Week 21st.Sunday after
As I get older and turn my thoughts on the past I ask, am I a better man?
Can I fulfil my religious duties with more pleasure to myself? Is my mind
less distracted than formerly? Do not I think of worldly matters even in
repeating the Lords Prayer? Is that most comprehensive, most beautiful
and most searching of all prayers sufficient to mask my thoughts for the
short time required in repetition. I answer NO!
Then how humble I ought to feel! When I cannot divest my mind of the world, the flesh and the devil for one brief moment when I ask God to guide me in the very language which he himself has given us, surely the heart is continually wicked and therefore must I be continually striving; and as one more effort to make myself better, let this journal be constantly produced and added to, so that in looking back on the thoughts which have passed I may the more firmly resolve to amend, or find cause to rejoice, that I am not what I was, (not with the feelings of the publican towards the sinner) but in that truly pious striving of the sinner when he said:
"God be merciful to me a sinner."
Thank God for a quiet sleep and good health, and may His holy spirit attend me in my prayers that I may not offer up vain lip service.
Could I repose my mind solely on my religious duties perhaps the times and occasions might satisfy my conscience. I cannot; therefore let me strive continually. My present efforts consist in When dressed, the daily morning prayer from the new manual.
Sometimes in the course of the day, if inclination aided by recollection (but both) must come to my aid, I retire to my room and read the prayer for noon. When this has been done to my satisfaction, I say at night an extempore prayer, generally short, for I have not the spirit of prayer beyond a vain repetition of passing wishes. But if noon prayers have not been read from the manual, I read the evening prayer.
These duties I rarely neglect. Would that all other duties were as well attended to. I rarely devote any time to religious reading, probably three half hours in the week, but this I will amend when the pressing occupations of worldly duties shall slacken.
At present what with papers, periodicals, canals and railways added to domestic duties, which are important, I have not much time for it.
I believe the duties of Sunday are fulfilled in a true spirit, at least I
pray so; my listless, careless and lip service devotion cannot be
acceptable unless the daily task is done. No family prayers in the
morning as it would impede the servants in their domestic duties: between
breakfast and church a few domestic duties and a little service reading;
a glance at letters not on business; after morning service, a perusal of
business letters in case there are any which might require an immediate
answer; dinner with the children; a talk, a walk or a little reading;
writing if a work of necessity, and then to church again; after service
an adjournment to the other house where I remain gossiping till dinner is
This gossip I sometime thought a profanation, but is it not a work of charity? That dear old lady who has devoted every moment of her life to the welfare and happiness of, her children, who never had one selfish thought, who appreciates every effort to please her in a most extraordinary degree, is rather in solitude on a Sunday and I believe looks forward to this Sunday amusement with joy and satisfaction. 'Tis true the conversation is rarely consonant with the day, but that has not been the custom, and recreation is good for the mind and body.
I return home to tea with the children; hear them afterwards their collects, gospel or epistle, psalms and hymns, and question them or hear them and read something improving or instructive. I have found Moon's Sacred Dramas of use in combining an improvement in reading blank verse with deep religious thoughts; Lamartines religious poems for the benefit of their French but they are too high-flown. Mitton is also an improving book, and I feel that any reading on a Sunday combining morality, and improvement is not a desecration.
After family prayers preceded by some pithy exhortation to do good, I consider the Sunday religious duties at an end and I indulge in the perusal of the News Papers and thus have Monday morning, free from that Tax on Time - a duty of keeping pace with worldly matters and political speculations which are and have been since February last most overpoweringly interesting.
23rd November 1848
The return of my Mary's birthday I celebrate by the first date in my
journal, and God grant that the promise she now gives of being useful in
her generation may be fulfilled.
I have no time to eulogise, Canals and other matters just now being very pressing.
27th November 1848
How thankful ought I to feel that I am blessed with rude health; though
always ailing I am never ill. Long may my life be spared for the many
interests in which I am concerned. I feel that Willie Eccles is very
dependent on one as a guide and adviser.
The affairs of Mrs Madan are complex and in my hands; one bother is gradually subsiding - the old Trent and Mersey Canal. The least I can do is to help settle the accounts of a concern that has been such a friend to our family. For myself life has but few charms. Were I prepared, I feel that I cared not how soon, maybe any summer; but for others my life is valuable. As this will often be my theme I will conclude for this night with thanks to God for all his blessings.
At the other
My mother is all that can be imagined in cheerful old age an age that
we are disposed not to look so favourably on, and the reason! (Oh, the
corruption of our human nature!) that it requires more of our care and
attention, or in other language cannot give that pleasure we expect and
therefore does not give that selfish return for our exertions.
Am I as attentive to my two dear mothers as I ought to be? I am not. One failing and a great one; I feel impatient when opposed by any antiquated arguments. I ought to recollect that I shall be old, and then my ideas and arguments to my children will be as old peoples' are to mine, and I shall combat with stubborn feelings of right. Ought I not then to do as I would be done by?
December 4th 1848
This is my dear wife's birthday. I wonder if she will look back to the
year that has passed and ask herself what progress she has made in this
earthly progress beyond being one year older. With an affectionate warm
heart, with a most honest upright mind, how sad it is that actions should
proceed so much from impulse rather than from principle.
I trow that a phlegmatic disposition, a cold calculating head, is more likely to be found on the way of righteousness than one moved only by impulse. The day is at hand and the night is far spent. May this be ever in our thoughts as time creeps on
December 18th 1848
In preparing for a reorganisation of the Society for. The Propagation of
the Gospel I have written upwards of fifty letters, prepared enclosures
and terminated the last yesterday (Sunday), May God prosper the work and
may I never grudge the labour.
I have undertaken it in all humility; no love of honour, no fear of shame I believe has influenced me, but an earnest desire to spread the Gospel of Christ and convey its blessings to the door of those who will not strive and seek.
January 5th 1849
Tomorrow we are expecting Catherine Pearson. In that family so numerous a
doctor rarely enters. 'Tis true last year they lost a little girl, Annie,
but even that was after a : short illness. My two little girls require
more care and medicine than all the Pearsons.
Is not this an interference of Providence that shows how equally blessings are bestowed?
What have I not that man can desire, excepting health? At Castlecamps there is everything but money. Surely the Psalmist alludes to such cases when he says. "I was young and now am old, but never yet saw I the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging their bread" or words to that effect. With what bright prospects does this country commence the year after having been a pattern to revolutionary Europe and having withstood all shocks from within and without. She begins to rise like a giant refreshed. The manufacturing districts send forth a busy hum of full employment. Railroads are a trifle recovering.
January 14th 1849
How full of change is everything in this life; truly one day telleth not
On 20th December my dear little Harriet commenced with a cold, which progressed to all the symptoms of bronchitis, very similar to last year. In a fortnight the cold rapidly improved and she was almost convalescent. Then another cold more violent than the first and ended in a hoop.
This day, but ten days from the first hoop, she has passed without a cough. It may return but we have indeed great reason to be thankful that she shows such strength. There is now indeed a prospect that she may grow up strong and healthy; there has not been any tendency to asthma either. In short, in gratitude do I look on her altered state of body.
She is a dear sweet agreeable child and if it please God we continue together I expect to be tenfolded in reward for our care of her. Never was a parent blessed with two more promising children, and may we never forget that we must educate them for eternity in the midst of an ever-moving world... Let my motto always be, "to live in the world and not for the world."
January 21st 1849
Another week has passed without a word of my thoughts. It has been a gay
week but I am not the worse in mind or body. On Monday a carpet hop at
home - the Majendies, Hughes, Greenes and 2 Atkinson men. The men of the
present day have not half the energy of former times.
In my day a man either did or did not dance, either promoted fun or was dull and stupid. This day they require urging forward, equally ... fond of fun but backward in promoting it. It is perhaps all for the best and the day may come when principle will override impulse. The Lichfield Ball was very well attended, notwithstanding it was put off to the day of the funeral of our much to be lamented Lord Lieutenant (Lord Talbot).
I fear that public-spirited patriot, that exemplary parent, has not left behind him many such lovely old English Gentlemen in the enlarged acceptance of the word.
February 20th 1849
We heard Jenny Lind at Worcester. Her voice equals my expectation, but in
the woman she far surpasses any ideas of a person nurtured in flattery.
Dr Peel said to her she ought to be happy to be able to do so much good.
"Rather," said she, "would I say I am the happiest person living, and I hope I am grateful to that Power which has given me the talent, and the will to use it as I do..."
To another she said when told that her singing was beautiful, "How beautiful is that Power which has given such a talent!"
In short every thought word and deed seem to flow from the highest source, and surrounded as she is by vice, flattery and temptation she appears to live in another world. She realised for Worcester about £840; it is said that she has realised for charity upwards of £13,000.
March 4th 1849
After all that had passed relative to Willie not "choosing" and in such a
case being allowed to "choose", I felt some anxiety in my visit to
Davenham, but all has passed off with greater advantage to all parties
than I had even ventured to anticipate.
I fancied that I had remonstrated too strongly but I am the more convinced that a word in due season, how good it is! I found the dear lad happy at school, glad to see me and anxious for a lark. I took him, and no harm done I trust, to witness the Steeple Chase. He was pleased beyond expression, and I then told him that had he not answered my letter he would not have been so indulged. I am quite satisfied to remove him as early as convenient. Cecilia much approves, and Armistead though in favour of Westminster with most excellent judgement furthers my views.
Many prayers will I offer up that I may be guided for the best.
March 11th 1849
3rd Sunday in Lent
This has been a busy week. On Monday at Paget Mosleys to meet the clergy; may the good work prosper which has been well begun; may God put into my mind such measures as will further its progress. On Tuesday at Dove Cliff, a large party. Home on Wednesday. Thursday to Lichfield to pass an hour with that much-to-be-pitied creature. In the evening on accounts, those accounts of the Canal which have caused many a thinking hour. On Friday, Mr Landor by appointment and dinner at the other house. Saturday at Stoke, Directors meeting.
March 14th 1849
Cecilia has arrived from Yorkshire. What a valuable life is that and how precarious is her state! Though I am daily convinced that her peculiar stare is but somewhat increased by nervous derangement.
March 31st 1849
How much for contemplation does each day bring forth!
In the last ten days, jealousies of cousins and consequent explanations, railroads getting up and again receding, the continued menace of Mrs Madan's malady.
But there is always something to turn to, George's career in India, the satisfactory letter just received, his attack on marauders and escape, two dear children, kind and estimable parents beloved and esteemed by all who know them, good servants as times go, and a kind-hearted wife who is desirous to do her duty, but too oft alas is led away by her feelings to use strong expressions, or from absence of mind to neglect some essential.
What the visit of the Vernons will produce this book shall record. After so long an absence and separation it is natural to feel anxious.
April 21st 1849
A visit to Davenham and other busy occupations have kept me from my diary. This morning I am prepared for a visit to my dear mother who is very weak though now free from pain. If God wills her life to be prolonged, thankful shall we feel for she is the centre of the family; so many different interests, ways and pursuits will soon scatter us when that attraction to the centre, that sun of our day, is departed.
April 25th 1849
At Stoke yesterday. The prospects of the North Staffordshire Railway are
not favourable. An alliance between the Midlands and the North Western
would indeed place us in an iron grasp. The Chairman has his work before
him, certain odium and but little chance of credit. Credit is measured,
by we mortals, by success and not by merit.
Poor Lord Gough is an instance. Popularity is perhaps one of the greatest delusions that can buoy up an anxious man.
Tomorrow John Vernon is to be married. May God bless the union.
(N.B. The Rev John Vernon married in Brighton Caroline daughter of the Rev Spencer Drummond and was to have a son Edward who died of Scarlet fever at Marlborough and a daughter.)
April 30th 1849
, 3rd Sunday after Easter The knot is tied; may it tend to the happiness of both and add to their usefulness in the world, but when the cares of a family interfere with public duties the least important give way and therefore there was great wisdom in the establishment of celibacy in the Romish Church.
May 10th 1849
On Sunday morning last Harriet's cough returned; Mary with a cold;
railway shares unsaleable; balance at bankers nil! a prospect of
ministers being thrown out on the Navigation Bill; the whole continent
approaching confusion, the new orchestra in our church of doubtful
success; in short in every direction, a lowering sky, not made more
bright by recent family explanations on behalf of a persecuted niece.
What will this day month produce? Amongst other contretemps poor Jane is such a sufferer from her teeth. One she has had out this morning, two more ache. What will be the end of that? I fear the worst.
May 13th 1849
Mrs. Eccles offered Mr Vernon £50 to pay his hotel expenses, most
gratefully accepted. I never thought it would be otherwise.
Whether the expressions proceed from grateful hearts or an exuberance of joy I do not pretend to say. I trust the former; I fear the latter, but do not let me judge others; though it cannot be wicked to try to understand the motives of others as a guide for our own deeds.
May 20th 1849
The John Vernons left us yesterday for Hilton Park. John has I trust
somewhat anticipated the reward of a good life on this side of the grave.
His amiable and excellent Caroline will prove a blessing to him. She
appears all that could be desired even in the prospect of worldly goods.
What is beauty in comparison to countenance? One fades as a flower, the
other descends into the grave and rises again with the immortal spirit.
John Vernon professes both, He is the most highly gifted (without being absolutely clever) of anybody I know, and that which adds lustre to his talents he is unostentatious and humble-minded. Under this very roof last week were assembled some excellent people, all good in their callings.
The John Vernons I have before mentioned: Miss Marshall an organist of the Parish Schools and church Music. Miss Eaton a most exemplary daughter to a cross old father; Fanny Oldham amiable, genial and desirous to please: but my two dear children have surpassed themselves, obedient to their parents, attentive to their labours, civil to our guests. The £50 was accepted as I suspected; I believe it to be a gift, if not charity.
So long as money so laid out does good it will never be missed by us, but money given which creates fresh motives for spending is a tenfold loss to the giver in proportion as it sets up the receiver., I pray God so to guide my hand that I may only bestow my alms where good seed shall spring up. Alms in a barren ground wither in due season.
August 24th 1849
On Thursday night I had a visit from George Inge at 11
o'clock. Alas poor Norbury! We could have better spared a better man. His
faults were to his own injury. He strived to be religious and could
concentrate his mind to religion, but the world was his idol and soon
repossessed his soul.
May God in His infinite Mercy make allowance for those who are suddenly, called away. John and I only could attend his funeral. Cecilia and her lovely children went home yesterday. Charley though no favourite, (and very backward not being able to read fluently passages of one syllable), being thought forward and impish consequential and sly, will in my opinion turn out well. I consider he will be clever and have a great turn for music, will cause his mother less anxiety than the others, will be amiable and we11-conducted (though more from expediency than general intention).
He will not be manly and care must be taken to prevent his disposition from becoming close. He certainly has not the promise of being the thorough open-hearted noble-minded fellow his brother will be; but if he gives less pleasure in future life he will cause less pain.
(N.B. Dr. Norbury DD married Mary Falconer (1766-97) the sister of Charles Pearson's-mother Elizabeth (Falconer). Charley Eccles died in India 1887 as Major in the Rifle Brigade; his brother Edward ran wild, went to sea and then to Australia, married a policeman's daughter and deserted her, and is believed to have died in Rangoon in 1903.)
September 14th 1849
Alone I dined today at the other house; J. Harwood, Watton Fuller and
Miss Proby. Badinage with James Harwood and I trust no harm was done,
though some of the anecdotes were rather out of bounds.
To promote hilarity is a duty; a wish to please if successful begets ambition and excess sometimes follows but in an innocent way I hope; at any rate more harmless than speaking ill of our neighbours which I am sorry to say is always a topic that pleases, and the one who puts the drollest construction on their friends' method or manner and can turn them to the greatest ridicule pleases the most. Happily I possess not this talent; Had I it I fear I might oft-times transgress.
(N.B. Dr Harwood (d.1860) married Charles' eldest sister Lucy who kept house for their mother at Hill Ridware.)
September 19th 1849
My dear wife and Mrs Eccles are both better. A woman of bad habits dead
at Longdon of cholera, the wife of a butcher I trust it will not spread;
if it does let us all be prepared for the great change. God knows what is
best for us, and that in His infinite mercy will He do.
My anxieties on many accounts are great, but still God's good will is my support. My children, if they lose their natural guardians before they are older, what is to become of them? I have not a relation among my numerous clan who is not either so fully occupied with their own families or connected with those who on the death of my dear old mother will become an alien to my children (as they are already in sentiments and views) I could not bear the thought that my dear innocent girls should, for the sake of a little family rank, be married to reformed: rakes or penniless younger sons. I would rather think they should become the wives of good honest men in business, anxious as I am to keep in the station my family have lived in.
I neither want aggrandisement nor descent but an alliance amongst equals. The fear of a family (rank) match from the extreme conscientious (though to me lamentably mistaken) views of one party, oblige me to turn to one who will most honestly and to the best of a good judgement (though somewhat unacquainted with the ways of the world) do his duty towards them, and in return they will be to him as his own children. Let me pray that this page may never be turned over to find out my thoughts and wishes; the case will be extreme and the attempted remedy also.
October 1st 1849
The plague is stayed for the present. At Bridgnorth, Waset says, the wind moved round the very evening of the Day of Humiliation from the south west, and from that time the plague appeared to dwindle, flickering occasionally but Gradually Dying. I have a busy ten days before me. Lumbago today, Lichfield Wednesday, Stoke first thing Thursday, Vernons, Saturday at home, Tuesday Buxton, Wednesday Lichfield.
October 30th 1849
On the 26th attended the funeral of Mr Vernon who closed a life of much
suffering on the 22nd. He died full of peace and I trust made straight
the way before him.
He had time given for repentance, six months, of pain and disquiet borne with truly stoic fortitude.
This year I have attended three funerals: Louise Proby, George Norbury and Edward Vernon senior of Occleston. May my remaining friends be long spared; if not, Thy Will be done. The old must go, the young may go. All I have followed to the grave were under 60. Too young to die in the ordinary course of practice.
Five visits did I pay poor Vernon at his own request. Poor man, I was a comfort and he wished to express his gratitude to his sister (whom he said had been more than a sister to him though only half blood) by his expressions towards me. I always did my utmost, but then I could not be the comfort his own family were.
I will here record that whatever may be the future career of Louisa her attention to her father, her patience and perseverance in the dreary six months, could not be surpassed. What the future plans of the family will be are uncertain, but I fear they must all live together.
I have lost my portmanteau, left in a carriage at Rugby. I have now but small hopes of recovering. It is indeed a grievous loss, far independent of the value! That prayer book given by poor Mr Grove on the fourth birthday of my dear Mary and which has been my constant companion is of the lot; money and clothes of not less value than £30 besides the power of attorney from Mrs Madan and other papers.
It was my own fault; there was none to blame but myself and that, perhaps, makes it harder to bear. But my children are well again; that is before all silver and gold.
Di Mainwaring came to us on the 17th and leaves tomorrow. She is a light-hearted worthy woman, and passing rich with £100 per annum.
November 4th 1849
All but finances prosper,
but every day has its cares. Yesterday a desire, dictated by a generous
though ill-judging mind, of an excellent old Lady to send more money than
was required to a needy family, forgetting her own children. Alas how
weak are our determinations!
I have often said I will not be ruffled at her attempts to do imprudent things and follow out annoying fancies, but rather put it down to a morbid feeling or an old prejudice; but I have not yet acquired that perfection. Shall I ever? So, not in the tone I wish; for if I do it will be from looking on her opinions as those of poor Mrs Madan, an opinion I never wish to hold (though at times they savour of them). But enough! Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
(N.B. Mrs Mary Eccles has given more money to the poor Vernons. Mrs Madan who was losing her reason was Charles' Aunt Frances nee Falconer (1793-1860) of Lichfield widow of Col W.C. Madan, son of the Bishop of Peterborough.)
November 16th 1849
My portmanteau has turned up after an absence of 22 days. This is a
tribute to the system of the railways. We have all dearly paid for the
comfort, but those who follow us will have the advantage.
With my speculative and sanguine turn I can only feel too thankful I am not deeper involved. My efforts were done for the best. I have played for a high stake and lost it. No doubt this check to my ambition will keep me humble.
During this last year I have paid up considerably on railway calls to no good. Sent the Vernons £400 only one of which there is any chance to get back. Lost a horse, journeying after the Vernons. a prospect of losing my portmanteau. Perhaps the recovery of the latter may be a turn in my fortune.
December 16th 1849
Cause for thankfulness! My dear wife is thriving at St. Leonards. Harriet
is not suffering from the cold, and our dear old mother is so well that I
have been induced to break up the establishment and leave her here with 2
maids and that excellent and estimable servant Fincher till the Spring.
John Pearson is now here. There must be latent talent in that lad. If he ever attains the energy of George it will show itself. Charles has spoken the oration at the Charter House (as the Times says) with energy and graceful propriety.
The Canal accounts are drawing to a close. When they are finally settled I hope I shall feel myself somewhat more at ease than of late. Railroads are worse than ever. I have been unlucky, but more fortunate than most of my friends.
Xmas Eve This day I attended a meeting at Stafford respecting preference shares; a large meeting but with little spirit or energy. Had the Canal been left to struggle with its present Proprietary bad indeed would have been the result. The energy of railroaders would alone have floored us. What a busy life I lead! .
January 1st 1850
Tomorrow to Stafford, where my protestations against our proceeding to law against the North Staffordshire Railway will not I expect be listened to. However I have acquitted my conscience and as my labour was executed on a Sunday I trust I may say that it was a labour of love (or duty towards those I represent) and not from any feeling that I in a worldly sense should be the gainer.
April 19th 1850
This day my dear Mary was to have returned from Hastings after remaining for the benefit of Masters for two months. If she has not gained knowledge she has, friends for all are sorry to part with her. If in after years she ever reads this journal she will see that an effort to please is always appreciated (gawky girls require such aids to be popular) but I have reason to expect she has gained in knowledge, and that Miss Hill when far away has equally fulfilled that duty which it is but justice to say she has always most conscientiously done whatever faults of manner and temper she may have exhibited.
April 27th 1850
An extra £100 per annum to my savings would have enabled me to
continue here. Not having that, and being that deficient will oblige us
to seek another house when it pleases God to take to himself our very
dear excellent Mrs Eccles.
She may live for years or she may be suddenly taken away. On Wednesday she had a bleeding at the nose, nearly half a pint, but in no respect is she the worse for it. One reason for not continuing more regularly with my journal is that I snatch every spare moment for the concertina.
May 3rd 1850
Dear little Harriet is well in health, but the eyes remain the same. Mr
Dalrymple to whom I have written says it will be a work of time. I fear
time may cure it as the consummation of all things. I must say I do not
look forward with much hope to a permanent cure though youth struggles
against most ills. I
try to be resigned and believe I am to think all is for the best.
May 26th 1850
Sunday Morning Harriet's eyes again deranged; recommenced with that which had been left off a day or two. The Vernons leave on Saturday week; a visit of 1 month 4 days. The world is before them, and two different spirits bound by circumstances to jog on together.
June 26th 1850
Yesterday Harriet went with self and Jane and Mary to Dudley, an excursion train 4/- each. The caverns were not fully lighted till just before we were obliged to leave. Had a cursory glance and went to lunch at the Priory, Mr Smith's.
July 21st 1850
8th Sunday after Trinity; Tomorrow I go to London, on Tuesday attend Lord Fitzroy's levee to get Tommy Thornewill's name down for a Commission. On Wednesday to Woodcote when the career of Willie Eccles will be decided on.
August 18th 1850
Tomorrow there is a picnic archery at Shenstone. Mrs. Maitland and Miss Mayne give prizes. I was invited by Mrs Cotton but am very glad I am not going, for independent of our dear Mrs E fancying that we have no love for quiet it would have opened a new line of engagements and my dear wife not liking to be left out in any genteel gathering does not know how to refuse.
August 25th 1850
Another week has
passed; nothing in particular to mark the time. Willie has twice ridden
the young horse. Under providence I do think that lad will turn out well.
I have never witnessed in him any attempt at deceit. To be sure he has
not had cause for concealment, but even in trifles the disposition is
shown. I must attribute much to his new school where all good feelings
are manifest, perhaps more to the notice taken of his first heinous
Work owing to Mr. Fleming was brought under my notice. I cannot compliment the maternal management though there is every desire to do duty to the utmost; a constant threatening to punish for trifling offences and no punishment following must diminish authority. But a good school applied to amiable dispositions, which all the three younger possess, will put them to rights.
I fall low on my knees, Oh God, praying that I may be directed in all things concerning him for the best.
I am aware of the evils attending an entree into the world by an education at Eton. I am also aware of the disadvantages of a private education, at least a school not public.
Octtober 15th 1850
This morning Harriet is better. About three weeks ago she began with
boils. Nothing suited but bread and water poultice. Grease only inflamed,
lime water no good. Just began quinine when a bilious attack came on and
now her cold. That dear child is severely handled. Friday Mrs J. Vernon
to the train and that dearest of babies? Mr Drummond also. I have had
pleasure in his society, he is now thoroughly orthodox.
Poor dear little Harriet does not progress. Yesterday we gave her one dessert of cod oil. May God bless our efforts; if not Thy will be done. These constant alterations of symptoms very distressing. The boils still continue. The giddiness and nervous excitement when laying her head on her pillow are almost like St Vitus dance. So medical man does avail; how ignorant are they when taken out of the usual routine of diseases.
November 1st 1850
Dear Harriet has confirmed chicken pox. After six doses of cod liver oil
a rash appeared. Tuesday last at night the fever ran so high that we sent
for Salt who ordered 3 grains Grey Powder, senna and 1 dram salts in the
Wednesday spots increasing;
Thursday one mass, pain discomfort and grief.
Last night 2 gr. Grey powder, this morning senna and salts. No sleep till 4 a.m. and then till 7.
After six weeks of boils to have such a complaint is severe but it shows a strength of constitution quite unexpected. Certainly better today. On Monday the 29th to Stoke to wind up Canal affairs. There is a feeling against my having a recompense for my labour in winding up the affairs. To get neither credit nor money for all I have done is too bad. Money I will have, and credit with my own conscience,
November 16th 1850
On Thursday there is to be a gathering of the Laity at Lichfield. I trust each speaker may be considerate towards the foibles of his fellow men. I rather doubt it. The Thornewills are at the other house. What havoc Railroad speculations have made! Poor Edward has lost £9000; all have lost something but Man at large has gained, for Railroads would never have been made could men have foreseen the result.
Nov 17th 1850
On Monday and Tuesday I heard a Mr Rendel, a china plate painter, lecture on the geology of Salop with a provincial dialect and a wonderful anaspiration of the H's. The method and manner was excellent. It is well to encourage such, for if a man is kept from the public house good is done. If it induces a man to combine with his daily labour some useful observations he lays up in his mind a store of interesting amusement which may further his views of life, and more generally will cause him to look up from nature to nature's God.
Nov 23rd 1850
On the 26th the meeting at Lichfield all went off well. Two promising
scions of noble houses, Dartmouth and Lichfield give great satisfaction,
particularly the former. We have hopes of the next generation.
Lord Talbot is but an unworthy representative of his late noble sire, I was called upon to second a vote of thanks to the Mayor. I did not enlarge; what could I say?
My dear Mary completed her 14th year yesterday. I heartily thank thee God that she is what she is, and that thou hast restored to comparative health my darling and interesting Harriet.
November 27th 1850
George to Chester; Fanny here. Charles W and his nice agreeable wife to Friars Place. We are all well and may we keep so, but all around is in confusion. I asked Charles W to act for me should death carry me off before my children were able to look after their own interests. To this he assented but I trust his services may never be required; not that I wish to live as being fond of life, but many are dependent on me.
November 30th 1850
Yesterday walked to Rugeley, by rail to Lichfield, walked part of the way
home, perhaps 12 miles. I never felt better and was contemplating on my
road how much I have to be thankful for, not only for my own health which
is most excellent, but wife, children and all belongings, Dr Harwood is
also getting better, but how little one can look to a step in advance
however short. Jane who met me with Fanny Pearson 2 miles from home
complained of the old pain in her chest.
Dr Harwood who was progressing favourably, in consequence of a return of noises in his ear, great depression of spirits and a pulse at 40 determined to go off to London. My dear old mother had a slight attack of giddiness but my dear children are quite well; so the world goes on.
We are full of hopes and fears. Surely stirring scenes are at hand, but "be ye ready" for ye know not when the bridegroom will be ready.
December 8th 1850
Yesterday I dined at the other house. Such a reunion we may never again expect; my mother with 5 children and excepting John with their respective mates. Henrietta Curtis and her Constable; may God prosper that union. If devoted attachment on both sides gives promise, they have it. She will make an excellent wife. He promises well. Fanny Pearson was the only representative of Castlecamps.
December 30th 1850
Poor little Harriet has another boil. John has had 12 leeches and quantities of physic for rheumatic pains in his side over the left ribs. His leg was first affected, that a good sweating from 4 grains of Grey and 2 of Doon got rid of. That excellent friend to everybody my sister Mary and her ready hand and smiling face has kept things bright, but she must go home today.
January 2nd 1851
This year has opened with brighter prospects though clouds still lower. The sun shone in the heavens. My brother John is better, and I have a more certain feeling than ever that Jane's complaint is dyspepsia. All medicine hitherto has failed. As one distressing symptom disappears another shews itself.
January 25th 1851
Harriet better; The Dr and Lucy returned home on Wednesday; poor man, his
nerves are worse than Jane's but his complaint is scotched if not killed.
So far the experiment of leaving Mrs Madan to her servants answers. I
have not for some time seen her happier.
John is improving fast.
Gresley's 2nd pamphlet at Wilson quite a failure. . "My good Sir, you will be reported to the Duke of Manchester and Lord Ashby, and it is not easy not to hate those with whom we differ in opinion...." pseudo!
May 9th 1851
Willie Eccles came on Saturday. I took him to Liverpool on his return to school yesterday. He is very much improved in every way, but poor lad I fear he inherits his father's depression of spirits at any coming event. This unhappiness at returning to school, or rather his feelings of misery at the prospect, are quite touching, bursting out in such expressions as, 'Do you think I shall ever be happy again?' and 'How long before I shall be happy?' and 'I do feel so miserable', but not a tear....
May 17th 1851
Went to Dove Cliff .on Thursday; returned yesterday. How sad that
beautiful place is to be sold! How. prudent of Edward to get into a
compass suited to his means! I sincerely trust that he may find a
purchaser at his price. He bears up much better than I expected, and as
to his wife, she seems fitted for any burden that may be placed upon her.
Like her sister Lucy the spirit seems to strengthen as the occasion requires. Dr Harwood is not much better. If body is improved, the mind is restless and delusive.
June 10th 1851
Jane continues well. Mrs Eccles had a tendency to a cold, cured by Homeopathy. Harriet a vesicular ringworm, ditto. Surely the system which is founded on principle must supersede Allotropy based on experiment.
June 11th 1851
Called away to poor Mrs Madan; what will be the end of that case? Her
mind gets worse. Were it imbecile it would be easily managed, but alas
she is sometimes violent and her lucid intervals preclude us at present
from putting restraint on her. I trust we may be guided for the best; it
is a sad case.
Fincher has a very bad cough. The usual remedies failing tried Beyouia; she is much better this morning.
Jane continues well. Yesterday we walked to see Mr Wilson who has been injured by a piece of oak, a splinter from a tree he was blowing up having struck him on the knee; it was a providential escape. Jane was not tired. Mary and Bunny at the other house...
dear little Bunny spent her day and night here.
July 20th 1851
On June 19th I took Mrs Madan to Malvern, and got a nice house; Trafalgar
House 7 guineas per week. Remained with her three weeks and a weary time
On the 15th July I went into Cheshire to collect rents; all paid up and no grumbling excepting for an increase of dairy accommodation that being the most profitable. Garter is an excellent servant; few words and much honesty and very understanding. Found Cecilia and her charming children very well and very happy. Jane will not go there this summer as proposed; for the offer has not been accepted in the manner it ought to have been. I have no doubt she will be glad to see us, but I suspect there is a lurking feeling that she would rather be quiet.
July 27th 1851
The childrens' Holydays commenced on the 24th. Next week we have a large
party of children, Cecilia, Willie and Charley, Mary, Louisa and Harriet,
Sophy and Edward Pearson. Unfortunately I am to attend at Stafford on a
special jury tomorrow,
Tuesday Traffic at Stoke, Wednesday General Meeting, In monetary affairs fortune is against me. Prom the payment in of investments in the last year I have lost £120 as the money has been reinvested in the Funds.
My receipts from the railways barely cover the interest on borrowed money, and if all my assets at present prices were collected they would not exceed debts by more than £400. If affairs do not improve, and there is a probability of Jane requiring change, we must get into a smaller compass. I should not care about leaving this place excepting on account of my dear old mother, but every year she would miss us less and less.
When our girls require greater advantages we must go, but we know not what a day may bring forth.
November 5th 1851
Yesterday at Stoke. At least 5 inches of snow on the ground, which
falling on the trees so full of leave produced a most beautiful and
imposing effect, oaks resembling firs. It caused much damage by breaking
off branches, particularly from the oak and ash. It caused a curious
delusion in many parts of the road when the hedges were high, giving the
appearance of a narrow lane.
The Mare dragged me along the untracked road in a little more time than usual. On my return found Jane but poorly again, Hepor having given her three days of comfort. She attributes the return of the pain to a tight dress; I add to that, excitement of a lunch at the Buckridge's and talking over complaints with one who is equally hypochondriacal with herself, who having much the same sensations convinces me that it is part of the disease.
November 22nd 1851
On Tuesday Mary kept her birthday. The three Davenports (nice animated ladylike girls), Lilla Durrant, Geo Gresley, Louisa and Judy Thornewill. The acting of Agamemnon and the Sleeping Beauty was admirably performed. The same day arrived a letter from Mr Mind; the purport and my answer is on record; dear Willie is an enigma. I fear we shall not feel quite comfortable about him till we have got him into a regiment under a strict Colonel. He has many good qualities, and his bad ones are more I trust from boyish feelings than from intentional desires. He cannot be cunning with such a countenance.
December 8th 1851
Very nice letters from Willie
and Mr Mind. The management of that dear lad does indeed cause me much
anxiety, and more particularly in a quarter which ought to assist my
every effort instead of opposing my views. When there are two opinions
some little deference ought to be paid to the opposing opinion.
I have no fault to find with Cecilia. Strong feelings may give rise to pleasure, but they cause more pain. I almost envy a phlegmatic man on whom nothing can act. He may give less pleasure to his relations, but he will cause less pain. Nothing interferes with me in my daily duties more than the dread of opposition in trifles. God knows best and perhaps I should not shine as I do if my views and opinions were paramount.
December 26th 1851
Dear little Charley Eccles is ill with gastric fever. A Christmas box
from Mrs Ridgeway; that charming precocious child Cecil has been ill. He
is so much advance of his years in mind and feeling that one fears he is
too good for this world.
(N.B. Cecil, the youngest Eccles boy, became a merchant in Liverpool but failed and went to America where he died in his thirties.)
January 5th 1852
For the prospect of the next year there is much to . speculate on.
Domestically Louisa Thornewill is to join our studies, a fine thing for
her. For two more amiable or talented girls as companions I know not and
their accomplishments are a proof of Miss Hill's capabilities to teach.
It may not answer; I pray that it may. Mary (sister) who is here fully
appreciates what she calls our kindness.
Rather ought she to bless Providence that has enabled her to give such advantages to her girl without putting us to any inconvenience. On the contrary we may hope for some advantage.
January 25th 1852
Charles Pearson arrived late on the 23rd from Dove Cliff. An amiable fellow, fonder of fun than study. On the 13th Willie Eccles, much improved in every way. Left on the 19th for Woodcote. An announcement of marriage between Major Arkwright and Fanny Ihornewill; every prospect of happiness and a subject for great rejoicing.
February 23rd 1852
19th to Dove Cliff. 21st returned home. I could with much more
satisfaction entrust my daughter to Major Arkwright than many handsome
fine fellows who are reputed good matches. I think Fanny has a fair
prospect of happiness. What next? Our action against the North Staffs
Railway is withdrawn. We never had any grounds to go on however. Twenslow
thought otherwise; but our expenses are to be paid.
Louisa Ihornewill goes on famously and her parents are satisfied, A foolish attempt of wit in Dr Harwood on our childrens' acting has caused much annoyance. I wish people would mind their own business,
February 29th 1852
I am busy preparing a lecture for the Rugeley Mechanics Institute, a bold attempt. A desire to improve myself and others is the object, not to exhibit my own learning.
March 11th 1852
Wedding at Dove Cliff; to the last everything as it ought to be. 15 carriages and 50 to breakfast. It is a good beginning. Louisa continues to improve in every way and turns out as expected. George and Catherine at the other house; they dined here with my dear old mother yesterday.
April 29th 1852
My lecture in Rugeley went off better than my most sanguine expectations had imagined; a room full and 13 carriages.
July 4th 1852
We have now a Madame Chammas from Miss Moulfords, a great acquisition to
our children. Went to the Archery Meeting. As good as ever.
On Wednesday to the Chadwicks at New Hall. I have been to Eton; Willie is placed exceptionally low in the School, Mr Yonge told me for bad composition. I fear idleness also. My anxieties for that dear lad are not over and never will be I fear. Though he is not vicious he is careless, idle and independent.
July 24th 1852
On the 27th of last year I recorded a hint that a change of residence will be necessary. I think we have now made up our minds to go to Cheltenham. Many many events have happened during the last year. It is not in my nature to see people pursuing a wrong path without striving to put them right, and it is not in frail human nature to bear dictation.
October 31st 1852
No great change. A week of S.P.G. meetings, no resolutions, a great
improvement. John Vernon and a Mr Best from Atian Agram spoke to the
admiration of all..
Caroline very nice and very agreeable; Edward a nice boy but spoilt and pettish; the little dear girl charming. They are laying in a store of uneasiness by spoiling Edward, not by Caroline and John, but the two grandmamas and Louisa.
I took the chair at Rugeley as Lord Talbot was unable to attend. James Harwood has been very poorly; the doctor went to see him; suppressed gout. George still here; a Parish gathering at the other house with much humility; reading Uncle Tom aloud.
November 14th 1852
George returned here on Tuesday and left again on Friday. In that man is a real specimen of a good religious Christian. Would there were more like him.
December 16th 1852
One month of a busy life. Willie Eccles came home on the 3rd. Excepting
from the want of power (I may almost call it) or the smallness of
concentration to fix to anything, he is a promising lad. Eton is quite
the place for him. Boys going wrong when watched by 600 is rare, and the
habit of doing right at his age is a great thing gained. We must cram him
for his commission.
P. Pearson arrived on the 11th. He is a nice lad and certainly the one of the family to inherit the prospects before him, and a blessing he will be to that neighbourhood when it may please God to call him to such a station.
Yesterday Jane and the 2 lads were at the Birmingham Show.
January 8th 1853
My 18th Wedding Day.
I certainly am happier and more contented as far as temporal feelings are concerned, but I do not feel that my eternal welfare is cared for as it ought.
Am I a better man than last year? I am perhaps more meek, humble and charitable in thought and deed, but I am not more prayerful.
I cannot think sufficiently seriously of my duty to that God who watches my uprising, and. my downsittings. A quieter life may be an advantage to me.