Chapter 21. Catholics at Oxford (1864-1865)

{47} THE success of the 'Apologia' at once attracted attention in Rome. Monsignor Talbot, at Manning's suggestion, called at the Oratory in July, and subsequently wrote to invite Newman to visit Rome and deliver a course of sermons at his own church. 'When,' he wrote, 'I told the Holy Father that I intended to invite you, he highly approved of my intention; and I think myself that you will derive great benefit from revisiting Rome and again showing yourself to the ecclesiastical authorities there who are anxious to see you.' Newman curtly declined the proposal [Note 1]. He would not respond to such advances brought about by his new popularity. He had not forgotten that Monsignor Talbot had been among the foremost of those who had thrown suspicion on his orthodoxy in the sad days which succeeded his connection with the Rambler. Nor would he allow his friends to rate too highly the significance of Talbot's visit and letter as signs of favour in high quarters. 'As to my invitation to Rome,' he wrote to Miss Bowles, 'it was this. Monsignor Talbot, who had been spreading the report that I subscribed to Garibaldi, and said other bad things against me, had the assurance to send me a pompous letter asking me to preach a set of sermons in his church, saying that then I should have an opportunity to show myself to the authorities (that, I think, was his phrase) and to rub up my Catholicism. It was an insolent letter. I declined.' The invitation 'was suggested by Manning—the Pope had nothing to do with it. When Talbot left for England he said, among other things, "I think of asking Dr. Newman to give a set of lectures in my church," and the Pope, of course, said, "a very good thought," as he would have said if Mgr. Talbot {48} had said, "I wish to bring Your Holiness some English razors."'

Nevertheless, Newman's letters show that he was sensible of having now quite a new position in the Catholic world. He was recognised as the great and successful apologist for the Catholic religion, a defender of the Catholic priesthood, in a battle which had commanded the attention of all the English-speaking world. He states in his journal that his success 'put him in spirits' to look out for fresh work.

The English Universities had been thrown open to Catholics by the abolition of the tests which had long excluded them. Cardinal Wiseman, in earlier days, had inveighed against the injustice of their exclusion, and had looked forward to the time when in Oxford as in the Westminster Parliament his co-religionists should compete on equal terms with their fellow-countrymen. He had avowed these sentiments openly in the Dublin Review. Newman had for some time considered the possibility of a renewed connection with Oxford, with the immediate object of affording spiritual and intellectual guidance to Catholic undergraduates, and the indirect issue of coming to close quarters with the thought of the place, and undertaking as occasion demanded such an intellectual exposition of Catholicism in its relation to modern movements as would make it a power in English religious thought. This in turn would help to secure and fortify the faith of the young. Such an endeavour would enable him to continue in a new form the work he had endeavoured to do both at Dublin and in the Rambler. The Catholic University had failed. University training must be sought by Catholics at Oxford or Cambridge, or not at all. He knew Oxford and loved it. It had been the scene of his wonderful work in stemming the early stages of rationalistic thought among the youth of England. Now rationalism had grown there and the philosophy of J. S. Mill was supreme. Could he resume his task with the power of the Catholic Church behind him?

The Munich Brief had in 1863, as we have seen, directly discouraged the attempt to meet the intellectual needs of the hour in the particular form it had been taking among the German savants. Could it be made under different conditions? {49} Could something in the desired direction be undertaken as an almost pastoral work for the sake of the rising generation?

Newman's sense of the urgency of the danger and of the necessity of meeting it by argument rather than mere censure of error appears in a letter written to Mr. Ornsby shortly after the publication of the Munich Brief (in the year preceding the 'Apologia'), in reply to his correspondent's information as to the tendency towards infidelity among the abler and more thoughtful young Catholics at Dublin:

'What you say about this tendency towards infidelity is melancholy in the extreme—but to be expected. What has been done for the young men?

' … Denunciation effects neither subjection in thought nor in conduct; I think it was in my last letter that I concluded with some words which I wrote half asleep about the Home and Foreign. I wonder what I said,—I had a great deal to say, though it is wearisome to bring it out. The Home and Foreign has to amend its ways most considerably before it can be spoken well of by Catholics—so I think; but it realises the fact that there are difficulties which have to be met, and it tries to meet them. Not successfully or always prudently, but still it has done something (I include the Rambler), and to speak against it as some persons do seems to me the act of men who are blind to the intellectual difficulties of the day. You cannot make men believe by force and repression. Were the Holy See as powerful in temporals as it was three centuries back, then you would have a secret infidelity instead of an avowed one—(which seems the worse evil) unless you train the reason to defend the truth. Galileo subscribed what was asked of him, but is said to have murmured: "E pur si muove."

'And your cut and dried answers out of a dogmatic treatise are no weapons with which the Catholic Reason can hope to vanquish the infidels of the day. Why was it that the Medieval Schools were so vigorous? Because they were allowed free and fair play—because the disputants were not made to feel the bit in their mouths at every other word they spoke, but could move their limbs freely and expatiate at will. Then, when they went wrong, a stronger and truer intellect set them down—and, as time went on, if the dispute got perilous, and a controversialist obstinate, then at length Rome interfered—at length, not at first. Truth is wrought out by many minds working together freely. As far as I {50} can make out, this has ever been the rule of the Church till now, when the first French Revolution having destroyed the Schools of Europe, a sort of centralization has been established at head quarters—and the individual thinker in France, England, or Germany is brought into immediate collision with the most sacred authorities of the Divine Polity ...

'I suppose we must be worse before we are better—because we do not recognise that we are bad.' [Note 2]

It must be remembered that the Oxford scheme was never Newman's ideal. It was a concession to necessities of the hour. His ideal scheme, alike for the education of the young and for the necessary intellectual defence of Christianity, had consistently been the erection of a large Catholic University, like Louvain. This he had tried to set up in Catholic Ireland. In such an institution, research and discussion of the questions of the day would be combined, as in the Middle Ages, with a Catholic atmosphere, the personal ascendency of able Christian professors, and directly religious influences for the young men. The cause of the failure of his attempt lay, not in him, but in the conditions of the country. His thoughts had therefore turned of necessity towards Oxford. But the exact nature of the scheme to be aimed at was for some time in his mind uncertain, and it was not until after the appearance of the 'Apologia' that he was hopeful enough to think of himself as likely to do a useful work in this connection.

A few months after the above letter to Mr. Ornsby was written, the question of Catholics frequenting Oxford and of the necessary safeguards which their admission must call for was en évidence. Cardinal Wiseman had years earlier spoken of the possibility of Oscott being some day used as a University for Catholics. And Newman—not yet closely concerned in the Oxford scheme—in 1863 threw out a hint based on this idea to Bishop Ullathorne, who consulted him on the whole subject.

'It is a marvel,' Newman wrote to Ambrose St. John in this connexion, 'that the Bishop suffers me, that he suffers {51} us, considering his exceeding suspiciousness about people near me, whom he seems to think heretics, and his taking any lukewarmness about the Temporal Power, and any tolerance of Napoleon, as synonymous with laxity of faith. We ought to put it to the account of St. Philip.'

At the meeting of the Bishops at Eastertide in 1864 a resolution was drafted discouraging Catholics from going to Oxford; but nothing final or decisive was done. The most influential lay opinion was in favour of Oxford—a Catholic College or Hall being the most popular scheme. So matters stood when the 'Apologia' was written.

Two months after the completion of the 'Apologia,' in August 1864, Mr. Ambrose Smith, a Catholic resident in Oxford, had the refusal of five acres of excellent land in the town. He conveyed the offer to Newman. Newman felt that it should not be allowed to fall through. He consulted his friends. The land might be bought for some religious purpose even if its precise object was not at once determined. It would be for some work for the Church in connection with Oxford—an Oratory, a Hall, or a College. Newman, now on the crest of the wave of hope which the 'Apologia' had rolled forward, rose to the notion. He communicated with Hope-Scott and other friends as to the necessary purchase money.

He communicated too with Bishop Ullathorne, who offered the Mission of Oxford to the Oratory—thus at once giving an assured and certainly lawful destination to the purchase.

A letter from Newman to Hope-Scott gives the situation in this first stage in the negotiations:

'August 29th, 1864.
'The Bishop has offered us the Mission—and is collecting money for Church and priest's house. They would become pro tempore the Church and House of the Oratory. No college would be set up, but the priest—i.e. the Fathers of the Oratory—would take lodgers.

'So far, as far as a plan goes, is fair sailing, but now can the Oratory, proprio motu (when once established in Oxford, for this I can do with nothing more than the Bishop's consent), can the Oratory, that is I, when once set up, without saying a word to any one, make the Oratory a Hall? I cannot tell. I don't see why I should not. The Oratory is confessedly out of the Bishop's jurisdiction. Propaganda {52} might at once interfere—perhaps would. Our Bishop left to himself would be for an Oxford Catholic College or Hall; but Propaganda would be against him, and my only defence would be the support of the Catholic gentry.

'Further the old workhouse stands on the ground (fronting Walton Street). It was built of stone about 90 years ago by (Gwynne) the architect of Magdalen Bridge—it has a regular front of perhaps 237 feet. I am writing for some information about it. Father Caswall went to see it, but could not get admittance. It holds 150 paupers. (They say it will sell, i.e. the materials, for about 400l.) Perhaps it would admit of fitting up as a Hall or College. I daresay I could collect money for that specific purpose—perhaps Monteith, Scott Murray, Mr. Waldron and others would give me 100l. a piece—perhaps I might collect 1,000l. in that way, which might be enough. This plan would be independent of any Mission plan, but it is a great point to come in under the Bishop's sanction and to be carrying out an idea of his. Also, it gives us an ostensible position quite independent of the College plan. We have our work in Oxford, though the College plan failed. And we can feel our way much better. It would not be worth while coming to Oxford to keep a mere lodging house,—but, being there already as Missioners, it is natural to take youths into our building, and many parents would like it.

'But now, per contra.

'1. At my age—when I am sick of all plans—have little energy, and declining strength.

'2. When we are so few and have so many irons in the fire.

'3. How could I mix again with Oxford men? How could I "siccis oculis" see "monstra natantia" when I walked the streets, who had made snaps at me, or looked "torvè" upon me in times long past? How could I throw myself into what might be such painful re-awakening animosities? How could I adjust my position with dear Pusey, and others who are at present my well-wishers?

'4. Then all the work I might be involved in, do what I would!

'5. And the hot water I might get into with Propaganda. Perhaps I should have to kick my heels at its door for a whole year, like poor Dr. Baines. It would kill me. The Catholic gentry alone could save me here.

'6. Then again I ought to have a view on all those questions about Scripture, the antiquity of man, metaphysics, evidence, &c., &c., which I have not,—and which, as soon as {53} I got, I might get a rap on the knuckles from Propaganda for divulging.

'7. Then I have had so much disappointment and anxiety,—the Irish University is such a failure—the Achilli matter was such a scrape—the School is such a fidget—that I once again quote against myself the words of Euripides in censure of [hoi perissoi] or Lord Melbourne's: "Why can't you let it alone?"

'If we did it we should have a resident curate, and a resident dean or the like; and send one of our Fathers to and fro as "Rector," which is the Oratorian name for Vice-Superior or Vice-Provost.

'Now I have put out all before you; and give me your opinion on the whole. I have told Mr. Ambrose Smith I will give him his answer by the 8th September.'

While Newman, after his wont, was threshing out every item of the prospect in his correspondence, weighing 'pros' and 'cons,' asking for delay, Mr. Ambrose Smith died quite unexpectedly. Then a decision had to be come to at once. He sent Father Ambrose and Father Edward to Oxford with a free hand. They bought the land for 8,400l. Newman writes to Miss Giberne on October 25:

'The two Fathers returned last night at 7, and I am writing to you first of all just after mass, knowing what interest you will take in it, how you love both the Oratory and Oxford, and what benefit your prayers will do me. The sum is awful—I have to meet it by the first of January. Mr. Hope-Scott gives 1000l.—the Oratory 1000l.—the rest I must make up out of the private money of Ambrose, Edward and William, as I can. And then how are they (and our Oratory) to live without money! our school does not pay—our offertory does not support the Sacristy. Therefore we have need of prayers.

'The land is, as you would think, out of Oxford,—but the place is growing in that direction—and is growing in the shape of gentlefolk as well as poor—so that, independent of the bearing of the Oratory on the University, we think there is room for a good mission. The ground beyond the Park and the Observatory is getting covered with houses. The (Protestant) parochial clergy are becoming married men—the Tutors, nay the Fellows, are marrying—and the Professors have by late changes increased in number and in wealth. Thus there is a society growing up in Oxford, which {54} never was before, beyond the exclusive pale of Provosts and Presidents. Well, the land lies between Worcester College, the Printing Office, the Observatory, St. Giles's and Beaumont Street. It is a plot of 5 acres, on which stood hitherto the Workhouse, which has been removed now to another locality. Hence the sale of the ground. Five acres is a square of which each side is nearly 480 feet long—so you may think how large it is. Christ Church Tom quad is a square of about 260 feet a side. Trinity College with its gardens is not 5 acres I suppose. Oriel, I suspect, is little more than 1 acre or an acre and a half. It is far, far too much for an Oratory—and the price far too much, and yet we shall have extreme difficulty in selling a portion again without loss. There is a talk of an Oxford Catholic College—if so, we should sell to it.

'We propose at once to start a subscription for a Church, commemorative of the Oxford Movement, and we are sanguine that we shall get a great deal of money.'

The idea of a college was, however, soon definitely abandoned and an Oratory at Oxford was again contemplated. Newman writes thus to Mr. Gaisford:

'October 30th, 1864.
'In nothing can one have one's own will, pure and simple, and the difficulty is increased where one is not sure what one's will is. The College or Hall scheme is enveloped in difficulty ... I look to see, supposing these preliminary difficulties overcome, whether it will be acceptable to Catholics. Now here I find a strong, I may say a growing, feeling on the part of the Bishops against it. Our own Bishop who was favourable to it some time ago has got stronger and stronger against it, and the person to whom he confided the drawing up of the memorandum to be sent to Propaganda on the subject, an Oxford man, gave his judgment against it. I say nothing of the opposition of Dr. Manning and the Dublin Review, which is only too well known. Nor is this all—Catholic gentlemen are beginning to prefer sending their boys to the existing Colleges—some have been for doing so from the first ... The Catholic public, it is plain, take no interest in the scheme. Whatever may happen years hence, it is impracticable now. And I have accordingly ceased to think of it.

'Hence I am led to contemplate, if possible, a strong ecclesiastical body in Oxford in order to be a centre of the Catholic youth there, and as a defence against Protestant {55} influences. Now do not think I am contemplating anything controversial. Just the contrary. I would conciliate the University if I could—but young Catholics must be seen to.

'I repeat, we must do what we can in all things. Our Bishop takes up this Oratory view. He has long been wishing to make Oxford a strong Mission. A back yard in St. Clements and a barn to say Mass in, are not the proper representatives of the visible Church. But, if you do come forward, if you move on to St. Giles', any how you will frighten at first and annoy the academical body. This is unavoidable. Next, how are you to raise the money for a Church? Catholics will not subscribe to it without a stimulus. Four years ago the notion of a Memorial Church was suggested by the Bishop. I did not enter into it then. Now I do. I think it will gain the money, and I don't see any other way. The watchword (so to call it, for I am taking it in its most objectionable point of view) will die away when the money is collected. Only the fabric will remain. It will not be written upon it "the Movement Church"—if it is still an eyesore, it will be so, because it is a Catholic Church, not because it was raised with a certain idea.'

Newman's immediate object, to help the Catholic undergraduates, and his ultimate aim—of influencing religious thought in Oxford with a view to the future—are stated incidentally in a letter to Mr. Wetherell:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Nov. 1st. 1864.
'My dear Wetherell,—I wish I could talk to you instead of writing. I am passing through London and would make an appointment except that, from the hour which I must fix, it would be impossible for you to keep, while it would bind me. At present it looks as if I should come up to the Paddington Terminus on Thursday by the train which arrives at about ¼ to 11. If so, I should go to the coffee room. I have been quite well till now,—but this Oxford matter has for the moment knocked me up, so that I am running away to hide myself.

'We are proceeding to build a Church directly—and my great difficulty is this—to raise the money by contributions I must take an ostentatious line and make a noise,—to set myself right with the Oxford residents, who are at this moment alarmed, I ought to be unostentatious and quiet. I truly wish the latter—I have no intention of making a row—no wish to angle for heedless undergraduates. I go primarily {56} and directly to take care of the Catholic youth who are beginning to go there, and are in Protestant Colleges. And what I aim at is not immediate conversions, but to influence, as far as an old man can, the tone of thought in the place, with a view to a distant time when I shall be no longer here. I do not want controversy. So much for the University—as to the town people, of course I shall have no objection, if I can, to convert them—not that their souls are more precious, but that they can be got (if so) without greater counterbalancing evils.

'Then on the other hand, I do come out with a watchword—viz. the Church is to be a sort of thank-offering on the part of the converts of the last 30 years. How can I raise the money unless this be understood?

'I don't expect to leave Birmingham.
'Very sincerely yours,

'P.S.—You may use what I have said at your discretion, but not on my authority.'

The work Newman contemplated was to be done not in opposition to, but rather in unison with, the Church of England and the other religious forces in Oxford. The danger from which he wished to protect the undergraduates was free thought. In a remarkable letter four years earlier he had declined the proposal that he should take part in building a new church at Oxford, on the very ground that he thought controversy with Anglicans in Oxford undesirable. This letter—addressed to Canon Estcourt and dated June 2, 1860—ran as follows:

'You seemed to think with me that the Catholics of Oxford do not require a new Church: if then a subscription is commenced for a new one, it will be with a view to making converts from the University. Indeed, I think you will allow this to be the view: for it was on this very ground that you wished me, and the only ground on which you could wish me, to take part in it. You said that my name would draw aid from converts—and you were kind enough to wish that the Church thus built should be in a certain sense a memorial of my former position in Oxford. Now a controversial character thus given to new ecclesiastical establishments there, whatever be its expedience in itself, would be the very circumstance which would determine me personally against taking that part in promoting them, which you assign to me. It would do more harm than good. {57}

'To take part in this would be surely inconsistent with the sentiments which I have ever acted upon, since I have been a Catholic. My first act was to leave the neighbourhood of Oxford, where I found myself, at considerable inconvenience. When I heard the question of a new Oxford Church mooted at Stonyhurst soon after, I spoke against it. In all that I have written, I have spoken of Oxford and the Oxford system with affection and admiration. I have put its system forward, as an instance of that union of dogmatic teaching and liberal education which command my assent. I have never acted in direct hostility to the Church of England. I have, in my lectures on Anglicanism, professed no more than to carry on "children of the Movement of 1833" to their legitimate conclusions. In my lectures on Catholicism in England, I oppose, not the Anglican Church, but National Protestantism, and Anglicans only so far as they belong to it. In taking part in building a new Church at Oxford, I should be commencing a line of conduct which would require explanation ...

'While I do not see my way to take steps to weaken the Church of England, being what it is, least of all should I be disposed to do so in Oxford, which has hitherto been the seat of those traditions which constitute whatever there is of Catholic doctrine and principle in the Anglican Church. That there are also false traditions there, I know well: I know too that there is a recent importation of scepticism and infidelity; but, till things are very much changed there, in weakening Oxford, we are weakening our friends, weakening our own de facto [paidagogos] into the Church. Catholics did not make us Catholics; Oxford made us Catholics. At present Oxford surely does more good than harm. There has been a rage for shooting sparrows of late years, under the notion that they are the farmers' enemies. Now, it is discovered that they do more good by destroying insects than harm by picking up the seed. In Australia, I believe, they are actually importing them. Is there not something of a parallel here?

'I go further than a mere tolerance of Oxford; as I have said, I wish to suffer the Church of England. The Establishment has ever been a breakwater against Unitarianism, fanaticism, and infidelity. It has ever loved us better than Puritans or Independents have loved us. And it receives all that abuse and odium of dogmatism, or at least a good deal of it, which otherwise would be directed against us. I should have the greatest repugnance to introducing controversy {58} into those quiet circles and sober schools of thought which are the strength of the Church of England. It is another thing altogether to introduce controversy to individual minds which are already unsettled, or have a drawing towards Catholicism. Altogether another thing in a place like Birmingham, where nearly everyone is a nothingarian, an infidel, a sceptic, or an inquirer. Here Catholic efforts are not only good in themselves, and do good, but cannot possibly do any even incidental harm—here, whatever is done is so much gain. In Oxford you would unsettle many, and gain a few, if you did your most.

'If a Catholic Church were in a position there suitable for acting upon Undergraduates, first it would involve on their part a conscious breach of University and College regulations; then it would attract just those who were likely to be unstable, and who perhaps in a year or two would lapse back to Protestantism; and then, it would create great bitterness of feeling and indignation against Catholics, prejudice fair minds against the truth, and diminish the chances of our being treated with equity at Oxford or elsewhere.'

But while he had thus declined in 1860 to place antagonism between the forces of Anglicanism and Catholicism in Oxford, or to countenance proselytism, another idea now gradually grew upon him, that he might help to do what Pusey and his friends had been attempting in Oxford—that he might serve the cause of Christian philosophy against the incoming tide of freethought [Note 3].

The next step was to appeal for funds, and Newman drew up a careful circular with this object, and submitted it to Hope-Scott. The proposal was not only to pay for the land, but to erect a church commemorative of the Oxford conversions of 1845. This proposal, which Newman had declined when it appeared to be a controversial demonstration, he now accepted in new circumstances; but he carefully eliminated all controversial matter from his circular. The circular had to be framed with great care. For the opposition of the hierarchy to Catholics entering the existing Oxford colleges had to be taken into account. This difficulty appears in a letter to Hope-Scott: {59}

'October 31st, 1864.
'I am not sure that I understood your letter. I believe it means this:—"don't give up the idea of a College or Hall—don't cut off the chance of it. To say you are sent to the Catholic youth in the existing Colleges is a sort of recognition of those Colleges as a fit place for them, and an acquiescence in the abandonment of the College or Hall scheme. Therefore speak of the existing admission to the University, not Colleges." I have altered it to meet this idea.

'Also, I have cut off the part to which you object. Still, I have spoken of the spirit of the Oratory, because it ever has been peaceable, unpolitical, conceding, and quiet. You may think it, however, as sounding like a fling at the Jesuits, &c. For this, or any other reason, draw your pen across it if you think best.'

The circular sent to his friends, together with the Bishop's letter entrusting the Mission to him entirely, ran as follows:

'Father Newman having been entrusted by his Diocesan with the Mission of Oxford, is proceeding, with the sanction of Propaganda, to the establishment there of a House of the Oratory.

'Some such establishment in one of the great seats of learning seems to be demanded of English Catholics at a time when the relaxation both of controversial animosity and of legal restriction has allowed them to appear before their countrymen in the full profession and the genuine attributes of their Holy Religion.

'And, while there is no place in England more likely than Oxford to receive a Catholic community with fairness, interest, and intelligent curiosity, so on the other hand the English Oratory has this singular encouragement in placing itself there, that it has been expressly created and blessed by the reigning Pontiff for the very purpose of bringing Catholicity before the educated classes of society, and especially those classes which represent the traditions and the teaching of Oxford.

'Moreover, since many of its priests have been educated at the Universities, it brings to its work an acquaintance and a sympathy with Academical habits and sentiments, which are a guarantee of its inoffensive bearing towards the members of another communion, and which will specially enable it to discharge its sacred duties in the peaceable and {60} conciliatory spirit which is the historical characteristic of the sons of St. Philip Neri.

'Father Newman has already secured a site for an Oratory Church and buildings in an eligible part of Oxford; and he now addresses himself to the work of collecting the sums necessary for carrying his important undertaking into effect. This he is able to do under the sanction of the following letter from the Bishop of the Diocese, which it gives him great satisfaction to publish.'

For two months all seemed to go well. Newman was living among his own friends and did not realise the potent forces which were working against him, of which I shall speak directly. Mr. Wetherell was especially active on his behalf. He engaged the services of the able architect Mr. Henry Clutton for the buildings in connection with the Oxford Oratory. Newman's old Oxford friend James Laird Patterson took him to see Cardinal Wiseman to talk things over. Wiseman's uncordial reception of him was ascribed by them both to ill-health. Of the determined opposition to the scheme which, at the instigation of Manning and W. G. Ward, the Cardinal was preparing to offer, they had no suspicion; so all letters up to the middle of November speak of sanguine hope. A few specimens shall suffice:

'Brighton: November 5th, 1864.
'My dear Ambrose,—We came here last night as a first stage towards Hastings, whither we find Pollen has gone. It is cold and raw here.

'Our day in London was successful. Patterson has no idea at all of leaving London, and, when he said he put himself at my disposal, he meant to make the offer, consistently with his being at the disposal of the Westminster Diocese. However, he is very warm ... He thought that Oxford offered a large field for conversions. I daresay he would be more desirous of manifestations than I should be.

'Wetherell and Clutton both were in high spirits and hopes about the Oxford scheme, and prophesied all that was good and glorious. Yard [Note 4] I could not see, as it was St. Charles's day—I must see him in returning. There will be an article on the Oxford matter in the Daily News of this day ... Clutton is coming to us on Monday 14th—going first to Oxford. {61}

'Patterson said he was going to the Cardinal, who had not been well ... I went with him, and saw the poor Cardinal for ten minutes. I saw him, I suppose, in his usual state—relaxed, feeble, and dejected [Note 5]. On ringing at the door, I had said to Patterson, "You must bring me off in five minutes for the Cardinal is so entertaining a talker that it is always difficult to get away from him." Alas, what I never could have fancied beforehand, I was the only speaker. I literally talked. He is anxious about his eyes. Patterson calls it "congestion." The C. says that the London fog tries them. He was just down—two o'clock or half past two. He listened to the Oxford plan, half querulously, and said that he thought the collection for St. Thomas at Rome would interfere with getting money from the Continent. Ever yours affectionately,


'The Oratory: November 16th, 1864.
'We shall have plenty of trials in time, but at present the sky is very clear and bright, and the landscape is rose-colour. Alas, that bright mornings are the soonest overcast! So great a work cannot be done without great crosses,—yet I don't like to say so, for it is like prophesying against myself, and I do not like trial at all. What is to happen if we are not preserved in health and strength! We have few enough to work if we have our all—we have not a quarter of a Father to spare—but we must leave all this to Him Who we trust is employing us.'


'The Oratory: November 16th, 1864.
'As to Oxford, we are astonished at our own doings—and our only hope is that we are doing God's Will in thus portentously involving ourselves both in money matters and in work. I should like a long talk with you, though just now I am confined to my room with a bad cold. My friends here sent me away suddenly to the South Coast because I was not quite well,—and, coming back from that delightful climate to this keen one, I have been knocked up by it. I think I should live ten years longer if I was at Hastings or {62} Brighton, but here, when I am older, a cold caught may carry me off. Since I came back, I have been hard at the letters which came in my absence,—so you must excuse my delay in answering you.

'We are going to build a Church at once, and, though the mission is very small at present, we are sanguine that we shall increase it enough to make it pay the interest of our great expenses. The Bishop has given us a strong letter, and I trust we shall collect a large sum for the Church. Everything looks favourable at the moment, but of course we shall have plenty of crosses as time goes on.'


'November 17, 1864 ...
'There is just now a very remarkable feeling in my favour at Oxford—a friend of mine, who has lately been there, writes word "Unless I had seen it with my own eyes, I could not have believed how strong is the attachment, for that is the word, with which you are regarded by all parties up there." A head of a House says "every one would welcome you in Oxford." An undergraduate writes to me: "There is a report that you were at Oriel last Friday incognito; it caused great excitement. I am sure, if it were known you were coming here on any particular day, the greater part of the University would escort you in procession into the Town." Do not mention all this—of course I cannot reckon on the feeling lasting, but it is hopeful, as a beginning. The whole course of things has been wonderful—and there seems to me a call on me to follow it, without looking forward to the future. If we come to a cul-de-sac, we must back out.'

The grounds of fear put forward in the letter to Mother Imelda Poole read as the suggestings of a morbid fancy. But the instinct which prompted his anxiety proved a true one. W. G. Ward during the two years in which he had edited the Dublin Review had developed and defined his views on Catholic culture in opposition to what he regarded as the secularist spirit of the Rambler and Home and Foreign. He regarded the prospect of Catholics going to Oxford as a surrender of the whole situation. The rising generation, the future representatives of the Church in England, would be at Oxford during the most plastic years {63} in which their views were being formed and their characters moulded, surrounded by the indifferentist atmosphere of a University in which some of the ablest thought was now agnostic in its tendency. With all the zeal of a Crusader he opposed the project. He did not in his writings on the subject enter into the considerations which the Moderate party urged. He did not deal with the individual cases where the absence of Oxford life might conceivably do much more harm than its presence could do. For many, the alternative was Woolwich or Sandhurst—places fraught with far greater dangers than Oxford to those whose trials were moral rather than intellectual. Again, he did not treat of the practical prospects of those rich young men to whom the prospect of a career—so difficult to realise if the Universities were tabooed—is the best safeguard against very obvious temptations to a life of pleasure. He was exclusively occupied with the necessity of making loyalty to Church authority and other religious first principles supremely influential in the rising generation, by jealously guarding these principles in youth and early manhood. More than all, he dreaded the insidious intellectual and worldly maxims of a secular University—the principles of 'religious Liberalism' as he called them. Such maxims were calculated so to dilute the Catholic 'ethos' at the most critical moment in the formation of character as to bring up a generation of merely nominal Catholics.

'Since the season of childhood and youth is immeasurably the most impressible of all,' he wrote in the Dublin Review, 'it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of preserving the purity of a Catholic atmosphere throughout the whole of Catholic education ... Even intellectually speaking, no result can well be more deplorable than that which tends to ensue from mixed education. There is no surer mark of an uncultivated mind, than that a man's practical judgment on facts as they occur, shall be at variance with the theoretical principles which he speculatively accepts ... Now this is the natural result of mixed education. The unhappy Catholic who is so disadvantageously circumstanced tends to become the very embodiment of inconsistency. Catholic in his speculative convictions, non-Catholic in his practical judgments; holding one doctrine as a universal truth, and {64} a doctrine precisely contradictory in almost every particular which that universal truth embraces.'

Ward had many sympathisers in his attitude—among them Dr. Grant, Bishop of Southwark, and his own intimate friends the two future Cardinals, Manning and Vaughan. At the news of Newman's plan, these men made urgent representations to Propaganda and to Cardinal Wiseman as to the necessity of immediate action being taken to prevent its going further. Newman's presence at Oxford would mean past recovery the triumph of mixed education. Ward wrote to Talbot at the Vatican to secure Propaganda on the anti-Oxford side. Vaughan went to Rome itself.

In Rome there was every disposition to take a strong line against mixed education, for the national Universities in the countries with which the authorities were most familiar were positively anti-Christian, and young men rarely emerged from them with definite Christian belief. Even in a country where Catholicism was as strong as it was in Belgium the Catholic University of Louvain was founded expressly to counteract this danger. The whole tendency of the Ultramontane movement was towards endeavouring to secure a body of zealous and even militant young Catholics to fight the battles of the Holy See and the Church. Governments and populations were no longer Catholic. The national life was hardly anywhere Catholic. In such circumstances, to keep faith and zeal intact it was necessary to withdraw from the world. Education both primary and secondary must be suited to the policy of falling back behind the Catholic entrenchments to do battle with the modern spirit. Gregory XVI. and his successor had both opposed the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. When Ward, Manning, and Vaughan represented that Oxford would turn out young men who were Catholics in name only, Pius IX. was ready enough to believe that Oxford was no better than Brussels; that the best policy for Belgium would prove the best policy for England. That the conditions in the two countries were fundamentally different, that Oxford was not a school of infidelity, that it might be even still open to religious influences, was a thought which was probably not suggested to him. Therefore, when Vaughan went to Rome {65} as the ambassador of the party, he found ears ready enough to listen to him at Propaganda.

The news of the proceedings of Ward and Manning, with its ominous significance as to the inevitable sequel, burst upon Newman a week after the hopeful letters we have just read. Newman saw the gravity of the situation. His one hope was in strong representations to Propaganda on the part of the laity. He at once conveyed the intelligence of what had occurred to Hope-Scott.

'The Bishops are to meet quam primum,' he wrote to Hope-Scott on November 23rd, 'not to settle the University question, but to submit their opinions to Propaganda, that Propaganda may decide. Propaganda seems to be at the mercy of Manning, Ward, and Dr. Grant. For this meeting does not proceed from the Bishops. It is not off the cards, though, of course, very improbable, that going to Oxford will be made a reserved case.

'Now I repeat what I have said before, that, unless the Catholic gentry make themselves heard at Rome, a small active clique will carry the day.'

Mr. Wetherell at once got up a lay petition to Propaganda in favour of Catholics going to Oxford, and took it himself to Rome early in the following year. But he accomplished nothing. Meanwhile Newman had an interview with Bishop Ullathorne before the end of November and learnt from him fully the condition of affairs. He writes of the prospect despairingly to Hope-Scott on November 28:

'At present I am simply off the rails. I do not know how to doubt that the sudden meeting of the Bishops has been ordered apropos of my going to Oxford. If I can understand our Bishop, the notion is to forbid young Catholics to go to Oxford, and to set up a University elsewhere. If so, what have I to do with Oxford? what call have I, at the end of twenty years, apropos of nothing, to open theological trenches against the Doctors and Professors of the University?'

In a few weeks the whole Oxford scheme was definitely dropped. The Bishops met on December 13 and passed resolutions in favour of an absolute prohibition of Oxford. The confirmation of their act by Propaganda was not doubtful. {66} Propaganda had indeed informally intimated its own judgment in the same direction.

But, moreover, a set of questions was drawn up and sent to many leading Oxford converts, inviting their opinion as to the advisability of Catholics going to Oxford. The answers were to be sent to Propaganda for its enlightenment. The questions were not sent to Newman or any of his sympathisers. They implied in their form that an adverse answer on each point was the only one open to a sound Catholic. Their authorship I have been unable to discover. But they were clearly drawn up by some one whose opposition to the Oxford scheme was uncompromising. They were sent by Dr. Grant, Bishop of Southwark, to Mr. Gaisford among others, and Mr. Gaisford returned answers strongly favourable to Catholics frequenting the Universities [Note 6]. These answers he forwarded to Newman with the text of the questions themselves.

Newman in a letter to Mr. Gaisford thus commented on answers and on the questions themselves:

'December 16th, 1864.
'I heard of the questions for the first time three days ago. I had not seen them or any one of them till you sent them. As for my own opinion, it has never been asked in any shape.

'Such a paper of questions is deplorable—deplorable because they are not questions but arguments, worse than "leading questions." They might as well have been summed up in one—viz., "Are you or are you not, one of those wicked men who advocate Oxford education?" for they imply a condemnation of the respondent if he does not reply in one way.

'I do not believe that the meeting, or the questions, came from the Bishops. They come from unknown persons, who mislead Propaganda, put the screw on the Bishops, and would shut up our school if they could,—and perhaps will.

'As to our Bishop, I formally told him a month before I bought the ground that, if I accepted the Mission, and proposed to introduce the Oratory to Oxford, it was solely for the sake of the Catholics in the Colleges. Yet he let me go on. In truth he knew of no real difficulty or hitch in {67} prospect. I believe the news of the intended Bishops' meeting was a surprise to him.

'I think your letter and answers very good, very much to the point. There is a straightforwardness in them which must tell, if they are read.

'It is the laity's concern, not ours. There are those who contrast the English laity with the Irish, and think that the English will stand anything. Such persons will bully, if they are allowed to do so; but will not show fight if they are resisted.''

By the end of the month it was quite clear to Newman that the whole Oxford scheme was at an end, as he says in a sad letter to Sister Imelda Poole of Stone:

'December 28th, 1864.
'As to the Oxford scheme it is still the Blessed Will of God to send me baulks. On the whole, I suppose, looking through my life as a course, He is using me, but really viewed in its separate parts it is but a life of failures. My Bishop gave me the Mission without my asking for it. I told him that I should not think of going, except for the sake of Catholic youths there, and with his perfect acquiescence I bought the ground. It cost 8,400l. When all this had been done there was an interposition of Propaganda, for which I believe he was absolutely unprepared, and the more so, because, as I heard at the time, the collected Bishops had last year recommended Propaganda to do nothing in the Oxford question. However, on the news coming to certain people in London that I was going to Oxford, they influenced Propaganda to interfere, and the whole scheme is, I conceive, at an end. Of course, if Propaganda brings out any letter of disapproval of young Catholics going to Oxford, (and people think it is certain to do so) my going there is either superfluous, or undutiful—superfluous if there are no Catholics there—undutiful if my going is an inducement to them, or an excuse and shelter for their going there?'

To the same effect he wrote to Miss Giberne, adding as a postscript, 'does it not seem queer that the two persons who are now most opposed to me are Manning and Ward?'

And so four short months saw the dawn, the promise, the defeat of the hopeful dreams which the success of the 'Apologia' had kindled.

The expected rescript from Propaganda came early in 1865, and Newman wrote of it thus to Mr. John Pollen: {68}

'Have you seen the sweeping sentence of the Bishops on the Oxford matter? I consider that Propaganda has ordered the Bishops to be of one mind, and they have not been able to help it, and that Manning has persuaded Propaganda.

'It is to be observed that they do not order their clergy to dissuade parents, but give their judgment for the guidance of the Clergy. This I interpret to mean (1) that each case of going to Oxford is to be taken by itself, (2) that leave is to be asked by parents in the Confessional.

'But so far is clear, that, unless Wetherell brings some modification from Rome (which I don't think he will) no School, as ourselves, can educate with a professed view to Oxford. The decision includes the London University and Trinity College, Dublin.

'It seems as if they wanted to put down the whole matter at once. And I suppose they will follow it up by some attempted organisation of English Education generally. I never should be surprised if our School was directly or indirectly attacked.'

Mr. Wetherell and his deputation had, as I have intimated, no success: got indeed barely a hearing. Newman's friends urged him to go in person to Rome, but he knew that he could effect nothing against the active campaign of Manning and Ward aided by Mgr. Talbot at the Vatican itself. His feelings on the situation are expressed in the following letters to Miss Bowles:

'March 31st, 1865.
'I was going to write a long answer to your letter, but it is far too large and too delicate a subject to write about. If I ever had an hour with you, I could tell you a great deal. No,—you do not know facts, and know partially or incorrectly those which you know. You say what you would do in my case, if you were a man; and I should rather say what I would do in my case, if I were a woman,—for it was St. Catherine who advised a Pope, and succeeded, but St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Edmund tried and failed. I am too much of a philosopher too to have the keen energy necessary for the work on which you put me. Yet observe, Lacordaire, with whom I so much sympathize, was a fiery orator and a restless originator,—yet he failed, as I have failed.

'Look at the whole course of this Oxford matter. The Bishops have just brought out their sweeping decision, unanimously. {69} Unanimously, because Propaganda orders it. Who directs Propaganda? What pains did they (the Cardinal) take in England to get opinions? As for myself, no one in authority has ever asked me. I never saw the questions (till afterwards)—few did—and what questions—leading questions and worse—arguments, not questions. The laity told nothing about it. The laity go to Propaganda. Cardinal Barnabo talks by the half hour, not letting anyone else speak, and saying he knows all about it already, and wants no information, for Mgr. Talbot has told him all about it. What chance should I have with broken Italian (they don't, can't, talk Latin)? I know what chance. I had to go to him nine years ago,—he treated me in the same way—scolded me before he knew what I had come about; and I went on a most grave matter, sorely against my will. No—we are in a transition time and must wait patiently, though of course the tempest will last through our day.'

'May 1st, 1865.
'I inclose a post office order for 5l. ... As to the rest, I wish it to go in a special kind of charity, viz. in the instrumenta, as I may call them, and operative methods of your own good works,—that is, not in meat, and drink, and physic, or clothing of the needy, but (if you will not be angry with me) in your charitable cabs, charitable umbrellas, charitable boots, and all the wear and tear of a charitable person who, without such wear and tear, cannot do her charity.

'As to Catholic matters, there is nothing like the logic of facts. This is what I look to—it is a sad consolation—but Catholics won't stand such standing still for ever. And then, when much mischief is done, and more is feared, something will be attempted in high quarters.

'A great prelate (Dr. Ullathorne) said to me years ago, when I said that the laity needed instruction, guidance, tenderness, consideration, &c., &c.: "You do not know them, Dr. N., our laity are a peaceable body—they are peaceable." I understood him to mean: "They are grossly ignorant and unintellectual, and we need not consult, or consult for them at all." ... And at Rome they treat them according to the tradition of the Middle Ages, as, in "Harold the Dauntless," the Abbot of Durham treated Count Witikind. Well, facts alone will slowly make them recognise the fact of what a laity must be in the 19th century if it is to cope with Protestantism.' {70}

Further reflections of interest on the Oxford question as a whole and on the prospect for the future are contained in the following letters:


'The Oratory, Bm.: Feb. 7th, '65.
'As to Oxford and Cambridge, it is quite plain that the Church ought to have Schools (Universities) of her own. She can in Ireland—she can't in England, a Protestant country. How are you to prepare young Catholics for taking part in life, in filling stations in a Protestant country as England, without going to the English Universities? Impossible. Either then refuse to let Catholics avail themselves of these privileges, of going into Parliament, of taking their seat in the House of Lords, of becoming Lawyers, Commissioners etc. etc. or let them go there, where alone they will be able to put themselves on a par with Protestants. Argument the 1st.

'2. They will get more harm in London life than at Oxford or Cambridge. A boy of 19 goes to some London office, with no restraint—he goes at that age to Oxford or Cambridge, and is at least under some restraint.

'3. Why are you not consistent, and forbid him to go into the Army? why don't you forbid him to go to such an "Academy" at Woolwich? He may get at Woolwich as much harm in his faith and morals as at the Universities.

'4. There are two sets at Oxford. What Fr. B. says of the good set being small, is bosh. At least I have a right to know better than he. What can he know about my means of knowledge? I was Tutor (in a very rowing College, and was one of those who changed its character). I was Dean of discipline—I was Pro-proctor. The good set was not a small set—tho' it varied in number in different colleges.'


'April 28th, 1865.
'It boots not to go through the Oxford matter, now (at least for the time) over. I believe the majority of the Bishops were against the decision, to which they have publicly committed themselves; and what is to take the place of Oxford, I know not. Our boys go on well till they get near the top of the school—but, when they are once put into the fifth or sixth form, they languish and get slovenly—i.e. for want of a stimulus. They have no object before them. {71} And then again, parents come to me and say: "What are we to do with Charlie and Richard? Is he to keep company with the gamekeeper on his leaving school? Is he to be toadied by all the idle fellows about the place? Is he to get a taste for low society? How can Oxford be worse than this? Is he to have a taste for anything beyond that for shooting pheasants? Is he to stagnate with no internal resources, and no power of making himself useful in life?" As to such fellows being likely to have their faith shaken at Oxford, that (at least) their parents think an absurdity, and so do I. Of course it is otherwise with more intellectual youths,—though at present I am credibly informed there is a singular reaction in Oxford in favour of High Church principles; and, though I can understand a Catholic turning liberal, my imagination fails as to the attempt to turn him into a Puseyite.'

With this letter should be read a sentence in another written a week earlier to St. John, which shows that, with this as with so much else, his last word was 'patience.' Oxford might be open to another generation of Catholics, though he would no longer be there to guide them:

'Rednall: April 21st, 1865.
'This morning I have made up my mind, as the only way of explaining the way in which all the Bishops but two turned round, that the extinguisher on Oxford was the Pope's own act. If so, we may at once reconcile ourselves to it. Another Pontiff in another generation may reverse it.'

The year 1893—three years after Newman had himself passed away—saw the realisation, under the Pontificate of Leo XIII., of the hope expressed in this letter.

The failure of the Oxford scheme was regarded by Newman as final so far as his own lifetime went. And he sold the ground he had bought. The disappointment did not, however, crush Newman as earlier ones had done. His habit of patience had grown on him, and seems to have given him more of strength and calmness. 'The obedient man shall speak of victory.' Moreover he had seen signs, in the strong support he now had among Catholics, that his own views might one day prevail. And the success of the 'Apologia' was an accomplished fact. {72}

In the first half of 1865 came a lull in the acute discussions of the hour. In February 1865 Cardinal Wiseman passed away, and it was uncertain what ecclesiastical powers would come to the front in England. An entry in the journal records Newman's feelings at this time:

'February 22nd, 1865.
'I have just now looked over what I wrote on January 21st 1863. My position of mind now is so different from what it was then, that it would require many words to bring it out. First, I have got hardened against the opposition made to me, and have not the soreness at my ill-treatment on the part of certain influential Catholics which I had then,—and this simply from the natural effect of time—just as I do not feel that anxiety which I once had that we have no novices. I don't know that this recklessness is a better state of mind than that anxiety. Every year I feel less and less anxiety to please Propaganda, from a feeling that they cannot understand England. Next, the two chief persons whom I felt to be unjust to me are gone,—the Cardinal and Faber. Their place has been taken by Manning and Ward; but somehow, from my never having been brought as closely into contact with either of them as with the Cardinal and Faber, I have not that sense of their cruelty which I felt so much as regards the two last mentioned. Thirdly, in the last year a most wonderful deliverance has been wrought in my favour, by the controversy of which the upshot was my "Apologia." It has been marvelously blest, for, while I have regained, or rather gained, the favour of Protestants, I have received the approbation, in formal Addresses, of good part of the [Catholic] clerical body. They have been highly pleased with me, as doing them a service, and I stand with them as I never did before. Then again, it has pleased Protestants, and of all parties, as much or more. When I wrote those sharp letters, as I did very deliberately, in June 1862, in consequence of the reports circulated to the effect that I was turning Protestant, I at once brought myself down to my lowest point as regards popularity, yet, by the very force of my descent, I prepared the way for a rebound. It was my lowest point, yet the turning point. When A.B. wrote to remonstrate with me on the part of my Protestant friends, I answered him by showing how unkindly they had treated me for 17 years,—so much so that they had no right to remonstrate. This touched Keble. Moreover, it happened just then that, {73} independent of this, Copeland, having met me accidentally in London, came to see us here, and he spread such a kind report of me that Keble wrote to me, Rogers visited me (August 30th, 1863) and Church proposed to do so. Williams too wished to come and see me,—but he had never lost sight of me. The kind feeling was growing, when (Copeland accidentally being here) I began the Kingsley controversy, the effect of which I need not enlarge on. I have pleasant proofs of it every day. And thus I am in a totally different position now to what I was in January 1863. And my temptation at this moment is, to value the praise of men too highly, especially of Protestants—and to lose some portion of that sensitiveness towards God's praise which is so elementary a duty.

'On all these accounts, though I still feel keenly the way in which I am kept doing nothing, I am not so much pained at it,—both because by means of my "Apologia" I am (as I feel) indirectly doing a work, and because its success has put me in spirits to look out for other means of doing good, whether Propaganda cares about it or no. Yet still it is very singular that the same effective opposition to me does go on, thwarting my attempts to act, and what is very singular, also "avulso uno non deficit alter." Faber being taken away, Ward and Manning take his place. Through them, especially Manning, acting on the poor Cardinal (who is to be buried tomorrow), the Oxford scheme has been for the present thwarted—for me probably for good—and this morning I have been signing the agreement by which I shall sell my land to the University. Bellasis told me that, from what he saw at Rome, he felt that Manning was more set against my going to Oxford, than merely against Catholic youths going there. And now I am thrown back again on my do-nothing life here—how marvellous! yet, as I have drawn out above, from habit, from recklessness, and from my late success, my feeling of despondency and irritation seems to have gone.'

The 'do-nothing life,' as he termed it, meant occupation with slight literary tasks—among them the editing of an expurgated edition of Terence's 'Phormio' for the Edgbaston boys to act. His leisure also led to more frequent correspondence with old friends. He often wrote to R. W. Church and Rogers. Rogers pressed him to come on a visit and meet Church, but Newman could not at once bring himself to make the effort. In writing to Rogers he based his refusal {74} on the trials and troubles of advancing life, but in a subsequent letter to Church we see a stronger reason at work.


'The Oratory, Birm.: Dec. 20, 1864.
'Your offer is very tempting. I should like to be with you and Lady Rogers, I should like to meet Church—and, not the least pleasure would be to see your Mother and Sisters. But I am an old man, oppressed with reasonable and unreasonable difficulties, in confronting such a proposition. How do I know but I shall have a cold, which will prostrate me? Five years ago I had a slight attack in the bronchia—and, when it has once occurred, it never quite goes; and if I had ever so little return of it, I should have great difficulty in shaking it off. I go on expecting it all through the winter, and never get through without a touch, sooner or later. I begin to understand old Routh's excessive care of himself; for if I neglected myself an hour or two I might be in for it. Then again in other ways, though my health is ordinarily good, nay tough, I am prostrated for half a day; after a quiet evening and good night I am right again. Then I am a sort of savage who has lost manners. Except once at Hope-Scott's, and once at Henry Bowden's, and a day or two at W. Wilberforce's last year, I have not been in a friend's house these 20 years—and I should not know how to behave. If I made an engagement with you, I should go on fidgetting myself till the time comes, lest I should be unable to keep it—and if I don't make one, then I am sure not to go to you. And thus you have the measure of me.'


'The Oratory, Bm.: Dec. 21/64.
'I wrote to Rogers yesterday, in more than doubt whether I could accept his offer. Of course I should like extremely to meet whether you or him, and much more both of you together—but I am an old man—and subject to colds and slight ailments which make me slow in committing myself to engagements. And then a profound melancholy might come on me to find myself in the presence of friends so dear to me, and so divided from me. And therefore, like a coward, I have declined. I could bear one, better than two.

'I want very much to see you, and think it most kind in you to think of going the long way whether to London or to Birmingham for my sake—but here again I should prefer the {75} summer to the winter for your visit, for Brummagem is a dirty, unattractive place—and we have no indoor amusements. In the summer I should ask you to go over to our cottage at Rednal—but in winter, unless I went out with you shooting, or mounted you for the hunt, or went sliding or skating with you, what could I do? so that I have the same reluctance to ask you in winter, as you seem to have in asking me in the same season to Whatley.'

Newman did pay a visit on April 26, 1865, to another old friend, Isaac Williams. 'I had not seen him for twenty-two years,' he wrote to R. W. Church. 'Of course I did not know him at all, as I daresay you would not know me. Pattison did not know me a year or two ago, though I knew him. If all is well I shall come and see you some time or other, and take Williams again on my way.' A week later Isaac Williams was dead.

In the summer Church and Rogers combined to give Newman a violin. The prospect of its arrival greatly excited Newman and made him almost scrupulous.

'I only fear,' he writes to Rogers on June 25, 'that I may give time to it more than I ought to spare. I could find solace in music from week to week's end. It will be curious, if I get a qualm of conscience for indulging in it, and, as a set off, write a book. I declare I think it is more likely to [make me] do so than anything else—I am so lazy. It is likely that a note I have written upon Liberalism in my 2nd Edition of the "Apologia" will bring criticisms on me, which I ought to answer. Now I am so desperately lazy that I shall not be able to get myself to do so; and then it strikes me that, in penance for the violin, I suddenly may rush into work in a fit of contrition.'

The instrument arrived early in July, and Newman was fairly overcome by the music he loved so intensely, and which for many years he had set aside lest it should interfere with the graver duties of life [Note 7]. He writes to Dean Church his grateful thanks on July 11:

'My dear Church,—I have delayed thanking you for your great kindness in uniting with Rogers in giving me a fiddle, {76} till I could report upon the fiddle itself. The Warehouse sent me three to choose out of—and I chose with trepidation, as fearing I was hardly up to choosing well. And then my fingers have been in such a state, as being cut by the strings, that up to Saturday last I had sticking plaster upon their ends—and therefore was in no condition to bring out a good tune from the strings and so to return good for evil. But on Saturday I had a good bout at Beethoven's Quartetts—which I used to play with poor Blanco White—and thought them more exquisite than ever—so that I was obliged to lay down the instrument and literally cry out with delight. However, what is more to the point, I was able to ascertain that I had got a very beautiful fiddle—such as I never had before. Think of my not having a good one till I was between sixty and seventy—and beginning to learn it when I was ten! However, I really think it will add to my power of working, and the length of my life. I never wrote more than when I played the fiddle. I always sleep better after music. There must be some electric current passing from the strings through the fingers into the brain and down the spinal marrow. Perhaps thought is music.

'I hope to send you the "Phormio" almost at once.
'Ever yrs. affly.,       JOHN H. NEWMAN.'

A more serious occupation of this time was the writing of the 'Dream of Gerontius.' Newman had, in the middle of the Kingsley controversy, been seized with a very vivid apprehension of immediately impending death, apparently derived from a medical opinion—so vivid as to lead him to write the following memorandum headed, 'written in prospect of death,' and dated Passion Sunday, 1864, 7. o'clock A.M.:

'I write in the direct view of death as in prospect. No one in the house, I suppose, suspects anything of the kind. Nor anyone anywhere, unless it be the medical men.

'I write at once—because, on my own feelings of mind and body, it is as if nothing at all were the matter with me, just now; but because I do not know how long this perfect possession of my sensible and available health and strength may last.

'I die in the faith of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. I trust I shall die prepared and protected by her Sacraments, which our Lord Jesus Christ has committed to her, and in that communion of Saints which He inaugurated {77} when He ascended on high, and which will have no end. I hope to die in that Church which Our Lord founded on Peter, and which will continue till His second coming.

'I commit my soul and body to the Most Holy Trinity, and to the merits and grace of our Lord Jesus, God Incarnate, to the intercession and compassion of our dear Mother Mary; to St. Joseph; and St. Philip Neri, my father, the father of an unworthy son; to St. John the Evangelist; St. John the Baptist; St. Henry; St. Athanasius, and St. Gregory Nazianzen; to St. Chrysostom, and St. Ambrose.

'Also to St. Peter, St. Gregory I. and St. Leo. Also to the great Apostle, St. Paul.

'Also to my tender Guardian Angel, and to all Angels, and to all Saints.

'And I pray to God to bring us all together again in heaven, under the feet of the Saints. And, after the pattern of Him, who seeks so diligently for those who are astray, I would ask Him especially to have mercy on those who are external to the True Fold, and to bring them into it before they die.
'J. H. N.'

A letter to Father Coleridge written later in the same year [Note 8] shows him still dwelling on the thought of his own death, and suggests that the fear of paralysis which he had expressed in a letter to W. G. Ward seven years earlier, had come upon him once again on receiving the intelligence that Keble had had a stroke.

'Paralysis,' he writes, 'has this of awfulness, that it is so sudden. I wonder, when those anticipations came on Keble in past time, whether they were founded on symptoms, or antecedent probability; for I have long feared paralysis myself. I have asked medical men, and they have been unable to assign any necessary premonitory symptoms; nay, the very vigorousness and self-possession (as they seem) of mind and body, which ought to argue health, are often the proper precursors of an attack. This makes one suspicious of one's own freedom from ailments. Whately died of paralysis—so did Walter Scott—so (I think) Southey—and, though I cannot recollect, I observe the like in other cases of literary men. Was not Swift's end of that nature? I wonder, in old times, what people died of. We read, "After this, it was told Joseph that his father was sick." "And the {78} days of David drew nigh that he should die." What were they sick—what did they die of? And so of the great Fathers. St. Athanasius died past 70—was his a paralytic seizure? We cannot imitate the martyrs in their deaths, but I sometimes feel it would be a comfort if we could associate ourselves with the great Confessor Saints in their illness and decline. Pope St. Gregory had the gout. St. Basil had a liver complaint, but St. Gregory Nazianzen? St. Ambrose? St. Augustine and St. Martin died of fevers proper to old age. But my paper is out.'

Now, after the abandonment of the Oxford scheme gave him leisure for it, he set down in dramatic form the vision of a Christian's death on which his imagination had been dwelling. The writing of it was a sudden inspiration, and his work was begun in January and completed in February 1865. 'On the 17th of January last,' he writes to Mr. Allies in October, 'it came into my head to write it, I really can't tell how. And I wrote on till it was finished on small bits of paper, and I could no more write anything else by willing it than I could fly.' To another correspondent [Note 9] also, who was fascinated by the Dream, and longed to have the picture it gave still further filled in, he wrote:

'You do me too much honour if you think I am to see in a dream everything that is to be seen in the subject dreamed about. I have said what I saw. Various spiritual writers see various aspects of it; and under their protection and pattern I have set down the dream as it came before the sleeper. It is not my fault if the sleeper did not dream more. Perhaps something woke him. Dreams are generally fragmentary. I have nothing more to tell.'

The poem appeared in the Jesuit periodical, the Month, then edited by his friend, Father Coleridge, in the numbers for April and May. When it was republished in November it was dedicated to the memory of Father Joseph Gordon in the following words, dated on All Souls' Day:

'Fratri desideratissimo
Joanni Joseph Gordon,
Oratorii S.P.N. Presbytero
Cujus animam in refrigerio.
'J. H. N.'

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1. For the text of this correspondence, see p. 539.
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2. 'My view has ever been,' he writes to Mr. Copeland on April 20, 1873, 'to answer, not to suppress, what is erroneous—merely as a matter of expedience for the cause of truth, at least at this day. It seems to me a bad policy to suppress. Truth has a power of its own which makes its way—it is stronger than error according to the proverb "Magna est veritas" etc.'
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3. His appreciation of Pusey's work in this respect, and his sense that it was one with which Catholics should deeply sympathise, is indicated in a letter to Lord Braye. See p. 486.
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4. Father Yard was one of the Oblates of St. Charles at Bayswater.
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5. 'N.B. I afterwards had reason for thinking that a deep opposition to my going to Oxford was the cause of the Cardinal's manner. Of this I was quite upsuspicious.
J. H. N.     Nov. 4th, 1875.'
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6. The text of the questions and of Mr. Gaisford's reply is given in the Appendix at p. 540.
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7. He told my father that he did not believe he had really gained any benefit from this self-denial. Music was so great a joy that it intensified his powers of work.
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8. On December 30, 1864.
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9. The Rev. John Telford, priest at Ryde.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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