Chapter 33. The Cardinalate (1879)

{433} NEWMAN had now, in the revision of his works, reached the final volume—'Athanasius'—and his health was still excellent and his powers unimpaired. It was twenty years since he had written to W. G. Ward that he felt the age had come at which a sudden visitation might terminate his life. Such fears were ever with him, and his prolonged well-being seemed no less than a marvel. His Christmas greetings to Lord Blachford, written on Christmas eve, 1878, show him still well and still at work, but ready at any time for the impending summons:

'I wish you and Lady Blachford were as well as to all appearance I am—but I never can quite get out of my mind the chance of the "ignes" under the "cineri doloso"—tho' the metaphor is unsuitable—I mean the chance of paralysis, which is so insidious and so sudden, and has taken off so many of my friends and acquaintances.

'I am at my last volume, the "Athanasius"—and find it very tough work.'

He had, a little earlier, written what purported to be his last entry in the private journal from which we have so often quoted. That entry recorded a feature in his career with which his friends would have to deal after he was gone. And his solemn words were written for posterity in comment on a long and now completed life:

'I notice the following lest the subject should turn up when I am gone, and my friends be perplexed how to deal with it.

'I have before now said in writing to Cardinals Wiseman and Barnabo when I considered myself treated with slight and unfairness, "So this is the return made to me for working for the Catholic cause for so many years," i.e. to that effect.

'I feel it still, and ever shall,—but it was not a disappointed ambition which I was then expressing in words, but {434} a scorn and wonder at the injustice shown me, and at the demand of toadyism on my part if I was to get their favour, and the favour of Rome.

'I knew perfectly well, when I so wrote, that such language would look like disappointment at having received no promotion, and moreover was the worst way of getting it. But I had no wish to get it, and it was my very consciousness that I never had had such aspiration, nor felt any such disappointment, and was simply careless whether they thought I had or no, that made me thus speak. And at other times of my life also I have used words which, when I used them, I saw could be used against me, but did not care whether they were so used or not, from a clear conscience that it would be a mistaken use of them, if they were. When I wrote to the two Cardinals, I had that strength of conviction that I never had had any notion of secular or ecclesiastical ambition for writing my volumes, which made me not hesitate to denounce, if I may so speak, at the risk of being misunderstood, the injustice, for so I felt it, which had been shown towards me. This I did feel very keenly; I was indignant that after all my anxious and not unsuccessful attempts to promote, in my own place and according to my own measure, the Catholic cause, my very first mistake in the Rambler, supposing it one, should have been come down upon, my former services neither having been noticed favourably when they were done, nor telling now as a plea for mercy.

'As to my freedom from ambitious views, I don't know that I need defend myself from the imputation of them. Qui s'excuse, s'accuse. But in fact I have from the first presaged that I should get no thanks for what I was doing, (a presage which has only come true in that sense in which I did not care about its being true, and which God's undeserved mercy has falsified or rather reversed in a higher sense, for He has heaped upon me the acknowledgments and the sympathies, for what I have written, of friends and strangers far beyond my deserts). But as to my presage that I should gain no secular reward for my writings, I have expressed it many times [Note 1] … {435}

'I am dissatisfied with the whole of this book. It is more or less a complaint from one end to the other. But it represents what has been the real state of my mind, and what my Cross has been.'

'O how light a Cross—think what the Crosses of others are! And think of the compensation, compensation in even this world—I have touched on it in a parenthesis in the foregoing page. I have had, it is true, no recognition in high quarters—but what warm kind letters in private have I had! and how many! and what public acknowledgments! How ungrateful I am, or should I be, if such letters and such notices failed to content me.' [Note 2]

In the summer of 1878 events were occurring which were to bring about a great change in Newman's position, and to falsify some of these words written in the autumn of 1876. Pius IX. had gone; Leo XIII. had come. It was an acknowledged fact that, in spite of his love for Pius IX., Newman had not sympathised with that Pontiff's policy. And he had been under a cloud in the official Roman world. The natural reaction of opinion—the swing of the pendulum from one Pontificate to another—seemed to some of Newman's friends a golden opportunity for securing for his great work for the Church the formal approval from Rome itself which had so long been withheld. A Cardinal's Hat was suggested in one quarter, and the idea spread rapidly. The Duke of Norfolk was felt to be the natural person to express the wide-spread desire of the English Catholic community. The Duke entered into the idea with the utmost keenness and, in conjunction with Lord Petre and Lord Ripon, secured Cardinal Manning's approval. Manning undertook to broach the subject in Rome. In the event, however, his representations were not communicated to Leo XIII. until after the Pontiff had learnt from the Duke himself how strongly the honour was desired by Newman's friends. {436}

The Duke writes as follows, in a letter to the present biographer, of the feelings which moved him to take action in the matter, and of the interview at which he spoke of it to Leo XIII. himself:

'I was moved very much by the feeling that it was due to Newman himself that his long life of marvellous and successful labour for religion should receive the highest mark of recognition which the Holy See could give him. I felt this all the more keenly because I knew how much had happened to obscure the character of the work he had done and the results of it. I knew that it must be an intense sorrow to him to feel that he and his life's work were not understood in that very quarter of which he had made himself the special champion. But my chief reason for moving in the matter was based on more general grounds. I do not think that any Catholic has been listened to by those who are not Catholics with so much attention, respect and, to a great extent, sympathy as Newman. But while numbers were brought by him to see and to accept the truth, I felt very strongly that the full outcome of his labours was most unhappily limited by the impression which was made to prevail by a certain school of well intentioned people that he did not really speak the mind of the Church or represent the beliefs which the Church called upon her children to accept. It appeared to me then that the same causes which kept from him the full and public approbation of the Holy See were impeding his usefulness to his fellow countrymen. They in their turn persuaded themselves that the arguments and example of Newman could be admired by them as showing what a grand and beautiful and divinely authoritative institution the Catholic Church might be, but that they were not called upon to obey that authority because the opinion held of Newman by many Catholics showed that the Catholic Church was not really what Newman said it was. It appeared to me therefore that in the cause both of justice and of truth it was of the utmost importance that the Church should put her seal on Newman's work.

'It happened, quite accidentally, that I was in Rome when this question was first brought before the Holy See. I believed that representations from myself and others had been submitted to the Pope and I therefore spoke to Leo XIII. on the subject. I found that this was the first mention to him of the matter, and I had therefore to explain {437} the situation as well as I was able. I was very careful to impress upon the Pope that there was a section of opinion in England which would not be in sympathy with my suggestion. I did this not only because it would have been wrong to have led the Pope to believe that everyone was of the same mind with myself or to appear to claim support in quarters in which an opinion different from mine prevailed; but also because I was most anxious that if Newman should be created a Cardinal it should be after the fullest consideration and enquiry on the part of the Holy See, that it should not be a request granted out of complaisance to those who made it, but that what was to be done should be an emphatic act of deliberate judgment.

'I should be sorry to be supposed to be in any way censuring those who looked with doubt or suspicion on much of what Newman had written and who regarded his being made a Cardinal as giving a dangerous sanction to unfortunate teaching. Among those who held this opinion were able and holy men, and on some points and on some occasions I have felt much in sympathy with them. But it appeared to me that they allowed small points to outweigh the great underlying fact of all that Newman was doing. They failed to realize that no one was able to bring Catholic truth to the intelligence of his countrymen as Newman could, because, among other reasons, he had shown them that he understood, in a way no other Catholic writer did, the difficulties which perplexed them. I thought too they forgot that there were hundreds who had been brought into the Church by private correspondence with Newman, and that to them it would be an untold consolation and strengthening to see him receive the highest recognition which could be conferred upon him. Many too who were anxious to see the spread of what were called ultramontane views seemed to forget that to no one more than to Newman could they turn for lofty and unflinching testimony to the august majesty of the Holy See and the high claims of the Pope upon our trust and allegiance. Again it was sometimes urged that in Newman intellectual qualities were allowed somewhat to overcloud the simplicity of Catholic faith. But it would be difficult indeed to gather from any other writer than Newman such sublime conceptions of devotion to the Mother of God or of our kindred with the saints; and in all this the high intellectual insight is blended with the most childlike tenderness. I feel very strongly that the action of the Holy See in making Newman {438} a Cardinal brought out this great side of his character, this great lasting teaching of his life, and that in this act our Country received yet another pledge of "Rome's unwearied love."'

The Pontiff listened with attention to the Duke's representations and acceded to his request. But nothing of what had passed was known to the world at large or to Newman himself.

A month had passed since the Christmas letter to Lord Blachford before Newman himself received any intimation of what was proposed. He was in bed nursing a bad cold, when a letter reached the Oratory, urgently summoning him to visit Bishop Ullathorne at Oscott. On receiving news of Newman's indisposition, the Bishop asked to see some specially trusted friend of his, and Father Pope was forthwith despatched to Oscott. He was informed that Cardinal Nina had written to Cardinal Manning intimating the Holy Father's desire to confer on Newman the Cardinal's Hat.

The infirmities of age made it out of the question that Newman should transfer his residence to Rome. Yet all Cardinals who are not also diocesan Bishops or Archbishops reside as a matter of course in the Eternal City. But this nark of confidence from the Holy See, after the prolonged, aching sense of distrust in high quarters, was so unexpected and so signal, as to be the greatest event as well as the crowning reward of Newman's life. 'The cloud is lifted from me for ever,' were the words in which he spoke of it to his Oratorian brethren. It was just this stamp of approval from the Vicar of Christ which would make the whole difference to his power for good.

He had for years been scrupulously loyal alike to truth and conscience, and to ecclesiastical authority. He would not write on the great questions of the day without in some way intimating the things he saw and felt so strongly. And when he considered that outspokenness must involve opposition to the commands of those to whom he owed obedience he did not write at all. In such cases he had realised the power of silence, and in refraining from speech had imitated One Whose spoken words were Divine: he had remembered those passages of the Gospel in which it is written 'Jesus autem tacebat.' When he did speak, while using infinite {439} care to give no offence in the manner of his expression, nevertheless he had given clear indication of views most distasteful to the extreme party of the Civilità, of the Dublin Review, of the Univers, which was so influential in Rome. Newman was sure that posterity would see the necessity of such conscientious fidelity to historical and scientific fact with a view to preserving the influence of Christianity among the educated classes in the age to come. He trusted to time to justify him. 'To her arms I lovingly commit myself,' he said again and again. But he had finally resigned himself to the conviction that official recognition for his work in his own lifetime was out of the question. Therefore, when his long course of unswerving veracity, submission, and patient waiting was rewarded by the most signal approval Rome could give, he saw in the Pontiff's action the hand of God, Who has promised earthly rewards to those who seek only 'the kingdom of God and His justice.' He felt, as Father Neville used to say, almost as though the heavens had opened and the Divine voice had spoken its approval of him before the whole world. This approval, implied in the Pontiff's desire to raise him to the Sacred College, must remain a fact, whether circumstances would allow him to assume the external splendour of a Cardinal's estate or not. Cardinal Nina's letter, it should be noted, was not an actual offer of the Hat, but a preliminary letter expressing the Holy Father's wish to make such an offer.

Newman wrote at once to the Bishop, expressing his deep gratitude, but pointing out the impossibility at his age of leaving the Oratory and residing in Rome.

'The Oratory, Birmingham:
Feb. 2, Feast of the Purification, 1879.
'My Right Rev. Father,—I trust that his Holiness, and the most eminent Cardinal Nina will not think me a thoroughly discourteous and unfeeling man, who is not touched by the commendation of superiors, or a sense of gratitude, or the splendour of dignity, when I say to you, my Bishop, who know me so well, that I regard as altogether above me the great honour which the Holy Father proposes with wonderful kindness to confer on one so insignificant, an honour quite transcendent and unparalleled, than which his Holiness has none greater to bestow. {440}

'For I am, indeed, old and distrustful of myself; I have lived now thirty years in nidulo meo in my much loved Oratory, sheltered and happy, and would therefore entreat his Holiness not to take me from St. Philip, my Father and Patron.

'By the love and reverence with which a long succession of Popes have regarded and trusted St. Philip, I pray and entreat his Holiness in compassion of my diffidence of mind, in consideration of my feeble health, my nearly eighty years, the retired course of my life from my youth, my ignorance of foreign languages, and my lack of experience in business, to let me die where I have so long lived. Since I know now and henceforth that his Holiness thinks kindly of me, what more can I desire?
'Right Rev. Father,
Your most devoted

This letter reads like a simple refusal of the proposed dignity; but, as those who lived with Newman knew, his wish was to accept it provided that he was allowed to remain at the Oratory. To express this in a letter was, in his sensitive judgment, to seem to bargain with the Holy Father. In writing he therefore confined himself to indicating his inability to leave home at his great age. The following day, however, he went to Oscott to see the Bishop, and his true mind on the subject of the Cardinalate is placed beyond question in the following letters—the first semi-official, the second private—written by Dr. Ullathorne to Cardinal Manning after the interview:

'St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham: Feb. 3, 1879.
'My dear Lord Cardinal,—Your kind letter, enclosing that of Cardinal Nina, gave me very great gratification. As I could not with any prudence go to Birmingham, I wrote and asked Dr. Newman if he could come to Oscott. But he was in bed suffering from a severe cold, and much pulled down. I, therefore, took advantage of a clause in Cardinal Nina's letter, and asked him to send a Father in his intimate confidence whom he might consult in a grave matter of importance, to whom I could communicate in secrecy the Holy Father's message. Father Pope was sent, and with him I went into the subject, and sent the documents with a paper in which I had written my own reflections. {441}

'Dr. Newman contrived to come himself today, although quite feeble. He is profoundly and tenderly impressed with the goodness of the Holy Father towards him, and he spoke to me with great humility of what he conceived to be his disqualifications, especially at his age, for so great a position, and of his necessity to the Birmingham Oratory, which still requires his care.

'I represented to him, as I had already done through Father Pope, that I felt confident that the one intention of the Holy Father was to confer upon him this signal proof of his confidence, and to give him an exalted position in the Church in token of the great services he had rendered to her cause, and that I felt confident also that his Holiness would not require his leaving the Oratory and taking a new position at his great age. But that if he would leave it to me, I would undertake to explain all to your Eminence, who would make the due explanations to Cardinal Nina.

'Dr. Newman has far too humble and delicate a mind to dream of thinking or saying anything which would look like hinting at any kind of terms with the Sovereign Pontiff. He has expressed himself in a Latin letter addressed to me, which I could send to your Eminence, and which you could place in the hands of Cardinal Nina.

'I think, however, that I ought to express my own sense of what Dr. Newman's dispositions are, and that it will be expected of me. As I have already said, Dr. Newman is most profoundly touched and moved by this very great mark of consideration on the part of the Sovereign Pontiff, and I am thoroughly confident that nothing stands in the way of his most grateful acceptance except what he tells me greatly distresses him, namely, the having to leave the Oratory at a critical period of its existence, and when it is just beginning to develop in new members, and the impossibility of his beginning a new life at his advanced age.

'I cannot, however, but think myself that this is not the Holy Father's intention, and that His Holiness would consider his presence in England of importance, where he has been so much in communication with those who are in search of the Truth.

'I have also said to Dr. Newman himself that I am confident that the noble Catholics of England would not leave him without the proper means for maintaining his dignity in a suitable manner.

'Although expecting me to make the official communication, {442} Dr. Newman will write to you himself. I remain, my dear Lord Cardinal, your faithful and affectionate servant,
'WILLIAM BERNARD, Bp. of Birmingham.'

Another letter written on the following day speaks yet more plainly:

St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham: Feb. 4, 1879.
'My dear Lord Cardinal,—I had no time to write you a more private letter after seeing Dr. Newman yesterday. He is very much aged, and softened with age and the trials he has had, especially by the loss of his two brethren, St. John and Caswall; he can never refer to these losses without weeping and becoming speechless for the time. He is very much affected by the Pope's kindness, would, I know, like to receive the great honour offered him, but feels the whole difficulty at his age of changing his life, or having to leave the Oratory, which I am sure he could not do. If the Holy Father thinks well to confer on him the dignity, leaving him where he is, I know how immensely he would be gratified, and you will know how generally the conferring on him the Cardinalate will be applauded.
'My dear Lord Cardinal, faithfully and affectionately yours,

It is hardly surprising, considering the extraordinary vacillations of 1856—when, after he had received formal notice from Cardinal Wiseman, written from Rome itself, that he was nominated a Bishop, the appointment was cancelled without the assignment of any reason or even any formal intimation of the fact—that Newman was a little slow to feel absolute confidence that this great honour was to be bestowed. And it almost seemed as though the evil fate which had dogged him on the earlier occasion was again threatening this new proposal.

On February 15 he learnt from Miss Bowles that Father Coleridge had told her of the offer of a Cardinal's Hat and had added that Newman had declined it. Newman promptly replied: 'You may say to Father Coleridge (1) that I know nothing about it. (2) that I believe such an offer binds a man to secrecy, if it is made to him. (3) that I never should reject hastily or bluntly.' {443}

Three days later, however, the same report appeared in a more formidable shape. The Times of February 18 published the following paragraph: 'Pope Leo XIII. has intimated his desire to raise Dr. Newman to the rank of Cardinal, but with expressions of deep respect for the Holy See Dr. Newman has excused himself from accepting the purple.'

Although the letter sent to Dr. Ullathorne for Cardinal Nina to see did bear this interpretation prima facie, it was addressed to one to whom Newman himself explained its true meaning, and had been shown by the Bishop only to Cardinal Manning, to whom he had carefully conveyed Newman's real wishes. Manning, however, appears to have taken Newman's own written words as decisive, and to have regarded the Bishop's impressions as unauthoritative. Newman was greatly pained by the appearance of such a statement in the papers, and at a loss to account for it. In the ordinary course of things such a paragraph could not have been inserted without Newman's express authority. It consequently conveyed to the world not only an absolute refusal which he had never intended, but a wish on his part to emphasise publicly the fact that he had declined the honour so graciously offered to him. People might infer that he took somewhat lightly a proposal for which he was in reality deeply thankful; and his friends felt that when the paragraph was read at Rome it might actually lead to the offer of the Cardinalate being withheld. Letters reached him daily from Catholic friends expressing deep regret at his reported refusal.

Newman's feeling as to the report is apparent in the following letter to the Duke of Norfolk:

'The Oratory: Feb.20, 1879.
'My dear Duke,—I have heard from various quarters of the affectionate interest you have taken in the application to Rome about me, and I write to thank you and to express my great pleasure at it.

'As to the statement of my refusing a Cardinal's Hat, which is in the papers, you must not believe it—for this reason:

'Of course, it implies that an offer has been made me, and I have sent an answer to it. Now I have ever understood {444} that it is a point of propriety and honour to consider such communications sacred. The statement therefore cannot come from me. Nor could it come from Rome, for it was made public before my answer got to Rome.

'It could only come, then, from some one who not only read my letter, but, instead of leaving to the Pope to interpret it, took upon himself to put an interpretation upon it, and published that interpretation to the world.

'A private letter, addressed to Roman Authorities, is interpreted on its way and published in the English papers. How is it possible that any one can have done this?

'And besides, I am quite sure that, if so high an honour was offered me, I should not answer it by a blunt refusal.
'Yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.' [Note 3]

The report spread that Newman had categorically refused the Hat and it long persevered in many quarters. Father Walford, S.J., writing in the name of Beaumont College on February 27 to offer the congratulations of the masters and boys, concluded with the following words: 'While we should have been glad on our own account and on account of our fellow Catholics in England to see you actually invested with the Sacred Purple, yet, as religious of the Society of Jesus, we cannot but admire and sympathise all the more with the illustrious son of St. Philip, whose love of humility and retirement leads him in the Spirit of his own Holy Father, and in that of ours, to shrink from so exalted a position as that of a prince of the Church.'

This letter gave Newman an opportunity of at once making it known that no official offer had actually come, and of throwing doubt upon the view taken by Father Walford of his attitude towards such an offer:

'The Oratory. March 1, 1879.
'My dear Father Walford,—You must not measure my gratification and my gratitude to your very Rev. Father Rector and the other Fathers and Brothers of your community at Beaumont by the poor words I am putting upon paper; for I am confused and troubled by the greatness of the {445} honour which, from what is so widely reported, I suppose there is a prospect of being offered to me, though in truth I cannot say it has. But nothing can undo the fact that the report has been so kindly received and welcomed by my own people, the Catholics of England, and next by such large bodies of our Protestant fellow-countrymen.

'It will be a great relief to me if the great offer is not made to me—but, if made, my way is not clear. I have a reasonable apprehension that my refusal would be taken by Protestants, nay by some Catholics, as a proof that at heart I am not an out and out son of the Church, and that it may unsettle some Catholics, and throw back inquirers. I know that Unitarians, Theists, and anti-Catholics generally are earnest that I should decline, whereas I hear of a widespread feeling among Catholics that, if I decline, I am "snubbing the Pope."

'I have suffered so much from the obstinacy of all sorts of people to believe that I am a good Catholic that this wonderful opportunity, if opened on me, of righting myself in public opinion must not be lost except for very grave reasons.
'Yours affectionately,

To much the same effect he wrote to Pusey next day in reply to a letter congratulating him on his reported refusal of the dignity that had been offered to him.

'The Oratory: March 2, 1879.
'We look at things from different points of view. Here have I for thirty years been told by men of all colours in belief that I am not a good Catholic. It has given me immense trouble, much mortification, and great loss of time. It has been used as an argument to keep men back from joining the Church; men have said: "Just you see—his own people do not trust him—the Pope snubs him." When then after this period of penance, and this long trial of patience and resignation, [this offer comes] say, would not you yourself in such a case feel it a call of God not to refuse so great a mercy as a thorough wiping away for ever of this stigma such as the offer of a Cardinal's Hat involves, and feel it a heartless act of ingratitude to the generous offerer of it and to the warm-hearted friends who have laboured for it, if I refused it? …

'If the common reports are true, the present Pope in his high place as Cardinal, was in the same ill odour at Rome as {446} I was. Here then a fellow-feeling and sympathy with him colours to my mind his act towards me. He seems to say:—

'"Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco."

'How can I not supplement his act by giving my assent to it?

'Thanks for your sermon, which is most valuable, I see.'

Manning had already started for Rome when Newman wrote to the Duke of Norfolk, and the Duke forwarded to him Newman's letter, adding his own strong representations as to the harm which would be done if anything now occurred to make the English public believe that Rome's offer was not really intended. The Duke urged him to make all explanations called for by the unfortunate report circulated by the Times, for which beyond doubt Dr. Newman and his friends were not responsible. The Duke's representations had the desired effect. Cardinal Manning explained the situation to the Holy Father, who at once acceded to Newman's request that he might continue to live at the Oratory; and Manning communicated the intelligence both by telegram and by letter to the Bishop of Birmingham.

His telegram arrived on March 2, 1879; and at last all seemed really certain.

'Amid your troubles and anxieties,' Newman writes to Miss Bowles on that day, 'you will be glad to hear that the Pope grants me non-residence, which has not been done since the 17th century. I suppose all is certain now, unless one of the sudden changes take place which have sometimes occurred to me in life.'

Both the Bishop and Newman himself wrote without delay to Manning, making Newman's acceptance of the dignity perfectly clear:

'St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham: March 4, 1879.
'My dear Lord Cardinal,—Your letter, following your telegram, was extremely welcome to Dr. Newman. He wrote to me: "You may fancy how I am overcome by the Pope's goodness." He also said to his own brethren: "The cloud is lifted from me for ever." He accepts with the greatest gratitude the honour and dignity which the Holy Father designs for him, and I am sure that if he can take {447} the journey he will come to Rome. He is still suffering from severe cold, but is wonderfully consoled by the Pope's kindness.

'The whole press of England has been engaged on the subject, and the general disposition is to look upon Dr. Newman not merely as a Catholic but as a great Englishman, and to regard the intention of the Pope as an honour to England.

'Your communications came happily in time to stop the general conclusion that Dr. Newman had declined, upon which the comic papers have founded their illustrations.

'I have considered it prudent, now that all is public, to deny, and cause it to be denied, that Dr. Newman has [declined] or did decline ... I remain, my dear Lord Cardinal,
Your faithful and affectionate servant,

'The Oratory: March 4, 1879.
'Dear Cardinal Manning,—I hardly should have thought it became me, since no letter has been addressed to me, to write to anyone at Rome myself, on the gracious message of the Holy Father about me.

'Since, however, the Bishop of Birmingham recommends me to do so, I hereby beg to say that with much gratitude and with true devotion to His Holiness, I am made acquainted with and accept the permission he proposes to me in his condescending goodness to keep place within the walls of my Oratory at Birmingham.
'I am, sincerely yours, kissing the Sacred Purple,

But even now a letter came from Manning's intimate friend, Lady Herbert of Lea, implying that Newman was still declining the Hat. He replied to her at once:

'The Oratory: March 5th, 1879.
'My dear Lady Herbert,—Your letter is most kind, as kind as it could be, and I thank you for it with all my heart.

'You speak as if I ever had declined the great honour offered me. No, I never did—and that I am persisting in my refusal now. Not at all.

'I have not been written to—naturally, but Cardinal Manning says that a letter will soon come to me. I shall answer it at once accepting it, if it comes.
'Most truly yours,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.' {448}

On the same day he wrote a further letter to Manning to place the state of affairs quite beyond doubt:

'The Oratory: March 5, 1879.
'Dear Cardinal Manning,—Wishing to guard against all possible mistake I trouble you with this second letter.

'As soon as the Holy Father condescends to make it known to me that he means to confer on me the high dignity of Cardinal, I shall write to Rome to signify my obedience and glad acceptance of the honour without any delay.

'I write this thinking that the impression which existed some fortnight since, that I had declined it, may still prevail.
'Yours very sincerely,

'P.S.—This second letter is occasioned by something that came to my knowledge since my letter of yesterday.'

Newman also wrote to Cardinal Howard, who resided in Rome:

'The Oratory, Birmingham.
'My Lord Cardinal,—My only apology for writing to you is the circumstance that Cardinal Manning mentioned your Eminence's name in conjunction with his own in matters which concern me.

'I find the impression still exists in London that I am resisting the most gracious and generous wish of the Holy Father to raise me to the Sacred College. In case this impression prevails anywhere in Rome, I take the liberty of writing to you as well as to Cardinal Manning to say that it is altogether unfounded.
'Kissing the Sacred Purple, I am yours, etc.,


'Rome: Monday, March 10, 1879.
'Dear Fr. Newman,—I lose no time in answering your kind letter, and to say that the report which you mention as having existed in London, that you were believed to be resisting the wish of the Holy Father to raise you to the Sacred College, does not in any form exist now in Rome. At first a report gained some credence that in your humility for various reasons you had been disposed to decline this honour, but it immediately became known that the Holy Father very decidedly wished to confer the Hat upon you, and thus all doubt ceased to exist upon the subject. {449}

'Let me take this opportunity to offer you my most sincere congratulations and to say how great a pleasure it is to me to have been able to have had some part however [small] in what must cause so much pleasure in England, and confers another honour on St. Philip's children.
'Pray believe me, dear Fr. Newman,
Very truly yours,

Manning's replies to Newman's two letters were quite explicit:

'English College: March 8, 1879.
'My dear Newman,—Your letter [of March 4] reached me last night; and I took and repeated it to the Holy Father this morning.

'He charged me to say that the official letter will be sent to you: and that he gives full permission that you should continue to reside in your home at Birmingham.

'He told me to say to you that in elevating you to the Sacred College he intends to bestow on you a testimony to your virtues and your learning: and to do an act grateful to the Catholics of England, and to England itself for which he feels an affectionate interest.

'It gives me much happiness to be the bearer of this message to you.
'Believe me always, yours affectionately,

'English College: March 8, 1879.
'My dear Newman,—Your second letter [of March 5] has just reached me. Mine will have been received before this, and you will know that I have not a second time failed to understand your intention. The letter written by you to the Bishop of Birmingham in answer to Cardinal Nina's letter was sent by the Bishop to me with a letter of his own.

'I fully believed that, for the reasons given in your letter, you declined what might be offered.

'But the Bishop expressed his hope that you might under a change of conditions accept it.

'This confirmed my belief that as it stood you declined it.

'And your letter to me of a day or two later still further confirmed my belief [Note 4].

'I started for Rome, taking with me the Bishop's letters, not knowing what might be done here. {450}

'In passing through Paris I wrote to the Duke of Norfolk in the sense I have written above.

'I never doubted that impression, received from your letters and the Bishop's, till I received from the Duke a copy of a letter of yours to him, in which you said that you had not intended to refuse what had been proposed.

'The moment I read this I went to the Vatican, and told the Holy Father, and asked his permission to write to the Duke, and to the Bishop of Birmingham.

'But to shorten still further the suspense I telegraphed to both.

'I write this because if I misunderstood your intention it was by an error which I repaired the instant I knew it.
'Believe me always, yours affectionately,

Not until March 15 did Cardinal Nina send the official notice [Note 5] that the hat was to be conferred. Manning at once forwarded it to Newman:

'Rome: March 15, 1879.
'My dear Newman,—The enclosed letter from Cardinal Nina has this moment reached me, and I forward it to you with great joy. I hope you may yet have many years to serve the Church in this most intimate relation to the Holy See. From the expressions used by many of the Sacred College to me I can assure you of the joy with which they will receive you.

'I remember in 1854, I think, writing from Rome to wish you joy on another event. I quoted the words "honestavit illum in laboribus et complevit labores illius." I have still greater happiness in conveying to you this greater completion of your many labours.
'Believe me, my dear Newman,
Yours affectionately,

The correspondence had in the first two weeks in March become so very definite that Newman no longer hesitated, even before the reception of the official letter, to speak of his future dignity to those who were in the secret as an accomplished fact. Among those to whom he wrote on this {451} assumption was his old friend Father Whitty, who had been among the first to urge in influential quarters the importance in the interests of religion of gaining this recognition of Newman's life-work from Rome itself:

'The Oratory: March 9, 1879.
'My dear Father Whitty,—I waited to write to you till I had some official notice of the Pope's gracious purpose regarding me—but since it delays, I don't like not to send you a line to thank you for all the zeal which you have shown in my behalf.

'You are an old friend of 33 years standing since the time when I cut my eyebrow at St. Edmund's in the dark, and when I asked you any particulars you knew of the Vincentians in the garden at Maryvale—and you have always been a kind friend, amid all the changes of a very eventful time. And I have no means of repaying you but that of owning my debt and praying that all your kindness may turn to your merit, which, as really done for Christ's sake, it will. Faithfulness is a rare quality in this world, and in being an instance of it, a man shows in a special way like Him, Whose endearing attribute is to be faithful and true.

'I will not say more—but, as I am writing, it strikes me that, in answering the very pleasant letter I had from your Provincial, I used a word which may require explanation. I said I was "surprised" at the kindness of his letter. I meant, surprised that any such persons should think so well of me.

'Excuse a stupid letter—but I am knocked up with letter writing.
Yours affectionately in Christ,

March 11 brought a formal message from the Holy Father confirming the permission for non-residence in Rome. After this Newman felt that he could write quite freely to friends who had not been in the secret, and the first to whom he wrote was Dean Church:

'Private.        The Oratory: March 11, 1879.
'My dear Church,—I did not like to write to you till I had something like official notice of my promotion. This comes within this half hour. Yet not so much official as personal, being a most gracious message from the Pope to me.

'He allows me to reside in this Oratory, the precedent for the indulgence being Cardinal de Berulle, founder of the French Oratory in the 17th Century.

'Haec mutatio dexterae Excelsi! all the stories which have {452} gone about of my being a half Catholic, a Liberal Catholic, under a cloud, not to be trusted, are now at an end ...

'It was on this account that I dared not refuse the offer. A good Providence gave me an opportunity of clearing myself of former calumnies in my "Apologia"—and I dared not refuse it. And now He gave me a means, without any labour of mine, to set myself right as regards other calumnies which were directed against me—how could I neglect so great a loving kindness? [Note 6]

'I have ever tried to leave my cause in the Hands of God and to be patient—and He has not forgotten me.
'Ever yours affly.,

To Father Gerard, S.J., he wrote next day his thanks for the congratulations of the Community and College at Stonyhurst:

'How very kind your letter is! I thank you and the other members of your Community and College with all my heart for so welcome a message. Of course my first gratification on receiving the great honour, which is the occasion of your writing to me, is the approbation of me which it implies on the part of the Holy Father. But the next, and a very keen source of enjoyment, is to receive the congratulations of friends—and I have been quite startled at receiving so many and so warm—and not the least of these in affectionateness from the houses of your Society.

'Of course I can't expect to live long—but it is a wonderful termination, in God's good Providence, of my life. I have lived long enough to see a great marvel. I shall not forget that I have your prayers. Many thanks for them.'

It was a welcome task, too, to reply to the letter from the new President of Trinity, Dr. Percival (who had recently succeeded Dr. Wayte), written on behalf of himself and the Fellows of the College, congratulating their distinguished colleague on his new honours:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Mar. 30, 1879.
'Dear Mr. President,—I had been looking out, ever since I heard of your election, for the time when you would come {453} into residence, and when I might be allowed to pay my respects to you—and now you anticipate me with so kind an invitation, and with such warm congratulations on my recent promotion, from yourself and your Fellows.

'I hope you and they will understand how very pleasant it is to me to find the events which happen to me a subject of such friendly interest to my friends at Trinity, and with what pride I reflect that, if a historical title and high ecclesiastical distinction goes for anything in college estimation, I shall be thought, when the name of a Cardinal appears on your list of members, not to have done discredit to your generous act of last year, when you singled me out for your honorary Fellowship.
'I am, dear Mr. President, with much respect,
Sincerely yours,

The first of the many public congratulations which Newman arranged to receive was the address of the Irish members of Parliament. This was to take place on April 4 at the house of Mr. T. W. Allies in London. As the time drew near Newman became very despondent, and said to Father Neville, 'It has all come too late. I am unused to public speeches. I am old and broken. It is too late to begin. I fear I shall break down.' He ate little breakfast when the day arrived. Father Neville went with him to the station. As he got out of the carriage Father Neville noted more than usual the stoop which in his old age contrasted so much with the upright carriage that his Oxford friends remembered in earlier years. Newman was limp and seemed to find walking a difficulty—dragging his limbs painfully along. As they walked on the platform he dropped his hat and gloves. Father Neville almost feared he would faint. He made him more than once drink some brandy, and sent him off hoping for the best.

Father Neville met him in the evening at the station on his return in some anxiety. Newman as he left the train walked with firm step and erect figure. 'All is right,' he said; 'I did it splendidly.'

He felt henceforth—Father Neville told me—that after all it was not too late, that he still had the strength and presence of mind which were needed. And these never failed him on the many similar occasions which ensued. {454}

The Irish address was not seen by him before its presentation, and his reply was therefore given without preparation. If it was not in itself specially remarkable, those present were agreed as to its tact and opportuneness, and the happy ease with which it was delivered. The report of it should here be set down as being the first spoken acknowledgment of the good wishes of his friends:

'April 4, 1879.
'Gentlemen,—This is a great day for me, and it is a day which gives me great pleasure too. It is a pleasure to meet old friends, and it is a pleasure to meet new ones. But it is not merely as friends that I meet you, for you are representatives of an ancient and faithful Catholic people for whom I have a deep affection, and therefore in receiving your congratulations of course I feel very much touched by your address; but I hope that you will not think it strange if I say that I have been surprised too, because while it is a great thing to please one's own people, it is still more wonderful to create an interest in a people which is not one's own. I do not think there is any other country which would have treated me so graciously as yours did. It is now nearly thirty years since, with a friend of mine, I first went over to Ireland with a view to the engagement which I afterwards formed there, and during the seven years through which that engagement lasted, I had continuous experience of kindness, and nothing but kindness, from all classes of people—from the hierarchy, from the seculars and regulars, and from the laity, whether in Dublin or in the country. Those who worked with me gave the most loyal support and loving help. As their first act they helped me in a great trouble in which I was involved. I had put my foot into an unusual legal embarrassment, and it required many thousand pounds to draw me out of it. They took a great share in that work. Nor did they show less kindness at the end of my time. I was obliged to leave from the necessities of my own congregation at Birmingham. Everybody can understand what a difficulty it is for a body to be without its head, and I only engaged for seven years, because I could not otherwise fulfil the charge which the Holy Father had put upon me in the Oratory. When I left with reluctance and regret that sphere in which I found so many friends, not a word of disappointment or unkindness was uttered, when there might have been a feeling that I was relinquishing a work which I had begun, and now {455} I repeat that, to my surprise, at the end of twenty years I find a silent memory cherished of a person who can only be said to have meant well though he did little;—and now what return can I make to show my gratitude? None that is sufficient. But this I can say, that your address shall not die with me. I belong to a body which, with God's blessing, will live after me—the Oratory of St. Philip. The paper which is the record of your generosity shall be committed to our archives, and shall testify to generations to come the enduring kindness of Irish Catholics towards the founder and first head of the English Oratory.'

Newman was ever mindful of St. Augustine's 'Securus judicat orbis terrarum,' not only in its strict theological bearing, but in its more general sense; and the tokens now rapidly multiplying that the Holy Father had in his act given expression to a very widespread gratitude among Catholics for his great services to the Church were intensely acceptable to him. To this feeling he gave expression in his reply to the congratulatory address which came next in order after that from Ireland—that, namely, which the Primate and Bishops of Scotland forwarded to him on April 8. In the course of this address the Bishops used the following words:

'We rejoice that it has pleased the Holy Father, by nominating you to a seat in the Sacred College, to show his sense of the services which by your writings and the influence of example you have rendered to the Church, and we sincerely hope and earnestly pray, that the opportunity of continuing these services may be long granted to you along with the enjoyment of your new and well earned dignity.'

Newman thus replied:

'Next to the approbation of the Holy Father as involved in the high dignity to which he has raised me is the rare token of good opinion and good will which your Grace conveys to me from yourself and your brother Bishops of Scotland.

'It is this echo of the Sovereign Pontiff's voice which brings out to the world the force of His Holiness' condescension, and gives such intenseness to my gratification.

'I expect soon to go to Rome; it is a great support to feel that your special blessing, as conveyed to me in the letter which I am acknowledging, will accompany me into the Holy Father's presence.' {456}

The last address, presented before the Cardinal-elect left England for the Eternal City, came from his neighbours, the seminarists at Olton, near Birmingham. The address was presented by two of the principal students.

'Beyond all our hopes,' one of them wrote to a friend at the time, 'we had an interview of near half an hour with the saintly old man. He took us by surprise, entering the room while we were expecting Father Pope. He sat down with us, and I asked him somewhat abruptly if he would not like to see the address at once. With some little trouble in getting the string undone (Dr. Newman himself went and got us a knife to cut it) we brought forth the address, and put it on the mantelpiece, as it happened, in a position very favourable to its effect. Leaning on the mantelpiece he looked at it for a moment or two, and then commenced to read it. He read it carefully through while we looked on in silence. As he came to the end he said: "It is too much, of course, but I know that it is meant." And then seeing the list of names he expressed his satisfaction, saying that to possess the names was something for the future. He again said that he felt that it was more than he deserved. Upon this I could not keep quiet any longer, and I protested that every word was meant. He then sat down and said, "I am sure of that. Those things are not measured by words, but by the heart."'

On the eve of his departure for Rome Dr. Newman wrote to his old friend Mr. John O'Hagan:

'The Oratory: Easter Tuesday, 1879.
'My dear John O'Hagan,— ... Of course I view the wonderful change of things as you view it. It was the reason which, when the Holy Father so considerately allowed me to live here, made me put away every other thought and constrained me to accept the honour. I felt that he was generously and tenderly clearing me from the charges which were made against me. I used to say to myself, "Time will set me right. I must be patient, for Time is on my side." But the Pope has superseded Time. How should I not be most grateful to him?

'I set off for Rome tomorrow, and ask you and Mrs. O'Hagan to say a good prayer for me, for I am rather dreading both the journey and the climate.
'Yours affectly.,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.' {457}

Dr. Newman left the Oratory for Rome on the Wednesday in Easter week, accompanied by Father William Neville. Father Pope and Father Paul Eaglesim were to meet him on his arrival. Rome was reached on Thursday, April 24, and the details of the journey are described in a letter written by Newman himself to one of the Fathers on the following day:

'Rome, Hotel Bristol: April 25, 1879.
'You are so good a correspondent yourself, that like other virtuous people you are not quite sensitive of the difficulties which others feel in being so good. I do think it a great virtue in you, and try to practise it—so does William—and we both have proposed to let you know all about us, but, in spite of a good courier, I have always been tired, and William busy.

'We went at one go from Boulogne to Turin—without any discomfort, getting to the latter place by Saturday night. We heard Mass next morning and went to Genoa, where the weather was not good, and I found myself wet and cold. Unable to take wine, the journey was too much for me, and I had to remain two days at Pisa—else, we should have been at Rome on Tuesday night, but we stayed an idle day at Pisa, and another day went no further than Siena—and so got here by half past four p.m. yesterday, Thursday. Our first act was to send a telegram to Birmingham.

'This morning, as we expected, Thomas and Paul [Note 7] made their appearance.

'Every one has been surpassingly kind. William, perhaps Thomas, is to see Cardinal Nina tonight. It is not very warm, yet thunders. We have not settled where to pitch our tent. I make a bad hand at Italian, the easiest of languages. After all, we left behind my coat of arms. I have sent a telegram to Louis to send me at once a copy. Do you recollect in the Vulgate or in A Kempis, the words "Cor cor (cordi?) loquitur"? Look into the concordance of the Vulgate, among the books of reference in the Library, and find out if there is any such text in Scripture.'

The Holy Father received Newman in private audience on Sunday, April 27. The interview is described in the following letter to Father Henry Bittleston: {458}

'Via Sistina No. 48: May 2, 1879.
'My dear Henry,—Your letter came safe and thank you for it. I have been laid up with a bad cold ever since I have been here. Yesterday and today I have been in bed. It has seized my throat and continues hard. I have had advice, but it does nothing for me. The weather is so bad—I think it will not go till Spring weather comes. It pulls me down sadly. Here great days are passing, and I a prisoner in the house. It answers to my general experience of Roman weather.

'The Holy Father received me most affectionately—keeping my hand in his. He asked me, "Do you intend to continue head of the Birmingham House?" I answered, "That depends on the Holy Father." He then said, "Well then I wish you to continue head," and he went on to speak of this at length, saying there was a precedent for it in one of Gregory XVI.'s cardinals.

'He asked me various questions—was our house a good one? was our Church? how many were we? of what age? When I said, we had lost some, he put his hand on my head and said "Don't cry." He asked "had we any lay brothers?" How then did we do for a cook? I said we had a widow woman, and the kitchen was cut off from the house. He said "bene." Where did I get my theology? at Propaganda? etc. etc. When I was leaving he accepted a copy of my four Latin Dissertations, in the Roman Edition. I certainly did not think his mouth large till he smiled, and then the ends turned up, but not unpleasantly—he has a clear white complexion—his eyes somewhat bloodshot—but this might have been the accident of the day. He speaks very slowly and clearly and with an Italian manner.

'William has had a letter to Austin on the stocks for some days. I hope it went a day or two ago.
Love to all.
Ever yours afftly.,

Between Newman's audience and the Consistory of May at which the Hat was conferred, by the doctor's advice he hardly left his room, for the weather was bad and his cold severe.

The great day arrived and Father Neville writes of it thus:

  'On Monday morning, May 12, Dr. Newman went to the Palazzo della Pigna, the residence of Cardinal Howard, who had lent him his apartments to receive there the messenger from the Vatican bearing the biglietto from the Cardinal-Secretary of State, informing him that in a secret Consistory {459} held that morning his Holiness had deigned to raise him to the rank of Cardinal. By eleven o'clock the room was crowded with English and American Catholics, ecclesiastics and laymen, as well as many members of the Roman nobility and dignitaries of the Church, assembled to witness the ceremony. Soon after midday the consistorial messenger was announced. He handed the biglietto to Cardinal Newman, who, having broken the seal, gave it to Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, who read the contents. The messenger having then informed the newly created Cardinal that his Holiness would receive him at the Vatican the next morning at ten o'clock to confer the biretta upon him, and having paid the customary compliments, his Eminence replied in what has become known as his "Biglietto Speech" as follows:

'"Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la participazione che m'avete fatto dell' alto onore che il Santo Padre si è degnato conferire sulla mia umile persona—

'"And if I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue, it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me.

'"First of all then, I am led to speak of the wonder and profound gratitude which came upon me, and which is upon me still, at the condescension and love towards me of the Holy Father, in singling me out for so immense an honour. It was a great surprise. Such an elevation had never come into my thoughts, and seemed to be out of keeping with all my antecedents. I had passed through many trials, but they were over; and now the end of all things had almost come to me, and I was at peace. And was it possible that after all I had lived through so many years for this?

'"Nor is it easy to see how I could have borne so great a shock, had not the Holy Father resolved on a second act of condescension towards me, which tempered it, and was to all who heard of it a touching evidence of his kindly and generous nature. He felt for me, and he told me the reasons why he raised me to this high position. Besides other words of encouragement, he said his act was a recognition of my zeal and good service for so many years in the Catholic cause; moreover, he judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour. After such gracious words from his Holiness, I should have been insensible and heartless if I had had scruples any longer. {460}

'"This is what he had the kindness to say to me, and what could I want more? In a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of saints, viz., that error cannot be found in them; but what I trust that I may claim all through what I have written, is this,—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve Holy Church, and, through Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.'

'"Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrines in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.

'"Hitherto the civil power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force, when I was young, that: 'Christianity was the law of the land.' Now, everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity. The dictum to which I have {461} referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone, or is going everywhere; and, by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto, it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure submission of the masses of our population to law and order; now the Philosophers and Politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church's authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober is his personal interest. Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion, for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, it provides—the broad fundamental ethical truths, of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like; proved experience; and those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society, and in social matters, whether physical or psychological; for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, and the intercourse of nations. As to Religion, it is a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.

'"The general [nature] of this great apostasia is one and the same everywhere; but in detail, and in character, it varies in different countries. For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think it threatens to have a formidable success; though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue. At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which, on the continent, seems to be founded on infidelity; but the misfortune with us is, that, though it ends in infidelity as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects, which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the Union of Church and State, and would advocate the unChristianising of the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful. Next the liberal principle is forced on us from the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population; and recollect, our mode of government is popular. Every dozen men taken at random {462} whom you meet in the streets have a share in political power,—when you inquire into their forms of belief, perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions; how can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters, if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion was ignored. We cannot help ourselves. And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind, that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles, and the natural laws of society. It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the Enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men, elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them.

'"Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain; on the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise, when it is witnessed, is the particular mode by which, in the event, Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance. Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial, and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties, in confidence and peace; to stand still and to see the salvation of God.

'"Mansueti hereditabunt terram
  Et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis."'

Father Pope described the scene in a brief note written to Father Ignatius Ryder on the day itself: {463}

'All has passed off beautifully—an immense crowd—the Father made a very fine speech, which you will see verbatim in the Times, and which is very heartily enjoyed here. How he managed it St. Philip knows best—but he did not cough—and his delivery was very animated, and perfect, as the vehicle of his words. Several Cardinals have come—more will be coming this evening. They are very cordial, and seem very earnestly and sincerely to look on the Father as a glorious addition to their number. One said he read English and knew the "Apologia" &c. well. I am now easy about the Father—I have been at times uneasy. The cough is obstinate and weakness great. He seems today quite himself. Old Wagner from Brighton was present.

'The Italian ladies behind me were unanimous that he was: "che bel vecchio! che figura!" &c. &c. "pallido si, ma bellissimo," &c. &c. &c. In short the Father was quite up to the occasion, which is saying a great deal.'

Mr. Wagner himself wrote his impressions of the scene to a friend:

'I write you a few lines just to say that I was present yesterday at the ceremony of Dr. Newman's receiving the Letter from the Pope conferring on him the Cardinalate. He was in Cardinal Howard's rooms, where a considerable number of English were collected to witness the ceremony. After the letter was read, he made a beautiful little address in English to those present, ending with the motto which is in the Lives of the Saints he published at Littlemore. "The meek spirited shall possess the earth, and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace." I do not know whether the ancient ceremony of giving the Hat to the Cardinal will take place—the last Pope, I believe, dispensed with it in his latter years; if so, I shall hope to get access to the Vatican to see it. Dr. Newman looked ill and faint, but he read the address in a beautifully clear voice, and it was a very touching one, in some respects, to listen to. I have written a line to Dr. Pusey to tell him of it, as I thought he would like to hear something of one whom he loved so much. Dr. Newman's face looked quite like that of a Saint.'

Addresses and presentations from the English-speaking Catholics in Rome followed.

Father Pope describes in another letter the first of these, which took place at the English College: {464}

'Wednesday, May 14.
'The presentation at the English College went off grandly. Abp. McGettigan, Abp. of Benevento, Bp. Clifford, and a host of monsignori—English swarming—the present tasteful and costly—the address feeling and (better still) short—read admirably by Lady Herbert—and the Father's reply short, and very touching. He looked very noble in Cardinal's attire—and we sent to the Vatican for his "gentiluomo" in the picturesque mediaeval dress—with sword—and the Father's biretta on his knees. Two carriages and all in proper form. But the Father is fearfully tired and weak. That grip on the throat and bronchia was a sharp one—and I shall be glad now to see him home again. The Pope wishes him either to pontificate, or assist on the throne, at Chiesa Nuova, on St. Philip's day. But I think he will not.' [Note 8] {465}

The effort of receiving such addresses and replying was very great, and Newman soon had again to rest, being thoroughly tired and ill. An affection of the lungs followed which made his doctors really anxious. He had hoped to visit the Holy Places in Rome, to make friends with other members of the Sacred College, and above all to speak often with Leo XIII. All this had to be abandoned. Only twice was he well enough to say Mass, though there was a chapel in the house in which he was staying; only twice could he see the Holy Father. His chief thought now was to get back to his dear home at the Oratory.

He was, however, most eager, so far as was possible, to use the new weight which his position as a Cardinal gave him, and the opportunity of his visit to Rome, to further the great aims to which his life had been so long devoted. Later on we shall speak of his plans for placing before the Holy See as one of its official councillors his views on the contemporary requirements of Catholic education. But while in Rome there was one purpose which haunted him—which indeed Father Neville told me he had planned carefully before his departure from England. His life-long friend William Froude was still a free-thinker. Newman had earnestly hoped and prayed for a change. He had reasoned with him in their intimate correspondence when occasion offered. A Catholic wife and Catholic children were constantly at Froude's side to second Newman's endeavours. But the years had gone on and no change had come. In 1878 Mrs. Froude died. Her husband, broken by the blow, was travelling in South Africa, whence, as it happened, he wrote Newman a letter concerning his religious position, in which he discussed the question of religious certainty which was the great issue between them. This letter Newman had received before starting for Rome, and he had it in his mind that the prayers of a dead wife might now be aided in their effect by himself with new hope of success, and that Froude's heart would be especially open to religious impressions. He would write from Rome itself, as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Arguments which had formerly had only the character of his own personal reflections, might carry new weight when urged by one who {466} now officially represented the Christian tradition of the ages at its main source. In spite of illness Newman persevered in his intention. The letter was written—a marvel of lucidity and careful thought at his advanced age [Note 9.]. But while the rough copy was being corrected the news came that William Froude was dead. He had died at Admiralty House, Simon's Town, of dysentery following on drinking some tainted water in the neighbourhood.

Another object near the new Cardinal's heart was to use the sanction which Rome had given to his views, as an instrument for winning back the great Döllinger to the Church. Here again he trusted that the Cardinal's Hat might be of service. The fact that Rome had given as it were her imprimatur to his own views on theology and history, might have an effect which mere argument had not wrought in the absence of this significant circumstance. And as a Cardinal he could speak as a matter of duty and without any suggestion of impertinence.

'It was his intention,' writes Fr. Neville, 'to have returned home by way of Germany, for the opportunity he might thus have of personal communication with Dr. Döllinger ... In his own new position, it was due, the Cardinal said, from himself to Dr. Döllinger, not to pass through the Continent without going to him. He was very intent upon this, and apparently he connected his object mentally with the solemn Ceremonial of his Creation as giving him authority, and power, and liberty to speak such as he had not had before. It was, however, a subject too grave for many words: his firm and emphatic utterance of the few that he used fully afforded a reading of his mind in their stead. Again, before leaving Rome, his almost silent acquiescence in the decision of his physician, that the cold and laborious route home which he was intending could not in conscience be allowed, was very expressive of his solemn and calm resignation of his purpose to the over-ruling of the will of God. Nevertheless, he would have been very glad indeed to have carried out this intention as a first use of his Cardinalate in the service of God.'

He had promised to pass some days at Autun, on his homeward journey, and see once again, before the inevitable separation of death, his dear and faithful friend, Sister Maria {467} Pia. This plan he was loth to relinquish, yet the effort seemed more than he could safely make.

A few days before leaving Rome he wrote to one of the Birmingham Fathers:

'Whitsunday: 48 Via Sistina.
'Thank you for the care you have taken of my rooms, etc. I hope I have left them in a state which allows of their being dusted, when the time draws near for my return.

'The time! when will that be? I was sure that you did not take in how ill I was, though my letters to Lewis and Francis ought, I think, to have struck you. I wanted especially your prayers, and I hate concealment. Think of this fact, that, as Cardinal elect and actual, I have an altar in this house, yet in five weeks I have only said Mass once. However, today I said Mass, but the doctor won't let me say Mass tomorrow. He says I am not safe from a relapse, and, if at Leghorn I am at all unwell, I am to send for him.

'I see the Pope tomorrow, for the second and last time! Alas, how my time, humanly speaking, has been lost here. We shall not get off till Wednesday at soonest. At Leghorn we stay according as we are comfortable there, at the "Anglo-American hotel." I am in a dilemma of the Mont Cenis line, which is too cold, and the Riviera, which is too hot. My visit to Autun, which I can't give up, is a great trouble. I shall remain some days at Dover or the like place. I dread the receptions and answers to Addresses. It was these which knocked me up here ... I think I shall return to Birmingham, as you will find, an older man than I went.'

From Leghorn he wrote to Sister Maria Pia on June 9 announcing his impending arrival at Autun.

'Think,' he added, 'of my being at Rome six weeks at such a festive season and with such great saints' days and having said Mass only three times and having been into not more than half a dozen churches. What a disappointment.'

A letter from Father Thomas Pope to a friend at the Oratory tells of the route homewards:

'Hôtel Anglo-Américain, Livourne: June 18, 1879.
'The Father has just received your pleasant letter, and enjoyed it much. The medal looks too much like a Roman Emperor—the Father says like Nero. He was particularly pleased with the letter from the President of Trinity. He walked out yesterday on the passeggiata with benefit—and is now, to all appearance, well. He is very weak; and the {468} worst thing is a susceptibility to every change so great, that we can't calculate how he will bear anything. Actual disease there is none—he has a grand constitution, and the capital of it is not nearly exhausted yet. I marvel at the ease with which he has thrown off his several illnesses. Tomorrow we go to Genoa,—Hôtel de l'Italie. If he is well there, and has borne the journey well, Father Paul and I start off, so that we shall reach Birmingham as soon as possible ... The Father cannot be at home for St. Peter and Paul, so far as we can see now. He may be so much stronger as to get on quicker. But the doctor wants him to leave Genoa on Saturday morning for Nice—to stay Sunday at Nice—Monday to Marseilles—then another stage to Lyons—then to Paris … The Father is very eager to be back—and I think he will return straight to Birmingham—and go back later to London. Even now, as I am writing, Father William is urging a halt at Spezia, lest the whole journey to Genoa be too much.'

When Newman got to Mâcon came another disappointment. The doctor peremptorily forbade, in the inclement weather, the proposed détour to Autun.

He broke the news to Sister Maria Pia in a sad letter dated July 3:

'My dear Sister Pia,—We must submit ourselves to the Will of God. What is our religion, if we can't?

'When I got to Mâcon, it was almost determined we should cut across to you next morning. I went to bed with this expectation—but next morning we rose in heavy rain, and my doctor had a great fear that the waiting at the various stations, and change of carriages with the damp, draughts, and worry which accompanied it would bring on fever etc., for you would hardly believe how weak I am, and what very slight imprudences have caused a relapse already. So he felt, as having the charge of me, that he could not leave the direct road to Paris in which there were no stoppages, no change of carriages.

'The season is so exceptional.
'Ever yours most affly.,

The Cardinal arrived in Brighton on Saturday afternoon, June 28, and was present at the High Mass on Sunday at the Church of St. John the Baptist, in St. James's Street. In the afternoon he drove round to the various churches in the town and paid visits to their several priests. {469}

On Monday he went to London, breaking his journey at Bramber to see his old friend Dr. Bloxam, of Magdalene, now Rector of Upper Beeding. The Agricultural Show filled the London hotels, and he therefore went to Rugby for the night, reaching his home at the Oratory on the following morning, Tuesday, July 1, the Fathers having been warned of his approaching arrival on Monday by telegram.

The home-coming is described in a letter from Henry Bellasis to his mother, written on the day itself:

'The Father could not obtain a bed in London last night, so travelled on to Rugby and came on this morning by a train arriving at New Street at 10.45. He was met by all the principal gentlemen of our congregation, many priests and a large crowd of people, a first rate carriage and pair was in readiness belonging to one of the ladies and on the way to the house he dressed with Fr. Henry's assistance in his red trimmed cassock and pink ferrajuolo which is a sort of cloak—red biretta and skull cap of course—so that when the policeman gave us in a solemn whisper at the front door the news, "They are here sir!" up drove the carriage (pouring with rain, by the bye) and the Father got out in—so to speak—full costume.

'He then went to the Porch of the Church and after the usual ceremonies, kissing a crucifix, incensing, etc.; the procession marched up the Church—the Father under a canopy—and filed off to S. Philip's Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. After a short prayer the procession returned to the High Altar. Here the Father knelt on a prie-Dieu in the centre of the sanctuary, and, after some short prayers, went to the throne, where we all came and kissed his ring. This over, his throne was taken to the centre of the Sanctuary and he there sat down and delivered a most beautiful and touching discourse. It was to the effect that he had now come home; what a deal there was in that word home—he knew there were more heroic lives than that of a home life e.g. the Aposties', etc. but a home life was his as a son of St. Philip. Our Lord Himself spent 30 years of His life shewing us what a home life ought to be. When away at a distance he thought he never should return, but God had willed it otherwise, and he had now reached what he might call his long home, which he hoped might end in heaven for all eternity. He then thanked the Congregation for all their prayers and congratulations, saying that his great weakness prevented him from doing so in a manner at all {470} expressing what he really felt. After this he went on to speak of his great privilege of being able to go to the Holy City and see the Holy Father face to face. He spoke of the Pope most beautifully and ended by saying that he was here as his representative, and he prayed God that now, we all, in whatever station or circumstances we might be, might by His Grace show an Example of what Catholic life ought to be etc. etc. He then said he would give us his blessing, which he did solemnly as a Bishop.

'After this the Te Deum was sung and the Ceremony ended.

'I should add that he looks thin and weak from his illness, but this only adds to his magnificent appearance. I wish you could have heard the sermon—it made us all cry more or less.'

'No one I am sure who was privileged to be present,' writes the late Father Ignatius Ryder, 'will ever forget that improvised service of thanksgiving for his safe return in which he took part immediately on his arrival. He was wonderful to look upon as he sat fronting the congregation, his face as the face of an angel—the features that were so familiar to us refined and spiritualised by illness and the delicate complexion and silver hair touched by the rose tints of his bright unaccustomed dress. Leaning his head upon his hand he began to talk to us and must have spoken for some twenty minutes or more. Every word seemed precious—I can only hope they have been preserved—and yet simple to the last degree; about home principally.

'If I remember right he began with the words "It is such a happiness to get home." There was throughout what was often a peculiar charm with him, the impression of aloofness as though it were all a soliloquy or conversation you had innocently surprised.'

No reporter was present, but the following is left by Father Neville among the Cardinal's papers as giving 'as nearly as possible' his words on this occasion:

'My dear Children,—I am desirous of thanking you for the great sympathy you have shown towards me, for your congratulations, for your welcome, and for your good prayers; but I feel so very weak—for I have not recovered yet from a long illness—that I hardly know how I can be able to say ever so few words, or to express in any degree the great pleasure and gratitude to you which I feel. {471}

'To come home again! In that word "home" how much is included. I know well that there is a more heroic life than a home life. We know the blessed Apostles—how they went about, and we listen to St. Paul's words—those touching words—in which he speaks of himself and says he was an outcast. Then we know, too, our Blessed Lord—that He "had not where to lay His head." Therefore, of course, there is a higher life, a more heroic life, than that of home. But still, that is given to few. The home life—the idea of home—is consecrated to us by our patron and founder St. Philip, for he made the idea of home the very essence of his religion and institute. We have even a great example in Our Lord Himself; for though in His public ministry He had not where to lay His head, yet we know that for the first thirty years of His life He had a home, and He therefore consecrated, in a special way, the life of home. And as, indeed, Almighty God has been pleased to continue the world, not, as angels, by a separate creation of each, but by means of the Family, so it was fitting that the congregation of St. Philip should be the ideal, the realisation of the Family in its perfection, and a pattern to every family in the parish, in the town, and throughout the whole of Christendom. Therefore, I do indeed feel pleasure to come home again. Although I am not insensible of the great grace of being in the Holy City, which is the centre of grace, nor of the immense honour which has been conferred upon me, nor of the exceeding kindness and affection to me personally of the Holy Father—I may say more than affection, for he was to me as though he had been all my life my father—to see the grace which shone from his face and spoke in his voice; yet I feel I may rejoice in coming home again—as if it were to my long home—to that home which extends to heaven, "the home of our eternity." And although there has been much of sickness, and much sadness in being prevented from enjoying the privileges of being in the Holy City, yet Almighty God has brought me home again in spite of all difficulties, fears, obstacles, troubles, and trials. I almost feared I should never come back, but God in His mercy has ordered it otherwise. And now I will ask you, my dear friends, to pray for me, that I may be as the presence of the Holy Father amongst you, and that the Holy Spirit of God may be upon this Church, upon this great city, upon its Bishop, upon all its priests, upon all its inhabitants, men, women and children, and as a pledge and beginning of it, I give you my benediction.'

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1. He proceeds to give instances: '1. In 1836 (as I understand Copeland) in a letter which I wrote to Pusey on occasion of the Hampden matter, and which he has, though I have not seen it.

'2. In 1837 in my letter to the Christian Observer: "Never were such words used on one side, but deeds were on the other. We know our place and our fortunes, to give a witness, and to be contemned; to be ill-used and to succeed."

'3. In 1845 to Cardinal Acton, Apol. pp. 235, 236.

'4. In 1850 in a sermon at St. Chad's, "As to ourselves, the world has long ago done its worst against us ... We know our place and our fortunes, &c."

'5. In 1856 in a sermon at Dublin quoted above.'
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2. This entry came to an end at the bottom of the last page of the MS. book. He never kept another journal, and only added some years later these words at the foot of the page: 'Since writing the above I have been made a Cardinal!'
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3. 'Would it not look odd,' he writes to Mr. Pollen, 'if the Postman here, not only read this, my letter to you, before it got to the receiving office, but put his own interpretation on it, and told first his particular friends about it, and then the general public, leaving you to receive it next morning?'
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4. This letter I have not found.
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5. The text of this notice and of Newman's reply to it will be found in the Appendix to this chapter, at p. 583. In the same Appendix are printed other letters of importance respecting the conferring of the Cardinal's Hat on Dr. Newman, and his acceptance of it.
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6. The same thought appears in his reply to George Ryder's congratulations. 'Of course,' he writes, 'it is a great pleasure to me to have all those various suspicions about the soundness of my theology, which lingered in so many nooks and corners, wiped away at a stroke for good and all, and to have lived to an unusual age to be witness to it.'
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7. Father Thomas Pope and Father Paul Eaglesim.
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8. The following is Father Neville's semi-official account of the presentation:

'At eleven o'clock on Wednesday, May 14, his Eminence Cardinal Newman accompanied by Mgr. Cataldi Master of Ceremonies to his Holiness and the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory who are with him, went to the English College to receive the address and the gifts of the English, Irish, Scotch, and American residents in Rome. He was received at the College by Dr. O'Callaghan, the rector, Dr. Giles, the vice-rectore, and Mgr. Stonor, and conducted into a large upper chamber, already crowded by ladies and gentlemen. At the further end were exposed the complete set of vestments, rich as becoming the intention, but plain in accordance with the Cardinal's desire, a cloth-of-silver cope and jewelled mitre, a Canon of the Mass book, a pectoral cross and chain, and a silver-gilt altar candlestick, for which the English-speaking Catholics at Rome have subscribed as a present to his Eminence, together with a richly illuminated address. On each vestment was embroidered his Eminence's coat-of-arms in proper heraldic colours, with the motto "Cor ad cor loquitur." The Cardinal having taken his seat, with Mgr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, Mgr. Woodlock, Bishop elect of Ardagh, Mgr. Siciliano di Rende, Archbishop of Benevento and Mgrs. Stonor, Cataldi, and de Stacpoole on either side, lady Herbert of Lea read the following address:


'My Lord Cardinal,—We, your devoted English, Scotch, Irish, and American children at present residing in Rome, earnestly wishing to testify our deep and affectionate veneration for your Eminence's person and character, together with our hearty joy at your elevation to the Sacred Purple, venture to lay this humble offering at your feet. We feel that in making you a Cardinal the Holy Father has not only given public testimony of his appreciation of your great merits and of the value of your admirable writings in defence of God and His Church, but has also conferred the greatest possible honour on all English-speaking Catholics who have long looked up to you as their spiritual father and their guide in the paths of holiness. We hope your Eminence will excuse the shortness and simplicity of this Address, which is but the expression of the feeling contained in your Eminence's motto, "Heart speaking to Heart," for your Eminence has long won the first place in the hearts of all. That God may greatly prolong the years which have been so devoted to His service in the cause of truth is the earnest prayer of your Eminence's faithful and loving children.'
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9. The text of the letter is given at p. 587.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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