[Letters and Correspondence—1841]



 … I am surprised yet pleased that you should think so much of what I say of your fifth volume of sermons, because it shows how little you know of the estimation in which they are generally held. I think you will be glad to hear what I hear from all quarters, that they are more read than any of your writings; indeed it is a great comfort to me, for I cannot but think they are calculated to be of immense benefit to the most important class. I am sure it is a great gift, that insight you show into human nature. When I think of people whom one calls decidedly 'clever men,' I see what I estimate in you is not their sort of talent; it is nothing intellectual; it is a sort of spiritual perception; and I wonder whether it is anything like the gifts in the Corinthian Church. Perhaps we might have the same gift in ours now if it was not so sadly neglected. Perhaps it may be met with in private clergymen, but I do not see it in any published sermons as strongly as in yours.


Oriel: January 2, 1841.
A happy new year to you. You do not say how long you stay at Rome, so I write there ... The 'Times' has put in three columns on Bowden's 'Hildebrand,' a puff, though confessing he goes lengths. Palmer of Magdalen is returning [apraktos]. The Russians will not believe him against the evidence of all the English they ever saw before. They think him a theorist or worse. He comes home in the spring. Balston was buried in Magdalen. Daman, Marriott, Church, and Pritchard came up to the funeral, and with Coffin and me were the pall-bearers. He suffered a good deal at last from restlessness, but took it all very gently and patiently, and has left a tender thought of him in many hearts.

Epiphany.—I sent you a slip in Marriott's letter to you just now. I take up my pen to say that Arthur Perceval sent me, in slips, a most beautiful letter in defence of Froude (really against Sewell), which is to appear in the 'Irish Ecclesiastical Journal.' It ought to be written in letters of gold. It is the most striking thing I have read a long while. It quotes his letters of '33, '34; defends him from the charge of conspiracy {289} most happily by extracts, and whitewashes (while he hits) Keble and me. But to say that it hits at Sewell is rather to give my feeling than Perceval's intention.

January 10.—The news is as follows Robert Wilberforce is Archdeacon of the East Riding. Claughton is said to be about to marry Lord Ward's sister, and C. L. Cornish to marry Monro's sister. But do not tell these matches, for it is only what is generally said and believed.

The 'Anglo-Catholic Library' is in a tottering condition. Copeland has given up the editorship because our divines do not go far enough for him, and Maitland has withdrawn from the committee because the concern is in Copeland's, &c., hands. Meanwhile Parker has been diligently collecting the subscriptions, and the Protestants of London have started an Opposition Society which is to bring out cheaply Reformation works. To complete it, the first volume (Andrewes' Sermons) is just through the press, and very well edited. I do not see my way at all. It is no plan of mine, and neither Pusey nor I was warm about it, but the question is, What is to be done under the circumstances?

Henry Wilberforce has not been well, and, I think, rather alarmed about himself. If the weather changes (which it is just now promising to do), he is to come this week and pay me a visit here.

I think you are apt to be unfair to those unhappy Romanists. As to the ceremonies, I confess I liked what I saw as little as you; but there is such a thing as uncharitableness. We are much cautioned in Scripture not to go by appearances. How often has a person a pompous, &c., manner in England whom we think well of. Demureness is the Roman manner, as pompousness is the Church of England's. Marriott says upon it, 'The impression of hollowness in ceremonies is almost necessarily exaggerated, unless one enters into them with complete enthusiasm.' You may be right in being so suspicious of Rome, but still such prejudice and suspicion, I do think, disqualify you as a witness of facts against her. You seem to like to catch at something bad. You caught at that Lutheran's saying that Dr. W. was an unscrupulous controversialist. I dare say he is. But who is not? Is Jeremy Taylor, or Laud, or Stillingfleet? I declare I think it as rare a thing, candour in controversy, as to be a Saint. So you see, on the whole, I think that Mr. Close, under the same circumstances, would be as hollow as the Pope, {290} and Mr. Townsend as unfair as Dr. Wiseman. Should you like Manzoni or Vitali to judge of us either by Cheltenham or Durham?

I fear I tire your eyes. Perhaps it is a foolish thing to write so small and keep the letter so long, but I am growing stingy of paper, for my stationer's bill the past year has come to pretty nigh 10l.

Carissime, I wish you were here again, and will you give a good account of your health when you write? Were I anxious about you, for which I see no reason, much more should I be anxious about H. Wilberforce, Bloxam, and Bowden, not to say Hope.


February 12, 1841.
 ... As to Rome, I never heard anyone who did nod speak against what it was possible to get at of its state. I suppose it is what Oxford was some sixty or seventy years ago. Rogers was pleased with the ecclesiastics of Milan.

I think an anti-papal feeling is rising among the English Roman Catholics. I have lately seen a deeply interesting letter from Mr. Phillips, of Leicestershire (though chimerical), who has also written to the 'Tablet.' Pugin, too, is very strong on our side. The 'British Critic' is said to have done good service, particularly the article on 'Antichrist.'

H. Wilberforce has been here for a fortnight, making acquaintance with young Oxford.


February 24, 1841.
I never had such dreary thoughts as on finding myself forty. Twenty-one was bad enough.

Of the year 1836 Mr. Newman had written (see p. 158):—'March 1836 is a cardinal point of time,' and, giving a list of notable incidents, comments on them: 'A new scene gradually opened.' Five years later, the same MS. ('Chronological Notes') concludes with the words: 'The affair of No. 90, {291} March 1841, was a far greater crisis than March 1836, and opened an entirely different scene.' [Note 1]

If the reader will refer to a letter of Mr. Newman's to Mr. Rose, dated March 28, 1831 [Note 2], he will see for how long a time the subject of the interpretation of the Articles had been in his thoughts.


Littlemore: March 5, 1841.
I am writing a miserably prosy review of your 'Hildebrand,' and quite feel I am not doing it justice. It is merely a cento of passages and sentences from you spoiled ...

Do you know I am getting into a scrape about Tract 90? Yet it must be; I cannot repent it a bit; unless, indeed, it should get Pusey involved in it. Palmer (of Worcester) has written to me approving of it in very strong terms, and telling me I may use his name. People are so angry, they will attempt to do anything. The Heads of Houses are on the move, but I have not heard whether they mean to do anything. I repeat, I cannot repent it.

P.S.—I have just heard that the Board of Heads of Houses is most fierce with the Tract and tracts generally, and means to do something.

In the 'Apologia' is found the following extract from letter of this date addressed to Dr. Jelf:— {292}

The only peculiarity of the view I advocate, if I must so call it, is this—that, whereas it is usual at this day to make the particular belief of their writers the true interpretation, I would make the belief of the Catholic Church such.


March 9, 1841.
I have got into what may prove a serious mess here. I have just published a Tract (90) which I did not feel likely to attract attention. I sent it to Keble before publishing; he, too, made no remark upon it. But people are taking it up very warmly—thanks, I believe, entirely to Golightly.

Again, to the same sister:—

March 12, 1841.
I fear I am clean dished. The Heads of Houses are at this very moment concocting a manifesto against me. Do not think I fear for my cause. We have had too great a run of luck.


Oriel: March 13, 1841.
Any other remarks you have to make on my Tract would be very acceptable, since I am writing a pamphlet about it.

I expect the very worst—that is, that a condemnation will be passed in Convocation upon the Tracts as a whole, by the non -resident Establishment men, Liberals and Peculiars.

Do not breathe this lest it should suggest the idea; but I am making up my mind to it, and so is Keble. He saw the Tract before it was published. Perceval and Palmer approve it highly. That it will turn to good I doubt not; but we have been too prosperous. I am only sorry that my friends should suffer through me.


Oriel: March 14, 1841.
I quite dread to begin a letter to you, not from lack, but from abundance, of matter. Don't, however, prick up your ears too high, else you may be disappointed: people on the {293} spot can scarcely tell what is great and what little; yet I think that curious things have happened since I wrote last. I think I told you that the 'Times' had been letting in letters signed 'Catholicus' against Sir R. Peel, criticising an address delivered by him in the Tamworth Reading Room, in which he took Lord Brougham's scientific natural-theology line; and not only had let them in, but puffed them in its leading article, without however giving up Peel. These said letters, signed 'Catholicus,' with one or two others of the same sort on duelling, &c., were thought to smack strongly of Puseyism, and brought out furious attacks on the said Puseyites in the 'Globe,' expostulations and remonstrances on political and theological grounds from the 'Standard,' and a triumphant Macaulayism in the 'Morning Chronicle,' in which the writer, with great cleverness, drew a picture of alliance between effete plausible, hollow Toryism with Puseyism, which he described as a principle which for earnestness and strength had had no parallel since the Reformers and Puritans, and rejoiced greatly over the prospect that Puseyism must soon blow Toryism to shivers. And the 'Globe' admitted that people were most egregiously out in supposing that this same Puseyism was an affair of vestments and ceremonies: that it was, on the contrary, something far deeper and more dangerous. Such was the state of things out of doors last month.

Meanwhile, about the beginning of the month, a debate took place in the House of Commons about Maynooth, in which Lord Morpeth made a savage attack on Oxford, as being a place where people who were paid for teaching Protestantism were doing all they could to bring things nearer and nearer to Rome, and suggested that this would be a fitter subject for Parliamentary inquiry than Maynooth. Sir R. Inglis, of course, said that the University was not responsible for the 'Tracts for the Times,' and so on; and O'Connell said that the Puseyites were breaking their oaths. This brought a strong article in the 'Times,' in which, without identifying itself with us here theologically, it stoutly defended the Tract writers from the charge of being ill-affected to the Church of England, fully entered into their dislike of the word 'Protestant,' and ended by saying that it had said so much because it had been 'misled some time ago by the authority quoted by Lord Morpeth' (the 'Church of England Quarterly') 'to speak of them in terms of harshness, which it now regretted.' This, of course, was called 'ominous' by the Conservatives {294} and Whigs together, and the 'Times' was accused of Puseyism. This led to a second article in the 'Times', in which, while carefully guarding against identifying themselves, they gave a very good sketch of the history of things from the meeting at Rose's house, written as accurately and in as good a spirit as anyone could wish, and went on to puff the strength and importance of the party, the good it had done, and the strictness, high principle, and so on, of the people up here. This astonished people not a little, but, in spite of wondering letters and remonstrances, the 'Times' kept its ground in a third article, still not professing to be able to enter into the merits of the theological controversy, but maintaining that these Oxford people were the only people who had done or were likely to do any good in the Church, that they had stopped the attacks on the Liturgy and Articles, which had been made, or most weakly met, by Conservatives and Evangelicals, and that, let people say what they please, they were making way fast.

Three days before this article in the 'Times,' Newman published a new tract, No. 90, the object of which, was to show how patient the Articles are of a Catholic interpretation on certain points where they have been usually taken to pronounce an unqualified condemnation of Catholic doctrines and opinions, or to maintain Protestant ones: e.g. that the Article on Masses did not condemn the Sacrifice of the Mass, or that on Purgatory, all Catholic opinions on the subject, but only that 'Romanensium,' assuming that to be meant which is spoken of in the Homilies: the chief points were, of course, Scripture, the Church, General Councils, Justification, Purgatory, Invocation of Saints, Masses, Homilies, Celibacy of Clergy, and the Pope: on all these points speaking pretty freely, and putting out explicitly, what of course many must have felt more or less for a long time.

Newman must have the credit of having taken some pains to find out beforehand whether it was likely to make much row. He did not think it would be more attacked than others, nor did Keble or H. Wilberforce. Ward, however, prophesied from the first that it would be hotly received, and so it proved. It came out at an unlucky time, just when people here were frightened to death and puzzled by the tone of the papers, and galled by Lord Morpeth and O'Connell's attack. Tait of Balliol first began to talk fiercely: he had thought himself secure behind the Articles, and found his entrenchments {295} suddenly turned; but he was, after all, merely a skirmisher set on to rouse people by Golightly, whose genius and activity have contributed in the greatest degree to raise and direct the storm. He saw his advantage from the first, and has used it well. He first puffed the Tract all over Oxford as the greatest 'curiosity' that had been seen for some time: his diligence and activity were unwearied; he then turned his attention to the country, became a purchaser of No. 90 to such an amount that Parker could hardly supply him, and sent copies to all the Bishops, &c. In the course of a week he had got the agitation into a satisfactory state, and his efforts were redoubled. He then made an application to the Rector of Exeter to be allowed to come and state the case to him with the view of his heading a movement, but he was politely refused admittance; he had better success with the Warden of Wadham. It was determined in the first instance to move the Tutors, and accordingly last Monday came a letter to the Editor of the Tracts, attacking No. 90 as removing all fences against Rome, and calling on the said Editor to give up the name of the writer. This was signed by four Senior Tutors:—Churton, B.N.C., Wilson, St. John's, Griffiths, Wadham, and Tait, gentlemen who had scarcely the happiness of each other's acquaintance till Golly's skill harnessed them together. He fought hard to get Eden, but failed; as also in his attempts on Johnson (Queen's) and Twiss and Hansell, and Hussey (Ch. Ch.). This absurd move merely brought an acknowledgment of their note from the Editor, and they printed their letter, and so this matter ended. But it soon became known that the Heads were furious and meant to move; driven frantic by Golightly and the 'Standard.' They met, full of mischief, but it was judged expedient to separate [apraktoi], partly from press of other business, and especially because it appeared that many had not read No. 90. At their second meeting, all present were for proceeding except the Rector of Exeter, and the Exeter Proctor, Dayman; but all the board did not come. The matter was referred to a committee, and we are now waiting their decision. It seems, however, certain that they are afraid to try Convocation: this would be their game, and they would carry it, I think, but they will not venture on the risk.

Meanwhile Newman is very much relieved by having got a load off his back, and has been pretty cheerful. The thought of Convocation harassed him and Keble very much. He is {296} writing an explanation, but he thinks that his tract-writing is done for. He is pretty confident about the Bishop of Oxford; and he has been very kindly backed up. William Palmer (Worcester), as soon as the row began, wrote a very kind letter, speaking of No. 90 as the most valuable that had appeared, as likely to break down traditionary interpretations, and lead to greater agreement in essentials, and toleration of Catholic opinions. A. Perceval also wrote to much the same effect. Keble wrote to the Vice-Chancellor taking an equal share of responsibility in the Tracts. Pusey has also written, but he is very much cast down about the turn things have taken, thinks the game up, and, inter nos, does not quite agree with Newman's view of the Articles, though he softens down.

The row, which has been prodigious they say, has made Golly a great man: he now ventures to patronise the Provost; who even condescended to lose his breakfast t'other day to hear G. prose. He has received letters of thanks for his great and indefatigable exertions from four Bishops—London, Chester, Chichester, and Winton. Newman talks of him as a future 'great man.' I shall finish in a day or two. You will be sorry to hear that Sam Wilberforce has lost his wife: his Bamptons are given up.

March 21.—As soon as it became known that the Heads meant to fall upon No. 90, Newman began writing a short pamphlet to explain its statements and objects, and let the Heads know that it was coming, through Pusey and the Provost. However, they thought it undignified or awkward to wait, and on Monday last they 'resolved' that 'No. 90 suggested a mode of interpreting the Articles which evaded rather than explained' them, and 'which defeated the object and was inconsistent with the observance of the Statutes' about them. As soon as this was published, Newman wrote a short letter to the Vice-Chancellor avowing the authorship, and without giving up the principle of the Tract, taking their sentence with a calm and lofty meekness, that must have let a new light into these excellent old gentlemen. Newman making an apology to Fox, Grayson, & Co.! this softened many people: even the Provost, who is very strong, thought it necessary to butter a little about 'excellent spirit under trying circumstances,' &c. And soon after came out Newman's explanation in a letter to Jelf: his point being to defend himself against the charges, (1) of dishonesty and evasion, and (2) of wantonness. This has rather staggered people, i.e. as to their immediate move. {297} I think the Heads feel that he has shown they did not take quite time enough to understand his meaning, and he has brought together for their benefit in a short compass, and in a pamphlet that everybody is sure to read, some disagreeable facts and statements from our Divines. And the Heads show that they feel it rather a floor for the present, by affecting to consider it—which it is not in the least (judice Ward)—a retractation or reconsideration, as our Provost said to Newman. So the matter has ended here as far as public measures go. On the one side we have escaped the bore and defeat of Convocation, and the Heads are loudly condemned on all hands for an arbitrary and hasty act, by which they have usurped the powers of Convocation, of which they are supposed to be afraid. Newman personally has appeared to great advantage, has made, argumentatively, a very strong case, which has checked and baffled them for a time, and weakened the effect of their authority, by showing that they did not know who or what they were dealing with. And Newman himself feels that he may now breathe and speak more freely. On the other hand, they have at last been able to deal a hard slap from authority: and the mass of people in the country will be humbugged into thinking this a formal act of the University. Great exertions have been made both in England and Ireland to frighten people, and I should think have been very successful. And then it remains to be seen what the Bishops will do. They were at first very much disgusted, and we heard all sorts of rumours about meetings in London, and attempts to stir up the Bishop of Oxford. But whatever their first impulse may have been, they have this week seen reason to think that their best course is to keep things quiet as far as they possibly can.

Last week the Bishop of Oxford wrote to Pusey, expressing the pain he felt at the Tract, and enclosing a letter to Newman which contained a proposal to N. to do something, which he hoped N. would not refuse. Newman's anxiety was not a little relieved when he found, on opening the letter, that what the Bishop wished was that N. would undertake not to discuss the Articles any more in the Tracts. Newman wrote back offering to do anything the Bishop wished, suppress No. 90, or stop the Tracts, or give up St. Mary's; which brought back a most kind letter, expressing his great satisfaction (almost as if it was more than he expected), and saying that in whatever he might say hereafter he (Newman) and his {298} friends need fear nothing disagreeable or painful: and in his letter to Pusey he quite disconnects himself from the charge, brought by the Tutors and Heads, of evasion. Newman was encouraged by this to open his heart rather freely to the Bishop and is waiting the answer. So far things look well.

People in the country have in general backed up manfully and heartily. Newman has had most kind letters of approval and concurrence, from W. Palmer of Worcester, A. Perceval, Hook, Todd, and Moberly. B. Harrison is shocked rather. But Pusey, I fear, has been much annoyed. He scarcely agrees with Newman's view, though he is very kind. A great difficulty with him and with the Bishop is that Newman has committed himself to leaving 'Ora pro nobis' an open question. The Moral Philosophy Professor [Sewell] has seized the opportunity to publish a letter, nominally to Pusey, but really to Messrs. Magee and the Irish Evangelicals, in which he deeply laments the Tract as incautious, tending to unsettle and shake people's faith in the English Church, and leading men to receive 'paradoxes and therefore errors' (good—vide Sewell's 'Christian Ethics'); and, after feelingly reminding Pusey of his own services once on a time in the 'Quarterly,' strongly disclaims any connexion with the Tracts and their authors, and recommending that they should cease, 'Longum, formose, vale, vale ... Iola.' The papers have been full of the row, which has stirred up London itself in no common manner; 2,500 copies sold off in less than a fortnight. The 'Standard' has shown more than usual want of sharpness in the way it has carried on the war, and has attacked Newman personally with all the spite which its dulness enabled it to put forth. The 'Times' has confessed that it knows not what to do, both parties were so loyal and good, so it has contented itself with criticising the style of the four Tutors, reprehending those who could substitute authority for argument, admiring the dignified way in which the controversy has been carried on, and puffing Dr. Jelf, to whom Newman addressed his letter. One hardly knows how things are at the moment. They say Arnold is going to write against Newman. I have no more room, so good-bye. Just received your letter from Naples. Many thanks.

P.S.—H. B. has brought out a caricature: Nicholas Nickleby (Sir R. P.) coming to Mr. Squeers (Lord Br.), and asking, 'Do you want an assistant?'

On the flaps of the same letter Mr. Newman writes {299}

In Fest. S. Benedicti, March 21, 1841.
Carissime,—Church has told you the scrape I have got into. Yet though my own infirmity mixes with everything I do, I trust you would approve of my position much; I now am in my right place, which I have long wished to be in, which I did not know how to attain, and which has been brought about without my intention, I hope I may say providentially, though I am perfectly aware at the same time that it is a rebuke and punishment for my secret pride and sloth. I do not think, indeed, I have not had one misgiving about what I have done, though I have done it in imperfection; and, so be it, all will turn out well. I cannot anticipate what will be the result of it in this place or elsewhere as regards myself. Somehow I do not fear for the cause.

A letter from Mr. Newman's elder sister may be given as illustrating the anxiety the state of things was causing to many distant friends.


March 14, 1841.
We hear nothing but ill news, I think, on all sides of us just now. I am glad to hear you are not annoyed at your affair, but it sounds formidable at a distance ... the tug of war must come some day; let it be now if you are prepared, and that I hope is the case. I trust to you, as a thousand others will, and you will have their good wishes and prayers, like mine, only better. I look to your late answer to the Roman Catholic letters, as a pledge for your being carried through this matter without harm. We shall get the tract, and though I shall take a long breath before I read it, I will contrive to believe that it does not go too far. We have for some years been thrust down upon first principles too deep for even respectable divines and theologians to penetrate. We must look to those who are fitted to make such studies their sole business; and all we have to give are our prayers, that no bitter root may spring up in individuals or in the body who are labouring in its cause. Hitherto this has been singularly the case; and I trust the pending event, if it comes to anything, will serve to make everyone more serious, and thin the ranks of those who otherwise might perhaps have eventually proved scandals in some way or other ... {300}


March 15, 1841.
 … Of course everything I write has that in it which a vast many persons will dislike, but I do think that they have misapprehended me. I have been this day passing a pamphlet through the press. What will be done I know not. I try to prepare myself for the worst. As yet I am as quiet and happy as I could wish. The Heads are debating now, but I hope they won't decide till my pamphlet comes out.


March 15, 1841.
I just hear the Heads of Houses have printed a very strong resolution, viz. that my explanation of the Articles is evasive. I assure you it is a great relief to me that it affirms no doctrine.

My own character will bear the charge.

March 16.—I have quite enough, thank God, to keep me from inward trouble; no one ever did a great thing without suffering.


Oriel: March 15, 1841.
The heads, I believe, have just done a violent act: they have said that my interpretation of the Articles is an evasion. Do not think that this will pain me. You see no doctrine is censured, and my shoulders shall manage to bear the charge.

If you knew all, or when you know, you will see that I have asserted a great principle, and I ought to suffer for it; that the Articles are to be interpreted not according to the meaning of the writers, but (as far as the wording will admit) according to the sense of the Catholic Church.


Oriel: March 16, 1841.
Believe me, I am not at all troubled, a word which, being understood in its full sense, excludes everything bad.

March 21.—I have put down on a separate paper all the news I can think of. I do not like there should be any {301} secret between you and A. M.; so if you please to show her Mrs. ——‘s letter you can.

What do you mean by 'the sensation I am causing in the world'? Have they caricatured me yet?

P.S.—The day the notice against me came out we read in Church the chapter about Adoni-bezek. I cannot number my seventy victims, but I felt conscious.


Littlemore: Thursday, 1841.
I wish Cornish, or someone else, would give me some idea whether I shall give up my name (I think the V.C. will send to me to ask on common report. Of course I should give it then). I do want to know this.

My idea was to write a sort of explanation of the tract at once, but if they are at all the tracts, that is hardly worth while perhaps.

Could Keble think it over?

Pusey seemed to me to wish me to give my name and defend it. I wish it. The only question is, what will come of it as regards the Vice-Chancellor?

I shall be in Oxford tomorrow afternoon.

The following letter to the Bishop of Oxford is borrowed from the 'Apologia' [Note 3]:

March 20, 1841.
No one can enter into my situation but myself. I see a great many minds working in various directions and a variety of principles with multiplied bearings; I act for the best. I sincerely think that matters would not have gone better for the Church had I never written. And if I write I have a choice of difficulties. It is easy for those who do not enter into those difficulties to say, 'He ought to say this, and not say that,' but things are wonderfully linked together, and I cannot, or rather I would not, be dishonest. When persons, too, interrogate me, I am obliged, in many cases, to give an opinion, or I seem to be underhand. Keeping silence 1ooks like artifice. And I do not like people to consult or respect me from thinking differently of my opinions from what I know them to be. And again (to use the proverb), what is one {302} man's food is another man's poison. All these things make my situation very difficult. But that collision must at some time ensue between members of the Church of opposite sentiments I have long been aware. The time and mode have been in the hand of Providence; I do not mean to exclude my own great imperfections in bringing it about; yet I still feel obliged to think the tract necessary.


March 21, 1841.
Many thanks for your very pleasant paper. By all means, if not too much trouble, complete it and send it straight to Roworth (printer of the 'British Critic').

Things seem going on tolerably. They say the Bishop of London is not to move. Our Bishop is most kind, and I trust we shall manage matters. But we must not crow till we are out of the wood.


March 25, 1841.
I write to you in some anxiety. The Bishop wishes me, in a letter I am to write to him, to say that, 'at his bidding,' I will suppress Tract 90.

I have no difficulty in saying and doing so if he tells me, but my difficulty is as to my then position.

The Heads having censured the tract as an 'evasion' and thereby indirectly condemned the views of doctrine contained in it, the Bishop (even though he put it on the ground of peace, &c.) would virtually in the eyes of the world be censuring it.

I do not think I can acquiesce in such a proceeding by any active co-operation of mine. It is stigmatising my interpretation of Articles 6 and 11 quite as much as of any other. I am at this moment the representative of the interests of many who more or less think with me.

I think I am observing my duty to the Bishop by suppressing the tract, and my duty to my principles by resigning my living.

Again, it is painful enough as it is to be Vicar of St. Mary's with the whole of the Heads of Houses against me, but if the {303} Bishop indirectly joins them I cannot stand it. I cannot be a demagogue or a quasi-schismatic.

The Bishop is himself all kindness, but whether people in London will allow him to yield this point is yet to be seen.

Pusey says there has been a talk of the Bishops, as a body, condemning the tract. Is this [legally] possible? Did not the sovereign issue a declaration in the time of King Charles, Queen Anne and King George I.?

You see, though they suppressed my tract, they still would allow answers to it to be circulated, and many will be. And Bishops, moreover, would be charging. This the Bishop of London announces.

I think Wilson's article a most capital one, and very reasonable.

The letter to the Bishop of Oxford is given in extenso in the author's work entitled, 'Via Media,' and fills twenty-eight pages. As entering on the subject of Tract 90, it is hardly in place among Letters, but the conclusion [Note 4] which touches on personal feelings is in place.

 … And now having said, I trust, as much as your Lordship requires on the subject of Romanism, I will add a few words, and complete my explanation, in acknowledgment of the inestimable privilege I feel in being a member of that church over which your Lordship, with others, presides. Indeed, did I not feel it to be a privilege which I am able to seek nowhere else on earth, why should I be at this moment writing to your Lordship? What motive have I for an unreserved and joyful submission to your authority, but the feeling that the Church which you rule is a divinely ordained channel of supernatural grace to the souls of her members? Why should I not prefer my own opinion, and my own way of acting, to that of the Bishop's, except that I know full well that in matters indifferent I should be acting lightly towards the spouse of Christ and the awful presence which dwells in her, if I hesitated a moment to put your Lordship's will before my own? I know full well your kindness to me personally would be in itself quite enough to win any but the most insensible heart, and did a clear matter of conscience occur in which I felt bound to act for myself, my personal feelings towards your Lordship would become a most severe trial to {304} me, independently of the higher considerations to which I have referred; but I trust I have given tokens of my dutifulness to you, apart from the influence of such personal motives, and I have done so because I think that to belong to the Catholic Church is the first of all privileges here below, as involving in it heavenly privileges, and because I consider the Church over which you preside to be the Catholic Church in this country. Surely, then, I have no need to profess in words, I will not say my attachment, but my deep reverence, towards the Mother of Saints when I am showing it in action; yet that words may not be altogether wanting, I beg to lay before your Lordship the following extract from the article already mentioned which I wrote in defence of the English Church against a Roman controversialist in the course of the last year.

'The Church is emphatically a living body, and there can be no greater proof of a particular communion being part of the Church than the appearance in it of a continued and abiding energy, nor a more melancholy proof of its being a corpse than torpidity. We say an energy continued and abiding, for accident will cause the activity of a moment, or an external principle give the semblance of self-motion. On the other hand, even a living body may for a while be asleep. And here we have an illustration of what we just now urged about the varying cogency of the notes of the Church according to times and circumstances. No one can deny that at times the Roman Church itself, restless as it is at most times, has been in a state of sleep or disease resembling death,' &c.

This extract may be sufficient to show my feelings towards my Church as far as statements on paper can show them.

It may be well to give here an extract from the 'Apologia' on Mr. Newman's correspondence with Dr. Pusey on this subject [Note 5]:

'Since I published the former portions of this narrative, I have found what I wrote to Dr. Pusey on March 24, while the matter was in progress. "The more I think of it," I said, "the more reluctant I am to suppress Tract 90, though, of course, I will do it if the Bishop wishes it; I cannot, however, deny that I shall feel it a severe act." According to the notes which I took of the letters or messages which I sent to him on {305} that and the following days, I wrote successively: "My first feeling was to obey without a word; I will obey still but my judgment has steadily risen against it ever since." Then, in the postscript: "If I have done any good to the Church, I do ask the Bishop this favour, as my reward for it, that he would not insist on a measure from which I think good will not come. However, I will submit to him." Afterwards I got stronger still and wrote: "I have almost come to the resolution, if the Bishop publicly intimates that I must suppress the tract, or speaks strongly in his Charge against it, to suppress it indeed, but to resign my living also. I could not in conscience act otherwise." You may show this in any quarter you please.'


March 30, 1841.
The tract affair is settled on these terms, which others may think a disappointment, but to me is a very fair bargain. I am now publishing a letter to the Bishop at his wish, stating that he wishes the tracts to be discontinued, and he thinks No. 90 objectionable as tending to disturb the Church. I am quite satisfied with the bargain I have got, if this is all—as I suppose it will be.


April 1, 1841.
 … Pusey, too, is writing. I am sanguine about my letter to the Bishop, which was out yesterday. I have spoken quite what I feel; yet I think I have managed to wedge in a good many bits of Catholicism, which now come out with the Bishop's sanction. How odd it is that one should be able to act from the heart, yet from the head too; yet I think I have been honest—at least I hope so.

A declaration is coming out, to be signed only by great men, not Tractarians. It is expected that the Heads will sign.

Also, Sewell's postscript is to contain a sort of avowal from the Vice-Chancellor, that the Hebdomadal Act is not a theological censure.

We are all in very good spirits here. {306}


April 1, 1841.
I write a second note about your projected pamphlet. I am not at all sure that our game, if I may use the word, is not to let the matter drop at present. We have got the principle of our interpretation admitted, in that it has not been condemned. Do not let us provoke opposition. Numbers will be taking advantage silently and quietly of the admission for their own benefit. It will soon be assumed as a matter of course.

Pusey is writing; I wish he were not. Since I don't think he at all enters into my view [No; 'my view' is expressed in the last paragraph of No. 90], but considers what has been done a pure evil (in his heart), and only wishes to soften and remedy it, of course my argument would not tell with him.

By-the-bye, do you see a curious and much to be noticed letter in the 'British Magazine' signed Φ? Besides, the Bishops, I believe, are sorely bent on keeping the peace. It seems that a very strong movement against us was to have been made by the redoubtable London clergy, and I suppose my Bishop's message to me was intended to soothe them.

I do really think that things had better be quiet, and, as to Joshua Watson, I think he will say so too. I am strongly against losing your pamphlet, but think it might come out in another shape by-and-by.

Now observe I say all this, like the men of Laputa, from antecedent notions, without having seen your proof.


Cuddesdon: Friday, April 2, 1841.
My dear Sir,—I cannot let our late communications terminate without a few last words to express my entire satisfaction and gratification at your letters received yesterday morning, both printed and written.

It is a comfort to me too (now that a calm has, as I hope, succeeded the threatened storm) to feel assured that, though I have, perhaps, caused pain to one in whom I feel much interest, and for whom I have a great regard, you will never regret having written that letter to me.

It is one calculated to soften and to silence opponents, as {307} also to attach and to regulate friends, whilst the tone and temper of mind with which it is written must please and gratify all who read it.
Believe me, my dear Sir,
Faithfully yours,
R. O


April 5, 1841.
In order to satisfy any friend, such as my aunt or Aunt C., who cannot enter into the merits of things, I enclose this letter, of which you can take down a word or two and let me have it back. You may say also, that the hubbub required the Bishop to do something, but that of himself he had no wish. This I believe to be the simple truth. My own Bishop has been as kind as possible. I am not speaking of him at all; but the moving powers of the Church will be severe the more men yield, and will shrink and give way the more men threaten. We are hit because we are dutiful.

Yet as they say that 'honesty is the best policy,' so I have no fear but that submission is victory. I have had no misgiving, and people will see that (like the Whigs) we are ducks in a pond, knocked over but not knocked out. At least, so I trust.

The following letter, already in print, may be introduced here as showing the feeling of the heads of the movement on the stir aroused by Tract 90. Dr. Pusey's remarks bear on the joint subtilty and candour working together, as a characteristic in Mr. Newman's mind:


1841 [No date].
 … You will be glad to hear that the immediate excitement about Tract 90 seems subsiding, although I fear (in the minds of many) into a lasting impression of our Jesuitism, &c. On the other hand, they who have read what Newman has written since on the subject, must be won by his touching simplicity and humility. I should hope, too, a good deal will have been incidentally explained, which people thought to be {308} done gratuitously. Every one says how Newman has risen with the occasion. Keble writes today: 'I cannot but think that Newman's coming out as he does in this whole business will do the cause a great deal more good, than any fresh stir of which this Tract has been made the pretence, is likely to do harm. People quite unconnected write to me as if they were greatly moved by it.'

The pseudo-traditionary and vague ultra-Protestant interpretation of the Articles has received a blow from which it will not recover. People will abuse Tract 90, and adopt its main principles. It has been a harassing time for Newman, but all great good is purchased by suffering; and he is wonderfully calm.


Oriel: April 4, 1841.
Your letter this morning was an exceedingly great gratification to me; and it is confirmed, I am thankful to say, by the opinion of others. The Bishop sent me a message that my letter had his unqualified approbation; and since that he has sent me a note to the same effect, only going more into detail. It is most pleasant, too, to my feelings to have such a testimony to the substantial truth and importance of No. 90 as I have had from so many of my friends, from those who from their cautious turn of mind I was least sanguine about, such as T. Keble, Prevost and Moberly. I have not had one misgiving myself throughout, and I trust that what has happened will be overruled to subserve the great cause we all have at heart.

Sewell's postscript and declaration are valuable, not on their own account, but as symptoms, at least [phantasia], of a reaction.

Now I am thinking of this about you, have you made up your mind what history to take up next? If not, is not this an idea? People shrink from Catholicity and think it implies want of affection for our National Church. Well, then, merely remind them that you take the National Church, but only you do not date it from the Reformation. In order to kindle love of the National Church, and yet to inculcate a Catholic tone, nothing else is necessary but to take our Church in the Middle Ages.

[N.B. This was the line taken by me immediately on feeling {309} the force of Dr. Wiseman's article about the Donatists. It led me to publish 'Lives of the English Saints.'—J. H. N.]

Laud, I believe, somewhere calls St. Anselm his great predecessor. Would not the history of Anselm be a great subject for you. Froude had intended taking it next. Nothing would more effectually tend to disarm people of their prejudice against Catholicity as anti-national than this. But, however, I leave it to your thoughts.


Oriel: April 8, 1841.
I quite agree in what you say about your historical subject. Certainly a Continental subject is in all respects better suited to you than an English. It follows upon 'Hildebrand.' However, some one ought to take up St. Anselm, and I wish we could find who that is.


April 10, 1841.
I add more words about your pamphlet. My view is this: that we should make good and complete the argumentative ground of our interpretation of the Articles and then leave it to work. If that has not been yet done, as perhaps it has not, and your pamphlet is on it, let it come out; but protests and authorities, or numbers, these let us altogether discard.

I cannot help thinking this is right.

As to the Bishops, the one thing they fear is a disturbance
1. Either a secession to Rome.
2. Or a division within.
For this reason I am sure they cannot like the Hebdomadal Act. We may do anything if we keep from disturbance. The more we can yield, the better policy. We can gain anything by giving way.

The following communication in the form of a lithographed circular, from a Bishop to his Clergy, is found among papers of this date: {310} 

The Palace, Wells: April 27, 1841.
Rev. Sir,—I hear with surprise and concern of the proposed interference of some of the Clergy of my Diocese, in the proceedings at Oxford, with reference to the (so called) Oxford Tracts.

Allow me to observe that, in my judgment, it would be more correct and judicious for my Clergy to leave the important questions, now in discussion at Oxford, to the decision of the Heads of Houses and to the Bishop of that Diocese.
I am, Rev. Sir, your faithful brother,

To the lady of excitable temperament, who had written to him on the No. 90 question, Mr. Newman writes:

Oriel College: April 1841.
I am not surprised at any one being drawn to the Roman Church under your feelings, wrong as I think it. And I lament as much as any one can our present state in the English, in which high aspirations have so little means of exercise. If you will allow me to add it, I think you were hasty in your resolve. So great a matter as a change of religion ought not to be thought of without years (I may say) of prayer and preparation. Nor do I think it God's way, generally speaking, for individuals to leave one religion for another—it is so much like an exercise of private judgment. Three thousand at once were converted on the day of Pentecost. Where miracles are brought before an individual the case is different.

However, it is of course most satisfactory news to me that your purpose was arrested, and a cause of much thankfulness that any work of mine was a means of it.

Your interest in the disturbance which has been raised against me in this place is very kind. I have no misgivings about my past proceedings, and I wait securely (under God's blessing) for all to go right. I think it will. Everything seems in a good train. The cause of Catholic truth, I trust, will not suffer—and if not, then it matters little if some slight inconvenience or trouble falls to my share.

It is good for all of us to have burdens and to have our patience tried. Patience and forbearance are great virtues—perhaps they are more difficult in the case of attacks made {311} on persons we feel an interest in than in our own case. But we must one and all resign ourselves, except where duty comes in, to the disorders with which our Church labours at this day.
Yours faithfully.


July 23. 1841.
Do you think it would be possible to limit the 'B. C.' to certain subjects, or rather to exclude certain subjects? I fear closing the safety-valves. Talk carries off a good deal of irritation; but how to make innocent talk? I have just stopped Robert Williams going on with the printing the translation of the Breviary. He would not print it without my countenance, and that I did not feel I could give. But men will be doing something. I fear that poor —— is going to Rome, but one is apt to anticipate the worst. I have just stopped a man (not one you know), i.e. for the time, and other friends have stopped another. This is great confidence.

To a lady who in imagination had strong leanings to a monastic life, and to the Church of Rome as the means of entering that life, Mr. Newman writes:

Oriel College, 1841.
Your letter has given me the most heartfelt pain, though I do not feel at the moment quite as much myself as I should like to be in answering so very serious an appeal; yet I do not like to delay.

Let me observe to you, then, what I have no doubt about at all: that were you now a member of the Church of Rome, that were you in her most secret and heavenly abodes, I mean in the quiet of a monastery, you would certainly have, with your particular character of mind, much of the trial, nay as much of it, as you have now. You have not yet subdued your feelings, or your will to the Will of God; you think of yourself more than of Him. You do not enough consider that you are a creature of His, and thus while on the one hand under His care, on the other at His disposal. Here is hope and fear at once—here is an awful thought. You are under His mighty hand: humble yourself under it. You are His creature: rejoice that He has hold of you, submit when He fixes you. {312}

Were you in a monastic retreat you would be full of a tide of feelings and thought, of which you could not dispossess yourself—and you would be doubly miserable, because you could lay nothing to the charge of circumstances. You would reproach yourself for what you then would see arose simply from what you were yourself in yourself.

Let this be your simple and engrossing prayer: to know God's Will and to do it. Who are you to covet with James and John the right and left of your Lord's throne? Know your place. Be humbled, be content to pick up the crumbs even, under the King's table. What are we that we should say we will not be content unless He seats us with His nobles and feasts us with his best? Be the English Church what you fear it is, yet surely it is good enough for you, surely it has excellences and graces, it has saints, it has gifts, it has lessons, which are above you and me.

Supposing you had your wish at this minute, and joined a Church which I am for argument's sake granting to you as the True Spouse of Christ, you would, as I have suggested above, find only disappointment. You are not in a state to enjoy gifts which assuredly would be above you. Did not Cornelius fast and pray and do alms, and was he not thus led on into the Truth? He was in God's hands when a heathen. May not you be, if you follow his course?

Neither you nor I, nor any of us, know what God is now doing and what is His pleasure. He is, to say it reverently, furthering some plan or other. His Spirit is abroad. Shall we presumptuously cross His path, or shall we, like well-disciplined soldiers, keep our post, and watch for the signals.

I will never say such a thing as that the Church of Rome is apostate; but still I am sure you have seen but the fair side of that Church as yet. Join it, and you will see our Saviour's prophecy fulfilled there as with us, that she is a net cast into the sea and gathering of every kind.

 … You are framing in idea a religion all of joy. No, a sinner's religion must have gloom and sorrow. Even in speaking of Rome you dwell upon the more beautiful and glorious views it sets before you: you forget what a true Church must have—its abasing, its chill, its severe doctrines.

The following letter is from a collection of Mr. Keble's letters to Mr. Newman, presented by Cardinal Newman to Keble College: {313}


Hursley: July 19, 1841.
I feel that I am dealing rather unkindly in not having written to you sooner about my new cares, of which probably you have heard ere now; but I will only tell you in general that our Bishop has refused Young priest's orders, because he did not satisfy him about the doctrine of the Eucharist. There were other points on which he said he should demur, but this was the one he especially took his stand on. I have written a letter to Pusey with a number of particulars, and desired him to forward it to you; so I will only add that since I wrote to Pusey both Young and I have heard from the Bishop, and that he quite discourages me in any notion of conferring on the matter with me, and directs Young to read the 67th chapter of Hooker's 5th Book, and also some portion of 'Hey's Lectures,' after which he says he shall be ready at a fitting time to confer with him; but intimates, I think, pretty clearly, that unless he changes his view, or, as he calls it, gets 'clear views' on the matter, he cannot ordain him. Young had written for his papers, having had express permission from the Bishop so to do. However, the papers are not returned, but Young is told that they will be sent some time or other to Jacob, who will show them to Young and explain what is objected to ... It was plain from the moment Young went into the room that a dead set was to be made at him. Questions were put to him which were not put to others, the first being, 'What is your mode of interpreting the Thirty-nine Articles?' This was on Thursday, and on Friday evening Young made his appearance here. I wish I may be wrong, but I am much afraid that this is the beginning of a system.

The next letter is evidently not the first communication between Mr. Newman and Mr. Keble on this subject, but in September Mr. Newman writes:


September 14, 1841.
I cannot help hoping that things are better with you than you anticipate. This story has come to Oxford: Ridley advised his father-in-law the Bishop not to send back Young's {314}
papers to you, for he said, 'When Keble sees how very mild his statements are, he will give up his living.' The Bishop was much struck and astonished, and said, 'Then I shall not send them back.'

Again (entre nous) from what we hear—though of course we must expect heterogeneous proceedings—it is not at all certain that Sir R. Peel will not be taking men called Puseyites, as thinking them more suited for certain places.

On the whole; as things have before now been at the worst as regards the Clergy, so they are now as regards the Bishops, and they will improve I think. Recollect the Clergy left off their wigs before the Bishops did. All in good time.


September 12, 1841.
You will be glad to hear that Ward has had a long talk with Pusey, and, as he says, enlightened him vastly on my opinions. I say 'glad,' because nothing is so bad as a state of twilight; but, at the same time, knowing how very prone Pusey is to catch up his friend's notions (in kindness), it sometimes makes me feel very uncomfortable that he should not know what I think on many points which others have learned in great measure by pumping me.

On this subject of not telling Pusey things, I have before now had a talk with Rogers, who felt the difficulty of knowing what is best to do, as fully as myself. But various other causes have brought it about, if Pusey has been as ignorant as Ward declares. A man one constantly sees, one fancies to know things which he does not know, whereas Pusey has not seen me in seasons of free conversation, so that he has not the opportunities which others have. And then, though it may seem absurd to say, looking on Pusey as being in loco superioris, I have not replied or criticised what he said in the way I should others. And then he never reads anything. I found to my surprise that he had not seen Dr. Elrington's letter, Mr. Seeley's letter to the Bishop of Oxford or the letter in the 'B. M.' All of which distinctly draw out the difference between him and me. Then again he has been unwilling to see it; when I have mentioned differences, he has either explained them away or seemed annoyed at the notion. Such was the case, e.g., about the Cranmer Memorial, which I pressed him to join without me. {315}

I think he is beginning, however, to understand what is trite—that we differ historically and not doctrinally; but, though it is a relief to him, yet I do fear that his historical view of the Reformation is his great bulwark against Rome, which is not a comfortable thought.


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1. The publication of Tract No. 90 is thus announced in the Rev. J. B. Mozley's Letters, p. 111:—
'March 8, 1841.—A new Tract has come out this last week which is beginning to make a sensation. It is on the Articles, and shows that they bear a highly Catholic meaning; and that many doctrines of which the Romanist are corruptions may be held consistently with them. This is no more than what we know as a matter of history, for the Articles were expressly worded with a view to bring in Roman Catholics (see Apologia, p. 131). But people are astonished and confused at the idea now, as if it was quite new, and they have been so accustomed for a long time to look on the Articles as on a par with the Creed that they think, I suppose, that if they subscribe to them they are bound to hold whatever doctrines are (not positively stated in them but) merely not condemned. So if they will bear a Tractarian sense they are thereby all of them Tractarian. But whatever the view may be, there seems to be something brewing, and a man of this college told me just now that he had been canvassed to join in a public protest against the Tract, &c. &c.'

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2. Vol. i. p. 210.
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3. See Apologia, p. 170.
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4. Via Media, vol. ii. p. 416.
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5. Apologia, p. 207.
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6. R. Hope-Scott's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 261.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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