Chapter 14. New Undertakings (1857-1859)

{417} I HAVE already said that the renewal of Newman's term of office as Rector of the Catholic University of Ireland at the end of 1857 proved little more than nominal. Fresh engagements soon absorbed his time and his thoughts during this period—the proposed new translation of Scripture, the conduct of the Rambler magazine, the foundation of the Oratory School. He did not set foot in Ireland until near the end of 1858, and then it was only to wind up his affairs as Rector preliminary to final resignation. Of the circumstances which ultimately led him to insist on resigning in place of still giving his name as Rector, a full account shall be given later on. For the moment we must speak of the special works which occupied him in 1858.

Newman was in constant correspondence with Mr. Frederick Capes, the Editor of the Rambler, to whom reference has already been made, and it was becoming evident to him that the keener and more active thinkers among English Catholics needed a guiding hand. They were reacting fiercely against the exuberant, and at times extravagant, statements on matters of doctrine or devotion which the writings of Louis Veuillot and Abbé Gaume presented in France, and those of Father Faber (to some extent) in England. There was a real danger lest they should abandon the Christian faith. In England they were greatly influenced by the writings of J. S. Mill and other upholders of the negative attitude on religion; and they pointed out that the current scholastic textbooks were insufficient to provide any effective antidote to the new theories of life set forth by these pioneers of modern agnosticism. Such subjects were dealt with by Mr. Capes and others in the Rambler, and there was a good deal of reckless writing {418} in the articles. Difficulties against Catholic belief were very frankly recognised in them; so was the inadequacy of this or that professed reply to them. But the learning, patience, and philosophy wanted for a satisfying treatment of such questions were not found in these brilliant sallies. The Bishops were busy men, and they were in most instances little qualified to deal with difficult intellectual problems except by way of censure of palpable excesses. Newman saw here a necessary task which called for his own special knowledge, gifts, and influence. W. G. Ward had long urged him to complete his notes on the subject dealt with in the Oxford University Sermons—the relations between Faith and Reason—and Mr. Capes' articles brought before him anew the importance of this enterprise. For some such work was urgently required to counteract the unsettling effect of such free speculative treatment as characterised the articles in question.

Newman contemplated, then, as his special contribution to the needs of the hour some analysis of the relations between Faith and Reason. He had something to say also on Biblical inspiration and other burning questions raised by historical research, in their relation to new points of view. This was the generation which saw Strauss' destructive criticism on the New Testament, Colenso's work on the Pentateuch, and 'Essays and Reviews.' To other able minds in the Catholic University the same problems were naturally present as to himself; and Newman planned some methodical work on lines which would help—though indirectly—towards their solution, in a Scientific Review which he proposed to establish in conjunction with Professor W. K. Sullivan of Cork. This review—of which I have spoken in an earlier chapter—was to keep its readers au courant of the trend and results of modern research and science, and obtain full consideration for them. It was at first to be called the University Register, but was finally designated the Atlantis.

While the Atlantis was actually in preparation—in August 1857—there came a letter from Cardinal Wiseman making definite a proposal of which Newman had heard a rumour two years earlier from Bishop Ullathorne—that he should undertake to edit the new English version of the Scriptures which the second Synod of Oscott in 1855 {419} had recommended. Newman now, as on so many former occasions, saw in the invitation a sign of God's Will. He reluctantly abandoned for the moment the projected work on 'Faith and Reason,' and accepted the invitation. The Atlantis was, however, persevered in.

The Cardinal's invitation first came on August 26, and was finally accepted on September 14.

'A greater honour, I feel,' Newman wrote, 'could not possibly have been done me than that which Your Eminence in that communication has conferred in selecting me for preparing an annotated English version of the Bible, and I beg Your Eminence, and, through you, the Episcopal body, to receive the heartfelt and most humble acknowledgement which so high and singular a mark of approbation and confidence demands at my hands.

'If I accept the work put upon me without hesitation or reluctance, it is not as if I did not feel its arduousness to be as great as its honour, but because nothing seems left to me but to obey the expression of a wish which comes to me from Your Eminence with the concurrence of a Provincial Council.'

Newman at once embarked on a large correspondence with a view to finding the most competent translators. It is interesting to note that almost without exception those scholars to whom he wrote for advice were the typical hereditary Catholics whom he had come more and more to respect and trust; Manning and Ward, indeed, are the only names of converts in his list. Mr. Tierney, Dr. Newsham, Dr. Husenbeth, Canon Waterworth, Dr. Maguire, Dr. Rock, Dr. Tate, Dr. Weathers, Canon Walker, Mr. Platt, and Dr. Williams were asked to suggest names and to help in revision of the work when it was done; Dr. Oliver, Canon Flanagan, and two others were asked to suggest names, though not to revise.

To W. G. Ward he at once entrusted the translation of the Psalms, at the same time telling him of the work he had projected on the intellectual basis of religious belief, and of his regret at having to set it aside. Ward, at that time in close contact with the difficulties of young and keen minds as Professor of Dogmatics at St. Edmund's College, replied in a letter of considerable interest, showing his own great {420} dissatisfaction at the somewhat perfunctory treatment in the Ecclesiastical Seminaries of the proofs of religion, and especially noting the dangerous effect of enforcing on young man as convincing—on the ground that they were approved as orthodox—arguments which, with the best intentions, they could not feel really to be convincing. He felt deeply the need for such a Philosophy of Faith as Newman alone could, in his opinion, give to the world.


'Old Hall, Ware: Michaelmas Day, 1857.
'My dear Father Newman,—Oddly enough I was projecting a letter to you when yours arrived, to congratulate you most warmly on this new work assigned to you. I had fancied there were many things which would make it greatly to your taste; as e.g. the quasi-literary character of the occupation, united to the fact that knowledge of theology is so important for it. And again, it seemed to give you a most important thing to do while not in any way plunging you into controversy. Certainly it will be most pleasing to your friends in making your name immortal; for every Catholic reading his vernacular Bible will have your name on his lips. Your memory will be embedded as it were in the English Bible. I am extremely sorry, therefore, to find from you it is so little to your taste; and certainly now I know what we should have got from you I do feel the thing extremely vexatious. For who is to do the important work you name [on Faith and Reason] except yourself, I can't imagine.

'I don't know whether it is any comfort to you to reflect that, as things are, you will give your name an enormous lift in Catholic Europe; whereas you would have been lucky (I incline to think) if your other work had not brought you into the Index. I don't at the moment see how you could have written it without expressing the dissatisfaction you feel with the arguments commonly brought; and they seem very touchy about that matter in Rome. Perrone speaks of someone "qui male audit inter theologos" because he doubts the cogency of the ordinary arguments; and there is mentioned in Hermes's condemnation his mode of speaking "circa argumenta quibus existentia Dei adstrui consuevit." And I suppose a line of philosophical thought which is substantially true and most important may find its way into the Index for a time. The Cardinal says that the being put on the Index is not a fact {421} which in any way calls for interior assent as to the falsehood of what is condemned, but only external submission and silence.

'I most fully feel with you that nothing is more clamorously required than an argument for Theism. You would be really surprised how much harm, even among ecclesiastical students, is done by the existing books. They grow up, half unconsciously, with the conviction that there is something argumentatively rotten at the foundation; and that the only safe way of keeping the faith is the resolute blinding of the reason. Dr. Errington amused me very much two years ago. For first he said it was shocking to say that every detail of Theism was not adequately proved by the existing arguments; and then when I raised particular difficulties, he replied at once: "Do you venture not to see force in an argument which satisfied the great mind of St. Thomas, &c. &c.," thus shifting in fact the whole thing from reason to grounds of faith. As if I could believe, even on the authority of the Church, that such or such an argument convinces me. Certainly a greater calamity could not befall one sceptically tempted than to come across the Catholic treatises "in quibus invictissime probatur" everything held by Catholics: and all others are held up to hatred and derision as an incredible compound of knavery and folly. There is no one speculative opinion which for years I have had more constantly in my mind than this, viz. that Theism is the one difficulty. Once get over this and the mere additional difficulties presented by Catholicism are mere child's play. And on the other hand it seems to me that Catholicism indefinitely facilitates the argument for Theism in various ways: e.g. in exhibiting persons (the Saints) who really act as a reasonable Theist would: and in taking away the tremendous impression on the imagination not (I really think) reason, caused by the world's practical atheism. And again the power and goodness of God as shown in the strength which He supplies for sanctity, &c. &c.

'You know immensely more than I do as to what passes in the world: but I am not in the least surprised at what you say (though I was not aware of it) as to the spread of Pantheism. Universalism is getting very common indeed they say, thanks I suppose to Maurice; and I suppose that will soon lead thinking minds into disbelief of Christianity; and then Theism would have a very poor chance.

'As to your question, I never attempted anything more dignified than endeavouring to earn a penny from Burns in the days of my poverty by translating the Vesper and Compline {422} Psalms (perhaps there were some others) into English somewhat resembling in character our old prayer-book version ... How unpretentious was the effort is plain from the fact that I have not the very slightest knowledge of Hebrew. I did not find it very difficult to preserve complete identity of sense with the Vulgate and yet giving it a run of the kind I mention. But the whole thing was very reasonably objected to, and Burns gave it up.

'I suppose you will have to employ a number of people. You know what my powers are,—considerable perhaps in one direction, extremely small in all others; and those others far the more requisite in your undertaking. But when I leave this (i.e. next July) if you think I can be of any possible service in any way, I shall be very glad indeed. About half of my time will be occupied in putting together my lectures and preparing them for press—but I should require a different sort of occupation to alternate ...

'I suppose it is difficult to exaggerate the intrinsic importance of the work if it is wished that Catholicism shall take a literary place in England ...

'I was delighted to hear from Manning that you have a new volume of sermons nearly out. Putting aside all public grounds, on private it has been a great privation to me the conversion of your energies into a secular channel. I find myself unable to knock up any interest in the "office and work of Universities" and long to hear from you some more things which will help me to save my soul after your old fashion.

I am, of course, most differently circumstanced, both as a correspondent and a student, now work has begun here again, and I have to work constantly, as if on a treadmill, to keep duly ahead. You would be extremely amused, considering my Oxford reputation, if you saw my studious habits. But I am thankful to say that my riding has made so completely a different man of me bodily, that I can hardly even imagine my former self.

'And this reminds me,—I wish you would turn over in your mind whether you could pay us a visit in the Isle of Wight in due time. I could arrange just as you pleased about no one else being there at the same time, &c. There are so many things I should like to ask which letters won't do, and my absurd riding, with the much more absurd necessity of a riding-school, makes it impossible for me to be away except when I happen to be ill and don't need riding. I could not go to the Isle of Wight in the summer till I had {423} erected my edifice,—then my horses crossed the water, and I was my own man …

'The letter on Fr. Faber I have been told is by Fr. Pagani. It is certainly able; but I cannot think it gives at all a fair representation. Take one particular case. He says those who are under Fr. Faber get dissatisfied with ordinary books and wish to be always in ecstasies. Now I never knew one of his people of whom that seemed true. Look at the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. I should say that if one thing more than another is remarkable in them, it is the way they bring religion to bear on the dullest and driest details of life. I quite admit great want of the philosophic spirit in his books—his tone here is not consistent with his tone there. So, in the very point in which I am at issue with him, I don't think his statements even in the same book are at all harmonious. But Father Pagani's line is totally different. Sed de his satis. Mrs. Ward sends her affectionate respects. I am ever,
Yours affectionately,
W. G. WARD.'

Newman soon hit on a plan for combining the contribution to philosophy and apologetic which Ward so greatly desired and his new version of the Bible. He designed the bold scheme of himself writing an elaborate introduction—Prolegomena was to be its title—to be prefixed to his translation of the Scriptures. This introduction was to be a work of apologetic especially designed to counteract the influence of the agnostic propaganda which was being carried on in the name of modern science. It is believed that he destroyed the unfinished MS. in 1877. The following was left among his papers, and appears to be the first rough note for it:

'In festo S. Gregorii
'In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

'In all defences of the Catholic Church, we must remember the history of Oza. 2 Reg. VI. and beware of irreverence, presumption, impatience.

'Even true things may be untruly said.

'Or they may be unseasonably said. There is a time for all things.

——————— {424}

'1. Consider first, for it comes first, that all our considerations are commenced in a state of profound and dense ignorance poured all around us.

'2. There are three worlds—that of the firmament, of the inferior animals, and of human society. Physical cause or Final cause unknown. Draw out in detail and by reference to the works of those who have treated of the heavens—of the plurality of worlds, of the instincts of animals &c.,—how utterly ignorant we are of more than certain phenomena of two of these worlds. Why created if created? If not created, how they came to be? And of the third practically also, if the great variety of opinions is any proof.

'There is then an infinity of things unknown and to be revealed to us.

'3. And unknown classes of things as well as things—unknown laws &c. On the narrowness of saying that all things must be on the analogy of things seen.

'Thus there are an infinite number of strange things, and everything unknown must be strange: "omne ignotum" &c. And when revealed, they would all of them necessarily startle us.

'4. In what sense things unknown are improbable—on antecedent improbability. Butler on chances of things being as they are. On the differences between imagination and reason.

'So far then we have got to this:—that strangeness is the characteristic of revelation if made.

'Next on the great strait we are in, from the improbability of there being nothing more to be known—or of our state [on earth] being one of scepticism. It is as difficult to acquiesce in that we are made for nothing, or that there is no end of our being, as to believe the dogmas of a revelation.

'This again is a reason for not being put out at difficulties in revelation when it is made—for while (as I have shown) revelation must be strange, scepticism is as strange or stranger.

'Then there is a God: i.e. utter scepticism is false.

'Next, if there be a God, the state of ignorance we are in implies that we are disinherited. Bring this out in detail. A son who does not know his father, is disowned by his father—there is a mystery.

'On final causes &c. &c. whether sound.

'1. One positive argument for the being of a God from conscience drawn out at length—the imperious voice. {425}

'Deductions. The proof and knowledge is personal—and though we may understand he is our Guide and Judge, we cannot so well, or except indirectly, tell His dealings towards others. This answers many difficulties about moral evil—because, while we know He is good to us, we cannot in the case of others know how they feel.

'2. We were so disinherited—for'

Here the notes break off and the author adds:

'(This is but the beginning of a large work which is to go on to defend the Church and its position in the world in the 19th century as confronted with, and as against the penetrating knowledge, learning and ability of the scientific men and philosophers of the day.)'

Father Neville told the present writer that Newman spoke to him of combining in these Prolegomena the argument for religion derivable from its history in the Chosen People with the argument urged from the point of view of the individual in the 'Grammar of Assent.' He had already in a famous work traced the argument from history in Christian times. Now, he was to trace it in the story of Israel. And just as the 'Essay on Development' and the 'University Sermons' were, in his opinion, mutually complementary, so this work—the sequel and amplification of both—was to fuse in one the two arguments; to express, what he had always maintained in opposition to disbelievers in revelation and even in natural religion, that the correspondence of religious belief to reality was evidenced in its life and growth in the race as well as in the individual. Physiologists tell us that the development in history of the species is epitomised in the growth of the human fœtus: a view which presents a certain analogy to Newman's treatment, from the point of view of life and development, of religious belief in the race and in the individual alike. The first rough sketch of this work was written with great labour and involved much reading.

It was more than a year after he had accepted the task of translating the Scriptures before he heard further from the Bishops on the subject. During this time progress had been made and a sum of money spent, of which Newman speaks as 'considerable to me though not great in itself.' He then {426} received two communications. Cardinal Wiseman forwarded to him without comment, through Dr. Ullathorne, a letter from the American Bishops deprecating Newman's work on the ground that Archbishop Kenrick of Baltimore was also engaged on a new English version of the Scriptures, and had already published part of it. He enclosed too the resolutions of a recent Synod of Baltimore in which it was decided that the English Bishops should be approached by the American with a view to securing one English version under the combined superintendence of Dr. Newman and Archbishop Kenrick, in place of two independent ones. Almost at the same time came a letter from the English Bishops informing Newman that expenses incurred in the work of translation might be met by the copyright being his own property—which, of course, meant that in the event of his translation not appearing they would not be met at all. Newman had himself proposed this plan when the scheme appeared hopeful, but Cardinal Wiseman had declined it. Now, after money was actually spent and when the appearance of the translation seemed doubtful, it was granted. Newman was indignant. He felt that it was for Cardinal Wiseman, at whose request he had undertaken the work, both to reply to the Americans and to meet necessary expenses. Naturally enough, with his fastidious taste in English style, co-operation with American writers, however able, would be difficult. Moreover, he had submitted his final list of translators to Cardinal Wiseman, and they were actually at work. He had not as yet been formally addressed on the new crisis, and therefore he made no formal reply. A month later, however, a letter containing similar information and proposals was addressed to himself by the Bishop of Charlestown. Newman in replying simply stated the history of his own appointment as official reviser, and said that he would abide by the decision of the English Bishops. Another American Bishop—the Bishop of Newry—wrote to Cardinal Wiseman urging that Newman should proceed with his task independently. But the Bishop also apparently received no reply. Once again the silence, the apparent apathy, and neglect of those at whose behest he was working, chilled Newman most painfully. {427} He heard no more—no word of explanation. He bade the translators pause in their work awaiting further instructions. He desisted from revising the Prolegomena. Two years later he heard from Archbishop Kenrick that, obtaining no response whatever from the English Bishops after a long delay, he was going on with his work with no further thought of combination between the American and the English versions. Newman replied in the following letter:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: July 8th, 1860.
'My dear Archbishop,—I have received from Mr. Shea a copy of the letter which your Grace was so good as to address to me through him on the subject of your translation of Scripture.

'I beg to congratulate you on the progress you are making towards the completion of your work, which will be not one of the least of the benefits which the good Providence of God will have given Catholics through your Grace. I earnestly trust and pray you may have health and opportunity to bring it to a termination.

'I did not know, what I find from your letter, that your Grace has been in some suspense as to the intention of the English Prelates with respect to it; for myself, as you seem to wish me to speak on the subject, I can only say that I have been in the same suspense myself and know nothing beyond the facts of the Bishop of Charlestown's letter. The Cardinal's many anxieties and engagements, and his late and present illness, doubtless are the cause of a silence which I am sorry you should have felt to be an inconvenience.

'Begging your blessing, I am, my dear Lord Archbishop,
With great respect,
Your faithful servant in Christ,
Of the Oratory.'

But Newman proceeded no further with his work, and the Bishops never urged him to proceed. He supposed they had forgotten all about it. Another great plan had been projected, and great hopes raised. Another year had been wasted. And yet another time the ecclesiastical rulers, after words of most flattering recognition, had seemed absolutely indifferent to the reality of his work [Note 1]. Newman never resumed the task. {428}

Of the final suspension of his work he wrote thus to Miss Holmes four years later:

'I found the Cardinal was washing his hands of the whole affair and throwing the responsibility upon me. First he threw all the money transactions on me—I was to make all engagements with the publishers, and the Bishops were to have nothing to do with it. To this I had assented, but next he gave me to manage the American difficulty—not that he said so—but he sent me the American Bishops' letters, wished me to answer them, and did not answer them himself. If I am right, he did not send me a single line with the American letters, but simply the letters. I foresaw clearly that I should have endless trouble with publishers, American hierarchy, Propaganda, &c. &c. if I took this upon me. So I waited till I heard something more about it, but I have never heard till this day anything.

'That there is some mystery about it, I know, though what it is I have not a dream. Fr. Faber, on his deathbed, told me that he knew how badly I had been treated in the matter—I did not ask him his meaning. A writer in the Union Review says that the project was "defeated by the remonstrances of a single bookseller, whose stock in trade proved to be a more valuable consideration than our intelligence." I never heard this before.

'This alone I felt—that the course of things if I went on would be this. (1) a literary trouble and anxiety which would last my life; (2) a vast deal of harassing correspondence on money matters, and pecuniary responsibility; (3) after all my translation to be so frittered away by Propaganda, Committee of Revision, ordinary revision, &c., that it would be made as great a hash of, as the Irish University has been hashed.

'So, though I lost good part of £100, I thought it well not to throw good money after bad.'

In point of fact Cardinal Wiseman had been both ill and preoccupied with an exceptional crisis in his administration. As Newman had not written to him, he probably supposed that the work of translation was still going on. However, the general lack of interest in the matter on the part of the Episcopate seemed to Newman unmistakable, and its effect on him was extremely painful. He had not the independent position of Archbishop Kenrick, and was naturally indisposed, in the face of the American protest and without {429} encouragement from the Episcopate, to push forward as his own a project which in the first instance he had been so urgently requested to undertake as a boon to Catholics and their rulers.

During the months in which Newman was engaged in his Prolegomena to the Scripture translation he had also superintended the launching of the Atlantis. The Atlantis was planned—as I have already intimated—as a solid uncontroversial periodical dealing with science and literature. Its existence was to be an advertisement of the University, and its object was to keep its readers abreast of the general trend of science and research, and thus help in forming that educated habit of mind on which Newman had throughout insisted as desirable and possible for a Catholic. Solid learning was to diminish the prevalence of views on subjects of the day really inconsistent with the scientific habit of mind. And the state of opinion in the learned world was to be made current coin.

At the same time, research rather than speculation was to mark its pages, and it was never to be aggressive in its attitude towards any theological writers. Facts were to speak for themselves. Theology itself, indeed, was not to be treated in its pages, but the history of theology was admitted, and Newman projected a paper on the origin of Eutychianism. The Review was to give literary and scientific education to those who read it—including the theologians. Such were (Newman held) the conditions of solid progress. Their absence meant extremes on one side or the other—either a rashness in speculation which was destructive of safe theology, or a blind conservatism inconsistent with that candour of intellect which the new sciences needed for their appreciation, and for their assimilation to the scheme of knowledge as a whole. An article written for the Atlantis by Mr. Scott, challenging the received view as to Our Lord's age, brought forward afresh the old difficulty of theological objections being raised against the hypotheses of Biblical critics. Even so able and broad-minded a theologian as Father O'Reilly objected to the article, but Newman was extremely anxious not to abandon its publication. Yet he was anxious, too, as to his own reputation in Rome, which mischief-makers might {430} damage by misrepresentation. He knew well that novelty of treatment is easily misrepresented as heterodoxy. Innovation appears wanton to those to whom the causes which make it necessary are not brought home.

The presence of Monsignor Talbot and Cardinal Wiseman in Ireland in the summer of 1858 reminded Newman that it was important that persons of influence in Rome should carry away a favourable impression of the University. The Cardinal was paying a visit to the country, which Irish enthusiasm made a triumphal tour. In the course of it he was feted in every district which he visited. Newman refers to the subject in his correspondence with Professor Sullivan, the editor of the Atlantis, who was taking part in the celebration in honour of the Cardinal:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Aug. 23rd, 1858.
'I wish I had thought of sending to some one a hint about Mgr. Talbot—the Pope's Cameriere—who was in Dublin yesterday. It would be very important that he should take back good impressions of the University. He used to be a friend of mine though never very near me, but he has lately taken a somewhat strange position, so I do not think I could personally do much good with him. If anyone courted him and the Cardinal on their return to Dublin, and shewed them deference and attention, it would be a good thing for us. Else, we might suffer somewhat. Who is the best man to do this? They should be taken to the Medical School, Church, &c., &c. The Secretary is officially the proper person, but I fear he is away.'

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Aug. 31st, 1858.
'Do you in Ireland know more than I know here of the meaning of the great demonstration at Ballinasloe? The Cardinal used to be a great friend of the University—I can't tell if he is now; but if the Professors have an opportunity a very little will kindle the latent fire, and he might be got to conciliate the Archbishop of Tuam. I am glad to hear that the Secretary is back, and that the Professors mean to do what they can.'

In the event, Newman did not leave the task of pleasing Cardinal Wiseman to others, but wrote down the expression of his own hearty admiration of the energy, tact, and versatility {431} shown by the Cardinal during his tour in Ireland, in an article which appeared in the Rambler, entitled 'Northmen and Normans in England and Ireland.' His appreciation ran as follows:

'The facts of the case were these: the Cardinal, complying with the invitation of an Irish Prelate who requested his presence at the opening of a new Church, went at the appointed time without expectation of any call upon him for more than such ordinary exertion of mind and body as the ostensible purpose involved; but to his great astonishment he found that his coming had struck a chord in the heart of a Catholic people, whose feelings are the more keen and delicate because they are seldom brought into play. A Cardinal of Holy Church was to them the representative of the Vicar of Christ, and nothing else; his coming was all but the advent of the Holy Father, and he suddenly found that he must meet, out of the resources of his individual mind, the enthusiastic feelings and the acts of homage of the millions who were welcoming him. It was an expression of trust and loyalty manifested towards him, similar in its critical character, though most dissimilar in its origin, to the panic fear which, from time to time spreading through the multitude, causes them to make a sudden run on some great banking establishment which is reported to be in difficulties; and, however gratifying, both officially and personally to the high dignitary who called it forth, it would have been to most men the occasion of no ordinary embarrassment.

'We venture to affirm that there is no other public man in England who could have answered to the demand thus made upon his stores of mind with the spirit and the intellectual power which the Cardinal displayed on the occasion. He was carried about, at the will of others, from one part of the island to another; he found himself surrounded in turn by high and low, educated and illiterate; by boys at school; or by the youth of towns; by religious communities; or by official and dignified persons. He was called to address each class or description of men in matter and manner suitable to its own standard of taste and thought; he had to appear in pulpits, in lecture-rooms, at dinner tables, on railroad stations, and always to say something new, apposite, and effective. How he met these unexpected and multifarious calls on him, this volume, we repeat, is the record; and though nothing remained of Card. Wiseman for the admiration of posterity of all that he has {432} spoken and written but what is therein contained, there is enough to justify the estimation in which his contemporaries have held the talents and the attainments of the first Archbishop of Westminster.'

In November we find Newman hard at work at his own article for the Atlantis on 'The Benedictine Centuries,' and endeavouring to safeguard Mr. Scott's article by a note of his own. This latter attempt, however, was unsuccessful, as Father O'Reilly, whom Newman consulted as theological censor, did not favour the publication of the article even with the appended note. Newman writes as follows to Mr. Sullivan:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Nov. 30/58.
'It is quite clear we must not have Mr. Scott's Article or my Note in the forthcoming No.

'If Fr. O'Reilly scruples, who will not? He considers the publication of it will hurt the University.

'Also—for myself—I have found lately that some good friends of mine are taking great liberties (at least in their thoughts) with me, and are looking at everything I do in the way of theology, and I feel certain I shall be whispered about at Rome if it appears. At my time of life, with so many things to do and so many interests to protect, I have no wish for a new controversy and quarrel in addition to the many in which I am engaged.

'It is most provoking, after all the time which has been spent upon it,—but at least it cannot appear, as I think you will agree with me, in the forthcoming number.

'P.S. Since writing the above I think you must give me twenty-four hours to see if I cannot devise some expedient for bringing in Mr. Scott's article after all.'

I have referred to Mr. Scott's article only because the incident brought afresh before Newman's mind the difficulties raised by theological conservatism, with which he dealt at this time in an important Essay. On the advantages of the conservative habit in theology, in moderation, and on the deep philosophy which conservatism represented, he had for thirty years insisted. Now he was face to face with its difficulties in view of new problems. And he was greatly tried by the want of elasticity of mind in certain influential quarters. But, as ever, he found in history his warrant for patience and his hope for a more satisfactory state of things. In the centuries {433} which are popularly known as the 'Dark Ages'—the epoch between the patristic and the scholastic—a similar jealous conservatism had prevailed. Active theological thought was in abeyance. The tendency in many quarters to deprecate free discussion and to identify extreme conservatism with orthodoxy, caused a vigorous resistance to the novel intellectual movement known as 'Scholasticism,' which, however, was so necessary for the times and ultimately prevailed. With this theme—already touched on in his lectures—he now dealt in his most important contribution to the Atlantis, the article entitled 'The Benedictine Centuries,' which appeared in January 1859 [Note 2]. He contrasts in it the conservative habit of the Benedictine Schools of the eighth and ninth centuries with the 'creative' thought of the thirteenth—an age of intellectual activity. The conservative spirit was, of course, in due measure absolutely essential to Catholicism. Tenacity of tradition was the primary instrument of the preservation of revealed dogma. But, moreover, even when extended beyond this sphere in which it was essential, Newman had ever revered and sympathised with it, and his sympathy is shown in this article. The beauty of the conservative spirit at its best, its connection with loving reverence for the Divine Word, and for the teachings of the Fathers—with the fear to deviate, even by a phrase, from the sacred words received from those who had gone before, he depicts with fullest sympathy. If men could live in a world of peace and prayer he desired nothing more. But the moral which he pointed unmistakably for the age in which he was living was that such a habit is not, by itself, sufficient for preserving the Faith in the nineteenth century. Even though it may suffice at a time at which the intellect is comparatively at rest—or at any time for individuals or groups of men—it cannot suffice for Catholics at large under the pressure of the novel aspects of controversy and of the dangerous attacks incident to a great intellectual movement. Conservatism in essentials must at such a time be supplemented by new replies to problems and difficulties which are themselves new. Creative thought, {434} the very best which the Catholic community can produce, is needed to meet the active speculations of the foes of Christianity or of the heretics who pervert it. Of such a kind was the thought of the great apologists and Fathers from the very first centuries of our era. Their conservatism was supplemented by the intellectual originality employed in its justification. He notes this fact in both the two classical periods of theological activity in the past. He leaves his readers to draw the moral for those present circumstances of which he had so often spoken as presenting a more difficult crisis for Christian thought than any of its predecessors. The two great periods of creative thought in theology—above alluded to—were the patristic and the scholastic. Philosophers and men of learning had perforce to place Christianity in its relation to the thought of the day. To the endeavour to do so was due at once the rise of heresy and the growth of patristic theology. Perhaps Newman recalled the words of Origen. 'When,' says that great writer, 'men, not slaves and mechanics only, but men of the educated classes in Greece, saw something venerable in Christianity, sects necessarily arose not simply from love of strife and contradiction, but because many learned men strove to penetrate more deeply into the truths of Christianity.' A false analysis could only be corrected by a true one. Hence the need for new work to be done by the modern theologians.

The patristic era, he points out, was succeeded by a period of theological conservatism. The Benedictine Schools from the eighth century onwards preserved the theological treasures of antiquity, and made no creative addition. In a beautiful passage he analyses the genius of the Benedictine monk, which was that of peace and prayer and seclusion from an evil world—adapted to faithful conservatism, not to bold speculation.

'The monk proposed to himself no great or systematic work, beyond that of saving his soul. What he did more than this was the accident of the hour, spontaneous acts of piety, the sparks of mercy or beneficence, struck off in the heat, as it were, of his solemn religious toil, and done and over almost as soon as they began to be. If today he cut down a tree, or relieved the famishing, or visited the sick, or {435} taught the ignorant, or transcribed a page of Scripture, this was a good in itself, though nothing was added to it tomorrow. He cared little for knowledge, even theological, or for success, even though it was religious. It is the character of such a man to be contented, resigned, patient, and incurious; to create or originate nothing; to live by tradition. He does not analyze, he marvels; his intellect attempts no comprehension of this multiform world, but on the contrary, it is hemmed in, and shut up within it. It recognizes but one cause in nature and in human affairs, and that is the First and Supreme; and why things happen day by day in this way, and not in that, it refers immediately to His will. It loves the country, because it is His work; but "man made the town," and he and his works are evil.' 'Historical Sketches,' ii. 452-3.

The monk was in his theological studies 'faithful, conscientious, affectionate, obedient, like the good steward who keeps an eye on all his master's goods and preserves them from waste and decay.' But when the speculative intellect was again aroused, when the days of Abelard had come, 'theology required to be something more than the rehearsal of what her champions had achieved and her sages had established in ages passed away ... Hard-headed objectors were not to be subdued by the reverence for antiquity.' The time had passed for the work of those whose vocation was found 'not in confronting doubts but in suppressing them.' And a century later, when Arabian pantheism, Aristotelianism accurate and perverted, and Jewish speculation had invaded the Christian Schools, the title of 'Summa contra Gentiles' was only a reminder of the forces which made it imperative for St. Thomas Aquinas to formulate his new system of synthetic philosophy and theology. To his contemporaries the novelty of his work was its characteristic. His first early biographer—William de Tocco—speaks of his 'new and clear method of deciding questions'; of his 'new opinions,' 'new projects,' 'new ideas.' So, too, the age of modern science needed its own creative minds in theology—perhaps even more than the patristic or the scholastic. It was an age when Bacon's ideal of enlarging the knowledge of physical facts by careful induction had added greatly to the general knowledge of facts in {436} the domain of history also. And such facts had their bearing on the à priori deductions of theologians. In one of his letters he says 'we need a "Novum Organum" in theology.' The living Church alone could inspire such a theology, and secure—as in those earlier instances—its continuity and essential identity with earlier Christian thought. In preparing the ground for such a work the ideal Catholic University had a great, a wonderful, work to do.

'Patristic and scholastic theology,' he wrote, 'each involved a creative act of the intellect ... There is no greater mistake surely than to suppose that revealed truth precludes originality in the treatment of it.' This originality often consists, as in the case of secular science, not in new discovery, but in recognising 'novelty of aspect' in what is already known, in thus appreciating time-honoured statements as representing real aspects of truth, and yet seeing that they cannot represent the whole truth. Such originality consists also in 'applying theology to particular purposes' or 'deducing consequences.' Its office in the case of Scripture is 'to enter into the mind of the sacred Author, to follow his train of thought, to bring together to one focus the lights which various parts of Scripture throw on his text.'

But greatest of all is the creative gift which enables the theologian to see adequately the bearing of old theological principles and preserve the continuity of his science, when a flood of new ideas and discoveries has thrown many of its existing expressions into confusion.

How deeply he felt that the nineteenth century was such a period we know from a famous passage in the 'Apologia.' Deep doubts of the reality of all belief in the supernatural had come hand in hand with the new and unexpected conclusions of the sciences. Such a crisis called for theological thought which should be no longer, as in the days immediately succeeding the Reformation, the mere orderly and logical restatement of the conclusions of the scholastic theologians of the past, to be placed over against Protestant innovation, no longer what Lacordaire complained of, the pursuing of an old and well-beaten track, but creative and alive to its new environment. The reader can hardly doubt that this was the urgent existing need he had in mind when he {437} proceeded in his essay to depict as his ideal a theology which should 'discriminate, rescue, and adjust the truth which a fierce controversy threatens to tear in pieces, at a time when the ecclesiastical atmosphere is thick with the dust of the conflict, when all parties are more or less in the wrong, and the public mind has become so bewildered as not to be able to say what it does and what it does not hold, or even what it held before the strife of ideas began.' 'In such circumstances,' he adds, 'to speak the word evolving order and peace, and to restore the multitude of men to themselves and to each other by a reassertion of what is old with a luminousness of explanation which is new, is a gift inferior only to that of revelation itself.' [Note 3]

During the same months in which the Atlantis was being launched (the early part of 1858) the Rambler was continuing to give cause for anxiety. Newman had felt this anxiety strongly when reading some articles in the Rambler in May 1857, and this feeling weighed with him even at that time in favour of leaving Ireland for England, and thus gaining leisure for a work that was urgently needed, as well as opportunities for personal intercourse with those who most required his help. That his view of the seriousness of the situation was not wrong the event showed. Capes himself after some years of uncertainty left the Catholic Church [Note 4]. Others, after a period of unsettlement, found a modus vivendi with the difficulties which had tried them, and this they owed largely to Newman. At the time of which we are now writing the unsettlement was obvious; the issue uncertain. Newman referred to the subject in a letter to Father Ambrose St. John:

'6, Harcourt Street, Dublin: May 7th, 1857.
'My dear Ambrose,—I read the Rambler for May last night, and am pained, and almost frightened at the first article. It is the second or third successive stroke,—each louder than the one before. Capes is too good a fellow for one to have any fears of him, but his articles both register, and will blow up and spread, bad feeling,—very bad feeling. I look at them in connection with a letter I sent you a few days ago, and the more anxiously because the two complaints are so entirely independent of each other. {438}

'It seems to me that a time of great reaction and of great trial is before us. I earnestly trust I may be wrong. I will do my best to prove myself wrong. But it seems to me that really I may be wanted in England, and that there may be a providential reason, over and above the compulsion of the Fathers at Birmingham, for me to return. I have too little perhaps made myself felt,—and, while some like Father Faber are going ahead without fear, others are, in consequence, even if not inclined of themselves already [to do so], backing and making confusion.

'The Bishops are necessarily engaged in the great and momentous ecclesiastical routine. They are approving themselves good stewards in the sense in which St. Carlo or St. Francis were such—meanwhile the party of the aristocracy and the party of talent are left to themselves without leaders and without guides.

'It makes me wish I were to live twenty years in full possession of my mind, for breakers are ahead. Yet the battle is not given to the strong, and Divine purposes are wrought out by the weak and unarmed, so that I am making myself of more importance than past history justifies. Still, here I am, as yet alive and well, and I assure you my thoughts have turned among other things to the subject which Ward wishes me to pursue more than they did. Do pray for me that I may find out what use God wishes to put me to, and may pursue it with great obedience.
'Ever yours affectionately,
J. H. N.'

The impression indicated in this letter was confirmed by his acquaintance at this time with young Sir John Acton. Acton was a young man of singular brilliancy and promise who had lately come from Munich, where Döllinger and his brother savants were doing their best to meet in Germany intellectual needs somewhat similar to those which Newman was contemplating in England. At this time the crisis which led to Döllinger's rupture with Rome was not even thought of, and the good name among Catholics of himself and his young disciple was untarnished. They were endeavouring to bring thought among educated and leading Catholics abreast of the intellectual methods and the research of the day. In this attempt, as well as in treating of the most fundamental question—the relations between Faith and Reason—Newman {439} felt that he might well bear a part in England. His sympathy with the aims of Acton and Döllinger at this time, and his distaste for the narrowness which shrank from facing the facts of modern civilisation and regarded the Church's course as incapable of changing in view of new conditions, is witnessed in the following words from a letter written a little later to Sir Frederick Rogers:

'We are in a strange time. I have not a shadow of a misgiving that the Catholic Church and its doctrine are directly from God—but then I know well that there is in particular quarters a narrowness which is not of God. And I believe great changes before now have taken place in the direction of the Church's course, and that new aspects of her aboriginal doctrines have suddenly come forth, and all this coincidently with changes in the world's history, such as are now in progress; so that I never should shut up, when new views are set before me, though I might not take them as a whole.'

Now, in 1858, complaints were made by many Catholic readers at the tone of the Rambler. Newman, ever remembering St. Augustine's 'illi in vos saeviant,' was slow to abet carping criticism of incidental blemishes in good work, on the part of critics who appreciated neither the difficulties of the day nor the qualities of such men as Mr. Capes. To such blemishes all writing is liable if it is difficult and partly new in kind.

'I think,' he wrote to Capes on May 17, 1858, 'that the Catholic body in this country owes you much gratitude for the animus and object of your undertaking, the devotion you have shown to it for so long a time and the various important benefits it has done us. But it is well for us, my dear Capes, that we do not look out for any reward for what we do in this world, for, whether we do or not, we are sure not to get it here,—for what we do imperfectly or wrongly affects the public ten times more than what we do well, even though the good may be ten times as much as the amiss. But this is God's merciful dispensation to oblige us to look up to Him and lay up treasures above, whether we will or no.'

Nevertheless, in spite of his general sympathy with Capes and his sense of the want of appreciation among Catholics of the valuable work he had done, Newman did think, as we {440} have seen, that there was something defiant and ill-considered and unsettling in some of the Rambler articles. And he took occasion to write strongly on one which was submitted to him in proof in August 1858.

The following letters show clearly Newman's general feeling; although as to the points actually controverted the information they give is imperfect:

'The Oratory, Birmingham (Rednall): Aug. 18th, 1858.
'My dear Capes,—It is little to the purpose to say how exceedingly your paper shocked me, and how difficult it is to me to conceive that any such objections as it contains should not have struck you, been mastered by you, and disposed of by you, thirteen years ago, considering that they are some of the most obvious in controversy; or what possible new light can have been shed upon them by any experimental acquaintance you have had since you became a Catholic, with the mode in which Catholics hold them.

'In my own case the three mysteries which you have noted under your 2, 3, and 4 heads, were not even difficulties to be overcome before I entered the Church; for two of them—the Holy Trinity and Eternal Punishment—I have held, I believe, with a divine faith ever since I was a boy, and the remaining one—the Real Presence—I have believed these twenty-five years.

'As to the objections to these three, definitely made in your paper, all I need say is that you assume various propositions as undeniable which seem to me simply untrue, and which certainly ought to be proved before they are to be admitted. For instance:

'"The presence of wholeness in one place implies its absence from all other places."

'"Every phrase and word employed in the communication of a doctrine must have meaning of some kind or other, comprehensible (in all respects) by the mind."

'"How can a person merit an eternal hell who cannot merit an eternal heaven?"

'I do not mean to say that you do not throw these and the like positions into different shapes and say the same thing in fresh sentences which you may feel to be the truth of them, but to my apprehension your conclusions and your premisses are so closely one and the same, that they are only verbal explanations of the meaning of each other, and whole paragraphs are nothing beyond respective expressions of categorical assumptions without proof. {441}

'Lastly, as to your first heading on the Infallibility of the Church, here again the arguments you profess to overthrow are so different from those which have brought conviction to my own mind, that I do not feel capable of entering into them. My own proof of it would be such as this: that Our Lord set up a Church in the beginning which was to last till the end; that it was to retain His Revelation faithfully; that the present Catholic Church is that destined continuation of it; that, therefore, prima facie it teaches now in substance what it taught then; that its early vague teaching is to be explained and commented on by its later and fuller; and as to Infallibility that, to say the least, there is nothing in its early teaching of a positive nature to hinder the interpretation of the early teaching on that point in the sense which is contained in its later teaching. I have not delayed my letter as you half wish me to do because, whatever be the force of your arguments, none of them are new, and because I am not likely to require or to find better answers than those which I have been accustomed to use.
'I am, my dear Capes,    Yours very affectionately,

'I am constantly thinking of you since your last letter,' Newman writes to Mr. Capes a month later—'ten times a day I think I may say your name is in my mouth. But I cannot stomach such formal cartels of defiance as printed papers of the nature you sent me, which to me are as strange as the subjects mentioned in them are to the composers of them.' Again he writes:

'To give me the first news through a printed paper was (putting a grave matter on a merely personal ground) pretty nearly what it would have been to send me a letter by means of the Times or Tablet; it was as surprising as it would have been to you if I had sent you a printed answer to your letter. When you had got so far as to print it was a sad thing to reflect that leaden types have no feeling and to express feeling would have been impertinent. But there is a higher ground, and if it was a serious act to print categorical sentences of disbelief (for printing is necessarily a kind of publishing), still more startling was it to find that you headed your paper (simply unnecessarily so far as I can make out) "a Catholic has serious difficulties." Then again, I think there was not a single syllable in your letter asking for prayers,—you seemed to challenge dry argument.' {442}

A letter written at the beginning of October to the same correspondent shows that, while greatly disapproving Mr. Capes's manner of writing, Newman did enter closely into the fundamental difficulty he had raised as to the nature of the proof of religious truth, and the reasonableness of certainty.

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Oct. 1st, 1858.
'My dear Capes,—As it seems to me, your objection about certainty is more to the point than anything you have printed. My only wonder is that you should not have felt long ago that it is the great philosophical difficulty in Catholicism.

'For myself, half my Oxford University sermons are on the subject, and I have a chapter on it in my Essay on Development.

'When I came to read Catholic theology, I found that it was solved in a way which I felt to be satisfactory.

'It is a property of the human mind to be certain speculativé not merely practicé in certain cases in which no complete proof is possible, but only proof that the point in question "demands our belief" or is credible.

'I have no demonstration that I shall die, but I am as speculativé certus of it as if I had demonstration. For the evidence is such and so much as to make it clear to me that I should be a fool not absolutely and implicitly to believe it.

'It has a claim on my speculative belief that England is an island even though I have no demonstration of it. Reason goes just so far, not as to prove it, but to tell me it is but common sense in me to order my mind to believe or to direct my mind to believe it. I do not merely say to myself: "It is safe to act as if I believed it."

'I am speculativé certain that intemperate habits lead to loss of health; and that in consequence not of my having direct proof of it, but in consequence of my having just enough evidence to show me that I ought to believe it. Say a temptation to drink comes and obscures this clear conviction, and in consequence I do not believe it. Here it is not, as you seem to say, that when I believe it my will forces my mind to believe, reason disapproving; but that, when I do not believe, my will, reason disapproving, keeps my mind from belief.

'I cannot see that induction is ever a demonstration, but it makes the conclusion credibile—viz. "claiming belief."

'I cannot understand the state of mind which can love Our Lord really with the feeling upon it, "after all, perhaps {443} there is no such Person." It is loving a mere vision or picture, and is so unreal as to be degrading. I cannot fancy (you will say perhaps from an idiosyncrasy) the existence of devotion without certainty. I could not throw myself upon anyone here below, of whom I had the suspicion: "Perhaps he is not trustworthy." On the other hand, I daily control and direct my mind into a firm belief, or speculative certainty, of truths which I cannot prove on the ground that I should be a fool not to believe them; or that reason bids my mind to believe.

'How it is that we are so constituted as to be bound by our reason to believe what we cannot prove, is a question which I do not pretend to solve.
'I am, my dear Capes,
Yours affectionately,

Besides the conductors of the Rambler and Atlantis there were others who, in 1858, consulted Newman on the difficulties attending on religious thought.

I have mentioned his first acquaintance with Sir John Acton in the previous year. The acquaintance was improved in 1858. Newman dined in his company in London on March 24, and Acton returned with him to Birmingham on the following day. Other visits followed, and in the autumn Acton brought Döllinger with him. This was on September 4, and the visit was repeated by both on the 30th, when they visited the new country house of the Oratory at Rednal. These men brought before Newman a side of the problem that exercised Catholic students of history which was especially congenial to his own studies—namely, the importance of the collation of positive theology with the history of dogma. The historical study of dogmatic theology was then far less general than it has since become. And, moreover, the systematic study of Christian origins was in its infancy. The application of the light thrown by its results on early forms of the Sacraments, and the early constitution of the Church, had hardly begun. Still less were such results as yet systematically compared with the exposition of these matters which obtained in the theological seminaries. Some of the problems crudely treated by Mr. Capes were methodically stated by Acton and Döllinger; and the wealth of {444} their historical learning brought into relief new facts which pressed for reconciliation with views long current or for a justification of those views.

Newman, even before his actual meeting with Döllinger, had formed, as we have already said, a very high estimate of the value of his writings in view of the intellectual needs of the hour. And he desired that English Catholics should share in the benefits of his scholarship. In October 1857 he had asked Döllinger's permission to have his work on the 'Jew and the Gentile' translated into English. Döllinger had followed Newman's career with great interest, and spoke of him to the late Sir Rowland Blennerhassett as the greatest living authority on the history of the first three centuries of the Christian era. He cordially responded to Newman's invitation in the following letter, written in his own excellent English:

'Munich: 5th Nov. 57.
'My dear Dr. Newman,—As you seem to think, that a publisher can be found willing to undertake the risk, and that the translator you have fixed upon is competent to perform the task, I cannot have the least objection against your proposal; on the contrary it gives me the highest satisfaction ...

'If your getting rid of the Rectorship of the University gives you greater leisure for literary activity, I could almost find it in my heart to hail the event as an auspicious one, for I am convinced that what you may do in the literary way will be of greater importance to the Church in general. Your work on Justification, which I have read twice, is in my estimation one of the best theological books published in this century, and your work on the Arians will be read and studied in future generations as a model in its kind. Pardon me, when I say, that since you have become a member and an ornament of the true church, you have not yet given to us a work of equal theological interest and importance. But I trust, you will do so in time.

'En attendant, I look forward with an anticipation of pleasure and instruction to the Essays you will probably contribute to the periodical [Note 5] which is about to appear under the sanction of your name. The "Specimen of Subjects" I have seen in the papers, is a most promising one. {445}

'I hope soon to revisit England, and to enjoy the pleasure of seeing you again and conversing with you.

'Meanwhile believe me, with the highest respect, yours entirely,

Newman's meeting with Döllinger in the autumn of 1858 confirmed and deepened his impression as to the great work which the German Professor was doing, and his desire to co-operate with him. Their sympathy was at that time very marked; for while both had at heart the intellectual interests of Catholics, and especially the study of Church History, Döllinger was, like Newman himself, a staunch opponent of Gallicanism, an upholder of the papal claims and a sympathetic friend to Cardinal Wiseman in the days when the views of Wiseman and Newman were most in harmony.

We must, however, turn aside for a moment from this intellectual campaign into which Newman was being drawn to narrate the termination of one of his more practical works and the inauguration of another. November 1858 saw his resignation of the Irish Rectorship, and the following May the opening of the Oratory School at Edgbaston. As we have seen, difficulties had by now arisen as to his prosecution of the new translation of the Bible. This task chiefly stood in the way of his devoting himself to a really systematic treatment of the problems connected with Faith and Reason, and the issues raised by contemporary speculation and research, for which Capes and Acton on the one hand, and W. G. Ward on the other, were so anxious. The only other obstacle was the Dublin Rectorship. And the call which he felt to be so urgent to the work of which I speak was probably the turning-point in favour of resigning his position in Ireland. But there were other reasons which made such a step natural. The Irish Bishops had failed to let him appoint his own delegate and Vice-Rector to succeed Dr. Leahy, who was now Archbishop of Cashel.

On September 27 Dr. Cullen wrote with reference to the recommendation in the report of the School of Science that the number of Professors should be increased, that such a suggestion was inopportune in view of the small number of undergraduates, and that increased economy was desirable. {446} This last remark appears to have been a surprise and disappointment to Newman, and he writes to Mr. John O'Hagan that it is the first suggestion he has received of the necessity of any such economy. He had promised in one or two cases an increase of salary—promises that he felt he could not now carry out. On October 2 he wrote to Dr. Leahy reminding him that his tenure of the Rectorship had been, since November 14, 1857, provisional, and urging the appointment of a successor. This letter was crossed by one from Dr. Leahy saying that Dr. Cullen, who had just left for Rome, had urged before his departure the necessity for Newman's residence for at least some considerable part of each term. 'Consider,' he wrote, 'the possibility of your spending some time in Dublin each term for the next session or two until it gets out of its present critical position.' Here was a proposal contrary to the terms for which Newman had stipulated in 1857. Immediately afterwards came the news that the Bishops had appointed a new Dean of St. Patrick's House—an appointment which was in Newman's hands, and which he had already promised elsewhere. All this time, as I have said, no Vice-Rector had been named as Newman's delegate, and thus another condition of the compact was unfulfilled. Now at last Dr. Kelly of Maynooth was nominated, but this does not appear to have affected Newman's resolve to resign. He writes thus to Mr. Ornsby on October 7 and October 11:

'Oct. 7th, 1858.
'I am in great anxiety about University matters. The Archbishops are simply taking a new line, and you may expect great changes at the Episcopal Meeting.

'Dr. Cullen has told me to reduce the number of Professors, I forget his exact words.

'The three Archbishops have peremptorily (and abruptly) told me to come into residence; which is impossible, so that, I suppose, my resignation is imminent.

'Also they have abruptly, and without any notice, taken the nomination of the new Dean of St. Patrick's out of my hands, though the Decrees, confirmed by the Pope, give it me; and they have appointed a person whom I never heard of.
'J. H. N. {447}

'P.S.—Since writing the above a letter comes from Dr. Leahy, informing me that most probably there will be no meeting of the Bishops!

'I do not see how I can get out of the difficulty of resigning. The Archbishops have told me I must reside a considerable time in Dublin. I feel a Rector ought to do so. I can't. Resignation then is all that remains.

'I have, since writing this, written to John O'Hagan, and told him what I have told you.
'J. H. N.'

'October, 11th.
'It is simply impossible I can remain Rector. I had already begged Dr. Leahy to get the meeting of Bishops to appoint some one in my place. And after this comes the letter calling on me to reside. It never would do to disobey such an injunction. And I cannot reside. That is the long and the short of it. I am wanted here; not wonderful that head and body cannot be separated longer than three, four, five years.
'J. H. N.'

That Newman's friends in Dublin thought there was another side to the question, and that Newman did not fully appreciate the Bishops' view of the case, is clear from Mr. Ornsby's reply, dated October 13:

' … Would not the best plan be to adopt some compromise? meet them half way, and remain Rector, even with residence, till the great meeting of the Bishops next summer? You would then be able to set Dr. Kelly going, or whoever is to conduct the government of the University, and adjust as satisfactorily as possible any changes that may be inevitable ...

'I heard, now a long time since, a man who knows Dr. Leahy well, say ... that the Bishops had made all advances to keep you which were consistent with their dignity. Are you sure you exactly have their point of view? Dr. Cullen, I think, oftener than once in our interviews with him, asked whether you were coming to reside, and I should think he was really anxious for it.'

This letter drew a very characteristic and indignant reply from Newman: {448}

'Oct. 17th, 1858.
'As you have heard that the Bishops could not have gone further, consistently with their dignity, in the advances which they made to me, I send you extracts from the correspondence between them and me.

'From it you will find that a middle plan, suggested to me by Dr. Cullen and Dr. Leahy separately last May year, was acceded to by the Oratory, viz., that I should continue Rector for two years with nine weeks' (residence) a year. But both the Archbishops and I had difficulties about this plan pure and simple. They proposed one year instead of two. This I did not object to; but I made a Vice-Rector a condition of it.

'Was it the appointment of a Vice-Rector which would have been "the advance which their dignity could not stretch to"? For this is what they did not give.

'This was not the only condition I made, certainly; but it was the chief; and even it was not granted me. Accordingly I never came in to the arrangement.

'You must give up the notion of my continuing at Dublin. Dr. Cullen has no notion at all of treating me with any confidence. He grants me nothing; and I am resolute that I will have all I want, and more than I have yet asked for. He has treated me from the first like a scrub, and you will see he will never do otherwise.'

Newman arranged, however, to pay a final visit to Dublin before resigning. He went thither on October 26. Dr. Kelly, who had been ill at the time of his appointment, died at Maynooth on the 30th. Newman gave next week his parting lecture to the School of Medicine [Note 6], and he allowed his friends to know that his resignation was now only a matter of days. The Professors forwarded to him an address imploring him to reconsider his decision, and asked him to receive a deputation. Newman seems to have felt that if he received the deputation the situation would be difficult, and resistance to their entreaties might be ungracious. Accordingly, he replied that he had forwarded the address to the Birmingham Fathers from whom he had his leave of absence, for their consideration. On November 4 he returned to the Oratory. On the 12th he sent in his final resignation, and he writes in his record of this act that it was seven years to a day since his acceptance of the office. {449}

That this resignation was quite final we see from two letters to Mr. Ornsby, both written within the next two months:

'As to the Rectorship, there is not a chance of it because they will not accept my terms. 1. Non-residence with an acting sub-Rector to do everything. 2. A brevet rank equal to a Bishop's, that I may treat with Dr. Cullen as an equal. 3. The accounts carefully managed and a Board to sit monthly, &c. &c. ... If anyone asks say generally that you don't see how it is possible to reconcile my Birmingham duties with the Rectorship. Always speak strongly of my gratitude to the Irish.'

'Everything seems to promise for the University,' he writes again early in 1859, 'but I entreat you not to contemplate the possibility of my returning to Dublin. It is, as I have said all along, and as you would say if you knew everything, a simple matter of duty for me to be here. Neither our Fathers here nor I can ever alter this conviction. I don't think even the Pope would stir me; for I suppose his divinely given power does not extend so far. I am wanted here every day. It never does for a Superior to be away.'

The actual resignation was, I think, to Newman simply a relief, and had no accompanying pain. The disappointment had come earlier. He was not now resigning himself to a failure which had been clearly inevitable for two years. But the work which a Catholic University might do still seemed to him of supreme importance for the times, and he looked forward to the Lectures and Essays in which he had sketched his ideal being better understood and bearing fruit later on, when the movements of thought he descried should have become unmistakable and urgent. To have gone some way towards depicting the ideal was work done for the future, and in this thought he found comfort.

'It does not prove,' he wrote to Mr. Ornsby, 'that what I have written and planned will not take effect some time and somewhere, because it does not at once. For twenty years my book on the Arians was not heard of ... My Oxford University Sermons, preached out as long ago as seventeen years, are now attracting attention at Oxford. When I am gone something may come of what I have done at Dublin. And since I hope I did what I did not for the sake of man, {450} not for the sake of the Irish hierarchy, not even for the Pope's praise, but for the sake of God's Church and God's glory, I have nothing to regret and nothing to desire different from what is.'

Before describing the other event to which I have above referred—the foundation of the Edgbaston School in 1859—a word must be said as to the position of the Birmingham Oratory at this time. It was now a separate House, no longer connected with the London Oratory, which held a separate Brief of its own from Rome. The divergence of temper existing from the first between the Houses had steadily increased, and in 1856 by the common desire of Newman and Faber they were finally separated. Newman felt very acutely the gradual diminution of the intimate discipleship of earlier days—the more so as so close a friend as Father Dalgairns was a member of the London community.

So little is to be found among his papers relating to this subject, that I do not think he desired that any full account of it should ever be made public. The outstanding facts to be gleaned from his letters are these:—The London Oratorians, without consulting Newman, applied to Propaganda in 1855 for such a change in their Rule as would enable them to be directors to religious communities. Propaganda appointed three Bishops to report on their application. At their recommendation it granted the request, including the Birmingham Community in the permission accorded. Newman was deeply pained at the transaction which had taken place without any previous communication with himself—regarding it evidently as a symptom of a growing alienation from himself on the part of the London House. I am led to this conclusion because he shows, when referring to it in his letters, a feeling far deeper than the event by itself appears to warrant. It was probably the culminating point of a series of occurrences which had already caused him great pain. He tried to induce the London Oratorians to join him in applying to Rome for a distinct recognition of the independence of each of the Houses. On their refusal to do so he went to Rome himself, early in 1856, to place his views before the authorities. So deeply did he feel the importance of this appeal to the Holy See that on alighting from the {451} diligence he walked barefoot to St. Peter's to pray there before going to his hotel. He found on inquiry that the Holy Father had declined to confirm the decision of Propaganda until Newman himself should have been consulted. He also learnt, however, that criticisms of his conduct as Superior of the Oratory had been carried to Rome. He found that he had been accused to the Holy Father of wishing to be 'head or general of the two Oratories.' While the Holy Father himself was kind, Newman received less consideration from Cardinal Barnabo, and carried away from Rome (so Father Neville told me) a feeling that he had not been treated with justice. At Cardinal Brunelli's suggestion he had asked Cardinal Barnabo to give the two Houses a separate Brief, but Cardinal Barnabo brusquely declined. Six months later, at the instance of Father Faber, the separate Brief was granted.

In a letter to Hope-Scott, of December 1860, Newman speaks of the separation between different Oratories as the normal state of things. The Italian Oratories—so he had learnt on his way to Rome in 1856—were all separate Houses. The separation between London and Birmingham was an accomplished fact, and the wound which the incident had caused was, apparently, by that time beginning to heal.

'I called at various Oratories on my way,' he writes. 'My one question was—"How do you secure the recognition of your Oratory at Rome as distinct from other Oratories?" They answered, "It is an impossible case—one Oratory cannot interfere with another. Each is distinct." "But," I urged, "Propaganda has confused ours with the London, and is altering our Rule." The answer still was, "It is impossible." …

'Oratories are independent bodies with one and the same Rule; with no external Superior short of the Pope Himself; and with the privilege each of interpreting for itself that common Rule; and in consequence with great divergence in fact one from another of character and work. Two equal bodies in the same line without any umpire or moderator between us! [Are] not moral distance or collision the only issues of such a problem?

'We have found it so; they found it so abroad long before our time. Mutual distance is one of the traditions of the foreign Oratories. When we were in Italy in 1847, {452} and again in 1856, this one thing struck us, that Oratories ignored each other, e.g. the Roman and Neopolitan; again the Neopolitan and Palermitan. As to the north, Brescia and Verona, on the same rail, are strangers to each other, and Verona and Vincenza; and so Florence and Turin, Florence and Rome. (There seems some connection of property between Genoa and Palermo.) When we went from Rome to Naples, the Jesuits pressed upon us board and lodging; the Oratory did nothing but ask us to dine on some Festival.

'Italy is a land of many states and many mountains; but we live in a land of railroads and telegraphs. If Birmingham and London were intimate, one or other would lose its independence, or the intimacy would issue in a common Superior.

'As to the London House, we rejoice in its good works, we praise God that we have been allowed to establish it. We pass no criticisms on it, even when we differ from its course of action. We wish it to keep the peace, as well as ourselves.'

The ideals of the Birmingham community were more academic and scholastic than those of the London Oratory. And the foundation of a school connected with the Edgbaston Oratory was a project quite in harmony with its special character.

The Oratory School had first been thought of early in 1858, while Newman was still Rector of the Irish University. The converts and the English 'Old Catholics,' as they were called, did not at once completely amalgamate. With a few exceptions the typical old Roman Catholic families still maintained an exclusiveness in which there was a mixture of the shyness resulting from prolonged aloofness from general society, and the characteristics of a clique brought about by constant intermarriage. There was just a touch of mutual contempt occasionally visible, the converts regarding the typical old Catholic as not having quite the education befitting a gentleman, and the old Catholics being slow to admit the new comers to the intimacy which had for generations existed among the historical families belonging to the old faith. The converts had criticised the existing Catholic schools severely in the Rambler, and they wanted something more resembling the public schools of England. Several of them approached Newman in hopes that he could give his {453} great name to such a school as would meet their wishes. Newman himself had not yet given up all hope of the University, and saw in the project a means of feeding it eventually with undergraduates whom he would form into English gentlemen, with the combination of Catholic zeal and thorough education which he depicted in his lectures on the 'Scope and Nature of University Education.' Some difficulties were raised at the outset, and the school was not actually established until after Newman's resignation of the Dublin Rectorship. In May 1859, however, it was opened.

The following letter was written to Serjeant Bellasis soon after the plan was first disclosed to Bishop Ullathorne, whose good will and patronage it was essential to secure:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: April 6th, 1858.
'My dear Bellasis,—We think your correspondence with the Bishop quite satisfactory—and shall commence operations with a solemn Novena to St. Philip, in which our people, without being told our intention, will take part.

'I am glad the Bishop has brought out to you his real difficulty, for he mystified the matter to us. If he means I am not in practice a good disciplinarian, I quite confess it. I have it as little in me to be a good Schoolmaster or Dean, as to be a good rider or successful chess player. But this does not hinder my feeling the need of strict discipline for boys—for many a man approves what he cannot practice.

'Then perhaps people about him or in London have told him stories about our goings on in Dublin, which, though not so exact and well managed as I should like them to be, are not what some good people represent them. Here too I may say, first, that it does not follow quite logically, because I think that in matters of discipline a University should not be like a School (which I do think) that therefore in those matters a School should be like a University. Moreover, as to any defect of our academical discipline at Dublin, it must be considered that, not the Rector, but the Vice-Rector is the officer of it and I never have had a resident Vice-Rector allowed me by the Bishops, and at this moment there is none even nominally; Deans too are hard to be got—they are either as strict as Prefects in an ecclesiastical Seminary, or they are indulgent and lax. Difficulties such as these are only temporary, but they are serious at starting. Under our circumstances, I wonder we have got on so well. {454}

'Probably there are other reasons given to suggest distrust and hesitation in co-operating in our school plan, and these feelings can only be removed by time and experience of us. We are on the best terms with our Bishop—and his fears will gradually give way. I do not think much would come from trying to persuade him by compulsory or compendious means. So I propose to let him alone, though keeping him au courant of our proceedings.

'I should like very much if there were two or three persons, such as Hope-Scott, whom we might privately and confidentially consult on the details of our plan of proceeding. The only point of principle on which we should differ from the Colleges, is that we should aim at doing everything above-board—and abjure espionage, listening at doors &c. The question of opening letters has to be considered here—but certainly I should desire such honesty and openness in our conduct to the boys, that they would have no temptation to distrust us.       Ever yours most sincerely,
of the Oratory.'

The proposed school had naturally to run the gauntlet of critical discussion. And personal criticisms on its founder were repeated back to him. Newman's attitude seems to have been a mixture of that sensitiveness which was almost physical in him with a determination to treat petty attacks with the neglect they deserve. He had sent the proposed Manifesto to Hope-Scott and Bellasis for their criticisms, and writes as follows to the latter on November 4:

'I am amused at your and Hope-Scott's lawyer-like caution, in cutting off every unnecessary word from my manifesto. Alas, it has been my fault through life to have spoken out. Without it, I should neither have had the hebdomadal judgment on No. 90 nor old Campbell's ineptiæ. I do really believe it arises from an impatience of not being above-board. I wish I could take to myself the comfort of the sacred lectio: "Deridetur justi simplicitas: hujus mundi" (that is, the lawyers') "sapientia est cor machinationibus tegere, sensum verbis velare &c.," so I think I shall reform, as old Damea, at the end of life; and, as he got liberal, so, on my part, become close.

'This leads me to say one thing. It has only been just now brought home to me what hard and wrong things are said {455} of me, by those who ought not ... The wrong words said against me may tend seriously to involve the prospects of the school; and, when I am fully embarked in the undertaking, and the inconvenience is felt, friends may be tempted to say, that I am bound for the sake of the school to answer them. I do not mean to do so:—first, because on the long run falsehood refutes itself:—secondly, because to speak out would retort the blame on those who throw it, and who can bear it less easily than I:—thirdly, because spiritual books tell us, that, except when accused of unsoundness in faith, (though this to be sure! may follow in time), it is best to let imputations rest on one's head, without shaking them off; and fourthly, because I am too proud and indolent to move even my finger in the matter.

'Still, it might be said, when the school is once begun, "This is a public matter now,—not a personal; you are bound in duty to speak"—and this I could not do without a great sacrifice, and an extreme distress. Therefore, I think that all those who are earnest in the plan of a school, should carefully think over these contingencies first, and see their way clearly as regards them.

'Another thing I have to mention, is, the subject of money. We think of engaging Arnold, if we can get him, as second master. We cannot offer him less than £300 a year. The House &c. will not be much under £200. Here is £500, and of course for a term of years. This is an anxious undertaking. Before putting one's foot into the stream, the anxiety presents itself with more force than ordinary.

'I often think, why should I be so busy? Why did I engage in the new University, bringing on me indefinite trouble and care, and taking up so many years? It was no business of mine. And now, scarcely am I rid of it, when I am putting my foot into another responsibility, when I might sit under my own vine and fig-tree in peace, for such years as Providence still gives me. Is it really the will of God? Shall I not, as time goes on, wish I had nothing to do with an undertaking which has only brought me anxiety and mortification? ... '

The prospectus was issued with emendations, and one of the Oratorian Fathers, Father Nicholas Darnell, eventually accepted the office of Head Master. Thomas Arnold did not at this time see his way to joining in the scheme. Serjeant Bellasis was a constant supporter and adviser. In December Newman writes to him suggesting that the new {456} Head Master should advertise the undertaking by a visit to the Metropolis:

'Would not it be well for Fr. Darnell to show himself in London now? for after your most satisfactory letter of the 25th, I consider it decided we shall begin. I should like him to make Mrs. Bellasis's acquaintance, and Master Richard's. I think he has some reluctance, from the feeling that there are those in London, who might have taken him up and have not—as if it would hurt our prospects if he came to London and did not go to certain houses. I had not hinted to him the important precedent of Mr. Squeers, who, I think, showed himself in the Metropolis with a view to increasing his connexions.'

A devoted friend of Newman's, one who had become a Catholic through his influence, Mrs. Wootten, became the matron, and an efficient staff of masters was secured. After the school had gone on three months we find him writing happily, on August 9, 1859, to Bellasis: 'I trust we are prospering. I hear of an increase from various quarters next half.'

The success of the school was from the first assured. One severe trial, however, it did undergo in 1861—a trial which brought out all the determination and force in action which Newman could show on occasion. The masters protested—at Christmas 1861—against the very special position accorded by Newman to Mrs. Wootten, the matron, and demanded that she should be removed. Newman resolutely declined, and they represented that if he persisted they would all have to resign. On the exact rights and wrongs of the dispute it is hard now to form a judgment. But the crisis, as I have said, brought all Newman's energies into play. Father Darnell resigned on December 27, and the other masters on the 29th. Ambrose St. John was at once despatched by Newman to Dublin to secure Thomas Arnold as leading classical Master, and Newman set to work to find without delay other competent masters to replace those who were gone. Arnold was definitely engaged on January 6, 1862 [Note 7]. Newman's wide circle of devoted friends {457} stood him in good stead, and by the time the boys reassembled at the end of the month there was a complete staff of fresh masters. It is remarkable that so far as can be seen the school did not suffer at all from this revolution. Things were soon in complete working order. And Newman's own relations with the boys seem to have become somewhat closer. It was one of his pleasures to adapt for the schoolboys the plays of Terence and Plautus, and to coach them for their performance. He also especially encouraged by his presence the cultivation of chamber music among those whose gifts were in that direction.

Father Darnell's place was ably filled by Ambrose St. John, who acted as Head Master until his death in 1876.

The school had the high sanction of Newman's name as its founder, and he took a great interest in it. But he was never active Head Master, and thus he was free to pursue the intellectual work to which he desired at the time of its foundation to devote himself, as his Irish engagement was at an end. Of the shape that work actually took and of the controversies in which it involved him we shall speak in subsequent chapters.

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1. It was said that the booksellers interested in the sale of the old Douai version had a share in making Wiseman lukewarm in the new scheme, but of this I have found no documentary evidence.
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2. This essay was republished in Historical Sketches, vol. ii., with a changed title, 'The Benedictine Schools.'
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3. See Historical Sketches, ii. pp. 475-6.
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4. He returned to Catholicism, however, later on, and died a Catholic.
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5. The Atlantis.
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6. See p. 413.
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7. Mr. Thomas Pope (afterwards an Oratorian) and his brother Richard also joined the staff at this time.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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