THE LATE DEAN RUSSELL.
It is with feelings of the sincerest regret that we announce this morning the sudden death of Dean Russell. He was present at the annual festival in con
nection with St. Paul's Church, held in the Town Hall yesterday evening, and at 8 o'clock (the hour fixed for the concert) the Dean was descending from the gallery to the hall, when, suddenly missing his footing, he was precipitated headlong on to the landing. He was immediately picked up insensible and bleeding from a wound in the head and carried into the cloakroom. Drs. Campbell and Astles were at once called in, and rendered all the assistance in their power, but con sciousness had not returned at 8.30, when the patient was removed on a stretcher. The unfortunate gentleman died on reaching his residence in Flinders street. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Astles both say that with regard to the nature of the injuries there is little to tell. Death, which was nearly instantaneous, must have been caused either by fracture of the base of the skull or of the vertebrae of the neck, and the Dean must have fallen with terrific force. Both doctors, immediately they saw him, concluded from his para lysed breathing and the appearance of the eyes that recovery was hopeless. The Bishop was not at the festival, but was sent for to the parsonage, where he arrived after the Dean's death. The only external injury apparent was a scalp wound. The news of the fatal accident to the Dean of course put an end to the festival, and was received with great concern by all whom it reached. At the Prince Leo pold Lodge of Freemasons the proceed ings were brought to an early conclusion as a mark of respect to the deceased gentle man, who was a member of the craft. The Town Hall bell tolled for some time during the night. Dean Russell used to say that he would desire no obituary when he died, thinking that the best history of a man is that which his life-work wrote. If it is true, he would maintain, that the evil that men do lives after them, it is also true that the good is not always interred in their grave. The death he longed to die was a quiet death, and the only tribute that he. wished to his memory was gratitude in some hearts for any good work he might have done. _ But we cannot, as the bell tolls the departed' spirit of a' true Christian gentle man, merely record his death. The Dean's, real life history we cannot write. Here and there it was per mitted to his more intimate friends to see glimpses of the inner life of the man, to hear of his early doubts and wrestlings, and to listen to his stories of the past. But these were sacred confi dences, which no man has a right to tell save he who uttered them. Amongst .them, though, in bits now and again, were scattered shreds of the Dean's outer history, and these, pieced together, give the main facts of his busy and useful life.' Alexander Rutherford Russell, the son of the Rev. John Russell, M.A., minister of Muthill, Perthshire, was born in 1825. Mr Russell was held in such high estima tion in the Presbyterian Church that he was appointed to succeed Dr. Chalmers in Glasgow, but he died before he could enter on this appointment. Upon his father's death the late Dean, who was then very young, was transferred to the care of relatives in Edinburgh. As a boy he was educated for four years at Messrs. Fulton & Knight's English School and for five years at the High School of Ednburgh. Being designed for a com mercial life, his guardian sent him first to Glasgow and thence to Liverpool where, as he himself said, he was familiarized in a merchant's office with the pleasures, trials, and difficulties of a young man's life. But the death in 1844a brother to whom, he was much attached altered all Mr. Russell's plans of life. He deter mined to devote himself to the Christian 'ministry, but there came a time of unsettlement in reference to ecclesiastical views. Dissatisfied with Presbyterianism and Calvinism, he was at first attracted by the Baptist doctrine, and, having then in view the intention of studying at Heidelberg he entered Stepney College, London, in 1845, but remained there only for a year. ' Wider reading and thought,' to use his own words, attracted him to the Church of England, which he entered in 1846, being then 21 years old. With a view to preparing himself for holy orders in the Anglican Church, Mr. Russell determined to graduate. He was naturally attracted by Edinburgh Univer sity, seeing that it was in that city that he had passed his boyhood. He had, how ever, to leave the University before getting a degree. Whilst there he attended the classes of Pillam (Latin), Dunbar (Greek), Sir W. Hamilton (Psychology), and Spalding (Rhetoric). Like moBst of his nation he devoted much attention to psychological and mental studies, and in Sir W. Hamilton's class obtained on one occasion the second prize, the first having been gained by T. S. Baynes, afterwards Pro fessor of Logic at St. Andrew's and Editor of the ninth edition of the Encyclo paedia Britannica.' Leaving Edinburgh Mr Russell went to Trinity College, Dublin, but family circumstances led him to cut short his University career after two years. Mr. Russell was now 25 years old; he had not taken a degree at either of the Universities which he had attended, but he had a mind amply stored with learning and erudition. - He was now to take the step which he had decided upon six years before— the entry upon the Christian ministry. Happily for him, the struggle which many men experience came before his ordination, not after it. He had seen life under various conditions, and his religious transitions, together with his commercial training, combined to make him what we, amongst whom he laboured so long, always knew him to be— a man of strong convictions, but liberal to the heart's core. Lord Glenelg introduced Mr. Russell to Bishop Sunmer of Winchester, who ordained him deacon in 1850 and priest in 1851. His first curacy was at Ems worth, in the parish of Warblington, Hants. It may be remarked in passing that Bishop Short lies buried in the same parish which saw Dean Russell's entry upon his sacred duties. At the close of the second year he was appointed curate of Tunbridge Wells, which position the resignation of the vicar compelled him to vacate. From that time till he was leaving England he was curate of Hurstmonceaux under Archdeacon Hare. Mrs. Hare was the sister of Maurice, and it was through his connection with the Hare family that Mr. Russell made the acquaintance and gained the friendship of the man whom he honoured and esteemed above all men. It may be fitting at thia point to relate two facts which show at once the re verence which Mr. Russell felt for Maurice, and the esteem in which he was held by the man whose loving disciple he was. When Maurice published his 'Theological Essays' the Principal and Council of King's College, to which he was then attached as Theological Pro fessor, determined to get rid of him. They posed, as he said, ' as arbiters of the theology of the English Church,' and their action created a great commotion in the religious world. The papers teemed with letters on the subject. An able letter appeared over an anonymous signature in the Guardian newspaper, which summed up the decision of the Council as 'the synthesis of their several sectarianisms.' Colonel Maurice, in his 'Life of Frederick Denison Maurice,' published in 1884, alludes to this letter, from which he cites extracts, when he says— 'The most powerful' attack on the Council appeared in a letter in the Observer by a man who had. never seen
or spoken to my father.' ' In our review of this book we pointed but this mistake. In a review published on the same day by our contemporary no attempt was made to set the biographer right; and the explanation is that Dean Russell, who, it is understood, was the writer of the latter review, modestly, forbore in any way to advance his claim to a position of which he was very proud— that of defender of his beloved master. To show how Mr. Russell was esteemed by Maurice we need only say that when, in 1869, he was on a visit to England, Maurice appointed him to act as assistant minister with him at St. Peter's, Vere street. He wished even to make the appointment permanent, and we can well understand how tempting such a proposal was. Mr. Russell could have desired nothing better, but, as he said, ' the ties which bound him to Australia were too strong' to allow of his accepting the offer. To return to our narrative. In 1854, when the late Bishop Short was in Eng land, Mr. Russell was engaged to come out to Adelaide to be curate of a Cathe dral Church to be erected in Victoria square, the site of a Cathedral having been granted by Governor Robe. He arrived in Adelaide in August, 1854, but, it was found, as everybody knows, that the grant of the Cathedral site to one de nomination on land intended for the benefit of the citizens generally was in excess of the Governor's powers. Mr. Russell then accepted the in cumbency of St. Andrew's, Walker ville, which he held for only six months. In February, 1855, he entered on the incumbency of St. John's, Ade laide, which was found to be situated inconveniently for the then population. He accordingly endeavoured to secure the subdivision of the parish, and, with the aid of an active committee, whose praises he never tired of singing in after years, the first portion of St. Paul's Church was erected and opened for divine service in 1860. Four years later it was enlarged to its present size, and waa consecrated by the then Bishop of Sydney, Metropolitan of Australia. In the following year the parsonage was erected, and in 1870 the buildings known as St. Paul's Dayschool, Flinders-street. These buildings were erected at a cost of £7,000, and, in the then state of the colony, represent an extra- ordinary amount of labour, in which Mr. - - Ruseell took a great part. In 1857 he was appointed Canon and Rural Dean, and in 1869, on his return . from a visit to England, Dean of the Cathedral Church in succession to the ' Very Rev. James Farrell, MA. In 1878 the Dean was appointed Vicar-General of the Diocese, and in the same year the Archbishop of Canterbury bestowed on - him the Lambeth degree of B.D. 'in' recognition of distinguished services.' On the resignation of Bishop Short the Dean was appointed Administrator, and during the vacancy of the See he suc ceeded in adding nine men to the staff of Anglican clergy in the colony. When Bishop Kennion arrived the' ' Dean placed in his hands an able and elaborate report on all matters con nected with his administration, and the - new Bishop, on the assembling of Synod, expressed himself with much cordiality in recognition of the services thus afforded him. The late Dean took a very active and useful part in the original constitution of the Diocesan Synod and in all its later proceedings. He was present as delegate from the Church in this colony at the first general Synod in Sydney in 1870, and always took a lively interest in Church work generally. Nor did he confine his interest to matters ecclesiastical. He was identified with most of the charitable and literary institutions of Adelaide, and up to his death took a prominent part in anything which had for its object the improvement of the social and moral condition of the people. He was, years ago, President of the Philomathic Society, . in which many of our legislators were trained for a wider area. Among its . members may be mentioned such well- known names as Judge Boucaut, Judge Bundey, Hon C Mann, and Messrs. Tomkinson and Ward. Lately he has much interested himself in the Univer sity Shakespeare ' Society, of which he was one of the Vice-Presidents. A short essay of his was published, in the first number of the Journal, and on Tuesday last he read the part of Adam in 'As You Like It' at the Society's meeting. As a prose writer the late Dean's work was mainly confined to his sermons. These had an elegance and grace in their. diction which fitly conveyed their pro found thought and intense spirituality. ' The printed sermons upon which he himself set most value were 'Memorial of Pro-. : feesor F. D. Maurice' and one entitled , 'The Vessels of Wrath Fitted for Destruc tion,' in which he combated the darker theory founded upon the text. He occa sionally wrote for the daily Press. The Dean has published two volumes-' of poetry—' The ' Seeker' (1881) and ' 'Voices of Doubt' (1884). The first of these was published mainly in the hope of fulfilling 'a sacred memorial purpose,' and this consideration, more than any other perhaps, made him feel keenly an adverse criticism which was passed on part of his book in these columns.- But when his second volume, appeared, and we were able to write an appreciative review of it, he was doubly pleased, and is known to have .-said ``The Register seems not only to have buried our quarrel, but to have planted a flag over its grave.' The Dean, who was married twice, has left a widow and six children. His family was at one time larger, but he was called upon at various times to suffer; heavy bereavements.