If I were 
Pitt, or the King, I would come down to the House, and first 
beseech unanimity; secondly, desire that all hands would unite 
in sarinfj the nation — viz., in getting out of the scrape — before 
they thought of rejornmuj it. 

"Thirdly, I would solemnly promise to take the sense of 

CHAP. VIII. A.D. 1707. ^"ETAT. 47. 127 

the nation at large on the snl)ject of reform, as soon as all was 
safe. For, I say this, if the bulk of persons of property be for 
reform, then reform cannot be stopped. I don't think they 
are, or M'ill be ; therefore I would number the whole nation, 
which might be easily done. Thus I would find out whether 
the bulk of property, of housekeepers, &c., really desired 
reform, or Mxre content with the present constitution. I am 
convinced that such a proceeding would either set the question 
at rest, or would put it upon a different footing from the pre- 
sent ; e. y., if it turned out that property were against reform, 
then it would be nearly reduced to this — Shall we have Universal 
Suffrage? Let the real sense of the nation be found, and the 
lists printed ; and let the different ways of conceiving this 
matter be stated, and let the people be classed. 

"Objection. — There will be a great number of hypocrites 
who will pretend a moderate reform, and mean more. 

"Answer. — I think the question might be so stated as to 
show Mhat M'as the number of such sort of people. In short I 
think it would be a great thing to find out the real sense of the 
people, if you were a year or two about it. Then, I further 
think, that if government, in that period, would employ good 
hands to state, ad jjopnium, briefly the dangers of too popular a 
reform, they would strengthen themselves most amazingly. 

" I believe the above is the true way to get out of all diffi- 
culties ; to disconcert rascals, and to unite honest men. Oh, 
how I wish they would take such a step ! I also wish that a 
very respectable commission would go down to these sailors. 

•^^ Yours, in fear and anxiety, 

" Isaac Milner." 

A letter dated "Carlisle, July 4th," and apparently written 
during this year, contains a notice of Mr. Tillotson, who, as 
it has been already intimated, lived during his old age with 
Dr. Milner. 

In reference to this gentleman, an intimate and still living 
friend of Dean Milner thus Avrites : — " I have always miderstood 
that the origin of your uncle's connection with Mr. Tillotson 
was, that Mr, Tillotson had been assistant to him, or to his 

128 CHAP. VIII. A.D. 17fl7. /KTAT. 4?. 

brother Joseph, in tlie carl)' part of their lives ; and that this 
was returned by your uncle when he had an opportunity to 
offer the old gentleman a residence and a retreat from business, 
which were, both of them, very agreeable. You are aware, I 
dare say, that your uncle and his brother Joseph forced their 
way through great difficulties in early life. 

" I have heard that the first time the Dean arrived at Cam- 
bridge he and his brother Joseph walked up from Leeds, with 
occasional lifts in a waggon ; and I believe it came from the 
Dean himself. 

" In these times I surmise it was that Mr. Tillotson was in 
some way or other assisting ; but further I never knew." 

"The friendly offices/^ writes the Dean, "which I have 
received from this good man during my long illness, are innu- 

It seemed due to the memory of the " good man," who 
passed a quiet and happy old age in the home which Dr. 
Milner's gratitude afforded to him, to quote this passage ; and 
it may be added, that never did grateful deed meet with a more 
abundant return, than did the hospitality of Dr. Milner to Mr. 
Tillotson. The old man, who had but few relatives, and those 
estranged from him by untoward circumstances, seemed to 
concentrate the whole force of his affections upon his bene- 
factor ; and it is needless to say that this temper of mind 
secured his own happiness. The adage that charity is twice 
blessed, it " 1)lesscs him who gives, and him who receives," 
was never more fully justified. 



Joseph Milner visits his Brothei" at Carlisle. — Appointment of Joseph Milner 
to the Vicarage of Hull. — His Letters. — Religious condition of Carlisle in 
1797- — Feelings of Joseph Milner on his promotion to the Vicarage. — Cor- 
respondence of Dr. JMilner. — Rev. Mr. Thomason. — Declining health of 
Joseph Milner. — Dr. Milner's opinion concerning Private Tutors. — 
Important change of Character. — Joseph Milner's last Illness. — His Lettere 
to his Brother and to Mr. Stillingfleet. — His opinion of Dr. Johnson. — 
Great change which had taken place in his Religious Sentiments. — His 
Death. — Monumental Inscription. — Extiacts from Correspondence of Dr. 
Milner. — Opium. — Letter to Rev. William Richardson. — Joseph Milner's 
Style. — Puljlication of his Sermons. — Letters. — To IMrs. Carlyle. — To Mr. 
\Vilberforce. — Affairs of Trinity College. — Importance of the expulsion of 
Mr. Frend. — Disturbed State of Ireland. — Duel between Mr. Pitt and Mr. 
Tierney. — Variety of Dr. Milner's Information. — Mendoza. — Irish Affairs. 
— The Bishop of Down. 

A.D. 17»7. .'ETAT. 47. 

During a part of the summer of this year, Joseph MUner 
visited his brother the Dean, at Carhsle. The following letter, 
written in the month of July, just four months previous to the 
writer's decease, is interesting both as exhibiting the state of 
his own mind, and as depicting the spiritual condition of tlie 
city of Carlisle at that period. 

"To THE Rkv. Jamks Stillingfleet. 

" Dear Still., '•' Carlisle, July 14, l/^?- 

" I was glad and thankful to hear from you at this distance. 
I live, indeed, in the midst of plentv, and my health is full as 
good as it has been for some time. But — yes, there is always 
a ' but' in this world — and if it were not so, things would be 
still worse with us ; O wretched man that I am ! I feel this 
most sensibly, when everything external is smooth and agreea- 
ble. The soul cannot feed on worldly and sensual objects ; and 
what you say of the leanness of soul, in such scenes, is true in 
regard to me, as well as you ; and difficult it is to keep up tlie 
disposition to prayer and spiritual-mindedness among sucii 
obstructions as I am now in the midst of. Nor have I any- 


1.30 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. -^':TAT. 47. 

thing like the power to preach, &c., here, as you suppose. 
The dignitaries have their turns in the Cathedral, so that I have 
not the opportunity of preaching Sunday after Sunday. I have, 
indeed, been twice in the pulpit; once at the Cathedral, the 
other time, at St. Cuthbert's. But I don't expect to preach any 
more here. I hope my brother (who remembers you with 
affection,) will preach, Sunday after next, himself; the next 
Sunday, the Bishop preaches. Still it is here, as elsewhere ; 
the few I can converse with, on divine things, are the women. 
My situation connects me only with the genteel ones of this 
place, and of them, there are a small number of women, 
who really seem to have a keen appetite, and would thankfully 
feed upon the coarsest viands which are trampled under foot by 
the fastidious ones in Hull. But our sex seem, in this age, I 
mean gentlemen, to have no relish for Jesus. I except old Mr. 
Fawcett, our Fawcett's uncle and father-in-law, who, I am glad 
to find, in his old age, seems to be sitting at the feet of Jesus, 
and hearing his word. Our Fawcett remembers you gratefully, 
and will write to you shortly .'' ****** l^e preaches, 
occasionally, and has just got a quarter of a year's preaching at 
a church, which he gladly embraces. 

"The people here, the aborigines, are a well-behaved, 
simple people ; the refinement, shall I say, or the lewdness and 
impudence, of the southern part of our island, they know not. 
They have the sample, I take it, of the manners of the whole 
country, in the time of James I. But they are withal, very 
ignorant in religion ; they wander as sheep without a shepherd. 
They seem, however, open to conviction, they have conscience. 
There are, here, some Methodist and Dissenting interests, but 
feeble and of little weight, nor is there a dissenter here of any 
popularity, or, as it should seem, of any religious zeal. What 
a fine field for a pastor, steady, fervent, intelligent, and charit- 
able I Pray ye to the Lord of the harvest, &c. I inculcate this 
duty on those I have access to — for it is a pitiable thing to see 
the ignorance of tliis place — ignorance, rather than contempt of 
Divine truth, is its character. The Lord may, in his time, 
send them such a supply. At present their state is lamentable 
beyond expression. I am sorry I could not see you at Hull; 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. ^TAT. 47. 131 

give my kind love to Mrs. S. If I live, I shall live to run into 
more debt to her kindness at Hotham. I am glad you are both 
well, and Edward, spes altera Romce. Never mind his thinness, 
if his health be sound. The Misses Waugh I see little of. 
Remember me, I trust you do, at the throne of grace. May we 
remember what we have been taught of Jesus, and never let 
it go ! May He keep us, and we shall be kept. 

" Ever yours, 

«J. Milneb/' 

Towards the end of this month the vicarage of the Holy 
Trinity Church, in Hull, became vacant by the death of Dr. 
Clarke. To this important vicarage Joseph Milner was ap- 
pointed, on the 22nd of August, by the mayor and corporation 
of the town. " His own feelings, upon this preferment," says 
his brother, the Dean, " were thus expressed to his friends, in 
conversation, or by letter. ' I know not w^hether, on this 
change, I ought more to rejoice or to fear. In regard to the 
people, I have long had every opportunity I could wish of 
doing them good, through the means of Gospel instruction ; and 
I am not sure that my new situation will be favourable to the 
better removing of their prejudices, or to my own living more 
closely with Christ. An increase of income has no charms for 
me ; and indeed, in one point of view, the living of Hull is 
much too small for the situation. A minister must be liberal : 
a vicar is supposed rich, of course ; and much is expected from 
him. The people are often very unreasonable in this matter ; 
nevertheless, their prejudices must be consulted, if we wish to 
do them good.' * * * < My apprehensions, also, are not 
slight, lest by being necessarily drawn into company of a higher 
description than that to which I have long been accustomed, I 
may be less faithful than I ought to be, both in words and 
actions. The grand spiritual enemy is on the watch, and is 
very dexterous in laying snares.' * * ♦ 'The rules of 
modem good-breedi-ng strictly forbid one ever to say a plain, 
disagreeable truth to a man's face ; but they are not so rigidly 
adhered to among the middling or lower classes of people.' " 

A letter from Joseph Milner to his excellent friend the 

K 2 

132 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. mTAT. 47. 

Rector of Hotham, written on the occasion of l)is appointment 
to the vicarage of Hull, deserves to be given almost entire. 

"To THE Rev. James Stillingfleet. 
" Dear Still., " HuU, At/gust 24M, 1797- 

" I scarce can find time, but I must drop you a line to let 
you know the success, if you have not heard it already. Tuesday 
last I was nominated vicar in a full bench. Their number is 
thirteen. Of these, eleven voted for me. One did not choose 
to vote, the other voted for my scholar, . This last- 
mentioned alderman was ; and I am not sorry that it 

appears on this occasion that he is destitute of influence, for he 
is the most steady opposer of Gospel truth and holiness perhaps 
of any man in these parts. Old Mr. Sykes Mas most friendly. 
Three other candidates there were, but they had no votes ; nor 
did any candidate appear at the day of election but myself. 
So evident it was to all men how the thing would turn out. 
There was such a concurrence of circumstances, and such an 
overbearing and victorious influence from above, overruling and 
inclining all persons concerned, that I am constrained to say. It 
is of the Lord. 

" My good friend, I would rejoice with trembling. The 
same care and fear which I mentioned in my last pervades me. 
Pray for me. I had little expected this. I had rather wished 
for a removal elsewhere, but so it is ; God hath confined me to 
this place, and I must say, that by far the majority here are 
well pleased with it. I shall have on my hands now both 
vicarage, school, and lectureship, and hospital, till Christmas, or 
nearly. I must get help as well as I can, for I cannot do 
without help. Perhaps I may hope for your help when oppor- 
tunity serves. I shall have an opportunity to give a little 
pecuniary aid to some poor parsons. The long delay which will 
take place before the school and lectureship will be filled up, is 
to give time to get one (they are to go together) whom they like; 
for it is the design of certain persons to eradicate Methodism 
from the Church, and that was one reason, I believe, why I wa§ 
voted for by several ; they think me a worn-out man who has 
very little time to live. So, I find, it is commonly thought 

CHAP. IX. AD. 1797. ^TAT. 47. 1-33 

among them. In truth I am feehle, but I admire the goodness 
of God, in that my voice, my ears, my eyes, and my memory, 
are spared, though in everything belonging to bodily strength I 
am very feeble. So I seem to have just what may suffice for 
preaching, writing, reading, &c., and no other powers. Oh! that 
this heart felt more vigorously and warmly the love of Jesus, 
who has done so much for me! What am I and what is my 
my father's house, that thou liast brought me hitherto ! Thou 
hast been with me from my youth, forsake me not when I am 
old and grey-headed ! You, my dear friend, are going down 
the hill as well as I, but your strength is green. May you 
bring forth more fruit in age, for you have a liveliness of consti- 
tution vastly more than I. The chief thing is, tliat we may grow 
in grace and spirituality, and give up our ministry and finish 
our course with joy. May the Divine Saviour help us in our 
besetting evils, that they overpower us not in the decline of 
life. Despair not of Hotham, &c. Have an eye to the rising 
generation. You have had comfort among them formerly, and 
may again. My love to Mrs. Still. The grace of Jesus be with 
both, and also with your Edward. 

" Yours alway, 

"Joseph Milner." 

Such were the feelings with which this good man entered 
upon the preferment which he lived to hold not quite three 

The prevailing tone of Dr. Milner's mind at this period is, 
likewise, best exhibited by his own letters. 

To Mr. Wilberforce who, with his bride had just left Hull, 
the Dean wrote as follows : 

"My dear Sir, " Hull, August ZOth. 

" I will attend to your note. God preserv^e you both. I 
fear it is hardly in human nature for you to continue very long 
so happy as you are at present. ' Why not?' says B*. Really 
I hardly know, and I will not be so ill-natured as to set about 
inventing and summing up cross-grained probabilities when 
Providence smiles on you so graciously." 

* Bairbiira — Mrs. W'ilbcrfoice. 

134 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. -liTAT. 47. 

Early in the month of October, 17975 Dr^ Milner thus again 
wrote to Mr. Wilberforce, at that time at Bath. 

" My dear Sir, ^^ Hull, Monday morning. 

" Your letter finds me this morning (as you have seen me 
not unfrequently,) laid at length on a sofa, in considerable pain 
of tlie head." * * * « I am reviving a little. There is really 
nothing of which I can speak positively with more certainty 
than of the utility which is connected with these repeated chas- 
tenings. It is a sad thing that they should be so necessary ; 
but I bless God, that they do not harden, as I should have 
supposed that in time they would, but on the contrary, soften 
my heart, and make it more submissive to His will, who knows 
what is best for us. 

" Your dear mother is, I doubt not, under the teaching of 
the Spirit of God, and will improve by her afflictions : and it is 
very evident to me, that in her case also afflictions are necessary. 
When she is better for a few days together, I see a strong 
tendency to relapse and lose ground in spiritual matters ; and, 
so far as that goes, it is a bad sign both in her and myself. It 
is a bad sign when religious frames depend upon the pulse, yet 
it is a good sign when the effect of sufferings is to give us a 
clearer insight into our own character and the character of 
God ; for it is in that way only that we can come to understand 
our real situation, that is, the relation in which we stand to an 
offended God. An inch gained in this way is inestimable, 
because it is certainly in the right road. 

" I see your mother every day except Sundays, and, on the 
whole, with much satisfaction ; but I do yet expect a bright- 
ening rip. 

" I think I have anticipated much of what you would feel 
on account of poor Eliot's death. Alas! poor H. Broadley — 
the picture of health, and the object of my envy, in that respect, 
twenty years ago! 

" Well, our business is to vvait God's time, and to mind 
and employ the present moment well. God bless you 

" Mr. Recorder Osbourne called on me last Saturday, to ask 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. iETAT. 47. 135 

me seriously about Thoinason*, professing himself to go on 
broad principles "of utility. I said everything I could for 
Thornason, by declaring tiiat I took him for a Fellow and Tutor 
of Queen's, as the best to be found ; but I added, that I had 
never heard him preach, and knew nothing of his voice. We 
had hoped that all would have gone smooth, but there has just 
arisen an opponent that seems to have made great impressions 
indeed by his testimonials. An Eton scholar he is said to be, 
and of Oxford, and has been a school-teacher already six or 
seven years at Lichfield. He is strongly recommended by the 
Bishop of London's letters. Osbourne said, he would write to 
Gisborne, at Lichfield, to request his opinion. I need say no 
more. Neither you nor I wish for the man who is not the best; 
but I observe, that a man with some learning may possibly be 
very mischievous in the pulpit, though a tolerable classical 
scholar, and not the less so for that. Further, Eton school, 
Oxford, the Bishop of London, and such like, are all equivocal, 

and I wish I could add, that your friend G was decisive in 

the main points. 

"Your most affectionate, L M. 
" To Wm. Wilberforce, Esq." 

The health of Joseph Milner was now evidently giving way, 
yet not to such a degree as to excite in the minds of his friends 
any apprehension of immediate danger. Towards the end of 
this month his brother thus wrote to Mr. Wilberforce : 

« My dear Sir, ''Hull, October 23rd, 1797- 

" My brother's asthma is but bad. I thought I should have 

had a very bad account indeed to give of him. He keeps the 

house, and is, I hope, something better. I cannot persuade 

him to take sufficient care of himself." 

The same letter contains some remarks on colleges and 

tutors well worth preserving. 

" In regard to your \t)uth, whom you purpose to send to 

A candidate for the bituations of Sclioolniiister and Lecturer at High 
Church, Hull, resigned by Joseph Milner. 

136 CHAP. IX. A.D. 17!»7. ETAT. 47- 

the University, I have little new to say : you know my ideas, 
and have often heard me express them. 

" Tliere is uot, in my opinion, much ditierence in the' 
colleges, simply quoad college. 

" I am not fond of private tutors, as a general system, but,, 
as circumstances are at present, if a good private tutor can be 
provided, who will live a good deal with the young n)an, and 
watch him, I think that the likeliest method of insuring, 
success ; that is, freedom from the corruption of numbers of 
youths let loose. But then again, I observe, that if you send a 
lad to any college, and write to his public tutor, requesting a 
good private tutor, the object often is, rather to gratify some 
poor Bachelor of Arts than anything else. In regard to the 

public tutors of 1 really have no opinion of their 

oare in morals, &c., at all. James W. is a modest, engaging, 
civil man, but without energy, and without principles, in your 
and my sense. 

" With us. Queen's, I know but of one man L could trust a 
youth to, that is, Thomason ; and to him I have recommended 
a fellow-commoner this October as a private pupil. Thomason, 
to be sure, may succeed here, at Hull, next December ; and if 
so, all is abroad. 

" This is all I have to add on the subject, except that, on 
supposition this matter is open next January, I will, if yoU' 
desire it, look about, and do the best 1 can. 

" 1 am now looking about for tlie very best man I can find, 
as a public tutor for us, at Queen's. 

" I think of you both with unremitting prayers and affection. 

« A\)ars, I. M." 

A great change hud ncnv for years l^eeii silently and gra- 
dually passing upon the character of Dr. Milner. He was no 
longer ambitious : he had learned to acquiesce cordially in the 
actual dispensations of Providence. An evidence of the truth, 
of what is here affirmed may be found in the increasing interest 
which, in the succeeding years of his life, he manifestly took in. 
the performance of his duties as Dean of Carlisle; and, althougi) • 
the prospects which subsequent orcurrcnrcs, on more than one. 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 171)7. ^TAT. 47. 137 

occasion, opened to liis view were such as might well have 
afforded food for ambition, that passion never regained its hold 
upon his mind. This was a natural consequence of his 
advancement in the Christian character; but had the fact been 
otherwise, a calamity was at hand which was calculated effec- 
tually to wean his affections from earthly objects. 

The time was now approaching when the close union and 
most tender affection which, from childhood, had subsisted' 
between Dr. Milner and his elder brother, was to be interrupted 
by death. 

Mr. Milner's last illness is ascribed by liis friend Mr. Stil- 
lingfleet, who compiled a Memoir of his life, to a cold, caught 
on his journey to York for institution to his vicarage, in the 
latter end of September, 1 797- 

During this illness of his l^rother. Dr. Milner, in a state of 
very great affliction and agitation of mind, wrote to Mr. Wil- 
berforce a hurried letter, dated, " Hull, Tuesday, 1797-" 

From this letter the following passages are extracted : — 

" My dear Fkiexd, 

" I know you profess never to be much moved at any event; 
still, I believe, if you had been with me for the last fortnight, 
your compassionate heart would have been deeply affected. 

" I must be very short ; I am not able to write. A consi- 
derable fever, with an increase of asthma, has come upon my 
poor brother, and brought him to the very gates of death. He 
still remains in a most critical situation; I very much doubt 
whether he will recover. This is not fear, but reality. 

" My constant and persevering prayer has been for resig- 
nation and support, — but, alas! alas! I can just say from 
experience, ' the Lord knows how to be gracious, if we could 
but trust Him,' and no more. Oh ! my dear friend, there is a 
something on this occasion crowds upon my mind, so thick and 
so close, that I sliuuUl liuve been overwhelmed but for God's 
especial mercy. A deal of this is bodily; 1 am weak, nervous, 
and worn-out. ' Multis vulneribus oppressus, huic uni me 
inij>areni scnsi.' Then from a very child I have lived with this 
only brother; lie lias been kind to me beyond description, and 

138 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. jETAT. 47. 

a faithful adviser in illness on a thousand occasions. Lastly, 
no man's affections were, perhaps, ever so little divided by a 
variety of friendships as mine. For years past, I have said ten 
thousand times, that I would exhort a youth whom I wished 
to be happy in this world, to know more people and to love 
them less. Yet God does not absolutely give me up to grief. 

'' Farewell, and remember me most affectionately to Mrs. W. 
who will drop a tear. 

" N.B. My brother's mind is so happy, that it can hardly 
be in a more desirable state. ' The promises are sure.' Yester- 
day I was told that he has had your book in his hands for 
several days, and that he likes it better and better; and says he 
should have written to you. When I talked to him last, I 
could get nothing from him but ' Let not your heart be 
troubled,' &c., &c. 

" I am very unfit to write, but duty presses me to say 
briefly, that the election of a school-master and lecturer will 
take place on the 5th of December. 

" It will be a sad thing if High Church be deprived of both 
its pastors, morning and afternoon. I am utterly unable to see 
any one, or take any further steps ; indeed, I believe I have 
done what I can for Thomason. 

" Yours affectionately, L M/' 

The closing scenes of Joseph Milner's life are thus described 
by Mr. Stillingfleet : — 

" The fever being removed, there were hopes of his reco- 
very, till within a very few days of his death." * * "On the 
day preceding his death, he went through the duties of his 
family in a very serious and i)articular manner, intimating, as 
some concluded from expressions which he used, that his end 
was i)robably not far off. Having ended his family worship, he 
went to the chamber of his niece*, with whom he lived, and 
who had lain in only a few days ; and after praying with her, 
and wishing her a good night, retired to his room. At first, 
he seemed to sleep tolerably easy; but after some time, one of 

'IJie wile of Tlioiiias Wilbt-rfoice Croinptoii, Esq. 

CHAP. IX. A.U. 1797. iETAT. 47. 139 

the persons who sat up with him perceived that he was seized 
with a hiccup, and that he breathed with some difficulty. 
Soon after the attendants, finding all remarkably still, and 
being rather alarmed, drew near to the bed-side, and found 
that he had indeed breathed his last." 

In the interval between the fever here spoken of, and 
Mr. Milner's death, he wrote the following letters: — 

"Dearest Isaac*, 

* * * " In truth, it is quite a merciful state that things 
are in. I breathe vastly well ; asthma seems to have no 
existence. I have been refreshed with sleep, and am quite a 
different thing from other mornings. Surely the fever is much 
abated; I am not so languid ; in short, I am in a more natural 
state than since it commenced. I am going to get my common 
milk diet, and feel the right appetite. Let us be thankful to 
God, and not be moved because everything is not as we could 
wish. I recommend you to the Friend of sinners, to study and 
meditate upon His character, doctrine, example: this is hap- 

" Yours alway, J. M.'* 

The letter next following was written by Mr. Milner. in 
answer to his brother, who, not being able to support an inter- 
view with him, had in writing " besought " him to teach him, 
" as his last kindness, some lessons of resignation, — a Christian 
grace in which he found himself miserably deficient." 

"Dear Brother, " November, 1797- 

" Resignation to the Divine will is one of the last and 
highest attainments of the Christian life; it is what is ulti- 
mately to be aimed at, as essential to comfort here and 
happiness hereafter. But it seems not by any means to be the 
first object of one who is desirous of becoming a Christian, nor 
even attainable, except some other necessary things are pre- 

The first sentence of this letter has reference to his brother s state of 

140 CHAP. IX. A.]). 1797. .*:TAT. 47. 

viously acquired. For me to have my Mill in unison with the 
will of God, I must, in the first place, trust Him thoroughly, 
and love Him suj)remely; for it is impossible for me freely to 
give up my will to another entirely, while we are on had terms; 
that is, so long as I cannot trust him, and so long as 1 hate 
him ; or what, in tliis case, comes to the same thing, l6ve any 
person or thing l)etter than him. The conclusion is, all attempts 
at resignation will be vain, without conversion and reconciliation 
with God. 

" When we are convinced of tTie sinfulness and misery of 
our natural state, it is a high point of wisdom to seek, by prayer 
and diligent searching of the Scriptures, that only right and 
effectual method of relief which God has provided. ' Repent 
and believe the Gospel,' is the first thing. We should not 
stir from this direction, till we have some good ground of 
evidence, that we do repent and believe. Alas ! our guilt and' 
wickedness are much deeper and larger than we are apt to 
suspect; and our pride fights, with inexpressible obstinacy, 
against all just conviction. But let us not be discouraged: 
things impossible with men, are possible with God. Let us 
pray, not now and then only, but constantly. Life is short; 
we have no other business that ought to interfere with this. 
It should be the perpetual, as it is the most important employ- 
ment of the soul. The Scriptures daily meditated on, will 
supply us Mitli instruction; and if we persevere, our business 
in religion will doubtless be made, in time, our chief pleasure. 
A thorough insight into human emptiness and worldly vanity, 
a complete conviction of the evil of sin, even in our own 
particular case, and a desire to forsake it altogether, a solid 
discernment of the complete sufficiency of Clirist to save us in 
all respects — these things, in daily seeking unto God, are to be 
attained. We are not so ready to pray as God is to hear. He 
delights to magnify his Son Jesus, and to show what He can and 
will do for us through Him, He calls us to notliing in our own 
strcngtjj; and as we cannot have, so we need not think of 
having, any worthiness of our own. We may come and take 
freely, what He freely bestows — and, my dear brother, when 
once, in this way, you can steadfastly rely on the Divine 

01 1 A p. IX. A.I) 17!»7. 1=:TAT. 4?. 141 

promises through Christ, so sure as ' faith worketh by love,' 
you will find yourself enabled to love God; and it is in Christ 
Jesus that his love will be seen. A union and fellowship with 
Christ will take place; and it is the sweetest and the pleasantest 
sensation which the human mind can know. Thougli the 
effervescence of it be but short and momentary, and by very 
transient glances, yet its steady energy is real and powerful. 
For to encourage us, we should remember the interest we have 
in Him by the ties of a common nature. The second and 
fourth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews represent this 
point strongly. You may think I deviate from the subject of 
Resignation, but I know no other way of coming to it. Once 
brought to love Christ above all, we shall love other persons 
in the best manner, in subordination. Even to part with 
dearest friends will be practicable, because (1 Thess. iv. 14) 'if 
we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also 
which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.' When we can 
feel any genuine love to God in Christ, we shall be led to such 
an acquiescence in his wisdom and goodness, that we shall 
choose his will to take place, rather than ours; and the thought 
how soon all things shall be set riglit in a future life, and that 
He makes all things to work together for good, Avill reconcile the 
jnind to anything that God pleases. And though the dissolu- 
tion of soul and body be always a serious thing, and against 
the feelings of nature, yet a mind whose hope and desire are 
with Jesus, and Avhich has a constant thirst for spiritual enjoy- 
ments as true felicity, and which is loosened from all worldly 
attachments, must, on the whole, wish for death rather than 
life, as we all wish niost, for that which has most of our heart: 
but the love of God will teach such a one to resign himself, as 
to the time, to his heavenly Father's will. You will not 
mistake me, I hope, as if I supposed that all true Christians 
have learnt all this completely: far from it. But these things 
are learnt by them in a measure; but not without much conflict, 
opposition from sinful nature all along, and much imperfection. 
And though it is not easy to confine by rules the order of the 
Spirit's operations, yet this seems the general order of Christian 
virtues, viz., repentance, faith, love, resignation, 

142 CHAP. IX. A.D. 17f>7- -KTAT. 47. 

"In Christ himself resignation was perfect; 'Not my will 
but thine be done;' and as far as we can trust in Him for grace, 
so far we may receive grace out of his fulness. Among mere 
men, St. Paul seems the completest pattern of resignation. 
What a tremendous view is that of his sufferings in the latter 
part of 2 Cor. xi ! But how practicable did the love of God 
make everything to him! In Philippians iv., 11, 12, 13, he 
tells us that he had learned to be content in any state, and that 
he could do all things through Christ which strengthened him; 
and the original word for * had learned' fie/xvTj/xai, alluding to 
the Pagan mysteries, shows that the learning was of a myste- 
rious nature. 

" Dear brother, I write in the fulness of affection, wishing 
you to make it your main business to learn these things. I am 
far from thinking that your long course of afflictions has been 
against your acquiring them. Oh ! let us beg for patience to 
lie as clay in the hands of His infinite wisdom, who knows how 
to humble our pride, and to break our wills, and to form us to 
a conformity to Himself ! And may you be helped to a steady 
course of praying, and of seeking God, with a willingness to 
give up all for Christ ! 

"I have been looking at Dr. Johnson's* Life. The man 
was unfaithful to his convictions, for the most part of his life 
at least. Had he been humbled before God, he would have 
been despised in the world, but would have been comfortable 
in his own soul. May Christ Jesus visit you, and lead you, 
dear brother, to true rest. 

" Yours, J. M." 

If the following extract from a letter written by Joseph 
Milner to Mr. Stillingfleet, and docketed "the last letter he 
ever wrote," be thought to discover some confusion of intellect, 
it will, nevertheless, by all who loved the writer, or who revere 

• This name is now sujiplicd from omit I'r. .Jolinson's iiaiiu! ; but IIkto 
tlio niaiiusci'ipt Icttfr. Dr. Milner, seems now no reason to suppress 
who has inserted tliis letter in his Life I Joseph Milner's opinion of the reli- 
ef his Broth(>r, hjw thouf^ht proper to gioua character of that emin(>nt man. 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 17!>7. ^TAT. 47. 143 

his memory, be read with interest, as affording satisfactory 
evidence of a heart at peace with God. 

" I dare say, dear sir, you have no conception how decayed 
I am. I feel listless, hopeless, sluggish, no heart to stir about 
at all. Indeed, when I can really stir, which is but little, I am 
soon jaded; for the loaded vapours make it bad breathing, and 
that is a trouble by night and by day. If it please God that 
still any part of the igneus vigor should remain a little longer 
in me, let me beg you to pray to Him to quicken me and over- 
come my languor. He has dealt marvellously with me of late. 
I have had a wonderfully instructive dream about Hull. * * 
Let us trust, be patient, love our Saviour, and wait for his 
second coming. May I learn obedience by the things which I 
have suffered. My kind love to Mrs. Still., who, if I get a little 
recovery of strength, may seem shortly likely to see me. I 
beg your love; after the flesh it is sweet, but after the spirit it 
is sweeter still, and far better. 

" But r am knocked up with fatigue. 

" Yours alway, 
" To the Rev. J. StillingfleetJ' " Joseph Milxer. 

It is needless, and might, in this place, be deemed improper, 
to enter into any detail of the character and history of Joseph 
Milner. It may suffice to observe, in general, that he had 
effectually lived down the opposition which, during one part of 
his ministry at Hull, had raged against him. 

Those persons who are anxious to understand that great 
change in Mr. Milner's religious sentiments, that "revolution*" 
which, notwithstanding that his moral character had hitherto 
been " without spot," that he had been " regular, temperate, 
and decorous, in his external conduct, orthodox in his religion, 
and loyal in his political sentiments," was nevertheless so 
decisive and complete, that, "from about the year 1770? to the 
day of his death, he became, entirely and sensibly, a different 
man from what he had been before; and in public and in private. 

* See Life of the Rev. Joseph Milner. 

144 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797- .ETAT. 47. 

and in every part of his conduct, illustrated and confirmed, by 
his personal example, tlie precepts which he zealously incul- 
cated ;" such persons may find full information upon the 
important subject which occupies their attention, in The Lift 
of Joseph Milner, by his brother the Dean; a publication which, 
besides its rare excellence as a faithful and impartial memoir, 
and a monument of the most tender, and perhaps almost 
unexampled fraternal gratitude and aflection, exhibits, in the 
most perspicuous manner, those views of Christian truth which 
were equally and alike entertained by both these excellent 

Mr. Milner survived his election to the vicarage of Hull 
only a few weeks. He died November 15, 1797; and "if lives 
were to he measured l)y what men do, rather than by the suc- 
cession of fleeting inoments, liis life would l)e found sufficiently 

Several gentlemen, who had been pupils of the Rev. Joseph 
Milner, showed their love and reverence for their instructor by 
erecting a monument U) his memory, in the High Church at 

The following touching and elegant monumental inscription, 
afterwards discovered to be written by a '• clergyman of great 
erudition, zeal, and piety," the Rev. J. Michell, of King's 
College, Cand)ridge, who had not the least personal acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Milner, was received by Dr. M. soon after his 
j)ublication of his brotlier's life, and may be best inserted 
under this date. It was inclosed in an anonymous letter con- 
taining the following words: — 

"The writer of this inscription was warmed by the perusal 
of Dr. Milner's two jjerformances. The Life of the Reverend 
Joscpft, Milner, and the Preface to the second volume of the 
liislorij of the Church of Christ, and gave this utterance to his 

crr.vp. rx. a.d. 1707. .i-tat. 47. 145 



ANN. DOM. 1797. ^T. LIIII. 



146 CIIAP. IX. A.D. 1797. /ETAT. 47- 

It would be totally vain to attempt to convey an adequate 
idea of the effect produced upon Dr. Milner's exquisitely 
aifectionate heart, by the death of his brother. The mutual 
affection of these brothers, united as they were in the bonds of 
christian, as well as natural friendship, had been, throughout 
life, unusually tender ; and the termination, so far as regards 
this world, of such a companionship, could not but be exceed- 
ingly bitter. There is a sorrow which exhausts, or dissipates 
itself, in the display of sensibility; but the grief of Isaac 
Milner for the loss of his brother, was of a deeper and more 
permanent nature, and may be best expressed in his own simple 
words: " Perhaps no two brothers were evermore closely bound 
to each other. Isaac, in particular, remembers no earthly thing, 
without being able, in some way, to connect it tenderly with 
his brother Joseph. During all his life, he has constantly 
aimed at enjoying his company, as much as circumstances 
permitted. The dissolution of such a connexion could not 
take place without being severely felt by the survivor. No 
separation was ever more bitter or afflicting ; with a constitution 
long shattered by disease, he never expects to recover from 
that wound." Nor did he ever recover. " The world," as he 
frequently said, " never looked like itself," to him " again." 

His feelings upon the occasion of this domestic calamity 
will, however, still further appear, from some confidential letters 
referring to his brother's death, and to the composition of the 
memoir of him, so often cited in this work. 

On the very day of his brother's decease, Dr. Milner wrote 
to Mr. Wilberforce the following most affecting letter: — 

" Wednesday morning^ Hull. 

"On! my dearest friend, my beloved brother's last words, 
or nearly so, were, that * Jesus was now doubly, doubly precious 
to him.' 

" Christ called him to himself this morning about seven, 

"I keep to myself as much as possible, and pray — but, 
indeed, my dear friend, I fear this may be the last letter you 
will ever receive from me. 

" If the event, which, however, is not worse than the suspense, 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 1797. /ETAT. 4?. 147 

should prove too much for my weak frame, and already half- 
broken heart, rememl)er, there was a corner in that heart pre- 
served to the last for you and your half. Oh ! that I had followed 
his stei)s; or had now strength, as I have some heart, in the 
dregs of life to follow them, in warning a thoughtless world! 

" I wish tears would come ; I should be easier. 

" Farewell — I had almost forgotten the principal motive that 
made me struggle to write at this sad moment ; viz., that you 
may lose no time, if you think you can do anything, towards 
getting a godly vicar. It will be a sad thing if God should 
punish a careless town by taking away the gospel from its 
j^rincipal church. I would have exerted myself for Thomason, 
i)ut I can do little or nothing beyond what I have already 
done. If you saw me' — how thin, and weak, and shattered I 
am, you would feel for me. Yet — I have a good hope*. God 
does not forsake me. With love to B., 

"Yours, I. M." 

It is impossible to read this touching letter, without 
observing the solid evidence which it affords of that piety 
which was now become a leading characteristic of the writer"'s 
mind. From his youth he had regarded his brother with an 
intense affection ; yet at the sad moment when he communi- 
cates to his own dearest friend the death of this brother, the 
idea uppermost in his mind, is the procuring of " a godly vicar," 
for the bereaved town of Hull. 

On the 5th of December, 1797, Mr. Wilberforce, with 
reference to the death of Joseph Milner, thus wrote to Lord 
Muncaster: "Your sympathetic kindness had too well antici- 
pated Isaac Milner's feelings. He is the most affectionate of 
brothers, and the loss has been like tearing off a limb. I hope 
he will get over it, but it has shaken him sadly." 

Severe affliction has sometimes a tendency to diminish the 
sympathy of the sufferer with the joys or sorrows of others — to 
harden, rather than to soften the heart. No such effect, how- 
ever, was produced upon Dr. Milner. On the contrary, his 

* Thrice understrokcd iu the original manuscript. 

L 2 

148 CHAP. IX. A.l). 17!>S. ETAT. 4«. 

own deep distress seemed rather to add fervour to his naturally 
warm affections, and, in an especial manner, to dispose him 
either to " rejoice" or to " weep" with his friends. His letters, at 
this period, to Mr. Wilberforce, in whose domestic happiness 
he sincerely rejoiced, are full of such expressions as " God bless 
you — may God continue his favours — his uncommon favours — 
to you both." 

It is very generally known, that Dr. Milnerwas in the habit 
of using opium as a medicine. To the use and value of that 
medicine, in his case, those who knew him intimately can bear 
testimony. Upon this subject, some misapprehension has 
existed ; it may be sufficient to say, that by Dr. Milner this 
drug was never, at any period of his life, used otherwise than 
strictly as a medicine, and by the concurring advice of the first 
physicians of the day. How effectual it was in enabling him to 
dedicate to the noblest uses, what he truly called, the " shattered 
remains" of his health, is known only to the very few persons 
whose privilege it was to witness his daily habits, and to enjoy 
his domestic society. 

These observations have been suggested by the sight of a 
letter addressed, about this time, to Mr. Wilberforce, comprising 
some valuable remarks upon the proper use of the powerful 
medicine in question; and affording an additional proof of Dean 
Milner's ever ready sympathy with the afflictions of his friend, 
who was himself compelled to make use of opium. 

The following letter will, probably, be considered highly 
valuable, both as exhibiting the reality and depth of Dr. 
Milner's piety, together with his fervent and tender affection 
towards his departed brother, and as throwing light on some 
other matters which cannot be deemed uninteresting. 

^' To THE Rev. William Richardson*. 

" Cambridge, Queoi's College Lodge, 
"My dear Sir, February 3, 179S. 

" I cannot give any satisfactory reason for it, but so it is, I 
dread either to see, or t(j write to, any of my brother's dear and 

Tlic late Rev. William Richardson of York, one of the most intimate 
friends of Joseph Milner. 

CHAP. IX. A.l). 17ii8. .ETAT. 48. 149 

particular friends. Therefore I have written nothing to any of 
them, except where there was an al^solute necessity for so 
doing. While I remained at Hull, I dreaded the approach of 
good StiDingfleet; and at last, when I understood he was 
coming to see me, I summoned courage to tell him, by letter, 
that I could not venture to admit him — yet, he had written to 
me the most kind and affectionate letter that ever was penned. 

" I say again, I cannot explain the cause of the violent 
agitation which, I foresee, would take place, on an interview 
either with you or him ; but I feel, that it would be so, 
certainly: and I know not whether I should survive it. This 
apprehension is not fancy. 

"A sense of suffocation, which is truly most alarming, is, in 
my case, readily brought on by any violent affection of the 
spirits. You may well suppose that I have been on my guard, 
as well as I can — but this severe trial has been too much for 
me. ' Tot vulneribus jam pei'culsus, huic uni me imparem 
sensi et pene succubui.' Indeed it is of God's special mercy, 
that I am alive ! But, you will say, does not every man lose 
near friends and relations ? 

" Not many in such circumstances. He was the only near 
relation I had in the world ; and I was brought up with him 
from a child — I remember him as far back as I remember any- 
thing, and we went to school together, for many years. Still, I 
own, there are cases quite as afflictive as this; and probably 
several without the same mitigating considerations — mitigat- 
ing, do I call it ? to be able to say, ' I have no doubt, whatever, 
that he is in heaven!' This is, indeed, a glorious reflection, 
and it should heal my broken heart. It would, no doubt, if 
reason had much to do in such a matter ; but reason is pushed 
aside by affection, self-love, and unsubdued passions. 

"There is, however, in religion, a reality; I thank God, I 
can say so, on the best foundation ; viz., that in that way, and 
in no other, I experience some relief. I grasp, therefore, that 
help, as firmly as I can — but still, dear Sir, my heart is broken ! 
Don't tell me how much you have felt — I know, and am sure, 
you have. 

" My dear l)rothcr requests Mr. Stillingtleet and yourself to 

150 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1798. /ETAT. 48. 

take the trouble to consider what papers, if any, may be proper 
to be pubhshed, and mentions his agreement in sentiment with 
you two, as among his reasons for making this request. I am 
very sensible that publication will be a matter requiring much 
deliberation. The sermons I have sent you are not half of 
those which he has left. 

*' Doubtless his writings are not correct ; but I know not 
whether you may not agree with me in judgment, who am less 
surprised at finding many defects of that sort, than at finding 
them so correct as they are, when I consider his numerous 
avocations, the quantity that he wrote in a little time, and 
lastly, that he never cooied over again anything at all. I know 
several excellent scholars, who all think, that they never knew 
any one man, who was so uniformly master of his thoughts as 
to be at all times able to write so correctly as he did, with so 
much quickness. The fact is, his mind was always at work, in 
all possible situations, and overflowed with weighty matter. 
He was an original thinker ; and appears to me always to drive 
steadily at the point he had in view ; and he never took up his 
pen, without a distinct subject. Some, who were not fond of 
his sentiments, have represented his matter as frequently indi- 
gested; but, in proof, they can only produce faulty expressions; 
and these are no proof of indigested matter. His expressions 
were hasty, but his matter was deep and copious, and had cost 
him a world of thought ; he had considered it over and over 
again. In his compositions I have frequently noticed a consider- 
able obscurity merely from tlie want of some short explanatory 
sentences. When these were inserted in their proper places, 
at the beginning, or towards the end of a subject, or sometimes 
in the body of a composition, many pages would thus, at once, 
by such slight insertions, be made right, and become luminous, 
with very little trouble ; which pages, otherwise, appeared 
almost impenetrable. Such little short sentences as these which 
I allude to, lie often, when he was preaching, felt the want of, 
at the moment ; and he supplied them extempore, and so 
rendered his addresses perspicuous ; and, even, if he had 
omitted to insert them in the right place, he could still, after- 
ward.s, in s])caking, su])ply the defect, though not so neatly; 

CUAP. IX. A.D. 17!<0. .ETAT. 4H. 151 

but, in writing, his mind being ever intent upon the matter, he 
frequently forgot, that his audience had not digested, and made 
familiar to their understandings, his argumentations ; and so 
omitted to point out precisely what he was about ; when a very 
short sentence or two, sometimes in the way of hint, or general 
observation, sometimes in the way of premising, or summing 
up, would have enabled his hearers, or readers, to go easily and 
pleasantly along with him, when, otherwise, they had lost the 
whole clue. 

" All this has so much the appearance of apologizing for the 
defects of my dear brother, that, for fear of being thought very 
partial to him, I should certainly never have said what I have 
said so freely, but for two things that occurred to my mind : 
the first is, I know you loved him so well that, if you be not 
quite so partial to him as I am, still you will bear with me. 

" The second is a curious fact, and I will state it briefly. 

"To my knowledge, several persons of the first literary 
eminence in this country, and of very high rank in other 
respects, have expressed themselves in the strongest terms of 
approbation of him as a writer, and in particular of the second 
and third volumes of his Ecclesiastical History, — 'The matter 
well arranged, the sentiments bold and pertinent, the style 
nervous, glowing, and perspicuous.' At the same time they 
add, that the first volume is much inferior to the other two, 
and that the author had improved exceedingly as he went on. 
Now it is true, that I took a good deal of pains with the second 
and third volumes : the first volume I had never seen, but I 
have the copy of the second and third volumes by me to prove 
what I say, when I do assure you, that the corrections are 
slight, and consist chiefly of such little interpolations as I have 
been describing to you : they were necessary for elucidation, 
and yet are by no means numerous. Sometiaies a sentence is 
thrown out as superfluous ; very often a worse word is by me 
introduced instead of the better, merely to avoid a repetition of 
that word, — a fault of which he was often guilty; and, lastly, 
tlic latter part of a sentence is often put first, with no other 
alteration whatever, and is thus marked in the copy, 2 1, 

signifying that what stood first nmst be printed last. These 

152 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1798. .*:TAT. 48. 

alterations unquestionably make the book more pleasant to 
read, and improve the perspicuity; but as to any essential 
alteration in the style, or any merit on my part, except a little 
labour, no such things exist; nor did I perceive that he himself 
had particularly improved. His style had been formed long 
ago. You know how closely he wrote his copy; and I assure 
you, the original rough copy was the copy from which we 
printed. The effect which, as above explained, the insertion of a 
few very short sentences appears to have had upon the judgment 
of the public, has surprised me exceedingly. I could not have 
believed the effect to have been anything like so great, — but so 
it certainly is ; and this is my reason for explaining the matter 
so fully to you now, though perhaps you yourself may have 
observed it. 

" Here I cannot but lament, that in publishing any of his 
papers we have irrecoverably lost the assistance of the author. 
I read the manuscript at first along with him; and when I 
noticed any obscurity, he could instantly explain what he had 
intended, and what was the scope of many pages to come ; we 
immediately inserted a line or two, and thus much time was 
saved. Now, I fear, whether it be in sermons or essays, there 
may be several blanks of that sort, which it will be very difficult 
to fill up. 

" I beg pardon, dear Sir, for giving you such a deal of 
trouble. I am sadly fatigued with writing so much ; my head 
aches grievously, and I iiardly know what I have written ; the 
whole, however, is directly from the heart, and is accompanied 
with great agitation and many tears. 

" Remember me at the throne of grace, and 

" Believe me to be yours most affectionately, 

" Isaac Milneb." 

Tlic manuscript copy of this letter is blotted with tears. 

Witli regard to the improvement in his brother's style, 
effected by Dr. Milner, liis own account is such as might be 
expected from a tenderly attached and partial relative. It is 
probal)le, however, that few persons will participate in the 
surprise which lie expresses at tlic effect produced by his own 

CHAP. IX. A.T). lyjii. yETAT. 4;!. 


alterations of his brother's manuscripts ; since those alteratipns 
are exactly such as are required to transform a forcible, but 
inaccurate and inelegant style, into one remarkable for precision 
and correctness. 

The foregoing letter will leave upon the minds of all who 
read it, a full conviction of the exquisite sensibility with which 
Dr. Milner felt the loss of his brother. Such, however, was the 
elasticity of his mind, that in other letters, written about the 
same period, his style is cheerful and even sportive. 

The following extract is taken from a letter to Mr. Wilber- 
force, to whom, a few days before, he had addressed a remon- 
strance on his taking " too little interest in public business, and 
speaking too little on great questions." It is dated *' March 9, 

" I am sorry you have been but indifferent ; I can sigh with 
you. I don't mean always to excuse your writing; but I really 
can excuse you now and then, if B. will condescend to send 
me such letters as I received yesterday. Famous verses ! 
spirits light; and very cheerful. Yet, God bless her! I see 
through all much seriousness. ' We are odd mixtures, Mr. 
Dean,^ she'll say. 

" I have just discovered, that my assessed taxes will 
amount to above 200/. I'll change sides directly, and cry * No 

" The numerous windows in these rambling old buildings 

are the cause. 

« Yours, I. M." 

The following letter, addressed to the aged mother of his 
friend Mr. Carlyle*, on the occasion of the premature death of 
her grandson -f-, and written while the wound which his own 
heart had received was still fresh, will afford another and a 
strong evidence of that sensibility to the sorrows of others. 

* Chancellor of the diocese of Cai'- 
lisle, and Professor of Arabic in the 
Univei'sity of Cambridge. 

t George Ciulyle, a boy reiuaikable 

for his piety as well as for his extraor- 
dinary talents, lie died March lOtli, 
1798, at the age of ten years. 

154 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1798. .ETAT. 4«. 

which has already been mentioned as a distinguishing trait in 
the character of Dean Mihier. 

" To Mrs. Carlyle. 
" Dear Mrs. Carlyle, 

" The author of that sweet little tract which I sent to the 
Chancellor the other day took occasion, not a very long while 
ago, on the meeting and conversation of a few friends, who had 
not seen one another for some time, to make this observation : 
^ I always notice,' said he, ' that when friends meet together 
after any considerable absence, and begin to compare notes, 
there constantly appears to have been one or more of their 
common acquaintance that have died during the interval/ I 
replied, ^It is very true, and the repetition of such aw^ul 
admonitions, respecting the uncertainty of human life, ought to 
have a great deal more effect on our minds than it usually has ; 
we ought to take warning, and be prepared for that great 
change, which may happen very soon, and certainly will not 
delay long. But, alas ! how transitory are our feelings on the 
sight of a funeral, or on the news of the departure of our 
ordinary friends and acquaintance! Some surprise may be 
expressed, and perhaps a few pathetic exclamations may break 
forth; but all this is short and fleeting; neither conversation 
nor business is interrupted, and we sleep quite as well at night. 
Not so, however,' continued I, ' when the deceased friend or 
relative was very near our heart ; our pangs are then genuine ; 
we think it almost a crime to take pleasure in anything ; the 
world does not look like itself; and if our hearts do not abso- 
lutely break, they are yet never as they were before.' 

" While I was making this answer to Mr. N. my heart was 
exceedingly full, and I could hardly proceed ; but as some 
persons were present before whom it would have been less 
proper to have opened my mind, the conversation became 
general, and very useful, on Christian resignation. 

" You need not be alarmed ; I have not taken up my pen to 
write you a sermon, or even a long essay, l>ut rather to assure 
you, that not a single day has passed, for some weeks, in which 
your mournful situation has jiut, many times in that day, l>een 

;CIIAP. IX. A.D. 179«. yETAT. 4«. 155 

present to my afflicted imagination. I know well what you 
must have felt, and wliat you must continue to feel. I have 
often thought it my duty to write to you, and as often have 
wanted courage and nerves, or have been deterred by the idea 
of doing no good. 

" If I have ventured at last to trouble you with a few of my 
thoughts, you will, I hope, not think me imjDertinent, but 
will excuse me, if on no other ground, at least on the ground 
that by thus writing, I relieve, in some measure, my own 
poor heart. 

'•' The observations which make the first page of this letter, 
recurred to my mind the instant I took up my pen j and I put 
them down, because I felt assured that you were in a condition 
to understand their meaning and to feel their full force. 

" I shall make no attempts to mitigate your sorrows, by 
putting you in mind how many comforts still remain to you, or by 
comparing your situation with my own. 1 have lost the only near 
relation I had in the world ; one who has often proved himself 
a sincere friend and a faithful adviser, during an illness of many 
years' standing. ^ What relief,' you will say, ' can I derive from 
such considerations? Have not I lost a dear lad whose fellow 
was not to be found? a dear lad who was, perhaps, nearer my 
heart than any one of my own children? He was the cordial of 
my old age. It is true I possess many valuable lilessings — but 
he is gone, and with his departure all else has lost its relish.' 
Oh! Mrs. Carlyle! I understand all this but too well; my own 
heart bleeds while I refresh and increase your sorrows, and my 
eyes will soon be swollen if I permit myself to go on in this 
strain. Ol) ! what pleasing prospects had I drawn to my imagi- 
nation, from the future company and connexion I should have 
with that extraordinary boy!" * * * "My poor brother 
spoke of him from the first week that he knew him, as I never 
heard him s])eak of any other child. My brother hated the 
refined nmmmery of modern ceremony, and he loved George 
for liis natural simplicity and love of truth. Then he (George,) 
was an invalid, and passionately fond of history ; so had my 
brother been all his life. 

" But no more of this : whv do I feed this consuming 

156 CHAT. IX. A.l). 17'J«. yETAT. 48. 

Avorm ? Beyond dispute, the loss is great, and not to be calcu- 
lated. Yet there is a way of repairing it. 1 say there is a way, 
and but one, of relieving these melancholy and bitter reflections. 
I bless God that there is such a Avay — no man on earth stands 
more in need of it than I. Naturally soft and affectionate, I am, 
by long continued indisposition, grown so exceedingly irritable, 
that any great affliction would absolutely overwhelm me, if 
Almighty God did not enable me to lay hold of, and grasp hard, 
those divine supports which religion furnishes. But let me come 
to the point. I ask you, is it not a most reasonable, and at the 
same time, a most unspeakable comfort, to be able to say with 
certainty, that our friends at this moment are actually in 
heaven, enjoying, and there to enjoy for evermore, the company 
of God and his Christ, and of angels and good men? And 
yet, in the two recent instances to which I refer, I find every 
word that implies less than certainty to be imj^roper; and I 
speak here with the same positiveness that I do of the truth 
of religion itself. In regard to one of the cases, I forbear, 
at present, to enumerate reasons ; and of the other, I need 
only just observe, that though doubtless a partaker of the 
corruption of human nature common to all, and indebted to 
Christ's atoning blood for salvation, yet when I put together 
these things, viz., the ingenuousness of his temper, his very few 
actual sins, comparatively speaking, and the remarkable good- 
will and affection manifested to young children by Jesus Christ 
when on earth, I find it impossible to entertain the least 
doubt on this head. This, then, I say, is a source of true 
comfort, and moreover, a source that will never be exhausted. 
I have very often reflected, with some degree of wonder, why 
people are, in general, so very backward to talk, or even to 
think, about the situation of their friends in another world ; 
certainly the fact is so, — very little is said about them in that 
respect. How is this silence to be accounted for ? On farther 
notice and reflection, I am convinced that the silence arises, in 
most cases, from want of satisfactory evidence of their state. 
Perhaps wc have not much fear — l)ut then have we any well- 
grounded hope ? The question is troublesome — the hope is 
often not very vivid, and is sujiporlcd with difficulty; and 

CHAP. IX. A.iJ. 1708. ;etat. 48. 157 

therefore we don't like to tliiiik about it. We content our- 
selves witli saying, 'Who can be sure in such matters?' 
when, in reality, there is a sad want of good evidence. And 
thus are we apt to stifle all reflection concerning which side of 
the gulf our friends are placed on; and this, under a pretence, 
that our forming any judgment implies presumption. I repeat 
it, the true account of all this is, that we too often feel that our 
judgment must be unfavourable, and so we put away the 
irksome thought. Otherwise, what a glorious and blessed 
reflection to be able to say, on solid grounds, ' He is in 
heaven !' There can be no comfort like this — it is an answer 
to all our complaints, a balsam for all our wounds. 

" Indulge this thought as much as you please, and try its 
excellence and its power to calm a throbbing heart. I put in 
my claim for some love of this dear departed boy, and yet I 
find it impossible to invent the least good reason for wishing 
him here again ; neither his body nor his mind was formed for 
this rough world. Why should you wish him every year to be 
again afflicted with colds, with rheumatism, and otlier infirmi- 
ties ? He is now safe, and in full and perfect enjoyment ; still 
human nature pleads very strongly for a little respite. How 
delightful it would have been to have seen his sweet mind daily 
unfold, improve, and fill with useful knowledge. So (I confess,) 
say I, with a deep sigh ; and I add, how grateful an employment 
to have contributed a little to that purpose ! But I am power- 
fully checked by the consideration that he has already learnt 
more since he left us — much more, than he could have scraped 
up in years of drudgery in our way of learning here. You will 
find him greatly beyond us when it shall please God that we join 
him again. His faculties are already much extended, and will 
go on extending to eternity ; and he is in a climate where every 
thing thrives that is good. But he would have been a comfort 
to all about him, and a useful man in the world. I believe he 
would. Nevertheless, my dear friend, let us not deceive our- 
selves by any argument of tliis kind ; there is, at bottom, more 
of selfishness in it than we are apt to be aware of. Will not 
God always know how to take care of his own world, by 
furnishing people to do good in it ? Or does it look like true 

158 CHAP. IX. A.l). 1798. yETAT. 48. 

love to our friends to desire to draw them here again from a 
state of perfect happiness, merely for the sake of some little 
satisfaction which they might afford to us? In this sort of 
reasoning tliere is no delusion whatever ; it is founded in good 
sense, and (I speak from experience) it will often calm the 
tumults, and repress, in an instant, the murmurs of grief. For 
example : — why should I complain that my dear brother did 
not pant with the asthma here for several years longer, and at 
last die by hair's breadths, after much painful lingering ? He 
would have been of some use, I know, in the world, but God 
can, at will, furnish plenty of labourers for his vineyard. 
Therefore, I fear I may make a pretence only of the considera- 
tion of usefulness, when, in reality, I wish to gratify my own 
selfish feelings, and do not cordially submit to the dispensations 
of Providence. Excuse me, if I here add a single word on a 
subject closely connected with the above-mentioned considera- 

"We ought not to content ourselves with merely and simply 
soothing the mind by taking a pleasurable view of the state of 
enjoyment of our friends or near relatives, in another world. 
If we stop here we shall be sadly deficient. We should aim at 
making our own calling and election sure, in order that we may 
join them with joy, and not be wofully separated from them at 
last; separated, not for a few months or years, but for a 
dreadful eternity. 

" And this consideration suggests activity of mind and 
employment, and that, too, of the most rational kind. For in 
this way we shall be best enabled most etFectually to comljat 
any discontented risings of the mind, or melancholic propen- 
sities. It is in vain to argue against violent affections. 

" Contrive to put something else in their room, that shall fill 
the mind, and you will succeed much better. The world says, 
' Divert the attention,' so say I — l)ut not by vain and empty 
company, nor by dissipation. I say, ' Divert the attention,' 
assuage your grief by such daily meditations and exercises, as 
will promote our immortal interests, and teach us to set a value 
on every object, according to its intrinsic worth. So then, 
whiK^ the world rcconinuMuls, as llic cure of sorrow, a change 

CHAP. IX. A.D. 179». /ETAT. 48, 159 

of place and scene, variety of company, and public meetings 
for entertainment or diversion, you and I, my dear Mrs. 
Carlyle, will secretly rejoice, with joy unspeakable, in calmly 
meditating upon the complete happiness of our departed friends; 
and we will make it the steady and constant business of our 
lives to secure to ourselves admittance into the same mansions 
of bliss and glory. We may possibly be called gloomy enthu- 
siasts, and be described as unfit for the affairs of this world ; 
but I know who will be found possessed of true wisdom at 
last; and also, who will be found to have used this world, and 
not abused it. Indeed, there is hardly any use of this world, 
worth mentioning, except in the preparation for another. 

" After all that I have said, or can say, still, still, we have 
lost our very dear friends, and as I said above, the world will 
never look like itself again; and tears must flow. To this I 
answer, I never wish the world to look again as it once used 
to look to me ; nor have I any objection to drop a tear 
repeatedly, as long as I liv^e, to the memory of any one whom 
I dearly loved ; nor have I said anything in the least incon- 
sistent with so doing — religion does not forbid the" tear to flow. 
Jesus had a compassionate heart ; * Jesus wept.' Want of 
moderation — sorrowing as without hope — is the thing which I 

"The reflections contained in this letter have, by the 
blessing of God, been extremely useful in moderating the 
bitter anguish of my afiiicted mind, and in supporting a lively 
hope; and it is my earnest and sincere prayer, that they 
may have some little healing influence upon your distressed 

" I need nobody to describe to me, how very much several 
of dear George's relations and friends are oppressed with grief, 
and more particularly, his aged and affectionate grandmother. 
" I am, dear Mrs. Carlyle, 

" Your very faithful and affectionate friend, 

"Isaac Milner." 

It is not, however, only in the tenderness and affection of 
his communications by letter, that we discover proofs of Dr. 

1^0 CHAP. IX. .\.D. 179«. .^.TAT. 48. 

Miliicr's sympathy with the feelings or the sorrows of others^ 
Several letters written al)out this time, liear witness to his 
active exertions in favour, not only of his own poor relations 
at Hull, who, by the death of his brother Joseph, had been 
bereaved of their best friend and protector; but also in favour 
of other persons, of humble station, who, during his life, had 
shown kindness to that departed brother. 

Such letters are, of course, for the most part, unfit for 
publication ; yet passages of an interesting nature may be 
gleaned from them. 

In a letter of a perfectly private nature, dated xVpril, 179^? 
Dr. Milner thus writes: — 

" I knew you would like to see T. Thompson's letter. 1 
have read it twice this morning, with great pleasure. I cer- 
tainly never saw anything he wrote that pleased me so well; 
for besides the allusion to my dear brother, which could not 
fail to move me, he discovers a strong sense of the importance 
of spiritual things. I trust he is right; though thriving is 
always a trial." 

Again, in a letter written during the same month, he thus 
answers some inquiries concerning the character of a cler- 
gyman : — 

" I will be perfectly explicit with you, to the best of my 
judgment. His principles I believe to be, on the whole, tole- 
rably orthodox; and he is, in many respects, more serious than 
our ordinary parsons. But still, I fear there is little self- 
knowledge — little, or no humility — and, of course, I fear he is 
not well qualified to teach. I never heard of his preaching 
well. He is apt to be contentious, metaphysical, snarling, 
conceited. His mind is abundantly furnished, and abundantly 
confused with a deal of I'eading of a controversial nature ; yet 
I never heard of anything immoral about him, and I verily 
believe the best situation for him might be in some country 
])lacc, where he had poor people to instruct, and was quite at 
the head of them. He would, I think, take pains and l)e 
useful. I should be sorry if there were near him any country 
squires or priggish jiarsons, who, by their acquaintance, might 
draw forth tlie worst parts of his character.'' 

CHAP. IX. A. D. 1798. .«TAT. 48. Kil 

The following letter will be read, by many persons, m ith mucli 
interest; and, after the lapse of nearly fifty years, no a])olugy 
can be required for its publication. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

"My dear Sir, " Queen's College, May 13, 1/98. 

" My idea of Trinity College is this. The management of 
it is of great academical, and even national importance. The 
foundation and the prospects are so splendid, that it invites 
and brings students, in spite of the conviction of danger of 
corrupt principles. The college fills; they have great choice 
for their fellows; and, in general, they choose the most able. 
Hence it is, that they either do now, or soon will consist of 
men of talents with very few exceptions ; and if they get 
corrupted in their principles during the first years of their 
education in this place, and further, if a regard to heterodox 
and Jacobinical principles be also had, in the election of fellows, 
I leave you to judge what sort of a society they must become. 
The time when the late master* was appointed, was the critical 
moment, as it appears to me. Jones, the principal tutor, was 
then less a decided character, and Lambert had no influence. 
The late master made Lambert bursar immediately, supported 
him, and took no care to give a right direction to Jones. Under 
those circumstances, you remember, I should not have been 
sorry to have been their master. I was ratlier intimate with 
Jones, and knew all the other tutors and assistant tutors. 
Some of them respected me on the score of mathematical and 
philosophical knowledge, and particularly Jones; and I was so 
much senior to tliem all, that I examined most, if not all of 
them for their degrees; and this increased their respect and 
veneration. I have no manner of doubt, humanly speaking, 
but then I could easily have influenced Jones, and probably so 
much as to have given him quite a diff"erent turn. I do not 
say that I could do so now, — for though there has never been 
the least quarrel, or bickering between us, yet a sort of distance, 
or shyness, took place long ago, on political grounds ; and 

* Dr. Postlethwaite, appointed in 1789. 


162 CHAP. IX. A.U. 1798. yETAT. 48. 

Trend's business increased that distance, and, at the same time, 
fixed Jones' character. 

" I don't believe Pitt was ever aware of how much conse- 
quence the expulsion of Frend was. It was the ruin of the 
Jacobinical party as a University thing, so that that party is 
almost entirely confined to Trinity College. Government 
thought nothing would please them but a man of their own 
College ; and it is true, they (the College) were satisfied with 
the appointment. But, by that step, the die was cast; and I am 
not sure that the case is not now irretrievable. I sincerely 
wish, that Mr. Pitt would not think it necessary to adhere to 
the system of putting in a man of Trinity, unless he can find a 
man absolutely suitable ; for if the state of the College is to be 
retrieved at all, it must be by eminence, and energy, and dis- 
cretion in the master, and by long-continued exertion. * * 
will never do. I told the Bishop of Lincoln so, long ago, in 
the most explicit terms : his moral character was exceedingly 
bad ; externally it may be mended, but he is still a loose hand : 
besides, buffoonery, and indiscretion, and heat, are parts of his 
character. The best thing you can say of him is, that he is 
what he is called, a tolerably good classic, and has a strong 
voice. Whoever heard his Fast sermon, is in a condition to 
judge of his talents and discretion. I pledge my whole credit 
for foresight, if the appointment of him be not erroneous and 
fallacious in the event. Besides, I am certain, he would not 
be liked by the College at all, and that many aliens would be 
more agreeable to them. 

" Of Zouch I know nothing, except it be the Zouch who 
was tutor of tlie college before Postlethwaite, and lived near 
Wakefield. He was a respectable man as a tutor ; but I think 
I have heard from William Hey tbat he proved an enemy to 
real religion. However, if it be the Zouch I mean, I am 
disposed to believe, though I know nothing of him but by 
report, that he is better than any other that has been men- 
tioned. If any good is to be done in a case almost desperate, 
this is the way; the new master should go to Jones and 
communicate freely with him, and propose mutual support and 
friendship, — ^tlie good of the College to be the common object. 

CHAP. IX. A.l). 1798. >*:'rAT. 48. 163 

Learning and ability should be the common tie, to keep these 
two together. Jones is not ill-natured, and lie respects talents 
and knowledge, and he is easily overawed where he knows there 
is weight. 

" The points of difference should be kept out of view, both 
as to politics and religion ; and here the new master should 
have deep and steady designs. In time he might prevail. If I 
am asked my opinion about anybody, I can keep a secret, and 
I shall speak out, and without the least reserve. 

" When I say, that in all I have said, I have, on this occa- 
sion, whatever I might have had formerly, no respect to myself, 
I am sure you will believe me. 

" I have neither health nor spirits for such a conflict. The 
success is doubtful, and reproach, chagrin, and uneasiness, 
might be the consequence. I think, however, that I see how 
the battle ought to be conducted ; neither has the income any 
charms for me. My mind is much, if not entirely chastised in 
regard to all such matters. 

" I pray God to love and bless you both. I thanl^ B 

very kindly for her verses, which have pleased me greatly. 
You cannot tliink how ])leased I was on reading the lines this 

"Yours ever, I. M." 

The disturbed state of Ireland at this period, occasioned 
much alarm in the minds of all true lovers of their country. 
Much correspondence upon this topic passed between Mr. 
Wilberforce and Dean Milner. To the mind of Mr. Wilber- 
force the danger, exaggerated perhaps by filial and fraternal 
aftection, appeared so imminent, as to induce him to desire the 
removal of his mother and sister from Hull, — a place exposed, 
as it was thought, to peculiar peril. 

Late in the month of May, \7^^, Dr- Milner thus wrote to 
liini from Carlisle: — 

" Really I don't see the danger at Hull in the same light. 
There is now such a force there, and in the neighbourhood, 
that no roi'j) dc main is to be expected, unless indeed the 
troops should lie hastily drawn away to other quarters. 

M 2 

164 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1798. iETAT. 48. 

"We get Irisli news here sooner than you do, viz., often 
from Port- Patrick ; and I am sorry to say, that on the way- 
bill the postmaster had just time to write, ' The rebelUon in 
the North has unexpectedly broken out to an alarming degree/ 

" This news came here to-day, and makes us all low ; and 
not the less so, because there is a great obscurity in the account. 

" I had last night a very severe head-ache. I took some 
violent measures, — laid down, — and in two hours all was right. 
I got up at eleven at night, — took my milk, — sat up till one ; 
I had to preach to-day, and wished not to disappoint: I 
preached last Sunday also, I am very poorly and languid 
to-day ; however I have got through pretty well on, ' Fear Him 
who can kill both body and soul in hell.' 

*' Remember me to your dear B , and always know that 

you are out of my thoughts never for a long time together. 

" Yours, 
" To William Wilherforce, Esq." " I. M. 

A duel had, at this time, recently taken place between 
Mr. Pitt and Mr. Tierney. Dr. Milner's abhorrence of the prac- 
tice of duelling was uncompromising. The popular argument.s 
in its defence, or in mitigation of its guilt, he held to be falla- 
cious. " Murder," he would say, when conversing upon this 
subject, " is not the less murder, because the murderer, in the 
commission of his crime, necessarily exposes his own life." 
Mr. Pitt's duel is alluded to in a long letter, dated, " Carlisle, 
June 6," written in answer to certain questions of a chymical 
nature, propounded by Mr. Wilbcrforce, at the desire of some 
of his constituents, concerning the common practice of using 
salt in the hardening of files, and some other instruments made 
of steel. The letter exhibits an accurate acquaintance not only 
with the subject immediately in question, but also with the 
devices sometimes employed by fraudulent manufacturers, in 
order to evade the duties to which they were legally subject, — 
devices of which the Dean writes, that he had obtained his 
knowledge "when a lad." With reference to the duel and 
other matters, he says : — 

CJIAl'. JX. A.]). 1798. AiTAT. 48. 165 

" 1 liope you will do something effectual against duelling. 
You will never have another so fine an opportunity. It has 
hurt Pitt's character more than anything he ever did. Perhaps 
not so in London. 

" I don't know a single person who does not reprobate the 
appointment at College. What sad work ! 

" Surely the Irish affairs go on well on the whole. It 
cannot be but that Government will now see the extent of the 
mischief, and that is a great thing. Fellows w'ill tell of one 

" I feel thankful that you both continue so very well. I 
can say but little for myself. I am sadly afflicted in the head, 
and spend many hours uselessly — lying down. I endeavour, 
however, to make a few sermons, and to think of my ways a 
good deal, during the retirement thus afforded me. 

" In thought, I assure you both, that I am hardly to be 
said to have left your house since the last time I was with you. 

" I want much to hear what you intend about this duelling. 

" Remember jne affectionately to B. 

" Ever yours, I. M." 

The letter from which the foregoing extracts are taken 
naturally suggests a reflection upon the vast variety of Dr. 
Milner's knowledge. All who knew him will agree in the truth 
of the observation, that whatever might be the subject on 
Avhich he happened to write', or to converse, or whatever the 
point which he had occasion to explain, or to illustrate, that 
subject, or that point, seemed to the reader, or the auditor, to 
be the one particular topic towards which he had bent the 
main force of his mind. In fact his knowledge was so accurate, 
his mode of explaining w'as so perspicuous, and his illustrations 
were so apposite, that the reflection which immediately pre- 
sented itself to the mind of a person applying to him for infor- 
mation was, "Surely he knows this, better than he knows 
anything else — surely this is the subject upon which he has 
spent his strength;" and nothing but long experience sufliced 
to bring the conviction, that his knowledge was, in truth, almost 

166 CHAP. IX. A.D. 17yK. .*;TAT. 4«. 

No man, certainly, ever acted more constantly in the spirit 
of Dr. Johnson's observation, " If I am in company with a 
shoe-maker, I talk to him about the making of shoes." And 
this he did whether he desired to learn or to teach. Some 
slight anecdotes lately communicated to me in a private letter, 
by one of his much esteemed friends, still living, cannot, 
perhaps, be better introduced than in tliis place. 

" I once travelled with your uncle," writes the Rev. Thomas 
Dikes, of Hull, "from Carlisle to Leeds. We spent a few 
hours at Ripon, and walked out among the people on the 
market day. He accosted a razor-grinder employed in his work ; 
and gave him to understand that he had not properly learned 
his trade, and surprised the man by the knowledge which he 
showed on the subject. We then went into a carpenter's shop, 
where a well-looking youth was diligently employed ; the Dean, 
for some time, looked attentively on ; and then earnestly said 
to him, ' What a shameful thing it is, that a young man like 
you, should use such antiquated tools ; you can never turn any 
good work out of your hands till you furnish yourself with 
better implements.' 

" The Dean understood the shoeing of a horse, and could tell 
the blacksmith how it was, that the horse's foot was so often 
injured. The Dean's comprehensive mind could grasp every 
sul)ject, from the highest to the lowest. I have often seen 
him shake hands with some of his old companions in trade. 
He was never ashamed of his former condition." 

Occasionally Dr. Milner carried the practice intimated in 
the above anecdotes, to what some of his friends might, perhaps, 
consider an extravagant length ; and it sometimes gave rise to 
amusing incidents. For instance, he was once crossing over 
from Hull to Barton, in the passage-boat which at that time 
sailed, and, probably, still sails, at a certain hour each day, 
according to the state of the tide. It so chanced that Mendoza, 
the bo.\er, had been giving lessons at Hull, and was crossing 
over at the same time. The Dean was observed to make his 
way towards Mendoza, and to enter, with him, into a conversa- 
tion which htstcd during a great part of the passage. There 
Mere persons present who saw the circumstance, and who 

CHAP. rx. A.D. 17»». ^TAT. 48. 167 

hinted to the Dean afterwards, that they felt rather surprised at 
what he had done ; to their observations Dr. Milner replied, 
"Oh,— Mendoza, — I thought he was at the top of his pro- 
fession, and I wanted to get something out of him." 

The following extracts from a letter to WiUiam Wilber- 
force, Esq., w-ill be read with much interest. 

^" My dear Friend, " Carlisle, 20th June, 1798. 

"The Irish affairs look but comical, notwithstanding all 
these victories. Many Irish men and women have come here 
in great fright, from Port Patrick, and they give a sad account 
of the state of the country. I cannot but think, that the French, 
with all their alertness, have been sadly deficient in not risking 
more than they appear to have done, by way of assisting their 
fraternity in Ireland. I suppose, that if they could but have 
got over a few thousand of men, with officers, arms, and 
artillery, the consequences might have been dreadful. 

" The Bishop of D is here, with his wife and family. 

A bad character, I fear ; and certainly a violent oppositionist. 

" He was at the Cathedral last Sunday, and if he be there 
again next Sunday, and God grant me tolerable health, he will 
hear such a discourse as, probably, he never heard in his life. 

Dr. preached last Sunday, a sermon which I thought 

sadly deficient. 

" It was judged right to pay this bishop some civilities ; 
and therefore I called on him, and asked him to a Chapter 
dinner. \Mien he returned the compliment, we had a very 
animated conversation. He expressed himself so strongly on 
the side of opposition, and so much against the Irish govern- 
ment, that I thought it necessary to speak very plainly j telling 
him that if he held such language in Ireland, it could not fail to 
have the effect of blowing up more rebellion, and of supporting 
what there was already. He endeavoured to ride off as well as 
he could ; but made bad work of it, and seemed in extreme 

Dean Milner's health was, at this time, much disordered. 
A letter written from Carlisle, on the 4th of July, to Mr. 
Wilberforce, and by him docketed " most affectionate," gives a 

168 CHAP. IX. A.D. 1798. .tlTAT. 48. 

melancholy detail of his bodily sufferings ; but, at the same time 
proves his mind to have been filled with calm and pious resig- 
nation to the Divine will. 

" You will be sorry," he writes, " to hear this account of 
me, I know." * * * « May God prepare me for whatever 
may be the event ! 

" I wish indeed I could be with you, when I know you will 
M-ish for my company ; but I am sure you will see, how pecu- 
liarly unbecoming it would be in me, to be deficient in tender- 
ness and attention to my only house of relations. I call my 
niece and her husband, and their mother, my house of relations, 
because they are now the nearest relations I have on earth. 
Your dear B. wrote me a kind letter the other day — you must 
thank her. But really I know not whether you are to show 
her all this letter or not ; for I am sure her tender heart may 
feel a good deal too much. • 

" Farewell, my dear friend, for the present. I have, at 
different times, written very melancholy letters to you — you 
must expect no other. My heart has been broken, or nearly 
so, for a good while. Yet, blessed be God, I do not sorrow 
without hope. 

" Your's and B.'s most aflectionately, I. M." 

A letter written by Dean Milner early in this month of 
July, contains the following expression of his affectionate con- 
dolence with Mr. Wilberforce, on the occasion of the death of 
that gentleman's mother. 

"Mv DEAR Friend, 

" I wrote the sheet that comes along with this, this morning, 
and was bathed in tears most of the time I wrote it. I fastened 
my door, and indulged my grief. 

" I confess the change was unexpected, and I am a good 
deal surprised. I wish I were by your side, though I did 
nothing but weep." 

Dean Milner concludes this affectionate letter by recalling to 
the mind of his friend the " solid ground of Christian consola- 
tion," which remained to him under tliis dispensation of Pro- 



Dr. Mibier is elected Professor of Mathematics. — Opposition of Mr. Frend. — 
Opinion of Counsel. — Correspondence. — Domestic Affliction. — "Rational" 
way of Preaching. — Luther's Letter to Caspar Aquila. — Publication of a 
Second Edition of the first volume of the Church History. — Correspond- 
ence. — Letter to Rev. Wm. Richardson. — Dr. Miluer's Religious Expe- 
rience. — Jonathan Edwards. 

A.D. 1798. yETAT. 48. 

In the month of September, 1798, Dr. Milner was elected 
to the mathematical chair at Cambridge once filled by Isaac 
Newton. This professorship had been resigned, by that 
greatest of philosophers, in the year 1669; and from the time 
of that resignation till the election of Dr. Milner, four pro- 
fessors only, W. Whiston, N. Saunderson, John Colson, and 
Edward Waring, had intervened. 

This professorship, called the Lucasian Professorship of 
Mathematics because founded and endowed by Henry Lucas, 
Esq. M.P. for the University of Cambridge in 1663, Dr. Milner 
held till his death. 

The opposition to Dr. Milner's election made by Mr. 
Frend, on the ground that his Mastership of Queen's College 
disqualified him from holding the office, and the steps taken 
by Dr. Milner to settle the question of his eligibility, are 
sufficiently indicated in the following letter, which also dis- 
plays, in a strong light, the tenderness of heart which distin- 
guished the writer. 

The case drawn up for the consideration of one of the 
eminent lawyers mentioned in this letter*, with his very 
decided opinion, that Dr. Milner was neither directly nor 
indirectly disqualified from holding the Lucasian Professorship, 
is still in existence, as is also the following declaration of Dr. 
Milner himself: — "• During my being a candidate for the Luca- 

Sir William Scott. 

170 CllAr. X. A.D. 1798. ^TAT. 48. 

siaii Professorship, I considered the duties of the situation 
very particularly; and moreover, I obtained the very decided 
opinion of Sir William Scott on certain points, and this for the 
greater satisfaction both of the electors and myself. 

" Dr. Waring professed himself always ready to lecture, or 
to give advice to any mathematical students who should apply 
to him; and with respect to the written lectures which the pro- 
fessor is to deposit among the university archives, he conceived 
that he should l)est discharge that duty by printing his lucubra- 

" I have the very same intention." 

This declaration is in entire accordance with the sentiments 
exjiressed in the following letter: — 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 
" My dearest Friend, "Hull, September 27, 1798. 

" Our last letters must have crossed. 

" I told you I was elected unanimously, at last, and without 
a competitor, unless you would call Frend a competitor, who 
wrote an indecorous letter, and printed it, and sent it to each 
Head, proposing himself a candidate and positively affirming 
that I was disqualified, and this without arguing the point at all. 

" The first request I made to Sir William Scott, and Sir 
AVilliam Wynne also, was, that they would seriously and con- 
scientiously tell me, not merely as lawyers, but as friends, 
whether they thought there was the least disqualifying circum- 
stance in the case. Sir William, after considering all the 
documents, declared positively on my side, and also gave me a 
written opinion to the same effect. Had it been otherwise, I 
told tlieni Ijotli that 1 should instantly have declined. 

"Tliis new office, as to study for further attainments in 
mathematics, will give no trou])le at all, but I mean to be 
efficient, as efficient as possible, in discharging the duties of it. 

"This is a severe year upon mc! Poor Mrs. C * is 

.'ij)parcntly upon her death-bed. Let me have a line without 
fail. " Yours alway.s, I. M." 

* 'J'hc mother-in-law of liis niece. 

CHAP. X. A.D. 17li«. .liTAT. 4!i. 171 

Tlie next letter gives an account of the happy death of the 
excellent lady whose illness is above alluded to. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" York, Tuesday, 12 o'clock at noon. 
" Mv DEAR Friend, " October, 1798. 

" Harder work I never experienced than for the last three 
weeks, because I have been on the spot an immediate eye- 
witness to pain and affliction of the severest sort. Mrs. C 

the elder, died this morning at 6 o'clock. I set off" for York, 
and am now going to bed (12 o'clock at noon), having been up 
the whole of the last ten nights watching the poor sufferer 
during the progress of this painful and mysterious disorder. 

" A greater example of true faith and resignation I never saw 
than in this old lady. Her comforts were not very high, but 
they were uniform and steady ; and as they depended not at all 
on feelings, but on the promises, she was proof against all sorts 
of temptation to the last, expressing a firm expectation of a 
glorious resurrection through the Redeemer. So humble a 
creature I never heard of, and I am confident that she has not 
been once heard to murmur, though often to cry out from 
violent pain. 

" Oh ! my dear Sir, I have been present at an instructive 

" I mean to proceed immediately to Cambridge. 

" You will easily understand from the above, how it has 
happened that I have not answered your letters. I thank 
dear B. for her kind letter, and I receive with great satisfaction 
your account of little William's thriving. 

" Yours, with great affection, 

" I. M." 

During the month of November, Dean Milner thus writes 
to the same friend: — 

" Oh! my dear Sir, tliis year has made sad havoc with my 
outward man. Nevertheless I bless God, on the whole, at 
times. But I see I have everything to learn, (u- nearly so; yet, 

172 CHAP. X. A.l). ITJG. .ETAT. 48. 

liowever, very often I can say, ' I fear not, all will yet be well.' 
As to poor dear W.'s teeth, they must come. Poor dear 
jewels! what a vast deal they sufter, and cannot explain them- 
selves, and hardly know what is the matter with them ! I shall 
have great pleasure in seeing him, and noticing how famously 
he will have come on. 

" Remember me aflfcctionately to dear B. I cannot say, with 
truth, that when you omit to write, I do not sometimes desire 
the sight of your sometimes scrawling hand-writing, but I can 
say, that her letters are most excellent substitutes. Whenever 
she writes, she has the art of making me both hear and see 
herself, more than any body I ever knew. Tell her that I 
shall dispute with her, whether young W. be so very handsome 
as she says he is. 

"Yours very truly and affectionately, I. M. 

" P.S. You have my prayers." 

Dr. Milner's letters and his private memoranda show that 
his thoughts were at this time much occupied by religious 
subjects. Mr. Wilberforce's Diary of this year has the following 
passage: "July 29th. Much talk with Milner about his 
preaching, and the growing faults of the young clergy. He 
conceives them getting into a rational way of preaching." 

The nature of the censure here implied by the word 
" rational," is by no means obscure. It may not, however, be 
disagreeable to the reader to peruse, in elucidation of this 
expression, the following passage from Melancthon's disserta- 
tion De Spiritu et Litera*; a passage often alluded to by Dean 
Milner, as conveying admirable ideas respecting the difference 
between Christianity as revealed in the Scriptures, and that 
"rational religion" too often substituted in its place. 

" The letter," says Melancthon, " means whatever doctrine, 
ideas, liabits, discipline, and good desires, as they are called, 
anv mail, by the common light of nature, may attain, without 
the iiithience <jf the Holy Spirit: that is, without the least 

A conaiderable portion of this DiHsertation is translated by Joseph Mihier, 
in an Kssay originally published in Tlic Theological Misiellanij. 

CHAP. X. A.]). 17n(». .^2 TAT. 49. 1 T-B 

genuine fear of God, without any confidence in his revealed 
mercy, which alone can jjowerfully comfort the mind, and 
without any knowledge or worship of Christ. 

" On the other hand, the Spirit points out to us the Holy 
Ghost, really beginning in this life, and in the next completing, 
in the hearts of God's people, a new light, wisdom, and right- 
eousness, and a perpetual life of holiness, acceptable to God, 
and inflamed by the constant motions of the Holy Spirit, 
with fear, faith, prayer, and love ; and in eternal life enjoying 
the vision of God, and celebrating his perfections." 

This passage, and indeed the whole of the dissertation from 
which it is taken, forms a valuable comment upon the word 
" rational," as used by Dr. Milner. 

During the year 1799? Dr. Milner was engaged, as much as 
his other occupations would permit, in selecting for publica- 
tion some of his brother's sermons, and in preparing for the 
press a second edition of the first volume of the Church History. 

He visited London during the summer of this year. The 
following entry appears in Mr. Wilberforce's Diary*, dated 
" August 25th. Milner preached his Buxton Sermon on 
Christianity's corruptions. All serious persons much struck 
with it." " Disputed with Milner about final perseverance." 

Dr. Milner's readiness to preach whenever occasion offered 
has been already mentioned ; and since, as he himself said of 
his brother, " He never took his pen in hand without a distinct 
subject," and always brought the full force of his mind to bear 
upon the matter in hand, it will excite no surprise that his 
sermons were invariably striking and effective. To disputation 
on religious subjects, he was indeed usually less inclined ; yet 
he was ever ready to admit that " in his heart he loved a good 
argument ;" and few persons, perhaps, were better qualified to 
discuss a difficult question in theology. Still, however, unless 
under peculiar circumstances, he was little disposed to enter, 
in conversation, upon abstruse reasonings and disquisitions. 
" What is that to thee ? Follow thou mc," was a quotation 
often addressed by him, by way of caution, to persons, especially 

See Life of Wilberforce. 

17-i CHAP. X. A.D. 1799. vETAT. 49. 

young persons, who endeavoured to engage him in the discus- 
sion of personal election, free-will, and other such topics, 
which he was well known to have deeply studied. Such 
persons were likewise often exhorted by him to meditate upon 
Martin Luther's remarkable Letter to Caspar Aqidla, on the 
subject of God's incomprehensible majesty*. 

In the autumn of this year. Dean Milner, who had corre- 
sponded as usual with Mr. Wilberforce, "giving him frequent 
and forcible lectures on the necessity of taking care of himself, 
and living a more quiet lifef/' wrote to him from Carlisle, on 
hearing of the birth of his eldest daughter. 

" My dear Friend, 

" I do indeed rejoice with you very sincerely ; and am very 
thankful that Almighty God smiles so repeatedly upon every 
thing connected with you. I shall not fail to pray for you all. 

" Excellent Stillingfleet is here, and has been here and in 
tlie neighbourhood for many days. He was the most intimate 
friend my poor brother had, and was always exceedingly kind 
to him in having him at his house, &c. He could not bear to 
come to Hull for much above a year after his decease. 

" Though I have endeavoured to discharge my duty here as 
well as ever I could, and though I have been enabled, through 
a gracious providence, to get through four preachings, yet 
sadness and melancholy of heart stick close by me, and 
increase upon me. Who would believe this ? I tell nol)ody, 
but I am very much sunk indeed; and I wish I could have the 
relief of weeping, as I often used to have. 

" I pray that I may thrive in the best things ; and I rejoice 
in God's aljundant kindness to you and yours. 

" Farewell, witli an afl'ectionate remembrance to B. 

" Yours affectionately, I. M." 

Much as his spirits were affected by the employment. 
Dean Milner's priuripal occupation at this period was, as has 

A traii.slatioii of tins letter may be Been anioiip the published Essays or 

.JOSOJ)!! MillKT. 

t I/ife of If'i/fjer/oirr. 

CHAP. X. A.D. 1799. /ETAT. 49. 175 

been already intimated, the preparation for publication of 
several of the manuscripts of his departed brother ; an occu- 
pation which, by vividly recalling the memory of that beloved 
relative, could not but cause acute pain to his affectionate and 
sensitive heart. 

On the Gth of November, 1799, he thus wrote to his own 
and his deceased brother's valued friend : — 

"The Rev. William Richardson. 

" Dear Sir, 

"With great truth I can say, that I always receive your 
letters with much pleasure, though I will confess that your last 
agitates my poor frame a good deal." * * * « Headaches, 
almost perpetual, incapacitate me for many hours every day; 
the remainder I endeavour to employ as well as I possibly can ; 
and am directed by what I think duty. 

" A very material affair at present takes up a great deal of 
my time ; and yet I am very desirous of fighting through it, 
viz., the correcting and reprinting of the first volume of the 
Ecclesiastical History. It has been much called for, and is 
now above half done. But this business, and my other neces- 
sary, absolutely necessary, avocations, leave me very little time 

"The correction of the first volume is very tedious on the 
following account : formerly, when the author was at hand, he 
would clear up twenty of my remarks in one minute; but now 
I sometimes spend many hours in clearing up an ambiguous or 
equivocal sentence, for want of the book, or the edition which 
he used ; and I dare not hazard conjectures, nor even all the 
truth, always, as it may appear to stand from such authorities 
as I have before me, lest I should make the historian, (who 
probably would be very consistent, if I could but refer to the 
authority which he depended upon, and which, perhaps, he 
has omitted to mention) appear inconsistent, when different 
passages are compared with each other. 

" I take less and less liberty with his statement of facts, and 
also with liis representation of probable causes; for I assure 
you, the more I prol)e, the more exact I find liim, in reality; 

176 CHAP. X. A.D. 1799. .«TAT. 49. 

but lie very frequently affirms things which suppose his readers 
to know more than many of them do know. 

" In this situation, I say, your letter agitates me, by present- 
ing fresh work*. I do not mean to press you, because you 
best know your own feelings about it; and if you persist in 
saying, or thinking, that *it is absolutely necessary for the 
satisfaction of your own mind/ that I should see the proof 
sheets, of course I must give way. Otherwise, I really do not 
see the necessity of it at all. I am sure I shall be perfectly 
satisfied with what you do, and so, I doubt not, will those who 
read the book, for, I dare say, very few great or learned men 
will trouble themselves with sermons of such a cast, or written 
by such a character as the autlior was. 

" After having said so much, it is now my duty to acquiesce, 
which I shall do most cordially, in whatever way you shall 
think proper to decide. 

" You are absolutely over-nice ; you need not send me any 
specimen of the paper or type, as I really see no appearance of 
your having lost your faculties. Seriously, I am, and I hope I 
always shall be, very grateful to you. 

" Yours, I. M." 

The following letter, which cannot be read without very 
deep interest, has been already published in the correspondence 
of William Wilberforce, Esq. Its appearance in this volume 
may, perhaps, require a few words of explanation. 

A finer letter, in point of strong sense, vivid imagery, and 
deep feeling, has, perhaps, been seldom penned; and the religious 
experience which it discloses would be well understood by the 
excellent friend to wliom it was addressed, and will not be 
misunderstood by any who, while they are practically acquainted 
with tiie great doctrines of Christianity, are able duly to appre- 
ciate the struggle which a belief of those humbling doctrines 
may sometimes ocrasioii in a mind of sucli immense power as 
was that of Dr. Milner. 

* Mr. Iticliardson had jjrcssod Dr. Milner to give tlie last corrections to the 
; proof sheets of his brother's Scniions. 

CHAP. X. A.U. 1799. ^.TAT. 49. 1// 

A inucli more numerous class of persons, however, will not, 
it is to be feared, comprehend aright the causes of the severe 
mental sufferings which the Dean, in the exercise of the most 
undoubting confidence, here lays open to his friend ; and some 
may perhaps be disposed to think, that that confidence, upon 
a subject so purely private in its nature, ought never to have 
been infringed. 

It is proper to say, that this very remarkable letter is 
reprinted in this work chiefly from a feeling that the omission 
of it, while other letters of a nature in some degree similar are 
now for the first time, published, might, in some quarters, give 
rise to a suspicion, quite at variance with the truth, that the 
biographer of Dean Milner regards its contents as in some way 
derogatory to the religious character of the writer. 

''To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

"' Queen's College, Saturday, 
"My dear Friend, December 2lst, 1799. 

" In the compass of a letter, I cannot explain to you in how 
great darkness and temptation my mind has been of late, and 
indeed continues yet, to a great degree. I can only say at 
present, that all my bodily complaints are nothing to it. 1 
could rejoice under them if they were double, treble, manifold, 
if it did not please God to hide his countenance. I cannot 
explain myself so as to be understood. You would not, could 
not, believe my narrative of what passes and has passed, night 
and day, and even in my dreams. I have yet been kept, 
blessed be God, from despair, but I really know not where 
it will end. 

" A ray of hope sometimes darts into my mind, that if ever 
it please God that I fairly get out of my present harassed state, 
I may be happier than ever I have yet been. I call it ' a ray of 
hope,' but. in reality, it rather resembles a flash of lightning in 
a dreadfully dark and tempestuous night, than the cheering rays 
of the sun. Flashes of lightning, at the same time that they 
dismay and terrify one, partly on their own account, and partly 
on account of the deep and dangerous ditches which they discover 
for a moment ; these same flashes, I say, at the same moment 

178 CHAP. X. A.D. 1799. .ETAT. 49. 

show that there is a good turnpike-road between the ditches, 
and enable the traveller also to avoid the danger, and to proceed 
on his journey for a time, though under great apprehensions, 
till another flash comes. 

" This image is taken from what really happened to me in 
Lincolnshire, during that dreadful summer some few years ago, 
in the night time. 

" The stage-coachman declared, that it was as dark as pitch, 
and very often absolutely stopped till a dreadful flash of light- 
ning showed him where he was. There was a West Indian in 
the coach at the same time, who frightened every body by his 
horrid imprecations against the coachman. 

" There are certain parts of Holy Writ which I endeavour 
to grasp with all my might, and this constantly, and so it has 
hitherto pleased God to support me ; but I am sorry to say 
that my grasp is often a grasp of fear and agitation and neces- 
sity, rather than of willingness and holy confidence. I see that 
there is nothing else to he done, but I do not honour God by 
submitting cordially to His way of salvation. This is the great 
point that I have long been aiming at, and I make nothing of it, 
and yet I know, and am sure, that without this, all the rest is 
sounding brass. 

" My grasp, however, of which I now speak, is strong, and I 
have had a little relief within the last few days. I do not 
know whether I make myself understood. I mean this : to 
submit to the condemning power of the holy law of God, is a 
hard matter — a very hard matter indeed, to do this thoroughly. 
My understanding has shown me, for many years, that this is 
the touchstone of a sound conversion, and I have been busy 
enough in noting the defect of it in others ; but, as to myself, 
if I have got on at all in this respect, it is very lately indeed. 
The heart is sadly deceitful here ; for, with Christ^s salvation 
before one's eyes, one may easily fancy that God is just and 
equitable in condemning sinners, when, if you put the case oidy 
for a moment to your own heart seriously, as a thing likely to 
happen, the heart will rise against such a dispensation ; perhaps, 
indeed, with a smotiicrcd sort of opposition and dislike, l>ut 
which is very steady and dofcrtnined. 

CHAP. X. A.l). 17ft9. /ETAT. 4f). l79 

" Nothing less than the Holy Ghost himself can cure ihis, 
by showing us the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. A 
sinking man lays hold of a rope thrown out to him, and grasps 
it firmly. I hless God I never leave hold of the rope, and I 
trust I shall be found grasping it fast to the last. Neither have 
I the slightest fear of the rope breaking ; but if I do not feel 
and acknowledge thoroughly, that the whole is a downright act 
of mercy, in every possible sense that you can twist the matter, 
I may still be suffered to sink for ever. I see, clearly enough, 
the way in which that dreadful event happens to many of those 
that are lost. Experience concurs to show the wisdom of the 
Scriptures, and the consistency of the Gospel scheme. * * 

"Your last letter, though short, is truly affectionate, and lays 
hold of me, in several tender places, A-ery closely. The quota- 
tion from Milton, which you kindly wish me to advert to, is a 
favourite passage, and has been so with me for many years. 
The sentiment is sound and pious, I think; but, like every 
thing else, is liulile to abuse by being carried too far. It is true 
God will never blame us for want of exertion where power is 
denied ; but I suppose the will is as much shown in feeble 
efforts as in strong ones, provided those feeble efforts be but 
proportionate to the faculties ; it was so in the widow's mite, 
and doubtless it is the same in other things. 

" I purposely said what I had to say on other subjects 
unmixed with the consideration of your own health. AVon- 
derful beings we are ! I hope I need not repeat to you how 
much I am always concerned when anything unpleasant hap- 
pens to you ; a great deal more, I believe, than you yoiu'self 
are, or than any body can conceive who does not know what it 
is to be hampered with such a nervous, irritable, and (if you 
will allow me) affectionate sort of composition, as I am ham- 
pered with. I have felt in this way towards you, now, for many 
years, and it is not likely that my anxieties on your account, 
and apprehensions of any mischief, should be less, because God 
has taken to himself Avhat was very near and dear to me, and 
left me a sort of insulated being, and very, very disconso- 
late, is a weak word, nearly heart-])roken, is far nearer the 

truth. Indeed, my dear friend, my heart is so full, that I can 

X 2 

180 CHAP. X. A.U. 179^. ^TAT. 49. 

hardly get to the subject I am driving at, and I will, God 
willing, finish to-morrow. 

" Yours most affectionately, 

"I. MiLNER." 

The passage from Milton alluded to in the foregoing 

remarkable letter, is the fine and affecting sonnet " On his 

Blindness f a passage often quoted by Dr. Milner, with much 


" When I consider how my light is spent 

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, 

And that one talent which is death to hide. 

Lodged with me useless; though my soul more bent 

To serve therewith my Maker, and present 

My true account lest He, returning, chide v 

'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?' 

I fondly ask : but patience, to prevent 

That murmur, soon replies, ' God doth not need 

Either man's work, or his own gifts ; who best 

Bear his mild yoke, they serve Him best; his state 

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed. 

And post o'er land and ocean without rest ; 

They also serve who only stand and wait.' " 

About this period of his life. Dean Milner was anxiously 
engaged in the study of the writings of the Rev. Jonathan 
Edwards. Among his private memoranda of this date, various 
notices appear of his lending " Edwards' Sermons" or " Ed- 
wards on Religious Affections" to " Dr. Jowett," to " William 
Parish," and to others of his friends. A dissertation, found 
among his papers, and, as it appears, written during this year, 
on the " Posthumous Remarks of the late Jonathan Edwards, 
concerning * Faith,' and ' Justification by Faith,' " is given in 
the next chapter, precisely as it came from his pen. To say 
that in this performance Dr. Milner thinks accurately, and dives 
deeply into the meaning of the great divine whose work he is 
considering, would be superfluous. The value of his remarks 
will be apparent to all who have exercised their understandings 
upon this fundamental Christian doctrine. 



Dissertation on Jonathan Edwards' Posthumous Remarks on Faith, and Justifi- 
cation by Faith. — Quotation from a Sermon by Dean Milner on the same 

A.D. 1799. ^TAT. 49. 


"§ 1. I consider the late Jonathan Edwards' posthumous 
remarks on Faith and Justification by Faith, as very valuable 
relics of that great divine. They are contained in Chapter VII. 
pp. 393 — 480* ; and, though evidently, extremely indigested, 
they are manifestly proofs of profound thought, and great 
acquaintance with the Scriptures, as well as of great candour of 
mind, and exemption from prejudice. 

" 1 have studied them at different times of my life, with all 
the attention in my power ; and I scruple not to recommend a 
careful and diligent perusal of them to every one who wishes to 
acquire just ideas on these difficult and important subjects. 

"But I wish it to be remembered, that I recommend them 
rather as containing a number of excellent materials and obser- 
vations, than as furnishing either regular ratiocination, or accu- 
rate and perspicuous conclusions. 

"No man could have written this Chapter VII., whose 
mind had not been long, and seriously, and habitually, employed 
on this branch of divinity. The quotations and the reflections 
contained in it, do not always hang together in the way of a 
well-connected composition ; on the contrary, they appear to 
have been put down as in a common-place book, as they 
occurred, from time to time, to this great master both of theo- 
retical and practical divinity; and we have to lament, that they 
api)ear never to have been reviewed by their author. 

* Tliese and other references to the 1 sufficient accuracy, the passages alluded 
work under consideration are left as to; but it is impossible now to ascer- 
Dean Milner wrote them; and will tain the particular edition of Edwards' 
probably, in general, indicate, with Works which he used. 

1S2 CHAP. XI. A.D. IT'jy. -ETAT. 49. 

" I am much disposed to make one objection to this work — 
as running throvigh, if I mistake not, almost every part of it, in 
its present state ; namely — that the simple and natural meaning 
of the word faith, seems to be too much forgotten in Mr. 
Edwards' definitions and observations ; the same thing I have 
often remarked in the writings of other able divines ; and I 
have conceived, that nmch of the obscurity and apparent 
contradiction which we find in them, is to be ascribed to this 

" § 2. I suppose, that most, if not all Mr. E 's observa- 
tions on these subjects are true in the abstract, and in a practi- 
cal sense; but still I think, that his definition of justifying faith 
is not truly Scriptural; and if my views on this subject are 
right, he seems to describe those qualifications of a true believer, 
which are allowed to be essential to that character, as necessa- 
rily entering into those very acts of faith which justify a man, 
and as constituting their primary essence. Let any one run 
over this seventh chapter, with this idea in his mind. 

" In other words, it may be absolutely necessary for a man to 
he of a certain character, before he can perform a single act of 
true faith. The existence of this character may be indispensable, 
yet, it will not follow, that every act of such a character is of 
the nature of saving, or justifying faith ; nor, yet again, will 
those acts of this character which really imply the existence of 
a faith that justifies, derive their essence (strictly speaking,) 
from those qualifications which constitute that character. 

" The essence of an act to be performed, and the essence of 
the qualification absolutely necessary to the subject who is to 
perform the act, are two things perfectly distinct. 

'' § 3. To make this plainer. 

" We are called upon, in Scripture, to trust in the promises, 
and tlic'ii we shall be saved; and the controversy has been con- 
cerning the meaning of the term, triiitt. It is said, that some 
have reasoned as if the promise was made to an individual A. B. ; 
so that, if A. IJ. can but believe, that Christ will save him, he 
is, from that moment, justified, and in a state of salvation. 

''Others, who have seen the danger of this crude and 
unscriptural representation of tlie nature of faith, liave denied 

CHAP. XI. A.l). 1799. .^TAT. 49. 


what is called the doctrine of appropriation of the merits of 
Clirist to a man's self. According to them, there is nothing of 
personal appropriation of the promises, in the essence of justi- 
fying faith. 

"The danger of an improper personal appropriation is so 
obvious, and so great, that I do not wonder, if some of our 
most thinking and judicious divines shall be found to have 
carried their precaution in this matter, too far. It has appeared 
to them, that persons of a warm imagination might easily work 
themselves up into a belief of their interest in Christ, on very 
slight grounds, and sometimes even unwarily be drawn into 
doctrinal systems of an antinomian tendency. 

" Now, there is, no doubt, very great danger here ; but, 
nevertheless, I am convinced, that the danger is by no means 
all on tliis side. I will not undertake to decide on which side 
the greater danger lies : but I have little doubt, that the side 
opposite to antinomianism is the more likely to be taken of the 
two. There is in our very natures, even depraved as they are by 
the fall, so much left of the moral principle in our consciences, 
as to protect most men from the gross abuses of antinomianism ; 
and I may safely observe, on the other hand, that those theore- 
tical divines whose minds have been drawn to use great caution 
in drawing confident conclusions favourable to personal salva- 
tion, are the most likely to stumble on pharisaical grounds of 
objection ; and the more so, because, in so doing, they seem to 
themselves to be standing up for holiness of life, without which, 
certainly, no man shall see the Lord*. 

" It may be of no great consequence to aim at so balancing 
matters, that one might be able to pronounce which of the two 
errors produces the more mischief in practice ; but the investi- 
gation and statement of the truth, (as it is always important,) 
should be our chief object. 

" § 4. Mr. Edwards, (page 454) observes, that ' Christ 

* " Add to this, that if the essence 
of faith be supposed to consist in the 
previous (qualifications of the true be- 
liever, men will be apt to be content 
with low (qualifications, whereas if 

faith rcfpiire an appropriation, they 
will then strive to increase the qualifi- 
cations, that they may be entitled to 
appropriate." — Original Note. 

184 CHAP. XI. A.D. 1799. .ETAT. 49. 

does not promise to be the author of our redemption, but upon 
condition ; and we have not performed that condition until we 
have beUeved.' Therefore, we have no grounds until we have 
once believed, to acquiesce in the statement that Christ will 
save us. Therefore, the first act of faith is no more than this, 
* the acquiescence of the mind in what he does declare abso- 
lutely;' (so in page 418,) * it has been said by many, that the 
souFs immediately applying Christ to itself as its Saviour, was 
essential to faith. Doubtless, an immediate application is 
necessary ; but that which is essential, is not the soul's imme- 
diately applying Christ to itself, so properly, as its applying 
itself to Christ.' 

"These passages afford a sample of what I conceive to be 
that erroneous view of justifying faith, which pervades this 

" And now to explain my meaning as briefly as possible ; 1 
not only allow, but maintain, that those things which Edwards 
has described as essential to justifying faith, are really essential 
to it, in a certain sense ; that is, justifying faith cannot exist, 
unless these things be present in the subject who believes ; but 
still, they do not, strictly speaking, constitute the essence of 
that act of the believer which justifies him. They are rather to 
be denominated qualifications of the believer, previous to his 
exercising that faith towards the Saviour which justifies him. 
It is, probably, true in ordinary practice, that the qualifications 
of the subject, and his subsequent acts of justifying faith, 
proceed step by stej), and may appear to intermix with each 
other so as to render it not easy to mark the distinction. That 
is, the qualifications of which I speak are, in their commence- 
ment, often very feeble and imperfect, and so are the exercises 
of faith which accompany, or rather follow them ; and after- 
wards, both one and the other increase till the believer becomes 
more settled and established. However, there will be no 
necessity, in ti)is inquiry, to dwell on such cases as these, 
notwithstanding their frequency. ^Vl• arc now inquiring into 
tlie nature of justifying faith, itself, and also into the nature of 
those qualifications of the subject who exercises those acts of 
faith, which warrant his justification on the true Scriptural plan: 

CHAP. XI. A.D. 17!»9. ^TAT. 49. , 185 

and, therefore, the considenitioii of cases where the subject has 
only acquired dark and obscure vicM's of the Gospel, in other 
words, when he sees only as it were through a glass darkly, can 
be of no use in this inquiry. We must endeavour to obtain 
clear and decided notions of the doctrine of faith, by studying 
the characters of those who are allowed to possess justifying 
faith in a lively and vigorous degree. 

" § 5. Once more — 

" Let us carefully review Mr, E 's method of represent- 
ing this matter ; (page 454.) 

" ' The first act of faith,' says he, ' is no more than this, — the 
acquiescence of the mind in what Christ declares absolutely. 
It is the soul's resting in him, and adhering to him so far as his 
word reveals him to all, as a Saviour for sinners — as a sufficient 
Saviour — as a Saviour suited to their case — as a willing Saviour 
— as the author of an excellent salvation — so as to be encouraged 
heartily to seek salvation of him — to come to him, to love, 
desire, and thirst after him as a Saviour, and fly for refuge to 

" Now it appears to me, that in all this, Mr. E. is only, as it 
were, on the very edge of justifying faith, and has not actually 
kiid hold of it — so as to have given a correct description of it. 

" It is true, that all this must be in the mind of a true 
believer — but, still, he has another step to take, before he can 
be said to act faith personally, in his own case. In short, all 
this is a preparative for the exercise of faith ; nay, it is an 
essential preparative, and, in that sense, is essential to justifying 
faith ; but yet not essential, otherwise than as a preparative, to 
that act of the believer which (in strictness of speech) justifies 
him. It seems more correct to say, that this preparative is 
essential to the state of that man's mind who is to exercise 
justifying faith. For without this preparative, no man can 
have the faith which justifies. 

" A metaphor may, perhaps, illustrate this matter. Thus, a 
man's legs are essential to his being able to Malk ; in other 
words, there must be legs for a man to perform the act of 
walking; nevertheless, the mere existence of his legs makes no 
part of the esseivce of walking. 

186 CHAP. XI. A.D. 171>y. .«TAT. 4f>. 

" To put this more generally, I would say, certain qualifica- 
tions may be essentially necessary to the exercise of a true act 
of faith, and yet they may make no part of the essence of the 
act itself. 

" You must be duly qualified in order to exercise faith; but 
this qualification may exist without the least real faith: but here 
is the distinction : not a particle of real faith can exist without 
the preparative, or, what is the same thing, without the quali- 

" § 6. These things being always kept in view, I may now 
proceed to state more distinctly what I conceive to be a true 
definition of the nature of justifying faith. It is that act of the 
soul, so qualified or prepared as above described, by which a 
man is led to apply the Gospel promises to his own individual 
case ; that is, he believes that Christ will do for him all that he 
has promised to do for those that fly to Him, as a Saviour, for 
refuge. He does not pretend that he finds in the Scriptures 
any promise to himself personally, but, on the contrary, he 
finds that all the promises are made to characters ; he believes 
himself to be such a character as that is described to be, to 
which tlie promises are made; and in that conviction, together 
with a full persuasion of the faithfulness of Christ, he appro- 
priates the promise to himself. 

" It is this act of appropriation in which essentially consists 
the nature of justifying faith. 

" To appropriate the promises without the previous qualifi- 
cation or preparative, would be enthusiasm and delusion; not 
so when the sinner has carefully examined himself on that head 
which respects his qualification. 

" Tliis idea agrees with the words of Scripture. The 
promise of Christ is a promise of rest to all that are ' weary 
and heavy-laden.' The l>cing weary and heavy-laden is abso- 
lutely necessary to qualify the sinner to come to his Saviour: it 
is by no means, I allow, ihc whole of the qualification ; but it 
is an essential ingredient in it, and serves well to explain the 
nature of that preparative which must precede any act of 
justifying faith. 

" § 7- ^' appears to nic, llial a man may go still farther 

CHAP. XI. A.l). 179:». A-:TAT. 4!>. 187 

than the Ijciiig weary and heavy-laden, and yet still fall short 
of exercising true justifying faith. Mr. Edwards says, (p. 418,) 
that the soul's 'applying itself to Christ is more properly 
justifying faith, than his applying Christ to himself.' 

" But I think he does not speak correctly in this instance. 
A sinner may certainly apply himself to Christ for all Gospel 
blessings and may fail, for want of the aforesaid preparative, or 
qualification ; but so far, as I conceive, is this qualification or 
preparative from being of the nature of justifying faith, that 
even a sinner so prepared, and even truly prepared, may fail of 
obtaining, according to the Scriptural account, a true state of 
justification for want of faith in his application, i. e., for want 
of this very appropriation which so many persons are apt to 
consider as unscriptural and delusive. 

" Mr. Edwards is endeavouring to expose and counteract a 
great delusion no doubt ; but in doing this, I think he describes 
what is essential to the character of the sinner who applies 
successfully to his Saviour, while he professes to be describing 
what is essential to justifying faith; whereas, if my statement be 
true, that w^hicb is strictly essential to faith is, the application of 
Christ to the believing soul in a personal act of appropriation. 

" § 8. It must, however, be owned, that in Mr. E 's 

distinction between the soul's applying to Christ and its apply- 
ing Christ to itself, there is a considerable degree of obscurity, 
indeed so much obscurity, that, without committing or being 
guilty of any violence of interpretation, this author's sentiment 
may be made to tally very well with the definition of faith 
which I am now proposing. 

" For example, Mr. Edwards (p. 408) allows, that in the 
first act of faith the soul humbly and heartily applies and seeks 
lo Christ, and sees such a congruity between the declared mercy 
of God and the disposition he then feels towards Him, that he 
cainiot but hope that that declared mercy will be exercised 
towards him. 

" ' Yea,' continues he, * he sees it would be incongruous for 
God to give him such inclinations and motions of heart towards 
Christ as a Saviour, if he were not to be saved by Ilim.' 

'• § 9. Now let any one pause here, and consider what there 
is in this account tiiat falls siiort of ajiproprialion ; (certainlv 

188 CHAP. XI. A.D. 1799. ^TAT. 49. 

very little, if any thing at all :) and then let him further consider, 
whether it be not true that, in proportion to the excellence or 
perfection of the qualification, there will not necessarily, as it 
were, be connected with it the appropriation of which I speak. 
And if this be admitted, which I think can hardly be denied, 

then the chief difference between Mr. E 's account of this 

matter and mine, is, that he makes the essence of justifying 
faith to consist principally in the qualification, and I describe it 
as consisting in the act of appropriation; yet always remem- 
bering, and always maintaining, that this act of appropriation 
must be the act of a sinner qualified as above. 

" Now I greatly mistake if this view of justifying faith do 
not agree both with Scripture and the use of common language, 
in regard to such words as faith, trust, belief, &c., better than 
Mr. E 's view of it. 

" Mr. E 's view of it, unless, indeed, we are allowed to 

comment upon it, and to interpret it with the aforesaid degree 
of latitude, confines the belief of the sinner to mere general 
ideas of Christ's redemption, as also to mere general ideas of 
the character of a truly contrite sinner. Now, for anything I 
see, a very wicked and unconverted man may see the evidences 
of the Word of God, and also the general meaning of the 
gospel way of salvation; and, lastly, that there is no other way 
of salvation ; and yet he may not have one grain of confidence 
that he himself shall be saved, that is, not have one grain of 
true justifying faith: but when it is added, that the sinner, 
besides seeing the truth of all this, sees a propriety in it, 
* acquiesces in it,' and ' seeks to Christ heartily and humbly ;' 
and conscious ' of his own disposition towards Christ, cannot 
but hope that the mercy of God will be exercised towards him ;' 
and, lastly, sees 'that it would be incongruous for God to give 
him these inclinations in case he were not to be saved ;' then it 
i.s, as 1 have already said, that I seem to perceive that Mr. Ed- 
wards, in fact, includes an appropriation of the mercies of 
C' by the sinner to liis own soul ; in other words, it is then 

that I perceive in Mr. E 's description the traces of faith, — 

justifying faitii, — which carries him much beyond general views, 
and even much beyond any general apjjrobation of the Go.spel. 

CHAl'. XI. A.I). 179». /ElWr. 4;). 189 

"Consequences of this View of Justifying Faith. 

§ 10. " It is now time to notice what may at first sight, 
perhaps, appear to be a formidable objection to this view of 
justifying faith. 

" The language of Scripture is, He that believeth shall be 
saved, and ' he that believeth not shall be damned.' 

"A very solemn and awful declaration, no doubt! and one 
which should set us all upon carefully examining ourselves, 
whether we be, or be not, ' in the faith.' 

" The objection may run thus : If every unbeliever is to 
be damned, and if belief, or justif\nng faith, implies, in its 
essence, a personal appropriation of the benefits of Christ's 
redemption, then (in strictness) no one can be saved, except he 
be able so to appropriate the merits of Christ to his own case : 
Christ's flock, it is allowed, is a little flock ; but how exceed- 
ingly, nay, how alarmingly, will that little flock be lessened by 
such a definition as the above, which seems so much to narrow 
the way, and straiten the gate that leads to life ! 

" § 11. The answer is this. 

" If in any particular or individual case it should be found, 
(what I take to be not uncommon in practice,) that there may 
exist a true sound state of the qualifications or preparatives, in 
the sense above stated, and yet the sinner, thou.h so qualified 
or so prepared, may not yet have been able to lay hold of the 
mercies of Christ in the way of a personal appropriation of them 
by faith, to his own case ; this must be owing either to a want 
of a clear view of the freeness of Christ's salvation, caused, 
perhaps, by some extraordinary temptations of Satan, or by an 
excessively deep sense of unworthiness, producing an unreason- 
able and improper timidity of resolution, Mith lowness of the 
animal spirits, or, lastly, in some cases, from a degree of dulness 
or imperfection in the intellect itself; for it is by no means true, 
that the clearness of a contrite sinner's perceptions does always 
keep pace with the sanctified affections and sensibilities of his 

" Now whenever instances of this kind take place, I cannot 
suppose that such characters are to be excluded from the 

190 CHAP. Xr. A.D. 1799. /ETAT. 49. 

kingdom of God, even though they may never, in this life, 
attain to the brightness of Gospel Hght, or, in other words, to 
the full assurance of hope. Such persons, it is true, can 
scarcely be said to have attained a perfect faith of appropriation; 
yet who can deny but that they may still have hold of the hem 
of Christ's garment, or who can suppose that their defects or 
imperfections, in regard to the matter of faith, are not pardon- 
able defects, insomuch that God, who alone sees the heart, may 
impute to them that faith which they seem to be on the very 
edge of attaining? 

"§ 12. If it should here be further objected that, according 
to these ideas, it is not faith that saves a sinner, but certain 
qualitications or preparatives, I observe, that it may appear, 
perhaps, on a review of what has been said, that an answer has, 
in fact, been already given to this objection. 

"For we have already seen that the contrite sinner, who 
possesses the requisite preparatives, though he may have been 
too diffident to exercise a faith of appropriation, may yet fairly 
be said to be in a probable state of salvation. Yes! in a 
probable state of salvation, even though he do not possess that 
faith which (in strictness) justifies. It may well be doubted, 
for example, whether the thief on the cross had obtained, in 
strictness of speech, the faith which justifies ; yet who can 
doubt of his salvation through the merits of the Saviour? 

" The Holy Scriptures, in describing the way in which salva- 
tion is obtained, lay open that great and most important matter 
with all possible clearness and precision. Among many other 
passages I would mention that most explicit one in the Acts, 
viz., ' Repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord 
Jesus Christ.' Here it should seem that repentance is to be 
found in what I have called the qualifications or preparatives. 
I do not say that repentance and those qualifications are 
convertible terms ; but I see distinctly that those qualifications 
imply a very great part, if not the whole, of repentance — and 
then it is particularly to be observed, that there is superadded 
the expression, 'Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ!' Briefly, 
tlicreforc, tiic repentance — the being weary and heavy-laden — 
the mind's acquiescence in the Gospel plan of salvation — in one 

CHAT. XI. A.l). 17!»!*. .^rrAT. 49. 191 

word — the qualifications or preparatives, are the firm ground- 
work upon whicli the believer stands, in order that he may 
embrace the promises by the simple act of appropriating the 
merits of Christ to his own soul ; for it is, indeed, by this last- 
mentioned act that he becomes united to Christ, in which union 
his safety, or salvation, consists. 

" So much seems necessary in order to give a clear idea of 
the Scriptural plan of the salvation of a sinner, but when that 
idea is once clearly conceived, it does not follow but that some 
latitude may be allowed in the practical application of it. 
Thus, for example, wlien the woman in the crowd strove to 
touch the garment of Christ, there was, doubtless, in a certain 
sense, an actual exercise of personal faith. She not only 
believed that there was virtue in Christ to heal her, but she 
believed also that there was a willingness in the Saviour to 
heal her on her making such an application. 

"§ 13. On this subject a very important question arises, 
viz., whether Mr. E.*s view, which I have stated in these pages, 
be the safer view of the two, and the more likely to produce 
good practical consequences; or again, whether this view, which 
insists on a personal appropriation of the Saviour's merits by 
faith, be not attended with considerable danger, and liable to 
much abuse, if taught and insisted on in all its simplicity. 

"To satisfy these inquiries, I would, in the first instance, 
observe, that the previous question in a doctrinal matter of 
this sort ought always to be, ' Is the statement true and certain, 
or is it doubtful, and perhaps false?' If a doctrine be really 
found in Scripture, and be agreeable to the analogy of faitli, we 
are not to be alarmed on account of any invidious representa- 
tion of its consequences in regard to any imaginary danger. 
We are, in general, very poor judges of the consequences of 
doctrines. The simple inquiry, therefore, ought to be, whether 
the doctrinal point on which we are inquiring be, or be not, 
taught in the word of God. If it be taught there, no dangerous 
consequences can possibly ensue from properly inculcating it. 
Moreover, it has constantly been the practice of controver- 
sialists in religion to lay stress on some popular ol)jection 
grounded on the score of danger, which they suppose must 

19'2 CHAl'. Xr. A. I). 1/99. JETAW 49. 

infallibly attend on the tenets of their opponents ; and this 
practice is not to be commended. 

"§ 14. After having premised so much on this supposed 
head of dangerous consequences, I now proceed to observe that 
a very diligent consideration of this matter has convinced me 
that the aforesaid idea of justifj'ing faith, which I here under- 
take to explain and support, so far from being dangerous in 
its consequences, is, of all things that can be imagined, that 
principle of practical religion which cannot fail to insure a 
harvest of good works. The 'secret of the Lord' is said to be 
* with them that fear Him ;' and, to my mind, that very secret 
is here, viz., that no man can approj^riate to his own soul the 
saving mercies of Christ, who is not habitually fighting the 
good fight. I believe that it does not please God to give this 
assurance of hope to low and negligent exertions, or to poor and 
mean attainments in the Christian life. A hypocrite will find 
that he cannot support the belief that Christ has saved him, so 
lone: as he is inactive or unfruitful in tlie Christian course. 

" I would endeavour to open this matter somewhat more 
explicitly, and for this purpose let us keep in view the diflference 
between Mr. E 's notion of justifying faith and my own. 

"After what has been said that difference may be briefly 
expressed in these words. Mr. Edwards represents the faith of 
the believer as consisting in an application to the Saviour. On 
the contrary, availing myself of Mr. E.'s own words, I consider 
it as that act of the believer whereby he applies the Saviour to 

"§ 15. It is, I think, abundantly clear from Scripture, that, 
whatever constitutes the essence of justifying faith, the possessor 
of the right faith is in a state of salvation : and further, it is 
equally clear that he that believeth not shall be damned, so that 
salvation and a true faith are infallibly connected together. 
These things could not escape the sagacity and diligence of 
Mr. Edwards. 

"The next step of this very accurate reasoner seems to 
have been this, viz., that whoever applies to the Saviour in 
the sense which he has described, or in other words, whoever 
possesses the qualifications which I have been describing as 

CHAP. XT. A.D. 17!»9. /ETAT. 49. 193 

the necessary groundwork for a subsequent appropriating faith, 
cannot fail to be, also, in a state of salvation ; and tlien the con- 
clusion seemed to be perfectly unexceptionable, that justifying 
faith consisted in the aforesaid qualifications. 

" In one word, justifying faith secures the safety of the 
believer ; so do the quahficatioiis just mentioned ; and as nothing 
short of justifying faith can secure the safety of the believer, it 
would follow, that justifying faith and these very qualifications 
must be, in substance, the same thing. And thus, if I am right 
in my stating of the errors of Mr. Edwards, I think I cannot 
be wrong in this mode of tracing his mistake. 

" It aj^pears to me, that this great divine was led into the 
mistake by not observing, 1st, that a well-grounded appropria- 
tion of Christ's merits implies every good thing which his 
system of qualifications can be supposed to contain, so that 
there can be no room left for delusion; and 2ndly, that the 
qualifications themselves, when abundant and truly of the right 
sort, though they do not imply an actual appropriation of the 
Saviour's merits, do, nevertheless, imply so much of a disposi- 
tion to lay hold of the Gospel promises, and to appropriate 
them, as to exclude all doubt of the salvation of him who is 
allowed to be so qualified. 

" § 16. Still I keep my mind on the question just stated, 
namely, which of the two views of justifying faith is the safer? 
and further, these very considerations will very much help us 
to elucidate that important question. And here my mind is 
led to inquire into the practical consequences of the two 
systems as thus stated. 

" To me it appears very clear, that the man who considers 
justifying faith as consisting only in a general belief and appro- 
bation of the Gospel way of salvation, will be much more likely 
to rest contented with low views of the holiness of God, and 
with a feeble contrition and penitence on account of a sinful 
nature and sinful practice, than/Zone who cannot rest satisfied 
with his views of Christ's salvation till he is enabled to lay hold 
of the promises to his own personal comfort. 

" The former may say, ' God is holy and just, mankind are 
fallen and wicked, and Christ has purchased redemption,' and 


194 CHAP. XI. A.D. 1799. ^TAT. 49. 

may, I think, much more easily thus rest contented with slight 
views of the nature of conversion and sanctification, than the 
latter can do, who examines himself whether he be actually 
weary and heavy-laden, and not only examines himself on 
these points, but prays importunately for deliverance from the 
plague of an evil heart, and for ability both to rejoice in 
God's salvation, and also to relish the beauty of holiness. The 
one may be content with knowing that he is to apply to the 
Saviour for every blessing, while the other feels that he has 
applied for the grace of God, knows whom he has trusted, and 
goes on cheerfully in the narrow way. 

" § 17. And here a distinction of some consequence in this 
inquiry occurs to my mind. 

" An erroneous or ill-grounded appropriation of the merits of 
Christ is, I allow, much more dangerous than a defect in the 
aforesaid qualifications; but then, I think, such a delusion is, in 
fact, much less frequent, and, from the reason of the thing, 
much less likely to happen, than the other. 

" A truly serious and intelligent person, who has studied the 
Scriptures, will not easily appropriate the merits of Christ to 
his own case, without a very strict examination into those 
qualifications which entitle him to do so. And if, in fact, he be 
striving to ^ enter in at the strait gate,^ or, in other words, be 
striving to obtain peace with God, by a sound faith in his Son, 
he will labour to attain those holy views of the divine cha- 
racter, and along with them, that deep contrition of soul, which 
will enaljle him to trust in Jesus witli a conscience at ease 
through the blood of the covenant. 

"§ 18. Whereas, on the other hand, a person who is in- 
structed to look at the qualifications as the essence of his faith, 
and the foundation of his peace with God, may, as it appears 
to me, be much sooner brought into a belief, that he has 
obtained enough for the ease of his conscience in this world, 
and the safety of his soul in the next. I am, at present, not 
speaking of downright hypocrites who are deceiving both them- 
selves and others, whatever may be their views of justifying 
faith, that is, whether they think it consists in qualifications or 
in appropriation, but of truly sound Christians, so far as a 

CHAP. XI. A.l). 1790. /ETAT. 4!i. 195 

judgment can be formed; and here I cannot hut think (after 
much consideration), that the Christian whose notion of justify- 
ing faith consists in the attainment of quahfications, as its 
essence, is in much more danger of becoming negUgent, and 
contented with a low state of grace, and, perhaps, of deceiving 
his own heart, and even of falUng away at length from the 
soundness of Gospel doctrine and Gospel practice. The reason 
is, that his system is much more loose and undefined, and 
uidess great care be taken, is liable to degenerate into pha- 

" Not so the other character. It is true, he must labour 
incessantly to obtain the very qualifications so often spoken of, 
but then he does not rest in those qualifications. They are to 
enable him to believe, that is, to appropriate the merits of 
Christ to his own case. His object, therefore, is by far more 
simple than that of the other, who rests in the qualifications as 
the end of his Christian exercises. 

"§ 19. This, I think, is a distinction of considerable conse- 
quence in practice. For, it may be further observed, that the 
simplicity of which I here speak, pervades every part of the 
practice of that believer whose faith consists in a direct appro- 
priation of the merits of Christ. It is by no means confined 
to the single act of believing. I wish I could so trace the 
difference between the two characters, now in the view of my 
mind, as to render that conception of the thing (which seems 
abundantly plain to myself) easy to be apprehended by others 

" The appropriating believer has the Saviour before his eyes 
in every thing that he does. He looks constantly to him for 
orders, because he is the captain of his salvation, and he is 
fighting under his banners. In all his distresses he cries to 
him for help, because he has put his trust in him, and to him 
committed his cause. He is little shaken by temptation, 
because he is acquainted with his deliverer. He is not always 
seeking for his treasure, because he is conscious that he has 
found it; accordingly he values it and rejoices in its possession. 

" It is very true that he was led to obtain this treasure, this 
pearl of great price, through the medium of qualifications and 

o 2 

196 CHAP. Xr. A.D. 1709. ^TAT. 49. 

preparatives. These qualifications pointed out to him the neces- 
sity of a Saviour, the misery of man, and the holiness and 
mercy of God ; they therefore impelled him to lay hold of the 
proflfered means, but having obtained this great end of all the 
means, it is the less necessary for him to keep these in per- 
petual contemplation, because the presence of his Saviour does 
for him all that he can desire, and all that can be needful for 
his happiness and for his progress in the Christian course. 

" § 20. As I trust it is the sincere desire of my mind to state 
all the arguments Avhich occur to me on this subject, with strict 
impartiality, I must not dissemble that there does seem to be 
(after all) a certain view of this question which may be sup- 
posed to be favourable to Mr. E.'s conceptions of the nature of 
justifying faith. 

" It may be urged, e.g. that notwithstanding all the oppo- 
sition which I have made to Mr. E.'s ideas, I still have been 
compelled to make several very important concessions. 

"E.g. Do I not allow that the qualifications of which we 
have so largely treated, are essential to the character of the 
true believer? Do I not allow that the Christian cannot pos- 
sibly be justified without them? And then, further, have 1 not, 
in fact and substance, admitted that that act of appropriation 
by which the believer applies the Saviour to his own case, is an 
act not absolutely essential to his salvation? Have I not ad- 
mitted, that if the qualifications be but genuine, the act of 
appropriation may be safely dispensed with, and that, in reality, 
this act may be considered as, without doubt or controversy, 
virtually implied in the mind of him wlio possesses the qualifi- 
cations ? 

" Lastly, if these things be really so, is it possible to support 
a doubt on which side the advantage lies ? and does not this 
great rule of practice suggest itself to our minds, viz.: ^ Let 
your anxiety be respecting the qualifications; examine them 
narrowly — use all diligence about them; watch every avenue to 
delusion in this matter. If you secure the qualifications, you 
caiinot be essentially wrong — any other defect you may have will 
be venial; for, in truth, it will be rather a theoretical, than a 
practical defect.' 

CHAP. XI. A.D. 179U. /*:TAT. 49. 197 

"§ 21. On the other liand, the man who hiys great stress on 
his system of appropriation may (it is true) be safe ; but still, 
his safety depends on the soundness of his qualifications, rather 
than on the confidence of his appropriation. In his appro- 
priation, he may easily be deluded ; and he is the more 
likely to be so, in proportion as he sets a high comparative 
value on that attainment, and thinks meanly of the requisite 

" It may, therefore, be thought, that, at the best, there can 
be but little gained by the system of appropriation, however cor- 
rectly it may be understood in theory, or however justly applied 
in practice ; but it is very obvious, that by a misapprehension 
of the doctrine, or a misapplication of it, the greatest mischief 
may be the consequence. 

" § 22. In this statement, it will not be denied, that there 
is so much truth as to call for abundant practical caution : and 
the caution will ever be found to consist in studiously con- 
tending for the due qualifications as essentially necessary to 
form the foundation of personal appropriation of the Saviour's 
merits. For, no doubt, if this consideration be left out, or 
only slightly insisted on, we corrupt the word of God and 
pervert his Gospel to the destruction of the soul. But be it 
ever remembered, that on no occasion are we to surrender the 
truth, because it may, by possibility, be perverted or abused. 
Our business is to take care, that while we are contending for 
the sound and essential doctrine of appropriation, we do not 
forget, or lower, or speak lightly of the requisite qualifica- 
tions. These must be insisted upon wuth all our might, 
and all our care and diligence. Moreover, the answer to 
such statements as the above in favour of the qualifications, 
whenever these are insisted on to the disparagement of the 
doctrine of appropriation, will ever consist in the two following 
things: — 

"The first is, that this doctrine, when properly taught, by 
one who rightly divides the word of God, not only possesses 
every advantage which the system of qualifications can pretend 
to, but also carries the believer much further in his Christian 
views and conceptions, than that system can possibly do ; and 

198 CHAP. XI. A. D. 1791). yETAT. 49. 

no wonder: it is «iore Scriptural in itself, and therefore it is 
not to 1)6 treated as a piece of mere technical theory in religion. 
By tliis system the union with the Saviour becomes more close, 
more steady, and consequently cannot fail to prove more pro- 
ductive. The man who rests his all on preparatives and 
qualifications, or docs so in a great measure, may, 1 allow, be 
still substantially riglit, in the main; but the man who is in the 
lial)it of appropriating, is he, who, I think, has a mucli more 
distinct view of Jesus Christ as his Redeemer, and will pro- 
bably abide in him more uniformly throughout the course of his 

" To illustrate and support this point by Scriptural expres- 
sions and Scriptural examples, Avould be a very useful work, if 
undertaken and executed by one who is wise in the Sacred 
Writings, and who has had experience of the Divine life in 
liis own soul, as well as of the artifices and buffetings of 

" § 23. The other thing to which I have just alluded, wliich 
ought also to be kept in mind, by any one who wishes to 
observe upon the aforesaid statement in favour of the notion 
(;f qualifications and preparatives, has already been touched on, 
in the course of these remarks, and particularly at § 16, viz., 
that whatever may be said in general, on the heads of the safety 
of qualifications, as opposed to the idea of appropriation, in the 
article of justifying faith, there is very great danger of a 
Christian's resting content with much inferior degrees of holi- 
ness, and much slighter attainments of personal connexion with 
the Saviour, and mucli lower gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

"And here also, I conceive, much might be said, to good 
purpose, on the great danger of resting in sucli low and doubtful 
qualifications. It might easily be shown, that it is by no means 
true, that tliis side of the question is so very safe as it is pre- 
tended to be. 

"The man who is eager to appropriate, and who cannot 
appropriate without a broad and solid foundation to support 
liim, such a man will, most probably, be anxious to abound in 
the true (Christian preparatives or qualifications. Not so, I 
believe, the man whose system is to rest in the said qualifica- 

CHAP. XI. A.D. 1799. ^TAT. 4!>. 1^^ 

tioiis ; and the reason is very plain. Tlie former has an object 
to obtain; he cannot gain his object, that is, he cannot appro- 
priate, without the j)reparatives ; he, therefore, labours to 
possess them: but the hitter, having no distinct ol)ject in view, 
beyond a general notion of Christian qualifications, appears to 
me to want altogether tliat spur which accelerates the course of 
the former. 

"Thus the argument is turned the other way; and a person 
well furnished with Gospel doctrines may, I think, prove this 
point, with much clearness and precision." 

It may he allowable to conclude this chapter with the 
quotation of an eloquent passage from one of Dean Milner's 
sermons, apparently written while his mind was employed upon 
the subject of the foregoing dissertation*. 

" It may be hard to say whether I do more harm by 
preaching ' Peace ! peace !' to a mere nominal Christian, to a 
wicked worldling, who has obtained no saving interest in the 
Redeemer's merits; or by denying to a sincere believer in 
Christ, that consolation and rest to his conscience, which the 
Scriptures hold forth to such characters. In both cases, I 
should act very ignorantly and very unfaithfully. The true 
servant of Christ has a right to look up to the Father of Jesus 
as his Father, and to Jesus himself as his elder Brother: and if 
this be so, why is not the man to be told so, in so many plain 
words ? But in regard to one who, by sin, is daily crucifying 
his Saviour afresh, there can be neither truth nor propriety in 
applying the same language to him: he must, in the first place, 
deeply repent in dust and ashes, and, by prayer and aj)plication 
for mercy at the throne of grace, through Christ, must acquire 
ground to believe that he has an approj)riate interest in the 
merits of the Redeemer. 

"*But have not all men (it will be asked) an interest in the 
sufferings and death of the Son of God ? Has any particular 
jierson a ground for higher pretensions in this matter ? Are we 
not all sinners, and therefore all on a j^erfcct level in this 

See Sermons of Dean Milner, vol. i., p. 196. 

200 CHAP. XI. A.D. 17U!». /ETAT. 4!). 

respect ?' Such questions, 1 acknowledge, are quite pertinent 
to this inquiry; and the answers which they call forth will very 
much elucidate the subject before us. 

" It is very true, and be it ever remembered with unfeigned 
and universal gratitude, that Christ is the propitiation for the 
sins of the whole world. So far, every human creature that 
treads this globe may be said to have an important interest in 
the sufferings and death of Christ. Indeed, so very important 
is this truth, that it is the very first consideration that gives 
any good ground for hopes of pardon to a guilty sinner, and 
affords ease to his burdened soul. Here he fixes his foot; and 
though surrounded with fears and misgivings, with guilt and 
danger, still he may bid defiance to despair. ' Christ,' says 
he, ' died for all sinners, without a single exception. The gate 
is strait, I do believe ; but no one shall tell me it is not open.' 
Such is the })oor penitent's argument, and, God l)e praised ! it 
is a perfectly sound argument — and his interest in Jesus Christ 
is, so far, effectually established. I say, so far, because we 
must here most carefully distinguish, and remember, that this 
is by no means that interest in Christ which enables the sinner, 
in the true spirit of adoption, to cry * Abba Father ;' this is not 
that interest in Christ which a sanctified penitent servant of 
God has obtained. 

" Once more ; this general, or rather, universal interest in 
the Redeemer, of which I have been speaking, important as it 
is, is no more than what the greatest, and I may add, the most 
impenitent sinner alive may have. Nay, he actually has it, 
whether he ever makes use of it or not; and, on the dreadful 
supposition, that he dies in)penitent, it will, at the last day, be 
his greatest condemnation, that he did not, while aUve, make 
use of this interest. ***** 

"There is, therefore, something further to be acquired, 
beyond tliis general or universal ijiterest in Christ Jesus; 
something to be done by which an appropriate interest may be 
established; something on which nuiy be grounded the rela- 
tionship of Father and Son, between Almighty God as a 
Father, and the penitent sinner as one of his chiklren — 
between Christ Jesus, the elder Brother, and the penitent 

CHAP. XI. A.D. I7!i!>.. /ETAT. 4'J. 201 

sinner, as a brother and joint heir with Christ his Lord. In 
other words, that general interest which all mankind have in 
the salvation and redemption by Jesus must be carried into 
effect by every man for himself, in eacli particular case, in order 
that Christ may not have shed his blood in vain." 

The above quotation cannot fail to be interesting to the 
readers of this memoir of Dean Milner, Ijoth as exhibiting a 
considerable accordance with the preceding thoughts on justifi- 
cation, and also as aff'ording a fair sample of the usual style 
and manner of his addresses from the pulpit. 



Animadvei-sions upon Lord Grenville's Answer to Buonaparte's Letter to 
George III. — CoiTespondence. — Religious Experience. — William Hey, 
Esq. — Liberality of Dean Miluer towards the poor of Leeds. — Letters to 
Rev. Wm. Richardson. — Distress of Mind. — Professor Carlyle. — Remarks 
on the Religious Exi)orience of Dean JSIilncr. — Letters. — Dr. Haweis' 
Impartial History of the Church. — Dean Milner's Life of his Brother. — 
Subsequent additions to the Life respecting the change in Joseph Milner's 
Religious Views. — Dr. Milner's Feelings during the Writing of i\\eLife. — 
Elasticity of Spirits. — Charge of Irregularity recently brought against 
the late Rev. Joseph Milner. — Dr. Hook. — Letter to the Rev. James 
StiUingtleet. — Dr. Haweis. — Letter to a Friend on the dangerous Illness 
of his Son. — Letters to Rev. Wm. Richardson. — Opinion of the present 
Bishop of Calcutta upon Dean Milner's Religious Publications. — Dean 
Milner's attaclmient to Cambridge. — Ilis conscientious Employment of 

A.D. 1800. tETAT. 50.' 

Dean Milner's political sentiments, his decided and strong 
attachment to the existing institutions of the country, being 
considered, it is impossible not to perceive and admire the 
sagacity which dictated the letter from which the following 
extract is taken, on the subject of Lord Grenville's answer to 
the letter then recently addressed to King George III., by 
Napoleon Buonaparte. 

It is needless to say that numbers of persons belonging to 
the political party to which Dr. Milner conscientiously adhered, 
thought and advised differently ; but in politics, as in all other 
matters, he invariably thought for himself. 

"To William Wilherforce, Esq. 

" Queen's College, January 21, 1800. 
* * * " If I had had his* note to answer, I would 
have been a deal more civil in words, but equally firm in sub- 
stance. 'I'liey were, I think, perfectly right in not letting the 
King answer — but wliy could tiiey not have said, * We are glad 
1() hear of the very name of peace, in any way or in any form ; 

* Buonaparte's. 

CHAP. XII. A.l). IHOO. yETAT. 50. 203 

l>ut what signifies asking us whether the war is to be eternal ? 
You propose nothing; we have formerly proposed, and have 
been sent back with contempt. You show no disposition to 
peace but in talk ; and at the very same time, you tell your 
armies you are going to invade us, &c., &c.' 

" It seems to me, that if Buonaparte were meditating some 
violent measure, either on us, or on the allies, or both ; and 
wished to influence France, and make the people contribute 
freely, and the soldiers fight in earnest, we, by such an answer, 
should concur with him most effectually. 

" In a word, conceive him at the head of his troops, with 
our answer in his hands, and commenting upon it. 

" I cannot think, that any thing would have been lost, by 
shewing a disposition to hear. 

" I would have stated the objection arising from the insta- 
bility of their government; but still, I would not have con- 
sidered it as an effectual bar to hearing what they have to say. 
It is ridiculous to talk of Buonaparte's government being a 
government only of a day or two ; be it so. Suppose he offers 
to quit Belgium, and to put you and the allies in possession of 
everything they could wish ; would you refuse the advantage 
because he is an upstart ? 

"There is no probability of any such thing, I believe, in the 
main ; yet I declare I should be surprised at nothing ; and I 
would never have exasperated him, nor shut his mouth. Hear 
him, I say, hear him ; but don't give up a particle to him. I 
suppose it will be said, that he wanted his authority to be 
recognised by us — it may be so — but possibly, he wanted it to 
be rejected. I don't know enough of the interior of France, or 
of his particular views, to say well what he wants ; but I am 
sure, there would have been great use in letting him go on, and 
in seeing what he is driving at. There would have been no 
harm in expressing the utmost doubts as to his stability, nor 
would I have expressed those doubts at all in friendly terms ; 
but there is a deal of difference between friendship and civility. 
Nothing like a wish for his stability, should have come from 
me ; and for similar reasons, I would have said nothing about 
the old line of princes. Alas ! alas ! only think — in a very 

204 CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. iETAT. 50. 

short time you may be on your knees to this very B., and 
begging him to admit you to negotiate ! I hope our people 
will not ride the great horse ; it is such a horrid measure. Not 
that, on the whole, I expect a successful negotiation ; but I 
wish the argument to be on our side when it is broken off, and 
that we may say with truth, as the Americans did, ' We have 
exhausted the last drop of the cup of reconciliation.' Tliose 
that give our Ministers credit for more discretion and foresight 
than I do, may view this matter in a different light. They may 
suppose, that they know, that nine parts out of ten of Frances 
are ripe for restoring monarchy ; and that the allies, the three 
great powers, have solemnly coalesced, and sworn to set all 
matters on their old footing ; and lastly, that they will keep 
their vows. If all this be absolutely foreknown, I grant it will 
make some difference in the reasoning ; but really not a great 
deal, even then ; still I would have given him civil words, 
however I had thought it necessary to guard against strengthen- 
ing his authority. 

"Every body that I see, thinks with me, except AV 

who has long been violent for the Duke of Portland, Wyndham^ 

The following letter to Mr. Richardson of York, although 
somewhat similar in its character to one addressed a short time 
before to Mr. Wilberforce *, is, if possible, yet more touching 
and affecting. It cannot fail to be read with advantage and 
with deep interest by all religious persons ; and to such of the 
religious friends of the late Dean Milner as may still survive, 
it will be in the highest degree satisfactory. 

These considerations justify its publication. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" Qiiec'?i\t Collcye Lodge, 
"Mv DEAR Sill, Ath February, 1800. 

" When wc are upon a footing of ceremony with people, we 
seldom fail to answer their letters very punctually ; and I assure 

* Chap. .\. p. 177- 

CHAP. XII. A.l). 1800. yETAT. 50. 205 

you I have often thought it to 1)6 an odd sort of proof of friend- 
ship, to neglect, for a long time, the kind communications of 
those whom we sincerely love and regard. It is far from being 
the best sort of proof, I admit; but still it is a real proof — at 
least, I must not give up the point just now, when I have 
before me (unanswered) your truly kind letter of the 23rd of 
November last. 

" It set my mind at ease at the time, in regard to the 
subjects it referred to, and I have looked it over several times 
since with great pleasure. I have experienced a very afflicting 
winter on the whole. I have had a deal of pain ; but by far 
the worst to bear is the affection of the mind. 

" My views have, of late, been exceedingly dark and dis- 
tressing; in a word, Almighty God seems to hide his face. 

" I entrust the secret hardly to any earthly being. I 
endeavour to pour out my heart before God ; but really I 
receive so little that I can fairly call answers, in any shape, 
that my heart fails, and I know not what will become of me. 
I feel assured, that, for a good while, my earnest desire has been 
to serve God according to my station, and to give myself 
wholly to Him ; and I hoped I was going on tolerably well : 
but I find it no easy matter to look death and judgment in the 
face; and the thing which most dispirits me is, that my own 
case takes up so much of my attention, that, in a measure, my 
usefulness is destroyed, or at least lessened. 

" I see my fault to be, that I am impatient in praver, and 
do not hope and wait quietly : but how to get the better of 
this, I am utterly at a loss. I don't know whether I make 
you understand me perfectly. In one word, as my prospects 
here in this world grow darker and darker as to bodily decay, 
I would fain have my evidences of a good hope brighten, — else 
what is to support me ? There is, doubtless, a good deal of 
bodily affection mixed with this ; but it is not all so, and the 
devil is very bu-^y. I bless God, however, that I never lose 
sight of the Cross, as the great thing to cling to ; and thouo-h 
I should die without seeing any personal interest iji the 
Redeemer's merits, I think, — I hope, I should be found at his 
feet. If I am to be saved at all, it is assuredly in this wav. 

206 CHAP. XIT. A.D. 1800. ^TAT. 50. 

This conviction has not yet been shaken in my mind ; but it is 
a blind sort of faith, and nearer allied to despair than to confi- 
dence. I see plainly, indeed, that there is no other way, but 
still I do not see but that I may perish. 

" I will thank you for a word at your leisure. My door is 
bolted all the time T am writing this, for I am full of tears. 

" The first volume of the Ecclesiusticul History is nearly 
reprinted : it has been a very laborious job ; but if I am spared 
I will try what I can make of the fourth volume. 

" I am ordered by the Archbishop to preach at St. James's 
Chapel on Friday, the 28th instant, and I certainly intend to 
do so. They don't often hear the truth, I fear. 

"I. M. 

" P.S. Our good friend Stillingfleet wrote to me, by this 
post, the kindest letter imaginable : quite in his style. 

" I have heard from Carlyle, at Constantinople ; all is well. 
I repeat it, I am extremely pleased with Bulmer." 

The state of Dean Milner's health at this period induced 
Jiim to recur to the advice of his friend, the late William 
Hey, Esq., of Leeds, whose letters exhibit eminent piety and 
friendly regard, as well as professional skill. 

In a letter dated Fel)ruary 19th, ISOO, this gentleman 
writes, — " I will endeavour to dispose of the liberal supply you 
have sent me, in comforting many distressed persons." 

This passage refers to a sum of money sent at stated times 
by Dr. Milner to Mr. Hey, to be by him distributed among 
such of his poor patients as might be unable to procure for 
themselves the comforts which their circumstances required. 
It would ill become the biographer of Dean Milner to publish 
the deeds of Christian liberality which were done by him in 
secret; but it may be allowable to say, that amid his many acts 
of benevolence, to strangers, as well as to his own poor relatives, 
he was ever ready to allow the peculiar claims of his indigent 
fellow-townsmen of Leeds ; with resjicct to them in jiarticular 
it might 1)1! truly said, tliat " tlie l)k'ssing of liini llmt was ready 
to perish came upon" him ; and he "caused liu' widow's heart 
to sing for joy." 

CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. TETAT. 50. 2()7 

Mr. Richardson, as it appears, replied very kindly to the 
affecting communication from Dean Mihier, dated February 
4th, and the Dean, always peculiarly grateful for kindness, thus 
again wrote to him from the residence of Mr. Wilherforce, in 
Old Palace Yard. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" Old Palace Yard, 
* My dear Friend, Westminster.^ March ^th, 1800. 

" I will seize a vacant moment (and it is but a moment) to 
assure you that your very kind letter of February l7th, which 
is now before me, was truly a cordial to my mind, almost 
overwhelmed with darkness and sorrow. 

" May God bless you and visit you with his choicest bless- 
ings, for so noticing your poor friend. 

" I would hope you are not entirely mistaken in my case, 
and I know you dare not flatter; yet, on the other hand, I 
must not, I fear, give you that full credit for understanding my 
situation in spirituals, which I should wish to do. 

" Next to any immediate act of kindness which you are so 
good as to show to my poor self, there is no possible way in 
which you can so effectually secure and call forth my grateful 
feelings towards you, as by the friendly attention which you 
pay to the writings of my deceased brother. I know the 
trouble such an undertaking gives ; and therefore I know how 
to appreciate your regard to his memory. Still I entreat 
you not to flag in this matter*. Again, my dear friend, God 
bless you. 

" Your affectionate I. M." 

The following letter to the same excellent friend affords, 
besides other interesting matter, an instance of the great 
kindness which it was Dr. Milner's invariable practice to 
bestow upon such deserving young men as were recommended 
to his favourable attention. 

Mr. Ricliardson was engaged in preparing for pnhlioation a volume of .Toseph 
Milner's Sermons. 

208 CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. ^TAT. 50. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dear Friend, April \Oth, 1800. 

" Mr. B. kindly called upon me to-day, to say that a friend 
of his was going to York to-morrow morning ; and so I take 
advantage of the opportunity to write you a short letter, 
though I liave nothing very particular to say. 

" B. really is a very amiable, mild, taking young man. I 
am greatly pleased with him. Ilis public dispute called his 
aci, is lately put off till the next term, on account of the deatii 
of a Master of Arts of St. John's. When such an event takes 
place in term time, it causes three days non-term, and no 
business is done : so poor B., who was ready charged and 
primed, must keep in that state till he has an opportunity of 
firing. He was very little discomposed about it, though he 
said he could not well set about other business till he had got 
that off his mind. 1 have known some people in his circum- 
stances exceedingly ruffled by such an event. 

" He seems, indeed, excellently disposed, and I wish his 
modesty would let him call upon me oftcner than he does ; 
for it would really be a pleasure to me to do a service to 
such a lad : and those subjects have been so familiar to me 
for a long time, that it gives me no trouble to assist one 
in his situation. I gave him some advice about spending 
his summer, but I mean to send for him and examine him 

" May Almighty God bless you always, and return seven 
times into your bosom your kindness shewn to me lately, both 
in what you said, and in the dispatch you used in answering 
my letter. 

" I cannot but think there is something sadly wrong about 
my views, or my way of going on, in some respect or other, or 
I sli(juld not be so very much in this great darkness and 
dismay. I assure you 1 sometimes think my mind will lose all 
its tone. I aim as much as possible at two tilings: — 1st, to 
keep up a steady, i)raying, waiting spirit, for light; and, 2nd, to 
surrender my own will to His will entirely, and therefore to 

IMIAI'. Ml. A.I). 1800. .«'l'A'l'. 50. 209 

allow MO known sin. Tliis must surely be right ; but I suppose 
I do not do what I say. There is something wrong, I am 
satisfied, or I should not be so miserable, and have so little 
confidence towards God, at the times when I most want it. There 
is nothing that I see clearer, than that my continued afflictions 
are useful and even necessary to me. In intervals of health, I 
can pray very sincerely for the return of illness, if expedient. 
I really tremble when I grow better, so disposed am I to wander 
into the old way of worldly-mindedness, and of pleasing self; 
but when the fits of illness come, I do not, I believe, properly 
kiss the rod. Yet 1 really cannot charge myself with much 
murmuring; I thank God, I have got over that a good deal; 
but a sort of melancholy sulkiness comes on, and a want of 
cheerful submission. No earthly being can tell what I suffer in 
mind and body. I should be very grateful to you to write again 
to me at your leisure. 

"It pleased God that I got through my business in London 
tolerably well. 

" There are certain things that I must do, or else I must 
give up all. I endeavour to go on as well as I can, and to live., 
as it were, from day to day ; my motto is, ' Sufficient for the 
day,' &c. &c. 

" 1 am your obliged and faithful friend and servant, 

" I. MiLNER. 

" N.B. — The last account from Carlyle was very concise ; 
he was quite well ; had travelled four hundred miles through 
Asia Minor towards Jerusalem; he was at Kemar, opposite 

There are, probably, persons who think that " the surviving 
friends of Dean Milner," — to adopt the words which he himself 
used in reference to his departed brother, — " would have con- 
sulted his reputation much better by stifling the contents" of 
this, as well as of some preceding letters, " than by thus pub- 
lishing them, and proclaiming the weakness, and even the 
M'ickedness, of human nature*." 

• See Dr. Mti.xER's IJfe of his Biothpr, 

210 CHAP. Xn. A.D. 1«00. vTlTAT. 50. 

The author of this Memoir willingly confesses, that she has 
felt some doubt upon this subject. In addition, however, to 
the important consideration of the unquestionable nature of the 
evidence afforded by this and others of Dr. Milner^s confidential 
letters, of his genuine and deep anxiety on the great subject of 
religion, she had, for her direction and guidance, his own 
example. Acting, doubtless, \\'ith a view to the glory of God, 
and the spiritual advantage of his fellow-creatures, he did not 
deem it necessary or expedient to withhold from the public eye 
various private reflections of his departed brother. On the 
contrary, he has suffered the readers of his Life of Joseph 
Milner to "enter" with him "into his closet," and to "watch 
the genuine effusions of his soul," while prostrate before God. 
He was well aware that by thus laying open the secret recesses 
of his brother's heart, he should cause much surprise to persons 
unacquainted with the real nature of the Gospel of Christ, and 
might perhaps give occasion to some anxious inquiries, such as, 
" What is the cause of all this mourning, under a sense of sin ? 
What means this uncomfortable darkness of mind ? Whence 
this lamentation over the strength of corruptions, and the 
difficulty of resisting temptations ?" To all such inquiries, he 
gives the true answer, alike applicable in this, in that, and in 
every similar case. " These complaints," says he, " are made 
because he who utters them has an entire hatred of sin, and an 
exquisite sensibility in perceiving its motions, and because he 
hungers and thirsts after righteousness*." 

A remark of Joseph Milner, already quoted, may perhaps 
here occur to the reader's recollection : — " They are always the 
most distressed who have the least reason to be so ; it is the 
best sign in the world." 

The following very interesting letter gives the first intima- 
tion of Dr. Milner's intention to write a * Life ' of his brother, 
and exhibits his views and feelings with regard to that publica- 
tion : — 

L\fe of Rev. Joseph Milner. 

CIlAl'. XII. A.I). IIKKI. V/\'AT. r,(K 211 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

•• 15 th May, 1800, 
"' Dear Sir, Queen's College. 

" I have before me your^s of the 13th April last. You will 
have thought me long in answering, particularly as you must 
now be near the conclusion*. * * * When you 
hear all, you will, perhaps, rather wonder that I have done so 
well as I have, though I have but a lame account to give. 

" 1. I have learned not to trouble myself about errata; I 
do as well as I can during the printing of the sheets ; but after 
all is over, I really think that the insertion of an errata-sheet is 
only proclaiming one's own errors or negligence, and it makes 
people look at it and say, ' How badly,' or ' How carelessly, 
this book is printed ;' persons who, perhaps, would not other- 
wise have found out one single error. Observe, I speak 
only of common, little, trifling, errors, such as anybody can 

" 2. I had only to reprint the author's introduction to the 
second edition of the first volumef, and then it would have 
been done, but a most vile affair has happened, which gives me 
a good deal of trouble. Dr. Haweis has lately published an 
" impartial history" of the Church of Christ. If you have seen 
it, you will perceive that it is quite Jacobinical in Church 
matters throughout. He speaks handsomely of my brother in 
places, but he has his eye constantly upon him, to pull to pieces 
his notions of establishments. 

" All this would not in the least have affected me : but there 
are in it the most abominable misquotations and misrepresen- 
tations of his (my brother's) sentiments, insomuch that my 
friends are clear that they ought not to pass unnoticed by me. 
The good to be done is, I trust, my object, when I say, that I 
acquiesce in their judgment, and am writing a sort of long 
advertisement or preface to this said volume ; if I am able to 
work, it will be ready in three or four weeks. 

* Of the revis^ion of the volume of Sennoim. 
t Of the Church History. 

P 2 

212 CHAP. XII. A.I). IHOO. iETAT. 50. 

"3. Besides the above, I wish to write something like a 
' Life' of my poor dear deceased brother. I am at work, and 
have honest StiUingfleet's papers before me. 

" My first view was to have written myself all that may be 
called the domestic part of his life, and then to have requested 
you to have picked from StiUingfleet's account* a few pages, and 
also to have added your own brief sentiments respecting the 
internal change of his mind in religious matters. You would, 
either of you, have done that nmch better than I could ; and, 
further, it would have been a very great pleasure to me to see 
such an account of his life go down to posterity with all our 
three names bound together. I do not yet entirely give up the 
hope that something or other of that sort may be donef; but, 
when I set to work, I really found it would so embarrass me to 
keep clear of the religious part of his character, that I could 
not get on at all on that plan, and therefore I have much 
encroached on what I had intended to leave to you and to 

" I have written rapidly, and the thing is very incor- 
rect at present ; but my friends, who have seen it, say it will 
do exceedingly well, and, that, though long, it is very enter- 

"' Here, again, I wish every line that is not likely to do some 
good to be blotted out. In commending my brother, I know I 
am going most expressly against his wish ; however, I say not a 
word but what is most strictly true. 

" 4. Now to come to the point. I mean to send you this 
life of my brother in about a fortnight, by Mr. Ogle, of Jesus 
College. I could send it sooner, so far as I am concerned, 
because, having Dr. Ilaweis to take under hand, I am hard 
worked, and I must send you it very rough. Indeed I wish, and 
do beg of you to cut and slash, and do exactly with it as you 
think fit. You will find in it many entertaining things, and 

" Mr. Stilliii^^ect, as ui)poar.s from 
the priiitod Life, had Iiiinsclf compiled, 
and tiiiiisiiiittcd to Dean .Miliicc, a f.i/r 
of his lirotlicr ,I(ist'i)li. j Mii.NKn 

t In 5iuljs(anrf it haw bocn doiic; for | 

till- names of Richardson and Stilling- 
fleet will ;il\vays he associated in me- 
mory with tlioso of .Josr.pii and Isaac 

CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. .KTAT. 50. 21.3 

some instructive, which, probablv', you have never heard of: it 
has almost broken my poor heart to write it; and, I assure you, 
I live from day to day, expecting every day, or nearly so, abso- 
lutely to break down. * * * 

" I leave it to your judgment entirely, to add a little more 
from Stillingfleet, if you think proper, and also to insert a page 
or two of your own, on the nature of the change both in my 
brother's heart and head, in religious concerns. 

" This plan I cannot give up : it would, I repeat it, be very 
pleasant to me ; but then I do not press you, — ^judge for 
yourself when you see the thing, and the state it is in. 

" I shall be ready, whenever you please, with the volume of 
History; for I hope to have it all printed off, and Dr. Haweis 
well flogged, before I come to you at York, on or about the 
19th or 20th of June; if that should suit, so as not to interfere 
with your summer excursions. * * * As to the publication 
of the books, a month or two is of little consequence; or rather, 
I think, people get more settled towards September and 
October than during the summer months ; and we had better 
not spend our fire to no purpose. 

" I shall wait for your opinion and ad\nce, and am, dear Sir, 
" Your obliged friend, 

" Very sincerely, I. M." 

The sparkles of constitutional gaiety, which enliven this 
otherwise grave and serious letter, will forcibly recall the 
memory of Dr. Milner to the minds of those who enjoyed his 
personal acquaintance. 

The following extracts from a letter, addressed to the same 
friend, and referring chiefly to the composition and publication 
of the Life of Joseph Milner, exhibit, in a strong light, the 
Dean's extreme tenderness of heart, and his unbounded confi- 
dence in the judgment and good-will of Mr. Richardson. 

''May, 1800, Queen's College, 
"Mv DEAR Mr. Richardson, Thursday u'lght. 

" It was very much my wish to have a few hours more to 
employ upon the narrative wliich 1 ."send you. Still, I don't 

214 CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. ^TAT. 50. 

know that I could have done much more at it, unless I could 
have had a previous talk with you. 

" Friends are partial, and often, not quite sincere. They 
are here very much pleased with what I have written ; but I do 
entreat you, if you have the least regard for me, to do with this 
manuscript exactly as you think best. Cut and slash, — cut and 
slash as much as you please. 

" I send you good Stillingfleet^s narrative along with it ; and 
if you think it right to pick out a few pages of his, and to add a 
few of your own, descriptive of the interior of my dear brother's 
religious principles and religious feelings, it would be exceed- 
ingly acceptable to me ; but I do not press you. 

" I have not neglected business, I assure you ; I have been 
most uncommonly worked; you know 1 told you how Dr. 
Haweis plagued me. You will now do just as you think fit ; 
and I shall expect your commands, whether I am to come by 
York about the 20th of June, or to wait till my return from 

" Oh ! my dear Sir, if you did but know how tlie wounds of 
my poor heart bleed afresh during this business, you would 
pity me. At the same time, I will freely own that, though I 
feel, and bitterly, yet there is something of a sort of sense, that 
I am doing what I ought to do on the occasion, and that 
thought relieves ; but, do save me all you can. 

" Yours very affectionately, 

"I. M. 
" To the Rev. William Richardson." 

The following most characteristic letter, having been written 
in the most unrestrained freedom of confidential intercourse, 
throws yet greater light upon the feelings and wishes of Dr. 
Milner concerning the composition and publication of his Life 
of his brother. 

CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. .^.TAT. 50. 215 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

"My dear Friend, " Queen's College, June 4, 1800. 

" I received your kind letter with the proposals, &c. *, the 
very morning that Mr. Ogle set off from this place with my 
little parcel for you. 

" 1st. First, then, I must be at Carlisle on the 22nd instant 
at farthest, and consequently I must leave York some time on 
the 20th. 

" 2ndly. In regard to being at your house ; you are very 
good, and I take it exceedingly kind, — I feel it, I assure you. 
At the same time, believe me, a man of my infirmities would 
rather be at an inn, than at any friend's whatever : he can 
indulge his ill tempers better. 

"' 3rdly. It has been supposed that M A , of 

Leeds, was particularly well acquainted with my brother's state 
of mind at the time of his change, and had interviews with him. 

" I dare say you have heard my brother speak of that 
matter ; and I confess, my opinion is, that he would not com- 
municate anything material; for if I remember, he was thought 
by my brother, not to have conducted his advice very prudently. 

"He is a worthy creature, and, I believe, is much improved; 
and yet it was a strange thing to bid his audience ' Read the 
Anti-Jacobin Review,' and that I heard him say from the pulpit, 
last summer, myself. 

" You will know best whether he is likely to communicate 
anything useful. 

" 4th]y. You will now have read my papers ; I fear they 
are too long, but I did not well know where to stop. You will 
have observed, that all I have said does suppose something to 
be added respecting the heart-work, the internal struggles, the 
change of views, &c. 

"5thly. I wish, really, you would be so good as to say no 
more about ' spoiling my work,' with the addition of yours, or 
any body's else. It is not to be considered as a thing of that 

* Proposals for the publication of a second edition of the first volume of 
JosErn Milneh',» Ecclesiastical History. 

216 CHAF. Xil. A.D. 1800 JET XT. 50. 

sort : it is a plain, simple narrative, and reads well enough, 
because the matter arranges itself, and because the life itself 
also is truly entertaining. When you have read and considered 
it, you will best know what it wants. I repeat it, I should like 
us all to go bound up together, that is what I should like, but 
I see the difficulty, and my heart is almost broken with the 

*•' When I have mentioned my wishes as above, 1 do not 
mean to say that I want you to take much trouble, and yet it 
is unfair to ask you to appear at all in it, without giving you a 
respectable magnitude and portion — I really feel all that, on 
your account. If you like better to add a little without your 
name — or — nay, I know not what to say. 

" I give you carte blanche. 

*' 6thly. I return you a few copies of the Proposals which 1 
have got struck off. 

" I rather think it may be as well to clip off the bottom 
sentence about Haweis just at present; and to let that fulmi- 
nation appear just at the time or a fortnight before. 
" A sad raffled letter — 

"But I am always yours truly and affectionately, 

"I. M." 

All persons who were intimately acquainted with Dr. Milner 
will allow, that the foregoing letter may be justly styled *' most 
characteristic." It strikingly exhibits, besides other remarkable 
qualities, that peculiar elasticity of mental constitution by 
which he was happily distinguished — happily, because this 
elasticity was the very quality of mind which, if the expression 
may be permitted, protected him against the otherwise over- 
wlielniing f(jrce of liis own fervent affections. 

For the purpose of rectifying a mistake wliicli the perusal 
of the above letter may possibly have excited in the minds of 
some readers, it is proper to observe, that the Life of Joseph 
Milner is published exactly as it came from the pen of the 
Dean, without any such addition, in that part of it which relates 
to the great change in his brother's religious views, as in this 
letter he desires. 

CJlAl'. XIJ. A.'.>. lUDO. ETAT.50, 217 

In a note appended to the printed Life, a declaration to this 
:ffect is made by the Rev. WilHam Richardson. 

It should also be ol)served, that to the subsequent editions 
of the Life, large and important additions were made by the 
Dean himself. 

The motives which induced him thus to enlarge this work, 
are thus stated by himself*. 

" The writer has been informed, that, after all the explana- 
tion furnished in the several pages of the first edition of this 
:iarrative, respecting the religiovis sentiments of Mr. Milner, 
md the change which they underwent, some well-disposed 
persons have expressed a wish that still further light had been 
thrown on these subjects. 

"Two distinct questions are asked: — 

" 1st. AN hat defect or failing could there be, or what change 
could be necessary in the character of a clergyman, who, from 
his first going into orders, is stated to have been a proficient in 
literature sacred and profane; perfectly orthodox in opinion; 
zealous and practical in preaching; and exemplary in conduct? 

" 2ndly. If an alteration for the better reaUy took place, what 
are the circumstances which contributed to the improvement 
of a character, apparently already so excellent ? In one word, 
what is the history and the nature of the alteration ?" 

To these inquiries, which, as Dean Milner observes, " are 
not questions of speculation or mere curiosity," but which 
" lead to discussions of the last importance," brief, but com- 
prehensive and satisfactory answers are aiforded. Otherwise 
than luminously and impressively, Dr. Milner could not write 
upon any important subject; it may, therefore, be easily 
believed, that in replying to the weighty questions here pro- 
pounded, he writes with extraordinary force and perspicuity. 
The Life of the Rev. Joseph Milner is, however, so well known, 
that it is sufiicient to refer the serious reader to any of the 
later editions of that truly admirable jiiece of biographyf. 

* See second edition of the Life, to a charge lately brought against Jo- 
published ill 1802. I seph Milner, in common with some 
t It is perhap.'^ piopei- here to advert other excellent clergymen of the pe- 


CHAP. XII. A.l). 1800. /ETAT. 50. 

The second edition of the first volume of the History of the 
Church of Christ, of which, with its long preface, Dr. Milner, 
in his letter to Mr. Richardson, dated May 15th, speaks*, as 
likely to be " ready in three or four weeks," was published in 
the succeeding August. 

To this publication allusion is made in the following letter. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" My dear Sir, " Queen's College, September 8, 1800. 

" You must know that the present Bishop of Lincoln and 
myself were very intimate at Cambridge. 

"About two years ago, he desired me to get him my 
brother's first volume of Ecclesiastical History. I did not 
succeed; nor, to say the truth, did I take much pains about it, 
as I foresaw there would soon be a second edition. I therefore 
thought it but right to send him a copy of the second edition 
of Vol. I., the moment it was struck oflF; and the inclosed is 
the answer from his Lordship, received by me yesterday. 

" You will think it curious enough to read I am sure ; and 
therefore I have thought it worth while to send you it ; but I 
beg you will not fail to return it *. 

riod ; a charge of " during violation of 
the regulations of the Church;" See 
Dr. Hook's Visitation Sermon, first 
edition, published in 18:<8. It is true 
that in the third and subsequent edi- 
tions, the accusation is cancelled ; but 
as that circumstance may have escaped 
the notice of many persons who may 
have a high respect for Dr. Hook's 
authority, I may be permitted to ob- 
serve that an attentive penisal of the 
Life of the Rev. Joseph Milner might 
have coHNTnced Dr. II. of the injustice 
of such an accusation. It is there 
oxjiressly statcil, that accui-din^' to (iic 
best li'gal ojjinions whicli the kingdom 
afforded, "Mr. Mdiit-r, liy meeting Jiis 
own parihliioners in his own j)ariNh. 
had done nothing ccmtrary (o any hiw 

The chapter " On Ecclesiastical Es- 
tablishments," in the second volume 
of the Ilislory of the Church, is likewise 
decisive as to the sentiments of the 
author of that work. 

Josejdi Milner was, doubtless, a man 
of extraordinary zeal ; and in his labo- 
rious discharge of his sacred office, 
probably taught "from house to 
house," in a manner unusual among 
clergymen of less energy; but so far 
from biing guilty of " daring violations 
of the regulations of the Cluirch," he 
would, from princii)le, have deprecated 
any apj)roacli to siieli a lino of conduct. 

* See page 211. 

■i- This letter was not found among 
Dr. Milner's ]iiipers. It is tiierefore 
jtrobable that In- liad destroyed it. 

CHAP. XII. A.l). lii'.v.K 1:TAT. 50. 219 

" It is a lamentable truth, that the bishops of our country 
do not understand the real state of religion ; and yet I am not 
sure, that their ignorance has not, in some cases, its uses. 

" The Bishop of * * * , for example, ha.s, I am told, 
acted very inconsistently ; that is, he has, in certain instances, 
been most unreasonably severe with godly young men, and, in 
others, has shown himself sufficiently friendly. 

" May God open their eyes, and incline their hearts ! 

" As to binding up my Animadversions with The Sermons, 
as the Bishop of Lincoln hints, I think your proposal the 
better, viz., to give them to the possessors of the first volume 
of the History; and they may, indeed, also be given to such 
purchasers of the Sermons as appear to be reading persons. 
" I am, dear Sir, yours affectionately, 

" I. M." 

The following truly affecting letter reveals most unreservedly 
the views and state of mind of Dean Milner while engaged in 
the composition of the Life of his brother. 

"To THE Rev. James Stillingfleet. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dear Friend, September 10, 1800. 

" I acknowledge I was in debt to you for a letter, and for 
a very kind one too. The contents of this last, also, furnish a 
new proof of your kindness, and of that tenderness with which 
you always treat mentem meam exulceratam. 

" Indeed, my dear friend, I never expect that sore to heal. 

" In regard to my feelings respecting the Life of the 
deceased, most certainly no job was ever undertaken by me 
with so much reluctance, nor executed Anth so much perturba- 
tion and tumult. They say that does not much appear in the 
writing, which I very much wonder at — and so far it is well. 

" Your very kind letter truly and verily sets my mind at 
ease : not that I did not know very well, that you would per- 
fectly excuse me — yet still there was a sort of delicacy in the 
matter: and it is higlily agreeable to me, that you have had the 
consideration and the good nature lo speak first, and so to leave 
me no doubt on the business. 

220 CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. .-ETAT. 50. 

*• If your papers had contained the plague I could not have 
been more fearful of opening them ; nor did I once untie the 
string or peep into them, till I was flogged by good Richardson 
last winter, to let him have the Life. 

" The first thing that struck me, after I had read yours, 
was, that there were a number of entertaining things about 
him and us. which took place when he was a boy. which were 
only known to myself, or if you had heard of them, you had 
probably never heard them ver)- exactly, nor in detail; and so, 
that there was nobody but myself that could execute that part 

" Thus the idea with which I sat down to write was as 
follows ; that the L\fe should be considered and owned to be 
written by us three; viz,, you, Richardson, and myself — that 
each of us should execute our respective parts exactly ad 
arbiti'ium, that is, at the pleasure of the individual; and I con- 
ceived that a sort of whole would belong to what each should 
do; and lastly, that the three wholes would constitute one 
finished whole complete. 

" Such were my ideas at setting out, and if you have seen 
the manuscript, you will have observed, that it ran all, for 
many pages, upon that plan. I conceived that my part would 
principally be the anecdotes and the minutiae, and particularly 
of the very early part of his life ; and then, that yours and 
Richardson's would comprise the graver and more important 
parts. I was greatly pleased with this plan in my own mind ; 
and permit me to say and assure you, that the idea of our (all 
three) going down together, bound up. was tu me a soothing 
and most pleasant reflection. 

"Why, then, was not this plan adhered to' 

" The fact is this — I began as I have said ; nay, I went on, 
almost, if not entirely through, with this system still in view. 

" I wrote as rapidly as possible ; I could not stop to compress 
or reflect — my heart would have broken if I had — or at least, I 
should very soon have been incapacitated for going on — so on 
I went, slap dash, through all tiic parts of his life — putting 
down all that I could recollect, or that struck me as particular ; 
still, as von will observe, steering as clear as I could of the 

CHAP. XII. A.U. I8i»0. /ETAI'. oO. 221 

history of his own internal change of mind in religious things ; 
and still meaning, that all that, and all that was connected with 
it, should be left to you and to Richardson. 

" But it seems, that I had been so particular, and had 
swelled the pages to such a degree, that Richardson thought 
there was not a deal wanting; otherwise, it was still my wish, 
that so much might be selected from your account, and so much 
added from Mr. R.'s, as should complete the whole — and, that 
your part and his part should consist pretty much of such 
things as I was less able to speak to. 

" Such were my ideas ; and I thought such a system might 
be made to appear tolerably consistent. 

" But, my dear friend, I felt that I was, in this business, the 
most incompetent judge in the world ; and, therefore, I was, 
and am most happy, that Richardson undertook to settle the 
whole without calling upon me any more, for- my opinion or 

" This was most exceedingly kind on his part — for indeed, I 
cannot make you understand how much this matter tried my 
spirits and shattered constitution. I begged of Richardson to 
cut and slash my pages, and to alter, and, in short, to do 
exactly what he thought best with all the materials ; and if you 
had been at York, instead of him, of course I should have 
made precisely the same request to you. 

" All this is not to be considered as apology, no, nor any 
part of it, — you don^t want any apology, I well know ; but after 
the love and kindness you have shown, and the pains you have 
taken, it would have been brutal not to have explained to you 
the history of the thing. 

" I have so little room left, that I must be as pithy as 

possible. 1st. I hope your dear E goes on well. Does 

God bless him, and preserve him in the same modest, diligent, 
inquiring state of mind, that he appeared to be in, at Carlisle ? 
How beautiful are such dispositions in a youth ! and how soon 
are they, usually, apt to be lost ! 2ndly. I do beg, that we 
may contrive to meet somewhere — you used to come often this 
way — I beg we may meet either here, or in the north. .Srdly. I 
am sorry you shoidd think I am too severe with Dr. Haweis ; I 

222 ("IIAT. XII. A.l). 1)!<M>. E'l'AT. 50. 

think, that when you have read his book, you will alter your 
opinion. Every body I have asked, has thought that he 
deserv'ed the drubbing. 

"Yours, I. M." 

" N. B. The misrepresentations of facts of which Dr. Haweis 
has been guilty, merit all the blows he has received, completely. 
On that head I am convinced, and have no remorse — but the 
doubt with me has been, whether there be any part of him 
sound, as a servant of our common Lord ? and here, the more 
I have inquired, the worse I have liked him. See how scanda- 
lously he is misleading the public, in giving them a general 
notion of evangelical preachers. Hear our friend, Mr. Richard- 
son, on this head, and his opinion of Haweis. His character, 
of old, is very problematical." 

To another friend. Dean Milner, in reference to the same 
subject, thus writes : 

" In regard to Dr. Haweis, I have briefly to observe, that 
neither any contempt he could have expressed, nor any opinions 
he could have advanced, would ever have induced me to take 
the least notice of him, if he had not been guilty of the grossest 
misrepresentation of matters of fact. No man reveres more 
than I do, both liberty of thought and liberty of expression : 
but when a person falsifies facts in the supporting of his 
opinions, he ought, in my judgment, to be exposed as very 
dangerous : and on this head, my good and worthy friend, 
permit me to say, that I do not see how the judgments of well- 
disposed persons can possibly be divided. 

" I am, dear Sir, always yours, faithfully, 

"Isaac Milner." 

On the 19th of September, Dr. Milner, to whom Mr. Wil- 
berforce had written warmly concerning his own domestic hap- 
piness, thus replied to him: — "Perhaps these wonderful smiles 
are for some future trial; continue to watch:" and this very 
reply found Mr. Wilberforce, wh6 was at Bognor with his family, 
in the deepest distress on acrcount of the dangerous illness of 
hi.s wife. On hearing of the affliction which had thus befallen 

rilAl'. XII. A.l». ifido. .^;rA'l'. ->n. 223 

his friend. Dr. Milner hastened to Bognor, and remained with 
him till the danger was past. 

"What a blessing to have such friends!" is Mr. Wilber- 
force's remark in his Diary, with reference to this occurrence*. 

About the beginning of October, Dr. Milner, ever ready to 
regard any claim upon his attention, thus wrote to Mr. Wilber- 
force: — 

" Yesterday I received a letter from Matthew Montague, 
strongly recommending Mr. Perceval to be University Counsel 
if Mr. Le Blanc be made a Judge, and urging also your favour- 
able opinion of him in the strongest terms. 

" I think the office is but five guineas per annum, or a 
retainer, and I hope we shall have no business for him. I 
have answered that I think the Vice-Chancellor appoints or 
nominates, and that the University usually acquiesces in his 
nomination. I never remember a contest. 

" If there should be a contest, my long residence has con- 
nected me directly, or indirectly, with so many lawyers, that it 
would be highly improper in me to engage my little interest 
before I know the candidates, particularly as two lawyers are of 
our own college. 

*' will be a candidate also, I doubt not, and I am sure 

he will think himself the fittest for the office. I confess I 
think him exceedingly unfit, and I wish, in order that all diffi- 
culties may be removed, that somebody may be fixed on 
decidedly fit and experienced. 

" From all I have heard, however, I have reason to believe, 
that Perceval is both brilliant and solid. 

"Christian says, 'Oh, no!' and calls him flippant, and will 
not, in the conversations I have had with him, hear of any 
body but himself for University Counsel. 

" Yours affectionately, I. M." 

Mr. Perceval was elected University Counsel in October, 
1800, and held that office till the year 1807- 

* See Life of Wilberfnrce, vol. ii. 

•2'24 CHAP. XII. A.I). 1«0(). /I>:TAT. 50. 

On the 5th of November, Dean Milner, always disposed to 
sympathize with others in their affliction, thus wrote to an old 
and valued friend, one of whose sons was dangerously ill: — 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dear Friend, November 5, 1800. 

•' Your two last letters have made our hearts exceedingly 
heavy, and the prospect is truly afflicting to poor Robert* in 
liis peculiar circumstances. We see him constantly, and 
endeavour to l)e a little support to his spirits; but I trust he 
habitually looks to the right place, where alone sound support 
is to be had. I was about writing to you a few lines the two 
last evenings, but felt so sorrowful and so indisposed, and had 
so little to say to the purpose, that I omitted to do it. 

'•' I endeavour always to remember your afflicted son and all 
your family in the warmest applications I can make to the 
throne of grace. I would have written to John himself before 
this time, and have often been tempted to do so, but that I 
feared to flutter him too much, and perhaps injure his tottering 
health. You may, I think, venture to tell him that I have the 
most aftectionate feelings towards him at all times, and that I 
now reflect, with most peculiar pleasure, on the bold and 
decided part which God has enabled him to take in the minis- 
terial functions since he was in orders. He conducted himself 
here, where the trial was difficult and formidable, with such a 
mixture of warmth and prudence as he may now review with 
solid comfort. Far be it from me to suggest the least false or 
self-righteous source of comfort ; but this I say, if, in any dark 
moments, he should be tempted to doubt whether he loves 
Christ or not, I can have no doubt, nor ought he to have any, 
but that Christ loves him; otherwise He would never have 
made him so much his willing instrument and servant in the 
ministry. Such things never come from mere human nature. 
Let him, therefcjre, consider the whole of last year as it was, 
viz., a gracious smile of his Redeemer, and a smile too that may 
be preparatory to his present suffering. You may add also, if 

A yoiuigcT son of the same friend. ;iti(1 a Student of Queen's College. 

CIIAI'. Xn. A.l). 18(10. El'AT. 50. 225 

it will not fatigue him, that 1 have mentioned repeatedly (since 
he left us) with peculiar pleasure, the frequent conversations we 
had together on 8t. Paul's Kpistle to the Romans. 

'' May God support you, dear Sir, in this new aflliction. 
lie has carried you through many already, and with very 
evident j)rofit. 

•' I remain your affectionate friend, 

"Isaac Milnkr." 

To the reader who, l)y the perusal of Dean Milner's con- 
fidential letters, has already been made acquainted with his 
feelings during the preparation of the first volume of his 
deceased brother's sermons, and the writing of the Life which 
is prefixed to that volume, the following letter, written soon 
after the publication of the book, will not be uninteresting. 

"To THE Rrv. William Richardson. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dear Friend, November Ith, 1800. 

" Many thanks for your last letter. Your letters are always 
comfortable to me, let you write about what you will. 

"The sermons please me, and (so far as I can judge) others 
also, much beyond expectation. Dr. Jowett speaks in the highest 
terms of their merit in regard to strength, conciseness, harmony 
of numbers, arrangement, and sense, though he confesses that 
there are a few inelegancies which may be easily mended in a 
second edition. My health had hindered me from hearing my 
brother preach often, for many years ; and I now perceive that 
he had worked himself from a style, that in his youth was rather 
flowery and diffuse, into one that is strong and nervous and 
sufficiently polished, except in a few instances. Indeed, I am 
convinced that you must have had a world of trouble to bring 
them into the state in which they now are. 1 really see nothing 
in them that can be called desultory in the least ; and they are 
full of matter and wisdom. The 'Life' too, gives great satisfac- 
tion : but why would you leave out what was nothing but the 
strictest truth*? However, I must say no more. God bless 

Tliis retVrs to .some strong expressions of rejijartl towards Mr. Kicliurdson, 
jised by Dean Miiner. 


22r) CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. JETAT. 50. 

you ! I see, in every line you have written, your love of the 
deceased and your sincere regard for his memory, and for his 
credit, and your neglect of your own. Oh ! my friend ! how 
this book has made me feel afresh ! yet with a degree — a con- 
siderable degree of satisfaction ! 

^' My brother used generally to put upon his sermons, the 
the year and month and place of preaching; 

" I value every relic of his writing so much, that I hope 
the manuscripts of those printed have not been destroyed, 
though I fear they may be. If not, pray preserve them care- 
fully, with all the others. You truly say, that to read those 
sermons is like being with him. It affects me beyond measure. 
" Yours very affectionately, I. M." 

Besides the composition of the Life of his brother, Dr. 
Milner during this year, edited the second edition of the first 
volume of the Ecclesiastical History, to which he prefixed a 
treatise entitled Animadversions on Dr. Haweis' Impartial and 
succinct Histo7'ij of the Church of Christ. With respect to Dean 
Milner's Life of his brother, it is allowable here to quote some 
remarks subsequently made by the present excellent Bishop 
of Calcutta*: "His sentiments," writes the Bishop, "on the 
great truths of the Christian religion, will be found fully stated 
in the continuation of Joseph Milner's Church History ; and, 
perhaps, yet more distinctly, if possible, in the Life, prefixed to 
the first volume of his brother's posthumous Sermons. He 
has here given his clear and decided views of the leading 
doctrines of the Church and of the Reformation, the history of 
which he had so carefully studied." 

Of the second edition of the first volume of his brother's 
Church History, the editor has himself spoken, in a letter already 
given in this work f ; and his own preface to that edition, is in 
exact accordance with the statements made in the letter. 

To the Animadversions on Dr. Haweis' History of the Church, 
the reader will likewise have ol)served some allusions in Dean 
Milner's letters to his excellent friend Mr. Richardson of 

* Dr. Wilfioii. f See Cliap. X. 

(^FIAP. Xir. A.U.;tl8(»0. /ETAT. 50. 227 

Of that very able performance, wliich is incorporated with 
the Dean's preface to the second edition of tlie first volume 
of .Foseph Mihier's (Jhiirch Hisfory and of which the writer 
himself declares, that he was induced to undertake it, from ''a 
strong sense of the utility of the Ecclesiastical Establishment 
of this country," it is needless to say more, than, that while it 
is such as might be expected from a man of Dr. Mihier's 
decided opinions and warm feelings, when employed in clearing 
from gross misrepresentation, and exculpating from imputed 
blame, the memory of a beloved brother, it is likewise an 
example of Christian moderation and forbearance *. 

Dr. Haweis being dismissed, Dean Milner, in this preface, 
which is an elaborate performance not repeated in the sub- 
sequent editions, " most gratefully acknowledges the liberal 
patronage of the University of Cambridge," who had, at their 
own expense, already printed three volumes of his brother's 
Ecclesiastical History, and who had engaged to print the re- 
maining manuscript papers relative to the same subject. 

" Their kindness and consideration in this matter," writes 
Dr. Milner, " certainly makes an indelible impression on my 
mind, and if anything could increase my aiFectionate attach- 
ment to that learned body, after so long and active a residence 
among them, it would be this honourable token of respect to 
the memory of my deceased brother; who himself, many years 
ago, as a student in the same seminary, received distinguished 
marks of approbation f." 

Dr. Milner adds, that "the more he has examined and 
compared with each other, the original authorities, which are 
frequently obscure and contradictory, the more scrupulously 
faithful he has found" his brother, "in his statement of facts, 
and the more judicious and discreet, in separating truth from 
error, and in assigning the just degrees of pr()l)abilities." He 

* A rejoinder to Dr. Haweis' reply 
(o this work, entitled Further Animtui- 
versinns on Dr. Ilaireis^ Misrepresenta- 
tions, was published by Dr. Milner in 
the year IJUfJ, and will deserve the 

notice of the reader under its proper 

t This passage, extracted from the 
Preface to the second edition of the 
first volume, is prefixed to the later 
editions of the Ecclesiastical History. 

« 2 

228 CHAP. XII. A.D. 1800. ^ETAT. 50. 

obsen'es, " if the alterations from the old edition should, in 
some few instances, appear, on comparison, to be greater than 
might, from this account, be expected, the reader is to under- 
stand, that these alterations are to be justified either from actual 
remarks of the author in manuscript, or from the editor's 
recollection of his conversations." 

He concludes thus: '^The smaller alterations, however, — in 
the use of particles, and of particular words, and in the con- 
struction of sentences, are very numerous, — and if the editor 
has helped the perspicuity of the author, without diminishing 
his force, he has gained his aim." 

These notices of Dr. Milner's Life of his brother, and of his 
Animadversions on Dr. Haweis' History, with the extracts given 
from the preface which contains those " Animadversions," will 
ser\-e, in conjunction with his own letters, to convince every 
candid person, who takes into the account his various avoca- 
tions as Head of a College and Dean of a Cathedral, that his 
time, at this period, must have been most fully occupied ; in 
fact, when the afflictions both of mind and body under which he 
at this time laboured, are considered, the true matter for wonder 
is, rather, that he accomplished so much, than that he accom- 
plished no more. 



Commencement of Dr. Milner's acquaintance with Henry Martyn. — Fourth 
Volume of the History of the Church of CArti^— Luther.— Commentary on 
the Galatians.— Professor Smyth. — Passage in his published Lectures. — 
Dean Milner's alleged partiality to Luther. — Correspondence. — Rev. W. 
Terrot.— Letter to a young Friend in his last Illness. — New edition of 
Joseph Milner's Sermons. — Internal Management of Queen's College. — 
Tutors. — Correspondence. — London Bridge. — Professor Farish. — Sunday 
Travelling. — Dr. Haweis. — Rev. T. Ludlam. — New edition of Life of 
Joseph Milner. — Sir William Wj-nne. — Letters. — Mrs. Stillingfleet. 

A.D. 180L ^TAT. 51. 

As Professor of Mathematics, it fell of course to Dr. Milner's 
lot to examine, in tlie January of each year, the candidates for 
the Smith's Prize; and it sometimes happened that this acci- 
dental personal intercourse with eminent individuals led to 
intimate acquaintance and enduring friendship. 

The year 1 801 furnished an example of this kind. Henry 
Martyn was the Senior Wrangler of that year, and was first 
introduced to Dean Milner on occasion of the examination for 
the prize above mentioned. The Dean was struck by the 
remarkably amiable and somewhat pensive expression of his 
countenance, and on entering into conversation with him, and 
discovering that his native place was Truro, in Cornwall, 
chanced to ask him whether he had ever known anything of a 
Mr. AValker, a clergyman of that town. Mr. Martyn's answer 
at once revealed to him the character of the Senior Wrangler 
before him. With unusual animation, and a countenance alto- 
gether changed, as Dr. Milner used to say, when he afterwards 
spoke of the occurrence, by its glowing and beaming expression 
of grateful affection, he replied, that he had indeed known 
Mr. Walker; and that his father and others of his relatives 
had reason to bless God, that such was the case. 

There was little opportunity for further conversation at 
that time ; but it is needless to say, that the Dean was much 
interested by the deportment of the youth whom he was 
examining. He made further inquiries concerning him, and 

230 CHAP. XIII. A.D. IHOl. F/IAT. 51. 

had afterwards frequent intercourse with him ; taking, as was 
his custom with regard to those young men of whom he enter- 
tained a high opinion, many opportunities of showing him 
kindness. When Mr. Martyn " took leave of him/' on quitting 
tiie university, " he was much affected, and said himself that 
liis heart was full*," an expression indicating, when used by 
liinijinore than common aflfection. After Mr. Martyn's depar- 
ture for the scene of his labours in the East, Dean Milner 
never ceased to feel a warm and peculiar interest in his 
exertions, and their success, and heard of his early death with 
very sincere sorrow. 

The principal occupation of Dr. Milner's leisure hours, 
during this year, was the preparation for publication of the 
fourth volume of the History of the Church of Christ, edited, 
as the title-page bears, " on the plan, and in part from the 
manuscripts" of his late brother. The early part of the year 
was indeed, of necessity, and according to invariable usage, 
occupied by the arrangement of college business, the settle- 
ment of accounts, &c. ; but the evenings, even of the busiest 
days, were devoted to the purpose above specified. 

The contents of the fourth volume of the Church History 
are, as Dr. Milner, in his Preface, observes, *' of such a nature 
as not to have found their way into our ordinary ecclesiastical 
histories." The characters and motives of several individuals 
who appeared upon the scene during the period of time com- 
prehended by this volume, and who by their lives and writings, 
paved the way for the Reformation, had been, by previous 
ecclesiastical historians, either neglected or misunderstood, and 
consequently misrepresented. Wickliffe, John H uss, and Jerome 
of Prague, were in reality little known ; and above all, many 
serious and generally well-informed persons were very imper- 
fectly acquainted with the religious part of the character of 
Martin Luther. 

" Some of his natural qualities," says Dr. Milner, speaking 
of Luther, "have been the subject of much observation: but 
the ruling princij)les of the man, those princii)les whicli were 

yrc Maui vn's Joiirna/x ami Letters. 

CHAr. XIII. A.D. 1801. jETAT. 51, 231 

eminently spiritual and Christian, are almost buried in 

To the elucidation, then, of the character of Luther, Dr. 
Milner devoted liis most strenuous efforts. "The German 
theologian" had indeed, as he says, been considered and repre- 
sented by his brother, as " a distinguished suljject of Almighty 
grace ; which, by enlightening his understanding, changing his 
aftections, and animating his hopes, prepared him in a most 
wonderful manner for the extraordinary part which he was 
appointed to sustain ;" but the Dean had access to materials 
and to sources of knowledge which were unknown, or inaccess- 
ible, to the author of the early volumes of the Church History; 
and it is, therefore, not surprising that he has brought to light, 
concerning this great Reformer, much interesting matter and 
many authentic particulars with which his brother had no 
means of becoming acquainted. He spared no cost in the 
obtaining of such books as might assist him in his undertaking, 
and often sent for them to German and other foreign libraries, 
regardless alike of the expense or the delay thus incurred. In 
addition to this, it may be observed, that Dr. Milner was a 
cordial admirer of Luther, and that he, therefore, experienced a 
positive pleasure in searching into every part of his history. 
His own words, when speaking of his deceased brother's senti- 
ments with regard to Luther, may, with equal truth, be applied 
to himself: — "He loved him as a man of plain dealing and 
unfeigned piety ; he admired him as a champion of truth ; he 
revered him as an instrument of God, highly honoured, and 
expressly chosen for the purpose of defending and propagating 
the Christian faith ; and he contemplated his success with 
delight and astonishment." 

It will, therefore, be easily believed, that, in this fourth 
volume, " unconmion pains" are taken with the affairs of 
Luther, especially during the first years of his wonderful 
exertions ; the greatest pains, however, are bestowed upon the 
elucidation of the sentiments of the great Saxon Reformer, 
with regard to the fundamental articles of Christianity; and, as 
embodying in the fullest manner the great Protestant doctrine 
of justification by faith, considered by Luther, in connnon with 

232 CHAP. XIII. A.I). 1801. ETAT. 51. 

the wliole body of the Reformers, as arliciilus stan/is vel caden- 
tis ecchsite, especial notice is taken of his Comn)entary on the 
Epistle to the Galatians. One sliort passage referring to this 
commentary lays open so explicitly Dr. Milner's own opinions 
concerning the all-important doctrine of justification by faith, 
that it may with propriety be here quoted. 

" Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians," 
writes Dean Milner, " is in itself so excellent a performance, 
WHS read with so great avidity immediately after its publication, 
and was so instrumental in promoting the glorious cause of 
Protestantism, that it seems to have a superior claim to the 
attention of the historian. I have repeatedly read and medi- 
tated on this treatise, and, after the most mature reflection, I 
am fully convinced, that, as it was one of the most powerful 
means of reviving the light of Scripture in the sixteenth 
century, so it will, in all ages, be capable of doing the same, 
under the blessing of God, whenever a disposition shall appear 
among men to regard the oracles of divine truth, and whenever 
souls shall be distressed with a sense of indwelling sin ; for I 
perfectly despair of its being relished at all by any but serious, 
humble, and contrite spirits, such being, indeed, the only 
persons in the world to whom the all-important article of 
justification will appear worthy of all acceptation. The author 
himself had ploughed deep into the human heart, and knew its 
native depravity ; he had long laboured, to no purpose, to gain 
peace of conscience by legal observances and moral works, and 
had been relieved from the most pungent anxiety by a spiritual 
discovery of the doctrine just mentioned. He was appointed 
in the counsels of Providence — by no means exclusively of the 
other Reformers, but in a manner more extraordinary and much 
superior — to teach mankind, after upwards of a thousand years' 
obscurity, this great evangeli{;al tenet, compared with which, 
how Uttlc appear all other objects of controversy ! namely, that 
null) is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of 
Christ*." * * * * " In this admirable piece of 
divinity, tlic author, by numl)crlcss arguments, aiul particuhirly 

- Cal. ii., 1«J. 

CHAP. XIII. A.D. IROl. /ETAT 51. 23.3 

by the marked opposition between law and faith*, law and 
gracet, proves, that, in justification before God, all sorts of 
human works are excluded, moral as well as ceremonial. He 
restores likewise to tlie Christian world the true forensic sense 
of the term justification, and rescues it from the erroneous 
sense in which for many ages it had been misunderstood, as 
though it meant infused habits of virtue, whence it had been 
usual to confound justification with sanctification. The incom- 
parable theologian before us settled the true bounds and limits 
of the Law and the Gospel, and distinguished between accept- 
ance with God and personal holiness. The former, he shows, is 
received as a free gift on Christ's account alone, by faith in the 
heart of a humbled sinner, and implies complete pardon and 
reconciliation with God ; the latter, which he insists on as 
equally necessary for eternal happiness, he describes as con- 
joined, but not compounded, with the former; imperfect always 
in this life, but sincerely pressed after and delighted in. By 
this doctrine, rightly stated, with all its adjuncts and dependen- 
cies, a new light breaks in upon the mind, and Christianity 
appears singularly distinct, not only from Popery, but also from 
all other religions. Neither the superstitions of the Papist, nor 
the sensibility of the humane, nor the sj^lendid alms of the 
ostentatious, nor the most powerful efforts of unassisted nature, 
avail, in the smallest degree, to the purchase of pardon and 
peace. The glory of this purchase demonstrably belongs to 
Christ alone ; and he, who in real humility approves of, 
acquiesces in, and rests on Christ alone, is the true Christian. 
Thus self-righteous persons are rebuked ; thus distressed con- 
sciences are relieved ; and thus men are enabled to bring forth 
all the fruits of righteousness. An ill use, no doubt, has fre- 
quently been made of the precious doctrine here stated, and 
St. Paul's writings abound with admirable cautions on this sub- 
ject. The sixth chapter to the Romans is full to the point. 
But this very circuiustanco, namely, that the true Christian 
notion of justification is apparently liable to a cliarge of anti- 
nomianism, unquestionably demonstrates tliat Luther and tlie 

' ('>:i\. iii., \'2. f Gal. v., -1. 

234 CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. ^TAT. 51. 

Other Reformers did not mistake that apostle's meaning; 
because, on the supposition that St. Paul really meant to 
ascribe the justification of a sinner before God, to human works, 
in any sense of those terms, the very plausibility of the objec- 
tion loses all foundation. However, not to insist further on 
this argument, let him that would be wise in the things of God, 
study this great Christian article of the revealed method of 
fallen man's acceptance with his Maker, and let him do this 
with prayer for divine illumination. Let not any man suppose, 
as ignorance is ever apt to do, that evangelical truth is so plain 
and obvious, that every one may attain it without attention, 
industry, or effort. Let him rather be told, that the v;ay of 
life is deeply mysterious, and has great difficulties belonging 
to it, though, nevertheless, of infallible attainment to every 
humble, seeking, persevering soul." 

It may be sufficient to add, further, that " to furnish solid 
and luminous information concerning the interesting trans- 
actions of this memorable period,'' and at the same time to 
"compress the narrative into a moderate compass," was Dr. 
Milner's object; and it was no easy task. In the execution of 
it, he certainly " believed himself to be employed in the service 
of his Heavenly Master, and in the humble hope of His bless- 
ing and protection," he committed it " to the judgment of 
candid and impartial readers." 

A passage bearing upon Dr. Milner's account of the life 
and character of Luther, may, with propriety, be here cited 
from a very interesting work lately puljlished*. 

" 1 nmst mention, before I conclude," writes the accom- 
pli.shed author of the work in question, " the two last volumes 
<jf Dean Milner's Ecclesiastical History. The reason for which 
it is necessary that I should reconmiend these volumes to your 
attention is this, that they contain, j)articularly in the life of 
Luther, the best account I know, of the more intellectual part 
of the history of the Reformation. In other words, they con- 
tain the progress of the Reformation in Luther's own mind, a 
very curious subject. 

I.cclnrc!) on Miiilcrn J/iatori/, liy I'lofebbor Smyiu, vol. i., p. L'fJ.'). 

CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. JF.TAT. 51. 235 

*■' Such were tlie great talents and qualities of Luther, and 
such the situation of I'^^urope at this time, that tlie Reformation, 
in fact, passed from the mind of the one into the mind of the 

" 1 therefore consider these two volumes, particularly in the 
lives of Wickliffe and Luther, as a most entertaining and 
valuable accession to our general stock of information, and one 
that may be considered as accessil)le to every student." 

" Dr. Milner," continues Professor Smyth, '' appears to me 
too determined a panegyrist of Luther. This, however, may be 
forgiven him ; not to say that it becomes me to speak with 
diffidence, when I speak to differ from one whom I know to 
have been so able, and whom I conceive to have been so 

Professor Smyth had before observed, that, with " the par- 
ticular system of doctrine upon which the Ecclesiastical Histoi'y 
is written, he, as a lecturer on history," had " nothing to do." 

The discerning reader will, doubtless, perceive that Dean 
Milner's sincere belief in that "system," of which the doctrine 
of justification by faith is the fundamental article, and Luther 
the able and zealous expounder and advocate, is the source of 
his admiration and reverence for the great Reformer. 

In addition to the continuation of the Ecclesiastical History, 
of which further notice will be taken in a succeeding chapter. 
Dr. Milner was, at this time, occupied in preparing for publi- 
cation a second edition of the first volume of his brother's 
Sermons. Busy, however, as he was, he neither neglected to 
correspond with his friends, nor did he decline any useful extra 
work which circumstances might throw in his way. 

With reference to the Sermons, some extracts from a very 
beautiful letter written to Dean Milner, by the late Rev. W. 
Terrot, may here be introduced. 

" 4, Brompton Grove, 
" Dear Sir, Knightsbridge, London. 

" Having found the sermons which I mentioned to you 
when I had the pleasure of seeing you in town, 1 send them to 
you in great hoj)os that you will hereafter publish them. 

236 CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. ^TAT. 51. 

*' I have copied also two other sermons which your late dear 
brother sent me. 

" One, to teach us to go to Christ exactly as we are — the 
hardest lesson in the world. 1 John v. 1 1. ' This is the record 
that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his 

"The other, on Christian Perfection, Gen. xvii., 1. 'And 

when Abraham, &c Walk before me and be thou 


"These sermons he selected for me when I was setting out 
in the ministry, to teach me the great doctrines on which I was 
chiefly to insist, and which, by the blessing of the Lord, I have 
found to be powerful to awaken and convert my fellow-sinners, 
and which are all my hope and stay, in the present critical 
state of my health. I hope it is not wrong to pray that a 
great blessing may attend the writings of the man who was the 
first instrument of turning me from ways that were evil indeed ; 
but this idea is always in my mind, that his reward at the last 
day will be in proportion to the quantity of good done, by what 
he said, and by what he, being dead, yet speaketh. 

" Pray accept the assurance of those sentiments of respect 
and affection with which I have the honour to be, 
" Dear Sir, 

" Your most obliged and faithful servant, 
" To the Rev. Dr. Milner." " W. Terrot. 

Early in this year Dr. Milncr, ever tender hearted, and 
ready to sympathize with others in their afliiction, wrote to the 
son of one of his oldest friends, during his last illness, the 
following truly Christian and very touching letter. 

" Mv DKAR John, 

"It was a very great pleasure to me yesterday, to see, 
through your brother Robert, your own handwriting; and the 
more so, as you permit me to write to you a few lines — indeed, 
witli great good-nature, you invite me to write .'it length. 1 
must not, however, take an ini|)ro|)c'r advantage of the con- 
cession; I must Ixuarc of fatiguini; either your body or your 

CHAP. Xlir. A.D. 1801. JETAT. 51. 237 

mind. It was the apprehension of doing mischief, either in 
the way of fatigue or of agitation, that has kept me, hitherto, 
from venturing to send you a letter; but I perceive, from all 
accounts, that you enjoy so extraordinary and so blessed a 
composure of spirits, that I trust no harm will arise from this 

" Before I knew whether I durst write to you or not, 1 
thought I had a great deal to say. I fancied that a sort of 
storm was coming on, and I supposed that there was plenty of 
room for counsel and precaution ; but, on the contrary, I now 
find, that there is a most wonderful calm ; and I feel disposed 
to say little beyond expressing my gratitude and admiration on 
account of His power and goodness, who, when he pleases, 
rebukes the winds and the sea. 

" It is not to be denied, my dear John, that the sweet calm- 
ness of mind which you experience has still something awful 
in it, which ought to be observed on such an occasion. How 
much is your present situation of bodily weakness to be envied, 
when compared with that of the numerous strong, powerful, 
rich, and wise, who have not learned the humbling doctrines 
of the Gospel ! 

" I repeat it — I have little to say to you ; I am lost in 
wonder; yet, in writing, I experience a very pure and a very 
vivid satisfaction, and this because I see nothing to suspect, 
nothing to fear, nothing to complain of, nothing to be anxious 
about. I dare not add, ' nothing to wish otherwise,' because, 
so far as my own feelings are concerned, I almost every day 
lament that I make so little progress in the trying Ciiristian 
doctrine of resignation. Human nature pleads powerfully; we 
are not easily reconciled to loss of health, friends, and worldly 
comforts; and the temptation is the more insidious because 
there is a degree of regard to these things, which is lawful. 

"We persuade ourselves that we could give up all these 
temporal blessings at another time, or, what we call the proper 
time, nurc in the course of nature; Ijut, in my judgment, I am 
most perfectly convinced, that if the mind be not l^rought to 
think God's time the proper time, it will give them up \\ith 
reluctance at any time. 

238 CHAP XIII. A.U. 1801. ^TAT. 51. 

"Some years ago, when my brother was supposed to be in 
great danger from a fever, I had hard conflicts in this matter, 
and he wrote me a very wise and instructive letter on the 
nature of Christian resignation *. I pray God to support me 
when the trying moments come — otherwise, I know Satan will 
buffet me at his will. 

" From these reflections you will collect, that I have no 
pretensions to advise you, at present, in spiritual things. No — 
1 rather wish to learn the history of God's dealings with you. 
It is true, you are but young; but no age, no experience, no 
strength of abilities, can supply the lessons which God teaches 
those who surrender themselves, not partially, but entirely, to 
his instructions. You are too weak to acquaint me with those 
lessons, therefore by no means attempt it: your friends will 
inform me: I shall listen with delight, and, Ihope, with profit. 

" As humility is the life and soul of the religion of Christ, 
there is perhaps hardly anything which ought more carefully to 
be avoided, in the intercourse between friends, than the saying 
or doing of anything which has a tendency to puff up; we are 
all of us, sufficiently disposed to this evil of ourselves: yet, in 
the very important duty of self-examination, we are not to 
affect to be blind to what God has done for us. It is to me, 
and it ought to be to you, an unspeakable satisfaction, in your 
present state to reflect, that it had pleased God to enable you 
to take so decided and so active a part in teaching practical 
religion, for above a twelvemonth before this illness took place. 
It is true, that with God, all things are possible ; but I am 
convinced, that the fact to which I refer, is a more strong and 
more pleasing evidence tlian almost any other that can be 
conceived, in a state of great weakness, when neither the 
memory nor the understanding can exert itself with vigour. 

" 1 mention this to you now, (as I have, I believe, men- 
tioned rt every duy since you began to be unwell, sometimes 
in the way of joy on your account, and at other times, in the 
way of exhortation to our common friends) as a thing that 
should call for your constant gratitude and thanksgiving. I 

SceCliaiitor IX. 

CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. ^TAT. 51. 239 

believe you could say with truth, that you were glad to go into 
his courts, &c. 

" I reflect^ also, with a true pleasure, on the many conversa- 
tions which we had together (a litttle before you left Cam- 
bridge) on religious subjects, and particularly on the Epistle to 
the Romans, that rich field both of doctrine and of practice, 
and also on the nature of the evidences of the being in a 
spiritual state. Keep in mind what you insisted on, viz., ' that 
all things will work together for good, &c. &c.' It is a most 
precious promise. 

" But I am breaking my resolution, both in being too long, 
and in proceeding to instruction. 

" Tell your affectionate (I cannot call him afflicted) father, 
that I receive all his letters with satisfaction and thankfulness, 
and that I wish him to continue to write as often as his great 
labours will permit him. Oh! my dear John ! to be the son of 
such a father is, of itself, a blessing that calls for continued 
praise. He has had hard rubs in the course of God's jirovi- 
dence, and I doubt not l)ut he has profited by them; but the 
thing that always strikes me particularly is, how wonderfully 
Almighty God has blessed him in his children. The explana- 
tion is, he is a praying father, and God is a hearer of prayer. 

" God bless you, my dear John, now and for evermore. I 
am a poor, feeble creature, and could weep sadly over your 
bodily afflictions, if I were to give way to my feelings. But I 
can check myself, and, through God's mercy, can join all your 
dear friends and relatives in encompassing you about with 
songs of deliverance. 

" I am very affectionately yours, 

"Isaac Milner." 

With the present Lord Arcldjishop of York, then Bishop of 
Carlisle, Dean Milner communicated by letter frequently, both 
upon religious subjects in general, and his brother's sermons 
in particular. 

" I send you by this post,'" writes the Bishop, January 
29th, 1801, " the few further notes I have made on reading 
your brother's sermons. ******** jj^ 

240 CHAP. XIII. A.l). 1801. ^ETAT. 51. 

essentials I perfectly agree with your brother's doctrine, but 
some things, if taken as detached passages, I should explain 
ratiier differently." 

The following letter treats of several interesting matters: — 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" Old Palace Yard, Westminster, 
" IV. miberforce's, Esq. 
"My dear Friend, March 6, ISOl. 

" I find myself here ex officio. I am a member of the Board 
of Longitude, and we meet three times a year at the Admiralty 
to receive and judge of proposals, &.c. And excessively enter- 
taining it is to see how many persons, of desperate fortunes, 
imagine they merit rewards for their skill in finding out the 
longitude at sea. One foolish fellow writes to me and says, ' As 
you have the disposal of four, or five, or &c., thousands of 
pounds for assisting j)ersons in their schemes, I think it my 
duty to ask for one thousand. I believe tliat will be enough to 
enable me to complete my scheme.' Some of these applicants 
are absolutely crack-brained, and others ignorant in the ex- 
treme. About a year ago, a fellow came from Norwich and 
thought he had found out the longitude merely because he had 
hung an immense weight of lead to a telescope, which he sup- 
posed would steady it at sea. 

" Sir .J and Lady Catherine were here last 


" She is going on exceedingly well. * * * 1 cannot, in 

the compass of a letter, make you master of 's character. 

Such a strange jumble is the human heart, that I am not with- 
out hopes that he has, at times, very serious thoughts about 
eternity, and very serious convictions of sin. Last sunmier he 
told me, that one night, when he had remained restless and 
feverish for many liours witli severe thirst, liis mind was 
strongly inij)rcssed with the dreadful state of tiiosc in eternity, 
who should in vain ask for ' a drop of water to cool their 

tongues.' * * * * is extremely friendly and open 

to me, and has nothing about him like double dealing that ever 
I perceived. But I ;ini in threat ajjprchcnsion, that the more 

CriAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. /ETAT. 51. 241 

thoroughly he becomes acquainted with Christian doctrines, the 
more he will dislike those wlio speak out, unless it should please 
God to alter his views. 

" You will, however, agree with me, that we are not to tem- 
l)orize in the least, beyond proper civility and respect. lie is 
quite orthodox in opinion, and he has permitted me to open 
myself to him in the fullest and plainest manner that I could 
devise. He assents to almost everything that is said; I hardly 
know anything of the doctrinal sort to which he does not 
assent; and yet when we come to practical teaching of congre- 
gations, I immediately perceive that we are wide asunder. He 
sees that I do not think him sound, and this keeps him in a 
state of irrit-ition in his own mind. He M'ould fain quarrel with 
nobody, and I do verily believe, tliat he has a sincere regard for 

" There is a sixpenny thing just put into my hands, called 
A Reply, S^c, from Dr. Haweis. On the whole it is sadly dis- 
ingenuous : but yet he confesses very honestly in one place, 
and, in general, is by no means so boisterous as I had expected 
him to be. 

" I really hope my animadversions may have done him some 
good; he is most decidedly a peg lower, and it is very plain, 
that he does not wish to provoke a rejoinder from me. I 
believe it will hardly be necessary to take notice of him at all; 
the utmost will be a sentence or two, when the Life of my 
brother is re-published*. 

" N. B. I have been much pressed, and by most respectable 
friends, and very particularly by the master of this house, to 
add a number of instructive circumstances or anecdotes respect- 
ing the private and public conduct of my late brother, when I 
publish a new edition of his life. 

" Mr. Wilberforce, I say, in particular, by letter mentioned 
tiiis to me, and said, that I might say many things of him (my 
brother) which were very well known to be true, and to which 
the people of Hull would bear testimony, and which, lastly. 

A rojoinder, iinder the title of Further Animadversions, &c., wa-s, however, 
jmblished in the year 1802. See note Chap. XIV. 


242 CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. yETAT. 51. 

would be of service to be known, and by no means appear 

" Now I confess, that anything like this is totally against 
my first judgment, and, however agreeable it might be to an 
affectionate brother to see the amiable parts of the character of 
his dear relative set forth in detail and handed down to pos- 
terity, I say I dislike the thing; and I am pretty sure that my 
brother himself would have hated it exceedingly. I have only 
to say, that when such a man as Mr. Wilberforce points out the 
propriety of such a step, and tells me, that he himself remem- 
bers several parts of his conduct which might with great pro- 
priety be recorded, I am staggered. Tell me honestly how it 
strikes you, and in this I would wish both you and myself to be 
decided in our judgments, purely by the consideration of doing 
some good, be it more or less. 

" I have found it absolutely impossible to attend much to 
the fourth volume*, at the same time that these sermons are 
going forward; but the moment they are dispatched, I shall 
attack it again if all be well. * * * 

'* Our friend William Hey has indeed behaved very much 
like a Christian during his late severe trials. I never in my 
life read more affecting letters than from him. 

" God bless you, my dear friend. 

" Isaac Milner* 

" N.B. While I have been scribbUng this long letter, I 
have had twenty people about me, disputing concerning Catholic 

Numerous and various as were the claims upon Dean 
Milner's attention, during the periods of his brief visits at the 
house of his friend Mr. Wilberforce, he was less constantly 
occupied there, than in his own study at Cambridge or at 
Carlisle ; and therefore generally seized the opportunities which 
these periodical visits afforded him, to " clear off," as he used 
to say, some of his unanswered letters. 

The following letter, written by Dean Milner from Cam- 

Of the Ilittory of the Church. 

CHAP. XIII, A.T). 1801. ETAT. 51. 243 

bridge, soon after his return from this visit to Palace Yard, 
treats of an important subject. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

'' Queen's Lodge, 
"My dear Friend, March 24th, 1801. 

" The case is this. At tlueen's, we happened unfortunately 
to have several clever Fellows, some time ago, who should have 
tilled our offices of trust, as tutors, &c., but were disqualified 
on account of their principles. I was positively determined to 
have nothing to do with Jacobins or infidels, and custom has 
placed in my power the appointment of the tutors, provided 
they be Fellows of our own College. Our own being very 
unfit, we went out of college sorely against the wish of several ; 
however, by determining to make no jobs of such things, but 
to take the very best men I could find, I carried the matter 
through, in no less than three instances : — Thomason, Barnes, 
Sowerby. The consequence has been, that a belief has taken 
place, that we should continue to go out of college for candi- 
dates for fellowships, after the cause had ceased, I have 
applications without end to this purpose ; and not only so, but 
admonitions, sometimes anonymous. I inclose one that came 
lately. You cannot think how plagued I have been, from a 
variety of quarters, on this head, though I endeavour to make 
it known everywhere, that we have now got two good tutors, 
and have no reason for going out of college. 

"The Bishop of Lincoln called on me the other day with 
Dr. Turner, and was inclined, I think, to have talked more 
politics than usual, if there had not been a third person present. 

"N.B. It is very positively said here, that Pitt and the 
Bishop of Lincoln had a bill ready, if not printed, to take 
away all from the clergy, and to make them pensioners at the 

" Yours, I. M." 

As affording evidence that, in the midst of his constant and 
various avocations. Dean Milner was ever ready to give his 
best attention to any extra labour which he was requested to 

R 2 

244 CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. .ETAT. 51. 

undertake, it may be mentioned, that, in the spring of this 
year, he addressed to the Government, at their request, a very 
elaborate Memorial respecting the construction of the Bridge 
across the Thames, then about to be built. His letters at this 
period contain various allusions to this affair. To Mr. Wil- 
berforce he thus wrote : " My Memorial will be at length ; 
explaining my reasons, and entering fully into them. It would 
be very easy to make a great parade, and to crowd a paper full 
of algebra ; but I am determined not to mislead. 

" I have given a great deal of attention to the subject, and 
have consulted authors ; and I am convinced, that a conference 
of the practical engineers with the theorists, is the only way to 
get on to any purpose." This letter concludes with a strong 
recommendation of the late Professor Farish, as a person 
whose mathematical and mechanical knowledge might be very 
useful on the occasion in question. " I am, bona fide," writes 
the Dean, " most positive, that there is nobody here equal to 
him, or to be compared ; but delicacy will be required in 
hinting this." 

The second edition of the first volume of Joseph Milner's 
Sermons, which the Dean on the 6th of March had announced 
to Mr. Richardson, to be "half printed," and "much called 
for," was now nearly completed ; not, however, without much 
harassing labour. This appears from the following letter. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I would have written to you last night, if it had not been 
for T. Thompson, who dropped in upon us in the afternoon, 
quite unexpectedly. By the by, I am very sorry to say, that 
this is the second time he has come to us by travelling on 
Sunday, and without any apparent good cause ; certainly none, 
but a little worldly convenience ! I am truly sorry to see such 
conduct: I gave him a hint of it pretty strong. He would not 
have done so in your grand-father's time, when there was no 
income tax ; and when, if there had been one, he would not 
have been troubled with it. 

" I never, I tliink, worked so hard in my life as at present. 

CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. yETAT. 51. 245 

to get my l)rother's sermons out before I go to Carlisle. I 
have made, and am making, considerable additions to the h\fe ; 
and the Sermons are printed so much closer, that, without 
making any thicker book, I shall be able to add four, or five, 
or six fresh sermons. 

" I have many other things to do ; in particular, some 
sermons to prepare for Carlisle. What can I do ? I don't 
throw away a single hour when I can by possibility work ; in 
fact, this excessive attention is quite too much for me ; I hurt 
myself by it. 

" God bless you. If you should not be well, you know I, 
of course, throw all aside, and, in case of necessity, come up at 
a moment's warning. So God bless you and preserve you. 

" N.B. I mean, if I live, so to order things in future, as 
never again to be hurried in this manner by my own business. 
But many are expecting these sermons ; and if they are not 
done now, it will be autumn before they can come out. 

" Once more remember me aflfectionately to B. and the 
little ones. 

"Yours, I. M. 

" P.S. How does the little, little baby ? Write me a single 
line to set me easy about yourself." 

The actual completion of the second edition of the Sermo?is 
is announced in a very characteristic letter, from which the 
following extracts are taken. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" Carlisle Deanery, 
"My dear Friend, June SOth, 1801. 

'• I have at last got the new edition of Sermons ready; and, 
considering my infirmities, this has been no easy job. The Life 
is doubled at least. By casting your eye over the old edition of 
the Life, and comparing it with the new, you will instantly 
perceive what is additional. From page 34 to page 52 of the 
new edition is entirely new, and may, I hope, prove useful. I 
shall be very anxious to hear your judgment of it, and tiie more 
so, as I know you will give it me very sincerely. 

246 CHAP. XIII. A.l). 1801. .ETAT. 51. 

" You will wonder beforehand how I could increase the 
LAfe so much, without spoiling it. But suspend your judgment 
till you see it ; and then, I trust, you will not think, that, in 
lengthening it, I have at all broken through the principles upon 
which the Life was originally written. There are many addi- 
tions to it, of which you will take notice as you go along, 
besides that above-mentioned. 

" I have added a sentence or two more to what I said about 
Ludlam ; but I understand that there is a most abusive attack 
on mc by T. Ludlam. I wish I had known of it a few days 
before I had finished this volume ; because I might have added 
an advertisement, or a page, in answer. 

" I have not seen the Spleen just published ; but I hope it 
will not require an answer. Tell me if you think it does. I am 
tired of controversy. 

" Haweis has behaved abominably, and I thought it right to 
take notice of his false quotations ; and I have every reason to 
be satisfied with the effect of my animadversions. I hope, 
indeed, they will serve to check the progress of that shocking 
member of the Church. His reply was that of one who squeaks 
miserably; but yet he said some things which, I thought, called 
for a fresh lashing. I have, therefore, printed Further Animad- 
versions, (twenty-four pages, price 6f/). 

" Here I end with Haweis, whether he write again or not. 

" The little strength and leisure I have, I wish to employ 
upon the fourth volume of the Ecclesiastical History, which will 
take up a deal of time, and require a deal of care. The 
manuscript was in bad order, and the author not at hand to 

" Besides, if ever I answer Ludlam at all, I should wish the 
work to have more permanency than usually belongs to a 
pamphlet. When you see his pamphlet, let me know what 
you think. 1 dare say, when I first see it I shall be violently 
inclined to respond ; but I have experienced, that feelings of 
that sort go off, or lessen exceedingly, with a little time : and 
before this time twelvemonth most persons, probably, will have 
forgotten the dispute. 

" T have printed some copies of the T.iJ'c for myself. 

CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. iGTAT. 61, 24? 

(separate) ; but I think it better that the Life should not be 
known to be separate, (at least just yet,) lest the sale of the 
Sermons be injured by tliat circumstance coming to light. 
Many persons may buy the Sermons for the sake of the Life; 
and one would not check the sale of them, by circulating the 
Life by itself. I ought to say, that I have added to the volume 
of Sermons two long new ones, so that the book now contains 
much more than before. 

" N.B. Let nothing that I have said about the Life hinder 
you from following your own judgment in that affair. Give or 
sell it to individuals as you like ; only, I think it should not be 
sold publicly yet. 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Yours affectionately, I. M." 

The attack upon Dean Milner, by Mr. T. Ludlam, men- 
tioned in the above letter, was the more painful to him, on 
account of his past friendly intercourse with that gentleman ; it 
is, therefore, peculiarly satisfactory to find him expressing, as 
he does, his conviction of the transitory nature of the feelings 
which that attack could not but excite in his mind. 

Ever active in his endeavours to serve his friends, Dr^ 
Milner, during this summer, took much pains to ascertain, for 
the benefit of a deserving clergyman, a particular point of law 
affecting the prospects of that clergyman in the Church. 
Other matters also, which came under his cognizance in his 
capacity of Dean of Carlisle, occupied much of his time. 
Nothing can be more true than a declaration which he occa- 
sionally made respecting himself, — that he disliked to do 
anything " by halves." 

A detail of the circumstances of this affair, even if it could 
Mnth propriety be given, would not be generally interesting. 
Suffice it to say, that the Dean suffered not the matter to rest 
till he had obtained, respecting it, the opinions of several 
eminent civilians ; among whom may be mentioned one of his 
own much-valued friends, the late Sir William Wynne. 

This gentleman was, in 1803, elected Master of Trinity 
Hall ; and in consequence of that event, spent, subsequently, a 

248 CHAP. XIII. A.D. laoi. .ETAT. 51. 

certain portion of his time at Cambridge. Dr. Milner esteemed 
him as a man of sense and integrity; and by his death, in the 
year 1815, was deprived of a friend, whose society might have 
tended to cheer the closing years of his life. 

On the 2nd of October, Dr. Milner thus wrote to Mr. Wil- 
berforce : — 

'• My DEAR Friend, 

'• I have thought, and think every day, of the scenes of last 
year at Bognor ; and particularly of the night when I awakened 
you ; but I did not remember the day so exactly as you now 
j)oint it out. 

" I wish my heart were duly affected, — God's mercies are 
very many and various. It is a sad thing to call on Him only 
when we are afflicted. We need a sense of his goodness. See 
my poor brother's private thoughts. 

" I wrote you a few lines last night. As to myself, I surely 
ought to consider that my grandfather died at sixty, my father 
at fifty-seven, my brother Joseph at fifty-three ; tliat my eldest 
and robust brother never reached fifty, and that I am in my 
fifty-second year. Prepare ! prepare ! 

" In the business about which I wrote to you, as in many 
other concerns of the like nature, Pitt sure has been greatly to 
blame. He has been a poor patron to this University, consi- 
dering his opportunities : I am quite convinced that old North 
was infinitely better, — more attentive and considerate, — distinct 
from all his blameable jobs. 

" I have, however, written to Lord Hardwicke, and also to 
Mr. Yorke, who has returned me a very obliging answer." 

In the September of this year. Dr. Milner received at 
Queen's Lodge a visit from his old and valued friend, the 
Rev. James Stillingfleet. The following letter, which lie wrote 
to that gentleman soon after his departure from Cambridge, be interesting to every reader. 

CHAP. XIII. A.l). IKOl. /ETAT. 51. 249 

" To THE Rev. Jamks Stillingfleet. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My DEAR Fkiend, October 12, 1801. 

*' I take it very kind in you to have remembered us so 
affectionately. May the God of all consolation requite you 
many fold into your bosom. But I must call you to order on 
one point. It is really stuff to talk of our kindnesses to you and 
yours. I hope I am, and shall ever be, disposed to do what- 
ever I am able for you or yours, by way of showing that I do not 
entirely forget the real and essential kindnesses which you and 
your excellent rib conferred upon my poor brother deceased ; I 
verily believe his life was prolonged by those kindnesses: and I 
am well convinced that he might have been continued to us 
some time longer, if he could have been persuaded to lessen his 
labours a little ; but his heart was too much in the work to 
allow of relaxation ; and so far as he himself is concerned, it is 
my great satisfaction, — my dolorum dulce lenimen, — to think 
that he is far better where he is, than dragging out a few painful 
years with asthma, &c., &c. 

" In regard to kindnesses, I have really had no opportunity 
of showing you more than bare civilities. Several times during 
your short stay with us, I was going to attempt to make Mrs. 
Still, understand how much and how deeply my mind was 
impressed with a sense of her repeated motherly attentions to 
her poor friend ; but it proved too much for me, — I could not 
get on, but was always stopped, in limine. My poor heart is 
irritable at best, and is so extremely sensible whenever that 
string is touched, that I am soon overwhelmed. The world has 
never looked as it used to do to me, since the event alluded to ; 
and perhaps it is better for me that it has not ; for I have lono- 
seen it very jilain that mild methods will not do for me. 
Nothing but the rod answers at all: and may God grant that I 
may kiss the rod cordially, and remember that He afflicteth not 

" 1 am but poorly; and attacks, though gentle, are felt by an 
old sufferer, — much more than by a fresh hand, who has never 
been in tiie wars; and the effects also are much longer in 

250 CHAP. XIII. A.D. 1801. ^TAT. 51. 

" God has been merciful to us in regard to my poor niece, 
who gains ground, I think, every week." * # * « Wq all 
of us talk of you every day, and wish you would make it conve- 
nient to stay some days with us on your return. 

" Come, I say, and then we will talk matters over about your 
summer journey, and contrive to make it very economical; and 
also settle several other affairs. 

" Yours truly and affectionately, 

" As also Mrs. S 's and Edward's, 

"I. M." 

Mr. and Mrs. Stillingfleet were among the friends whom 
Dean Milner most entirely loved and esteemed. Towards 

Mrs. S , in particular, his heart overflowed with gratitude, 

on account of what he used to call her " motherly kindnesses " 
towards his deceased brother. She was, indeed, a woman well 
deserving of the affection of her friends. Mr. Richardson, of 
York, once said of her, in conversation with myself, that there 
was about her " a meekness of wisdom " quite irresistible. 



Confidential Correspondence. — Chapter Business. — Illness. — Scrmou at Wliite- 
hall. — Rowland Hill. — Fourth Volume of Ecclesiastical History. — Vigour 
and Pel-severance of Dean Aliluer. — Accident on Staininore. — Prominent 
trait in Dean Milner's miud. — Anecdotes. — Rev. Mr. Church. — Letters. — 
Domestic Affairs. — Discovery of the Invisible Girl. 

A.D. 1802. iETAT. 52. 

It was intimated in the last chapter, tliat towards the close of 
the year 1801, Dean Milner had exerted himself for the benefit 
of a deserving clergyman, and in the arrangement of certain 
other affairs respecting which, in his capacity of Dean of Car- 
lisle, he possessed considerable influence. Some of the con- 
sequences of his friendly efforts, which were, upon the whole, 
successful, are mentioned in the following letter, — a letter 
which carries forward the Dean's personal history, and is 
otherwise exceedingly interesting. 

"To THE Rev. James Stillingfleet. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
" My dear Friend, IJM March, 1802. 

'* Dr. Kipling had told me before the receipt of your last 
kind letter, that I was indebted to you on the score of epistolary 

" 1 can bear animadversions of this sort, because they 
evidently originate in kindness. 

" I am never so much inclined to pour out my heart to 
a friend as when I am in affliction. I know not whether you 
have heard of poor * * * * 's deplorable situation. Only two 
days ago, the first news arrived from Mr. Thompson, that ' he 
lies most dangerously ill.' As far as I can collect, tliere is very 
little chance for liim indeed, for he appears to have been 
declining for some months past. 

" Mr. Thompson says he expressed great fear of hell, and 
prayed very earnestly. Bad as this situation is, you will, I am 
sure, j)refer it to that of the Duke of B. who died latelv, 

252 CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. ;ETAT. 52. 

with the fortitude of a heathen. T am quite shocked at that 

" Poor * * * * 's conduct has been, I understand, quite 
unexceptionable for a good while ; and certainly his conscience 
has been uneasy for a long time. 

" I wish you would drop a line to Mr. Dykes about him, 
and to Mr. Scott, and say what you think proper about such a 
case. Alas ! it will perhaps be too late ! 

"What I particularly fear is, lest his wife, who is a Papist, 
should bring about him some parson of her own persuasion, 
who might pretend to absolve him, make him easy, and draw 
his dependence from Jesus Christ to some wretched formality. 
If you could see him yourself, it would be a great comfort. 

" In regard to *****, I think about it just as I did when 
you and I talked together. I am by no means clear that the 
change would have been for my comfort on the whole, or even 
much for my advantage. Any little advantage from increase of 
income has no charms for me. 

"You would hear how I exerted myself in the winter by 
going down to Carlisle, and managing about some small pieces 
of preferment ; small, but of great consequence. My presence 

was absolutely necessary to support F , and on some 

other accounts. Also, I secured, through Dr. Coulthurst, the 
living of Elland to a son of poor Miles Atkinson. I had been 
very ill in October and November, so ill, that unless Mr. 
Parish the surgeon, and my niece's husband, had gone with me 
all the way, I should not have dared to venture to go ; and, as 
it was, I doubted whether I could reach Carlisle ; but God was 
merciful. I had previously done my best by writing and 
negociating. I verily believe I wrote above forty letters, to 
the Bishop, the Prel^endaries, and their different friends and 
connections ; God be praised, everything succeeded. 

" For six weeks I had a most frightful intermission of the 
pulse, at about every fourth beat. This complaint did not 
permit me to sleep, and harassed me exceedingly. It left me 
about a niontli ago. 

" I was appointed to preach, on Ash Wednesday, at White- 
hall ; and I was very anxious to discharge that duty, particularly 

CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. vETAT. 52. 253 

as I had been disappointed by ill-health at the time of my 
former turn at the same place, soon after I was made Dean. I 
went to London, but I was so poorly, that I was obliged to 
have a substitute ready. 

'■' It pleased God, however, that about seven o'clock in the 
morning of Ash Wednesday, I found myself wonderfully better. 
I instantly sent my boy three miles to tell my deputy not to 
come. I preached on ' the one thing needful,' for an hour and 
twenty minutes, to a crowded audience, and to the Bishop of 
Oxford, who would think it queer work, I dare say. Many 
more would have been present, but the report had got round, 
that I should not be there. You would have been entertained 
to see Rowland Hill at the Chapel, expressing his approbation 
in too marked a manner. 

"I have worked exceedingly hard at the fourth volume* 
since I saw you — a great deal too hard for my health ; insomuch, 
that I really find it absolutely necessary to relax, or I shall be 
quite entirely knocked up. The manuscript was by far the 
most unfinished of any ; and as the author is not present to 
explain obscurities, I often spend many hours in consulting 
authorities, and making out doubtful expressions ; so that, 
when you consider my infirmities, and the many and various 
duties I have to discharge, respecting the education of youth, as 
master of a College, my connections at and with Carlisle, and 
my domestic aflairs, you ought rather to be surprised, that 
I have actually struck oflf two hundred pages. The finishing of 
a book that contains so much matter, and so closely printed, is 
a great work. I sometimes despair of living to finish it ; which, 
however, I have much at heart, if it be the Divine Will. As to 
going on with it — I dare not indulge the thought, though it 
does come across me sometimes. 

"I thank you much for the valuable relief you have sent 
me of my dear brother. I will try if I can make anything out 
about the dream. 

* Of the History of the Church of Christ, 
f Viz., tlie lettiT from .losoph Milner, docketed "the last he ever wrote. 

Chap. IX. 

254 CHAP. XIV. A.P. 1802. ^TAT. 52. 

" Your letter of January 8th gave me great pleasure. I 
rejoice to see you so much in earnest about Divine things ; and 
if I had time and strength, I would obey your directions about 
writing in defence of the True Church, occasionally. 

" N.B. It is well for you, that I have no room to scold 
you for staying so long in the south, and yet not giving us a 
little more of your company. 

" I sincerely pray that Edward may continue to conduct 
himself to your satisfaction. With grateful remembrances of 
Mrs. S.'s kindness, 

" I am yours, most affectionately, 

"Isaac Milner." 

The writing of " above forty letters," and the winter journey, 
mentioned in the foregoing communication to Mr. Stillingfleet, 
afford together, an example of the persevering vigour which 
Dr. Milner invariably exhibited in the performance of whatever 
he undertook. The truth is, that whether in health or in sick- 
ness, he quite forgot himself, when there was a duty to be 
performed, or a friend to be served. 

Respecting this journey to Carlisle, undertaken, as it was, 
in the depth of winter, it may be mentioned, that an accident 
occurred in the course of it, something similar to that which, 
so many years before, had happened to Dr. Milner while 
travelling abroad with Mr. Willjerforce. In crossing a moun- 
tainous district between Yorkshire and Westmorland, called 
Stainmore, the road being totally obliterated by snow, the 
Dean's carriage was dragged from off the beaten track, and was 
upon the very brink of a steep and deep bank. Its descent 
was arrested by the united strength of Dr. Milner's fellow- 
travellers ; he himself, !)eing, of course, unable to render any 

In his numerous subsequent transits over the same wild 
tract of country, he seldom omitted to allude to tlie narrow 
escape here recorded, as one of the providential occurrences of 
his life. 

The approbation expressed " in too marked a manner," at 
tiie Chapel of Whitehall, by the venerable Rowland Hill, 

CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. MTAT. 52, 255 

naturally recalls the recollection of another incident, related, I 
think, in the life of that excellent man. Dean Milner having, 
during one of his many visits to London, heard Rowland Hill 
preach at his own crowded Chapel, went to him in the vestry 
after the service was concluded, and, cordially shaking him by 
the hand, said, in the hearing of several persons, " Mr. Hill, 
Mr. Hill, it is this slap-dash style of preaching after all, that 
does all the good." 

One other passage in the above letter to Mr. Stillingfleet, 
calls for a few remarks. 

" I often," says the Dean, speaking in reference to the 
fourth volume of the Ecclesiastical History, " spend many hours 
in consulting authorities, and in making out doubtful expres- 

In elucidation of this declaration, I may venture to quote a 
passage from a private letter to myself, written by one of the 
Dean's intimate and valued friends. 

" One prominent trait," writes the Rev. J F , 

"in the great mind of Dr. Milner, was the steady perseverance 
with which he pursued any object of inquiry which he had 
once started ; he would not let it go till he had made himself 
master of it. It was this valuable property which made his 
extraordinary powers tell in every department of science ; it 
was this which, at least, contributed to place him at the head of 
the mathematical tripos in the year of his graduating. And as 
his honours and preferments were a due homage paid to his 
attainments, it was this which seated him in the Lucasian chair, 
and advanced him to the deanery of Carlisle. 

" But this property, which always stuck by him, showed 
itself in cases wherein it proved sometimes inconvenient, some- 
times amusing. 

" The public greatly regretted the slowness with which he 
proceeded in the continuation of his brother's History of the 
Church of Christ ; but if any think that the delay arose from 
indolence, they are in error. He was, indeed, often incapa- 
citated by pain and bodily infirmities, but not by want of 
mental energy. The fact was, he would slur nothing over ; he 
would not put down upon his paper what he had not established 

256 CHAP. XIV. A.D. Ifl02. ^ETAT. 52. 

by proof; and if tlie libraries of Cambridge would not afford 
him satisfaction, he would send to Germany ; and, therefore, 
what he has done, he has done well. * * * 

" On one occasion, the same valuable quality was the cause 
a temporary disappointment. I was anxious to introduce to 
the Dean the late Rev. Mr. Church, then going out as a chap- 
lain to Madras. Desirous that a young minister going out on 
so important an errand should have the advice, instructions, 
and encouragement, of so able a counsellor, I took Mr. Church 
to the Deanery. The Dean was at home, and alone ; this was 
what we wished. But, alas ! the Dean had seen, in Ainsworth's 
Dictionary, as an authority for the use of a word, " Auct. Phil." 
What Auct. Phil, meant, the Dean did not know, and, unfor- 
tunately, neither of his visitors could tell him. Mr. Church 
was introduced, and very kindly received, but still Auct. Phil, 
was on the Dean's mind, and he turned to volume after volume, 
till, to the no small joy of his visitors, he found that it meant 
Auctor Philomelee. He then entered into conversation with 
Mr. Church, discussed with him the duties of the situation to 
which he was going, and gave him very judicious advice. 

"This instance shows the mental property of which I have 
been speaking. It is not such as to exhibit it in advantageous 
operation, but, on that very account, it shows more clearly the 
strength of the principle, because it shows it acting in opposi- 
tion to considerations which might have checked it, and no 
doubt it was an exception to the general rule ; in ninety-nine 
cases out of a hundred, such a propensity would be attended 
with the most beneficial results." 

Many other anecdotes might be related in evidence of the 
existence and the strength of the " mental property" alluded to. 
Of its solid use and value, no doubt can be entertained. 

As to the rest. Dr. Milner was himself as fully aware as 
could be the most familiar of his acquaintance, that his habit 
of always thoroughly investigating whatever subject, great or 
small, presented itself to his attention, Mas sometimes incon- 
venient, and sometimes almost ludicrous: and, being at least as 
good-humoured as he was industrious and persevering, he not 
unfrcquently joined in the friendly laugh raised against him 
upon such occasions. 

CHAP. XIV. A.l). 1802. /ETAT. 52. 257 

With reference to the fourtli volume of the History nf the 
('hnrch of Christ, a person, with whom Dean Milner had but 
little, thus wrote to him on the 24th of May, 1802. 

" I hope it will have the effect desired ; if it has, it will 
greatly rejoice my heart, for sure I am, that much good may, 
and, I trust, will, be derived by every reader. It is a work that 
will edify and entertain all serious and pious minds. 

" I trust that this may find you restored to sound health, 
and may the blessing of God in Christ Jesus attend your 

Such communications were always welcome and refreshing 
to the mind of Dr. Milner, and the more so, when they came 
from quarters whence he had no reason to expect them. 

The following extract from a letter written by Dr. Milner to 
the late Rev. John Scott, of Hull, has reference to the person 
whose illness is mentioned in the letter with which this chapter 
opens : — 

" Aiiril 20th, 1802. 

" The account you were so kind as to send me of poor * * 
* *, lately deceased, was exceedingly acceptable. It was 
certainly quite as satisfactory as could be expected in those 
circumstances, and to me, much more satisfactory than if he 
had gone out of the world without any fears, which, I dare say, 
might easily have been brought about by management; such 
management as, I doubt, some of the Methodists frequently 
use in speaking peace, and even triumph, improperly, to certain 
persons at the point of death. Instructions of that sort draw 
the mind from its main concern, viz., deep humility and self- 
abasement under conviction of sin. Indeed, I cannot but hope 
the best of * * *. 

" 1 . Because I reflect with great pleasure, that I may be 
sure you would not overstate to me the good side ; 

" 2. You gave him the right instructions in every respect ; 

" 3. What did drop from him was perfectly right as far as it 
went ; and to all this I add, that I think his perseverance in 
hope, his placing that hope on the right foundation, his showing 
no disposition to mitigate his faults, and his being enabled to 


228 CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. /ETAT. 52. 

support a praying spirit throughout his illness, and to the last — 
these things put together are surely inconsistent with the sup- 
position of God's having left him to despair and a reprobate 
mind. Yet, after all, his case is undoubtedly a lesson, rather 
than an example." 

The following letter contains, in addition to other interesting 
matter, some satisfactory reasons for what might be considered 
the slow progress of Dr. Milner in the continuation of the 
History of the Church. 

" My dear Friend, "Deanery, 22nd July, 1802. 

" Your letter to me of June 3rd was comfortable to my 
feelings in several ways, and I was thankful to you in my mind 
on the receipt of it. 

" I have put off giving you an answer from time to time, 
under one pretence or another, till I begin to suspect, that, if I 
wait till I can do and say as I wish, I shall never write at all. 
Let it be noted then, that I seize the very first day on which 
the franks of members of parliament begin to avail. 

" Poor always remembers you affectionately, and 

with much gratitude. He takes it for granted that you will 
have heard of his illness. He has not put pen to paper for 
many months, and he is now so emaciated as to be quite a 
shocking spectacle to those who knew him before. 

" The doctors agree that his case is not dangerous, but that 
he may remain ill a long time, land perhaps never perfectly 

*' He is an old friend of mine, and I have a great and very 
sincere regard for him and his ; and I wish, if it might so please 
God, to be useful to him in more ways than one. 

" For some years past, and long before this illness, his mind 
was, I think, deeply impressed with the importance of eternal 
things, and he had, at the same time, some strong convictions 
of sin and of a sinful nature, and also, I trust, some real desires 
to be taught spiritual wisdom. His spirits are so weak, and he 
is capable of so little attention, that there is but little oppor- 
tunity of judging whether the good work of the spirit of God 
be going on in his soul. I hope and pray for the best. 

CHAT. XIV. A.I). 1802. ^TAT. 52. 259 

" I fear you think nie long about Volume IV. of the 
History. My answer is this, most conscientiously. I believe 
that I have worked harder in that business than I ought 
to have done. Some weeks of the latter part of last year 
were, as you know, closely and successfully employed about 
matters here, and I took, in the winter, a troublesome 
journey to Carlisle. Then came on our annual examination 
in College, &c. &c. 

"Add to this the particular attentions which I think it 
right to pay to such individual students as are going on well, 
by way of encouraging them and inciting others. Then duty 
called me to preach in our chapel more than once, and once at 
Whitehall. Lastly, many hours are spent on the sofa in pain 
of the head, &c. 

" I therefore ask you, whether you think I have been idle, 
in having now actually printed off upwards of 250 pages, that 
is, nearly the half of the fourth volume, and this from a manu- 
script very imperfect, and which often gives me a deal of 
trouble in making out references and doubtful matters. I hope 
to get to work again before long, 

" To the list of interruptions I might well have added 
' family concerns.' " 

This allusion to " family concerns" has reference to the 
departure from Cambridge of Dr. Milner's niece, with her 
husband and a part of her family, an event which was, indeed, 
a severe trial to his social and affectionate disposition. She 
took along with her but a part of her family, because he could 
not prevail upon himself to relinquish the whole. The eldest 
daughter he detained ; and very great was the bitterness of the 
separation between the uncle and the niece, who w'as herself as 
tender-hearted as the relative whom she quitted. From that 
time forward, his affections certainly centred in the child thus 
left to his care. He concludes his letter as follows : — 

" My niece being thus settled at Hull, it will, I know, 
naturally occur to several of my friends, that this new arrange- 
ment will bring me more into the neighbourhood of that place, 
and indeed, to Hull itself. 

" This may possibly, to a certain degree, be the case. But 

s 2 

260 CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. .ETAT. 52. 

I know my own feelings. Hull can never more be the place of 
my residence, for any length of time. 

"As soon as ever tlie fourth volume is completed, I w\\\ 
ask your advice, and take a comprehensive view of what is to 
be done about his works. 

" Yours most affectionately, 

"Isaac Milner." 

It was during the year 1802, that "The Invisible Girl" 
attracted, by her marvellous performances, crowds of wondering 

The general nature of the mechanism by means of which 
this ingenious deception was effected, is now sufficiently under- 
stood : but when the invention was new, it excited an almost 
incredible degree of interest and astonishment. Princes, peers, 
and bishops, swelled the admiring throng. 

In common with thousands of other persons. Dr. Milner 
was attracted by the fame of this exhibition, — if exhibition it 
may be called, — visited the scene of wonder, and witnessed the 
magical effects produced: but unlike the greater number of 
those thousands, he could not rest till he had discovered the 
secret. That he did discover the secret, has been mentioned, I 
believe, in some periodical publications ; but beyond this fact, 
nothing authentic has been hitherto made known. 

His own account of the matter, contained in the following 
letter, exemplifying as it does the persevering character of his 
mind, will not be deemed uninteresting. 

"To John Pearson, Esq., Golden Square. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
" My dear Sir, December 18, 1802. 

*' Since I parted with you, I have had further intercourse 
with the Invisible Girl. I went again with Mr. Wilberforce 
and Mr. Bankes ; and we all came away in the same state of 
ignorance and admiration, with which you and I left the room 
in Leicester Fields. 

" Mr. William Parish, and Mr. Robert Jarratt, called upon 
me in Palace Yard ; and as they had not seen the performance, 

CHAP. XI V\ A.D. 1802. .ETAT. 52. 261 

I described the wooden frame, the glass ball, the tin trumpets, 
and, in short, every part of the apparatus, as accurately as I 
possil)ly could. It is very remarkable, that while I was 
describing the four brass rods which go from the wooden 
pillars of the frame respectively, and are in a horizontal 
direction, all in one instant, it bounced into my mind, that 
there must be an opening in the said brass rods just opposite 
the centre of the mouths of the trumpets, and that the girl 
spoke (from some adjoining room) through a pipe which termi- 
nated just opposite the said centres. The brass rods above- 
mentioned appeared to me sufficiently thick to conceal a tube 
of the necessary size ; and as the wide circular ends of the 
trumpets came so very near the supposed openings in the brass, 
I saw clearly that all the phenomena might take place from 
such an arrangement. Whether the trumpets communicated 
with each other or not, was a point of little consequence. In 
either case, the sound, or the breath, coming along the main 
pipe, from the girl, through the wooden pillars, and to the 
orifice which I have supposed to be in the brass rod, would 
rebound from the wide opening of the trumpet, and be suffi- 
ciently well heard, and in the same way the breath would blow 
on the face by rebounding ; for the said wide opening would 
collect all the sound, or wind, and would condense it, so as to 
prevent it from being dispersed. I felt perfectly confident that 
this was the right explanation of the whole matter; and so 
thought Mr. William Parish, and Mr. Jarratt. 

"I went to Broomfield that night: I got a funnel from 
Mr. Wilberforce's kitchen, and a metal pipe from his organ; 
and I soon convinced myself that my explanation was, in 
substance, right. That the girl should see, had (you know) 
appeared to me no difficulty: now as soon as I blew into the 
funnel, the wind rebounded upon my face directly, and made 
the same sort of sound as the girl's blowing did. 

" In the next place, as there must be four openings, corre- 
spondent to the four wide mouths of the trumpets, I saw that 
there was no reason to suppose that the sound came from one 
more than from anotlier, — in fact, it comes from all four at 
once ; and there being four places at which it bursts into the 

262 CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. iETAT. 52. 

room, there must be a sort of uncertainty in referring the sound 
to its proper place : and this agrees remarkably well with the 
phenomena. Further, if you put your head down, under the 
frame, the sound seems to come from above, because all the 
orifices are above ; whereas, if you put your head to the 
trumpet^s wide mouth, it rather appears to come from below ; 
so it ought to do, as we shall see presently. 

" In ruminating over this matter at Broomfield during the 
evening, I saw, that the more I considered the explanation I 
have given, the more perfectly it appeared to agree with all that 
1 had seen or heard. One single doubt only remained, viz., 'The 
sound, when she blows, ought, perhaps,' said I, *' to make some 
noise, a whistling sort of noise, as it comes through a nick or 
hole in the brass pipe.' 

" I mentioned this distinctly to Mr. Wilberforce, and said I 
should like to go again, for that I was sure the whole thing 
must be explicable only on the principle I had suggested ; and 
that, perhaps, the whistling noise was prevented by a bit of 
ivory, or of some such substance, along which the air might 
pass, just as it came into the room. 

" I recollected that there was a sort of net-work about two 
inches broad, made of brass, very small brass; but I could not 
recollect upon what the whole brass frame rested, or whether 
there were another brass rod parallel to the upper one through 
which I have supposed the sound to come; neither could Mr. 
Wilberforce assist my memory on that point. We had both 
totally forgotten that there was a cross wooden bar, just at the 
bottom of the said brass net-work, which bar reached from 
pillar to pillar. Neither of us had the smallest recollection of 
that wooden bar. 

" Mr. Farish and Mr. Jarratt went, the day following, with 
tlic full impression that they should find an orifice at or about 
the place that I had described : but the master of the show was 
amazingly alive to their examinations, as soon as he saw to 
what part they directed their attention, and would not let them 
touch anything. However, they clearly saw four openings, 
not in the brass indeed, but in the said wooden bar, and there- 
fore a little below the centre of the fumiels, or trumpets. This 

CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. .ETAT. 62. 26.3 

minute difference, however, does not affect my claim to the 
discovery — for the principle of the sound, or the breath, 
striking the funnel, and of its rebounding, and, in short, doing 
everything as I had said and predicted, turned out to be exactly 
so. The opening being a little lower, is certainly more favour- 
able to the rebounding from the oblique surface of the trumpet's 
mouth : and the wooden cross-bar is capacious enough to hold 
a pipe of great diameter. Mr. Jarratt, I fancy, first perceived 
the nick in the wood; and, if they would but let one examine 
thoroughly, I have no doubt ])ut that it would be found that 
there is a sloping direction given to the opening. I went a 
third time to see all with my own eyes. The men pretended 
that I had not discovered the main secret : ' Then,' says I, * I 
may mention my opinion anywhere.' They entreated me not 
to do so, in the strongest terms. Mr. Wilberforce put a piece 
of paper to the opening, and the girl's breath blew it away. 
I would have this to be communicated to no more persons than 
already know it : but I thought it best to give you the exact 
history of the business. 

" 1 could make, any day, an apparatus which would answer 
all the purposes of that in Leicester Fields. The nick in the 
wood, through which the sound comes into the trumpet, is in 
the ornamental nick (or moulding) made in the mahogany bar, 
and does not appear different from the other parts without a 
close attention ; and can only be seen well on the side next the 
window. There it appears more open for about an inch. On 
the very first day I went, I remember I wondered why there 
should be a brass frame to hinder one's mouth and face from 
getting close to the trumpet. You can't think how surly the 
fellows were at first, and how they said one must touch 
nothing, and would not let us put anything against the orifice; 
but Mr. Wilberforce slyly put a piece of paper there, which, as 
1 said before, the girl's breath blew away, 

" Yours, I. MlLNKR." 

Subsequent to his discovery of the main secret upon which 
the clever deception in question depended, Dean Milner, who, 
as the readers of his Life must be aware, was never satisfied 

264 CHAP. XIV. A.D. 1802. yETAT. 52. 

till he had probed an affair to tiie very bottom, frequently 
visited the exhil)ition in Leicester Fields, almost en ami. The 
exhibitor, sensible that there was, in fact, nothing further to 
conceal, took delight in showing him all the minutiae of the 
contrivance ; being, in truth, well remunerated for his civility 
by the multitude of visitors attracted by the Dean's frequent 
presence and lively conversation. Dr. Milner had even, when 
he chose, admittance behind the scenes ; and for this privilege, 
he on one occasion paid at least its full price. He had entered 
at an early hour, the apartment of the invisible agent in the 
mysteries Avhich he had succeeded in fathoming; and such was 
tiie influx of visitors throughout the morning, that to emerge 
from his hiding-place, without betraying much of the secret, 
was impossible. The manager implored him not to ruin his 
fortunes ; and the good-natured Dean, finding that he must 
make up his mind to remain for some hours where he was, 
and being quite at home with regard to the various signals 
liabitually transmitted from the outer to the inner room, 
amused himself by relieving the invisible girl, who was, in fact, 
a little decrepit old woman, from a part of her tedious duty. 
While she cooked her dinner (a mess of soup, as he used to 
relate), he observed for her the signals given, and in fact did 
all but speak. Nothing of all this, however, did he mention, 
except to those few persons to whom the secret was already 
known, until the astonishment and admiration excited by the 
invisible girl had passed away. Afterward.s, indeed, he did 
frequently relate the whole adventure with much glee. 



Misundei"standing between the President and the Fellows of Queen's College. — 
Written Documents. — Industry of Dr. Milner. — Election of Fellows by 
Royal Dispensation. — Comparative advantages of Open or Close Colleges. — 
Domestic Affliction. — Board of Longitude. — Sentiments with respect to 
Public Affairs. — Letter to the Rev. William Richardson. — Preaching at 
Carlisle. — Fourth Volume of the Church History. — Accuracy of the His- 
tory. — Dr. Milner's qualifications as an Ecclesiastical Historian. — Habitual 
Study of Theological Subjects. — Remarks upon Dr. Kipling's Work on 
the Articles of the Church of England. — Hebrew Language. — State of the 
Country. — Recollections of Dean Milner, by a Clergyman formerly of 
Queen's College. — Christian Observer's Critique npon Milner's Church 
History. — Dr. Milner's Remarks on the Critique. — His Opinion of the 
Christian Observer. 

A.D. 1803. yETAT. 53. 

The beginning of the year 1803 was marked by certain differ- 
ences of opinion between Dr. Mihier, in his capacity of Pre- 
sident, and tlie Tutors and other Fellows of Queen's College — 
differences which led to discussions of a character highly 
distasteful to the frank and friendly spirit of the Master. 

It would be easy, were it necessary, to prove, by means of 
documents now in existence, that throughout these occurrences 
Dr. Milner acted with a determined view to the real good of 
the society which he governed, and with a steady firmness of 
purpose, tempered by the natural urbanity of his disposition. 
But in order to demonstrate this, it would be necessary not 
only to enter into some matters which are now no longer 
interesting, but also to incur the hazard at least, of wounding 
the feelings of some persons who still survive. 

One observation should, howevex", be made. 

It is notorious that tliere have been persons, very ill 
informed, no doubt, wlio have suspected that after his settle- 
ment at Queen's Lodge, Dr. Milner contracted habits of self- 
indulgence ; in short, tliat he became indolent. 

The very full and carefully digested statements which he, on 
all important occasiors, made in writing, with the arguments 
pro and con, for the guidance of his own judgment respecting 

266 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. .ETAT. 53. 

matters affecting the well-being of his college, statements which 
were found among his papers after his death, and which of 
course have been preserved, are sufficient, even if there were 
not abundance of other evidence, to clear his memory from this 

As examples of the nature of these written documents, 
I may mention two manuscripts of considerable bulk, and 
evidently put together with great care and labour. 

One of these embodies a full account of the " Misunder- 
standing," already alluded to as having taken place in the 
beginning of the year 1803, "between the Master and his 
Tutors," with the causes which led to that misunderstanding, 
and the line of conduct which, after a full consideration of the 
circumstances, the Master thought it his duty to pursue. 

The other manuscript, also dated 1803, is entitled "A 
Statement of Facts relative to the Election of Fellows by Dis- 

This latter subject was pressed upon Dr. MilnePs consi- 
deration, in consequence of a general wish existing in the minds 
of the majority of the governing part of the Society of Queen's, 
a wish, be it observed, in which he was disposed cordially to 
coincide, to elect to a Fellowship, by dispensation, his county 
being full, a gentleman distinguished both by character and 

Both these manuscripts are drawn up with much ability, 
and are highly interesting and characteristic. 

Concerning the first, however, little can be said, without 
betraying matters which, in his accustomed spirit of charity, 
Dr. Milner had certainly determined to conceal. Suffice it 
therefore to observe, that in this very able production he 
investigates and lays open, with his usual perseverance and 
penetration, the whole chain of causes which had produced the 
unfriendly state of feeling actually existing in the breasts of 
cert<iin individuals towards himself; having, at first, as he says, 
witli a passing gleam of iiis constitutional gaiety, felt " like 
Ajax, at his wits' end ; not on account of his enemies, but on 
account of the darkness which surrounded him." 

Tljose who have read tlie foregoing portion of tliis very 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 26? 

imperfect memoir of Dr. Milner, must be aware that he was a 
man of an exquisitely susceptible and affectionate temperament; 
lest, however, any person should be inclined to imagine that 
the "misunderstanding" alluded to, although irritating at the 
time, was but, after all, the consequence of some such trifling 
el)ullitions of temper, as will sometimes take place even among 
friends who in the main cordially esteem each other, it may be 
advisable here to insert a short extract from the concluding 
part of Dr. Milner's manuscript. 

" I have now," writes Dr. M., " but two very brief observa- 
tions to make. The first is but a repetition of a declaration 
which I made at the outset of this narrative; viz., that by far 
the most agreeable event that could happen to me, would be to 
see matters assume such an appearance of perfect amity and 
cordial reconciliation, that I might cheerfully and at once 
commit these papers to the flames. 

"The second observation is, that if all my endeavours to 
restore harmony in this society, and general prosperity to the 
college, should finally prove abortive, there will be one resource 
left to me, of which I cannot be deprived ; viz., that of pub- 
lishing these papers, and of depositing among the college 
archives this, or a more complete testimonial of the facts and 
reasons which produced these differences among us. Such an 
exact statement of the truth may prove serviceable to an 
impartial posterity, and it will be an ample justification of my 
present friends in the support which they may be pleased to 
aftbrd me. With respect to others, even they, when passion 
and prejudice shall have subsided, and shall have given way to 
cooler reflections, may discover, through the help of these 
pages, by what steps they have been misled, and how erroneous 
a judgment they have formed of the Master's conduct. In 
such an event, some of them may, perhaps, at last experience 
painful feelings, when they shall come to understand how much 
their unjust treatment of the Master has been calculated to 
destroy the comfort, and injure the reputation, of a man whom 
they were bound to have regarded with sentiments of kindness 
and gratitude. 

'' The pul)lic reputation, indeed, of the Master has hitherto 

268 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. ^ETAT. 53. 

been assailed in vain, notwithstanding the industrious circula- 
tion of many plausible charges. It is his triumph to find, that 
these are no sooner propagated than they are understood to be 
notorious falsehoods, and that he is respected as much as ever 
by those whose good opinion he values/' 

The latter part of the extract above given, will be read with 
satisfaction not only by the surviving personal friends of the 
late Dr. Milner, but by all who revere his memory. 

The same " plausible charges" against him, which were put 
into " industrious circulation" during his life, have been, in 
some few instances, renewed since his death. 

The above extract certainly proves, that to his own con- 
science. Dr. Milner stood acquitted of these charges; and if his 
innocence be not thereby absolutely demonstrated to the minds 
of others, it is because his biographer declines to make public 
facts and circumstances, which, in his tender regard for the 
feelings even of persons who had shewn him but a scant mea- 
sure of kindness, he has gone to the grave without divulging. 

It would have been improper in a work purporting to be a 
Life of Doctor Milner, to omit all mention of an affair which, at 
the time of its occurrence, so deeply affected his comfort, and 
of which he thought it expedient to leave, in writing, an 
accurate account. 

It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to add, that time brought 
the truth to light. The purity and integrity of Dr. Milner's 
character became daily more and more apparent. He com- 
pletely outlived the prejudices whicli, in the miiuls of certain 
members of his college, had once operated to his disadvantage, 
and died in the possession of their hearty esteem and reverence. 

The other manuscript already mentioned in evidence of Dr. 
Milner's laborious habits, is a very able and dispassionate 
" Statement of Facts relative to the Election of Fellows by 
Dispensation, and of the Arguments respecting the General 
Question of Dispensations and Second Dispensations." 

Such a treatise, admiral^ly as it may be drawn up, cannot be 
supposed likely to excite much general interest. It contains, 
however, one j)tissage which inuncdiately bears upon a question 
which has lately been agitated with considerable earnestness; 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. vETAT. 53. 269 

and upon every such question, the deliberate opinion of such a 
man as Dr. Milner, must be valuable. 

"In the discussion of the point before us," writes Dr. Mil- 
ner, " much depends on not mistaking the true nature of the 
general question, and also of some other questions closely con- 
nected with it. 

"Thus, in considering the effects of second, and even of first 
dispensations, it is scarcely possible not to make some com- 
parison in our minds betweeen the advantages of open colleges, 
and such as are confined and restricted by their foundation. 
Queen's College, for example, is, by statute, a confined or a close 
college; but we open it, in a measure, by dispensations. Now 
I beg leave to remark, that the question before us is not whether 
a close or an open college be better, that is, whether a close or 
an open college be more likely to promote the pious purposes 
of the founders in assisting the poor, and in advancing religion 
and learning, but whether, as we have now the college founded 
already to our hands, and closed by statute, and as dispensa- 
tions, with all the circumstances of procuring them, &c. &c. are 
the only means we have of opening them, we ought to open 
them in this way as much as we can, or, on the contrary, to use 
great reserve in the use of these means. Or the real question 
may be put still more accurately thus. Always kee2:)ing in view 
that we are, by statute, compelled to be a close college, to what 
degree is it advisa])le to open the fellowships, by dispensations, 
subject to the inconveniences of petitions, &c. &c.? 

"In the solution of this question, my own mind has been 
much assisted by carefully contemplating and comparing the 
advantages and disadvantages of close and open colleges in 
general. And here, I do not scruple to own, that experience, 
and not mere reasoning, has taught me to pronounce differently, 
accordingly as the college is small or large in its foundation. 

" If the fellowships be numerous, by all means let the college 
be open. It is next to impossible, that county connexions 
should much predominate in a very large college. In a small 
college the reverse is the truth. We find it so by experience, 
though it may be invidious to point out instances. In a small 
college, when several fellows are, at one time, of the same, or even 

270 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

of neighbouring counties, we find that they are apt to continue so 
to the exclusion of other counties; and this, not, perhaps, from 
any particular affection for a person's own county, but because 
admissions of pupils are generally owing to the existing master 
and fellows and their connexions, and these pupils are the 
materials for making future fellows. 

" For these reasons I think, that the framers of the statutes 
of Queen's College did wisely in endeavoxiring (as they express 
themselves in the statute de PartialUate) to extirpate all partial 
regards to counties and county connexions. Still," adds Dr. 
Milner, '" I neither quarrel with any man who thinks otherwise, 
nor ought I to be at all surprised at such a difference of opinion 
on this point, because I once thought otherwise myself. I once 
supposed (before I had seen so much of men's motives in the 
election of fellows), that merit might be the sole or the prin- 
cipal reason which guided the elector's mind, but it is impos- 
sible that I should offend any one by asserting a general truth 
which nobody who knows anything of the history of colleges 
will deny, viz., that the thing is by no means always so." 

The following extracts are taken from a letter written under 
a great pressure of affliction : — 

" Queen's Lodge^ 
"My dear Friend, January 31, 1803. 

" Is it true that you accuse me of not answering your letters? 
I have heard this of late from more quarters than one; but 
indeed, my dear friend, I am not aware, that according to the 
rules of epistolary correspondence, I owe you a letter. On 
other grounds I owe you more than I can ever discharge. 

" Nevertheless, I may be wrong ; and be it as it may, we 
will not be nice. Forgive me, and be assured, that you are 
deeply and often in my mind, as one of the choice ones of the 
earth, and as one to wiiom I feel particularly bound. 

"At present I am in a good deal of distress. I know not 
whether you iuive lieard of tlie imminent danger in which my 
poor niece has lately been. * * * I consider her state as 
very critical indeed. May God preserve her. The sight of the 
little one, Mary, now with me, almost breaks my heart, and I 

,CHAP. XV. A.l). 1803. ;ETAT. 53. 27 1 

am sure, that if her mother dies, I cannot live witli her at 

" In such a state of mind, we like to write to tliose who will 
sympathize with us. For which reason I write this night to you. 

"How does go on? I hope God is with him. Fare- 
well, dear friend, and believe me, 

" Yours very affectionately, I. M." 

Having gone up to London during the month of March in 
this year, for the purpose of attending the meeting of the 
Board of Longitude, Dean Milner was induced to remain some- 
what longer than usual in Palace Yard, on account of the illness 
of his friend, Mr. Wilberforce, who was suffering under a recent 
attack of a disease, at that time so prevalent, that it acquired the 
name of " the Influenza." On this occasion he conversed much 
both on religious topics and on the two great political subjects 
which naturally occupied the mind of his host, — the abolition 
of the Slave Trade, and the prospect of peace or war. With 
reference to this latter subject, the Dean, whose sentiments in 
the main agreed with those of his friend, thus wrote to him 
after his return to Cambridge, and while the negotiations on 
this great question were still in progress: " It may be necessary 
to make peace, in order that the nation may be convinced that 
peace cannot be had. This is just what happened when you 
brought on the negociations at Lisle by your motion in 1795. 
The eyes of England were opened, and they bore the war 
better afterwards." 

The following letter to another friend deserves to be given 
at somewhat greater length. 

"To THE Rev. William Richardson. 

" My dear Friend, " Carlisle, July 5th, 1803. 

" I suppose if I do not fire at you again I shall never more 
hear from you. 

" I have been ill ; but am much recovered ; blessed be God 
for it. I have ventured to preach twice at Carlisle ; and these 
sermons are the very first attempts which I have dared to make 
of that sort, since my late attack. 

272 CHAP. XV A.D. 1803. MTAT. 53. 

" Last Sunday morning, I was so ill with severe headache, 
that I was obliged, at ten o'clock, to send for Mr. Sheepshanks, 
to request him to do the duty for me at the Cathedral ; but it 
pleased God, that before twelve o'clock, I was able to go and 
mount the rostrum myself. Great crowds were waiting. 

"This is all I shall say of myself, at present; except, that I 
fear my inward-man flourishes as little as my outward-man. 
Oh ! I have much to say to you ! but, I suppose, you would 
only say the same things, which you have kindly said to me 
before. Only do so, then, I say. I allude to the precions 
truths which you inculcated and impressed upon me; and I 
wish I could profit more by them. I, really, sometimes wonder 
how I can have the face to preach to others, when I feel so 
little myself. They are, however, — these truths, I mean — 
precious truths, still : and I don't suppose that you could say, 
to me, anything better than what you have said. May a kind 
and gracious God preserve me and guide my steps ! 

" N.B. I send you, for yourself, a copy of Volume IV. Part 1, 
of the Ecclesiastical History. I have no fear as to your liking 
the book ; it is a most instructive part of the history. I wish I 
may live to finish the other part. 

" I am, yours affectionately, 

"I. MiLNER." 

In elucidation of the last paragraph of the above letter, it 
should be observed, that Dr. Milner was in the habit of desig- 
nating by the names of Parts 1 and 2 of Volume IV. that 
portion of the Ecclesiastical History which is now published 
under the titles of Volumes IV. and V. 

Before his departure from Carlisle, Dean Milner wrote 
again to Mr. Richardson, as follows. 

"My dkar Friend, 

" As you have not yet seen the b(Jok, periiaps, you may alter 
your way of thinking, in some respects,when you have seen and 
read it. You may, perhaps, cease to think me over-scrupulous. 
At least 1 now fancy, that 1 sec some misapprehension on your 
part. ♦ « * 

CHAP. XV. A.D, 1»03. /ETAT. oA. 27-3 

"Now when you reflect upon tlic time during which 1 have 
been able to resume my work, in this matter, at all, — when you 
consider, that I have, daily, many interruptions, from college 
affairs, and, about Christmas, a great deal of actual business, — 
that I am obliged to attend meetings at the Board of Longitude 
three times in the year, in London, — that, lately, on one of 
these occasions, I was detained five weeks in London, by 
illness ; you will not be apt to think, that I can have been over 
nice about this said book ; particularly, when I assure you, that 
by far the greater part of it has been printed since I saw you 
last — in fact, since last September. If all this do not convince 
you, I fear the reading of it may. You will find me not ' over 

" However, to be serious and sincere, I have no great 
apprehensions on that head ; for though I have no pretensions 
to very minute accuracy, I trust the book wiJl be found 
sufficiently accurate in the main. 

" To strengthen all this, let me tell you, that the manuscript 
for this volume, left by my brother, is by far the most incorrect 
of all which he wrote. No wonder. It was never looked over 
by him — it was written in his weak state — and is imperfect in 
every way ; though it contains very fine things. 

" Then the subject grows more and more important ; and I 
have access to books which he had not : and I have thought it 
right to ncM'-model a great deal, and to add a great deal, also. 

" Further, it is impossible for me not to feel myself account- 
able for the work, in a way that I never felt before, in correct- 
ing any of the former volumes. 

" To have published it as it stood in the manuscript, T assure 
you, would not have done. As it is, I trust, that the work will 
be found highly instructive and important. I have brought to 
light a vast deal that never before appeared in English. 

" It is my sincere wish, that my life may be prolonged to 
finish this volume*, if it be, indeed, the will of God. I hope I 
am not ill-employed ; and I trust, that when you have con- 

Viz., the Second Part of Vol. IV., subsequently published by the Dean 
as Vol. V. 

274 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

sidered these things, and read the book, you will cease to think 
me over scrupulous." 

The foregoing letter, exhibiting, as it does. Dean Milner's 
private feelings respecting the responsibility which attached to 
himself with regard to the volume in question, has high claims 
to the attention of the reader; and it is more especially 
interesting, as bearing, in some measure, upon the question of 
the accuracy of this part of the history ; a question which, in 
some quarters, has been acrimoniously debated. 

Nothing can be more candid than the whole of Dr. Milner^s 
statement. The manuscript for the fourth volume, as left by 
his brother, never having been revised, was, he admits, very 
" incorrect" and " imperfect ;" although containing " very fine 

" Then the subject" was becoming " more and more impor- 
tant ;" and he, having, " access to books which" the original 
author " had not," had " thought it right to new-model a great 
deal, and to add a great deal, also." 

It can be no matter of wonder if, in a book thus new- 
modelled and enlarged, some trifling inconsistencies, or some 
slight mistakes, in references, or dates, may be detected. It is 
sufficient, that, after the various attacks which have been made 
upon it, on the score of inaccuracy, that part of the History of 
the Church of Christ of which Dr. Milner was either entirely, or 
in a great measure, the author, is now generally allowed to be, 
with regard to all such matters, " sufficiently accurate in the 

As to the correctness of the views entertained and com- 
municated by Dean Milner, of the characters and tenets of 
Luther and other illustrious men, who were instruments in the 
hand of the Almighty, for the bringing about of the great work 
of the llefonnation, this is not the place, nor the occasion, for 
the discussion of so comprehensive a subject. 

I may, however, be i)ermitted to observe, that the readers 
of even this very imperfect and inadequate memoir of the life 
and character of Dr. Milner, can scarcely fail to be convinced, 
that he was deficient in neither of two (pialifications, essential to 

CHAP. XV, A.D. l»ua. ETAT. 53. 275 

an ecclesiastical historian — industry and piety. He was, more- 
over, very deeply read in religious subjects, and of the force and 
vigour of his reasoning powers, it is needless to speak. The 
deliberate statements of a writer, thus qualified, may surely claim 
attention and some deference from the generality of readers. 

Dean Milner's season of residence at Carlisle, notwithstand- 
ing the preparation necessary for his frequent addresses from 
the pulpit, and other avocations incident to his station, was 
comparatively, and upon the whole, a season of leisure ; and 
when at leisure, his mind habitually turned to the consideration 
of theological subjects. It was his custom to think with a pen 
in his hand ; and many valuable hints may, consequently, be 
found interspersed among his remaining manuscripts. Some- 
times, indeed, his thoughts are expressed too briefly to be 
intelligible to general readers, and occasionally, when the words 
used are sufficiently explicit, the particular point or passage of 
a book to which they refer, is left doubtful. More frequently, 
however, the subject upon which his mind is employed is 
indicated with sufficient clearness, either by express words or 
l)y the obvious tendency and bearing of his observations. Thus 
the foUomng detached remarks, written during the summer of 
1803, manifestly refer to Dr. Kipling's then recent publication 
upon the Articles of the Church of England. 

" The meaning of the Church better ascertained by the 
Articles than by the Liturgy." 

" Can words be contrived clearer than the Seventeenth 
Article ? The last part is in Calvin's Institutes^" 

" See Calvin about the will not being destroyed. Faculty 
of the will not destroyed." 

" Opinions should not be insisted upon as held when 

" Kipling says, Calvin denies men to be accountable. Not 
true. He always represents men as accountable." 

" Dr. K 's opinion is, I suppose, opposed to Calvin's. 

He therefore thinks, that we have some power of thinking good 
thoughts, &c. But our Liturgy says no." 

The following observations, suggested by the consideration 
of some passages in the Articles, are expressed at somewhat 

T 2 

27G CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. .ETAT. 53. 

greater length ; and, like every thing else written or spoken by- 
Dean Milncr, upon subjects which he had studied, they bear the 
impress of a great mind. 

After quoting the IXth, Xth, and Xlllth Articles, — 
" Original sin is the corruption of the nature of every man, 
whereby man is very far gone [quam longisshne) from original 
righteousness, &c. &c.;" "The condition of man after the fall 
of Adam is such, &c. &c.;" " Works done before the grace of 
Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit, &c. &c." — the Dean 
thus wTites : — 

" The doctrine of original sin is a most important article in 
the Christian scheme. All the other doctrines of Christianity 
are closely connected with it ; and, in order to preserve con- 
sistency, must be modified according to the view that is taken 
of original sin. If our ideas of original sin be not previously 
settled with some degree of accuracy, we are in perpetual 
danger of falling into contradictions in the treatment of all the 
important doctrines of Revelation. 

" It would be easy to furnish numerous examples of this. 
Not that it is always necessary for a writer to give a formal 
statement of his notions of original sin for the purpose of 
making his meaning understood upon other religious topics ; 
but this I take to be constantly true, that a perspicuous and 
consistent writer, whatever important subject in religion he may 
handle, cannot possibly conceal his ideas on original sin ; the 
links of the cliain are in a decided and even necessary connexion. 

" How extremely important, then, must it be to form clear, 
decisive, and intelligible views of this doctrine; a doctrine 
which, like a tree, ever bears its own peculiar branches ; a 
doctrine, too, wlicre the branches infallibly indicate the nature 
of the tree on which they grow ! 

" In books of religious controversy, there are endless varie- 
ties of the opinions which have been held on this subject. 

" The three extracts above quoted, express the sentiments of 
the Cimrch of England ; and one would think, that whoever 
carefully reads them, without prejudice, can scarcely give two 
senses to the words, especially as they are descriptive of facts." 

" N.B. — In order to form a right judgment of original sin. 

CHAP. XV\ A.l). 1«U3. yETAT. 53. / 277 

the real tendency of sin is to be considered ; e. y.. What would 
sin produce, if grace did not interpose ? All that grace does — 
that is, all that is to be ascribed to grace — proves sin the 

" It is not fair to define a Calvinist, ' one who holds every 
thing that Calvin held.' It misleads, to represent men as 
holding the whole of Calvinism, who hold only a part. The 
same may be said respecting the followers of Arminius. — See 
Owen's Display of Arminianism, c\i. viii.; and Fuller's Gospel 
of Christ" 

" The danger of Antinomianism, though dreadful, is not 
extensive. I have rarely, if ever, met with a single instance of 
the kind ; whereas I meet with thousands of Pharisees. The 
reason is obvious. The Antinomian idea of living in sin, and 
yet being saved, is so absurd, and so contrary to common sense, 
as well as to the stream of Scripture, that it never can be very 
extensive in its ravages ; whereas Pharisaism is congenial to 
man, and is taking fast hold and striking root everywhere. 
Nay, it is natural to man, whereas salvation by grace is not 

In the following admirable letter, which may now be made 
public without impropriety, Dean Milner's sentiments concern- 
ing Dr. Kipling's performance are stated without disguise or 
reservation : — 

" Dear , 

*' I have lately been informed that you are meditating a 
reply to Dr. Kipling's publication on the Articles of the Church 
of England. The intelligence gives me much satisfaction, yet 
not without some doubt as to the complete discretion of 
writing any public answer to such a pamphlet. I am so for- 
tunate as to know, that you have given much attention, for 
many years past, to the controverted points in question, and, 
therefore, I may well take it for granted, that whatever you 
write upon the subject will be to the purpose ; yet still I am 
far from feeling assured that this is a favourable opportunity for 
you to give your sentiments to the i)ublic. If, indeed, you 
were to enter fully into the difficult subjects of Calvinism and 

278 CHAP. XV. A.U. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

Arminianism, and furnish the public with those thoughts which 
you have long digested, the world would have to thank Dr. 
Kipling for having been the occasion of bringing to light the 
fruit of your labours; but if you intend to confine your plan to 
observations on his publication, several unpleasant circum- 
stances appear to me to be in your way. 

"1. Dr. Kipling's side of the question is by far the most 
popular in our country. I suppose the proportion of those 
who embrace that side, to those who are of a contrary opinion, 
is very great. AVhen I say this, I would by no means be 
understood to speak of such as have studied the question, and 
made up their minds after much reading and reflection. If we 
confine ourselves to persons of this class, I believe the reverse 
to be, and to have always been, the truth in all ages and coun- 
tries. But I speak of Englishmen in general of the present 
age. The times, \'ou will agree with me, are very much in 
favour of Arminian sentiments. 

" 2. And this is remarkably the case with the clergy of our 
Establishment. Formerly the majority of them were calvinis- 
tical ; but at present I believe very few of them are such, 
except those who (you know) are improperly denominated 

"3. The thing I speak of is not a mere prevalence of 
sentiment. The tide sets very strongly against Calvinism, 
considered as a principle of religion and morality. Calvinistic 
tenets are not only thought absurd, weak, and enthusiastic, but 
they are also deemed odious, and even blasphemous. With 
many persons a man is thought a worse man, for being a 

"4. All this, it is true, is merely the effect of customer 
education ; nevertheless, a writer on the Calvinistic side will 
have these prejudices to contend with. I own tlicy are not 
worth mentioning as objections, provided you mean, as I have 
said, to enter thoroughly into the question: for in that case you 
will write to the few, and they will listeti. 

" 5. I have not often seen a pamphlet more calculated, in 
my judgment, to suit the many of the present day, than this of 
Dr. Kipling. Though it is impossible that such a wcjrk should 

CHAP. XV. AD. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 279 

convert a single Calvinist from his opinion it will tend very 
much to strengthen the sentiments of those who are already 
disposed against Calvinism merely from prejudice, without 
understanding the nature of the question. 

"6. These difficulties you will certainly have to encounter: 
but still, if you can put students of divinity upon their guard 
against the partial representations of this author, I acknowledge 
that you will do a great service to the Church and to the 

" You see I write without any sort of ceremony; and as I 

am just fresh from reading Dr. K 's work, I will briefly put 

down a few remarks in the very order in which they have 
occurred to me. 

" 1. The author, in his very first page, sets out with a 
position that surprised me exceedingly. 

" After acknowledging that it had been a question for more 
than a century, whether some of the Articles of the Church of 
England should be interpreted in a Calvinistic sense, he tells 
us, that this controversy was at length reduced to a single point, 
and was therefore in a fair way of being soon brought to a 

." I liave been so often deceived by the magnificent promises 
and professions of authors, that, I confess, my expectations 
were not much raised by this information. My astonishment 
was rather excited, on observing a disposition to be so peremp- 
tory on a question so difficult and intricate, and in a case where 
the writer, from his age and profession, must be supposed 
conversant in inquiries of this nature; and, from his situation in 
the University, accustomed to investigate theological difficulties, 
and to place them in different lights. 

" 2. But however improbable I might think the author's 
success to be, in the point which he attempted, it became me 
to listen attentively to so respectable a character. 

" But, alas ! he utterly fails us, in limine. His reasoning is 
this : He produces two authors who, he says, have at least 
tacitly granted, that if the Liturgy of our Church be not in 
correspondence with Calvinism, neither are its Articles. By so 
doing, he adds, they have tacitly consented to rest the termina- 

280 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. ;ETAT. 5:i. 

tion of the question in dispute, entirely upon the event of this 
one inquiry, ' Is our established Liturgy in correspondence with 
Calvinism ?' And then the Doctor joins issue with these Calvi- 
nistic writers, and says he shall confine himself to this one 
inquiry, ' Is our Established Church in perfect unison and 
correspondence with Calvin's doctrine of predestination ?' 

"3. My observations on such a procedure are these. 

" Supposing this to be ever so fair a statement of the 
question between Dr. K. and the two authors whom he 
opposes, I ask, who has consented to rest the determination of 
the points in dispute in the way that Dr. K. supposes, except 
Dr. K. himself? Possibly the Doctor's two opponents may 
consent also. And he tells us, that they have actually made a 
tacit grant, which implies such a consent. It would be pre- 
sumption in me to pretend to determine what either of those 
writers would consent to in a contest of this nature, and where 
the issue is joined with so confident a spirit by their adver- 
sary ; but I think it very easy to collect, from what they have 
already written, that in whatever manner Dr. K. may think 
proper to join issue with them, or in whatever manner he 
may choose to confine himself, they would hardly submit to 
1)6 confined at his will or pleasure : or, in one word, I think 
that they would consider themselves justly entitled to use not 
only that one species of argument pointed out by Dr. K., 
but any kind of argument which they thought fairly bore upon 
the question, and was likely to produce conviction in a sober 
and cultivated understanding. The grand principle upon which 
they would proceed would, I think, be this : AVhenever a 
doctrine was perfectly clear and explicit, whether that doctrine 
were found among the Articles, or the Homilies, or in the 
Liturgy, they would rest satisfied with it, and would apply it to 
the explanation, or clearing up, of any d()ul)tful passages, 
whether such doubtful passages were found in the Articles, the 
Homilies, or the Liturgy. And as it is undoubtedly in the 
Articles that we have reason to expect doctrinal precision, they 
would chiefly look tliere for accurate statements of controverted 
points. In the HoniiHes they wouUl expect to find more 
difruse explanations and illustrations of what was expressed 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. ^TAT. 53. 281 

concisely and abstractedly in the Articles ; because, in fact, the 
Articles themselves do make that use of the Homilies by 
reference ; but least of all would they look for nice distinctions 
and definitions of doctrinal matters in the Liturgy, the use of 
which belongs, in a great measure, to the affections of the 
Ijeart, rather than to the speculations of the head; and the 
language of which is wisely made popular, and adapted to the 
understandings of persons of the lowest attainments. 
I/- *' You are not to infer from anything which I now say, that 
^ I think the Liturgy of no use in the controversy before us. 
The reverse is my decided opinion : only I think it ought not 
by any means to stand foremost in an inquiry of this kind. 
The use of the Liturgy in this inquiry is subsidiary, and in that 
light very powerful. I even admit that some of the most 
conclusive arguments, on the most important points, may be 
drawn from it, — arguments by no means less conclusive, 
because they depend upon statements which seem to have 
been formed in an undesigned manner. In one word, I 
should say, let the Articles speak for themselves on all 
occasions, if possible. If there be some obscurity on any 
point, or if any point require particular and diffuse illus- 
tration, consult the Homilies, where that point, or some 
other point closely connected with it, is expressly treated. 
And, lastly, if doubt still remain concerning the meaning of 
any article of faith, listen attentively to the prayers of the 
Church. Thus, if any man doubt whether, according to the 
principles of the Church of England, Jesus Christ, the Second 
Person in the Trinity, be God, let him consider the leadin'>- 
clauses of the Litany. 

" But I should be very cautious how I indulged mvself in 
inverting this method of studying the doctrines of our Churcli • 
that is, I would not recommend a person to begin an inquiry of 
that sort by studying the Liturgy. Least of all would I advise 
him to note down certain parts of the Liturgy, — to draw 
inferences from them, — and then to say, these inferences must 
be the doctrines of the Church of England, these inferences 
must l)c contained in the Articles of our faith, — whatever those 
Articles may say, this must be their meaning. 

282 CHAP. XV. A.l). 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

" Now Dr. K. appears to me to have used this last method 
of argumentation ; which method I think a very dangerous 
one ; and thereby to have imposed upon his own vniderstand- 
ing. He lias not sufficiently looked into the Articles tliem- 
selves : he has not, I think, submitted to their plain and 
obvious meaning ; on the contrary, he has aimed to make the 
Articles speak through the medium of the Liturgy, and this in 
the following method : He has adverted to several passages of 
the Liturgy which admit of two, or perhaps of three, interpre- 
tations, and which, in fact, have been so diversely interpreted. 
He has considered those passages as incapable of bearing any 
meaning but that which he has given to them. He has 
thought that several expressions could not possibly be used by 
any Calvinist; when, in fact, they are daily used by the most 
rigid and sincere Calvinists. He does not produce from the 
Liturgy, in any one instance, a direct confutation of the 
Calvinistic doctrines which he opposes: but he produces some 
prayer, or some expression, which he thinks inconsistent with 
Calvinistic doctrine ; and he never stops to inquire whether the 
Calvinist himself draAvs from it the same conclusion ; but he 
peremptorily decides that such or such a doctrine cannot be 
contained in the Articles ; and this, I think, he does in more 
than one instance, where the express words of the Article are 
most incontrovertibly against him. Let it be admitted that the 
Articles and the Liturgy are in perfect correspondence with 
each other ; it tlicn undoul^tcdly follows, that if any clause in 
the Liturgy directly affirms an an ti- Calvinistic doctrine, the 
contrary Calvinistic doctrine cannot be the doctrine of the 
Church of England. But it should be remembered that this same 
conclusion will l)y no means take place, because Dr. K. thinks 
tliat he has found some passages in the Liturgy inconsistent 
with Calvinistic principles. If, indeed, the inconsistency of the 
])assage in the Liturgy be demonstrable, and, consequently, 
undeniable, such inconsistency, altliougli only an inference, will 
amount to a direct affirmation and establishment of the con- 
trary (lo(;trinc ; but it is well known, that in controversies, 
inferences of this nature, drawn by adversaries f()r tlie purpose 
f)f confuting their ojiponents, are seldom to 1)c relied on. In 

CHAP. XV. A.D. l«0;i. yETAT. 53. 28.3 

the present instances, the inferences ujion which Dr. K. lays 
so much stress, so far from being undeniable, have been, in all 
ages, denied by reasonal)le men; and are at this moment denied 
not only by Calvinists, but by many who, in general, by no 
means accede to Calvinistic tenets. 

" If Mr. Overton and Presl)yter should think proper to 
defend themselves by appeals to the public, it will then be 
seen whether they will admit Dr. K's way of managing the 
questions in dispute, or whether they will not rather pursue a 
plan somewhat like what I have here supposed, in regard to 
the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy of the Church of England. 

"Dr. Kipling appears to me throughout, to be fighting with 
a phantom of his own creation. He would prove the Church of 
England not Calvinistic, that is, according to him, not in exact 
harmony with Calvin : and he also maintains that every one of 
Calvin's peculiarities may be comprised under his single 
doctrine of predestination. 

" Now I much question whether any one person ever 
affirmed the Church of England to be Calvinistic in that sense. 
Dr. K. himself tells us, (p. 6, note) that of all the writers who 
have lately attempted to demonstrate the Church of England 
to be Calvinistic, no one has ever once quoted Calvin for this 
purpose. He, very uncandidly, considers their silence as the 
effect of design. Surely a candid inquirer after truth would 
rather have supposed this silence to be the natural effect of 
their using the word Calvinism in a sense somewhat different 
from that in which the Doctor himself uses it. It would be to 
little purpose here to reply, that Calvinism must mean the 
opinions of Calvin ; because there are, perhaps, few words in 
any language that have not undergone material alterations in 
the progress of time : and I will not here stop to inquire 
whether those who use the word in its ordinary acceptation, or 
Dr. K., who alone uses it strictly according to its derivation, be 
the more accurate observers of propriety of language. It is 
sufficient to say, that in this mode of proceeding, the contro- 
versy, so far from being nearly brought to a termination, as 
Dr. K. says it is, would never be terminated at all. Dr. K. 
might, in this way, go on claiming imaginary victories for ever. 

284 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. .TITAT. 53. 

'^ Most persons, I fancy, will think that Mr. O. uses the 
terms Calvinism, Calvinistic, &c., in a sense much more agree- 
able to the received usage of language, and the established laws 
of composition, than Dr. K. does by adhering rigidly to the 
etymology of the word ; but if, for the sake of argument, we 
were to grant that the Doctor is more correct than his oppo- 
nents in the use of those terms, I don't see that, in the balance 
of sound reasoning, he would gain a feather's weight. From 
this concession it would not follow, as Dr. K. says it would, that 
Mr. O. uses ' the signs of ideas, without any ideas annexed to 
them.' It would only follow, that Mr. O. has not proved the 
Church of England to be Calvinistic in the sense in which 
Dr. K. understands that word ; and very few persons indeed, 
as I believe, have ever thought, or undertaken to show, the 
Church of England to be strictly Calvinistic in that sense. 
Every reasonable person will endeavour to collect Mr. O.'s 
opinion from the sense in which he himself tells us he uses his 
words, and not from the sense in which Dr. K. thinks those 
words ought to be used. If Mr. O. have not used the term 
Calvinistic in the sense in which Dr. K. uses it, then he has not 
pronounced the Church of England to be Calvinistic in that 
sense ; and it is to no purpose that Dr. K. endeavours to prove 
that Church not to be thus Calvinistic. If any other person 
has affirmed the Church of England to harmonize with 
Calvin's Institutes, Dr. K. may ])ossibly have confuted that 
person ; but he cannot have confuted Mr. O., who expressly 
says that the Articles do not harmonize with the Institutes of 
Calvin. Further: since Mr. O. has explained himself on this 
subject with particular exactness, why are not his own express 
declarations to be believed ? Can any good reason be given 
why Mr. O. is not to be considered as sincere on his side of 
this question, as Dr. K. is on the opposite side ? 

" Hut not only Mr. O., but all the writers who have lately 
taken up their pens to show that the Church of England is 
Calvinistic, are branded by Dr. K. as knowingly and designedly 
endeavouring to impose upon tlic public, for some mischievous 
purj)ose. There is in tins, something so unbecoming a Chris- 
tian, tliiit I clioose to make no remark upon it. I am sorry 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 285 

that it has fallen from the pen of Dr. K.; and I cannot but 
contrast it with the declarations of Mr. Adam, a very strong 
Anti-Calvinist, upon the same subject. 

"5. Dr. K. affirms that all the peculiar doctrines which are 
connected with this inquiry, may be comprised under the single 
doctrine of predestination. 

" If the reader of Dr. K.'s work should be of opinion that 
the author has demonstrated his positions, in all the cases in 
which he tells us that he has done so ; and also, if, whenever 
one proposition may have a connexion, sometimes a greater and 
sometimes a less, with several other truths, all such truths may 
properly be said to be comprised in that one ; then he may 
allow Dr. K.^s statement to be defensible. 

" But I would observe, first, that Dr. K., however excellent 
a demonstrator he may conceive himself to be, will scarcely 
think that he has exceeded Euclid in neatness and accuracy; 
yet I never heard any one maintain that all the elements of that 
fine author are comprised in his first proposition. Secondly, if 
we consult experience, we shall find that numbers of very 
excellent men and very judicious writers, have held some of the 
acknowledged Calvinistic doctrines, and have rejected others : 
and these writers were never charged with want of perspicuity, 
or with abuse of language. 

" But Dr. Kipling affirms that all the Cahnnistic doctrines 
are so connected together as to form one chain, of which not a 
link can be spared. As often as this principle is maintained, I 
must contend as above, that each writer must be allowed to 
determine for himself what propositions he thinks necessarily 
connected, or not connected together ; that no writer ought to 
be charged with holding doctrines which he himself disavows, 
because another person thinks several doctrines comprised in 
one. And lastly, that Dr. K. will not be considered as decisive 
authority in questions of this kind, till he furnishes us with 
much better specimens of demonstration, than any which are 
to be found in his late pamphlet." 

On his return from Carlisle to Caml^ridge, after keeping his 
residence ai the former i)lace, Dean Milner paid a short visit 

286 CHAP. XV. A.D. 180:i. .1^.TAT. 53. 

to his suffering niece at Hull. Other than a short visit he 
never could prevail upon himself to pay at that place, subse- 
quent to the time of his brother's decease. 

While at Hull, he wrote to a valued friend, to the kindness 
of whose surviving relatives I am indebted for various other 
interesting communications, a letter containing the following 
practical hints, concerning the proper time and manner of 
learning languages. 

" My dear Sir, ''Hull, August 1, 1803. 

" I had unfortunately left Carlisle when your kind letter 
arrived thither. 

" Permit me to imitate the medical gentlemen, who, upon 
farther reflection, and a more distinct view of a case, frequently 
alter or modify their first thoughts. 

" I knew that your son was a good scholar ; or, at least, I 
had good reason for so thinking. But I had no notion that his 
attainments were so great as I now believe them to be. On 
the supposition, therefore, that he is intended for the ministry, 
I see no objection (in his circumstances) to his getting through, 
as soon as possible, the drudgery part of learning Hebrew. I 
mean that part which consists chiefly in exertions of the 

"These exertions are absolutely necessary in learning a 
language, and never more than in the attainment of Hebrew. 
Every word is new; besides the queerness of the conjugations, 
of the sufiixes and prefixes, and the points. 

" For all this, I repeat it, youth is the time. The older we 
grow the less we like exertions of memory, and the less capable 
we are of making them. 

"If you ever wish Mr. P to be a good Hebraist, there 

is no time to be lost. He will be above getting off words by 
heart by and by ; his understanding will make him despise the 
cmi)loyment ; and though he may see the future advantage, he 
will with (lirticulty be br(ni<;ht to buckle to. 

" Still, he must not be permitted to meddle with the 
niceties of the language at present; nor should he spend a deal 
of time about Hebrew yet." 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. >ETAT. 53. 287 

Dr. Milner's mind was, at this time, very seriously occupied 
by the state and prospects of the country. " Literally and 
verily," he wrote to Mr. Wilberforce, from Hull, during this 
visit, " there seems not to be the smallest concern here about 
the war. I never saw a place so involved in worldly affairs' 
It is shocking ! It is affecting beyond measure." 

Later in the year, when invasion had been so long expected 
that persons, in general, were becoming callous to the threatened 
danger, and were beginning to look upon the affairs of the 
country with indifference, he thus wrote from Cambridge to the 
same friend: "The Ministry are everywhere, but particularly 
here, thought weak, on the whole; but exceedingly well- 
intentioned. I do not hear a mouth opened against their 
principles. I am sure nothing would give us so much general 
satisfaction as a junction between Pitt and Addington ; Pitt's 
vigour, and Addington's discretion, would please exceedingly.'' 

It may here be mentioned, that Mr. Wilberforce's health 
was, at this time, so weak, that "the duty of withdrawing alto- 
gether from public life," was "repeatedly and urgently" pressed 
upon him*. With reference to these solicitations he thus 
wrote to Mr. Babington, early in the month of November : 
" On this head I will consult my friend the Dean (of Carlisle), 
on whom I can entirely rely for all the qualities requisite for 
enabling him to form a satisfactory judgment in the case." 

It may have been gathered from the foregoing portion of 
this work, that, on occasion of such appeals to his judgment. 
Dr. Milner, while he constantly exhorted his friend to the use 
of great care and caution in his exertions, never advised him to 
quit the important post which Providence had assigned to him. 

Personal recollections, M'hen their genuineness and correct- 
ness can be relied on, are highly valuable as affording variety 
of interest to a memoir of this nature. Different peculiarities 
strike different minds ; and consequently, an accumulation even 
of slight anecdotes or recollections, supplied by various persons, 
greatly tends to the production of a faithful representation of 
the character delineated. 

• See Life of Wilberforce, vol. iii. 

288 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

A clergyman, formerly a member of Queen's College, per- 
mits me to enrich this volume with the following very lively 
account of a visit to Dean Milner, paid in the autumn of this 
year, by himself, and a young companion. " My first acquaint- 
ance with the Dean," writes this gentleman, " was when Mr. 

Sergeant S and I were invited to the Lodge, at a time 

when we were pupils to Mr. Thomason of Shelford. The Dean 
was wonderfully kind to us ; sat up till two in the morning 
for two or three successive nights, giving us practical philoso- 
phical illustrations of the nature of light and colours, &c., &c., 
and amusing us with anecdotes. Amongst his other illustra- 
tions was that of the cause of the colour of shadows, with this 

Purple/ \orange 

scheme, with which you are, no doubt, very familiar ; and which 
he said that he himself had first discovered. 

"On the second or third day of our visit, he placed us 
in a bed-chamber, and said that he had a curiosity to know 
how we should translate certain passages from some classic 
authors, and do a problem or two in mathematics ; that we 
should oblige him. 

" We got into a state of extravagant laughter wliile closeted 
together, and had not the slightest suspicion tliat we Avere 
undergoing an examination. We found afterwards, that each 
of us was admitted to his College on the ground of what we 
then did. 

" Apparently for a moral end only, he affected to l)e sliglitly 
offended with the laughter ; and alluding to it indirectly, said, 
' Men's weakest time is in their laughter : it exposes them as 
much as wine :' and he gave me an instance of this, by 
mentioning some characteristic trait in myself, which he had 
discovered in my kiughter." 

Some furtlier " recollections" of a different and more im- 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1«03. yETAT. i,:). 289 

portaiit nature, coinniuiiicated ])y the .same friend, respecting 
Dr. Milner, belong to a. somewhat later period. 

In the month of October, in this year, there appeared, in 
the Christian Observer, a critique, (continued in tlie November 
and December numbers,) on Milner's Ecclesiastical Histonj. 

Of this critique Dean Milner took no pubhc notice. His 
sentiments respecting it are, however, sufficiently laid open in 
the following letter; a letter which, although it certainly mani- 
fests the warmth and quickness of his feelings with regard to 
whatever concerned his brother, or his brother's memory, must 
be felt to breathe much of the purest spirit of Christian charity. 
The Dean's observations on the plan and execution of that part 
of the Church History which records the life of Wicklifte, are 
especially valuable. 

" Queen's Colleye, 
" iM Y D E A R S I R, 1 C)th December, 1 80.3 . 

1st. "You yourself examined, (while I was last in London,) 
into the Fatalism ascribed by the Christian Observer, to Wick- 
lille. The evidences to the contrary are in the early pages of 
appendix to Vol. IV. of Milner's Church History. 

" Is not a man, is not Wickliffe to be believed, when he 
speaks out ? He says, the liberty of the Divine power is 
summe libera. A single expression of this sort ought to stand 
against a thousand metaphysical niceties. The late Mr. Toplady 
had misunderstood Wickliffe ; having, most clearly, never read 
the passage in question in Wickliffe's writings. I was tender 
of To])lady's memory, and only quoted from him, so much as I 
thought defensible : the Christian Observer has quoted the rest, 
from Middlcton's Biof/raphia Evangelica, and has made himself 
a party along with Toplady, in accusing Wickliffe of fatalism. 
See Christian Observer, November, 1803, page Q^d. 

" If the Christian Observer had but given the evidence, he 
M-ould have l)cen at perfect liberty to conclude as he pleased. 

"2ndly. The Christian Observer (page G^G,) is not satisiied 
that more is not said about the Great AVcstcrn Schism; and 
say.s, that it was attended with very important consequences. 

*-IIe forgets that the author of this History writes only a 
History of the Church of Christ. 

-^'^ CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. /ETAT. 53. 

"The author is very pointed, (over and over) in making 
the reader understand his plan. If the Observer had said, 
' Mr. Mihier, agreeably to his plan, has twice briefly ad- 
verted, very particularly, to the important consequences of 
this schism,* the remark would have been true, pertinent, and 

" The remark, as it now stands, is a disagreeable slur on the 

"3rdly. The Observer expected a fuller account of the 

"Turn to Mosheim, cent. 14., Internal Historj', chap, ii., 
sect. 36, and you will find a very long and learned note on the 
History of Lollardism, by a man who had deeply studied the 
point: and you will also see, that the Historian of the Church 
of Christ had nothing to do with such details. I wish that 
cither Mosheim or the Christian Observer could have pointed 
out any eminent servants of God who have been omitted. I 
would have thanked them in earnest. 

"While Mosheim is in your hand, turn to sect. 15 of the 
same chapter; there you M'ill see, in italics, The Great Western 

" How soon a man may become sufficiently learned to 
censure others ! and how easy it is to say, ' We look in vain for 
a luminous view of the Ecclesiastical History of the Fourteenth 
Century!' (See Christian Observer, November, p. G770 Once 
more I answer, it was not the author's plan to write the Plistory 
of the Fourteenth Century; what he undertook to write was 
the History of the Church of Christ. He was most uncom- 
monly versed in history of all sorts, particularly in ecclesiastical 
history; and, in general, was well qualified to retain and to 
dismiss matters, according to their value, when estimated by 
his plan. Among the sects omitted, (see Christian Observer, 
V' <j77j) there probably were good men; l)ut who knows it? 

"4thly. The Oljserver next says, that Mavish cncomium.s' 
arc bestowed on Bradwardinc's book against the Pelagians. 

" I have only to say tliat most persons, I may say all, of 
my acquaintance, have expressed both delight and astonishment 
on reading the extracts '-iven. 

CHAP. XV. A.D. 1H03, ;eTAT. 53. 291 

" Stilly. Tlie Observer (p. 078), intimates that there is neither 
'perspicuity of style/ nor 'felicity of arrangement/ in the 
account of WicklifTe. This is very hard. A very learned 
friend of mine came in the other day and said, ' What can they 
mean ? Perspicuity of style is the peculiar characteristic of Mr. 
Milner.' So far as authority goes, this evidence is decisive. 

" The fact is, that the Clirisiian Observer was not aware of 
the difficulty of writing the life of Wickliffe. 

"Mr. Milner says, 'There is no person of ecclesiastical 
eminence, whose life and character have cost me more thought 
and care than Wickliffe's.' 

" One would have thouglit that such a declaration might 
have led to more candour in the remarker. But do read the 
Life again, and see whether it be like ' a common-place book,' 
as tiie Observer says it is. 

" If the Observer had read any one of Wicklifi'e's biogra- 
pliers, he must have known that there arc i^rodigious obscurities 
and even inconsistencies in the accoiuits of WicklifTe, and that 
Mr. Milner has cleared up many things respecting him, without 
mentioning the faults of the authors who had gone before him, 
except quite generally. His plan is this. First he collects 
the large facts in order. Then he gives an account of Wick- 
liffe's works. Next he makes critical observations on Wick- 
liffe's character, and answers the insinuations and calumnies of 
Hume, &c. Lastly, he makes interesting and explanatory 
reflections, most of them entirely new. 

" I know, that the Life of Wickliffe is thought, by those 
who are very well versed in these matters, to be one of the 
most capital productions of the author. The language of the 
most learned and able in these subjects, is to this effect: 
'This history surprises and delights everybody/ 'All are eager 
for the sequel. The author's powers appear eminent in this 
part of the work. His patience and sagacity in managing the 
few fragments that remain respecting Wickliffe, are truly 
admirable. All that we had before was either romance, or a 
mere bundle of inconsistent fragments. Mr. Milner has pro- 
duced an inteUigible whole, and has interspersed his account 
Mith very instructive observations.' 

U 2 

292 CHAP. XV. A.D. 1803. yETAT. 63. 

" In p. GIO of tlic Christian Observer for October last, there 
are again some slurs upon the want of lacidus onlo. 

" Still, I say, I never saw a sentence of my brother's, whicli 
was not clear as to its meaning : but suppose there were some 
such, a good critic is always governed by Horace's rule, Ubi 
pi lira nitent, ^c. 

" Be that as it may, I am ready to own that the first volume 
was not so correct as it should have been, and as it wouhl have 
been, but for some particular circumstances. In a word, the 
author trusted the review of that volume to one who was far 
from being careful. But sliould not the Observer have known, 
that there was a second edition of the first volume published 
in 1800? I am not Avilling to own that that is very incorrect, 
because I revised it myself. 

"Now to be very plain. Upon reading such a critique as 
this, it would be the height of affectation in me to say, that I 
was not considerably displeased with the Christian Observer. 

" However, I believe I shall take your advice as to answer- 
ing, at present, certainly, — and if ever I do answer, I shall 
endeavour to avoid everything that looks like the unchristian 
spirit of returning evil for evil. You know what I think the 
great defect of the Christian Observer, and I am now glad that 
I expressed that to you in private long ago, long before their 
remarks on this work came out. Their treatment of my 
brother's book will make me in future say, not more, but less, 
on that subject. As to the Ijook itself, it must stand, and will 
stand, on its own merits. Of this I feel fully assured. I 
do most sincerely assure you, that by far the most disagreeable 
part of this business is, that as I have a very numerous 
religious acquaintance, and a considerable correspondence of 
the same sort, there will be no end of the questions I shall 
be asked about the Christian Observer's critique. Tiie learned 
wlu; will or can judge for themselves are few; and those of my 
friends who are partial to me, and M'ho think that I know 
better than the Christian O/jscrver, will be eager to show tlieir 
dislike of the Observer's critique, as least to as higli a decree 
as tliey can collect that my dislike, or A'cxation, arises. Others 
who arc merely curious, and who like to talk, will want to know 

CHAP. XV. A.D. ]fi03. /ETAT. o'.i. 293 

uhat is the reply wliicli I liavc to make. Nay, I have already 
been strongly solicited to rc})ly ' with a vcngeaiice.' Literally, 
I am every day ashed questions on this suhject, either vivd voce, 
or Ijy letter. 

" After all, I believe that the Christian Observer is the best 
of the religious monthly publications; and so long as I think 
so, I shall never treat him so uncivilly, not to say unkindly, as 
he lias treated me. Even if the Observer fall into errors, I 
would be tender of his public reputation. The managers of 
this publication ought not to trust the reviewing of works of 
consequence to persons who do not understand the subjects 
treated of. 

" In the critique in question I perceive abundance of self- 
sufficiency, and vain pretensions to learning, all of which would 
have been bridled a good deal by real knowledge, but most 
efleetually by a truly humble and godly spirit. The editors 
should mind whom they employ." 

With respect to the general observations concerning the 
Cliristian Observer, which occur towards the end of the fore- 
going letter, it can scarcely be necessary to remark, that having 
been written in the year 1803, their publication now can carry 
along with it nothing cflensive to the feehngs of the present 
conductors of that verv valuable and useful work. 



Correspondence. — Religious Experience. — Professor Carlyle. — Letter to liis 
Sister on his Death. — Domestic Affiiirs.— Religions :Meraorancla. — Hints 
for Sermons. — Private Thoughts. — Helps to Self-Examination. — Religious 
Correspondence. — Library at Lambeth. — Affairs of the Hoard of Longi- 
tude. — History of the Church. — Perseverance. — Investigation of the Sawston 
:Mystery. — Letter to Jolm Pearson, Esi^., on the Death of his Daughter. — 
Kindness of Heart. — Visit to London. 

A.D. 1804. .ETAT. 54. 

In the month of January Dr. Mibier was necessarily much 
occupied l)y the duties which devolved ujijon him as President 
of Queen's College, and as Professor of Mathematics. He 
always, however, found time for the service of his friends ; and, 
in particular, never neglected applications for advice. 

On the 3rd of January, 1804, he thus wrote to a gentleman 
who had consulted him respecting a suitable tutor for his son, 
a youth of excellent abilities and acquirements : — " * * * 
If even you could find a person ever so well qualified as to 
learning, yet if he were deficient in the religious part of his 
character, I should think it most hazardous to trust to him a 
youth of your son's years ; and that you M'ould very dearly 
purchase the little good that can 1)e expected — dearly — very 
dearly — at the hazard of a deterioration of his religious princi- 
ples, in consequence of irreligious association." 

The following letter contains, beside the tender cxpressioji 
of the writer's affectionate feelings on the occasion which called 
it forth, much that will be deeply interesting to religious 
readers in general, and to the surviving religious friends of 
Dean Milncr in particular. 


"My ni:AR Fiiikno, " Qncct/'s Cof/a/c, /'Jj/ip/tantj, 180-1. 

"I cannot help giving you a line upon having received 
vours tills morninc:. 

CIIAr. XVI. A.D. 1804. iETAT. 54. 295 

"Alas! alas! this poor dear little one! that looks so like 
your deceased mother! May I really hope that the worst is 
over? It is the most affecting thing in the world to see a 
child one loves, ill ; and I find it impossil)le not to love these 
little ones if I live with them and see their pretty ways of 
going on. 

"Yet what a deal of art, and sometimes not of amiable art, 
do they show ! But then they overpower one absolutely by 
their thousand little affectionate tricks and looks. Depend 
upon it there is a superintending Providence that peculiarly 
guards them. 

"Edwards* is indeed a deep hand. There is a world of 
thinking, sometimes, in a few pages. I studied his book long 
ago, with very great care, and wrote a few notes on some passages 
where I tliought him not so clear as usual, or, perhaps, where I 
do not quite agree with himf, which, in general, I do very 

" To live the life of faith is the thing after all : and a hard 
matter it is. 

" jNIy poor heart is fuller than anybody knows on earth. I 
am sadly dissatisfied, and sadly hampered; I know not where 
to turn, or what to say; but it is not from M'ant, but from 
abundance of matter. 

" I have been trying plans that are, in some respects, new 
to me. I mean practical plans. What will be the result 
I know not. I am not without hope, but this is all I 
can say. 

*' One thing I can add. I have the fullest conviction of 
tlie Way; I see it as if marked with a sun-beam, blessed be 

" Moreover 1 find, that whenever I can act, for even a short 
time, in any measure, up to the principles which I know to be 
right, I succeed so far. 

" There is, indeed, a secret in religion, and this secret is 
' with theui that fear 11 im.' 

* The llov. Jonathan Edwards, 
t Sec Cliai)tcr XI. 

206 CIIAr. XM. A.D. ir,04. JETAT. 54. 

'* Every doubt a]}out knotty points vanishes in proportion 
as I liave a disposition to be active, and as I support a real, 
practical life of faith. 

" I jireachcd on Christmas-day in our chapel, and got a good 
deal of cold. " Yours affectionately, 

" Isaac Milner." 

Professor Carlylc, more than once incidentally mentioned in 
ihe foregoing pages, as an old and much esteemed friend of 
Dean Milncr, died, after a long illness, during the spring of this 
year. The following letter addressed to his surviving sister, 
since deceased, bears upon it the imj^ress of the exquisitely 
aficctionate disposition -which characterized the writer. 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"Dear Miss D. Carlyle, May 21, 1801. 

" I was going to write to you at large, though I know not 
whether I should have had heart to get tlirough, when a corres- 
pondence took place betMcen your friends at Newcastle and 

" You will, no doubt^ have heard of that correspondence, 
and may consider everything which I said to them as said to 

" People talk of time wearing off the effect of these blows, 
but I have never found much of that. 

" At any moment I can weep as sincerely and as freely as 
ever, for the loss of my true friends; and I have long declared, 
that the world would never more look like itself to me. Happy 
will it be for us if our hearts are but made to submit to God's 
dispensations, and to see real kindness in them, by having, 
through their means, our aflections weaned from the world, and 
set on things above. This is the lesson that will do us good. 

" This is a melancholy sort of strain, I OAvn, to use to a 
person in affliction, nevertheless, it is the only view of the thing 
wliich affords any relief to my own mind, as I trust it may to 
yours, because I i){)iiit to the true medicine for tliis and every 
other evil. 

''To be sure I frequently rcllcct on the afllicting history of 
my few years' connexion with Carlisle. 

CHAr. XYI. A.D. in04. yT:TAT. 54. 297 

" Your dear 1)rotlicr made the observation himself, and alas! 
how much more reason is there now to make it, than there was 
at the time when he said to me, with tears in his eyes, ^ What 
ravages have a few years made in the little circle that met at 
the Deanery, rejoicing with one another, only so lately as the 
year 1793 or 1791.' 

" I perfectly well remember the meetings which he then 
alluded to. Himself and his wife and mother, his two sisters, 
Mr. and Mrs. L., and Mrs. B., and dearest George*; Ellen 

was not then born: add myself, his old friend , and my 

Ijrother, a new friend whom he took to very warndy. Old 
Mr. Parish and Dr. Paley, though not exactly of the same class, 
were yet fine additions to the parties. 

" What a change! So it Avas to be! It was hardly possible 
for the heart of man to devise a situation that to myself should 
promise more comfort, of every sort, than my appointment to 
this deanery. I thank God it has had its uses, I trust; but by 
no means so much in the way that I had reckoned upon, as is 
agreeable to flesh and blood. 

" Were I to give way fully to my feelings, I should not leave 
a tear in my constitution. 

"You may think it odd enough, but lam really so little 
master of myself, that everyday, without exception, many times 
in a day, and very often in the night when I cannot sleep, that 
picture, that A'ery great likeness of my friend, which hangs in 
your sitting-room, comes into my mind, and crowds upon me 
so fresh, and with so much force, as sometimes to gratify me 
exceedingly, and at other times to produce the most grievous 
affliction. In fact, I can have his features expressed before my 
eyes, in the most lively manner, at any time I please. 

" There is, perhaps, a weakness in mentioning these things, 
but I would not talk in this way to any body. 

" I sincerely pray that this loss coming upon you, in so 
severe a way just after yoiir recovery from a bad illness, may 
not have hurt your health, and proved too much for your 
enfeebled frame. 

George C'ailylo, only ton of riofitior Carljle. Sec Cliap. X. 

2^3 CIIAP. XVI. A.D. 1004. iETAT. 54, 

" Your sister's spirits and strength and ability to go through 
difficulties, arc really surprising. It is a great blessing to the 

"You will be sorrj^, dear lady, to hear, that besides the 
troubles which you know of, 1 have also private afflictions to 
struggle with of considerable weight. 

" My little great-niece Mary, who, by degrees, has stolen 
more of my affection than I was aware of, is very ill, though I 
do not quite give her up, and I know not whether her mother 
be not in still greater danger, and she is the nearest relation I 
have in the world, so that the world indeed turns but a dark 
side to me." * * * After communicating his purpose of 
bringing his niece, with her family, to Carlisle during the 
ensuing smiimer, also " an old quiet friend, seventy years old, of 
the name of Tillotson*, who would only desire to smoke his 
pipe, and he no trouble to any creature,'^ the Dean, with his 
habitual considerate kindness, adds a request that matters 
should be so arranged as to render it feasible, that his house- 
keeper might " have little Mary with her," as she had been 
" used to have." 

Having been myself the " little Mary," here mentioned, I 
may, perhaps, be permitted to step out of my way for an instant, 
to acknowledge the debt of gratitude M'hich I owe to this good 
" housekeeper," who lived with Dr. Milner, till liis death. She 
watched, like a mother, over my childhood, and felt for me, I 
verily believe, something not very unlike a mother's love. 

The Dean, with Mr. Tillotson and " little Mary," arrived at 
Carlisle, about the middle of June ; and, in pursuance of the 
plan intimated in the above letter, was, soon afterwards, joined 
by liis niece, her husband, and her two younger children. 

To Dr. Milner, thus again surrounded by his relatives, and 
preaching in tlie Cathedral, with unabated zeal and energy, as 
often as his health, recently shaken Ijy a severe illness, would 
permit, this summer's residence at Carlisle proved a period of 
considerable enjoyment. 

Tiic following private religious memoranda, written during 

• Sec Clciptor VJII. 

CHAP. XVI. A.D. inoi. iETAT. 54. 299 

this quiet summer, will, doubtless, be highly valued by serious 

These memoranda consist, partly, of hints for sermons ; and 
partly, of private thoughts, intended, probably, as helps to self- 

In elucidation of the first class of these private notes — tlie 
hints for sermons — it should be observed, that Dr. Milner was 
in tlie hal)it of keeping, and turning over in his mind, during a 
considerable period, any subject upon which he intended to 
write ; and of putting down, with reference to it, sometimes 
u})on any scrap of paper that might be at hand, and sometimes 
in a small blank paper book, such thoughts as, from time to 
lime, occurred to him. 

The following reflections are here given without any altera- 
tion, and in the order in which they stand in Dean Milner's 
hand-writing — not in a book, but on a detached and tattered 
piece of paper. His abbreviations and his customary note of 
observation ^^ are likewise retained. 

"Exam, yrselves whether ye be in the f*." 
" More reason for exam, now than even in the prim, times. 

"Confessing X*^ does not consist in common morality, but 
in the peculiars of X^y. 

" We are not X"^ unless the peculiars are kept up and 
adhered to — (See Sermon on Fruits,) that in which X'^y differs 
from other schemes. 

"^f^ In the primitive times Gospi doctrine, and Gosp 
practice, were distinct from everything else — marked — ■ 

" But now, in a X" country — the danger is lest, pt being 
baptized, we take it for granted all is right. 

"2^^. If we arc oi^i party, as the Cluirch — and profess right 
— then all is right. 

" 3'^ Still more, if we are of a purer portion of the Churcli : 
then we are apt to ho. satisfied with our faith, and to substitute 
f. for practice. 

* This is the text of one of Dr. ^Milner's printed Scrmous. 

300 CHAr. XYI. A.D. 1(104. yETAT. 54. 

" But this is ]iot tlie only danger. AVe may put practice for 
f. Tliat is^ a regular pliarisaical life, tliougli iiseful, in the place 
of spiritual relig". 

AVe may he very pharisa^ in this way. 

*' Symptms of the former, that is of f. for practice ; — 'vvhen 
we arc A'cry contracted in our acquaintances, and think quite "well 
of them if they think as •we do of doctrines. 

" Syniptm of the latter, Avhen good conduct quite satisfies 
us — and vet avc arc worldly minded and court the great. 

1. We ought to he spirit^ in thoughts lOwen, 

in aftections > Page 
and a complacency J 11. 

" Owning the truth is not enough. There should be a power 
over the conscience. 

"Deception. AY hen men think they arc right because 
they hcUcvc the truths; tho' they forget them in praclice. 

"Earthly mindcdncss, in a degree, is consistent Avilli a good 
itatc. O. M. 

" Dangerous work — it ruins men to run the matter 

cf earthly-mindedness near. 

" Men say it is a fine thing to be spirit^y minded — but they 
have not leisure. 

" U>., if such arc not carnally minded. 

" C^' Thoughts; there must be some blossoms or )to fruit. 

" A'( Unitary thoughts, in easy circumstances, the best indi- 
cation of the mind, graciinis or not. 

"A n.inister may V.q forced by liis business to think on 
•j)irit' things — that proves nothing. 
" Should be 77<'////7Y// thoughts. 

" Consider what our aOections aim at. 

Liltlc (J race, if only sjiirilual when in a fright. 

CHAP. xvf. A.D. .^tat. 5». 301 

"Even prayers may excite thoughts, from hahit. 

True Signs. 
"When the soul finds a pleasure^ 
"Prays not merely as a duty — hut from delight. 

"The thoughts should lead to watchfulness daily— —They 
must abound. The saints abounded. 

" Should grieve when they are interrupted. 

" In general those who serve God let their light shine 
before men, that they may see their good works : and also those 
who serve divers lusts and imaginations, usually conduct them- 
selves in such a manner, that their sins are open, going before- 
hand to judgment; tho' there may be many exceptions in both 
sorts of characters ; some recluse and modest spirits, who 
scarcely suffer tlicir religious attainments to appear, as well as 
some hypocrites who endeavour to conceal and cover their 
vices: yet even to these exceptions, the rule of judging by the 
fruits equally applies itself. The difference is only, that a little 
more care is called for in investigating what the fruits really are. 
The rule itself is universal and never fails. The diliiculty arises 
not from a defect in the rule — but from the nature of the fi-uits 
to be examined." 

The following observations, most of them bearing tlie 
impress of deep thought, and pregnant with instruction, are 
written in a minute but distinct hand, upon a very small piece 
of paper, doubled so as to form four pages, and apparently 
intended to fit into a pocket-book, or perhaps, a small 

They are printed precisely as they were written by Dean 

" Math. in. 17. Blessed— Simon B. 

"Some EUas — Jerem. Blessed Peter! flesh and b. not 
revealed: but God. 

"Scribes, Phar., Rulers, were misled: f. and b. could not 
reveal it. 

"f. an I 1). d )es reveal a ceal-arts: sciences: spi^ of 
wisdom: but nt t saving Spi^ Liglit. 

302 CHAP. XVI. A.D. IftOl. yETAT. 54. 

"There is Spi^ Light by God. 

^' Spi^ L* is not ordinary conviction — It is not an action on 
the Imag" — not an Impress" — not new truths — not affecting 
views — not stories about lieaven, Sec. 

'• Divine L* is a convict" of the excell. of God's truth : The 
Sp* of G. unites himself — does not act occasionally. A X" 
does not merely believe^ that X* and his doct"'^ are glorious — 
but feels it — sees it — has a sense of its beauty — Honey—- 
Beauty, &c. The Differ^^c. Devils l)etieve, &c. 

" This sense of the excellence^ convinces of the reality. 

" Prejudices 

,, _, . , , are removed. 
" Jbjnmitics 

" The Phar. saiv, Imt the Disciples believed. 

" In giving it, God uses the Word, and our faculties' — still 
it is his Gift. Men are active in receiv? it — God deals with 
man accord? to his nature — as a rational creature, 8iC. Thus 
the eyes are not the cause of light — but the Sun: but the eyes 
when there is sun, can discover objects. 

"The Gospel is the means. But no means necessarily 
operate the effect — The Word does not produce the effect. 

« Truth of it. 

"The Scrip, full of it. S^. John. ' know God.' 

" God makes the L* to shine. Open mine eyes that I may 
see — David not blind. X^ manifested himself. 

" Rational — to suppose an Excellence in Divine things — 
This will stop every mouth at the last day. 

" It may be seen — but not by wicked men. Given l)y God 
— Rational. 

"This Light proves the truth of rclig" to the unlearned; 
and is superior to any other way. 

" Use. Have we got this Light of the Gos. : Has it shincd 
into our hearts : Have we had a sight of X* ? A Glimpse of 
Him ennobles the soul: gives immense pleasure — supports 
under afflict"^ It changes — it converts — it makes us see the 
Glory of God as in a glass. It makes us give up ourselves to 
X* — and it jiroduccs univcrs' hoHncss. 

"1. Always in Prayer remember condit" by nature — poor 
and Ijlind. 

CHAP. XVI. A.D. 1R04. yETAT. 54. 30] 

"The Characfof Aim. G. 

" PIoM' humble wc should be — , 

" How grateful that there is Light. 

" 2. Teach us to see the wond^ things of thy Law — 

" May we not rest M-ithout this Light — 

" May we seek for the Sp* — and for Union with liim — and 
not Quench him. 

" May we relish the things of G. 

"3. Let us not be content with superfic^ views of X*. 

" We are persua'^ he came from G. but is his Spi* in us ? — 
Are we His r" 

Of the foregoing spiritual meditations there is one whicli 
can scarcely fail to remind the reader of a passage in Joseph 
Milner's letter, on the subject of Christian Resignation*. 
"When once," says the dying Christian to his almost heart- 
broken brother, " you can stedfastly rely on the Divine pro- 
mises through Christ, so sure as ' faith worketh Ijy love,' you 
will find yourself enabled to love God.'' * * * "A union 
and fellowship with Christ will take place; and it is the sweetest 
and the pleasantest sensation which the human mind can 
know." Surely the surviving brother, however conversant 
with conflict and temjotation, had experienced this "sensation," 
when he wrote " A glimpse of Him ennobles the soul," and 
" gives immense pleasure !" 

The private thoughts which remain to be here inserted, 
appear, for the most part, to have been designed as aids to self- 
examination. Of this, with regard to many of them, there is 
sufiicient internal evidence. It should also be observed that 
the paper upon which they are written is headed 

" Ex Fruits 

"People fancy themselves good, by living in good habits, 
and with good people." 

" Practical utility of a conviction of fioo classes and no more. 
It leads to self-examination. 

* See Chapter IX. 

304 CHAP. XVI. A.D. inoi. /ETAT. 54. 

" It leads to Prayer for help — but 

"IC^ Flesh and Spirit do not mix. 
"Errors about Co-operat". 

"It does not follow,. that men may instantly know to which 
of tlie two classes they belong : nor is it necessary : 

'• But it is essential, that they should believe in only two 

'• The practical difference is immense. 

"^^^ There is danger even in truly religious persons, of 
thinking they have a stock of grace, &c., &c. 

"Besides it may gratify the flesh at a certain time of life to 
support relig'\ and may flatter pride as much as other things." 

The concluding remarks seem rather to have been written 
with a view to an intended sermon : probably, to a sermon on 
"Being ashamed of Christ," since i^ublished in the second 
volume of Dean Milner's Posthumous Sermons. 

" It is a great proof of God's goodness, that he does not 
merely state the consequences of Religion — but makes use of 
our passions to persuade, &c., — hope — fear — conte)nj)t" 

" Of him will the Son of Man be ashamed." 

"Both X*^ and good men will despise the wicked for the 
choice they have made; preferring such shameful, worthless 
things, to the enjoyment of God, and holiness. 

"X^^ judgment is infallible — his dignity and authority not 
to be questioned. 

" How little we can bear contempt ! 

"|C^ ^Suffer with fortitude' — * many are in the same con- 
dition ' — and such like — 

"Nothing of this kind will be heard; but all will be em- 
bittered by contempt. 

"What will become of those who have been used to adula- 
tion? the poor, ignorant discij)le of X^ owned — and by one who 
cannot mistake ! ! 

CHAP. XVI. A.D. 1»04. /ETAT. 54. 303 

"I don't here introduce real positive sufferings of the 
wicked — as by Fire. 

"This of contempt^ will be felt by all, and be, to all 

"State this punishment First — then the second head is, 
"What it is to be ashamed of X^ 

" I have guarded the modest, and excited to self-exam, the 
Pharis' and the careless. 

"Ridiculous to talk of Antino"^ when matters are stated 

While Dr. Milner thus passed this summer at Carlisle, his 
excellent friends the Rev. Dr. Jowett and the Rev. Charles 
Simeon were occupied, at Cambridge, in superintending the 
re-printing of the second volume of tlie Ecclesiastical History. 
Dr. Jowett undertook the labour of reading this volume with a 
view to the making of any needful alterations — of course con- 
sulting the Dean when such alterations were otherwise than 
merely verbal — and to Mr. Simeon was committed the correc- 
tion of the proof sheets. With both these friends Dean Milner 
kept up an epistolary correspondence. The letters of Dr. 
Jowett are remarkable for their simple piety. 

" You have frequent intimations," wrote Dr. Jowett to the 
Dean, during this summer, " of the uncertainty of life, in your 
own person. I have many in the persons of others, though my 
own health, moderate as it is, suffers few interruptions. May 
we both be prepared for our Lord's coming ! 

" Yours affectionately, 
« July 22nd, 1 804." " J. Jo wett. 

After his return to Cambridge, in the month of September, 
the Dean of Carlisle wrote to Mr. Wilberforce, at that time at 
Lyme, in Dorsetshire, the following deeply interesting letter : — 


30G CHAP. XVI. A.I). 1804. yETAT. 51. 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" Queen's College, 
" My very dear Friend, Sej)iember, 1804. 

" Here I am again, after receiving many mercies, and pretty 
much in my usual plight — troubled a good deal. 

" You are in a sweet place. I am sorry you find yourself 
always so much in a hurry, and always so oppressed witli 

" Without great care, I find myself getting into that "way, so 
as to be always in a bustle; and, with me, when this is given way 
to, nothing serious can thrive. I believe you have more com- 
mand of yourself; but take care, and do not encroach on the 
time which ought to be allotted to quiet meditation. Of how 
very little moment will the world and all its concerns appear to 
be, by and by, and how bitterly shall we lament that we did not 
squeeze out more time for religious improvement ! 

" Take notice, there is such a thing as giving way repeatedly, 
and for a long time, to a bad habit, till we become, in a measure, 
satisfied that resistance and amendment are impossible. If we 
don't mind, we are apt to mistake the struggles of conscience, 
and the pain which it costs us to stifle a sense of duty, for a 
laudable striving to acquit ourselves well in the race we have to 
run. But God is not mocked ! He Avatches wliether some 
sort of secret selfishness is not the motive at the bottom. 

" Thus it is easy to talk, and even in the pulpit. This 
summer, in spite of infirmities, and a fortnight's illness, I have 
been enabled to preach ten times, in great churches, in Carlisle 
and its neighbourhood ; and, I may add, Avith very great appa- 
rent success. I mention my being enabled to get through 
these things, though with great bodily inconvenience, as some- 
thing surprising and even j)aradoxical, wlicn tlie state of my 
mind is considered. I know not liow it is — in one word, I 
have no confidence towards God, and, of late, haVe been very 
much beset with lamentable temptations. God knows, I have, 
for a long time, taken considerable jjuins in self-examination, to 
find (jut where it is that I particularly offend ; as I feel assured, 
this must be the case, or 1 should not experience what I do: or 

CHAP. XYI. A.D. 1«()4. ;ETAT. 54.] 307 

is it, tliat I have been so long and grievous an offender against 
light and knowledge, that it is not fit for such a rebel to he 
treated like a good subject ? 

" I remember telling my poor brother, once, when I was in 
considerable affliction of mind, ' that, notwithstanding my 
many sins and obdurate state, still I was well convinced that 
there did not exist any one earthly, improper, object that I M'as 
secretly and knowingly wishing for, which might be displeasing 
to a gracious God, and prevent his smiles ;' and most truly, 
after years of examination, I can honestly say the same. But 
still, I fear, the case is bad; and I suspect it to be in this way; 
1 do not give myself up wholly to God — with every power and 
every nerve, thought, word, and deed — to be his servant here 
and hereafter, to eternity, having no pleasure but in doing his 
will. Say nothing of this*. I could not help pouring out my 
spirit a little to you. You know not what I suffer. My private 
prayers are most unaccountably flat and unfeeling, even on the 
very days that I exhort others with vehemence and with tears. 
Still, still, I cannot be persuaded that I am to be given up, 
while I have so much steady love to Christ. 

"What an awful text I preached on the other da)-, ^Know 
ye not that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates V 

" If I live, I think I shall contrive to be more at Carlisle 
than I have been hitherto. 

"N.B. The resurrection of the dead bodies will not be half 
so surprising as the resurrection of characters. 

" Yours, affectionately, 

« I. MiLNER." 

The Rev. John Newton, I think it is, who somewhere 
says, " I cannot doubt of the safe state of a man, who, supposing 
our Lord's question to Peter, ^ Lovest thou me?' to be 
addressed to him, can honestly answer, ' Yes.' " ' 

On a similar ground, the above letter, although exceedingly 
affecting, cannot, surely, be otherwise than satisfactory, to the 
survivinsf relisiious friends of Dean Milner. 

" This letter is already published in the ■NVilbcrfyrce Correspondence. 

X 2 

308 CHAP. XVI. A.D. 1804. .ETAT. 54. 

Mr. Wilberforce being still at Lyme, Dr. Milner, towards 
the end of November, was kindly requested by John Pearson, 
Esq., to take up his abode in Golden Square, during the 
approaching meeting of the Board of Longitude. 

This friendly invitation, he, with a promise of spending ^' as 
much time" as he " possil^ly" could, with Mr. Pearson, " parti- 
cularly in the evenings," declined ; alleging, that considering 
his infirmities, he was disposed to believe, that upon the whole, 
it would be most convenient, that he should fix his " head- 
quarters in tlie old place." 

Dean Milner's assiduity in searching for such books as lie 
needed for the prosecution of the Ecclesiastical History, has 
been already mentioned. 

During this visit to town, he seems to have applied to Mr. 
Pearson, to assist him in procuring certain scarce volumes 
which he particularly wished to consult. Mr. Pearson, after 
much research, ascertained that the books in question, which, 
as well as I remember, were two scarce volumes of Luther's 
Letters, were to be found in the Library at Lambeth. They 
were, subsequently, sent to Cambridge, with a kind offer from the 
Archbishop, of any assistance of a similar kind, which it might, 
in future, be in his power to render. 

The History, however, was now, for a while, of necessity, 
laid aside ; the approaching January bringing with it the usual 
college and university business. 

A further interruption was occasioned by a new attempt to 
alter the constitution of the Board of Longitude''-. Concerning 
this affair it is sufficient to say, that Dr. Milner exerted himself 
with the energy and effect which he had formerly displayed on 
a similar occasion. Son:ie memoranda which remain, shew that 
he turned his mind seriously to the subject, and took consider- 
aljle pains to arrange his thoughts concerning it, in the most 
cfl'cctive manner. 

Still, whatever miglit lie the obstacles which interrupted his 
progress. Dean Milner always considered the Histonj of the 
Church of Christ as the great w<jrk whicli lie had on hand j and 

* Soc C'haptcT HI. 

CHAr. XVL A.D. 1804. iETAT. 51. 309 

lie possessed a faculty, far from universal, of returning, ^ith 
unabated spirit, to liis work, after every interruption, long or 
short. His spirit was, doubtless, refreshed and invigorated by 
tlic expression of good-will and affection from various Christian 
friends, who, from time to time, communicated to him their 
hopes and desires that his " life might be prolonged to carry 
forward the great work which he had in hand ;" but, indepen- 
dently of all such motives to exertion, he possessed a power 
and a habit of perseverance, invaluable in themselves, and, 
perhaps, rarely equalled. 

Indications of this habit appear continually in his confiden- 
tial letters to his friends. 

To the Rev. William Mandell*, whose election to a 
Fellowship at Queen's College, he had by letter announced to 
him, on the Gth of April, in this year, adding his earnest wishes 
" that the event" might " tend to increase his happiness and 
usefulness," he thus writes towards the end of his summer's 
residence at Carlisle. 

" My dear Sir, "Deanery, September 16, 1805. 

" Many thanks for your kind inquiries and kind expressions 
about my health. I am as well as usual. All my vacant hours 
shall be employed on the Ecclesiastical History, which is, 
certainly, a valuable work. But I have too many concerns to 
attend to it here. At Queen's, I hope to set sail again. 

" May Almighty God continue to joreserve you in warmth 
and zeal, for the best things ; labouring in these, will be found 
the truest wisdom. 

*' Adieu, dear Sir, and believe me, 

" Yours, most truly and sincerely, and affectionately, 

'^ Isaac Milner. 
" To the Bev. IViUiam MandeU." 

It may be allowable, here, to mention some circumstances 
which, about this time, excited great interest at Cambridge. 

* To tlic kiiidiicES of this gcutkiiiaii, one of Dr. Milnci 's most intimate and 
most esteemed fiicucls, I am indebted for many valualilc additions to this 

310 CHAP.'XVI. A.D. 1803. ;ETAT. 55. 

It was during the early part of the autumn of this year, that the 
haunted house, or rather tlie house reputed to be bewitched, at 
Sawstoii, a village near Cambridge, allured from the University 
crowds of wondering and awe-struck visitors. According to 
popular rumour, no person could enter, or, more correctly 
speaking, could leave this cottage, — for it was but a cottage — 
without finding his garments, however strong in texture, or 
however vigilant the wearer, torn or cut into shreds and 

Much excitement prevailed : for not only weak women, but 
grave and learned doctors repaired to the scene of witchcraft ; 
and though they Avent sceptics, returned believing sufferers. 

Such matters Dr. Milner delighted to investigate ; he 
collected evidence upon the subject, and visited in person the 
enchanted cottage. The following extract from a letter gives a 
detail of some of his proceedings respecting the affair in 

" I just recollect, that I have but room for a word respecting 
the Sawston wonder. 

" A very respectable tanner called on me, with a gown in 
his pocket, all in tatters. His wife had put on five gowns in 
three days, and they all fell to pieces on her back, rent into a 
hundred strips. The same thing happened to the maid-servant's 
gowns, and to the gowns of the woman's niece, and to the man's 
great coat ; and to the gowns of many of the inhabitants of the 
village where he lives ; also to the clothes of several who went 
from Cambridge. The man fully believes, that a witch, who 
lives about a mile from them, does it all. I told him not to 
sleep in his chair in the day-time ; and, at night, to place the 
coat he had taken off, which was a sound and very good one, 
under liis pillow ; and to come to me, the next day, if it should 
happen, after all, to l)c torn. 

" Next day lie appeared with his coat rent. He said it had 
happened before bed-time, and before dark; and that nobody 
had come near him. He was now ten times more confirmed 
ill Ills 1)elicf of witches. 'Is it possible,' said lie, 'that any 
one should come and tear my coat while I am awake, and I not 
feel nor see tliem ?' 

CHAP. XVI. A.D. 1805. vETAT. 55. 3U 

" Upon his saying this, I continued talking to him, and 
while looking him in the face, tore his coat smartly ; and 
neither he, nor his friend Avho was close by me, saw what I had 

" I then showed him the rent ; and he M'as much surprised 
and pleased, being convinced that the thing might be done. 

"Afterwards Mr. T. and myself, and little Mary, went to 
tlie house, and I talked to them ; but nothing happened while 
I was there : nor has anything happened since. 

'' I assure you it was high time to quiet the country all 
around. Such a tumult and report has not happened since the 
Cock- lane Ghost of 1760. 

"The thing was done by hands, and in some places by 
scissars. I have no doubt the man's wife did it. She is a 
Aveak, silly woman, who believes that she herself was bewitched, 
when a child, and was made to tear her clothes. 

"She will not own it; and I did not like to make mischief 
between the man and his wife, or else I doubt not but I could 
soon have frightened her into an honest confession. 

" Still, I own, she must have been most excessively dex- 
terous in some of the instances which are mentioned. 

" I examined several of the sufferers ; but there is reason 
to believe that some persons tore their friends' clothes in joke, 
and so helped the humbug. 

" The gowns were not corroded by any acids or fumes. 
" Yours most truly, 

" I. MiLNER." 

I well remember the visit to the bewitched cottage, recorded 
in the above letter ; I remember also the wild and half crazy 
look of the woman who doubtless was the perpetrator of all the 
mischief; but above all, I have a vivid recollection of the 
tearing of the tanner's coat. Child as I was, I had the fullest 
enjoyment of that scene, which took place in Dr. Milner's 
study at Queen's Lodge. 

He was seated, as usual, upon rather a high chair, behind his 
large desk : a desk which, by the bye, was fixed to his library 
table by one immense screw of his own making, and could, upon 

312 CHAP. XVI. A.D. IROo. .^TAT. 55. 

this pivot, be turned aside at pleasure. Before him stood the 
bewildered "tanner" and "his friend," a man at that time well 
known at Cambridge, and esteemed rather an acute person, 
being in fact no other than the late John Taylor, then Vice- 
Chancellor's man. Tlie tanner asseverated, that it was impos- 
sible his coat could be torn ujion his back by human hands, 
without his perceiving it. John Taylor argued that, alive as 
his attention was, and bad been from the first (for, for his part, 
he Avas no believer in v^■itcllcraft), it Avas in vain to attempt to 
impose upon 1dm. Dr. Milner listened to them both; and 
while listening, gave the broad cloth of the tanner's coat so 
audible a tear, that nothing but the extreme eagerness of the 
l^re-occupied speakers could have prevented them from hearing 
it, and detecting the trick. It passed however, upon both ; 
and its effect, when acknowledged, was, as Dr. Milner had 
intended and anticijoated, highly satisfactory to the mind of the 
i:)oor frightened tanner, relieving him as it did, from his vague 
fears of supernatural agency. 

A transition from the Sawston mystery to a letter of con- 
dolence on the death of a friend's daughter, may appear abrupt: 
in real biography, however, as in real life, abrupt transitions must 
occur ; and it was peculiarly true of Dr. Milner, that his mind, 
even in its lightest moods, was always open to serious impressions. 

In the letter in question, which is dated " Queen's College 
Lodge, October 4th, 1805," the Dean alludes to the recent 
death of his friend Mr. Pearson's eldest daughter, a young lady 
of decided piety, and most tenderly 1:)eloved by her family*, in 
the following terms : — 

"' ' Friends never part long,' (said good old Newton) l)ut 
when they meet again, they have to enumerate one or more 
now dead, that were among the living.' 

" One may very sincerely congratulate yourself and Mrs. 
Pearson, on such a change as lately took place in your family; 
because, though it is iiii])()ssible that llcsh and blood should not 
feel, yet there appears fo have l)cen everything in the instance I 

For a ^Itinoir of tliis lady, .sec Chrhtian Observer, vol. iv., p. 514. 

CHAP. XYI. A.D. 1805. ^ETAT. 55. 313 

allude to, Avliich could mitigate the melancholy awfulness of 
such an event, and convert it into a kind and merciful dispen- 

" May you and I so finish our course ! 

"With kind respects to Mrs. P. and the younger branches, 
" I am, dear Sir, yours truly, 
" To John. Pearson, Esq., Golden Square." " I. M. 

Such expressions of friendly condolence were, with Dean 
Milner, by no means matters of course. No man living ever 
more cordially complied with the apostolic exhortation, " Weep 
with them that weep." 

The meeting of the Board of Longitude in December afforded 
to Dr. Milner the usual opportunity of spending a few days 
with his friend Mr. AVilberforce ; and thus the year concluded. 



Gradual alteration in the nature of the Examinations for Fellowships at Queen's 
College. — Letter to the present Archbishop of York (then Bishop of Car- 
lisle) on the Death of his Sou. — Contested Election for the University of 
Camljridge. — Lord Pahnerston. — Lord Henry Petty (the present Lord 
Lansdowne). — Corresi^ondcnco with Mr. "Wilbcrforce. — Dr. Milner's want 
of ear for ]\Iusic. — Experiment on the Subject tried by Himself and his 
Brotlier. — Dr. Milner's knowledge of the Science of !Music. — Recollections 
of Ilim by Dr. Crotch. — Mr. La Trobe. — Dr. Jowott. — Dr. Hague. — Mr. 
Asjjland. — Dr. Milner's want of eye for Perspective Drawing.— Manage- 
ment of the Affairs of the University Press. — Personal Exertions. — Sir 
Samuel Romilly. — Hobby-Horscs. — Short-hand. — Arbitration. — Habits of 
Life at Carlisle. — Rose Castle. — Lowthcr Castle. — Anecdotes. — Serious 
Occupations. — Visits to a Person under Sentence of Death. — Judicious 
Treatment of the Sick and Dying. — Treatment of a ]\Ian who had at- 
tempted Suicide. 

A.D. 180G. yETAT. 56. 

An important subject -which deeply concerned the welfare of the 
College Avhich he governed, occupied Dr. Milner's mind in the 
Ijeginning of the year 1806. 

He had for some years entertained the opinion, that the 
examination to Avhich Bachelors of Arts who were candidates 
for Fellowships at Queen's College, were subjected, was not 
conducted on the best, or the most equitable principles : and, 
according to a practice already mentioned as habitual with him, 
lie, during the January of this year, drew up for his own use, a 
paper, containing his deliberate thoughts upon the whole 

Although at this distance of time, there would be no im- 
propriety in making public this elaborate performance, which 
displays penetrating judgment, great candour, and much 
industry, it may suffice in this place to observe, that Dr. 
Milner gradually carried into execution the views which arc 
laid open in the treatise in question ; and thus, without any 
sudden or dangerous iiniovations, so modified the style of 
examination for Fellowships at Queen's College, as to secure, in 
each case, strict justice to the several candidates, and a due 
regard to the general interests of learning and science. 

cnA.P. XVII. A.D. 180C. ;etat. nc. 315 

To the claims of private friendship Dean Milner was ever 
feehngly alive. The following pious and affectionate letter, 
which has been kindly placed at my disposal by the present 
Archbishop of York, was written on occasion of the recent 
death of one, and the dangerous illness of another of his 
Grace's sons. 

^' Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dkar Bishop*, Februari/ 4, ISOG. 

"You seek for your comfort. in the right place. You are a 
Christian, and therefore you know that 'all things work together 
for good to them that love God.' This single promise, when 
we are enabled to apply it to our case, never fails to be rich in 
consolation. Lay hold of it, my dear Lord; grasp it firmly, — it 
will not deceive you. 

" I have had a deal of affliction, and experience has taught 
me, neither to follow nor to give, the usual worldly advice; 
namely, to divert the attention from iiielancholy thoughts by 
engaging in business and company. No! I say on the contrary. 
Weep, — weep freely, my Lord, for the dear youth : he deserved 
it well ; and tears will relieve your tender heart better than 
anything else. I have shut my door, and weep heartily with 
you while I write this. The Christian is no where forbidden to 
shed tears : only let us not sorrow as Svithout hope,' and let us 
take care that our tears be those of submission and resignation, 
and the mind will soon arrive at even an enviable state of 
patient tranquillity, with the eye fixed steadily on the prospect 
of a glorious immortality. 

" I dare not, however, dwell on the subject any longer at 
present. I admit that your loss, in being deprived of this 
excellent youth, is incalculable ; and the dispensation itself is 
mysterious, — yet not so mysterious as not to afl'ord many 

" You have been blessed, my Lord, beyond example, — have 
been ! you are yet surrounded with blessings that are the lot of 
few. But here tlic pen drops from my hand when I reflect on 

The present Archbishop of York was at tliis time Bishop of Carlisle. 

316 CHAP, XVI r. A.D. 1806, yETAT. 56. 

what may be the situation of Mr. Vernon still. T Lave l)een, 
however, a good deal relieved by the accounts which Sir James 
Graham and others have sent me respecting the melioration of 
his situation. 

" I humbly and earnestly entreat the Father of mercies to 
spare him, (if so be His blessed Avill) to his afflicted parents, 
relatives, and friends. 

" With the most sincere sympathy for my Lady Anne's 
distressed situation, and fervent prayers for her support, I am, 
my dearest Bishop, 

" Your very affectionate and obliged friend, 

" Isaac Milner." 

A contested election of a Member of Parliament for the 
University of Cambridge in the room of Mr. Pitt, rendered the 
month of February a period of much excitement. An unusual 
degree of interest Avas aroused. 

Lord Henry Petty, — the present Lord Lansdowne, — having 
gained the good-will of many persons who differed from him on 
general politics, by pledging himself in behalf of the abolition of 
the Slave Trade, the suffrages of those who were, in the main, 
agreed in principle, were divided. Dr. Milner's opinions, and 
the reasons upon which they were founded, are laid open in the 
two following very characteristic letters. 

These letters, which discover great shrewdness and sagacity, 
are especially interesting and entertaining, as containing a 
highly graphic account of an electioneering visit, paid by the 
late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and as describing, 
without the smallest disguise, the impression produced upon 
Dr. Milner's mind, both by him and by his late colleague, 
Lord Lansdowne. 

"To William W^ilberforce, Esq. 

" Quee?i*s College, Cumbridgey February G, 180(5, 
"My dear Sir, Thursday morning. 

"The election is fixed for to-morrow in the forenoon; and 
such a number of old acquaintance hccp dropping in u})on me, 
that I think it best to take up my pen and answer yours of 
this morning, immediately uj)on the receipt of it. 

CHAP. XYII. A.D. IHOfl yETAT. 5C. 317 

" Independently of your several letters to me, the warmth 
with which we hear from all quarters that you espouse the 
cause of Lord Henry Petty, creates considerable difficulties iu 
the minds of several of us, who have been accustomed to look 
up to you with entire confidence, both as an upright and wise 
pilot in the most tempestuous seasons. 

" The effect of this present active warmth of yours has, to 
my certain knowledge, secured to his Lordship some voters, 
who are now far from being easy on account of the promises 
they have given. In regard to myself, you have also effectually 
stopped all my activity in opposition to Lord H. Petty. I 
have not influenced, much less brought up from the country, a 
single vote against him, though from my long residence and 
number of pupils, public and private, you must be sure I have 
had a number of applications to knoAV my wishes on this 

" But why not vote for him myself? 

" In one word, because I fear he is likely to be hostile to 
some of those great constitutional principles wliich brought 
about the Revolution in this country, and which, in my judg- 
ment, cannot be departed from without endangering the 


" I must say, however, that Lord H. Petty conversed 
with me very fairly and candidly on the subject of Catholic 
Emancipation ; and I like him much better for openly avowing 
the bias of his mind to be towards acceding to the Emancipa- 
tion, than if he had shufiled and evaded the question, as many 
canvassers in his situation would have done. But still I cannot 
bring myself to be aiding and abetting, either directly or indi- 
rectly, what I think so replete with danger : and tlierefore, as I 
know you too M'ell to suppose you would wish me to act in 
any respect contrary to my deliberate judgment, I liave only 
to lament (as I do, most poignantly) what, a few weeks ago, I 
should have pronounced almost impossible, viz., that a case 
should happen, in politics, where you and I should differ mate- 
rially ill practice. 

" But, remember, it is quite as repugnant to the principles 
which I have long avowed, to vote for an enemy of the abolition 

31 S CHAP. XYIL A.D. 180G. ^ETAT. 5C. 

of the Slave Trade, as it is that I should throw a single grain 
into the scale of those who favour either the repeal of the Test 
Act, or the emancipation of the Catholics : and as Lord Pal- 
merston has not been quite so explicit on the head of the 
abolition as I could wish, or as perhaps he, or his friends, may- 
be in the course of this day, I remain, even yet, in doubt, (near 
as the election is) whether I can conscientiously vote for him. 
He has, I understand, spoken decidedly as to the Test Act and 
the emancipation business ; and if I could, to my satisfaction, 
make out that he will also be for the abolition of the Slave 
Trade, I might, in my present state of mind, bring myself to 
give him my individual vote ; but even that will cost me a severe 
pang, when I reflect, that in so doing I go directly contrary to 
your earnest wishes and application. 

" On this point, of voting or not voting, I, at this moment, 
really do not feel competent to decide ; but be assured, that no 
other application, nor anything else on earth, but the merits of 
the question, as they appear to my judgment, will determine 
me, after I have got all the information I can ; and moreover, 
whatever I do, I shall take most particular care to remain 
unpledged for the general election, which may happen very 

" I do not think the real principles of the Roman Catholics 
are in general, understood by persons of rank and distinction ; 
and so I took the liberty of saying to Lord H. Petty. This is 
the first time that I was ever not quite on your side, and I 
think you will forgive me, as 

" I am, dear Sir, yours most truly, 

" Isaac Milner." 

The alfection for his friend, exhibited by Dr. Milncr in the 
above letter, could not, of course, influence him to act against 
his judgment and conscience ; but it could, and did, render the 
performance of his duty exceedingly painful. 

CHAP. XVIT. A.D. IfiOC. /ETAT. 50. 319 

"To William Wilberforce, Esq. 

" Queen's College, Cambridge, 
February 7, 1806. 
"My dear Friend, Friday Eveni^iy. 

" You will hate to see my letters ; I am the messenger of 
such a number of disagreeable things. After all, I know not 
whether you will rejoice in the prevalence of whatever it is 
that brings in Lord II. Petty. Prevalent it is, to a prodigious 
degree. I knoAv not indeed, whether the poll be actually 
closed ; but from appearances, about two hours ago, J was told 
that'he had more votes than the other two put together. 

" Last night, when I had expected to spend a comfortable 
evening at my own house, with La Trobe and Dr. Jowett, and 
a young man or two, (all being engaged to come at eight o'clock, 
and play the organ, sing, &c.,) I was obliged to leave them all 
to attend to visitors and electioneerers. There came in 

" 1st. Harrison of our College, and two more whom you 
don't know, all Lord H. Petty's men, and all Foxites. 

" 2ndly. Then came the two Westerns, both of this College. 
One is a member of the House of Commons, also a Foxite. 

*^3rdly. Robert Grant came in, and was precisely in my 
own situation ; that is, determined against Lord H. Petty, 
but not convinced that Lord Palmerston would be sound as to 
the Slave Trade. But he had been talking a deal with him and 
his friends, and the result was, that he thought him quite 
sincere, and sufficiently decided to act upon. 

"4thly. By and by, in came Lord Palmerston. We con- 
versed a full hour on the subject of the Slave Trade, and, I can 
assure you, a more ingenuous appearance I never saw. The 
young man's conscience seemed hard at work, for fear, not of 
saying too little, but of saying too much ; viz., of saying more 
than he could justify to his oAvn mind, from the little considera- 
tion which he had given to the subject. He is but a lad, but 
I could not discover the most latent hostility, or ground for 
suspecting hostility ; and he must be a deceiver indeed, of a 
very deep cast, if he deceives at all, in this instance. 

" In a word, all things considered and weighed over and over, 

320 CHAr. XVII. A.D. 180G. ^TAT. 56. 

and not brought to a crisis till between nine and ten this 
morning, I declared for him. 

"About an hour after this, came Christian, who said he had 
just met Lord Clive, who had told him, that my declaration had 
already got Lord Palmerston thirty-four votes. That, no doubt, 
is sadly overstated ; and be it as it may, we are all in a woful 
minority. But as minorities usually support themselves and 
keep themselves in heart, by dwelling on their virtuous and 
disinterested motives, and by getting a little together, and talk- 
ing against the motives of the majorities, so do we. 

"5thly. I fervently wish you may find Lord H. Petty and 
Fox, &c., as true friends to the Abolition as you have reason to 
suppose them. Their having been so long pledged, (at least 
Fox,) may do something ; inclination may also do something ; 
but where there is a want of sound and substantial principle, 
men will act right no longer than they conceive that it suits 
their interests on the whole. 

" You will have Socinians everywhere in the Church if not 
Deists ; and in the state, you will have the same, with an 
inundation of low, profligate morals. Things were bad enough 
before, but the bowl will, I think, roll faster down the hill. 

" Smith, the Fellow-Commoner, is astonished to find that 
they are drinking Fox every day in Trinity College Combina- 
tion Room, when, a fortnight ago, they were drinking Pitt. 

" Yours ever, Isaac Milner." 

Such were the Dean's prophetic fears ; fears which surely 
no person will now pronounce to have been altogether visionary ! 

In his Diary, now partly published, Mr. Wilberforce thus 
wrote, in reference to this election : " My suddenly promising 
Lord Henry Petty, (which done too hastily, partly from not 
thinking I had any interest, partly from being found in a state 
of wishing to show Lord Henry how much both I and the 
cause felt indebted to him,) has j^roduccd a sad degree of 
rufllcmcnt. Dear Dean (Milncr) much hurt about it." * * 
****"! received letters from Dean, volumes ; Simeon, 
cum ntnUis a/iis." 

A few words should be said concerning the passage in which 

CHAP. XVir. A.T). 180C. iETAT. r.O. 321 

Dr. Milner speaks of his expectation of spending ''a comfort- 
able evening with Latrolje, Dr. Jowett, and a young man or 
two/' who were "engaged to come at eight o'clock, to play 
upon the organ, and to sing, &c." 

It is well known that Dean Milner possessed little or no 
ear for music. In this resi:)ect, he resembled his brother 
Joseph, in whom, indeed, the same deficiency seems to have 
been even more absolute. I have heard the Dean relate, Mdth 
much glee, that his brother and himself, being M'ell aware 
that a defect of musical ear was imputed to them, and being 
at the same time very sensible that they certainly never had 
received any such pleasure from listening to melody or har- 
mony, as many of their acquaintance professed to experience, 
nevertheless flattered themselves, that the peculiarity might be 
explained by the fact, that they really had never heard any 
truly good music. While in this mood of mind, chance threw 
into their way an advertisement setting forth, that TJie Messiah, 
the greatest work of the immortal Handel, &c., &c., was about 
to be performed, in an unusually efficient manner, at Beverley, 
a town about nine miles from Hull. To Beverley, therefore, 
they resolved to repair; determined to put the matter to 
the test. 

They arrived, and took their seats in the Minster ; the 
confused clangour of tuning was hushed, the conductor, an 
important-looking person, with a large roll of paper in his 
hand, gave the authoritative signal, and the overture to the 
Messiah commenced. " It was no place," continued Dr. 
Milner, "for talking, but we turned round and looked at one 
another and shook our heads ; we were satisfied. This, as we 
were given to understand, was first-rate music ; alas ! alas ! to 
us, it was all alike. We staid but a little while." 

This matter, however, deserves to be treated a little more 

Deficient as Dean Milner unquestionably was in the sixth 
sense called ear, so deficient, that in a conversation which he 
once held with his friend Sir William Wynne, both the inter- 
locutors gravely expressed their doubts wlicthcr any singer 
could be quite certain of repeating the same melody twice ; he 


322 CnAr. XVII. A.D. 1800. yETAT. 5G. 

was, nevertheless, by no means insensible to the exciting power 
of music. The anecdote which I have just quoted, as related 
by himself, may seem, perhajos, to prove the contrary ; yet the 
truth was, certainly, as I have stated it: and if, on that unfor- 
tunate occasion, the performance had opened with '' For unto 
us a child is born,^' or " Hallelujah," he would, beyond all 
doubt, have felt much more than many a pretender to musical 
enthusiasm. I have myself seen him most powerfully affected 
by the singing of the late Mr. Bartleman ; and I have heard 
him speak with intense admiration of the performance of Mara. 
He used to say that when she sang the sublime solo " Sing ye 
to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously, &c," which intro- 
duces the chorus of "The Lord shall reign," she wanted but 
the timbrel in her hand to be Miriam herself. 

All this indeed, scarcely accounts either for his occasionally 
inviting, to his Lodge, music-lo^'ing friends, or for his frequently 
attending the musical parties on a somewhat larger scale, given 
by his friend Dr. Jowett, in the Combination Room at Trinity 

His principal motive, on such occasions, besides the 
benevolent pleasure which he always felt in seeing his friends 
entertained to their satisfaction, was, doubtless, kindness to the 
"little Mary" who lived with him, whose presence at these 
little reunions, he justly considered highly conducive to her 

I well remember the method which, sensilile of his inability 
to judge for himself, he adopted in order to determine whether 
I possessed such a natural ear for music as to render it worth 
while that I should be instructed in it. With his characteristic 
good sense, he took a plain road to his object. He invited to 
Queen's Lodge one evening, certain gentlemen, concerning 
whose musical talents no doubt could exist. Among them 
were Mr. Latrobe, Dr. Jowett, Dr. Hague, at that time Pro- 
fessor of Music in the University, and, 1 think, Mr. Aspland 
<jf Pinibroke. These gentlemen were to play and singj and I, 
a diil I between six and seven years of age, was to listen. It 
liul b( en j)reviously concerted that the pcrforniers were to 
muko ccituiu false concords, which, if I heard without cxhi- 

CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180(3. yETAT. 5G. .323 

biting any uneasiness, I was to be pronounced ineapable of 
profiting by musical instruction. If, on the otlier hand, I 
detected the voluntary errors which were to be committed, I 
Avas to be considered capable of improvement, and to be treated 

I remember, as if it were but yesterday. Dr. Milner's 
evident satisfaction at the result of my trial. 

The scientific part of music was, about this period of Dr. 
Milner's life, one of his favourite studies. He collected all the 
most valuable, as well as many scarce books upon the science, 
in French as well as in English, and certainly made himself 
thoroughly master of the theoretical part of the subject, in 
fact, of all that could be mastered without a natural capability 
of accurately distinguishing sounds. 

The following extract from a letter lately written by a 
highly esteemed friend of Dr. Milner, may here be properly 
inserted. ^' I should have been most happy," writes Dr. Crotch, 
" to have furnished you with any letters of your beloved 
uncle, had I been fortunate enough to possess any. But it 
may not be amiss generally to assert, that he used frequently 
to ask the opinions of Dr. Jowett, and of Hague and myself 
M'hen we were boys, concerning harmonies and other pheno- 
mena of sounds — that he tried experiments with humming tops; 
and that, though not possessed of musical ear, he was very 
curious to inquire how different basses might be put to the 
same treble, or the reverse." 

It may appear surprising that Dr. Milner should have 
selected, for voluntary study, a science, in the pursuit of which 
nature had placed in his way an impassable barrier; but it is 
possible that the consciousness of such an obstacle had the 
effect of stimulating his exertions. Certain it is, that he often 
persecuted his musical friends to supply him with reasons for 
particular laws of composition, which, in fact, depended upon 
the natural faculty in which he Avas deficient. '' Why,*' he 
would say to Mr. Latrobe, or to Dr. Hague, " is the use of 
consecutive fifths forbidden ?" The answer would be, "Because 
they grate against my soul;" the reply was, of course, far from 
satisfactory; and, on one occasion, I well recollect that Mr. 

Y 2 

321 CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180G. ^TAT. oG. 

Latrobe appended to it an assertion which furnished the querist 
with a handle for soaie good-humoured triumph. Having said 
'• They grate against my soul/' Mr. Latrobe unwarily added, 
"and octaves are as bad." Dr. Hague, who was present, 
rather imprudently ^" rose to explain," stating that there were 
cases in which, as every musician knows, octaves are not bad 
at all. The seeming discrepance of opinion delighted Dr. 
Milner, and often did he afterwards allude to this proof, as he 
professed to consider it, of the uncertainty of the musical code. 
It may here be observed, that as Dean Milner was deficient 
in an ear for sounds, so was he likewise, to a certain degree, 
and in a corresponding manner, in an eye for form. I have 
seen him shed tears Avhile contemplating a head of Christ, 
crowned with thorns, by one of the great masters — yet a per- 
spective view, for instance, of a cube, conveyed to him no idea 
whatever of the solid intended to be represented. 

Perhaps an eye for form is seldom found disunited from an 
ear for musical sounds. 

This spring Avas, with Dr. Milner, an unusually busy season. 
As one of three persons who were appointed to examine and 
arrange the complex affairs of the University Press, he had 
paid particular attention to the duties which devolved upon 
him. His brother syndics, well aware, like all who knew him, 
of his vigilance and energy in such matters, actually left to him 
the chief part of the business ; and the Senate would willingly 
have avowedly so left the whole management and direction of 
it. This, however, he Avas far from desiring; but not from 
indolence, or an indisposition to vigorous exertion. To the 
Vice-Chancellor for the year 1805-6 (Dr. Turner), he addressed 
a written communication in which, not only his oj^inions con- 
cerning the proper management of the afl'airs of the University 
Press arc fully developed, but the various documents upon 
which those opinions were founded, arc arranged in detail, and 
in order, and an index made for convenience of reference. 
This manuscript is, in fact, a folio volume, and must always 
remain a monument of the acuteness, candour, industry, and 
energy of the writer. 

To the trouble and inconvenience which Dr. Milner under- 

CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180G. /ETAT. 56. 325 

went, with the view of making himself thoroughly master of 
the invention of stereotype printing, I can bear witness. He 
used to spend hours together in the printing-office, which was 
near his own Lodge ; and, like Peter the Great in the ship- 
builder's yard at Amsterdam, actually put his own hand to the 
work, making attempt after attempt, till he succeeded in pro- 
ducing a perfect stereotype plate of his own individual manu- 
facture. It may be said, and perhaps with truth, that his 
personal exertions of this kind were sufficiently accounted for 
by his love of practical mechanics; no such cause, however, can 
explain his regular attendance, during a considerable period of 
time, at the meetings of the syndics of the press, — an attendance 
which, as the meetings in question took place, for the most 
part, in the winter evenings, required a species of effort quite 
foreign to his habits. 

Dr. Milner was also engaged during this spring in a corre- 
spondence with the SoUcitor-General, the late amiable and 
unhappy Sir Samuel Romilly. 

Up to this time he had enjoyed no further personal 
acquaintance with Sir Samuel, than what resulted from his 
" having," as he says in one of his letters, " had the good 
fortune, many years ago, to be introduced to" him, "at a dinner 
at Mr. Wilberforce's, when Lord Eldon was one of the com- 
pany,'' and when he, (Dr. Milner,) " passed a most agreeal)le 
and instructive afternoon." 

So high, however, was his estimate of Sir S. Romilly's 
" talents and knowledge," that he declares himself to " have 
felt a most pressing desire to have " his " opinion respect- 
ing the construction of certain passages in the statutes " of 
Queen's College, *' in preference to that of any other counsel 

In the midst of his nmltifarious occupations. Dr. Milner 
found time to indulge himself in " hobby-horses," new as well 
as old. A new one, this spring, was the study of short-hand, 
which he certainly learned to write, though not, I think, to 
read, with considerable facility. The misfortune was, that 
having made himself tolerably well acquainted with one system, 
'•'Annett's," I believe it was, he happened to hear of another, 

326 CHAP. XVII. A.D. 1806. ;ETAT. 56. 

which was said to have superior claims to attention and 
adoption, and the confusion thus arising prevented him from 
becoming an adept in the use of either. He acquired, however, 
short-hand enough to be serviceable, as a sort of cipher, when 
he wished to make a private memorandum, or a note in the 
margin of a book. 

Other matters there were, of comparatively little moment, 
concerning which Dr. Milner, when the fancy struck him, occu- 
pied himself con amove; but some readers may, perhaps, think 
that enough has been already said here and in other parts of 
this work, upon what are confessedly, comparatively, trifling 
subjects. It may, however, be fairly suggested, in mitigation 
of censure, that a character can scarcely be allowed to be faith- 
fully delineated, if all the little oddities and peculiarities which 
distinguish it, be either sedulously kept out of sight, or mate- 
rially curtailed of their due proportion on the canvas. 

The arbitration of a disputed point in an agreement relative 
to the Lady Margaret's Professorship of Divinity, between the 
Rev. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Marsh, and the Rev. James Fawcett 
of St. John's College, Dean Milner being fixed upon as umpire 
by both parties, and another journey to London, filled up the 
interval till the second week in June, the accustomed time of 
the summer chapter at Carlisle. 

Notwithstanding the exertion of preaching almost every 
Sunday in the Cathedral, surely a very considerable effort, the 
precarious state of his health being taken into the account, the 
Dean always regarded his summer's residence at Carlisle, after 
the chapter business was concluded, as, to a certain degree, a 
period of relaxation ; nor can it be doubted, that the partial 
cessation from laborious employment which he there annually 
allowed himself, tended to mitigate his constitutional complaints 
and to prolong liis life. At Carlisle, also, he entered more 
freely into general society than he was accustomed to do at 
Cam1)ridge, occasionally visiting, or, in his turn, entertaining 
at the Deanery, some of the neighbouring county families, 
among whom, as indeed among all who knew him, his rich 
conversational powers caused his society to be sought for with 

CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180C. 7ETAT. 56'. 32? 

Perhaps one of his greatest pleasures was to spend occasion- 
ally a few quiet clays at Rose Castle, the beautiful residence of 
the Bishop of Carlisle, with his friend, the present Archbishop 
of York. The mode of living there was exactly such as suited 
his taste. There was no pomp, no oppressive style. He used 
to saunter about the meadows and the hay-fields while engaged 
in conversation with his host, and as he more than once told 
his friend after he became an archbishop, liked the simplicity 
of Rose Castle a great deal better than the splendour of Bishop- 

Sometimes, though less frequently, he ventured upon an 
excursion somewhat more distant, and joined the splendid circle 
whom Lord Lonsdale's hospitality often collected around him 
at Lowther Castle. Ill-health, however, frequently obliged him 
to decline his Lordship's kind invitations, " since," as he writes 
from Rose Castle, in answer to one of them, on the Gth of 
August in this year, " like weak governments," he was " often 
obliged to regulate'^ his ^^ plans by incidents rather than by 

During one of his visits at Lowther, before the present 
magnificent castle was finished, and while the family occu- 
pied a smaller habitation, a circumstance occurred strongly 
characteristic of the persevering turn of Dean Milner's 

One evening some of the younger branches of the family 
were amusing themselves by playing at draughts : the Dean, 
always fond of the society of young persons, and disposed to 
interest himself in their pursuits, undertook to shew them how, 
by a certain method of play, they might generally be sure of 

On trial, however, it appeared, that his memory, for once, 
had failed him; he could not fulfil his promise, and shewed, in 
consequence, some slight marks of chagrin. In due time, all 
parties retired for the night, and no more was said, or, appa- 
rently, thought of the draught-board. 

The next morning it happened that Lord Lonsdale had 
occasion to go out unusually early. lie passed through the 
hall, from which a door opened into the apartment which had 

328 CHAr. XVII. A.U. IGOfi. yETAT. 50. 

been occupied on the preceding evening, M'hicli apartment the 
house-maids were still employed in arranging. What was his 
Lordship's surprise, on looking into the room, to discover Dean 
Milner, seated in a quiet corner, in his dressing-gown and black 
velvet cap, with the draught-board before him, solving, at his 
ease, the problem which had puzzled him the evening before ! 
It is scarcely necessary to add, that he was ready, by breakfast 
time, to redeem the promise of the preceding night. 

Other characteristic anecdotes connected with the Dean's 
visits at Lowther Castle might be related. For instance, he 
once met there the late Bishop of Llandaff, Dr. Watson, who, 
in his capacity of Professor of Divinity, had, many years 
before, presided in the Schools when Dr. Milner and Dr. 
Coulthurst kept the Act which the Bishop had distinguished 
by l)is signal approbation, pronouncing the disputants to be 
"Arcades ambo*." It so chanced, that one day after dinner, 
at Lord Lonsdale's table. Dr. Southey and other persons of 
note being present, this Act became the subject of conversation, 
and a discussion arose between the Bishop and the Dean, on 
some point connected with it. Dr. Milner, quite at his ease, 
and in perfect good humour, had the best of the argument; or, 
at least, carried the company along with him. Dr. Watson, on 
the other hand, who was in the habit of talking for effect, and 
who treated the matter with the utmost gravity, became 
annoyed at his own failure, and at length showed symptoms of 
being on the very point of losing his temper. At this juncture, 
the Dean, who had a strong sense of the ludicrous and very 
little compassion for vexations occasioned by want of temper, 
whoever might be the sufferer, completed the discomfiture of 
liis solemn antagonist, by exclaiming jocosely, in his usual 
sonorous tones, " Now, Bishop, will you take the other side, 
and we'll argue it over again ?" The whole scene was felt by 
all who witnessed it, and who understood and perceived the 
imposing character and manners of the stately Bishop of 
Llandaff, to be exquisitely comic; but like most other instances 
of real liiiiiiour, it dci)cnd('d so much upon " time, place, and 

• Vide Cliaplcr III. 

CIIAr. XVII. A.D. 180G. ;ETAT. 50. 329 

circumstance/' that it is scarcely possible to convey, by descrip- 
tion, an adequate idea of it. 

In whatever company he might be, it is certainly true that 
Dr. Milner usually was what he was often emphatically declared 
to be, "the life of the party." Notwithstanding his frequent 
attacks of bodily sufFering, he was constitutionally gay ; in fact, 
so blithe and frolicsome were his spirits during the intervals in 
which he enjoyed a moderate share of health, and so entirely 
free was he, at all times, from the slightest shade of affected 
gravity', that, by persons of a more severe turn of mind, or of 
less natural cheerfulness, he was sometimes thought to be in 
danger of overstepping the line which separates innocent 
gaiety from culpable levity. Of this tendency to mirth he 
was himself as Avell aware as the most vigilant of those who 
might be disposed to censure his indulgence of it; but he 
had no artificial character to support. Consequently, while 
his genuine religious principle effectually and necessarily with- 
held him from excessive or indecorous merriment, he fre- 
quently and fearlessly gave the reins to the lively temperament 
with which he was undoubtedly gifted in the very "prodigality 
of nature." 

These remarks may serve as apology, if any be deemed 
requisite, for Dean Milner's conduct on an occasion about to 
be mentioned. It should be premised that it was his settled 
habit to endeavour to glean from every person who fell in his 
way some portion of the particular knowledge, whatever it 
might be, Avhich that person was supposed to possess. There- 
fore, being in company at Lowther wath a nobleman Avho 
professed great skill as a boxer, he contrived to turn the con- 
versation upon the art, or science, of self-defence. Lord A 

H strenuously maintained that a scientific pugilist could 

not, by any possibility, be struck by an uninstructed antagonist; 
that his skill would enable him to ward off" any blow not dealt 
to him by a brother of the craft. The Dean disputed this 
position; the company became interested and the discussion 
animated ; experiment only could decide the point. In order, 
therefore, to bring the matter to the test. Dr. Milner arose 
from his seat, and, walking into tlie middle of the apartment. 

330 CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180C. JETAT. 56. 

coolly snid, " Now, my Lord, if you Avill only promise not to 
strike me, I think, that in spite of any guard you can keep, I 
can strike you.'' " Impossible," &c., &c., exclaimed Lord 

A H . They stood up accordingly, and, " within less 

than thirty seconds,'' said Dean Milner, with great triumph, 
when he afterwards related the circumstance, *' I gave him, with 
my open hand, such a slap on the face as rang again through 
the large room." The company, of course, laughed heartily, 

and Lord A H said no more on the subject of boxing; 

but so irresistible was the influence of the Dean's good humour, 
that it was impossible even for a man in his Lordship's 
circumstances to be angry with him. 

On one occasion, while staying at Lowther Castle, Dr. Milner 
proved — Avhat indeed stood in little need of proof — his extra- 
ordinary power of voice. He was walking on the terrace with 
several other persons, the Bishop of LlandafF, I think, amongst 
others, when a labourer being visible at a considerable distance 
in the fields below, it was determined that they should try who 
among them could speak loud enough to make him hear. 
They tried in turn, each addressing the unconscious agriculturist 
in the most sonorous words which presented themselves. Dean 
Milner spoke last ; and on his exclaiming in his full and round 
tones, "Turn, charge, and conquer," the man instantly turned, 
and gave signs of attention. If the Dean felt any degree of 
self-complacency on the score of any of his personal advantages, 
it was with regard to his magnificent voice and his skill in 
using it ; and he certainly sometimes told this anecdote with 
evident satisfaction. 

The anecdote above related, respecting the game of draughts, 
may properly introduce some recollections with which I have 
been favoured by a surviving intimate friend of Dean Milner*, 
and which strikingly illustrate the same turn of mind. "I 
remember, as if it were yesterday," wTites this gentleman, 
"being once engaged with your uncle in some mathematical 
process — the summation of a series, or possibly something 
c(jiincctcd with the Binomial Theorem — at any rate something 

* Colonel T. P. Tlioiiipson. 

CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180G. ^ETAT. 56. 331 

which he was going to show me, and which ought to have come 
out neat. I M'as put on it first, and failed, through some 
mistake in a sign, or similar slight cause. He took it in hand 
next, and failed also. I recollect his sharp ' Ha !^ two or three 
times, as he turned the thing impatiently over; and when at last 
he got to the right result he exclaimed, ' There, you dog !' giving 
me, at the same time, a wipe with the pen across the face, in the 
way of triumph at the conclusion — an action which I have often 
recollected as explanatory of a similar one said to have been 
performed by Cromwell at the moment when he signed the 
death-warrant of Charles Stuart. 

" I recollect another circumstance with which this story 
of ^ the Cromwellian wipe' would fit very well. Your uncle 
wanted the proportion of the diameter of a circle to the circum- 
ference, or at least one of the practical approximations to it, 
and I saw him writing figures and drawing a perpendicular line 
through them, Avith an appearance of impatience at the thing 
not answering at once ; and at last he burst out, ^ There it 
is ; one, one, three, three, 'five, five, and cut them in half, 
113 1 355; there's a bit of artificial memory for you, sir.' 
You may depend upon it I never forgot the proportion of the 
diameter to the circumference from that day to this." 

It is superfluous to say, that Dean Milner's summer habits 
of innocent and salutary relaxation were perfectly consistent 
with much useful occupation and serious study. During this 
particular summer, he collected, or at least ascertained where 
and how he might obtain, a vast mass of materials for the 
carrying forw^ard of the Ecclesiastical History. This appears 
from numerous marginal notes, critical, historical, &c., in his 
handwriting, interspersed throughout a printed copy of the 
fourth volume of the History, and from other manuscripts, 
some of considerable length, and exhibiting much labour and 

One other subject connected with this summer's residence 
at Carlisle, remains to be mentioned. 

A man had been tried at the assizes for forgery, then a 
capital crime; he was found guilty, condemned, and left for 
execution. Those persons who are but imperfectly acquainted 

332 CHAP. XVII. A.D. 1806. ^TAT. 56. 

with the character of Dean Milner, may perhaps be surprised 
to hear, that the case of this poor man occasioned him so much 
concern, tliat he determined to visit him personally in his con- 
demned cell. On more than one of those visits I accompanied 
him, and the impression left upon my mind has never been 

I shall never forget the Dean's extreme tenderness and 
delicacy in his conversations with the unhappy culprit. He 
laid open to him, in the simplest manner, the great doctrines of 
revelation, the fall of man, the universal necessity of conversion 
and regeneration, the vicarious sacrifice of the Redeemer, and 
the power of the Holy Ghost to renew the heart of the believing 
and repentant sinner, and to render him fit for heaven ; but all 
this without any especial reference to the particular crime for 
which his auditor was condemned to suiFer. He spoke to him 
of his approaching death, not of his approaching execution; 
and, in short, endeavoured to humble him in his own sight, as a 
sinner before God, and to fix his thoughts upon that " Lamb of 
God, which taketh away the sin of the world," without distract- 
ing his mind by earthly considerations. 

What the effect was, I know not; for the forger was most 
unexpectedly reprieved: but if ever a condemned felon was 
judiciously treated by his spiritual adviser, that culprit was the 

Dean Milner has probably seldom been even thought of in 
the character of a visitor of the sick and dying; yet the truth is, 
that he possessed, if the word may be permitted, extraordinary 
tact in that capacity. 

A case which occurred at Cambridge during the spring of 
the year 1806, may be mentioned in support of this assertion. 

A young man, whose connections were known to Dr. 
Milner, attempted suicide; in fact, cut his throat so eflectually 
that his life was in the most imminent danger. This occurred 
during the night; no medical advice was immediately to be 
procured, and before daybreak the disconsolate family sent to 
request the attendance of Dean Milner, rather as a medical, 
than as a spiritual adviser. The Dean of course obeyed the 
call; and during that visit and some subsequent ones, attended 

CHAP. XVII. A.D. 180G. ;F.TAT. 5C. 333 

only to the i)liysical coiKlition of the sufierer. Afterwards, 
when the clanger of death was past, he assumed his clerical 
character. Of the precise nature, or the ultimate consequences 
of his addresses to the unhappy man, I cannot speak. The 
immediate effect was notorious : the poor youth became so 
grateful, and so much attached to his spiritual instructor, that 
he Nvould suffer no one else to minister even to his bodily 
wants ; and it is a fact, that for a considerable time, his medi- 
cines were administered, and even the dressings upon his throat 
arranged, by Dr. Milner's own hand. 



History of the Church. — Tliii'd Yolunie translated into German. — Translation of 
Joseph Milner's Sermons into German. — Letter to the Bishop of Mcath. — 
Visit to Cambridge of tlie Chancellor of the University. — Professor 
Person. — University Press. — Rev. T. Thomason. — Professor Smyth. — Dr. 
iMilner's Sermon at St. Mary's against Catholic Emancipation. — Consistency , 
of Character. — Addi-ess to the King. — General Election. — Busy Chapter 
at Carlisle. — Musical Festival. — Thoughts respecting Preaching — Private 
Reflections. — Rev. Christian Ignatius Latrobe. — Musical Society at Cam- 
bridge. — Dr. Jowett's Jliisical Parties. — Discussion concerning certain 
disputed points of Chronology. — Correspondence. — Governorship of Sierra 
Leone. — Second Volume of Joseph Milner's Sermons. — Fifth Volume "of 
Ecclesiastical History. — Board of Longitude. — Carlisle. — Correspondence. — 
Assize Sermon. — Dr. Buchanan. — Dean ililner's Sentiments respecting 
Races and Theatrical Representations. — Letter on the proposed erection 
of a Theatre. — Advice respecting CoUege Lectures. — Reading Lamp. — Dr. 
Edward Daniel Clarke. — New Edition of Milner's Works. — Kensington 
Gore. — Rev. Thomas Kerrich. — Social Intercom-se. — Evening Visits from 
Old Friends. 

A.D. 180C. yETAT. 5G. 

Once again established in his Lodge, Dr. Mihier's principal 
object was the continuation of the History of the Church of 

A foreign clergyman, personal!}^ unknown to him, had sent 
him, with a copy of the third volume of that History translated 
into German, the following interesting letter. 

" To THE Rev. Dr. Milner, Dean of Carlisle, and 

Master of Queen's College, Cambridge. 

"Reverend Sir, " Herrnhut, 180G. 

"Your kind letter of January ISth, I received with inex- 
pressible satisfaction. 

" You may be assured that the translation is extensively 
read, not only in Germany, (even in some popish parts,) but 
also in Switzerland, Prussia, Livonia, Holland, Denmark, and 
Sweden; and, very likely, the German translation Avill be fol- 
lowed by a Swedish one. I have had to answer several queries 
from Stockholm, rcsj)ecting the work and its author. His Life 

CHAP, xviir. A.D. ]«on. ;etat. so. 335 

will be prefixed to the fourtli volume, according to a desire 
intimated to me from many quarters. 

" Indeed, this eminent servant of God, ^ though dead, yet 
speaketh.' I have spoken with two persons who liad read the 
first volume in Greenland, and with another who had perused it 
upon the banks of the Wolga. I wish you may find, in this 
information, an additional spur to go on with diligence. 

"Now I beg leave to lay some particulars before-you. 
* " 1. I have had some obscure information of the second 
and third volumes having gone through a second edition, with 
considerable amendments. If so, please to favour me with a 
copy for the benefit of my translations. The amendments may 
be introduced by way of Appendix. 

" 2. I wish likewise to have the other printed writings of 
your late brother. I shall peruse them with an eye towards a 

"3. The sermons of your late brother gave me so much 
satisfaction, that I have already finished a translation of them, 
and have offered them to be printed. But my bookseller is 
doubtful; the sale of sermons being, in Germany, generally a 
very heavy thing. Now if any bookseller, or a number of 
booksellers in England, could he prevailed upon to subscribe 
50/. for two hundred copies, or 70/. for three hundred copies, 
or 80/. for four hundred, the difliculty would be removed, and 
much good might be done. There are many Germans in 
London who might be inclined to purchase the book. Besides, 
there are societies who distribute good books, gratis, and perhaps 
they have little or no store for the many Germans in their neigh- 
bourhood. If any of those societies, or any rich individuals, 
should be inclined, particularly for the benefit of the many 
German soldiers now in England, to subscribe for a considerable 
number, I would, for that purpose, contrive to get the printing 
so done, that every sermon should be a sheet of itself; so that 
they might give away the whole, or the parts, just as they 
pleased. Methinks, this would be a plan of very extensive 
usefulness. May I beg you to propose it to those societies ? 
As soon as I receive a favouraljle answer, (which I wish may 
be as soon as possible) the printing will inmiediately begin. 

336 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 180C. jETXT. 5C. 

"4. As you are writing the history of the Reformation, I 
cannot help mentioning a circumstance which strikingly marks 
the spirit of those times, though very little known. I live in a 
province where there are many Vandals, who speak a language 
as different from the German as Welsh is from English. It is 
a dialect of the Sclavonian. Air. Latrobe has often heard their 
jargon. These people have, wherever they meet one another, a 
certain salutation, which they only use on Sundays and holi- 
days. If they meet before sermon, they say ' Welcome to 
God's word;^ if after sermon, ' Welcome from God's word.' 
This custom, which is universal throughout the whole nation, 
dates from the time of the Reformation. Before that period 
they never had any preaching in their language; their priests 
being all Germans, and their whole religion consisting in cere- 
monies and processions. About the year 1521, evangelical 
preaching took place in their language, and was received so 
eagerly, that it gave rise to that singular custom. Indeed, it is 
now only a matter of form, but methinks it is evident, that it 
was then something more. There was, at that time, a remark- 
able work of God among that nation, of which I could give you 
some more particulars, if you desire it. 
" I am. Reverend Sir, 

" Your most obedient humble servant, 

" Peter Mortimer." 

To this letter Dr. Milncr, who was always much gratified Ijy 
the notice of strangers whom he had reason to think men of 
l)icty, returned the following warm-hearted answer. 

" Queen's College^ Cambi'idge, 
"Rev. and dear Sir, October 24, 180G. 

" I cannot express the satisfaction which your kind and 
valuable letter has afl'orded me. My very numerous avocations 
would not have prevented me from noticing the contents of it 
as they deserve, much sooner; but I am frequently so much 
out of health as to be comj)cllcd to relax from my studies, in a 
degree, or else I should soon ho, unable to attend to them at all. 

" 1. This circumstance is to account for my not having yet 
finished Volume V. 

CHAP. XYIII. A.D. 180C. yETAT. r.r. 337 

" 2. The same circumstance will account fur the second and 
third volumes being not yet republished witli corrections. 

"The republication of them has been promised to the 
public, but the promise is not yet fulfilled. The new edition, 
as well as Volume V., will be out as soon as ever I can finish 
them. If my health were at all to Ije depended on, I should 
say in the course of next spring; but I have often been admo- 
nished to be cautious in j^romises. 

" I have, however, now great hopes of getting fast forward. 

" I will not fail to send you the books all together, along 
with such other of the author's writings as I judge you would 
wish to have, and as I can pick up. 

"Volume V. will be as rich in matter, or richer, than any of 
the foregoing parts. 

" 3. I have been in the north of England for four months, 
and have seen so few people, that I have yet had no opportunity 
to try what can be done with any of those societies you speak 
of, respecting the publication of the sermons of my brother 
in German, which you have been so good as to translate. But 
lest that important matter should be delayed any longer, (and I 
am very sorry it has been delayed at all.) I will answer to you, 
through Mr. Latrobe, for fifty pounds, to be paid, as you 
mention, for two hundred cojnes : and I will also try whether 
we cannot get the order increased. However, so far I answer 
for, be it as it may. 

" 4. I have to return you my most sincere thanks for the 
very handsome copy of your German edition of the third 
volume of the Church Histoi'y. I. can hardly mention any 
event which would have given greater satisfaction to the author 
had he been alive. The propagation of the true Gospel of 
Christ, and its efficacy in reclaiming sinners to the service of 
God and making them fit for heaven, were objects which had 
been, for many years, close to his heart. 

"5. The anecdote of 'Welcome to God's word,' is a very 
striking one, and I will not neglect to mention it in its proper 
])lace. Moreover, I would be very much ol)ligcd to you for 
more particulars, with which you say you can furnisli me, and 
the sooner the better. 


'' Don't pay any regard to the expense of postage ; I shall 
think myself well repaid by your communications, be they ever 
so slight. 

" Little matters often prove a great deal. The instance yon 
have given me is a very decisive one of that sort. ' Welcome 
to God's word/ had a meaning of a very significant kind, I doubt 
not, when it came from the heart. It is my prayer, that there 
may be a revival of practical Christianity throughout Europe ; 
as I verily beheve, that nothing short of t/iat will cure our 
present dreadful evils, as well as those still more dreadful, 
which appear to hang over us. 

" G. I have understood, that there is likely to be soon, in 
Germany, a new edition of all Luther's works. Is this so ? 

"If there be a Latin translation of these, more full than 
the Wittenberg, or the Jene edition, which I have, I would 
thank you to purchase a copy for me. 

" 7. I would also, if I am not too troublesome, give you a 
commission to send me any of the valuable writers on Religion, 
the history of it — Histories of the Reformation, &c., &c., in 
Latin, or French ; I do not read German. 

"You need not be afraid as to the price, if you meet with 
real good stuff. 

" May Almighty God be pleased to bless your useful labours, 
and to prosper you in all things, to his glory. 

" Your affectionate servant, dear Sir, 
" To the Rev. Mr. Mortimer." " I. Milner. 

Laborious as Dean Milner actually was, he was apt, like his 
deceased brother, and like all persons of very active mind, to 
accuse himself of indolence. With reference to this subject, he 
makes the following remarks, in a letter dated during this month 
of October, 180G. 

" In the midst of my own concerns, which arc sufficiently 
numerous, and often far from lacing pleasant, I can assure you, 
that I very often think of you, and run over, in my mind, a 
variety of scenes that have passed between us: and, to own the 
truth, it generally hapj)ens, that in reviewing many of the old 
scenes to which I allude, I sec reason to be mortified with 

CHAP. XVIII. A.D. inoc. ^ETAT. 5C. 339 

having neglected to perform many things which I had projected 
as things to be done, and which I could scarcely have believed 
would have been so long left undone, had any body pretended 
to predict the event. iVll this is, I suppose, what happens to a 
very great part of mankind, as well as to myself, and, perhaps, 
to you. The misfortune is, we are constantly supposing, that 
there is something or other peculiar in our own cases, which 
has prevented us from putting into execution the good plans we 
had devised; and so we fabricate excuses, from day to day. In 
my own case, very indifferent health has certainly clipped my 
wings, and laid a cold hand on many of my schemes. Nor is 
this, by any means, an imaginary excuse : but, of late years, I 
have learned, I think, to see further into this matter, and to be 
convinced, that even infirmities, when properly managed, may 
become a source of industry and exertion. For, I believe, we 
fail, much more, through an erroneous or indolent application 
of our faculties, than we do through a real want of powers, or 

The observations upon the peculiar dangers attendant upon 
the academical career of young men, and upon the importance 
of judicious home education, in early life, contained in the 
following letter to the late Bishop of Meath, will be read with 
much interest. 

"To THE Right Honourable and Right Reverend the 
Lord Bishop of Meath. 

" Queen's Lodge, Cambridge, 
"My Lord, November 13, 1806. 

" Your Lordship's observations in the obliging letter with 
which you have favoured me, are judicious and truly Christian ; 
neither docs there appear in them any more anxiety than what 
strictly belongs to so interesting a case. A very fine youth 
indeed, in all respects, just launching into the world, at a 
critical period of life, and among numerous examples of dissi- 
pation and extravagance — add to this, an only son — assuredly 
here is enough to excite apprehension ; as there always is, 
where there is much to lose, and also much to expect. 

"As I would prove myself grateful for the favourable judg- 

340 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 180C. /ETAT. 5G. 

ment which you heave formed of Queen's College, and its regu- 
lations, I shall feel l^ound in duty to endeavour, as much as 
possible, to answer your expectations. 

"After what your Lordship has seen of Mr. S., it must be 
unnecessary for me to repeat (what I expressed pretty confi- 
dently to Dr. R.) how fortunate your Lordship has l)een in 
meeting with a gentleman so excellently qualified as he is, to 
superintend the education of your son. 

"I have almost always found, that the greatest danger 
attends tlie commencement of the academical life, when generous 
and open-hearted youths are apt to form both too many 
connexions, and too hastily. However, Mr. S. and myself are 
so perfectly aAvake to this circumstance, that we shall not fail to 
suggest the necessary cautions. 

" I venture to predict, that, in regard to discipline, we shall 
have no difficulties whatever ; for these very seldom arise except 
where previous defects at home, have laid a foundation for future 

"That the blessing of God may attend your truly laudable 
exertions as a bishop, and your pious and Christian views as a 
parent, is the hope and prayer of your Lordship's faithful 

"Isaac Milner.*' 

In the course of the month of December, in this year, the 
Duke of Grafton, Chancellor of the University, paid a visit to 
Cambridge, taking up his al)ode at Trinity Lodge. Daring his 
Grace's stay, Mr. Tondiue, son of the Bisho]) of Lincoln, 
pronounced a eulogy on Mr. Pitt, in the Chapel of Trinity 
College, before a large concourse of auditors. The following 
complimentary communication must liavc been highly gratifying 
to the youtiiful speaker. 

" Dear Sir, " Queeu^s Lodge, Deceiiihcr 19, 180G. 

"Tliougli much used to suffer mortification tlirough indis- 
position, my dis;ip[)()iiitniciit has not often l)ccn greater than it 
was tlie oilier day, on not being able to be present at the very 
iiiterestiiig scene in Trinity Cliapcl. I caught a very severe 

CTIAP. XVIII. A.D. 1806. ^ETAT. 56. 341 

cold during last week, in London*, which cold was still further 
increased by my journey thence, last Monday, insomuch that 
I have been completely confined since that time. 

"The Duke of Grafton and Dr. Mansel were so good as to 
call upon me yesterday ; and from them, as well as from many 
others, I learnt how much I had lost, (I will not say by being 
absent from the splendid dinners and company, on Tuesday 
and Wednesday, at Trinity College ; but) l)y not hearing you 
deliver your eulogium. 

" I am very much obliged to you for the copy of it with 
which you have been so good as to favour me ; though, I own, 
it brings afresh to my mind the observation of ^schines to the 
admirers of the famous oration of Demosthenes, ^ What would 
you have said if you had heard him deliver it?' 

" May everything attend you that is great and good ! 
" I am, dear Sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 
" To Mr. Tomline." "Isaac Milner. 

I have never yet mentioned Dr. Milner's intimacy with 
Professor Porson. I recollect no appearances of this intimacy 
subsequent to the year 1806; but during the two or three 
previous years, I well remember the frequent evening visits of 
Porson to Dr. Milncr's study. He used to sit in the right-hand 
corner of the well-curtained sofa, by the fire ; and his habits 
being but too Avell known, he was always, without any order 
given to that efl'ect, accommodated, by the servant in atten- 
dance, with a jug of malt liquor, that being tlic beverage Mhich 
he was understood to prefer. 

The conversation, on these occasions, often turned upon 
Greek literature, but not exactly in the way that might 
naturally be supposed. 

To his brother's Observations on Sir Isaac Newton^s C/irono- 
logy, Dean Milner has prefixed a note, stating, that he had, "' at 
various times, but in vain, desired, and even earnestly entreated 
Professor Porson to undertake the examination of the grand 

* AYhithcr lie liad "onc to attend the meeting of the Board of Longitude. 

342 CHAr. XYIIT. A.D. IfiOC. ;ETAT. 56. 

chronological questions" which form the subject of Sir Isaac's 
treatise; ''urging it as an attempt worthy of his great talents 
and great attainments." 

He did, indeed, frequently, so urge it ; for the very respect 
in which he held the Professor, made him regret, that such 
transcendent abilities as his, should be employed in any but the 
highest departments of learning. This was a subject often 
discussed between them. " Learning, such as yours," the Dean 
would say, "should be occupied on more important matters 
than the settling of a disputed reading, Avhich, perhaps, after all, 
but slightly aifects the meaning of the passage under consider- 
ation. Such a mind as yours, should be brought to bear upon 
some great question." 

It was not, of course, that Dean Milner did not admit the 
possession of the most varied and extensive classical learning 
to be essentially requisite to the successful prosecution of such 
investigations as those in which the Greek Professor delighted ; 
neither did he undervalue the importance of those investi- 
gations ; but believing Person, besides his surpassing excellence 
as a scholar, to possess a reach of mind capable of applying that 
excellence to the highest purposes, he earnestly desired to see 
him grapple with some subject requiring and deserving the 
whole of his intellectual poM'crs. Such a subject, in the opinion 
of Dr. Milner, was Sir Isaac Newton's system of Chronology. 

To the examination of Newton's most ingenious arguments, 
— the one astronomical, the other drawn from observations 
upon the ordinarj' duration of human life, — the Dean had him- 
self, at various times, given a good deal of attention; and in the 
conclusion following alike from both of these perfectly indepen- 
dent arguments, he was, himself, well satisfied to acquiesce ; in 
fact, it would, I believe, have been exceedingly diflicult to 
shake his faith in the chronological scheme of one wliom lie 
used to call " that great master of reason." Still, the question 
was one concerning which the opinions of the learned were 
divided, and one wliicli Porson, by his cmincst classical learn- 
ing, and extensive historical knowledge, was peculiarly qualified 
to determine. Often, therefore, and strenuously, did Dr. 
Milner exhort liim to "try his strength" upon this subject. 

CHAP. XYIII. A.D. Ifi07. /ETAT. 57. 343 

The very words wliich I liave heard him use recur to my mind 
as T write : " Settle the Chronology, decide between Newton 
and his oj^ponents. Set the question at rest for ever; that 
would be an effort worthy of you." 

How strange and apparently capricious a thing is memory ! 
These words, heard in early childhood, ring upon my ear, as if 
but lately uttered. Thus the events and incidents of youth, 
although apparently obliterated from the mind, frequently start 
into new life, awakened from their trance by some allusion, or 
some association of ideas, which, perhaps, after all, we can 
scarcely trace ! In fact, it is impossible to say, that anything 
is absolutely forgotten ; we may have lost for years all recol- 
lection of an event ; and yet the whole train of circumstances 
belonging to it, may be safely stored up in that mysterious 
faculty, the memory, and need but the spark which is to fire 
it, and bring the whole to light ! 

The month of January brought with it, as usual, much 
college business. The affairs of the University Press, likewise, 
continued to engross a considerable portion of Dr. Milner^s 
time. His indifferent health, however, together with his 
anxiety to devote as many hours as possible to the continuation 
of the Church History, now induced him, to free himself, in 
some measure, from this occupation. In a letter to Dr. Pearce, 
the successor of Dr. Turner, in the office of Vice Chancellor, he 
states, at length, some of the reasons which led him to this 
determination; adding, respecting the future conduct of the 
press, various suggestions, which, as he had now been conver- 
sant with the subject, during more than three years, and had, 
in fact, in the year 1804, usually presided at the meetings of 
the Syndics of the Press, in the place of the Vice Chancellor, 
Dr. Torkington, who was infirm in health, could not be other- 
wise than valuable. 

A testimonial given by Dr. Milner in January, 1807, in 
favour of a gentleman, since well-known for his services in the 
cause of Christianity in India, contains a passage which exem- 
pUfies his constant practice of choosing the very best men who 
could be obtained, to fill ofhccs of trust and authority in the 
college which he governed. 

314 CHAr. XVIir. A.D. 1807. ^TAT. 57. 

* * * * '' Some time ago, Queen's College, of which I 
liave the honour to be Master, was in want of a Tutor; and, 
there not being a person of my own College whom I judged 
l)roper for this truly important situation, I fixed upon Mr* 
Thomason*, after looking very diligently through the whole 
University ; and I was certainly induced to appoint him Tutor 
of Queen"'s College, entirely on account of his high reputation 
for learning, good principles, and exemplary conduct." 

Professor Smyth, in a letter containing various notices of 
Dean Milner, which, like all those received from the same 
source, are well worthy of preservation, observes that about 
this period he " frequently urged the Dean to draw up a Life of 
Calvin, for which, he said, he had some materials, and for which 
he was eminently fitted, but no work of the kind ever appeared." 
Professor Smyth adds, " I remember that Dr. B., the last 
principal of the E. I. Coll., was very much struck with a 
sermon that the Dean delivered at St. Mary's, against the 
emancipation of the Roman Catholics." 

The sermon alluded tot, which produced, at the time of 
its delivery J, a great sensation in the University, has, doubtless, 
in one point of view, lost a part of its interest — the claims 
which Dean Milner 02")posed having been since conceded, and 
the question settled by the Legislature. Still however, as a 
masterly historical sketch, admirably adapted to the purpose 
which its author had in view, this composition must ever retain 
its value. The following extract treats especially of the great 
Christian doctrine which Dr. Milner regarded as "the very 
jewel of the Reformation." 

" Modern historians and political writers have been copious 
and loud in their praises of the Reformation from Popery ; but 
it is very plain, tliat the thing these writers are chiefly in love 
with, is nuTcly tlic civil liberty of tlie Reformation, which was 
indeed one blessed cflect, but by no means the most important 
cfVcct of our emancipation from Papal despotism. The revival 

• He was fifth AVranglei-. 
t Sec Dean Milneii's Scnnons, Vol. I., Ser. 1. 
Z JaiMiary :}()lli, lyoy. 

CHAP. XVIir. A.D. 1R07. yETAT. 57. 345 

of pure Cliristianity Avliich took place at the Reformation, is 
that which forms the boast of that glorious ccra ; and I am 
deeply and a wfully convinced, that unless something like another 
revival of the same spirit should again manifest itself among 
us, we shall, in no great length of time, be found to have let 
go the substance, and retained only the shadow of Protes- 

" I can have no fear of incurring a charge either of ignorance 
or temerity, mIicu I only repeat what, in substance, has, of late 
years, been frequently much more than intimated from the hrst 
Episcopal authority*, (if learning, wisdom, and knowledge 
in the Scriptures and in the history of the Church, be any 
foundation for authority,) that in too many instances even the 
clergy of the Establishment have materially deviated from the 
natural, unsophisticated meaning of the Articles and Homilies 
of the Church of England ; that they have, in fact, preached 
too much from Socrates and Seneca, and too little from Christ 
and his everlasting Gospel; that the reading-desk and the 
pulpit have often Ijeen at variance ; and that, instead of pressing 
upon the conscience with energy, the great and peculiar doc- 
trines of the Gospel, — such as the doctrines of original sin, 
justification by faith, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, — 
there has been, in many cases, substituted in their place little 
more than a vain system of frigid ethics, accommodated to the 
pride and blindness of human reason. My own little experience 
entirely accords with the admonitions of this learned prelate : 
and, with him, I further believe, that the doctrine of Justifica- 
tion by Faith, as stated in tlie eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth 
Articles of our Church, is the very corner-stone of the whole 
system of the first Reformers. It was the doctrine of Luther 
and Calvin, and Philip Melancthon ; and it was the doctrine of 
the whole college of Apostles. 

'•' How far, in the distant periods of the Puritanical excesses, 
this fundamental doctrine was, by some hypocrites, perverted 
to wicked purposes, (as the very best things are ever lialjle to 
abuse,) or how far, in modern times, some fanatical and ilUtcrate 

* Bishop Iloi-sley. 

346 CHAP. XVIII. A.P. 1R07. iETAT. 57. 

itinerant teachers have given just occasion to Antinomian inter- 
pretations of the same doctrine, I will not take upon me to 
decide : but I have no doubt, that in the anxiety to resist and 
expose the dangers of Antinomianism, many, of late years, 
actuated by more zeal than knowledge, have mutilated the 
whole Gospel system, totally destroyed the analogy of Faith, 
and expressed themselves in such a way as scarcely to have 
kept clear of the grossest errors of the Pelagian heresy. 
The remedies for this mischievous practice, in cases where it 
originates from mere error of judgment, will consist in a 
better acquaintance M'ith the interior of ecclesiastical history, 
a closer and more diligent study of the evangelical system, 
and, lastly, a more serious and habitual application of the 
doctrines of the Gospel to men's own individual circumstances, 
for the express purpose of spiritual improA'cment, and the for- 
mation of Christian dispositions. The using of these remedies, 
by persons who sincerely wish to he set right, will be crowned 
with success." ****** « But the dangerous sort 
of instruction above alluded to, does not always arise from 
mere ignorance, but from something besides, something worse 
than any mere ignorance whatever. In many instances, be- 
sides a complete un acquaintance Mnth the marrow of the Pro- 
testant confessions of faith, and the specific difierence between 
these and the Roman Catholic tenets in doctrinal articles ; 
besides also, the total misapprehension of the meaning of our 
own Articles and Liturgy ; there is super-added a lamentable 
opposition of the human heart to the very doctrines themselves 
of salvation by Christ and renovation by the Holy Spirit. 

" Men do not thoroughly believe these doctrines : the pride 
of corrupt nature is not humified into a thorough acquiescence 
in the Revealed Word, much less into a grateful acceptance of 
the terms of Revelation. Hence, the true interpretation of the 
Scriptures, and of our own Articles, is often condemned as 
irrational ; and it is found in vain to insist upon the plain, 
literal, and grammatical meaning of the most unequivocal ex- 
pressions, when it has l)een pre-determined, that all such 
notions arc absurd, and incapable of being seriously Iield by 
meJi of learning and cajiacity. 

ciiAr. XYiir. A.D. ino7. tetat. 57. 347 

" Thus it happens, that men may l)c baptized, profess Chris- yC 
tiaiiity all their Hvcs, and join in the common acts of estal)lished 
Christian communion, and yet constantly withstand, with all 
their might, what I call the interiofj the essentials, the marrow 
of the Christian system. 

"Such persons would do well to scrutinize those parts of the 
history of the blessed Reformation which are scarcely touched 
upon by our most elegant and approved historians ; those scat- 
tered, but very authentic and precious memoirs which lay open 
the real views of our first Reformers concerning repentance, 
faith, and sanctification — in short, concerning the everlasting 
salvation of the soul. Such a laudable industry might, by the 
blessing of God, help to remove the veil from men's eyes; might 
make them suspect, that they had hitherto misunderstood the 
most material article of the Reformation ; and by thus abating 
prejudices, might pave the w^ay for true conversion of heart, 
and true spiritual discernment. 

" No one, I conceive, can understand me to be here alluding 
to the Roman Catholic tenets of the Pope's supremacy, tran- 
substantiation, the invocation of saints, and such like. In 
rejecting these absurdities and superstitions, we are all perfectly 
agreed. It is the doctrines of grace, which teach the way of 
acceptance with God, and of the formation of the true Christian 
character, on whicli I have my eye. These doctrines are the 
immediate and pressing concern of every individual, because 
his eternal happiness depends upon them ; and, therefore, if 
these be not both distinctly stated and sedulously enforced by 
the clergy, it is in vain to expect any effective or abiding 
improvement among the people, either in Christian faith, or 
Christian morals. 

" It is on this account, that I would to God the true nature of 
the Protestant Reformation M'ere better understood, and, parti- 
cularly, in the grand article respecting faith and works : for then 
the doctrinal articles of our own Church, -which are in perfect 
harmony with the sentiments of the best and wisest Reformers, 
would soon be, likewise, better understood ; controversies 
concerning their meaning, would vanish ajiace; the well- 
disposed would be delivered from darkness into a marvellous 

348 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1807. jT.TAT. 57. 

light, and would receive the truth ^vith a godly joy and thank- 
fulness. This would he the cure of every departure from the 
Protestant faith — this would be the revival of Christian prin- 
ciples — this would put an end to unlearned and injudicious 
declamation against Methodism, for Methodism would scarcely 
exist. It would soon be found, that neither illiterate enthusiasts 
who, by coarse allusions and intemperate language, often, with 
the very best meanings, burlesque the most momentous doc- 
trines ; nor conceited philosophers of modern times, who, like 
their ancient brethren, can never relieve the horrors of a guilty 
conscience, nor make the wicked man turn away from his 
wickedness, by their insipid harangues on candour and huma- 
nity — it would soon be found, that neither open enemies, nor 
false friends, nor deluded brethren, could make much stand 
against the glorious and salutary truths of the Gospel, delivered, 
by those properly commissioned to deliver them, with wisdom, 
animation, and affection. Then would our prayers be offered 
\ip, not merely with the lips, in the name of Jesus, but from 
the heart delivered up to its Redeemer and sanctifier.^' ' 

Consistency was a prominent feature in Dr. Milner's cha- 
racter. It is, therefore, not surprising, that, with his views of 
the fatal errors of popery, he should about this time, have drawn 
up the following address. 

" We your Majesty's, &c. &c. 

"Humbly present to 3'our Majesty our unfeigned thanks 
for the signal proof Avhich we have recently witnessed of your 
Majesty's firm and conscientious determination to maintain the 
barriers of our happy Constitution, erected by the wisdom of 
our ancestors, for the security of the Protestant religion. 

" As ecclesiastical persons, we feel ourselves more parti- 
c\darly interested in every measure which tends to preserve 
inviolate our most excellent and venerable Establishment; 
find as teachers of the pure doctrines of Christianity, wc 
rejoice to sec your Majesty's undoubted authority exercised in 
guarding those doctrines from all dangerous and anti-christian 

"The mild and tolerant principles by wliich your Majesty 

CHAP. XVIII. A.D. in07. yETAT. 57- 349 

has been actuated throughout your auspicious reign, have 
convinced all descriptions of your Majesty's loyal subjects, that 
your Majesty never ^vishes to interpose restraints, but from a 
sense of duty and of those sacred obligations under which the 
royal prerogatives are held ; and they reflect with admiration 
and gratitude, that a steady course of inflexible constancy, thus 
tempered with the benevolent spirit of liberality and indulgence, 
entirely becomes the defender of the faith, and the father of his 

"Fully persuaded of the rectitude of the motives which 
dictated the wise resolutions of your Majesty, at this critical 
juncture, we pledge ourselves, in conjunction with all your 
Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, to exert our utmost eff'orts, 
to support the royal authority, to cherish among the people a 
sense of the liberties w^hich they enjoy under our admirable 
Constitution, and to cultivate a spirit of obedience to the laws, 
and of union, harmony, and universal good-will. 

" We humbly pray, that Almighty God, M'ho, under your 
Majesty's Government and protection, has bestowed upon us 
so many blessings, may long continue to preserve your Majesty's 
life, and to pour out his favours upon your Majesty and your 

On the dissolution of Parliament, which took place soon 
afterwards. Dr. Milner, thus wrote. 

"To THE Rev. William AFandell. 
" My dear Sir, " Queen's College, May 3, IR07. 

"The election is fixed for Friday next, and, I suppose, it 
will begin at ten o'clock, in the morning. 

" We are all in a flame for Church and King, and I hope 
you will join us. 

" Most seriously, I do think, that the greatest constitutional 
question, by far, that has happened in my time, is now at issue : 
and if the outs were to get the better, I think, that the royal 
prerogative would he. in imminent danger, if not actually 
extremely lowered and reduced. 

" If I judge right, you will be of the same opinion, and will 
make us happy, by allowing us to number you among the 

350 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1807. ^TAT. 57- 

friends of Sir Y. Gil^ljs and Lord Palmerston, wlio, at present, 
represent the constitutional side, against LordEuston and Lord 
Henry Petty, the friends of the Ex-Ministers. 

I am, dear Sir, 

" Yours most truly, 

«I. MiLNER." 

It is scarcely necessary to state, that the successful candi- 
dates, on this occasion, were Lord Euston and Sir Y. Gibbs. 

One circumstance which, at this time, occasioned to Dr. 
Milner some extra occupation, was his being appointed by the 
University, in conjunction with Dr. Jowett and Dr. Outram, to 
read the compositions sent in by the numerous competitors for 
the munificent prize of five hundred pounds, offered by Dr. 
Buchanan, for the best " Essay on the probable Design of 
Divine Providence, in subjecting so large a portion of India to 
the British Empire," and to decide upon their respective 

Dr. Milner, who, on former occasions, had been selected by 
Dr. Buchanan as the dispenser of his liberality, was very 
anxious concerning the adjudging of this noble prize. Of the 
number of compositions that were sent in within the appointed 
time, not one was thought worthy of acceptance. Another 
essay, afterwards ascertained to be from the pen of the Rev. J. 
W. Cunningham, and to which the prize would have been 
unanimously adjudged, was presented a few days too late. This 
composition Dr. Buchanan offered to print, at his own 

The meetings of the Board of Longitude called Dr. Milner 
to London, at the ordinary periods, during the early part of this 
year, and in the third week in June, he entered upon his annual 
journey to Carlisle, where much business awaited him. A law- 
suit between the Chapter and the Duke of Devonshire, occupied 
much of his time. Tlic necessary repairs of the Cathedral, 
likewise demanded liis attention ; and, moreover, a new organ 
Mas to be l>uilt. 

Concerning the latter subject, the Dean was exceedingly 
solicitous ; and, being most anxious that the Cathedral should 

GUAR XVITL A.D. 1807. ^ETAT. 57. 351 

possess a really fine organ, lie wisely applied to his friend Dr. 
Crotch, for advice respecting the builder to he selected. 

The new organ finished, it was desired that a musical 
festival, for the furtherance of some charitable object, should 
take place at Carlisle. 

Dean Milner did not disapprove of such performances 
of oratorios, or selections of sacred music. He M-illingly con- 
sented to the use of the Cathedral, on the occasion of this 
festival, which lasted, as I recollect, three days ; and privileged 
by his station, he attended the rehearsals, as Avell as the public 
performances. Mr. Yanicwiez, a violin player of uncommon 
excellence, was the leader ; and Mrs, Dickons, a singer of con- 
siderable reputation in her day, sang the principal treble songs. 
Vaughan, (unequalled to this day in his peculiar style,) and, I 
think, Harrison, assisted. 

But Carlisle, albeit graced by a cathedral, was nevertheless, 
at that time, a most unmusical city. The Bishop patronized 
the festival, and many of the neighbouring county families 
attended ; still, however, the affair proved a failure ; and, so far 
as I know, no second attempt, of a similar kind, has been made. 

Various, however, as might be Dean Milner's avocations at 
Carlisle, his great object, while there, was, always, to exert 
himself to the utmost in the pulpit. 

Some observations with regard to preaching, written during 
this summer, and apparently suggested by the perusal of certain 
parts of the works of Dr. Blair, will be read with interest. 

" Object of preaching. 

"1. To persuade men to be good; and therefore convince 

"2. Gravity and warmth are the requisites. 

" 3. The grand general rules are, — 

"1. Unity, — one main point. 

" 2. Unity more easily preserved \n particular subjects, than 
in general ones. 

"3. Never aim at saying all that can be said; a great mis- 
take this. Select ivelh 

"4. Let the preacher suppose himself addressed; and con- 
sider what would must aflcct himself. 

352 CHAP. XYIII. A.D. 1807. ^TAT. 57. 

"5. Avoid dryness — make it interesting: l)ring it to the 
heart. Carry it on iu the strain of address. 

'•' Make every one think, tliat you are addressing /I'un. 
Therefore, remember ages, characters, &c. 

" 6. Style, Perspicuous. 

"An Introduction should have one or more of the 
following objects — 

'' 1. To conciliate. 

" 2. To excite attention in consequence of the novelty or 
importance of the subject. 

"3. To make hearers docile. 

" $&" Omit Introduction when none of these three things 
are wanted. 

"Good Introductions difficulty should be planned after 
digesting the subject. 

" The expression in the introduction should be correct and 
good. The hearers attend most to language, then. 

" Modest, simple, and opposite to ostentation. Except in 
very particular cases. 

"Cd' Not vehement; yet it should sow the seeds of what is 
to be expected. However, don't anticipate. 

" Let it be well proportioned. 

'' Division of a Discourse. 
" 1. Begin with the simplest points. 
" 2. Not one word more should be used than is necessary 

Among some private thoughts of about this date, the follow- 
ing reflections occur. 

" It is frequently a matter of serious concern to truly evan- 
gelical persons, that they are, in many instances, compelled to 
own, that the practice of those who profess to believe souiul 
principles, does not correspond, as it ought to do, with their 
faith; and this concern is not a little increased by observing, 
that, frequently, the practice of those who are misound in 
(iospcl doctrines, is, nevertheless, much more to ho commended 
than that of tlie former sort of persons, so far as the external 
is concenied. 

CHAP. XVIir. A.D. 1807. -ETAT. 57. 353 

" This I take to be a consideration of very great importance. 

" It becomes a trial of the faith of truly conscientious 
persons, especially if they happen to be reproached by ill- 
disposed people, who are apt to triumpli over those who are 
really godly, and to oljjcct to them the excellent conduct of 
those whom godly persons cannot allow to be true believers, 
even though they exhibit a great deal of what is amiable and 
praiseworthy among men." 

Soon after the 10th of October, Dean Milner, having 
passed a few days with his relatives at Hull, and with his 
friend Mr. Richardson, at York, was again at his post in the 
University. Later in the year he was gladdened by a visit 
from the late Christian Ignatius Latrobe, a person in whose 
society, in common with all who knew him, he always took 
much delight. Mr. Latrobe's character, his extensive informa- 
tion, his extraordinary conversational powers, his benevolent 
and lively temperament, and " though last, not least," his 
transcendent musical talents, rendered him, to the circle of his 
intimate friends at Cambridge, a most welcome visitor. His 
arrival always infused new vigour into the musical coteries 
within the range of his acquaintance; and notwithstanding Dr. 
Milner's want of ear, no one entered with more hearty good- 
will than he, into the small, but very excellent musical parties 
collected, particularly by his friend Dr. Jowett, on such 

Many, though not all, of those who assisted at those very 
pleasant parties, are no longer living. Some remain to bear 
witness to the truth of my assertion, that by the band of friends 
then in the habit of performing together, the best compositions, 
both vocal and instrumental, of the great German and Italian 
masters, were often executed with more precision and better 
taste than are generally exhibited in public, by professional 

The December meeting of the Board of Longitude called 
Dr. Milner, as usual, to London, early in the month ; and he 
had but just returned to Cambridge when he was recalled to 
town by the sudden and dangerous illness of his friend Mr. 

2 A 

354 CHAP. XYIII. A.P. 1808. yETAT. 58. 

" My dear kind friend the Dean," writes Mr. "Wilberforce, in 
his Journal, " came up to us ;" and Hannah More, congratulating 
him, by letter, on his recovery, observes, that she was "happy 
that the incomparable Dean'^ had been with him dm-ing his 

Most justly has it been remarked, concerning Dean Milner, 
that " there never, perhaps, existed a man more richly endowed'' 
than he, "with the milk of human kindness; or one whose 
affectionate concern for every creature about him, was more 
remarkable ;" and this disposition was, doubtless, especially 
manifested throughout the whole of his intercourse with Mr. 
Wilberforce and his family. 

He was detained in London by the indisposition of his 
friend till the first day of the New Year. 

In the midst of the College and University business which 
pressed upon him, on his return to Cambridge, Dr. Milner 
found time for an animated discussion, with a very able and 
learned corresjiondent, concerning certain disputed points of 
chronology: so true it is, that, as he himself used to say, "those 
who choose to do so, may find time enough for everything !" 
The correctness of the account given by Thucydides of a certain 
eclipse of the sun, visible at Athens, in his time, by means 
of which account (apparently, however, invalidated by more 
recent astronomical calculations) the dates of some important 
events were sought to be ascertained — Mas the matter under 

This correspondence would be neither interesting nor intel- 
ligible to a great mass of readers ; it is mentioned only as 
affording evidence, in addition to much which has been already 
adduced, of the active turn of Dean Milner's mind. 

The following characteristic passage respecting a young 
nobleman, to whom the Rev. William Mandell had agreed to 
become private tutor, occurs in a letter, dated, " February 
21st," from Dr. Milner, to that much esteemed friend. 

Sec Life of IVildcrforce. 

CHAP. XA'III. A.D. 1808. iETAT. 58. 355 

" My dear Sir, 

" Don't accuse me of being a troublesome correspondent, if 
I say again, that I am anxious to receive from you, an account, 
when you are hkely to come ; for this Lord = is expect- 
ing to hear every day. 

" I do not mean, nor ever did, to press you : but a young 
hand hke him, -will, perhaps, be anxious to know when he is to 
begin ; more anxious, perhaps, than actually to begin, when it 
comes to it; and, probably, more anxious than to go on 

" You may remember my story of the young man who got 
ready so many different Greek Testaments, some interleaved, 
&c. &c. — and, I forgot to mention, that he was never for begin- 
ning at the middle or end, but always on the Monday of a 

" Yours always affectionately, I. M." 

Two days afterwards. Dr. Milner, anxious to bring this 
negociation to a conclusion, thus wrote again to the same 

" Queen's College Lodge, 
"My dear Sir, February 23, 1808. 

" From my several letters, particularly from the last, which 
you had not received when you wrote yours, of this morning, 
you may, perhaps, have discerned, that I certainly rather 
wished no time to be lost — and this, not so much from any- 
thing that Lord had said, as from the knowledge which 

I seem to myself to have acquired, from experience, of the state 
of mind of persons in his situation. They intend to do a deal; 
there is an ardour about them at the moment ; they would not 
lose an hour ; they are sorry for the past ; they mean to repair ; 
and, of course, they griidge any delay. 

" Too often, all this ends in vanity ; and sometimes, in 
vexation too ! 

" Yours, dear Sir, always affectionately, 

"Isaac Milner. 
"P.S. Asto ********** , you are 

2 A 2 

356 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. iETAT. 5S. 

perfectly right in appearing to take no notice of the unpleasant 
disingenuousness of which you speak. 

" There are a thousand things of this sort, in this present 
fragment of hfe, which it is far better to pass by, than to 
attempt to set right or mend. 
" To the Rev. William Mandell." 

The following letter written on the occasion of the present 
Colonel T. P. Tliompson's going out, as Governor, to Sierra 
Leone, will be read with interest. 

"To THE Rev. C. I. Latrobe. 

" Queen's College Lodge^ 
"Dear Sir, Febmary 26, 1808. 

" The reason of my troubling you with a letter, is this. 

" A very good friend of mine, and also, of our common 
excellent friend, Mr. Wilberforce, wishes to be introduced to 
you, and to have a little conversation Avith you, that might 
possil)ly lead to something of importance. 

" To l)e brief, Mr. Thomas Thompson, — son of a gentleman 
of the same name, who is a banker at Hull, and partner with 
Messrs. Smith, Payne, and Smith, and who is also an M.P.— 
is likely to go out soon to Sierra Leone, and, as I suppose, in 
the capacity of Governor, upon Mr. Ludlam's resignation. 

*' Mr. Thompson, the father, is a tried character, having 
been a truly religious man for many years. He is connected 
with the Methodists. The son has, of course, had a religious 
education, and either is, or will be, I trust, a religious character 
likewise, in due time ; but religion, you know, is not here- 
ditary. However, I believe, I do not go too far when I say, 
that Mr. Tliompson, junior, will certainly favour all the rational 
attempts of religious peoi:)le to spread Christianity, and to 
civilize barbarians. In this light, therefore, I venture to 
recommend Mr. Thompson to your notice, o.s a person on 
whoni the Moravians might depend for help and support, and 
countenance, in all their laudaljle attempts, whether those 
attempts be on a small, or a larger scale. lOvcn if one, or two, 
or three of your brethren,shoul(l have a mind to go with him 

CHAP. XVTIT. A.D, icon. /ETAT. :,8. 357 

to explore those regions, I should think the opportunity a very 
favourable one. 

" Mr. Wilberforcc is Mr. Thompson's warm friend, and 
does his utmost to forward his appointment; and I do assure 
you, that I shall feel greatly disappointed if Mr. Thompson, 
under the guidance and protection of a kind Providence, do not 
show himself both discreet and enterprising, and also very able 
in the execution of the plans which he has in view. 

" A single word more. 

" He thinks, and very justly too, that a few musical people, 
who would like an excursion of this sort, without requiring 
much pay, might prove very useful in promoting the general 
object of civilization among the Africans. 

" I have desired Mr. Thompson to request you to fix a day 
and hour for his waiting upon you — or if you ever call on Mr. 
Wilberforcc, Mr. T. is to be found at No. 9, Little College 
Street, '\'S''estminster : but the best way will be to fix, by 
writing, the time beforehand. 

" I am, dear Sir, yours truly, and affectionately, 

"I. MiLNER. 

" N. B. Mr. Thompson, in his note to me, in which he 
requests to be introduced to you, observes, very justly, ' that 
the Moravian Missionaries have conducted themselves in a 
more rational, deliberate, and regular manner, than those of any 
other sect who have attempted Missions;' and '^ their success' 
he says, ' has been answerable to their deserts.' " 

About this time, Dr. Milner's spirit, (to use an expression 
of his own,) was refreshed by a short visit from his friend Mr. 
Hey, of Leeds ; a man of whom he was accustomed to say, that 
" conscientiousness and consistency," were the '' distinguishing 
features of his character." 

The Rev. William Richardson was now engaged in prepa- 
ing for publication a second volume of the Sermons of Joscpli 
Milner. Some of Mr. Richardson's observations, witli regard 
to these Sermons, are worthy of being preserved. A strain of 
shrewd humour, not very unlike that which appertained to his 
correspondent, characterizes the letters of this excellent man. 

358 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ^ETAT. 58. 

On the 25th of May, ISOS, he thus writes to the Dean: "I 
wonder you shoukl send me so many sermons that have been 

preached by F at * * * * , and so very lately. 

He will look queer, if he finds that any of his hearers remember 
that they have heard preached by him several of the sermons in 
the volume I am printing ; but I could not help it. 

" I have had a request from a Mr. G , a Lincolnshire 

clergyman, known to your brother, for the loan of some of the 
manuscript sermons to preach to his congregation. He pleads 
bad health and nervous feelings of a miserable kind, which 
disqualify him from composing sermons, and begs hard to be 
indulged. I told him I would mention the matter to you and 
follow your direction, as the sermons were not mine to dispose 
of. I think you cannot do better with the residuum than to 
dispose of it among those parsons who want such helps. I did 
so with Mr. Adam's manuscripts, after I had selected as many 
as I thought it right to publish. 

" I think the present volume will contain about thirty- three 
sermons ; and as I have found it very difficult to select so 
many, so as to furnish the variety that the readers will expect, 
I am inclined to think that no more ought to be pul)lished. 

'' A person so zealous as your brother was, for the peculiar, 
distinguishing, doctrines of Christianity, must have them in 
every sermon, and thus, must make one sermon very like 
another. He took as large a range with his views as most men ; 
and I know, supposed that he gave his congregation greater 
variety than many of his bretlircn ; l)ut certainly there is more 
of this variety in appearance than in reality ; and so it must 
needs be with all of us that think as he did. 

"You are very kind in your remembrance of me and mine. 
Perhaps you will think me altered for the worse, when you see 
me next. 1 liardly yet am able to walk upright, but hope that 
the warmth of summer will restore my perpendicularity. 
"I am, dear Sir, 

"Your over faithful and affectionate 


" To the Rev. Dr. Mibwr, Dean of Carlisle " 

CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ;i:TAT. 58. 359 

On the 1st of June, Mr. Richardson writing again to the 
Dean, makes some excellent remarks on sermons in general, 
and on the second volume of Joseph Milner's Sermons, in 

" Those sermons,^' he writes, " that strike most at the time 
of delivery, are the least fit for publication, or general instruc- 
tion ; because that which gives them their peculiar interest and 
merit with the hearer, is some local or temporary circumstance 
which soon loses its importance, even with those that heard 

" Some of your brother's courses of sermons, upon particular 
books of Scripture, I dare say, were useful ; but I never have 
seen one of them that was complete and unbroken. 

" There will be found in this volume, more of the charac- 
teristic blunt honesty and plainness of speech of the author, 
than in the first ; for success has made me more audacious than 
I was, with tlic public, before I knew what it would l)ear. 

" I am, certainly, very jealous of the literary reputation of 
my lamented friend, and afraid of hurting his honest fame. 
Besides, M^hen one sits down to the task I have engaged in, it 
is to search for faults, and blemishes, and defects. I think a 
critic, by trade and profession, musi be fastidious, and more 
apt to be displeased than pleased. 

" I am sorry you get on so slowly with the History, and 
greatly fear that the excellent matter you have collected will 
not soon see the light. 

"I wish you had more leisure and better health, to pro- 
secute the task, as I think it of great importance. 

" My wife unites with me in all manner of good wishes. 
" I am, dear Sir, 

" Your ever faithful and affectionate 

"W. Richardson. 

"P.S. Our new Archbishop is to make his public entry 
here on the 2Gth. 
" Rev. Dr. Miluer." 

The remarks made by Mr. Richardson in tlie foregoing 
letter, are in perfect accordance with the preface which he pre- 

360 CHAP. XYIII. A.D. 1808. -ETAT. 50. 

fixed to the second volume of the Sermons of the Rev. Joseph 
Mihier : and the manner in Mhich that volume was received by 
the religious public at large, as well as by Mr. Milner's surviving 
friends and hearers, completely justified the Dean's confident 
anticipations of its success. 

"With respect to the last point touched upon by the ex- 
cellent writer of the above letter — the slowness of Dr. Milner's 
progress, in the continuation of the Ecclesiastical History — 
although there was indeed, abundant reason to apprehend, that 
in consequence of the Dean's precarious health, and many and 
various important avocations, his progress must be slow ; yet 
so sedulously had he laboured, that the fifth volume of the 
History was at this time in the press ; and the Dean was now 
occupied in preparing for publication the concluding volume of 
his brother's works*, containing his Ansiver to Gibbon, Essays 
on Religious Subjects, Life of Howard, Observations on Sir Isaac 
Newton's Chronology, &c., &c. 

The time, however, had now arrived for his attendance at 
the June meeting of the Board of Longitude ; and that meeting 
over, lie set out upon his summer's journey to Carlisle, where 
his residence seems, this year, to have been less tranquil than 

lie thus writes to Mr. Mandell. 

"Mv DEAR Sir, "Deanery, 1808. 

"What a bustle do I live in! One thing after another 
keeps rising day by day, to keep me at work ; and yet, my 
account, when sunmied up, would l)e, I fear, but an indif- 
ferent one. 

"I have been aiming to write to you a line from the day 
that I received yours ; but some job or other contrives to defeat 
my purpose. 

'• It is now tlic Assizes here ; and I am to preach to-morrow. 

"Dining with our ncM' Bishop — meeting and visiting the 
Judges — dining wilh thcni — also witli the Grand Jury — visits 
from all tlie grandees of the county — liour after hour — most 
vain conversation ! ! ! 

• Now published as Voliimo Vlll. oI'Milnku's ]Vorks. 

CIIAr. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ^ETAT. 58. 361 

" I hope you have comfort in the discharge of your clerical 

" Whatever you do else, continue them faithfully, and you 
will be useful and happy. We must have some serious con- 
versation when we meet. 

"Yours ever aftectionately, I. M. 

« To the Rev. Mr. MandelL" 

It so happened that Dr. Buchanan, accompanied by his two 
daughters, paid a visit to the Dean just in time to hear the 
Assize Sermon, alluded to in the foregoing letter. He thus 
speaks of it in a letter, dated, " Glasgow, 28th of September, 
1808*. We arrived here on the 20th instant." * * * * 
" We stopped on Sunday at Carlisle. The Dean of Carlisle, 
with whom we dined, lifted up his voice against the races for 
the first time. He had long been oppressed in spirit on the 
subject ; and he devoted his last day of preaching this season 
to the consideration of it. The Cathedral was crowded, and he 
preached the word with great energy and eloquence." 

It was not Dean Milner's habit to preach against particular 
practices, even though he thought them evil practices. To do 
so, he used to say, was " to act as injudiciously as a physician 
would do, who should attack the symptom instead of the 
disease. Let but the heart," he would say, " be right with 
God, and no difficulty will be felt about a vast numljcr 
of questions, concerning which much discussion is sometimes 

There were, however, two public amusements, against which 
he did, occasionally, " lift up his voice." These were races and 
theatrical entertainments. 

It is perfectly needless to say, when speaking of the senti- 
ments of such a man as Dean Milner, that he did not object 
either to the Race-course or the Play-house, upon the score of 
there being, necessarily, any sin in the simple act of witnessing 
cither a trial of swiftness between diflcrcnt horses, or a tlica- 
trical representation. It was, in both cases, the attendant 

• bee Memoirs of Dr. Buchanan. 

362 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ;eTAT. 58. 

circumstances which he deprecated : and on this point, his 
mind was fully made up. He used to call the race-course a 
" sink of iniquity," and was equally well convinced of the evils 
necessarily resulting from the M'holc system of theatrical enter- 

His sentiments on this latter subject may be gathered from 
the following extract from a letter, which he wrote from 
Borough Bridge, on his return to Cambridge from Carlisle; at 
which place he had, during the preceding summer, taken 
occasion, on the last two Sundays of his residence there, to 
oppose, from the Cathedral pulpit, the erection of a theatre. 

" And now, dear Sir, a single word respecting the proposed 

" It is not my practice to deal much in compliments ; and, 
therefore, without intending anything of that sort, I do sin- 
cerely assure you, that I look upon it as a proof of your 
candour, that you have put yourself in the way of listening, on 
two Sundays, to what I had to say on the subject of plays 
and play-houses. Indeed, the circumstance gave me much 
pleasure at the time, and I aimed to have shaken you by the 
hand, and told you so ; but I know not how I lost you in the 
crowd on Sunday last. The pleasure which I then felt, and 
which I still feel on the recollection, would be not a little 
increased if I should find it to be true, as has been hinted, that, 
besides yourself, you brought some of your female near relatives 
to hear the same discourse. 

" This openness of disposition appears so favourable, that I 
am encouraged to hope that you will forgive me, if I add, 

briefly, as follows: — My dear , you arc now, as well as 

myself, past the middle of a very long life; and, therefore, we 
should neitlicr of us be ashamed of correcting, by after-thought 
and reflection, any hasty steps which we may have taken. It 
may, possibly, give you infinite pleasure in the decline of your 
life, to reflect that you paused a little in this business. There- 
fore do so pause. No ])Ossiblc harm can arise from a little 
delay : and as you are said to be a leader in bringing forward 
the ]>lan, your influence will, I doubt not, be effectual in 

CHAP. XVIII. A.D. ia08. ^TAT. 58, 363 

preventing haste and precipitation in others ; provided only 
that you be incHned to think, that my arguments deserve some 
consideration. I know so much of tlie sentiments of our 
common friend, Dr. Jowett, on this head, that I am sure he 
will rejoice to hear, that any pupil of his rather opposed than 
forwarded the erection of play-houses. I hope to see him in 
two or three days. 

" Not a creature knows of my having written a single line to 
you on this subject. 

" I remain, dear Sir, &c., &c. 
" Borough Bridge, September 28." 

Considerable censure has been in certain quarters, with 
much illiberality, cast upon the Dean, or his memory, in con- 
sequence of the interest which he avowedly took in private 
exhibitions of personal strength or activity, such as horseman- 
ship, &c., or manual dexterity, such as sleight of hand. He 
made no secret of the fact, that he liked to witness such 
performances, and used to maintain, that the obvious tendency 
of feats of legerdemain to excite in the spectator a degree of 
distrust in the apparent evidence of his senses, was highly 
salutary; and more especially so in the case of young persons. 
I remember more than one occasion on which he collected a 
party of his friends to witness the feats of a juggler, whom he 
had engaged to exhibit his skill in the dining-room at Queen's 
Lodge : and I remember his joining a party who were to attend 
upon the private morning performance of a professor of the 
equestrian art. 

It must be considered, however, that Dr. Milner was not a 
man likely, in these or any other matters, to sliape his conduct 
by the opinions of others, or by any rule except his own con- 
viction concerning right and wrong. Bug-bears, we have 
already seen, that he despised. As to the rest, every candid 
person must perceive a well-marked line of distinction between 
the amusements which he condemned and those of which, it is 
admitted, that he sometimes partook with undisguised satis- 
faction. But were this otherwise, the duty of a biographer 
woukl be to state the truth. 

364 CIIAr. XVIII. A.D. 1808. yETAT. 58. 

On Ills road from Carlisle, Dean Milner visited his friends 
both at York and at Hull, at which latter place he preached 
more than once at St. John's church. 

Being detained at Hull somewhat longer than he had 
expected, he thus wrote from thence to the Tutor of Queen's 

" My dear Sir, "Hull, October 10, 1808. 

« My room has not been empty all tlic morning for any 
time at all. People began to call before I had eaten my 
breakfast, and I have, at this moment, four persons talking in 
my hearing. A pretty situation in which to give advice about 
lectures ! 

"The Greek books in which I used to lecture were 
these : — 

" Prose. Xenophon's Memorab., as an easy book for 
pupils who know any Greek at all; then Demosthen. Orations, 
as a harder ; Longinus, as still harder, and affording, to the 
lecturer, a deal to say. 

"Verse. I used Euripides and Sophocles: in Latin, 
select parts of Livy, particularly the Second Punic War. 

" In MoraIjS, Locke's Essay is indispensable. 

" In general, I always found it better to begin the term with 
the easier books, so as to sweep in as many of the pupils as 
possible. Nothing can be more disagreeable as to have due's 
youths sitting by one, and doing nothing. 

"As I hope to sec you so soon, I need not say more at 

"Believe me yours aflfectionately, I. M. 

" To the Rev. IF. Mamleli:' 

Within another week Dr. Milner was again settled at 
Cambridge; and cither his ]ial)its of evening study, or some 
other circumstances, directed his thoughts towards the various 
contrivances for supplying artificial light. Candles were, of 
course, out of the question ; and among lamps, he had never 
met with one lliat entirely satisfied liim; the liglit was never 
sufficiently shaded from the eyes of tlie student, and concen- 

CIIAr. XVIII. A.D. 1003. yETAT. 58. 365 

trated upon his book. The Dean, therefore, determined to 
invent a lamp for his own use, and did so. The first which 
was made proved defective in various points ; but the inventor 
was thoroughly fond of mechanical pursuits, and he altered and 
improved his lamp until it seemed as perfect as such an imple- 
ment could well be. The light was shaded from the reader's 
eyes ; it was thrown strongly upon the paper before him ; 
there was neither shadow nor smoke; and, finally, the trimming 
and adjusting gave no trouble worth mentioning. In fact, this 
lamp was a decided " hobby-horse.^' 

It is not, however, to be supposed, that its excellencies 
existed only in the imagination of the inventor. It was really 
a clever lamp, and became a great favourite with reading men ; 
insomuch that the Dean's servant, to whom he abandoned all 
the profits of the invention, carried on, during several years, a 
most profitable trade in the University and elsewhere ; selling 
many scores of these reading lamps, which were made of 
various materials, and with various degrees of ornament, so as 
to suit the taste or the convenience of all classes of purchasers. 
Among the principal admirers and patrons of this invention, 
was the late Dr. Edward Daniel Clarke, the Professor of 
Mineralogy. With his characteristic enthusiasm, — a quality 
which, among many others, rendered his society delightful 
to all who knew him, — he declared in Meriting, that "Dr. 
Milner's lamp had added very materially to the comfort of 
his life." 

Dr. Milner, during this winter, was engaged, when not 
occupied by College or other business, in putting the finishing 
touches to the eightli volume of the edition of M}Ine)''s Works, 
then in the press. In this edition, the volume of Sermons by 
Joseph Milner, prepared for publication by Mr. Richardson, 
and at this time in the course of printing, was included; 
as was also the fifth volume of the History of the Church of 
Christ, of which little, besides tlie preface, now remained 

The meeting of the Board of Longitude, calling Dean 
Milner to London in the first week of December, he, for the 
first lime, took up his abode at Kensington (Jore, where Mr, 

366 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ^ETAT. 58. 

Wilberforce had just established his family; and, ever disposed 
to view the ordinarj- occurrences of life on the sunny side, he 
suggested to his friend, who regretted his departure from his 
late residence, an incidental advantage arising from this 
removal. With honest and judicious friendship, he pointed out 
to him " a danger in living altogether at Clapham, — danger of 
conceit and spiritual pride, and a cold, critical spirit." He 
considered his friend to be better guarded against these evils, 
than many other persons might be ; but still he thought the 
" danger great." Tlie cordial manner in which this suggestion 
was received by Mr. Wilberforce proved, that these excellent 
friends were worthy of each other. 

I have not yet mentioned a gentleman who possessed a 
large share of Dr. Milner's regard, — the late Rev. Thomas 
Kerrich, of Magdalen College. With Mr. Kerrich, Dr. Milner, 
who was his junior by three years, had lived in habits of 
familiar intercourse during the whole of his residence in the 
University. Although dissimilar in character, these long-tried 
associates thoroughly enjoyed each other's society. They each 
possessed a mass of various knowledge, and their points of 
difference in pursuits and in taste, rather tended to add a zest 
to their intercourse. 

It is scarcely necessary to say, that as a painter, and 
especially a painter of portraits, Mr. Kerrich possessed very 
uncommon powers. His talent of producing a really strong 
and characteristic likeness has perhaps been seldom equalled : 
Witness his portraits of Dr. Glynn, Dr. Waring, Dr. Pearce, 
and Dr. Milner himself; all which have been engraved. 

But besides his powers as an artist, this gentleman was 
exceedingly fond of whatever appertained to the philosophy of 
light and colours, or to the more abstruse and mathematical 
parts of the science of design ; and these subjects furnished 
inexhaustible sources of conversation and discussion in his 
interviews with Dr. Milner ; and if on some of these topics the 
superior knowledge were on the side of the Dean, there were 
others, such as anatomy, architecture, antiquities, &c. &c., 
concerning which his friend had decidedly the advantage. Mr, 
Kerrich was the " ingenious and philosophical friend," who 

CHAP. XVIir. A.D. 1808. yETAT. 58. 


could " paint very well," and avIio was " an excellent judge of 
colours/^ mentioned by Dr. Milner in a letter to Mr. Wilber- 
force "on the theory of colours and shadows*," afterwards 
published by Repton in his book on Landscape Gardening, 

The following note, which, with others of a similar kind, 
and many of a more important character, has been kindly 
placed at my disposal by the Rev. Richard Edward Kerrich, 
may serve to indicate the nature of the easy and unceremonious 
intimacy which subsisted between these old friends. 

" Queen's Lodge, December 2>\st, 1808, 
"Dear Sir, Saturday niglit. 

" Sir William Wynne, with Dr. Jowett, and five or six 
others, drink their tea with me to-morrow; and it has oc- 
curred to me, that you may like to meet the grave Knight, 
&c. &c. 

" If so, I shall be glad to see you by about half-past six, or 
a quarter before seven at farthest. 

" Respond. 

" Yours, I. Milner. 

" Rev. Mr. Kerrich." 

Very pleasant were such tea-parties ; but they were of rare 
occurrence. Dr. Milner, at least with his old and intimate 
friends, greatly preferred a quiet and perfectly unceremonious 
tete-a-tete. A tete-a-tete indeed, I ought not in strictness to 
call it, having been myself, from my childhood upwards, per- 
mitted to be present on such occasion. Dr. Jowett, as it has 
been already intimated, spent at Queen^s Lodge every Thurs- 
day and Sunday evening, coming to supper at half-past nine. 

* This letter was communicated by 
Sir. Wilberforce to Mr. Repton, Avitli 
the following remark: "lie" (the 
writer) " is a man unequalled for the 
store of knowledge he possesses, for 
the clearness with which he views, and 
the happy perspicuity with which he 
comnninicatcs hi^ pcrcoption?." It 

ought not, however, to have been pub- 
lished without the A\Titer's privity ; and 
Dr. Slilner felt that he ought to have 
been allowed the opportunity of revis- 
ing a private letter on a scientific sub- 
ject, previously to that letter's being 
made public. 

3G8 CHAP. XVIII. A.D. 1808. ;ETAT. 58. 

remaining till half-past eleven or twelve ; Mr. Kerrich generally 
came to tea, coming as early as half-past five, and going at nine 
or ten. There were no fixed days for his visits, but both 
parties enjoyed these evening conversations, which were always 
lively and interesting ; and meeting with mutual pleasure, they 
met frequently. The dissolution of friendships, cemented like 
these by time and long habit, is one of the severest calamities 
incident to the decline of life. 


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