The English Home of Mr. Timothy Dalton, B. A. : Conclusion
Here we leave Timothy Dalton. Our picture of him in his English Home is incomplete and unsatisfactory, but it may be useful to them who shall come after us.
Of obscure birth, and wanting in social advantages-aye, a charity student-he made his was through college and gained his degree by sheer merit. After his graduation he was ordained to the priesthood and licensed to preach in the diocese of Norwich. That he was then in ernest is shown by his maturity of years. Being presented to a small rectory in a retired village, he labored there quietly for two decades. There children were born unto him. So far as can be now ascertained, he was faithful in every parochial duty. It is true that he was a Puritan in the trying days when the word was a synonym for personal sacrifice and humiliation.1 He seems, however to have been cautious in the beginning. It was by a prominent official of the diocese that he was described, in 1633-34, as being "honest" in all things save one, and that exception was not to his discredit, whether as man or priest.
That he was also modest and humble of heart is shown by the omission of his name in the Wren impeachment papers. He had been content with "the lower seat" in the Puritan councils. Naturally gentle and timid, he could on occasion-as in the Hampton church quarrel-be bold and strong. If he deserted his Suffolk cure and fled the country in a way which to us seems undignified, perhaps unmanly, he had before him the examples of John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, and others of equal reputation. Many of his neighbors submitted and were absolved; but this upright clerk refused to buy peace by a falsehood. He was no Parson Two-tongues; nor any Waterman By-ends, "looking one way, and rowing another." The offer by him of a home to poor little Dorcas Humphrey when she was in disgrace, reveals the tenderness of a woman and a man's gratitude.
He may not have had great learning, but he did have the more valuable gifts of tact and good sends and warm sympathies. John Winthrop, Samuel Ward, and John Humphrey wee among his friends. He was always in touch with his congregation. The twenty-two years' service in the Hampton meeting=-house proves his ability to cope with those knotty "points of Knowledge and Doctrine" which wrecked so many able divines in the age of controversial theology. In Woolverstone his whilom parishioners have certifies that he was "a godly quiet & painfull preacher, who was blamelsse in his life & doctrine/" At Hampton his people caused it to be entered in the town-books after his death that he had been "a faithful and painfull labourer in God's vineyard." That was his only epitaph; but it reminds us of the ancient Latin verse: Cælum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt.
As one of the lineal descendants of his sister, Deborah Blake, we are proud of her connection with the unhappy Puritan minister of Woolverstone.
ORANGE, N. J., May 5, 1898 J. L. B.
- John Winthrop foresaw, so early at 1616, that "those who doe walk openlye in this way, shalbe despised, pointed at, hated of the world, made a bye-worde, reviled, Slandered, rebuked, made a gazinge-stock, called puritans, nice fools, hypocrites, hair-brainde fellows, rashe, indiscreete, vain-glorious, and all that naught is."-Alice Morse Earle's Margaret Winthrop, 118.