Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day/Dean Stanley
The Very Reverend Arthur Penrhyn Stanley is the son of a clergyman who was at one time in the navy, and who, though he was made Bishop of Norwich, was always a good deal more remarkable for his knowledge of natural history than for his theological learning.
He was educated at Rugby School, under Arnold, afterwards proceeding to Balliol, where he won a scholarship. The Broad-Church leader's University course was distinguished by a series of successes, ending, in 1837, in his taking a First Class in Classics. He was elected to a fellowship at University; and for many years, and with signal success and popularity, Dean Stanley discharged the duties of tutor of his college.
He was afterwards Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford, and Canon of Christ Church.
Nearly thirty years ago, Dean Stanley first became known to the world of letters outside the limits of his University by the publication, in 1844, of his admirably written 'Life of Arnold.'
He is also the author of many volumes of sermons and lectures, and has contributed largely to periodical literature. He travelled in the East with the Prince of Wales, and was, no doubt, a most suitable chaplain, and appreciated by his Royal Highness at his true worth. When in the East, Dr. Stanley let his beard grow long, which gave him a patriarchal appearance he does not wear in London, where many are familiar with the figure of the small, thin, spiritual-looking man who is Dean of Westminster. Dr. Stanley's views in Church matters are well known. He is a leader of the Broad-Church party, is always for the fullest amount of religious liberty for everybody, is a friend of Dr. Colenso's, and was a subscriber to the Voysey Defence Fund.Dr. Stanley succeeded the present Archbishop Trench in the Deanery of Westminster. His official position at the abbey church has placed
upon him the duty of preaching a funeral sermon over the mortal remains of several very great men. Dean Stanley has preached, after their burial in the national mausoleum, the funeral sermons of Charles Dickens, Grote, and other eminent men. Such a painful task could not have fallen into abler or more friendly hands.
The Dean's prominent figure among the ecclesiastical reformers has subjected him to much severe criticism. In that pretty Church speech at Oxford, in the month of November 1864, when Mr. Disraeli told the world that he espoused the side of the angels, he alluded thus to the labours of Stanley, Jowett, and Maurice:
'I do perfect justice to the great talent, the great energy, and the considerable information which the new party command; but I believe that this new party in the Church will fail, for two reasons. In the first place, having examined all their writings, I believe without an exception—whether they consist of fascinating eloquence, diversified learning, and picturesque sensibility—I speak seriously what I feel—all these exercised, too, by one honoured in this great University, and whom to know is to admire and regard—or whether I find them in the cruder conclusions of prelates, who appear to me to have commenced their theological studies after they grasped the crozier, and who introduced to society their obsolete discoveries … or whether I read the lucubrations of nebulous professors, who appear in their style to have revived chaos … or, lastly, whether it be the provincial arrogance and precipitate self-complacency which flash and glare in an essay or review—I find this common characteristic of all their writings, that their learning is always second-hand.'
Notwithstanding such criticism, the 'new school' still lives, and very likely now Mr. Disraeli himself would be prepared to treat it with more respect.