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call the attention of the late Sir Humphry Davy to the practicability of devising means for the prevention of explosions in coal mines; which, before the discovery of the safety lamp, were of frequent occurrence in the north of England, and were attended with disastrous consequences to the miners. That distinguished philosopher visited him at Wearmouth, and soon afterwards gave to the world the greatest boon of which modern science can boast.
In 1827 the see of Bristol was offered to him by the late Lord Liverpool, with whom he had little previous acquaint
This was almost the last act of that minister. Dr. Gray was consecrated bishop on the 25th of March in that year, and shortly after took up his residence in that city. He found the clergy of his diocese ready to co-operate with him in every good work. A diocesan society for building and enlarging churches, and district visiting societies, for the purpose of more effectually visiting and relieving the poor, by aid of local committees, under the direction of the clergy, were established at his suggestion, with the happiest results. He laboured earnestly to promote residence, and the building and improvement of the houses of his clergy. In the exercise of his episcopal functions he was not wanting in vigour, when occasion for reproof arose; but the essential characteristics of his mind were kindness, charity, and brotherly love. In his place in Parliament he was a firm and consistent supporter of the Church, and advocated her rights and privileges with zeal and ability. His opinions upon public matters were grounded upon his convictions of their tendency to promote or injure the welfare and happiness of society. His conduct upon the occasion of the Bristol riots is alluded to in the following address, which was presented to him by the Venerable Archdeacon England, in the name of the clergy of his diocese, some time after the destruction of his palace by fire :
“ My LORD, - I have the gratification of presenting, in the name of the clergy of Dorset, this testimonial of our respect
to your Lordship as our revered diocesan, not only on account of the high esteem for your Lordship's private virtues, but of our admiration also of the pious fortitude which your Lordship displayed during the disgraceful riots in Bristol, on Sunday, October 30th, 1831; when, with your life endangered by an infuriated mob, and your palace threatened, your Lordship evinced the true character of a Christian bishop; preferring whatever danger might attend the discharge of your duty to the counsel which urged your flight from the cathedral. “ Your Lordship’s answer,
" Where can I die better than in my own cathedral ?' will remain a lasting memorial of pious resignation to the will, with perfect confidence in the protection, of Almighty God. This piece of plate, which I have the honour of offering to your Lordship’s acceptance (delayed as it has been from particular circumstances), is peculiarly adapted to the character of a bishop, a lover of hospitality,
a quality which, amongst the many other requisites, your Lordship is well known to possess in the best and widest sense; a quality not exercised towards the clergy alone, but, on proper occasions, extended in acts of charity to the poor destitute.'
« This memorial of attachment to your Lordship's person will, we flatter ourselves, be received with the kind feelings which your clergy constantly experience from you. I need not, I trust, express the personal satisfaction which I feel in being deputed to act as their representative on this gratifying occasion."
At the time of the lamentable occurrence here referred to, he was living in happy intercourse with his clergy, entertaining towards them sentiments of high regard for their virtues, and inspiring in their minds mingled feelings of respect for his office, and of affection for the individual who filled it.
In the summer of 1833 he was attacked, when in London, by the influenza, which at that time prevailed to a great extent. Before he had recovered from its effects he went to
Oxford to preach the annual sermon for the Ratcliffe Infirmary, and was so unwell upon his arrival at that place as to excite much uneasiness in the minds of those about him.
When he returned to town he suffered acute pains in his loins and left thigh, which were attributed to inflammation in the lumbar nerves.
The pains were somewhat mitigated upon his leaving town for Weymouth, but returned upon him at that place with unabated violence, and continued with little intermission up to the day of his death. When at Weymouth he held a confirmation, and preached for the last time. Upon both these occasions he consulted his own active mind rather than the wishes of his family or his medical attendants. Upon the slightest release from suffering he resumed his accustomed occupations, breaking out in prayer and thanksgiving to the Almighty for his mercies. His diary is full of communion with his God, and expressions of submission to His holy will.
Upon his arrival at Bristol in January, his bodily strength was much abated by what he had undergone. He was then suffering from inflammation in the bladder, with all its distressing consequences; from an enlarged prostate gland, and the pains in the loins and thigh continued to harass him as before.
There were times when his strength of constitution, and the mitigated symptoms of the disease, gave a ray of hope that the life of this good man might be spared to adorn the station he filled; but his earthly pilgrimage was visibly drawing to its close. His pains towards the last were alleviated by the drowsiness which, by the merciful dispensation of Providence, often precedes the fatal termination of the disease under which he laboured. He expired, surrounded by his family, on the 28th day of September, 1834, at Rodney House, in Clifton, in the 73d year of his age.
In the relations of private life, this excellent prelate was an affectionate husband, a kind parent, and a sincere friend, - a lover of hospitality, but of most temperate habits. In his person he was short of stature, but of a countenance singu
larly intelligent and prepossessing: he was the friend and associate of many of the distinguished men of the day. His amenity of manners made him beloved by all classes, high and low, rich and poor; and more particularly by young persons, whom he had great delight in encouraging by well-placed commendation. He was humble minded, singularly free from selfish considerations; a warm patron of retiring merit, and ready supporter of every project which promised to benefit mankind. He was married in early life to Miss Camplin, daughter of John Camplin, Esq. of Bristol, who survives him, by whom he had a numerous family, six of whom remain to cherish the memory of his virtues and example.
Many works besides those enumerated were published by him; amongst
hich may be mentioned his “ Tours through Parts of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, in the Years 1791 and 1792 ;” and a small work entitled “ Josiah and Cyrus," – two great objects of Divine notice in the scheme of Revelation, the last production of his pen. Upon the death of Dr. Majendie he was offered a translation to the see of Bangor by the Duke of Wellington, which he gratefully declined.
The clergy of Bristol, who had taken a lively interest in the progress of his illness, walked in procession at his funeral, with the mayor and corporation of Bristol. All ranks of society were eager to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of departed worth. His remains are deposited in the burial ground of the cathedral, near the ruins of that residence which, but three years before, he was compelled to quit under circumstances of alarm and danger.
The following extract is taken from a Bristol paper, which, after describing the funeral, proceeds to say,
6. Thus ended the solemn and affecting ceremony of the interment of the late Bishop of Bristol, a prelate whose pious, firm, and consistent conduct was eminently calculated to adorn the station which he filled in the church for the space of seven years, ruling with all authority, yet with the utmost moderation, honestly and conscientiously employing his talents in firmly supporting the interests of religion, and the church
establishment of these realms, not only by his literary labours, but by his uncompromising firmness in the House of Peers, unawed by names, and uninfluenced by the popular politics of the present day; a line of conduct that has not only called forth the respect and admiration even of many to whom he was opposed in political opinion, but will long remain in the grateful recollection of those who conscientiously entertain a veneration for the apostolical church of England, and a regard for pure and undefiled religion, as the best evidence of the soundness of his judgment, and the integrity of his heart, Semper honor nomenque tuum laudesque manebunt. Of such a one it is not too much to say, when meditating on the promises of the Gospel, to those who have sincerely endeavoured to serye God in their generation, · Verily he shall not lose his reward. Or with the Apostle, There is henceforth (doubtless) laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give him at that day,' 2 Tim. iv. 8. - Requiescat in pace."
We have been favoured with this memoir from the most authentic source.