Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 63.djvu/29

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Wordsworth
Wordsworth
5

some 200l. a year was added to his income from 1866 to 1871, when he obtained a fellowship at Winchester, a matter of great comfort to him. But, with these exceptions, the years that remained at Perth were a period of depression. Provost Fortescue resigned in 1871, and in his place the bishop appointed John Burton, who soon came under the influence of Precentor Humble. The struggles of 1859 were repeated in 1872 over the ‘Perth Nunnery’ and alleged breaches of faith in regard to ritual. The charge of this year led to an indictment of the bishop by Humble before the episcopal synod, which was unanimously dismissed, 27 March 1873. After various negotiations with the chapter, the bishop in April 1874 announced his intention of resigning. But he took no steps to make it effective. He then established a sort of modus vivendi with Burton, but he was never easy in his relations with the chapter as long as he remained at Perth. Humble's death, on 7 Feb. 1876, removed the chief actor in these disputes.

During this period the bishop published his book ‘On Shakespeare's Knowledge and Use of the Bible’ (1864; 3rd edit. 1880), which has a permanent place in literature. In 1866 his Greek grammar was adopted by the headmasters of England. In 1870 he became one of the company of New Testament revisers, and worked hard at that great task; but before it was completed (in 1881) he expressed his reasons for differing from the action of the majority, who, he thought, made far too many changes. In 1872 he published an important volume on ‘Outlines of the Christian Ministry,’ which was supplemented in 1879 by ‘Remarks on Dr. Lightfoot's Essay.’

In October 1876 Wordsworth left Perth for St. Andrews. He first resided at The Hall (hitherto a hall for episcopalian students attending the university), which he called Bishop's Hall or Bishopshall ; it is now St. Leonard's girls' school. Afterwards (1887) he removed to a smaller house on the Scores, which he called Kilrymont, the old name of St. Andrews. St. Andrews brought him opportunities of again influencing young men, and introduced him into the congenial literary society formed by the professors of the university. Most of these were presbyterians, and this revived his hopefulness in reunion work. The new efforts may be dated from his sermon at the consecration of Edinburgh Cathedral (30 Oct. 1879). In the spring of 1884 the bishop received the honorary degree of D.D., both at St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and began a practice of occasionally preaching in presbyterian churches in connection with academic functions, especially in the college church at St. Andrews, where he preached about once a year till 1888. In May 1884 he published an article in the ‘Scottish Church Review’ entitled ‘Union or Separation,’ which contained the following proposal: ‘Can a reconciliation between presbyterians and ourselves be effected upon the understanding that the adoption of the threefold ministry is eventually to be accepted as the basis of our agreement, the existing generation of presbyterian clergy being left free to receive episcopal ordination or not, at their own option; and that in the meantime we are to work together with mutual respect and with no unkind or unbrotherly of each other's position?’

The alarm excited by this proposal led to his being denied his proper place at the Seabury commemoration at Aberdeen in October, for which he prepared and printed a valuable address. His charge of September 1885, ‘The Case of Non-episcopal Ordination fairly considered,’ is in the same line. The fullest and most logical expression of the scheme is given in a letter to Archbishop Benson in preparation for the Lambeth conference, dated 24 May 1888, and entitled ‘Ecclesiastical Union between England and Scotland.’ This is his most important publication on the subject. The committee of the conference, under the presidency of Bishop Barry, then metropolitan of Sydney, went further than was deemed expedient by the conference or even by Wordsworth. He did not press his proposal further.

On 18 April 1889 he preached the commemoration sermon before the university of Edinburgh, under the title ‘A Threefold Rule of Christian Duty needful for these Times.’

Relations with his own cathedral began to improve after the move to St. Andrews, and from 1882 onwards he held his synods again there. In 1885 Provost Burton died, and the Rev. V. L. Rorison of Forfar accepted the offer of his position. The cathedral now became a thoroughly diocesan institution. From 1886 to 1890 some 8,000 l. was spent upon it, and the new nave was consecrated by the bishop on 7 Aug. 1890. The chapter-house, to which his library has been given by his sons, will be specially his memorial. In the same year the bishop appointed the provost of St. Ninians dean, and the Rev. A. S. Aglen, incumbent of Alyth, archdeacon a new title in the Scottish church. A severe illness followed in the winter of 1890−1, but he delivered one more important charge, that on Old Testament criticism, in October 1891, and saw the