[Letters and Correspondence 1833]


October 24, 1833.
I put down my thoughts hastily for you, intending them rather as notes to remind you of what I mean than anything else.

I do not like the notion of forming a Society, or Association even, for many reasons.

First, there is an awkwardness in doing so without the sanction of the Bishops; and, though it is enough for satisfying our conscience to know that really they are privately with us, yet the world cannot know this, and it goes out to the world as a bad precedent, and an inconsistency in the case of those who have (rightly) made the absence of episcopal sanction an objection to certain Societies hitherto.

2. Again, a Society is a formidable undertaking to start with. Many of us are inexperienced and have to learn how to conduct an important and difficult scheme. It is a dangerous thing to set up a large system at once. The London University started with an apparatus of professors, which first ensured ridicule, and then disappointment. Besides, a profession of something great excites jealousy and suspicion. There would be the notion abroad that we were taking too much upon ourselves, whereas no one can complain of individual exertion.

3. And further, if we profess an Association, we are under the necessity of bringing into the government of it men who do not agree with us. We feel our opinions are true; we are sure that, few though we be, we shall be able to propagate them by the force of the truth; we have no need, rather we cannot afford, to dilute them, which must be the consequence of joining those who do not go as far as we do. I am not denying (far from it) the inexpediency of obtruding at once {410} all we really hold; but I consider it a loss of time and trouble to unite with those who differ with us—that is, with any who are not disposed to aim at obtaining the liberty of the Church and the restoration of discipline. And if any men think these objects chimerical, then I see no reason for stirring myself at all.

4. Moreover, there is a growing feeling that Societies are bad things, which is in my mind an objection to any such project, both as being a true feeling and as being held as true. The dissensions in the Bible Society and the present state of the Christian Knowledge Society make people feel that they are instruments of evil much more than of good; or at least a diluted meagre sort of good.

True it is, the Church is a Society, but it is a Society with a head; in all other societies the real movers are secret and irresponsible; and thus second-rate men with low views get the upper hand. Individuals who are seen and heard, who act and suffer, are the instruments of Providence in all great successes.

Again, there is an awkwardness in tracts coming from a Society. It is an assumption of teaching. And, further, they must in consequence be weighed and carefully corrected: and thus they become cold and formal, and (so to say) impersonal. An address with much in it which others question, yet coming from an individual mind, has a life about it which is sure to make an impression.

Lastly, to form an Association, one ought to have a very definite object. Practical men shrink from engaging without knowing what is to be done: but 'to defend the doctrine and discipline of the Church' is very vague; vague for this reason—that we are on the defensive, and not knowing when and how we shall be attacked, we cannot say how we are to act.

For such reasons as these I would advocate a less formal scheme: not that I am not eventually for an Association, but not till the Bishop puts himself at our head in this or that diocese. I would merely exert myself in my own place, and with my own immediate friends, in declaring and teaching the half-forgotten truths of Church union and order to all within my influence. I address friends in other dioceses in turn, and urge them to do the same—in Keble's words, wishing them and ourselves to say to each other, 'We pledge ourselves to each other, reserving our canonical obedience.' We merely encourage and instruct each other: and, being able to say {411} that others are doing elsewhere the same as we are, we have an excuse for being more bold: the circumstance that we have pledged ourselves allows us to introduce ourselves to strangers, &c. &c. We print and circulate tracts; our friends in other dioceses read them, approve, and partly disapprove. We say, 'Make what use you will of them, and alter them in your own way: reprint them and circulate them in turn, and send us yours to do the same with.' We try to get a footing in our county newspapers; and recommend our friends elsewhere to do the same. Thus gradually certain centres, in correspondence with each other and of a proselytising nature in their respective neighbourhoods, are formed.

But you will say that we are moving too slow, while external events are pressing upon us. 'Parliament will meet and settle matters while we are but forming.' Well then, here is a measure which will at once meet the danger and hasten the formation of the Association. Let us, for example, draw up a declaration or address to the Archbishop, an expression of our attachment to the doctrine and discipline of the Church. Rose recommends it, and it is evidently natural and seasonable. Let each of our centres, i.e. corresponding members, exert himself to get signatures in his own neighbourhood. This very attempt will lay the rudiments of a number of associations; channels of communication will be opened with a most definite object; and whether the attempt succeeds or not, the groundwork of a second future attempt will be laid, and this without any display of our real object, i.e. the organisation of the clergy. As this process is repeated again and again, being called for naturally by external events, an Association will gradually develop itself; and when, in the course of events, the Bishop in this or that place puts himself at its head, then at length it may be avowed. Thus it will be formed as a habit by energising.

Another advantage of this plan is, that we need not formally adjust our opinions with each other. We have the same general views and aims, but one diocese may be more High Church than another, may modify the tracts of another, &c.

Do not suppose I am blind to the appearance of fancifulness and theorising in the above sketch; but such must all anticipation of the future be. Doubtless many things would modify the plan in detail, when we came to put it in practice; but its great advantage is, that it may be modified; whereas, if we set up any Association at once, we commit ourselves. {412}

You will see I am for no committee, secretaries, &c., but merely for certain individuals in every part of the country in correspondence with each other, instructing and encouraging each other, and acting with all their might in their respective circles.
Ever yours,
J. H. N.

[This letter seems to have determined Palmer to commence the address to the Archbishop, which was so successful. I say that it determined him; for, though the notion of an address was mooted, I think, at a Hadleigh meeting or soon after (vide Keble's letter of August 8, 1833), yet I don't find anything done towards it till the very day of the above letter of mine, viz, on October 24, when Palmer went to town to prosecute the matter.

It is remarkable that the day of his starting for London, October 24, is the very day that my long letter above is dated; also that I have the very copy I sent to him, with a notice on it in pencil. This Palmer had, and gave me back.

I infer that I sent up the letter to him to Beaumont Street in the forenoon; that he came down to me [and Froude] with it in his hand, and left it with me after we had a talk, and according to his prompt habits, started at once for London to carry out the plan of address, which we had agreed upon. P.S.—All this is confirmed by the fragmentary diary.

Another explanation is that my letter was a formal letter, the result of former conversations, which he was to take in his hand and show people in London; but it was far too confidential for that. And he does not allude to it in the following letter.—J. H. N.]


Bath hotel, Piccadilly: Sunday Evening, October 27, 1833.
I have been so busy since I came, that I have not had a moment to myself until now. I write this to beg that you will, without any delay, send up whatever has been drawn up [Qy. by me and Froude] in the shape of an address to the Archbishop. Everyone approves of such an address, and it seems to be thought that it would strengthen the right cause very much.

I have seen Archdeacons Watson and Bayley (with whom {413} I have been in continual communication), Mr. Norris and Mr. Hook; and on Tuesday I am to dine with Mr. Norris at Hackney, where there will be men of the right sort collected from various parts, and I wish I had the address to submit to their inspection. [Extract from my Private Journal:—'Oct. 28, wrote sketch of address to Archbishop and sent to Palmer with 500 “Suggestions.”] Archdeacon Bayley is most active in the cause, and has been circulating the prospectus ['Suggestions'?] largely. Mr. Norris also has been writing to his friends in all parts. He is about writing to Archdeacon Froude, and has written to Archdeacon Oldershaw of Norfolk. I had a letter from Mr. Coddrington containing an accession of force from Cambridge, including Henry J. Rose, Mr. Isaacson, Mr. Wilson-Evans, Mr. Temple Chevallier and others; and they are going to work. In short, we are getting on at a tremendous rate. I wish you would send up 400 or 500 copies of the 'Suggestions' (or more, if you can spare them), by the same conveyance as the address comes by. Perceval wants them, so does Mr. Norris, and the Cambridge men, and Archdeacon Bayley.

I should tell you that this latter clergyman is a most leading man among the Church party, and in the closest communication with the highest dignitaries; and will take care that we do not give offence where we mean to support, and to express our sentiments of respect and approbation.

As far as I can see, it does not seem to be considered at all necessary that there should be at present anything of a more formal organisation, but probably by-and-bye we must have one committee in Oxford and another in London.

I am sorry to find the London clergy are generally quite of the Liberal school, and all under the Bishop of London. But the country clergy, I hope, are sound.

I wish you, and Froude, and Keble could have heard the Bishop of Limerick [Jebb] and Mr. Forster yesterday, talking of Church matters; it would have done your heart good.

Archdeacon Bayley is at the head of a clerical association in Hampshire, which he engages to aid us; and he has requested me to go to their meeting on November 21 to establish a communication.

Mr. Hook will come over to Oxford towards the end of the term, I believe.

I shall do what I can to get some good tracts written at Cambridge, or by Perceval and Hook. {414}

I must now make an end; and really, my dear Newman, I am so hurried, and such a number of things have occurred, that I have had no time for arranging my thoughts, but have just written what occurred to me. You must therefore make allowance for this.

Will you, then, send up, without any delay, the address and the 'Suggestions,' and if you can spare some tracts, especially that on the Liturgy, so much the better?—Ever yours, &c. P.S.—I intend to be in Oxford Wednesday afternoon. Will you send 100 prospectuses by the bearer, and the tracts? If you can spare any more of the former it would be a good opportunity, as I shall probably see Norris, &c. Will you also make a list of your friends and correspondents in different counties as they occur to you, and as full as you can, that I may have my credentials complete, and be able to show our strength to our friends in London?


October 31, 1833.
As to the depôt in town, I can scarcely do anything till Palmer returns. You do not know the plague that attends having to consult many persons, yet having all the execution upon myself. I have to write, correct press, distribute all the tracts. No one can help me: first, because one is apt to think no one can do so well as oneself; secondly, because my friends are scattered, Palmer in town, Froude [Note 1] gone to Barbadoes, Rogers's eyes bad, &c. Then, besides, I am Dean, and have a parish. As the man says in 'Ivanhoe,' 'a man cannot do more than he can.' I can only say I am busy from morning till night.

You shall hear more about our centres of communication, that is, living depots, soon. They will print and reprint in their neighbourhoods. I wish H. Wilberforce could have called. I know he wished it particularly. But my friends are so stupidly bashful. Palmer is another of the same kind.


October, 1833.
Tony Buller was here [Dartington] yesterday. He is a capital fellow, and is anxious to assist us with trouble and {415} money in any way he can. I told him it was better not to say anything about money till we had given people a longer trial of us.


November 1, 1833.
I and my brother James have had a long talk this morning with Smith and Bailey [of Edgcott]. Bailey has consented to send a circular to all the clergy within eight or nine miles, requesting them to meet at his house to consider the address to the Archbishop. He is anxious that you should come. He also wishes much for Lancaster's sanction and attendance. It occurs to me that you may feel some unpleasantness at coming over, from being the writer of this address, but Palmer or anyone would do as well ... It might be as well, perhaps, to send copies [of the address] round in the circular. Of course you will refer this to C. Marriott, who, I understand, is Registrar, &c., to the Society.

Some of the tracts I have given to Mrs. H., my new novel-writing neighbour, who has taken them to London, where they are to be exhibited in some literary soirées ...

The difficulty of getting the tracts into circulation—of selling them to those who wanted to buy them—was a standing one so long as they kept their original leaflet bulk, so great in fact as to make it hard to account for the noise they at once made. But the first idea was to distribute; to sell became an after necessary consideration. Mr. Bowden is the first friend and ally to press this difficulty on the writers. In the 'Chronological Notes' there is this entry: 'November 1, 1833.—Sent parcels to Rickards, H. Wilberforce, Golightly, and Pope. [This is how we began scattering the tracts.]'

A few days after Mr; Bowden writes:—


November 4, 1833.
I long to get your things in a distributable shape; which in London is only to be done by selling them. Any tracts, of which you may send me a few copies, in a vendible shape, and with a local reference, I will push. {416}

Those to whom I have shown the 'Suggestions' say, 'But where are the names? Who are they? Where are they?' For even the word Oxford does not appear thereon. For aught the 'Suggestions' say, the founders of the scheme might belong to the operative classes of Society, and their head-quarters might be in some alley in London. The year, too, should be put; a reader might, if he found a dirty copy, suppose the-whole scheme ten years old.


November 5, 1833.
With Mount. I had a long conference; he willingly consented to be the agent for Bath; but as yet I have heard no more of him. I have had two long and sensible letters from Dr. Spry, who will be glad of some sets of the papers [tracts] … I conclude I am right in telling people that we are not so much forming one grand Association as little associations in various parts. Spry says he shall get Molesworth, Davison's old enemy, to act at Canterbury, and doubts not he will be a vigorous agent. But he (Spry) hopes you will (1) look very much to the position and probable wish of the Bishops; (2) admit and encourage the Laity as much as possible; (3) keep in view the formation of a grand Society out of the little ones.

Also I humbly suggest, that there is no need to let quite everybody make quite every alteration they please in our papers; and if any more of mine are printed, I shall bargain for the following words being added to the licence at the top: viz. 'it being, of course, understood that such alterations be not inconsistent with the general spirit and design of the papers.'

Now as to my memorial paper; I was rather daunted about it by Froude's criticisms, which I fancied convicted me of bad logic in it; so I have not yet revised it, but will try as soon as I have finished the Latin. However, I have good hope that John Miller is about it. I went down with Froude as far as Bath, put him into the coach in good plight on Tuesday morning last (Oct. 29) and proceeded to call on Mount.

Miller is full of 'cholers and tremplings of mind,' and seems to think he has committed himself farther than he thought. There is a sad hitch with him about the Athanasian Creed [the Anathema], but. I will bring you his letters, and {417} I think you will say that such doubts as his are more profitable than a thousand unreflecting adherences.

Edward James, Prebendary of Winton, desires to have some papers sent to him, and says, 'Enroll me.' I will explain to him what 'enroll' means. If you have any new light to throw on the meaning of the word you will let me know. There is a very nice person near here [Fairford], Barton by name, of B. N. C., who called on me the other day and professed himself a hearty convert. He has sent to Ottley.

When I come up I hope to bring you some prose and verse, but you see I am growing old and stupid.

I want very much tracts for the poor now. The Layman's address is excellent, but hardly plain enough. It will do capitally for the middle classes.

I see by the 'British Magazine' that the clergy of Dromore and Carlow are making a stand, and calling on us for aid. Don't let us lose sight of that.


Oriel: November, 1833.
I have heard so much criticism on my tracts that it is comfortable to have heard one or two things of a more pleasant kind: first, what you and Spry say; next, that the Bishop of London has asked to see them. The principal thing I fear is their being neglected, but if Bishops prick up their ears and D.D.s and Poetry Professors encourage, I care for nothing more. As to my anxiety for many tracts, it is simply on this account, because there are various classes to be addressed. We have scarcely any for the poor, and not many for time clergy, or (again) the middle classes.

Besides, one improves by writing: one hits off the thing better, and, at least, one offers a selection of styles to the reader, and tastes differ, so that this is no slight advantage. I have heard almost all of them abused, and again praised, by different readers. At the same time I fully agree with [John] Miller that we should not keep driving on one or two subjects, and that we should not press them on men. My notion was, when once we had done enough to make them known, to send merely one or two of each fresh tract to friends as a specimen and to refer them to Turrill's (where we have opened a depot) for them. {418}

It must be recollected, too, that it is quite necessary to go more into detail; our present tracts are vague and general, and too much in the way of hints, as you yourself observed. We have heard, on good authority from London, that the Marriage Service is to be altered to please the Dissenters. What this means I know not, but it is quite certain you must forthwith write a tract on that service. Do pray set Miller on some of his subjects. You must recollect there is another benefit of tracts; it engages staunch men in active warfare. Miller will kindle when he begins to write; and only think what authority it will bring to the cause and to the tracts to have his marked co-operation. Could you not set Spry to write? Finally, who knows we may have time to work six weeks hence? Let us write while we can.

Spry's letter is extremely valuable and encouraging. I am glad he approves of our doings as a whole. However, we must let no one control us. You shall be censor of the tracts, by your office as a University judge of compositions, prose as well as verse. But we will obey no one else, however thankful for suggestions from anyone. I will take down Mount's suggestions.

I have heard from dear Froude, who is certainly downcast. He left home today, and was to be with Canon Rogers till Saturday, when the packet sails. He is full of disappointment at the address; but then, say I, it effects two things—first, it addresses the Archbishop as the head of the anti-innovators, and it addresses him and not the King or Parliament; which has a doctrinal meaning and is a good precedent. However, Froude calls me names, and bids me stir you up into a fury if I can.


November 1, 1833.
I miss you very much. You will be glad to hear that your articles on the Præmunire, &c., have done much good. Palmer brought word from town that you had effectually stopped the probability of certain promotions; in fact, that the Archbishop would be afraid to consecrate obnoxious persons; and at least you have given him a good pretence for refusing, as it was known that there was a party in the Church, 'and they not weak in talent,' &c. [Rose's words, in the 'British Magazine'], who would go all lengths rather than submit to State {419} tyranny. Palmer is also delighted with your Hooker article in the last No.

The tracts are spreading and the Evangelicals of Cheltenham join us, but deprecate them. I received this morning 50l. from Thornton's brother [was not this ultimately paid back?] [Note 2] Golightly has promised 50l. [he gave it and had it back ultimately], and 10l.'s, beginning with Rogers, are flowing in. Both Greswells (C. C. C. and Worcester) have joined. Pusey [Note 3] circulates tracts, Harrison exerts influence. The Provost listens! Mr. Jeune of Pembroke joins heartily; he has been converted by Jeremy Taylor on Episcopacy. The Archdeacon [Clarke] joins; and recognises a plan of his own in our notion of an address to the Archbishop. You know Archdeacon Sheepshanks has joined? They say the Bishop [Blomfield] of London has a snug plan for reforming the Liturgy in preparation. I have left off being anti-aristocratical. I do not feel the time has come, in spite of your being right about the Præmunire. H. Wilberforce has been back here and working most vigorously; wherever he is he talks and distributes tracts with all his might.

November 8.—The address is done today. Such a composition I never saw; we have re-written each other's (London and Oxford) three times; but now we have made a few alterations nostro periculo and have printed it off. The word 'Bishops' at the close has been put in here and taken out there five times sub silentio. Dr. Spry has been the best London artist.

'We the undersigned,' &c.

'At a time when events,' &c.

'And while we most earnestly deprecate, &c. ... Your Grace may rely upon the cheerful co-operation and dutiful support of the clergy in carrying into effect any measures that may tend to revive the discipline of ancient times; to strengthen the connexion between the bishops, clergy and people, and to promote the purity, the efficiency and the unity of the Church.' Southey is circulating the 'Suggestions' in Cumberland. Mr. Charnock, at Ripon, is reprinting our tracts. We are opening a depot at Turrill's. {420}


Farnham Castle: November 10, 1833.
I have brought with me a few copies of the tracts to show my Lord ... Sam proposes on his return [to the Island] to send round copies to the clergy, and ask them to express their notions thereon, that thus we may know how far we can reckon on their agreement with our principles.

I have shown the tracts to my Lord—that is, the 'Episcopal Church Apostolical,' the 'Primitive Practice,' the 'Liturgy,' and 'Shortening the Services.' He showed much more Church notions than I knew him to have. He approved all highly except the 'Sin of the Church,' and did not violently object to that; he particularly liked the 'Liturgy' and 'Episcopal Church Apostolical.' To sum up the whole, he said, 'Well, I think a copious and general distribution of these will do great good'; he then said, 'Why do they confine themselves so much to the one subject of the Apostolical commission? I wish they would treat other subjects.' I asked of what kind? 'Why, for example, Baptism. I think much too little is generally thought about it,' and from what he said more I think he quite agrees with us on that subject. He said that a private communication is always made to the Archbishop when it is contemplated to place any man on the bench, and if the Archbishop remonstrated, he has no doubt it would be dropped. But he approves the idea of petitioning the Archbishop if any man who seemed to the clergy very unfit was appointed. He spoke of Archdeacon Glover. He quite feels the want of intercourse among the clergy, and the good likely to arise from it.

I attacked Arnold. He had not seen his postscript, &c. I repeated the part about Ordination. And he seemed much shocked and immediately said, 'What can he make of the Ordination Service, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” &c.?' This shows the sense in which he holds these words. I am sure you would like him if you knew his views and feelings.


November 13, 1833.
I am in the midst of troubles and no one but such [outidanoi] [this is ironical] as Rogers to consult with. Palmer musters {421} the Z.'s [Establishment men] in great force against the tracts, and some Evangelicals. He presses, and I am quite ready to admit, a disclaimer (in the shape of a circular) of the tracts. But he goes further, and wishes us to stop them. In these cases, success is the test of sagacity or rashness. The said tracts give offence, I know; but they also do good; and, I maintain, will strengthen the Association, by enabling it to take high ground, yet seem in the mean [meson]. I suggested to him that we were only doing here what Rose is doing elsewhere, who nevertheless is a member of the grand scheme. He said Rose was known as the editor of the Magazine. And so, I replied, I suppose Keble would have no objection to give his name to the tracts.

What will be done I know not; but I want advice sadly. I have no confidence in anyone. If I could be sure of five or six vigorous co-operators in various parts, I would laugh at opposition; but I fear being beaten from the field. Keble says we must be read, unless we grow stupid; but I am not over-sure of our fertility even.

The tracts are certainly liked in many places; among other persons, by the Bishop of Winchester. O that he would take us up! I would go to the length of my tether to meet him. Henry Wilberforce is now there. I wonder whether, if one knew him, one might exert any influence over him. Evangelicals, as I anticipated, are struck with the 'Law of Liberty' and the 'Sin of the Church.' The subject of Discipline, too (I cannot doubt), will take them. Surely my game lies among them. I can make no hand of the Z.'s.

I am half out of spirits: but how one outgrows tenderness! Several years back, to have known that half or all Oxford shook their heads at what I was doing (e.g. in the case of the Church Missionary Society) would have hurt me much, but somehow now I manage to exist. Do give me some advice and encouragement.

I do think our tracts, if we persist, will catch all the enthusiastic people among the Associated; which will be wretched for the Z.'s.

One proposition is that we should cease the issue of the tracts till the address is happily got over; but I say, 'Palmer, you delayed us five weeks with your scruples, which you yourself got over at last; and now you are playing the same game again.' Yet I should shrink from spoiling the address, and I do not know what to do. {422}

Tyler has at last plucked me, and sent back the sermons. He is dying for love of the Church, and most seraphic. I will give you the conclusion of his letter. I cannot find it. 'Salvam fac ecclesiam tuam, Domine,' is one of his suspiria. He gives no reason for not taking my sermons.

My dear Froude,—I do so fear I may be self-willed in this matter of the tracts. Pray do advise me according to your light.

P.S.—I have written to Palmer to say I will join his open Association if he wishes it, in spite of my dislike to it; but I will not cease my issue of tracts.

At Christmas I hope to make a missionary tour to Derby, Leicester, Huntingdonshire, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, &c.

Shuttleworth has, I believe, brought before the Hebdomadal Board the expediency of removing the Subscription to the Articles at entrance.


November 14, 1833.
[Argeion och' ariote], i.e. have you not been a spoon? to allow the Petition to have nothing about the 'system presupposed in the Rubrics,' and to leave out your key-words 'completing' and 'extra ecclesiastical'? The last word I would introduce thus: 'They take this opportunity of expressing their conviction that the powers with which God has entrusted the Spiritual Rulers of the Church are sufficient for its spiritual government, and that all extra-ecclesiastical interference in its spiritual concerns is both unnecessary and presumptuous.' My father is annoyed at its being such milk and water; do make a row about it.

I see already that I shall find in your book [the 'Arians'] sentences which I am sure stood when they were first written after some other sentence than that which affects to introduce them now and seem conscious of being in the neighbourhood of a stranger—'buts' where there should have been 'ands' &c.—of which I shall mike a catalogue and pay you off for all the workings you have given me before now. However, it looks very pretty; and when I puff it, and people turn over the pages, they have a very imposing effect. People say 'Ah! I dare say a very interesting work.'

In this correspondence R. H. Froude appears more as critic than originator or author. His more intimate friends {423} required his criticisms and rested on his judgment. In his own person this faculty acted mainly as a check. He often speaks of trial and failure in his own attempts to bring out what was working in his mind, as, for instance: 'I have tried to write a criticism on the Apollo [Belvedere], but cannot bring out my meaning, which is abstruse and metaphysico-poetical. I always get bombastic, and am forced to scratch out.' His critical faculty was too masterful to be practised upon himself, but when exercised for the benefit of friends to whom he looked up, he could give free licence to a pungent pen, and yet leave the reader to understand how anxious those friends might well be to secure his comments as long as they were attainable. Keble, in his own simple way, sends his papers to his old pupil to be overlooked by him, and Mr. Newman was more at ease with Froude's imprimatur. Thus he sends him draughts of papers; for example: 'No. 2 Keble,' 'No. 1 mine,' with the order, 'criticise the whole very accurately in matter and style, and send it back by return of post.' Of course the state of Froude's health made criticism more possible than authorship, but also different intellectual powers and functions are called into play.


November 15, 1833.
I am sorry to say that I have not had time as yet to give due consideration to the proposed Address from the Clergy, which you have been so kind as to send me. There are so many things before me just at present, which I am forced to attend to, that I readily pass over what is not equally imperative. I trust, therefore, that you will excuse my only acknowledging it with my thanks.


November 13, 1833.
We are full of difficulties. I have been strongly against an Association because it was awkward having one without Bishops, and because the High and Low Church parties would come into collision, and because it could hardly be responsible {424} for tracts. You will see my scheme in the letter … however, I fear I shall be beaten. The consequence is, our tracts must be immediately disowned, as far as the responsibility of any Association is concerned. So circulars (I believe) are to be issued disclaiming them. We shall go on printing and circulating, however, through our own friends; though the High Church party wish us to stop them altogether. By 'we' I mean Keble, myself, Froude, and 'our friends' who are more or less the following (though not associated or bound together by any law; i.e. many people like naturally their own way): Pusey and Harrison, Ch. Ch. (they must not be mentioned as our party), Williams of Trinity; Christie, Rogers, Mozley and the Wilberforces, Oriel; T. Keble, Prevost, Rickards, Sale, of Magdalen; Rose, Perceval, Golightly, Dyson, &c. I am writing this in great confidence; to say these were with us would be quite unwarrantable, nor have we any wish to form a party, but I think they are persons who feel keenly, and would circulate our tracts.

On the other hand Palmer, backed by Mr. Norris, &c. &c., is afraid of the tracts, and wishes them stopped, and is aiming at an Association. I say, let everyone employ his talent in his own way. Let there be an Association, if they can do it, and we will be members of it, to avoid appearance of schism: though I confess I do not like joining in anything the Bishops have not publicly sanctioned. Still, nevertheless, why may we not go on with our tracts? Unless I see reason, I must. Perhaps we shall proclaim Keble editor, but this is uncertain.

We are very strong (I hope) in Leicestershire, Cheshire, Hants, Oxford, and Northamptonshire; but we may miscalculate our force here and there. Men fall off when they come to the scratch. The Duke of Newcastle has joined us 'in life and death, so that we are true to ourselves,' and Lord Arden, Lord Kenyon, Sir W. Heathcote, Joshua Watson, the Bishop of Winchester (I hope), Gladstone, &c. But I suppose these names must not be mentioned by anyone. Of course, there is much coldness and opposition here, for this is a criticising place; but never mind, we will beat them.

I will consider your objection about the leave to alter the tracts. Keble agrees with you, but I do not myself see the difficulty. Would a person go to the expense of reprinting a tract which he has made nonsense by inserting 'not,' &c., when he might write and print one of his own? I am very sleepy, so must leave off. {425}

P.S.—We have no regular committee, but suppose we shall ultimately have one in Oxford or London. At present we aim at an indefinite number of local associations. For names of leaders take Rose, Archdeacon Bayley, Norris, Keble, Palmer, Hook, Rickards, Dean of Ripon, Archdeacon Froude, the Wilberforces, Greswell of C. C. C., author of the 'Harmony,' Lancaster, Miller, &c. We have agreed to make Turrill's house our depot. I am the 'Churchman' of the 'Record.' I hope I have omitted no question of yours. Thanks for your criticisms, they are always valuable.


November 17, 1833.
 … As to the indirect inculcation of the Apostolical doctrines, we have begun the records of the Church with that view. We are printing extracts from Eusebius, &c., giving little stories of the Apostles, Fathers, &c., to familiarise the imagination of the reader to an Apostolical state of the Church. It was with the same view that we projected our ballads. I had not forgotten Arius's, but his was the abuse of a lawful expedient. What is the 'Lyra Apostolica' but a ballad? It was undertaken with a view of catching people when unguarded. Besides, there is every difference between the especially sacred subject which Arius treated in a popular way and ours. However, I do not think you need be alarmed; probably the series will turn out to be composed of such passages as Dryden's (Chaucer's) description of a good parson, parts of Herbert's 'Country Parson.' …

Whenever you talk of the tracts, mind and persist they are not connected with the Association, but the production of 'Residents in Oxford.' I wish them called the 'Oxford Tracts,' but I cannot myself so call them, for modesty's sake. So I think that soon I shall advertise them as 'Tracts for the Times, by Residents in Oxford,' which, of course, will soon be corrupted into Oxford Tracts.

If you had read the dissertations on Becket in the 'British,' you would be somewhat prepared for the kind of system we suppose Hildebrand to have set up. Now our notion is that things are returning so fast to a state of dissolution, that we ought to be prepared, and to prepare the public mind, for a restoration of the old Apostolic system. {426}

The question of the Papal Apostasy is a long one. As to Prophecy, ought it to be the rule of our judgment about existing institutions? I am not quite clear.


November 17, 1833.
 … As to giving up the tracts, the notion is odious. Norris writes to my father to announce that the tract system was (he was happy to say) abandoned. We must throw the Z.'s overboard; they are a small, and, as my father says, daily diminishing party. He is much inclined to them himself, but will take trouble to circulate the tracts … I wish you could get to know something of S. and W., and unprotestantise and un-Miltonise them. I think they are our sort, enthusiasts of a sort there are not many of. A real genuine enthusiast is the rarest thing going; yet on Trower's authority we may aspire to that rank … Do keep writing to Keble and stirring his rage; he is my fire, but I may be his poker ... I conclude with the emphatic words of Martinus Scriblerus: 'Ye Gods, annihilate both space and time,' and bring me back again with copious notes in my pocket on 'State of Religion in the United States.'


November 19, 1833.
Spry's and Miller's letters put together seem to point out a definite mode of proceeding, which may be useful. Spry, you see, wants an Association, quatenus an avowal of principle, not quatenus tracts. Miller approves of our present notions, but wants some business-like statement to give effect to them in other quarters. I think it will be very hard to get anything like a distinct declaration, such as Spry wants, numerously signed enough; qy. whether the address will not answer the purpose sufficiently? If Mr. Norris, or any other weighty person or persons from afar, would meet my weighty self at Oxford next week, we might all lay our heads together to some purpose. Palmer will probably be back from Winton.

You will see in Miller's a hint touching the multiplication of tracts, which a little comforted me for having said what I afterwards feared might check or damp you in that line; you {427} see what we mean—not to make things too cheap. The sooner we can set John Miller down to some of the tracts which he has got in his head, the better, don't you think?

I like your papers better and better, and so does my sister. Transubstantiation and all [this is a week-day lecture].


November 20, 1833.
I cannot let the day go by without doing what I can through you to enter my protest against the tract under the title 'Heads of a Week-day. Lecture.' I do not dwell so much upon the points, which yet I think are objectionable, that it makes too rapid an advance upon events which may or may not be coming on, and that it is calculated to bring on the evils it alludes to rather than avert them; but what I most deplore is the language in which it speaks of some of the gifts bestowed upon the ministers of Christ, and especially the expression 'as intrusted with the awful and mysterious gift of making the bread and wine, Christ's Body and Blood.'

Of course I do not quarrel with the expression when I meet with it in writers who lived before the controversies introduced into the world upon the subject, through the errors of the Church of Rome; but to use it now, and moreover to use it in a set of tracts which at any rate will be read at first with a good deal of suspicion, and in most instances with a view to ascertain what sort of men write them, and what the real objects of the Association are, appears to me to be nothing less than tossing firebrands into our own work.

I do not at all like the supposition which this tract and some others also, too much encourage, that hitherto a very large share of the respect paid to clergymen has been because they were of the rank of gentlemen, &c. To my mind these allusions betray a soreness upon these matters much below and utterly unworthy of the parson of a parish; who, wherever he is really respected, stands upon ground quite his own, and with which his happening to be a gentleman has hardly anything to do.

I find great fault, also, that in an Association composed partly, and probably to a good extent, of persons who think that the point to be maintained is that no alteration should be made in the Liturgy, except under the competent authority by which it has been done before, the tracts (I think, rashly) {428} take the higher station, and maintain that no changes should be so much as listened to—a line of proceeding which seems to me to betray an unwarrantable distrust of our bishops, as well as to treat the whole affair in the most provoking manner to those who are seeking for change.

There are other matters I could mention if I saw you, but I will not trouble you with more in writing; but this in honesty I must add, that if the tracts are to be written in the same irritated and irritating spirit in which several of them have been written, I will belong to the Association no longer.

The 'Short Address' by a layman, and 'The Gospel a Law of Liberty,' appear to me to be models for our work, and calculated to do the greatest service to the cause. Indeed, there is not one of the whole set which does not please me a hundred times as much as it displeases me; but there are ugly sentences in some of them. In my zeal for my own thoughts and feelings, and my efforts to blurt them out at all hazards, I have hardly left myself room to send my thanks for your book [the 'Arians']. I feel this is in appearance a very unkindly letter, and almost a fierce one, but it was never meant so.

[N.B.—Rickards would have liked tracts written in the style of Richard Hooker or Isaac Walton. They would have been classical, but would have failed of their purpose. As to the 'Short Address,' which is Bowden's, I remark that, suited as it is to minds like Rickards', it has by others been thought not only, on the one hand, heavy, but, on the other hand, 'provoking and irritating.' As to its heaviness, Keble says (Nov. 5, '33), 'The layman's address is excellent, but hardly plain enough,' and I suspect that 'Richard Nelson' was written to do what the layman did not do. And, as to his style being irritating and provoking, I find from one of R. F. Wilson's letters, September 2, 1834, that Bowden's tract on Christian Liberty (No. 29) raised quite a storm at Bocking, and (I think) caused refusal of a church rate.—J. H. N.]

Mr. Rickards's pen was a rougher weapon than his tongue. In conversation with Mr. Newman his disagreement with the tract in question would have been perhaps as real, but personal contact would have softened, brightened, cleared the atmosphere. Mr. Rickards could not have spoken as he wrote, or, if he had, it would not have sounded quite the same. It would have been Mr. Rickards's way. Under his singular conversational {429} gifts his censure would have fitted in with a certain quaintness of expression which gave character to all he said.

Mr. Newman answered this attack the next day. His letter has recently come into the Editor's hands (in 1889), being found in a packet of Mr. Newman's letters to Mr. Rickards, sent by his widow, many years after, to Mrs. J. Mozley. The letter told very strongly upon Mr. Newman's memory.

If Mr. Rickards's letter may be considered characteristic of its writer, the answer to it will be felt by the reader to be instinct with the spirit of the Movement and with Newman as its leader.


Oriel College. November 22, 1833.
Your letters are always acceptable; and do not fancy one is less so which happens to be objurgatory. Faithful are the blows of a friend, and surely I may be antecedently sure that I require them in many respects. As to our present doings, we are set off, and with God's speed we will go forward, through evil report and good report, through real and supposed blunders. We are as men climbing a rock, who tear clothes and flesh, and slip now and then, and yet make progress (so be it!), and are careless that bystanders criticise, so that their cause gains while they lose. We are set out, and we have funds for the present; we, like the widow's cruse, shall not fail. This then is our position: connected with no association, answerable to no one except God and His Church, committing no one, bearing the blame, doing the work. I trust I speak sincerely in saying, I am willing that it be said I go too far, so that I push on the cause of truth some little way. Surely it is energy that gives edge to any undertaking, and energy is ever incautious and exaggerated. I do not say this to excuse such defects or as conscious of having them myself, but as a consolation and explanation to those who love me, but are sorry at some things I do. Be it so; it is well to fall if you kill your adversary. Nor can I wish anyone a happier lot than to be himself unfortunate, yet to urge on a triumphant cause; like Laud and Ken in their day, who left a name which after ages censure or pity, but whose works do follow them. Let it be the lot of those I love to live in the heart of one or two in each {430} succeeding generation, or to be altogether forgotten, while they have helped forward the truth.

As to your particular criticisms, I have been so busy that I have failed to let my correspondence keep pace with work. The Association has nothing to do with the tracts. The latter are the work of Oxford men; Keble, myself, and others are answerable for them. This removes, I conceive, part of your objection. It would be highly indecorous in an association or man in office, or of name, to contemplate the downfall of the clergy; but the very use and meaning of anonymousness is that you say things worth saying in themselves, but not fit for you to say. Surely it is highly desirable that this topic should be present among other topics to the minds of the Church, as an element of bringing about certain results. I mean, stirring up the clergy; and if you say this is addressed not to the clergy, but to the people, I admit—but it was said at the clergy, and perhaps could not be decently addressed to them. The notion of the tract was to set the clergy upon preaching to their flocks; it only professes to be heads of a lecture, and the passage you object to was in matter of fact not delivered in the harsh form in which it stands. These remarks will explain, at least, that we do not act without thought and design, though of course you are quite at liberty to think that we err in judgment. The truth is there is an extreme difficulty in hitting the exact thing that will do. It is only attained by a series of experiments. Nor is it fair to look at each tract by itself: each is part of a whole intended to effect one or two great ends. Hence the different tone of them (which you notice), and which, be assured, does not arise from difference in the writers, but the same writer aiming (whether or not from error of judgment) at the same end in a different way. It is necessary to wake the clergy; if you get them even to criticise, it is no slight thing. Willingly would I (if I) be said to write in an irritating and irritated way, if in that way I rouse people. I maintain (whether rightly or wrongly, but I maintain) that by ways such as these alone can one move them. As to the resisting alterations, I am amused, though instructed, at the variety of opinions, as of criticisms (e.g. there is hardly one tract which in its turn has not been the best). Now it happens that, against my own judgment, I have been urged to drop the question of the 'Competent Authority' for altering the Liturgy (though it is noticed in some of the tracts), under the notion that people are not ripe for it (and it is matter of {431} fact that the tract on alterations in the Liturgy has been more approved generally than any other), but all the while I quite agree with you it is a point to press; and in matter of fact for the last six weeks a friend of mine has had a pamphlet on hand at my suggestion about it. I inserted a clause against 'extra-ecclesiastical alterations,' both in the 'Suggestions' and the 'Address,' but each time it was cut out. Lastly, I must just touch upon the notice of the Lord's Supper. In confidence to a friend, I can only admit it was imprudent, for I do think we have most of us dreadfully low notions of the Blessed Sacrament. I expect to be called a Papist when my opinions are known. But (please God) I shall lead persons on a little way, while they fancy they are only taking the mean, and denounce me as the extreme. Thus all good is done (I do not say kept up) by going before people, and letting them fancy they are striking a balance. Let others be doctors of the Church. I do not aim at being such (though I think myself right); let me be thought extravagant, and yet be copied.

Here you have a sketch of views and feelings which, had I the happiness to be often with you, you at least would be more able to do justice to, as hearing them vivâ voce. We will take advice and thank you; we will thank you for cuffs; but we will take our own line according to the light given us by Almighty God and His Holy Church. We trust to be independent of all men, and to be liable to be stopped by none, and it is a weakness to be pained, which I hope to get over. Time was when to know the greater part of Oxford was against me would have saddened me. That I have got over, I think; but still I suffer when criticised by friends. Never suppose I shall be 'over-praised.' I hear but the faults of what I do. It is good for me I should do so, but sometimes I am apt to despair, and with difficulty am kept up to my work. Nay, I am apt to go into the other extreme, and peevishly fancy men my enemies, as anticipating opposition as a matter of course. But enough of this.

The address goes on splendidly. Already we have two thousand clergy who will sign it. You do not state your view of it. Its object entre nous is threefold; to rouse the clergy to think and combine, to strengthen the Archbishop against Whately, and to strengthen the Church as an independent power against the liberalisers in and out of Parliament ... Send me word if you will co-operate about the address, and I will tell you what to do. {432}

Here this correspondence on the tracts appears to have ended. Letters continued to pass between the friends, as will be seen, showing kindly interchange of thought, but the conduct of the Movement does not seem to have been touched upon again. As time goes on, Mr. Newman confides to Mr. Rickards some doubts that pressed upon him, but there is no return to that happy freedom of intercourse on the subject that engrossed Mr. Newman's mind, which marks their early correspondence [Note 4].


Pierce's Hotel, Falmouth: November 20, 1833.
The box we dined in last year with all the tricolours and trophies of the three days, but no Pedroites.

Friday.—I am to start tomorrow. I am at Archdeacon Sheepshanks'. First let me congratulate you on your letter {433} of yesterday. You have done it in style. [NB—I have not the letter; it contained the correspondence between Arnold and me.] Polonius would give you most credit for the word 'respond.' 'Which of course has its praise' is capital.

This correspondence with Arnold is not in any of the papers that have been placed before the Editor.


November 25, 1833.
I had intended to have written to you this very day before Mr. Palmer's circular and your accompaniment were received. The address certainly is in itself a most unmeaning affair, but people who desire a movement will possibly give it some importance as a first step.

The fact may be that the great body of the clergy know so little of the actual state of things that they would hardly believe the near approach of an important crisis ... In this way I reconcile myself to the milk-and-water production that must go to Lambeth. Besides, a signature is looked upon as a sort of smart-money that in most cases will be acknowledged as a regular enlistment for future service. I can scarcely fix on an individual in my archdeaconry who is likely to make an objection; but as the thing brings publicity, I dare say the Whigs will use all their influence to defeat us. My brother Archdeacons, Stephens and Barnes, are quite alive to the mischief that is brewing. They differ about the propriety of signing an address to our own Bishop. I think it had better be omitted; for besides, as between a Bishop and his own clergy such a compliment goes for little, I should be sorry to have the main object mixed up with another measure ... Do desire Mr. S. Wilberforce to write to Mr. Lyte. My neighbour will be glad to find what his friend's views are. He is a capital speaker, very generally liked, and in times of difficulty will be sure to act an important part.

By the beginning of the year we shall be ripe for associations. Is it not advisable that you should be prepared to assist your country friends with forms, regulations, &c. …

The Rev. Saml. Rowe of Stonehouse will be a useful correspondent; he is methodical, diligent, and right-minded, and has much influence with a respectable part of the yeomanry in the neighbourhood of Plymouth, as well as among a large population in his own parish. {434}


Capheaton: November 25, 1833.
With regard to the Chancellorship [Note 5] I should be much obliged by a single line, as soon as the day of election is fixed. Why is not the Archbishop to be chosen? Mind and let me know whom you and yours support, and, if there is any danger of a sharp contest, I will move southwards to be at my post. Were the Archbishop put up I would certainly come. I should like to see him returned by a sweeping majority, both with regard to its effect upon the country and on his own future conduct. It might tend to athenaize him [Note 6]. But this, I am afraid, is a dream. I see the distinction you make between the apostasy of a Church and an apostasy in a Church; but, as you say, the question is a long one.

I have heard of your correspondence with Arnold from Rogers. I shall make you show me, in confidence, the documents. I am getting out of the world of news. From some sneers which I saw in the 'Globe' against McGhee and others, I suppose that there have been some Apostolical proceedings in Ireland. I have got neatly half-way through the 'Arians,' which is what I expected it to be. I fear, though, that it is too good for extensive circulation at the present day; but you do not write for the day.

I have never asked what Ogle thought of what was going on, partly, I believe, from a lurking fear that he was not with us.

The following letter shows that the Movement was beginning to tell and make a stir:


Lympsham, Somerset: November 20, 1833.
Your name having been mentioned as that of an influential member of the Church Conservative Society at Oxford, I requested by a society of clerical friends in this neighbourhood to solicit your kind attention and advice.

We have been informed on episcopal authority 'that the {435} ministerial plan of ecclesiastical and liturgical reform is intended to surprise the world by its extensiveness as much as the Commons Reform Bill did,' that it is designed to leave out of the amended Prayer Book everything that gives any offence to anybody, and that the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Dublin have already 'come over' to the support of the alteration.

Under these circumstances we are fearful of the concession implied in the last paragraph of the now circulating address to the Archbishop of Canterbury being taken advantage of, and the condition attached to it being overlooked. We are fearful of the word 'correction' being construed as applied to the Liturgy.

The assault on that grand bastion, the Athanasian Creed (long since left out of the American Episcopal Liturgy), has been already opened by Canon Woodhouse. Feeling ourselves the inestimable value of that Creed, not only on account of its lucid, cautious, and most instructive explanations of the grand subjects of the Christian faith, but also on account of its forming, together with the Commination Service, the only remaining displays of the power of the Church to pronounce those excluded from its Communion, who do not adhere to its doctrines and its duties, we think that a determined stand should be made for its reservation.

Would it do to promote an address to the King or to the Bench of Bishops or to the two Houses of Convocation now adjourned, but not dissolved, to the following purpose?

We the undersigned ... beg to express our confidence in … for the prevention of any alteration whatever affecting, directly or indirectly, the invaluable doctrines of the Church of England, or in any degree superseding the existing use of any of the three Creeds, the Hymn of Glory to the Father, &c., or any other standing formula of the faith. We are ... &c.

Lastly, if the idea met your approbation, would you originate it at Alma Mater? 'Dominus' est adhuc 'illuminatio' ejus. And from her the Light, scattering these dark clouds, ought, as in many former instances, first to radiate. God grant it may shine forth more and more brilliantly. We have no real reason for apprehension.

With much respect and gratitude for the exertions, of which some information has reached us, I am, &c, &c. {436}


November 27, 1833.
You have had so many rubs and buffets that one looks on you as a person made to receive such things, with robur et æs triplex to bear any amount of vexation and annoyance one may inflict. Mr. S. has come to a complete standstill. He has been into Northampton, and among others seen a Mr. B., who entirely approved of the address, and was prepared to go any lengths; but, glancing his eye on the sheet, to his horror he found no printer's name, and immediately cast it away from him as a venomous thing.

Now for your tracts. The one which has made you so very interesting a man to some of your readers—that is, 'The Gospel a Law of Liberty'—has not had the same effect here. Mr. Lloyd Crawley takes great exception to one or two passages: he underscores the little express command for public worship, and refers to Matthew xviii. 20; and having been engaged in various tithe suits and arguments with Quakers, in which he has always spoken of tithes as any other property, the result of individual grants, he is frightened at your founding the payment of tithes on imitation of the patriarchal and Jewish rule.


Monday evening: November 1833.
I shall have much pleasure in signing the address to the Archbishop, but I think it would be a great object not to make it the work of the Association, unless it were meant to express its loyalty and subordination. Many, I should think, would be glad to sign the address who would doubt about the consequences of an Association.

[N.B.—This was before Pusey had joined the Movement. Indeed, he was too ill to take part in it.—J. H. N.]


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1. Froude had left Oxford for Barbadoes, but was still in England. He did not sail till the end of November.
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2. Finally it was given to Cholderton Church, when in the course of building.
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3. First mention of Pusey's name in association with the Movement.
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4. It may be said that opinions, once formed deliberately, did seem with Mr. Rickards incapable of change, modification, or softening. His feelings towards the Church of Rome were such that nothing could prepare him, in the case of anyone he had once regarded with affection, for an actual conversion to her communion. These feelings were so well known to his friends that, as years passed by, they shrank from paining him by the reports that were familiar to the Oxford world, and were more than reports to those connected with Mr. Newman. It thus happened that in 1845, when at a social gathering of almost a public nature, the fact of Mr. Newman's reception into the Roman Church was spoken of as imminent, if not already accomplished, Mr. Rickards stood up and contradicted it. It was a blow that ought to have been spared him. A friend writing in 1878 described, or rather intimated, this scene to Dr. Newman. He wrote in answer: 'You could not have done a kinder thing to me than to tell me about Rickards. For it seemed to account for the conduct towards me of one whom I ever loved and whom in memory I ever look back upon with affection. No house was ever pleasanter to me than his, and I have him and Mrs. Rickards as in 1826, 1827 and 1832 vividly before me. But the tracts divided us from the very first. He protested against the earliest of them, and wrote me what he himself called a fierce letter. He made attempts to soften his words, but the “ugly passages” which he wished to cut out were just those which alone in my eyes were of any value. He wrote me a kind, or rather beautiful, letter after No. 90, and called once with Mrs. R. on me at Littlemore.'

Mr. Newman goes on to explain that he had wished those who knew his course of thought should report it to all friends who had, as he might suppose, a right to know. And when the act of separation from the Church of England came, he seems to have not been able to understand how any should be unprepared.
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5. Chancellorship of the University of Oxford vacant by the death of Lord Grenville.
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6. Compare Justin Martyr, Quæst. Gentil. ad Christianos (III. ii. 350, ed. Otto): [ton palai athenaizonta philosophon Platona].
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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