Death of Cardinal Newman
[Times of London, August 12, 1890, pp. 7, 8.]
[His Last Days]
We have to record, with feelings of the most sincere regret, the death of His Eminence Cardinal Newman. He died last evening at the Oratory, Edgbaston, in his 90th year, after less than three days' illness. The Cardinal has for many years manifested the feebleness of advanced age, although he has fully retained his mental faculties, and has rallied in a wonderful manner from more than one severe illness. His last sermon at the Oratory church was delivered three years ago last Easter, although he made a few comments on the 1st of January, 1889, with reference to the Pope's sacerdotal jubilee. Since then his physical weakness has developed, and he has had to depend upon the support of two of the Fathers of the Oratory in entering and quitting the chapel when assisting at the sacred function. The last ecclesiastical function in which he took part was the solemn triduo which was celebrated on July 18-20, in honour of the beatification of Juvenal Ancina of the Roman Oratory. His feebleness on that occasion was specially noticed, and at the opening service he was carried into the church seated on a chair. At the Saturday and Sunday services his Eminence was not carried through the church, but had his seat placed at the entrance to St. Philip's Chapel, which has private communication with the Oratory. On the Saturday he gave the Benediction to the congregation with the relics of the Saint. Two evenings later—namely, on the 22nd ult., the Cardinal was among the company who witnessed the Latin play—at this time the Andria, arranged by himself—which is annually performed by the pupils of the Oratory school. He also distributed the prizes to the pupils, addressing a few remarks to each. From that time until Saturday last there was nothing abnormal in the Cardinal's condition, and his medical attendant (Dr. Blunt) went to Blackpool, leaving his illustrious patient in charge of Mr. C. H. Jenner Hoog. On Saturday night the Cardinal had an attack of shivering, followed by a sharp rise of temperature, and the symptoms indicative of pneumonia rapidly supervened and became acute. Dr. Blunt was telegraphed for and arrived from Blackpool the same evening. During the day Cardinal Newman, though rapidly becoming worse, was able to speak to those about him, and in the afternoon, at his request, the Rev. W. Neville recited with him the Breviary. Yesterday morning he fell into an unconscious condition. He was heard, in a mechanical way, to whisper "William," the Christian name of his secretary, Father Neville, but he gave no signs of understanding any question addressed to him. The Oratory Fathers were then informed that he was sinking, and that the prolongation of his life was to be measured by hours. Upon this the rite of extreme unction was performed by the Rev. Austin Mills, in the presence of such members of the community as were at the time in the Oratory, four of their number being away from Birmingham. Owing to the patient's comatose condition the Viaticum was not administered, but he received Holy Communion on Saturday. Information of the Cardinal's condition was telegraphed to the Oratory, in London, and also to the Right Rev. Bishop Illsley. The latter visited the Cardinal early in the afternoon, and spent some time with him, and made the "commendation of his soul" in the presence of the Oratory Fathers. There was an appointment on the part of the doctors to meet for consultation at 8 o'clock last evening. At that time it was seen that life was fast ebbing away, and both medical men remained until 12 minutes to 9, when Cardinal Newman breathed his last. He died in the presence of the Fathers of the Congregation, and there is every reason to believe that his death was painless.
The medical attendants have issued the following account of their patient's last illness. "The Oratory, August 11, 1890. His Eminence Cardinal Newman was seized with inflammation of the right lung at 2 o'clock a.m. on Sunday, August 10. He very rapidly became worse until this evening at 8:45, when he expired. His Eminence expressed himself as feeling quite well an hour before this attack occurred.—G. Vernon Blunt, M.D.; C. H. Jenner Hogg, M.R.C.S.E." The private prayers of the congregation were asked for the Cardinal at the Oratory Church on Sunday, and in the evening there were numerous and anxious inquiries respecting him. He will be buried at the little country retreat of the Oratorians, at Rednall, where there is a private cemetery and chapel. The body will be exposed in the Oratory Church from noon today until it is removed for burial. The date of the funeral is not yet fixed.
The greatest name in that matter which most occupies, most unites, and most divides men is now resigned to history. Cardinal Newman is gone to that rest which for him will not be happiness if it does not give work to be done. His disappearance from the stage of life is no sudden event. It is not as if an army had lost its commander in mid-battle, or as if the tongue of the orator had become suddenly mute, or the lyre had dropped from the poet's hand. It is not a future that has vanished with the past, or a cataract of life that has been arrested in full flow. The truth is the great Cardinal has occupied so exceptional a place in human affairs that, while he has largely influenced them, he has had himself to discover and even to recognize that they could go on without him. Standing apart from the world, he has long been on excellent terms with it, and they part in peace. Rome, wisely and happily for its credit and its influence, eleven years ago added his name to its highest list of honour; but, otherwise, Cardinal Newman may be said to have been without a place in the earth's pedigrees and successions; to have been left out of common reckoning, tied by no allegiance, complicated by no secular ties, "without father or mother," in the links of causation and the rolls of time. Forty years have now shown that the Church of England can pursue its course without his guidance or his warnings; still more have they shown that it is not such men the Church of Rome most trusts and employs. The Cardinal has long taken his position as a "Father" of we know not what century in that constellation of acute and saintly minds that still illumines the dark interval between ancient and modern civilization. It was his own choice to be Athanasius contra mundum. Whether from his ashes will arise the avenger, to do for him the work he has not seen done with his own eyes, and so reverse the judgment of time, is beyond even conjecture. For the present a mighty man has fallen, yet we are much as we were.
John Henry Newman began his life with the century, for he was born in the city of London on February 21, 1801. His father was a partner in two successive banking firms, from the French Revolution to the disastrous crisis of 1816, when his firm, like a crowd of others, had temporarily to suspend payment. His mother was of a Huguenot family long resident in London, and remarkable for ingenuity and enterprise. Two of her brothers brought over, perfected, and established the paper-making machine. John H. Newman, with his not less remarkable brother Frank, was sent to Dr. Nicholas, at Ealing, the best private school in England, at a time when the tide of opinion had turned against public schools. Newman was easily and soon the top boy of the school. He had already shown a decided taste for music, becoming at 13 a proficient on the violin, and composing a sort of opera. Music was in the blood, and also in the Newman circle of friendship. At 15 he received the impulse, ever after credited with the formation of his career. This was through Mr. Walter Mayers, who had much talk with him, and lent him books, which were devoured, probably, as they had never been before. As far as Englishmen can be described in Continental terms, this excellent and very amiable clergyman was a Calvinist. Through him, and especially through one of Scott's works lent by him, Newman felt himself converted. From that year he ever dated his spiritual life, or his "regeneration." In his "Apologia" he utterly ignores the first 15 years of his life, including all that father, mother, brothers and sisters, clergymen, or other friends might have done for him. In so doing he has given scope for inferences for which he seemed not to have been quite prepared. Of course, he learnt the Church Catechism, but he also read the Bible thoroughly, and acquired a great liking for it, which is by no means a matter of course in boyhood. Did he read the Bible without any interpreter? Did he read it, also, without profit? Did he return again and again to the study of the Word without being yet a child of grace? That at 15 he might be persuaded to think little of himself is likely enough, but it is strange to find so little felt, at least said, for his natural teachers. Yet every one who has had to do with the teaching or training of boys must be painfully aware that in one sense it is a most thankless task. At about 15 there is such an expansion of mind and real development of character that in the new vision of life the old is forgotten. A grown-up man looks back and sees himself emerging out of the bright mist separating boyhood from youth. This is the beginning of his mental history.
Still under these novel impressions, Newman went to Trinity College, Oxford. About the same time the family came down from affluence to simple competency, and Newman been destined for the Bar, felt a higher calling. His own religious feelings disposed him to friendships in what were then the not very large or very distinguished, or, indeed, very refined Evangelical circles. But the college system operates as a cross division in all social matters, and just as it brings together different classes, so it gives to different schools of opinion the opportunity of a friendly disagreement and sometimes final approximation. Newman's Trinity friendships were his longest and, perhaps, his deepest; but they were out of the Evangelical circle in which he first appeared at Oxford. As all the world knows, and as has happened to many others from whom great things were expected, Newman failed for honours. His reading, he used to say, had been too discursive. His health, however, had broken down. He was only 19, the age at which many men now enter the University. Much also depends on the Examiners. Perhaps it may be added that Newman's independent and autocratic character might easily put him out of the groove in an examination. He certainly was more likely to say things his own way than in the way expected by an Examiner; and, if the Examiner could only understand things in his own way, there would ensue a continual misunderstanding. It was as a Scholar of Trinity, and residing in that very pleasant college, that Newman, together with his dear friend John Bowden, wrote and published the now famous poem on St. Bartholomew's Eve. The Cardinal was always proud of that work, perhaps as his first-born, and he even took the pains to put on record his share of it. This might be to show that it was no ignorance of Rome, or early leaning, that he finally submitted to her and became her champion.
Three years after taking his degree Newman was elected Fellow of the College with which his name will ever be most associated, and which is proud to place him by the side of Raleigh, Butler, and, we may add, Copleston in the highest rank of its worthies. Though evidently not understood by the last-named, who was then Provost, and who measured men by the figure they made in a literary tournament, Newman rapidly won a place in the hearts of many good men. It was here, and in this interval of peace and quietness, that he became Whately's ally and Vice-Principal, and the long-attached friend of Keble, Pusey, Froude, and Robert and Henry Wilberforce. It was here that he learnt to love and revere Edward Hawkins, in whose long and steadfast course the Cardinal's Oxford career seems but a brief episode. Dr. Hawkins was a member of Oriel College 70 years, Provost 55. Though Newman lived long in a short time, his whole connexion with the College only extended to twenty-three years. His mental acquaintance with the future Provost began as early as his own undergraduate days, when he heard the latter's sermon on "Unauthoritative Tradition," which sent his thoughts in a new direction. When he became better acquainted with the preacher he learnt from him to weigh his words and to be cautious in his statements. Hawkins bestowed friendly and useful criticisms on the first sermon he wrote. He leant Newman Sumner's treatise on Apostolical teaching, which Newman says dispelled his remaining Calvinism. If he did not receive this creed until 15, he could easily dismiss it at 23. The doctrine of "Apostolical Succession," he said, he received from Mr. William James, a very good and very sensible Fellow of the College, but not the man one would expect to change the current of a national theology. Long before this, in his unconverted state as he afterwards deemed it, he had employed himself with evidence, reading "The Age of Reason," Hume's Essays, and Voltaire. Later on he wrote a long but now forgotten article on the miraculous story of Apollonius Tyanaeus, to distinguish between false miracles and true.
Of all his contemporaries, or early friends, the one whose relations with him have excited the most curiosity is Keble. Newman has put on record that Keble was shy of him at first and for some time. Being where they then were they had every reason for being shy of one another; but the truth is Keble was shy of everybody at first; and at that time Newman was also. At this distance of time it seems almost inconceivable that for several years the most constant and familiar member of Oriel society was that very interesting, but very singular personage, Blanco White, with his mediaeval lore and his philosophical ideas. Like many other brooding spirits, he deeply felt the power of music, and, though an indifferent performer, had frequent quartettes with Newman at his lodgings.
At 23 Newman was ordained deacon, and took charge of the Trasteverine parish of St. Clement's for four years. There is a certain mystery about his preaching during this period, for all his published sermons bear St. Mary's on their face. The old church of St. Clement's was a mean little structure, on the eastern slope of the well-known bridge, which of late years has had to sacrifice its picturesque features to give space to a tramway. Newman had to see to the building of a new church on a conspicuous but not very accessible site. His preaching excited some curiosity, not so much in the University at large as in Evangelical circles, where close agreement and familiar phrases were wont to be expected, and could not be missed without suspicion. In 1825, on the death of Peter Elmsley, Whately became Principal of St. Alban's Hall, and invited Newman to share the teaching of his small and awkward squad as Vice-Principal. Whately always liked to have somebody about him ready and competent to receive his emanations. The habit is a good one, but risky, and Whately had his failures. To judge by the sequel, Newman was one of these. For the present, however, they appreciated one another, and there was even a time when Newman had a better opinion of Whately's orthodoxy than Whately of his. Very quickly, however, Newman made the discovery that Whately's turn of mind was negative and destructive; that logic was the one thing not to be found in his book on that subject, and that he could only lash the waters, without having his net ready to secure the fish. Yet in after years Newman felt he had to thank Whately for weaning him from the Erastian views of Church polity which he believed to have been part of his own original composition. Up to 1826 Newman had held loyally to the ideal of Church and State as shown in Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity; but at this day he and all Oxford were greatly stirred by an anonymous pamphlet, generally ascribed to Whately, and never repudiated by him, to the effect that this was a double usurpation and a double injury.
In this year Newman became tutor of his college in place of Jelf, who was now tutor to Prince George of Cumberland. Lloyd, whose private theological lectures Newman had been attending, sent for him first, but finding him two years under the stipulated age, had to pass him over for Jelf. Few will now doubt that the latter was the better adapted for the purpose. It would, indeed, have been hard to find any one better adapted. Up to that date the undergraduates of Oriel had been equally divided between four tutors, each of whom stood in loco parentis to his own men, a score perhaps. The relation was variously understood, and variously carried out, but it was a tradition of the University that the office admitted of a large significance. Newman immediately let it be known that he was only too willing to give his pupils all the direction, advice, assistance, and actual instruction they might desire, and some half-dozen or more gladly availed themselves of the invitation. There ensued in most instances a life-long friendship. Two younger tutors, as they succeeded to office, followed the example, and there was a time when the greater part of the College stood thus restored to what was really the original idea. Newman was soon after appointed a public examiner in Lit. Hum., and for a year he was to be seen every day in High-street in the velvet-striped gown indicating a Pro-Proctor.
The year after Newman had taken his tutorship, Copleston was called to St. Paul's and Llandaff, and a new Provost had to be elected. No election has ever been more discussed; no choice ever more wondered at, perhaps unnecessarily. Keble had just presented himself as the Christian poet of the age, an age that had come to think the Christian faith incompatible with poetry. He was also a scholar of a high and then expiring class. He had been a tutor for some years, and his name was great in provincial circles. There was no doubt of his readiness to resume his Oxford residence. By the light of other times we all see that he and Newman were well-nigh brothers in theology. Why was he not elected as a matter of course? There was another candidate, Tyler, recently appointed rector of St. Giles, a sound working scholar, and a good, hearty, honest man, who could get on well with everybody. The choice fell on Hawkins, and it has always been stated, without contradiction, that Newman turned the scale. We are not aware whether this has ever been stated as a fact, by any one who could certainly know it. But it is hardly necessary to reopen the whole question, when the choice has really justified itself. There can be no doubt Dr. Hawkins was the better man for the almost unparalleled difficulties to be encountered. They required strong practical powers, perfect command of temper, strict impartiality, fondness for business, and knowledge of the world. In these and other points Hawkins was known to excel, while even his failings, it may be said, leant on virtue's side, for without a prompt, critical, and decisive style of expression and action, coupled with a reasonable jealousy of interference and tenacity of power, he could not have maintained his ground so long and with so much credit. It has sometimes been said that he sought power at the cost of love, but it was a time of war, when love had not fair scope.
Very soon after his election there arose the "little cloud" which eventually deluged the land. The three tutors who were of one mind wished to remodel the whole system of tuition, both as to the men and as to the books. The new Provost took a defensive position, and was impracticable. He probably felt he would be nowhere in the College if he ever left the tuition entirely to the tutors. As they persisted, he announced that for the future no young men coming to the College would be entered in their names or assigned to them as pupils. As this would give him pupils without tutors, and none of the younger Fellows were immediately ready to accept office, the Provost took what was then the very extraordinary step of inviting Hampden, a married Fellow, with a family, taking private pupils in Oxford, to fill the gap. He complied, and walked into the College every morning to take his class, which done, he walked out again. If the confederate Fellows were surprised, or if they even felt aggrieved, theirs was only the common case of those who, upon the inducement of some momentary advantage, drive an opponent to bay, without remembering the counsels of despair to which they were driving him. Hampden was a hard-working, able, and conscientious man, after his light and his fashion, and was more than equal to the demand made on him. The three Fellows were checkmated, at least they gave up the game, and the Provost, before long, had the tuition wholly under his control and upon his own lines. On the other hand, upon becoming Provost, Hawkins had had to leave to Newman what proved, in his hands, the far more important and influential position of vicar of St. Mary's, including the parochial occupancy of the pulpit from which the University sermons were delivered. Hawkins himself had shown the use that could be made of it, for he always had full congregations, and they included many members of the University. This latter feature increased rapidly under Newman's preaching. His sermons became the staple of many a college conversation; admired by all, though here and there the objects of an indefinite suspicion.
His first public act was in a strictly Anglican direction. He was secretary of the Oxford branch of a religious society—the Church Missionary, we believe—of a liberal and comprehensive character. In this capacity he found himself allied with persons taking small account of Episcopal authority and organization. He resigned the office and circulated a pamphlet explaining his reasons for so doing. About the same time he heartily responded to a call to Protect the Church of England from attack, or, at least, from indignity, in another direction. The mode in which Catholic emancipation was suddenly forced on the Church, like the springing of a mine, set Oxford in a blaze; and when Peel placed his seat at the disposal of the University, the majority of Convocation were resolved that he should be taken at his word, and full use should be made of the opportunity. Looking down the Christ Church list they found in Sir R. H. Inglis an eminently genial, safe, and respectable representative. As a dispensation rather than a boon, Newman and his friends accepted the choice, and thenceforth Sir R. H. Inglis became the type of old Oxford.
The year 1831—that is, the year after the "July Revolution" at Paris—saw some great beginnings in this country. The Reform Bill was introduced into Parliament and battled over for a twelvemonth. Nothing else was read or thought about. There were those, however, who saw a rift in the political storm. Newman undertook to prepare for a theological "series" a handy volume on the Church Councils; and Blanco White, on the same day and hour, undertook the "Inquisition." The subject was new to Newman, and overtaxed his time and strength. The compass of his thoughts and the range of his design expanded every day, and in that visit to the buried past he roused the ghost that ever pursued him, and finally drove him to seek shelter in Rome. The meaning of this statement, afterwards repeated at much greater length and in various forms, was that the study of the Fathers could no more lead to truth than the study of the Scriptures, without an infallible guide. Newman simply lost himself in a task for which a lifetime had been insufficient. Laying his foundation deep in the centuries, and resolved to prejudge the question at issue, he does not arrive at the first OEcumenical Council till the 270th page. To the Council itself he gives six pages. He then wanders at large in a succession of biographical sketches and generally lamentable incidents, till, at page 416, he comes to the second OEcumenical Council, to which he gives four pages, and then closes the volume with a thundering anathema on the Papal Apostasy. Whether on Mr. Rivington's line or his own, whether as history or as theology, the work is an utter breakdown. Tone and style, however, carried the day. The work has only to be compared with any other history of theology, or of the Church, to account for its enthusiastic reception, and its effect on the rising movement. Such is the work generally, but incorrectly, known as the "History of the Arians." Newman was now a "Select Preacher," and it was when he had just plunged out of his depth—indeed, out of all human depth—into anti-Nicene controversy that he made a great sensation by a University sermon on "Personal Influence, the means of Propagating Truth." In this he compared the continual transmission of the light of faith from age to age to the beacon fires described in a Greek play. If any one sermon is to be credited with the first start of the "Movement" it is this, preached January 22, 1832.
After completing his task—or rather leaving it scarcely begun—Newman started with Froude on a tour of several months on the Mediterranean, seeing much and having many interesting experiences. It is evident that Newman, at least, if not Froude also, shrank from Rome, as from one whose charms were dangerous and well-nigh irresistible. It is not the ordinary English tourist who avoids all religious ceremonies and functions, who will not be entrapped even into a momentary act of united worship, and who comes home with his mouth full of hot things against Rome. It is the man with much sympathy for that from which he violently recoils. Two men, however, the travellers saw and conversed with at Rome, and even liked, as far as can be seen, pretty equally. These were Bunsen and Wiseman. While Newman's heavier labours were necessarily suspended these six months, the outpourings of his heart were fresh and abundant at every stage of his wanderings, Most of his contributions to the "Lyra Apostolica," including several pieces that have won a world-wide acceptance, were written at this time. Retracing his course alone from Rome to Sicily, for a more leisurely contemplation of its manifold beauties, Newman caught a fever, in which he was nursed by a monk, and the traces of which were still upon him when he returned home. It was not to the "sweet home" of song and story that he returned, for all the minds, all the pens, and all the tongues were there contending for the glory of regenerating this isle, and Newman came in, so to speak, on the top of a scramble. Hurrell Froude was before him, thundering and lightning, out-talking and out-doing everybody, but compelled soon to collapse within the dimensions of his frail earthly tenement. Strange as it may now seem, thus far, the event that most angered Newman and drove him into an irreconcilable course was the suppression of ten Irish bishoprics. A see once founded he believed to be indestructible.
Hugh James Rose was then the tallest, grandest, and, his contemporaries say, the most winning figure in the Church of England. Round him gathered A. P. Perceval, Froude, and another, at what came to be called the "Hadleigh Conference." After considering various suggestions, they agreed that something should be done, and that everybody was to do and say what he thought best, without inviting the criticism or expecting the agreement of the others. On this basis of a wide authorization and personal liberty Newman at once proceeded to write and issue the "Tracts for the Times," of which the first famous words were, "I am but one of you, a presbyter." At this distance of time it costs an effort to conceive how these simple and very offhand productions should stir up a whole Church and nearly rend it in twain. As a matter of fact they did. Tract after Tract was read, though they inculcated much that was impracticable, not to say impossible. Everything that came from Oxford was read. The Christian public wanted and waited, and could hardly be supplied quick enough. Even when the heat and stir of the movement had somewhat abated, it was found strong enough to give a wide circulation, and even a popularity, to bulky volumes on the distinctive doctrines of the Church of England, to endless "catenas," series, and "libraries."
As soon as Newman saw the vast superstructure of religious literature arising upon his first flaming tracts, he felt that the fire stood some chance of being stifled under its smoke, so he opened a new crater of his own in a succession of volumes of sermons preached at St. Mary's. Hitherto he had been rather shy about publishing sermons, but such scruples do not last long. Immediately all the world read his sermons, and few other. To educated men they still hold their ground, and may be said to have eclipsed and superseded all sermons of an earlier date, unless a man can gird his loins and prepare himself to read a sermon by Jeremy Taylor, or one of the few that Ken has left us. But the most ardent admirers of John Henry Newman must still admit a defect of fatal significance dimly observed 50 years ago, known by its fruits now. That defect it is needless to describe, were it even possible. These sermons have not reached the hearts and understanding of the masses, who, upon any theory, are the persons most to be considered, and for whom Divine ordinances and human institutions are most designed. We now see, and are not even surprised to see, that Newman has not carried the people of England with him; and when we look to his works we see that he was not likely to do so. However, in the three years following the first stir of the movement its progress was rapid and brilliant.
Meanwhile the Provost of Oriel was loyal and constant to his friend in need, and the College now saw the influence and patronage which the usage of the University leaves to the Heads of Houses heaped upon the unwelcome intruder. Hampden realized and utilized his position, seeing within his grasp both an academic and a political harvest. He delivered the famous Bampton Lectures, which have yet to be read, understood, and fairly estimated. To make sure he translated some of his hieroglyphics into language which "they that run can read," and if he did not propitiate Dissenters, he much troubled Church people. He was admitted into the then Sacred College of Heads of Houses as Principal of St. Mary's Hall. By the favour of his fast friend, he became professor of Moral Philosophy. The two antagonist leaders of thought were at close quarters. Hampden was lecturing and writing; Newman was preaching, writing, and talking, within a few yards of one another. Hampden had secured the Hall, Newman the Church, included in the foundation of the College. The latter had also the hamlet of Littlemore, three miles out of Oxford, the ancient nunnery of which was the true founder of St. Mary's, of Oriel College, and of a great part of the University. Here he built a church. Two such opposite personalities, acting, growing, developing side by side, within sight and hearing, could not but come into collision. The inevitable hour arrived in 1836, when Lord Melbourne recommended Hampden for the Chair of Theology vacated by Burton's premature death. The note of alarm had already been sounded in the metropolis, and most provincial centres, and now the worst had come to pass. The anti-liberal members of the University, in much haste, confusion, and prejudice, met and agreed on a proposal to meet the Premier—that is, the Crown—with a statute disabling the nominee of the Crown to the utmost in their power. The non-resident members of Convocation responded to the appeal, and after a temporary hitch, caused by a procuratorial veto, this violent and probably illegal resolution was carried, and the Crown deprived of more than half the substance of that which it had supposed itself able and entitled to confer. The notes of triumph were loud, and it was plain there was now a new power in the land. As to the measure itself, there was more insult in it than injury. The authorities took Hampden's side, and his friends had no reason to complain of exclusion from the University pulpit. When the opportunity arrived, they acted as lawlessly as the other side had done; if one Canon of Christ Church was not allowed a voice in the selection of preachers, another found himself excluded from the University pulpit.
But the greater the noise, the greater the disturbance, the greater the lawlessness, just in the same proportion was the growth of the "Oxford Party." It was idle to fight about the occupation of the University pulpit, when not only that very pulpit every Sunday afternoon, but some thousand other pulpits, were open to a party that courted persecution, and would have been disappointed had they not been paid in their own coin. The remembrance of that time suggests a terrible misgiving as to the true character of the centuries in which the magnificent fabric of Christian theology was elaborated and finally established. The present generation, that knows of the Cardinal chiefly in the comparatively quiet retreat of the Oratory and in the continual ovation everywhere and by almost all people accorded to his pre-eminent character, can be little aware of the inexhaustible energy and indefatigable industry with which he fought, what no doubt he believed the fight of faith. It would be exceeding the limits of our space to do common justice to his manifold labours. He was incessant in correspondence; he was always accessible to visitors; he kept journals and wrote "memoirs justificatives:" he read, translated, analyzed, and abstracted; he wrote and delivered sermons of the most intense originality; he lectured, he kept account of his army of followers. Before the publication of the Tracts, he wrote letters to the Record newspaper, which he had helped to start, and which inserted his letters till he had taxed to the utmost its forbearance and its space. Some years afterwards, upon the occasion of Sir R. Peel's delivery a "march of mind" address on the opening of Tamworth Reading Room, he wrote, with the signature of Catholicus, a series of letters in this journal, read with eager interest by many who never guessed the author, still less that he would one day be a member of the "Sacred College." He and his friends were large contributors to the British magazine, which somehow came to an end in the conflict between the new and the old materials now to be found in it. All that is now remembered of either is the "Lyra Apostolica," reprinted from its pages. While still enjoying liberty of thought and of action, Newman "lectured" alike Romanists and Dissenters from St. Mary's. He preached and published six volumes of "Parochial Sermons" that have not yet lost their hold on the religious public, and that have been republished by an old and early friend within the last few years. In 1837 he published "Romanism and Popular Protestantism," or , to give the volume its full title, "Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church viewed relatively" to these two systems. Were it true that a lady's meaning is to be found in the postscript, or that the best way to read a book is, as Whately once suggested, to begin at the end, then we might believe that Newman, at the above date, loved Rome as little as he did Arianism and Dissent. His work on "Justification" was either very right, or very wrong, for the Evangelical party at once pronounced that the author had confounded, or misplaced, justification and sanctification. A work on "Development in Matters of Doctrine," though the theme has been since extensively enlarged upon, was a great shock to the fixed ideas and conservative instincts of English Churchmen. The British Critic, the old-established organ of the "High and Dry," now lay athwart the path of the movement. It was in the hands of an amiable and even brilliant writer seeking peace in a mid course. By successive encroachments, one involving another, Newman became editor, and for five or six years under his direction, or influence, the British Critic kept the Church of England in one long agony of surprise and alarm as to the results of its trenchant criticisms and reckless speculation. Though Rome was repeatedly the subject of an energetic protest, and the Church of England warned against her seductions, it was still felt that the underlying mass of feeling and of argument was moving towards her. In mathematics two lines can be ever approaching without falling together, but it is not so when the heart is concerned, or when every day gives birth to new motives.
The "Tracts for the Times" pursued what can hardly be called their steady course. If some of them might kindly give repose, and even sleep, whenever Newman's pen took its turn all were roused from their tranquillity or their slumber. Taking the Bible in one hand and the Mediaeval Church in the other, he would command his readers to accept both or neither. Culling from the indictments or the declarations of his antagonists their most felicitous and irresistible arguments, he would hurl them at the sacred object of their common reverence, the inspired scriptures themselves—the only Rule of Faith. The stoutest Protestant ceased to throw stones when he found them falling on his own head. Reason itself, the old foe of authority, seemed now a renegade. There still remained, however, a good many thousands in the land who could hold to the faith of their fathers, without the aid of reason or the pomp of a scientific theology. The publications of the day were equally divided between the Tractarian and the Anti-Tractarian writers. Learned clergymen, who but for the "Movement" would have read and dozed in their studies, produced heavy octavos. Religious novelists supplied lighter stuff. The Bishops were bound to make an appearance, and they did. All must have felt the father's yearnings for the son that only erred by excess of zeal—Bishop Bagot certainly did—but they had to stand by their own order and law. Some delivered censures at once unscientific and unmitigated. No historian describes the order of attack, for it told its tale in the result. At length No. 90 challenged the forbearance of the Church and University to the utmost, for had it been endured there was nothing that might not plead the example. At the invocation of "Four Tutors," one of them the late Primate, the Vice-Chancellor and Heads of Houses exercised that domestic authority with which they were armed for matters affecting the discipline of the undergraduate crowd. They produced a public censure of the Tract without waiting for a defence, and evidently without caring to know what the author might have to say for it. This seemed very harsh, and is still so thought by many. But power and authority cannot afford to be always logical. Newman's case was the historical fact that the Thirty-nine Articles are older than the decrees of the Council of Trent, and were meant to be comprehensive. Accordingly, as he maintained, they only condemned certain popular abuses or excesses, and cannot be interpreted as in direct conflict with existing Roman Catholic doctrine. This was a question which neither Oxford, nor the Bench of Bishops, nor the people of England were willing to entertain. Newman bowed to the censure, and perhaps felt it a deliverance. He professed to be always guided by circumstances. It was for the Church of England, not himself, to pronounce it no longer Catholic. The "Tracts for the Times," which had now attained to the bulk of five octavo volumes, and which, in the original editions, are now hardly to be got at any price, were stopped. This, however, only created a new position, with new opportunities, which Newman was quick to discover. Rome had as yet made few or no converts. The Tracts taught that Christians had all they wanted in the Anglican Communion. Deny this, and you drive them to Rome. The sequel seemed to bear this out. At the very time that the scheme of comprehension propounded in No. 90 was formally condemned, there was suddenly started another scheme of comprehension in the Jerusalem bishopric, aiming to combine in one communion Anglicans and German Protestants. Against this Newman made a solemn public protest, to which his own position now gave the greater influence and authority.
Newman held on for a time at St. Mary's, and then, step by step, withdrew to Littlemore, where he finally ensconced himself with a small band of faithful adherents.
The end of one question was now the beginning of another. Was a new Anglican Church to rise on this spot of mysterious and immemorial sanctity? Had the nuns of Littlemore, the true founders of half the University, been heard to invoke nostris ex ossibus ultor to avenge their wrongs? A great University was thrown into alternative paroxysms of curiosity and terror by a new neighbor, somewhat resembling the epipolis thrown up for the occasion by a besieging host. Was this to be a new Oxford? Fate has otherwise ordered. Littlemore is now best known for its county lunatic asylum, while a couple of miles off the military centre has transformed the neighbouring plain into a gay and busy suburb. What has been called the crash of the party had now begun. "Ideal Ward," as he came to be called, from the most irreconcilable of his many utterances, provoked his fate with an impetuosity that could not be resisted, and he was finally stripped of his degrees and consequently of his Fellowship, by an assembled University, only to appear at the altar of the English Church with a beautiful young bride a few weeks after. By a happy intervention the University was saved the disgrace of an ill-considered sentence on Newman's own work, as had been proposed. Nor was there occasion for such a step. A few months afterwards, Newman sent for a foreign monk of the Order of ST. Dominic, and through him submitted to the Church of Rome.
As the greater part of the English public had long been expecting the news, and could not understand a position between two rival and antagonistic Churches, nobody now asked what had finally decided Newman. It was his way, however, to assign to every act its own proper occasion and motive, and it is stated that an article by Dr. Wiseman on the Donatists turned the scale. This would imply that the chief obstacle in Newman's mind, up to this time, had been the moral scandals affecting the Church of Rome, alike priests and people. These the Donatists, who were the Protestants of their day, held to vitiate orders, nullify ordinances, and destroy authority. But Newman had no need to go to the pages of the Dublin Review to learn that a mixture of good and bad is a universal condition of human life. Calumny itself was silenced by the very act that might be accepted as its justification. Before this, controversialists had freely charged Newman with a secret intention. In after years Newman was frequently consulted by young people "on the move," but not prepared to face the difficulties of a decision. He uniformly counselled against concealment and reserve, or any course that would be one thing to the actor, another to the world.
From that hour the Church of England has regarded Newman at an increasing distance, but with an increasing favour. Yet it has been but a cold and profitless regard; a just pride and a high admiration, but little more. As a nation and a race we now boast to have contributed to Rome one of her greatest minds and one of her best men. Yet we do not follow. The captain has led the way, but the column lags behind. The following has been almost wholly confined to the educated and refined, to the classes to whom religion is a luxury, an amusement, an agreeable relief from the frivolities and vulgarities of the hour. Several thousand have thus accompanied Newman, not into the wilderness, but into magnificent churches, and into well furnished and well frequented drawing-rooms. But that multitude which responded to the Gospel-call on the shores of Gennesareth holds aloof and hears not the voice of a shepherd. The wise and prudent are many in the crowd that has left us, but of the babes there are none. As soon as he had crossed the Rubicon, Newman, like the conquered kings of antiquity, had to show himself at Rome. He appears to have wished to remain and study there, but he was sent back to work on the English masses, if haply he could break or soften them.
The Pope then, or soon after, gave Newman the degree of D.D., and it is a remarkable fact that this addition to his name had the effect of raising the degree in English estimation. Up to that date any aspirant for the merely nominal honour was credited with sheer vanity, or some pecuniary motive, and anyone of high standing would much rather be called Canon than D.D. Englishmen are no longer ashamed of a title which places them next to saints in the Celestial Hierarchy.
Newman must himself have suggested Birmingham, for it was one of Froude's ideas, possibly because to an Oxford man the most repulsive and self-denying that could be imagined. There Newman founded the Oratory; a society, not an order—and under a comprehensive engagement to do all kinds of duty and kindness to all sorts of people, at all times, and as much as possible in all places. Another branch, we presume, was founded in King William-street, Strand; and more recently the one magnificently housed in Brompton-road, and for a long time under Father Faber. There could not be a stronger test of sincerity, or a higher proof of devotion, than for a great theologian and scholar to resign Oxford and Littlemore, and bury himself in the throng, smoke, and din of a great manufacturing centre. Newman retained his hold on the place ever after, though he did not reside there constantly. In the year 1854 he accepted the Rectorship of the Catholic University at Dublin, and persevered through the manifold and growing difficulties of that position six or seven years. The Irish never get on well under Englishmen, and Newman is said to have found his position neither easy nor always agreeable under a board of management consisting of his superiors in rank and authority, if not always in other respects. At one time there went round a story that, in order to save his dignity, and enable him to take his due share in the management, he was to be made a Bishop in partibus; but this was not done. Newman did his best during his brief sojourn to educate the Irish mind up to his idea of a University, and he made some attached friends, but upon the whole he thought it best to leave Ireland to the Irish. One old friendship he found to be lost beyond recovery. After some ineffectual attempts at mutual civility, he and Archbishop Whately found it more convenient to pass without recognition, painful as it might be to both of them.
The Irish failure, as it might be called, was a great disappointment, for the turn of Newman's mind was always rather academic than ecclesiastical. From the time of his "conversion" to Rome, at least from the date of his visit to the Holy See, he earnestly desired to see a Roman Catholic College at Oxford, no doubt under his presidency. For this he worked, canvassed, and obtained flattering assurances, but in vain. A party of his own friends at home, headed by Ward, continually counteracted his efforts, and whether they were right from a Roman point of view it is not easy or necessary to say. But it was the disappointment that most preyed on Newman's mind, and extorted from him some rather hard sayings upon the Italian notion of veracity, to which he preferred the English. Returning to Birmingham, Newman found no difficulty in winning the love, if not the obedience, of a population specially addicted to having a way of its own, and to take that way. No doubt they were proud to have so great a man among them. But a residence in the provinces is a sort of banishment, even if it be accompanied with important work; and Newman's retirement to Birmingham has been regarded by the public generally much as his retreat from Oxford to Littlemore. He established a school for Catholic noblemen and gentlemen, and his pupils have succeeded in due time to their hereditary positions; but it can hardly be said that any have brought with them the traces of a great teacher. They are "good Catholics," and no more. He has published sermons, lectures, treatises, and theological works, but they have not penetrated into the Church of England, not at least beyond a circle of devoted admirers. His lectures on "Anglican Difficulties" may have helped to unsettle some hundred clergymen. His lectures on the office and work of Universities would seem to have had no other result than further to liberalize Oxford and Cambridge, and provoke the godly jealousy of the Congregationalists. His history of the Turks, on the spur of a sudden occupation, is an amazing feat, but as a contribution to the politics of the day is far too much on the "bag and baggage" line. It is not every great author who will venture to write tales. Newman did. His "Callista" and his "Loss and Gain" were received with great interest, necessarily confined to those who feel dogmatic truth the supreme object of inquiry. The "Grammar of Assent" which is said to contain some wonderful passages and to develop the principles of No. 90 and some other Tracts were written; but the mass of ore out of which the precious metal is to be extracted is immense. Newman often overtaxed the time and patience, as well as the subtlety, of his readers, and, like some other great men, he may be found in after times buried under the pile of his own works, or represented by one small volume or two out of half a hundred.
On several occasions was Newman dragged out of his provincial obscurity. In 1851, in the course of some lectures delivered at Birmingham, he delivered a tremendous philippic against one Achilli, and Italian monk, who had been driven out of Italy and his Church, and was now declaiming against them, much to the delight of our Protestant gentlemen and ladies. The man had now to fight for dear life, and he had friends. They brought an action for libel against Newman, and, as he also had friends, he brought over a host of witnesses. There was no doubt as to the libel, and the truth of the libel was no defence. Newman was fined £100, but the expenses were many thousands, and they were cheerfully subscribed for him. The only result of the action has been to write on the roll of history a character and career which Englishmen will henceforth be apt to associate with mountebanks of Achilli's description. In January, 1864, Kingsley, under some unaccountable, perhaps quite momentary, impulse, writing for a magazine, charged Newman with teaching that truth need not be a virtue to the Catholic clergy, and, indeed, ought not to be; that cunning is the proper weapon of the saints; and that, whether this notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is historically true. Newman at once demanded a justification of this libel, which Kingsley found himself unable to produce. Instead of proofs, he went into generalities, into which Newman followed him. After a long stage of personalities, as they must be called, happily the assailed party changed his key and ascended into the most interesting of all his writings, and the one which put him once more in accord with the English public. The "Apologia" is a household word in this country; nor is the interest of it diminished by the fact that it is the history of a mind rather than of a course of events; and that it is the inner life of one man without much attempt to enter into other personal experiences. It is Newman, and very little more. Even Hamlet, monopolist as he is, leaves more room and more honour to inferior personages. But, whatever the faults, if faults they be, the "Apologia" will ever hold its ground in English literature. At the time of the "OEcumenical Council" Newman was said to be adverse to an authoritative definition of Papal infallibility. His objections were so delicately and mildly expressed that to an ordinary English eye they looked more like a pious performance necessary to the idea of a discussion than a real opinion. Indeed, most Englishmen will think it a matter of indifference how infallibility is defined, one definition in an impossible matter being as good as another. It must be considered, however, that Newman's whole life had been one long controversy, and where there is no beginning there is likely to be no end. A definition, if it be worth anything, must preclude some alternatives, and so far stop discussion. But, as there were said to be more than 60 distinct definitions of Papal infallibility before the year 1870, it can hardly be supposed that one more will make a material difference. The Vatican Council was a grand and imposing demonstration, and as such it has told on the open field of human affairs.
Eleven years ago a great omission was repaired, a great inequality removed. So high was the regard that England had for Newman, on whatever grounds, that it felt really aggrieved at what seemed to be the denial of a Cardinal's hat. Englishmen are apt to talk and write on stilts, so to speak, and in this vein they do not take much account of Cardinals. But nature will come out. We have all been children in our time, and the child never wholly departs from our nature. So all England was delighted when Newman went to Rome, which, at his age and in his infirm health, was a service of danger, and came back with his long-due decorations. Already his own first college at Oxford had been proud to restore his name to its books and to raise him from a scholar to an Honorary Fellow. Fastidious critics observed that he had left Oxford a believer and returned to it in the guise of a liberal; the change, however, was in the University, not in himself; and in this country we give everybody licence to avail himself freely of its varying and not entirely consistent opportunities. Things must be done by hook or by crook, or not at all. Yet it is an amazing sign of the times that a Cardinal should head the list of names in an Oxford college. A few months after Newman acknowledged this compliment by a visit to Oxford, where he was entertained by Trinity College. The chief feature of the visit was a call on Dr. Pusey, for a long interchange of guarded sympathies and old memories. Two years after he paid Oxford a second visit, for a large garden party at his college, and to preach a sermon at the new Roman Catholic Chapel. Newman never lost a friend if he could help it, and always took care that it was not he that cut the sacred tie, as he deemed it. About this date he travelled into the western counties, seeing old friends in the way, and full of old thoughts and feelings. On this occasion he had to seek in vain for an admission to Exeter Cathedral at an hour when he had fair reason to expect it would be open to strangers, as the Continental churches are. Oddly enough, the single reason of his exclusion was that the cathedral authorities, with a large party of invited friends and partisans, were engaged in a discussion upon the unhappy reredos, which proved a bone of contention between Bishop Temple and the Chapter. At Edgbaston he was always most easy of access, and ready to see an old friend, or a stranger, even to the interruption of some important work, or of the brief midday repose. When much pressed, or worn, he retired for a short holiday to a cottage at Rednal, on the Lickey Hills, a few miles from Birmingham.
Now, for many years, all Englishmen have vied in rendering the proper homage, whatever it might be, or whatever its worth, to the most conspicuous and interesting name in our theological and literary annals. Unless it be on some rare occasions and instances, Newman was singularly free from the weaknesses and misfortunes that so often make polemics a plague and literature a grief. There are great and even good men who repel sympathy, and even forfeit it; Newman could not do either. With all his faults—for all have faults—England has loved him still. The truth is we are a nation of hero-worshippers, sometimes to the extent of holding one hero as good as another, though they may have considerable differences to settle between themselves. Such feelings, often the suggestions of the hour, have to stand the severer test of years to come. Will even the next generation read Newman's now voluminous works? Will it enter upon a course the termination of which is already historical? Every work of man is measures by its results. The narrow range of human power and opportunity has to be taken into account. Near home, on this very spot, we have frequent and melancholy experiences of the fate that may await the fruits of industry and genius. As one hour succeeds another, important matter has to give way to the latest arrival, and has to be first minished, and then, perhaps, finally squeezed out of our columns. Enter any good old-fashioned library that has had the rare luck to escape fire, the auction-room, and the waste-paper store. In long rows are the works of the 20 or 30 great divines, the delight and the support of their respective generations. Of most of these good men, so great in their day, it is now rare to find anybody who has read even a page, or can so much as say what manner of men they were, or what were their distinctive opinions, or where they preached or wrote, or where they lived and died. Over every library, even such as those now annually scattered, volume by volume, over all lands, may be written the warning not to work for posterity, but for the present day, and for those that share it with us.
Newman Reader Works of John Henry Newman