It has also been conferred during the closing years of the 19th century by letters patent on other cities - Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Cardiff, Bradford, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Belfast, Cork.
Pym Yeatman, Records of the Borough of Chesterfield (Chesterfield and Sheffield, 1884); Thomas Ford, History of Chesterfield (London, 1839).
The growth of the oak is slow, though it varies greatly in different trees; Loudon states that an oak, raised from the acorn in a garden at Sheffield Place, Sussex, became in seventy years 12 ft.
In bringing about this " fall," however, Parsons the Jesuit appears to have had a considerable share; at least Lord Sheffield has recorded that on the only occasion on which Gibbon talked with him on the subject he imputed the change in his religious views principally to that vigorous writer, who, in his opinion, had urged all the best arguments in favour of Roman Catholicism.
But be this as it may, he had no sooner adopted his new creed than he resolved to profess it; " a momentary glow of enthusiasm " had raised him above all temporal considerations, and accordingly, on June 8, 1753, he records that having " privately abjured the heresies" of his childhood before a Catholic priest of the name of Baker, a Jesuit, in London, he announced the same to his father in an elaborate controversial epistle which his spiritual adviser much approved, and which he himself afterwards described to Lord Sheffield as having been " written with all the pomp, the dignity, and self-satisfaction of a martyr."
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