It is a happy circumstance, when those whom Providence has entrusted with riches, are disposed to yield to the influence of men who are well qualified to advise them in what manner 'their wealth may be most wisely and beneficially distributed. This was the case with many of the' affluent friends of Dr. Clarke. He was not a rich man; but, had he been such, he could scarcely have enjoyed the pleasures of benevolence in greater perfection than he did. For, such was the confidence in his opinion of many persons endowed amply with the means of doing good, that he had only to signify a wish for the commencement of any charitable enterprise, and the supplies needful for carrying it into effect, were promptly and liberally afforded to him. "God, in his mercy," he observes in one place, "has given me influence: this is every where felt, and strangely opens my way in every place." We have seen that this was the case in relation to the Shetland Mission; and we now proceed to furnish an equally striking illustration.
In the course of his repeated visits to Ireland, Dr. Clarke had not failed to be struck with the moral destitution of his countrymen. His journals contain frequent allusions to the want of Christian education among them. This defect he made the subject of conversation among his friends. One of them, a lady who had contributed largely to the Shetland Mission, at length proposed that he should do something for Ireland also. To this proposal, he promptly replied, "Here am I, send me. On the surface of the world there stands not a man more willing to add Ireland to Shetland, and serve both with all his heart and strength." Many persons, besides the original proponent, were soon found ready to assist him in this benevolent design; and, to show still more remarkably the extent of his influence and the weight of his character, among them were several with whom he had no personal acquaintance. The sole condition which these excellent persons attached to their offers of pecuniary help was this:-- " That he should occupy no district where any school now existed, or where any class of religious people was making any attempt to educate the poor." The object of this restriction was unquestionably good; but, though never violated, it sometimes prevented the establishment of schools in districts, which, if not entirely destitute of the means of instruction, were very scantily and in efficiently provided with them. During the progress of preliminary inquiry, a curious fact was elicited. "From the general persuasion," says Dr. Clarke, " that Protestant districts, however poor and depressed, were better cultivated, both religiously and usefully, than Roman Catholic districts, the former had been chiefly passed by; and thus the neglected and uneducated progeny of wicked Protestants, were nearly as destitute of moral and religious instruction as the children of the wicked Papists.". But the rule which he decided on observing was, that of establishing schools in the most needy parts of the country, without reference to the religious creed of the inhabitants; in consequence of which, the plan ultimately embraced Catholic as well as Protestant portions of the population, with portions including both. The northern parts of the province of Ulster were particularly recommended to Dr. Clarke's notice, by those whom he set to make investigations on the spot. It was singular, that one of these gentlemen, Mr. Samuel Harper, Wesleyan-Methodist minister, then of Coleraine, pointed out, as being in great need of instruction, those very places in which, when but a boy, Dr. Clarke used spontaneously to exercise himself in Gospel exhortation. Our former narrative of those laborious efforts, will have left too deep an impression on the reader's mind to need repetition. The prospect of revisiting those dark places with the torch of divine truth, warmed the breast of the now hoary missionary with the ardor of youth. " I sowed the first seed," he observes; "and, should I, after three-score years, return' to water it, would it not be a singular circumstance? Do not all these things 'look like a well-planned order in Providence? that the very person, who had first blown a minor trumpet which he could but merely sound, should be spared to return, in better circumstances, with a louder blast; and, bearing more seed, have the high pleasure of beholding that the seed so long ago sown, had neither rotted in the ground, nor been picked up by the fowls of the air! My old soul, in this age of decrepitude, is becoming young again,, in the prospect of thus revisiting the land in which I first drew the breath of life and the breath of God?"
There were several districts wholly uncultivated, many miles of ground, covered with inhabitants, being without a school of any description. It became the business of Dr. Clarke to make provision for these neglected parts, which had been overlooked by all those religious societies,' whose bounty, during several years, had been extended to Ireland. If, therefore, the majority of those whom he undertook to provide for, were Protestants, it was not because he cared the less for the souls of Catholics, but because it was necessary to repair the serious, though natural, error of his predecessors in the same charitable labor. On comparing the wants of places in different degrees requiring instruction, it appeared that Port Rush, and the neighborhood, towards which the tide of population had flowed in consequence of the demand for labor, was the most necessitous. For miles there was no school of any kind, nor any sort of instruction; and, consequently, ignorance and vice had almost an uncontrolled sway. Here, then, the first school was to be established. This determination being hailed with rapture by the poor inhabitants, Dr. Clarke furnished Mr. Harper with a set of rules and with a supply of money. But a difficulty presented itself. The plan was, to provide the instruction, leaving it to the parents of the children to be instructed, to procure places for the purpose. Such was their destitution, that they could find no place more suitable than a hollow, dug out of a sandhill. At any time, this would have been a dismal place; in the coldest month of the year, December, it was impossible to occupy it. In this exigency, a gentleman offered the use of his parlor and an adjoining room, till a proper place could be procured. This offer being accepted, a meeting of parents was called, for the purpose of forming the school, which took place on the first day of January, 1831. Thirty children were then 'admitted. The subscribers being desirous, that, if possible, the masters of these schools should be Wesleyan-Methodist local preachers, in order that, besides instructing the children, they might spread religious knowledge among the parents, an excellent man, of this class, was engaged in this instance. The children increased daily in number, although the cold was excessive. Out of school hours, the teacher went about among the parents, reading the Scriptures to them, exhorting, and praying with them and for them. Many, who had scarcely ever heard any sort of prayer, now learned themselves to pray. The number of the scholars, only two months after its establishment, had increased 'so amazingly, that the gentleman's parlor could no longer contain them; and a larger place was accordingly procured. Few of the children could utter a sentence without an oath, or an imprecation; but, in a short time their language was greatly changed, and decency of appearance and deportment prevailed.
While Dr. Clarke was engaged in the correspondence that issued in the origination of a school at Port Rush, it appears that he was in communication with his friend, Mr. Everett, on other matters. But, so habitual were benevolence and charity to him, that, though unconnected with the object of his letter, he could not refrain from the following reflections. The introduction of them will interrupt the narrative of his labors for the benefit of Ireland; but they are too closely allied to the spirit in which he engaged in those labors, to be considered a digression: -" I have never fallen out with life: I have borne many of its rude blasts, and I have been fostered with many of its finest breezes; and, should I complain against time and the dispensations of Providence, then shame would be to me! Indeed, if God see it right, I have no objection to live on here to the day of judgment; for, while the earth lasts, there will be something to do by a heart, head, and hand, like mine, -- as long as there is something to be learnt, something to be sympathetically felt, and something to be done. I have not lived to or for myself; I am not conscious to myself that I have ever passed one such day. My fellow-creatures were the subjects of my deepest meditations, and the objects of my most earnest attention. God never needed my services. He brought me into the world that I might receive good from him, and do good to my fellows. This is God's object in reference to all human beings, and should be the object of every man in reference to his brother. This is the whole of my practical creed."
"When I sat down to write," he continues, "not one word of what was written is designed. I only intended to write a little on a subject in which you had so kindly interested yourself, in order to render the last days of your aged brother a little more comfortable, by 'enabling him to continue in a little usefulness to the end; not rusting, but wearing out." Mr. Everett had suggested the preparation of his Commentary for a second edition. Dr. Clarke adopted this hint, and, through his friend, offered the copy-right to Mr. Tegg, for the sum of ú2,000. No bargain, however, was concluded till after the Doctor's death, when Mr. Tegg purchased it, together with the 'remaining stock of the first edition, for two thousand guineas.. In the mean time, it had been offered to the Wesleyan-Methodist Book-Committee; but those gentlemen, who so hastily agreed to give ú2000 for the literary remains of the late Mr. Richard Watson, did not think it worth their while to secure to the Connection an improved edition of the most elaborate and enlightened Commentary on the Sacred Text that was ever penned. It has been - suggested, that the reputedly heretical character of some few notes in it, was that which made the Book-Committee unwilling to purchase it; but this is not to be credited. Had this been the objection, they surely would not have consented to promote its sale. If it would have been criminal to derive a larger share of profit from such a publication, it must be equally 'criminal to derive a smaller. In fact, it is understood that the heirs of Dr. Clarke offered, however unwarrantably, to expunge the portions deemed objectionable, provided that the work should be purchased for the Book-room. Doubtless, the gentlemen of the Book Committee were of opinion that the publication of a second edition of Dr. Clarke's Commentary on the whole Bible, improved to such a degree as to be more like a new book than an old one revised, would not be so safe or so profitable a speculation as that of the unfinished fragments of Mr. Watson'! Mr. Tegg, however, was willing to accept what they had rejected, though they attempted to deter him by intimating that they would not promote its sale; and it is hazarding little to predict, that, when he shall have completed the publication of his elegant work, he will be in a condition to compare the result of his outlay with that of the Bookroom in the purchase of Mr. Watson's valuable, but unfinished, manuscripts.
Of the value set by the brethren of Dr. Clarke individually, not in this country only, but in America (where, by the way, prejudice has not begun to work against him), upon his biblical and other literary labors, we may furnish a pleasing instance, without departing from the chronological order of the facts of his life. In the first quarter of the year 1831, he received a letter from Mr. Case, who, till the recent junction of the British and Canadian Conferences, was the general superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions in Upper Canada. The object of that letter was to introduce to his notice, and recommend to his protection, the converted Indian chief, whose Christian name, Peter Jones, it is much more convenient to use, in speaking of him at least, than his native designation, Kahkewaquonaby. This interesting stranger remained in England a year, where he excited much attention by the simple eloquence which distinguished his discourses, and then returned to his own people to publish, with increased light and zeal, the wonderful works of God. But our principal object in referring to Mr. Case's letter, was to cite its introduction as a proof of the high esteem in which the fruits of Dr.. Clarke's judgment and learning are held by all competent and unprejudiced judges:-- " Although unknown to you personally," writes this worthy individual, "yet, through the medium of your excellent writings, I have, on my part, contracted a friendship as strong and endearing as is generally produced by social and brotherly intercourse. Through these, many of my doubts have been removed, my faith strengthened, and my understanding guided; yea, my heart has often been made glad in seeing so clearly unfolded, the immeasurable love of' God, and the riches of grace, in Christ Jesus These benefits I have received in common with my younger brethren in the ministry in this Province, and who are now, in the providence and grace of God, in some measure under my care. And I take this opportunity, for myself and for them, to convey to you the gratitude which I know they feel, for 'the helps you have provided towards the right understanding of the pure 'Gospel and word of God." Is it not a thousand pities (to indulge in no stronger expression), that systematic attempts should be made to discourage the candid perusal of writings to which a man of experience and piety, like Mr. Case, solemnly attributes the solution of his doubts, the confirmation of his faith; the direction of his understanding, and above all, the gladdening of his heart?
Not to attempt a statement of the various, and, indeed, unnumbered, excellences which distinguish the Commentary of Dr. Clarke, and justify the high commendations of Mr. Case, let us mention only one; and that, The rather, because it is one to which, in the year 1831, the attention of the author himself was directed by a correspondent who had consulted him. "In the various places in my Comment," he observes, "wherever I found a Scripture that had been twisted by the Universal Restitutionists, I took it out of their hands, and freed it from this abuse. To these observations I need not add any thing else. A more untenable and deceptive tenet has' never been promulgated under the sacred name of religion. Were I seriously to attribute two tenets to the Great Deceiver, it would be these:-- 1st. There is no devil. 2ndly. The never-dying worm will die, and the unquenchable fire will be quenched. By the first, all circumspection and watchfulness, &c., are precluded; for why watch against an enemy which does not exist? And by the second, all fear of punishment is taken away; and, with it, the justice of God, the sinfulness of sin, and the atonement of Jesus Christ: for, if the fire of hell be only emendatory., the very idea of punishment is destroyed; and, as to 'the Sacrificial Offering for sin, it is totally unnecessary, because this is proposed to be done by the infernal flame!" Now, supposing that all which envy, sophistry, and prejudice, have urged against the commentator, were the dictate of pure truth, the refutation, by the same writer, in the same work, of that awfully pernicious notion, that the punishment of sinners will be finite, would far more than counterbalance the evil of his supposed mistakes. Nay, were he proved to be wrong, it could be impossible to show that any positive evil would arise from his error. And yet there is reason to believe, that" the eternal-generation men," as he styled those of his brethren who gained an unenviable distinction by their hostility to him, have extended more toleration to persons holding the opinion of universal restitution, than they have to Dr. Clarke himself and those who have imbibed his sentiments concerning the Sonship of Christ.
But, without intending a digression, we have wandered wide from the subject of the Irish schools, the formation of which engrossed the attention of Dr. Clarke at this period of his life. He was exceedingly desirous of crossing the channel, that he might personally superintend and promote this work; but the boisterous and inclement state of the weather, was an argument by which his friends persuaded him to defer the voyage till the atmosphere should become milder and more settled. In the mean time, he continued his correspondence with Mr. Harper, his lieutenant, and with those who furnished them with the munitions of war, for the extermination of ignorance and vice. It sometimes happens that benevolent persons confine their charities to one favorite object, and seem insensible to the existence of others which are equally, and may be more, necessitous. This was not the case with those who made Dr. Clarke the almoner of their bounty. Those who were the principal supporters of the Shetland Mission, had long been liberal contributors to other charities; and those who were subscribers to the Irish schools, had been, and continued to be, the principal supporters of the Shetland Mission. The mono-charitans, indeed (if we may coin a word, and if it is not an abuse of the term charity to apply it to any kind of benevolence which is not universal in its range), are not a numerous race. The more we inquire, the more shall we be convinced, that institutions, which have for their object the benefit of mankind, whether foreigners or fellow-countrymen, and whether their temporal or their eternal happiness is the end in view,' are kept in operation by one and the same class of benefactors-by those, in fine, who, being endowed with this world's goods, have been inspired with that "love" which "is the fulfilling of the law," and which is not a barren sentiment, but an active, ay, an ever-active principle.
But April had no sooner heralded the approach of spring, than Dr. Clarke hastened to Port Rush. On former occasions, when visiting his native country, he seems to have divided his time between labor and recreation, though the labor uniformly preponderated; but, on this, we find in his journal none of those entries which evince his taste for antiquities, or the interest he took in objects of curiosity and' matters of science. His attention was absorbed in the grand and godlike work of emancipating the rising generation of his countrymen from the destructive bonds of ignorance and sin. It must have been. a soul-entrancing sight, to behold his hoary hairs, the sport of winds sweeping across the scenes of his earliest efforts in the cause of truth and righteousness, while remembering all the way that his God had led him since he first promulgated the Gospel of his grace. His juvenile discourses, as we have lately seen, were fresh and green in the memories of his co-evals; but his last labor, will be remembered by generations yet unborn, the future inheritors of the fruit of his toil. His Commentary has not surmounted his brow with a brighter halo, in the eyes of those who can instantly recall it to their view, than his essential advancement of his country's interests. He might have retired from the active scenes of life when he had finished his Commentary, had no other labors been interwoven with his biblical studies, wearing the laurels of a well-earned fame; and, when he had attained the common term of human life, the threescore years and ten, even the word of God itself would have seemed to justify him in closing his public career; but, as if he was conscious of an unfinished work, of an incompleted destiny, as if, indeed, he was beginning his career, instead of continuing the labors of nearly threescore years, we find him, at the name of Ireland, springing up like one touched with a live coal from off the altar; and, after having devoted the meridian of his days to the universal world, consecrating his ripe experience and matured piety to the highest interests of his own country.
On arriving at Port Rush, he was much gratified by the' state of the school, which he thus describes:-- " I have scarcely ever seen a sight more lovely: though the children are all miserably poor, and only half clothed, yet they are all quite clean, their hair combed, and even their bare feet and legs' clean also. They are now brought under teaching and discipline: all learning to read, and improving rapidly. Several were acquiring writing, and casting accounts. The eldest were thirteen and fourteen years of age; but, for the most part, the children were down as low as six or seven years old. Mr. Bollas, the gentleman who gave his parlor and adjoining room to commence the school in', stated, "that, whereas, on the Sabbaths especially, the children used to be not only a public nuisance, but a public curse, the peaceable people being obliged to drive them off from depredations by whips and sticks; now, their voice was not to be heard in the streets, and order and decorum universally prevailed.' This school has scarcely been established four months." Before Dr. Clarke left Ireland, Lord Mark Kerr, on whose estate the school was formed, promised to give him a piece of ground, that he might build a chapel and a school-house upon it.
From Port Rush Dr. Clarke proceeded to Cashel, in the parish of Mocosquin, where a school had just been formed. " Here," he observes," were seventy-five children, about equal numbers of boys and girls, and not one pair of shoes among the whole. Though the school is but recently begun, the children are in fine order, and promise exceedingly well: they were from ten to four years of age, average perhaps seven. My visit to this school was wholly unexpected; but I found the greatest order on entering the place, each boy and girl conning its lesson in silence. There were a few boys and girls of ten years of age: the rest varied from that to four; and even these infants were diligently employed on the alphabet and syllables. There are one hundred and eight now on the books.. This school is also about half-and half of males and females, mostly Protestants, there being but from eight to ten the children of Popish parents. The master gave me a good account of the progress of the children, both in moral deportment and learning." Here, as likewise at Port Rush, the labors of the teacher among the parents, as well as the children, had been extraordinarily successful.
Several new schools were formed by Dr. Clarke in person. His account of these proceedings is highly interesting. Croagh was the first place which he visited for this purpose. " It had been published," he observes, " that I was expected there, in order to form a school. When we got within a mile of the place, we saw several squads of children, with their mothers, coming down the hills, and over the moors, from all quarters, in radii, from a mile and a half to two miles, to the school-house, which is little more than half finished. As we could not go into this half-built house, a farmer had prepared a small barn for our accommodation, which was about half a mile off. I set off; and they all filed after me, both the children and, their mothers, my companions bringing up the rear. When I got to the place, I addressed the parents out of doors, and laid down the general rules and conditions on which the children were to be admitted. I then, standing at the barn door, admitted them one by one into the place,. to the number of one hundred and thirty-three; introduced the schoolmaster to the general assembly; gave his character and qualifications; specified what sort of teaching the children were to receive; the discipline under which they were to be brought, &c. I then proceeded to bring all the children out of the barn, laying my hands upon their heads, and, praying to God for his blessing upon them all, delivered them again to their parents, to be brought back on the morrow, in order to be registered in the school, classified," &c.
The next school which he formed was in the parish of Billy. " The children," he remarks, " were assembled in the Methodist chapel. Their mothers were on the one side, and the children on the other. Several of the fathers were present; but the most part of them were employed in their agricultural pursuits. It was an affecting sight. The number of children was one hundred and twenty-seven, on none of which was there either shoe or stocking. After praying with them, and giving them my blessing, I resumed my car."
The third school was formed at a place called the Diamond, between Coleraine and Garvagh. "We did not 'arrive," says Dr. Clarke, describing the event, " till nearly an hour after the appointed time; and then several children and their parents, supposing that we should not come, had returned home. However, about fourscore children remained, most of them accompanied by their mothers; and to them I delivered an address of about half an hour long.' We left the master beginning the work of arrangement. I commended them to God, and returned to Coleraine. At this Diamond school there is reason to believe that there will be two hundred children."
The fourth school was formed near Tobercarr. Of the formation of this Dr. Clarke gives a particularly affecting account: -" In the present case, the fathers, 'as 'well as the mothers, and many of the surrounding neighbors, accompanied the children. As they could see us on our distant approach, expectation was kept up. I had the schoolmaster with me. He is a decent young man, of good appearance and rather genteel manners, and well educated for the purpose; 'for I have not employed one rustic in this business. We proceeded to the house; but I at once perceived it would be of no use to attempt to enter. What 'could I do? Though the day was fair, yet there was a keen north-east wind. I could not ask God to change its direction, or moderate its influence; but I could ask him to strengthen me to bear it: so I immediately proclaimed an adjournment to the field; took the advantage of a stone fence, behind which there was a thorn hedge,. and told the children to come all as close to me as they could. I made the girls take one side, and the boys the other, and the parents and neighbors to form the outer part of the semicircle, enclosing the children; and all facing me.' Then, for about fifty minutes, I poured out my heart with what knowledge I had necessary for the subject; and I was listened to with such attention, especially on the part of the children, as I never before 'witnessed. Not a child took its eye off me the whole of the time I was speaking; and any person, from the appearance of their faces, and the working of their little muscles, and alternate glance, and condensed look of their eyes, would assert that they perfectly understood everything that was said. I gave the teacher a charge before them, relative to the moral education of the children; and the parents and people a charge, relative to that kindness and respect with which they should treat him; during which, poor fellow! he was quite overcome. When I had done, I proceeded to admit the children, the issue of which was one hundred and eight, from five to seventeen years 'of age, several of the latter, and nearly an equal proportion of both sexes! The sight affected me not a little; and now, while recollecting the scene, my heart affects my eye, and the fountains of my head are broken up."
From observing a want of order and cleanliness in the domestic and other arrangements of the Irish poor, Dr. Clarke resolved to endeavor to establish some female schools under female superintendence; but, as will be seen, he had no opportunity of achieving this benevolent design.
Thus had Dr. Clarke established six schools for the benefit of his youthful and destitute fellow-countrymen. Four of them were in the county of Antrim, and two in that of Londonderry. But they were all within the limits of the Coleraine (Methodist) circuit, and, consequently, in those very parts in which the founder first exercised his gifts as a preacher. The names of the places where the schools were fixed, are, Diamond, Portrush, Prolisk, Billy, Lyssau, and Cashel. The superintendent preacher of the circuit was also superintendent of the schools; and the masters, as local preachers, were subject to his official authority.
Dr. Clarke suffered much from fatigue, which was increased by the badness of the roads, and the incommodious nature of the jaunting-cars. It is evident, from many portions of his journal, that he had begun to feel the premonitions of bodily decay. In one place, indeed, he observes, " I feel like Samson, slaying more towards my death than I did in my life; and yet I have no presentiment that I am about to go the way of all flesh;" but, only three days later, we find him saying, "I feel that I am in a poor state of health; I have traveled too much, and labored too hard; and, though my spirit was equal to both, my body has failed in all." And, again, " Being almost worn out with continual traveling and labor, and being in indifferent, health, I purpose to spend this day in the sea-breezes; but I feel that one day can advantage me but little. I must have rest; and, in order to this, I must retire from the scene of labor. My youthful days were spent in labor; my manhood in hard and incessant toil; and now my old age is consuming fast away in travail and care; and, where care is unavoidably crowned by anxiety, the taper of life must soon sink in its socket. An active mind will ever say, 'Better wear out than rust out;' but there is a difference between wear out and grind out. The one implies regular, though continual, labor; the other, extra employment and violent exercise. When I look back upon my threescore and ten years, I must say, I find little wearing. All has been grinding with me: strong attrition has acted on every part; and my candle has been lighted at both ends. Under the blessing of God, I have been the former of my own fortune. I have never been importunate for wealth or favor: I have not been troublesome to any: I have not eaten 'my bread for nought; nor have I eaten my morsel alone. Often have the necessities of others fallen upon me; and strangely has God supported me under them. The Lord knoweth the way that I take; and, when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Only speak Thou the word, and thy servant shall live!"
The following begins in the same strain, but ends in a different key:-- " Formerly, I could bear much cold in my head; but now a very little affects me. I could ill preach out of doors now, though, the last time I was officially in Ireland, I preached often abroad, and, in one week, not less than four times; but, though my head, through old age, has lost much of its once thick covering, yet I am thankful to God that I am thus far saved from' the necessity of submitting to (shall I call it?) the disgrace of ladies and gentlemen, the false covering of human hair, whether plucked from the peaceful dead, -- exhumed by 'the fell, resurrection-men, -- cropped from the skull of the robber on the high seas, who has been gibbeted for the terror of his country, -- shorn from the head of the murderer, lately hanged, and whose body has been delivered to the surgeons, -- or clipped, by the field plunderer, from the heads of the French, Austrians, Hessians, Russians, Turks, and infidels; for, in hair obtained. from all such skulls, do the ladies of England and Ireland, as well as the gentlemen of both countries, dress their heads. Do the ladies ever reflect whence their wigs come? When I was a little boy, in the last century, all wore their own hair, of whatever hue; and, to all, that hair was an ornament."
We may judge how unfit an aged man, like Dr. Clarke, was to cope with the difficulties of such an undertaking as that in which he was engaged, from such incidents as the following:-- " In some places, the road was nearly impassable; and, as at length the strength both of man and horse began to fail, we were obliged to stop on the open road, without any kind of shelter, to eat some almost stone-hard ship-biscuit and some, eggs, that we had brought with us, boiled as far as the action of fire and water could reach."
In another of these comfortless excursions, he was exposed to danger from an accident, but was mercifully preserved:-- "We had strangely broken our lynch-pin; and the wheel flew off: so we were all neatly ejected on the road. The wheel, when clear of the axle, fell against the' side of the car. My back came in contact with it, and, by the force, turned the wheel over upon the road. My clothes were, however, more injured than my flesh, though it did not entirely escape."
He likewise suffered from an attack of his old spasmodic complaint, which, however, was of short duration. After spending two months in the labors which we have briefly described, Dr. Clarke returned to Haydon-hall. But he had no sooner arrived, than he found that the jealousy of the Wesleyan Missionary Committee was much, though causelessly, excited. To such an extent had they allowed this ridiculous feeling to mislead them, that they actually passed the following resolution, dated June 8, 1831:-- " It having been stated, that Dr. Clarke has established schools in Ireland, and is making 'applications for their support to various friends, the Committee cannot but regret, that, as schools in Ireland are carried on under its direction, and may at any time be extended by the increase of its funds, a separate application should be made to our friends for the support of separate Mission schools in that country, without any authority or consultation. They, therefore, request the Conference to consider the case, and advise accordingly."
It appears, however, that the Committee had no cause whatever to complain. Their agent was applied to, to know whether they would establish any other schools at places which were specified, and where the necessity was most pressing; and he answered, that 'they would not; for they had already consigned to the 'Mission work in Ireland, its fair proportion of what was contributed to the Mission work in general.' Till this declaration was made, Dr. Clarke did not take a single step. Again, he established no separate Mission schools. His were mere charity-schools, for the support of which, while they lasted, he made himself responsible, the whole six being established in those districts, where, in his youth, he went from village to village, testifying the Gospel of the grace of God. And, so far from going about to make application to 'their friends to support these schools,' he had not gone to one of them. In point of fact, Dr. Clarke had studiously avoided applying to the supporters of the Methodist Missions. Besides, the teachers in Dr. Clarke's schools were not Missionaries, but local preachers, and, as such, subject to the superintendent of that circuit in which they labored.
This petty jealousy, as Dr. Clarke remarked, " deserved no notice from him." Nevertheless, out of respect to the late Dr. Townley, by whom, as the secretary, the resolution was signed, he addressed to him the following temperate, but severe, rebuke:-- "If, before you had so strangely undertaken to direct 'the Conference to advise you' what to do to or with me, for having.' established separate Mission schools in Ireland, and made application to several of our friends for their support,' you had taken any pains to inquire as to the facts you have stated, you would never have formed the resolution you have just sent to me. Your whole foundation is either perfectly false or misconceived; and you would have seen, that, far from having cause of ' regret,' you would have found' that you had cause to thank God, that your long-tried, faithful old servant was not yet dead, but was, with a Methodist heart, doing a Methodist work, to God's glory, and the good of those for whom, in your official capacity, you also labor."
On a subsequent occasion, Dr. Clarke evinced his readiness to forgive this injury, but without any compromise. In 1832, he was officially applied to by the President and the Wesleyan Missionary Secretaries, to take a part in the anniversary services of the Society, on which he remarks, in a letter to one of the members of his family, " I wish to do them any kindness in my power, notwithstanding their' Resolution' about my poor Irish schools; and, though engaged both to Birmingham and Sheffield at that time, I 'have written to both, to put it off a week later, in order to meet the wishes of the Committee. As to the opposition to the schools themselves, I saw some persons ,who, through the fear of man, drew back from their open support of them; and many thought I should have been obliged to give them up: but who, being such an one as I am, would flee into the temple to save his life? To discomfit Adam Clarke in a work which he knows to be good, and which he feels it to be his duty to perform, is no easy task; to frighten him from it, is still more difficult."
During the latter part of June and the former of July, 1831, Dr. Clarke was engaged in preaching various occasional sermons in Yorkshire and Lancashire. The degree in which these engagements affected his health, may be estimated from the following extract of a letter, which he addressed (July 9, 1831) to a lady, who, with the members of her family, proposed to accompany him to Ireland:-- " I have finished my work in Yorkshire. To-morrow, by preaching in Rochdale, I shall have finished my work in Lancashire, except for the charity schools in Liverpool; and to them I go next week, please God. I shall then be free of all engagements; and I 'fully purpose never to enter into any more, especially of the exotic kind. I have done enough in this extra way; and, at any rate, I intend to do no more. I have long promised myself a blessed out with your family and the good Hobbs; and, if I go in this way, I will not go bound; that is, under obligation to preach here, and there, and yonder, and, as they say on Salisbury Plain, over and behither [sic] the hill.' When I go out with such responsibilities, I have a continual fear on my spirits, and in my flesh; and it deprives me of all comfort; so that I always return in worse health than I went away. If it please God that I can get out this season, I will go out free, and preach if I can, and when I please. I shall do enough in this way to constitute me the chaplain of the company."
In another letter, observing that frequent preaching was too much for his strength, he says, "As talking, to most people, who have the use of a very fluent tongue, is really no trouble, they think that our preaching is about the same to us; and, I believe, many think we might preach all day; but they do not know, or seem not to think, that we preach for eternity; and that no other exercise can so exhaust and prostrate both body and, mind. For my own part, my length of days tells me that I stand on the verge of eternity. I endeavor to preach as though that which I now proclaim were to be the last tones of an old herald's voice."
In the month of August, 1831, Dr. Clarke received a visit at Haydon-hall, from two gentlemen, belonging to the British Museum, who were employed by Government to edit the Bible of Wickliffe. Hearing that he had a copy of the original, they begged leave to examine, it But we will leave the Doctor to relate what passed especially as his account affords a pleasing specimen of his domestic character:-- " They thought, I suppose, that they should find a few books in a corner, and an old man who had been lucky enough to pick up a Wickliffe; but, instead of merely this, they found a good library, and in it, first, the finest and most ancient copy they had yet met with of Wickliffe, though they had been through all the Universities; secondly, they saw a collection of manuscripts, exceeding all they had ever seen in any private library; thirdly, and among them the rarest and finest they had seen in any; and, fourthly, manuscripts similar to several in the Museum, but better conditioned and more perfect, and with very remarkable differences and additions.' In short, they expressed both great surprise and pleasure, and gave broad hints that such a rare and choice collection should, by some means, become national property. After showing them many of. my curiosities, I thought I would' exhibit to them your mother, as a great curiosity, she having traveled sea and land, many thousands of miles, with me, for nearly forty-five years: so I took them into the dining-room, where she sat. They were evidently struck with her appearance and deportment."
Shortly after this interview, Dr. Clarke set off with the intention of visiting his schools in Ireland;  but, when he arrived at Liverpool, the wreck of the Rothsay Castle, by which more than one hundred passengers were lost, and the continuance of the storm, made him resolve to defer the voyage, and to return immediately to Mrs. Clarke, lest she should have heard of the distressing accident, and have begun to entertain fears for her husband's safety.