[Letters and Correspondence—1844]


February 21, 1844.
Half-past 10
A.M. I am just up, having a bad cold; the like necessity has not happened to me (except twice in January) in my memory. This winter has been very trying here. But you may think you have been in my thoughts long before rising—of course you are continually, as you well know. I could not come to see you, there were so many difficulties in the way, and (though I shall pain you by my saying so) I am not worthy of friends. With my opinions, to the full of which I dare not confess, I feel like a guilty person with others, though I trust I am not so. People kindly think that I have much to bear externally—disappointment, slander, &c. No, I have nothing to bear but the anxiety which I feel for my friends' anxiety for me, and perplexity.

This is rather an Ash Wednesday than a birthday letter [February 21 was Ash Wednesday in 1844], but I cannot help {386} writing that is uppermost. We have had a heavy fall of snow this morning, but it is now melting.

We have just got our new oak benches into the chapel, and you cannot fancy what a great improvement it is.

And now, my dear Bowden, all kindest and best wishes to you, my oldest friend, whom I must not speak more about, with reference to myself, lest you should be angry.


Littlemore: May 21, 1844.
I am very sorry to make you anxious, but do not know what to do. I don't like you to be ignorant of my state of mind, yet don't like to tease you with my rigmarole statements. Unless anything happened which I considered a divine call, and beyond all calculation, I never should take anyone by surprise, and therefore you need not alarm yourself as if anything were happening. But if I judge of the future by the past, and when I recollect the long time, now nearly five years, that certain views and feelings have been more or less familiar to me, and sometimes pressing on me, it would seem as if anything might happen. And I must confess that they are very much clearer and stronger than they were even a year ago. I can no more calculate how soon they may affect my will and become practical, than a person who has long had a bodily ailment on him (though I hope and trust it is not an ailment) can tell when it may assume some critical shape, though it may do so any day.

The following letter answers a question just put to him by his sister, glad always of subjects not harassing, in her constant correspondence with her brother. She seems also to have seen mutual friends, and to have heard a cheerful report of Mr. Newman from them. He answers on the question of a book recalling his own school days.


Littlemore: June 3, 1844.
 … 'Calmet's Dictionary' was a book the boys had (i.e. brought from home) at school, and was popular. It is, in fact, a very popular book, as well as a good book, and I am surprised {387} aunt and you should not know it. I have never seen it myself since I was a boy. I wish I had, but it is too dear to buy. For a long while I used to think Calmet was a Protestant; but he was a good monk of the Benedictine Order, a strict man and a reformer in his day. I know two other of his works—his Comment on the Rule of St. Benedict, and his Literal Commentary on Scripture, which I think Adam Clarke (!) pronounced the best commentary on Scripture extant; it is very good certainly.

 … You must not be surprised if I should determine on giving up my Fellowship: but at present I have no plan formed.

I was glad to see J. Fourdrinier and Mr. Deane. You must not suppose I put on a cheerfulness because people do not find out I have cares; the truth is (thank God!) I am cheerful. And though it so entirely depends on Him that I might be cast down for good and all any day, and know not, of course, what is before me, yet having sound sleep at night, and quiet days, and trying to serve Him without aims of this world, however imperfectly, how can I but be cheerful, as I am? And I trust He will overrule all painful things which myself or others have to bear, to our good. Of course the pain of my friends is what cuts me, and I do not know how I shall bear it; but He gives us strength according to our day.


Hursley Vicarage: June 12, 1844.
You will easily imagine how dissatisfied I am with every word I write to you, and will excuse one's fidgeting and continually adding more 'last words.' I want now to speak to you about two things: one, the idea which seems to pervade your letter that if after all you should be allowed to be erroneous in this your judgment it is equivalent to judicial blindness, or something of that sort. I do not exactly see why you should assume this, unless the error were supposed deadly or fundamental. I can imagine there might be providential purpose in allowing even a saint to mistake the degree of harm in communicating with or separating from a particular portion of Christ's people, or the necessity or sacredness of such and such an institution; so that even if after a time he found himself to have been in error, he need not of course assume that the error was judicial. If your present view is right, Pusey's, I {388} suppose, is wrong; should one, therefore, infer that his prayers for light and guidance are not heard?

Do you not think it possible (I dare say I borrow the view from yourself) that the whole Church may be so lowered by sin as to hinder one's finding on earth anything which seems really to answer to the Church of the Saints? and will it not be well to prepare yourself for disappointment, lest you fall into something like scepticism? You know I have always fancied that perhaps you were over-sanguine in making things square, and did not quite allow enough for Bishop Butler's notion of doubt and intellectual difficulty being some men's intended element and appropriate trial.

The other thing I wanted to say to you, or rather to make you feel, was of one of your friends at least, and he believes a great many would be of the same mind, that nothing which may happen will make any kind of separation or hinder confidence. It is so utterly different from a change in the other direction; but of course one fears how it may be on your part—I mean, what duty may suggest to you.

P.S.—Of course you make allowance for the longing to be at rest as a secondary influence possible in your case.


Oriel College: June 12, 1844.
 … As to Arnold's 'Remains,' I cannot put myself enough in your place to know the precise point which pains you so much, but for myself there seems much to take comfort in, in things as they are. I do not think that the book will take any great effect in a wrong direction. Of course there is a great deal in it to touch people, but there is so little consistency in his intellectual basis that I cannot think that he will affect readers permanently; and then it is very pleasant to think that his work has been so good a one—the reformation of public schools. This seems to have been blessed, and will survive him, and forms the principal, or one of the two principal, subjects of the book. And, further, if it is right to speculate on such serious matters, there is something quite of comfort to be gathered from his removal from the scene of action at the time it took place, as if so good a man should not be suffered to commit himself cominus against truth which he so little understood.

 … Since I began this letter Church came into the room, {389} and began to talk on what he and others fear in Oxford, the growth of skepticism. He gave me instances. It seems to me certainly likely to be more and more a pressing evil.


June 17, 1844.
Arnold's book is a very mournful one; so much good and so much bad. And Ward's [the 'Ideal'], there is a great deal of good in it, and a great deal which to me reads like a theory. And I wish he had more vigour of style.


Temple, London: August 13, 1844.
 … I have seen Bowden for a quarter of an hour. This damp day tries him sadly. He goes down to Clifton in a few days, and I suppose I shall be able to go to him there as here ... It is, of course, quite an event in my life, and cannot happen again. My oldest friend, whom I knew for as much as nine years before I knew dear Froude, and whom a habit of affection has made part of my life, though I cannot realise things yet.

I do fancy I am getting changed. I go into Oxford, and find myself out of place. Everything seems to say to me, 'This is not your home.' The college seems strange to me, and even the college servants seem to look as if I were getting strange to them. I cannot tell whether it is fancy or not, but to myself I seem changing. I am so much more easily touched than I used to be. Reading St. Wolstan's Life just now almost brought tears to my eyes. What a very mysterious thing the mind is! Yet nothing that my feelings suggest to me is different from what has been engraven more or less strongly on my reason long ago.

Now I dare say that if I kept this a day or two it would seem unreal, and I could not bear to send it; and yet I do think there is truth in it, making allowance for accidental feeling.

We have been made very sad by the suddenly hopeless state of a person probably you never heard of—Mr. Fortescue, a clergyman who married William Spooner's sister, and a great friend of Henry Wilberforce. He is of a nonjuring family, and was taught secretly Catholic doctrine and practice from a {390} child. From a child, I have heard, he has gone to confession. When at Wadham people could not make him out, he lived by himself. After a while, to his surprise, he found the things he had been taught to keep secret as by a disciplina arcani common talk. He has had most wonderful influence in his neighbourhood, more than anyone in the Church, I suppose. He is suddenly found to be dying of consumption, his left lung being almost gone. They speak as if a few weeks would bring matters to a close.

In the autumn of 1844 James Mozley and Mr. Scott of Hoxton became joint editors of the 'Christian Remembrancer,' up to this date a monthly periodical, now changed to a quarterly. James Mozley seems to have informed Mr. Newman of the undertaking, receiving the following answer:


Littlemore: August 18, 1844.
The 'Christian Remembrancer' doubtless will much improve in its quarterly shape. Essays are so much more readable quarterly than monthly. The name is not good for the purpose. I heartily wish it success, and shall be pleased to find you have found a basis of view on which to go. I suppose, e.g., you will review Ward's book, which I am surprised to find is very successful in quarters where I should have expected it to be disregarded and to fail. The notice in the last 'English Churchman' is a proof of this. They would not praise unless they found a number of persons did so. Dodsworth (I am told) likes it, Dr. Wootten, Mr. Watson, Mr. Evans of Hampstead, Copeland, Mr. Crawley, &c., and others as unlike each other as these. Yet for myself I cannot see the ground of his main position—that a Church may be utterly without the gift of teaching; yet possessed of the gift of the Sacraments. Perhaps the 'Christian Remembrancer' will throw some light upon it, either refuting it or maintaining it.

I return Arthur's (Mozley) note. Will you tell him that if his friend will pay us a visit here for a week I shall be truly glad, and then I can have more talk with him on his project. Could he come at once?

In the autumn of 1844 an opposition was raised to the {391} election of Dr. Symons as Vice-Chancellor in succession to Dr. Wynter. This succession to the office was so according to all precedent that opposition to it was felt from the first a very doubtful measure; but Dr. Symons had not only been one of the six doctors who had suspended Dr. Pusey, but had shown especial animosity to the party of which Dr. Pusey was one of the leaders. On the question of expediency James Mozley consulted Mr. Newman. The answer shows that it cost Mr. Newman a decided effort to throw himself again into party politics. However, whatever concerned his friends could not fail to interest him when by an effort he brought his mind to fix upon and to warm to the question [Note 1].


Littlemore: August 22, 1844.
I wish I could say anything to your purpose on the question of the V.-C., but somehow I cannot get my mind to grasp these things as I ought. My own position is so different that I cannot throw myself into them. This I feel very painfully when my opinion is asked on many occasions. I feel stupid and as if I had nothing to say, and must speak at random if I speak by way of saying something. And if I do say nothing, then I seem reserved and unfriendly.

As his friend, Mr. Bowden, lay dying, Mr. Newman writes to Mr. Keble:

September 14, 1844.
 … One forgets past feelings, else I should say that I never have had pain before like the present. I thought so yesterday and said so, but I suppose it is not so. Yet I am in very great distress, and do trust I shall be kept from gloom and ill-temper. I have given him up since October last, yet have not realised his loss till now, if now. He is my oldest friend; I have been most intimate with him for above twenty-seven years. He was sent to call on me the day after I came into residence; he introduced me to college and University; he is the link between me and Oxford. I have ever known Oxford in him. In losing him I seem to lose Oxford. We {392} used to live in each other's rooms as undergraduates, and men used to mistake our names and call us by each other's. When he married he used to make a like mistake himself, and call me Elizabeth and her Newman. And now for several years past, though loving him with all my heart, I have shrunk from him, feeling that I had opinions …

Mr. Newman continues the letter three days after:

Grosvenor Place: September 17.
It is a great comfort to all parties that he is here and not at Clifton ... He died and lies in a room I have known these twenty-four years … And there lies now my oldest friend, so dear to me—and I, with so little faith or hope, as dead as a stone, and detesting myself.

[John William Bowden died September 15, 1844. I sobbed bitterly over his coffin to think that he had left me still dark as to what the way of truth was, and what I ought to do in order to please God and fulfil His will.—J. H. N.]


Hursley: September 19, 1844.
You are very kind to send me so many particulars [J. W. Bowden's death], so many which, I hope and believe, will soon begin and always continue to be a great comfort to you. Just now you are stunned with the blow, but as to being hard-hearted, I have too sad and shameful experience how soft-hearted people who cry easily, may soon let go the good thoughts which came to them from such death-beds, and have their hearts hardened in another sort of manner. But really and truly may one not accept such a calm departure as this as a pledge of mercy and comfort in one's own cares and perplexities?—the gleam has gone behind the cloud, but we know it is still there, and are permitted and encouraged to hope for a sight of it again at no very long distance.

Altogether it seems very much to realise George Herbert's notion of going from earth to Paradise, as from one room to another.

Mr. Newman's feelings, as expressed with such bitterness in the last letter to Mr. Keble, may well have been aggravated {393} by the state of his own health at this period of trial. There is a letter, September 26, 1844, from his friend and physician, Dr. Babington, in reply to a report of himself from his patient, which shows him, as it were, glad of an opportunity to use very plain language on the subject of overwork and deficient nutriment and rest—a warning founded on observation made in their last interview in the spring of this year.


September 26, 1844.
I have not read your letter without anxiety ... I think you must consider seriously whether you take sufficient support and sufficient rest. When I last saw you—about the close of Lent, I believe—I was much struck with your appearance, which was shrunk and debilitated; and it is impossible to avoid the suspicion that, partly by overwork, and partly by deficient nutriment, you are rendering yourself unfit for exertion.

This serious warning had its effect. There are words in Mr. Newman's writing that seem to imply that from this time he altered his mode of living.

Writing late in the autumn to his sister, in reply to a question from her relating to a person always interesting to him, Mr. Newman indulges in an act of self-portraiture most unusual with him—of which, indeed, the letters and papers before the Editor offer no precedent; but those who knew him best will, perhaps, be most struck with the truth of the image he raises.


October 31, 1844.

I begin this letter for a not very complimentary reason, but from having a headache, a very unusual visitor, which hinders me from working.

You ask me about my meeting Arnold, and though there is nothing but what is commonplace to tell, I cannot tell it without introducing myself more than is pleasant. Indeed, {394} the less I have to say, the more I must bring in myself, if I am to say anything; but even then I have little enough.

The second of February, as you know, is our great Gaudy of the year. The Provost dines in Hall at the top of the table, and in the Common-Room, to which the party adjourn, sits at the right hand of the Dean, as being the guest of the Fellows. Eden was Dean, and was taken ill, I think, when the news came that Arnold was coming with the Provost, and I, being Senior Fellow, must take the Dean's place. My first feeling was to shirk. 'It is not my place,' I said, 'to take the office upon me. It is nothing to me. I am not bound to entertain Arnold,' &c., &c. However, I thought it would be cowardly, so after all I went, knowing that both in Hall and Common-Room the trio at the top of the table would be Provost, Arnold, and I, and that in the Common-Room I should sit at the top between them as the entertainer.

The Provost came into Hall with Arnold and Baden-Powell (who made a fourth), I being already in my place at table, waiting for them. The Provost came up in a brisk, smart way, as if to cut through an awkward beginning, and said quickly, 'Arnold, I don't think you know Newman'; on which Arnold and I bowed, and I spoke. I was most absolutely cool, or rather calm and unconcerned, all through the meeting from beginning to end; but I don't know whether you have seen me enough in such situations to know (what I really believe is not any affectation at all on my part; I am not at all conscious of any such thing, though people would think it) that I seem, if you will let me say it, to put on a very simple, innocent, and modest manner. I sometimes laugh at myself, and at the absurdities which result from it; but really I cannot help it, and I really do believe it to be genuine. On one occasion in the course of our conversation I actually blushed high at some mistake I made, and yet on the whole I am quite collected. Now, are you not amused at all this? or ought not I to blush now? I never said a word of all this about myself to anyone in my life before; though, perhaps, that does not mend the matter that I should say it now. However, to proceed.

So when the Provost said, 'I don't think, Arnold, you know Newman,' I was sly enough to say, very gently and clearly, that I had before then had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Arnold, for I had disputed with him in the Divinity School before his B.D. degree, when he was appointed to Rugby. At which {395} Baden-Powell laughed, and Arnold seemed a little awkward, and said, 'Oh, I thought it had been Pusey.' You must know that in the said disputation I was doing him a favour, for he could get no one to go in with him, when I volunteered; though in the event it turned to my advantage, for I had not to dispute before Hampden when I actually took my degree [in 1836].

We then sat down to table, and I thought of all the matters possible which it was safe to talk on. I recollected he had travelled with William Churton, and that made one topic. Others equally felicitous I forget. But I recollect the productions of North Africa was a fruitful subject; and I have some dream of having talked of a great tree, the name of which I now forget, as big as a hill, and which they bring as an argument for the indefinite duration of the present earth a parte ante.

In the Common-Room I had to take a still more prominent part, and the contrast was very marked between Arnold and the Provost—the Provost so dry and unbending, and seeming to shrink from whatever I said, and Arnold who was natural and easy, at least to all appearance. I was told afterwards that on one occasion Baden-Powell made some irreverent remark, and people were amused to see how both Arnold and myself in different ways, as far as manner was concerned, retired from it. At last the Provost and Arnold rose up to go, and I held out my hand, which he took, and we parted.

1 never saw him again; he died the June [June 12, 1842] after. He is a man whom I have always separated from the people he was with, always respected, often defended, though from an accident he got a notion, I believe, that I was a fire-brand, and particularly hostile to him. There is no doubt he was surprised and thrown out on finding I did not seem to be what he had fancied. He told Stanley that it would not do to meet me often. When Stanley tried to clench the remark, he drew back, and said he meant that it was not desirable to meet often persons one disagreed with, or something of the sort. This is what I heard, to the best of my recollection, after his death. For myself, I don't think I was desirous of pleasing him or not; but was secretly amused from the idea that he certainly would be taken aback by coming across me in propria persona; at least so I think.

For Mr. Newman the sympathy of those nearest him was a need of his nature, though as time went on he had to bear {396} the want of it in matters nearest his heart. A letter from his sister, Mrs. John Mozley, shows that he had felt disappointment in a seeming failure of response on her part to his confidences on the state of his mind and feelings; a suspicion certainly ill-deserved as far as her heart was concerned, and which she meets in the following answer:


November 20, 1844.
Your letter to John (her husband) has given me great concern, that part of it which imputes to me (though indirectly) want of sympathy with your feelings, and it pains me much to think I may have given you real cause for such an impression ... In the present instance I really am not conscious of having been intentionally silent on any one point, except, perhaps, in one of your letters (last August), in which you complain of the strangeness of feeling when you enter the college walls, &c. I hesitated whether to notice this or not; at last decided not—not because I could not enter into your thoughts, but because I did so too much. I could not try to persuade you that your feeling was fantastic, because I feared there might be that on the part of the college towards yourself, that might justify your impression independent of your having simply outgrown your position, of which I think nothing at all. Also, there were passages in two letters to my aunt which she showed me ... Whatever may have been the cause, I am exceedingly sorry that anything positive or negative on my part should have caused you pain, or made you think your confidence misplaced. You must know, dear John, that your slightest act or feeling awakens my interest and anxiety, and so I need hardly tell you what pain that report a fortnight ago caused my aunt and myself—indeed, I may say, our whole circle. I felt I could not do anything while the suspense lasted. I could write no letters and ask no questions, and dreaded to be spoken to by anybody I saw. I had just written to you, and if not, I could not have written to ask you for the world. Yet I had some little hope and consolation left, and did my best to impart it to poor aunt. She is always thinking of you, and you have her prayers, as I believe those of many others, that you may be kept in the right way, whatever that is. I hope, I have said nothing to distress {397} you unnecessarily; I believe not, for I know how you always realise things you do not see. I am afraid I shall not at all have succeeded in justifying myself, because I know reserve and all feelings and habits connected with it are a great fault in me.


November 24, 1844.
I knew very well I should have a kind letter from you, as has been the case; but really you did—I don't say, consciously, but from an unconscious feeling—in the most pointed way pass over various things I said about my feelings, taking hold of one half sentence, leaving the other half; speaking of Bowden, not of myself, when I spoke of both at once. I knew how very painful the whole matter was to you, and was far indeed from blaming you, but when it had gone on some time I sincerely thought you wished me to drop the subject, and I did drop it.

As to late reports, I did not properly hear them till they were over—that is, I heard that there was a paragraph, but did not realise its preciseness and plausibility. When I did, I wrote to several friends, and should have written to you but that I thought you had really, so far, given me up. And I thought you would hear from James. It is astonishing what little feeling certain people have. Golightly and the newspapers would think it very wrong to put out a statement on doubtful authority to the effect that I had broken my leg, yet they have no remorse in circulating what is adapted to shock friends indefinitely more. But the said G. is a man literally without bowels. I doubt whether he has any inside, or is more than a walking and talking piece of mechanism [Note 2]. {398}

I have gone through a great deal of pain, and have been very much cut up. The one predominant distress upon me has been this unsettlement of mind I am causing. This is a thing that has haunted me day by day. And for days I had a literal pain in and about my heart, which I suppose at any moment I could bring on again. I have been overworked lately. The translation of St. Athanasius is, I am glad to say, just coming to an end, and I shall (so be it) relax. I suppose I need it. This has been a very trying year.

 … Besides the pain of unsettling people, of course I feel the loss I am undergoing in the good opinion of my friends and well-wishers, though I can't tell how much I feel this. It is the shock, surprise, terror, forlornness, disgust, scepticism to which I am giving rise; the differences of opinion, division of families—all this it is that makes my heart ache.

 … I cannot make out that I have any motive but a sense of indefinite risk to my soul in remaining where I am. A clear conviction of the substantial identity of Christianity and the Roman system has now been on my mind for a full three years. It is more than five years since the conviction first came on me, though I struggled against it and overcame it. I believe all my feelings and wishes are against change. I have nothing to draw me elsewhere. I hardly ever was at a Roman service; even abroad I knew no Roman Catholics. I have no sympathies with them as a party. I am giving up  everything. I am not conscious of any resentment, disgust, or the like to repel me from my present position; and I have no dreams whatever—far from it indeed. I seem to be throwing myself away.

Unless something occurs which I cannot anticipate I have no intention of any early step even now. But I cannot but think—though I can no more realise it than being made Dean of Ch. Ch. or Bishop of Durham—that some day it will be, {399} and at a definite distance of time. As far as I can make out I am in the state of mind which divines call indifferentia, inculcating it as a duty to be set on nothing, but to be willing to take whatever Providence wills. How can I at my age and with my past trials be set upon anything? I really don't think I am. What keeps me here is the desire of giving every chance for finding out if I am under the power of a delusion. Various persons have sent me very kind letters, and I really trust that many are bearing me in mind in their prayers.

I say to myself, 'What have I done to be given up to a delusion, if it be one?' It is my full intention to give up my Fellowship some time before anything happens. And now what a deal I have said about myself! I wonder how many I's are in this letter.

This is a most abrupt letter, but I have no time, and am tired and out of spirits [Note 3].


November 29, 1844.
 … I have felt comparatively satisfied while your health and spirits bore up, as they seemed to do; but what if they fail, and you are left in the power of the painful alternation of feeling of which you give so distressing an account? … This is my especial trouble, that I cannot defend you as I would desire through everything; and I have to throw a damp of reserve and discouragement on unsuspicious and generous spirits who are ready to answer for your steadfastness. I am afraid of adding to your trouble, but I really do wish you would take the whole matter into account, and consider it, not merely as counting the cost, but, as Mr. Oakeley puts it, whether such impediments as the troubling the minds of the better sort of people and long chosen friends, &c., may not be providential warnings of the course in which we should walk ... For myself I cannot help going a little further, hoping, dear John, I shall not shock you by the confession. I cannot help feeling a repulsion from that Church which has so many stains upon her. I do not, of course, believe all the vulgar charges which prejudice and bad feeling have brought {400} against her during the last three centuries; but things which Roman Catholics themselves admit, and which seem to me as contrary to the spirit Christians should cultivate as the practices of ultra-Protestants, or, I would rather say, those most to be objected to which have crept into our Church. I should not have said this, but that I thought it fair that you should know how I stand, or rather where, in these shifting days. But you must also believe that I can, in spite of all this, appreciate the pain and struggle which causes your suffering, and indeed sympathise entirely with it, looking upon it, in your case, as truly a matter of conscience.

Would it were not so, and that you were more like other men! though, I allow, your way of going on ought in justice to do credit to a cause. We do really seem in a desperate state of things nowadays, when even Christ's little flock must bite and devour one another. How difficult it is to believe that our times are not indeed worse than those that have gone before!

Many thanks for your kind promise, as I take it, that we shall not be taken by surprise by anything you do—this gave me hope before. I hope you will forgive anything wrong I have said in this letter, and believe that my first wish is that you should see the truth, whatever it is. I hope and trust I desire this for you above all things. Worldly fame is a vulgar thing enough—with your talents you are sure to have plenty of that; but I have valued for you the respect and admiration of good people, but this I would give up if I could feel sure you were in the right course. I trust you will have the blessing of that conviction, and that one day we may all approve ourselves in His sight who sees all our struggles, and feels for them as having Himself condescended to partake in some measure of human infirmity.

Aunt is pretty well, and for the present has got over her alarm about you. I have not annoyed her by telling her how poorly you are, hoping the next account may be better. I should be very glad of a few lines soon, dear John, to say you are better, but hardly like to ask it.

Some apology may possibly seem to be due for giving both sides of a correspondence where the writers stand in such different relations with the public, where one is of world-wide fame, the other known only to a private and narrow circle. But properly to understand and appreciate one side of a correspondence it is really necessary to see both, and it {401} may be observed there is no sign either of condescension or impatience in Mr. Newman's tone. He feels his sister had a right to his fullest, most earnest, and most intimate revelations of himself, and that she would understand him with the comprehension of lifelong intimacy.

It may be pleaded, too, that the correspondence between brother and sister is carried on in a spirit surely rare under such circumstances, and as such, from its gentleness, forbearance, tenderness of tone, may not be without use as an example to disputants.

The right and the wrong will be decided by readers according to their convictions and habits of thought, but all will agree in commending the spirit in which each party approaches the other. Again, these letters in their fulness and confidingness, written at such a time, are a telling illustration of Mr. Newman's strong family feeling. Nothing was dearer to him at any time than the sympathy of those connected by ties of blood and associated with earliest memories, and where this was missing it left a void of which he was always keenly conscious.

His aunt is frequently alluded to in this correspondence and among Mrs. John Mozley's cares was the dread of the blow her brother's projected change would be to Mrs. Elizabeth Newman [Note 4].

In a letter to his sister, Mrs. T. Mozley, Mr. Newman speaks of his health, which had been suffering under the mental strain of this time. She had been anxious, and he answers:

Littlemore: in fest. S. Andr., 1844.
You will be pleased to know that I am to all appearance quite well, I am thankful to say ... I have had no relapse. I have returned to my customary diet, and only have to be {402} careful in exercise, &c., &c. About Epiphany I propose going to see Mrs. Bowden at St. Leonards, and perhaps shall be away from home about a month, but we are so few here that it is a trouble to me to be absent.

I am not unwilling to be in trouble now, and for others to be—for it is what must be—and the more of it the sooner over. It is like drinking a cup out. I am far from unmindful of what you say about unsettlement of others being a providential intimation; but there must be a limit to its force, else Jews could never have become Christians in early times, or Nestorians or Monophysites, Catholics in more recent. How St. Paul must have unsettled quiet Jews who were serving God, and heard nothing but ill of our Lord as a Samaritan and 'deceiver'! And this suggests what has ever been said against the Church at all times—namely, that it was corrupt, anti-Christian, &c. This has ever been a note of the Church. And I do believe the Church of Rome has the imputation only in this sense (allowing for our Lord's parable of the Net). It is no new thing that the Church has been under odium and in disgrace. And I confess the atrocious lies—I can call them nothing else—which are circulated against myself have led me to feel how very false the popular impression may be about the Jesuits, &c. I say this because one of the most plausible arguments against the Church of Rome is, 'We do not understand these things, but we are quite sure that there could not be so much suspicion, so much imputation, without cause for it at bottom, in spite of prejudice, exaggeration,' &c.; just what people may say, or do say, about myself.

But to return. I do think the unsettlement of quiet people quite a reason for not moving without a clear and settled conviction that to move is a duty. It throws the onus probandi on the side of moving, were it not so before. And this is what has kept me quiet hitherto. Still there is a point beyond which this impediment will not act.
Ever yours very affectionately,
J. H. N

P.S.—Thank John for his kind letter before the last, and for the last also. {403}


Littlemore: December 22, 1844.
I do not wonder at anyone's first impression being, when he hears of the change of religion of another, that he is influenced by some wrong motive. It is the necessary consequence of his thinking himself right; and I fully allow that, the onus probandi that he is not so influenced lies with the person influenced. While, then, I think you are rather hard on the various persons who have joined the Church of Rome, I think you are justified in being so, for they have to prove that they do not deserve a hard opinion. I say the same of myself. A person's feeling naturally is, that there must be something wrong at bottom; that I must be disappointed, or restless, or set on a theory, or carried on by a party, or coaxed into it by admirers, or influenced by any of the ten thousand persuasions which are as foreign from my mind as from my heart, but which it is easy for others to assign as an hypothesis. I do not quarrel with persons so thinking.

But still I think that as time goes on, and persons have the opportunity of knowing me better, they will see that all these suppositions do not hold; and they will be led to see that my motive simply is that I believe the Roman Church to be true, and that I have come to this belief without any assignable fault on my part. Far indeed am I from saying 'without fault' absolutely, but I say without fault that can be detected and assigned. Were I sure that it was without fault absolutely, I should not hesitate to move tomorrow. It is the fear that there is some secret undetected fault which is the cause of my belief which keeps me where I am, waiting. But I really can say that nothing occurs to me indicative of any such fault, and the longer the time without such discovery the more hope I have that there is none such. I cannot detect such. Some time ago I wrote down for Keble everything of every sort I could detect as passing in my mind in any respect wrong, or leading to wrong, day by day, for a certain period, and he could detect nothing bearing on this particular belief of mine. I have been as open with him as possible. Now I am far from saying I can find in myself good motives—I have not any confidence whatever that I am acting from faith and love; but what I say is that I cannot detect bad motives, and I seem to realise to myself most completely {404} St. Paul's words, 'I am conscious of nothing to myself, yet am I not hereby justified—but he that judgeth is the Lord.' Of course I know that I am continually doing what is wrong; but what have I done, what has been my sin, which has brought this judgment upon me—to take so awfully wrong a step as to change my Church, if it be wrong?

In saying this I am not saying that another is wrong who does not do the same. I am only looking at myself. If God gives me certain light, supposing it to be such, this is a reason for me to act; yet in so doing I am not condemning those who do not so act. There is one truth, yet it may not please Almighty God to show everyone in the same degree or way what and where it is. I believe our Church to be separated from Catholic communion; but still I know very well that all divines, ancient and modern, Roman as well as our own, grant even to a Church in schism, which has the Apostolical Succession, and the right form of consecrating the sacraments, very large privileges. They allow that Baptism has the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist the Real Presence. What they deny to such a Church is the power of imparting these gifts. They say that the grace is locked up, though present, and is not fruitful to the souls of individuals. However, they grant that unavoidable ignorance, and love, are efficacious in removing the bar or obex. They consider all children regenerated who die in infancy, and they allow that the Divine mercy may overflow its own prescribed limits. I am then—how can I be otherwise?—far from denying that great grace has been and is given to our members; but the question is, whether it will be given to one who is not in ignorance? whether it is not his duty, if he would be saved, to act upon knowledge vouchsafed to him concerning the state of his Church; which acting is not required for salvation in those who have not that knowledge? Our Church may be a place of grace and security to another, yet not to me.

Now, my dear Jemima, I am sure you will feel that I am not arguing, but I wish you to understand where I stand, and what I feel—for my own comfort. I have never wished there should be any reserve between us—it is most repugnant to my nature to conceal things. Long, indeed, have I had this sad secret when I thought it would be wrong to mention it. By degrees, often without my intention, it has come out, and growing conviction has justified me in mentioning it. And since now it is out, it will be a great comfort if you let me be {405} open with you, and to tell you what the state of my mind is. Indeed, there can be no exercise of love between persons without this openness. In saying this, however, I am not contemplating any particular disclosure; indeed, I forget almost what I have told you, and what I have not, but I mean generally.

I went to town on Wednesday and returned on Friday, having not quite recovered from a severe influenza, or something of the sort.

All kind thoughts of the season to all of you.

In vig. Nativit.—I hope to keep the feast in peace and comfort. We always dine at the Observatory. The Holy Communion is at 8 A.M., which is a great thing. Things are looking up at Oxford. At least, people are sanguine about throwing out the Test, which will be a virtual repeal of the censure on No. 90.


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1. Readers who wish to know more of this subject will find it further discussed in Letters of Rev. J. B. Mozley, D.D., p. 154.
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2. In a paper in the Guardian, Jan. 13, 1886, on Mr. Golightly, Dean Goulburn writes:—
'It had better be frankly admitted by those who, like myself, are desirous of paying a tribute of friendship to his great worth and many merits, that Golightly sometimes lost himself in controversy. I saw a great deal of him at the time of the publication of Tract XC.; indeed we studied that famous Tract together, and I had the benefit of his quaint, racy, and always shrewd observations upon every part of it. And, in bar of a harsh judgment upon certain things which he did and said in the heat of controversy, I may observe that I do not think he was quite himself at that period. His mind, harassed and excited by what he conceived to be the disingenuousness of the Tract, and the danger to which the Church would be exposed, should such a method of dealing with the formularies prevail and find acceptance, was momentarily thrown off its pivot. One night, when our reading at his house was ended, and I was returning to my college, and he on a visit to the rooms of some friend (the late Archbishop Tait, I think), he (quite seriously, for indeed he was in no frame for joking) expressed his apprehension that at some street corner a party of Tractarians might be lying in wait for him, with the view of doing him some grievous bodily harm. All my laughing at him did not seem to dispel the illusion. He had Tract XC. on the brain. I only mention this incident, because it seems to me considerably to extenuate certain parts of his conduct in controversy which no one will be prepared to justify. I never knew a man who was more public-spirited and had the Church's interests (as he conceived of them) more at heart than he.'

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3. One who knew Mr. Newman well has written of this period: 'He was drifting, fast drifting, and yet he was struggling against the current. And people are hard to persuade that such a state of mind is possible, consistent with fairness and honesty.'
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4. When, in late years, a young lady shortly to become his niece was introduced by H. W. M. to Cardinal Newman, he gave her at parting a gold ornament which had belonged to his grandmother, saying that to her he mainly owed his earliest love of the Bible. Mrs. Elizabeth Newman must have had her share in this early teaching, indeed her illustrated Bible bore emphatic marks of his intelligent reception of her instruction. He ever retained a strong affection for her.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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