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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

Longley passed from Durham to York


How

many coincidences are required to establish a law of connection? It depends on the way in which the mind views the matter in question. Many of the paradoxers are quite set up by a very few instances. I will now tell a story about myself, and then ask them a question.

So far as instances can prove a law, the following is proved: no failure has occurred. Let a clergyman be known to me, whether by personal acquaintance or correspondence, or by being frequently brought before me by those with whom I am connected in private life: that clergyman does not, except in few cases, become a bishop; but _if_ he become a bishop, he is sure, first or last, to become an arch-bishop. This has happened in every case. As follows:

1. My last schoolmaster, a former Fellow of Oriel, was {324} a very intimate college friend of Richard Whately[692], a younger man. Struck by his friend's talents, he used to talk of him perpetually, and predict his future eminence. Before I was sixteen, and before Whately had even given his Bampton Lectures, I was very familiar with his name, and some of his sayings. I need not say that he became Archbishop of Dublin.

2. When I was a child, a first cousin of John Bird Sumner[693] married a sister of my mother. I cannot remember the time when I first heard his name, but it was made very familiar to me. In time he became Bishop of Chester, and then, Archbishop of Canterbury.

My reader may say that Dr. C. R. Sumner,[694] Bishop of Winchester, has just as good a claim: but it is not so: those connected with me had more knowledge of Dr. J. B. Sumner;[695] and said nothing, or next to nothing, of the other. Rumor says that the Bishop of Winchester has _declined_ an Archbishopric: if so, my rule is a rule of gradations.

3. Thomas Musgrave,[696] Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, was _Dean_ of the college when I was an undergraduate: this brought me into connection with him, he giving impositions for not going to chapel, I writing them out according. We had also friendly intercourse in after life; I forgiving, he probably forgetting. Honest Tom {325} Musgrave, as he used to be called, became Bishop of Hereford, and Archbishop of York.

4. About the time when I went to Cambridge, I heard a great deal about Mr. C. T. Longley,[697] of Christchurch, from a cousin of my own of the same college, long since deceased, who spoke of him much, and most affectionately. Dr. Longley passed from Durham to York, and thence to Canterbury. I cannot quite make out the two Archbishoprics; I do not remember any other private channel through which the name came to me: perhaps Dr. Longley, having two strings to his bow, would have been one archbishop if I had never heard of him.

5. When Dr. Wm. Thomson[698] was appointed to the see of Gloucester in 1861, he and I had been correspondents on the subject of logic--on which we had both written--for about fourteen years. On his elevation I wrote to him, giving the preceding instances, and informing him that he would certainly be an Archbishop. The case was a strong one, and the law acted rapidly; for Dr. Thomson's elevation to the see of York took place in 1862.

Here are five cases; and there is no opposing instance. I have searched the almanacs since 1828, and can find no instance of a Bishop not finally Archbishop of whom I had known through private sources, direct or indirect. Now what do my paradoxers say? Is this a pre-established harmony, or a chain of coincidences? And how many instances will it require to establish a law?[699]


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