Sayings of Cardinal Newman

A Collection of
Speeches and Sermons delivered by His Eminence
on occasions of interest during his Catholic life


About Poetry

In a lecture delivered in 1849, at St. Chad's Schools, Birmingham, "on the characteristics of Poetry,"

DR. NEWMAN began by saying that to speak of so difficult and so large a subject as poetry was an effort of ambition; for when persons came to consider what poetry was, and what a poet was, there were so many different opinions that it was very difficult to decide between them. Again, it seemed as if some authority were wanting for speaking of poetry at all, for many persons now considered that poetry was a thing of a former, a bygone age, and thought that the useful arts ought now alone to be pursued. For those who had pursued the useful arts it would be absurd not to entertain the highest reverence. But the useful arts did not cultivate the mind. This was the province of literature, of poetry, and of criticism; these refined the mind by making it what it was not before, and thus obviated the distinction between the higher and the lower classes; for now anyone might secure the advantages of intellectual attainments, which had been formerly confined to those who had had what was called a liberal education. After all, however, the useful arts were so necessary and profitable, that they still held sway; but when a man had mastered their elements, he put aside the books from which he had gleaned the information, he might, indeed, even sell them. There was no inclination to repeat their tasks, unless for the sake of perfection; there was {2} in them no attractive beauty; they were merely the teachers of the principles of his employment. Now poetry always delighted, for poetry was the science of the beautiful. A book of poetry was one they would never part with, for it might be read with pleasure again and again. It was, emphatically, the beautiful which refined and cultivated the mind; and by long contemplation of beauty, the mind itself, so to speak, became beautiful in the process. The question with the poet was not whether what he treated of was true or consistent, so far as reasoning went, but whether it was beautiful. The poet's province was to colour objects; others coloured objects, too, but the poet coloured them with loveliness. Wordsworth had asserted that a child was the only true poet, and had pictured in one of his poems a child with all the poetry of childhood thrown around him, yet gradually losing these associations as he grew older, until when he arrived at manhood he became a mere ordinary mortal. The lecturer then proceeded to show how much poetry the active mind of the poet threw around common things; quoting, as illustrations, the description of the life of a good physician in one of Fouqué's works, and Goldsmith's beautiful and well-known description of an ale-house. The latter he powerfully contrasted with Wilkie's picture of the "Village Festival," in which the coarse, rough, yet true features of the scene were too faithfully rendered. This difference arose from the fact that while Goldsmith described a common object in beautiful terms, Wilkie, who had nothing poetical in him, merely gave us a literal transcript of the object itself. Wilkie took things from the life, but there was no new life cast over them; all his works were true, but none of them were beautiful. This would be seen from his portraits, which were frequently so true as to appear mere caricatures. They were utterly destitute of that higher dignity which a great master, who was possessed of poetical feelings, imparted to his portraits. He was now about to speak of Milton. In his greatest work, the "Paradise Lost" (of which, though they might not remember its details, the magnificent framework yet remained present to their minds), he had, unfortunately, as was truly remarked by Dryden, made Satan not only his principal character, but actually his hero. The poetry of Milton's mind had made the evil spirits beautiful, and this was wrong, and even dangerous, as wherever evil was poetised it was a dangerous departure from truth, not only theological and religious, but even moral. This principle was exemplified in Byron's "Cain," where the character of the first {3} murderer had been made an attractive one; and when Byron was censured for this, he defended himself by the example of Milton, who had made Satan poetical. Dr. Newman here read Milton's descriptions of Satan and Beelzebub, observing that so long as pride might be made seductive by the poet, so long also would there be poetry evil in its tendencies, in which the worst vices might be poetised. Still, this only proved his assertion that poetry was the perception, and the poetical art was the expression, of the beautiful; for vice could be rendered attractive in poetry solely by enduing it with some of the attributes of beauty. Into the definition of beauty he would not then enter, but he would content himself with mentioning a few principal points which beauty must comprise. The first principle was harmony; nothing eccentric could be beautiful—nothing extravagant, out of the way, or far-fetched. Proportion was another characteristic; for if one object was made too prominent the effect would be similar to that of the principal figure of a fine group cast forward in shadow by the sun—it would become grotesque. Pomposity was, too, very destructive of poetry. This was the great fault of Byron. A higher measure of justice than was usually shown on earth also marked poetical beauty. They had all heard of poetic justice, and this simply meant that matters were more evenly balanced in poetry than in human life; for poetry mainly consisting of tales, they generally found the good rewarded and the evil punished at the conclusion of the story. This principle would militate against tragedies, which, by terminating with horrors, violated the idea of poetical justice. A peculiarly painful instance of this was the tragedy of "Titus Andronicus,'' ascribed (though he believed falsely) to Shakspere. The effects of poetry were to move the affections; for what was the effect of loveliness itself, but to move the affections? It was the view of the beauty of the Supreme Being that excited the affections and constituted the happiness of the Saints, and all things good and fair were but reflections of the fairness of God. They might recollect the charming line in the "Merchant of Venice," uttered by Jessica, when seated by moonlight in the garden at Belmont:

I am never merry when I hear sweet music.

Here music was the poetry, and stirred the affection which produced the result of pleasing melancholy. In Southey's "Thalaba" an exquisite episode was formed by the story of a witch who had not so totally given herself over to the power of {4} the evil spirits but that she had a principle of recovery within her. She was represented as going from her dwelling out into the silent night and the calm, still beauty of everything around her—the sky, the stars, the whole face of nature—gave her the first principle of repentance, and became to her the instrument of conversion. There were two kinds of great poets, by whom poetry was exercised on two themes—on nature and on man. By nature, he meant the physical creation; by man, all that related to the human race. If they took the two great poets of antiquity, Homer and Virgil, they would see that Virgil was the poet of nature, Homer of man. In our own day, Wordsworth was a true poet of nature, Southey was a poet of society. They might call Wordsworth a philosopher, but no one would call Walter Scott's poetry philosophical; and even if they called Shakspere a philosopher, it would only be for his deep knowledge of human nature. In short, the poets of nature were philosophers; the poets of society were men of the world and men of action, and necessarily men of deep acquaintance with the varying phases of human character. In Scott's delineation of the White Lady of Avenel, in his novel of "The Monastery," they had an instance of a poet of society trenching upon the province of a poet of nature, and, as might be expected, making a complete failure. The idea of the White Lady was borrowed from Fouqué's "Undine," but Scott was unable to preserve the German idea in its spiritual form. From what he had said, it was plain that all colouring was not truly poetical. Nature might be looked at in many different aspects. Thus the naturalist would regard a natural object simply as holding a certain position in the economy of the universe; the geologist would deduce from its presence the existence of certain states of being; the physician would treat it simply as regarded its medicinal powers; while the painter would look to it as presenting some new phase of beauty. Thus things might be closely treated of, and highly coloured, without poetry. Crabbe taught us that accuracy of description was not poetry, for his descriptions, though remarkably life-like and accurate, were yet far removed from beauty. The Hindu mythology sufficiently showed that the mere monstrosity of greatness was not poetical—it possessed vastness without sublimity, for sublimity was nothing more than that amount of vastness which was compatible with beauty. The great ingredient of poetry, without which, indeed, it could not exist, was {5} imagination, but there was much imagination which was unbeautiful. This again was a fault of Byron, whose imagination constantly led him into misanthropy; whereas true poetry partook of gentleness, simplicity, sweetness, and even playfulness; nay, melancholy might exist, but never misanthropy.

On Receiving a Batch of Converts from Anglicanism

Sermon preached at St. Ann's, Leeds, in 1851, at the reception into the Church of the Rev. Richard Ward, late Vicar of St. Saviour's, Leeds; the Rev. Thomas Minster, late Vicar of St. Saviours; the Revv. J. C. L. Crawley, S. Rooke, and Coombes, all Curates of St. Saviour's; the Rev. W. H. Lewthwaite, Incumbent of Clifford, near Tadcaster; the Rev. W. Neville, Manager of St. Saviour's Orphanage; and fourteen lay persons.

ADDRESSING those present as dear friends and brethren, DR. NEWMAN said this was no time for putting into order any thoughts which might be in his mind; nor, indeed, was it necessary, nor would they wish it. What they wished rather was that he should speak out of the fulness of his heart and there leave the matter. Because what was it that they who had that day been brought into the Catholic Church had received? They had received day for night, light for twilight, peace for warfare. There was not a change so great as that which took place from the state of doubt and confusion and misery in which the soul was, external to the Catholic Church, to that peace which it found when it came into it. They knew it was said there is a silence which can be heard, which can be felt. Anyone who had been at sea, and who had for days and nights heard the billows beating at the sides of the vessel, and then came into port, knew what a strange stillness it was when the continued noise of the billows had ceased. When a bell stopped there was a kind of fulness of silence which was most grateful from the contrast. So it was in comparing the tumult and irritation of mind, which they felt in their long seeking for peace, with the joy experienced when they had found it. It was the rich reward of their long anxieties. Those who did not care whether they were right or wrong, those who thought they were right, those who had a dead conscience—they had no anxiety; but it was when a ray of light {6} came, it was when a wounded conscience stung them, it was when they had a misgiving that they were where they should not be—it was then that the warfare began. They had a feeling of duty and wished to do that duty, but they did not know where it lay. Sometimes they thought it lay this way, sometimes that way; and then the voices of friends came and over-persuaded them, and they were driven back; so that one way and another they were in a most miserable condition. It was partly, certainly, their own fault. It was the fault of all of them, doubtless, who had been external to the Catholic Church, that they did not enter it sooner, because if they had had a fuller determination to follow God's will doubtless they would have found it sooner. But Almighty God knew what they were made of, and He mercifully led them on by first one grace and then another, till they were brought nearer and nearer to that haven where they would be. But though they might be getting nearer they did not know where they stood. Others might see they were getting nearer, but to themselves they seemed to be drifted about, tossed up and down by the waves, and there seemed no hope. It often happened that when persons were near the shore they were amongst billows more alarming and more dangerous, because Satan blew the billows more fiercely in order to drown those who were near safety; and they knew that frequently in cases of shipwreck when those who fell into the water were endeavouring to reach the land something happened to carry them off. So it was in like manner that poor souls who were making towards that land where they wished to be might be seen going on gradually and gradually towards the shore, and it might be prophesied—humbly, but still prophesied—that they would be landed safe, and alas! when they were about to land, suddenly they drifted off; they perished, and it was not known what became of them. It was only known that they were not landed on the beach of the Catholic Church. But the Catholics present had all cause for rejoicing that to those to whom God's mercy had been shown that day it had not so happened. They had put themselves into God's hands, and God had brought them into that haven which they had sought. And now on this day they thanked God, as they well might, that He had, in His grace, received them safe. He had brought them within the fold of His Church, He had encompassed them with His everlasting armour, had shielded them from the enemy, and he trusted that they had now got a gift they would never lose; that they were now in a state from {7} which they would never fall, and, through God's mercy, having long sought, having at last found, they would go on from strength to strength, grace to grace, doing more and more in His service, and whatever might be their trials, still they would persevere to the end, and die in the Faith, and so would be brought, through the blood and merits of Jesus Christ, to the land of glory in eternity. What a time was this, that such a thing should take place in it! What did they see? They saw the evil spirit stirred up from the four winds. They saw he was blowing from the four quarters of Heaven upon this land, to make the waves of the people rise against the Catholic Church. They might say, "This is not the time for the Catholic Church to triumph." But it was the time. Man's necessity was God's opportunity. The darker the day was, the brighter God's light came. Did they not know it was the property of the truth of God to advance against wind and tide in the most rapid way? It advanced against all the billows because it was divine—it was supernatural. That was the property of the truth of God, and, therefore, just at this season, when men were most furious against them, when they told all manner of lies and falsehoods against them—because Christ was with them when men were so inflamed against them, it was the very time for them to expect triumphs. The world could not conquer: it was impossible. No, they would see, as time went on, that all those things which now looked so black and unpromising would turn to the glory and the salvation of the Catholic Church. If men were called to do that which he did not think they meant to do—persecute the Catholics—it would not hurt them. Did they not know, in the three first centuries of Christianity, that the martyrs went through so much for Christianity that it was said the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church? So was it now. Supposing men were mad enough to inflict chains and imprisonment upon them, it would only increase the spread of truth. Of course, it was unpleasant to live in the continued anxiety which all this tumult amid opposition created. Catholics did not like to be taken from their usual occupations. Catholics did not like to be taken from their usual religious ceremonies. Bishops did not like to be taken from their flocks. They wished for peace. They wished for peace for the good of the world and for the good of their flocks internally. But would this state of warfare diminish the Church? No; it would increase it. Not a day passed but souls were received into the heart of the Catholic Church. Sometimes they might be high, sometimes {8} they might be low, but the work could not be stopped. They recollected what Gamaliel said in the days of the Apostles. He said if the work was of man it would come to naught, but if it was of God it would go on, and they must take care they did not fight against it. So was it now. Here they were in the nineteenth century after Christ came into the world, and yet what was said by Gamaliel, 1,800 years ago, was fulfilled now. If this work was of man it would fall to naught. How was it that this work had gone on for 1,800 years, and now seemed more strong and flourishing for all the opposition which had existed against it? How was it that the Protestants were in such perplexity? Why, they had seen the Holy Father the Pope driven from Rome and obliged to take refuge elsewhere; they had seen him persecuted by his own people, and had said, "Here is a poor creature; he can do nothing." Catholics took them at their word. It was true the Pope was not strong in this world, and yet was strong; he suspected his strength must come, not from this, but from some other world, and he suspected it was from the throne of God. The words of Gamaliel were fulfilled. If the work was of man it would come to naught. It had not come to naught, and therefore it was not of man, but of God. He looked upon the converts present as specimens of this great miracle which is going on continually, this miracle of conversion of souls in spite of the opposition of the world. Every soul that was converted to God was converted by a miracle: it was a supernatural work which no power of man could do. It was a work of grace. It could not be worldly inducements which brought men into the Catholic Church, since they gained no riches, no honours, no praise from the mouths of men; but, on the contrary, they were reviled and called names. They gained nothing of this world. It was nothing, then, but a supernatural might which brought them in: it was nothing but the grace of God, seeing those things which the world could not see, and having a desire after those things which the world could not desire. That was the great distinction between the Catholic Church and every other body. Every other body depended upon the world. Take away its worldly support and it goes. There was no Protestant who would not grant, when he came to think, that the Church of England, for instance, would go to pieces directly the temporal support was taken away. It was impossible that it could stand. Protestants knew that very well. All the most sagacious knew it well. He recollected perfectly well, several {9} years ago, a person in authority in the Church of England gave out a charge. What did he say? "The State is a very bad mistress, but we must put ourselves under its protection, and surrender ourselves to it, because we cannot get a better. It was once thought reason and intellect would help the Protestants against the Catholics; but we find it is not so. We find the cleverest men become Catholics. It was said that learning, talent, and genius would leave the Catholics, but it was not so. Light, learning, talent, and genius, all go towards the Catholic Church. Well, then nothing is left to us. Let us cling to the State because we cannot do anything better. Our only hope is a worldly hope; our only hope is in the arm of flesh, because we can find nothing better." Of course, those were not the very words, but the sentiment was nowise exaggerated. It was an honest and true sentiment, though it was very plain to come from a member of the Church of England. It was certain, if the protection of the State were taken from the Church of England it would crumble to pieces. Nothing would be left. It had no unity, no stability, no solidity, no existence, but in the power of the State. How different was the Catholic Church. The State did all it could against it, but it could not destroy it. Here was the State doing all it could against the Catholic Church, and yet the Catholic Church was growing in influence in the country. In spite of the State's having done so much for the Church of England, and so much against the Catholic Church, still, when this poor old man, whom they professed to despise, living two thousand miles off, put out a bit of paper naming certain Bishops of England, the Church of England could not bear the shadow of his hand going over the country. He wrote a few words, the shadow of his hand went over the country, and the whole country was in commotion. The true Vicar of Christ, two thousand miles distant, put into confusion this great country. Could there be a better triumph for all of them than this fact? Their enemies and the inhabitants of their country (part were not their enemies) could not bear the very whisper of the Vicar of Christ in relation to this country; and in spite of all the greatness of the Church of England, they saw it was merely worldly, while the Catholic Church, not standing upon worldly power, rose up by an unseen power, a power which every arm of flesh feared. The State Church feared it, because it knew that it was of earth, and that the Church of God came from Heaven. It was to the preacher an affecting thing that he should be there on that occasion, {10} speaking to them, because whom was it they had received into the Catholic Church that day? Why, it was the first of a portion of a special congregation of the Church of England, of a district or parish of the Church of England, which was created under remarkable circumstances—to him especially so. They knew he was not always a Catholic. It was some years ago the grace of God made him a Catholic, and on the very day of his conversion what was taking place in this town? Why, the very day when he was being led, as he trusted and believed by the grace of God, to embrace the Faith of the Church of Christ—that was the very time the Church of St. Saviour was opened. It was opened, if he recollected rightly, with a long devotional service which lasted many days, and when that was taking place here he was being received into the Catholic Church 150 miles away. Therefore it was to him a circumstance of especial interest just at this moment, now he was thrown back to the period of his own conversion, to see in the event of this day a sort of reward of what God led him to do then, that he had been the instrument in part of doing what had been done now. How or when it was that those favoured souls who had that day been made members of the Catholic Church were led by the grace of God towards the Catholic Church, he knew not; but as regarded himself, he felt that they had wished him to come as a kind of witness to receive them, because there was this remarkable connexion between St. Saviour's Church being opened and his own conversion. Then it was that that was begun which now had its end, and they saw in this another illustration of the want of stability of everything in the Church of England. There had been a church—he meant St. Saviour's—opened with how much of pious feeling, with how many sincere aspirations, with how many ready offerings to Almighty God What sums of money had been expended upon that church. It had been the work of persons who in their hearts believed, in doing what they did, they were making an offering, not to the work of man, but to the Catholic church. They were mistaken in thinking so, but they brought their offerings. They did not act with a half liberality, but, bringing treasure by handfuls, they gave it for the erection of a church which they hoped would be a Catholic church. They adorned it, enriched it, and what had become of all those hopes which began six years ago? Why, had they not vanished into empty air? They saw that the church which they built had turned out to be nothing at all; and after a trial of six years there was that remarkable truth which came to him {11} six years ago, that the Church of England was a mere shade, that it had no substance. Here was this trial which they saw had come to naught. There were piety, devotion, sincerity, earnestness—persons who would devote themselves earnestly to God; but alas! they built up the mere creation of this world, which would not last. It was coming to naught, and what had been the case here would be the case all over in the Church of England but for the power of the State. It was the power of the State which alone kept anything in its place in the Church of England. Not so with the Catholic Church. Merely sitting still, ordering its own work silently, it had attracted educated members of the Church of England to it. It was a burning and a shining light, and it preached to the people directly by its example. After some further observations, Dr. Newman begged the prayers of the Catholics present for those who had been received into the Church on that day and some days previously. He begged their prayers that the work begun might go on spreading and increasing daily, till all those were brought into the fold of Christ that ought to belong to it—that all those to whom God had given grace might have the veil taken from their eyes. He asked their prayers also—for prayer was omnipotent—that all those who had anything to do with the erection of St. Saviour's Church might be brought to the light of truth. They could not undo what they had done. St. Saviour's Church, so called, was given up to the Protestants, and there was an end of it. They had given it over to the State. They could not undo their own work; but it would be a great thing for all of them, while they felt that they could not undo much that they had done, that at least they could save their own souls, and show their earnestness by retracing their steps as far as they could. He begged them to pray that every one of the earnest persons who preached sermons at the opening of St. Saviour's Church might be brought into the fold of Christ; that all those who had hung upon their words might be brought fully to the truth; that those who, to some extent, had been nursing fathers to the Catholic Church, though they knew it not, might be brought in; and that every one who had been instrumental in the spread of Catholic doctrines in England, though they knew it not, might be brought into the Catholic Church. Finally, Dr. Newman asked his Catholic hearers to pray for himself that he might be enabled to do his share in the work which had been begun. {12}

Accepting First Praise

At a crowded meeting held on September 8th, 1851, at the Corn Exchange, Birmingham, Bishop Ullathorne publicly thanked Dr. Newman for his course of nine lectures on "The Present Position of Catholics in England." In reply,

DR. NEWMAN said he knew perfectly well that he ought to look for praise to God alone; but he thought the present was an exceptional case, and he therefore took what had been said—and with all humility he would say it—as an act of God's love towards him. It was a curious thing for him to say, though he was now of mature age, and had been very busy in many ways, yet this was the first time in his life that he had ever received any praise. He had been in other places and done work elsewhere, before being a Catholic, but there was no response, no sympathy; it was not the fault of the people, for they could not respond. Some instruments could only make beautiful music, and some, from their very nature, could only make a noise. So it was with such a body as that to which he once belonged: they could only make a noise—no echo, no response, no beautiful music. But it was quite different when a man entered the Catholic Church. In conclusion, he entreated the prayers of those who heard him, as it was only the prayers of Catholics which could sustain him on this troubled ocean to that shore which they all hoped to reach through God's blessing [Note 1].

On Relinquishing the Rectorship of the Catholic University of Ireland

To the Vice-Rector, Professors, and Officers of the Catholic University of Ireland, in reply to an address which they had presented at Christmas, 1859—all address which bears, among many others, the signatures of John O'Hagan, B.A., Robert Ornsby, M.A., Thomas Arnold, B.A., Le Page Renouf, T.W. Allies, Aubrey de Vere, J. H. Pollen, M.A., and W. H. Anderdon, M.A.—Dr. Newman said: —

MY DEAR FRIENDS,—I am deeply grateful to you for the address which you have sent me. It comes to me on the last day of the {13} year, and is a most acceptable and encouraging termination of it. The highest among the earthly rewards of exertion in any cause is to succeed in winning the approbation and attachment of fellow-labourers, who are our nearest witnesses and best qualified judges, as it is the first of trials to disappoint or displease them. You have given me this special gratification. I rather am the party who ought to make acknowledgments, remembering, as I do, so many instances of the heartiness and self-denying earnestness with which you supported me in the anxious work which brought us together. And I have to ask you to forgive my many shortcomings, excusing me, moreover, for venturing to commence what I avowed at the same time that I could not carry through, and making allowances for the imperfection of plans, which from the nature of the case, were but tentative and provisional. But to the generosity of your past co-operation you have added the fresh favour of your present affectionate leave-taking; and its expressions are too welcome to admit of my disputing them. I rejoice to know that I have made friends who, whether I see them often or no, will take all interest in whatever may be the will of Providence concerning me in time to come, and whom I may try to repay by remembering in His sight. I rejoice to believe that you represent others, too, known to me and unknown, who, together with you, will bear me in mind as years pass on, and will say a prayer for me when I am taken away. And I rejoice to have in my possession a testimonial, which I can deliver to my brothers here, to be preserved among their records, in honourable memory of the first Superior of this Oratory. And now nothing remains for me but to wish you all the best wishes of this sacred season, and all happy anticipations of the new year, you, and all yours, and the land in which you dwell, that home of warm and affectionate hearts, which, as you truly say, I have wished in my humble measure to serve, believing that in serving Ireland I was serving a country which had tokens in her of an important future and the promise of still greater works than she has yet achieved in the cause of the Catholic faith. {14}

On the Occasion of Writing the "Apologia"

The Clergy assembled at the Diocesan Synod of Birmingham in June, 1864; presented an address with reference to the attack made by Charles Kingsley.

DR. NEWMAN replied as follows: He had in vain attempted to prepare an answer to it from the first time he learned it was the intention of the clergy of the diocese to confer upon him this most undeserved and unexpected honour; but as often as he had tried he had failed, and had at last given up the attempt in despair, and determined to trust to the moment. And now that the moment had come, what could he say except thank them, which he did most sincerely, for the great honour which they were doing him, and which, from the solemnity of the occasion, the sanctity of the place, and the venerable and sacred character of those who were so honouring him in the very presence of his Bishop, was the highest they could confer. They had spoken in their address of the service he had by his late work done to religion, but he must assure them that he did not himself feel that he had any claim to such high praise in the work which had called forth this address; he had but performed a duty which had been thrust upon him by circumstances over which he had no control; if, however, in the vindication of his character he had indirectly done good by lessening prejudices against the Catholic clergy, or the Faith which was so dear to them all, of course he should be very grateful for this result. This, however, was not the way in which he would wish to consider the address (viz., as an acknowledgment of his services to religion); he preferred looking upon it (and he had the greatest pleasure in so looking upon it) as an expression of their warm affection and kindly sympathy towards himself, when they saw he was in trouble. It was, indeed, the greatest comfort and support to him to have their sympathy at the present moment; nor was it the first time they had stood by him when he was in need of their countenance and aid. It had happened to him upon a former occasion to be threatened with a great trial upon the delivery of some lectures in this town, when, on the delivery of the last of those lectures, the clergy, hearing of the trial in which he was likely to be involved, headed by a venerable man whom he always remembered with the greatest reverence and affection, their late Provost, Dr. Weedall, came forward and gave him their support. He said in the last of those lectures that it mattered little what people at a distance {15} thought of us, if those amongst whom we lived loved and honoured us. Those amongst whom he (Dr. Newman) lived had shown the truth of this remark then, and they were confirming its truth now. Whatever people who did not know him thought of him, he was sure of the affection and esteem of those who did know him. This was a great comfort to him, for although it was our duty to look for comfort principally in the thought of Our Lord and in the prayers of the Saints, yet still it was permitted us to receive consolation from each other, and he deeply thanked them all for the support they had thus given him in this time of trial. And it was this view he took of them as his friends in need, that gave him the right to say that he feared he should disappoint their expectations with regard to his future labours in defence of the truth against the prevailing errors of the day. He felt there were many things which led him to think that the time was not come to speak, and that he was not the man to speak. First, the very errors themselves were so vague, so self-destructive, that if the Church endeavoured to combat them in their present shape she would be like one "who beateth the air," and that perhaps before the armour which was to be used in her defence was forged the difficulties would have destroyed each other. Then the Church moved slowly in her majestic march she had ever taken time. Four centuries had passed away from her commencement, and though she had great Saints and learned men, she had allowed the calumnies of the world to pass unheeded, till God raised up St. Augustine to answer all objections hitherto urged, and many that should be urged in future ages down to our own time. When the time came, God would raise up such a one to defend the Church's teaching. But now our duty was patience, the Church's business seemed to be to show the world what a devoted clergy could do by spending their lives and energy in missionary labours. Then as to himself, it seemed to him that old age was more for suffering than for action, and thus it was in some sense a beginning of purgatory; and as prayers had so special a power in liberating from purgatory, when a soul could do nothing for itself, he felt that their prayers were the one thing which could do him a service now. {16}

On Certain Aspersions

In reply to an influentially signed address of confidence, at a time when certain aspersions were thrown on his name, Dr. Newman, in writing, at the close of 1867, thus addressed the Right Hon. W. Monsell, afterwards Lord Emly:

I ACKNOWLEDGE without delay the honour done me in the memorial addressed to me by so many Catholic noblemen and gentlemen, which you have been the medium of conveying to me. The attacks of opponents are never hard to bear when the person who is the subject of them is conscious to himself that they are undeserved; but in the present instance I have small cause indeed for pain or regret at this occurrence, since they have at once elicited in my behalf the warm feeling of so many dear friends who know me well, and of so many others whose good opinion is the more impartial, for the very reason that I am not personally known to them. Of such men, whether friends or strangers to me, I would a hundred times rather receive the generous sympathy than have escaped the misrepresentations which are the occasion of their showing it. I rely on you, my dear Monsell, who from long intimacy understand me so well, to make clear to them my deep and lasting gratitude in fuller terms than it is possible within the limits of a formal acknowledgment to express it.

At the Funeral of Henry W. Wilberforce

From the letter of one who was present at the funeral of Mr. Henry Wilberforce at the Dominican Monastery at Woodchester, in 1873:

DURING the office a venerable figure came quietly up the aisle, and was going meekly to take a place on the chairs at the side; but H—— saw and took him into the sacristy, whence he soon made his appearance in cassock and cotta in the choir, and was conducted to the Prior's stall, which was vacated for him. This was dear Dr. Newman. He followed the office with them, but after awhile could contain his tears no longer, and buried his face in his handkerchief. At the end of Mass, Father Bertrand said something to Dr. Newman, and, after a little whispering, the venerable man was conducted to the pulpit. For some minutes, however, he was utterly incapable of speaking, and {17} stood, his face covered with his hands, making vain efforts to master his emotion. I was quite afraid he would have to give it up. At last, however, after two or three attempts, he managed to steady his voice, and to tell us "that he knew him so intimately and loved him so much, that it was almost impossible for him to command himself sufficiently to do what he had been so unexpectedly asked to do, viz., to bid his dear friend farewell. He had known him for fifty years, and though, no doubt, there were some there who knew his goodness better than he did, yet it seemed to him that no one could mourn him more." Then he drew a little outline of his life—of the position of comfort and all "that this world calls good," in which he found himself, and of the prospect of advancement, "if he had been an ambitious man." "Then the word of the Lord came to him, as it did to Abraham of old, to go forth from that pleasant home, and from his friends, and all he held dear, and to become——" here he fairly broke down again, but at last, lifting up his head, finished his sentence—"a fool for Christ's sake." Then he said that he now "committed him to the hands of his Saviour," and he reminded us of "the last hour, and dreadful judgment, which awaited us all, but which his dear brother had safely passed through," and earnestly and sweetly prayed "that every one there present might have a holy and happy death."

On Receiving Notice of His Elevation to the Sacred College

In reply to the messenger bearing the biglietto from the Cardinal Secretary of State, containing the notice of his elevation to the Cardinalate, whom he received at the house of Cardinal Howard, May 17th, 1879,

CARDINAL NEWMAN said: I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue; it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me. First of all, then, I am led to speak of the wonder and profound gratitude which come upon me, and which is upon me still, at the condescension and love towards me of the Holy Father in singling me out for so immense an honour. It was a great surprise. Such an elevation had never come into my thoughts, and seemed to {18} be out of keeping with all my antecedents. I had passed through many trials, but they were over, and now the end of all things had almost come to me and I was at peace. And was it possible that, after all, I had lived through so many years for this? Nor is it easy to see how I could have borne so great a shock had not the Holy Father resolved on a second condescension towards me, which tempered it, and was to all who heard of it a touching evidence of his kindly and generous nature. He felt for me, and he told me the reasons why he raised me to this high position. His act, said he, was a recognition of my zeal and good services for so many years in the Catholic cause. Moreover, he judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour. After such gracious words from His Holiness, I should have been insensible and heartless if I had had scruples any longer. This is what he had the kindness to say to me, and what could I want more? in a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of Saints, namely, that error cannot be found in them; but what I trust I may claim throughout all that I have written is this—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve the Holy Church, and, through the Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted, to the best of my powers, the spirit of Liberalism in religion. Never did the Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading as a snare the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world and upon the Holy Church as it is and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place if I renew the protest against it which I have so often made. Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with the recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, as all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste—not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant churches and to Catholic, {19} may get good from both, and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings without having any views at all of doctrine in common or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about the management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society. Hitherto the civil power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force when I was young that Christianity was the law of the land. Now everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity. The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone or is going everywhere, and by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure the submission of the mass of the population to law and order. Now, philosophers and politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church's authority and teaching they would substitute, first of all, a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober is his personal interest. Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, they provide the broad, fundamental, ethical truths of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like, proved experience, and those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society and in social matters, whether physical or psychological—for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, the intercourse of nations. As to religion, it is a private luxury which a man may have if he will, but which, of course, he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others or indulge to their annoyance. The general character of this great apostasy is one and the same everywhere, but in detail and in character it varies in different countries. For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think, it threatens to have a formidable success, though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue. At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which on the Continent seems to be founded on infidelity; but the misfortune with us {20} is that, though it ends in infidelity, as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the union of Church and State, and would advocate the unchristianising the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful. Next, the liberal principle is forced on us through the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population; and recollect, our mode of government is popular. Every dozen men taken at random whom you meet in the streets have a share in political power. When you inquire into their forms of belief perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions. How can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion were ignored. We cannot help ourselves. And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles. It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men—elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them. Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the work of truth, to the Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, faithful and true, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain. On the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise when it is witnessed, is the particular {21} mode in the event by which Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance. Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties in confidence and peace, to stand still, and to see the salvation of God. Mansueti hereditabunt terram et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis.

On Being Congratulated

Replying to an address read by Lady Herbert of Lea, in Rome on the occasion of the presentation of a set of vestments, jeweled mitre, and altar candlesticks from the English Colony, in May, 1879, Cardinal Newman said:

MY DEAR FRIENDS,—Your affectionate address, introductory to so beautiful a present, I accept as one of those strange favours of Divine Providence which are granted to few. Most men, if they do any good, die without knowing it; but I call it strange that I should be kept to my present age—an age beyond the age of most men—as if in order that, in this great city, where I am personally almost unknown, I might find kind friends to meet me with an affectionate welcome and to claim me as their spiritual benefactor. The tender condescension to me of the Holy Father has elicited in my behalf, in sympathy with him, a loving acclamation from his faithful children. My dear friends, your present, which while God gives me strength I shall avail myself of in my daily Mass, will be a continual memento in His sight both of your persons and of your several intentions. When my strength fails me for that great action, then in turn I know well that I may rely on your taking up the duty and privilege of intercession, and praying for me that, with the aid of the Blessed Virgin and all Saints, I may persevere in faith, hope, and charity, and in all that grace which is the life of the soul, till the end comes. {22}

On the Kindness of Ireland

In reply to an address of the Irish members of Parliament, read by Sir J. McKenna, to receive which Cardinal Newman came expressly to London in April, 1879,

HIS EMINENCE said: Gentlemen, this is a great day for me, and it is a day which gives me great pleasure too. It is a pleasure to meet old friends, and it is a pleasure to make new ones. But it is not merely as friends I meet you; for you are the representatives of a Catholic people. And, therefore, in receiving your congratulations, of course I feel very much touched by your address. But I hope you will not think it strange if I say that I have been surprised too; because, while it is a great thing to please one's own people, it is still more wonderful to create an interest in a people which is not one's own. I do not think there is any other country which could have treated me so graciously as you have done. It is now nearly thirty years since, with a friend of mine, I first went over to Ireland with a view to that engagement which I afterwards formed there, and during the seven years through which that engagement lasted I had a continued experience of kindness, and nothing but kindness, from all classes of people: from the Hierarchy, from the seculars and regulars, and from the laity, whether in Dublin or in the country. As their first act they helped me in a great trouble in which I was involved. I had put my foot into an unusual legal embarrassment, and it required many thousand pounds to draw me out of it. They took a great share in that work. Nor did they show less kindness at the end of my time. I was obliged to leave Ireland by the necessities of my own Congregation at Birmingham. Everybody can understand what a difficulty it is for a body to be without its head, and I had only engaged for seven years, because otherwise I could not fulfil the charge the Holy Father had put upon me in the Oratory. Not a word of disappointment or unkindness was uttered, when there might have been a feeling that I was relinquishing a work which I had begun. And now I repeat that, to my surprise, at the end of twenty years, I find a silent memory cherished of a person who can only be said to have meant well, though he did little. And now, what return can I make to show my gratitude? None that is sufficient. But this I can say, that your address will not die with me. I belong to a body which, with God's blessing, will live after me {23} —the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. The parchment which is the record of your generosity shall be committed to our archives, and shall testify to generations to come the enduring kindness of Irish Catholics towards the founder and first head of the English Oratory.

On the pleasant Care of Boys

In reply to an address read by Lord Edmund Talbot on July 21st, 1879, on behalf of the Oratory School Society,

CARDINAL NEWMAN said: I thank you very much for the address of congratulation which you have presented to me on the great dignity to which the Holy Father has raised me. Besides the honour, he has done me this great service, that his condescension has, in God's mercy, been the means of eliciting in my behalf so much kind sympathy, so much deep friendliness, so much sincere goodwill, of which the greater part was till now only silently cherished in the hearts of persons known and unknown to me. I do not mean to say that I did not believe in your affection for me; no, I have had many instances of it. I have rejoiced to know it, and I have been grateful to you for it; but I could not till I read your short and simple words realise its warmth, its depth, and what I may call its volume. Your letter is the best reward, short of supernatural, for much weariness and anxiety in time past. Nothing, indeed, is more pleasant than the care of boys; at the same time nothing involves greater responsibility. A school such as ours is a pastoral charge of the most intimate kind. Most men agree in judging that boys, instead of remaining at home, should be under the care of others at a distance. In order to the due formation of their minds, boys need that moral and intellectual discipline which school alone can give. Their parents, then, make a great sacrifice, and also make an act of supreme confidence, in committing their dear ones to strangers. You see, then, what has made us so anxious, sometimes too anxious—namely, our sense of the great trust committed to us by parents, and our desire to respond faithfully to the duties of that trust, as well as our love for, our interest in, our desire, if so be, to impart a blessing from above upon, their children. No other department of the pastoral office requires such sustained attention and such unwearied services. A confessor, for the most part, knows his {24} penitents only in the confessional, and perhaps does not know them by sight. A parish priest knows, indeed, the members of his flock individually, but he sees them only from time to time. Day schools are not schools except in school hours, but the superiors in a school such as ours live with their pupils, and see their growth from day to day. They almost see them grow, and they are ever tenderly watching over them that their growth may be in the right direction. You see now why it is that the few words of your address are so great a comfort to me. Yes, they are a definite, formal answer to the questionings, searchings of heart, and anxieties of twenty years. Of course, I know that we have been wonderfully blessed in the set of boys whom we have had to work for—we have had a very good material. Also, I know when you speak so kindly of my personal influence and guidance that this is a reference to more than myself, and that I can only occupy the second or the third place in any success which we can claim. However, if to have desired your best good, if to have prayed for it, if to have given much time and thought towards its attainment deserves your acknowledgment, and has a call on your lasting attachment, I can, without any misgiving of conscience, accept in substance your affectionate language about me. Before concluding my thanks, I must express my great gratification at your splendid gift of vestments, munificent in itself, and most welcome as a lasting memento of July 20th, 1879, and of the address of congratulation with which that gift is accompanied.

On an Audience with the Pope

Acknowledging the presentation of a monstrance by Lady Alexander Lennox on behalf of the boys at the Oratory School, July 20th, 1879,

CARDINAL NEWMAN said: It is very difficult for me in set words to express the feelings of great gratitude and great gratification which such an address from such persons causes me. I have spoken in the answer I have just made to our late scholars—the members of the Oratory School Society—of the feelings which parents must have when they commit their children either to strangers or to those who at least cannot be so near and dear to them as those parents are themselves. I recollect perfectly well enough of my own childhood to know with what pain a {25} mother loses her children for the first time, and is separated from them, not knowing for the time what may happen to them. It is, of course, an enormous gratification and a cause of thankfulness, where thanks are due, that I should be—that we should be—so kindly, considerately, and tenderly regarded as we are, and as that address which you have read to me brings out. Concerning our school, it may be pleasant to you to know that the Holy Father at Rome seemed to take great interest in it without my urging it upon him. I brought before him the outline of the history of the Oratory for the last thirty years, and he showed great interest in it, and, I may say, even mastered all I said; and I could see it remained in his mind, for when the time came for me and my friends the Fathers to be presented to him to take leave of him, then, though what I asked for was a blessing upon this house, and upon the house in London, he added of his own will, "And a blessing upon the school." It was a thing he singled out; and as we have been blessed by the blessing of the holy Pope Pius IX. on the commencement of the Oratory, we may look forward to Divine aid for being guided and prospered in the time to come. I hope you will not measure my sense of your kindness to me by the few words I have spoken, for if I attempted to express my full feelings, I should have to detain you a long time before I came to an end. But loth as I am to detain you with more words, I must not conclude without offering you my best thanks for the magnificent monstrance which you, and others, as mothers of our boys, have had the kindness to present me in memory of my elevation to the Sacred College, or without assuring both you who are here and those whom you represent, how acceptable to us is this token of the interest you take in the past and present of the Oratory.

To the Oratory School Boys

To a congratulatory address read by Mr. Richard Pope on same date,

CARDINAL NEWMAN, in reply, said that the tribute of the boys, as the daily witnesses of his more private life, came home to him and touched him exceedingly. After referring in congratulatory terms to those boys who had left the school and gone forward in the career of life, and had fulfilled so well the duties {26} of their station, the Cardinal concluded as follows: When I think of that, and think of you who are to go into the same world, and fight the same battles as they have done, I have great confidence that you, beginning with such tender feelings towards your teachers, and me especially, will answer all the expectations that we have formed of you, and the wishes that we have for you. I will say no more, but will thank you, and assure you that, as this day will remain in your mind, so it will remain in mine.

On the happy character of the Time

To an address from the chapter of Salford on July 21st, 1879,

CARDINAL NEWMAN replied as follows: In thanking the Chapter of Salford, through you, Monsignor Croskell, its Right Reverend Provost, for your most welcome congratulations on the dignity to which the Supreme Pontiff has graciously raised me, as I most heartily do, I thank you for bringing before the present hearers of your address, and before myself, the very apposite reflection—as regards such success as has attended me in what I have done or have written, whether in point of influence at home, or special and singular recognition on the part of the Holy Father at the centre of Catholicity—how much I owe to the happy character of the time. I myself, thirty or forty years ago, found it impossible to stem the current of popular feeling which was adverse from me, and found that patience and waiting was all that was left for me. But what a trifle of a difficulty was this compared with the real and terrible obstacles which confronted the Catholic champion in England in the sixteenth century. Now our enemies assail us only with gloves—not with gauntlets—and with foils with buttons on, and words that break no bones. Three centuries ago the weapons of controversy were of a deadly character; and how could even the most angelic sanctity, the most profound learning, the most persuasive talent, if embodied in the Catholic controversialist, preacher or priest, succeed against the rack, the gibbet, and the axe? how could he attain to any issue of his labour save that of martyrdom? Let us, then, my dear Right Reverend Provost, derive from this meeting and the brotherly love which takes place between us today what is indeed its true moral—that God has been very good to us His children, in {27} this poor country, that we owe Him great gratitude, and that His past mercies are an earnest to us, unless we be unfaithful, of greater mercies to come. "The house of Aaron hath hoped in the Lord; He is their helper and protector. The Lord hath been mindful of us, and hath blessed us. He hath blessed the house of Israel, He hath blessed the house of Aaron."

On his trepidation as an Author

An address of congratulation was read by Canon Toole, on behalf of the Manchester Catholic club, on July 21st, 1879.

IN response Cardinal NEWMAN said: Very Rev. Canon Toole and gentlemen associated with him,—I could not desire any secular rewards for such attempts as I have made to serve the cause of Catholic truth more complete and more welcome to me than the praise which is so kindly bestowed upon me in the address of the Manchester Catholic Club, now read to me by you, its representatives. There is, from the nature of the case, so much imperfection in all literary productions, and so much variety of opinion, sentiment, and ethical character in any large circle of readers, that whenever I have found it a duty to write and publish in defence of Catholic doctrine or practice I have felt beforehand a great trepidation lest I should fail in prudence, or err in statement of facts, or be careless in language; and afterwards, for the same reasons, I have been unable to feel any satisfaction at recurring in mind to my composition. That what I have said might have been said better, I have seen clearly enough—my own standard of excellence was sufficient to show me this. But to what positive praise it was entitled, that was for others to decide, and, therefore, when good Catholics, with divines of name and authority, come forward and tell me, as you do, that what I have published has been of great service to my dear mother the Holy Church, it is, I cannot deny, a great reassurance and gratification to me to receive such a testimony in my favour. I thank you, then, heartily for your congratulations on my elevation to the dignity of Cardinal, for your generous and, I may say, affectionate reference to my controversial writings, and for your prayers on behalf of my health and continuance of life. The future is in God's hands. Anyhow, it is a great pleasure to think that the generation that is {28} now passing away is leaving for that future so large, so fervent, so strong a succession of Catholics to hand down to posterity the sacred and glorious tradition of the one, true, ancient Faith.

To the Young Men's Society

To an address presented by the Rev. J. Sherlock for the Young Men's Society, August 8th, 1879,

CARDINAL NEWMAN replied, turning to the Rev. J. Sherlock: My dear Father Sherlock,—I wish I had a hundredth part of your merit. It would be hard if one did not in one's little way try to serve one who is such a laborious, hard-working priest as you have been. The Lord bless you. Turning to the deputation the Cardinal said: You must have anticipated, I am sure, Gentlemen, before I say it, what gratification I feel at the address you have now presented to me on the occasion of my elevation by the condescending act of the Supreme Pontiff to the Sacred College of Cardinals. It has gratified me in many ways. I feel it is a great honour to be thus singled out for special notice by a body so widely extended, so important in its objects, so interesting to every Catholic mind, as your Society. Next, your address has come to me in a shape which enhances the compliment you pay me, and was sure to be most acceptable to me. Not only is the copy which you have put into my hands most beautifully illuminated, but the illuminations are made to memorialise the various passages in my life past, and seem to suggest the careful interest and the sympathy, and, I may say, the tenderness with which you yourselves have dwelt upon them. And then this address comes to me from so many. It is as strange to me as it is pleasing, to find, at the Holy Father's word, and, as it were, at his signal, a host of friends starting up and gathering and thronging round about me from so many towns, north and south, in this land. Whereas up to this time, widely known and highly accounted as has been your Society, for myself I have never realised that there was any personal tie between you and me, or had that conscious fellowship with you which is so great a help when hearts beat in unison as being associates and companions in a great and noble cause. Still further you add to the gratification which I feel on other accounts, by telling me {29} that one of my books has been of use to you in your zealous efforts to defend and propagate Catholic truth, and, although I have not known you, you, on the other hand, have known me. And, more than this, in speaking of those lectures of mine, you do not forget to notice that they come from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, in whose house you are now assembled. I am glad to recognise with you the similarity of aims which exists in the work of our glorious Saint, who lived three centuries ago in Italy, and that of the excellent priest who has been in this century and in these islands the founder of the Young Men's Society, and I cannot help feeling some satisfaction in observing in your address, and, as it were, in the aspect of your Society, certain coincidences, in themselves indeed trivial, and what may be called matters of sentiment, yet to me happy accidents, as a sort of token of some subtle sympathy connecting you with the Oratory. Such, for instance, is the date you have affixed to your address (the Feast of St. Augustine, Apostle of England), May 26th. Now, are you aware that May 26th is also our feast day—the Feast of St. Philip, Apostle of Rome? Again, I see the anniversary of your foundation is set down as May 12th. But this is a great day with St. Philip and his Roman house, as being the festival of the Oratory Saints, SS. Nereus and Achilleus, whose church was the titular of the celebrated Oratorian Cardinal Baronius, the ecclesiastical historian, and one of the earliest disciples of St. Philip. Short as your address is, it contains in its compass what has required from me many words duly to answer. Moreover you have given me much more than an address, by coming with it yourselves, and letting us meet face to face. I have to thank you, then, for a visit, as well as a beautifully embellished letter. For all this kindness I thank you from my heart again and again.

What a Cardinal ought to be

On August 15th, 1879, a deputation, amongst whom were Lord Ripon, Lord O'Hagan, and Sir Charles Clifford, presented an address of congratulation which was read by the Duke of Norfolk.

CARDINAL NEWMAN, in accepting the address, said: My Lords, Gentlemen, and my dear Friends,—Next to my promotion, by the wonderful condescension of the Holy Father, to a seat in the {30} Sacred College, I cannot receive a greater honour than on the occasion of it to be congratulated as I now have been, by gentlemen who are not only of the highest social and personal importance, viewed in themselves, but who come to me as, in some sort, representatives of the Catholics of these islands—nay, of the wide British Empire. Nor do you come to me merely on occasion of my elevation, but with the purpose, or at least with the effect of co-operating with His Holiness in his act of grace towards me, and to make it less out of keeping in the imagination of the outer world with the course and circumstances of my life hitherto, and the associations attendant upon it. In this respect I conceive your address to have a meaning and an impressiveness of its own, distinct from those other congratulations more private, most touching, and most welcome, that have been made; and it is thus that I explain to myself the strength of your language about me as it occurs in the course of it. For, used though it be in perfect sincerity and simple affection, I never will believe that such a glowing panegyric as you have bestowed upon me was written for my own sake only, and not rather intended as an expression of the mind of English-speaking Catholics, and as a support thereby to me in my new dignity, which is really as necessary for me, though in a different way, as those contributions of material help with which also you are so liberally supplying me. I accept, then, your word and your deed as acts of loyalty and devotion to the Holy Father himself, and I return you thanks in, I may say, his name for your munificence to and your eloquent praise of me. Among the obligations of a Cardinal, I am pledged never to let my high dignity suffer in the eyes of men by fault of mine—never to forget what I have been made, and whom I represent; and if there is a man who more requires the support of others in satisfying the duties for which he was not born and in making himself more than himself, surely it is I. The Holy Father, the Hierarchy, the whole of Catholic Christendom, form not only a spiritual, but a visible body, and, as being a visible, they are necessarily a political body. They become, and were meant to become, a temporal polity, and that temporal aspect of the Church is brought out most prominently and impressively, and claims and commands the attention of the world most forcibly in the Pope, and in his court, and in his basilicas, palaces, and other establishments at Rome. It is an aspect rich in pomp and circumstance, in solemn ceremony, and in observances sacred from an antiquity beyond memory. {31} He himself can only be in one place; the Cardinals, so far as he does not require their presence around him, represent him in all parts of the civilised world, and carry with them great historical associations, and are a living memento of the Church's unity, such as has no parallel in any other polity. They are the Princes of the Œcumenical Empire. The great prophecies in behalf of the Church are in them strikingly fulfilled, that "the Lord's house should be exalted above all the hills"; and that "Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee, whom thou shalt make princes over all the earth." I am not speaking of temporal domination, but of temporal pre-eminence and authority, of a moral and social power of a visible grandeur which even those who do not acknowledge it feel and bow before. You, my dear friends, have understood this; you have understood better than I what a Cardinal ought to be, and what I am not, the greatness of my position, and my wants. You understood, and have, in St. Paul's words, "glorified my face." You are enabling me to bear a noble burden nobly. I trust I may never disappoint you or forfeit your sympathy, but as long as life lasts may be faithful to the new duties, which, by a surprising dispensation of Providence, have been suddenly allotted to me.

The Cardinal and the Club

On behalf of St. George's Club, Mr. Clifford read an address, August, 1879.

CARDINAL NEWMAN, in reply, said: When my first surprise was over, at the Sovereign Pontiff's gracious act towards me during the last spring, I felt that so great a gratification I could not have again as that signal recognition by the highest of earthly authorities, of my person, my past life, my doings in it, and their results. But close upon it, and next to it in moment and in claim upon my gratitude, come the wonderful sympathy and interest in me, so wide and so eager in their expression, with which that favour from His Holiness has been caught up by the general public and welcomed as appropriate on the part of friends and strangers to me, of those who have no liking for the objects for which I have worked as well as of those who have. In that accord and volume of kind and generous voices, you, Gentlemen, by the address which now has been presented to me, have taken a substantial part, and, {32} thereby, would have a claim on me, though there were nothing else to give you a place in my friendly thoughts; but this is not all which gives a character of its own to your congratulations. I was much touched by your noticing the special tie of a personal character which attaches some of your members to me, and me to them; it is very kind in you to tell me of this, and it is a kindness which I shall not forget. Also there is between you and me a tie which is common to you all; and that, if not a religious tie also, at least an ecclesiastical one, and one which in more than one respect associates us together. St. George is your patron, and you are doubly under his patronage; first, because he is this country's Saint, and next in that voluntary union by virtue of which you address me. Now I, on the other side, have been appointed titular of his ancient church at Rome; his Chapter, his dependents, his fabric are all under my care; and here again, as I claim to have in you an interest more than others have, so you may claim to share in the devotion paid to that glorious Martyr in his venerable Basilica. But it would be wrong to detain you longer; and while I repeat my thanks to all the members of the Club for their address, my special thanks are due to you, Gentlemen, who have taken the trouble to present it to me in person.

On his standing as an Author

Mr. Edward Lucas presented an address from the Academia, signed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, August 15th, 1879.

IN reply Cardinal NEWMAN said: I offer my best thanks to the members of the Academia for the honour and the kindness they have done me by the address which has now been presented to me, and for the warmth of language with which their congratulations have been expressed. Also, I feel much gratified by their high estimate of the value of what I have written, of its literary merits, and of the service it has rendered to the interests of religion. Such praise comes with especial force and effect from the members of an Academia; for such a body, whatever be its particular scope and subject matter, still is ever, I conceive, in name and in office a literary, or, at least, an intellectual body; and, therefore, I naturally feel it as a high compliment to me that my various writings should receive the {33} approbation of men whose very function, as belonging to it, is to be critical. However, I do not, I must not, forget that whatever presents itself for critical examination admits of being regarded under distinct, nay, contrary, aspects; and while I welcome your account of me as expressive of your good-will and true respect for me, which claims my best acknowledgments, I shrink from taking it as representative of the judgment of the world about me, or of its intellectual circles either, and for this plain reason, because even I myself, who am not likely to be unjust to myself, have ever seen myself in colours less favourable to my self-love, to my powers, and to my works, than those in which you have arrayed me; hence I cannot allow myself to bask pleasantly in the sunshine of your praises, lest I lose something of that sobriety and balance of mind which it is a first duty jealously to maintain. In fact, the point on which you are so good as to insist upon, as if in my favour, has always been a sore point with me, and has suggested uncomfortable thoughts. A man must be very much out of the common to deserve the great names with which you honour me; and for myself, certainly, when I have reflected from time to time on the fact of the variety of subjects on which I have written, it has commonly been whispered in my ear, "To be various is to be superficial." I have not, indeed, blamed myself for a variety of work, which could not be avoided; I have written according to occasion, when there was a call on me to write; seldom have I written without call, but I have ever felt it to be an unpleasant necessity, and I have envied those who have been able to take and prosecute one line of research, one study, one science, as so many have done in this day, and thus to aspire to the exegi monumentum of the poet. I am not touching on the opinions which had characterised their labours, whether true or false. But I mean that an author feels his work to be more conscientious, satisfactory, and sound, when it is limited to one subject, when he knows all that can be known upon it, and when it is so fixed in his memory, and his possession of it is so well about him, that he is never at a loss when asked a question, and can give his answer at a minute's warning. But I must come to an end; and in ending, I hope you will not understand these last remarks to argue insensibility to the depth of interest in me and kindly sympathy with me in your address, which it would be very difficult, indeed, to overlook, but to me it is most difficult duly to respond. {34}

To the Sisters of Notre Dame

The Marquis of Ripon presented an address from the Girls' Training college, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, August 15th, 1879.

THE CARDINAL, in reply, said: The name of the Liverpool Sisters of Notre Dame would have been quite enough, without other words, to make me understand the value of the congratulations which your Lordship has been so good as to put into my hands in their behalf, and which, I need scarcely say, are rendered doubly welcome to me as coming to me through your Lordship. May I beg of you the additional favour of your assuring them in turn of the great pleasure which their address has given me, not only as proceeding from a Religious Community, whose kindly estimation of such as me is ever coincident or even synonymous with prayer for his welfare, but also as expressing the sentiments of ladies who, by their special culture of mind and educational experience, have a claim to be heard when they speak, as in this case, on a question whether his writings have done good service in the cause of Catholic faith. For the gratification, then, which their language concerning me has given me, and especially for that overflowing personal good-will towards me which in the first instance has led to their addressing me, I beg of your Lordship's kindness to return to them my most sincere acknowledgments.

On some matters of Education

The Marquis of Ripon, as Chairman of the Poor School Committee, read another address on the same occasion.

CARDINAL NEWMAN, in reply, said: My dear Friends, in returning to you my warmest and most hearty thanks for an address conceived in the language of personal friendship rather than a formal tender of congratulations on my recent elevation, I must express my especial pleasure on finding that the main view of my life which you select for notice is just that which I should wish you to fix upon, and should wish it for the same reason as has actuated you in selecting it—namely, because it brings you and myself together as associates in a common cause—the cause of education. To be honest, I do not deny that I could {35} have wished you in some things which you have said of me to have less indulged your affectionate regard for me (I must venture on this phrase), and to have been more measured in language, which cannot indeed pain me because it is so genuine and earnest; but I prefer to dwell on that portion of your address which leads me to feel the pride and joy of fellowship with you in a great work, and lets me, with a safe conscience, allow you to speak well of me, nay, even lets me open my own mind and indirectly heighten your praise of me. It is indeed a satisfaction to me to believe that in my time, with whatever shortcomings, I have done something for the great work of education; and it is a second satisfaction that, whereas the cause of education has so long ago brought you into one body, you, whose interest in it is sure to have kept your eyes open to its fortunes, are able, after all disappointments, to pronounce, at the end of many years, that my endeavours have, in your judgment, had their measure of success. The Committee for the Poor Schools has existed now for thirty-two years, and two-thirds of its members are laymen. I, too, long before I was a Catholic priest, set myself to the work of making as the school so also the lecture-room Christian, and that work engages me still. I have ever joined together faith and knowledge, and considered engagements in educational work a special pastoral office. Thus, without knowing you, and without your religious advantages, I have in spirit and in fact ever associated myself with you. When I was public tutor of my College at Oxford, I maintained even fiercely that my employment was distinctly pastoral. I considered that, by the statutes of the University, a tutor's profession was of a religious nature. I never would allow that, in teaching the classics, I was absolved from carrying on, by means of them, in the minds of my pupils an ethical training. I considered a College tutor to have the care of souls, and before I accepted the office, I wrote down a private memorandum, that, supposing I could not carry out this view of it, the question would arise whether I could continue to hold it. To this principle I have been faithful throughout my life. It has been my defence to myself, since my ordination to the priesthood, for not having given myself to direct parochial duties, and for having allowed myself in a wide range of secular reading and thought, and of literary work. And now, at the end of my time, it is a consolation to me to be able to hope, if I dare rely upon results, that I have not been mistaken. I trust that I may, without presumption or arrogance, accept this surprising act {36} of the Sovereign Pontiff towards me, and the general gratification which has followed upon it, as a favour given me from above. His Holiness, when he first told me what was in prospect for me, sent me word that he meant this honour to be "a public and solemn testimony" of his approbation; also that he gave it in order to give pleasure to Catholics and to my countrymen. Is not this a recognition of my past life almost too great for a man, and suggesting to him the Nunc Dimittis of the aged Saint? Only do you pray for me, my dear friends, that, by having a reward here, I may not lose the better one hereafter.

About the Benedictines

In reply to an address presented to him at the Birmingham Oratory, on September 18th, 1879, from the congregation of English Benedictines,

THE CARDINAL said: My dear Right Reverend and Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,—I thought it a high honour, as indeed it was, to have received, in the course of the last six months, on the occasion of the Sovereign Pontiff's goodness to me, congratulations from several Benedictine houses; but now I am called upon to give expression to my still warmer and deeper gratitude for so formal and public an act of friendship, on my behalf, as comes to me today from the whole English Benedictine Congregation—a kindness done to me by the President-General in person, in company with other Abbots and high officials of the English body, and that with the express intention of preserving the memory and the interest they have taken in me, for later times. This, indeed, is a kindness which claims my heartfelt thanks, and it is the more gratifying to me, my dear Fathers, because, over and above the circumstances by which you have so studiously given emphasis to your act, it comes from Benedictines. The Holy Church at all times, early and late, is fair and gracious, replete with winning beauty and transcendent majesty: and one time cannot be pronounced more excellent than another; but I from a boy have been drawn in my affections to her first age beyond other ages, and to the monastic rule as it was then exemplified; and how was it possible to drink in the spirit of early Christianity, and to be enamoured of its loveliness, and to sit at the feet of the Saints, {37} Anthony, Basil, Martin, Jerome, Paulinus, Augustine, and others, without a special sensibility and attraction to the grandeur of St. Benedict, who completes the list of ancient monastic Saints, or without a devout attachment to his multitudinous family? And when I became a Catholic, and found myself a son and servant of St. Philip, I rejoiced to think how much there was in the substance and spirit of his Institute like that which I had attributed to the primitive monks. His children, indeed, have no place in the pages of ecclesiastical history. We have not poured ourselves over Christendom century after century; have not withstood a flood of barbarism, and, after its calamities, "renewed the face of the earth;" we take up no great room in libraries, nor live in biographies and in the minds and hearts of spiritual men; but, as children of a Saint, we cannot but have a character of our own and a holy vocation; and, viewing it in itself, we may without blame ascribe to it a likeness to a Benedictine life, and claim a brotherhood with that old Benedictine world; in the spirit of Cardinal Baronius, one of St. Philip's first disciples, who tells us in his "Annals," that by and in St. Philip's rule a beautiful apostolic method of spiritual life was renewed, and primitive times came back again. There are none, then, whose praise is more welcome to me than that of Benedictines; but it need scarcely be said, my dear Fathers, that to have a vivid admiration of a rule of life is not the same thing as to exemplify it. I know myself better than you do; you think far too well of me, and I beg your good prayers that I may be more like that ideal of work and prayer which in your charitableness you identify with me.

Asking, "If this is Coldness, What is Warmth?"

In reply to an address presented by the Earl of Denbigh, on behalf of the Diocese of Birmingham,

THE CARDINAL said: My dear Friends,—Your most welcome address brings before me the memories of many past years. The greater part of my life—that is, more than half of the long interval since I was a schoolboy—has been spent here, and the words which you use about it come home to me with the force of both a surprise and a pleasure which I had thought no speakers or {38} writers could excite but such as had the same vivid experience of those eventful years as I have myself. You are not so old as I am. How is it, then, that you recollect my past so well? Every year brings its eventful changes—some entering, others leaving, this perishable scene. Yet so it is that by the favour of good Providence I have lost old friends only to gain new ones, and the ever-fresh generation of Catholics—clerical and lay—attached to this see seems as ever handing down a tradition of what happened to me years before itself; a tradition always kind, nay, I may say always affectionate to me. Of course, I view that past under a different aspect from yours. To me it is filled up with memorials of special kindnesses and honours which you have done to me, more than I can recount or represent in these few sentences. I recollect, for instance, thirty-six years ago, with what kind anxiety Dr. Wiseman, then Coadjutor-Bishop, exerted himself when I was living near Oxford to bring me within the safe lines of Holy Church, and how, when I had been received by Father Dominic, of the Congregation of the Passion, I at once found myself welcomed and housed at Oscott—the whole College boys, I may say, as well as the authorities of the place, receiving me with open arms, till I was near forgetting that I must not encroach on their large hospitality. How many kind and eager faces, young and old, come before me now as they passed along the corridors or took part in the festivities of St. Cecilia's Day, or assisted at more directly sacred commemorations, during the first months that I was a Catholic, and afterwards when Dr. Wiseman had called us from Oxford to be near him. The first act of the Bishop of the diocese, Dr. Walsh, was to give us Old Oscott, since called Maryvale, as our possession; a munificent act, which Pope Pius confirmed in his Brief, though we felt it a duty on our coming here to restore it to the diocese. And when we had come here, and our position was permanently fixed, the same kindness was shown to me as before, and especially by our present venerated Bishop. What are those instances which you mention of my preaching at St. Chad's on his Lordship's installation, and on other special occasions, but so many singular honours shown on my behalf? As years went on in a troublous time, and amid the conflict of opinion, there never was a misgiving about me in my own neighbourhood. I recollect with great gratitude the public meeting held by the Catholics of this place in acknowledgment of lectures which I had delivered during the excitement caused {39} in the country by the establishment of the Hierarchy; and how, when those lectures involved me in serious legal difficulties soon afterwards, the Birmingham Catholics, and prominently some excellent laymen, whose memory is very dear to me, started and headed that general subscription to meet my expenses which reached so magnificent a sum. And again, years afterwards, when an affront offered to me had involved an affront to the whole Catholic priesthood, and I on both accounts had felt bound to take notice of it, I was, amid my anxieties, cheered and rewarded by an address of thanks from the clergy assembled in Diocesan Synod, as is kept in continual memory by the autographs on the walls of our guest-room of the kind priests who did me this honour. Nor was the Bishop wanting to this great acknowledgment; he gave it a sanction as precious as it was rare, by proposing that each of the priests of his diocese should, in connexion with the subject of their address, say Mass for me. And now, after all this, you crown your kindness when my course is all but run, by resolving that the Holy Father shall not raise me to the Sacred College without, by your cordial congratulation, having a share in his act of grace. What am I to say to all this? It has been put about by those who were not Catholics that as a convert I have been received coldly by the Catholic body; and if it is coldness, I wonder what warmth is. One thought more comes into my mind, and with it I will conclude. I have many times felt sorely what poor services I have rendered to you to gain such recompenses as I have been recounting. It is very plain that I have had the wages of a public life with the freedom and comfort of a private one. You have let me go my own way, and have never been hard upon me. Following the lead of the good Bishop, you, in all your communications with me, have made allowances for our rule, for my health and strength, for my age, for my habits and peculiarities, and have ever been delicate, ever acted tenderly towards me. May the Almighty God return to his Lordship, and to all of you, a hundredfold that mercy and that loving sympathy which he and you have shown so long to me.

Top | Contents | Works | Home


The Tablet of July 5th, 1851, records that Dr. Newman delivered "the first of a series of lectures on 'The State of Catholics in England' in the Corn Exchange, High Street, Birmingham. The public were admitted by ticket; and among those present was the Rev. H. E. Manning (late Archdeacon)." Dr. Newman, who wore the habit of his Order, and was received with prolonged applause, read his lecture, and remained seated. The sixth lecture was attended by "several gentlemen from London, including Mr. J. L. Patterson," now Bishop of Emmaus.
Return to text

Top | Contents | Works | Home

Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
Copyright © 2007 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. All rights reserved.