Chapter 30. Life at the Oratory

{313} THE close sequence of the public events which absorbed Newman up to the end of the Vatican Council has hitherto left little opportunity to the biographer for depicting what may be called the background of his life. If external circumstances were ever changing and were full of trial for him, the home life which, since he returned from Dublin, he had led at the Oratory was ever the same and very peaceful. He loved its monotony, and echoed the words of the 'Imitation,' 'cella continuata dulcescit.' 'Nothing is more wearisome than change,' he wrote to Miss Holmes. And to another correspondent, who suggested some wider sphere of action for him, he wrote in 1864:

'I assure you it would be a strong arm, stronger than any which I can fancy, that would be able to pull me out of my "nest," to use the Oratorian word,—and I am too old for it now—I could not be picked out of it without being broken to pieces in the process.'

In the short lull amid his active work which intervened between the abandonment of the Oxford scheme and the Vatican Council controversy he wrote to a friend [Note 1] in a letter dated June 12, 1869:

'I have nothing to write about in our happy state of calm, luxurious vegetation. The only drawback is that we are made for work, and, therefore, one has something of a bad conscience in standing all the day idle. Excepting this "amari aliquid," I am well content to be as I am.'

Yet with his sensitive temperament the peaceful habits of his Oratorian home gave him in reality the only surroundings which made his best work possible. {314}

At the Oratory, then, surrounded by devoted followers whose sympathy tempered for him the cold blasts of the world's criticism, he lived almost unintermittently, hardly ever paying visits even to intimate friends. Here, even amid the troubles that have been narrated in this work, he carried on that vast correspondence with friends and strangers who consulted him which formed half of his life-work. A considerable selection from this correspondence is given in this book [Note 2]. It is to be hoped that it will eventually be published in its entirety. But something must here be said as to the characteristics which his letters exercised and revealed. And something must be told of his daily life and habits.

To letters as an element in biography he himself attached great value. Writing to Father Coleridge in 1866 of the proposed biography of Keble, he says:

'My own notion of writing a life is the notion of Hurrell Froude,—viz. to do it by letters, and to bring in as little letterpress of one's own as possible. Froude has so done his "Becket." It is far more real, and therefore interesting, than any other way. Stanley has so done in his "Arnold."

With Newman the writing of letters was a very important part of his daily life. It was the chief means of communication with others for one whose affections were singularly keen and clinging. It was a vehicle for expressing the thoughts of his full mind, without the great anxiety attaching to words that were printed, and, therefore, in some sense irrevocable. And it was the means of exerting personal influence on the large numbers who sought his advice and judgment in difficulties or troubles. He devoted immense labour to his letters. When the subject of writing was at all difficult he would make a rough draft and keep it, sending to his correspondent a letter based on this first draft, but generally including some changes in order to bring out his meaning more clearly. He kept the letters he received and endorsed them with any specially important passage in his own reply. He devoted many hours in the day to writing, and this habit continued as long as he was physically able to write at all. About 1854 he began to complain that the old readiness in all writing, {315} including letters, was going. He now found it harder to begin. But once fairly at work he wrote as well as in earlier days. 'I am like an old horse,' he said, 'who stumbles at first, but once he gets into his trot he goes as well as ever.' Like other people with a large correspondence, he was sometimes late in replying, but would justify himself ingeniously.

'You must be so kind,' he wrote in 1864 to the Rev. A. V. Alleyne, 'as to excuse me for not having yet thanked you for your very kind letter of last month. At the time I was too busy to write any letter, and since then I have been gradually making up my arrears of correspondence. But, as a man who has for some time lived beyond his income is a long while before he can by his retrenchments make up for past extravagance, and, as we all feel how difficult it is in walking to catch up another unless we run or he stops, so am I very much put about in my attempts to make up for my delinquencies of letter writing in May and June, while I also have still to answer the current letters of each fresh day and week. And moreover, when once I feel that my character for punctuality is gone in this or that quarter, I am naturally led on to think that a more continued silence will not make me worse in the eyes of my correspondent than one of half the length.'

He was very particular as to his pens. A bad steel pen, he found, not only made writing troublesome, and the results untidy, but actually confused the mind of the writer and damaged the letters as compositions.

'I have a pen,' he tells a friend, 'which writes so badly that it re-acts upon my composition and my spelling. How odd this is! but it is true. I think best when I write. I cannot in the same way think while I speak. Some men are brilliant in conversation, others in public speaking,—others find their minds act best when they have a pen in their hands. But then, if it is a bad pen? a steel pen? that is my case just now, and thus I find my brain won't work,—much as I wish it.'

His past correspondence was of intense interest to him as a solemn record of his life. So, too, were his journals and diaries. When over seventy years of age he transcribed from beginning to end the pencil notes in his diaries, adding the record of earlier events which happened before he kept a diary, and beginning with his birth. He also devoted much {316} time to arranging his letters and papers—this he began in the sad years preceding the 'Apologia,' and resumed after the Vatican Council.

'As to personal matters,' he wrote to Henry Wilberforce in 1860, 'my prospect is curious, as most others must feel who are of my age. According as a man dies at 60, 70, or 80, his heirs are different, and his papers come into different hands. It is a strange feeling attends on making abstract arrangements. I have not a notion who it is to be who will read any direction I give, or look over any miscellaneous materials. This makes it very difficult to determine what to keep, and what to destroy. Things most interesting and dear to myself may be worthless in the eyes of those to whom my papers fall. Fancy my properties coming into possession of Dr. Ullathorne, whom I mention with all respect,—or of others whom, from want of respect for them, I don't mention!'

The stern censure of all approach to literary display which was universal in the Tractarian party [Note 3] had its effect on the quality of Newman's letters, as we have already seen that it had on his verses. He is always reserved in them, breaking out only occasionally and accidentally, almost in spite of himself, into raciness. The humour, wit, and sarcasm, the rhetorical effectiveness, which the King William Street lectures or those on 'The Present Position of Catholics' show that he had so abundantly at his command, hardly ever appear in his letters, which are, in this respect, not a vehicle of complete self-expression as Carlyle's are. Or, to speak more accurately, they express the character as a whole rather than mirror completely the thoughts and feelings. For when we realise the reserve and habitual deliberation of the writer, which limited their range, we can recognise very much of the man in his letters, and in their very limitations. One quality which never fails is the habit and power of adapting his {317} mind to that of his correspondent. There are very subtle differences in style and in subject between his letters to different persons. Even when the subject is the same, the way of treating it will differ. It was a saying of his that the same thought in different persons is probably as different as their faces. And, in writing, a great difference in general effect may be due to variations, each of them minute. He himself would express the same thought differently to different correspondents. In this respect his letters are the antithesis to those of Mr. Gladstone.

His letters to young friends, the children of his Oxford contemporaries, show this characteristic as much as any. I select a few samples belonging to different dates. Here is quite a simple one written in 1855 to Isy Froude, daughter of William Froude, in thanks for the gift of a penwiper:

'6 Harcourt Street, Dublin, July 9th, 1855.
'My dearest Isy,—I am very glad to have your present. A penwiper is always useful. It lies on the table, and one can't help looking at it. I have one in use, made for me by a dear aunt, now dead, whom I knew from a little child, as I was once. When I take it up, I always think of her, and I assure you I shall think of you, when I see yours. I have another at Birmingham given me by Mrs. Phillipps of Torquay, in the shape of a bell.

'This day is the anniversary of one of the few times I have seen a dear brother of mine for 22 years. He returned from Persia, I from Sicily, where I nearly died, the same day. I saw him once 15 years ago, and now I have not seen him for 9 years.

'My dear Isy, when I think of your brother, I will think of you. I heard a report he was to go and fight the Russians. I have another godson, called Edward Bouverie Pusey, who is a sailor, already fighting the Russians either in the Baltic or at Sebastopol.
'Ever yours affectionately,
of the Oratory.

'P.S.—You will have a hard matter to read this letter.'

Here is a more characteristic letter of thanks—written in rhyme in 1863—to J. W. Bowden's niece, Charlotte Bowden {318} (he uses her child's nickname of 'Chat'), who had sent him some cakes baked by herself:

'Who is it that moulds and makes
Round, and crisp, and fragrant cakes?
Makes them with a kind intent,
As a welcome compliment,
And the best that she can send
To a venerable friend?
One it is, for whom I pray,
On St. Philip's festal day,
With a loving heart, that she
Perfect as her cakes may be.
Full and faithful in the round
Of her duties ever found,
When a trial comes, between
Truth and falsehood cutting keen;
Yet that keenness and completeness
Tempering with a winning sweetness.

Here's a rhyming letter, Chat,
Gift for gift, and tit for tat.
'J. H. N.
'May 26th, 1863.'

Here is another to Helen Church, the Dean's daughter (afterwards Mrs. Paget), who had given him Lewis Carroll's 'Hunting of the Snark':

'My dear Helen,—Let me thank you and your sisters without delay for the amusing specimen of imaginative nonsense which came to me from you and them this morning. Also, as your gift, it shows that you have not forgotten me, though a considerable portion of your lives has passed since you saw me. And, thanking you, I send you also my warmest Easter greetings and good wishes.

'The little book is not all of it nonsense, though amusing nonsense; it has two pleasant prefixes of another sort. One of them is the "Inscription to a Dear Child," the style of which, in words and manner, is so entirely of the School of Keble, that it could not have been written had the "Christian Year" never made its appearance.

'The other, "The Easter Greeting to Every Child, etc.," is likely to touch the hearts of old men more than those for whom it is intended. I recollect well my own thoughts as I lay in my crib in the early spring, with outdoor scents, {319} sounds and sights wakening me up, and especially the cheerful ring of the mower's scythe on the lawn, which Milton long before me had noted; and how in coming downstairs slowly, for I brought down both feet on each step, I said to myself "This is June!" Though what my particular experience of June was, and how it was broad enough to be a matter of reflection, I really cannot tell.

'Can't you, Mary, and Edith, recollect something of the same kind, though you may not think so much of it as I do now?

'May the day come for all of us, of which Easter is the promise, when that first spring may return to us, and a sweetness which cannot die may gladden our garden.
'Ever yours affectionately,

I may add another quite simple letter to the twin sisters, Helen and Mary Church, dated on his own birthday in 1878, and wishing them joy on theirs:

'The Oratory: Feb. 21st, 1878.
'My dear Helen and Mary,—How shall I best show kindness to you on your birthday?

'It is by wishing and praying that year by year you may grow more and more in God's favour and in inward peace,—in an equanimity and cheerfulness under all circumstances which is the fruit of faith, and a devotion which finds no duties difficult, for it is inspired by love.

'This I do with all my heart, and am,
'My dear children,
Very affectionately yours,

Much quiet humour is found in letters to intimate friends, and his sense of fun is apparent in many which are not humorous. When Mr. John Pollen lends him a novel which takes his fancy, Newman describes in a letter how he is ashamed to find that he wakes up at night laughing at the remembrance of it. 'I condole with you,' he writes to the same correspondent in 1860, 'both on your fortieth birthday and your accident to your face, for I have undergone both of them—the latter when I was at school, running against a wall in the dark, and I remember the shock to this day.' When Ambrose St. John urges him to write some verses on Purgatory, Newman sends him from Dublin the beautiful lines beginning 'Help, Lord, the souls that Thou hast made,' with the following explanation: {320}

'6 Harcourt Street: Jan. 9th, 1857.
'My dear A.,—I am hardly recovered from my seasickness even now. I have generally found this a state favourable to versifying. Philosophers, like yourself, must explain why. Various of the Lyras were written in this state. Accordingly, I have written the Purgatory verses which you asked me for. Perhaps you will say they do not do justice to my seasickness. You will see, I have observed your wish of having a repetition verse.       Ever yours affly.,
J. H. N.'

What Dean Church has called his 'naturalness' is a marked feature in some of the letters. He chaffs his intimate friends familiarly. He writes to Henry Wilberforce, who in 1856 was acquiring the editor's professional manner in his editorial notes to the Catholic Standard:

'I candidly say I think your puffs of yourself infra dig., and have felt it a very long while: e.g. "We were the first to state that the Conference is to meet early in March (1856)"—"As we said last week"—"Our important papers from Kamtschatka"—"That great man, our correspondent at Timbuctoo"—"the only Catholic English paper"—as the Morning Chronicle says, the only "exclusive information."

Writing to Ambrose St. John in the same year on his birthday, he thus begins his letter:

'July 3rd, 1856.
'My poor old man,—Yes, I congratulate you on being between, what is it, 50 or 60? No, only 40 or 50. My best congratulations that life is now so mature. May your shadow never be less, and your pocket never so empty! But why are you always born on days when my Mass is engaged? I shall say Mass for you tomorrow and Monday.'

Again, in 1864, when Father Ambrose, having sprained his wrist and undergone other troubles, talks of a holiday in Switzerland:

'I rejoice,' Newman writes, 'to find that you write so well—but don't presume. You won't be content without some new accident. You forget you are an old man. In one year (from your volatility, most unsuitable at your time of life) you have broken your ribs and smashed your wrist. This is the only difficulty I have in your going to Lucerne. You will be clambering a mountain, bursting your lungs, cracking your chest, twisting your ankles, and squashing {321} your face—and your nieces will have to pick you up. If you will not do this, I shall rejoice at your going to Lucerne.'

When Henry Wilberforce wanted Ambrose St. John to join him in a voyage to Jamaica in 1871, with a view to benefiting his health, Newman thus conveyed to Wilberforce his friend's reply to the proposal:

'Ambrose won't. He is as obstinate as a pig. He says he is quite well. And this is the beginning and the end of it. He says if he goes somewhere, it shall be to Australia—and he says Jamaica means Jericho. He stupefies and overpowers me by his volubility.'

The Jesuit Fathers at Farm Street asked Newman to preach at their Manchester church on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1872, and he thus replied:

'The Oratory: Oct. 25th, 1872.
'St. Philip of Birmingham presents his best respects and homage to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and, desirous as he is in all respects to meet the wishes of his dear Mother, he cannot grant her request in this instance.

'Because, he should be contravening one of the rules of his own children, if he allowed them or one of them to preach out of their own Church. They are a home people—they do not preach—they only converse or discourse to their own penitents and scholars.

'Besides, as to his present Superior at Birmingham, he feels that he could not let him go to Manchester, without letting him go to most places in England and Scotland. He knows that the Father in question has declined a pressing invitation of this kind for this very month, and he would not place him in so ungracious a position as to be refusing friends and benefactors, yet in the same breath to be accepting an invitation elsewhere, however kind and flattering it may be to that Father.

'St. Philip concludes with saying that he has set it all right with St. Ignatius, whose vocation is altogether different from that of his own sons; and he is quite sure that the good Jesuit Fathers will not think that any want of courtesy is shown to Our Lady, St. Ignatius, or the said Fathers, by the said Superior's declining the compliment paid him, for St. Philip takes the responsibility of it on himself.

'To the glorious and blessed Mary
from St. Philip Neri, Apostle of Rome' {322}

A similar touch of humanity is often visible in Newman's controversial correspondence. In the course of a protracted argument with Canon Jenkins on the Roman claims, his opponent sends a photograph which Newman thus gratefully acknowledges:

'The Oratory: March 27, 1877.
'My dear Canon Jenkins,—I ought before now to have thanked you for your photograph—which as a work of art is very good, though I did not observe, till your letter pointed out, the fault in the eyes. But I agree with you that photographists visit their unhappy sitters with too fierce a light which makes them frown, or shut their eyes or otherwise distort their features. But your own face shows nothing but patience, or serenity, under the infliction. It is young too for the age you tell me.

'I am quite ready to take your quartett or quintett. Do you really think Celestine, Nestorius, Cyril, and John of Antioch would have been a possible court of final appeal? No more than the Kilkenny cats.
'Yours most truly,

And again to the same correspondent:

'Your letter is an important one, and requires careful reading. If I don't say at once I assent to all it says, it is but because I am losing my memory and forget tomorrow what I have read today. Thus facts become like billiard balls, which run away from you when you wish to get hold of them.'

Writing to the late Canon MacColl he declines a suggested controversy thus:

'Mr. A. B. is one of the most impertinent men that I ever came across. Though very different, I think he is another Golightly ... To answer Mr. A. B. seriously is like fighting with a blue bottle fly.'

Some of his notes already cited recall the fact that the minds of the lower animals deeply interested him. He would observe their doings with great curiosity. We have already seen his interest in the emotions of Father Ambrose's favourite cow. In 1852 Hope-Scott gave him a pony named Charlie, which for many years Newman watched with grave interest, and its well-being and performances are referred to {323} frequently in letters to those who were interested in the animal. Charlie's death is thus chronicled in a letter to its giver on December 6, 1866:

'Charlie, the virtuous pony, which you gave us 14 years ago, has at length departed this life. He continued his active and useful habits up to last summer—benemeritus, but not emeritus.

'Then he fell hopelessly stiff, lame, and miserable. His mind was clear to the last—and, without losing his affection for human kind, he commenced a lively, though, alas, not lasting friendship with an impudent colt of a donkey—who insulted him in his stiffness, and teased and tormented him from one end of the field to the other. We cannot guess his age, he was old when he came to us. He lies under two sycamore trees, which will be, by their growth and beauty, the living monument, or even transformation of a faithful servant, while his spirit is in the limbo of quadrupeds. Rest to his manes! I suppose I may use the pagan word of a horse.'

Newman was interested in the garden at Rednal. In 1871 his cousin Mrs. Deane offered to send him a mulberry and a filbert, which received his close attention.

'I thank you for your care about my mulberry,' he wrote. 'I am not at all impatient about it, so that I know it is coming. Keep it another year, if you think better. I have been trying to gain from books some hints about the treatment of mulberry trees. Tell me anything you know about it. Your travels, I fear, never lie in this direction—else, I should like you to choose a place for it. Our cottage is at Rednal, 7 or 8 miles from Birmingham—and our station is Barnt Green, or Northfield, or Bromsgrove, on the Midland line.

'Alas, our aspect is east—we have a great deal of hot summer sun in the morning and noon—and a great deal of keen north-east wind in winter and spring. We have a sort of wilderness, full of trees, which would protect the stranger, and we could make a circle round it of grass—the soil is a mass of decayed fir leaves with rock under. Does it require depth?

'Thank you too for the filbert. But give them a real good nursery time in your climate, before they are transplanted into this.'

Alas! the mulberry, loved by the gods, died young. {324}

'How the years run,' he writes on his birthday in 1873. 'I cannot believe a whole twelvemonth has passed since I planted the poor little mulberry. We watched it with great anxiety, but it would not rally.'

I have purposely placed first among my specimens of Newman's characteristic letter-writing those which illustrate the lighter and brighter side of his nature. Their comparative rarity is as significant as the qualities they show. Life was to him a most vivid reality in its every aspect, and he realised its humorous side and the interest of small events. But what was trivial, however keenly it was appreciated, never occupied in his mind a place beyond its true proportion. Above all, his attention was constantly fixed on the duties of the day, for himself and for those who sought his advice. The great bulk of his letters deal with serious problems or the events of life, whether of public and general interest, or relating to individuals who consulted him. Quite simple letters in the great crises of life and death seldom fail to have a beauty of their own, and to show the delicacy of his sympathy.

Here is one to a domestic servant who had lost her sister:

'The Oratory: Jan. 9th, 1877.
'My dear Child,—Though my intention was engaged on the 26th and I could not say Mass as you wished, I have not forgotten, and I hope to say Mass for you tomorrow, the 10th. There is always a throng of intentions to be kept at this time. Today is the anniversary of Mrs. Wootten's death, and now we are in great distress about Fr. Caswall. He cannot live, tho' the time of his death is uncertain. Say a prayer for him.

'I am sorry that you should still be so far from well, but God will bless and keep you in His own good way. We never can trust Him too much. All things turn to good to them who trust Him. I too know what it is to lose a sister. I lost her 49 years ago, and, though so many years have past, I still feel the pain.

'God bless and keep you this New Year.
'Yours most truly in Christ,

When the venerable Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan—Provincial of the Dominican sisters—died in 1868, he wrote thus to one of her spiritual children, Sister Mary Gabriel: {325}

'My dear Child,—What can I say to console you better than what you must be saying to yourself, that your long sorrow is over, and that now, after her intense sufferings, your dear Mother is at rest, or rather in Heaven?

'If ever there were persons who had cause to rejoice and whose joy is but intermeddled with, not increased by the words of a third person, you are they.

'What can you all desire more than that your Communities should receive so special a consecration as is granted to you in the agony and triumph of such a Mother?

'It is a thought to raise and encourage you while you live, and is the augury of many holy and happy deaths.

'Pray for an old man and believe me
Ever yours affectionately in Xt.,
of the Oratory.'

To another of the Dominican Sisters at Stone, of whose life the doctors despaired, he wrote in 1876:

'My dear Child,—I have not forgotten your needs, and was saying Mass for you on the Anniversary of the day our dear Lord took your Mother Margaret.

'I do not know how to be sorry, for you are going to what is far better than anything here below, better far even than the peaceful company of a holy sisterhood.

'God's Angel will be with you every step you take—and I will try to help you with my best remembrances and sacred wishes as you descend into the valley—but you are to be envied not lamented over, because you are going to your own Lord and God, your Light, your Treasure, and your Life. Only pray for me in your place of peace and rest, for I at most can be but a little time behind you.

'Yet a little and a very little while, and He that is to come will come, and will not tarry.
'Ever yours affectionately in Xt.,

To this letter of sympathy at the close of life, let us add one sentence of sympathy, in life's dawn, with all its bright possibilities. When the daughter of an old Oxford friend [Note 4] was born on the Festival of the Transfiguration in 1860, he wrote to her father:

'I earnestly pray that the festival on which she was born {326} may overshadow her all through her life, and that she may find it "good to be here" till that time of blessed transfiguration when she will find from experience that it is better to be in heaven.'

Here is another letter addressed to one who after some trial and heart searching had resolved to enter the religious life:


'Edgbaston: Nov. 8th, 1853.
'We must be very grateful for so good beginning—it comes of His Infinite Mercy who loves you as entirely and wholly as if there were no other souls on earth to love or take care of. You are choosing Him for your portion and your All—and He is your All, and nothing will or can harm you, though your enemy may try to frighten you. And then the Angels will smile at each other and upon you at your fears and troubles, and will say, "This poor little soul is in a great taking, as if God were leaving her—but He is All-faithful, and has loved her everlastingly, and will preserve her to the end."

'You always understand everything,' his sister had said to him as a boy when he made her dry her tears; and his innumerable letters of comfort to those who poured out their troubles to him never strike a false note. Writing to nuns he might urge considerations which only their constant meditation on the unseen world enabled them so to realise as to find comfort in them. An instance of this is the letter to Sister Mary Gabriel quoted above. For those less strong in faith he would choose other thoughts. But to all his friends he made trouble more bearable by showing how truly he understood it, and in some cases how he himself shared it. He never suggested for comfort a thought which owing to the character or circumstances of his friend might fail of effect. Let a few of these letters be set down—taken almost at random.


'July 31, '50.
'As time goes on, you will know yourself better and better. Time does that for us, not only by the increase of experience, but by the withdrawal of those natural assistances to devotion and self-surrender which youth furnishes. When the spirits are high and the mind fervent, though we may have waywardness and perverseness which we have not afterwards, yet we {327} have something to battle against them. But when men get old, as I do, then they see how little grace is in them, and how much that seemed grace was but nature. Then the soul is left to the lassitude, torpor, dejection, and coldness which is its real state, with no natural impulses, affections or imaginations to rouse it, and things which in youth seemed easy then become difficult. Then it finds how little self-command it has, and how little it can throw off the tempter, when he comes behind and places it in a certain direction or position, or throws it down, or places his foot upon it. Then it understands at length its own nothingness; not that it has less grace than it had, but it has nothing but grace to aid it. It is the sign of a Saint to grow; common minds, even though they are in the grace of God, dwindle, (i.e. seem to do so) as time goes on. The energy of grace alone can make a soul strong in age.

'Do not then be cast down, if you, though not yet very aged, feel less fervent than you did ten years ago—only let it be a call on you to seek grace to supply nature, as well as to overcome it. Put yourself more fully and utterly into Mary's hands, and she will nurse you, and bring you forward. She will watch over you as a mother over a sick child.'


'Aug. 24th, 1871.
'It quite grieved me not to have seen you again after Friday. I wish you had been so charitable as to have sent for me on Saturday or Sunday.

'I wish you would not be a self tormentor. But who can make you forget yourself, your short-comings and your anxieties, and fix your thoughts on Him Who is All-true, All-beautiful, and All-merciful, but He Himself? I cannot do more than pray for it, and, with God's grace, I will say Mass for you once a week for some time.

'You must look off from this world, from the world in the Church, from what is so imperfect, and the earthen vessels in which grace is stored, to the Fount of Grace Himself, and beg Him to fill you with His own Presence. But I can do no more than say Mass for you, and that I will.'


'The Oratory: October 21, 1873.
'It is very kind in you to write to me. I always hear about you with the greatest interest and anxiety, I know with what a true heart you desire to serve God—and that what you call your restlessness is only the consequence of that religious desire. {328}

'Be sure that many others besides you feel that sadness, that years pass away and no opening comes to them for serving God. Be sure that I can sympathise with you, for now for many years I have made attempts to break through the obstacles which have been in my way, but all in vain.

'One must submit oneself to God's loving will—and be quieted by faith that what He wills for us is best. He has no need of us—He only asks for our good desires.'

Though constant in sympathy he could rebuke when it was necessary. 'It would be the best of penances for you,' he writes to one friend, 'to bind yourself to one place and to one object. But sick people always dislike that remedy which is best suited to their case. So at least my doctor tells me.' And he could administer a gentler snub—as in this comment on two essays by intimate lady friends who with some complacency sought his opinion on their work—'ladies always write with ease and grace—and such are the characteristics of your and A.B.'s papers.'

His advice was by no means always spiritual advice. Here is a letter to Miss Holmes on a projected literary enterprise:

'As to writing about what one knows and what one does not, e.g. I have written in "Loss and Gain" of persons and things that I knew—but, if I were to attempt a fashionable novel, I should make a fool of myself, because I do not know men of fashion, and should have to draw on imagination or on books. As to yourself I would not trust you, if you attempted to describe a Common Room, or a Seminary, or the Chinese court at Pekin; but I think you capital in the sketch of persons and things which from time to time you have written to me, according to the place you have been in. It is not to the purpose whether they are correct or not, or representations of fact, (about which I can know nothing) but they are clear, consistent, and persuasive, as pictures … And in your experience of fact, I include, not only what you have seen yourself, but what you have on good authority (as that of your Father) or what you read in books, if you take the books as facts, not as informants—thus the language of a book of a certain date is a fact, and you rely, not on its evidence or testimony, but on what is before your eyes. I heartily wish you would set about a series of stories.' {329}

To both Miss Munro and Miss Holmes he wrote constantly—to Miss Holmes for thirty years. She was taken seriously ill in 1877 and ordered sea air.

'I am shocked at the account you give of yourself,' Newman wrote on October 24. 'This morning, St. Raphael's day, I said Mass for you, begging the Archangel to convey you to Bournemouth, whither you should go at once ... I won't forget you.'

Miss Holmes rallied for a time, but passed away some months later.

Newman was specially careful to suit his words to the mind or mood of a correspondent, in his letters to those whose belief in Christianity or even Theism was in danger or actually dying. In place of such blows of a controversial sledge-hammer as are driven home by Mr. Gladstone in his letters, we find considerations suggested most tentatively, as though he feared lest staking too much on an argument which might not prove convincing might make things worse instead of better. The subtle psychological forces at work in the human mind were never forgotten. Even the best logic, he saw, would not do its work when the mental and moral instrument for using it was out of order. In one instance he strongly advised friends who were anxious to bring back the faith of one who appeared to have lost it, to refrain from all argument and leave the subject alone. He divined that a dispute was just what would arouse the person in question to bring together all plausible attacks on the evidence for religious belief; whereas the silent experience of the world and of life would tend in the other direction, and bring home to the doubter the dreary void of any Weltanschauung which did not take account of religion.

The following letter is a fair specimen of letters addressed to persons in doubt. It may strike those who are more confident controversialists and less true psychologists than he, as appearing to show comparatively little confidence in the convincing force of the recognised arguments for religious belief:

'The Oratory: June 25th, 1869.
'I have delayed writing to you, both as feeling the risk of disappointing and disturbing instead of aiding you by what I might say—and also because I found you had been so good as to take up my suggestion as regards my Oxford {330} Sermons. I thought they might for a while speak to you instead of a letter. I can never prophesy what will be useful to a given individual and what not. As to my Sermons, I was astonished and (as you may suppose) deeply gratified by a stranger, an Anglican Clergyman, writing to me a year or two ago to say that reading them had converted him from freethinking opinions, which he had taken up from German authors, or from living in Germany. I do not see how they could do so—but he said they did—and it was that, I think, which made me fancy it was worth while to recommend them to you.

'You must begin all thought about religion by mastering what is the fact, that anyhow the question has an inherent, ineradicable difficulty in it. As in tuning a piano, you may throw the fault here or there, but no theory can anyone take up without that difficulty remaining. It will come up in one shape or other. If we say, "Well, I will not believe any thing," there is a difficulty in believing nothing, an intellectual difficulty. There is a difficulty in doubting; a difficulty in determining there is no truth; in saying that there is a truth, but that no one can find it out; in saying that all religious opinions are true, or one as good as another; a difficulty in saying there is no God; that there is a God but that He has not revealed Himself except in the way of nature; and there is doubtless a difficulty in Christianity. The question is, whether on the whole our reason does not tell us that it is a duty to accept the arguments commonly urged for its truth as sufficient, and a duty in consequence to believe heartily in Scripture and the Church.

'Another thought which I wish to put before you is, whether our nature does not tell us that there is something which has more intimate relations with the question of religion than intellectual exercises have, and that is our conscience. We have the idea of duty—duty suggests something or someone to which it is to be referred, to which we are responsible. That something that has dues upon us is to us God. I will not assume it is a personal God, or that it is more than a law (though of course I hold that it is the Living Seeing God), but still the idea of duty, and the terrible anguish of conscience, and the irrepressible distress and confusion of face which the transgression of what we believe to be our duty, causes us, all this is an intimation, a clear evidence, that there is something nearer to religion than intellect; and that, if there is a way of finding religious truth, it lies, not in exercises of the intellect, but close on the side of duty, of conscience, in {331} the observance of the moral law. Now all this may seem a truism, and many an intellectualist will say that he grants it freely. But I think, that, when dwelt upon, it leads to conclusions which would both surprise and annoy him.

'Now I think it best to stop here for the present. You must not suppose that I am denying the intellect its real place in the discovery of truth,—but it must ever be borne in mind that its exercise mainly consists in reasoning,—that is, in comparing things, classifying them, and inferring. It ever needs points to start from, first principles, and these it does not provide—but it can no more move one step without these starting points, than a stick, which supports a man, can move without the man's action. In physical matters, it is the senses which give us the first start—and what the senses give is physical fact—and physical facts do not lie on the surface of things, but are gained with pains and by genius, through experiment. Thus Newton, or Davy, or Franklin ascertained those physical facts which have made their names famous. After these primary facts are gained, intellect can act; it acts too of course in gaining them; but they must be gained; it is the senses which enable the intellect to act, by giving it something to act upon. In like manner we have to ascertain the starting points for arriving at religious truth. The intellect will be useful in gaining them and after gaining them—but to attempt to see them by means of the intellect is like attempting by the intellect to see the physical facts which are the basis of physical exercises of the intellect, a method of proceeding which was the very mistake of the Aristotelians of the middle age, who, instead of what Bacon calls "interrogating nature" for facts, reasoned out everything by syllogisms. To gain religious starting points, we must in a parallel way, interrogate our hearts, and, (since it is a personal individual matter,) our own hearts,—interrogate our own consciences, interrogate, I will say, the God who dwells there.

'I think you must ask the God of conscience to enable you to do your duty in this matter. I think you should, with prayer to Him for help, meditate upon the gospels, and on St. Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians, unless the translation of it disturbs you; and this with an earnest desire to know the truth and a sincere intention of following it.'

Close insight into the needs of one class of mind is also shown in the following words, written to the late Canon McColl shortly after the Vatican definition: {332}

'Every consideration and the fullest time should be given to those who have to make up their minds to hold an article of faith which is new to them. To take up at once such an article, may be the act of a vigorous faith, but it may also be the act of a man who will believe anything because he believes nothing, and is ready to profess whatever his ecclesiastical, that is his political, party requires of him. There are too many high ecclesiastics in Italy and England, who think that to believe is as easy as to obey—that is, they talk as if they did not know what an act of faith is.

'A German who hesitates may have more of the real spirit of faith than an Italian who swallows. I have never myself had a difficulty about the Pope's Infallibility, but that is no reason why I should forget Luke xvii. 1.'

That very careful psychological observation which made Newman so successful in dealing with mental troubles made him also avoid arguments on religious questions in which he saw that he was not likely to succeed or do good. In 1869 R. H. Hutton conveyed to him an invitation from the founders of the Metaphysical Society to join their ranks. Its members were to meet once a month to discuss matters lying at the foundation of religious belief, and all schools of thought were represented, from Huxley and Tyndall to Mr. Gladstone and Dean Church. Its Catholic members included Cardinal Manning, W. G. Ward, and J. D. Dalgairns. Newman at first declined on the plea of age, but the invitation was renewed two years later. He then wrote as follows to Mr. Hutton:

'The Oratory: March 22, 1872.
'My dear Mr. Hutton,—I assure you I feel, what your letter (without meaning it) reminds me of, that I am doing very little good now, and that it would be a great thing if I did something more, to give me a right to live.

'Did I think I could be of use as you suppose and propose, I would keep it in mind—but you don't know me. In some things I have a good memory—but for books, for doctrines, for views and arguments, I have none. Some men have their learning well about them—others have minds full of resource. Cardinal Wiseman was such—he had always something to suggest—he had always facts, apt and striking, upon his memory, whatever the subject. I am not a ready man, and should spoil a good cause. And then, I am so dreadfully shy, that I never show to advantage, and feel it myself acutely all the time. {333}

'Pray excuse all this egotism, but my conscience so preaches to me continually that I am doing very little good, that I need to bring before me what the state of the case really is, and to try to gain over others to my own view of it, to make myself easy, when hard pressed. Besides, I am now past seventy—and I never move about, unless I am in some way or other obliged.

'On the whole, I feel deeply, that the only consequence which would follow from my complying, would be, for you to feel how much, in your kindness, you had overrated me.
'Most truly yours,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.' [Note 5]

His dislike of anything approaching to intellectual display, his very deep religious feelings, and the fact that he had all his life associated almost exclusively with religious people, possibly made the prospect of encountering in debate free-thinkers and agnostics, for the first time when he was seventy years old, not inviting to him. In an interesting letter written ten years later to an Evangelical correspondent—Mr. G. T. Edwards—who had sent him the Journals of Caroline Fox, he thus writes:

'I am very glad to have the volumes you were so good as to send me—still, interesting as I could not help finding them, and instructive, I have a natural dislike of literary and scientific society as such, or what Hurrell Froude, (whom I agreed with in this) used to call "the aristocracy of talent"; and for this reason perhaps I am not quite fair to the remarkable and beautiful Life which you sent me. I suppose it is a peculiarity common to us two (H. F. and me) with Keble and Pusey more than any other quality, and has, as much as anything else, united us together; and accordingly it is something of a wonder to me, that a mind so religious as Miss Fox's, should feel pleasure in meeting men who either disbelieved the Divine mission or had no love for the person of One she calls "her God and her Saviour." {334}

To debate at the Metaphysical Society with a mixed crowd of believers and unbelievers would be little to the taste of the writer of these words. But it was quite otherwise as to helping individual inquirers.

Father Neville tells us, in his Reminiscences, of Newman's sympathy for all those, of whatever creed, concerning whom he felt that they were deeply earnest in their wish for truth, and desired to do their duty if only they could know it. Towards such his heart went out. He had this feeling very especially towards Mr. R. H. Hutton himself, although their acquaintance was almost entirely confined to the correspondence which began at the time of the Kingsley controversy. Here is a Christmas letter to Mr. Hutton, written at the end of 1872:

'The Oratory, Dec 29.
'My dear Mr. Hutton,—I have nothing to write to you about, but I am led at this season to send you the religious greetings and good wishes which it suggests, to assure you that, though I seem to be careless about those who desire to have more light than they have in regard to religious truths, yet I do really sympathise with them very much, and ever have them in mind.

'I know how honestly you try to approve yourself to God, and this is a claim on the reverence of anyone who knows or reads you. There are many things as to which I most seriously differ from you, but I believe you to be one of those to whom the angels on Christmas night sent greetings as "hominibus bonæ voluntatis," and it is a pleasure and a duty for all who would be their companions hereafter to follow their pattern of comprehensive charity here. I cannot feel so hopefully and tenderly to many of those whom you defend or patronize as I do to you—and what you write perplexes me often—but when a man is really and truly seeking the pearl of great price, how can one help joining oneself in heart and spirit with him?
'Most truly yours,

He corresponded with Mr. Hutton frequently and entered at length into his objections to Catholic theology. He found in some cases that his correspondent's active mind was alive to difficulties which had not yet been adequately considered {335} in the Catholic schools. Thus, to reply to them satisfactorily might mean to go beyond what was as yet the received Catholic theology. There was in such cases a difficulty in responding to Hutton with a frankness equal to his own. Newman met the situation by telling him candidly the state of the case.

'What the genius of the Church cannot bear,' he wrote, 'is changes in thought being hurried, abrupt, violent—out of tenderness to souls, for unlearned and narrow-minded men get unsettled and miserable. The great thing is to move all together, and then the change, as geological changes, must be very slow. Hence we come to be accused of duplicity—I mean the cleverer men see what is coming, yet from charity to others (and diffidence in themselves) don't speak out.'

The love of reality which made R. H. Hutton so congenial to him, revolted against sermonising quite as much as against a want of seriousness.

'I agree with you,' he writes to a friend concerning the book of a popular Catholic writer, 'it is a thousand pities that a clever man like A. B. should sermonise in the way he does. We are reading him in the refectory, and he always seems in the same place, prancing like a cavalry soldier's horse, without advancing, in the face of a mob. He has a noble subject, but I have not gained two ideas from his book.'

Newman's own feeling as to the most effective way of imparting truth by writing is conveyed in the following notes, dated 1868, on the writing of sermons:

'1. A man should be in earnest, by which I mean he should write not for the sake of writing, but to bring out his thoughts.

'2. He should never aim at being eloquent.

'3. He should keep his idea in view, and should write sentences over and over again till he has expressed his meaning accurately, forcibly, and in few words.

'4. He should aim at being understood by his hearers or readers.

'5. He should use words which are likely to be understood. Ornament and amplification will come spontaneously in due time, but he should never seek them.

'6. He must creep before he can fly, by which I mean that humility which is a great Christian virtue has a place in literary composition. {336}

'7. He who is ambitious will never write well, but he who tries to say simply what he feels, what religion demands, what faith teaches, what the Gospel promises, will be eloquent without intending it, and will write better English than if he made a study of English literature.'

In his own preaching, the simplicity and reality he inculcated was accompanied by an intense shyness of which he was quite conscious. 'From a child,' he writes to a friend, 'a description of Ulysses' eloquence in the "Iliad" seized my imagination and touched my heart. "When he began he looked like a fool." This is the only way in which I have done anything.'

I have spoken of Newman's love of reality and sense of reality. The word 'real' with all it conveys was a favourite one with him. One of his most memorable Oxford Sermons dealt with 'unreal words.' One of his most arresting distinctions in the 'Grammar of Assent' is between 'real assent' and 'notional assent.' A keen sense of the concrete and of reality shows itself in other traits in his correspondence, besides those already named. His piercingly keen senses made the sensible world intensely real to him. We have seen him lay down his fiddle and cry out with joy at the pleasure Beethoven's quartets were giving him. Readers of 'Loss and Gain' will remember how scents and sounds are laden for him with memories. This joy of sense, especially in his early youth, had a full measure of the feeling given in Wordsworth's ode to which he was so devoted:

'There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.'

All this made very vivid to him the ideal of a happy life, made up of the pleasures of the world he knew by experience. In his essay on 'Discipline and Influence' [Note 6] we see how he could let his thoughts run freely on this ideal. The passage is a characteristic one, and worth quoting here. He describes an imaginary friend who lives in absolute contentment. And the scene he imagines for this perfect life—so we know from {337} a private letter—is the house at Ham of which, as we have seen in speaking of his boyhood, he used to dream as a 'paradise of delight,' where the 'Angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.'

'My friend lives in a spot as convenient as it is delightful. The neighbouring hamlet is the first station out of London of a railroad; while not above a quarter of a mile from his boundary wall, flows the magnificent river, which moves towards the metropolis though a richness of grove and meadow of its own creation.

'He has been in possession of the very perfection of earthly happiness ... If there were no country beyond the grave, it would be our wisdom to make of our present dwelling-place as much as ever we could; and this would be done by the very life which my friend has chosen, not by any absurd excesses, not by tumult, dissipation, excitement, but by the "moderate and rational use of the gifts of Providence."

'Easy circumstances, books, friends, literary connexions, the fine arts, presents from abroad, foreign correspondents, handsome appointments, elegant simplicity, gravel walks, lawns, flower beds, trees and shrubberies, summer houses, strawberry beds, a greenhouse, a wall for peaches, "hoc erat in votis";—nothing out of the way, no hot-houses, graperies, pineries,—"Persicos odi, puer, apparatus,"—no mansions, no parks, no deer, no preserves; these things are not worth the cost, they involve the bother of dependants, they interfere with enjoyment. One or two faithful servants, who last on as the trees do, and cannot change their place:—the ancients had slaves, a sort of dumb waiter, and the real article; alas! they are impossible now. We must have no one with claims upon us, or with rights; no incumbrances; no wife and children; they would hurt our dignity. We must have acquaintance within reach, yet not in the way; ready, not troublesome or intrusive. We must have something of name, or of rank, or of ancestry, or of past official life, to raise us from the dead level of mankind, to afford food for the imagination of our neighbours, to bring us from time to time strange visitors, and to invest our home with mystery. In consequence we shall be loyal subjects, good conservatives, fond of old times, averse to change, suspicious of novelty, because we know perfectly when we are well off, and that in our case "progredi est regredi." To a life such as this, a man is more attached, the longer he lives; and he would {338} be more and more happy in it too, were it not for the memento within him, that books and gardens do not make a man immortal; that, though they do not leave him, he at least must leave them, all but "the hateful cypresses," and must go where the only book is the book of doom, and the only garden the Paradise of the just.' (See Historical Sketches, iii. 62.)

These last words effect the transition from one side of his vision of human life to the other and deeper side. This earth, keenly alive though he was to its beauty and attractiveness, was but the veil of appearances which hid the deeper reality. The 'hateful cypresses' and the 'book of doom' recalled the sterner facts, the inevitable prospect. Human souls were real. Human suffering was real. Duty was real. Sin was real. Human life as a whole, with its goal which each must find, the career which each will make or mar, was overwhelmingly real to him. 'The greatness and the littleness of man; the curtain hung over his futurity'—these were thoughts which haunted him. Father Neville recollects his looking without speaking, for many minutes, at the picture of a dead friend, and then saying, as one overpowered by the thought, 'And now he has gone beyond that curtain.' This sense of the reality and solemnity of the march of time and of human life, besides making him deeply religious, gave him a quite peculiar feeling as to his own past, every detail of which was deeply graven on his memory. The homes and haunts of early days were sacred.

Every anniversary was also sacred. His last parting from Littlemore, which has been told in these pages, was but one special instance of his clinging love of his old homes. He remembered every detail of the houses he had lived in as a boy. When one of the Oratorian Fathers was staying in Broad Street in 1854, Newman thus wrote to him:

'Strange to say, though don't mention it,—you are in a house I have known for near 20 years. To my surprise years ago I found that Isaac Williams' father lived on the opposite side of the street, but No. 17 was my own residence in London more or less from 1808 to 1821. Two of my sisters were born there, and one of my first memories, even before the first of these events in 1808, is my admiring the borders of {339} the paper in the drawing rooms. I have not seen the house since the month of October 1821; but of course every part of it is as clearly before my mind, as if I had lived in it ever since.'

But the home round which memories gathered thickest was the house at Ham, above referred to, at which he lived up to the age of six. Two letters to Henry Wilberforce, who was staying near Richmond in 1853, are filled with these early memories:

'I have seen our house at Ham once in 1813, in the holidays, when my Father, brother, and myself rode there from Norwood—and the gardener gave us three apricots—and my father telling me to choose, I took the largest, a thing which still distresses me whenever I think of it.

'And once again in January 23, 1836, when I walked there with Bowden and his wife. It was then, I believe, a school—and the fine Trees, which were upon the lawn, were cut down—a large plane, a dozen of tree acacias, with rough barks; as high as the plane—a Spanish chestnut, a larch. A large magnolia, flowering (in June I think) went up the house, and the mower's scythe, cutting the lawn, used to sound so sweetly as I lay in a crib—in a front room at top.

'To find it, you must go down Ham walk with your back to Lord Dysart's house towards Ham common. On your right hand, some way down, is a lane called "Sandy lane"—our house lay on one side (the further side) of that lane, which formed a boundary, first of the lawn and shrubbery (which tapered almost to a point, between the lane and the paddock,) and then of the kitchen garden. Hence some people got over the wall, and stole the grapes. There was no hot house but a small green house in the kitchen garden, over which was a poor billiard room. There I learnt to play billiards, having never seen the game played since.

'I left the place in September 1807. I recollect the morning we left;—and taking leave of it. My mother, my brother Charles, Harriet, and I in the carriage—going to Brighton—with my father's horses as far as Ewell (? is there such a place?) and then posting.

'How odd one's memory is! I could tell you, I suppose, a hundred times as much about Ham ...

'I will tell you an odd thing about memory. Lately (since my aunt's death) the Bible I read at Fulham when a child was sent me at my wish. I looked over the pictures, and {340} when I came to the Angel inflicting the pestilence on David and his people, I recollected I used to say "That's like Mr. Owen." This must have been dormant 46 years in my mind.'

A few days later, on July 17, he adds a few more lines of reminiscence:

'Our grounds went down to the long Ham walk of double elms. And the house faced a road which led down (I think) to the water—with gentlemen's houses on each side. There was Mr. Bradley's on one side, and Lady Parker (I think)—(she had a macaw—) on the other. Have they covered the whole territory with villas?

'I lost my sister this day year.'

He visited the house again in 1861, and the visit has been narrated in this work. By a curious lapse of memory he said, in writing of this occasion, 'I have never seen the house since September 1807.' [Note 7]

Let us before leaving these memories quote from the essay on 'Discipline and Influence' Newman's description of the house itself:

'It is an old-fashioned place,' he writes; 'the house may be of the date of George the Second; a square hall in the middle, and in the centre of it a pillar, and rooms all round. The servants' rooms and offices run off on the right; a rookery covers the left flank, and the drawing-room opens upon the lawn.

'There a large plane tree, with its massive branches, which whilome sustained a swing, when there were children on that lawn, blithely to undergo an exercise of the head, at the very thought of which the grown man sickens. Three formal terraces gradually conduct down to one of the majestic avenues,' (belonging to the neighbouring park of a nobleman) 'the second and third, intersected by grass walks, constitute the kitchen garden. As a boy, I used to stare at the magnificent cauliflowers and large apricots which it furnished for the table; and how difficult it was to leave off, when once one got among the gooseberry bushes in the idle morning!'

In later years especially Newman had a very tender recollection of the years spent in the Anglican Communion, and he took himself to task on this subject in an interesting memorandum dated November 1877. {341}

'Do you love, my dear Self, or don't you, your active abidance time past in the Church of England? E.g. you have a photograph of Trinity Chapel before your eyes daily, and you love to look at it. Yes—and it is in a great measure an abstraction. It is not the Church of England that I love—but it is that very assemblage, in its individuals concrete, which I remember so well—the times and places—the scenes, occurrences—my own thoughts, feelings and acts. I look at that communion table, and recollect with what feelings I went up to it in November 1817 for my first communion—how I was in mourning for the Princess Charlotte, and had silk black gloves—and the glove would not come off when I had to receive the Bread, and I had to tear it off and spoil it in my flurry. But the Church of England, as such, does not come into my tender memories.'

Of his unfailing recollection of the incidents in his past life the letters again and again remind us.

'What a wonderful thing time is,' he writes to Miss Giberne on May 17, 1867, 'and life is every year more wonderful. The past is ever present—and life is at once nothing at all, and all in all.'

He remembered the anniversaries of the chief events in his life, and of the deaths, not only of friends, but often of acquaintances. This memory grew in its significance for himself as life advanced, as anniversaries of death multiplied, and as he felt his own time drawing nearer. His own birthday became to him a solemn reminder. 'Birthdays as they come,' he wrote to the same correspondent in 1867, 'are awful things now, as minute guns by night.' On February 26, 1871, we find the following passage in another letter to Henry Wilberforce:

'Thank you for your affectionate greetings. I said Mass for you and yours, living and departed, on the 24th. Around my birthday are grouped the deaths of many whom I have known and loved. This year two on the same day—Lady Rogers and Mrs. Stewart on the 16th. Besides I have the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 28th, 29th,—and, four times, two on the same day. I have no such galaxy in any other part of the year. I wonder what day I shall die on—one passes year by year over one's death day, as one might pass over one's grave.' {342}

His readiness to see the hand of God in the world and in the events of his own life is often attested in his letters and private memoranda. We have already seen his belief in the Holy House of Loreto. It must of course be remembered that at the date when he believed in it the positive evidence against its claim had not yet been formulated. Still his belief attests at all events his readiness to accept such traditions in the absence of positive disproof. He was eager to verify the report, when Henry Wilberforce was ill, that an improvement had set in after he received the Pope's blessing. The 'Dream of Gerontius' shows how real to him was the world beyond the veil. And his deep realisation of that other world made him ready to see its influence at work on earth. Thus he was ready of belief as to marvellous occurrences. Merely inadequate evidence did not in such cases prevent belief with him, for he regarded the presumption afforded by the facts of Christianity as giving a certain antecedent probability to alleged providential occurrences.

On the other hand, he was careful to avoid the confusion of thought which would arise from claiming for such alleged occurrences evidential value. He did not draw a hard-and-fast line between interference with the laws of nature and God's general providence. Such laws were for him God's general rules of action, and might be susceptible of direction much as the workings of the human organism are affected by the mind and the will, without any process which could be termed the violation of natural law.

That Providence versus blind necessity is the primary issue, that, far from the idea of fixed laws being the modern product of 'exact thought' and a supersession of the antiquated idea of Providence, the two conceptions have always been rivals, entertained by opposite schools, is a view which runs through several of Cardinal Newman's unpublished memoranda on religious philosophy.

In a memorandum dated September 13, 1861, for example, he writes thus in reference to the writings of Mr. Darwin and Mr. Buckle:

'To my mind it is wonderful that able men should take for granted that the notion of fixed laws is a new idea of modern times which is superseding, and to supersede {343} the old idea of a Providence ... Why, it is the old idea of Fate or Destiny which we find in Homer. It is no new and untried idea, but it is the old antagonist of the idea of Providence. Between the philosophies of Providence and Fate there has been a contest from the beginning. Fate may have new and better arguments now, but Providence has been able to stand against it for 3000 years, and there is no reason why it should not keep its ground still, though the philosophy of Fate may still have followers.'

And the relation of miracle itself to the ordinary course of nature, its respect, so to say, for the laws it partly supersedes, is referred to in a memorandum dated September 3, 1865:

'Some miracles, as the raising of the dead, certainly are not a continuation or augmentation of natural processes, but most are: e.g. there is said to be something like manna in the desert ordinarily, and the sacred narrative mentions a wind as blowing up the waters of the Red Sea—and so in numerous other miracles. It is a confirmation of this to look at Gibbon's "Five Causes of Christianity." We do not deny them, but only say they are not sufficient—i.e. the spread of Christianity was something more than natural.'

Such a philosophy led him to have no antecedent difficulty in often seeing the hand of Providence in the history of the world and of human life. And he never forgot that readiness of belief was enjoined in the Gospels.

The instances in which beliefs were to him difficult which to some others were easy, were such as involved actual contradiction to historical conclusions, certain or highly probable—a contradiction to which less clear-sighted minds were not alive. Instances of this difficulty multiplied as time went on, and he found many theologians insufficiently alive to it.

Occasionally in his thoughts concerning the Providence of God we find traces still surviving—'shreds and tatters' he called them—of his early Calvinism. We have already recorded some instances of his curious sense of the place of the number seven in the scheme of Providence. He limited his Irish Rectorship to seven years: he believed seven years to be the normal term of his intimate friendships. A letter of 1871 to the Mother Prioress of the Dominicans shows him half thinking that the mystic number enters into the computation {344} of the elect in each generation. The year was one in which the Catholic world was heavy at heart—the Holy Father robbed of his territory, France at the mercy of the red republicans of the Commune. His letter is dated December 28, 1871:

'It is a great relief to think how many quiet religious houses there are up and down Christendom, how many pious families in a time like this. This is what I say and feel in answer to your lament, true as it is. Recollect the "Seven thousand in Israel." I am disposed to think there are always just 7000, and never more. Is the number of the elect greater in one age than in another? Of course the sight of triumphant injustice, as at Rome now, is most painful—but to me the most sad and painful sight of all just now is the sight of that nation, the eldest born of the Church, and the special staff on which the Holy Father relied, chastised for its sins, and giving no signs whatever of repentance, nay, no signs of acknowledging an Almighty God and Judge. Yet after all, though bold infidelity is so shocking, is it worse than the hypocritical profession, the secret unbelief and sin, which gives tokens of its prevalence, widely and deeply, in prosperous times in the Church?

'Thus we don't know what is best—and can only say, "Thy Kingdom come—Thy will be done."'

Another mystic thought as to the destiny of Christendom, which the events of the time brought to his mind, is contained in the following letter written to the same correspondent in the same year:

'It is awful to be rejoicing when better Catholics than we are, are in such misery. Such events as are taking place in France have some deep spiritual meaning, if we knew how to interpret them. When, since the world was, was a city destroyed by its own people? I have often thought of and repeated a remark made years ago by poor Mr. Capes which seems now to have a beginning of fulfilment. He asked who are to be the Goths and Vandals who are to destroy modern civilization, since we now know all the corners of the earth, and know that the storehouse of the Northern nations is expended? He answered himself thus:—"The lowest class, which is most numerous, and is infidel, will rise up from the depths of the modern cities, and will be the new scourges of God." This great prophecy, as it may be called, is first fulfilled in Paris—our turn may come a century hence.' {345}

He loved to think of the Saints and Angels as near him. He would write familiarly of being in favour or out of favour with St. Philip. When his work for the Oratory, which was constant and energetic, brought him at times into collision with the world, he wrote to Ambrose St. John in a fit of extreme depression, yet half-humorously disposed to remonstrate with St. Philip, much as the Italian peasants scold the saints who will not give them what they want.

'The Oratory: June 13, 1858.
'I do not see your logic when you say, that, "though I croak, I come up to the scratch after all." To me it seems as inconsecutive to say so as if you said that, though I could not sleep at night, I ate my breakfast heartily in the morning. How are the two things inconsistent with each other? To let out one's sorrow is a great relief, and I don't think an unlawful one. Nor do I speak to the whole world, but to you, Stanislas, or Henry. Job too had three friends, and to them he let out. Yet he was the most patient of men. I think you don't discriminate between complaining and realizing. What is so common in the Psalms and in Jeremias, is the sentiment "Just art Thou, O Lord, yet will I plead with Thee?" Yet for myself, I know too well how infinitely more I have than my deserts from the Giver of all good, to have any even temptation to complain. But the case is different when I think of St. Philip; then I argue thus:—

'"There is just one virtue which he asks for, detachment, which at the same time he prevents me having. There is just one thing which hinders me being detached, and that is, that I have made myself his servant. What wish have I for life, or for success of any kind, except so far as and because I have this his congregation on my hands? He it is who has implicated me in the world, in a way in which I never was before, or at least never since my mother died and my sisters married. For St. Philip's sake I have given up my liberty, and have, as far as the temptation and trial of anxiety goes, become as secular almost as if I had married. The one thing I ask of him is to shield me from the extreme force of this trial; and the only explanation I can suggest to myself why he does not do so is that I have in some way or other greatly offended him. And, when I cry out to you, it is not in complaint, but as signifying inarticulately feelings which are too deep {346} for words. Please God, and I hope not from pride, I will be faithful to St. Philip, and then God will reward me, though St. Philip does not. And I will therefore bottle up my thoughts and fancy St. Philip saying to me what a French conducteur once did, when I was looking after the safety of my luggage. "It is my business, not yours." Obmutui et non aperui os meum, quoniam tu fecisti.'

'The words of Job are ended.'

More cheerful than his complaints against St. Philip was his gratitude, many years later, to his Guardian Angel when Father Walford told him in 1872 that part of the 'Grammar of Assent' had been of special help to the Jesuit novices to whom he lectured, and assured him of the prayers that were offered for its author:

'I am astonished and highly pleased,' he writes, 'to find you have been able to use in teaching what I have said in the Grammar Chapter, of which I sent you part. It is a great encouragement to me. I hope to ask your acceptance of the Volume when republished, which will be, I suppose, before Midsummer. If I forget, will you jog my memory?

'Also I am highly grateful to you for your prayers, and think myself very lucky to have gained them by anything I have written. It is all my Guardian Angel's doing, who I always think is the best Angel any man ever had.'

This last letter shows incidentally the grateful thankfulness for kind words which was the correlative to his intense sensitiveness to being misunderstood. As years went on, and critics became kinder and kinder, occasions for such thanks multiplied. On February 9, 1869, he writes to the Rev. E. T. Vaughan, in reply to a letter of thanks for the benefit his correspondent had gained from the Oxford Sermons:

'Time was when, whether from my own fault or the fault of circumstances, even friends were hard upon me—but now even strangers to me personally are considerate and friendly; and, though I wish and trust to be influenced by the prospect of a higher praise or blame than any which comes from an earthly source, yet I may allowably take the approbation of honest and good men as a mercy sent me from above, and beg Him from whom it is sent to reward them abundantly for their generosity.' {347}

As late as 1877, in a letter to Father Coleridge, we find at once the smart of past censure remaining, and gratitude for present kindness fresh and keen:

'I write to thank you for the favourable critique, which you have admitted in the Month, of my Preface to the Via Media. And I am pleased that you could admit it. I mean, I have been so bullied all through my life for what I have written, that I never publish without forebodings of evil.

'And, though I know that, besides the necessary differences of opinion, which ever will be between man and man, there always must be that in what I write which really deserves criticism, yet I am more pleased when people are kind to me than when they are just.'

One further trait I will mention visible in many of the letters—the note of wisdom, often worldly wisdom, which might come from the mouth of a Polonius. This quality, like some others, can only be duly appreciated by reading much of his correspondence.

But I set down here one specimen. Writing to a friend about a dispute in which he believed that he, as Superior of the Oratory, had acted with the right firmness and severity, though his action had been angrily challenged, he strongly urged his own friends against talking of the subject or pleading his cause. His opponents had spoken too freely and generally of the matter, and Newman judged true wisdom to lie in absolute silence on his side. He gives the following reasons in writing to a friend:

'I have a very strong repugnance to talking on the subject to any one. If you speak to A. B., he tells another—and that other, another. It is useless to say he won't—he will. He will tell by the same light by which he was told. Then the whole affair is thrown upon the judgment of society. Everyone thinks he has a right to judge, because you have put the matter before him—and, though he can know but part of the facts, he does not give up his right. Then you have two parties—or you have every one against you, as the case may be. It is infra dig. for me to plead my cause. If anyone believes me to have acted tyrannically, it is his lookout, not mine. What is it to me what people think of me? I have ever acted on this plan, I never got the worst of it. I lay claim to no supernatural motive; it is the most evident {348} wisdom. I have never defended myself through life. I have been called all manner of names, but those things don't last. Such dirt does not stick. Nor am I allowing scandal to remain, by not speaking; scandal must be somewhere ... Again, any one who defends himself, puts himself in the wrong. Si on s'excuse, on s'accuse. (Excuse my bad French.)' [Note 8]

It is hard now to represent adequately the extraordinary personal charm which so many of his contemporaries felt in John Henry Newman. The letters convey much of it, but not all. Yet the tradition of this charm is a fact which must be set down in his biography. It was a charm felt by intellectual minds and even sceptical minds, and by simple and practical men. Blanco White, Mark Pattison, Henry Wilberforce, Frederick Rogers, R. W. Church, and Ambrose St. John were all among his most intimate friends. The almost unique combination of tenderness, brilliancy, refinement, wide sympathy, and holiness doubtless went for much. He had none of the repellent qualities which sometimes make asceticism forbidding. He had an ample allowance of those human sympathies which are popularly contrasted with asceticism. Again, he seemed able to love each friend with a peculiarly close sympathy for his mind and character and thoughtfulness for the circumstances of his life. The present writer's father—never one of the most intimate of the circle which surrounded Newman at Oxford—used to say that his heart would beat as he heard Newman's step on the staircase. His keen humour, his winning sweetness, his occasional wilfulness, his resentments and anger, all showed him intensely alive, and his friends loved his very faults as one may love those of a fascinating woman; at the same time many of them revered him almost as a prophet. Only a year before his death, after nearly twenty years of misunderstandings {349} and estrangement, W. G. Ward told the present biographer of a dream he had had—how he found himself at a dinner party next to a veiled lady, who charmed him more and more as they talked. At last he exclaimed, 'I have never felt such charm in any conversation since I used to talk with John Henry Newman, at Oxford.' 'I am John Henry Newman,' the lady replied, and raising her veil showed the well-known face.

A very human and attractive side was visible in his love for music, of which I have already spoken, and a few words may here be added on this subject.

From the days when he played the violin as a young boy, his brother Frank playing the bass, down to the Littlemore period when he played in company with Frederick Bowles and Walker, string quartets and trios were his favourite recreation. Mr. Mozley in his 'Reminiscences of the Oxford Movement,' thus describes his playing of Beethoven with Blanco White in 1826: 'Most interesting was it to contrast Blanco White's excited and indeed agitated countenance with Newman's Sphinx-like immobility, as the latter drew long rich notes with a steady hand.' When the gift of a violin from Rogers and Church in 1864 made him renew acquaintance with his old love after a long interval, the manner of his playing was somewhat different. 'Sphinx-like immobility,' writes Mr. Edward Bellasis [Note 9], 'had made way for an ever varying expression upon his face as strains alternated between grave and gay. Producing his violin from an old green baize bag, bending forward, and holding it against his chest, instead of under the chin in the modern fashion, most particular about his instrument being in perfect tune, in execution awkward yet vigorous, painstaking rather than brilliant, he would often attend the Oratory School Sunday practices between two and four of an afternoon, Father Ryder and Father Norris sometimes coming to play also.'

When Canon McNeile, the Liverpool anti-Popery speaker, challenged him to a public dispute, Newman replied that he was no public speaker, but that he was quite ready for an encounter if Mr. McNeile would open the meeting by making a speech, and he himself might respond with a tune on the {350} violin. The public would then be able to judge which was the better man.

His favourite composer was Beethoven, to whom he was passionately devoted. Once, when Mr. Bellasis said of the Allegretto of the Eighth Symphony, that it was like a giant at play, Newman replied, 'It is curious you should say that. I used to call him the gigantic nightingale. He is like a great bird singing. My sister remembers my using the expression long ago.' He had reached this preference gradually. 'I recollect,' he writes to a friend in 1865, 'how slow I was as a boy to like the School of Music, which afterwards so possessed me that I have come to think Haydn almost vulgar.' He impressed the cult of Beethoven on all the young Oratorians who played in his company. 'They might start with Corelli, and go on to Romberg, Haydn, and Mozart,' writes Mr. Bellasis. 'Their ultimate goal was Beethoven.' As with literature, so with music, Newman was on the whole true to his early loves—indeed, he was resolutely old-fashioned. Beethoven already possessed him in the twenties, and later masters never quite won his heart. This was especially true with sacred music. Mr. Bellasis writes on this subject in some detail:

'He was very slow to take (if he ever really took) to newcomers on the field of sacred music. And holding, as he did, that no good work could be adequately judged without a thorough knowledge of it, he was disinclined to be introduced to fresh musical names at all, on the bare chance, that might never occur, of what had been a casual acquaintanceship ripening into an intimate friendship. He had in early days found time and opportunity to comprehend certain masters, Corelli, Handel, Haydn, Romberg, Mozart, and Beethoven, but Schubert, Schumann, Wagner ("I cannot recollect all the fellows' names"), who were these strangers, intruding somewhat late in the evening upon a dear old family party? Thus he writes in March, 1871, of Mendelssohn's chief sacred work which he had been reluctantly induced to go and listen to, and which he was never got to hear again: "I was very much disappointed the one time that I heard the 'Elijah,' not to meet with a beautiful melody from beginning to end. What can be more beautiful than Handel's, Mozart's, and Beethoven's melodies?" Now, of course, there is plenty of melody in {351} the "Elijah," though it may be conceded that Mendelssohn's melodious gift is less copious than that of Mozart. But the fact was, Cardinal Newman never got to know the "Elijah," doubtless deemed it long, and felt content to feed upon the musical pabulum that he had so long found satisfying ...

'He got to know fairly well Mendelssohn's canzonet quartet and Schumann's pianoforte quintet Op. 44; but we recall no musical works heard by him for the first time in very late life making any particular impression on the Father, with one notable exception; Cherubini's First Requiem in C Minor, done at the Festival, August 29, 1879. We were to have gone with him, but a Father who accompanied him wrote us instead next day: "The Father was quite overcome by it. He kept on saying 'beautiful, wonderful,' and such-like exclamations. At the 'Mors stupebit' he was shaking his head in his solemn way, and muttering 'beautiful, beautiful.' He admired the fugue 'Quam olim' very much, but the part which struck him most by far, and which he spoke of afterwards as we drove home, is the ending of the 'Agnus Dei'—he could not get over it—the lovely note C which keeps recurring as the 'requiem' approaches eternity. When it was done twice in its true home, the Church, later, on the 2nd and 13th November, 1886, he said 'It is magnificent music.' 'That is a beautiful Mass' (adding, with a touch of pathos) 'but when you get as old as I am, it comes rather too closely home.'

Father Ignatius Dudley Ryder, of the Oratory, has left some very valuable notes, mainly on Newman's literary tastes and gifts, from which a selection must here be given. And I find among Father Neville's papers some comments written by himself on Newman's daily habits. There is also a pen-and-ink sketch by another hand which I have no means of identifying, to which is prefixed a paragraph quoting lines addressed by Newman to his father and exemplar, St. Philip Neri, showing a pathetic consciousness of his own intense sensitiveness:

'He trusted himself,' says this last-named writer, 'to the guidance and example of the Saint who remained half in the world, and whose Cloister has been called "the home of Christian joy." To him he addressed the simple lines:

'"I'm ashamed of myself, of my tears and my tongue,
So easily fretted, so often unstrung;
Mad at trifles to which a chance moment gives birth,
Complaining of heaven and complaining of earth."' {352}

Of the Father's daily life and habits the same writer speaks as follows:

'The early morning was devoted to meditation, prayers and ecclesiastical duties; the succeeding hours to study and work. Newman, who was a good pedestrian, seldom omitted his accustomed afternoon walk. At 6 o'clock they dined all together in the Refectory, and when it fell to his turn Newman would serve his guests and brethren as though he had been the least among them. There was reading aloud during the meal, then some theological question was shortly discussed, after which they all went to the Community Room where coffee was served, and an hour spent in social converse, with sometimes the addition of music. Nothing was easier than to arouse Newman's interest, for everything interested him,—literature, politics, the trade and stipulations of the merchant, the circumstances of persons and places known to him; rural life; the studies of the young men; the thoughts of the simple and the lowly, no less than the most difficult problems and controversies.

'"Have you seen the new quay at Chelsea?" he asked a lady friend who visited him during the last months of his life. She knew nothing about it. "You come from London and have not seen it!" answered the Cardinal, quite astonished ...

'In his intercourse there was nothing of the scholar about him, and he carefully avoided all pedantry in expression. He once said that if he had had to choose between social intercourse without literary pursuits and literary pursuits without social intercourse, he would, as a student, without hesitation have chosen the former. This amiability in society, this power of adapting himself to everyone, knew yet one exception. When people endeavoured to force him to express his opinion upon undecided controversial questions, or again, when they began ill-timed and impossible discussions on "the origin of evil" for example, or on the Vatican decrees, at table—"entre la poire et le fromage," or when, as so often happens in England as elsewhere, they would try to save themselves the trouble of thinking over difficult questions by half an hour's conversation with a man of note, then he treated them as they deserved. A Member of Parliament took the train to Edgbaston at the time of the struggle in which the temporal power was sacrificed. "Ah! Father Newman," he began, "what times we live in; only see what is going on in Italy." "Yes, indeed; but only see too what is {353} going on in China and New Zealand!" Sometimes his answers to such importunities would be followed by a dissertation on the cultivation of grapes in hothouses, for instance, or on the advantage of the fast train at 11.45 over that at 4.26.'

Father Ryder, himself a literary artist and a true poet as well as an able theologian, writes as follows of Newman's literary tastes and preferences:

'He has told us that the joy of literary composition—a joy which one would have imagined would have corresponded in some degree to the beauty of the composition—was unknown to him; that he felt joy in the deliverance of the task, in throwing off the burden of an accomplished work, but nothing more. The truth was his sense of responsibility in almost everything that he wrote, was overwhelming, and the self-discipline of his nature made him shrink from a curious choice of literary pasture. He read for a purpose, for the most part to meet the urgent and prosaic needs of the day. Although such works as "Callista" and the "Church of the Fathers" shew an historical imagination which could have made a home for itself in any age, I think he had not the antiquarian taste which would have made the omnigenous literature of antiquity interesting to him. Had he ever lost his sense of a vocation and found the "green retreat" of which the poet sings, I cannot but suspect that he would have frequented his garden rather than his library; that he would have gardened, built more or less, and conversed, but, beyond a few verses, the world would have received little from him in the way of literary composition. For one who read and wrote so much he had singularly little of the typical character of a man of letters. He enjoyed the conversation of professional men—of soldiers, doctors, lawyers,—all who could give an intelligent account of what interested them, and this not merely from good nature, but from the genuine interest he took in the "quidquid agunt homines." He always gave one the impression that he might have been great in any department of life; that he might have been a great general, a great lawyer, a great parliamentary debater—whether he could ever have been a great party leader I cannot say. He insists repeatedly in the "Apologia" that he never could manage a party; as he expressed it, that he "had not a sufficiently strong wrist." I suspect he had too keen a sympathy for individuality to enforce the necessary drill. His own verse "Thou couldst a people raise but couldst not rule" was applied to himself, he tells us, by one of his friends, {354} and he fully accepts the imputation. At all periods of his life he was I think a constant reader of the daily press, but he was no amateur politician, and on the principle "cuique in sua arte credendum" where he did not feel that he had made a subject matter his own he was inclined to reverse the maxim "measures not men." As regards books I think his favorite authors amongst the Fathers were St. John Chrysostom and Tertullian. I speak here with diffidence. I do not forget his affection for St. Basil and the two Gregories and his life-long devotion to St. Athanasius, but the two first-mentioned I think he admired most. How he spoke of St. Chrysostom and the character of his scripture commentary is well known. I myself have heard him speak of Tertullian as the theological genius of the Early Church with tears in his voice if not in his eyes, whilst he pointed out how frequently the initial sin of heresy was impatience—impatience to do God's work otherwise than He would have it done and so ineffectually. In regard to poetry he had little sympathy with the objective criticism of the day. He liked what he liked intensely, but I think he was impatient of being called upon to account for his liking of this or that. In the region of poetry he certainly adhered to his principle that "egotism is true modesty." I think he could have admired Byron heartily if his moral disapprobation had allowed him. I have heard him speak with enthusiasm of the third canto of "Childe Harold" with an "O si sic omnia." I do not think he ever took cordially to Wordsworth. That poet's didactic tone, his almost sacerdotal pretensions, offended him, and he was wearied by his excessive deliberateness. But never shall I forget—I was a boy at the time, just recovering from an illness—his coming and reading to me the famous Ode "On the Intimations of Immortality." There was a passion and a pathos in his voice that made me feel that it was altogether the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He was very fond of Crabbe, the firm realistic touches of his descriptions of scenery and character delighted him; and his moralizing recommended itself to him as the legitimate outcome of common-sense humanity. He has told us in the "Apologia" and elsewhere how he loved Southey. "Southey's beautiful poem of 'Thalaba,' for which I had an immense liking, came forcibly to my mind." Poor Southey! there would seem to be a consensus today amongst all classes of critics, that you have lost for ever your seat amongst the immortals, and yet three at least of the idols of today, Coleridge and Landor and Newman, worshipped you! ... "Thalaba" was {355} particularly attractive to Cardinal Newman as the picture of a life-long vocation with its mysterious isolation ever at war with the social instincts of the hero; its irrepressible onward movement despite its grave oriental quietude; its asceticism; its succession of pictures, which so full of colour never glitter, have nothing of the impressionist about them; the tremendous catastrophe in which the hero dying achieves his victory, without earthly recompense. It was his picture of what he trusted the Movement and his share in the Movement would have been. He was himself a traveller: the "Apologia" is the history of his journey from a form of Calvinism through different phases of Anglicanism into the Catholic Church ...

'He had but very slight acquaintance with our poets of the last forty years. One or two things of Tennyson he knew that younger friends had introduced him to, had in fact read to him, and I have heard him express great admiration for "Mariana in the Moated Grange." The only one of our modem poets so far as I know whom he seemed inclined to read, though beyond the opening pages he would not go, was W. Morris, both his "Earthly Paradise" and his "[Life and Death] of Jason." It was evident that he was genuinely impressed by his poetic gift, but I think he had a special scruple about what poetry he read, that which did not suit him not suiting him at all. It was to him food or air rather than scenery which he could look at and pass on, where he did not need to stay. This was of course the case more or less with other books which did not come in the way of duty, but I think it was especially so with poetry. Of classical poetry his special favourites were the "Odyssey," the "Georgics," the "Prometheus" of Æschylus, Euripides rather than Sophocles attracted him, especially the "Alcestis." He was devoted to Sir Walter Scott's novels, frequently referring to them in his writings as an influence for good as well as a source of artistic delight. He was fond of Thackeray, reading faithfully everything that he wrote down to the last unfinished work, and the same may be said of Trollope; I believe there was not one of his which he had not read and delighted in.

'Mrs. Gaskell was another favourite writer. For George Eliot I think he felt little or no attraction. In the regions of poetry and fiction I hardly think he admired anything that he did not like, and he liked nothing the general tendency of which he did not regard as making for righteousness. At least this was more nearly the case with {356} him than with any one else I have ever known, and it is a tremendous confession to make in an age which believes that art is its own justification. Another favourite book of his was Fouqué's tales of "Undine," "Sintram," and the rest. I remember a lady telling me that when he was staying at her house she lent him "Sintram," which he had not seen before, and that it was extraordinary the way in which it absorbed him.

'In the "Apologia" he speaks of the new generation, of the movement of the young men which carried him away to a great extent from his earlier companions and contemporaries, and he accounts for this by a variety of incidental circumstances. The truth is, as we who have lived with him know full well, that young men have always exercised a peculiar influence over him. There has been for the most part mutual attraction. I do not think he ever cared much for the child or the boy except in idea, but the young man he loved and yielded him all the honours of manhood ungrudgingly at a time when others would have been apt to withhold them. He never committed the mistake of putting the boy upon the youth. But for the "tonsured Head of Middle Age" I think he was not inclined to shew much consideration. It was to him a youth not much wiser and very much less ready. I think the young have ever been his best allies, and the old in whom there has been a revival of youth.'

Father Ryder's notes include some interesting comments on Newman's gifts as a poet, and on his method in controversy and in writing on philosophy:

'The early Lyrics and the "Dream of Gerontius" have been very generally accepted as of unique beauty in their kind. The latter was made the subject of an inaugural address by the Professor of Poetry at Oxford—Sir Francis Doyle. And even a poet of Mr. Swinburne's alien temperament can recognize "the force, the fervour, the terse energy of Cardinal Newman's verse at its best" and "a genuine lyric note" which makes him question whether there was not a deal of true poetry thrown away upon what he is pleased to call the "sands" and "thickets" of theology (XIXth Century, May '84). The "Dream of Gerontius" ... has had a strong attraction for uneducated as well as educated persons. I knew a poor stocking weaver who on his death bed made his {357} wife read it to him repeatedly. It was one of the favourite works of General Gordon [Note 10], and after his death his copy, copiously underlined, was shown to the Cardinal, who was very much touched and transferred the pencil marks to his own copy. "Lead, kindly Light" is perhaps the most popular modern hymn in the language. Some of his religious lyrics are amongst the most direct and passionate expressions of strong feeling in the language. I remember hearing an eccentric but acute critic, with something of Mr. Swinburne's turn for grouping poets, thus deliver himself in our common room, "Under the head 'poets of passion' I would put Lord Byron, Charles Wesley, and," bowing to Fr. Newman, "if I may be allowed to say so, your Reverence." We were all very much amused, but I have thought since that the criticism was almost as true as it was grotesque.

'The expression "Newman's Subjectivität" has become, I believe, a current phrase in Germany [in reference especially to his philosophical writing]. It is not that he fails to recognise the existence of an intuition of metaphysical and moral truth as a property of human reason, and affording when recognised a sure basis for rigid demonstration, but he feels that, taking men as they are, formally to insist upon this would be premature and unpractical; and so he adopts a controversial method of his own, and it is certainly the very reverse of that of the logical metaphysician, and falls in well with the motto he selected when he was made Cardinal—"Cor ad cor loquitur." Instead of presenting his readers with a logical formula which says equivalently "accept my position on pain of being convicted of an absurdity"—a treatment for which most Englishmen in the region of metaphysic have not sufficient logical nerve,—he would seem to say, "take pains to understand my language, stand where I stand and see if you do not feel as I am feeling." Not that his treatment is not full of logic, but it is logic in solution where the reader finds himself pursuing an argument almost unconsciously. He does not care to project himself along a single line or many single lines of logical thought along which at best the mere logical simulacrum of his reader, not the whole concrete man, will follow him; but he would fain make a wide pathway wherein a traveller may move rejoicing, carrying with him all that is his. He sometimes seems to shrink from abstractions as {358} from attenuated truths and endeavours to frame his argument from concrete to concrete. His exercise of formal logic in practice is often wonderfully dexterous and subtle, but it is rather used as a sword for defence or attack than as his implement for building the walls of Jerusalem. He is impatient of conventional forms of thought as of armour not made for him without any derogation from its absolute value. "Dixitque David ad Saul, Non possum sic incedere, quia non usum habeo. Et deposuit ea."'

Of Newman's position in his own country during the last years of his life Father Ryder gives his own personal recollections and impressions:

'Ever since the publication of the "Apologia," Cardinal Newman has been accepted by the general public of his countrymen not merely as a religious writer of consummate genius but as emphatically an honest thinker and writer, one who might be trusted never consciously to overstate his case or undervalue the position of an adversary; who was an Englishman with his heart in the right place—no "Inglese Italianato" as the old phrase went, but one in whose affections his country and his countrymen had never ceased to hold their own. Thus it often happened that persons who could not find a civil word to say of the Pope or of aught to him appertaining, always made an exception in favour of Father Newman, adding, more frequently than not, that of course he did not count, seeing that he was in his present position a sort of lusus naturæ, an exception proving the rule. Still, he did count notwithstanding, and for a good deal; and Englishmen have got to think better of Catholics for the sake of Cardinal Newman. His popularity found a safeguard and support in a condition of things which on other grounds we might be inclined to deprecate, his seclusion from public life. He has not been forced by his position to take a decided line on each question as it has arisen; to assume the character of a partisan or the scarcely less odious rôle of an officious neutral. It has been open to him almost always to keep silence except when he has elected to break it. He has been allowed to choose the subject and the moment and the manner of his intervention, to calculate nicely his point of incidence, until people learned to recognise that the mere fact of his opening his mouth implied that he had something to say which, whether they agreed with it or not, was well worth listening to. It is wonderful {359} the extent to which of late years all sorts of persons with religious difficulties have had recourse to him. Members, often ministers, of various religious bodies, Methodists, Presbyterians, &c. with no sort of leaning towards the Church, have sought his guidance and advice and sympathy; and his correspondence of this sort, until writing became an impossibility for him, was enormous. Indeed, now and again one came across something which almost looked like a cultus of Cardinal Newman outside the Church. A member of a Baptist Congregation in a large manufacturing town told her daughter—a Catholic—that their minister had been for three Sundays preaching upon Cardinal Newman as a model of Christian virtue, and expounding "Lead, kindly Light."

Father Neville's own Recollections (which I transcribe with slight abridgment and transpositions) are various—passing sometimes to details in themselves trivial, yet of interest to those who regard as precious all that concerns a great man. Many of them belong to the years following Newman's elevation to the Sacred College, and shall be given later on. But his minute notes concerning Newman's devotional habits, written in response to questions from the Father's friends, tell of an earlier period and may be here set down:

'It has been asked whether the Father showed at his devotions any special habits,—for instance: Did he in any way support himself on such occasions; and did he always kneel upright? His ordinary way was what, under the circumstances, would come naturally to him. In visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and ordinarily, he would rest upon what was before him, with his face in his hands, or with his hands clasped against the back of his head. But when engaged in a religious act, whether private or public, his whole mien was that of a person most reverently and absolutely absorbed in what he was about; this, however, did not hinder him in any act proper for the time and place, nor did he need to have his attention drawn to it. If he knelt upright and without support, it would be at times when it was proper or becoming; and whatever his attitude might be, it was always natural and free from appearance of strain. Even on an occasion such as the procession of the Blessed Sacrament on Corpus Christi, there would not be anything noteworthy in him to strike an ordinary observer, yet some at {360} least of his assistants, when he carried the Blessed Sacrament, have a still lasting impression of him that had been made on them from his ready exactness in his recitation of the Psalms, and the reverence that accompanied all he said and did. It was the accumulation in the memory of these passing views of him, each year adding its own—whether differing or the same—that so impressed them with the reality and the meaning of this act of devotion, and of his own faith.

'All this can, no doubt, be said of many another; but here it answers questions about J. H. Newman in particular. To the last, he himself gave much attention to the externals of this devotion in honour of Our Lord; the singing, the orderliness, etc., of all the proceedings, each had his interest in them beforehand, nor did they escape him at the time. Moreover, at all times, when he genuflected to the Blessed Sacrament, he was invariable in touching the ground, or all but so, with his knee—occasionally on seeing those to whom he could speak getting into a careless habit in this respect, he would draw their attention to it. This was always done quietly, gently, almost imperceptibly.

'If it is at all worth while to add more to the above it may be said that in appearance, gesture and bearing, he differed much according to the devotions, and the portions of them, in which he was engaged. His entrance to Mass, for instance, would have given an able painter the opportunity for a very different portrait of him from that of his return, and in his recital of the Gloria of the Mass both his face and manner have sometimes been spoken of by his servers as very striking to them. At the Sepulchre, too, on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, his demeanour differed from other times. This devotion was held in great reverence by him, and he was evidently distressed at any slackness of attendance at it, or if the preparations for it fell short of his expectations for his own church. For instance: If the flowers were all white, or only white and yellow, however well intended this may have been, he was far from satisfied; he looked for richness and beauty and harmony of colours, and he regarded their absence as arising from neglect.

'Each year, when Holy Week came round, he spent some hours in watching at the Sepulchre, as constantly in his last years as before; and the early morning of his last Good Friday on earth found him in the Chapel of Repose thus employed. He was then in his ninetieth year. Thus, as at other times of devotion, the simplicity and naturalness of his {361} manner,—so recollected withal,—could not but strike those who might see him—they took the place of any distinctive sign such as has been looked for. To many, the memory of him at such times reproduces him clothed as it were with these.

'These notes are but the observations of one and another in the course of years. There was no painter or sculptor living with him.

'More interesting than his external appearance would be the Cardinal's attitude of mind at these different times of prayer. Somewhat of this may be gathered from his poetry and various writings. The volume of meditations and devotions published after his death adds still more, by showing him in lights where it had been supposed that he was not to be seen. His own autograph books of daily private prayers give impressions of him which are not to be got elsewhere, and are sui generis. Some extracts from these books which follow, and indeed the whole, were done, not at once and for all, but, as though to keep them in mind, were rewritten and added to from time to time. They bear dates which cover nearly the whole period of his Catholic life, and end only when, near to his death, the writing becomes almost illegible. Objects of prayer are allotted to different days; so also are persons to be prayed for, their names being classified under headings, such as these: Auld Lang Syne; Dear to me; Kind to me; No how to me; St. Mary's and Littlemore; Faithful women; With claim on me; Loyal to me; Ecclesiastics; The Dead. There was a pleasure to him in arranging what he had in mind in short lines, and he liked to make his meditation with a pen in his hand.'

Father Neville adds the following extracts:

'Increase of Priests.
Sanctification of Priests and People.
Spread of Religion.
Conversion of the Nations.
All who befriend or help us.
All who ask my prayers.
All who attend our Church.
All who are in our schools.
Catholic Education. {362}
All in our Mission.
All in Birmingham.
All in England—the Queen.
All I have forgotten.
All who helped me in the Achilli matter.
The Faithful departed [Note 11].
Opponents and enemies.

'Adam de Brome.    Edward II. [Note 12]
Sir Thomas Pope [Note 13].
Count Mellerio [Note 14]. John Baptist Palma [Note 15].
Fr. Dominic.
Mgr. Allemani [Note 16].
Fathers Perrone, Buonvicino, Ripetti [Note 17].
All whom I have attended on their sick bed.
All whom I ought to have attended and did not.
Any who have died Protestants through me
Make up to them and forgive me
The defects of my ministrations.

'The Holy Father, for wisdom and fortitude.
The Holy Roman Church.
The Cardinals,
our Bishop and Chapter, seculars, regulars,
the whole Hierarchy, in England, throughout the world
all religious orders,
all ecclesiastical establishments and institutions,
for children and the young, rich and poor, for the sick,
prisons, reformatories, penitentiaries,
all religious associations;
for the extension and prosperity of Holy Church,
for the sanctification, intelligence, influence of her children,
for her success with heathen, infidels, misbelievers,
heretics, schismatics. {363}
For her victory over kings, governments and people.
For her confessors, missionaries, apologists,
for her theologians, controversialists, literary men.
For our Colonies,
for Ireland, France, Germany, Italy,
Spain, Russia, Egypt, United States.
For our Oratory,
For each of its Fathers, for good novices,
Oratorium Parvum,
For its Mission, orphanage, poor schools, middle schools,
penitents and people,
for the Oratory School with its
matrons, masters, servants, old scholars.
Pro re pecuniaria nostra,
and as regards Rednal and Ravenhurst.
For the London Oratory.
For all Oratories, here and abroad.
For all who befriend me, who have a claim on my prayers.
Who attend our Church, all teachers and taught.
All my benefactors and well-wishers.
All who subscribed and prayed for me
in the Achilli matter,
in the Oxford matter,
and on my being appointed Cardinal,
for all my friends and acquaintance,
for all my work, by word, deed, or writing,
for all whom I have influenced,
for my future.

'For all the Fathers and the Brothers,
And our Novices and Scholars,
And the Little Oratory;
And our Friends and Benefactors,
And our Schools for poor and gentle,
And our Parish, past and present,
Harborne, Edgbaston, and Smethwick.
For our preaching and our singing,
For our reading and our writing,
For sufficient worldly goods.
And for all the sacred College,
And the Papal Curia,
And our Bishops and their Clergy,
And St. Philip's London Fathers, {364}
And the University of Ireland,
And for Trinity and Oriel,
And the state of Christendom.

For my private Benefactors,
And my penitents and pupils,
And my kindred and connections,
And my friends and my acquaintance,
And my slanderers and thwarters,
Catholic and Protestant [Note 18].

A few extracts from the Meditations and Devotions which Newman wrote from time to time may be set down as having in them much of self-revelation.

The following is a prayer for wisdom in the use of the faculty of Reason:—

'O gracious and merciful God, Father of Lights, I humbly pray and beseech Thee, that in all my exercises of Reason, Thy gift, I may use it, as Thou wouldst have me use it, in the obedience of Faith, with a view to Thy Glory, with an aim at Thy Truth, in dutiful submission to Thy Will, for the comfort of Thine elect, for the edification of Holy Jerusalem, Thy Church, and in recollection of Thine own solemn warning: "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account {365} thereof in the day of judgment; for by thy words, thou shalt be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned."'

Here is one which was evidently written in view of the special trials which have been recorded in these volumes arising from the action of the ecclesiastical authorities in his regard:

'O my God, in Thy sight, I confess and bewail my extreme weakness in distrusting, if not Thee, at least Thy own servants and representatives, when things do not turn out as I would have them, or expected! Thou hast given me St. Philip, that great creation of Thy grace, for my master and patron—and I have committed myself to him—and he has done very great things for me, and has in many ways fulfilled towards me all that I can fairly reckon he had promised. But, because in some things he has disappointed me, and delayed, I have got impatient; and have served him, though without conscious disloyalty, yet with peevishness and coldness. O my dear Lord, give me a generous faith in Thee and in Thy servants!'

In another we see the sad thought that he was losing his time and doing nothing, and his effort to picture a work done in God's way even though his own cherished aims and the tasks he felt best fitted to perform had again and again been thwarted:

'O my Lord Jesu, I will use the time. It will be too late to pray, when life is over. There is no prayer in the grave—there is no meriting in Purgatory. Low as I am in Thy all holy sight, I am strong in Thee, strong through Thy Immaculate Mother, through Thy Saints; and thus I can do much for the Church, for the world, for all I love. O let not the blood of souls be on my head! O let me not walk my own way without thinking of Thee. Let me bring everything before Thee, asking Thy leave for everything I purpose, Thy blessing on everything I do ... As the dial speaks of the sun, so will I be ruled by Thee alone, if Thou wilt take me and rule me. Be it so, my Lord Jesus, I give myself wholly to Thee.'

In another prayer he reminds himself of the great and solemn fact of the Catholic Church as an ever-present guide:

'Let me never for an instant forget that Thou hast established on earth a kingdom of Thy own, that the Church is Thy work, Thy establishment, Thy instrument; that we are under Thy rule, Thy laws and Thy eye—that when the Church speaks Thou dost speak. Let not familiarity with {366} this wonderful truth lead me to be insensible to it—let not the weakness of Thy human representatives lead me to forget that it is Thou who dost speak and act through them.'

In yet another he prays for light in his teaching, and asks to be saved from a false originality of thought:

'Come, O my dear Lord, and teach me in like manner. I need it not, and do not ask it, as far as this, that the word of truth which in the beginning was given to the Apostles by Thee, has been handed down from age to age, and has already been taught to me, and Thy Infallible Church is the warrant of it. But I need Thee to teach me day by day, according to each day's opportunities and needs. I need Thee to give me that true Divine instinct about revealed matters that, knowing one part, I may be able to anticipate or to approve of others. I need that understanding of the truths about Thyself which may prepare me for all Thy other truths—or at least may save me from conjecturing wrongly about them or commenting falsely upon them. I need the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind of the holy Fathers, and of the Church, by which I may not only say what they say on definite points, but think what they think; in all I need to be saved from an originality of thought, which is not true if it leads away from Thee. Give me the gift of discriminating between true and false in all discourse of mine.'

To the above should be added his Meditation on the Feast of All Saints as giving his ruling thought through life and his prayer for a happy death:

'1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.

'2. Read slowly and devoutly, Apocalypse, vii. 9-17.

'3. Bring all this before you as in a picture.

'4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:—

'"They are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple." "They shall not hunger nor thirst any more"; "The Lamb shall lead them to the fountains of living waters."

'(1) My dear Lord and Saviour, shall I ever see Thee in heaven? This world is very beautiful, very attractive, and there are many things and persons whom I love in it. But Thou art the most beautiful and best of all. Make me acknowledge this with all my heart, as well as by faith and in my reason. {367}

'(2) My Lord, I know nothing here below lasts; nothing here below satisfies. Pleasures come and go; I quench my thirst and am thirsty again. But the saints in heaven are always gazing on Thee, and drinking in eternal blessedness from Thy dear and gracious and most awful and most glorious countenance.

'5. Conclusion.—May my lot be with the saints.'

Let a few more extracts be quoted, telling of thoughts habitually in his mind:

'Let me bear pain, reproach, disappointment, slander, anxiety, suspense, as Thou wouldest have me, O my Jesu, and as Thou by Thy own suffering hast taught me, when it comes. And I promise too, with Thy grace, that I will never set myself up, never seek pre-eminence, never court any great thing of the world, never prefer myself to others.

'Give me that life, suitable to my own need, which is stored up for us all in Him who is the life of men. Teach me and enable me to live the life of Saints and Angels. Take me out of the languor, the irritability, the sensitiveness, the incapability, the anarchy, in which my soul lies, and fill it with Thy fulness. Breathe on me, that the dead bones may live. Breathe on me with that Breath which infuses energy and kindles fervour. In asking for fervour, I ask for all that I can need, and all that Thou canst give; for it is the crown of all gifts and all virtues. It cannot really and fully be, except where all are present. It is the beauty and the glory, as it is also the continual safeguard and purifier of them all. In asking for fervour, I am asking for effectual strength, consistency, and perseverance; I am asking for deadness to every human motive, and simplicity of intention to please Thee; I am asking for faith, hope, and charity in their most heavenly exercise. In asking for fervour, I am asking to be rid of the fear of man, and the desire of his praise; I am asking for the gift of prayer, because it will be so sweet; I am asking for that loyal perception of duty, which follows on yearning affection; I am asking for sanctity, peace, and joy all at once. In asking for fervour, I am asking for the brightness of the Cherubim and the fire of the Seraphim, and the whiteness of all Saints. In asking for fervour, I am asking for that which, while it implies all gifts, is that in which I signally fail. Nothing would be a trouble to me, nothing a difficulty, had I but fervour of soul. {368}

'Lord, in asking for fervour, I am asking for Thyself, for nothing short of Thee, O my God, who hast given Thyself wholly to us. Enter my heart substantially and personally, and fill it with fervour by filling it with Thee. Thou alone canst fill the soul of man, and Thou hast promised to do so. Thou art the living Flame, and ever burnest with love of man: enter into me and set me on fire after Thy pattern and likeness.

'How can I keep from Thee? For Thou, who art the Light of Angels, art the only Light of my soul. Thou enlightenest every man that cometh into this world. I am utterly dark, as dark as hell, without Thee. I droop and shrink when Thou art away. I revive only in proportion as Thou dawnest upon me. Thou comest and goest at Thy will. O my God, I cannot keep Thee! I can only beg of Thee to stay. "Mane nobiscum, Domine, quoniam advesperascit." Remain, till morning, and then go not without giving me a blessing. Remain with me till death in this dark valley, when the darkness will end. Remain, O Light of my soul, jam advesperascit! The gloom, which is not Thine, falls over me. I am nothing. I have little command of myself. I cannot do what I would. I am disconsolate and sad. I want something, I know not what. It is Thou that I want, though I so little understand this. I say it and take it on faith; I partially understand it, but very poorly. Shine on me, O Ignis semper ardens et nunquam deficiens!—"O fire ever burning and never failing"—and I shall begin, through and in Thy Light, to see Light, and to recognise Thee truly, as the Source of Light. Mane nobiscum; stay, sweet Jesus, stay for ever. In this decay of nature, give more grace.


'Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints ... smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy love. Amen.' {369}

I will conclude these notes on Newman's life at the Oratory with a vivid impression, which I owe to the kindness of Canon Scott Holland, of a visit he paid to Newman in 1877. Canon Holland described the visit at the time in a letter to a friend (Mrs. Ady) and retouched and added to his account for the present volume:

'The sight of my old letter to Mrs. Ady has quickened my memory of a day that I can never forget. I recall the swift sudden way in which I found him beside me, as I was being led through the upper rooms by my friend. I turned at the sound of the soft quick speech, and there he was—white, frail and wistful, for all the ruggedness of the actual features. I remembered at once the words of Furse about him, "delicate as an old lady washed in milk." One felt afraid to talk too loud, lest it should hurt him. I expected him to be taller, and it was a shock to find myself looking downwards at him. He had the old man's stoop. He was, in the mean time, shaking me by the hand, and offering welcome in low rapid courtesies of manner and voice. He would see me later in the Common-room: and so was gone as swiftly as he had entered.

'And this was Newman!—I was saying to myself over and over again. The generation of today cannot understand all that this meant to us in the seventies. The evening came: and I went to the refectory. Each had a little table to himself, and mine was next to the Father's. I watched, with awe, through dinner the big curve of the lower jaw at work, and the marked frontal bones over the eyes.

'A Reader was drawling out Newman's own history of the Turks. He seemed dreadfully bored, and we all were relieved when the Father signalled to him to give it up. At the close of the meal the habitual casuistical riddle was sent round the table. It was taken from St. Alfonso, and dealt with the problem of a full-grown man working as a carpenter in his father's shop, who was forced to hand over all his gains to his father, only to receive back an inadequate wage. Might he reserve, without his father's knowledge, the amount that was really and justly due to him? I sat quaking lest the riddle should come round to me for an answer, and was greatly relieved at a slashing final verdict given against the son by Father Newman. Only unluckily St. Alfonso's judgment which was then read out from the book went dead the other way. I was rather disconcerted by this contretemps: I gazed severely at my plate, but nobody seemed to mind it. After a {370} while we withdrew to the Common Room. And then I was put next to the Father, who laid himself out to talk freely and delightfully to me, until the time came for me to bolt for my train. The talk was all about Oxford. He could not tire of the smallest detail of news from there. Every little touch was of interest to him. Had I seen Dr. Pusey lately? I told him of a University Sermon which the Doctor had just delivered in a voice choked for minutes at a time by hurricanes of coughing. "Ah yes! he never could manage the voice. The first time that he had asked him to read the lessons in St. Mary's, he had spoken out of his boots, and coming out I said to him, 'Pusey, Pusey! this will never do.'" I think he got him to coach with some expert. I mentioned that Oriel was in difficulty over its roof, and had to patch up its gables with plaster, having no money to do more. "Yes! the beams in the roof were always rotten." He had got a little broken bit of one in his room now. A Keble man had been drowned out of a Canoe in a curious corner of a backwater in Magdalen Meadows. He had tracked the whole thing out from the Papers, and had made out the precise spot where it had happened. He was quite pleased to find from me that he had got it right. So the urgent enquiries went on, in silvery whispers, keen and quick. It was, of course, wonderful and beautiful to me, that he should treat me with such kindly deference, and should invest me, so delicately, with something of the halo that belonged to any one who brought a touch of Oxford with him. I had to fly for my train, and sped home tingling with the magic of a presence that seemed to me like the frail embodiment of a living voice. His soul was in his voice, as a bird is in its song. It was his spiritual expression. And listening to these soft swift subtle tones, "the earth we pace appeared to be an unsubstantial fairy place," meet home for the mystery of the lyrical cry.

‘For the rest I came away with a great feeling of sadness. For these were the days when he was still under a cloud: and as I eagerly pressed my Oratorian friend to tell me how they lived, and what they did, I got very little told me. At every turn, the answer came, "Oh! we must keep quiet. We cannot do much. We cannot write books. We might get Father Newman into trouble." They evidently had to tread very warily: and I, who had gone there all agog with the Oratorian Ideal returned home with my ardour rather damped.

'But I had had my opportunity, and the memory of it passed into my life.

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1. Mrs. Sconce.
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2. A good many letters which are unconnected with this narrative of his active life are given in the Appendices.
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3. It should be noted that he would sometimes, perhaps in consequence of this tradition, depreciate his own writings. But such remarks must not be taken too seriously. In a letter to Miss Bathurst he speaks of publishing 'the trash I have written about the Turks.' He took the 'Second Spring' from W. G. Ward's hands, with the words 'Don't read that rubbish.' Yet when Hope-Scott took a similar disparagement of the University Sermons literally, Newman wrote of the volume, somewhat nettled, 'It will be the best, though not the most perfect, book I have done.'—Letters, ii. 407.
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4. W. G. Ward.
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5. Newman never quite approved of the Metaphysical Society. He writes thus to Dean Church in 1876:
'I hear that you and the Archbp. of York (to say nothing of Cardinal Manning, etc.) are going to let Professor Huxley read in your presence an argument in refutation of our Lord's Resurrection. How can this possibly come under the scope of a Metaphysical Society? I thank my stars that, when asked to accept the honour of belonging to it, I declined. Aren't you in a false position? Perhaps it is a ruse of the Cardinal to bring the Professor into the clutches of the Inquisition.'
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6. Historical Sketches, vol. iii.
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7. See Vol. I. p. 607.
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8. I may add the following instance of balanced judgment from a letter of March 1855 to Henry Wilberforce:
'I hope you will think twice before you attack the French Government [in the Weekly Register] for their Gallican mode of admitting the Pope's Brief. Ultramontane as I am, I do not see how they could avoid doing so, unless they wished the question to go by default. The Pope every year protests, I believe, against the King of Naples not sending him a mule, or an ambassador to ride into St. Peter's on a mule, or some silver pence, or something or other; he could not do otherwise till the matter is finally arranged, yet he may be good friends with Naples for all that.'
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9. Cardinal Newman as a Musician, by Edward Bellasis. London: Kegan Paul, 1892.
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10. Vide infra, p. 514.
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11. With names.
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12. Joint Founders of Oriel.
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13. Founder of Trinity College, Oxford.
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14. Count Mellerio was very kind to J. H. N. at Milan, when the latter was on his way to Rome in 1846.
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15. Author of a Life of Christ, used in Lent by J. H. N.
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16. Bishop of all California, he died Archbishop of San Francisco. He interested himself much for Newman in the Achilli trial.
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17. Jesuits in Rome. The last was at Propaganda while J. H. N. and St. John were there, and was much esteemed by them. There is a further long list of names which I do not transcribe.
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18. The following is a tablet inscription beneath a picture of the Snared Heart in the Oratory Church:


'The devotion of the Sacred Heart,' adds Father Neville, 'was a very special devotion to him, and it is remembered that he spoke of it in years long gone by as affecting him far more powerfully than other devotions which he named, though to those also he was known to be drawn. In early years, after the Oratory had settled down at Edgbaston, he built the Chapel of the Sacred Heart with money of his own—a chapel thirty feet square every way—and he covered its walls with tiling at a considerable cost. Having a preference for somewhat retired places for prayer, he meant this Chapel to be cut off from the Church by a screen, but, while it was in progress, other building enlargements caused it to be thrown quite open as it now stands. The altar itself was given by a friend, Miss Frances Farrant.

'A Chapel, or, at least an altar of St. Francis de Sales, was another desire of his from this time, and when it became necessary for him as Cardinal to have a little private chapel of his own, he dedicated the altar to St. Francis de Sales. The picture of the Saint that he placed over it was the gift of a friend, a lady always most true to him, Miss Bowles. It took the place of a chromo of the Saint which he had got for himself in Rome.'
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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