Page images
PDF
EPUB

a gentleman read the Greek Testament in an ordinary tone to a Greek who was with him on the Areopagus. The morning was beautifully calm, and he had never before heard a voice at such a distance.

He kept the October Term at Oxford, but again he had to sacrifice his wishes and advancement to his family, and devote himself once more to business for his sister's sake. Consequently seven years elapsed from the time of his matriculation to his final examination at Oxford, when he took his B.A. and M.A. degrees.

An old friend writes of him: His affection for his family was very strong. His sister Mary was especially dear to him. Some time after her death in 1840, he accompanied me to an oratorio in Exeter Hall. When the grand quartet had sung the words of death, “ As in Adam all die," and were instantly answered by the chorus of eight hundred voices, “So in Christ shall all be made alive,” Mr. Clark sprang to his feet, all unconscious of what he was doing, and seized my arm, exclaiming, “ My Mary," as if he then fully realised

her life.

On St. Mark's day, 1846, he was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough to the curacy of Heyford, Northamptonshire; but a few weeks after, being appointed Vice-Principal and Chaplain of St. Mark's Training College, Chelsea, of which the Rev. Derwent Coleridge was Principal, he only took the Sunday duty at Heyford until a substitute was found.

He always spoke with affectionate gratitude of his mother's conduct when he told her of his wish to take holy orders. She was still a Quaker, and said, “Samuel, I dedicated thee to the service of God when thou wast first given to me, and I have asked Him ever since to

6

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

accept of thee; I cannot therefore complain if He has called thee to His service in a different way from what I should have chosen. The Lord bless thee, and make thee a very useful minister.'

At St. Mark’s he threw himself heartily into the work of training schoolmasters, and his entrance there was a great epoch in the history of that institution.

Hitherto an excellent temper and spirit pervaded it, and the earliest students had proved themselves good schoolmasters. Latin and mathematics had been admirably taught, and there were remarkably able lectures on European history from the Principal, but there was a deficiency in practical knowledge and science. Geography was only learned from Arrowsmith's outlines, chemistry was untaught, and Shakespeare was an unknown book. On these subjects Mr. Clark commenced regular lectures.

An old pupil writes: “I remember the beginning of his work at St. Mark's in the summer of 1846. Curious it was that his first lecture seemed to us a dead failure. It was on chemistry, and whether it was that he was unwell or nervous before what he thought a critical audience, his experiments did not answer and he seemed to lose all courage. It was even so with his first public catechising in the college chapel. These catechisings were held every Sunday afternoon, when the congregations were always large. At his first attempt here also he broke down. It has often struck me since, and been an encouragement to myself when I have been baffled, for we soon found what a brilliant lecturer he

He was without any exception by far the best teacher we ever had. It was quite remarkable to see how the men grasped his points, how they grew exact,

was.

sea.

and looked up the books which he recommended. . As for myself, I first learned from him the right way of using the college library. He gained the confidence of the students, and every one felt that he was under Mr. Clark's eye.

His advent certainly in no way diminished the religious tone, for I am able to bear witness, from close personal knowledge, that the beautiful spirit of piety which breathes through his letters showed itself in the most ordinary actions of his daily life. • But no doubt the great work of his life was Batter

He was there longer, and had full opportunity of carrying out all his plans. As one looks over the present curriculum of instruction for the training colleges, one sees how much his mind has moulded and informed the present state of things.'

A letter from the Rev. Derwent Coleridge, dated March, 1878, says, 'The training colleges, now so much more numerous, will be fortunate indeed if they obtain for their chiefs such men as I was enabled to enlist as my assistants, among whom it is no mean praise to say that the name of Samuel Clark stands second to

It would be invidious to say more. 'I have, as you probably know, enjoyed the acquaintance of many, the friendship of not a few, very eminent men. Enjoyed is here the right word, and it applies with especial propriety to my intercourse with your well remembered, deeply regretted husband. He was indeed one among a limited number whose conversation and companionship I found at once most agreeable and most instructive. He was one of those among all whom I have known who owed most to himself and to his own exertions, and who made the

none.

[blocks in formation]

best of his opportunities. His life was consequently a scene of continued progress and advancement onward and upward, inwardly and outwardly, not for himself alone. He made himself felt for good in many relations, and has left his mark behind him.'

He had the much valued privilege of becoming acquainted with Wordsworth during the poet's last visit to London. He formed friendships at this time with Hartley Coleridge and his sister Sara (Mrs. Nelson Coleridge), which lasted during the remainder of their lives.

His first publication at St. Mark's, “ Maps Illustrative of the Physical and Political History of the British Empire,' was a most important work, and good judges still consider it unrivalled. He was also engaged on other maps, &c., for the National Society.

The Rev. F. D. Maurice, with the assistance of some able men, established in 1848 Queen's College, Harley Street, for the higher education of women. Mr. Clark took an active part in its foundation, and was for some years one of the lecturers. His teaching is ably described in the subjoined letter from one of his most valued and remarkable pupils :

July 18th, 1878. DEAR MRS. CLARK,—Mrs. Maurice tells me that you would like to have my impressions of your husband as a teacher. If I could transfer them with the ridness which belongs to them in my own mind—a task I fear impossible—the record would be valuable indeed. I have often thought, in looking back upon life, that if I could recall any of the past, the unmixed satisfaction of the hours I spent in learning with him would

a

be perhaps that which I should most wish to revive, it was so pure, so unfailing, and so abiding in recollection. Everything that I studied with him remains in my mind as if it were touched with something that brought out the colour with a peculiar brilliancy and definiteness, and often, in coming upon books or subjects which even do not specially interest me, I half forget what is the sense of vivid interest that hangs about them, till I remember that he has spoken of them. I am sure that many felt this. I remember one of

my companions saying to me, 'How strange it seems, that whatever subject turns up seems to be just that which he has specially studied !' and while she who said this was one who would have been interested in and done credit to any teaching, I can recall on the other hand the most lively interest awakened by him in minds where it would now seem impossible to evoke a moment's attention for subjects that are not entirely superficial. Something in his presentation of what he gave us united the claim which his subjects had for those who thought much, and for those who thought little. I can hardly describe what it was, except that there was a mixture of the sense of our need, and his own occupation with his subjects, that I hardly remember in any one else. He never forgot that he was teaching a set of raw girls—there was nothing unsuitable, nothing of that common mistake of teachers, supposing either interest or knowledge; he always supplied the whole of what was necessary to understand and appreciate what he taught us. And yet he always was interested in it himself; he brought his full background of knowledge to those pictures to which he supplied just as much as we needed. I think what

« PreviousContinue »