Derbyshire Courier

{82} Cardinal NEWMAN was a brilliant representative of the intellectual power and fine culture which have characterised the century in which his long life has been spent. His association with the Tractarian movement at Oxford in the first half of his career exhibited him as a controversialist from whom the Church of his fathers might expect much. His adoption of the teachings of Rome threw him into a position in which there was little or no room for his distinctive qualifications to manifest themselves. It may fairly be said of Cardinal NEWMAN, great as were his capacities for doing good, and distinguished as were his motives by singleness of purpose, that he had no field for his labours.  *   *   *   *   *   He was an honest man. What he said he believed, he did believe, alike in his head and in his heart. He was always "the amiable, the intellectual, the refined JOHN HENRY NEWMAN" that Blanco White described him. An Englishman and a master of the English tongue, NEWMAN'S language, whether as a writer or as preacher, was as pure as it was picturesque, and as elegant as it was artistic. His influence on religious thought has not been as great as that of John Wesley, but his intentions were quite as unselfish, and he has, as he deserves to have, an honoured name amongst the foremost men of his generation.

Dundee Advertiser

Cardinal NEWMAN, who died last night at the ripe age of 89, was as truly a representative of the tendencies of the nineteenth century as Darwin, or Carlyle, or Tennyson, or Browning, or Herbert Spencer. He represented the intellectual phase of the tendency which seeks satisfaction in authority and tradition. He found what he {83} sought in the Church of Rome. Starting from the doctrine of probability which he learned from Bishop Butler, he was gradually led step by step to the opinion that certitude in matters of belief and conduct is to be found in what Fathers and Councils and Popes have laid down as truth. This position, he held, was the direct antithesis of the creed of modern Liberalism, which he held to be founded, consciously or unconsciously, on a philosophy which teaches that no religious tenet is important unless reason shows it to be so; that no one can believe what he does not understand; that no theological doctrine is anything more than an opinion which happens to be held by bodies of men; and that it is dishonest in a man to accept as highest truth what has not been brought home to him by actual proof. Such propositions Dr. NEWMAN denounced and abjured, and it was because he saw no resting place between ecclesiastical authority and scientific positivism that he clung to the former. Authority was to him what law is to the scientific school; tradition was to him very much what evolution is to the disciples of Darwin and Herbert Spencer. He counselled obedience to a Church. Mr. Carlyle advocated the rule of a benevolent despot. Mr. Tennyson has sung in verse the beauty of honest doubt, and taught that there is more in reverent scepticism than there is in half the creeds; to NEWMAN such a fancy was abhorrent. The guesses at the truth of which this century has been so productive may not be so incongruous as they appear on the surface. We have, there is reason to think, passed through the stage of destructive criticism, and are on the threshold of an era of reconstruction. The generation, the rear-guard of which is fast vanishing away, has left no encouraging watchword to inspire the new generation, but their example is an inspiration and an encouragement not to faint or grow feeble in the attempt to find an answer to the problems which they sought to solve. {84}

East Anglian Times

It is a good sign of the times, and the promise of better things to come, that religious differences of opinion are losing their asperity. Of course, there will always be some people who prefer to be saved or otherwise in a particular way. They have a perfect right to their own preference. But broader and more charitably disposed people cannot help feeling that the universal expression of sorrow at the death of Cardinal NEWMAN, as well as the generous and frank testimony of all sects and creeds to his high-souled Christianity and pure nobleness of life, is a gain over the old-fashioned Protestant idea that no Roman Catholic could enter the kingdom of heaven. Cardinal NEWMAN'S brother in his noble life-work is Cardinal Manning. The two most prominent princes of the Catholic Church are Englishmen—perverts from their own National Church. Nevertheless, it would be difficult even for the Church of Rome to produce two more distinguished men, or two men who were more sensitively in touch with their fellow men of all classes. Possibly there is not a man in England who possesses equally the confidence of contending masters and men in the degree which that other octogenarian priest, Cardinal Manning, does in England at the present time. All honour to such men! They are part of the glory of our beloved nation. They are in striking contrast with the selfish cynicism of some scientific agnostics, and many even more selfish London clubbists. They help to keep a man's faith from getting rusty, or from falling altogether. Nobody can read the tender verses in the Athenĉum by Christina Rossetti and Edmund Gosse without feeling how sympathetically non-Romanists can now recognize the greatness and high-soulness of even a Roman Catholic prelate. It would have been impossible less than forty years ago, when all England was howling forth "No Popery" cries, and was amusing itself in declaiming against the "Scarlet {85} woman" from every pulpit, and burning the Pope in effigy in every market place, and on every village green. The generous and sympathetic way of looking at things is always preferable, and far more Christian-like than the cold-blooded cynicism of suspicious indifference. No man who loves his fellow-men will do other than support the following tender thoughts on the dead man expressed in the poem above mentioned:—

Peace to the virgin heart, the crystal brain!
    Peace for one hour through all the camps of thought!
Our subtlest mind has rent the veil of pain.
    Has found the truth he sought.
Who knows what page those new-born eyes have read?
    If this set creed, or that, or none be best,
Let no strife jar above this sacred head;
    Peace for a saint at rest!

Eastern Daily Press

(Same as Leicester Daily Post.)


The spell of power which NEWMAN wielded at Oxford was largely owing to his fascination as a preacher. In all the arts which make an orator he was strikingly deficient. His manner was constrained and awkward, his voice thin and weak. His gaunt emaciated figure, his sharp eagle face, his cold meditative eye, were not at first attractive. Yet it was instinctively felt by his audience that here was a man deeply in earnest, a man who, walking with God, had caught many of His whispered secrets, a man who, commercing with the skies, had with him for deliverance a message from other worlds. {86}

Edinburgh Evening Despatch

The death of Cardinal NEWMAN is an overwhelming loss not only to the Roman Catholic Church but to the world of letters of which he was so distinguished an ornament. Indeed, it may with truth be said that there is no branch of literature which he touched that he did not adorn. As an historian, he is to be remembered by his "History of the Arians of the Fourth Century;" as a theological controversialist he indited innumerable works, among them his "Letter to Dr. Pusey," his reply to Mr. Gladstone's "Vatican Decrees," and the famous "Tract XC.," in which it was argued that subscription to the Articles was not incompatible with holding many of the doctrines of the Church of Rome. We see him as an autobiographer in his noble "Apologia pro vita sua," an unusually confiding, thorough life of "the very man," the dignified beauty of which is manifest on every page. As a poet, the late Cardinal will live to all time as the author of "Lead, Kindly Light," written before his secession, at a time of singular perplexity, when he was beginning to feel himself adrift from his old moorings, and actually penned in the cabin of an orange boat bound from Palermo to Marseilles. Then there is his famous poem, "The Dream of Gerontius," descriptive of the vision of a dying Christian, and one of his most imaginative works. Nor does this catalogue exhaust the many-sided characteristics of Cardinal NEWMAN, as his "Callista: A Sketch of the Third Century" proves that as a novelist he is entitled to be ranked amongst our best writers of fiction. As an educationalist he occupied a prominent position by his works on University education. He even figured as a dramatist, for in 1880, on the occasion of his entertaining a distinguished company of Roman Catholic aristocrats, University magnates, ecclesiastics, {87} and representatives of literature, science, and art, there was produced at Edgbaston Oratory a play written by the Cardinal, entitled "Pincerna, or the Cup-Bearer"—described by an eminent critic as "in every respect an admirable dramatic composition." Then as a preacher, especially in the stormy days of the Tractarian Movement, NEWMAN'S eloquent sermons made him a power in the land, standing over against the sermons of Cardinal Manning as representing the intellectual more than the emotional style. Even in these early works it is seen that the question NEWMAN could never resolve to the real satisfaction of his own mind was how far tradition, or how far authority, or how far inward consciousness, is fit to be "the basis of faith." This disquiet marks all his works, sometimes communicates itself to his readers, and seems, more than anything else, to have shaped his life. On the publication of his "Apologia" the Quarterly recognised this to be the keynote of his history, and traced the action of outward circumstance on the struggle of his mind to this sad issue—‘his ‘peace and contentment' is a blind admission of despotic external authority." So much for the Cardinal's credentials as an author. For the rest, throughout his long and useful career, even when his polemical contentions were at their fiercest, Cardinal NEWMAN enjoyed the privilege of winning to himself the respect and affection of others besides his co-religionists. Beloved and revered by all who were ever brought into intimate association with him, he all along secured to himself by his writings the personal sympathy—in many instances it might even be said the tender veneration—of multitudes who never once came face to face with him, who never felt the pressure of his cordial hand, or listened to the vibration of his earnest voice. The simple fact that it should have been thus with him all through the varying phases of his public life, has about it an obvious significance. It is indicative at the least of this {88} —that his contemporaries recognised in him, from first to last, his thorough sincerity. Beyond which, the course he pursued, when it comes to be examined, is never found anywhere turning off suddenly at a tangent, but (if we may apply to himself for a moment one of his own luminous phrases) "as a mathematical curve has its own law and expression"—its starting point being the date of his original conversion, when, as a schoolboy of fifteen, he realised almost abruptly for the first time the momentous purpose of human existence, and accepted the dogmatic principle as fundamental to his religion. Whatever NEWMAN as thinker, speaker, or writer undertook to do, he did it to the very uttermost. Intellectually, morally, controversially, theologically, he has made his mark upon his generation, and the Roman Catholic Church will not soon look upon his like again.


The death of the good Cardinal NEWMAN is an event of the present week, over which the most staunch Protestant can grieve as sincerely as any member of the community which the late prelate's conscience compelled him to join. The general kindliness of the notices of the sad event which have appeared in the most pronounced of "Evangelical" journals is a satisfactory sign of the liberality and truly catholic spirit of present-day journalism. Had the Cardinal departed only twenty years ago—and he would then have been full of years and honour—there would have been some bitter attacks on his co-religionists by way of funeral orations over the dead churchman. Now the writer of "Lead, kindly Light" is, metaphorically speaking, followed to his tomb by the respectfully sympathising world of intellect of every creed. {89}

European Mail

The death of Cardinal NEWMAN is the chief topic of conversation. The great theologian has exercised a vast influence on a generation of which he is one of the most fascinating figures. The heated controversies of which he was once the centre have ceased to excite us. Differences of doctrinal opinion no longer arouse a world that is busy watching the conflict between traditional theology and the physical sciences. A most interesting chapter in the history of modern thought is terminated with the ending of his great and noble life. However a man may be inclined to shout "No Popery," few will be found so intolerant as to be blind to the singular beauty of his character. Of this we have ample evidence in the press comments on his life and his work.

Evening News and Post

England is the poorer today by the death of a great Englishman. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN will live in history as one of the most skilful ecclesiastical controversialists, and one of the sincerest and purest characters of the Victorian era. He was a man of deep religious faith. Few have exercised a more subtle influence upon the life of his time. Fewer still are distinguished by an intellectual honesty, a personal independence of thought, so thorough and so ennobling. The Tractarian movement is the central fact of the ecclesiastical history of the English Church of the present century. When the great Anglican submitted himself to the Church of Rome, one of the finest spirits of the age was lost to the English Church.   *   *   *   *   *   The story of his life is full of fascination. His early Calvinism, his conflict with doubt, the intellectual development {90} that led him finally into the Church of Rome, appeal to the personal experience of most thoughtful men and women. Men of all parties have for years past learned to reverence him. The dialectician has been largely forgotten in the saint; and though the memory of a great theological controversy is revived by his death, it is in the latter character that JOHN HENRY NEWMAN will live in the minds of men.

Evening Telegraph

(Same as Belfast News—London Letter, p. 27.)


It is a singular and noteworthy fact that Englishmen of all shades of religious opinion are united in paying a tribute of respect to a deceased cardinal of the Church of Rome, JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, the poet, a great light and a leader of men. We trust that now he realizes his own words—

                            The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.

By his poetry he lives in the hearts of many amongst us. In all British churches, except, we believe, his own, that great hymn, "Lead, kindly Light," is often sung in the worship. When once asked its theological meaning the poet wisely declined to offer explanation, stating that it was a work of art dealing with imagination and sentiment, not with any special state of the writer's mind. But in history he will live as the author of Tract No. 90, which has had so great an influence upon the present state of the Anglican Church.

At Oxford his character developed, and he became a leader {91} of men. He was a ripe scholar and a powerful preacher. There was a singular charm about his character; indeed, a mysterious veneration gathered around him. He was one of a singular group of men, in which was Pusey, Keble, and Hurrell Froude. They were in earnest, and might well be dissatisfied with what they found in the Church of England. These men allowed the mist of some imagined authoritative ecclesiastical system with sacerdotal power to dim their onlook on religious matters. The Bible without history as a guide, Christ without a church as the soul's home, appeared insufficient. "Antiquity was the true exponent of the doctrines of Christianity." For them there was an undercurrent Rome-wards which it was difficult to withstand.

We who hold that fidelity to conscience is higher than subscription to creed can recognize that when a sincere man has gone thus far, he is on a slippery slope and must go forward and downward. Indeed, it is interesting to note that for one reason or other the mind of Dr. NEWMAN seemed ever to have a Romeward bent. For example, in one of his first sermons he said, "I do not shrink from uttering my firm conviction that it would be a gain to the country were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in its religion than at present it shows itself to be."

In "The History of my Religious Opinions," one of the most perfect specimens of the power and lucidity of the English language ever produced, the Cardinal relates the steps of his mental and religious course. It is perhaps the clearest history of a human intelligence in its search after a church that ever has been written. We may, and certainly do, regard it as a chase after an ignis fatuus.   *    *   *   *   *   But we cannot hesitate to do honour to him who has been taken from us. As a master of our language he commands our highest admiration. His poetry is of the most perfect order. There has been a beautiful transparency about his pure and unworldly life. Whilst we mourn that so noble an intellect should be led by a phantom, yet {92} we honour his career in following out his convictions. There was in him a Christian spirit which lives and gathers his fellow-countrymen around his grave.

Freeman's Journal

Cardinal NEWMAN was buried in the little churchyard of Rednal, outside Birmingham, in the same grave as his friend, Father Ambrose St. John, of the Oratory. Twenty Bishops, twenty thousand people, the heads of the old Catholic nobility of England, representatives from almost every religious Order in the Church, and with them a number of leading Protestant divines, like the President of Trinity College, Oxford, the Provost of Oriel College, the Dean of Durham, and others, attended the sad and solemn ceremony. It was an event which told more of the mystic power of JOHN HENRY NEWMAN than even any incident of his long sweet life. There was talk of laying the Cardinal to rest in Westminster Abbey. No doubt, the Dean would give his assent, and the voice of England would say that NEWMAN'S place was with the greatest of his countrymen. But, even were it possible in view of ecclesiastical considerations, the Cardinal had selected his resting-place, and his choice reflects his unique modesty and simplicity of character. Cardinal NEWMAN was the real apostle of modern England. By swaying its brightest intellects and purest and highest minds, he invested Catholicity with a standing and tone, in the land where it had been so long banned and proscribed, which no man save himself could give. Those who did not follow him to Rome vie with those who did in paying a tribute of reverence and love for him. But Catholic and Protestant have left controversy aside in presence of the open grave, and Englishmen, proud of their language, proud of their great countryman's gifts, and intensely moved by the charm of {93} a lofty personality and a noble life, join in mourning a great good man. Strong as tender, a philosopher and poet, in parting with NEWMAN all feel that they are parting with a friend as well as a master, with a sympathiser as well as a leader. With one or two exceptions, the only notable one being the Saturday Review, the obituary notices of the Cardinal have been pitched in a key of the highest admiration. Eagerness to do the deceased Cardinal justice and honour seems to be the object of every writer. Some of the brightest intellects in English contemporary literature framed the eulogies pronounced upon the saintly convert. And there is no suspicion of bitterness flavouring any of these remarkable tributes. Viewed from a purely academic standpoint, it appears to be generally agreed that NEWMAN was the greatest master of pure and perfect English style that has ever written the English tongue. His dialectical skill, joined with this mastery of fresh terse prose, rendered him invincible in controversy. And then his sincerity, his devotion, his patience, his impressiveness, completed the conquest, and enabled him to lead his opponents easily captive. Those who were present at yesterday's ceremony cannot readily forget how the eyes and feet of a busy, work-a-day prosaic city like Birmingham were turned to the humble Oratory of Edgbaston. No peer, or prince, or priest, or merchant, who ever walked the streets of Birmingham is so missed or mourned as is the Roman Cardinal, who from his retreat exercised so holy and so chastening an influence on the outer world of his countrymen. The scene at the sermon preached in the little chapel by Monsignor Clifford was one of the most affecting ever enacted within sacred walls. The Englishman is not of an emotional race, yet strong men broke down in the presence of the remains of this old man of ninety, who had done his work and had gone to his crown. Unambitious, unselfish, retiring, NEWMAN has won honours for which ambition vainly sighs, selfishness madly strives, and which the audacious unvailingly {94} snatch at. His name shall live in religion longer than stately fane. His example shall ever be a beacon not only to his own countrymen but to the Christian culture of the world. He has gone down to his grave followed by the love and veneration of millions. His life, crowned with honours, friendships, loyalties, gratitudes, and the length of years which is the visible approval of a kindly Providence, is the ideal of an honest gentleman, a delightful philosopher, a bewitching litterateur, and a great saint.


Some things the newspapers could not help saying about such a man. They were not called upon to form a judgment of their own. There were accessible verdicts on NEWMAN by very eminent writers. We hear, therefore, what is perfectly true, that he was a singularly attractive personality, a great scholar, and a magical master of English. For our own part, we are prepared to go still farther. We will assert that NEWMAN is the purest stylist and the greatest theologian in our language. His perfect eloquence charmed his worst opponents; his subtlety of mind was in itself a fascination; and such was his persuasive power—so keen his dialectic, so consummate his marshalling of resources, so exquisitely urbane his manner—that a confirmed Atheist might almost regret the necessity of differing from him. We have often felt, even when dissenting from him most strongly, that we could kiss the hand that wielded the pen. "Here," we said to ourselves, "is one who is more than a Catholic, more than a theologian; one who has lived an intense inner life, who understands the human heart as few have understood it, who follows the subtlest workings of the human mind, who helps the reader to understand himself, who throws over every page the glamour {95} of a lofty character as well as a capacious intellect."

Knowing NEWMAN through and through, as far as it was possible without personal intercourse; studying his writings carefully as those of the greatest soldier in the army of Faith; we could never share the distrust of his sincerity. He was a Catholic by temperament. Like Pascal another profound intelligence, he saw there was no logical halting-place between Rome and Atheism. Follow reason absolutely, and faith dies; follow faith absolutely, and reason becomes its slave. NEWMAN saw that no religious dogma has ever been able to resist the solvent power of the human mind. To conserve his faith, therefore, he was obliged to set limits to his intellect. Certain first principles were to be assumed. Reason did not, and could not, prove them; but once admitted, reason could be exercised in illustrating and defending them. When NEWMAN flung himself at the feet of Father Dominic, the Passionist, and was received into the communion of Rome, he showed his conversion was a matter of temperament. The Father was greatly his inferior, but he represented the Catholic Church, and only within that Church could NEWMAN find rest for his soul. Protestantism acknowledged in theory, though never in practice, the sovereignty of reason. NEWMAN'S nature constrained him to square practice with theory. He would hold his faith, but hold it consistently. He told the Protestants, after his conversion, that "reason was the substance of their faith," and that "private judgment does but create opinions, and nothing more." What he required was certitude, and he found it (such as it was) in the Church of Rome. The proof of this is patent to any judicious reader, who perceives the exuberance, the spring, the glow of NEWMAN'S writings after he became a Catholic. His genius was depressed by Protestantism. He left it with long pain and travail, but having left it, he felt a mighty relief.   *   *   *   *   *   {96}

Cardinal NEWMAN dreaded Atheism but he never argued against it. He knew that was hopeless. His controversial writings were addressed to Protestants. He was always pointing out the intellectual unsoundness of their basis. Reason was their boast, and NEWMAN told them plainly that reason was unable to find half their doctrines in the Bible, that reason affords no proper evidence of a future state, and that the very existence of God could not be rationally proved so as to produce a conviction. He admitted that the "unaided reason," if "correctly exercised," led to these beliefs; but unaided reason had a general tendency to exercise itself incorrectly; and considering the faculty of reason "actually and historically," it had nearly always led to "simple unbelief in matters of religion." Thus, when Christ came, religious knowledge was "all but disappearing from those portions of the world in which the intellect had been active and had had a career." And at present, outside the Catholic Church, things are tending rapidly to "atheism in one shape or other."

Here then is the reason why many Atheists complained that Cardinal NEWMAN was not in contact with modern thought. He had nothing to say about Darwin and evolution, and so forth; his polemic was antediluvian. The complaint was excusable, but it overlooked two important facts. First, modern science has invented no new argument against Theism, and NEWMAN was perfectly familiar with the old ones. Secondly, if Darwinism has triumphed in science, Catholicism is still living, and seems likely to live. It is as the logical, uncompromising, and infinitely dexterous defender of this citadel of superstition that NEWMAN is worthy of study by those who are engaged in its attack; his other qualities being chiefly interesting to the lovers of literature and psychology. And if the Atheists who study NEWMAN are struck by his saintliness, if they find that the champion of superstition is terribly strong and adroit, it will be a terrible lesson to them—first, in human sympathy, and secondly, in the perfecting of their own weapons and methods of warfare. {97}

Galignani's Messenger

The death of JOHN HENRY NEWMAN is a landmark in the history of religion amongst the English-speaking races. It is now nearly half a century since the distinguished Fellow of Oriel and Rector of St. Mary's, Oxford, passed through the golden gates of that Church of which he was to be one of the greatest living ornaments. He was the germ of that great Oxford movement which has given new life to the revival of Catholicism in England, and her colonies, and in the United States. Few will grudge this honest success, and probably not one controversialist remains today who would be one-sided enough to say that there is anything un-English or alien in the Communion in which Manning, Gibbons, and Moran are elders. Nowadays English Catholicism is a great national force for good, and the disappearance of Cardinal NEWMAN from our midst will be felt not only as the loss of the greatest of modern churchmen, but as a family bereavement. His epitaph, which ought to be written in letters of gold, will be an everlasting pledge that English Catholics, while faithful to every tenet of their creed, will be equally faithful to the great qualities which have given supremacy to their race.

Gazette, Evening

By the death of Cardinal JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, the Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain has lost a man of whom it has been justly proud—a man who, in virtue of his elevated and pure life, his disinterested and lofty aims, his gentle and loving disposition, no less than his eloquence, his marvellous literary gifts and powers of keen, subtle reasoning, stood forth as being, in many respects, the foremost apologist of his Church in this country. NEWMAN'S "perversion" to Rome must, undoubtedly, {98} be reckoned one of the most striking incidents in the religious life of the century. No stronger testimony could have been furnished of the spell which even yet is cast over some of the clearest intellects in the land by the splendour and completeness of the great system represented by the Church of Rome, and of the strange, and in some respects deeply sentimental, fascination which the history of that Church still exerts upon minds that are naturally pre-disposed to such influences. In the case of NEWMAN it has to be remembered that allied with his penetrating and keen logical faculties and intensity of reasoned conviction there was ever a curious vein of mysticism, peeping out at times even in that charming biographical fragment "Apologia pro Vita Sua," and which was always drawing him towards the charming but mist-covered regions of pure emotion. On this point he was his own confessor: —"Can it be that those mysterious stirrings of heart, and keen emotions, and strange yearnings after we know not what, and awful impressions from we know not whence, should be wrought in us by what is unsubstantial, and comes and goes, and begins and ends in itself? It is not so; it cannot be. No: they have escaped from some higher sphere; they are the out-pourings of eternal harmony in the medium of created sound; they are the echoes from our Home, they are the voice of Angels, or the Magnificat of saints, or the living laws of Divine Governance, or the Divine Attributes; something are they besides themselves which we cannot compass, which we cannot utter—though mortal man, and he perhaps not otherwise distinguished above his fellows, has the gift of eliciting them." {99}

Glasgow Evening Times

Cardinal NEWMAN was, and will perhaps remain, a unique figure in the religious history of England. He was essentially one of those men whom the Church of Rome could justifiably honour by canonisation. The saintliness of his life and character are the features that will perhaps contribute most to give immortality to his memory. That he was born in the Church of England and went over to the Church of Rome, cannot be regarded as by any means an extraordinary event. It is, at all events, common; and, all things considered, it would have been far more remarkable had he remained in a Church which did not, and could not, at the time of the slow Romeward movement, have satisfied the tender and womanlike aspirations of his spiritual nature, and which demanded from him a masculinity of faith and endurance which he really did not possess. He seemed incapable of standing alone, or without the prop of a final authority in religion which he failed to find in the Church of his youth, but which he found as practically the result of the "Tractarian" movement, in the Church of Rome; because he came to think it the "Catholic Church," and, on the other hand, the Church of England "not a part of the Catholic Church, because not in communion with Rome." It goes without saying that had JOHN HENRY NEWMAN been an intellectually stronger man, he would not only have remained in the Church of England, but would, by the force and purity of his genius, have rescued it from the state of indifference with which he credited it, and been the means of transforming it into that model of spirituality which was the illumining vision of his mind. But he could not bear the perpetual stress and struggle of personal independence which is the glory of time Protestant Church. NEWMAN was in religion a "leaning" and "clinging" spirit; and he found what he wanted in the supporting pillars of that {100} Church which he believed to be Catholic and authoritative. It may be said that he was one of those men who, by their nobleness of intellect and purity of heart and mind, contribute more than anything else to give to the Church of Rome, in the estimation of a certain class of minds, an almost irresistible fascination and grandeur. NEWMAN had one supreme attraction besides the sweetness of his character. His literary style was a quality that all could appreciate, even those who could not approve his theological history. His books possess a charm which is to be found in the writings of no other man, except perhaps in those of Mr. Ruskin.


In modest patience and in hope serene,
In all things keeping to the even mean.
Hating no creed—tho' fervent in his own,
He lived in faith, nor wished to live alone!
Longing that all his ev'ry hope should share,
For ev'ry sect some charity could spare;
So like a "kindly light" amidst the gloom,
The weary safely lead tho' "far from home."

Glasgow Evening Times

Dr. NEWMAN was a most eloquent preacher. He attained to the highest dignities, save one, which his Church could bestow, and it is impossible to exaggerate the effect which his lofty intellect and still loftier character have had upon the current English estimate of English Roman Catholicism.

His "Apologia Pro Vita Sua" marks an epoch in his intellectual and spiritual career. That book is a history of the Cardinal's religious opinions, and exhibits, with perfect unreserve, the events and circumstances which contributed {101} to make him what he was. Wordsworth's "Prelude" describes the growth of a poet's mind. NEWMAN'S "Apologia" discharges the same task for the theologian. A more transparent life, and character more thoroughly destitute of finesse, could not well be conceived than that unveiled in this production. Canon Kingsley's warmest friends were the first to acknowledge that he made a serious mistake in entering the lists with the Cardinal. But many were disposed to forgive his rashness in consideration of the intellectual treasure which it called forth. NEWMAN'S work, entitled "An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent," published in 1870, showed that his intellect had lost nothing of its power, and when a little later Mr. Gladstone published his examination of "The Vatican Decrees in their bearing on Civil Allegiance," it was NEWMAN'S reply to which Catholic Europe turned with special eagerness.

Glasgow Herald

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN was a high dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church, yet it may safely be asserted that the position of eminence ungrudgingly accorded to him by the vast majority of his countrymen did not depend on the title of Cardinal borne in the declining years of his life. "NEWMAN of Oriel" was a name to conjure with at Oxford sixty years ago, and by his plain surname this saintly and greatly-loved priest of a religion which is not that of the majority of the nation will be best known to future generations of the English-speaking race. Till yesterday Cardinal NEWMAN was one of the few truly historical personages remaining amongst us. He represented, or perhaps rather embodied, in his own personality a great historical movement profoundly affecting one branch of the Christian Church, which, nevertheless, is already so much an event of the past that {102} modern thinkers can calmly examine its rise and progress, and in a certain sense its failure and decline.   *   *   *   *   *   After he had left "the world" altogether he acquired by his writings a second title to distinction, which is not disputed by those who can appreciate close reasoning and pure, penetrating, and unaffected style in literary composition. Most of NEWMAN'S writings, from his tracts and sermons of 1830 down to the "Apologia" and "Grammar of Assent," are in many respects outside literary criticism, but it may be questioned if we have left amongst us such a master of the English language as the author of the Apologia pro vita sua.

NEWMAN easily outlived his enemies, for he in truth made few even when the battle which he took part in raged most hotly. He had opponents always.   *   *   *   *   *   Recently Cardinal NEWMAN has waited silently and humbly, rarely seen by his co-religionists or admirers, for the messenger who comes to cardinals and cottars alike. That he was a saint in the true sense of the world will be admitted even by those who could never accept his teaching, or, indeed, so much as understand the mental and spiritual process by which he reconciled himself to the doctrines of the Church of Rome. He has told us in one of his books that he never had any doubts or troubles of any kind when once he had taken the final step which severed him from the Church of England. Such entire and unquestioning surrender or subjection of the conscience and intellect is characteristic of the man who has passed away. It has never been, and probably never will be, possible to many of his countrymen; and by them, in consequence, NEWMAN'S life, teaching, and example, estimable as they are in many respects, will be pronounced a splendid failure. He said the latest word on behalf of Rome, and said it in a marvellously fascinating style, but without permanent or widespread acceptance in this country. {103}

Glasgow Evening News

Cardinal NEWMAN'S finest and most abiding "Apologia" will be the beautiful and saintly life he lived. In the religious life of this country during the last fifty years he occupied a place no less prominent and interesting than that which is his in the sphere of intellect and culture. The great interest of NEWMAN'S life naturally centres round his theological position, and the story of his transition from Calvinism to Catholicism, and from Liberal tendencies to a complete surrender to authority will always possess a strong hold upon the imagination. The shock of his change had been anticipated before it came; yet the effects of it upon the English Church were strong and lasting. His own account of the transition may be summed up by saying that his was a mind that could find no religious peace save in a devout and unquestioning acceptance of a rigorous and all-embracing set of dogmas. To him, therefore, the latitudinarianism allowed by the Church of England was fatal; he saw no middle course between rejecting the Bible as of no authority, and accepting the plenary authority of the Church. In his own words:—"There are but two alternatives, the way to Rome and the way to Atheism: Anglicism is the half-way house on the one side, and Liberalism is the half-way house on the other." As a man of letters Cardinal NEWMAN'S position is a strong and tenable one. He was a profound master of English prose style, and his "Apologia" has the double recommendation of intellectual interest and commanding literary merit. His poetry is less known. His hymn, "Lead, kindly Light," holds a favourite place in the hymnology of Evangelical Churches, and attracts by the insight it gives into the struggles that beset the author's mind "amid the encircling gloom" of theological doubt. The spirit of humility it breathes is characteristic, too, of the man who made such a complete surrender of reason to authority. A noble life has passed away, {104} and even those who cannot accept his teaching, or who fail to understand the mental process by which he, from being one of the lights of the Church of England, became a prop of the Church of Rome, will ungrudgingly concede to him Swinburne's epithet, "the only thornless rose" of Catholicism.


Never before have all creeds and parties been united, by a common and simultaneous yet independent impulse, to render affectionate honour to one whose whole life was an uncompromising protest against their overwhelming majority. Nor were the sentiments excited by the peaceful death of an aged priest the result, as has sometimes happened, of a reaction in favour of tardy justice towards one who had received much injustice. Such sudden waves of public conscience have been known; and it is true that men who have not yet passed their middle age can remember the time when the name of Dr. NEWMAN was connected in the minds of millions of his fellow-countrymen almost with Apocalyptic terror. But, virtually, all these things have been forgotten: even so long ago as the "Apologia," now a quarter of a century old, public sympathy was almost from the outset on the side of the vindicator of the Catholic Church. Justice had been done to Cardinal NEWMAN in his lifetime; there was literally nothing left to undo. And that is a reflection of which all who regret his loss may feel the most proud. Sometimes, in the clash of parties and of personal animosities one is tempted to think that England has forgotten how to be just; but so signal a case as this is more than reassuring.

We do not mean to say that the mental character of Cardinal NEWMAN is yet perfectly comprehended. He had the misfortune—as many still, and doubtless always will, think it—to be {105} at once a very Englishman of Englishmen and at the same time to be inspired by that purely logical passion which, to the typical English mind, with its delight in compromises and half-views, is so unintelligible, and therefore to be so mistrusted. He has been called the "slave of syllogisms;" which assuredly can be said of very few. The instinct of the English mind, whether in political or spiritual affairs, is to stop short at a conclusion, almost in proportion to the inevitableness of it, when it begins to loom clearly into view and is seen to he either inconvenient or contrary to what was anticipated at the outset of the process. Anyone who proceeds straight to the end, without regard to his own personal sympathies or prejudices, is almost safe to be set down either as a fanatic or as a slave of words and symbols. NEWMAN certainly never intended his syllogisms to lead him to Rome; and had he not been the man he was, he would have stopped as soon as Rome first came into view. There would have been no dishonesty in the process. Men quite honestly reconcile themselves to the situation every day. NEWMAN went simply on. And herein, we believe, his example has already tended towards modifying the intellectual character of this country—not as yet conspicuously, but increasingly. The beginning, the middle, and the end of his theological journey were in full view of all and were followed with universal interest; and when the exigences of logic are once followed with sympathy, the forerunner of intelligence will never be wanting in practical influence. It is much to have established that "common sense," in its usual—and wrong—acceptance, is not the limit of the whole human horizon, and is by no means identical even with reason.

But NEWMAN'S influence is of a far higher and larger kind than this. In this age of struggle and advertisement for personal or party ends when selfishness, vanity, and vulgarity of mind and action are assuredly not less common than in former times, it is a great thing to have seen that there is still, after all, {106} no force on earth for gaining respect, honour, and affection like the simple form of uncompromising consistency and sincerity. The influence of Newman is not of the great ecclesiastic, or preacher, or writer, but just simply of the Great Man—that phrase, as undefinable as genius, which, nevertheless, everybody understands when its application is recognised. Perhaps greatness of personality, distinct from greatness in any particular direction, may be best described as genius in action. Probably not one person in a hundred is familiar with a line of prose that NEWMAN ever wrote; and of those who have seen or heard him the number must be altogether inconsiderable. But real influence radiates in a manner that almost appears miraculous; it can only be compared to the effect of a wave of sound or light, which has no limit, and affects ears and eyes which know nothing of its origin. Nothing can be so hopeful as to realise, as all can at this moment, that the man whom the world is supremely honouring is the very man who of all others was least in touch with this actual world and its ways. That the world's heart is better than its head has been said often; and it is well whenever the truth of it is proved. We have for at least a whole day been, thanks to JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, living in a higher atmosphere than that of everyday life; and it takes more than a generation to lose the influences of such experiences, even though they are apparently forgotten again in the whirl. We hold that the whole world is the better, in every way, for the life that is just ended. And what finer epitaph could be bestowed upon even the greatest of men. {107}


The death of Cardinal NEWMAN has removed from the intellectual and spiritual life of England one of its most interesting figures. The present generation may find it a little hard to understand the intense excitement created by the movement in connection with which he first made his name famous. The difficulties of our time are wholly different from those with which he had to grapple, and are in many ways deeper and more far-reaching. That the English mind was stirred to its depths by the conflict of ideas which led to NEWMAN'S withdrawal from the Church of England is, however, certain; and it is also certain that during the period which preceded the great decision of his life he exercised on many of the best of his contemporaries an influence which was second to that of no other Englishman of the day. After his secession to Rome there was a time during which he ceased to be a great power in the intellectual world. He had removed himself too widely from the sympathies of the mass of his countrymen to be able to appeal to them strongly. But by the force of sheer intellect and character he gradually won a new position, and it is hardly too much to say that during the last years of his long life he was regarded by the educated classes with a reverence deeper than that which was felt for any other religious or ecclesiastical leader. He seemed to embody all the virtues summed up in the word "saintly;" and with these he united a logical faculty of extraordinary subtlety, a fine and chastened imagination, and a style which has never perhaps been surpassed in lucidity, delicacy, and grace. Much of his work is already practically dead; but some of his writings will probably always retain their charm as masterpieces in the high and difficult art of literary expression.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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