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Frank Leward: Memorials

Miss Herbert to Frank

Miss Herbert to Frank.

The Shrubbery, near Southampton.

My dear Nephew,—It is such a long time since we heard anything of you we hardly know where you are page 187or what you are doing. It is only through Mr. Saunders, your old master at Upton, that we understood you had left New Zealand, where we thought you were getting on so well, and had gone to California.

My dear Frank, I have very sad news to tell you, and I pray that you may receive it submissively, and that it may be allowed to be the means of chastening your spirit and of directing you to take a more serious view of life and of its responsibilities. Your good father and my long revered friend and brother departed this life on the 7th of this month. He had been in a feeble condition for some time, and the recent outrageous attempt of our ancient enemy the Pope, assisted by that bad, vile man Cardinal Wiseman and all the Jesuits, who I have reason to know are now swarming over this devoted land in a hundred different disguises, to forge anew for Britain the yoke which our Protestant ancestors threw off for ever, caused him the greatest horror and dismay. Weak as he was in health he roused himself in spirit, wrote constantly to the Protestant press throughout the land, corresponded incesantly with the evangelical clergy, summoned meetings in this town, and contemplated heading a deputation of Protestant laymen to Lord John Russell. That nobleman's glorious letter of the 4th, in which he showed that though all other craven politicians might be under the dread spell of the Papacy he was not, and in which he vindicated the cause of right against the machinations of the evil one, rendered the deputation unnecessary.

On the 5th, a day ever to be remembered by all true page 188Christians, the feeling of the land had been thoroughly aroused. Meetings were held here, at which strong resolutions were carried, your father being always the leading spirit; and at night, in spite of cringing people in authority who endeavoured to prevent it, effigies of the man of sin and his scarlet cardinal were privately burnt All this virtuous excitement and righteous indignation was too much for your good, dear father; he was seized with a fit on that night, was worse next day, and on the 7th he expired, as truly a martyr to the cause of the Reformation as those whom the Inquisition burnt at Smithfield. He was unconscious for some time towards the end, but his last feeble words whispered to me were, "Jane, man to man, shoulder to shoulder." However much I must deplore the loss of this noble-minded friend, I feel he could not have died in a nobler cause, and I trust that upon both his sons his prophetic mantle may be allowed in a large measure to descend. Your mother is now inhabiting the Glades with me as she has done for sometime past, and whither I must now return. She, poor thing, is quite unable to realise the loss she has sustained. Your brother Arthur and his wife are overwhelmed with grief, the more so as there had been latterly some coldness between them and your father, owing to Arthur's opinion that it was inexpedient to take active measures against the Romanists at present. For my part, I cannot understand such lukewarmness in such a cause; were I a man, I would be the first to fire their idolatrous temples.

Arthur has just returned from the funeral which was page 189largely attended. On Sunday last Mr. White preached a magnificent sermon, in the course of which he alluded to your father and all his acts of philanthropy and said that in the cause of the slaves he had been as instrumental as many whose names were more often heard of in connection with that noble work, and that in these days of timid Protestants and bold papists, we could ill afford to loose such a champion of pure Protestantism.

I hope, my dear nephew, we shall hear from you soon, and that you are leading a more settled life. Beware, O my child, of the Jesuits, who I doubt not glide insidiously about even in the wild regions of California. As for us here, I do not think we are safe for a moment. Our lives are in our hands, and the whole island may any day be sent into the air. I know they are planning some such scheme; even in our beds we are not free from fear. Pope and inquisition at full work in Protestant England haunt our dreams. Our only hope is in the wisdom and firmness of Lord John.—I am, your affectionate aunt,