Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

In Memorium: John Chapman Andrew, M.A

page break

In Memorium.

[unclear: A. G. Setts, Printer] Nelson

page break

In Memoriam.

page break
The Late Rev. John Chapman Andrew.

The Late Rev. John Chapman Andrew.

page 4

Late J C. Andrew.

At Oxford, Andrew had distinguished himself as an oarsman, and at Rossall he built for himself a kind of canvas coracle in which he used to venture out in Morecambe Bay, in weather which even the local fishermen refused to face. While at Rossall, Andrew received the offer of a mastership at Winchester but declined it, and in 1845 returned to Oxford, where was elected a Fellow of Lincoln College. Here he was appointed lecturer in Mathematics, and a year or two later, lecturer in Greek, a very striking evidence of his ability and versatility. He afterwards became a College tutor, and among his pupils was Frank Churchill Simmons, his predecessor at Nelson College.

A man of the field, no less than of the study, Mr. Andrew was always a keen sportsman, and his love for gun and rod carried him all over England, and to many parts of the Continent. For many successive years he spent his Long Vacations in Norway and Lapland, and he used to enjoy telling how he owed his permission to fish one particularly well stocked stretch of water to his readiness in speaking colloquial Latin. Under a misconception he had begun fishing the water without leave, when its owner, a Norwegian Pastor, suddenly appeared on the opposite bank and addressed him indignantly in Norse. Mr. Andrew had not yet acquired the facility in Northern tongues which enabled him, when canvassing the Wairarapa in later years, to address the electors of a Danish settlement in their own language and triumphantly poll all their votes, so he replied pacifically in Latin, and formed a pleasant friendship which lasted many years. It is noteworthy in this connection that the document submitted to Bishop Abraham on his arrival in Wellington in 1857 by way of 'Lettters of Orders' was a permit from the Privy Council empowering the Rev. J. C. Andrew to import guns into Norway. Before he possessed this permit, he had once had his guns stopped at Christiania by Custom House officials, who however, fortunately for him and his page 5 friends, were perfect masters of tact. 'Very sorry, gentleman,' said they, 'we can't allow your guns to land. But, gentlemen, we dine at one o'clock !'

At Oxford Mr. Andrew had been preceded by his elder brother, William, who won a Fellowship at Worcester, and in later life became a Rural Dean and an Hon. Canon of Peterborough, and while he was in residence, his younger brother, James, well known in after years as Senior Physician of St. Bartholemew's, came up, and in due course distinguished himself by his classical attainments, and was elected a Fellow of Wadham. During a winter, when the frosts were more than usually severe, the brothers, James and John, skated down the Thames from Oxford to London, a feat, few men have had the chance of rivalling.

Admitted to Holy Orders in 1847, Mr. Andrew was Vicar of St. Michael's, Oxford, for some three years, but resigned his cure when the church passed out of the jurisdiction of his College into that of the bishop of the diocese, Samuel Wilberforce. In 1857 he vacated his Fellowship by his marriage with Miss Emma Fendall, for in those days married Fellows were unknown at the Universities, and came out to New Zealand where be landed at Wellington. He turned his attention to sheep farming and for some years had a run on the southern side of the Waitangi, which he managed with considerable success. Later on when the gold rush broke out, he sold his run and paid a two years visit to the Old Country, and on his return established himself, and his family at lea (J.C.A.) station, Tinui, where among other appointments he held that of Ferryman—St he discharged by deputy.

For the next few years he took a very keen interest in politics, representing the Wairarapa, first, in the Provincial Council, and later on, in the General Assembly, where he gave a qualified support to the Vogel Administration. Always a ready and incisive speaker, he made page 6 his mark in the House as a debater, and won a write reputation as a sayer of good things. Perhaps his most famous epigram was when he called the Speaker to order for referring to the death of the Sultan Abdul-Aziz 'Abdul-Aziz, Mr. Speaker, has now become Abdul-was !'

Deeply interested in all educational matters, Mr. Andrew was a member of the first Wellington Education Board, and one of the original Fellows of the New Zealand University. In 1876, on the death of the Rev. F. C. Simmons, he kindly undertook to carry on his work, and a few months later he resigned his seat in the House to accept the post of Principal, of Nelson College, a post he retained for some ten years. 1879, he married as his second wife, Miss Emily Morgan, who survives to mourn his loss. In 1885, he was elected Vice-Chancellor of the New Zealand University, an office he held until the recent reconstruction of the Senate in 1903. In 1886 his immediate connection with Nelson College came to an end, though he always took the deepest interest in the welfare of the school, and kept in close touch with many of his former pupils. Since that time he has lived for the most part on his station, taking as he had always done a deep interest in church matters (he was largely instrumental in the building of two churches), and playing a very active part in the guidance and control of the University. In 1898, he attended, in his official capacity, the Jubilee celebrations of the University of Melbourne, which coincided so hap" with the visit of H.R.H. the Duke of York, and was one of those on whom honorary degrees were conferred. In 1903, he represented the New Zealand University at Oxford on the occasion of the Tercentenary of the Bodleian, and during his visit revived, at the cost of some pain, many memories of the past. For the last year or two he remained a good deal at home as increasing deafness and the weight of years made it page 7 more difficult for him to play his usual part in social or official matters.

A man of restless mental activity, fresh and original in thought, quaint and witty in speech, very unconventional, and indifferent in an extraordinary degree to appearances, Mr. Andrew could not fail to produce a deep impression on all those who came under his charge. It is now many years since I was one of his pupils, yet I can see him, as I write, leaning against a window to catch the light upon his book (he habitually, and I believe till the end of his life, read books printed in a very fine type), his grave and intent expression suddenly relaxing as he looks up with a smile, and explains clearly and rapidly the difficulty that has for the moment arrested him; or coming into Sixth Form room half-way through first hour, pausing at the door to say with a merry twinkle in his eye, as he glances round the desks at our sudden industry, 'Quod non es simulas, dissimulasque quod es'; or, suddenly conscious of misdirected carpentry, looking up from his book to announce, 'There's a sound of cuttin', hackin', whittlin' and carvin', and—it must cease !'

My most cherished memories of his teaching connect themselves not with the classroom, but with the old study,' where it was his custom to take the two or three boys who were doing the most advanced work whatever one read with him, Virgil or Horace, Cicero or Livy, Terence or Lucretius, Plato or Sophocles, he Bays displayed the same extraordinarily minute familiarity with the text, and the same wide knowledge of the various readings that now and again occur; he always had the apt and forceful word to bring out the full meaning of a passage; the ready illustration from his Varied experience of books and men and things to elucidate a difficulty, or drive home firmly the point he happened to be labouring.

Nor did he confine himself to classics of the Golden page 8 Age. Claudian and Erasmus were two of his favourite authors, and I can well remember the chuckle amusement with which he used to repeat the semi-pagan lines—

'Per cineres Pauli, per sancta cacumina Petri,
Ne laceres versus, dux Iacobe, meos.'

In later days he often quoted half sadly from the same author,

'Æqusevumque videt consenuisse nemus,'

in allusion to the aging and decay of the wattle trees he had planted with his own hands.

The 'Colloquies' of Erasmus were always a joy to him, and he used frequently to dictate in good vigorous English some racy passage to be re rendered into Latin as an exercise in prose. Incidentally it may be said that he was a great believer in the practice Ascham recommends of translating a passage from a Greek or Latin author into English as thorough idiomatic as you could compass, and after laying aside for a few days retranslating it and comparing your version carefully with the original. If one of us as sometimes happened, made a bad 'howler' in a rendering, and a worse in attempting to recover his fling, it never failed to draw 'Incidit in Scyllam qui vuit vitare Charybdim,' a line from an obscure mediaÆval poet which Erasmus somewhere quotes. And when a boy became grandiloquent and paraphrased instead of translating—a fault he held in very special detestation—he used to cite Pitt's famous rendering of 'Sum pius Æneas.' 'The humble individual who now presents himself before you is—Æneas renowned for filial affection throughout the world.' A lecture on tautology pleonasm, redundancy, circumlocution and the other fearful wild-fowl' of the rhetoricians, would not have been half so effective as a warning.

In a word he was a stimulating teacher, and played the whet-stone to our blunter wits. Many a page 9 man who had the good fortune to be his pupil either at Nelson or in the Old Country has reason to thank him for his mental awakening.

There were certain special points in teaching which he insisted on. He was most impatient of a slow delivery, and resented fiercely a slovenly articulation, and sloppy inexactness in the use of words. He liked a boy or a man to have a first-hand knowledge of books, regarding 'books about books' with small favour. He believed in thoroughness, and held, as he once wrote to me, that 'to read too much is really an idle habit, One great evil of the present day is the notion that reading is study, and not thinking.' He attached great importance to the cultivation of the memory, and used to insist on our memorizing long passages of Virgil and Horace, or whatever author we might happen to be reading, rightly believing that a well stored memory is a possession of well nigh inestimable value. And in this respect he followed his own teaching, for to the end of his days he was always adding to his stores. Some knowledge of Greek he thought essential to a sound education, and he greatly deplored the neglect into which the study of that language has fallen in New Zealand.

But it would be a mistake to imagine that he was solely a classical scholar, and a student of language, History and philosophy had for him a very strong appeal, and he knew his Gibbon and his Locke as few men know them. Mathematics he valued highly as a means I mental training, and he was an unusually expert mathematician, arriving at the solution of difficult problems by a process which appeared to one stumbling painfully after him like intuition. In all departments of mental and physical science he was deeply interested, and he had by reading, reflection and observation tired a large amount of varied scientific knowledge, But he always declined to accept, I quote his own apt phrase, "a knowledge of the joints in a beetle's hind leg" as an evidence of mental culture.

page 10

His winning courtesy, his unassuming simplicity of manner, his unfailing kindness, his contempt for pettiness and meanness, his consideration for weakness, his pleasure in making others happy, the zest with which he threw himself into the promotion of all manly sports, were, all elements of his character which went far to form character in those who came under his influence. The sports with which he most closely identified himself at Nelson College, were boating and swimming. A good many of the boys of his time became good oarsmen, and the College owes to his initiative the founding of its annual Swimming Sports, He always gave a special prize for swimming in cloth and another for the rescue of a dummy dressed in one of his own discarded suits. History relates that on one occasion the lucky rescuer found a guinea in the dummy's breeches' pocket.

But there are other sides to his career on which stress must be laid before this notice closes. His long and intimate connection with the New Zealand University has been already adverted to, and the debt which that institution owes to his fostering care, and to the prestige which it gained from his scholarly reputation can hardly be over estimated. Some few years ago great complaints were heard of the rowdiness of the students at Capping ceremonies, and on one occasion, I believe, students were excluded from this ceremony at one of the centres, and Hamlet played without the Prince of Denmark. The last time Mr Andrew presided as Vice-Chancellor at Canterbury College, his ready tact enabled him to meet this difficulty. For addressing the students he said in his pleasant why he was sure that they had prepared songs and other things to relieve the inevitable formality of the proceedings, but he would ask them to give a patient hearing to the speakers, and keep their songs for the intervals between the speeches.

Any notice of the late Mr. Andrew's life would be page 11 inadequate indeed if it failed to lay stress on his clerical ministrations, Emphatically a 'parson' rather than a 'priest,'—I use the terms advisedly, with the connotation they have for the ordinary Englishman—Mr. Andrew was always ready to help where help was needed. A singularly able preacher, brief (he never, I think, exceeded 15 minutes), full of matter, incisive in phrase, clear in delivery, no one ever heard him preach without enjoying his sermon, and, without finding much to carry away and profit by withal. In Nelson, he frequently took services at the Hospital: at Tinui, he supplied for many years the only ministrations the settlers had, making a special point of always being at his station for Easter. Those who have seen, as I have seen, the old Court House at Tinui crowded to the very doors with a congregation, mostly of men, and heard the hearty reverence of the service will not readily forget their privilege.

Wise, witty, courteous, kind, sometimes a little brusque in manner to conceal a tenderness, only the more real that he shrank from showing it, except to those who were 'very inward with him,' his long life full of numberless activities, and illustrated by innumerable acts of 'kindness and of love,' full of years and honour, he has at length in the evening of the day, been called to his rest.

Felicissimo Infelicia

Lepidissimo Insulsa

Haec Quantulacunque

Amicus Amico

Discipulus Magistro