button to main menu  Gents Mag 1820 part 2 p.21

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Gentleman's Magazine 1820 part 2 p.21
that they would thereby be effectually distinguished from those Clergy who have not had a University education, often termed Northern Lights, many of them having been born in the North parts of England. I beg leave, therefore, to send you the following quotations from a Letter to the late Bishop Watson, published in 1783, by which the propriety of the above-mentioned distinction will be further evinced and illustrated.'
Though I highly respect the outward habiliments of these Graduates during the actual performance of their sacred functions; yet, I am clearly of opinion, that the exhibition of these robes every day in a country parish would not only create gaping and staring in the lower orders, and ridicule in the higher; for I must tell 'Oxoniensis' that there are many country gentlemen on whom it is not so easy to pawn the shadow for the substance. Besides, perhaps, this fondness for outside show might occasion a subject for a village song, or for some coarse epigram; and, consequently, might isolate the shepherd from his flock, instead of amalgamating him with his parishioners, a consummation so devoutly to be wished in a Parish Priest. In the Church of Rome mummery and external splendour have great influence, but I trust we of the Church of England shall always despise such flimsy expedients.
'Oxoniensis' then proceeds:
'The Northern counties abound in Free SChools, where the children of peasantry are instructed gratis in the dead languages. It is a prospect flattering to the vanity of a poor country-fellow to have his son provided for in an order, which seems' (O excellent!) 'to place him in the rank of a gentleman. One son is of course destined for the Ministry: the youth is puffed up with this idea; he has a right, or obtains one, to be admitted into this Seminary: the attendance required there does not interrupt his manual labours: in the season when they are most requisite, he attends alternately the school and the plough.'
Now, Mr. Urban, with respect to the three great Schools * in the North of England, if the above assertion be not a wilful, it is most certainly a palpable, falsehood: but to proceed,
'And after a novitiate performed with the barefoot mortifications of an antient pilgrimage,' (wanderings of the noddle,) 'with the addition of a new coat and the perusal of Grotins de Vericate and the four Gospels in Greek, a sham title and testimonial from persons who never heard of him before, our candidate starts up completely equipped for the office of an instructor of mankind; though for any essential qualification your Lordship might as well ordain any boys out of our common Charity Schools.'
O how fine! Now, from whence, Mr. Urban, come these titles and testimonials? The answer is one of the severest lashes, which 'Oxoniensis' could possibly throw upon the beneficed Clergy. But the fact is, they are as common amongst the Graduates, as these Northern Lights. I am also of opinion, that few boys out of the common Charity Schools would be able to construe Grotius into good English, or the four Greek Gospels into classical Latin;because we have known some of these Graduates, at an Ordination, not able to perform the task! For the edification of 'Oxoniensis' (who sneers at petty ushers), I will relate an anecdote of a petty usher of Appleby School, Westmoreland (though by the bye, there is never more than one in these Schools). When Mr. Usher Bracken was of age to take orders, he went to the Ordination at York. The Archbishop perceiving from whence he came, seemed determined to try the literary powers of this young candidate; for after he had gone through the usual exercises, he was required to translate one of the 39 Articles into Greek, which he did so much to the satisfaction of the Archbishop, that his Grace sent a complimentary Letter to the Master of Appleby School, on the occasion.
To settle the spleen of 'Oxoniensis,' I will, with your permission, Mr. Urban, relate an anecdote of a young student of a minor School, - that of Banton in Westmoreland. The Free School of Kirkby Stephen, Westmoreland, becoming vacant by the death of Mr. Wilson, a Graduate of Queen's College, Oxford, but the gift not being in any of the Colleges, there was an open competition: a day was appointed for the examination of candidates, and the Rev. Dr. Burn, author of the 'Justice,' &c. the examiner. Two Graduates entered the lists for fame, as did also the scholar from Banton. Homer, Horace, and Virgil, were first given into the hands of the Graduates, but their stumblings
* Appleby, S. Bees, and Sedbergh.
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