1850 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Crabbe

John Britton, in Autobiography (1850) 1:303.



The career and conduct of Mr. Crabbe, during his residence at Trowbridge, form an admirable lesson and example to his brethren of the cloth, in their introduction to, and residence among a large and heterogeneous flock of parishioners. Trowbridge, at the time of the new Rector's first introduction to it (1814) was a populous manufacturing town, and consequently contained many Dissenters. It was also infested and demoralized by intemperate political partizans, though not a borough; also opponents to the church, to free trade, and to rational reform; whence he experienced, for some time, much rancorous contention and hostility. With admirable presence of mind, unflinching moral courage, great courtesy, and benevolence of conduct, he progressively "won his way," and ultimately conciliated all parties. "Those who came to scoff, remained to pray;" whilst his intolerant opponents in politics could not refuse to respect, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and preached peace and good-will to all who would listen to his discourses. We cannot, therefore, be surprised that when he departed this life there was much grieving, not only amongst his own immediate congregation, but by all the inhabitants of the town. He died at Trowbridge, in the 78th year of his age; and at his funeral the inhabitants testified their attachment and respect, by closing their shops, and by other demonstrations of sorrow. They also raised a handsome subscription for a Monument, by E. H. Baily, R.A., which is placed in the church.