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give me a small pension to enable me to buy my own bread as I used to do, and, that I may not be altogether another Aristides, to provide me a coffin when I make my exit.
I am, my Lord &c.
[To this his grace said, that it was a melancholy thin for a person who had been so long in the profession, an so active in it, to have his bread to seek at this time; and that he would represent the case to Mr. Pitt. His grace afterwards did him signal service.]
1XVII. The Rev. S. Pegge to the Rev. Charles Hope, Minister of All Saints, Derby, relative to the subscription for the reparation, &c. of the Cathedral Church of Lichfield.
DEAR SIR, JWhittington, May 10.
As the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield are at this time promoting a subscription throughout the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, with the approbation and good wishes of the Honourable and Right Reverend the Bishop, for the purpose of making certain repairs, alterations, decorations, and improvements, in the Cathedral of Lichfield, it may not be improper to inquire into the ground and foundation of such their application, and to shew, in few words, that it is a requisition neither unreasonable nor novel.
The fabric of this Cathedral, Sir, is ancient and elegant, inferior to very few in this kingdom; but, by length of time, and through the inability of the Dean and Chapter, who have but a scanty fund for its support, is grown much out of order, and in some parts ruinous. One material inconvenience, to mention no others, nor the want of a general repair, attends it, which is, that the congregation, by reason of the smallness and incommodiousness of the choir, are obliged to remove, whenever there is a sermon, into the nave or body of the church; a circumstance very awkward, disagreeable, and troublesome.
The Dean and Chapter, Sir, have no fund, as was observed, adequate even to the common and necessary reparation of their Cathedral, and much less competent for undertaking a work of such magnitude as that now intended, which, according to the estimate of Mr. James Wyatt, the Architect, amounts to the sum of £5950 and upwards.
Now, Sir, in regard to the step which the Dean and Chapter are taking, of soliciting donations from the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese, for the purpose of o aid and assistance towards accomplishing the arduous, and necessary, and honourable enterprise, it may be observed, that at the foundation of this Cathedral in the middle of the seventh century, the Cathedral was esteemed to be the Mother Church of the whole Diocese, and that the Parochial Churches were altogether dependant upon it; that the Clergy, who then resided with the Bishop, issued from the Cathedral to serve and officiate at the several Churches in the Diocese, and that the Diocese for that reason was commonly called Parochia, as if the few Parish Churches existing in those times were to be considered as but so many Chapels of Ease to the Cathedral. Hence it came to pass, that, for many ages after, the country congregations made annual processions to the Cathedral as to their Mother Church, that the Parochial Clergy fetched the Chrism from thence, and that their parishioners made a yearly payment to the Cathedral for the sustentation and maintenance thereof; this went under the name of Pentecostals, or JWhitsun Furthings, because usually paid at that season of the year; and, in the case of Lichfield in particular, was termed Chad-pennies, or Chad-Farthings; the Cathedral there being dedicated to St. Chad, and put under his more immediate patronage and protection.
This payment of the Pentecostals, Sir, or Chad-Farthings, the Bishop, John Hacket, probably had in his eye, when, after the horrible havock and devastation committed in the Cathedral of Lichfield by the Oliverians, he, at the Restoration, sent about his circular letters to the Clergy and Gentlemen of his Diocese, to beg money for the reparation, beautifying, and restoring of his Church to its pristine splendor. These letters succeeded admirably, and certainly are a fair precedent for the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield to follow in the present exigence, as it may serve to convince every one, that it is no novel or unreasonable mode of raising money which they are pursuing, but that they may have the example and sanction of former times, and consequently Gentlemen and others may be induced by it to contribute the more liberally.
I am, Sir,
1788, Jane. SAMUEL PEGGE.
LXVIII. Letters from Mr. Henderson to Dr. Priestley.
As one of your correspondents has expressed a desire of having some information concerning the late Mr. Henderson's pretension to intercourse with spirits, &c. I send you two of his letters to me, which are curious in themselves, and may throw some light on the subject. They will likewise give a better idea of the man than any thing written by another person concerning him can do. Also, as I imagine, it is generally supposed that I am the person intended by the Doctor, whom the writer of Mr. Henderson's life represents as believing he had this power, the reader may be able to judge from the second letter of the probability of this cirCu II)Stan Ce. When I lived at Calne, and presently after the publication of my Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit, I received an anonymous letter from Bristol about some intercourse with spirits; and hearing that Miss Hannah More had said that the letter probably came from Mr. Henderson, I wrote to him about it; and as the letter was carried by a friend who was going to Oxford, I told Mr. Henderson, that, if he could call up any spirit, my friend was willing to be disposed of as he should think proper for the purpose. In what manner I expressed myself I do not now recollect; but it is evident that Mr. Henderson did not consider me as very cre
Julous on the subject,
“SIR, IHamham, Aug. 29, 1774.
“I hope your goodness will pardon this presumption from a stranger unworthy your notice; and likewise my not franking this letter, as I have no franks, and can get none. If you can condescend thus much, I have one request more, that wou would answer me.
44 }. brought up with some prejudices of education, which I hope I have now got over. This I owe in no small measure to the candour of my father, who, though he inculcated his own principles on me, left me to my own judgment. At first I received these principles without hesitation, and soon became acquainted with the best arguments for them. I had no opportunity for a long time to converse with judicious men of contrary sentiments, so that I o vanquish.." those who contradicted me. But yet my min suggested
many difficulties which I could not solve. Hence I began to doubt. Imparting my doubts to some friends, I was told there were mysteries in Religion; that I should take God's word for them, and pry no further. This satisfied me for a while, but not long : for I considered, let a mystery be what it may, God would not deliver absurdities. Again, it does not follow that all our Bible is divine because some is. And if any part of our Bible contain absurdities, &c. that part is not divine. I could not get books on any subject. I wanted instruction on Predestination, Remission of Sins, Assistance of the Spirit, Eternity of Hell Torments, and various other points. My friends could not satisfy me. At length I surmounted these difficulties, wading through many doubts, and little less than infidelity. I now believe that the prophecies in our Bible were given by God; that the Gospels are true; that whatever we believe should accord with the speeches of Christ therein recorded. I believe the doctrine of original sin to be absurd. I believe the spirit of God only assists our apprehension. I believe the fore-knowledge of God, held by the Arminians, to be equal to the decree of God held by the Calvinists; that they are both wrong; and the truth is, the pains of hell are ". These I believe; and have reasons, which I think substantial, for them. Many things I yet doubt of; among these, are the Trinity and the Mediation of Christ.
“I am in such a state of mind as to be shocked at no assertion, and to submit to any argument which I cannot anSWer.
“I beg that you would be pleased to assist me in the Mediation of Christ: for I own I do not like the doctrine of his being a sacrifice; yet he is so represented by Paul and John. And, though I am not certain of the infallibility of the Epistles, yet I do not chuse to contradict them, lest they may be true.
“P. S. Please to direct for me at Mr. Wait's, grocer, in Castle-street, Bristol.”
“I Hope you will not take it ill, when your friend informs you that I have not seen him. I was from my rooms (for a few hours) when he came to seek me. I staid at home all the following day, but found no more of him. Had I known.
where he lodged in Oxford, I should have visited him. Excuse me then that I must take the other communication you proposed, and send this by post. * “Of the anonymous letter from Bristol, which you mention, I know nothing. It was, probably, written by some one, I hope well-meaning, who wished to check your philosophic Disquisitions of Matter and Spirit. That such information should excite the curiosity, especially of one so incredulous, I cannot wonder. But such curiosity I neither blame nor neglect. “That I may satisfy you, I will tell you, 1. who I am: 2. whether I believe those things: 3. whether I be willing to demonstrate their truth sensibly: 4. what good ground that information had. “I. As to myself, I shall only write what I think pertinent to this purpose. I had a o school-education. I loved reading, and thought from my earliest years. Peculiarly I was attached to religious, and, though at first I knew not the term, metaphysic studies. These (both in the authors and systems, or courses of learning), having no teacher, meeting with none but such as slighted, blamed, pitied my turn of thinking, or only wondered at it—these I pursued not regularly, but as they occurred to a boy discountenanced, uninformed, with scattered intervals of scanty leisure, and a very few unselect out-of-the-way books. As one thought introduces another, so does a book. Both increased to me in time. So did some kind and degree of seeming knowledge. Opinions multiplied and varied; but doubts exceeded. Sceptical as those made me, they did me good; 1. in making me never positive; 2. nor unwilling to change; 3. nor a despiser of those who thought otherwise than I. I mention my being very doubtful, the rather because you will agree with me, that, when one thinks no certainty is to be found, one will be less nice in assenting to insufficient evidence. Perhaps I am an instance. I have nothing to add of myself, but to thank you for your kind attention to letters of mine (some years ago), for your hints, and the books you lent and gave to me. Do not you recollect it? “II. Do I believe those things? 1. I have no reason to think them absurd or impossible. 2. They are commonly asserted in all ages; 3. and generally believed. 4. I find myself more at ease in believing them; my notions are suitable. Thence, it may be on bad proof, I assent that there are such things. You will the less wonder at such a belief, when I add, that I not only assent to spirits, apparitions, magic, and witchcraft, but that I allow Behmen's philosophy, and