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  • ADAM CLARKE PORTRAYED
    Volume II By James Everett


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    "Half a word fixed upon, at, or near the spot, is worth a cart-load of recollection." -- Gray, in a letter to Pelgrave. Vol. II. London: Published By Hamilton, Adams, & Co., Paternoster-Row. 1844.

    * * * * * * *

    REVIEWS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

    "We have no doubt that the Wesleyan public, by whom the Doctor was little less than adored, will feel very much obliged to Mr. Everett, who stood in a somewhat similar relation to the subject of his work to that of Boswell to Johnson, for his 'portraiture.' -- He has produced in the volume before us a very pleasant and readable narrative." -- The Patriot, Feb. 1st, 1844. * * *

    "The volume before us is equally instructive and entertaining -- instructive in its details, as illustrative of those operations of God's providence and grace, of which Dr. Clarke was the subject, and entertaining, from the charm of graphic and lively expression which the biographer has thrown over his pages. It is due to all parties to mention that, in this memoir, Mr. Everett has enjoyed the concurrence and aid of the Doctor's highly intelligent and beloved daughter, Mrs. Rowley, to whom he acknowledges himself indebted for examining, criticizing, and enriching his pages." -- Sheffield Mercury, Jan. 13. * * *

    "The work abounds in anecdote and sketchy delineations of men and things. -- We have pleasure in transferring to our columns a few extracts, from which our readers may themselves discover the lively, graphic and entertaining manner in which Mr. Everett's portraiture of his friend is executed." -- The Watchmen, Jan. 31.

    * * *

    "The memoirs of this apostle of Wesleyanism abound in practical moral lessons, encouraging examples, and profitable conclusions. The style is simple and pleasing; the author's information full and authentic; and, with a caution too often neglected by biographers, he has not suffered the warmth of his friendship to encroach upon his judgment or his candor. Mr. Everett has employed the rich materials placed at his disposal with so much address, that his volume will be recommended to every young man, as a textbook of precepts, upon his entering society; and he will one day enjoy the gratifying reflection of having done justice to the memory of a great and good man, and, at the same time, conferred an important benefit on society, by the publication of a volume so truly profitable for instruction." -- Colonial Magazine, March.

    * * *

    "We have long thought that a truly Wesleyan life of the venerable doctor was a desideratum [desideratum n. (pl. desiderata) something lacking but needed or desired. -- Oxford Dict.]; and we are happy to find that our old friend and fellow townsman, the Rev. James Everett, has undertaken to supply this lack in the biographical department of literature. Of his qualifications for fulfilling the task, it is not necessary that we should pronounce an opinion; the public has already decided the point in the more than favorable reception with which every work has met which has hitherto issued from his pen. He seems to have stood in the position of "fidus Achates" to his illustrious hero, and we need scarcely say, that he has made the most of that advantage; he has caught the outlines of the moral and intellectual features of his friend, and frequent observation has enabled him to fill up those outlines with a faithfulness and precision which would have been impossible to a casual artist.

    The charm of the book is, as it is of all Mr. Everett's biographical writings (and this is the secret of their success) -- that we never once lose sight of the fact, that its subject, however immeasurable our superior in all the graces which adorn the moral and intellectual character, was nevertheless, 'a man of like passions with ourselves,' and that he had 'a real heart of flesh and blood beating in his bosom.' -- We doubt not that this work will become, especially in the Wesleyan community, the standard Life of Dr. Clarke. -- Manchester Times, March 9.

    * * *

    There is a field, and one which we are happy in saying that Mr. Everett has well cultivated, that of incident, -- one where he is always at home. Very few so well can take up -- take in pieces, investigate, dissect, ramify an incident, and yet keep up the interest as he can and as he does. James Everett knew his man, -- knew him not merely in the glare of popular assemblies, -- tens of thousands knew him thus, but James Everett had a peculiar knowledge, he knew him as a friend, as a thinker aloud, was admitted into his heart, -- aye, that is the fount where the privilege of a biographer springs; when the twain are one, when affection's fetters enwrap themselves around the hearts, and by the meltings of friendship mold the sentiments, the views, the feelings; aye, aye, those are the elementary principles of which valuable, or rather invaluable, biographical sketches are constituted. Between Everett and Clarke this fire was continually burning upon the altar." -- Bristol Mirror, March 23.

    * * *

    It is not frequently that the biographer is so pre-eminently happy in his subject as Mr. Everett is in the present instance. The late Dr. A. Clarke was, in every sense of the word, an extraordinary man; whether we regard him as a scholar, a critic, a divine, or one who successfully 'sought to intermeddle with all knowledge.' He was one of those gifted individuals who stand in the eye of the world; before whom ordinary minds instinctively bow; and the records of whose life will constitute no small portion of the moral and intellectual history of the human race. Mr. Everett commences his task with the air of a man fully conscious of the importance of the object before him. He has evidently summoned all his powers to the work, in order that he may raise his mind to the height of his great argument; and, from the specimen before us, we have no hesitation in predicting success. We are pleased with the calm and systematic manner in which he proceeds. There is no bustle, no hurry, no anxiety to present his friend before the world in his full-grown stature; -- he can afford to wait. Hence the character is developed gradually. We have the child, the boy, the youth, and the man, each succeeding the other in natural and beautiful progression; and, as a necessary result, interest is excited and continues progressively increasing to the close of the volume. This may be said to constitute a peculiarity which distinguishes the work before us from most other memoirs. Ordinarily, we are favored with the date of birth -- a chronological fact which, if omitted, might possibly excite a doubt as to the actual existence of the biographical subject -- a few sentences follow as to the physical constitution of the individual sickly or healthy, puny or strong, well made or deformed, as the case may be; but, beyond this, there is an utter absence of all information; and the hero starts up before us, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter, or Sin from the front of Lucifer, armed cap-a-pie [? -- meaning not found], an absolute monster of perfection, to astonish and bewilder mankind.

    The case before us furnishes a happy exception to this general rule; and, we may safely say of the character of the venerable Doctor, as elucidated by Mr. Everett, that, like 'the path of the just,' it 'shineth more and more unto the perfect day.' Several memoirs of Dr. Clarke have already been presented to the public. Judging by the specimen before us [Vol. I], this will differ from all its predecessors -- in many respects, will surpass them all, Thus much we will venture to say in reference to the first volume: -- it is a beautiful, pure, high-toned, classical production; every way worthy of its illustrious subject, and of the biographical reputation which Mr. Everett has already achieved. -- Newcastle Journal, April 20.

    * * *

    "The admirers of Dr. Adam Clarke and those of Mr. Everett, each a very numerous class, will welcome with acclamations this first volume of a long expected work, in which both classes have so deep an interest. Nor will it disappoint expectation. -- A great deal in the volume before us [Vol. I] is entirely new; and what is not new in point of fact, is related with a difference of manner and circumstances which invests it with the charm of novelty. Indeed We have been much entertained with observing the unfailing ingenuity which the author displays in always furnishing some new and still equally authentic version of those incidents in the Doctor's life with which previous biographers, and especially his own account, has made us familiar. The entirely new matter, however, predominates over the old. Judging from the present volume, Mr. Everett's portraiture of his distinguished friend will be his own chef d' oeuvre [masterpiece], the most complete account of that friend, and one of the most interesting and instructive pieces of biography in the English language." -- Wesleyan Chronicle, Jan. 19.

    * * *

    "It is well known that the religious community, anticipating the treat they may now enjoy, have long and anxiously desired and expected the work the first volume of which has now issued from the press; it was known in many circles that Mr. Everett had a hoard of valuable information, the fruits of long intimacy with his friend and a careful and sedulous collection of materials; and at length he has unfolded that treasure for the benefit of society. Of Mr. Everett's merits as a biographer it would be superfluous -- nay, presumptuous -- were we to write. His previous works have stamped his fame, and it is sufficient for us to say, that the high celebrity which past exertions have acquired is not in the smallest degree lessened or tarnished by the present effort." -- Sunderland and Durham County Herald, May 31.

    * * *

    "The more familiar our acquaintance, the more we are satisfied that Mr. Everett's powers are an ever-flowing spring, pouring its ample current over the wide vale of its associations, taking up, enlarging, and improving every circumstance that has a tendency to

    'Point a moral and adorn a tale.'

    He but requires to see an end, and his means are immediately tangible; he seems to have them at command, and is able at once to appropriate them. One thing of importance in connection with the work is -- its METHODISM. This is, in our mind, its distinguishing attribute; so decidedly and determinately identifying Adam Clarke with Methodism, the very atmosphere and element in which he lived and labored. In the outset, we designated this work a standard memoir of ADAM CLARKE; and on coolly reviewing it, we are prepared to repeat our statement, under an assurance that no family pretending to respectability, piety, or intelligence, especially in the Wesleyan community, will delay to secure for the general reading of its members, 'ADAM CLARKE PORTRAYED." --The Wesleyan and Christian Record, August 29.

    * * * "We feel satisfied in furnishing our meed [merited portion] of eulogy to the work before us, -- it demands far more than it seems to claim. There is a sort of unpretendingness in its exterior, but its intrinsic is another matter. You look upon its title-page as professing to open the door to a tale of other times, but you no sooner pass the threshold than you feel the glow of friendship, and, ere you are aware, you occupy a corner chair with the author and his hero. Mr. Everett has the art of showing that 'face answereth face in a glass;' and though he has done it well in his previous works, he has not succeeded better in any than in the present; -- there is a hitting off about it, that is happy, -- such a familiar acquaintance with the hero, that he could not mistake him himself, and such fidelity as to render it impossible for others to mistake him. We thought at first, that he was somewhat late in the field, -- that day, perhaps, was gone by for a work of this kind to be in request, -- but with the book in our hands we soon heard the echo -- 'He being dead yet speaketh." -- The Yorkshireman, May 30.

    * * * * * * *

    ADVERTISEMENT TO VOLUME II.

    While the biographer has to apologize for delay in the appearance of the second volume, he has to state, that it has not been because of any indifference as to its completion, but solely on account of other engagements over which he had no control, the enumeration of which -- though of some importance to himself, is not at all calculated to interest the reader. The third volume, which is in progress and will be published with all possible dispatch, will complete the memoir. In prosecuting the work, the writer is happy to find, that he has acted, in some measure at least, in the spirit and on the plan embodied in some recent judicious remarks in a popular critical journal, and would here -- though in an accommodated form, -- echo to the strain put forth. In many narratives, it is observed, that portion of the subject is principally and prominently dealt with, which more immediately belongs to history, -- selecting and arranging for the purpose, -- to the sacrifice of that which is true biography. The historical part of biography is that which renders the sequence of events and their causes -- and to a great extent it leaves the man to be inferred from his action upon them: -- but true biography is that which shows the actor behind the event, -- and traces the history by following the man.

    The conversations of Adam Clarke -- uttered in all the varying moods of each present moment -- expressing the thought, feeling, design, as it rose -- recording the fact when it happened -- give back the true echoes of the keys on which they were struck, and report faithfully of the instrument. They are photographic impressions, in which the passions have written themselves; and in their sum, the inner man is revealed by a light which is Nature's own.

    J. E. York, Dec., 1844. * * * * * * *

    PART II. -- SECTION V. CONTINUED.

    1794.

    Whatever might be the basis upon which Mr. Clarke's friendships were founded, they were always sincere, though their depth and intensity were regulated by the greater or lesser value of the objects upon whom they were bestowed:-- moral worth and genuine piety ever obtained his regard; and when to these were associated talent and learning, his heart went forth in the exercise of all those deep and ardent feelings, which more or less insinuate themselves into our common nature, however varied the physical and mental constitution may be.

    For Mr. Pawson, to whom reference has been already made, he felt the dutiful respect of a son, in combination with the warmth of a solid friendship; and no doubt the circumstance of their meeting in band together, materially nurtured their mutual confidence and regard.

    Towards Mr. Benson, who had on special occasions been his associate, but whose more intimate friendship commenced when they traveled together in Manchester, he entertained somewhat different feelings. Though respect and love were the foundation principles, without both of which friendship must be deficient in quality, and imperfect in operation, still, compared with that subsisting between Mr. Pawson and himself, it was "like the lusty winter, -- frosty but kindly;" -- something, indeed, like the sun in the decline of the year, shorn of his summer beams. There was more of the scholar mingled with it, more of that feeling where each seemed under the discipline of the other, and where the homage of mind appeared to be given and received, with that description of feeling which intellect alone can command; yet no unmeaning compliment was there, but the sincere and sensible tokens of Christian affection, commingling with, and imparting a charm altogether their own to, the more literary conversation or correspondence of the men: and thus they moved on together in the path of intellectual and spiritual improvement. Their correspondence generally referred to sound literature; and one subject which engrossed much of their attention, and called forth the niceties and extent of Mr. Clarke's acquirements in this department of learning, was, an historico-critical account of the manner in which the common Standard text of the Greek Testament was formed, collected from various sources, principally from Fell, Mills, Bengelius, Wetstein, and Griesbach, so far as the latter had then proceeded, combining with the whole, his own reading and observations. [1]

    Mr. Benson, in giving his own judgment on the great question, expressed his acknowledgments to his friend, for his ready acquiescence in his wishes on the subject: "I am much obliged to you (he writes) for your very valuable letter, and for the time and pains you have bestowed upon it for my sake; I wish it were in my power to recompense you in the same way; but it is not: I can only say, I hope your labor will not be lost; I shall lay your letter carefully by, and preserve it while I live as a valuable treasure in itself, and a testimony of your regard for your friend."

    As a preacher, and a man with whom were hidden the secrets of divine wisdom, Mr. Benson occupied a high standing in the estimation of his friend and colleague; and his judgment is fully borne out by that of the great Robert Hall, who observed on one occasion to the Rev. J. Burdsall, -- "Sir, Mr. Benson is irresistible -- absolutely irresistible." In his early attention to books, Mr. Clarke rarely committed anything to paper, but merely read for the information of his own mind, and that he might be the better able to instruct others from the pulpit. But as he proceeded, he decided on noting down the result of his studies, especially so far as they related to the Septuagint, which he commenced reading regularly about the year 1785, in order to acquaint himself more fully with the phraseology of the New Testament; believing, as he was confirmed in the fact by his reading, that our blessed Lord and his Apostles had constant recourse to this truly venerable version, and that it was from it they invariably made their quotations. He states, that the study of this version served more to illuminate and expand his mind, than all the theological works he had ever consulted. As he proceeded, he was convinced that the prejudices against it were utterly unfounded, and that it was of incalculable advantage toward a proper understanding of the literal sense of Scripture.

    It was not till 1790, when in Dublin, in an ill state of health, and under the impression that he should be obliged to relinquish his avocations, that he proposed writing short notes on the New Testament, collating the common printed text with all the MSS. and collections from MSS. to which he could have access. Scarcely had he projected this work, he informs us, when he was convinced that another was previously necessary, namely, a careful perusal of the original text. He began this, but confesses, that he soon found it was possible to read and not to understand. Under this conviction, he sat down, resolving to translate the whole, before he attempted any comment, that he might have the sacred text more deeply impressed upon his memory.

    He accordingly began this translation in June, 1794, and finished it, -- (fulfilling all the duties of a Methodist preacher, -- arduous at any time, and in most circuits, but especially large ones,) in May, 1795, about the present period of his personal history; collating the original text with all the ancient, and with several of the modern versions; carefully weighing the value of the important various readings found in the most authentic copies of the Greek text. It is unnecessary to pursue his preliminary studies as a commentator further at present, as his state of health compelled him to relinquish them for a period of nearly two years.

    It would seem as though an union of ministerial labor subsisted, about this time, between the Liverpool and Manchester circuits; for Mr. Benson, in his correspondence with Mr. Clarke from the latter place, observes, "I have just been making a fresh plan, and have put you down for Salford in the forenoon, and Oldham-Street at night, on the 29th; which I suppose is the day you mean. If not, let me know; you will be here, I expect at least, to preach on the Saturday night. My love, and my wife's, to Mrs. Clarke, and to Mr. and Mrs. Pawson. I am glad you are in peace." The agitated state of several parts of the connection, might have led to occasional temporary changes among the preachers; and this preserved the friendship of these two excellent men in greater vigor; Mr. Benson, stating, in reference to their literary pursuits, "We can talk of these things when I see you." But there were other things on which they conversed, less grateful to their feelings. Mr. Pawson, adverting to the interim between the Conferences of 1794 and 1795, observes, "This was a year of great strife and contention; circular letters of various kinds were sent throughout the connection; and we were in great danger of a general division taking place among us; but God, in great mercy, prevented it." Messrs. Pawson and Clarke were compelled to administer the sacrament of the Lord's supper to such of the society, in Liverpool, as insisted upon it. This offended the high church party, several of whom left the society; but notwithstanding this, the work of God prospered.

    The spirit of discontent still abroad in the connection, required all the prudence, foresight, and sagacity, of the most experienced men in the body, to hold it in check. One rather singular circumstance, denominated by those who looked at everything through a distorted medium, "the bishop's plan," ought not to be omitted, more especially as it was the subject of perversion at the time, and was associated -- innocent though it was -- with some rather ludicrous accompaniments. Messrs. Mather, Pawson, Clarke, Rogers, Coke, Bradburn, Moor, and Thomas Taylor, met at Lichfield, to consult whether some plan of accommodation could not be devised, previously to the meeting of the Conference. They were unanimously of opinion that some kind of ordination was necessary, to prevent confusion; that every preacher should be admitted by being ordained deacon; and when permitted to administer the sacrament of the Lord's supper, should be ordained priest; and that, whenever a majority of the society desired the Lord's supper, they ought to have it.

    The persons interested in the meeting, deemed it proper to assemble where they were the least likely to be known, and therefore fixed upon Lichfield, as the most proper place, as there were no Methodists in that city. It soon, however, got noised abroad, and those who were not invited to the meeting, were led away with the impression that the brethren so assembling had been forming a plan as to how they might best secure the government of the connection, and divide it among themselves. Among more remote subjects of consideration, one was, how far it might be proper to vest a certain number of superintendents with a kind of executive power between Conference and Conference, as it was a question whether the district meetings, which originated chiefly with Mr. William Thompson, and which correspond with the presbyteries of the Church of Scotland, answered that end.

    Though the brethren met in the simplicity of their hearts, and with the purest intention to promote the general good of the connection, the political feeling of the times was calculated to excite suspicion, in consequence of the teeming events connected with the French Revolution. Eight grave men, in sable costume, in secret deliberation, for some days, and all strangers! It was stated by those who were active in the cause of agitation, that the magistrates and local authorities were informed of them, and that they had given private directions to watch their proceedings. But this was not necessary. A popular Wesleyan preacher is an awkward subject to conceal. A commercial traveler happening to come to the inn, knew one or more of them, and displaying a little native curiosity, he instituted a few inquiries to gratify it, and so their characters became known. This led to a more early departure than was at first contemplated. When the object of this meeting was explained, the more candid part of the brethren were satisfied, perceiving that they had only the good of the body in view, in common with themselves. These notices (after a general disclaimer of any disposition to enter into the general merits of the question) seem necessary in passing, as more or less connected with the subject of this memoir.

    To a friend, at Altrincham, near Manchester, with whom he was spending a few days, in the summer of 1795, Mr. Clarke observed, "I am glad to find the work quickens with you. But it seems you have no scarcity of noise. I know several who cannot bear these religious outcries, who are in every respect as sincere and upright as I could wish them. This is not the fault either of their heads or their hearts. Most people indeed lay the blame on their nerves; in your case, and in several others, I believe they may be justly accused. -- 'Well' -- for this is the question, 'but do you think this noise does any good?' Verily no; but I believe that God does much good by it. The common people, who have never had the advantage of mental cultivation, hear through the medium of their passions. Everything that affects them, arrests and fixes attention, and then sacred truths, as we phrase it, have fair play in their minds.

    However, a great deal depends on the spirit and mode of conduct of those who are made the instruments in this work: 'So we preached, and so ye believed,' has a vast latitude of meaning. We have had hundreds converted at Liverpool, and yet very little extravagance of any kind. This we consider as a peculiar mercy of God; for had it been otherwise, we should, in all probability, have had bad work with sailors, &c. One word more I will add; I never knew any of these noises, however absurd, but God took advantage of them to do some good, therefore I would not despise any of them."

    On another occasion, he remarked, "When God is working, poor silly nature steps in, to try what it can do, and often mars the good in operation." There was no one in Liverpool, as in Manchester, who stood forward with the boisterous prominence of James Selby, and a few others; this led Mr. Clarke, in speaking of the two places, to observe, "I can do with the Liverpool 'amens;' but at Manchester, they are like cart wheels among watch works."

    One serious impediment in the way of his reading at present arose from his sight; we find him complaining of "his eyes being very poorly," and of their having been so "ever since he received his wound;" sometimes fearing that he should "lose one of them," and stating that he "could scarcely do anything without spectacles." This, however, he resignedly observes, "will be for good in the end."

    The three cornered hat in which Mr. Clarke was taken, in his second published portrait, was not quite out of fashion with him yet, though he was never very partial to it. When at Bristol, he wore what he denominated a "slouched hat." Against this form, Mr. Wesley set his face; and vented some phillipics [? meaning not discovered] in the presence of Mr. Clarke, and others, without appearing personal. Mr. Clarke did not note them, which occasioned Mr. Wesley to turn sharply upon him one day after this, and say, "If any preacher enter my presence without a hat turned up, I shall consider that he wishes to insult me:" Mr. Clarke instantly procured a hat turned up at the corners, in compliance with Mr. Wesley's wish. So much for pre-possessions, fashions, and times. If such a hat had its conveniences -- and it would be difficult to conceive them, it would be still more difficult to state where it would be found (having been previously mounted on a bush wig) in a high wind; what would be its shelter to the face under a burning sun, or what amount of water it might contain under a teeming shower of rain-serving, of course, as a kind of moat around the head to keep it cool. This peculiarity of dress is noticed, simply to exculpate Mr. Clarke from the charge of eccentricity, in this instance, to which the wearing of this hat has been sometimes ascribed.

    The Conference of 1795 being at Manchester, Mr. Clarke attended its sittings. Mr. Joseph Bradford, who was supposed to belong to neither of the parties contending for sacramental rites, &c., was elected President. Disputes still ran high, but a day of solemn fasting and prayer was kept, prior to the sittings of Conference, which had a beneficial influence on the minds of the preachers; and in order to the further satisfaction of the conflicting parties, a plan of pacification was drawn up by nine of the preachers, chosen by ballot from the whole body, each engaging to act agreeably to it on all occasions. This proved a bond of union. At this Conference, Mr. Clarke was appointed for London, with his friend Mr. Pawson, together with Messrs. Wrigley, West, Griffith, and Reece. here there had been considerable uneasiness ever since the death of Mr. Wesley: but Mr. Pawson, aided by his friend Mr. Mather, was enabled to enter into such arrangements with the trustees, as to secure the peace of the society, and the consequent prosperity of the work of God.

    * * * * * * *

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