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On the staff of Gonville and Caius College


   It was during this period that his first book of importance, England versus Rome, appeared. It was written with every care, and with all the accuracy that was afterwards the keynote of his literary work. In his maturer age, though he owned that some of his earlier views had been modified, or would then be expressed differently, yet he still regarded it as in substance the expresssion of what he believed to be the facts and the true version of the controversy between Anglican and Roman Catholicism.

A few extracts from letters of this period to his sister are of interest. October 30, 1865: "Yesterday evening I read paryers at All Saints', by way of doing some parochial work: but it seems strange not to preach. Perhaps an opening will occur /34/ before long for helping one of the parish clergy in term time. If so I shall thankfully embrace it." November 10, 1865: "Parochial work is beginning to open. I have to preach for friends twice next Sunday, and begin work D.V. at All Saints' after the 26th. My arrangement with Luckock is however only provisional: if we like one another, I am to be licensed after Xmas and not otherwise. I am to work as a volunteer (a common thing wiht fellows in residence) and to be at liberty to leave at any time upon reasonable notice. I believe I said in my last note taht he was 'high' rather than 'low'. I meant merely, that being a good and moderate man, he was one of those whose tendency was rather towards the good men of the high party than towards the good men of the low: though he would sympathize with the goodness of both. … But he is in no way mixed up with the very small 'high' party of the place or I would have nothing to say to him." December 4, 1865: "My hospital work is very interesting – at present only reading a few prayers and giving ten minutes' talk in one of the wards daily during my week. I hope however next term to take one day's weekly visiting under Perowne." September, 1867: "My 'kids' party passed off remarkably well. We had 'puff and dart'[ in the garden; then tea in a spare room; and after tea adjourned to these rooms, where the children played parlour croquêt, /35/ spellicans, etc. till supper. I had a mopdel stream engine for them, which worked vigorously and delighted the little boys: but the girls shewed, as usual, a decided preference for croquêt. The parent birds seemed happy enough: one of them was a hotheaded Protestant who had onxe taxed L. and me with being 'Jesuits'. He is now one of our greatest allies. I found out that children eat to an indefinite extent: one ought to count at least two adults for every child in making preparations." February 11, 1868: " The Bishop of Lichtfield and N. Zealand is preaching at St. Mary's: last Sunday on 'Failures in Missionary work' – a magnificent defence of Missions against current objections. St. May's was quite a spectacle – a perfect mass of men – the ladies afre now (rudely, as I think) relegated to the side aisles, where they are almost out of view." November 12, 1868: "I quite enjoyed myself yesterday: Luckock gave me a last ride on my hobby, sermon in the morning and catechising in the afternoon. The All SS. children are wonderfully improved and answered quite brisky on 'Joseph, a type of Our Lord.' The church wsa prettily decorated for the Dedication festival; Mrs. L. ad I worked at it on Saturday . . . The book (England versus Rome) is all done, to my joy: it has been 'no end of grind' as they say here."

In 1868 Mr. Swete was seized with a sharp /36/ attacck of congestion of the lungs, which left considerable wekness of the chest, and revived all the early fears of his family. A London physician was pessimistic; but happily a young Cambridge doctor then rapidly rising in fame, Dr. P. W. Lathan, was also consulted, and he advised him to leave Cambridge at once, and try what open air an rest would do. With Dr. Latham's hearty approval he chose a trip to Egypt and the Holy Land, and from November, 1868, until April 1869, he was abroad. It is not necessary to dwell on the tour. It was used by him to the udmost advantage. He went through Palestine accompanied only by an Arab servant, with whom conversation was limited, the one knowing no English, the other but a few words of Arabic; and for the most part he lived entirely in a tent. The cure was complete; he came home with sound lungs, and never had any return of the weakness. He wrote from the Holy Land delightful letters, fully illustrated. He kept a minute and careful diary, and filled one album with sketches and another with pressed flowers. His Bible was read and annotated as he visited places connected with Bible scenes, and especially those of the Gospels. He brought back many mementoes and curios; these, with the tales of his adventures were, to the last, ever a pleasure to him. And, best of all, he stored in his memory a vivid recollection of the hallowed /37/ scenes which gave to his village sermons a perculiar charm.
    On his return home he accepted the curary of Tormohun. Probably he was advised not to brave at once the cold winds of East Anglia. In September of the same year his father, Dr. Swete, died in the eighty-third year of his age and the fifty-ninth of his ministry. The years of his Tor curacy were happy and uneventful; and in 1872 he was once more recalled to his College to act as Tutor, and the next five years he spent as a member of the Staff.
    These years were not very happy. All that has been remarked about Mr. Swete's inadequacy as Dean in 1665-68 is true of him in even a more marked degree as Tutor. He was a failure in the office; and no one was more conscious of it than he himself. But he used to say that he was rather severely handicapped; Mr. Ferrers, the other Tutor, was married and lived out of College; the Master was an old man; and of the undergraduates of this period there were too many whose life and conduct gave him constant distress. He resigned the office in 1875, but served as Diviniy Lecturer till 1877, when he accepted the College living of Ashdon. He was then tired of College living of Ashdon. He was then tired of College life; he was engaged on his works on the Holy Spirit, and the commentaries of Theodore of Mopsuestia were in his mind; he thought that /38/ this literary work would prosper better in the quiet of a country home which was within easy reach of the University Library; and, as always, pastoral work was a great attraction to him.

Henry Barclay Swete. A Remembrance, London 1918,31-38