Autobiographical Memoir — Chapter 2

{53} IT did certainly startle Mr. Newman's friends at Trinity to find him contemplating an attempt upon an Oriel fellowship; and many of them it pained also, for they were sure it would end in a second miscarriage. They had not the shadow of a hope of his succeeding; they would have thought him wise if, instead of following an ignis fatuus, he had accepted one of the family tutorships offered for his acceptance. What would confirm them in this view was the grave fact, that he had lost almost the whole of the current year in recreations and diversions of his own, instead of devoting the time since he took his Bachelor's degree in preparation for a difficult competition. What his actual occupations had been appears accidentally from a series of passages in his letters home, and in his private memoranda, some of which shall now be given in the order in which they were written.

To his Father he writes on his return to Oxford in February 182l, after his failure in the schools:

I arrived here safe the day before yesterday, and have found a general welcome. Dr. [Note 1] and Mrs. Lee have been very kind. I intend attending the lectures on anatomy and mineralogy.

To the same on March 20:

I have been with Mr. Kinsey to Abingdon, to the house of a gentleman who has a fine collection of minerals. We were employed in looking over them from one to four o'clock. Some of them are most beautiful. When I come home I shall make various excursions to the British Museum, if open, for the sake of the minerals. {54}

During this term he attended the course of lectures on mineralogy given by Professor Buckland, and made a careful analysis of them, which is to be found among his papers. To his Mother in the same month:

Thank Harriett for her skill in steaming away the superfluous water of the nitro-sulphate of copper. The mineralogical lectures were finished yesterday ...

I am glad to be able to inform you that Signor Giovanni Enrico Neandrini has finished his first composition. The melody is light and airy, and is well supported by the harmony.

To the same in June:

I have been very much to myself this term. Buckland's lectures [on geology] I had intended to have taken down, as I did last term, but several things prevented me—the time it takes, and the very desultory way in which he imparts his information: for, to tell the truth, the science is so in its infancy that no regular system is formed. Hence the lectures are rather an enumeration of facts from which probabilities are deduced, than a consistent and luminous theory of certainties, illustrated by occasional examples. It is, however, most entertaining, and opens an amazing field to imagination and to poetry.

To these accidental notices of his employment of his time after his B.A. degree, others may be added, more complete because in retrospect. He says in passages of his private memoranda that he had now 'more leisure for religious exercises and the study of the Scriptures than when he was a fagging drudge'; that 'mineralogy and chemistry were his chief studies, and the composition of music'; though, from the time he thought of standing at Oriel, he gave considerable time to Latin composition, to logic, and to natural philosophy; that, as an undergraduate, he used to say, 'When I have taken my degree I will do many things—compose a piece of music for instruments, experimentalise in chemistry, thirdly [on which he insisted much] get up the Persian language.' In consequence of this last design, his Mother bought him an Arabic and Persian vocabulary, now in the Oratory library, but nothing came of it. It does not appear from any papers {55} he has left how this study came into his mind. Was it suggested by Henry Martyn's history?

These notices have, perhaps, a claim to be introduced into this Memoir for their own sake; but here they are simply meant to illustrate the surprise and discomposure with which his good friends at Trinity, nay, almost he himself, in spite of himself, contemplated his resolution to engage in so forlorn a hope as an attempt on an Oriel fellowship. None thought it possible that he could succeed in it; and, at his suggestion, Mr. Kinsey wrote to his father with the purpose, as far as might be, of putting before him the state of the case, and guarding him against disappointment. He, Kinsey, told him that in the competition at Oriel 'the struggles of the best have failed'; and that, 'knowing the many opponents which his son would have to encounter, men of celebrity for talent and reading, he, the writer, with all his eager desire for his friend's success, did not permit himself to be at all sanguine as to his beating the field.'

Mr. Short was as little inclined to look hopefully upon Newman's prospects at Oriel as the rest, but he took a larger view of the matter, and was not unwilling that he should stand. He knew enough of him to expect that he would do himself and his college credit, and he had strongly expressed this to friends of Newman in London, who, being sincerely interested in him, and anxious about his future, asked Mr. Short what he had to say on the subject, who answered them that Newman would not succeed, but that he would show what was in him, and thereby in a certain measure retrieve his unexpected failure the year before; he wished the Oriel men to have an opportunity of passing a judgment on him. In truth, it was, naturally and fairly, a matter of personal and collegiate interest with Mr. Short, over and above his goodwill towards Newman. The opening of the Trinity scholarships was Short's doing, and he had actually recommended him to stand in 1818. In the election, formidable out-college opponents had been put aside for him, and his failure in examination had been an untoward incident in the first start of a great reform. Mr. Short had brought out these feelings to him with the greatest delicacy, soon after his misfortune. On his asking {56} Short, in April 1821, whether he should write for one of the Chancellor's prizes, yearly given for the best English and Latin essays, Mr. Short answered in the affirmative, and went on to give the following reasons for wishing it: 'I have no doubt,' he said, 'of your producing something that either will succeed now or train you to certain success another year. In fact, the uppermost wish in my mind respecting you is that you may distinguish yourself in the rostrum, and prove to the world, what is already well known to ourselves, that the purity of our elections is unsullied. For should your old competitor at Worcester obtain high honours in the schools, sneerers will not be wanting to amuse themselves at your and our expense. Perhaps these reasons never occurred to you.' Short had said, in a former part of the letter, that he should himself have suggested to him to attempt the essay long before, but he had been anxious whether Mr. Newman's health allowed it.

By a singular coincidence Oriel College that same year, and at that very time, was subjecting itself, and even more directly and wittingly, to a criticism upon its impartiality in conducting its competitive examinations, fiercer and more public than this, which Mr. Short only feared for Trinity. Though in that day the acknowledged centre of Oxford intellectualism, Oriel had never professed, in its elections, simply to choose the candidate who passed the best examination; and, though on its foundation were for the most part men who had taken the highest honours in the schools, it never made the school standard its own. Religious, ethical, social considerations, as well as intellectual merits, external to the curriculum of the schools, all told in its decisions; the votes fell on the men whom each elector in his conscience thought best to answer to the standard of a Fellow of Oriel, as the statutes of Adam de Brome and King Edward II. determined it. In consequence, there was ever the chance of the election of a candidate of a nature to startle his competitors and the public at large, as being unexpected and unaccountable. Such an anomalous election, as many men thought it, had taken place in 1821, just three days before Newman's letter to Mr. Short above spoken of. A second-class man had been {57} preferred to one whose name stood in the first class; and though the successful candidate did, as if in justification of his selection, gain the Chancellor's Latin essay prize a few months later, yet it so happened his rival, whom he had beaten, was able, at the annual Commemoration, to hurl defiance at him in the theatre from the opposite rostrum, as having been the successful competitor for the English essay. This essay, as being in English, gave opportunity for vigorous, brilliant, and popular writing, which was denied to a composition written in Latin; and judgment on the rival merits of the two men was thus shifted to a public opinion, external both to college and University, and in fact that judgment was passed in certain influential quarters to the disadvantage of the successful candidate and his electors. There was a Review of great name, then as now, which had for many years been in feud with Oxford, and especially with Dr. Copleston, Provost of Oriel, and his Society. An editor, whoever he be, taking human nature at the best, sometimes 'dormitat,' however 'bonus'; and an article against Oriel found its way into his July number, so exceptionable, to use a mild word, that in a second edition—according to the recollection of the present writer—sentences or expressions were erased from it.

The article is upon classical study; and after speaking of the English Universities generally in that connexion, it directs its attention to their open fellowships, and to the nature of the examination usual for determining the choice between the candidates, and to the proceedings and the result of the election. The allusion to Oriel, and to the election made at the preceding Easter, was unmistakable. The following is a portion of the writer's invective, for such it must be called.

[N.B.—Let it be observed I have concealed the really bad fact that the writer was the unsuccessful candidate. But Copleston has blabbed it.] [Note 2]

Let a young man only abdicate the privilege of thinking—to some no painful sacrifice—and devote his whole body and soul to the sordid ambition of success, and the way to win {58} with such electors is no formidable problem ... After a dull examination in the schools—if a failure so much the better—he may begin to be the butt of Common-Rooms, circulate tutor's wit, and prose against the 'Edinburgh Review.' ... Guiltless of fame, of originality, or humour, our tyro may then approach the scene of action, secure that the judges will take good care that 'the race shall not be to the swift nor the battle to the strong.' Hardy professions of impartiality are indeed held forth, to attract unwary merit; and selfish mediocrity finds the most exquisite of all its gratifications in the momentary chance of harassing the talent it would tremble to confront. The candidates are locked up to write themes, solve a sorites, discover the Latin for an earthquake, and perform other equally edifying tasks; and the close of this solemn farce is the annunciation of a choice that had been long before determined, in proportion to the scrapings, grins and genuflections of the several competitors. Who can be surprised if, under a system like this, genius and knowledge should so seldom strike a lasting root? or that maturity, which succeeds to a youth so prostituted, should produce, by its most vigorous efforts, nothing better than learned drivelling and marrowless inflation?

It is scarcely necessary to say that this tirade against Oxford and Oriel was as unjust as it was unmannerly; however, diis aliter visum. Such a spirited denunciation seems to have been considered in a high quarter just what was wanted to show the world what retribution was to descend, and what terrible examples would be made, if an Oxford college presumed to maintain a standard and exercise a judgment of its own, on the qualifications necessary in those who were to fill up vacant places on its foundation; and, though the Oriel Fellows were of too independent and manly a cast of mind, and had too high a repute and too haughty pretensions, to succumb to a self-appointed and angry censor, yet, in spite of their natural indignation at his language, the charge brought against them, as coming with so weighty a sanction, would necessarily tend to make them more wary of the steps they took in the ensuing election of 1822—more unwilling, if it could be helped, to run risks, and more anxious that their decisions should be justified by the event. This state of things, then, at Oriel cannot be said to have told in Mr. Newman's favour, when at length he {59} resolved on submitting his talents and attainments, such as they were, to the inspection of Provost and Fellows. For they could not pronounce in his favour without repeating, in an exaggerated form, their offence of the foregoing year: that is, without passing over the first-class competitors, and electing instead of them one whose place in the paper of honours was ever taken, in popular estimation, as the token of a mistake or a misfortune; an intimation, known and understood by all men, that there had been an attempt at something higher and a failure in attaining it.

Such being the external view presented to us by Mr. Newman's venturous proceeding, let us trace seriatim, from his private memoranda, how it presented itself to his own mind.

The examination was to be in the first days of the ensuing April; it was now the middle of November; he had at least four good months before him. He notes down on November 15:

I passed this evening with the Dean—Mr. Kinsey—whose Oriel cousin was there. He said the principal thing in the examination for Fellows was writing Latin. I thought I ought to stand; and, indeed, since, I have nearly decided on so doing. How active still are the evil passions of vainglory, ambition, &c., within me! After my failure last November, I thought that they would never be unruly again. Alas! no sooner is any mention made of my standing for a fellowship than every barrier seems swept away; and they spread, and overflow, and deluge me: [hosper xun hippois heniostropho dromou], &c. [Note 3]

He continues (December 1):

There is every reason for thinking I shall not succeed, and I seem to see it would not be good for me, but my heart boils over with vainglorious anticipations of success. It is not likely, because I am not equal to it in abilities or attainments; it seems probable that I shall fail once or twice, and get some fellowship somewhere at last.

Two months later, February 5, 1822, he writes:

Today I called on the Provost of Oriel, and asked his permission to stand at the ensuing election. I cannot help {60} thinking I shall one time or other get a fellowship there: most probably next year. I am glad I am going to stand now; I shall make myself known, and learn the nature of the examination. The principal thing seems to be Latin composition, and a metaphysical turn is a great advantage; general mathematics are also required … Last 5th of January [1821], I wrote to my aunt: 'I deprecate the day in which God gives me any repute, or any approach to wealth.' Alas, how I am changed! I am perpetually praying to get into Oriel, and to obtain the prize for my essay. O Lord! dispose of me as will best promote Thy glory, but give me resignation and contentment.

On February 21 he came of age, and he writes to his Mother in answer to her congratulations: 'I thought of the years that are gone, and the expanse which lies before me, and quite shed tears to think I could no longer call myself a boy'; and then, after noticing his employments, he continues: 'What time I have left, I am glad—and, indeed, obliged—to devote to my attempt at Oriel, wishing to prepare myself for that which (after all) will not admit of preparation.'

Then he says, in corroboration of what Mr. Kinsey was saying in the letter above quoted:

I was very uneasy to find by something in my Father's and your letter, that you thought I had a chance of getting in this time. Do not think so, I entreat. You only hear, and cannot see the difficulties. Those on the spot think there is little or no chance; and who, indeed, will not rightly wonder at the audacity of him who, being an under-the-line himself, presumes to contend with some of the first men in the University, for a seat by the side of names like Keble and Hawkins?

He wished his home friends not to share his hopes, lest they should have to share his disappointment. The chances were much against him; his hopes, nevertheless, were high, but while an avowal of this might mislead those who did not know Oxford, it would incur the ridicule of those who did. His hopes are recorded in a memorandum made the next day:

I have called on Tyler today [the then Dean of Oriel]. I do not know how it happens, but I certainly feel very confident with respect to Oriel, and seem to myself to have a great {61} chance of success. Hope leads me on to fancy my confidence itself has something of success in it, and I seem to recollect something of the same kind of ardour when I stood at Trinity.

However, before many weeks were out, he was obliged to let out to his Father the hopes he had been so carefully concealing from him. Made anxious by the tone of his son's letter, written on occasion of his birthday, he wrote to warn him that, if he continued in the desponding temper which his letters home betokened, he certainly would not be able to do justice to his talents and attainments, and would be the cause of his own failure. This obliged him to answer on March 15 thus:

I assure you that they know very little of me, and judge very superficially of me, who think I do not put a value on myself relatively to others. I think (since I am forced to speak boastfully) few have attained the facility of comprehension which I have arrived at from the regularity and constancy of my reading, and the laborious and nerve-bracing and fancy-repressing study of mathematics, which has been my principal subject.

On the 18th he repeats in a private memorandum:

I fear I am treasuring up for myself great disappointment; for I think I have a great chance of succeeding. I lay great stress on the attention I have given to mathematics, on account of the general strength it imparts to the mind. Besides, ever since my attempts at school, I have given great time to composition. As when I was going up for my degree examination every day made my hopes fainter, so now they seem to swell and ripen as the time approaches.

The examination was now close at hand, and he suffered some reaction of feeling when he plunged into it. On the close of it he thus writes:

I have several times been much comforted yesterday and today by a motto in Oriel hall [in a coat of arms in a window], Pie repone te. I am now going to bed, and have been very calm the whole evening. Before I look into this book again it will be decided. {62}

Next day—the Friday in Easter week—he writes: 'I have this morning been elected Fellow of Oriel.' [Note 4]

Some account of what passed in this, to him, memorable day is introduced in his 'Apologia'; other incidents of it are noted in his letters to members of his family, and others again he used to recount at a later date to his friends. When the examination had got as far as the third day, his papers had made that impression on Dr. Copleston and others of the electors, that three of them—James, Tyler, and Dornford—went over to Trinity to make inquiries of the Fellows about his antecedents and general character. This, of course, was done in confidence; nor did his kind tutor, Mr. Short, in any degree violate it; at the same time he was himself so excited by this visit, that he could not help sending for Mr. Newman on the pretext of inquiring of him what had been his work, and how he had done it; and by the encouraging tone in which he commented on his answers, he did him a great deal of good [Note 5].

Newman used to relate how, when sent for, he found Mr. Short at an early dinner in his rooms, being about to start from Oxford; and how Short made him sit down at table and partake of his lamb cutlets and fried parsley—a bodily refreshment which had some share in the reassurance with which Short's words inspired him. He wrote to his Mother in retrospect, some three weeks after, 'Short elevated me so much, and made me fancy I had done so well, that on Wednesday I construed some part of my [viva voce] passages with very great readiness and even accuracy.'

Mr. Newman used also to relate the mode in which the announcement of his success was made to him. The Provost's butler—to whom it fell by usage to take the news to the fortunate candidate—made his way to Mr. Newman's lodgings in Broad Street, and found him playing the violin. This in itself disconcerted the messenger, who did not associate such {63} an accomplishment with a candidateship for the Oriel Common-Room; but his perplexity was increased when, on his delivering what may be supposed to have been his usual form of speech on such occasions, that 'he had, he feared, disagreeable news to announce, viz. that Mr. Newman was elected Fellow of Oriel, and that his immediate presence was required there,' the person addressed, thinking that such language savoured of impertinent familiarity, merely answered, 'Very well,' and went on fiddling. This led the man to ask whether, perhaps, he had not mistaken the rooms and gone to the wrong person, to which Mr. Newman replied that it was all right. But, as may be imagined, no sooner had the man left, than he flung down his instrument, and dashed down stairs with all speed to Oriel College. And he recollected, after fifty years, the eloquent faces and eager bows of the tradesmen and others whom he met on his way, who had heard the news, and well understood why he was crossing from St. Mary's to the lane opposite at so extraordinary a pace.

He repeats, in his letter to his Mother, a circumstance in his first interview, which followed, with the Provost and Fellows—which in his 'Apologia' he has quoted from his letter to Mr. Bowden: 'I could bear the congratulations of Copleston, but when Keble advanced to take my hand I quite shrank, and could have nearly shrunk into the floor, ashamed at so great an honour—however, I shall soon be used to this.' He pursues his history of the day thus:

… The news spread to Trinity with great rapidity. I had hardly been in Kinsey's room a minute when in rushed Ogle like one mad. Then I proceeded to the President's, and in rushed Ogle again. I find that Tomlinson rushed into Echalaz's room, nearly knocking down the door, to communicate the news. Echalaz in turn ran down stairs; Tompson heard a noise and my name mentioned, and rushed out also; and in the room opposite found Echalaz, Ogle, and Ward. Men hurried from all directions to Trinity to their acquaintance there, to congratulate them on the success of their college. The bells were set ringing from three towers (I had to pay for them). The men who were staying up at Trinity, reading for their degree, accuse me of having spoilt their day's reading. {64}

There is a letter from him to his brother Charles, in which he says 'I took my seat in chapel, and dined with a large party in the Common-Room. I sat next to Keble, and, as I had heard him represented, he is more like an undergraduate than the first man in Oxford; so perfectly unassuming and unaffected in his manner.'

And, lastly, he says in a letter to his Father: 'I am absolutely a member of the Common-Room; am called by them "Newman," and am abashed, and find I must soon learn to call them "Keble," "Hawkins," "Tyler."'

So ends the eventful day.

As to Mr. Newman, he ever felt this twelfth of April, 1822, to be the turning-point of his life, and of all days most memorable. It raised him from obscurity and need, to competency and reputation. He never wished anything better or higher than, in the words of the epitaph, 'to live and die a Fellow of Oriel.' Henceforth, his way was clear before him; and he was constant all through his life, as his intimate friends know, in his thankful remembrance year after year of this great mercy of Divine providence. Nor was it in its secular aspect only that it was so unique an event in his history; it opened upon him a theological career, placing him upon the high and broad platform of University society and intelligence, and bringing him across those various influences, personal and intellectual, and the teaching of those various schools of ecclesiastical thought, whereby the religious sentiment in his mind, which had been his blessing from the time he left school, was gradually developed and formed and brought on to its legitimate issues.

This narrative of his attempt and its success will be most suitably closed by the judgment on his examination, as given by the very man to whom, more than to anyone, the Oriel examinations owed their form and colour, and who specially on that account had to meet the stress of those Northern criticisms which, in their most concentrated and least defensible shape, have been exhibited above. 'That defect,' says Bishop Copleston, speaking of the qualifications of a Fellow, in a letter to Dr. Hawkins under date of May 2, 1843, 'which I always saw and lamented in examiners, and in {65} vain endeavoured to remedy, still seems not only to exist but increases—the quackery of the schools. Every election to a fellowship which tends to discourage the narrow and almost the technical routine of public examinations, I consider as an important triumph. You remember Newman himself was an example. He was not even a good classical scholar, yet in mind and power of composition, and in taste and knowledge, he was decidedly superior to some competitors who were a class above him in the schools.'

As Mr. Newman held the important offices of tutor and public examiner in the years which followed, it may be right to observe here that immediately on his becoming Fellow of Oriel, he set himself to make up his deficiency in critical scholarship, and with very fair success. Whately, soon after his election, among his other kind offices, signified this to him, being what he said a little bird had told him.

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Letters and Extracts Connecting Chapters 2. and 3. of the Autobiographical Memoir

There remains a letter, from a school-fellow and University friend, which shows the popular estimate of an Oriel fellowship as well as the writer's sense of his friend's power:


April 12, 1822.
Behold you now a Fellow of Oriel, the great object of the ambition of half the Bachelors of Oxford. Behold you (to take a peep into futurity) in Holy Orders, taking pupils in college, and having a curacy within a short distance; then Public Tutor, Vicar of ——, Provost, Regius Professor of Divinity, Bishop of ——, Archbishop of Canterbury; or shall we say thus—Student-at-law, Barrister, Lord Chancellor, or at least Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench? Which of these ladders is it your intention to climb? You now have it in your power to decide. {66}

In a letter with some college details to his Father he speaks of Keble:

May 16, 1822.
… I shall only mention Keble. At eighteen he took two first classes. Soon after he gained the two essays in one year, and a fellowship at Oriel. He is the first man in Oxford.


August 2, 1822.
… Whately sets off for his living, bidding adieu to the Towers of Oxford, after a residence of fifteen years, on Tuesday next. I dined with him last Monday. Some years back I found bound up in tracts an old number of the 'Quarterly Review,' and in it I found the review of a Latin work of Dr. Whitaker's. The criticisms I thought so judicious that I copied them out and nearly got them by heart. Indeed, for a long time, wandering as I was without a guide, wishing to write Latin and having no one to inform me how to set about it, those criticisms were my only comfort, the only remarks which seemed vigorous and certain, and on which I felt I could lean. How much was I surprised by Whately's incidentally mentioning that the article was written by Copleston! He was surprised in his turn, saying he was sure the Provost would be much gratified at hearing I had copied them out, since he had written them for the very purpose of instructing those who were aiming at Latin composition. Whately tells me, if I have any desire ever to write in the 'Quarterly,' I have nothing to do but to mention it to the Provost [Copleston], and that the editor will quite jump at anyone recommended from so high a quarter; but what if the Provost will not recommend me? I should not think of writing yet.

The following lines speak of the fatigue to hand and wrist that continuous writing was to Mr. Newman through life:


August 17, 1822.
Excuse my bad writing. You cannot tell how hurried I am and how tired my hand is with writing. [Again:] My hand is very tired ... O my poor hand! ... My hand will not compose a flowing sentence. {67}

Possibly the care and attention used to defy this weakness may have contributed to the beauty and precision which Mr. Newman's handwriting maintained to the end.

Mr. Newman spent the Long Vacation of 1822 in Oxford, where his youngest brother Francis, about to enter Worcester College, joined him. In expectation of his arrival he writes to his Mother:

September 25, 1822.
… Expecting to see Frank, I am in fact expecting to see you all. I shall require you to fill him full of all of you, that when he comes I may squeeze and wring him out as some sponge ...

The only way ultimately to succeed is to do things thoroughly. I lost much time by superficial reading during the whole Long Vacation this time two years. Francis shall not go such bad ways to work. Liber sum (my pupil having gone), and I have been humming, whistling, and laughing loud to myself all day.

At the end of the following letter a name occurs which was in the future to be closely connected with his own.


Dr. and Mrs. Lee were kind enough to call on me and ask me to dinner to meet Serjeant Frere, Head of Downing College. Mrs. Frere sings finely. Serjeant Frere seems to have a great veneration for Copleston, and asked me much about him. He did not know him. Directly he heard I was of Oriel he turned round, as if the name of the college was an old acquaintance.

I mentioned to you the names of Greswell, Pusey, and Churton, who are to stand next year. Surely I should have had no chance next year if I had not succeeded this.

Of his brother Francis, who was reading with him up to November 29 of this year, when he was entered at Worcester College, Mr. Newman writes to his Mother:

Oriel: November 5, 1822.
… My time has been so engaged that I have hardly had an opportunity of examining Frank as I could wish. As far as I have done so he seems to have much improved. To say {68} that he knows more than most of those who take common degrees would be saying little. I am convinced that he knows much more of Greek as a language than most of those who take first classes, and to complete the climax, because it is I who say it, he certainly knows much more of Greek as a language, in fact is a much better Greek scholar, than I. Recollect I am not talking of history or anything which is the subject of Greek. Again he is a much better mathematician than I am. I mean he reads more mathematically, as Aristotle would say ...

It was a time of family anxieties, in which Mr. Newman eagerly took his part. To his Father he had written, Dec. 5, 1822: 'Everything will—I see it will—be very right if only you will let me manage'; telling him in the same letter of his work lately undertaken for the 'Encyclopædia Metropolitana.' Mrs. Newman acknowledges his letter a few days after:

December 12, 1822.
Your Father forwarded to me your delightful letter, which I know it will gratify you to hear gave him so much pleasure, that I have not seen anything cheer and comfort him like it a long time. I am quite at a loss to say anything adequate to my feelings on the whole business ... I congratulate Francis on his matriculation, and am delighted to anticipate that he will, whenever opportunity occurs, do you credit, and reward all your labours and anxiety for him. I fully accord with you when you say, 'Let me alone, I shall do it all well. If you will let me manage, all will be right.' This is just the text I have preached from, whenever your Father and I have discussed the subject. For many months I always begin and end by saying, 'I have no fear, John will manage.'

And that he did manage may be gathered from indirect notices. Looking back in 1823 on the past year 1822, Mr. Newman writes in a private journal:

This year past (1822) has been a scene of laborious study from the commencement to the close. Let me praise that excessive mercy which has blessed me with so strong a frame. I have sometimes quite trembled on retiring to rest at my own exertions. Quite well, indeed, am I; free from headache and every pain. {69}

Recalling this year later on, there is added:

For the Long Vacation of 1822 I took, for I do not know how long, only four hours' sleep.

The year 1823 begins busily. To his Mother Mr. Newman writes:

I have four pupils. I have since had an application from a Merton man, and this morning from a Wadham man. My fourth pupil is from Exeter, very docile and very nice ...

Mr. Mayer passed through Oxford on Tuesday, and dined with me in Hall. The President of Corpus died about ten days since. He was the father of the University, being entered in George II.'s time.


July 23, 1823.
You are continually in my thoughts, and I should contrive to write to you oftener, perhaps, than I do, were I sure I was writing to you alone; not because there would be anything in my communications that I should mind the world knowing, but from that instinctive feeling in consequence of which, the smaller the company the freer and more intimate becomes our conversation, and those things which we should delight to impart to each individually, we cannot force ourselves to disclose to them all together. You are, as I said before, continually in my thoughts; need I add, continually in my prayers?

The Oriel election is coming on very soon. There are very strong men standing. Besides Mr. Pusey, whom I think you have heard me mention, there are two Queen's men (one a double first), a Brasenose, who has read (his friends are ready to depose) twelve hours a day ever since he came to Oxford; a Balliol; Mr. Proctor, of Jesus; an Oriel; and two Trinity. All are first classes except the two last.

In a book of private memoranda occur the following thoughts written in 1823:

April 6.—If a man speaks incoherently, as I think, on regeneration, if he speaks of the merit of works, if he speaks of man's natural free will, I may suppose I do not understand him, and that we differ in terms. But when he talks of our natural sin as an infirmity and I as a disease, he as an imperfection and I as a poison, he as making man imperfect, as the {70} angels may be, I as making him the foe of God, and an object of God's wrath, here we can come to no argument with each other, but one or other of us must fearfully mistake the Scriptures.


April 13.—We are apt to get censorious with respect to others as soon as we ourselves have adopted any new strictness. At least, that is the case with me. For a long time after God had vouchsafed His grace to me, I saw no harm in going to the play. [Till 1821. But I don't suppose I can have gone more than once or twice between 1816 and 1820.] Directly I changed I grew uncharitable towards those who went. While I was an undergraduate I profaned Sunday; for instance, I made no objection to reading newspapers on Sunday; yet the minute I leave off this practice, I can hardly bring myself to believe anyone to have a renewed mind who does so. Humility is the root of charity. Charity hopeth all things, even as regards those who outwardly appear offending.

Time following letter, to a young man of sceptical opinions, is of the same date—1823:

… I cannot conclude this without adverting to the subject which engaged our attention on our last walk. We find one man of one opinion on religion, another of another; and thus may be led hastily to conclude that opinions diametrically opposed to each other, may be held without danger to one side or the other in a future state. But contradictions can be no more true in religion than in astronomy or chemistry; and there is this most important distinction between scientific and religious opinions, that, whereas errors in the former are unattended with danger to the person who maintains them, he who 'holdeth not the faith' (I am not now determining what that faith is), such a one is said to be incapable of true moral excellence, and so exposed to the displeasure of God. The first point, then, is to press upon the conscience that we are playing with edged tools; if, instead of endeavouring perseveringly to ascertain what the truth is, we consider the subject carelessly, captiously, or with indifference. Now it will be found, I presume, on a slight examination, that the generality of men have not made up their religious views in this sincere spirit … This is not the frame of mind in which they can hope for success in any worldly pursuit; why then in that most difficult one of religious {71} truth? ... I should be grieved if you thought I was desirous of affecting superior wisdom, or gaining converts to a set of opinions. In every one of us there is naturally a void, a restlessness, a hunger of the soul, a craving after some unknown and vague happiness, which we suppose seated in wealth, fame, knowledge, in fact any worldly good which we are not ourselves possessed of ...

Mr. Newman's letters to his sisters about this date show an active sympathy and interest in their education, and progress in thought and accomplishments. They sent their verses to him for criticism, and his answers always show interest and a mind at work.

August 22, 1823, he writes to H. E. N.:

My first reason for not having been down to see you is that I wish to give you time for perfecting your translation of Tasso, and your Andante minor.

Again, speaking of his sister:

Harriett has been showing me what she has done of the passage of Gibbon; of course it may be corrected, but it does her much credit. It is a harder thing to do than might at first be imagined.

In a postscript he writes:

Jemima is an ingenious girl, and has invented a very correct illustration of the generation of asymptotic curves.

In a letter to his Mother he sets his youngest sister of eleven a task:

For Mary I hang on the end of this letter a string of grammatical questions [Note 6].

The following advice was written about the time when, acting on his own precepts, he had committed the Epistle to the Ephesians to memory: {72}


October 13, 1823.
If you have leisure time on Sunday, learn portions of Scripture by heart. The benefit seems to me incalculable. It imbues the mind with good and holy thoughts. It is a resource in solitude, on a journey, and in a sleepless night; and let me press most earnestly upon you and my other dear sisters, as well as on myself, the frequent exhortations in Scripture to prayer.

The following letter to his Mother lets the reader into the social habits, with regard to costume, of the Oxford of some seventy years ago:

November 1, 1823.
What a significant intimation yesterday's snow has given us of a severe winter! Trees have been torn up by the wind in all directions. And today the Cherwell is so swollen with the rains, that it nearly overflows Christ Church water walk. My lodgings are in the High Street, some way from Oriel, so you may fancy it is very inconvenient to paddle to dinner in thin shoes and silk stockings.

I am beginning to attend some private lectures in divinity by the Regius Professor, Dr. Charles Lloyd, which he has been kind enough to volunteer to about eight of us [Note 7]; so you may fancy my time is much occupied. I have taken a ride or two, make it a practice to be in bed by eleven o'clock, and rise with the lark at half-past five. When I rise I sometimes think that you are lying awake and thinking—and only such apprehensions make me uncomfortable.

The year 1824 naturally brought reflections with it, such as are found among his memoranda:

February 21.—I quite tremble to think the age is now come when, as far as years go, the ministry is open to me. Is it possible? have twenty-three years gone over my head? The days and months fly past me, and I seem as if I would cling hold of them and hinder them from escaping. There they lie, entombed in the grave of Time, buried with faults and failings, and deeds of all sorts, never to appear till the sounding of {73} the last trump ... Keep me from squandering time—it is irrevocable.

Writing to his sister Jemima, after telling of the prevalence of smallpox in Oxford, owing, it is said, to the poorer sort of persons persisting in having their children inoculated, and of his own re-vaccination, the letter goes on:

March 8, 1824.
Bishop Hobart, of New York, is in Oxford. I dined with him at the Provost's yesterday. He is an intelligent man, and gave us a good deal of information on the affairs of the American Episcopal Church ... W. Coleridge and Lipscombe are, I believe, to be the West Indian Bishops ...

Keble has declined one of the Archdeaconries ... The other day I had a letter from Bowden. He tells me that Sola, his sister's music master, brought Rossini to dine in Grosvenor Place not long since; and that, as far as they could judge (for he does not speak English), he is as unassuming and obliging a man as ever breathed. He seemed highly pleased with everything and anxious to make himself agreeable. Labouring, indeed, under a very severe cold, he did not sing, but he accompanied two or three of his own songs in the most brilliant manner, giving the piano the effect of an orchestra . .. As he came in a private not a professional way, Bowden called on him, and found him surrounded, in a low, dark room, by about eight or nine Italians, all talking as fast as possible, who, with the assistance of a great screaming macaw, and of Madame Rossini, in a dirty gown and her hair in curl papers, made such a clamour that he was glad to escape as fast as he could.

We are going through 'Prideaux's Connexion' with Dr. Charles Lloyd. A very fine class we are! Eleven individuals and eight first-classes.

Mr. Newman was ordained deacon on Trinity Sunday, June 13, 1824. Amongst his papers is the following memorandum, written shortly before that event:

May 16, 1824.—St. Clement's Church is to be rebuilt; but before beginning the subscription, it is proposed to provide a curate who shall be a kind of guarantee to the subscribers, that every exertion shall be made, when the church is built, to recover the parish from meeting-houses, and on the other {74} hand ale-houses, into which they have been driven for want of convenient Sunday worship ... The only objection against my taking it is my weakness of voice ... Mr. Mayer advises me to take it, so do Tyler, Hawkins, Jelf, Pusey, Ottley. Through Pusey, indeed, it was offered.

Yesterday I went and subscribed to the Bible Society, thinking it better to do so before engaging in this undertaking.

To his Father he wrote when the matter was so far settled:

May 25, 1824.
I have delayed writing because I wished to tell you particulars. Directly I knew that I had got a curacy, I did let you know. I am convinced it is necessary to get used to parochial duty early, and that a Fellow of a college, after ten years' residence in Oxford, feels very awkward among poor and ignorant people. The rector of the parish, being infirm, wanted a curate, and applied to a Fellow of Balliol [C. Girdle-stone], who, through a friend of mine [Pusey], offered the curacy to me. The parish consists of 2,000 inhabitants, and they wish to build a new church, since the present holds but 300.

I have much more business on my hands than I ought to have ...

Again he writes:


June 3, 1824.
… In the autumn of 1801 the parish of St. Clement's contained about 400 inhabitants; in 1821 about 800. Since that time Oxford has become more commercial than before, owing to the new canals, &c., all which has tended to increase the population. But the increase of this particular period has been also owing to the improvements in the body of the town. Old houses which contained, perhaps, several families, have been pulled down to make way for collegiate buildings, to widen streets, to improve the views. This had made building a very profitable speculation on the outskirts of the place, and the poor families, once unpacked, have not been induced to dwell so thickly as before. The parish in which I am interested I find consists at present of 2,000, and it is still increasing. The living, I am told, is worth about 80l. I do not suppose the curacy will be more than 40l. or 50l. {75}

As I shall be wanted as soon as possible, my present intention is to run away from Oxford by a night coach on Trinity Sunday night, or Monday morning, stopping an hour or two at Strand [Note 8], thence proceeding to London, and returning to Oxford Wednesday or Thursday. More time neither my pupils nor the duties of the curacy will allow, and I wish, if possible, to see you all before I am nailed down to Oxford.

I finished the Cicero on Friday last; finished the corrections &c. by Tuesday, and despatched my parcel to town by a night coach. It will appear, I expect, in the course of a month or five weeks [Note 9].


July 28, 1824.
You must have thought me very silent, but I have not had time to write ... I was at Cuddesdon yesterday; at Warton, Saturday to Monday [Note 10]; at Deddington shortly before; at Nuneham before that; and expect to go to Pusey, which is fourteen miles off, in the course of next week.

About ten days ago I began my visitation of the whole parish, going from house to house, asking the names, numbers, trades, where they went to church, &c. I have got through, as yet, about a third (and the most respectable third) of the {76} population. In general they have been very civil; often expressed gratification that a clergyman should visit them; hoped to see me again, &c. &c. If in the habit of attending the dissenting meeting, they generally excused themselves on the plea of the rector being old, and they could not hear him or the church too small, &c.; but expressed no unwillingness to come back. I rather dread the two-thirds of the parish which are to come; but trust (and do not doubt) I shall be carried through it well, and as I could wish. It will be a great thing done; I shall know my parishioners, and be known by them. I have taken care always to speak kindly of Mr. Hinton, the dissenting minister, expressed a wish to know him, &c.; said I thought he had done good—which he had—in the place.

Last Sunday I had it given out in church that there would be an afternoon sermon during the summer. From what I hear, on talking to various people about it, I doubt not, with God's blessing, it will answer very well. I am glad to say the church is so full in the morning that people go away; but that is not saying much. As you recollect, it only holds two hundred; however, there often used not (I am told) to be more than fifty at church. I wish very much to establish a Sunday School. The only Sunday I have been absent from St. Clement's was last Sunday, when I was at Warton. I had three services and sermons there in the day; but did not feel fatigue.

The sermons I send you were not intended for compositions: you will find them full of inaccuracies. I am aware they contain truths which are unpalatable to the generality of mankind; but the doctrine of Christ crucified is the only spring of real virtue and piety, and the only foundation of peace and comfort. I know I must do good. I may and shall meet with disappointments, much to distress me, much (I hope) to humble me; but as God is true, He will go with the doctrine: magna est veritas et prævalebit.

On the subject of preaching, a memorandum, written this year of his ordination, remains

September 16.—Those who make comfort the great subject of their preaching seem to mistake the end of their ministry. Holiness is the great end. There must be a struggle and a toil here. Comfort is a cordial, but no one drinks cordials from morning to night. {77}

The following letter seems to show that his Father had questioned the wisdom of house-to-house visitation—a feeling prevalent with lay Churchmen of that day, by many of whom these uninvited clerical calls were regarded as an infringement of the Englishman's privilege of feeling his house his castle.


August 9, 1824.
So far from this invasion of an Englishman's castle being galling to the feelings of the poor, I am convinced by facts that it is very acceptable. In all places I have been received with civility, in most with cheerfulness and a kind of glad surprise, and in many with quite a cordiality and warmth of feeling. One person says, 'Aye, I was sure that one time or other we should have a proper minister.' Another, that she had understood from such a one that a 'nice young gentleman had come to the parish'; a third 'begged I would do him the favour to call on him, whenever it was convenient to me.' (This general invitation has been by no means uncommon.) Another, speaking of the parish she came from, said, 'The old man preached very good doctrine, but he did not come to visit the people at their houses as the new one did.' Singularly enough, I had written down as a memorandum a day or two before I received your letter, 'I am more convinced than ever of the necessity of frequently visiting the poorer classes—they seem so gratified at it, and praise it.' Nor do I visit the poor only; I mean to go all through the parish; and have already visited the shopkeepers and principal people. These, it is obvious, have facilities for educating their children, which the poor have not; and on that ground it is that a clergyman is more concerned with the children of the latter, though our Church certainly intended that, not only schoolmasters of the poorer children, but all schoolmasters high and low, should be under her jurisdiction. The plan was not completed, and we must make the best of what we have got. I have not tried to bring over any regular dissenters. Indeed, I have told them all 'I shall make no difference between you and church-goers. I count you all my flock, and shall be most happy to do you a service out of church if I cannot within it.' A good dissenter is, of course, incomparably better than a bad churchman, but a good churchman I think better than a good dissenter. There is too much irreligion in {78} the place for me to be so mad as to drive away so active an ally as Mr. Hinton seems to be. Thank you for your letter and pardon my freedom of reply.


August 30, 1824.
… I thank you for your sermons. They arrived at the happy moment to be valuable to me ... those I most particularly admire are 'Wait on the Lord'; and 'Man goeth forth to his work, and to his labour,' [Note 11] and the one on prayer. I am very loth to part with them ...

Pray take care of your health. Your dear Father desires his love. Adieu, my dear—that the Almighty may guide and preserve you in all things is my earnest prayer.


August, 1824.
… Thank you for your kind hint about future sermons, which I shall attend to. At the same time I doubt whether I shall have occasion to preach on the texts you mention for some little time. My parish (I fear) wants to be taught the very principles of Christian doctrine. It has not got so far as to abuse them. Different places, of course, require different treatment. I shall certainly always strive in every pulpit so to preach the Christian doctrines as at the same time to warn people that it is quite idle to pretend to faith and holiness, unless they show forth their inward principles by a pure disinterested upright line of conduct.

My afternoon sermons have, thank God, succeeded very well, and I find myself much stronger in voice than when I began preaching.

Thank Charles for his two French letters. Tell him the article in the 'Quarterly' on pulpit eloquence is by Milman.

In the autumn of this year Mr. Newman was called home by grave accounts of his Father's illness, and found him on his death-bed. {79}


August 17, 1824.
My letters mentioned your dear Father's indisposition. I lament to say it has much increased in the last month ... He found it necessary to apply to some physician ... On Tuesday he told him that, as the best of such cases were serious, he should feel more satisfied to have a second opinion in consultation with him ... I thank God your Father has been much relieved from pain for the last three or four days ... I have postponed writing to you the last week, hoping to send you better news; but I think it would no longer be kind to keep you in ignorance of his sad illness.

In a private diary are some touching entries on his Father's last days, in which he ministered to him. The father and son were very dear to each other:

That dread event has happened. Is it possible? O my Father! I got to town on Sunday morning. He knew me; tried to put out his hand, and said 'God bless you!' Towards the evening of Monday he said his last words. He seemed in great peace of mind. He could, however, only articulate 'God bless you; thank my God, thank my God!' and, lastly, 'My dear.' Dr. C. came on Wednesday and pronounced him dying. Towards evening we joined in prayer, commending his soul to God ... Of late he had thought his end approaching. One day on the river he told my Mother, 'I shall never see another summer.' On Thursday he looked beautiful. Such calmness, sweetness, composure, and majesty were in his countenance. Can a man be a materialist who sees a dead body? I had never seen one before. His last words to me, or all but his last, were to bid me read to him the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.

Mr. Newman died on Wednesday, September 29, 1824. In the same diary is the following entry:

October 6.—Performed the last sad duties to my dear Father. When I die, shall I be followed to the grave by my children? My Mother said the other day, she hoped to live to see me married; but I think I shall either die within {80} college walls, or as a missionary in a foreign land. No matter where, so that I die in Christ [Note 12].

Shortly after the loss of his Father, Mr. Newman hears from his aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth Newman, of his grandmother's declining state.


November 4, 1824.
My poor dear Mother is much the same as when you saw her, but still weaker and in much pain; but when she does speak she talks more of you and Francis than of anybody.

She lived to the May of the following year, having attained the age of ninety-one. On the notice of her death occur these words: 'She was my earliest benefactor, and how she loved me!' [Note 13]

Some private notes remain of Mr. Newman's visits to his sick parishoners. One of these experiences may be given, as telling something of the matter and manner of his pastoral visiting:

August, 1824 [or possibly 1825].—John C ... , perhaps thirty-five: had been a coachman, and all his life in the society of coachmen ... For some months past, hearing he was in a declining way, I have called from time to time, and particularly {81}left Doddridge's 'Rise and Progress.' At length, the day before yesterday, I was sent for. He seemed very near his end, and was very desirous of seeing me. He talked of sin being a heavy burden, of which he wished to be released. 'God was most merciful in having spared him; and he ought to be most thankful' (and he said it with energy) 'that he was favoured with a clergyman to attend him.' Such is the substance of the conversation I had with him yesterday and the day before. Today I found that he had suddenly declared the weight of sin was taken off him, and tears burst from him, and he said he was so rejoiced. He seems very humble and earnest, and willingly listened to what I said about the danger of deception. I was indeed much perplexed, fearing to speak against the mysterious working of God (if it was His working), yet equally fearing to make him satisfied with a partial repentance and with emotions, and should do harm to his wife, &c. I spoke very strongly on our being sinful and corrupt till death; on the necessity of sin being found a burden always, on the fear of self-deception and of falling away even after the most vivid feelings; and on the awful state of those who, having left religion for their death-bed, could give no evidence of their sincerity. All this he seemed to admit, and thanked me very fervently. I am thinking of the cause of this. His mother, I see, is a religious woman. She cannot be indiscreet? Doddridge could mislead him—or is it the work of the Holy Spirit even in its suddenness?

The correspondence of this date shows that Mr. Newman's name was becoming known beyond his parish or the walls of his college. The Athenæum Club was formed in 1823 'for the association of persons of scientific and literary attainments, and artists; and noblemen and gentlemen, patrons of learning, &c.,' by the Earl of Aberdeen, Marquis of Lansdowne, Davy, Scott, Mackintosh, Faraday, Chantry, Lawrence and others.


November 29, 1824.
Mr. Heber presents his compliments to Mr. Newman, and encloses for his inspection a list of the Athenæum.

If Mr. Newman should wish to become a member, Mr. Heber will be happy to propose his name to the committee as candidate for election without ballot.

[N.B. I declined.—J. H. N.] {82}


January 17, 1825.
I got down very safely on Saturday by half-past three. It was very cold on the journey, the wind blowing against us all the way. To my great mortification I was obliged, not merely to put on my cloak, but even to wrap myself in it. I had the satisfaction, however, of observing that the outside passengers in front had close box coats as well as cloaks; and on arriving at Oxford I had the additional gratification of hearing it was the coldest day we have had. I bathed the following morning [the cold bath at Holywell]—yesterday——and got through the duties of the day without fatigue. The waters have retired from the flat country about us, and have left effluvia which are neither agreeable nor wholesome.

The subscription for St. Clement's Church amounts to above 2,600l., and the colleges are yet to come. Mr. Peel has subscribed 100l., so has Mr. Heber. Lord Liverpool's carriage being at the Bishop's door, has collected a crowd: Mr. Canning is with him. I forgot to talk to you about your delightful plan for next Long Vacation.

In a note-book he writes:

As yet the church subscription flourishes greatly, and my Sunday school is in a good train for success. I find I am called a Methodist.


February 14, 1825.
Will you think me out of my senses when I tell you I have engaged to write in two publications in spite of my other occupations? and one of them the 'Encyclopædia'! But I must explain myself. I was conditionally engaged, as you know, to the 'Theological Review,' when Whately sent me a message that he wanted me to write some theological articles (ecclesiastical history, for instance) in the 'Encyclopædia.' And so firmly was his mind made up on the subject, that before he received my answer he wrote to Smedley about it, who, in sending me a draft for my Cicero article (14.l.), expressed his hope in a civil way that I should comply with Whately's arrangement. I had made up my mind in the affirmative, and for the following reasons (1) I am persuaded, as {83} Whately suggested, that sermon-writing by itself has a tendency to produce a loose, rambling kind of composition, nay even of thought. (2) The ecclesiastical articles at present are in the hands of a person whom a certain friend of mine [Whately] does not like, and wishes kindly to substitute me. Now I thought, in so important a work as an Encyclopædia, when an opportunity was there offered me of influencing the religious tone of the work, it was my duty to avail myself of it. (3) My great objection to writing a second time in the work was because I wished to devote my time to studies more connected with my profession. This is now removed; I do not, however, begin till June next.


February 14, 1825.
The subscription to the church amounts to 3,700l. We hope to get 500l. from the Society, and a liberal person has said he will subscribe whatever is finally wanted to the amount of 1,000l. I fear the church will cost 6,000l.

At last I have managed to begin a Sunday school. We could get no Room of any kind. So Pusey was kind enough to give the church a stove, and now we muster in the church, but there is no Room.

These words explain what follows. In order to use the church a temporary gallery was found necessary. The body of the old church, small as it was, being no doubt crowded with pews, and thus affording no proper standing or sitting room for scholars or teachers.


March 4, 1825.
… The difficulty of warming has been overcome, and now to the more serious one of the erection of a gallery. It was estimated at 20l. An objection was anticipated on the score of its being likely to hurt the subscription to the new church. This made it necessary that not a shilling of the money should come from the parish, and that the subscription should be quite private. The bishop [Legge] was not against it. A friend of mine has subscribed 10l., his father or mother 5l., and various other friends 5l., besides my own subscription. After all difficulties it was begun on Monday and finished {84} yesterday. It will contain ninety-four children. We are in some want of teachers, but get on better than we did.

I have undertaken for the 'Encyclopædia Metropolitana' the memoir of Apollonius Tyanæus, and the argument on Miracles, as connected with it. It is a very difficult subject, and I hesitated before I accepted it. It requires a great deal of reading and much thought. No doubt it will improve me much, but it must be done by September, and cannot be begun till June. I trust God will carry me through it. I am in hopes the 'Theological Review' will not claim my promise. [This hope proved fallacious.]


March 29, 1825.
You have seen by the papers, perhaps, Dr. Elmsley's death, and Whately's appointment to the Headship of St. Alban Hall. He has done me the honour of appointing me Vice-Principal. This will not be a great addition to my income—perhaps 50l. a year; but it is a post of considerable authority and responsibility. I am Dean, Tutor, Bursar, and all—in his absence, indeed, Principal. I think I hinted something of the kind to you last summer as a possible thing.

The following tender mother's letter needs perhaps an apology for its insertion; but hers was a troubled life, and such pleasure as the letter shows, would have been at any time the greatest reward that her son's successes could earn him:


March 31, 1825.
… Next, my dear, I have a very agreeable piece of news to tell you. On my return I was delightfully greeted by a letter from John, to say he can and will come here next Wednesday to stay till Saturday morning. Though short, it will be a delightful peep at him. Of course you will wish, if possible, to return to us on Wednesday evening. I look forward to Wednesday as a happy day, please God! Next, my dear, I must beg you to be prepared to treat John with the proper respect due to a real 'Don.' To be serious; Dr. Elmsley of St. Alban Hall is dead. John's friend Whately is appointed 'Principal,' and he has nominated John 'Vice-Principal.' ... Were it anyone but John I should fear it would be too much for his head or his {85} heart at so early an age; but in him I have the comforting anticipation that he will use his power for the benefit of those who entrust him with it; that he will not be high-minded; that he will be sedulous to avail himself of his talents and authority, to correct and improve a Hall ...


April 30, 1825.
Allow me to take the opportunity of requesting you to favour the University with a sermon at St. Mary's, either in the morning or afternoon of Whitsunday next.


April 30, 1825.
Allow me to express my sense of the kindness with which you have honoured me, by the offer of a preacher's turn in the University pulpit. I am as yet, however, so inexperienced [N.B.—I was only a Deacon], and feel myself so insufficient for such an office that I must beg to decline it.

Accept my most sincere thanks for your kind liberality to the orphans of my parishioners, who, I can assure you, stand in need of every assistance.

On May 29, 1825, Mr. Newman was ordained Priest.

Mr. Newman seems to have been at this time in all but universal favour in his parish; but, if there must be an exception, his journal records what all experience will be prepared for as the obvious one: 'I had a dispute with my singers in May, which ended in their leaving the church, and we now sing en masse.'


June 10, 1825.
My singers are quite mute; and the business seems to have dropt. Pusey left London for Germany, Wednesday last. He will not, alas! assist me [in the St. Clement's curacy] till Christmas.

In the summer of this year it was arranged that on the Principa1 of St. Alban's (Whately) leaving Oxford with his {86} family for the vacation, Mrs. Newman and her daughters should occupy the Principal's lodgings during two months of the Long Vacation.


July, 1825.
I need not say how glad I am you are coming. I intend to have a sacrament August 7, at St. Clement's, and it will be a great satisfaction to me, if two of my sisters for the first time partake of it the first time you hear me do duty. [I administered it as priest for the first time.]

His sisters Jemima and Mary had lately been confirmed.

TO J. C. N.

July, 1825.
… Pusey, by this time, I suppose, is near Göttingen, and (Churton) on his way to Rome; and Pope on his way to his curacy, which is near Bath.

The Provost [Copleston] has been so indisposed that he has been to Cheltenham, and goes again, I fancy. Dr. Burrows has called on me, and in very polite language pressed me to write a third article, which I declined; to which he gave a rebutter, and I a sur-rebutter; and there the matter dropped.

Tell Mary I sometimes think of her.


July 19, 1825.
'Tis a shame to give the curate of St. Clement's any additional trouble this hot weather, but now you are a brick-and-mortar man [he was rebuilding St. Clement's Church] and must learn to bear the heat. I wish you joy of your grand work being begun; may it prosper in the best sense ... The leaves are beginning to shrink and fall as if they were frozen, and the corn is almost ready to cut. Wishing you a cool breeze and plenty of ice and lemonade, I remain very warmly and affectionately yours,
J. KEBLE, junr.


August, 1825.
I hope by this time your essay on Miracles à priori and à posteriori parts, and all the contents of all the books in the window-seat, are in a beautiful state of effervescence. {87}

E. B. PUSEY, ESQ. (Fellow of Oriel) TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN

Göttingen: August 19, 1825.
I have not at any time forgotten my engagement to read the part of Less [qy. Lessing] that relates to miracles, but I own I was disappointed with the result. Some single points seem well done, others are overstrained; and though the whole work seems to be prized as the fullest and most satisfactory here, I did not seem to recognise the master who is seen in the translated piece. I will, however—not to do nothing—extract any points, illustrations, &c., which may furnish you with any matter for thought ... Of our books, Clarke and Ditton on the Resurrection seem to be very much prized, so Lord Lyttelton. I would have read Nosotti's 'Defence' for you also, but it is not in the library.

I have now been here six weeks, read not so much as I wish, attend three lectures a day for the sake of the German, see what society I can, and hope to be able, at the end of the time, to understand German pretty well, but have not yet read long enough and variety enough to know it. As to what I have seen of German inquiry in different subjects, it seems to be much more solid than usually among us.

I hope your church is rising rapidly, and that, without hurting your health, you feel the good you are doing.


September 10, 1825.
I am extremely sorry to discover that, owing no doubt to the multiplicity of business in your hands, you are in a complete nervous fever. You certainly overwork yourself, and your epistle informed me, without your mentioning it, that you were in low spirits. Come down and pay me your promised visit. Country air, novelty, superb scenery, and relaxation from intense and overwhelming study; a hearty welcome, with a beautiful pony, &c.


September 27, 1825.
As you so much admire my fallacy, I will honour you by communicating a very good way of classifying the errors of Romanists: namely, according to Aristotle's enumeration in {88} the 'Poetics' of the manœuvres performed on words; some are curtailed, some enlarged, some altered, some invented, some borrowed from foreigners, some transferred from one sense to another, some tacked on where they are not wanted, and some confounded together.

I trust to come out the beginning of the term with a volume of essays made out of University sermons.


September 27, 1825.
… I have also replaced forty volumes for you in the library, but I perceive you have still several in your keeping. Enjoy your holiday and return to your duty the better for it.

In the Long Vacation Mr. Newman takes a short holiday with his friend Bowden in the Isle of Wight, and writes of its beauties:


Peartree, Southampton: September 29, 1825.
Bowden's is in a very fine situation; exquisite in scenery. Yesterday we made an expedition in a yacht to the Needles. The beauty of water and land only makes me regret that our language has not more adjectives of admiration.


Peartree: October 2, 1825.
I have tried to write, for I have little or no time, from a different reason, indeed, from my want of time at Oxford, for here it has been from drives, sailings, music, &c. I hope this recreation will quite set me up for the ensuing term. The weather, indeed, has been beautiful. I have been persuaded to stay my whole holiday here. Jelf takes my duty for me.

We have been round the Needles, made an excursion to Carisbrooke, dined with Mr. Ward; we breakfasted also with Judge Bailey. We have had music almost every evening; Bowden, you know, plays the bass. I saw Kinsey at Mr. Ward's. I have not been idle; I am reading Davison on Primitive Sacrifice, and have written much on other subjects, and thought about some sermons. I return Wednesday next to Oxford. {89}


Oxford: October 26, 1825.
My holiday was passed very pleasantly at Peartree. They wished me to come again in the course of the autumn, and when they found that impossible, pressed me to come at Christmas. I have promised, however, to make the visit annual. Pusey is just returned, after having been nearly lost at sea.


Oriel: November 14, 1825.
I have taken bark according to Dr. Bailey's prescription for three weeks; and this, added to my excursion, has made me so strong that parish, hall, college and 'Encyclopædia,' go on together in perfect harmony. I have begun the essay on Miracles in earnest, and think I feel my footing better and grasp my subject more satisfactorily.

I can pursue two separate objects better than at first. It is a great thing to have pulled out my mind. I am sure I shall derive great benefit from it in after life.

I have joined in recommending Pusey not going into orders yet. He has so much to do in the theological way in Hebrew and Syriac.

Looking back in 1826 on the work done in 1825, there are again allusions to the clash of occupations pressing at this time. The refreshment of Mr. Newman's holiday had enabled him to return to the various calls on his energies with less sense of painful effort than he suffered from when such enforced breaks upon concentration of thought were for any length of time the rule.

I have been involved in work against my will. This time last year Smedley asked me to write an article in the 'Encyclopædia.' After undertaking it Whately offered me the Vice-Principalship. The Hall accounts, &c., being in disorder, have haunted me incessantly. Hence my parish has suffered. I have had a continual wear on my mind, mislaying memoranda, forgetting names, &c. ... The succeeding to the tutorship at Oriel has occasioned my relinquishing my curacy to {90} Mr. Simcox, of Wadham, at Easter next; at the same time resigning time Vice-Principalship of St. Alban Hall, being succeeded by the Rev. Samuel Hinds.

Time interval of a year and a half between Mr. Newman's election to Oriel and his ordination has been illustrated by his letters. It is now time to return to the Memoir, and its history of the influence of Oriel within that period on his mind and principles.


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1. The President.
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2. Wherever a note enclosed in brackets occurs in the text, it is to be understood that it comes from the pen of J. H. N., as writer or transcriber, whether these initials appear or not.
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3. Choeph. 1009.
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4. Writing to his Father, the words were, 'I am just made Fellow of Oriel. Thank God!'
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5. Mr. Short told him on February 27, 1878, when he was in Oxford on the occasion of his being elected Honorary Fellow of Trinity, that, on sending for him, he found him intending to retire from the examination, and that he persuaded him to continue the contest.
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6. Perhaps some reader may like to see these questions. 'Mary, supply the words omitted in the following elliptical expressions and phrases: Wake Duncan with the knocking—would thou couldst. The Duke, brave as he was, shuddered. So far from it that he fled the enemy. O well is thee, and happy shalt thou be! You are as odd a girl as ever I saw. A thrill how sweet, who feels alone can know.'
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7. Dr. Mozley's Old Testament Lectures, delivered to Masters of Arts, were undertaken by him as following the example of Dr. Lloyd.
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8. Where his aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth Newman, resided.
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9. When the edition of 1872 was brought out, the following prefatory notice was added, but finally cancelled by the author (Historical Sketches, vol. i. p. 245):

'If the following sketch of Cicero's life and writings be thought unworthy of so great a subject, the author must plead the circumstances under which it was made.

'In the spring of 1824, when his hands were so full of work, Dr. Whately paid him the compliment of asking him to write for the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, to which he was at that time contributing himself. Dr. Whately explained to him that the editor had suddenly been disappointed in the article on Cicero, which was to have appeared in the Encyclopædia, and that in consequence he could not allow more than two months for the composition of the paper which was to take its place; also that it must contain such and such subjects. The author undertook to finish it under these conditions. It will serve to show how busy he was at the time, to say that one day, after working with his private pupils till the evening, he sat down to his article till four o'clock next morning, and then walked over from Oxford to Warton, a distance of eighteen miles, in order to appear punctually at the breakfast table of a friend, the Rev. Walter Mayer, who on quitting home had committed his pupils in his parsonage to the author's charge.'
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10. Mr. Newman preached his first sermon, June 23, at Warton.
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11. The Editor was once told, by Mr. Newman's sister, that this was the text of his first sermon.
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12. In the Apologia, referring to an earlier date, we read: 'I am obliged to mention, though I do it with great reluctance, another deep imagination that at this time, the autumn of 1816, took possession of me. There can be no mistake about the fact, viz. that it would be the will of God that I should lead a single life. This anticipation, which has held its ground almost continuously ever since ... was more or less connected in my mind with the notion that my calling in life would require such a sacrifice as celibacy involved; as, for instance, missionary work among the heathen, to which I had a great drawing for some years. It also strengthened my feeling of separation from the visible world, of which I have spoken above.'—Apologia pro Vita sua, p. 7.
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13. See stanzas to his brother, F. W. N., in the volume of poems entitled Verses.

In her affection all had share—
All six, she loved them all;
Yet on her early-chosen pair
Did her full favour fall;
And we became her dearest theme,
Her waking thought, her nightly dream.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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