[Letters and Correspondence 1832—Mediterranean]


September 9, 1832.
I have had my ups and downs since I saw you. [N.B. viz. July 31, when he left Oxford for home. It was when the cholera was imminent, and we parted as if, perhaps, we might not see each other again. With reference to the memory of that parting, when I shook hands with him, and looked into his face with great affection, I afterwards wrote the stanza:

And when thine eye surveys
With fond adoring gaze,
And yearning heart, thy friend,
Love to its grave doth tend.

and the latter in close proximity to the former: [tauta de panta theon en gounasi keitai].] I will not go into details, for all is at last as well as possible; but you were right in saying it would be a slow job [N.B. this refers to his sister, I think]; perhaps much pain is yet to come, but all must go right.

You will be glad to hear that I have made up my mind to spend the winter in the Mediterranean, and my father is going with me the end of November; and we shall see Sicily and the south of Italy. We are both very anxious that you should come with us. I think it would set you up. {241}


Rochester: September 12.
I was grieved to hear some time ago from Pope that you had not been well. I hope you do not allow Messrs. Rose and Lyell to work you hard. Writing is a most deceitful employment; hurting you the more, the more you are interested by it; and you are always disposed to exert yourself too much. We have had good accounts of the Whatelys and B. White. We have excellent accounts of Pusey, who is going to print his sermon at the consecration of a church.


September 13, 1832.
As to your proposal for me to accompany you, it is very tempting. It quite unsettled me, and I have had a disturbed night with the thought of it. Indeed, it makes me quite sad to think what an evidence it has given me of the little real stability of mind I have yet attained. I cannot make out why I was so little, or rather not at all, excited by the coming of the cholera, and so much by this silly prospect which you have put before me. It is very inconsistent, except, perhaps, that the present novelty has come upon me suddenly. But enough of philosophising.

I am much tempted by your proposal, for several reasons, yet there is so much of impediment in the way of my accepting it. I cannot divest myself of the feeling that I may be intruding upon your father; but, supposing this away, I see much in favour of the scheme. Probably I never shall have such an opportunity again. I mean that of going with a man I know so well as yourself. And going with a person older than myself, as your father, is to me a great temptation. I am indolently distrustful of my own judgment in little matters, and like to be under orders. [N.B.—My leaving them, in the event, at Rome, and going through Sicily by myself is a curious comment upon this.]

Then what a name the Mediterranean is! And the time of the year, for I think summer would be too hot for me; and the opportunity of getting there without touching Gallic earth (for I suppose you go by water), which is an abomination. And if I ever am to travel, is not this the time when I am most at liberty for it? My engagements being slighter now {242} than they have been these many years, and than they are likely to be hereafter. And I feel the need of it; I am suspicious of becoming narrow-minded, and at least I wish to experience the feeling and the trial of expansiveness of views, if it were but to be able to say I had, and to know how to meet it in the case of others. And then I think I may fairly say my health requires it. Not that I ever expect to be regularly well as long as I live. It is a thing I do not think of; but still I may be set up enough for years of work, for which, at present, I may be unequal.

But you must tell me (1) as to time. I could not allow myself to be absent from England beyond Easter (say the beginning of April). Would it not be possible for me to part company with you? (2) As to expense, which, I apprehend, will be a serious subject ... (3) As to my health. It is quite enough that you should be an invalid; but it would be an ungracious [parergon] for me to fall sick also. Now I cannot answer for my health. If all of a sudden I fell ill?

My book [the 'Arians'] has long been out of hand. I suspect that Rose thinks it scarcely safe, and Rivington thinks it dull. However, I am quite satisfied with Rose; he is in ecstasies with parts of it, and, I sincerely believe, delays it under the wish to make it as good as possible. He seems to like the first chapter least, which is now in Lyell's hands. Rose is a very energetic, well-principled fellow. I have seen a good deal of him; whether he is firm remains to be seen. I will believe no one till he has committed himself.

Do send Mr. Rose one or two more architectural articles before you go.


October 4, 1832.
Perhaps I had better write instead of waiting till we meet, for you may have made up your mind by that time. [N.B.—In his letter of September 27 Froude gave me private reasons for desiring after all to remain in England.] Now, then, let me entreat you that nothing but the force of plain duty keep you from going abroad. You require it. The complaint with which you are threatened is extremely slow in its advances (and therefore insidious) when persons get to your age. I have now a case at Oxford which has been coming on for four full years; and it began in a slight imperceptible cold. {243}

As to myself, I had rather postpone going, without liking to give up the prospect you have opened; so do not let me come in any way into your deliberations, as I suppose you will not. Did I consult my wishes I should stop at home. I grudge the time, the expense, the trouble, the being put out of one's way, &c. But it may be a duty to consult for one's health, to enlarge one's ideas, to break one's studies, and to have the name of a travelled man; this last being a pleasure also—[huperoches gar] [Note 1].

I have been entirely idle the last month. The violin has been my only care, and, though I have not practised or progressed much, yet I see that I could easily play better than I ever did, and with regular attention might do what I pleased. But of all trades under the sun the worst is that of music in a blow-up; for Euripides's complaint still holds good, and the lyre is only heard in feasts. Yet 'music hath charms,' and it were better to ask the Date obolum after a tune than to beg without pretence.

As the reader knows, the original plan for spending the winter in the Mediterranean was adhered to, and the party sailed from Falmouth early in December.


October 1832.
I am more and more convinced one ought to do everything one can to avert a civil commotion; and now incline to the hope that the Whig spirit will keep in and the Church be set adrift. If this were the case we should be so very independent of things temporal; for we only, as individuals, should suffer. But a revolution involves the sufferings of others, and, consequently, our obligation to defend them, which is a tie. I should do all I can to support the Whigs so far forth as they are Conservative.

I am afraid of making too much of little things and resting in them. Let us make broad comprehensions. I hope you like this doctrine; certainly it does not do to split on trifles. One must use the [oikonomia]. I agree with you about preaching [i.e. extempore preaching]. I have had from time to time divers thoughts about turning evangelical so far, only I am afraid. If Oxford was any place but Oxford, I certainly would have a weekly lecture—[epideixeos charin]. {244}


November 1832.
I send this lecture [his fourth] with a request that either you or Froude or Ogilvie will run your eye over it, and say what is wrong. I meant to have delivered it last week, but I thought Mr. Vice-Chancellor would rather not, as he was expecting their Royal Highnesses. There are three matters in the lecture to be discussed:—(a) The song of Ragnar Lodbrog, where it is to be found most authentical? (b) What book gives the best specimens of the 'Welsh Triads'? (c) That little Lapland song of which I have tried to translate a stanza ('I saw the moon rise clear'); is it in any sense genuine? I had it from Rickards ages ago, and shall write to him.

By the time these matters are settled another ten days will be over; and, settled or not, I propose coming up on Monday the 12th, and predicating the 13th. I send the third lecture in case you should think it worth looking over too.

I long to know how Froude is. The sooner he comes now [to Fairford] the better, or you either. My dear N., I am sadly afraid you will be giving us the slip as the time of your voyage draws near, and my brother wants to see you, and I want you to see him.

You will see that I have reserved much of what we talked of for another lecture. I was sure the yawns else would have been direful.


November 7, 1832.
I sit down to inform you, though very reluctantly, that I have given up Deddington. Blencowe's rejection of my offer is fatal to the whole scheme. I can think of no other person. Consider how difficult it is in these days to meet with any young man, of real zeal, who is not Calvinistic, or has not some objections to some of the services of the Church. In short, how few young men are there of real zeal who care a rush for authority.


November 8, 1832.
Our dear little one, who by your ministry was made a member of Christ's Church, has been removed from all struggle {245} and sin before it knew them. Her departure was sudden; but we have great room to thank God for His mercies in everything relating to it. She promised fair to be a meek and quiet spirit here, but she is gone (which, since it is so, must be far better) 'her Father's household to adorn.' We would see you gladly any day after this week, but cannot meet mixed society on Tuesday.


November 10, 1832.
I trust the change of place and the retirement of the country have been a blessing to you and Mrs. Pusey, as I am sure they have. It only requires to be alone for receiving the comfort which almost necessarily attends any dispensation from Above. Of course, only parents can tell the sorrow of the loss of a child. But all persons can see the nature of the comfort contained in it—the comfort of knowing that you have given an immortal spirit to Heaven, and of being released from all responsibility of teaching her right from wrong, and from the uncertainties of her final destiny. You have done what her age allowed. She has been dedicated to God, and He has received the offering. For me, I have had a great privilege in being the means of her dedication. It is the only service which we are given to perform with a rejoicing conscience and a secure mind. [N.B.—I mean that the belief in the opus operatum saves one from the feeling that one's own sin has weighed on it.] And, on recollection, it becomes doubly precious, and a festival work, when, as in the case of your dear little one, we see the certainty of its having been accepted.


November 12, 1832.
I am delighted to find that at last I stand a chance of seeing you. I shall most certainly be at Hatchett's at one o'clock. Can you then come down here with me and spend a day or two with us? I am sure you must be an idle man now.

The following note and poem are appended by Mr. Newman to the foregoing letter: {246}

I went down with Rogers to Blackheath, Nov. 14, for the first time. I dined there and returned to London. It was my first time of seeing his (F. R.'s) family. Father, mother, sisters, and I think some brothers. In consequence I wrote the lines which stand first in the 'Lyra Apostolica,' 'Where'er I roam.' One of the sisters died on September 22, 1837.


Where'er I roam in this fair English land,
The vision of a temple meets my eyes:
Modest without: within all-glorious rise
Its love-enclustered columns and expand
Their slender arms. Like olive plants they stand,
Each answering each in home's soft sympathies.
Sisters and brothers. At the altar sighs
Parental fondness, and with anxious hand
Tenders its offering of young vows and prayers,
The same and not the same. Go where I will
The vision beams! ten thousand shrines all one.
Dear fertile soil! what foreign culture bears
Such fruit? And I through distant climes may run
My weary round, yet miss thy likeness still.

Oxford, Nov. 16, 1832.

The author of 'Reminiscences of Oriel' says: 'It never was possible to be even a quarter of an hour in his [Newman's] company without a man feeling himself incited to take an onward step, sufficient to tax his energies or his faith.' The following letters on taking leave of his friend and pupil, who had just taken a high degree, perhaps illustrate this demand upon the energies of men in proportion as he valued and estimated them.

November 19, 1832.
I have been thinking you may be at present exposed to danger from the state of your eyes; thus—Are you not naturally idle? and are you not now reduced to a state of idleness? Beware of getting into a way of muddling away your time; shuffling through the day doing nothing, &c. I know that when you get to the Bar you must work; yet there are degrees of exertion, and it is possible to be absent with your books before you. I throw out this merely because it strikes me, as a raw material which you may convert as far as possible into something real and practicable. {247}

To the same friend he had written previously:

You have an active mind and are not lonely without books, and I almost think that idleness, or rather vacancy, is the best time for thought.

Again to the same, who seems to have replied on the question of muddling:

November 22, 1832.
When I spoke of muddling, it was merely that I thought your eyes at present kept you from doing anything, and that you were literally idling. I did not mean that you must be reading or thinking. You may hunt in Hampshire three days in the week, and I shall never call it muddling; that is, it will not incapacitate you from working in its season. But to be doing absolutely nothing is injurious.


November 24, 1832.
I heard yesterday from Falmouth that a steamer now fitting up at Woolwich is likely to take out the Mediterranean mails on December 7, and that we are to go out in her.

 … If my correspondent is correctly informed, the ship is the same that took the Bishop of Exeter and myself to Scilly last year. She is, I think, the largest packet in the service, and was at that time fitted up in the most comfortable way imaginable, and her captain was a worthy obliging person. She is 800 tons and is called the 'Hermes.'


November 26, 1832.
 … The letters which we can get for you for Italy, I fear, we cannot manage till after you have left England. Do you think them worth forwarding?

Among the tasks which Mr. Newman proposed to Mr. Rogers, as an idle man, was the writing of verses. His last letter despatched just before sailing touches upon this.


Oriel College: December 1, 1832.
As to my notion about verses, do not be so surprised—I had a reason. If you do not already write them, I can only {248} say the sooner you do the better, for while your eyes are bad, it would be an amusement. But the truth is that we have in contemplation to set up a verse department in Rose's Magazine for all right purposes; and I am (not beating up, but) looking for recruits. Do not mention this, but we have hopes of making an effective quasi-political engine, without every contribution being of that character. Do not stirring times bring out poets? Do they not give opportunity for the rhetoric of poetry, and the persuasion? And may we not at least produce shadows of high things if not the high things themselves?

On Sunday, December 2, 1832, as Select Preacher, Mr. Newman preached the sermon on Saul [Note 2]. On Monday, December 3, he set out by the Southampton coach for Whitchurch, writing on the same day.


Whitchurch: December 3, 1832.
It is soon to make you pay postage ... Here I am at Whitchurch from one till eleven! I had hoped to be alone, and I should have despatched several copies of verses; but a person claiming to be H.'s brother has made his appearance, and, as going to Exeter as well as myself, claims to share my room and society. So I am practising for the first time the duty of a traveller, which is sorely against the grain, and have been talkative and agreeable without end; ... now that I have set up for a man of the world it is my vocation. I have been so hurried I have had no time to think, but at times it seems to be miserable going away for so long. Yet I doubt not, in after life, I shall look back on this day as a bright day and full of interest, as the commencement of one of the few recreations which I can hope, nay, or desire to have in this world, for the only cessation from labour to which I may look without blame. I really do not wish (I think) that it [this present cessation] should be anything else than a preparation and strengthening time for future toil; rather I should rejoice to think that I was in this way steeling myself in soul and body for it.

In the afternoon service yesterday, the second Psalm [for singing] was Ps. 121, Merrick's version. Now I cannot think {249} the organist chose it on purpose, yet chosen on purpose it must have been by some one or other. So it seems like an omen or a promise.—Yours ever dutifully.

P.S.—Some time since Mrs. Copley sent me her History of the Bible ... Get Williams to see or write to her, with a message from me, and the gift of a book in turn ... Some book on the Church or like 'Thomas Kempis,' or Taylor's 'Holy Living,' or against schism, so that it is not offensive. And I have wished some time to give James [the man-servant] Beveridge's 'Private Thoughts,' or some such book. Williams will help you here; and I have promised my laundress a book of the same kind. And I wish to give a gown to Bobbin's mother, but have not told him. H. W. [Henry Wilberforce], perhaps, will try to worm some of my sermons out of you, to carry out of Oxford—do not let him.


Falmouth, December 5, 1832.
I arrived here between seven and eight o'clock this morning as expeditiously as I could hope. My companions are not yet arrived, as far as I can make out; but I have not long done breakfast, and did not get up till one o'clock. I got to Exeter at 1 P.M. yesterday, and set off by the Falmouth mail at seven in the evening.

A night journey through Devonshire and Cornwall is very striking for its mysteriousness; and it was a beautiful night, clear, frosty, and bright with a full moon. Mere richness of vegetation is lost by night, but bold features remain. As I came along, I had the whole train of pictures so vividly upon my mind, that I could have written a most interesting account of it in the most approved picturesque style of modern composition, but it is all gone from me by this time, like a dream.

The night was enlivened by what Herodotus calls a night engagement with a man, called by courtesy a gentleman, on the box. The first act ended by his calling me a d— fool. The second by his insisting on two most hearty shakes of the hand, with the protest that he certainly did think me very injudicious and ill-timed. I had opened by telling him he was talking great nonsense to a silly goose of a maid-servant stuck atop of the coach; so I had no reason to complain of his choosing to give me the retort uncourteous ... He assured {250} me he reverenced my cloth ... It is so odd, he thought I had attacked him under personal feeling. I am quite ashamed of this scrawl, yet since I have a few minutes to spare I do not like to be otherwise employed than in writing.

I have already experienced several of those lesser inconveniences which become great as soon as they are dwelt upon, but shrink to their proper size when the mind is occupied by any more important object, whether of this world or the next. First, Fisk had not repaired the rent in the side of my cloak. Next, the buckle of my new carpet-bag broke before I set out, and the key broke in opening it at Exeter. I was obliged to improvisate a padlock, which again has got wrong in my journey here, and now a man is at it again. Thirdly, my portmanteau has been cut, but not badly. Fourthly, Harriett's purse has torn itself. Such is the present state of my expedition.

Our vessel is the 'Hermes'; it is the largest vessel in the Malta service. It has been seen miserably perplexed with the gales off the Downs, and is now expected hourly. Do not tell anyone any part of the nonsense I have been scrawling.
P.S. The Froudes are just come.

Before entering upon the series of letters from abroad, extending from December 11, 1832, to July 1833, the Editor thinks it well to transcribe the following caution from the writer of them, without any further interference with the letters as they stand. Writing July 26, 1885, he says 'Further—so widely has the world been thrown open since fifty years ago, that I may be very wrong in my descriptions and statements of facts of all kinds.—J. H. N.'

On board the 'Hermes'


On board the 'Hermes': December 11, 1832.
I wish you to receive the first letter I write home from foreign parts.

Today has been the most pleasurable day—as far as externals go—I have ever had that I can recollect; and now, in the evening, I am sleepy and tired with the excitement. We are now off Cape Finisterre. Lights were just now visible from farmhouses on shore, which is, maybe, fifteen miles off. This morning early we saw the high mountains of Spain— {251} the first foreign land I ever saw, having finished most prosperously our passage across the formidable Bay of Biscay. The land first discovered was Cape Ortegal and its neighbourhood, magnificent in its outline; and, as we neared it, marked out with three lines of mountains; in some places very precipitous. At first we were about fifty miles off them, then twenty-five perhaps. At the same time the day cleared, and the sea, which even hitherto had been very fine, now became of a rich indigo colour; and, the wind freshening, was tipped with white edges, which, breaking into foam, turned into momentary rainbows. The sea-gulls, quite at home, were sailing about; and the vessel rocked to and fro with a motion which, unpleasant as it might have been, had the wind been from the south-west, was delightful as being from shore.

I cannot describe the exquisite colour of the sea, which, though not striking as being strange or novel, is unlike anything I have ever seen; so subdued, so destitute of all display, so sober—I should call it, so gentlemanlike in colour; and then so deep and solemn, and, if a colour can be so called, so strong; and then the contrast between the white and the indigo, and the change in the wake of the vessel into all colours—transparent green, white, white-green, &c. As evening came on, we had every appearance of being in a warmer latitude. The sea brightened to a glowing purple, inclined to lilac; the sun set in a car of gold, and was succeeded by a sky, first pale orange, then gradually heightening to a dusky red; while Venus came out as the evening star with its peculiar intense brightness. Now it is bright starlight.

We passed Corunna in the afternoon, but too far off to see more than the mountains above it. We shall not make Malta by Christmas Day. I think it very probable I shall not be home by Easter ... As to my work [the 'Arians.'—J. H. N.] I ought to give several months of correction to it, which I might give in the Long Vacation.

I have not been idle in the matter of verse-making. I have written a copy a day since I have been on board, besides others at Falmouth and Whitchurch.

The Captain is a very pleasant man. There are three midshipmen, and one above them, who may or may not be called lieutenant; for steam vessels are anomalies (they are all of the navy, as is the case with all packets now). There are, besides, a purser and a doctor. They are, all of them, young men from twenty to twenty-five; have seen a great {252} deal of all parts of the world, have much interesting information, and are very gentlemanlike. It amuses one to scrutinise them. One so clever, the others hardly so. They have (most of them) made very few inductions, and are not in the habit of investigating causes—the very reverse of philosophers. They have good spirits and are very good-humoured ... Do not I write well, considering the sea is rocking up and down, up and down? I am surprised at the ease with which I walk the deck—that is, at my having got my sea legs and altogether how easily I do many things which seem difficult; and am disposed to think that hitherto [in past years] I have been working under a great pressure, and, should it please God ever to reverse it, I shall be like steam expanding itself. I shall end with one or two matters of business if I can recollect them. Should a letter come to me from the Bishop of London, offering me a Whitehall preacher-ship, get Christie [J. F.], to whom I have spoken, to write him word (I use the expressions I wish him to use) that, since I was honoured with an interview, 'circumstances have arisen which have decided me in declining that flattering mark of his notice, should it be offered me, which, he said, was possible.'

Excuse me if I have made blunders in this letter; it is too long to read over.


On board the 'Hermes': December 12, 1832.
We are again out of sight of land, having been out in order to double Cape Finisterre. We lost the Lizard about live o'clock on Saturday, and after that did not see land till yesterday (Tuesday) morning, about ten. The interval was occupied in passing round 'the Bay,' which we did almost by a straight line from Falmouth to Cape Ortegal. Seldom at this time of year is a voyage so prosperous.

In giving his experience of sea-sickness Mr. Newman certainly did not look for a wide class of readers, but thought was busy; the impulse to analyse was strong in him; and he could reckon on amused sympathy; and perhaps may have it still.

My sea-sickness, if it may be so called, left me in twenty-four hours. It is an uncomfortable feeling certainly; but in {253} saying that, I have said the worst of it. Never certainly had I ailment more easy to bear; and, so far from having my spirits depressed, I could do nothing but laugh at the oddity of my plight. It began on going down to dinner on Saturday. The motion is felt much more below, and the cabin is close. A strange feeling came over me; the heaving to and fro of everything seemed to puzzle me from head to foot, but in such a vague, mysterious way, that I could not get hold of it, or say what was the matter with me, or where. On I ate: I was determined, for it is one of the best alleviations. On I drank, but in so absurdly solemn a way, with such a perplexity of mind, not to say of body, that, as I have said, I laughed at myself. How I wished dinner over! Yet, on I sat, heaving up and down, to and fro, in an endless, meaningless motion; a trouble without a crisis; the discomfort of an uneasy dream. I went upstairs and got better. Then I lay down and was well. Got up at eleven at night, walked about, and was better again—went to bed and slept soundly. Sunday morning I was languid and qualmish; lay down on the deck and got well, but was afraid to stir. We had great difficulty to read the service. Archdeacon Froude was very bad and in bed. R. H. F. was getting well, but I did not like to let him try by himself. However, he read, and I was able to respond. I was better and worse all day, and after bed-time had no more trouble up to this time, when I eat and drink, loll about, read and write as usual. Sea-sickness is to me a very light evil; lying down is an instant specific for it, and eating a certain alleviation and fortifying against it.

I am only just now getting reconciled to my berth, which yet is very far superior to most, if not all, accommodations of the kind. I will not speak of its smallness, more like a coffin than a bed, nor of its darkness; but, first, think of the roll of the vessel to and fro. The first night my side was sore with the rub, rub of the motion. Then fancy the swinging, the never-ended swinging—you knock your head, you bruise your arms, all the while being shelved in a cupboard five feet from the floor. Then the creaking of the vessel; it is like half a hundred watchmen's rattles mixed with the squeaking of Brobdingnag pigs, while the water dashes, dash, dash against the side. Then overhead the loud foot of the watch, who goes on tramping up and down for more or less the whole night. Then in the morning the washing of the deck; rush comes an engine-pipe on the floor—ceases, is renewed, flourishes {254} about, rushes again: then suddenly half a dozen brooms, wish-wash, wish-wash, scrib-scrub, scratching and roaring alternately. Then the heavy flump, flump of the huge cloth which is meant to dry the deck as a towel or duster. Last, and not least, the smell. In spite of airing it, the berth will smell damp and musty; at best it is close; there is no window in it; it opens into the cabin, which at night is lighted with oil. Added to this, the want of room for your baggage, and your higgledy-piggledy state; and you will allow I have given you enough of discomfort. Yet one day like yesterday outweighs them all; and, in fact, they are vanishing fast. To be sure, a valetudinarian could not bear it. I think that it would quite have knocked me up a year or two since: and as for those who, in advanced stages of consumption, are sent abroad, it must be a martyrdom: yet, I repeat, our vessel is a peculiarly convenient one.

But I am glad to say I am getting over all these things. First we have decided on going on with the vessel to Zante, Patras, Corfu, and to take Malta as the vessel comes back; thus we are sure of remaining on board for a month and more to come; so I shall unpack, which will be a comfort ... You must know that each berth has two sleeping-shelves, one above the other, which are both occupied when the vessel is full (fancy the misery). But we have no cabin passengers on board beside ourselves; so we have our berth each to himself. Now the under shelf I shall empty of bedding and arrange my baggage there. There are several little shelves, too, on which I shall place various little articles and books ... Next I am getting to understand my berth, and the way of lying in it comfortably; and certainly I cannot deny that it is snug, though odd. I get not to mind the noises, and I have effected a better ventilation.

This is all I have to say at present. Meanwhile, I transcribe one of my follies, having done it before breakfast this morning.

Ere yet I left home's youthful shrine
My heart and hope were stored
Where first I caught the rays divine,
And drank the Eternal Word.

I went afar, the world unrolled
Her many-pictured page;
I stored the marvels which she told,
And trusted to her gage. {255}

Her pleasures quaffed, I sought awhile
The scenes I prized before;
But parent's praise, and sister's smile,
Stirred my cold heart no more.

So ever sear, so ever cloy,
Earth's favours as they fade,
Since Adam lost for one fierce joy
His Eden's sacred shade [Note 3]

I have written one on Athanasius, and a sort of song; and one on the Church of Rome, and I wish to take Old Testament subjects, but cannot yet seize them.

I wonder what news you have at home all this while. How strange it is to have given up all thoughts about the French and Antwerp! But, hearing nothing, we are forced, in self-defence, to forget what otherwise is so interesting. Rose has answered our proposal about the 'Lyra Apostolica' in the most flattering manner. I hope he will let us do as we will.


The 'Hermes': December 12, 1832.
Having nothing at present to tell you, I have invented something, which I now send you.

They do but grope in learning's pedant round
    Who on the fantasies of sense bestow
    An idle substance, bidding us bow low
Before those shades of being which are found
Stirring or still on man's scant trial ground;
    As if such shapes and moods, which come and go,
    Had aught of Truth or Life in their poor show
To sway or judge, and skill to sain or wound.
Son of immortal Seed, high-destined Man!
Know thy dread gift, a creature, yet a cause,
Each mind is its own centre, and it draws
Home to itself, and moulds in its thoughts' span,
All outward things, the vassals of its will,
Aided by Heaven, by earth unthwarted still.


O Aged Saint! far off I heard
    The praises of thy name;
Thy deed of power, thy skilful word,
    Thy zeal's triumphant flame. {256}

I came and saw; and, having seen,
    Weak heart, I drew offence
From thy prompt smile, thy simple mien,
    Thy lowly diligence.

The Saint's is not the Hero's praise;
    This have I found, and learn,
Nor to profane Heaven's humblest ways,
    Nor its least boon to spurn.

Tonight the fire-flies are most beautiful, and the water phosphoric. We are in latitude 41 about. It is curious to see the Great Bear close to the water's edge. I was familiar enough with the Celestial Bear [this is an allusion to Whately] to make it feel odd to see him near the horizon; yet he quite squints, like a word ill spelt. I wish I could draw in your style a picture of men taking the log—that is, finding the rate the vessel is going. A rope is thrown into the sea with certain knots to mark the rate. It is briskly unwound from a roller as the vessel moves, while another man holds a minute glass. About four or five men are employed in it, and the grouping is very good.

December 13.—I have had before my eyes the last two hours visions such as I can hardly believe to be real: the Portuguese coast, in all that indescribable peculiarity of foreign scenery which paintings attempt. Whether it is in the clearness of the air or other causes, it is as different from England as possible, and I can hardly say how. The cliffs are high, composed of sandstone. They form a natural architecture—pyramids, and these in groups. The water, which is beautifully calm, breaks in high foam; the sun is bright and casts large shadows on the rocks and downs. Above, all is exposed, barren, or poorly cultivated; an immense plain, irregularly surfaced, slopes down to the brink of the cliffs, a beautiful pale reddish-brown. Through the glass we see houses, flocks of sheep, windmills with sails like a spider's web, martello towers with men lounging about the walls, woods of cork-trees with very long stems, all as clear and as unnaturally bright as you can fancy. To the south the town Mafra, which we are passing; above the magnificent heights of Torres Vedras. Cintra is to the south, and we are expecting it. It is so very tantalising that we cannot land and really determine that it is a country. It is like a vision. It is the first foreign soil I have come near. The line of Torres Vedras is now most distinct. We are passing a point beyond which we see {257} nothing. But I suppose Cintra and Lisbon are on the other side.

Since I wrote the above the lines of Torres Vedras and the rocks underneath have passed before us like a pageant. The cliffs are high and bold, all sorts of colours, a greenish-reddish-brown, very sober. Above the cliffs are the country houses of the nobility, scattered along rising plains which terminate in a sharp bold outline, receiving and screening the lines of Torres Vedras. At the base of the cliffs the waves are dashed, the foam rising like Venus from the sea. I never saw more graceful forms, and so sedate and deliberate in their rising and falling. The colour of the heights a strange bluish-greyish something or other, very subdued.

Eight o'clock P.M.—In the afternoon we had two more sights: the rock of Lisbon, and the other side of the Torres Vedras, with the mouth of the Tagus. The latter is the most strange sight of this day. Am I only five days from England? Am I in Europe? I expect America to be different; but is it possible that what seems so unlike home should be so near home? How is the North cut off from the South! What colouring! A pale greenish-red which no words can describe, but such as I have seen in pictures of Indian landscape—an extremely clean and clear colour. We shall make Cadiz by tomorrow evening, while Williams is lecturing at Littlemore. The sunset has been fine—the sky bright saffron, the sea purple. The night is strangely warm. Latitude 39 or 38. The Great Bear almost in the water. The glass 66 in my berth, which is cooler than the cabin, which opens upon the external air.

December 14.—The weather gets warmer and warmer, though I believe we are in astonishing fortune for the time of year. This morning porpoises are about us, and we nearly ran over two large turtles. The first object at sunrise was Cape St. Vincent. We had just spoken with a fisher-boat with four men. Whether it is the atmosphere or sky, the colours were very picturesque; the clearness of the air I cannot describe. I end, having room, with a verse:

Poor wanderers, ye are sore distrest
To find that path which Christ has blest,
    Tracked by His saintly throng;
Each claims to trust his own weak will;
Blind idol! so ye languish still,
    All wranglers, and all wrong. {258}

He saw of old, and met Your need,
Granting you prophets of His creed,
    The throes of fear to suage;
They fenced the rich bequest He made,
And sacred hands have safe conveyed
    Their charge from age to age.

Wanderers! come home! when erring most,
Christ's Church aye kept the faith, nor lost
    One grain of Holy Truth;
She ne'er has erred as those ye trust,
And now shall lift her from the dust,
    And reign as in her youth!

On board the 'Hermes'—Gibraltar


Gibraltar: on board the 'Hermes': December 16, 1832.
I went on deck this morning at sunrise, and took a survey of this place which one has heard of so much. We are in the harbour close by the Mole, lying under the inside of the Rock. Everything is foreign. To the N.E. by compass is the range of mountains which I spoke of to Aunt when I saw them at the other side at Cadiz. Under them, and close at hand, we see the town of St. Roque, and the hill called the Queen of Spain's Chair, because it is said she was placed at the top of it to see the siege of Gibraltar. To the east, in perspective, the Rock begins; and on the side of it lies the old Moorish town, which is still the seat of the mixed Gibraltar population. The old Moorish fort is visible, but I see nothing more. The great batteries, I am told, lie under.

The population is limited by rule to 18,000, in order to provide against the risk of an excess during a siege; but this rule is evaded, and the town held three times that number at the time of the yellow fever, two or three years since. The population is said to be very dense and dirty, with a great many Jews. The town is cut off from the garrison by walls of defence, and an open space, which is planted and called the Almeidah. Still closer to us are the barracks (still on the Rock), with the Government houses, officers' lodgings, &c. Under, and close opposite to our starboard stem, lie several Dutch coalers detained by the embargo. Right opposite on the other side of the vessel, and on the N.W., runs the Mole close to us, covered with coal, which the foreign jabbering heavers are conveying into time vessel.

The whole scene is something quite different from anything I have seen during this wonderful week, and unlike any picture or panorama I have met with. {259}

The Rock has a magnificent outline, very sharp in the ridge; the other and outer side (which we do not see) being perpendicular down to the Mediterranean. It is coloured with all sorts of hues—grey, red, white and green—all, of course, subdued. The space between the town and garrison is traversed by a road lying on the side of the cliff, with gardens on both sides. It is fringed with orange-trees as high as a mountain-ash (to judge, from a distance), with long stems. The grass is tinted in places with a bright yellow, which, in England, we should judge to be buttercups. The garrison buildings are very picturesque. The barrack itself is a long, whitish, handsome building; but about it are houses in groups—high, and turning all ways—painted of all colours. Close to us is a large, dull red shed or storehouse, low and long, with gables; above them are buildings faced with blue, cream colour, brown, white and red.

The water is so clear we can see, plainly as if they were out of it, innumerable fish of considerable size playing about in all directions. Galleys and boats are moving about, one pulled by more oars than I could count. The morning is very bright—indeed, as time day gets on (now it is 10 A.M.), too bright for the beauty of the scene. Early the surgeon of the garrison came alongside of us, and we were each asked particularly about the cholera, whether we had been in cholera districts, &c. From his manner we are sure we shall be allowed to land; but the Board of Health does not meet till after church; so, instead of going to church on shore, we shall enjoy the black dust of the coal. The yellow quarantine flag dangles from our mast-head. Having at this moment nothing to write, I add a sonnet which I meant to have sent to Aunt:

Are these the tracks of some unearthly Friend?
    His footprints, and his vesture skirts of light,
    Who, as I talk with men, conforms aright
Their sympathetic words, or deeds that blend
With my hid thought;—or stoops him to attend
    My doubtful—pleading grief;—or blunts the might
    Of ill I see not;—or in dreams of night
Figures the scope in which what is will end?
Were I Christ's own, then fitly might I call
That vision real; for to the thoughtful mind
That walks with Him, He half unveils His face;
But when on common men such shadows fall,
They dare not make their own the gifts they find,
Yet, not all hopeless, eye His boundless grace. {260}

Last night the stillness, after a week's rattling and roaring, had a most singular effect; it was so unnatural. I never felt anything like it, and cannot describe it. I had, in consequence, a very good night—the first for a week—it was very soothing.

Eight P.M.—Our fate is decided, we are not to be released till 2 P.M. tomorrow. The St. Roque Spaniards, who are members of the Board of Health, are the cause of our quarantine. This has been a most uncomfortable day; a Sunday without the signs of a Sunday I can hardly understand. The vessel not being allowed to stop over tomorrow, the men have been all day engaged in bringing on coal. It has been one scene of confusion, dust flying about—the cabin, in consequence, closed—the native coalmen jabbering about nothing at all; the sun blazing on deck; service impossible; the crew very busy or very idle and listless. The warmth of the weather is quite strange, but not relaxing at all. Yesterday we left off all our fire, which even before was nominal, and dined with open skylights. The nights are brilliantly starlight, yet without anything like frost. Mars, to all appearance, almost in the zenith.

I shall be heartily sick of not hearing from you till I get to Naples, which is the first place to which letters may be safely directed ... I add a sonnet [Note 4], and some verses:

Whence is this awe, by stillness spread
       O'er the world-fretted soul
Wave reared on wave its boastful head,
While my keen bark, by breezes sped,
Dashed fiercely through the ocean head,
       And chafed towards its goal.

But now there reigns so deep a rest,
       That I could almost weep.
Sinner! thou hast in this rare guest
Of Adam's pence, a figure blest;
‘Tis Eden seen, but not possessed,
       Which cherub-flames still keep.


O Lord! when sin's close marshalled line
    Urges Thy witness on his way,
How should he raise Thy glorious Sign,
    And how Thy Will display?

Thy holy Paul, with soul of flame,
    Rose on Mars'-hill, a soldier lone;
Shall I thus speak the Atoning Name,
    Though with a heart of stone {261}

'Not so,' He said:—'hush thee, and seek,
    With thoughts in prayer and watchful eyes,
My seasons sent for thee to speak,
    And use them as they rise.'


On board the 'Hermes'. December 18, 1832.
I have sent you from Gibraltar, by the 'Flamer' steam-packet, a parcel containing two letters to my Mother, and one inside parcel, with six letters besides, to you and Jemima, to Aunt, to the Archdeacon (Oxford), to the Provost, to Pope.

We left Gibraltar at 9 P.M. yesterday, and are now on the open Mediterranean—the sea without a billow, and a strange contrast to the Atlantic; and in the distance the dim shadows of snowy mountains, ranging up the Spanish coast to the N.E. Africa out of sight.

But I must go back to give you an account of our brief visit to Gibraltar. I no longer wonder at younger persons being carried away with travelling, and corrupted; for certainly the illusions of the world's magic can hardly be fancied while one remains at home. I never felt any pleasure or danger from the common routine of pleasures, which most persons desire and suffer from—balls, or pleasure parties, or sights—but I think it does require strength of mind to keep the thoughts where they should be while the variety of strange sights—political, moral, and physical—are passed before the eyes, as in a tour like this. (I have just been called up to see the mountains of Grenada, which we have neared; they are enveloped in a sheet of snow.)

With this remark I proceed to give you some poor account of our visit to Gibraltar, the first foreign land I ever put foot on.

We were to have obtained pratique, as it is called (I cannot learn the right meaning of the word), at 2 P.M. yesterday (Monday), but by the good offices of one of Archdeacon Froude's friends, who was afterwards our guide and host, a meeting of the Board of Health was effected in the morning, and we were allowed to land about half-past twelve. Col. Rogers, of the Artillery (the officer in question), took Archdeacon Froude in his gig, and gave Hurrell and me horses, and off we set to the southern point of the Rock—Point Europa. Here the Rock is thrown about into a vast variety of forms with deep fissures or valleys, and most picturesque groups in consequence. It is {262} of a grey colour, varied here and there with a reddish sand. What the solid Rock is composed of I am ashamed to say I do not know; but it may be the same as the rock which is always forming around it—namely, a sandstone cemented and indurated by water passing through limestone. In consequence, it has an oolitic appearance, and sometimes a granitic. There are various caves abounding in stalactites in consequence. The lime is so adhesive that they mix no glutinous substance in the whitewash made of it, as they do in England; and when used for walks, instead of gravel, we observed it looked as solid as a granite pavement. The old Moorish fortifications are entirely made of it—that is, of the earth of the place. They are entirely made of earth rammed tight together in a framework, which is afterwards removed after the manner of time Pisans, which the Duke of Bedford introduced to England some time since at Woburn Abbey.

So much on the nature of the rock. As we rode up the carriage-way the Rock seemed to heighten marvellously. It had so hung over us, and at the same time receded from us, when we were in the vessel, that it seems but a few hundred feet high, being really 1,500 feet. But now our up-hill ride convinced us, though our eyes were unconvinced; still, I can give you no account of the guns and batteries, which I do not understand; of course, they are very imposing. Before us lay the range of African mountains, which differ in shape from the Spanish. The African seems to be of volcanic origin—conical and independent like waves. Ape's hill rises 3,000 feet from the sea, being the termination of the Atlas chain. Behind we saw this part of the Atlas distinctly, covered with snow, I think; the range is very high, the highest mountain being 10,000 feet. Further towards the east, about Fez, the range is highest, being in one place 14,000 or 15,000; I forget which.

The Rock of Gibraltar, where we now were, presented a very broken surface, being more like haycocks or a ploughed field than an thing else. In the intervals grow large aloes, the flowers still remaining; geraniums clothe them as ground-ivy may a bank in England. As we went along the road, huge cactuses sprawled over the walls. I did not know they grew so large; they were as thick as the trunk of a good-sized tree. The oranges were in full fruit, and various other hot-house plants. We went round the side as far as the Monkey Cave, where we were fortunate enough to see some of {263} the monkeys skipping like birds all over the surface. The Colonel considered we were in high luck. He was in Gibraltar two years before he saw one; yet we also saw some afterwards on the north. At the furthest extremity we reached, the cliff descends right down to the sea from the top, 1,500 feet! with hardly a break, certainly none of consequence. There are caverns at the bottom.

After entering the town we went first to the convent, which is now the Government House. Archdeacon Froude had introductions with him to a number of superior officers, and he took this opportunity of staying half an hour with Col. Mair, the Governor's Secretary, with whom we lunched. He is a very young-looking man for a Colonel, remarkably handsome and agreeable, and of a literary turn. On looking over his table I was surprised and amused to see the 'British Magazine' there among the books [Note 5]. We had a delightful lounge in the convent garden, which even at this season is luxuriant and fragrant. Immense cactuses, the date, the orange, the lemon, the custard-apple, the turpentine-tree, the dragon-tree; last, and not least, the palm, about eighteen feet high, and a most singular tree—a perfect garden of Alcinous. Col. Mair told us that in a month's time the garden would be one mass of odours and splendours. Col. Mair gave us some superb Cyprus wine, and then we set off to join Col. Rogers again.

 ... I will transcribe for you a sort of ecclesiastical carol which I wrote as an experiment, but which, I am by no means confident is a successful one.

Faint not, and fret not, for threatened woe,
    Watchman on Truth's grey height!
Few though the faithful and fierce though the foe,
    Weakness is aye Heaven's might.

Infidel Ammon and niggard Tyre,
    Ill-attuned pair, unite;
Some work for love, and some work for hire,
    But weakness shall be Heaven's might.

Eli's feebleness, Saul's black wrath,
    May aid Ahitophel's spite;
And prayers from Gerizim, and curses from Gath,
    Our weakness shall be Heaven's might. {264}

Quail not and quake not, thou Warder bold,
    Be there no friend in sight;
Turn thee to question the days of old,
    When weakness was aye Heaven's might.

Moses was one, yet he stayed the sin
    Of the host in the Presence bright;
And Elias scorned the Carmel-din
    When Baal would scan Heaven's might.

Time's years are many, Eternity one,
    And one is the Infinite;
The chosen are few, few the deeds well done,
    So scantness is still Heaven's might.

P.S. December 26.—I purpose sending you this letter from Corfu overland, and I shall send a packet of letters and a chest of oranges by the 'Hermes' on its return. I send you some verses.

How can I keep my Christmas feast
    In its due festive show.
Reft of the sight of the High Priest
    From whom its glories flow?

I hear the tuneful bells around,
    The blessed towers I see;
A stranger on a foreign ground,
    They peal a fast for me.

O Britons! now in scoffings brave,
    How will you meet the day
When Christ reclaims the gift He gave
    And calls the Bride away?

Your Christmas then will lose its mirth,
    Your Easter lose its bloom:—
Abroad a scene of strife and dearth;
    Within, a cheerless home!


On board the 'Hermes': December 18, 1832.
I finished Harriett's letter abruptly; the paper ending like the night in the narratives of Scheherazade. This day has been just fitted for writing these letters: first, as being the very next day after my visit to Gibraltar; next, we have been nearly all day out of sight of land; thirdly, I am indisposed to any exertion of body—such as walking the deck—from the labours of yesterday. The sun has been so hot today we have had an awning on deck. Porpoises and sword-fish have been sporting about us; the sea being as calm and the {265} motion of the vessel as slight as that of a steamer going to Richmond on the Thames ... We expect to make Algiers by Thursday morning. Col. Rogers walked down with us to the water's edge. He is a hospitable, warm-hearted, and considerate man. We are much indebted to him. It does not diminish our debt to him, that it broke the monotony of his military life to entertain strangers. He spoke in high terms of the Mess, but lamented that so few officers were single men, so that he had but a small society. As our boat went off to the vessel, I saw again the electric phenomenon which I mentioned in a former letter; and its beauty cannot be exaggerated. The edge of the water, where it broke against the pier, was all on fire. Wherever the oar went it was a sheet of soft liquid flame, sparkling besides, wherever the splashes fell. It was as if the under surface of the water was fire, and the oar turned it up. We got back to the vessel very tired. It set off about nine. I slept soundly, and found myself this morning in the open sea.

When Marshal Bourmont was here two years ago, his criticism on Gibraltar was that its fortifications were over-done. This may be true, but such a judgment will vary with possession and non-possession.

By a curious coincidence an assistant chaplain of my name is expected here. Accordingly the report got about that he had come, and Arch-bishop Froude had come to consecrate the chapel ...

Having nothing more to say, I conclude with some verses:

Tyre of the West, and glorying in the name
          More than in Faith's pure fame,
O trust not crafty fort nor rock renowned,
          Earned upon hostile ground;
Wielding Trade's master-keys, at thy proud will,
To lock or loose its waters, England! trust not still.

Dread thine own power! since haughty Babel's prime
          High towers have been man's crime;
Since her hoar age, when the huge moat lay bare,
          Strongholds have been man's snare.
Thy nest is in the crags; ah! refuge frail!
Mad counsel in its hour, or traitors, will prevail.

He who scanned Sodom for his righteous men,
          Still spares thee for thy ten;
But should vain hands pollute the temple wall,
          More than His church will fall;
For as Earth's kings welcome their spotless guest
So gives He them by turn to suffer or be blest. {266}

On board the 'Hermes'


On board the 'Hermes': December 19, 1832.
One great convenience of a voyage is that time is given one to record one's thoughts as they occur, and to see things without the bustle of moving and an over-rapid succession. And I am glad that this has been my fortune at the earlier part of my tour, when my impressions from new objects are more vivid than they will be in a short time. Yet, however interested I have been in what I have seen, I do not think I have ever for a moment so felt as not to have preferred, had the option been given me, to find myself suddenly back again in the midst of those employments and pleasures, that come to me at home in the course of ordinary duty (perhaps the moment when I first saw Cadiz, with the hope of landing, is an exception), so that I have good hope I shall not be unsettled by my present wanderings. For what are all these strange sights but vanities, attended too, as they ever must be, with anxious watchfulness lest the heart be corrupted by them, and by the unpalatable necessity of working up oneself to little acts of testifying and teaching, which mere indolence, not to say more, leads one to shrink from. So that I really do think that the hope of benefiting my health and increasing my usefulness and influence, are the main considerations which [cause me to] absent myself from you and Oxford. Yet even [such] thoughts do not reconcile me to the length of time I shall be away, which is so vast as quite to make me despond; and under these forlorn feelings I cannot but limit my view to the present day, and enjoy the novelties and wonders before me, dismissing all thoughts of the places which are yet to be undergone before I get back. You must not suppose me melancholy because I say all this; it is, of course, an habitual feeling with me which I now express, partly because I have leisure for it, partly because I happen still to be somewhat fatigued with the exertions of the day before yesterday. We are now still making for Algiers, being out of sight of land. The weather most delightful, with a breeze aft.

What has inspired me with all sorts of strange reflections these two days is the thought that I am in the Mediterranean. Consider how the coasts of the Mediterranean have been the seat and scene of the most celebrated empires and events {267} which are in history. Think of the variety of men, famous in every way, who have had to do with it. Here the Romans and Carthaginians fought; here the Phœnicians traded; here Jonah was in the storm; here St. Paul was shipwrecked; here the great Athanasius voyaged to Rome. Talking of Athanasius, I will give you some verses about him:

When shall our Northern Church her champion see,
          Raised by Divine decree,
To shield the ancient Truth at his own harm?
          Like him who stayed the arm
Of tyrannous power, and learning's sophist-tone,
          Keen-visioned Seer, alone.

The many crouched before an idol-priest,
          Lord of the world's rank feast.
In the dark night, 'mid the Saints' trial sore
          He stood, then bowed before
The Holy Mysteries,—he, their meetest sign,
          Weak vessel, yet divine.

Cyprian is ours, since the high-souled primate laid
          Under the traitorous blade
His silvered head. And Chrysostom we claim
          In that clear eloquent flame
And deep-taught zeal in the same woe, which shone
          Bright round a Martyr's throne.

And Ambrose reared his crosier from the tomb,
          Though with unequal doom,
When in dark times our champion crossed a king—
          But good in everything
Comes as ill's cure. Dim Future! shall we need
          A prophet for Truth's Creed?

December 23.
I write this before we get to Malta, which is to be tomorrow morning, lest new sights should confuse old ones. A severe gale, from which I am just recovering, has prevented my writing what I have to tell while I saw it. I began this letter on Wednesday, the 19th. On Thursday morning, which was very fine, we neared Cape Tenez, a fine headland—but I shall weary you with my descriptions. The sun was behind it, and as it ascended and shot its rays downwards, the surface, which had before been purple, became varied into hills and ravines, beautifully coloured of a rich sienna. Mount Atlas soon showed itself again, and went with us the greater part of the day. A sublime range, indeed, with its head every now and then in the clouds, and three or four tiers of heights under it, till the eye came down to the cliffs overhanging the {268} sea—vide the first fifty lines of the 'Odyssey.' Only in a steam vessel can one approach so near the land. About dinner-time —three o'clock—we neared Algiers, which, in its way, is as interesting a sight as we have had. I wish I could do justice to it.

On going on deck there lay before the eye a huge hill covered with heath, with folds and recesses and a roundish form. On this hill—I suppose a mile or two from the town—were perched about a number of very white houses, apparently of Frank merchants, looking very desolate, as if they wondered how they got there. They seemed to have no gardens, lodges, farmyards, or outhouses, such as make an English country house look like a small village. At length the town opened upon us. It lies on the side of a slant, not very steep, apparently, and is of a triangular form, not reaching to the top of the hill, with the fortifications in front of its base. The French tricolour floated from them. The houses are closely jammed together, and are of a discoloured yellow. They have very small windows, some high narrow arches at bottom. The western side of the steep (I did not observe the other) flanked by a high wall. A mosque stands without it, and there are several within. A considerable space walled in is still further west, and at the foot of the heathy hills. The fortifications run along the water's edge with one high tower here Lord Exmouth took his station. The French, on the contrary, landed in the bay to the east, and attacked the city behind.

A boat was put off to us to receive the despatches, rowed by four natives—strange-looking fellows—two with somewhat Saracenic features; the other two puzzled me, being very like the old Egyptians: yellow, with skin like leather—you could hardly believe it to be skin—and fine regular features. One of them, with a remarkable vacancy of countenance, took no notice of us, though we were staring at him, or of our vessel: a vacancy like a statue, most strange. This nest of insects, with 4,000 sick in the city—which is small and has such a reputation for the plague that, had we touched anything belonging to them, even their boat, we should, I suppose, have incurred three weeks' quarantine at Malta—affected to put us in quarantine on account of the cholera, and were prompt in assuring us we must not land; and would not receive our letters till they were cut through (to let out the cholera, I suppose), and then only at the end of a pair of tongs. How odd it is I should have lived to see Algiers! {269}

After Algiers we saw nothing worth speaking of. We made the small island of Galita yesterday (the 22nd). This morning (the 23rd) we neared Cape Bon, and saw the track to Carthage. An island lies to the west, and the course is between the two. Nothing I had seen so touched me as this. I thought of the Phœnicians, Tyre, of the Punic Wars, of Cyprian, and the glorious Churches now annihilated; the two headlands looked the same then as now; and I recollected I was now looking at Africa for the last time in my life. It disappeared towards noon, and as it diminished, Pantellaria came in sight, a fine volcanic island, thirty miles in circumference. We passed close by its small town. It has an unfathomable lake in the centre, once the crater of a volcano. Its inhabitants are mixed Italian and Arabic. It is a dependency of Sicily. And now we are making quickly for Malta.

I am greatly wearied by the gale we encountered after Algiers, which was severe enough to make half the sailors sick.

On board the 'Hermes'—Malta

Malta: December 24.
I am quite recruited now, and proceed: I care little for sea-sickness itself, but the attendances on it are miserable ... The worst of sea-sickness is the sympathy which all things on board have with it, as if they were all sick too. First, all the chairs, tables, and the things on them much more, are moving, moving up and down, up and down, swing, swing. A tumbler turns over, knife and fork go, wine is spilt, as if encouraging like tendencies within you. In this condition you go on talking and eating as fast as you can, concealing your misery, which you are reminded of by every motion of the furniture around you. At last the moment comes; you are seized; up you get, swing, swing, you cannot move a step forward; you knock your hips against the table, run smack at the side of the cabin, try to make for the door in vain, which is your only aim. [There being no ladies on board, the three voyagers were allowed berths in the ladies' cabin; but dinner was in the men's cabin.] You get into your berth at last, but the door keeps banging; you lie down, and now a new misery begins—the noise of the bulkheads: they are sick too. You are in a mill; all sorts of noises, heightened by the gale, creaking, clattering, shivering and dashing. Your bed is sea-sick, swinging up and down, to your imagination, as high and as low as a swing in a fair, incessantly. This requires strong nerves to bear; and the motion is not that of a simple swing, {270} but epicyclical, thus, , a being the point where the motion begins, and then back again. And, last of all, the bilge water in the hold; a gale puts it all in motion. Our vessel was hastily sent off from Woolwich, before it was properly cleaned; and the smell was like nothing I ever smelt, suffocating. What would I have given to have been able to sleep on deck on Thursday night last! But the hail and sleet made it impossible. Of course I had no rest.

Another trouble: yon know a lee shore is always formidable to sailors. Now we were off a coast without a harbour in it, the wind shifting about from the N.W. to N.E. This, indeed, is little to a steamer, which moves against the wind. But on Wednesday our engines had got damaged, and taken a long time to mend, and we fancied they might not be strong enough to make way against the gale, which was severe. About two in the morning the engines stopped; we did not know why. So I got up and went on deck, and was relieved by being told all was right, but it had been an anxious matter.

The next day, Friday, the usual swell followed, which is sadly fatiguing. I have not had a night's sleep since I left England, except when we were quiet at Gibraltar, and it is wonderful how little I suffer from it. I am sore all over with the tossing, and very stiff, and so weak that at times I can hardly put out a hand. But my spirits have never given way for an instant, and I laughed when I was most indisposed. And now we are safe at Malta, and hope, please God, to have a quiet night before Christmas Day. We start for Corfu on Wednesday, but it is the passage of only a day or two; we remain there six days, and then back to the Lazaret; then I shall try to write verses. Not a day has passed since I embarked without my doing a copy. When I was most qualmish I solaced myself with verse-making. I send 'Bide thou thy time,' [Note 6] 'Moses,' 'Woe's me.' [Note 7]

          Bide thou thy time!
Watch with meek eyes the race of pride and crime
Sit in the gate, and be the heathen's jest,
          Smiling and self-possest.
O thou to whom is pledged a victor's sway,
          Bide thou the victor's day! {271}

          Think on the sin
That reaped the unripe seed; and toiled to win
Foul history-marks at Bethel and at Dan—
          No blessing, but a ban;
Whilst the wise shepherd hid his heaven-told fate,
          Nor reeked a tyrant's hate.

          Such need is gain;
Wait the bright advent that shall loose thy chain!
E'en now the shadows break, and gleams divine
          Edge the dim distant line.
When thrones are trembling, and earth's fat ones quail,
          True Seed! thou shalt prevail!


Moses, the patriot fierce, became
    The meekest man on earth,
To show us how Love's quickening flame
    Can give our souls new birth.

Moses, the man of meekest heart,
    Lost Canaan by self-will,
To show where Grace hath done its part,
    How sin defiles us still.

Thou Who hast taught me in Thy fear,
    Yet seest me frail at best,
O grant me loss with Moses here,
    To gain his future rest!


'Woe's me!' the peaceful prophet cried,
    'Spare me this troubled life;
To stem man's wrath, to school his pride,
    To head the sacred strife!

'O place me in some silent vale
    Where groves and flowers abound;
Nor eyes that grudge, nor tongues that rail,
    Vex the truth-haunted ground!'

If his meek spirit erred, opprest
    That God denied repose,
What sin is ours, to whom Heaven's rest
    Is pledged, to heal earth's woes?


On board the 'Hermes': December 25, 1832,
We are keeping the most wretched Christmas Day, and it seems a sad return to that good Providence who has conducted us here so safely and so pleasantly. By bad fortune we are {272} again taking in coals on a holy day, and as the captain's orders are precise about his stay, there seems no alternative. But what provokes me is that the coal will be got in by the afternoon, and they are making preparation for a Christmas dinner, which seems incongruous. This morning we saw a poor fellow in the Lazaret close to us, cut off from the ordinances of his Church, saying his prayers with his face to the house of God in his sight over the water; and it is a confusion of face to me that the humblest Romanist testifies to his Saviour as I, a minister, do not. Yet I do what I can, and shall try to do more, for I am very spiteful.

Yesterday morning, Monday the 24th, we saw Gozo on first coming on deck (by-the-bye, Graham Island, which went down, was about fifteen miles from Pantellaria, which I spoke of to my Mother). Next we passed Camino, and then came Malta. These three are called the Maltese Islands. We passed along the north side; on our left, in the distance, being the height above Girgenti in Sicily. One of the first sights we came to in Malta was St. Paul's Bay, where tradition goes that the Apostle was wrecked. Above St. Paul's Bay is Citt Vecchia, where probably was the Roman garrison spoken of, Acts xxviii. They say there are many antiquities there.

Malta is a strange place, a literal rock of a yellowish brown; the coast presents an easy slope towards the sea, and the plain is intersected by a number of parallel walls to keep up the soil. They say here they have had a month of rain, and that the weather changed yesterday. In what good fortune are we! It was certainly a beautiful day, like July, no sign of winter; but it is only what we have had nearly the whole of our passage. This is the rainy season here, I believe. The night turned cold, and there was much rain and heavy in the early morning, and it has been raining now.

Immediately on our mooring (opposite to the Lazaretto) we were put under the care of a guardian who watches over our quarantine, both to keep us from others and others from us. A queer set of fellows they are, with yellow collars. We are in the smaller port off the Manual Battery. There is a bright sun upon the light-brown rock and fortresses. The sea a deep green; a number of little boats, some strangely rigged, others strangely rowed, pushing to and fro, painted bright colours; not a few Greek trading-vessels of a respectable size. Their flag is blue and white striped. I never saw a finer group than the coalheavers on the wharf. There are about {273} a dozen of them of all ages, slight and elegantly formed men, many of them—they stood for perhaps half an hour, waiting for our being ready, each in his own attitude, and grouped.

In the afternoon we got into one of our boats, and rowed round the quarantine harbour, for which leave is granted. First we went to the parlatorio, which is the place of intercourse between men in and out of quarantine. It is a long naked building or barn divided into several rooms, and cut lengthway from end to end by two barriers parallel, breast high. Between these two, guardians are stationed to hinder contact, the men in quarantine on one side, the townsmen on the other, the latter being either friends of the imprisoned party, or pedlars, traffickers, &c. A crowd of persons are on the prison side, each party under the conduct of its own guardian; for if these parties were to touch each other the longer quarantine would be given to the party which had the smaller number. If I were to touch a Greek, I should have fifteen days of quarantine. The strange dresses, the strange languages, the jabbering and grimaces, the queer faces driving a bargain across the barrier, without a common language, the solemn absurd guardians with their staves in the space between, the opposite speaker fearing nothing so much as touching you, and crying out and receding at the same time, made it as curious a sight as the free communication of breath, and the gratuitous and inconsistent rules of this intercourse made it ridiculous. But the British Government is forced to be strict in its rules by the jealousy of other Powers. By being so, Malta becomes a gate for the whole Continent, and the Lazaret here is much more comfortable than elsewhere, so that it is lucky for us that it is so. Yet, absurd as the system is, I believe the plague is strictly contagious. They say that before now its circle has been gradually narrowed till it actually has been shut up in a box.

The most interesting sight in the parlatorio was a number of Greeks. Their most graceful and becoming dresses, their fine countenances and shapes and attitudes, and the thought of their ancestors, not only heathen but Christian, contrasted with the fact, which no one can doubt, that they are now as a people heartless and despicable, sunk below the Turks their masters, made me feel very melancholy. But the power which out of the wild olive-tree formed an Origen or an Athanasius, can transform them too. Fancy being rowed in an open boat without a greatcoat on a December evening, and {274} not feeling cold. The sun went down gloriously and the sky was of an indescribable gold colour. The only object of interest which struck me on our return, was a vessel towed by about a dozen of small boats, like a number of ants bringing in some large insect, into their nest.

The bells are beautiful here, as at Gibraltar and Cadiz, deep and sonorous, and they have been going all the morning, to me very painfully [for reasons above given]. We went after breakfast across the plank to the Lazaretto to choose our rooms for our return to Malta. It is as like a prison as one pea to another, yet it is a fine one too. The loss of fifteen days quite casts us down. After several courts we came to a quadrangle of curious but simple architecture. A flight of steps leads to a gallery which runs round it outside, almost half-way up, and is supported by a strange kind of prop It is imposing. In this gallery are openings into our apartments. We may have as many of them as we please, and all for nothing. They are fine rooms, fifty by thirty at least (we measured them); the roof is arched, the walls whitewashed, the floors stone pavement. No furniture (they say we can buy furniture almost for nothing, for a few dollars); there are bed-steads. We find everything. We have taken two rooms; we shall sleep in one and live in the other. I should not have been unwilling to have been there for a few days for the fun of the thing, nor do I care for the length, but for the waste of time. But we must have had a quarantine somewhere; in the north of Italy I suppose, if we went overland, and for our fifteen days we have gained a sight of Gibraltar, and shall see the Ionian Isles besides Malta itself. No one knows whether, in the course of events, it may not be our turn to be put into a worse prison than this. We shall make ourselves as comfortable as we can, eat and drink. I shall write, and perhaps hire a violin. After all, it is a great waste of time when life is so short, and one has so much to do. I thought of learning Italian. I know enough to read a good deal, but as to speaking you must be among the people.

I hear there is an overland post from Corfu, which I shall avail myself of, to send a letter to you. Ah! those sad bells; there they go again. I have not time to read this over, and this applies to all my letters. The Malta windmills have six {275} sails, and are strengthened against the wind by a rod at right angles to the sails from their centre, with strings from it to their ends.

On board the 'Hermes'—Zante


Between Zante and Patras: December 29, 1832.
At this moment our prospects are clouded, though it is nothing to you to know this some six weeks hence. We are threatened with twenty-one or fifty days' quarantine on our return to Malta. Don't go and tell anyone. Of course, we get into difficulties, and we get out; but if only the getting in is known, it is a good joke to hearers. At Malta we were assured by the quarantine people we should have but fifteen days for visiting the Ionian Isles, and we were sure of having nearly as much for touching at Gibraltar. Now we find that Lord Nugent has, out of his own head, put the Isles in pratique with the Morea, which is in twenty-one or forty or fifty days' quarantine with Malta. This we learned on touching at Zante (pronounced Zant). Besides, we have taken on board passengers from the Morea.

Our new passengers are the military Governor of Cerigo, old Cytherea [Col. Longley], and the Consul of Patras [Mr. Crowe], and their account of the state of the Morea is deplorable. It is literally overrun with banditti; and a traveller cannot touch on the coast without being robbed. We have had numerous instances of this in the case of military men or messengers with despatches. The coast, too, swarms with little pirates who have look-outs on the hills, who signal, and the pirate vessels run into places where our men-of-war cannot follow them. In such a state is the country that the factions, tired of mutual inflictions, have in some instances had recourse to the Turkish authorities on the other side the Gulf, for arbitration or redress, as the Belgians may be doing to Holland. Russia is at the bottom of these troubles, in order to gain the post of arbitration and then of sovereignty, when the Porte falls, which seems soon expected. She has encouraged a portion of the National Senate to withdraw from the seat of Government, and set up for themselves against the new Regency, which is now in progress from Germany with King Otho. The English Consul, now on board, was forced to fly from Patras, sending his wife and family on board an English man-of-war—Sir John Franklin's. Meanwhile, the Turkish dominions are orderly, and, while the coast from {276} Patras to Corinth is impossible, Athens may safely be visited. Indeed, one of the schemes that has dawned on us, if we are driven hard, is to make for Janina, and so for Athens. I am called on deck. Ithaca is in sight.

It is so strange in a vessel: you go on at your employment downstairs; you are called on deck, and find everything new. A scene is spread before you as if by magic, and you cannot believe it is real. I am now in the Greek sea, the scene of old Homer's song and of the histories of Thucydides. Yesterday was the most delightful day I have had. The morning was wet—being the first rain—except a shower perhaps at Malta (I forget), since leaving England. I am sorry to find we are in the rainy season. Last night it rained incessantly; a pouring rain you have no idea of at home. We could see Zante, at the distance of sixty miles, with Cephalonia on the left. The latter is different from anything I have seen; the outline, formed by what is called the Black Mountain, of a bluish black; which, being more or less covered with snow at top, looked like polished marble. We sailed between them and then we saw the Peloponnesus in the distance—kindling what different thoughts from the Morea!—the coast, blue from the distance, with two purplish rocks, isles or promontories, in front, and behind a long and high range of snow mountains to the left, far in the distance, the Acarnanian coast, somewhere about the mouths of the Achelous.

Night fell before we reached Zante (the town), but we got into a boat and made for shore. We wandered about the town, and curious it is—(I have just been called to see a magnificent snow mountain towards the north-west point of the Peloponnesus; the outline is wonderful; a sheer descent; the day very unfavourable, thick and cloudy)—a triangular space or Place surrounded by good-looking houses—a guard-room, &c., with towers, a great many streets beyond it, narrow and flagged, or like flagging. What appeared the chief street had arcades running along on each side, giving it a handsome. appearance. The shops all open, without fronts, like booths in England; the halls of private houses open, with stairs and a gallery; a good many churches. Most people were abed, we were told: those who were about were singing, walking fast perhaps the while: some singing in parts, particularly in shops, as at a shoemaker's. We went into the principal inn—such a strange place—into a billiard-room, into several coffee- and smoking-rooms, a barber's, a wine-merchant's, a currant-merchant's, a pipe-seller's. We were surprised at the wealth {277} of this shop. The pipes were from 100 dollars (20l.) downwards. At a nondescript shop, a young urchin was buying his obol worth of oil and bread for supper. We saw a barrel of Cornish pilchards, which have long been in use here. We drank some of the vin ordinaire—which we thought very good of the kind—red and white. The men were miserably filthy, and the countenances of many, who were drinking or playing backgammon, &c., slovenly and sottish. We were told they were the principal men of the place.

By-the-bye, I think I have made up my mind about going to operas, &c. I think it allowable—as far as merely going to see the place, &c.—in the same sense in which it is allowable to visit the country at all—e.g. I see no objection to going into a heathen country for the sake of seeing it, and going into a playhouse is nothing more than this. If I may not go into a place because bad men are in it, where can I go? If, indeed, I go for the sake of the amusement—which would be the case if I frequented it—then it would be a different matter; but I go and see, as I go and see a coffee-house, a billiard-room, or a mosque. Nor am I supporting persons in a bad way of life—that is, the actors—for if no one went but strangers, as a matter of curiosity, they would have a poor living. Theatres are set up, not as objects of curiosity, but of amusement. I am only seeing what is established and supported; not establishing and supporting it myself.

To return. When we rose this morning—raining as it was—the view, which the night had hidden, was so lovely, that we deplored our fate, which hindered our seeing the place at more advantage. Virgil calls the island 'nemorosa' [Note 8]—it still deserves the title. The whole face of a beautiful and varied rock was covered with olive-trees in an exquisite way. They say that the view over the heights, which takes in Cephalonia, is one of the finest in these parts. We have lately passed Ithaca; the outline is very broken and abrupt, but it was in mist, and we could not make much of it.

Since I wrote the above, the day has just so much brightened as to give the effect of light and shadow; and I am lost in enjoyment. The mountains are multiplied without end, one piled on the other, and of such fine shapes and colours; some very high and steep like giants, and black at top, or bleached with snow; and to think that here were Brasidas, Phormio, Demosthenes, Cimon, and the rest! {278}

7 P.M.—We are at Patras. I have seen Rhium and Antirrhium. The chain of Parnassus rises before us, shrouded with clouds, which the eye cannot pierce, yet the imagination can. I have landed on the Peloponnese. High snowy mountains, black rocks, brownish cliffs—all capped with mist, shroud us. The sunset, most wild, harmonises with the scene.

On board the 'Hermes'—Patras


On board the 'Hermes': December 29, 1832, 9 P.M.
As every day brings its own matters, I begin at once this letter, though I have only just now finished writing to Jemima, to tell you about our landing at Patras, which is, in one sense the most considerable place in the Morea, as being the place of export for the trade, chiefly the currant trade, of the west of Europe. We called here to deliver despatches for the new Greek Government at Napoli, in Argos, about ninety miles off. From this place it is most accessible, though the banditti make the road very dangerous.

The fortress of Patras is strong, and was bombarded by the English several years since, when the allied Powers were driving the Turks out of the Morea. I believe they did not succeed with it; anyhow, it is at present occupied by a self-constituted authority, in the shape of a brigand, who would not give up to the French, and now professes he will, or will not submit to King Otho, according as he likes him or no. The town was destroyed during the disturbances, and is now slowly rebuilding, the work being interrupted this year by the continued disorder of the country. We were told we ought to use caution in paying a visit to the place at night, as plunderers were about; and it unluckily happens here, as at Zante, that we scarcely arrived before nightfall. The first news which greeted us at the Russian Consul's was that King Otho was actually on his way, and that we had a chance of seeing him at Corfu. Considering the state of the country, we were amused to learn he was coming (besides a suite of high officers), with thirty ladies, a hundred horses, and a throne finer than anything in Europe. He sent to the man-of-war which is to convey him, to inquire how many German stoves they had on board in provision against cold weather. I suppose that this was an act of gallantry towards the ladies. We are assured by the Resident of Cerigo, who is sitting by me, that there is not at Napoli, whither they are going, any {279} possible accommodation for ladies at all; so that they will be literally houseless.

We walked about the new-built town, or rather its foundations. It will be very handsome. We went through the market or bazaar, crowded with people; stopped some time in a billiard-room, where some Russians were playing, and sat and took coffee in a room full of small Greek merchants. The dresses of the men are most picturesque; the 'snowy camese,' spoken of by Byron, then an embroidered waistcoat, a plaited and frilled white petticoat to the shins, and a large greatcoat with the arms hanging down behind, the 'shaggy capote'; their faces and figures very fine; evidently a mixture of races. The coffee was almost the best I ever tasted, and so refreshing I could fancy I had been drinking wine. We returned after a ramble of about an hour.

On board the 'Hermes'—Ithaca

December 30.
I do not forget it is dear Harriett's birthday, and it is signalised by our passing Ithaca. I could not have believed that the view of these parts would have so enchanted me. When I was for hours within half a mile of Ithaca, as I was this morning, what did I not feel! Not from classical associations, but the thought that what I saw before me was the reality of what had been the earliest vision of my childhood. Ulysses and Argus, which I had known by heart, occupied the very isle I saw. It is a barren huge rock of limestone, apparently, a dull grey, poorly covered with brushwood, broken into roundish masses with deep ravines, on which, principally, cultivation had dared to experimentalise; though the sides of the hill were also turned up. Olive-trees have made their appearance; the vines, being cut down in the winter, are invisible from the water. On a hill in the centre and narrowest part of the island is a height called the Tower of Ulysses. We could see through the glass parts of the Cyclopean ruins which surmount it. Their make is far anterior to the historical period. Homer calls the island 'dear and little.' [Note 9] I gazed on it by the quarter of an hour together, being quite satisfied with the sight of the rock. I thought of Ham [Note 10], and of all the various glimpses which memory barely retains, and which fly from me when I pursue them, of that earliest time of life when one seems almost to realise the remnants of a pre-existing {280} state. Oh, how I longed to touch the land, and to satisfy myself that it was not a mere vision that I saw before me!

We were on the western side of it, running between it and Cephalonia. The channel is from two to four miles broad, as still as a pond, except that it flows; it is, indeed, a majestic river, the depth, I believe, being out of soundings. Behind us lay the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth, the Morea, and, in the distance, Zante. As we emerged front the strait, we saw on our tight the fine ranges of the Acarnanian Mountains, which are certainly the finest in shape and grouping I have seen. The whole scene was wonderfully grand. The masses of Ithaca and Cephalonia behind us; small islands of rock, breaking the view of Acarnania; its mountains rising as a number of ridges, blue in front, with bright snowy heights, with the sun upon them, behind; Sta. Maura (Leucadia) before us; the famous promontory of Leucas close by; lastly, we come to Sappho's Leap—still so called—which is certainly a high cliff to fall from. By this time, it being about eleven, we went down for the prayers. We are told we can have no notion of the Greek climate by this specimen of it.

Corfu is close at hand. I shall go on deck. Meanwhile take some verses. Thus I complete my fortieth set [Note 11]:

My father's hope! my childhood's dream!
    The promise from on high!
Long waited for! its glories beam
    Now when my death is nigh.

My death is come, but not decay;
    Nor eye nor mind is dim;
The keenness of youth's vigorous day
    Thrills in each nerve and limb.

Blest scene I thrice welcome after toil
    If no deceit I view;
O might my lips but press the soil,
    And prove the vision true!

Its glorious heights, its wealthy plains,
    Its many tinted groves,
They call! but He my steps restrains
    Who chastens whom He loves.

Ah! now they melt ... they are but shades;
    I die!—yet is no rest,
O Lord! in store, since Canaan fades
    But seen, and not possest?


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1. Arist. Rhet. ii. 12.
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2. 'Wilfulness the sin of Saul,' University Sermons.
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3. Off the Lizard, December 8.
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4. Never published.
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5. This was afterwards explained to Mr. Newman when, on his return to England, he found Col. Mair was brother-in-law to Mr. Rose—the editor—at whose table he afterwards met him.
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6. 'The Afflicted Church.'
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7. 'Jeremiah.'
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8. n. iii. 270.
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9. See Od. ix. 27-37. Cf. vi. 208, xiv. 58.
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10. Ham, near Richmond, where some of his earliest years were passed.
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11. The title 'Moses seeing the Land.'
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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