[Letters and Correspondence—1840]


Oriel: January 3, 1840.
I will bear in mind what you say about the 'Serious Call.' Is not Law's 'Christian Perfection' a very good book? I do not know it, but Bishop Wilson recommends it. Is A Kempis one of the books you want? That is going to be published here. {263}

As to the subject of Justification, Le Bas has completely cut me off from this in the 'B. C.' by choosing to review my book in it, and takes a side which, though not uncatholic (for else I could not have inserted it), is so directly against me that I am hindered from defending my own views. I will say to you what I have said to no one else—that, considering I was editor, this was very inconsiderate in him; but since he puffs me for putting it in, my mouth is closed, and I must take his puff as my reward.

As to ——, I wish to steer clear of him, if I can. Were I to begin, I should cut him up so very sadly, and I do not think he has any bad weight here. As far as he is thought of, he leads persons a certain way and then breaks down, depositing them and their luggage in the road, about half-way between Geneva and Oxford. People cannot remain long in so exposed a state, but get on as they can in omnibuses.

The kindest and best wishes of the season to you and yours.


January 5, 1840.
 … The said 'Christian Observer' has got milder lately—I suppose it finds it is over-shooting the mark. Mr. Taylor [Note 1], I think, is destroying himself and his cause by proving too much. I have not read his fasciculi yet, but I see he talks of the Nicene Fathers having the brand of apostasy on their foreheads. It is curious to find that the lawyers and laity do not take to Mr. Taylor, but the clergy do. For why? because the doctrine of celibacy touches the latter. Put aside Mr. Taylor's gross misrepresentation: this is the real hitch at bottom.

Mr. Todd's sermons on Antichrist have at last appeared, and seem to be both bold and seasonable.

Not Mr. Taylor, but Dr. Wiseman, seems taking the lawyers: so I hear. Indeed his last article comparing us to the Donatists has taken in quarters where I should not have expected it would excite an interest. Indeed he has fixed on our weak point, as Keble's Sermon, Manning's 'Rule of Faith,' and my Lectures fix on his.

Pusey is at Brighton, pretty well. At present he is very {264} much bent on establishing an order of Sisters of Mercy (I despair somehow, but I always croak), and is collecting information.


Oriel College: January 8, 1840.
One kind word from you will make me forget anything, but really you frightened and depressed me much.

I have had a visit today from Mr. Spencer, the R.C. priest, under the following circumstances. Palmer (of Magdalen)—[ho panu proxenos]—asked me to dine with him. On second thoughts I considered that this would not be right in the case of one in loco apostatæ who had done despite to our orders, &c. So I wrote to say I could have no familiar and social intercourse with one so circumstanced. Palmer was annoyed. Poor fellow! he has put himself in a false position. People will assume be is one of us, and come to him for introductions to us; and he does not know even a number of us, and does not know the feelings, &c, of those he does know. So he has been hard pressed to entertain the said Mr. S. Ward saw Palmer of Worcester unsuspiciously pacing down to dine with him yesterday, which, considering the said Palmer always talks of Mr. Spencer, &c., as 'those fellows,' was amusing. Well, to return. Palmer called to expostulate with me, and proposed divers plans, such as my coming in the evening, &c. I said I did not like to put myself out of the way—that if R.C.'s and A.C.'s met together, it should be in sackcloth, rather than at a pleasant party, &c. Then he asked if I should object to Mr. Spencer's calling on me. I said that I had no right to ask such a thing from Mr. S.—that it was pompous in me, &c. So it was arranged then; and today he called with Palmer, and sat an hour. He is a gentlemanlike, mild, pleasing man, but sadly smooth. I wonder whether it is their habit of internal discipline, the necessity of confession, &c., which makes them so. He did not come to controvert—his sole point was to get English people to pray for the R.C.'s. He said he had been instrumental in setting on foot the practice in France towards England, that it was spreading in Germany, and that we should be soon agreed if we really loved one another: that such prayers would change the face of things. He called on Routh, and had a similar talk with him. Yesterday he dined in Hall at Magdalen, at a venison feast, in company with Calcott and Thompson {265} of Lincoln, Lancaster, &c. At least, so I believe. Wood is to take him to Littlemore tomorrow. Oakeley and he breakfast at Palmer's with him tomorrow morning.


Oriel College: January 10.
Today the penny postage comes in, which all condemn, but every one likes.

January 17.— ... Hampden preached a regular 'Evangelical' sermon last term, which is published, and which a correspondent of the 'Record' has been puffing. The said 'Record' has been puffing Whately, too, for his clear appreciation of the great Protestant principle of Private Judgment; and is most bitter (that's the only word) against Keble, and me, and the new volumes of Froude. They are past anger; they say we are far worse than the unspiritual High Church of the last century, as sinning more against light—i.e. there was no 'Record' then.

When the Conservatives come in, the first act of the Whigs is to be to move for a Commission to examine the state of the Universities, and the Conservatives are not to resist it. I dread about our Statutes: in so many Colleges there are abuses. Ward of Trinity has been attempting to publish the Magdalen Statutes, and the College has got an injunction against him. However, at length they have seen the policy of letting him have his way.

Things are progressing steadily; but, breakers ahead! The danger of a lapse into Romanism, I think, gets greater daily. I expect to hear of victims. Again, I fear I see more clearly that we are working up to a schism in our Church; that is, a split between Peculiars and Apostolicals; the only hope is that the Peculiars may be converted or broken up. If a Convocation were now to meet, I think there would be a schism.

Mr. Close & Co. of Cheltenham, clamoured so much about H. Jeffreys' appointment to the Training School at Gloucester that he was obliged, though appointed by the Bishop, to withdraw. Well, I hear today that at last they have got a young Fellow of Lincoln, of the name of Atkinson, who is one of our translators.

In like manner they refused Copeland here, and have got a man who (ex abundanti cautela on their part) had been {266} a semi-Bulteelite, but who, it turns out, is now rapidly coming on to Apostolical opinions.

To return to Lincoln; after rejecting James Mozley for a Fellowship two years since for his opinions, they have been taken by Pattison, this last term, an inmate of the Cœnobitium. He happened to stand very suddenly, and they had no time to inquire. They now stare in amazement at their feat.


Oriel: January 14, 1840.
 ... What have I to tell you? I ought to answer your letter, and will some time or other.

How the years go! Who would have thought that 1840 would ever come! It used to look a fabulous date; like some of the idle prophecies of the end of the world, as in this year or that.

The Conservatives are certainly coming in, the Bishop of Exeter says, for six years; and then will be a Radical Ministry; and he bids the Conservatives do all they can in the six or seven years of plenty.

St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra—very little is known about him. He is considered the patron of children, and I suppose is associated with St. Mary as emblem of innocence. Littlemore Chapel is dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas.

I am exceedingly pleased at your liking my article [Note 2]. It is one that has given me much anxiety. I have no fear of the Movement progressing at this moment, but great apprehensions of lapses to Romanism. It is written in answer to the article of Dr. Wiseman, which (I acknowledge) is striking.

The last 'Edinburgh' has convinced me that the penny postage is not only pleasant, but right, prudent, and necessary.

P.S.—Love to Aunt.


Oriel College: February 21.
I have got into a desponding way about the state of things, and I don't know why quite. Right principles are {267} progressing doubtless, but it seems as if they were working up to a collision with Puritanism which may split the Church. I fear the Bishops are not so favourable; but one fancies. What I said in my last was that the Bishop of London wavered about us, which was good; but I have lately heard that the Bishop of Ripon [Longley] was about to show some distrust in [tois peri] Hook. I am not quite sure that Hook himself is not getting frightened [with us?]. Here the authorities are getting more and more cold and averse, I fear; though it may be a fancy in me to say so ...

Bloxam has given up Littlemore, and Copeland is to be my curate. In the interval—that is, during Lent—I am going up to lodge there, to see how things are going on.

Pusey is at present very eager about setting up Sisters of Mercy. I feel sure that such institutions are the only means of saving some of our best members from turning Roman Catholics; and yet I despair of such societies being made externally. They must be the expansion of an inward principle. All one can do is to offer the opportunity. I am sceptical, too, whether they can be set up without a quasi-vow …

My 'Church of the Fathers' is now finished. It is the prettiest book I have done; which is not wonderful, being hardly more than the words and works of the Fathers. I have no notion how it will take, as I have been obliged to give out the Fathers' views about celibacy and miraculous power.

The Duke of Wellington is said to be certainly breaking ... What a wonderful thing it is, and what a strange reproach to the nation, that, for the last ten years, the Duke should have done nothing. Considering his great influence with European Powers, it is like infatuation that the country should not have availed itself of what will never come again. It was part of our purchase by twenty years of bloodshed, and now it is thrown away. Dukes of Wellington are not to be had for the asking.

I am told that Mr. Spencer expressed himself quite puzzled why I would not dine with him. So I wrote him a letter about a fortnight since, which he has not answered, perhaps from fear of getting into controversy. I merely said it was useless for them to attempt amicable intercourse between themselves and us, while acts were contrary—while they allied themselves to Dissenters and Infidels, and were plotting {268} our ruin. The voice was Jacob's voice, but the hands were the hands of Esau; that he did not come as an individual Roman Catholic, but as a priest on a religious purpose, &c.


February 25, 1840.
I have got very sluggish about writing, for various reasons: first, I am so busy; next, my hand is so tired; and, thirdly, I am somehow desponding about the state of things, and this disinclines me to exert myself.

Everything is miserable. I expect a great attack upon the Bible—indeed, I have long expected it. At the present moment indications of what is coming gather. Those wretched Socialists on the one hand, then Carlyle on the other—a man of first-rate ability, I suppose, and quite fascinating as a writer. His book on the 'French Revolution' is most taking (to me). I had hoped he might have come round right, for it was easy to see he was not a believer; but they say he has settled the wrong way. His view is that Christianity has good in it, or is good as far as it goes, which, when applied to Scripture, is, of course, a picking and choosing of its contents. Then, again, you have Arnold's school, such as it is (I do hope he will be frightened back), giving up the inspiration of the Old Testament, or of all Scripture (I do not say Arnold himself does). Then you have Milman, clenching his 'History of the Jews' by a 'History of Christianity' which they say is worse; and just in the same line. Then you have all your political economists, who cannot accept (it is impossible) the Scripture rules about almsgiving, renunciation of wealth, self-denial, &c., and then your geologists, giving up parts of the Old Testament. All these and many more spirits seem uniting and forming into something shocking.

But this is not all. I begin to have serious apprehensions lest any religious body is strong enough to withstand the league of evil but the Roman Church. At the end of the first millenary it withstood the fury of Satan, and now the end of the second is drawing on.

Certainly the way that good principles have shot up is wonderful; but I am not clear that they are not tending to Rome—not from any necessity in the principles themselves, but from the much greater proximity between Rome and us than between infidelity and us, and that in a time of trouble {269} we naturally look about for allies. I cannot say enough of the wonderful way in which the waters are rising here, and one should be very thankful. All this is a miserable prose, and regular talk worth nothing, and soon to be falsified by the event.

I am going up to Littlemore till Easter. While there I may have more time to write to Harriett and you. Tell her so.

The following letter to his sister, who knew all the parishioners and parish concerns of Littlemore, shows Mr. Newman in an unfamiliar field, obeying one precept, in which with him nature always assisted grace, 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.'


Littlemore: March 12, 1840.
 … I am up here, amongst other reasons, owing to Bloxam's being suddenly called home by his father's alarming state of health. I am not at all sorry for the opportunity. It has cost me a great effort. My Oxford duty is divided among seven persons, and two presses are stopped, and a third postponed. I have a number of protestations from friends for going ...

I have no papers with me nor any hint to guide me as to this place. I have to make my way as I can. My school perplexes me, at least the girls' school; for Mrs. W. is perfectly incapable. Do suggest to me how I am to discharge her without discharging him. I have been reforming, or at least lecturing against uncombed hair and dirty faces and hands; but I find I am not deep in the philosophy of school-girl tidiness.

I have just caught a most unpleasant cold, which has clean taken away my voice, and, if matters continue in this present state, what I shall do I know not. This evening my reading the service was not audible to the little children close to me—my throat is choked up. With me this kind of thing rarely lasts above a day, but I have never had so determined a cold since Rogers went up for his degree, and I crammed him, he blind and I dumb. Mrs. Barnes comforts me by telling me that, if I take some precious mess (which now stands on my fender, till I go to bed) for three nights, I cannot tell the deal of good {270} it will do me. Meanwhile Sunday comes on apace. I am catechising the children in church on Sundays [Note 3], and prepare them for it through the week; here, again, is a distinct catastrophe.

I have morning prayers daily as well as afternoon.


Littlemore: March 21, 1840.
I wish you would ask Hope when he comes whether the following course and its reasons can be made intelligible to ordinary minds, or whether it will seem an anomaly. I have no misgivings about it myself, but that does not prove that others may not stumble at it.

Considering that I have little or nothing to do at Oxford parochially, and a great deal at Littlemore, I naturally feel a desire to reside at Littlemore rather than in Oxford. Nay, I will say that per se it is a duty to do so. But then comes the question whether I ought to be a non-resident Fellow.

I argue thus:—the College has made me their Vicar of the parish; in attending to it I am merely doing that very thing which they have told me to do. Nay, they make me Vicar as Fellow, for, did I give up my Fellowship, I should be bound to give up my vicarage. If I cannot attend to St. Mary's and be a Fellow, there is no other way in which I can attend to it. St. Mary's never can be served except by Fellows; either there must be non-residence (so to call it) of a Fellow, or non-attendance of a Vicar.

Littlemore has never been regarded in any other light than an integral part of St. Mary's. When the chapel was built, the College refused to let it be anything but a Chapel of Ease on St. Mary's; it refused to take the patronage, or in any way to recognise Littlemore as detached from the Oxford portion.

The question then comes to this: is it a breach of the statutes in the College to annex the living to a Fellowship?

But, next, supposing I took theological pupils at Littlemore, might not my house be looked upon as a sort of Hall {271} depending on Oriel, as St. Mary Hall was? and if this were commonly done, would it not much strengthen the Colleges, instead of weakening them? Are these not precedents?

And, further, supposing a feeling arose in favour of monastic establishments, and my house at Littlemore was obliged to follow the fashion, and conform to a rule of discipline, would it not be desirable that such institutions should flow from the Colleges of our two Universities, and be under their influence?

I do not wish this mentioned by Hope to any one else. I may ask one or two persons besides.


Littlemore: April 1, 1840.
I am getting on here; the children are improving in their singing. I have had the audacity to lead them and teach them some new tunes. Also I have rummaged out a violin and strung it, and on Mondays and Thursdays have begun to lead them with it, a party of between twenty and thirty great and little in the schoolroom. I am catechising them in church too, and have got them so far that they take all interest in it. I have only one girl as much as ten, and not two more than eight or nine, except some Sunday scholars. I have effected a great reform (for the time) in the girls' hands and faces. Lectured with unblushing effrontery on the necessity of their keeping their work clean, and set them to knit stockings.

Also I have drawn up a sort of Liturgy for School Prayers, varying with the seasons, on a hint I gained from some printed prayers, &c., done by some ladies in Sussex:

I think I shall be a good deal here in future.


Littlemore: April 18, 1840.
I have just ended the Lent Fast, and Bloxam has come up and taken tea with me. Then we went to church, and with much care arranged the altar cloth ... It looks beautiful. As to Mrs. Barnes, she dreamed of it from astonishment at its elaborateness; and Eliza B. and several others, who are work-women, look at it with amazement ... Indeed we are all so happy that we are afraid of being too happy. We have got {272} some roses, wall-flowers, and sweet-briar, and the Chapel smells as if to remind one of the Holy Sepulchre.

Really I have everything my own way, and I quite dread some reverse, because I am so favoured.


Oriel College: May 20, 1840.
 … We have bought nine acres, and want to build [mone]. Give me some hint about building. My notion is to build a bit, and then stop, but to build it on a plan which will admit of being added to. Were I a draughtsman I would hit off something good; as it is, take the following (with a plan):

The library admits of increase along one side, and is to be lighted with upper windows only, the room being (say) 16 to 18 feet high.

The cells to be added as required, being (say) 9 or 10 feet high.

The oratory or chapel a matter altogether for future consideration.

I want a cell to contain three rooms: 1, a sitting-room 12 by 9 (say); 2, a bed-room 6 by 6?; and 3, a cold-bath room 6 by 3?

Again, June 10, 1840:

I have got another idea since I saw you, which, for what I know, you will annihilate on the ground of expense. It is to have the cells upon a cloister, as at Magdalen, and a library too. Will you give me your thoughts about this?

I meant to have asked before whether I could not get rid of chimneys and fireplaces by pipes of hot water, or would this be a great expense? The saving of chimneys, grates, &c. would be great. I would have a fireplace only in the kitchen and refectory.

I think of planting in the autumn two acres with larch and fir, with more tender trees (yet suited to the soil) between, such as hornbeam, elm, &c. Can you give me any hints here?

And now, farewell. Wood and Williams have been here for the Whitsun holidays, and we have had a pleasant time. I had a breakfast party last week with a Presbyterian clergyman, a Trinity College Dublin man, a French ecclesiastico-politician, {273} a friend of Lamennais, and (Harriett will know who) Mr. Ostrahan. Yesterday two Ashantee Princes came with an introduction from my uncle Charles; but this is gossip I should reserve for Harriett.


Ascension Day, May 28, 1840.
What a beautiful spring this has been after the last four bad years! We have bought nine or ten acres of ground at Littlemore, the field between the Chapel and Barnes's, and, so be it, in due time shall erect a monastic house upon it. This may lead ultimately to my resigning my Fellowship; but these are visions as yet. The painted glass is up, and most beautiful it is. The children are improving in their singing; we hope soon to be able to chant the whole service with them.

My library is in most apple-pie order. I suppose I shall soon make it over to the parties who hold the nine acres. The tracts are most flourishing.

The following is the first of a series of letters addressed to a lady who introduced herself to Mr. Newman under the signature Z. Y. X., but subsequently to be known as Miss H. They illustrate his courtesy and readiness to help any one in real difficulty, his willingness to take trouble, putting all his learning in some instances at the service of a somewhat tiresome questioner, his good sense and temperateness as a religious adviser, and his patience when sometimes sorely tried by wilfulness and self-assertion.

Oriel College: May 29, 1840.
Mr. Newman begs to submit to Z. Y. X. the following reflections on the letter and papers which he has received, the latter of which he now returns.

I have read with painful interest the account contained in the letter, and am very thankful that one who was in such peril has been at length brought right.

It is impossible not to feel great sympathy in the writer's narrative, and to entertain a sanguine hope that she will be {274} kept right, and that her only further change will be a growth of the good things which have been begun in her.

And, of course, it is a most welcome thing to be told that anything oneself has written has been made at all instrumental in impressing religious convictions on the mind of another, particularly one constituted as hers.

It is, however, only three years since she has begun to think rightly, and not many months since she has known and received the doctrines advocated in the 'Tracts for the Times.'

This being considered, I think it is premature in her to publish, when she has so lately held opinions which she now unfeignedly laments, and from which she can hardly yet have thoroughly cleansed herself. I hope she will not think me harsh if I say that, however the Church needs such aid as she proposes to give, and well as she is qualified to give it, I think it would be best for her not to publish anything at present, but to employ herself in her own edification.

Let her turn her activity and energy upon herself; let her consider how much must be done by every one of us to enter life, how much is open to every one to do, both to the glory of God, and towards personal improvement; how high and wonderful a thing Christian Sanctity is, and what capabilities the regenerate soul has for improvement.

The talents which she possesses admit under God's grace of indefinite improvement and confirmation, and may be blessed by Him for securing to her a place among the Saints.

Might it not be advisable for her to give herself to the study of A Kempis, Pascal's 'Thoughts,' the devotional writings of Bishop Taylor, and similar books?

Has she such command of her time as to be able to give herself, at least for a season, to devotions and penitence, using some systematic exercise, such as Bishop Cosin's, Bishop Andrewes's, or (if she has the slight knowledge of Latin necessary) the Breviary, with such omissions as the English Church requires?

Should she not give herself to the contemplation of obedience and holiness, and the reading of the lives of saints, and set herself deliberately to the business of self-government, of changing herself where she most requires it, of gaining perfect resignation to God's will, of unlearning worldly opinions, notions and principles, and of living as if {275} in sight of things invisible; and that without impatience at apparent failure, or apparent slow advance?

Is not this a most exact and most excellent mode of fulfilling the vow she has made, that she would 'devote what ability God has given her to His service and glory'?

Is she so situated as to be able to fulfil this vow (already made before writing to me, and felt by her to be binding) in, not a mere season, but a life of such observances, like the saints of old? There are doubtless many women who waste their lives as things are, whose calling and happiness would seem to be in uniting in a religious society, supposing they had a rule sufficiently authoritative to overcome differences of tastes and tempers.

May she not at least cherish the wish, for such a life, if it be at present impracticable? may she not pray for it? And as to promoting Catholic views, will she not be doing so most effectually at present, or at all times, by constant prayer that clergy and laity may be enlightened in the perfect knowledge of the truth, and brought together in unity?

As to the MSS. which she has sent, after what I have said, any remarks on my part are almost superfluous. They are written clearly, naturally and usefully, and nothing which I have said above is at all meant in discouragement of the writer's thus employing herself in her own sphere, but of her publishing.


Oriel College: June 10, 1840.
Mr. Newman sends the following answers to some questions which Miss H. has asked.

He wishes he had time to answer them more fully, but thinks it better to send them, such as they are, than delay.

The translation in use of Bishop Andrewes's 'Devotions' turns it from a book of prayers into a collection of texts. An attempt has just been made in No. 88 of the 'Tracts for the Times' to remedy this. Sutton's 'Godly Meditations on the Lord's Supper' is a useful book, but the caution in the advertisement should be attended to. There are many translations of A Kempis, none very good, and very different from each other. The older are better. A new translation is wanted. It is a most deeply valuable work. The translations {276} from the Breviary in 'Tracts for the Times,' No. 75, go a great way to supersede a knowledge of the original, and, at all events, direct a person to arrange the Psalms on the same plan, for other seasons besides those there introduced.

Of course the circumstance that God grants a change of heart is a just ground of hope and rejoicing, whatever our past offences may have been. I do not think that such feelings are at all incompatible with the deepest and most lasting humiliation. Some of my published sermons are upon the subject, as sermon 8 of volume iv.

It seems to me that there is great danger of any one who has experienced such a change of views as the writer of the letter, becoming excited. She must not expect to have always the sunshine she has now, and the more she indulges her feelings now, the greater reverse perhaps is in store. Such a person should be very much on her guard against doing anything out of the way, or of startling persons by anything she said. While God gives peace and joy, we have cause to be thankful, but let us rejoice with trembling. I think it is well to be cautious and jealous with oneself as to any strong acts, such as vows. It is true I alluded to something of the kind in my last letter, but it was in reference to a vow which I understood had already been taken. If there be any matter about which our Lord's caution holds about 'counting the cost,' it is the subject of vows.

As to the doctrine of God's receiving our prayers by the intervention of saints, I am not aware that our Church has given an opinion about it. It speaks against 'the Romish doctrine of invocation.' And it does not in the Prayer Book recognise the doctrine of saints' intercession, but it seems to me to leave it open.

I suppose that any clergyman who denies the Creed does so far forth, and for the time, forfeit his title to deference on the ground of his Ordination. The faith is the foundation, it was laid in the beginning, and no one can alter it. Now one article of the Creed is that there is 'one baptism for the remission of sins.' Another that our Lord will come again 'to judge the quick and dead.' Clergymen, then, who deny baptismal regeneration, or that the elect shall be judged, would seem to contradict the faith once delivered to the saints. It does not follow that it is right for any one to oppose them, but at least one is not obliged to defer to them. I should think it better for a person under the circumstances in question not to {277} get into argument, but to decline controversy altogether. I would under her circumstances accompany my friend to church, though it is certainly most painful to hear wrong doctrine in a sacred place. I would not abstain from food in a way to attract attention; but there are ways of denying oneself, when no one would suspect it.

The following letter concludes with a warning against yielding to sudden impulses, the excesses of an excitable temperament:


Oriel College: July 19, 1840.
 … It is not at all necessary to keep to the hours of prayer, when good reasons come in the way—which they very frequently will do—and I should recommend a person to be very cautious before proceeding to break rest at night. Persons do not know what they can do and what they cannot, and may make themselves ill before they are aware of it.

No one must be surprised, particularly when first making an effort to live strictly, at discouragement, failures, and the apparent hopelessness of making progress. You must not mind these things—everybody experiences the like. You must not be impatient nor over-anxious, but go steadily on, feeling thankful that you have, please God, time before you. You cannot hasten the course of things; you cannot become what you would wish to be on a sudden. You can but do God's will, as far as may be, according to your day, and leave the whole matter to Him.

I do not think it advisable you should break off your usual visits to ——. Nothing in the course of engagements in which you find yourself is actually objectionable, and therefore you should continue in them. Were you beginning anew, the case would be altered. Though temptations present themselves to you in society, you would soon find temptations in solitude, were you to indulge your love for it. We cannot escape from ourselves wherever we are, and we are the sinners, not the places in which we find ourselves.

I am concerned to hear you speak again of a vow, and, if I understand you, of a very definite kind. Not that I would have you for the world trifle with it, if you have made it—no good can come of trifling with solemn engagements—but that {278} if so, you are in an anxious position, and have much before you to guard against. I do not deny that in that case you ought to fear a great deal; for if you do not make a great point of keeping any pledge you have made, and keep the thought of it before you, you may find yourself in very distressing and dangerous circumstances. I shall be best pleased to find you have not entangled yourself with any vow; but, if so, you must keep it. I would have you at once make up your mind how far you have pledged yourself in God's sight, and make a note of it. And then religiously keep to the account of it which you set down; else circumstances might arise when you might be very much tempted to give a new interpretation to what you had done.

Such a general feeling exists among serious people of the need of religious communities that I cannot help hoping we shall be blessed, sooner or later, in our endeavours to form them.


Oriel College: 1840.
Be assured that I have my doubts and difficulties as other people. Perhaps the more we examine and investigate, the more we have to perplex us. It is the lot of man: the human mind in its present state is unequal to its own powers of apprehension; it embraces more than it can master. I think we ought all to set out on our inquiries, I am sure we shall end them, with this conviction. Absolute certainty, then, cannot be attained here; we must resign ourselves to doubt as the trial under which it is God's will we should do our duty and prepare ourselves for His presence. Our sole question must be, what does a merciful God, who knows whereof we are made, wish us to do under our existing ignorance and doubt?

As to your questions about the Church of Rome, they are most pertinent; there is nothing unfair or extravagant in them, and you have a right to an answer. I hardly like to recommend my own books; but, having treated of the whole subject in 'Lectures on Romanism,' and it being one far too large for a letter, I think I cannot do better than refer you to it. It is not worth while that you should purchase it. If you find you cannot borrow it, pray let me know, and I will contrive to supply you with a copy.

I should think you would gain great benefit, on the whole {279} subject of religion and ethics, from Bishop Butler's 'Analogy.' It is a very deep work, and, while it requires, will amply repay, your study. But perhaps you know it.

What Mr. Newman was to his friends, and as leader of the Movement, may be gathered from his correspondence. It may interest the reader to be reminded how a stranger to him personally, one who had felt his influence in his undergraduate days, recalled an aspect and manner which so harmonised with the tone of his teaching [Note 4].

'The influence he had gained without apparently setting himself to seek it was something altogether unlike anything else in our time. A mysterious veneration had by degrees gathered round him till now it was almost as if some Ambrose or Augustine of older ages had reappeared. He himself tells how one day, when he was an undergraduate, a friend with whom he was walking in the Oxford Street cried out eagerly, "There's Keble!" and with what awe he looked at him! A few years and the same took place with regard to himself. In Oriel Lane light-hearted undergraduates would drop their voices and whisper, "There's Newman!" when, head thrust forward and gaze fixed as though on some vision seen only by himself, with swift, noiseless step, he glided by—awe fell on them for a moment, almost as if it had been some apparition that had passed. For his inner circle of friends, many of them younger men, he was said to have a quite romantic affection, which they returned with the most ardent devotion and the intensest faith in him. But to the outer world he was a mystery.'

This was from an undergraduate point of view.

In contrast with this singularly telling and faithful recollection, it will interest the reader to see a specimen of self-portraiture, drawn in self-defence, while Oxford was still his constant home.

The lady with whom Mr. Newman had exchanged letters, meeting him for the first time in passing through Oxford, seems to have implied in a subsequent letter that he had not fulfilled her expectations. The reader will certainly be interested, and perhaps will be amused with the answer: {280}

As to myself, be quite sure that, if you saw me again, you would just feel as you did when you saw me before. I am not venerable, and nothing can make me so. I am what I am. I am very much like other people, and I do not think it necessary to abstain from the feelings and thoughts, not intrinsically sinful, which other people have. I cannot speak words of wisdom: to some it comes naturally. Do not suffer any illusive notion about me to spring up in your mind. No one ever treats me with deference and respect who knows me, and from my heart I trust and pray that no one ever may. I have never been in office or station, people have never bowed to me, and I could not endure it. I tell you frankly, my infirmity, I believe, is always to be rude to persons who are deferential in manner to me.


St. James's Day, 1840.
James is just now elected Fellow of Magdalen. He passed a capital examination.


Oriel: September 17, 1840.
 ... I congratulate you on your French. [J. B. M. had taken up French and had lessons.] Rogers is here; we agree your hand is changing, and guess that it looks like a remarkable development of energy, activity, and business-like despatch. We expect Wilson today. H. W. has been written to, but the scaramouch has not answered me.

Mr. Bowden had returned to England in June. Mr. Newman writes, 'So you are back, God be praised! Rogers is going this winter. He is not so well quite as one should wish.'


October 13, 1840.
I was as much surprised as I was pleased by your very kind offer received this morning about the Dedication [of {281} 'Hildebrand'], and yet, do you know? it is impossible I should accept it. My theory has been that it was out of propriety for two friends to dedicate to each other. And I have acted on my theory. Pusey has offered to dedicate to me his 'Types' or sermons (I forget which), and I have strenuously declined on the above ground.

On the same subject he writes in November, no doubt the sense of his friend's precarious health giving it a particular interest:

The loss of your Dedication is one of the most trying things I have had for some time ... I think your Dedication to Trinity very happy, and I hope to come in for my share in it in that way.


Oriel: November 6, 1840.
I do not think that people here are in a dangerous way. They are very good-humoured, as far as I know; and if they criticise me, it is in fun, meaning nothing by it. The only vulnerable point we have is the penitus toto divisos orbe. It is the heel of Achilles; yet a person must be a good shot to hit it. I am sorry to hear that R. has been at Lord Shrewsbury's. It is a bad thing stirring one's sympathies towards Rome.

I like your plan of Continental Tracts much. I have been thinking of one on the kind of subject you mention.

As to the 'British Critic,' I give it up to T. Mozley in the summer. This I have always wished to do. I shall have had it three years. I shall write for it, I suppose, as much as heretofore, and I hope our friends will not desert him.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London have allowed ministers the patronage of the Colonial Bishops; and in consequence, I suppose, our friends here will all have much to say to the scheme.

Before seeing the book, I am sorry that Gladstone is committing himself. I agree with you quite that we should, as far as possible, confine ourselves to facts. Sewell is very {282} unreal. Faber [F. W. Faber, afterwards a Catholic.—J. H. N.], I hope, will turn out well, but I wish he would not write so much.

As to our young anti-Anglicans, I dare say you know (through Johnson) more of them than I do. I do not think anything great of the Continental churches, as you seem to think, or of the Roman Catholics at home. Were there 'sanctity' among the Roman Catholics, they would indeed be formidable.


November 15, 1840.
We have finished our planting at Littlemore, and it looks very nice. By the time I am an aged person, if ever I am so, it will make a show.


Oriel: November 4, 1840.
What you hear about a convent is a mere mistake. I know nothing of it. But I am very glad to hear that such ideas are spreading, and talking is the first step to doing. Several plans are in agitation for establishing Sisters of Mercy, whether for hospitals, or for parochial visiting; but I expect nothing of them yet. It is a great thing if persons communicate to each other their ideas and wishes. No one can begin solitarily, but the feeling that there are others like-minded gives at once confidence and opportunity ... Women (no, nor men still less) would not live together without quarrelling, as things are among us. A very strong religious principle and a tight discipline would be necessary. But it is a very good thing for people to be thinking about. Nothing would need more counting the cost.

I will give you a story or two in payment of yours: 1. A clergyman of Northamptonshire told Dr. Ogle (he had it on the witness of a lady, a parishioner of his, who was at St. Mary's and heard it) that, during the course of the last year, I had, in the service, not in the sermon, introduced formally a prayer of my own to St. Mary. The lady bore a cross-examination. {283}

2. A person told a person who (I think) told me, that he had called on Dr. Pusey and saw him with his own eyes adore a picture of St. Mary.

3. A French master told a lady at Bath, who told my informant, that he had with his own eyes seen me at St. Mary's with a large cross down the back of my surplice.

Do make a book of good stories.


Oriel: November 25, 1840.
I feel the compliment you pay me at the tail of your letter to Church, just received. You say 'Oriel is a sink of gossip,' and you continue, 'tell him.' The suppressed premiss is not immanifest. But to proceed. Miss Agnew has brought out a little book or tract called 'The Young Parishioners,' which is the most piercingly beautiful thing, and poetically so too, I have read for a long while. I say this to you freely, because you will not see it. Also, persons are sure to be disappointed, I know well, who hear these things said, and then take up the subject of them [Note 5]. Next, you will be glad to hear, Morris told me yesterday that they have come to a College resolution at Exeter to have the S. S. every week—a great step.

The 'Record' of Monday contains a letter from Oxford signed 'Socius,' protesting against the 'effrontery' of our people here, whereas others were modest, and the most flagrant thing, because the most insidious—was that we had actually taken to argue from Scripture [i.e. tradition being our legitimate province], and people ought to be cautious of it. The only reason I mention this is because I thought perhaps {284} that Daman (Fellow of Oriel) was Mr. Effrontery, and, if so, 'Socius' would be a correlative. W. Palmer of Worcester has written me a 'confidential' letter, saying that he is agitating and wishing me to agitate for the addition of 100 or 120 Bishops to the English Church. Something is in the wind somewhere, I suspect, for C. Miller has been wishing me to put out again the pamphlet on Suffragans. Also, I tell you as a deep secret, which I have not breathed to a soul, and which I hope William Rogers, Esq., will not have the benefit of, that Cardwell has a plan before the Heads of Houses for introducing 'Divinity Lectures in the University.' Many things conspire; they are jealous of Durham, and Chichester, and Wells, and I suppose would not be unwilling to put down our illegitimate influence.

Johnson is to have an heliometer; there is but one in England. It discovers the parallax of the stars, and hence their distances. I am so much pleased, for it opens for him a new line, in which he has no competitor. Airey so warmly backed him up with Peel.

I think you know that a person has been converted by the 'Remains' back to the Church, and communicated lately at Margaret Chapel. Dr. Wiseman has begun a Conservative line on taking possession of his post: is silencing political priests, &c. They say there is certainly a move that way in a portion of the body. Pugin has been here, speaks strongly against the R. C. body, and says that if 200 of the ablest and best of our men were to go over, they would be received coldly. I think our way certainly is to form alliances with foreigners; the jealousies (natural) with R.C.'s at home preclude anything good.

I suspect your friend had got the wrong passage of St. Ambrose. There is a very strong passage either in the 'De Incarnatione' or the 'De Sacramentis,' but the truth is, Manzoni saw that (even if he could) it was endless arguing from the Fathers, and that the infallibility of the Church was the only real doctrine to take up. Your accounts are very interesting, and I will not betray Hope at all, whom thank for his little bit of letter.

I wrote to Keble some time since telling him at full my difficulties about St. Mary's, and resolving to go by his judgment. I had three heads: (1) my inability to get on with my parish; (2) my exercising an influence on Under-graduates to which I was not called; (3) the tendency of my {285} opinions to create Roman sympathies. The third was the only ground he thought much of, and he gave me full leave to resign, if I could do it without creating scandal. At the same time he said he wished me to remain, and did not think it a reason necessitating resignation. Upon this I felt I ought to remain; because what I wanted to get from him was leave to do so. I mean, there are so many reasons making it a duty to remain, so soon as one comes to the conclusion that it is not a duty to go. Three considerations have gone far to reconcile me to it since his decision: (1) that we don't know yet what the English Church will bear of infused Catholic truth. We are, as it were, proving cannon. I know that there is a danger of bursting; but still, one has no right to assume that our Church will not stand the test. (2) If I fear the tendency of what I teach towards Rome, it is no more than I see in Hooker or Taylor; they tend in Latium [Note 6], only they are not so far advanced. I think that Hooker would have just my difficulty in St. Mary's pulpit, unless he set himself formally to preach against Rome, which I don't suppose he would find it easy to do in parochial sermons, and if he did, still I don't think he would get out of the difficulty. I think his difficulty, the difficulty of all our divines, would be the same as mine. We all create a sympathy towards Rome so far as our system does not realise what is realised in Rome. (3) For what we know, Liberalism, Rationalism, is the foe at our doors. St. Mary's pulpit may be given me against an enemy which may appear tomorrow. I am more certain that Protestantism leads to infidelity than that my own views lead to Rome. On the whole, though I cannot draw out my reasons, I am more comfortable than I was. I think that, though St. Austin is against us, yet that the case of Meletius is certainly for us, and that our position is much more like the Antiochene than the Donatist. My own solicitude has been to have an answer in controversy why an individual is not bound to leave the English Church. That we are suffering dreadfully (so are the Romans), and that we are wrong in our separation, I do not doubt. It is quite consistent to say that I think Rome the centre of unity, and yet not to say that she is infallible, when she is by herself. Now this is a long prose, and I don't know if you will understand it. The upshot is, whether I continue so or not, that I am much more comfortable than I have been. I do not fear at all any number of {286} persons as likely to go to Rome, if I am secure about myself. If I can trust myself, I can trust others. We have so many things on our side, that a good conscience is all that one wants.

Your boy is very well. He has been variously useful, in the way of transcription principally. I have Atkins in my rooms, hammering in with all his might eight bookshelves. The planting is finished at Littlemore, and looks very nice indeed. The Provost has set himself against Cholderton Church, stingily granted leave to build at the November audit, and is fidgeting to get the plans before the College. He says that Mozley wishes a fine church on the Wiltshire Downs: that is the truth. Your sister's poles have just come and are lying on my sofa, a goodly length of ten feet perhaps. Mozley [J. B.] has brought 60l. or 70l. worth of furniture, which is a great thing for the fund. I suppose I shall buy something more of it for Littlemore—my rooms are nearly ready. I hope at length we shall get rid of our school-mistress, but there is nothing settled. Nor is the design yet made of the organ-loft. Keble comes today and gives his lecture tomorrow. John Watson's church has been consecrated; he asked 200 people. Copeland went over on Monday (the consecration was to be on Wednesday) and scarcely had got there when a message came from the Bishop of Peterborough (Davies) that his little boy was ill and he could not come. John Watson set off at once, travelled through the night, despatched messengers countermanding his party, saw the Bishop; the child got better, the Bishop consented to come. J. W. sent again to his guests summoning them, and all went off well. Williams's church is postponed sine die.

Bowden is at the Isle of Wight, and very flourishing, according to accounts. 'Hildebrand' is daily coming, but not come. R. Palmer writes an article on General Education for the next 'B. C.' T. M. takes the editorship in the summer. W. Palmer of Magdalen seems to have difficulty to convince the Russians that we are much of a Church; their definition of us was a Church which had cast off its Patriarch, was somehow Calvinistic, and had no discipline.

November 26.—Last evening Bowden's volumes came. Either one has drifted, or he is most intensely Anglican in his theory, but he is quite consistent. He looks at things as {287} but errors in the Church up to Trent, but thence they have been taken into the system.

Bliss's paper has lately been opening upon us, with Sewell and Golightly; and Bull has this day been preaching a sermon in which he advocated Oxford being made a school of divinity instead of private institutions (e.g. Chichester), and recommended the enforcement of the B.A. residence for that purpose. At the end he spoke in a very grave way of present unity being in jeopardy.

In fest. S. Thom.—I almost wonder we have not heard of you. Did I tell you that the Dean of Chichester [Note 7], when here preaching, contradicted flatly—that Golightly had ever had the offer of the Principalship—which has put the same Golightly in a flame of indignation.

Charles (an Oriel servant) has died very much in debt, and his family literally had not a meal some weeks before his death. His place was worth 300l. a year. It was the ruin of him, as it turned out, for it enabled him to keep a boy, and then, having time and money, he went to drinking.

I have taken Haddan of Trinity for my curate; he was ordained yesterday and read prayers for me in the evening.

My sister H. has been writing a juvenile novel [Note 8], which has come before Mr. Gresley, who is so taken with it that they talk of beginning a new series of tales, &c., with it for the first. It has its faults, of course, as a first publication, but it certainly is very good. But all this, I believe, is quite a secret.

St. Stephen's Day.—Your letter came yesterday, very acceptably. I think I am getting to see my way more clearly. I am expecting daily to hear of Balston's death.

Roundell Palmer has written a beautiful article for me on Public Schools' Education Books, and is to write on Russia, England, and Turkey. We don't like your friends the Turks so much as you do.

I wonder you were disappointed at the buildings of Rome. Whom did you ever hear praise their architecture as beautiful or solemn? I never did. Richness of materials—taste in combining them—vastness of design—and antiquity, I thought to be their characteristics. Gladstone's book is not open to the objections I feared; it is doctrinaire, and (I think) somewhat self-confident, but it will do good. Somehow there is great earnestness, but a want of amiableness, about him.


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1. Author of Ancient Christianity Spiritual Despotism.
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2. 'Catholicity of the English Church,' British Critic, January 1840.
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3. Dr. Mozley in a home letter writes:—'Newman's catechising has been a great attraction this Lent, and men have gone out of Oxford every Sunday to hear it. I heard him last Sunday, and thought it very striking, done with such spirit, and the children so up to it, answering with the greatest alacrity.'
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4. Studies in Poetry and Philosophy. By Principal Shairp, p. 245.
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5. In an early memorandum of Mr. Newman's he speaks of a sick parishioner being visited by a certain Mrs. B., a great professor, whose manner disturbed the invalid, apparently by its exaggerated tone and want of nature, but which had been accepted by the young curate of St. Clement's as a mark of spirituality. Looking back, he writes this comment:—'I saw her (Mrs. B.) at Mrs. Twells', a year or two ago. She has a smooth, unnatural manner, and I cannot conceive how I could have been taken in by her. But I took things on faith, i.e. I had faith that God's presence ever was where people spoke in a certain way. I viewed things through the imagination in a remarkable degree.' The present writer can recall nothing of the tract exciting the above warm panegyric; but accompanying these ardent words—as he writes them—is the expectation, no doubt from experience, that his friends will not feel with him here, that they will suspect him still of 'seeing things through the imagination.'
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6. 'Tendimus in Latium.'—Virg. Æn. i. 205.
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7. The Very Rev. George Chandler.
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8. The title of this book is The Fairy Bower. It had a great success.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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