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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch XX. 1820-1825

Ch. I. 1747-1752
Ch. II. 1752-1761
Ch. III. 1761-1765
Ch. IV. 1765-1766
Ch. V. 1767-1771
Ch. VI. 1771
Ch. VII. 1771-1776
Ch. VIII. 1771-1776
Ch. IX. 1776-1777
Ch. X. 1779-1786
Ch. XI. 1779-1786
Ch. XII. 1779-1786
Ch. XIII. 1780-1782
Ch. XIV. 1786-1789
Ch. XV. 1786-1790
Ch. XVI. 1776-1790
Ch. XVII. 1787
Ch. XVIII. 1789
Ch. XIX. 1790-1792
Ch. XX. 1791-1792
Ch. XXI. 1791-1796
Ch. XXII. 1794-1795
Ch. XXIII. 1794
Ch. XXIV. 1794-1800
Ch. XXV. 1794-1800
Ch. XXVI. 1800-1803
Ch. XXVII. 1801-1803
Ch. XXVIII. 1800-1807
Vol. II Contents
Ch I. 1800-1807
Ch II. 1807-1810
Ch III. 1809
Ch IV. 1809-1812
Ch V. 1810-1813
Ch VI. 1811-1815
Ch VII. 1812-1815
Ch VIII. 1816-1820
Ch IX. 1816-1820
Ch X. 1816-1820
Ch XI. 1816-1820
Ch XII. 1816-1820
Ch XIII. 1816-1820
Ch XIV. 1819
Ch XV. 1820-1821
Ch XVI. 1816-1820
Ch XVII. 1820-1824
Ch XVIII. 1820-1824
Ch XIX. 1820-1824
‣ Ch XX. 1820-1825
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Produced by CATH
A.D. 1820—1825.
Dr. Parr’s first dangerous illness—His recovery—Celebration of his seventy-third birth-day—His closing years—His last illness—His composure of mind—His piety—His benevolence as displayed in his last hours—His death—His funeral—His monumental inscription written by himself.

In these “Memoirs,” having traced the progress of a long, studious, and active life, it is now the melancholy task of the writer, to delineate its closing scene.

Dr. Parr had always the happiness to enjoy, with little interruption, excellent health and spirits. His digestive powers were good; and, though often severely tried, were found unfailing. Dr. Middleton, who was for the last twenty years his household physician, in a written communication, with which he has favoured the writer, states that, during the whole period, till the year 1820, he was never in attendance upon Dr. Parr himself more than twice; and, then, merely in cases of slight indisposition. He remarks that, whatever might be the disordered action of the body, of which he sometimes complained, or whatever the excitement of his mind, by which he was often painfully oppressed—all gave way to the soothing influence of his pipe,—his never-failing resource, on these as well as all other occasions. “It operated like
a charm,” says his physician, “and seemed to render the aid of medicine needless.”

In the early part of January, 1820, after spending, as he said, a happy day, in the company of Lord Blaney, at the Bedford hotel, in Leamington, Dr. Parr returned to Hatton, on a cold night, in an open carriage; and when he reached home, complained of being unwell. The next morning, he was worse: his physician was sent for; and he was found to be suffering under the influence of considerable fever, which was speedily followed by a violent attack of erysipelas. He was always subject to slight leprous affection about the nails of the hand; and the inflammation now extended over both the hands and wrists. It was at one time attended with symptoms, which excited much alarm; but the care of his medical attendants, and the strength of his constitution prevailed. After suffering much pain and inconvenience, he slowly recovered from this attack; though not, as he always thought, from its debilitating effects upon his bodily and mental vigour. “I shall never,” he said, “again be the man I was.”

During the progress of this painful disorder, the writer frequently visited him; and always found him, not only patient, but even cheerful; and often gay and jovial. He cannot easily forget the spirit and energy, with which he conversed upon all subjects: nor the satisfaction with which he inhaled the fumes of his pipe, from which he could not be separated; although, being unable to hold it himself, he was obliged to employ for the purpose one of the village-boys. Indelibly impressed upon the writer’s remembrance, especially, is the
high and almost fiery indignation with which
Dr. Parr condemned the “Six Acts,” as they were called, which had then lately passed; and which had created, he said, a new era in the state of English law: dangerously increasing the powers of the government, and daringly encroaching on the liberties of the subject. His censures did not spare the Grenville party, nor Mr. Plunkett, as their organ, who, on that momentous occasion, abjured the cause of the people; and supported measures, so arbitrary in their spirit, and so harsh and barbarous in their provisions, as to be fit only for an age of darkness and for a land of slaves.

On the 26th January, 1820, Dr. Parr completed his seventy-third year; and, though suffering under the severity of his disorder, yet, in opposition to all the remonstrances of his physician, he determined that the day should be celebrated at Hatton, by a large party of friends, some from a great distance, whom he had previously invited. Thus cheerfully he writes to his friend, Mr. Parkes

“My inflammation is abated: but still there is absolute necessity for caution, and abstinence. My spirits are in good order for Wednesday. We shall have good company, and good fare. I shall fast, while you feast; and yet I shall be merry.—By the blessing of God, I have long had an inward merriness. of heart, which looks to another world, and which this world can neither give nor take away.—What a splendid list of contributors to our banquet!—Duke of Sussex, turbot; Duke of Bedford, game; Lord Tamworth, game; Lord Bishop of Worcester, venison; Mr. Leigh, venison; Mr. Coke, game;
and let us not forget fish from
Parson Philips, and a pie from cousin Foster. Bid your son Johnny whet his appetite, and sharpen his grinders, and strengthen his stomach, and then he may eat and drink to the full. Farewell.—

S. Parr.
Hatton, Jan. 23.”

The company invited assembled at Hatton on the appointed day: among whom were the families of Stoneleigh Abbey, Guy’s-Cliff, Toddlington, Taddlethorpe, Alscote, Newbold, and Studley Castle: and, after a sumptuous dinner, when the cloth was drawn, Dr. Parr entered the room: his hands bound up; his face pale; his frame feeble; but his spirits full and flowing; and his joy, at the sight of so many friends, high and unbounded. For three or four hours he conversed with all his accustomed ardour and animation; his wit gay and sportive as ever; his language energetic, impassioned, often rising into strains of eloquence, worthy of his best days; and, after having, from a glass held to his lips, drank to the toasts, given according to a list prepared by himself, he retired. Of these toasts, some of the more striking and characteristic, were the following:—“Liberty to subjects, and independence to nations”—“The cause of Greece”—“May the lion of old England never crouch to the Russian bear or the French baboon”—“A patriot-king, and an uncorrupt parliament”—“May servility be far banished from our universities, and intolerance from our church.”

When recovered from this serious illness—with returning health, it was thought that Dr. Parr returned too incautiously to all the luxuries of the
table. But to every remonstrance, which the prudence of his physician interposed, his constant reply was—“Why, you know we always repent, to sin again”—“For seventy-three years, my stomach has never complained. It knows nothing of your modern doctrine of dyspepsia.” “To such an appeal, from a man entered into his seventy-fourth year, in the full possession of health and spirits, what could I,” says
Dr. Middleton, “oppose?” From this time, feeling little of the decays of age, except, perhaps, a slight failure in the recollection of recent events, Dr. Parr continued to read and converse, to perform the duties, and to enjoy the pleasures of life, through his five remaining years, with almost as much vivacity and vigour, as at any former period.

But the end of the longest life must come. On Sunday, January 17, 1825, Dr. Parr entered the pulpit, for the last time, in Hatton church. He appeared in much of his usual health; and delivered his discourse with more than his usual earnestness and energy, as was remarked by several persons present; though, in such cases, it must be owned, excited feelings are apt to magnify realities. After the morning service, he had still another duty to perform, which, to him, was always very affecting, in reading the burial-service over the grave of a parishioner. The air was keen; the wind boisterous; and Dr. Parr stood, though not wholly unprotected, in the church-yard. On returning home, and sitting down to dinner, he complained of cold and the loss of appetite: and, after taking two or three pipes, he went restless and shivering to bed.

The next morning it was thought necessary to
send for
Dr. Middleton, who found him lying upon a sofa smoking. “Here am I,” said he to his physician, “much in the same state, as at the beginning of my last illness.”—“My hands, indeed, as you see, are at liberty;” holding out to him his pipe as he spoke; “but my legs are immovable.” “Ah!” said he afterwards, “I fear they are going to follow the example of the hands.”—“Yes!” continued he, with his wonted pleasantry, “these rebellious extremities are quarrelling for the precedency, which shall take me out of the world.” On examination, appearances were alarming. It was found that a determined erysipelas had taken place, with a rapidity seldom before witnessed. Summonses were sent off to Dr. J. Johnstone at Birmingham and to Mr. Jones at Leamington. All that watchful care and medical skill could do, was done. The disease in the legs was, after some time, subdued; but the constitution had received a shock, from which it could not recover.

Dr. Parr’s last illness was long-protracted: and, during the course of it, appearances were, more than once, so flattering, as to excite in the minds of his family and his physicians the strongest hopes of his recovery; and to diffuse, through a large circle of those who loved and honoured him, a joy, proportioned to the distress which melancholy forebodings had previously produced. But about twelve or fourteen days before his death, the last lingering hope took its flight. From that time, he gradually and almost imperceptibly declined: and at seven o’clock in the evening of Sunday, March 6,
1825, ceased, without a struggle or a groan, to breathe.

His mind, whenever it was self-possessed, during the solemn closing period, was calm, patient, resigned, and overflowing with benevolence. It was most gratifying, said his weeping relatives and attendants, to hear, coming from his lips, mingled with the devoutest breathings of pious acquiescence in the will of Providence, the fervid and glowing expressions of the same generous concern, which he had ever felt for the welfare of his friends, of his country, and of all mankind. Even in his last hours, it seemed to be still his delight, as it ever was in life, to range, with the joy of a benignant spirit, through the whole compass of rational creation; extending his kindest thoughts and wishes to all human beings. If a newspaper was read to him, or any public occurrence mentioned in his hearing, he still discovered the same deep-felt interest as ever, in each event, near or distant, which bore a favourable aspect on human improvement and happiness. Thus he died, as he had lived, possessed and animated with that high religious sentiment, with those elevating Christian hopes, and with that warm and diffusive benevolence, which shed over his character a brighter effulgence, than all the splendour of his talents, his learning, or his fame.

“More perfect composure of mind, more entire submission to a higher will, less anxious attention to self, and more kind concern for others, on a dying bed, I have never seen,”—says Dr. Middleton, in his written communication to the author, who often attended him for many hours in the day,
and sometimes watched him through the night. “He seldom complained,” says he, “and never murmured. Always tranquil, often cheerful, he was satisfied with every one about him, and with every little arrangement for his comfort. His feelings for himself seemed, indeed, at times, to be entirely absorbed in feelings for others. It was not often that he was heard praying, either for his own relief in life, or deliverance by death. But frequently, with uplifted eyes and expressive looks, such as none who witnessed them can ever forget, he was heard imploring divine protection and blessing in behalf of others. Thus he passed his last hours, neither dreading, nor yet impatiently wishing, the moment of dissolution: and when he perceived that moment approaching, calling around him the members of his family and his two physicians, he pressed the hand of each successively to his heart, and then, with a soft sigh and a gentle smile, expired.”

Long habituated to look, with the eye of calm anticipation, to the appointed end of all human beings, in his later years Dr. Parr repeatedly wrote “directions for his funeral;” of which the last bear date March 17, 1824; and these, in the same year, were followed by some “additional directions.” In them, he minutely describes the hour and the place of interment, the order of the procession, the manner of preparing the church, for the occasion, and the mode of conducting the service: he enumerates the clerical friends to be invited, and mentions the persons to be engaged as the bearers of the body: he describes the very ornaments of the coffin, and names the persons to be
employed in making it. But the most extraordinary of these directions are the following; which, however strange they may appear, no doubt originated in the warmth of his affection for his children, and in the sincerity of that respect, with which he ever cherished the memory of his deceased wife.

“I lay particular stress upon the following directions: My hands must be bound by the crape hatband which I wore at the burial of my daughter Catherine: upon my breast must be placed a piece of flannel which Catherine wore at her dying moments at Teignmouth. There must be a lock of Madelina’s hair enclosed in silk, and wrapped in paper, bearing her name: there must be a lock of Catherine’s hair in silk, and paper with her name: there must be a lock of my late wife’s hair, preserved in the same way: there must be a lock of Sarah Wynne’s hair, preserved in the same way. All these, locks of hair must be laid on my bosom, as carefully as possible, covered and fastened with a piece of black silk to keep them together.”

Among the persons selected for the melancholy honour of bearing his pall, Dr. Parr had long fixed his choice upon the writer of these volumes, not only as being his neighbour and his friend, but also expressly as being the member of a religious community different from his own. “His reason for this choice,” as he repeatedly declared, “was to proclaim to the world, that the same sentiments of religious candour, which influenced him through life, were strong in death.” Dr. Parr’s considerate care—more, it appeared, than necessary—to secure
the “feelings of his non-conforming friend from the possibility of being hurt by any high-church pride after his death,” has been publicly stated, with evident sympathy of sentiment, by
Dr. Wade.1 Justice demands from the writer an explicit and grateful acknowledgment, that he met with nothing but the kindest and most respectful attention, from every one of the clergy assembled on the mournful occasion.

The morning of the funeral was announced by the tolling of the great bell in Hatton church; which continued its solemn knell till, at the appointed hour of one, the procession began to move; when, in an instant, the sounds from the gray tower changed; and successive peals of soft and cheerful melody were heard. This was done according to the directions of the deceased, with an intention to produce, in the minds of his funeral attendants, the same happy frame with which his hearers had been accustomed to enter with him into the house of prayer; and, at the same time, to proclaim to all, that death to the Christian is no subject of grief, but rather of joy—that “to die, to him, is not loss, but gain.”

Leaving the parsonage-house, the procession moved on foot, exactly in the order, prescribed by the deceased, amidst crowds of spectators, consisting of his own parishioners, and of persons of all descriptions from the surrounding country. The two officiating ministers, the venerable Archdeacon Butler and the Reverend Rann Kennedy, leading the way, were followed by the Rev. Mr. Laugharne, Dr. Parr’s curate, and Mr. Blen-

1 New Monthly Mag. May, 1826.

kinsop, his apothecary, and by his two physicians,
Dr. J. Johnstone and Dr. Middleton. Then was borne slowly along the body: the pall being supported by the following reverend divines—Mr. Brook and Mr. Podman, Mr. Kendall and Mr. Palmer, Mr. Webb and Mr. Newby, Dr. Wade and Mr. Field. The relatives, the intimate friends, and the servants of the deceased next succeeded; and these were followed by a long train of gentlemen, many of whom came uninvited, consisting of persons of various religious denominations, but all actuated by one common sentiment of regret for the loss of a great and a good man, who was, perhaps, the most perfect example, which the age afforded of that glorious expansion of heart, which embraces within its kind regards and good wishes all Christians, without distinction of sect or party, and all men, without exception of name or nation.

Three times the procession rested, in its way to the church, in places fixed by the deceased himself, with the kind intention of relieving the fatigue of those, who were to bear his remains. On entering the church, which was darkened, the first appearance to the view of the spectator was that of a capacious funereal vault: but as the eye, passing from the glare of day, gradually adapted itself to the dimmer light of the numerous wax tapers, the form and the decorations of the building, and the marble monuments, with which its walls are adorned, distinctly appeared.

As soon as the mourning company were seated, and the officiating ministers had taken their places, the doors were thrown open, and the surrounding
crowds admitted. The prayers and the appointed portions. of Scripture were read by the
Rev. Rann Kennedy, minister of St. Paul’s Chapel, Birmingham, with solemn and impressive effect. Like his divine Master, he was seen to weep over the grave of his deceased friend. The sermon delivered by the Rev. Dr. Butler, archdeacon of Derby, has been long before the public: and it is only necessary, in this place to say, that it was delivered with fervour and with feeling; and that to the high, and not more high than just, eulogium, pronounced by him on departed greatness and excellence, the sentiments of every heart beat responsive. At intervals, simple pieces of music were performed by the rustic choir, accompanied with the sweet-toned melody of a small organ, which had been placed there by the deceased himself. At length the sacred remains were deposited in the tomb; and the mournful ceremony ended. The bells again began to peal; and attended by their soft and solemn sounds the crowd returned to their homes, “with no expectation of beholding a second time a man so highly and so nobly endowed.”1

On the following Sunday a funeral-sermon was preached in the morning at St. Nicholas Church, and another in the evening at the High-street Chapel, Warwick.

A mural monument, prepared under the direction of Dr. Parr in his lifetime, has since his death been erected in Hatton Church, and placed next to those of his own family, on which appears the

1 See Birmingham Chronicle, March 17th, 1825.

following short and simple inscription written by himself:—

On the north side of this Chancel lieth the Body
who died at Teignmouth, Devon, April 9th, in the year 1810,
Aged 63:
And next are deposited the remains of her Husband,
who for 39 years was resident and officiating Minister of this
and who died on the 6th of March in the year 1825,
Aged 78.
Christian Reader!
What doth the Lord require of you but to do justice,
to love mercy, to be in charity with your neighbours,
to reverence your holy Redeemer, and to walk humbly
with your God?