[Letters and Correspondence—1834]


January 1, 1834.
 … I assure you the more I see in this part of the world the more I feel that, without such a stand as you are making on Apostolical grounds, all would fall to pieces. If I doubted whether it were a matter of vital importance, and not a mere Oxford 'Apple of Discord,' my eyes would have been opened by the present miserable state of a chapel in this parish ... And all so clearly to be traced to the rottenness of the system.


January 1, 1834.
 ... Many thanks for your letter. I yearned for one from you; but I was not (however consistent it would have been with my general character) at all fidgeting about the parcel. {14} Mind in your future letters to omit such phrases as 'You have perhaps seen,' &c.; construct your letters on the hypothesis that here I see nothing and hear nothing. Even Newcastle-on-Tyne, which you seem to suppose within a walk, is divided from me by twenty miles of more dull and uninteresting country than I should think (traveller as you are) you ever beheld, and as nobody ever seems (saving the postman) to go thither or return thence, my communication with the place is not great.

Your letter gives, on the whole, a flourishing account. What do you mean by the Norris party? I am glad to find the address from the laity is progressing. There is no time to lose. Between this and February 4 you occupy a favourable position which you will never occupy again, at least, till some great change has taken place in the condition of things. I am very glad to hear of the Bishops being drawn into your vertex, and presenting the petitions to the Primate. Like you, I am not sanguine about your arresting, by your Movement, the flowing tide of innovation, but you are doing your duty; and the Church, if it does fall, I trust will fail with honour. I shall be anxious to see your sermons; I suppose I shall about meet them on my return to the south ... on the (ever-memorable) 21st of February.

I have read 'Hildebrand' (by Voigt). It is not a thing to translate; rather dull in style, and often very prolix. The character of Hildebrand comes out, when studied, very finely; you must have a history of him published ... He was, when you consider his character (as you ought) by itself, and separate its individual lineaments from the general physiognomy of the times, a truly great man. I wish I had seen the Castle of Salerno, where he died exclaiming, 'I have loved justice,' &c. When I come to the catastrophe, I shall look to you for a picturesque account of the place.

I was glad to find at Ainwick that almost all the clergy of the neighbourhood had signed the address to the Archbishop. The Duchess of Northumberland was highly delighted with the tracts.


Oriel: January 3, 1834.
There is a chance of my being elected Professor of Moral Philosophy. I have no especial wish for it. It would oblige {15} me to take up a line of reading somewhat out of my present course; yet it might be the means of giving me influence with the undergraduates, and there is no situation which combines respectability with lightness of responsibility and labour so happily as the office of a professor.

I have today undertaken for the Clarendon Press an edition of Dionysius Alexandrinus; so, you see, I have enough to do.

A friend, rendered testy by a passive opposition to his arguments, begins a letter:

REV. ——  —— TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN

January 4, 1834.
 … I really believe the clergy here, although they look on the ministers as little better than incarnate fiends, wish to let them have their way for two or three years, because they think they will do some good work in a rough way which our Bishops would never do. That is, they will equalise livings, and look after poor curates, and take away pluralities, and secure the Church from immoral ministers, &c. &c.; and in this hope they seem content to let the Church and its rulers be outraged by infidels ...

I think it would be as well to introduce a petition for extraordinary powers to be granted to the Bishops, and extraordinary facilities in using their present powers; but this is a thing so likely to be suggested that I will make a virtue of inserting it on the Suggestion of others.


January 8, 1834.
 … I have been so full of business here, and so full of anxiety too about the lay declaration, that I have not been able to write to you. A capital committee of laymen is now forming in London, of which it is expected that Sir E. Cust will be the chairman, and they will be in full activity in a day or two.

I send the lay declaration just printed—there will be large papers for signing, and then we must all work away. There is the finest spirit among the laity. You will observe in the {16} last paragraph the 'Integrity of the Church's rights and privileges,' so that we need not dread the following phrase of 'Alliance with the State.'


January 9.
 … People here are almost one and all for turning overboard the Church rates. They are almost sick of the struggle with Dissenters. Your letter has not damped or changed us; if we change our plans, it is to suit our circumstances. I have not written to Rose.

I think I shall write to the newspaper on the Church rate topic, and leave it to work its way. Mr. G—— anticipates the immediate and utter downfall of Dissent as soon as this pretended grievance is moved out of the way.


Stinchcombe: January 10, 1834.
There are a few right-minded people every here and there, and in the present state of things they are led without any great difficulty to still more sound views; but the current in general, I fear, sets so decidedly that it is hopeless to stem it now.


January 11, 1834.
Sir R. Inglis wrote today thus: 'The address is no longer in the hands of Sir W. Heathcote, the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, and myself. The friends who desired us to draw it up have since preferred a declaration "with which we have nothing to do." What does this mean?'


January 14, 1834.

I was delighted to find in your book [the 'Arians'] what I have been looking for a long time—some account of the Disciplina Arcani. Porson should have given some pages on it in his answer to Travis. Oxlee in his letters to Nolan does {17} not refer to authorities so as to assist me. The point I wish to ascertain is when it originated, and how long it continued, and how it was applied. Can its rise and termination be accurately traced?


January 14, 1834.
 … I have read your tracts, and am delighted with the general tenor of them. With regard to some expressions, I might perhaps wish them not quite so strong, but the grand principle of Apostolical Succession I am rejoiced to see put forth in the prominent manner it is. Mr. Keble told me there was one which you doubted about publishing, but intended for private distribution. Perhaps you would send it me. If you have formed any plans for the conduct of the Church in this awful crisis, perhaps you would not be unwilling they should be known ... Out of about 240 clergy in Wilts, 215 have signed the Address to the Archbishop. I do not think much of this, as Radicals and Whigs are able to swallow it. What was intended by ancient discipline?

The following letter bears upon the feeling towards clerical marriages understood to exist in Mr. Newman and Mr. Hurrell Froude. In their absorption, heart and brain, in the 'Movement'—or rather in the train of thought that led to it—private plans, hopes, prospects, seemed an interference with the great public work and devotion of a life. The Church seemed to them to demand the whole mind of her ministers; they were not to encumber themselves with this world's cares. Not that it was doubted, to use Mr. Newman's words, that the clergy 'had a perfect right to marry,' but marriage and home ties were supposed to be a hindrance to the full surrender of self to the one object. If the followers of these two leaders did not acquiesce in, or at least did not act on, this sterner view, they might feel in a difficulty. The intimacy Mr. Newman encouraged in his younger friends, and the sympathy which won their affection, made reserve unnatural, and yet in this case 'Cato was not a proper person' for such confidences, and there seems in one of his most devoted adherents to have been a slowness to confide, at which Mr. Newman professed to be astonished to the point of unbelief. {18}


Oriel College: January 14, 1834.
By-the-bye, talking of H. W., do not believe a silly report that is in circulation that he is engaged to be married. Not that such an event is not likely, but I am sure it cannot be true as a matter of fact; because he has been staying here, and though we often talked on the subject, he said nothing about it, which I am sure he would have done were it a fact, for the report goes on to say he has told other people. For myself, I am spreading my incredulity, and contradicting it in every direction, and will not believe it, though I saw the event announced in the papers, till he tells me. Nay, I doubt whether I ought then to believe it, if he were to say he had really told others and not me.

Mr. Newman's attitude of unbelief was reported to the person most concerned—the offending party, who answers his friend:


January 1834.
I have no wish whatever to deny the report in question. Indeed, though I did not tell Neander (as who would?), yet I did tell his sister and gave her leave to tell him ... Whether Neander will cut me I don't know. I hope my other Oxford friends will continue my friends still ... It is, I am sure, very foolish of Newman on mere principles of calculation if he gives up all his friends on their marriage; for how can he expect men (however well inclined) to do much in our cause without co-operation? I suppose, however, he will cut me. I cannot help it. At any rate you must not ... Nor, again, am I without a feeling of the danger, as you know, of married priests in these days of trouble and rebuke, but I have taken my line; and, after all, I am very certain that men, failing of doing their duty, oftener find an excuse than a cause in their circumstances.

It is needless to say that 'Neander' did not 'cut' the writer of this letter, whose first-born was subsequently his godson. The mutual friend, receiver of both confidences, replies to Mr. Newman's attitude of incredulity: {19}


January 20, 1834.
Many thanks for your letter, in which, however, I must, say, you do not use your judgment. How can you possibly suppose that, after your way of treating perditum ovem H. Wilberforce, you would be his first confidant? The fact obviously is that he came to Oxford with the intention of breaking the matter to you; but when he came near, and saw how fierce you looked, his heart failed him, and he retreated [apractos]. And now at this moment he is hesitating about the best way of breaking it, and hoping that some one else will save him the pain. As for me, I cannot consent to join you in your unbelief; particularly as I have heard it from a person who professed to have been told it as a great secret by Mrs. H. M., with divers circumstances, the satisfaction of Mrs. Sargent in it, with sundry other particulars. If I could think, as you seem to do, that any incredulity on my part could avert, or even retard, the catastrophe, perhaps that might alter my way of going on. As it is, I have just fired off a letter of condolence, which I was engaged on when your letter reached me.

All your other pieces of news, barring the Duke's nomination for Chancellor, I am delighted to hear; your sermons, Dionysius, professorship (moral philosophy), 'Record,' and journey to Derby, and Beethoven are most satisfactory. I wish I could hope to join you in the last in any moderate time. However, I do expect you will take me to Rose Hill to hear some of it again, if it were only to remind me of those evenings I used to spend with you when at Iffley.

I am afraid you will have enough of my bass to satisfy you without Beethoven in the course of next term. [N.B.—He was to be in Froude's room over my head.]


January 25, 1834.
On my return from Derby I found your parcels, and I am doing your orders as quickly as I can. As to your letter to Rose, I fear it will be thought obscure. I confess I only partially understand it, and think this arises from the delicacy you have felt in assailing a bishop.

I am determined to be avenged on you for refusing to let {20} me put yours and your brother's initials [to your tracts?], and so leaving me in the lurch in my chivalrous support of Pusey.

We are going to put the tracts absolutely in Turrill's hands, to print and to sell. They are selling very well in town.

Thanks for your tract on the Eucharist.

[I think Pusey, who had not yet joined the Tract Movement, objected to the absence of the initials of each writer at the end. His own tracts in the sequel always had his initials, and it was thus that he became identified with all the tracts, for he was the only acknowledged writer of them. N.B.—Pusey fell ill in February 1834, and could not take part in anything if he would.—J. H. N.]

Mr. Newman always speaks of Mr. Keble as the chosen censor of the tracts. The following letter shows him in that position:—


January 30, 1834.
In consequence of Palmer's wishing it so much, I have fixed to go to London next week. In my way I mean to take Oxford.

I am rather horrified at having sent back your sermon without an opinion. I was in such a hurry that, I suppose, it escaped me; but I assure you I meant no such conclusion as you have come to. I want the sermon re-written, and then printed with a note, certifying that such an operation was performed. For I think the sentiments most good and seasonable, but the composition too hurried.

Thank you for sending back that fog, which I have sent to Chalford, to see whether Tom (his brother) and Prevost, can extract any sunbeams from it. Somehow, I am in a very foggy condition, but a spirt to London may help me. Pray go up with me, and let us be like the political union, and arrange a regular plan of operations. If you are not there, there is no saying how the Establishment men may corrupt me.

As to the initials, we are both of us [he and his brother, Mr. T. Keble] decidedly of opinion that they will hurt the effect, if not the sale, of the tracts. One of people's reasons {21} for reading such things is the pleasure of guessing who wrote this or that. For the same reason T. K. is disquieted at 'Richard Nelson's' being known.

I hope you approve our Gloucester doings. I only fear we have given up the temporalities too much.


Spring 1834.
Having heard from Mr. Harrison that you were wishing to hear more particular intelligence of Edward, and yet would not write for fear of disturbing him, I write a few lines to say that Dr. Wootton assures me there is no disease. He has relinquished, at Dr. W.'s desire, all intention of lecturing this term; and soon as Dr. W. thinks it advisable for him to move, we are to go to the sea. Dr. Wootton acknowledges that he thinks him very delicate. At present, he ought to see no one.

In order to show when Dr. Pusey's connexion with the Movement really began, it is well to extract the following entries from the private journal:

January 25, 1834.—I returned to Oxford.
January 26.—Called on Pusey, who was ill.
February 2.—Pusey still ill. I was not let see him.
February 16.—All this time Pusey very unwell.
April 16.—Letter from Pusey [who therefore had gone away, and was still away].
April 22.—I put on committee [against declaration] with Burton … and Pusey [who by that time, I suppose, had returned, and was well].


February 4, 1834.
Many thanks to you for finding time, amid your many occupations, to write to me the letter I received yesterday.

[N.B.—Before the penny post letters were few, and long, which, I think, will explain my silence. One did not like to write without a good deal to say, and (a second obstacle) saying a good deal.—J. H. N.]

I am truly happy that my little contingent to the Oxford Tracts is approved of. I was aware it was out of print. {22} Here, on the very frontiers of episcopacy, I do think I could do some little good with more copies. In the packet, about the middle of last mouth, I got your tracts up to No. 17, and your records to No. 12. I have given copies of each to the clergyman of the parish, and am amused by tracing slight touches of their effect in every one of his sermons which I hear. They have, I am sure, been useful to me, in the way of instruction. The 'Ember weeks' I was in a state of the most profound ignorance about, without having in the least a valid excuse for being so.

Is the chair of moral philosophy an object to you? is it to be carried by votes of masters? and, if so, is it likely to be sharply contested? Give me timely notice, and I will be in Oxford to keep a certain anniversary with you. Now do not scruple to answer.

With the new Chancellor [Note 1], as things go, and with the fear of a Liberal before my eyes, I am disposed to be satisfied. The history of his election I, of course, could not divine till I received your letter. If not a true friend of the Church, the Duke has for two or three years, and those critical ones, been the first honest and consistent enemy of its enemies—and his election gives no sanction to the proceedings of the slighters of Church discipline or the plunderers of Church property.


February 5, 1834.
It seems that ministers are fairly frightened, and have quite abandoned any notion of spiritual reform in our Church; for this, no doubt, we may thank the Movement ...

The Bishop of Edinburgh begged me to thank you for the tracts, which he exceedingly admired both for their talent and for their Apostolical principles.

So the Duke is in—we might be much worse off.

The following letter is written under a feeling of progress, and has a hopeful tone:


Oriel: February 9, 1834.
The address to the Archbishop will be signed altogether by 8,000 they say now. Six thousand names are presented; {23}addresses are to come yet through the Bishops of Exeter, Llandaff, &c. I am sorry to hear what you say about Durham, and cannot quite understand it. At first the Bishop of Durham [Van Mildert, the last prince bishop] had scruples, but, I was told, had overcome them. Rose was at first afraid the address opened the door too much; it was, indeed, far more lax than we sent it to London. Indeed, so much altered that we may safely say it was not ours. All allusion to the iniquity of extra-ecclesiastical interference was cut out; and our words 'the restoration and completion' of the Church system were changed into 'renewal and correction.' However, to my mind, the very fact of addressing the Archbishop is enough, and it has answered its purpose. Certainly its tendency hitherto has been eminently conservative. Report says that the meeting at Lambeth was most gratifying. The Archbishop was almost affected, and everybody was very happy. They say there has not been such a day for the Church for years. If we can but organise, we shall do wonders.

You have seen, I suppose, the lay declaration. I know nothing about it. They seem getting on very well ... I still think there ought to be letters in the 'British,' or somewhere, on the genius of the Catholic polity, the relation of the Church, as such, to the world and the civil power, the various aspects which it has been seen under at different times, the methods of reconciling contending claims, &c. &c. Do you know Warburton's 'Alliance'? All should be connected with our present prospects, to show the importance of such considerations. For myself, I have all along said I would do nothing to disturb existing relations; but it is hard if we may not prepare for contingencies; and doubtless in proportion as the relations are altered by the civil power, it is the duty of the Church to demand corresponding alterations in its favour. it is a remarkable fact (which a friend tells me) that, of the concessions mutually made on Warburton's theory of Church and State, the State has resumed all hers, yet retained all the Church's.

February 9.
The electors [of the moral professorship] are the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors, the Dean of Ch. Ch., and the Presidents of Magdalen and St. John's. I am not known personally to any, except, slightly, to the President of St.. John's, {24} but I think I have a fair chance—first, because no one else is standing; next, because the estate which feeds the professorship is bankrupt, and the office is a sinecure of trouble. I have very little earnestness for the office except the name is a good thing. I have quite enough to do without mastering Hobbes and Epictetus.

Poor Duke! Every one must feel for him; we owe him so much, and there is something so great about him; but it is strange how vexed every one is at the election. Ch. Ch., because it has been outwitted; Merton, &c., because the winning party is the Tory, &c. Numbers say now, 'O that it had been the Archbishop!' and some ask why Keble and I did not bring him forward—which we did as far as in us lay.


Spring, 1834.
I had thought of calling on you today, but on the whole judged it more prudent not. Tomorrow morning we propose leaving Oxford for the Isle of Wight, to return, I trust, by God's blessing, to my duties at the beginning of next term.

I wished much to talk with you about many things—specially about the Sacrament of Baptisim. Men need to be taught that it is a Sacrament, and that a Sacrament is not merely an outward badge of a Christian man's profession; and all union, I think, must be hollow which does not involve agreement, on principles at least, as to the Sacraments. Great good also would be done by showing the true doctrine of Baptism in its warmth and life, whereas the Low Church think it essentially cold. Could not this be done, avoiding technical terms? I know nothing, or little, as to the reception such a tract would meet with, but you have to decide whether holding back is Christian prudence or compromise. [N.B.—Pusey had not yet cordially joined the Tract Movement. The above is a gentle protest against the first tracts. He had written, I think, the one on Fasting already.—J. H. N.]

Can you tell me whether the poor are invited to sign the lay petition, or those only who have some sort of property? I am writing into the country about it. {25}


March 12, 1834.
I came up alone to town, and visited in the course of the day Turrill's shop. I was surprised to find that nothing had appeared since January: but the appearance yesterday of a copy of your sermons (for which let me express my best thanks) affords a plausible solution of the mystery. Now that that labour is off your hand, the warning trumpet will begin, I suppose, to breathe again, and with no uncertain sound.

 … Did you read in the last 'Edinburgh' the article 'A Rhymed Plea for Tolerance'? It contains the most open and unblushing avowal of the 'Liberal' creed which the reviewers have yet, I think, hazarded. Nothing, I believe, will open the eyes of the bulk of their adherents. It is astonishing how few people can perceive or trace a gradual change, either in their own opinions or in those of the world around them.


March 14, 1834.
I am floored as to the professorship. I heard of no other candidate till the day before, i.e. this day week, when the Principal of St. Mary Hall (Hampden) was named, and has succeeded.

The tracts have been delayed from several causes, chiefly from the necessity of reprints, and, since our object is to scatter information, the same, if there is a demand, do as well as new tracts. And now that they are known, there is not that violent hurry about publishing on. We have, indeed, the prospect of a regular sale. If we publish new ones, it would, of course, be an experiment, whereas we are sure of these selling—that is, we know they are called for … I am coming to town the second week in April to attend the Christian Knowledge Society meeting on Tuesday, April 8. Rose, too, will be in town, and there are several other persons I wish to talk to.

The Duke has begun his campaign by advising us strenuously to resist the London University granting degrees in arts and divinity, and there is to be a convocation next week about it. Indeed, it does seem a little too bad that the Dissenters are to take our titles. Why should they call themselves {26} M.A., except to seem like us? Why not call themselves Licentiates, &c.? And what is to hinder the Bishops being bullied into putting up with a London M.A.? Certainly they would soon.

We are preparing an agitation against some of the details of the Marriage Bill; but I trust the Dissenters will settle this for us without our trouble.


March 19, 1834.
I am glad to hear so good an account of the sale of the tracts. If they are in demand I am all for striking while the iron is hot. Another reason against delay is the speed with which events march on us. The Dissenters seem likely to carry all before them; and for the efforts of all true Churchmen moments are precious. There seems a sort of delusion over people's minds on every subject connected with 'Christian Liberty.' They do not seem to comprehend the simplest arguments, the most common dictates of justice on the point.

At this time Mr. Keble was engaged upon his 'Ode on the Duke of Wellington's Installation,' for which Dr. Crotch was composing the music. Mr. Newman had written on this point: 'I hope Crotch will do your Ode justice.' Later on, hearing of some difficulties on the part of the composer, he writes to Mr. Keble:

I like your Ode uncommonly. I would not budge one step for Dr. Crotch. His letter most amusing, and your counter-suggestions are amusing, too ... I would go so far for Dr. C. as to offer him your frigate, which certainly does better for music than the long ode.

In a following letter he inquires, 'How do you and Crotch get on?' Mr. Keble answers, 'Crotch has swallowed the frigate whole.'

At this time the proposed Marriage Bill was exciting much attention. Sir R. Inglis and Mr. Gladstone were consulted by the Church party. Mr. Newman had put (March 3) the following questions to Mr. Keble: {27}

1. Can clergymen lawfully give out in church a mere secular matter—the marriage of Dissenters?

2. Can a religious M.P. vote for a measure which allows of marriage by any, and therefore, if so be, merely civil rites?

3. Supposing the Bill to pass, might we not get some quid pro quo—that is, that no clergyman need marry any but Churchmen—an important principle.


March 18, 1834.
Harrison and I have concocted the foregoing petition [against the Marriage Bill]. It is likely the Dissenters themselves will do our business for us by their clamouring against the Bill. I propose to get a show of signatures; I do not care much how many or how few. I will not alter anything in order to gain signatures.


March 21, 1834.
You will think me changeable; I am going to leave out parts of my petition in order to get more subscriptions. Read Harrison's letter. Rose's objects, I think, are in the main just, and Harrison (not apt to be led away) agrees with him. However, I will not without your leave. I want you to consider the lawfulness of the principle of my alterations.

What do I gain by this? It is a further step in bringing together and organising (drilling) men who think alike, which has been one's object all along. Besides, a petition with Rose's name to it will make us heard. And, after all, the act of resisting on conscience is what we want to force on men's minds, and, if it is really done, no matter whether the words of the petition are a little stronger or weaker.

As to the House of Commons, let us give them the chance of treating our protest well. Has any Bishop in the Upper House ever manfully protested? We must bear the burden of our rulers.

On sending the petition on the Marriage Act Mr. Newman turns to another subject—the Eucharist. {28}


Oriel: March 24, 1834.
I enclose the petitions and the first part of Bishop Cosin. My view of the latter matter is this: It is useless to attempt to draw men to contemplate duly the expressions, &c. of our Services on the subject of the Eucharist till they have exercised their minds on the subject. The strongest words fall as dead to those who are used to them. Some insight into the difficulties and controversy of the subject is necessary in the case of those who have long explained the doctrine away. Many men have no notion of any meaning of 'mystical' but that of figurative. [Does not Mill somewhere say that 'mystical' means 'supernatural'?] They have no notion of a real Presence. I think Cosin will be useful in opening their minds, and preparing them for your tract. They will, as if against 'Transubstantiation,' often say, 'Who doubts this?' 'What repetition is this?' yet all the while will gain something, e.g. I cannot conceive they will think my expressions in the 'Week-day Lecture' strange, whatever they may think of their prudence, after reading Cosin.

Next, I should like a tract against Hoadley, giving and refuting his view, showing how it had influenced the 'Companion to the Altar,' &c.; and then at length I should like yours to come. I say all this to explain my publishing Cosin first, and hope I have not overdone my view.

On March 11, 1834, Mr. Newman's first volume of sermons came out—published by Messrs. Rivingtons.

The following letter to Mr. Rose is from a draft preserved by Mr. Newman, the original of his letter not having been returned to him. Mr. Rose seems to have expressed annoyance at the question of the Association:


March 30, 1834.
As to the matter of the Association, Keble, Froude and myself were always against it. There is as much association now as ever there was in our plan, and it is increasing. I mean that I am entering into correspondence with strangers in different places on Church matters. We never contemplated {29} more than an Association based upon common views, i.e. just as much as exists between you and me at this moment. So we began; but Palmer went to Hook, and Hook, Palmer and some others formed the Association you speak of, and Palmer came back and talked me over. (Here I use your words: 'I was blind like others for a little while, in the strongest feelings of regard and admiration for those who formed it,' &c.) So I suspended the tracts, sorely against my will, and joined in bringing out that prospectus for an Association which I never liked, and never gave in to till Ogilvie gave his assent and corrected it,' [Note 2] [This lasted six weeks.] Froude and Keble being most indignant. At the end of that time, directly your letter came to me, I abjured the Association and went on with the tracts. As to the address to the Archbishop, I no more considered it the work of a formal Association than I do now this marriage petition I have sent to you. If you think it worth while to ask Palmer, he will confirm all this. But it is not, and the only reason I say so much about it is from anxiety not to seem to have taken a course which you disapprove.

Really I am deeply pained at your annoyance. As to what you think I meant by 'sudden conservatism,' it really never entered into my imagination. Indeed I cannot master what you think I meant. Whatever I meant certainly was nothing which I should not be quite willing any one should say of me any day.


April 1, 1834.
 … I wish you a better office [Note 3]; and that you will have in appeasing poor Rose, who (in my private opinion) ought not to waste himself on that Magazine any longer. It is quite plain that he in some measure forgets from month to month what he wrote the number before; and no wonder. But it proves he has too much to do. It never can be necessary for the Church that men should do grave things in a hurry—can it? And yet he does the thing so very well, 'tis a thousand pities he should give it up. Why can't he take a partner? ... When shall we give up expecting one another to be consistent? {30}


Oriel College: April 3, 1834.
 … What do you mean by thinking me violent, and talking of my stern orthodoxy? Do you not recollect, when you began to read Aristotle with me, your declaring we did differ certainly, and your finding, when we opened to each other, that we quite agreed? Nor that other time when we were cantering on Bullington, and you declared a sermon of mine about the King and kingly power, which you had not heard, must be a peg beyond you, and I on the other hand said and showed that I did not wish to go one jot further than Blackstone, and you at length acquitted me? And now again you are already beginning to find, in spite of what you say, that I am especially moderate in Church matters; that, if there is one merit I have, it is extreme moderation. Your last letter half admits this. Do not you believe any stray speeches ignorantly circulated by unphilosophical mouths to be mine; and tell your friend who said that if I had been a born Roman Catholic I should have died one, that he would have died a Dissenter had he been born one, and then we have merely to battle it, which is best to be, a Dissenter or a Roman Catholic.

In giving the following letter to Mr. Keble on Mr. Rose's state of feeling, it must be remembered that Mr. Rose had on his hands an amount of work and responsibility that would try the most vigorous constitution, and that his health was rapidly failing. Such a state of health was no doubt enough to account for any irritability that we are to gather his letters had betrayed, and which Mr. Newman treats tenderly in the following letter:


Oriel: April 3, 1834.
I cannot recollect whether Rose has committed himself to our view as regards the Irish Sees. Indeed I never thought he had a view. I never have reckoned him as in his opinions one of ourselves, so to say. I have thought him a man of high and ardent mind, keen lively perceptions, and ready eloquence, but deficient in the power of taking an accurate and firm view {31} of any subject which was clouded by political interests and the influences of friends and superiors. Our view, whether right or wrong, he has not seemed to me to grasp, or to be likely to grasp. Doubtless if he was a good deal with Froude or you, he would ex animo take your side; then, when he got to London he would shift. I perfectly coincide in what you say about his inconsistency or forgetfulness; only I have ever taken it for granted ... and now he seems utterly unconscious that he wrote to us for an answer to the Bishop of Ferns. Besides, till I reminded him, he quite forgot that he was the person who recommended the address to the Archbishop. I cannot help thinking he (unawares) excogitates his explanation of past facts as he writes.

I wrote him as kind a letter as ever I could, and did not say anything by way of vindication, thinking it best to wait. However I am not sure he is not sick of the Magazine, and finds the Chaplaincy in the way of it. If so, he would be likely to magnify any little vexation ... so that I do not look at his frettings as against us so much as against his occupation. Your name has not been even hinted at. I cannot tell whether he thinks of you or not. There are many besides you, and they on the spot [which you are not], whom he might name to himself—Williams, Copeland, Pusey, Christie, &c.

As to consistency, what you say is quite true. Really I should say that consistency is one of the properties of an inspired teacher, and none but him.


March 31, 1834.
Excuse this strange paper; I am writing from the Tower in the midst of an audit.

 … The Church is certainly in a wretched state; but not a gloomy one to those who regard every symptom of dissolution as a ground of hope. Not that I would do anything towards the undoing, or will fail both tooth and nail (so be it) to resist every change and degradation to which it is subjected. But, after all, I see a system behind the existing one, a system indeed which will take time and suffering to bring us to adopt, but still a firm foundation. Those who live by the breath of State patronage, who think the clergy must be gentlemen, and the Church must rest on the great, not the {32} multitude, of course are desponding. Woe to the profane hands who rob us of privilege or possession! but they can do us no harm. In the meantime, should (by any strange accident) the course of events fall back into its old channel, I will not be a disturber of the Church, though it is difficult to see how this return can be ...


April 9.
I have altogether succeeded with Rose. He will insert my anti-Ferns letter if he can find it; and I am to re-write it if it is not forthcoming. He seemed to me jealous that you had done so little for him lately; said you wrote him one or two Church articles last year, that he was pressed for subjects, &c. I think a kind friendly letter from you (not alluding to this matter at all, but encouraging him) would be very acceptable. How would you find occasion? Could you from Sedgwick's most extravagant attack on him? I send you the 'Standard' that you may see it. By all means write him some paper, on any Church subject not touching on Erastian topics, i.e. if your conscience will let you.

Rivington has taken the tracts. Turrill is, I suppose, honest, but he is stupid and puzzle-headed. When he will settle with us I cannot form a conjecture.

My friend Bowden is so desirous of meeting you; he would come down any day he heard you were likely to be here.


April 8, 1834.
Joannibus Keble et Newman. Fratres ignavissimi, ut quid fecistis nobis sic? as St. Thomas says to the Bishop of Poictiers [Note 4] ... The Bishop [of Barbadoes] is a thorough Z, and I can make no impression on him, though I think I have frightened him. If he had not been as kind to me as one man can be to another, I should be terribly provoked with him sometimes.

I don't admire the 'Voice from North America,' whose-ever it is. Also I think Rose is turning a Z again. What business has he to put Whewell in the 'British Magazine,' and to talk so much of Church rates? You may like to know {33} of my health; I really think I am getting well. I left England in the impression that I was [minunthadios]. Since I have conceived hopes I have become much more careful. I should not wonder, if I stayed here, if I get quite rid of my cough.

The Bishop's library is a great piece of luck. I don't think I am wasting my time here, independent of my health. I don't ask how any one is, for I shall certainly be gone before I can have an answer; and when I shall go to Yankland I do not know.


April 1834.
As to Froude, I know of course no more than the letters have told us both; and the first was so flattering that I was disappointed at the other; yet on consideration I see no additional reason for alarm. It seems much as it used to be, and we cannot be wrong in hoping the best. Any one who remembers him three or four years ago must acknowledge that to have him now is much more than we could have been sure about. I wish him strong enough (please God) to take duty and wait on some flock. I think he would get more calm and less young in his notions, or rather in his way of putting them, which makes people who do not know him think him not a practical man.

What a wise, old letter! Well, good-bye.


Berlin: April 1834.
I have not yet seen all your cheap translations of the Fathers ['Records of the Church' or 'Tracts for the Times'], but Pusey has promised to send them. What an incalculable good, as an instrument in the hand of Providence, this address to the Archbishop has been!


Oriel: April 21, 1834.
 … We have another iron in the fire. Indeed I think the more the better. I ant not quite sure all persons will approve of the object. It is to petition the King against the {34} desecration of Westminster Abbey by the music-meeting. Many men feel very strongly about it here; and it will be a point of agreement between your Saurinians [Evangelicals] and the High Church, which we want much, opposing them as we do in Lincoln's Inn Fields [Christian Knowledge Society]. I suppose we shall have a public meeting, but in all these cases one has a great many failures; so I shall not be surprised if it comes to nothing.

P.S.—It is as clear as day that the Vice-Chancellor is bound by oath to administer the statutes; though the Legislature makes tests illegal at matriculation, he has sworn to impose them till Convocation rescinds the statute. [At this time the Vice-Chancellor imposed the Thirty-nine Articles, and the observance of the statutes, by oath, on every undergraduate on matriculation.—J. H. N.] Qu.: How will you induce to do so a body consisting of irresponsible individuals, numbers of them coming up from the country to vote, and then returning, voting too by ballot? The Legislature could only take away our charter if we were obstinate, and it would virtually be taken away by yielding; for the admission of Dissenters would be a repeal, not of one, but of all our statutes.

The feeling in Oxford against the admission of Dissenters is shown in the following letter to his friend Mr. Bowden. After details of the universal stir the letter goes on:

May 2, 1834.
The list is followed up by a second declaration, of which I hope to send you copies, from members of Convocation. The undergraduates have got up a petition to Parliament with from 900 to 1,000 signatures. I suppose the Heads of Houses will move with a University petition in due time. The Parents' and Guardians' list has begun. We are now circulating model petitions. I enclose specimens. Do what you can with them. We have other measures in prospect.

Mr. Bowden writing with some objection to the 'Parents' Declaration,' Mr. Newman announces at once:


I am too much hurried to argue now about the Parents' Declaration; but, though feeling the force of what you say, do {35} not repent it. Curious enough, Rose writes down to praise it, and condemn the plan of petitions. I trust all will be well; we have 460 names in about four days.


Bologna: May 11, l834.
My original intention in writing was to thank you for your book (the 'Arians'), of which, I believe, I was the only diligent peruser in Rome. Bunsen happened to be very busy when it arrived, and Pusey [Mr. Philip Pusey] was not in a theological mood; so it was made over to me, and I let some of my friends have a bare sight of it. It is impossible for me to express the pleasure it gave me for many reasons. Wilson had given me such an awe (you know I used to be afraid of you) of your severely practical philosophy, that I would not have dared broach before you the result of my Coleridge reveries, as I look back on them now; but if I could have mastered the clearness of thought and expression, and summoned courage to sport the 'view' before you, it should have been in the words you have used, beginning: 'What, e.g., is the revelation of general moral laws,' to the end of the correcting principle in the next page … I cannot say how rejoiced I felt to discover that this great and comprehensive key to all philosophy had obtained the sanction of a calm mind like yours [Note 5]. I thought, after all, that poor Coleridge was not so bad a fellow, if well used; and determined to speculate no more, but to practise the caution which you subjoin by a diligent application to the practical duties of life. I have often—how often!—wished that it had been my lot to have been at Rome the same winter as you ... Bunsen took your book with him; he was much struck with the beginning, and with the economy. I don't know whether you will succeed in shaking him in his strong Protestantism. He says the Council of Nice was the beginning of Popery, of adding an authority to Scripture ... Wiseman has desired me to draw your attention to a German work by Möhler, on Athanasius and his times. Very Roman Catholic, I believe. {36}

The following form of approval of Mr. Newman's sermons (the writer's name not given) stands among his letters:

REV. ——  —— TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN

Post Office, Bath: May 11, 1834.
I have perused with much satisfaction the volume of Sermons lately published by you, and take the liberty to ask whether it would be convenient to compose some [as Manuscript Divinity!—J. H. N.] and upon what terms [!].

TO HIS SISTER, J. C. N. [Note 6]

May 18, 1834.
As to Berkeley, I do not know enough to talk, but it seems to me, while a man holds the moral governance of God as existing in and through his conscience, it matters not whether he believes his senses or not. For, at least, he will hold the external world as a divine intimation, a scene of trial whether a reality or not—just as a child's game may be a trial. I have tried to say this in the 'Arians,' ch. i. § 3. I conceive Hume denied conscience, Berkeley confessed it. To what extent Berkeley denied the existence of the external world I am not aware; nor do I mean to go so far myself (far from it) as to deny the existence of matter, though I should deny that what we saw was more than accidents of it, and say that space perhaps is but a condition of the objects of sense, not a reality. As to Reid, I used to know something of him some twelve years since, when I was preparing for standing at Oriel. He is a Scotchman who pretends to set Plato to rights. I have no business to talk of writers I have not studied; but your Scotch metaphysicians seem to me singularly destitute of imagination ...

I talked to you about Hoadley because Rickards's great ground against us is that language about the Eucharist which was allowable in the Fathers, is dangerous since the Popish corruption. To this Keble answers, and I think well, that Hoadleysm has introduced a new era, and that Protestantism, though allowable three centuries since, is dangerous now.

You will do a good work if you talk over Rickards and make him take in and recommend the tracts, but I cannot {37} retract one single step from what I have said in them. I cannot say with truth that I repent of any one passage in them. If it were all to come over again (I do not think I should have the courage, for attacks make one timid, but) I should wish to do just the same. If he says anything against the 'Week-day Lecture,' do not argue, merely speak of Hoadleysm, and get him to read Bishop Cosin; not as if Bishop Cosin was a defence of us, but as containing a true view. A book like his gradually imbues the mind with the truth, so that, when it comes back to what offended it at first, it is no longer startled.


May 27, 1834.
I often think that Christians are remiss in not acknowledging the great debt of gratitude they owe to those who have first planted in them the seeds of that faith, the fruit of which we know is more valuable than the whole world. This, my dear sir, is, I confess, my case as regards you. I have often thought that, if I had been enabled to do any good, what encouragement I should receive from knowing it, and it is upon this principle that I have determined thus freely to acknowledge that I owe to you more than I can repay, and bless the day that brought me under your tuition at Alban Hall, and under your ministry at St. Mary's. I often feel I wish I could myself become a learner again at the feet of some Christian Gamaliel, that I might return at some future period to instruct others with more judgment and power than at present.


May 27, 1834.
I have been for some days on the point of writing to you, excited thereto by reading some of your old letters of last year, the kindness of which prompted me almost irresistibly to write, if it were only to say how very highly I prized it. Today I was delighted by the unexpected sight of your handwriting ... I have loved you like a brother: and my saddest feelings have been often in thinking that, when in the events of life I am separated far from you, you will, perhaps, disapprove {38} or misunderstand my conduct, and will cease to feel towards me as you have done; or that our minds will grow asunder by the natural progress of change which goes on in this changing world; and, therefore, every such mark of continued kind feeling warms my heart. How wonderful will it be hereafter if we attain to a state where souls can hold intercourse immediately, and where space makes no division between them! My dearest father used repeatedly to say that one great idea of the happiness of Heaven in his mind, was that there can be no misunderstandings, and jealousies, and suspicions, such as are so common here even among good men.

The proceedings of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as has been shown in one or two preceding letters, were now occupying the attention of Mr. Newman and his friends, certain changes in the management which indicated a desire to meet the liberal tendencies of the day, exciting their suspicion or disapproval. The following letter from Mr. Bowden describes the proceedings at a monthly meeting:


June 4, 1834.
I attended yesterday the Christian Knowledge Monthly Meeting. About 150 persons were present … A report was read of the Standing Committee respecting the Tract Committee ... the only other matter of importance was the annual report of the Committee of General Literature; at the conclusion of which the Bishop of Gloucester rose and said: 'Well, now the only thing to decide is, what donation we shall make them this year. Last year we gave them 1,000l. Shall we—I do not know what to say—I speak timidly—shall we double the grant, and this year give 2,000l.?' and this, at a late hour of the day, and when two-thirds of the members had quitted the room, was about to be passed sans phrase! I, among others, rose and suggested postponement for consideration. After much talk on this point, the sense of the meeting was taken; and, the show of hands being nearly equal, a division took place, when there appeared for postponement 27, against it 24. The question stands postponed accordingly till the first Tuesday in July. I want you, therefore, to furnish me with whatever information you can {39} … 'The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties' I am aware of, and should I find that still upon the catalogue, I shall not fail to expose it.

I had some talk with Joshua Watson. He said: 'I believe you are in correspondence with Pusey. I wish you would ask him what we are to do with our University petition, which lies at Rivington's and which has about 200 names.' He afterwards, upon the principle that 'all Newman's friends should know each other,' introduced me to Rose, with whom I had only time to shake hands.


June 7, 1834.
I will give what assistance I can to your Tract Committee. If you receive subscriptions tell me, I have another paper, 'A Catechism on the Eucharist,' nearly ready, which I will send you and, if you like to have a few plain sermons, I will look out some for you. But on this condition; that if anything strikes you as better otherwise, you will either alter it or send it back to me for revision; for I will not conceal from you that I think many of the first tracts you sent out wanted a careful consideration, and the pruning knife; but I suppose you were glad to publish them as fast as you could get them, and afraid of damping the ardour of your contributors ... [Note 7]

Considering the enormous difficulty in getting tracts into circulation that have to make their way without the sanction of an accredited Society, it may be matter of surprise that the 'Tracts for the Times' succeeded in gaining attention at once. Mr. Bowden did his best, working with great intelligence, but of course without experience. Mr. Turrill, the first publisher, failed to satisfy necessary requirements, and leading publishers were almost unpersuadable on the point.

Thus Mr. Newman writes pathetically to Mr. Bowden:

I find Parker here has an insuperable objection to selling the tracts, which he says are not in his way. When you see Rivington, will you suggest the possibility of his throwing them into other channels? for what Parker feels, I suppose, other booksellers will. {40}

Probably they never got into circulation through ordinary trade machinery. They were read by thinkers and talkers, they were widely distributed, and universally discussed; but at a vast expense of money, trouble, and worry to the writers, and with real difficulty to the readers, who could rarely procure them through the ordinary channels. No doubt it was the influence of what has been described as 'that wonderful personality,' already known by report and widely felt beyond the circle to whom Mr. Newman was known even by sight, which overcame obstacles that under ordinary circumstances would have been insurmountable. Mr. Newman thus relieves his mind on this subject, in a postscript to a letter bearing the date June 10, 1834:

I am full of disgust of all sorts. I am quite put out about the tracts. That they have done good I quite feel, but such large sums have been subscribed for their printing that I wish to do as much with them as ever I can.


Oxford, June 12.
May I beg your acceptance of the accompanying little volume? Wilberforce mentioned to me yesterday that you had been so kind as to give him some of your admirable tracts for me.


June 16, 1834.
Mr. Lyte has a particular wish to be introduced to you. He is a person of very considerable attainments, an excellent speaker, and a most valuable help to keep mischievous people harmless. In a singularly difficult parish he has for ten years past given himself up to the duties of it with a patient perseverance and good management which have placed him very high in the opinion of all who know him.

The following letter shows how securely Mr. Newman's friends might reckon on his sympathy and thoughtful counsels {41} in their private difficulties, however his time and interest might be supposed to be absorbed by the demands and anxieties of the 'Movement':


Oriel College: June 15, 1834.
You must not be at all surprised or put out at feeling the difficulties you describe. It is the lot of all men who are by themselves, on first engaging on parochial duty, especially of those who are of an anxious turn of mind. I felt so much of it on starting that I should compassionate you very much unless I recollected that after a while the prospect before me cleared, as doubtless it will with you, through God's mercy. It certainly is very distressing to have to trust one's own judgment on such important matters, and the despondency resulting is made still more painful by the number of little, unimportant matters which must be decided one way or other, though without any good reason to guide the decision, and which in consequence are very fidgeting. You will not get over all this at once; yet in time all will be easy, in spite of whatever you may have to urge about your own disposition.

So much then generally, though you tell me not to speak in that way. Then as to your coldness which you complain of, I am sorry I can give no recipe here. I can only say that I have much to lament in that way myself; that I am continually very cold and unimpressed, and very painful it is but what can be done? Would we could so command our minds as to make them feel as they ought! But it is their very disease that they are not suitably affected according to the intrinsic value of the objects presented to them; that they are excited by objects of this world, not by the realities of death and judgment, and the mercies of the Gospel. Meanwhile, it is our plain duly to speak, to explain and to pray, even while we find ourselves cold, and, please God, while we thus do what is a plain duty, perchance He may visit us and impress us with the realities of the subjects we are speaking upon. Certain it is (looking at things merely humanly) the oftener you go to a sick person, the more you are likely at last to get interested in him. How can you expect to feel anything the first or second time, when you as yet know nothing of his state? Interest will grow upon you, as you ascertain his {42} state of mind. It is an irrational despondency and an impatience to complain because nothing comes of your first visit. Be sure also that what he is to get from you is not communicated all at once—nay, not in words. What he will first gain will be the sight of your earnestness ... and will thence be impressed with the reality of that which makes you earnest, your coming day by day to him, sacrificing your own ease, &c.

A passage in the 'Apologia' throws light on the allusion in the following letter:

At that time [Note 9] I was specially annoyed with Dr. Arnold, though it did not last into later years. Some one, I think, asked in conversation at Rome, whether a certain interpretation of Scripture was Christian? It was answered that Dr. Arnold took it; I interposed, 'But is he a Christian?' The subject went out of my head at once; when afterwards I was taxed with it, I could say no more in explanation than (what I believe was the fact) that I must have had in mind some free views of Dr. Arnold about the Old Testament—I thought I must have meant 'Arnold answers for that interpretation, but who is to answer for Arnold?' ('Apologia pro Vita sua,' p. 33.)


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1. The Duke of Wellington.
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2. See letter to Bowden, November 13, 1833.
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3. Than the Moral Philosophy Professorship.
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4. Epist. St. Thom. Ep. cxliv.
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5. Early in the following year there occurs the following sentence in the 'Chronological Notes': 'During this spring (1835) I for the first time read parts of Coleridge's works; and I am surprised how much I thought mine, is to be found there.
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6. Then visiting at Stowlangloft.
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7. For answer to this letter see p. 51.
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8. Author of the hymn 'Abide with me.'
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9. In 1833 when Mr. Newman was in Rome.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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