The Boyhood of Rev. Samuel Robert Calthrop
Compiled by His Daughter, Edith Calthrop Bump
Syracuse, New York
[Following is an edited version of a manuscript by Edith that was donated to May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society. The information was compiled by Edith from interviews with her Dad, material he provided, and other information she found. Where appropriate, helpful, and educational, Internet links have been added by Roger Hiemstra, Church Archivist. The original material was data processed by Carolyn (Lyn) Coyle.]
Chapter One – Early Days
was born in Swineshead
The house in which I was born was built of stones taken from the old Abbey of Swineshead and on the same site. Shakespeare commemorated it in his play of “King John.” The king died in the old abbey, with his defeated army camped around it.
There was an old story told about the ruined abbey. When Cromwell was pursuing some of the king’s followers, a Sir John came with a few friends to Swineshead to escape to France by way of “The Wash.” Sir John had a fine horse of which he was very fond and he took it into the ruined cellar of the abbey. He got all the water and hay he could find and stowed it where the horse could find it. Then Sir John threw the key into the abbey well. Months later he returned and broke in the cellar door, to find the skeleton of the horse leaning against the door listening for his master. (When my father cleaned the abbey well, the old key was found at the bottom.)
was strange that when I went to
of the first things I remember was going to the
The next scene that took place and left a deep impression on me was in the great Swineshead Church. I was taken there in the pony carriage by my sisters one Sunday morning. When we entered, my sister Elizabeth led the way and found a man with a very red beard sitting in the corner of our pew near the door. When she lifted me to my hassock (thick cushion used as a seat), she politely handed him a prayer book. Soon mother and father and the rest of the family came in, having driven to church behind us in the phaeton (four wheeled carriage). When my father saw the red bearded man sitting in our pew, he seized him by the collar and pitched him into the aisle. There was actual clapping in the church. Father was church warden, and Mr. Foss, the red bearded man, had refused to pay his tithes and so my father had sold one of his cows to pay them. Mr. Foss had dared to sit in my father’s pew to insult him, but he insulted the wrong man.
The nursery at Swineshead Abbey was the place where we children lived. It was a most delightful room to us all, made so by our dearly beloved nurse, Mary Sentence. We children did not know whom we loved better, our mother or our nurse. The nursery had windows on the south side so it was very bright and sunny. On the east was a large fireplace which had a fender (rails or barriers placed in front of a fireplace) on which we could put our arms. Here Mary Sentence cooked our dinner on a skillet – a sort of gridiron with hollow arms into which the gravy ran. I remembered this skillet for a long time, for one day I put my hand on one of the arms. Mary found out I had done so and asked me if it hurt, I said it did not. She looked at it and said I had told a story, which meant a lie. It had merely touched the skin, though the scar remained for a couple of years. She never had to say that to me again.
Five of us children slept in the attic with our nurse, Mary. In the morning, when it was dark, Mary Sentence used to get up and take her tinder box, flint, and steel to light a candle. Then she started the large fire and we children would get up and dress before it. We were a very happy lot, especially when we gathered around the fire and Mary told us stories. She was gifted that way.
Next in our love was Thomas Grayson, groom and gardener. We admired his skill in mowing the lawns. His scythe cut the grass with perfect smoothness, better than a modern lawnmower. He was so kind to us. When our sister, who was our teacher, punished us for not completing our lessons, little sister Emma was apt to have to wear a fool’s cap. She would run out into the garden to have a good cry, but Thomas would tell her, “Thomas doth not see what thou hast on thy head, my dear.” Generally, the fool’s cap was our sole form of punishment.
A Miss Dando was a frequent visitor in our young days and we were very fond of her. She slept in a spare room next to the nursery. As she had to pass through our room to get to her own, often she would stop and tell us stories. She had a very fine diamond ring, an heirloom. She used to show it to us and we loved to see it glisten. One morning she left it on a long pin on her pin cushion. When she returned to her room after breakfast, the ring was gone. She at once called Ellen the house maid, and told her what had happened. Ellen said she had not seen it, but Ellen felt believed Miss Dando thought she must have taken it because she was the only one to go to Miss Dando’s room. Ellen went at once to my mother and told her what had happened.
“Mrs. Calthrop,” she said, “I am the only one who goes into Miss Dando’s room and if the ring cannot be found she will think I took it.” Poor Ellen was so overcome that she burst into tears.
Our mother called each one of us to her and questioned us very carefully as to whether we had seen the ring or seen anyone go into Miss Dando’s room. None of us knew anything about it.
“Fetch Thomas,” said mother. “If anyone can solve this mystery he can.” Thomas came and mama put the whole story before him. Thomas scratched his head and said, “Madam, I will do my best to find out who took that ring. I cannot believe that Ellen did.” He cast a shy glance at the tearful Ellen.
Thomas went out doors and sat under the big linden tree that stood near the house. He sat there for some time, thinking and puzzling out any possible way the ring might disappear. Suddenly he heard a noise in the tree above him. He raised his head and looked in the branches. There sat the pet jackdaw, a great favorite of the family. As Thomas looked he noticed that the jackdaw was playing with something in his mouth. The bird moved about and suddenly the sun shone on him and Thomas saw something glisten in his mouth. Thomas’ heart nearly stopped still. It must be the ring. Thomas did not call him but went into the kitchen and cut some pieces of raw meat and placed them under the tree, just where the bird could see them. The temptation was too great for soon the bird came down. Thomas watched him as he gazed at the meat, then he opened his mouth and soon began to eat. When the jackdaw was too busy to notice him, Thomas reached out carefully and got the ring from where the jackdaw had let it drop. Great was the rejoicing when Thomas brought the ring to my mother.
One time Miss Dando came just after making a visit to London. While there she went to the theatre one evening. During one of the interludes the manager of the theatre came forward and said, “You are going to see a genuine feat of skill, and I pledge you my honor there is no fake in it. The performer will set up an ordinary set of poker, tongs, and shovel, standing them all in a row. I only ask you to be very still.” The performer came out then and in a short time he had these all standing in a row. There was great enthusiasm for the feat among audience members. One evening there was a large company at dinner and Miss Dando told the guests about the act she had seen at the theatre. The gentlemen were very skeptical and when mama led the ladies into the drawing room after dinner, she found Miss Dando in tears because the gentlemen did not believe her. Mama thought a minute and then called Thomas. He had helped wait on the table and had heard the discussion. “Thomas,” she said, “if anyone can do this thing you can.” Thomas took poker, tongs, and shovel into the front kitchen and told the other servants to keep out. He tried and tried to make them stand on end. Finally, one stood and then another until at last he had the three standing in a row. When the gentlemen came into the drawing room, mamma, in her most stately manner, invited them to come with her into the kitchen. There to their great amazement they saw for themselves the poker, tongs, and shovel standing bravely up in a row. Thomas told them how he tried and tried the poker first, until suddenly it stood still. The tongs and shovel were a little harder but not much. Miss Dando beamed as now she was vindicated.
When I was six my sister Elizabeth came home from Mrs. Whittingam’s school in Birmingham. Sister Lizzie, as we called her, was a born teacher. She taught us by her great enthusiasm to love and admire noble characters. When we studied Greek history, we were thrilled when Leonidas and his brave three hundred died for their country’s cause. We read the Epitaph:
“Go Stranger, and tell all
She dictated to us from J. Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary, “Socrates was the most celebrated philosopher in antiquity,” and when we heard of his heroic death, we mourned. When Marcus Curtius, armed cap a pied, and riding a war horse, jumped down the gulf which opened suddenly in the Forum, which the Oracle had declared would never be closed until Rome had thrown into it the most precious thing she possessed. The people began throwing down their jewels and gold, but Curtius knew better, for gallant men who defended Rome were her most precious possession. The gulf closed over him for he had fulfilled the will of the Oracle.
Our young hearts were thrilled by such heroism. My sister’s eyes beamed as she told us those great stories. Her influence was an unforgotten throughout our lives.
One great event of our day was when tea time approached. Then we children went into the dining room to have a game of “Robbers” with papa. He would hide himself behind one of the red curtains and in a terrible voice would call,
Fee, fi, fo, fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he alive or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
The more terrible the voice, the more delighted and terrified we were. Little Emma would cry out, “B. Y. Bob” and just what that meant we never knew. He would then rush out and catch us. Those were very happy days for us children.
first great event of my life came on June 20th, 1837. I was just
eight years old. Queen
We had large gardens with two lawns, one at the front of the house which was well kept, and the other at the back and sides. My sisters had a very pretty flower garden on the western lawn, not far from the sunken fence. When there was water in it, the sunken fence was a fine place to play. There our eldest sisters, Fanny and Ellen, used to play at inn keeping. Harriet, Jennet, Emma, and I would play with our hoops as the coach. This was great fun and Fanny was allowed to gather a few currants to feed the “horses.”
The best fun of all was the cat-gallows (a jumping frame). Thomas made the ones we used first, but I soon learned the trade. They were made of two sticks with a fork at the top. These were placed in the ground and another small stick was put in the forks. If the jumper could jump over the cross piece he was given a higher one, but if the stick dropped off he had to try again. I made one for each jumper and one for myself. Jennet and Emma had one, as they jumped exactly the same height. Jennet ran with a very solemn and determined rush, but Emma skipped along in a gay manner.
About this time Carrie was given to me. She was a King Charles spaniel and was one of the great loves of my life. She was a wonderful dog. When I took her with me, no one thought of taking her away because she would not leave me. When I came home from school in the summer time, my father, mother, and the whole family would come out on the lawn to see how Carrie acted. She would begin to run around the party, the second round being shorter, and press the whole family into a smaller space. After four or five rounds we would be crowded together. Then she would give a rush for me, jumping and kissing me with wild delight. It made no difference how far away she was, she would always find me. Once I could not find her. I called and whistled for her but she would not come. I searched the whole garden until I came to the third lawn. There she was with her nose to the ground. When I called she would not come and I was angry with her for the first time in my life. As I came nearer to her I saw that her nose was close to something. It was my purse which I had dropped. It had three shillings and six pence in it. Imagine my delight to find her so true to me.
Soon I was ready to go away to a school and my Uncle Sam, who had the fine old Calthrops’ ancestral home at Gosburton, also took care of the farm that belonged to St. Paul’s School in London. The school was in the hands of the Mercer Company, guardian of the wealth of the great Dean Colet, who founded the school in the reign of Henry the Eighth. Uncle Sam, being an admirable tenant, put in a good word for me and I was accepted into St. Paul’s School.
Chapter Two – St. Paul’s School
The great day came, the first of October, when my father and I got up at four in the morning, had our breakfast, and were driven in the phaeton by Thomas to Sutterton. Here we waited until the big coach Perseverance came along and we were on our way to London, one hundred and ten miles away. Boy-like, I got a great thrill riding in the coach. We traveled through many hamlets where it seemed as though every one was at their door to see us pass. When we stopped to change horses, the shouts and calls to the driver and others caused much comment among the people on the coach. It was a great event for a small boy of nine, especially when we stopped at Biggleswade and had an excellent dinner.
shall I forget the feeling as I looked down on the lights of
After breakfast the next morning, father took me to the great cathedral and we stood under the dome, which is immense. We went into the Whispering Gallery and father whispered to me from the other side of that great dome and I heard every word. It was a wonderful thing to this small boy. Then we went to the Zoological Gardens and I saw the bears, monkeys, and elephants. The keeper of the elephants put me on the neck of one of them and I rode around for a long time. His neck was as broad as my pony’s back. It was another great thrill.
the afternoon we went to see the Rev. Charles Colby Robert’s, one of the
Masters, where I was going to board. He was a
I said goodbye to my father, and soon was settled as a real school boy. That night I was put in the attic in a large room with four other small boys. When we were going to bed, the boy next to me said, “The beds are very narrow so your bed might turn over if you did not lie in the middle.” Being very tired from all my new experiences I soon fell asleep. Suddenly I was awakened and found myself on the floor. The boy, who had kindly warned me, helped me lift up my bed and put on the mattress and the bed clothes. I fell asleep again and once more found myself on the floor. The kind boy helped me again and, as we were lifting up the bed, I heard voices in the passageway saying, “He bears it so well we won’t do it again.” So at last I understood.
I soon found all the boys in my room were very nice and we had great times playing together, especially when it rained and we played marbles.
The long anticipated week before Christmas came and I went home with one of my sisters who was in school near London. Oh! What a happy time it was. Although I had enjoyed my school very much, the joy of being home was very great. My recollections of that Christmas day and all the preparations are very vivid. First it began with breakfast. Such a meal! On the sideboard was a great spiced beef and on the table pork pies and sausages. Those pork pies were works of art and we children were sometimes allowed to have a hand in the making of them. A round tower of crust with a firm base was slowly built under skilled fingers. Then pieces of pork, chopped large, were poured in and finally the whole edifice crowned with a crust and put in the oven to bake, just as a loaf of bread. As for those sausages, the making of them is a lost art.
After breakfast came the Christmas presents, all spread out on the dining room table. Every Christmas our good and saintly vicar (alas living near London for his health) used to send every member of the family a present – a book, box of fruit, and the finest raisins and prunes. So we christened his present, “Plums, Prunes, and Tracts.”
Then we went to church, the grand old village church that seated two thousand people. It was a great sight, with the church filled with people. The monks of Swineshead Abbey had built this grand old parish church, a splendid specimen of the Early English architecture. To the font in this church I was taken as a tiny baby. There my father and mother consecrated me to God in baptism. The church was about a mile away. It was quite a procession that sallied forth from our home, including father, mother, twelve children, and two or more visitors. Some of them walked, but most went in the big phaeton and pony cart.
After church we hurried home to Christmas dinner. Such a dinner! On the table was a great joint of beef, which had been cooked on a spit before the fire; and there were turkeys, chickens, and many other items. After all these things had been well tasted, we were served the plum pudding which had taken days to prepare. The brandy around it was solemnly lighted and became a veritable Christmas family altar. The “ohs” and “ahs” from us children showed our appreciation.
After dessert our dear mother danced a minuet for us, the one day in the year she danced, for her piety was very strict. She had learned this stately dance in the days of her youth. We children were very much awed by its grandeur. Then we children, thirteen of us, stood in a row from the oldest to the youngest, the baby being held in the arms of the nurse. We stood in order of height, my two big brothers at the top and dwindling down like a succession of Pan’s pipes. As the years went by, I slowly ascended toward the top, until I stood third. This ceremony my father never forgot and he would stand and rub his hands with delight.
Not long after dinner we were informed that the bell-ringers had come. Our church had a grand peal of bells and it was a great moment when they pealed out merrily over the country side on Christmas morning. It was the custom of the ringers of the church bells to come around every Christmas evening and ring their bells at our house. We all went into the front kitchen and there we saw four solemn and speechless men with eight bells on a long table spread with a soft cloth. After a rustic obeisance to us they nodded to each other and the ringing began. It was all very quaint and simple. It was odd to see how deftly those awkward hands moved and how noiselessly they put the bells on the table. The harmonies were so sweet and sure.
In those days we had no organ in the church. The choir consisted of brass, string, and wood instruments. My childish delight was the bassoon and the big bass viol. With the bell ringers and the choir, a good deal of music took place in our village. Christmas music was an event for the choir and when the organ took its place, the men in the band felt very blue and some actually shed tears. When the next Christmas came around and their occupation was taken away, the pride of their rustic hearts was gone.
climax of Christmas Day came when we children were allowed to sit up and see
the Morice Dancers. (How old this dance was no one knows.) The name Morice –
Moorish – probably came from
What a dance it was with Robin Hood and Maid Marian and, gradually, all the men of the Green Wood. First, half a dozen masked figures with drawn swords appeared. Our childish impressions deepened and deepened as they danced their mystic dance. One would fall down, apparently slain, then five others placed their swords’ points on the center of his breast and solemnly danced around his prostrate form repeating some mystic words in a monotonous refrain. It sounded like a vow they were repeating, an oath to avenge his death, or a sung dirge, or a solemn song of incantation to revive his lifeless body.
We had very happy times while I was home, and I was obliged to stay at home several weeks because I had whooping cough. One day a remarkable letter came to me with a coin in it. Papa, mamma, and the others felt the coin and debated whether to keep the letter or not because the postage was a shilling and the one receiving it had to pay the postage. It was finally opened and there was a coin dedicated to me.
When I got back to school all was changed for the worse. A small boy – a brother to that wonderful creature, the captain of the school – had been put in our room. He was the biggest bully I ever knew. I found that the other four were perfectly cowed by him and he bullied them night and day. He immediately zeroed in on me and one morning, while saying my prayers at the foot of my bed, he took my hairbrush and spanked me as hard as he could. I stood it, not because I was a Christian but because I was a coward.
At last, having no more worlds to conquer in our room, he picked out a boy who was about two years older than he. He was reading in the sitting room on the ground floor. I liked this boy. He could draw such fine skeletons, trees, and houses on his slate, and was such a fine fellow to go walking with. That big boy stood the bullying in silence. But soon I saw two tears drop from his eyes; that was too much for me. Something immense came up in my chest and I felt like a lion. I began to spank the bully’s face as hard as I could; I spanked him again and again. He was an arrant coward. He ran upstairs and wrote a letter to his father and mother to take him home. He vanished and peace fell on our room once more. It was like Heaven.
I must now speak of my master, the Reverend Mr. Cooper. As I entered the last boy in school, I had work to make up. Mr. Cooper was an admirable teacher and heard me alone. Fortunately, my sister Lizzie had taught me to work steadily when there was work to be done, so I progressed rapidly under Mr. Cooper’s direction. At last I was allowed to join my class and I moved up several places before the assessment of our status, which took place in the summer time just before the holidays.
I was in the Second Class and had several fine classmates, the strongest and biggest of them being Jack Robinson. He was brave and kindly but no scholar. He also had a brand new Roger and Company’s four bladed knife which we all admired.
For sometime Mr. Cooper did not allow anyone to pass by the older boys. Soon I reached the seventh place in the class; mistakes then made by the three older boys in front of me, including Jack Robinson, were so bad that Mr. Cooper passed a question down to me. I answered it and went up to fourth place. After school Jack Robinson came to me and said, “Oh, Calthrop, my father and mother will never forgive me if I do not get passed on up to the next class. If I give you my four bladed knife will you let me pass you by?” This was my first temptation. I knew it was wrong so I refused.
When the first three boys were moved to the Third Class, Mr. Cooper called me up to him and said, “Calthrop, it is very unusual to move a boy up when he has been in the class only three months, but there are two or three in the Third Class who are of the same age as you. I think you ought to have a chance to become captain of the school, which you could not be if I kept you here.” So I was moved up to the Third Class. It was very kind and noble of him to do this.
Mr. Bean was an entirely different kind of man. He was a bachelor and wore silk stockings with silver buckles on his shoes and a black coat buttoned to the collar. He came to school twisting his keys around his thumb. Before I could get used to Sel Prof – which meant Seletae e Profanis Scriptoribus Historie – a terrible accident happened to me. Someone above me threw a dart made of paper that landed on old Bean’s desk. He called me up to him. “Calthrop, did you throw that dart?” “No, sir.” “That is a lie,” he said. Immediately he spanked be and put in the lowest form within the Third class. That winter had been a cold one, so my mother had Mr. Pape make me a pair of trousers so thick that you might call them a cast iron pair of breeches. Old Bean, thrash as he might, could not make me feel anything. He did cause be despair, though, by placing me at the bottom of a class of 24.
Fortunately for me, the examinations were near. It would be strange for the bottom boy to answer the hardest questions. The examiners were entirely independent of all the masters and were selected from the highest class. The two at this time were Lonsdale (who later became Bishop Lonsdale) and Dean Butler. I reached the twelfth place by examination, so old Bean had to let me move up. Old Bean never apologized to me, but plainly he felt he had wronged me because I became his favorite pupil. One day he astonished the class by saying, “Boys, I am never going to cane again.” For years he caned his fill, but after that he never did. He still set great impositions; he gave my cousin, Arthur Bonner, the whole Italian grammar – a book of three hundred pages – to write in full before he could go home for the holidays. By the end of the school year I had reached first in the Fourth class.
The summer vacation came in July. My home coming was a happy one. Father bought me a cricket bat, ball, and wickets. No one could have felt prouder than I when my brothers bowled at me and found I had a good defense. We still continued our practice in jumping, both with cat gallows and with standing jumps.
While I was home I was eager to be allowed to climb the great hay and straw stacks. We had a very large corn harvest that summer and I wanted to go up the stacks and help. The harvesters were building by far the largest stack I had ever seen. Two experts in building worked in concert, one on each side of the stack making it swell equally on each side. The other men furnished them with the best sheaves, while the experts filled up the center with ordinary sheaves.
One morning I came out and saw that the heavy ladder was actually standing straight up, without leaning inward at all. I shouted to the men that I did not dare come up. They did not realize how they were pushing the ladder out with every sheaf, and they did not think a small boy could be right and they wrong, so they shouted, “It’s all right. Come up.” I did as I was bid and climbed to the top of the ladder. Suddenly I felt the ladder was beginning to fall backwards. Instantly I shifted my weight to the other side of the ladder and jumped for my life. The very weight of the ladder helped me. I caught at a sheaf and held it. The ladder fell to the ground with a terrible crash. The men heard it and rushed to the edge of the stack to see what had happened. They found no boy at the end of the ladder for I had caught the sheaf and was holding on for my life depended on it. One of the men, Millhouse by name, threw himself on his face at the edge of the stack while the other men held onto his feet. Being very strong he lifted me up and the others caught me. To this day I thank God for my escape. If I had waited a tenth of a second before I leaped I would have been killed.
One of our great summer pleasures was being driven to our uncle’s house in Moulton Marsh. The carriage had to go through the shallow waters of “The Wash” – the very ford (shallow water crossing) King John and his barons had to cross, where he lost all his baggage and retired heartbroken and dying to Swineshead Abbey, whose ruined stones were used to build the house where I was born.
Chapter Three – Back at St. Paul’s
I entered the Fifth Class in 1841. The Reverend Charles Colby was Master of both the Fifth and Sixth Classes. It was a great relief to study under a fair minded and conscientious teacher. I soon became familiar with Virgil’s Aeneid and the history of my beloved Herodotus. In 1842 I received the prize for being head of the Fifth Class, Heyne’s Virgil in four volumes. The following year, I received Herodotus in two volumes. By this time I almost knew Herodotus by heart.
I was just thirteen years old when I entered the Seventh Class. At this level, students stayed in a class for two years. I soon became head of the class.
When I was fourteen I had a very unpleasant experience. A boy named Earle came into the class. He was dirty in appearance and for that reason the others did not like him. I did not share this feeling and encouraged the other boys to think better of him. One day he sent a message to me at the Top Form where I was sitting reading. “Tell Calthrop I will fight him after school.” Words cannot tell what terror came into my mind. He was eighteen and I was four years younger. I said nothing, but those two hours were hours of perfect misery.
Soon it was noised about that we were to fight. As boys of the Seventh Form seldom fought, boys of the Eighth Form came into the room to take charge of the fight. We were to fight in the hat room, the walls of which were made of iron and painted a dull color.
When all was ready my terror seemed to disappear. The terror in me was not being scared of Earle, it was the infinite or rather the indefinite terror of the unknown. At first I was vexed with the awkwardness of my arms. They did not seem to obey my will, but when I warmed to the fight they began to find their way to Earle’s face and to hit more and more vigorously. Soon he realized he was being beaten and he turned deliberately to the iron wall and with out-stretched thumb drove it into the wall and broke the joint. Then he turned around and apologized for stopping, saying his thumb was broken. This was the oddest end to a fight I ever heard of and though he deserved to be kicked I could not do it.
I was nearly fifteen and a half years old when I walked up the iron stairway that lead to the great school room. I saw three or four boys pulling themselves up by their hands. One boy pulled himself up and back seven times running. I waited until they had gone and then I tried to lift myself up, but found I could not do it even once. This startled me and I determined to become stronger. Day after day I practiced on the bars until I was able to lift myself twenty-two times. When I had spare time I also took an iron poker and work it with my fingers from the bottom to the top, then down again and up again. This made my wrists like iron. Then I would hold the poker out for five minutes at a time in one hand and five minutes in the other. The older boys began to call me “The Muscle Man.” There was a young man named Pritchard who was very strong because he used to go out and row every day on the Thames. In the past he had taken me by two hands and bent me to the floor in fun. One day he met me at the top of the stairs going out of school. (He was eighteen and I was fifteen.) He had not tried to put me down in some time. Close by me was a chap named Pitman. “Calthrop,” he said, “let him see how he likes it.” The mighty Pritchard had to kneel and a more astonished fellow you never saw for he was sure he could make me kneel. So my constant work with the poker had paid off.
Later, when I went home for my vacation, my two brothers were waiting for me in the dining room. “Sam, my boy,” said Richard, “you have grown a bit. (I had grown four inches in half a year.) I must put you down.” So he put his two hands in double grasp, as he had always done. “Dick,” said Everard, “the boy will put you down.” “Never!” said big brother Richard, but Richard had to kneel.
Perhaps one of the things that pleased me most of all was that now I could go into the fields and pitch the sheaves with the men. I could also go with the men in the wagon to the stack-yard and help them build the stacks.
Chapter Four – Games and Sports
last two years of my life at
my last years at school I took a great interest in sports, especially cricket.
We had many fine games with other schools. The game of Rugby still remains in
my mind. We had become so skilled that we challenged other schools to play with
us. We played them at Copenhagen Field. In one match I made the longest hit of
my youth and shall always remember that game. We also had some good games with
It was at school that I began to play chess with my friend Brian. We studied openings and by so doing we played ourselves into first class form without knowing it. I became so interested that I used to go to some of the places where some England’s best players used to congregate. It must have seemed strange to see a boy of sixteen playing with some of the best in England.
While I was at school my cousin, Gordon Calthrop, who had taken his degree and was a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, and whose family lived in London, came and played with me from time to time. It was he who told his friends about my chess skills, for when I went to Trinity in 1845, a student came to my room and told me there was to be an extra meeting of the Trinity Chess Club that night at Vansittart’s rooms. Vansittart had been a senior classic but was now a fellow of the college. Francis, a London barrister, also was to play that night and Vansittart was no match for him. “Now, Calthrop,” he said, “we will elect you to play tonight. You are our last hope.”
At eight that evening I entered Vansittart’s rooms and found about thirty men present. I soon found Francis, who was playing with a very slow player so I played with someone else. Then the game of the evening began. The members gathered around to see us play. It was not long before I found that Francis was a first class player. He soon thought he had the best of the game, when I sacrificed two castles and mated him. He jumped from his chair and said, “That was the prettiest mate I ever saw.”
was now supper time and we went into the dining room. If I had been invited to
a banquet at
Cambridge was renowned for its plate, some of it having come down from the university’s early days. I had a splendid opportunity of meeting some very fine young men there, many of whom made a name for themselves in the world.
I had been in
the first gun each eight-oar leaves the shore and gets ready in mid-stream with
the coxswain holding tight a long line. Each coxswain having a line the same
length. At the second gun the oarsmen stretch forward and at the third gun they
are off, the coxswain letting go his line. Pandemonium reigns. (I remember how
surprised we were to read in one of Kingsley’s works, that people were shocked
at the profanity of the cries, not knowing they were the names of the
colleges.) To a stranger it must have sounded queer. “Go, Trinity!” “Pull,
Christ!” “Look out Emanuel or Jesus will bump you!” Such were the calls you
would hear all down the Cam. I well remember the excitement one day when Second
Trinity was headed up the river, with a fellow student named Waddington at
stroke. He also stroked the Varsity eight and so wore on his head a light blue
was afterwards the French Ambassador to England as he was half English and
half French.) Third Trinity was second, and being composed of
In essence, my life at Cambridge was full of very interesting events but my last year there changed the whole current of my life, ending in a great crisis.
Chapter Five – The Crisis in My Life and My Little Church
During the last year of my university life, when I was twenty-two, I went through a searching religious experience. All my life it had been my ambition to be a clergyman in the Church of England. I felt it my destiny. I had never known any other church, had been baptized in it, brought up in it, and confirmed in it. The good bishop who had confirmed me prayed, “Defend, O Lord, these servants with thy heavenly grace and make them thine forever.” It was a noble prayer.
About this time I had to attend the lectures of the Professor of Divinity and study the creeds. The Athanasian Creed was the stumbling block. It was not the work of Athanasius but was written by an unknown monk four hundred years after his death. Nevertheless, it was the creed of the Church of England. I felt reluctant to attend this professor’s lectures. The climax came when he said this about Athanasian Creed: “Gentlemen, this is the Church of England’s creed and it is my duty to tell you that, if you do not believe this, you should not as gentlemen enter the church’s ministry.” This was enough for me, and I gave up the thought of being a minister in my mother church.
I had been in college five years, but refused to graduate because no degree was given by the university authorities unless the recipient signed the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. I left college without a degree; I could not acknowledge that I believed what my reason would not accept.
I then experienced a great darkness and depression and prayer was impossible. I declared to my friends I would not bow to such a God. I would denounce Him before the judgment throne itself, if necessary. Friends tried to influence me by talking to me. One said, “But don’t you know that God could strike you dead?” “Yes,” I replied, “anyone can gag me.”
It was not sense of my own sin that lead me to this decision; it was a deep sense of the exceeding sinfulness of a bad God. My revolt was much more a revolt of the heart from heartless doctrines than a revolt of the head from erroneous opinions. My whole soul rose in protest against this. At last I said, “If God is good, I will worship, serve Him, love Him; but if He is bad I will absolutely refuse to bow the knee.” Then a deep peace and joy fell upon me.
Saint Paul sent his loving greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, his fellow workers in Christ Jesus, and the church in his house. A church in a house! But a house is a very poor one which is not in some sense a church, a place where the great sanctities of truth and right and love are known, honored, and worshipped. My little church was smaller yet. It contained only one person – me.
one around me could sympathize with me. They were actually afraid of me, or
rather the great Idea that was in me. The message was in my heart and had to be
uttered. One night I went to hear a Mr. Cosgrove, a converted soldier, who was
speaking in the Methodist chapel at Sandown,
awful disappointment of my parents and friends was very great. What should I
do? I made up my mind that I wanted to go to
I first went to Deeping Fen in Lincolnshire to see my brother, Everard. He met me at the train with our cousin, Arthur Bonner, who was studying at Oxford just what I had been studying at Cambridge. We had hardly gotten into the dog cart to be driven to my brother’s home when they began. “Sam dear,” Everard said, “Arthur and I feel sure that we can persuade you not to give up all your prospects in England to go to America.” “Supposing we wait until after dinner before we talk about it,” I said, and they agreed. We started right after dinner and talked until . Then my brother went to bed quite unconvinced, while Arthur and I, who shared the same room, sat on the edge of the bed and talked until the wee hours of the morning. Finally Arthur spoke, “Sam dear, I now promise you in the presence of God, I will never preach anything but the infinite goodness of God.” My little church now had three members.
Next I went to my cousin William of Withern. He was a very able physician, later saving brother Everard’s life when the other doctors had given him up. William was very glad to see me and to my surprise he heard me as though I had been a prophet. He poured out his soul to me, “Sam, I have heard damnation preached in all the churches until I gave up going at all. It made me feel like an infidel. Now I rejoice as you do and I thank you with all my heart.” It was a great moment in my life and now my church had four members.
soon set sail in the ship “Southhampton” bound for America. She was one of
those wonderful sailing ships, the glory of the
day he said to me, “I greatly wish you would come down to our cabin and see my
wife. She is a daughter of a D.D. in the
Chapter Six – The United States
after I reached the
day I started for Southold. It was about a hundred miles from
The church leaders in Southhold asked me to preach again the next Sunday and then they asked me to stay. I said I would if they would pay for my board which was three dollars a week. To this they agreed, but twenty years afterwards I received a request to pay that bill which had never been paid. That was the cheapest preaching I ever did.
After I had preached in Southold three months I realized that I knew far too little of the American character to preach to them. Now the great task of studying that unique character was before me.
I came to
It was during this visit to America, too, that I went to West Point and saw the then Colonel Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant Alexander, Major Garnett, and others. I had been told by a friend in England to be sure and go to West Point and see the Academy and the wonderful view. I put up at a hotel that faced the north and commanded a marvelous view of the river, Storm King, Crow’s Nest, and Newburgh in the distance. The hotel was crowded with officers and their wives. Captain Peck, later General Peck, was there and I asked him if anyone played Chess. He replied, “Oh, yes, we have the best chess player in the United States here, Professor Agnel. In fact he has written a book on chess.” Then I said to him, and it might have sounded cheeky but I did not mean it so, “Tell him I am here and would like to play with him.” Although I was only twenty-one the chess magazine had spoken of me.
He called and we had a delightful time. He was pleased, isolated as he was in such things, to find a foe worthy of him. We struck up quite a friendship. Later I visited in his tent and played with him. I soon got acquainted with all the officers and they began to call me affectionately “The Englishman,” for I was the first university man they had met.
I looked out on that beautiful river, I commented that there was no eight-oar
on the water. “At Cambridge,” I said, “the water is a dirty ditch but any day
one can see as many as thirty eight-oars contending.” I suggested to Lieutenant
Alexander, who later became General Alexander and defended Washington, that we
go boating, which we did with a fisherman. That was the first pleasure-pull
ever taken at
was the first time that I had a glimpse of Colonel Robert E. Lee. He was a
splendid fellow, most gentlemanly and a soldier every inch. I was interested to
see the deep respect the officers and cadets had for him. It was strange that
this man commanding
Colonel Lee said he would be greatly obliged to me if I would teach the officers how to play cricket, so we went to the library. I remember distinctly the words used by Lieutenant Alexander in asking for the cricket things. He said, “Can you tell me, Sir, where the instruments and apparatus are for playing cricket?” The librarian knew nothing about them and so our project came to naught.
of the interesting things to look back upon is the fact that in talking to
those men, they all told me there was no promotion in the
With regard to Robert E. Lee it is interesting to note that in 1854, when I visited Harvard for the first time at the request of the crew, I went to Fort Warren and back with them and Fitzhugh Lee, Robert E. Lee’s son, was the stroke for the crew.
I went to Southhold, I called on Mr. Pell at his place of business. He was very
glad to see me again and invited me to go home with him. He was now living at
dinner that evening no less a person than General Scott, head of the
About this time William Thackery came to this country and was entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Pell, the latter a very charming woman. He told us he was going to lecture on the “Four Georges.” He gave Mrs. Pell a pen and ink drawing which he sketched while at the table. It was a scene from “The Tattler.” His lecture on George the First was very interesting and his fine voice was full of power and his wit was delightful.
this time my brother-in-law, Thomas Webster, came from
When I returned to Southold Mr. Pell wrote me a very fine letter saying he would be delighted to have me come and teach his son Robert who was in Columbia, but was not very strong and he feared he could not get through college: “The schools are all provided with teachers for this year, but you will have an opportunity to see for yourself how teachers with your training are needed.”
gave up my parish at Southold and came to
found a boarding place with an Irish family, a man and his wife, who had come
day when I was stopping for dinner at Mr. Pell’s, Mrs. Pell said to me, “I saw
Mr. Heckster today. He is a coal merchant, and his son is at Mr. Such’s school
Chapter Seven – Boy Region
at last I found myself at
of the boys were still at school. One young man, a Mr. Forbes, the son of the
well known Mr. Forbes, was preparing for the sophomore class at Harvard. Two
others were preparing to enter their father’s vast business in
house faced the
There was a good playground behind the house and at the north was a large barn where some of the boys kept chickens. The older boys rode for exercise and were able to get fine horses in the town as there were many good stables.
When I began at the school in early summer, I needed a new pair of trousers. My purse was reduced to a two and a half dollar gold piece so purchasing something was a dilemma. My trunk was full of the splendid prize books I had won at school. I could certainly sell one or two of those; the Russian leather prizes, Cramer’s “Asia Minor,” for instance. So I began selling them. In addition, within a week I had fifteen hundred dollars in my pocket as payment on each boy’s entrance, as was the rule.
I started with fifteen boys. The tuition for each was four hundred a year and twenty dollars more a year for French and music. Here I was to learn the character of Americans. For me this was absolutely essential.
Miss Housely informed me that all the clothes were washed in the house. Kate, the laundress, was admirable and was paid eight dollars a month; Mary the chambermaid, six dollars, and the cook who was very good, got I know not what.
The house was well arranged for a school. Two prettily furnished bedrooms were set aside for mothers or fathers of the boys who wished to visit the school and see the workings of it and what the boys were being taught.
The bedrooms for the boys were neat and clean and each bed had a good horsehair mattress. One room downstairs was the school room, and the drawing room was very comfortable with an open wood fireplace. In the front of the house was a nice veranda looking out on the water.
Each day I said prayers before breakfast and supper and on Sunday had a short service in the afternoon. When the service was over, I asked the boys to come in, one at a time, and had each read a single verse from the bible, usually from the Psalms or the New Testament. The boys had a reverence for the bible and this helped me. Sometimes I felt dull in mind when I began to talk to a boy, but soon beautiful words of the Eternal Father began to speak through me to His child. This was my great harvest time.
The school had been accustomed to the Episcopal Church, so every Sunday morning I used to take all of my pupils there. It was a very pleasant walk through shaded streets and the service was well conducted.
I had been about two years in
business man in New York had a boy in the school. He heard that I was coming to
New York to meet my sisters and wrote me to say that he and his family were
going south, but his suite of rooms at the Brevoort House
would be vacant. He invited me to bring my sisters there. Everything was paid
for already and he hoped everything would be done to make them comfortable. The
Brevoort House was one of the best hotels in
I met them at the dock and took them to the hotel at once and they were surprised by the elegance of their private rooms, the kindness of my good friends, and the arrangements that had been made for our comfort. They, of course, were weary from the voyage sea and the good rest made them feel like themselves. The hotel owner came and hoped we would not hesitate to ask for anything we wanted, as my friend had especially asked him to do everything in his power to make us feel perfectly at home.
was bitterly cold and very wintry in
They had been to Bridgeport about a year when Ellen opened her heart to me. “Before I left England,” she said, “dear mother took me and we went over text after text in the Bible, Old and New Testaments, showing how wrong you are in your theology, so I came here eager to show you. I thought you would begin the first day, but you said nothing at all. Then I heard your little talks and sermons to the boys and you never mentioned such things at all. Your talks to friends made a deep impression on me. After six months your ideas were in my heart and head and I felt they were my own.” So my little church kept on growing.
Chapter Eight – Physical Training
visiting Mr. Pell in
was not long after I began to teach that one of the most interesting boys came
to me after the summer vacation and told me his story. “Before I came to you, I
was at a school where a great revivalist, by invitation of the head master,
came to preach to the pupils for six weeks. The boys were intensely excited and
all were converted. When the revivalist had gone, a boy brought a vile book
that was full of indecent pictures. Then all the boys began self-abuse. When I
came to your school, the games you played with us took away from me all sexual
desire. During mid-summer holidays I went with my parents to a hotel just
outside the grounds of
I put a bath in his room and filled it with cold water and said, “The moment you feel any temptation, sit down in the cold water till the desire leaves you. Dry yourself and get back in bed, but promise me solemnly to come to me if you fail.” It was not long before he conquered.
was later that I heard Rainsford of St. John’s College,
I began to teach, I was surprised how little the boys knew about play. Almost
the only game they knew was marbles in a round ring and they only drizzled on
the ground; whereas, when I was a boy we plumped and always had to hit the
marble we aimed at before it hit the ground at all. I at once began to teach
them cricket and hockey. I also bought a fine, safe boat which was built after
the model I gave to the
We played at hockey both winter and summer; in winter we played right through the snow. At , the moment that the morning school was over, the cry “hogseye” was called and we rushed out. We soon began to play very well indeed. We played against the young men preparing for college who were in the house of my kind friend Mr. Jones, a Yale man. They were twice as big as our boys, but our boys took the ball right through them all the same.
Soon, Thanksgiving Day began to be the special day when our own old boys came to play hockey, but we kept improving so fast that the “old boys” were always beaten.
I started teaching them cricket on our own ground, but they improved so fast that I made a fine ground on the common about half a mile away. One Sunday afternoon I gave them a little sermon on “Cricket Religion.” I said that the boy who played well should always teach newcomers how to play so they, too, could soon enjoy the game.
One Monday afternoon we walked to the common where a good game was to be played. As I passed along the road, I saw little Frank Van Buren had stopped behind so that he could teach two boys who had just come to the school. Frank was small in size but he was one of our best players and also knew cricket religion.
Some years later I was traveling from Boston to Syracuse when a gentleman caught my attention and said, “Don’t you remember me? I am Walter Cutting, one of your boys. I have a factory in Pittsfield and I am going there with my wife and daughter. I was in the Civil War and went into the Cavalry. When we used to sit around the camp fire at night we talked about the schools we had attended and the stories were pretty hard tales. When I told them about your school they would not believe me. I know there never was a boarding school in the world of twenty boys where the boys were so innocent as we. There were only two grave offenses at school, smoking and drinking. The colored man who used to work at the parties we had at home came to Bridgeport and set up a saloon there. You allowed us to go there now and then to have oyster stew. One day we took some claret with our oysters. You should have seen us going home; you never saw a more hanged-dog lot of boys than we were. We found out that you knew and we were glad of it. But somehow you always knew.”
Walter Cutting was a born actor. He and four or five other boys made a little theatre up in the attic at the school, and we had some wonderful acting in that attic. They gave “Slasher and Crasher,” “Box and Cox” and many other plays.
Some years later – in 1915 – Mrs. Van Buren White came to see us. She was the only female pupil we had, but her three brothers were in the school and her father, Colonel Van Buren, begged me to take his daughter. She told my daughters that it was the most ideal school she had ever seen or heard of. We studied hard, played hard, and in every way did our work the best we knew how. A very happy lot of boys and girls!
Chapter Nine – Athletics
It was in the spring of 1854, carrying a letter of introduction from my friend Dr. Osgood to President Walker, that I stepped into the Harvard College yard close to the park. There I saw several stalwart looking fellows playing with a ball about the size of a small bowling ball, which they aimed at a couple of low sticks surmounted by a long stick. They called it a wicket. It was the ancient game of cricket and they were playing it as it was played in the reign of Charles the First. The bat was a heavy oak thing and they trundled the ball along the ground, the ball being so large it could not get under the sticks.
They politely invited me to take the bat. Any cricketer could have stayed there all day and not been bowled out. After I had played awhile I said, “You must play the modern game cricket.” I had a ball and they made six stumps. Then we went to Delta, the field where the Harvard Memorial Hall now stands. We played and they took to cricket like a duck to water. One of the best players was Alexander Agassiz, son of Professor Agassiz, the great naturalist, who soon became a fine bowler. I think that was the first game of cricket at Harvard.
my pleasant experience with cricket, I called on President Walker and presented
my letter of introduction. I found him a strong man, most cordial and
courteous. Learning I was a
I said, “all
“We did not believe the accounts we read of these things,” said Dr. Walker, “but they sent all the papers of the six-day examinations in classics and copies of the answers of the students. Now we believe it, but we want to know how such attainments are possible to a young man of twenty two.”
“First,” I said, “the classical drills of the great public schools in England are remarkably careful and thorough. At college the lectures are of the first class, but the most wonderful agent for developing attainments of the first class is the system of private tutoring. For instance, the junior Fellows of Trinity and the young graduates who are trying for fellowships take private pupils. Barry, the son of the architect of the Parliament buildings, had just taken a very high degree and had won a fellowship. For three days each week I was a half pupil. I read to him classical authors and on the fourth day I sat down and wrote an examination, probably selected from one of the papers from the classic tripos. I had exactly three hours to write – the same time allotted for the final examinations. Some of the passages were selected from the truly classical authors. There were no limitations for we were expected to be familiar with the Latin and Greek languages. Fresh from school I thought I could make pretty good translations. This was fairly true, but here and there when Barry reviewed them with me I found heavy pencil marks under what I had written. ‘Hello, Calthrop, here’s a screamer,’ was his usual remark. To this thorough drill in accuracy I am deeply indebted to Barry, and to this day consider it far the surest and quickest way to get knowledge.”
“Your valedictorian, Dr. Walker,” I said, “is a man who has been to every recitation, has prepared his lessons with greatest care, and has never cut chapel. But is this proof that he has mastered the Greek and Latin languages?”
All this Dr. Walker took in the kindest manner from the lips of a young fellow of twenty four, and then he said in his sonorous voice, “Would you like to be introduced, Mr. Calthrop, to some of the young men?”
“Doctor,” I said, “I bring a cricket ball in my trunk, a capacity to pull an oar with my hands, an ability to play chess in my head, and, if that is not enough to introduce me to the young men, I do not know what will.”
My prophesy to Dr. Walker proved correct. Before I had been at Harvard a fortnight every student knew me. We formed the chess club with some very promising members. Among the prominent ones was my friend, Joseph Willard, who afterward became the clerk of the Court of Boston and was a truly great scholar.
of my friends rowed in the boats and they invited me to go to
our trip Fitzhugh Lee asked me what I thought of the crew and its’ stroke. “The
stroke, “I said, “is the good old, long slow
soon purchased, at my suggestion, the boat I had seen advertised for sale. It
was an outrigger in which the water men of St. John’s had beaten the water men
About this time the Linonian Society of Yale invited me to give them a lecture on the “Athletics of English Universities.” I began by describing the scene on the River Cam which I have already given. I told them how grave doubts were expressed by some educators if boating was introduced into the colleges of this country. I told them there were hundreds of men at Cambridge whose studies would amount to very little and be almost unbearable if it were not for the athletics. There is a moral discipline in the boats that keeps hundreds of young men straight. The captain sees to it that no man of his crew drinks more than one glass of sherry or one tumbler of beer a day. He also sees that every man is in bed at . No college authority can possibly do what the young men can do for themselves.
The next day the Commodore of the Yale navy took me to see their boats. The first boat I saw was a four-oar hung up. “That is the boat that poor Dunham was drowned in,” the commodore said sadly. “I do not wonder,” I said, “for the boat has no floor.” It was just like a wedge and would take skilled oarsmen to keep it afloat. “Our races are with six oars now,” the commodore continued, “and you will do us a great favor if you tell us what the true proportions of a six-oar outrigger should be.”
“In the first place, a six-oar should have a coxswain; if in a race the wind is on the beam, no bow oar can steer straight. Your boat should be fifty feet long with plenty of floor in it; if not you will bury it with every stroke.” On these suggestions, the Yale crew proceeded to have an outrigger built.
In my next lecture I told them that boating had no secure foothold in American colleges, and it was most important that no scenes of rioting or improper conduct of any sort take place among the Yale men who attend the races. They all cordially agreed to these suggestions and made up their minds that they should be strictly carried out.
The next race between Harvard and Yale was held at Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester, Massachusetts. I arrived there the afternoon of the races. The commodore took me out to the lake and on the way there he said, “I did what I could to have your model strictly carried out, but the fellows did not dare have the boat made so long. So it is only forty-five and one half feet, but here comes Page, the builder.”
that moment the Yale six-oar pulled by. “Page,” I said pointing to the boat,
“what do you think of that?” “Ho! Ho!” he exclaimed, “It’s a minute faster than
any boat in
At this time the Harvard and Yale crews pulled two races on two consecutive days. The Harvard crew was the best that Harvard had ever assembled. Their six-oar was forty feet long without a coxswain, but was broad and held the crew perfectly.
Yale was nervous and expected to be beaten. At first they pulled unevenly and the boat wobbled from side to side. They knew they were beaten from the start. The course was three miles, one mile and a half to the turning point and back. The crew knew they were losing and were very down hearted.
“Go down tomorrow morning,” I told them, “and practice starting. Take six strokes on the even keel and then stop. Then come to a rest; try six more times, and so on. Don’t care in the least whether you are ahead at first, only be determined to keep your boat even and true.” The next afternoon, as luck would have it, a brisk wind blew on the beam and that was where the coxswain began to tell. The bow oar of the Harvard crew tried in vain to keep his boat straight. Yale came in well ahead. I heard afterward that the Harvard crew was so disgusted with the result that they asked permission to take the Yale boat around the course all by themselves, and they beat the Yale time by a minute.
The morning after the races the Yale men told me, with great pride, that not a Yale man misbehaved himself during the days of the races. It was a noble record, one of which Yale had reason to be proud.
that time, I was asked to lecture before the American Institute of Instruction
We have met together to consider the best methods of educating – that is, drawing out or developing the human nature common to all of us. Brothers, teaching is a very high calling. The speaker, proudly enrolling himself in the noble band, greets you from his heart this day, and invites you to spend a thoughtful hour with him, to study in some small measure the nature and method of human development.
Ours is an age of analysis. We begin to see that before we can understand a substance, it is necessary to become acquainted with all its component parts. Thus, with regard to human nature, we must understand all of its grand divisions before we can comprehend the method of developing the whole. There are five grand divisions in human nature – the physical, intellectual, affective, moral, and devotional – or in other words, man has body, mind, heart, conscience, and soul.
Concerning the great divisions I shall assert first that they are all mutually dependent upon each other. If man is not developed in all five he is not complete, and as my special subject maintains, the physical well-being, health of body, is necessary for the complete development of the human nature. In essence, the body has something to do with the mind, heart, conscience, and soul of man.
Intellect, then, needs a fine body. For example, our hero, George Washington, was endowed with a calm silent devotion, a conscience pure and reverent, a heart manful and true, an intellect clear and keen, and a physical frame of iron. Washington had to endure physical fatigue enough to have killed three ordinary men. How well did his youth prepare him for a life of toil? Hear what his biographer Irving says; ‘He was a self-disciplinarian in physical as well as mental matters, and practiced himself in all kinds of athletic exercises, such as running, leaping, wrestling, pitching quoits, and tossing bars. His frame even in infancy had been large and powerful, and he now excelled most of his playmates in contests of agility and strength. As a proof of his muscular power, a place is still pointed out at Fredericksburg, near the lower ferry, where, when a boy, he flung a stone across the Rappahannock. In horsemanship too he already excelled, and was ready to back, and able to manage the most fiery steed.
“How far does American education fulfill the wants of human nature, and where does it disregard them? I find in America that the body is almost entirely neglected. Thirty thousand clergymen, from as many pulpits, are teaching about the conscience and the soul, a hundred thousand teachers are busy throughout the land training the intellect, while one could count on his fingers the number of those engaged in training the body. I spent four or five days going through the schools of New York and I was proud to be a teacher when I saw the order, the unbroken discipline, and the intelligence of the pupils. I am ashamed to criticize such schools, but nowhere was there anything done to improve the body.
What is the remedy for all this? In the crowded cities gymnastic training, systematically pursued as a study is one way; however, there is a better way where playgrounds can be obtained, one which I pursue myself, by teaching all manner of manly sports and games. I have given them four years trial in my school and every day convinces me of their beneficial results. I cannot tell you how much physical weakness, how much moral evil we have batted and bowled, and shinnied away from our door, but I do know we have batted and bowled away indolence, and in doing so we have kept the Devil away.
I also know that the boys’ enthusiasm in these games never dies out and their enjoyment never flags, for these games supply the want of the boys’ natures, and keep thoughts from straying to forbidden ground.
See how rigorously the Puritans tried to put down or squeeze this heinous tendency out of human nature because it was connected with the sporting world. Friends, I am finding fault with the Puritans in the midst of their descendants. But what greater compliment could I pay these old Puritans than that they left their descendants the precious legacy of free thought, and so deeply imbedded is this in the bones of the race that they will gladly hear a stranger criticize and even condemn a portion of the Puritan mind. This takes place knowing full well that the fabric they built on the shores of this continent is sufficient to bear witness to the real manhood that was in them. What was the reason of their failure? Simply they tried to drive Nature out with a pitchfork, and she, of course, perpetually comes back.
This then, is what cricket, boating, battledore, baseball, etc. means, namely, it gives a joyous spontaneity to human beings. It is something that statesmen, lawgivers, preachers, and educators would do well to lay to heart. If an educator or college tutor wishes to influence his pupils, or if a clergyman wishes to gain the souls of this part of his congregation, let him join with them in some manly game; nothing but real vital religion, real nobleness of character will be of use in the cricket field or rowboat. This also will hold its own here as well as elsewhere.
See to it then, educators, that young human nature has its due. See to it that conscience and the soul have their rightful supremacy. See to it that intellect and sweet human affection walk hand in hand. And, lastly, see to it, educators, that these young bodies have their due. Learn for yourselves numerous manly sports and games and resolutely continue to teach and practice them yourselves with your pupils. Love open air and exercise yourselves first. This love will be contagious, and will communicate itself to those around you.
After my lecture a vote was taken and passed unanimously that 5,000 copies be printed and put into the hands of all public school teachers.
Later when I met Governor Buckingham at dinner in the St. Nicholas Hotel, he asked me what I thought Yale needed. “A gymnasium,” I quickly replied. He sent a check to Yale and a gymnasium was built at once.
Chapter Ten – Great Personalities
About this time my good friend, Alfred Pell, junior, was studying law at Harvard. He roomed with a nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who kindly gave Alfred Pell and me a letter of introduction to his uncle. When I was next in Boston, Alfred and I rode horseback to Concord a distance of about twenty miles. When we arrived we found Mr. Emerson had gone out walking. Alfred Pell had to recite early the next morning, so felt he must ride back at once. He was a good rider and forty miles seemed nothing to him.
I went to the inn, put up my horse, got a good bed for the night, and then walked back to Emerson’s home. He was at his door folding up an umbrella. It had stopped raining but he did not know it and was standing in the exact center of a rainbow that embraced his house as well. It was very beautiful and as I stood and looked it seemed like a wonderful omen for my visit.
presented my letter of introduction and he courteously invited me in. He said
that I was just in time for supper and his oldest daughter was a wonderful
maker of waffles. So we sat down to a genuine
After supper, he took me into his study and gave me three hours of his best self. I shall never forget the kindness he bestowed on a young man of twenty four. When I told him I had come to the United States to preach, but found I knew nothing of the American character, I felt I needed to teach young Americans before I could possibly teach their elders. I told him I found teaching a romance. “All sane men,” said Emerson, “reverence the teacher’s office.”
Then I bared my hopes, ambitions, and fears to him and how the great drawback to me was that I knew not a single soul in Bridgeport to whom I could talk and exchange great ideas. “How large is Bridgeport?” asked Emerson. “About ten thousand,” I said. “Ten thousand is a large number of people, and I have an idea, no, a faith, that each of us is accompanied by, say twelve, friends. We do not meet them all at once. If we did the rest of our life would be bereft. We meet one or two at a time, on our way. I expect you will meet one or two in Bridgeport.”
then told Emerson that I had been educated in St. Paul’s School,
I told him how we enjoyed Clough’s books, naming some of them. He replied, “Our
“You went to see Carlyle in Scotland, did you not?” I asked. What did you think of him?”
“Carlyle is one of those rare men who knows that all things obey common sense, from the making of a nutmeg grater to the solar system. Of course he is peculiar. Many young men send him their pamphlets all filled with Carlylian phrases and very little else. One morning I came down early and I picked up a pamphlet that had just come. It was a work of genius. It was much too full of Carlylianisms, but that was to be expected. When Carlyle came down, I said, ‘Here is a young man who has genius. He is young and if you would kindly write to him that an imitator is always doomed to mediocrity, he will stop imitating you.’ Carlyle answered roughly, ‘Well, he could do a good deal worse.’”
It was interesting to me that Emerson differed with me about what a college should be. He thought of a college as a beautiful place having a fine library. I told him that I thought a university must have great teachers who could inspire their scholars in the special subject they taught and give them a desire to learn more. (In later years he came to my view and when he was overseer of Harvard he came and asked me what its needs were.)
was my first meeting with that great man and he did nothing that evening but
give to me. Years later when I was old enough to preach, I went to
last time I saw Emerson was at a great convention of Unitarians at
It was beautiful to see the quiet patience with which he bore his great misfortune, this loss of memory of which he was so conscious. Carlyle was a torch, but Emerson was an evening star of most wonderful and quiet beauty.
this time I had the pleasure of hearing Agassiz, the great naturalist, lecture
on geology. His presence and address were most winning. It was no wonder the
students loved him. His subject was his favorite, “corals.” He proved that
He concluded his lecture thus: “You have heard traditions that the world itself is only 6,000 years old, but to find out the age of the world, you must study nature and not the traditions of men.”
years later, through the kindness of my good and faithful friend, Professor
Childs, I was made a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. My first meeting
was a memorable one. Emerson gave one of his grand orations, full of noble
stimulus to scholars and students alike. James Russell
Lowell presided at the dinner. He was full of wit and genial humor as he
introduced each speaker. Edward
Everett gave an oration, one of his finest efforts. I sat near him and I
could not help noticing the breadth and depth of his chest; he seemed built to
last to ninety or a hundred years. But alas, the public men of
The last time I attended a Phi Beta Kappa dinner my friend, James Thayer, Dean of the Harvard Law School, presided and at his request, I gave the history of the beginnings of Harvard boating. He declared that it was so far in the past that not one of my hearers could know anything about it.
accuracy of some of my statements was questioned by a dear old pupil of mine,
but I had the pleasure of taking him later into the
I sat that night by Phillips Brooks, the other speaker of the evening. That wonderful manhood of his had not lost an atom of its strength. Years of splendid performance seemed to lie ahead of him but, alas, Boston, the United States, and all the English speaking world were soon to lose a great leader.
The last time I saw Harvard was at a great Congress of Liberal Religionists. I sat on the platform close to the great and venerable Otto Pfleiderer of Berlin. He gave a fine address which proved to be his swan song. I remember how I took him into Memorial Hall and how interested he was to see the names of those who had gone from the Halls of Harvard to give their lives for their country.
Chapter Eleven – The Ministry
[Note: These last two chapters were written by Rev. Calthrop’s daughter, Edith Calthrop Bump, based on her memories and a few materials her father had kept.]
was during the Christmas holidays in the year 1857, that father was married to
mother, Elizabeth Alison Primrose, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Primrose of
New Market, Toronto. He was introduced to her by her guardian, Mr. Thomas
Stewart, who was very proud of his ward. It was when father came to
After a short honeymoon he brought his bride to the school at Bridgeport. The boys were very much taken with her, as mother was pretty and attractive. A son was born to them in November, 1958, and died in October, 1859. It was a great blow to my parents. About this time, father broke his leg and so could not play with the boys. He felt the time had come when he should give up teaching and follow the calling he so much desired – that of becoming a minister.
He gave up the school much to the sorrow of the parents of his boys as they felt the school was an ideal place for their sons. He went to Boston and due to the great kindness of his friend, James Freeman Clark, who opened his church to him, the Indiana Place Chapel, He began to preach there with great success. While there he met some wonderful people, among who were Julia Ward Howe and her splendid husband, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, the great teacher of the blind.
1860 father was called to
When the Civil War began to threaten, the South started canceling their large orders for boots and shoes which had been placed with Marblehead manufacturers for years. This threw hundreds of men out of work and they wandered aimlessly about the streets with nothing to do. It was then that father announced that he would give lessons in gymnastics every afternoon in the town hall. The first afternoon the hall was crowded. He had asked the ladies to make him quantities of bean bags. So he lined the men up in two rows on either side of the hall and had them pass the bags over their heads to the ones behind them until the end was reached. Then he had them turn back to back the opposite way. The man who got the bag over the end first won for his side. This they all enjoyed, simple as it was. Then he did a number of exercises with his arms, the men imitating him. It was in this way that he kept them off the streets and out of mischief. The town hall was crowded every afternoon. It was not long before the men came and asked him to teach them scientific boxing and many were the bouts they had.
1861 the war broke out. These same young men wanted father to form a company,
drill them, and become their captain. He drilled them in Hardee’s tactics and showed
them how to carry a gun. Soon they urged him to go to
The governor agreed with father, but he had his orders. When they began to order troops by conscription, they put them in camps to be trained. It was too late for father’s company as they had enlisted elsewhere.
this time father became very much interested in the anti-slavery movement. He
used to visit the colored regiments that were sometimes stationed near
Shaw invited father to dine with him one night just before he took his colored
troops to attack
I’ve said, father was intensely interested in the anti-slavery movement and
often preached on the subject. There were a goodly number of people in
Prior to traveling to England father had been receiving newspapers from England telling of the English people’s attitude in regard to the Civil War. Their sympathy was mostly with the South, partly from selfish reasons and partly from misapprehensions of the real cause of war. This aroused father very much and he began to write letters to the English papers. He found that his letters were not published in the London Times so he wrote the following letter to the Daily New.
To the Editor of the Daily New.
for publication you will find a copy of the letter I addressed to the Times on Saturday, February 7th,
1863. As it has not appeared, I presume it will not be published. I leave it to
the public to decide whether a resident of ten years in
I am, S.R. Calthrop, Marblehead, Massachusetts, and late of Trinity College, Cambridge
Following are a few excerpts from letters written to the Times but published in the Daily News.
Has it occurred to you, in relation to American affairs, to consult the opinions of Englishmen who have resided in the United States long enough to be familiar with the complicated political system of that country? I myself have lived in the United States nearly ten years; during which time I have naturally become acquainted with the feelings of all parties, and at risk of being styled a ‘nobody’ or a “groundling,” I nevertheless summon up sufficient courage to declare, that to the best of my knowledge and belief, the great American contest originated with slavery, and slavery alone.
He goes on to show how the correspondents of the London Times and other papers prejudice the English people by false statements about the causes of the Civil War by stating that the real cause was secession and that slavery was a secondary cause. One of his letters states the following:
Many people in England are quite at the mercy of “Our
Own Correspondents,” as they have no other means of ascertaining the merits of
the case, and thus such correspondents should be held strictly accountable to
the public, with regard to the truth and fairness of their representations. I
therefore deliberately say, that when the Times’
correspondent at New York – to quote one instance out of many – writes for the
information of the British public such a statement as this: ‘that Massachusetts
hates with equal hatred, slavery and the slave alike’ – is guilty either of
deliberate falsification or unpardonable ignorance. I am now living in
In 1850 the Southerners declared they would break up the Union if the Fugitive Slave Law was not passed. Daniel Webster was able to get the law passed.
But the North should have let the South go. Let us examine this assertion: Is every Englishman aware that fully three-fourths of the soil of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas was bought and paid for by money from the North? Florida was bought from Spain; Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas were bought from Napoleon for $80,000,000; and Texas cost the Union $150,000,000, of which the North paid at least three-fourths. It would be a curious transaction to pay $150,000,000 for the privilege of keeping Texas for fifteen years at a considerable expense and then allowing her to take herself off, “resuming her sovereign rights.”
“The South only wanted to be let alone.” Yes, they wanted to be let alone to take Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia, and East Tennessee, and to confiscate the property of every Union man.
Lincoln proclaims freedom to those to whom the constitution gives him power to proclaim it, and makes no proclamation where that proclamation would be a dead letter. Under the constitution, the President has no power to interfere with the “domestic institutions” of any state, unless in his deliberate and solemn judgment the safety of the nation imperatively demands it.
my father was in
the summer of 1863 father returned to
One day my mother had to go to a meeting of the Ladies’ Aid at the church and she asked my father to take care of sister Bessie who was a baby at that time. Bessie was very good and gave him no trouble, but he suddenly remembered something he wanted to do, so he bundled her up and took her to Mrs. Brown’s, asking her if she would look after the baby while he did an errand. Mrs. Brown was glad to take care of Bessie for she was very good, but time passed and no one came for her. Suppertime came and no one appeared. Finally the Browns sat down to dine. While they were eating, in rushed father, without coat, hat, or tie, perspiration running down his face. “Mrs. Brown, have you seen anything of my baby? I cannot remember where I left her.” “That was like him,” Mrs. Brown said, “but we loved him just the same.” Her sweet old face beamed.
Another tale I’ve often heard is about one day when Deacon Hathaway was standing near the post office when father came riding up on his little horse, Katie. Father got off the horse and asked the deacon if he would hold her for him while he went into the post office. He got his mail and started to read it and kept on reading as he walked out of the post office. When he got home mother asked him where Katie was. It was not until then that he remembered the horse. He rushed back to the post office and there stood the deacon still holding Katie. Greatly embarrassed but chuckling with laughter, father asked him why he did not call to him and the deacon replied he wanted to see how long it took him to remember.
had some outstanding students. Dr. John Chadwick, later a very prominent
Unitarian minister, studied for some years with him. At one time he had the
Lord Admiral’s son of
Chapter Twelve – The Air Resisting Train
In the year 1865, when peace had been declared and both the North and the South were trying to get their factories and their people back to work, father turned his attention to things other than the horrors of war. He was a great walker and frequently walked along the railroad tracks. He observed that the tracks were worn unevenly and in some places the rails were brighter as from friction. He also noticed that these places were where the wind blew hardest, pushing the cars and engine harder against the rails. This hard rubbing delayed the train and caused it to be behind schedule.
When traveling by train he would walk from car to car. Often it was all he could do because of the wind making such a draft through the space between the cars. He talked with engineers and they told him how they dreaded a high wind because it delayed them so.
Gradually the idea of the “Air Resisting Train” became a reality and he began to make a model of his ideas. He built it in the form of a boat or rowing shell. He realized that the atmosphere was a very different medium from water and so designed it more on the principle of an aerial ship. It was made to overcome the resistance of the air and the friction of wheels on the tracks and to prevent the back pressure of wind pushing on the machinery and locomotive piston.
The engine he envisioned sheathed in a metal casing which tapered at the forward end. The wheels were completely enclosed and there were openings in the steel plate to permit oiling of the machinery. The apertures were covered with small doors or flaps, which were flush with the smooth body surface when shut. The only thing that projected was the short smoke-stack. There were several little vents to admit air and through which to expel surplus heat. The tender that carried coal and water had a rounded roof and slightly curved sides that appeared continuous with the locomotive. Fuel was loaded through a hatch which was closed by a tightly fitting panel when the train was in motion. Figure 1 is a side view drawing of the air resisting train engine and tender.
Figure 1. Side View of Dr. Calthrop’s Invention Figure 1
Figure 1. Side View of Dr. Calthrop’s Invention
In outline the cars or coaches were practically the same as the shape of the present day streamlined cars. Between the first car and the tender and also between the other cars were flexible, accordion-like hoods. The platform central doors were left open so as to make the train a unit, and to let the air which was admitted at the front of the train pass through to discharge outlets at the rear. The windows and all side doors were to be kept closed during transit. All ledges, sills, and similar obstacles to the air flow were eliminated. Figure 2 provides a perspective of these concepts and they show a resemblance to the Pioneer Zephyr trains that began in the 1930s.
Figure 2. Perspective of the Air Resisting Train,
Showing a Close Resemblance to the Zephyr
Figure 2. Perspective of the Air Resisting Train, Showing a Close Resemblance to the Zephyr
“Also,” to quote directly from the patent, “the air may enter as far forward as the projection of the engine and be conveyed beneath the covering of the tender by tubes and hence into the cars.” Under the locomotive, tender, and all the cars was a false bottom with slots through which the wheels passed, greatly reducing the air friction (see Figure 3). The couplings were planned so as to give enough play to permit the train to round curves with ease. This arrangement was in effect like placing of the rear of one car and the front of the unit behind on the same track.
Figure 3. Bottom Perspective Showing Protruding
Figure 3. Bottom Perspective Showing Protruding Wheels
The back of the last car tapered gradually to a point, the idea being to lessen the “air drag” which might cause a train driven at full speed to rock or even pitch up. Figure 2 shows the train closer to the track so as to insure greater stability by lowering the center of gravity. The steps by which the passengers entered were short and hidden by the side doors when the train was running.
invention of the “Air Resisting Train” was patented August 8th 1865,
U. S. Patent No, 49,227. The model can be seen in the Patent Office in
In looking over some papers regarding this invention, I found one showing that father sold a half interest in his patent to a Mr. R. Morris Copeland, who professed to be interested in it. He was connected in some way with the New York Central Railroad and a committee from that company had it under consideration. This was in 1872 and the country experienced a depression that year, so that nothing was done with it. People did not think so much about speed in those days.
(Written by Roger Hiemstra, Archivist, May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society)
I can only speculate that Edith wrote this manuscript with the hope of finding a publisher as it was typed, double space, and in appearance as though it were aimed for eventual publication. As of yet, no information has been uncovered indicating what success or lack of success she had, or even if she received encouragement from any publisher for resubmission.
Fortunately for those of us interested in Sam Calthrop, her work provides some interesting insight into his upbringing, educational background, initial work experiences, and assimilation within the U. S. culture more than 150 years ago. For Edith to title her work the boyhood of Rev. Calthrop is somewhat misleading. Yes, we receive a good look at this younger years, but more than half of the manuscript describes Sam when he is in his twenties and older. The last two chapters, of course, relate to his years as a minister which he began at age 31. Perhaps she felt that the notion of boyhood might be of more interest to publishers. More likely, the manuscript started with her intention to describe his “boyhood” years, but then it simply took on a life of its own. At any rate, we are indebted to her work for it helps us know Sam even better than we did before.
The language used throughout much of the manuscript feels somewhat awkward or strange in spots, but, in many respects, it no doubt reflects the manner of speaking or relating one’s memories within both the context of the time and an “upbringing” characteristic of an early life and education in an English home that was filled with love, supported by considerable wealth, and steeped in ancestral heritage. It was clear that Sam received much attention from those around him, but his native intelligence and abilities carried him forth into his many life successes.
If you are interested in learning more about Sam, check out a brief web site dedicated to him. A very interesting piece is a published article entitled: Recollections of the Old Master: Rev. Samuel Robert Calthrop. Additional information can be found on the May Memorial web site and an early history of the church. Finally, here are photos of headstones for Rev. Calthrop, Edith Calthrop Bump, and other family members.
Prepared for web page display on May 1, 2007