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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)


Part 26

Appendix V.

REV JAMES TATE,

CANON RESIDENTIARY OF ST. PAUL'S.

NEVER was the honest sympathy of pleasure so universally and unequivocally displayed through the town, as on the occasion of Mr. Tate receiving his long looked for preferment. The news went home to the feelings of every individual who heard it, the bells were speedily set agoing, and the cheerful old Grecian was well nigh smothered with the congratulations which poured in from every side. An address was speedily drawn up and placed at the principal inn, to receive the signatures of his townsmen; and very soon afterwards, a subscription (not to exceed five shillings each) was opened for the purchase of a suitable piece of plate, to be presented to him as a solid and lasting testimony of the esteem in which he was held.

The Mechanics' Institute, of which Mr. Tate had been the principal promoter, next met him with a congratulatory address, which was delivered to him at their Annual Meeting, by H. W. Yeoman, Esq.

It may possibly amuse the stranger, and must certainly interest our townsmen, to preserve a copy of each of these addresses.-

That from the Inhabitants at large, was as follows

DEAR AND REVEREND SIR,

He who fully and faithfully discharges the important duties of a public preceptor has a just right to the proud title of a PUBLIC BENEFACTOR. The splendid academical success of your pupils for a long series of years has ranked you with the first classical teachers of the land, and the respect and affection of all your scholars bespeak the endearing qualities of your character. That services so eminent, and qualities so estimable, should finally be rewarded with becoming clerical honour and emolument, has ever been one of the dearest hopes of us all. Our hope has at length, through the munificence of our most gracious and patriotic king, been happily realised. We hail with unbounded delight your well merited elevation to the dignity of CANON RESIDENTIARY OF ST. PAUL's, and with our cordial congratulations on this joyful occasion, we combine a fervent prayer that you may long enjoy your learned repose, blessed by the happiness and prosperity of your family.

The next is a copy of the address from the Institute.

DEAR AND REVEREND SIR,

We, the members of the Richmond Mechanics Institute, most respectfully beg leave to tender to you our sincere congratulations on your elevation to the dignity of Canon Residentiary of St, Paul's Cathedral, which our beloved King has so graciously conferred upon you. When we consider that for more than thirty-six years you have been usefully, honourably, and most successfully engaged as a public teacher; when we consider your conduct as the unwearied advocate of rational liberty in its fullest extent as also your amiable and truly benevolent character in private life; and, above all, when we call to mind that notwithstanding the many important demands on your valuable time from other and higher quarters, you have promoted to the utmost of your powerful abilities the diffusion of useful knowledge in an humbler sphere by accepting the office, and most effectually discharging the duties of president of our institution, fostering and encouraging it by your attendance and counsel, and teaching us to seek knowledge for its own sake; when we consider these among many other claims to our gratitude and respect, we cannot but esteem this beneficent act of a gracious Sovereign as a just and well earned tribute to a consistent, useful, virtuous, and honourable life.

That, Sir, you may long enjoy in health and happiness all the advantages of so distinguished a mark of royal favour, is our most earnest and heartfelt prayer.

To this was returned the following reply:-

GENTLEMEN, MY FRIENDS, AND BROTHER MEMBERS OF THE MECHANICS' INSTITUTE OF RICHMOND,

The very handsome estimate which you have been pleased to express of my humble services as the president of your society, it would ill become me to call in question And however flattering the language of your Congratulation may sound on the promotion which our most gracious sovereign has conferred upon me, I yet believe it to be as sincerely offered on your part, as it is received with all affectionate welcome on mine.

The whole indeed of my intercourse with you, gentlemen, has been so entirely pleasing in its origin and continuance, and any advice or countenance in my power to give, has been so constantly seconded by your good will and good sense in cheerfully accepting it; that after all, perhaps, (and for that am grateful) you have made one generous mistake in striking the balance, and have imputed as a merit to the attentions of the president, what was due to the excellent dispositions of the society itself.

Owing every thing under God's good providence, as I have done from my earliest years, to the great advantages of learned and religious education afforded by the Free Grammar School of Richmond,* on that ground alone I should be strangely insensible to the most natural of obligations, if I did not advocate and help to advance the diffusion of sound knowledge and useful learning in every circle of human life.

To you therefore, gentlemen, my friends, as well in the concerns of this our society, as in every other honest and honourable pursuit in which you are engaged, I heartily wish all prosperity; and praying God to bless you here and hereafter, I bid you for the present most affectionately farewell.

JAMES TATE.

Amid all these gratifying tokens of esteem towards Mr. Tate, it is to be hoped that the extensive learning, suavity of manners, and exemplary character of his successor, will not be overlooked or undervalued; but will have the effect of ensuring the continuance of that respect and patronage which Richmond School has so long enjoyed.

*Can the letter concerning the kind hearted Schoolmaster of Richmond, in No. 168 of the Spectator, be supposed to refer to our Richmond? If so, the selection of Richmond as the date of the letter, is a pleasing proof of the celebrity which the School had then acquired. It is singularly applicable to the present management of the boys. Ed.

THE END.


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