Historical account of Lisbon college/Chapter 15

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"Right Rev. Monsignor Peter Baines, D.D."



On the resignation of Dr. Ilsley the government of the House devolved upon Dr. Peter Baines the Vice-President, pending the definite appointment of a President. For the first time, in accordance with the Rescript of Pius IX, already mentioned, the selection of a name to be recommended to Rome for the position rested with the English Bishops. There seemed to exist a wide spread feeling that one who by practical experience was better acquainted with the requirements of the Mission, than any who had passed their lives in the College could possibly be, ought to be chosen for the Presidentship, and after a protracted delay, the choice of the Bishops fell upon the Rev. Thomas Barge, Rector of St. Patrick s, Soho Square, London, who himself was an alumnus of the College. After much hesitation he yielded to the strong and unanimous opposition to his departure from amongst them made by his parishioners, and begged that he* might be permitted to decline the proffered appointment. His request was acceded to, and after further considerable delay, Dr. Peter Baines, in 1865, was installed as President.

The departure to England at this time of two of the Superiors, which had been preceded by that of a third in the previous year, necessitated the reorganization of the staff and on the invitation of the President, Dr. Laurence Richmond after an absence of seven years returned to the College as Vice-President, and the other vacancies were filled up. For several years from this date, nothing of interest deserving record took place, but in 1872, the College sustained a serious loss by the death of Dr. Richmond the Vice-President. For a considerable time his health had been failing, so much so that in the previous year it had been found necessary to free him both from the burthen of his office and the duties as Professor of Theology. On February 7 in this year, his illness, which had been protracted and very painful and yet borne with exemplary patience, proved fatal at the comparatively early age of fifty-nine.

Dr. Richmond deserves more than a passing notice. He was born in Wyersdale in Lancashire, on January 26, 1813, and entered the College on January 27, 1828. From this time, with the exception of the seven years which he spent upon the English Mission, his whole life had been passed in the College. Though not gifted with remarkable talents, yet by his industry and application he was enabled to fill with credit and success the various Professorships to which in succession he was appointed. He was well versed in the Classics, a proficient teacher of Humanities, and creditably discharged the duties of Professor of Theology and Sacred Scripture. In addition to a competent knowledge of the French and Portuguese languages, he had acquired a very considerable acquaintance with Hebrew, in which for a time he held from the Portuguese Government, the appointment of Examiner. Nature had gifted him with a remarkable musical taste to which his numerous compositions, some of which he published, but especially the beautiful Responsories for the Tenebrse Office in Holy Week bear witness.

He was likewise of a kind and lovable nature which attracted the affection and confidence of the students, towards whom he ever displayed a truly paternal disposition. He merited well of the College, and the great and wide-spread regret evinced at his death, as well by those within its walls as by the numerous friends with out, is the best evidence of his worth. There are many still living who will ever bear a grateful recollection in their hearts of Dr. Laurence Richmond. He was succeeded in the Vice-Presidentship by the Rev. Dr. Duckett, at present a member of the Cathedral Chapter of Northampton and Rector of the magnificent church of
"Dr. Laurence Richmond"


"New entrance to the College"


St. John, Norwich, raised by the munificence of his Grace the Duke of Norfolk, E.M. of England.

The term during which Dr. Baines held the office of President extended over seventeen years, from 1865 to 1882. Previous to his appointment as successor to Dr. Ilsley, his long experience as Procurator had given him a good business capacity, and even prior to his election he had manifested in a variety of ways his solicitude for the health and comfort of the students. During his tenure of office, out of resources bequeathed to him by friends in Portugal, he was enabled to make extensive improvements in the country houses both at Luz and at Pera. To the premises at Luz he added several commodious rooms over which he erected a dormitory of ample dimensions, and greatly improved by additions the domestic chapel; while at Pera he added two stories to the original building, thus making it sufficiently large to accommodate under the same roof the entire Community. In 1874 he was raised by Pius IX to the dignity of Domestic Prelate. At length, after showing signs for a considerable period of failing health, on August 6, 1882, he was found dead in his bed at the Villa of Luz, having succumbed to a stroke of apoplexy, in the seventy-second year of his age. His body was transferred to Lisbon, and a solemn Requiem celebrated for him in the College Church, and he was laid to rest in the public cemetery of the city, called the Prazeres. He was a native of Preston in Lancashire, born on September n, 1810, and entered the College on August 10, 1824, in which, therefore, at the time of his death he had passed fifty-eight years of his life. He had filled the various offices of Procurator, Vice-President and President, and the College, for which he always cherished the deepest affection, is much indebted to him for many material improvements which he was enabled to carry out. Amongst these should be mentioned the improved entrance to the college.

The Rev. J. Bamber, who on his retirement from the Mission in England some years before had been received as Superior into the College, was authorized to exercise
"Right Rev. Monsignor William Hilton"


the duties of President until a successor to Mgr. Baines should have been appointed. The choice of Leo XIII fell upon the Very Rev. William Hilton, then Provost of the Chapter of the Diocese of Shrewsbury who entered upon the duties of his office on September 6, 1883. In the June of the following year intimation having been conveyed to him by the Nuncio that His Holiness would be pleased if he paid a visit to Rome, he proceeded thither and was kindly received by the Pope and raised to the dignity of Domestic Prelate, returning to Lisbon on January 11, 1885. Ever since his appointment he has had to contend with difficulties arising from the diminished resources of the College. The conversion of their Public Debt by many of the countries in whose Securities the funds of the Establishment had been invested, has greatly diminished its revenue, and necessitated an economy of expenditure much to be regretted. In 1896 it was discovered that very serious and expensive repairs could no longer be delayed, as the roof both of the house and church had become so far deteriorated, that mere partial repairs were absolutely impracticable. A complete reroofing of the Establishment was accordingly decided upon, and it is pleasing to record, as indicating the affection of her sons for Alma Mater, that many Lisbon priests on the Mission willingly came forward with subscriptions to the object, and have thus very materially aided in the completion of the work, which has been carried out in the most thorough and satisfactory manner.

The redecoration of the interior of the College Church which in the straitened state of the finances it had been impossible to attempt was, in 1898, provided for by the Right Rev. Monsignor James Lennon, Notary Apostolic, an alumnus of the College, who whilst on a visit generously gave for this purpose the munificent donation of £1000. On the same occasion an additional burse for the education of one student was established by the Very Rev. William Canon Croft of Lincoln, who also is an alumnus of the College. Here ends the sketch of this ancient College, whose history from its establishment, in 1622, comprises a period of two hundred and seventy-nine years. It suffices to show that the College has not unworthily fulfilled the great end for which it was originally founded, and that it may rightfully claim from the Church in England a grateful recognition of the services which it has rendered in the past to religion in this country.