Chapter 24. Oxford Again (1866-1867)

{121} THE renewed signs of Newman's great influence on the public mind in England, brought forth by the letter to Pusey, were not lost on the Ecclesiastical Authorities. Such signs gave his friends courage; they made his critics feel the impolicy of weakening the authority of so powerful a champion of the Catholic cause. Manning was endeavouring to strengthen his position as Archbishop by conciliatory action, and was not likely to oppose him openly. Catholic boys were still going to Oxford, and Newman bought fresh land there, with an eye to future possibilities. Then he was again offered the Oxford Mission by his Bishop in April 1866. He saw in the renewed offer a sign of God's Will for him. Yet the following letter of April 29 to Dr. Pusey shows that he viewed the prospect with mixed feelings:

'I am grieved to think it vexes you so much to hear of the chance of our going to Oxford. You may be sure we should not go to put ourselves in opposition to you, or to come in collision with the theological views which you represent. Of course we never could conceal our convictions, nor is it possible to control the action of great principles when they are thrown upon the face of society—but it would be a real advantage to the cause of truth, if our opinions were known more accurately than they are generally known by Anglicans. For instance, what surprise has been expressed at what I have said in my letter to you about our doctrine of original sin and the Immaculate Conception! even now most men think that I have not stated them fairly. And so with many other doctrines. I should come to Oxford for the sake of the Catholic youth there, who are likely to be, in the future, more numerous than they are now,—and my first object after that would be to soften prejudice against Catholicism by showing how much {122} exaggeration is used by Anglicans in speaking of it. I do trust you will take a more hopeful view of my coming, if I do come, which is not certain. Personally, it would be as painful a step as I could be called upon to make. Oxford never can be to me what it was. It and I are severed. It would be like the dead visiting the dead. I should be a stranger in my dearest home. I look forward to it with great distress—and certainly would not contemplate it except under an imperative call of duty. But I trust that God will strengthen me, when the time comes, if it is to come—and I trust He will strengthen you.'

Newman hoped that the success of the 'Apologia,' now reinforced by that of the 'Letter to Pusey,' would this time give him enough influence to carry out the Oxford plan. The sanction of Propaganda was sought for the formation of a branch house of the Oratory at Oxford. All seemed for a time to go without a hitch. There were, however, incidents in the negotiations with Rome which depressed him. Cardinal Reisach, whom Newman had known in Rome, came to England with a view to ascertaining the general feeling on the Oxford question, and Newman was never approached by him and never even acquainted with his mission. The Cardinal actually visited Oscott without letting Newman know that he was near Birmingham, or calling on him. Cardinal Reisach's informants among the clergy were carefully selected by Manning himself, and the Cardinal was sent to pay a visit to W. G. Ward, as the best representative of lay opinion. The Cardinal even inspected the new ground Newman had bought at Oxford, but without making any sign to its owner. Newman deplored the incident deeply, and felt that no opportunity was afforded him for making Rome acquainted at first hand with his views on the whole subject. His dejection was less keen at this time, however, as he expressly states in his journal, than in the years preceding the 'Apologia,' and the Oxford proposal brought with it a ray of hope. It was a hope for work within his capacity, and in the right direction. It would mean fresh anxieties. Still, it would be something practicable and useful.

As to writing he was still very cautious. Some of his friends urged him to write more, and more explicitly, on the whole ecclesiastical situation, and others pressed {123} him to go in person to Rome, and lay before the Holy Father his views on the Oxford question and other matters relating to the progress of the Church in England. But Newman, while loving and revering Pius IX., felt hopeless of making any great impression at headquarters while Manning was against him and while the Curia was without any first-hand knowledge of the situation. And as to writing, he was inclined to let well alone, and be content with the good results of the 'Apologia' and 'Letter to Dr. Pusey.'

He preferred not to force matters to an issue, but rather to maintain his hold on Catholic opinion and act on the public mind gradually. The logic of facts must be given time to work in the desired direction. He had the sympathy of such men as Dupanloup in France, and in England a considerable measure of agreement and support from Bishop Ullathorne, Bishop Clifford, and others. The English Jesuits, largely owing to the influence of Father Coleridge, were ever his good friends. And the 'Letter to Dr. Pusey' had brought fresh and more general manifestations of sympathy. Even as to the stringent line in matters of doctrine and philosophy, to which Rome had inclined since the Temporal Power controversy began, there were reassuring signs. The Episcopate (he learnt) had considerably modified the 'Syllabus' before its appearance. Some of the Bishops, moreover, were, he found, quite alive to the dangers attendant on checking genuine philosophical thought by stringent condemnations. His consistent reply to those who urged him to do more in the way of active expression of opinion or representations to the Holy See was 'Patience; we are in a transition time.' He trusted to the logic of facts—a slow remedy, but the only one consistent with the absolute submission which he preached and practised.

The following letters illustrate his state of mind in the years 1865 and 1866:


'August 27th, 1865.
'The Bishop was here yesterday. He asked me if I still thought of Oxford. I said absolutely, no. I added that I had bought some land, but for the chances of the future, not as connected with myself. He said he had heard so. Well, {124} for the chance of things, he said, he should keep the matter open for a year.

'He said the Cardinal Barnabo had told the Archbishop that there would be a great meeting next year; time and subject uncertain. The Bishop said there was a great deal to do in the way of discipline, e.g. about nuns, parishes, &c. He hoped they would be cautious about touching philosophy,—the Pope, he said, had some wish for one or two doctrinal decrees, but he spoke as if others did not share in it—said he was sure the Bishops' voice would be heard—implied that the actual Syllabus was a great improvement on what it was to have been before the Bishops took it in hand a year or two previous to its publication.

'I wonder what the Pope's doctrinal points are. The Bishop spoke of a meeting like that for the Immaculate Conception, which would be a serious thing, as being so unusual,'


'January 3rd, 1866.
' … When I published my letter to Pusey [Manning] sent two letters praising—but a little while after he sent two Bishops an article (in print) which was to appear in the Dublin against portions of it, asking their sanction to it. The one replied that, so far from agreeing with the article, he heartily agreed with me,—the other that, since he was my natural judge he would not commit himself by any previous extra-judicial opinion, and on the contrary, if the article was published, he should recommend me to commence ecclesiastical proceedings against the editor, in that he, a layman, had ventured seriously to censure a priest. This was the cause of two episcopal letters in the Tablet

'Dr. F.'s letter is most kind, and pray return him my hearty thanks, saying that I have seen his letter. Such words as his are words to rest upon, and thank God for. It has been my lot, since I was a Catholic, to find few hearts among my own friends to shew any kindness to me ... Our Bishop said to me that he considered I was under a "dispensation of mortifications"—and, in truth, since the Holy Father first in his kindness called me to Rome, I don't think I have had one single encouragement. During my stay there in 1846-7 he used some words of blame on a sermon which I preached there (much against my will) and which was reported to him as severe on Protestant visitors. In 1859 he sent me a message of serious rebuke—(you are the first person anywhere {125} to whom I have told this) Mgr. Barnabo told it our Bishop, our Bishop, Father St. John, and he to me, I have not told it to our own Fathers—apropos of some words I used in the Rambler which certainly might have been better chosen, but which had really a right meaning which I could have explained. What encouragement then have I to go to Rome or preach at Rome, being so little able to express myself in Italian, and so certain to be ill reported by those who ought to be my friends? Mgr. Talbot took part with Faber and treated me most inconsiderately, and on that occasion the Pope alone stood my friend, and I think he would always do so if he were suffered.

'Well, quite synchronously with Faber's death, this other opposition arose. I think this of him (Manning): he wishes me no ill, but he is determined to bend or break all opposition. He has an iron will and resolves to have his own way. On his promotion he wished to make me a Bishop in partibus. I declined. I wish to have my own true liberty; it would have been a very false step on my part to have accepted it. He wanted to gain me over. He has never offered me any place or office. The only one I am fit for, the only one I would accept, a place at Oxford, he is doing all he can to keep me from. I have no heart or strength to do anything at Rome as you propose. I am not better than St. Basil, and St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Joseph Calasanctius, or St. Alfonso Liguori. The truth will come out when I am gone hence.'


'April 16th, 1866.

.       .       .       .       .       .       .

'As to myself, you don't consider that I am an old man and must husband my strength. When I passed my letter (to Pusey) through the Press and wrote my notes, I was confined to my bed, or barely sitting up. I had a most serious attack—it might have been far worse. I did not know how much worse till (through God's mercy) it was all over. It would have been very imprudent to have done more. Nor would I write now, hastily. I should have much to read for it. Recollect, to write theology is like dancing on the tight rope some hundred feet above the ground. It is hard to keep from falling, and the fall is great. Ladies can't be in the position to try. The questions are so subtle, the distinctions so fine, and critical, jealous eyes so many. Such critics would be worth nothing, if they had not the power of writing to Rome now that communication is made so easy,—and you {126} may get into hot water before you know where you are. The necessity of defending myself at Rome would almost kill me with the fidget. You don't know me when you suppose I "take heed of the motley flock of fools." No,—it is authority that I fear. "Di me terrent, et Jupiter hostis." I have had great work to write even what I have written, and I ought to be most deeply thankful that I have so wonderfully succeeded. Two Bishops, one my own, have spontaneously and generously come forward. Why cannot you believe that letter of mine, in which I said I did not write more because I was "tired"? This was the real reason. Then others came in. The subject I had to write upon [Note 1] opened, and I found I had a great deal to read before I could write. Next, I felt I had irritated many good people, and I wished the waves to subside before I began to play the Aeolus a second time. Moreover, I was intending to make a great change. I thought at length my time had come. I had introduced the narrow end of the wedge, and made a split. I feared it would split fiercely and irregularly, and I thought by withdrawing the wedge the split might be left at present more naturally to increase itself. Everything I see confirms me in my view. I have various letters from all parts of the country approving of what I have already done. The less I do myself, the more others will do. It is not well to put oneself too forward. Englishmen don't like to be driven. I am sure it is good policy to be quiet just now.

'I have long said: "the night cometh," &c., but that does not make it right to act in a hurry. Better not do a thing than do it badly. I must be patient and wait on God. If it is His Will I should do more He will give me time. I am not serving Him by blundering.

'You will be glad to know, (what, at present, is a great secret) that we are likely to have a house at Oxford after all. Be patient and all will be well.'


'May 23rd, 1866.
'I should have written to you before this to say so, but I have hoped day by day to tell you something of this Oxford scheme, but I have nothing to tell. It is just a month today since we sent in our remarks on the Bishop's offer, and he has not yet replied. He called and asked the meaning of some parts of the letter, and no answer has come. I do not think his hesitation arises so much from anything we have {127} said, as from a vague misgiving when it comes to the point, and perhaps from what people say to him. Two years ago there was a bold assertion that I was just the last man whom Oxford men would bear to be in Oxford, and from something the Bishop said it would appear that this idea is not altogether without effect upon him. I wish it were decided one way or the other, for it keeps us in various ways in suspense. It must now be decided for good and all, for my age neither promises a future, nor is consistent with this work-impending uncertainty.

'We are going to have a Latin Play next week in honour of St. Philip. I wish you were with us.'


'Nov. 11th, 1866.
'I got your July letter before I set out, though I had not time to answer it. You were the first to give me information of Cardinal Reisach being in England. Had I had the slightest encouragement, I should have called on him, for I knew him at Rome. But, though he was at Oscott, I did not know of it till he was gone. Mr. Pope from this house went up to London and saw the Archbishop and the Cardinal. Neither of them even mentioned my name. The Cardinal was sent, I am told, for three days to W. G. Ward's, where of course he would hear one side fairly and fully enough, but it is a one-sided way of getting at the true state of things to be content with the information of a violent partizan. It is on account of things of this kind that I view with equanimity the prospect of a thorough routing out of things at Rome,—not till some great convulsions take place (which may go on for years and years, and when I can do neither good nor harm) and religion is felt to be in the midst of trials, red-tapism will go out of Rome, and a better spirit come in, and Cardinals and Archbishops will have some of the reality they had, amid many abuses, in the Middle Ages. At present things are in appearance as effete, though in a different way, thank God, as they were in the tenth century. We are sinking into a sort of Novatianism—the heresy which the early Popes so strenuously resisted. Instead of aiming at being a world-wide power, we are shrinking into ourselves, narrowing the lines of communion, trembling at freedom of thought, and using the language of dismay and despair at the prospect before us, instead of, with the high spirit of the warrior, going out conquering and to conquer ... I believe the Pope's spirit is simply that of martyrdom, and is utterly {128} different from that implied in these gratuitous shriekings which surround his throne. But the power of God is abroad upon the earth, and He will settle things in spite of what cliques and parties may decide.

'I am glad you like my sermon,—the one thing I wished to oppose is the coward despairing spirit of the day.'

'January 8th, 1867.
'When I heard those words of the Holy Father [criticising the Rambler article already referred to], I was far from silent under them. It has always seemed to me, as the Saints say, that self-defence, though not advisable ordinarily, is a duty when it is a question of faith. The Bishop too wished me to write to Rome; but the question was, to whom. He proposed Mgr. Barnabo, but I explained that I could not account him my friend. The question then was, to whom else? Cardinal Wiseman was at Rome, and I wrote to him a long letter minutely going into the matter, and saying that, if I were only told what the special points were in which I was wrong, I would explain myself and I had no doubt I could do so most satisfactorily. The Cardinal got my letter, but he never answered it, never alluded to it. But six (I think) months after he sent me a message by Dr. Manning, to say that I should not hear more of it.

'I wished to explain, because it is impossible I should not hear more of it,—indeed I know it created a lasting suspicion on the minds of Roman authorities. The Bishop had advised me to give up the Rambler, else I should have taken an opportunity of attempting to explain myself in a subsequent number. I say "attempt," for it is poor work answering when you do not know the point of the charge. The Bishop indeed had told me the paragraph, and independently of him a theologian in England had charged me with heresy on two or three counts, but I could not answer a man who had condemned before he heard me. What I have ever intended to do was to take the first opportunity of explaining myself. Last year I thought my letter to Pusey would have given me an opportunity; so it would if I had gone on to the subject of the Pope and the Church,—and if I still go on to it, I probably shall do as I intended.

'I have already asked the Bishop about our collecting money [for the Oxford scheme]. You speak as if I were dawdling and losing time. So I should be if the work were one which I had chosen as God's work. But on the contrary, it has been forced on me against my will, and certainly, if {129} not against my judgment, yet not with it, or my will would not be against it. It would be a great inconsistency in me to let six months pass and do nothing were I convinced it was the will of Providence,—but I do not feel this. I only go because I fear to be deaf to a Divine call, but, if anything happened in the six months to prevent it, that would be to me a sign that there never had been a Divine call. It is cowardice not to fight when you feel it to be your duty to fight, but, when you do not feel it is your duty, to fight is not bravery, but self will.

'As to defending myself, you may make yourself quite sure I never will, unless it is a simple duty. Such is a charge against my religious faith—such against my veracity—such any charge in which the cause of religion is involved. But, did I go out and battle commonly, I should lose my time, my peace, my strength, and only shew a detestable sensitiveness. I consider that Time is the great remedy and Avenger of all wrongs, as far as this world goes. If only we are patient, God works for us. He works for those who do not work for themselves. Of course an inward brooding over injuries is not patience, but a recollecting with a view to the future is prudence.'

The renewed opposition of Ward and Herbert Vaughan to the Oxford scheme, and their conviction that Newman's presence there would prove a magnet, now as in 1864 encompassed his scheme with immense difficulties. 'As Cardinal Barnabo has already on three distinct occasions acted uncomfortably towards me,' Newman wrote to Canon Walker, 'I will begin nothing and will spend nothing until I have his leave so distinctly that he cannot undo it. Nothing can be kinder or more considerate than the Bishop has been. And besides since I know that there were powerful influences from home which were especially directed against the Oratory going to Oxford in 1864, the event will alone decide whether or not those influences will remain in a quiescent state now.'

Still, to give to Newman and his Oratory the Oxford Mission was so simple a proposal, and one so obviously within the discretion of his diocesan, that it was hardly conceivable that Propaganda would refuse to allow it. It was understood from the first that no allusion to the bearing of the scheme on the interests of Catholic undergraduates at Oxford was to be made in any public announcement. A {130} church to be built by Newman in Oxford, as a memorial of the Oxford conversions, was an unassailable project. A fresh plot of ground in St. Aldate's Street had been bought by Newman before the end of 1865, and Father William Neville bought two adjoining plots in 1866. Negotiations were pending as to another piece of land belonging to the St. Aldate's traders; but still, the suspicions in some quarters that any fresh connection between Newman and Oxford would mean an encouragement of 'mixed education,' made him hesitate to clinch the bargain, lest his purchases might again prove useless and the land have simply to be re-sold. He was for months in most painful uncertainty as to the future. On May 17, 1866, he writes to James Hope-Scott deeply depressed and full of doubt as to the issue of events. On June 10, on the other hand, he tells Lord Blachford that his going to Oxford is all but certain. He had at this time that vivid sense of the difficulties of his task, which rendered all initiation so irksome to him. It had been the same with each work he had attempted as a Catholic—the foundation of the Oratory and of the Catholic University, the Scripture translation, the editorship of the Rambler. He wrote thus to W. J. Copeland at the end of May:

'You can't tell how very much down I am at the thought of going to Oxford, which is now very probable. I should not go there with any intention of catching at converts—though of course I wish to bring out clearly and fully what I feel to be the Truth—but the notion of getting into hot water, is most distasteful to me, now when I wish to be a little quiet. I cannot be in a happier position than I am. But, were I ever so sure of incurring no collisions with persons I love, still the mere publicity is a great trial to me. And even putting that aside, the very seeing Oxford again, since I am not one with it, would be a cruel thing—it is like the dead coming to the dead. O dear, dear, how I dread it—but it seems to be the will of God, and I do not know how to draw back.'

To St. John he wrote from London on June 23:

'Westminster Palace Hotel: Saturday.
'Hope-Scott has sent William [Neville] to Oxford this morning to see about buying more land. He is to return by {131} dinner time, and we dine with Hope-Scott at half past seven.

'We dined with Acton yesterday, and after dinner came Monteith, the O'Conor Don, Mr. Maxwell, Blennerhassett, &c. On Thursday we met at Hope-Scott's all the Kerrs. At Gladstone's breakfast I met young Lady Lothian, Lord Lyttelton, General Beauregard &c. Tomorrow we lunch with the [Frank] Wards and dine with Bellasis. On Thursday I am to dine with the Simeons to meet Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Stanley and perhaps Gladstone. On Monday we shall breakfast with Badeley. So you see in my old age I am learning to be a man of fashion.'

On July 25 Newman sends Hope-Scott a letter from Bishop Ullathorne 'which seems to show that we shall not be sent to Oxford at all.'

By the end of the year, however, the permission of Propaganda was obtained, and Newman was at last enabled to issue a formal circular, which ran as follows:

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

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

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

'Moreover, since many of its priests have been educated at the Universities, it brings to its work an acquaintance and a sympathy with academical habits and sentiments, which are a guarantee of its inoffensive bearing towards the members of another communion, and which will specially enable it to discharge its sacred duties in the peaceable and conciliatory spirit which is the historical characteristic of the sons of St. Philip Neri. {132}

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

'"My dear Dr. Newman,—Oxford is the only city in England of importance, which has a Catholic congregation without a Catholic Church. A small room, devoid of architectural pretension, built three quarters of a century ago, at the back of the priest's dwelling, and in the suburb of St. Clement's, represents the hidden and almost ignominious position of Catholic worship at Oxford. The only schoolroom for Catholic children is a sort of scullery attached to the same priest's residence, which most of the children can only reach after an hour's walk from their homes. Even the Protestants of Oxford cry shame upon this state of things; whilst the Catholics have long and earnestly desired to see it amended.

'"It is then with great satisfaction that I find you disposed to answer the call, so often made upon you, to build a Church in Oxford, with the view of ultimately establishing an Oratory there of St. Philip Neri.

'"Whatever exertions, and whatever sacrifices, this undertaking may call for at your hands, I believe that your taking up the work of building a Church and Oratory in Oxford will secure its accomplishment. You will awaken an interest in the work, and will draw forth a disposition in many persons to help and to co-operate in its success, which another might fail to do.

'"If we consider it as a monument of gratitude to God for the conversions of the last thirty years; who could be so properly placed in front of this undertaking? If we look upon that Mission as the witness of Catholic Truth in the chief centre of Anglican enquiry, whose name can be so fitly associated with that Mission? If we take the generous work to our hearts in its prime intention, that of saving souls for whom Christ died, who of all good Catholics will refuse to join their generosity with yours, in building up this blessed work for the glory of God, and for peace and good will to men?

'"I pray God, then, to bless you and to prosper the work He has given you to accomplish; and I pray also that He will deign to bless and to reward all those {133} Christian souls who shall co-operate with you in this work of benediction.
'"And I remain, my dear Dr. Newman,
Your faithful and affectionate servant in Christ,
'"To the Very Rev. Dr. Newman."

'It is under these circumstances, with these reasonable claims, and with this authoritative sanction, that Father Newman brings his object before the public; and he ventures to solicit all who take an interest in it for contributions upon a scale adequate to the occasion, contributions large enough and numerous enough for carrying out an important work in a manner worthy of the Catholic name, worthy of the most beautiful city and one of the great and ancient Universities of England.

'It is considered that, on the lowest computation, the outlay for ground, house and church will not be less than from 8,000l. to 10,000l.
'Birmingham, The Octave of the Epiphany, 1867.'

The circular gave joy to the compact phalanx of the laity who had for four years been Newman's supporters in the scheme. It struck a chord of sympathy, too, in old Oxford friends like Father Coleridge and Monsignor Patterson, who, though endorsing the anti-Oxford policy of the Bishops, cherished still the old reverence for Newman and the old love for Oxford. Patterson wrote to express his happiness at the prospect and sent 100l. The very fact that so intimate a friend of Cardinal Wiseman—intimate too, though in a lesser degree, with his successor—hailed the proposed plan, showed that it was regarded at this moment in high places without avowed disapproval. Patterson's letter expressed the feeling which was in many hearts:

'January 29th, 1867.
'My dear Father Newman,—I can hardly tell you with what feelings I read your note and the circular. Under God I owe the opening of my mind to His Truth to Oxford—Oxford with its spirit of reverence for the past, its very walls and stones crying out of Catholic times and preaching of the City of the living God. And that they were thus vocal we chiefly owe to you. It was you who heard and interpreted them aright and showed to us, then youths, the beauty of Catholic conduct—I allude particularly to that act of yours, {134} when in the noontide of your leadership of the good cause, at the word of him whom you esteemed your Bishop you arrested the prime source and current of all your influence without a word of remonstrance or explanation. I cannot but believe that this heroic act was congruously rewarded in your submission to the faith, and now I see the Hand of God in your being brought back to preach once more in Oxford with the certainty of faith much that you taught us of old as your most earnest conviction, at the wish of your Bishop and with the sanction of Rome. The genius loci is so potent that I sincerely believe there is danger to the faith of young Catholics who go to Oxford, and as some I fear at any rate will study there, it is of the utmost moment that the mission should be a first-rate one in every point of view.

'Sunday was the feast of St. John Chrysostom, and I offered the Most Holy Sacrifice in his honour that, as you emulate his eloquence and his learning, you may also, by his intercession, rival him in the success of your ministry.

'I heartily wish I could make some offering less inadequate to your charitable labour, and the benefits I owe to Oxford. As it is, I must content myself with the sum of which I enclose half, and if you think my name can possibly be of any use it is entirely at your service.
'Believe me,
Ever yours,

Newman thus replied:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: January 30th, 1867.
'My dear Patterson,—Your warm and affectionate letter has quite overpowered me. Such feelings are the earnest of efficacious prayers. I shall do well if those prayers go with me. My age is such that I ought to work fast before the night comes,—yet I never can work fast; I don't expect then much to come of my being at Oxford in what remains to me of life, but, if I have such good prayers as yours, what I may do will bear fruit afterwards. I cannot help having as great a devotion to St. Chrysostom as to any Saint in the Calendar. On his day I came to Birmingham to begin the Mission 18 years ago. It was very kind of you to say Mass for me under his intercession. I have said above: "I cannot help," because in most cases from circumstances one chooses one's Saints as patrons,—but St. Chrysostom comes upon one, whether one will or no, and by his sweetness and naturalness compels one's devotion. {135}

'Thank you for the cheque for 50l., the moiety of your liberal contribution.
'Yours affectionately in Christ,

While the circular respecting the Oxford Mission was widely welcome, it raised a difficulty in the minds of those who did not know the forces at work. Many welcomed Newman's project just because their sons would when going to Oxford have his influence and personal help to support them. Why, then, was no allusion made at all in the circular to the Catholic undergraduates? But in truth the campaign against sending Catholic boys to Oxford was so energetic that, at the very time when fathers of families were asking this question, Newman received a message from Propaganda peremptorily rebuking him for preparing boys for Oxford at the Oratory school. In his despondency he feared that the school might share the cloud which seemed to be cast over himself and all his work. Father Ambrose was deputed to go to Rome and explain matters; and to the parents of the boys he frankly told the state of the case, as in the following letter to Sir Justin Shell:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: March 22nd, 1867.
'My dear Sir Justin,—A diplomatist and a man of high commands as you have been will allow me, without being thought to take a liberty with you, to ask your confidence while I freely tell you my position as regards our Oratory undertaking.

'Two or three years ago, when it was settled by our Bishop that I was to go there, it was on the strict condition that the Oratory took no part in the education of the place. I drew up a circular in which I said merely: "that I went for the sake of the religious instruction of the Catholic youth there"; and to my surprise the late Cardinal was so angry even with my recognising the fact of their being at Oxford in any way, that he sent the news of it to Rome, though I had not actually issued the paper, and it has created a prejudice against me ever since. Accordingly in the circular I sent you the other day, I could not put in a word about Catholic youth being at Oxford; and the intention of the present Archbishop is, if he can, to stamp them out from the place. However, this has not been enough,—a further step has been taken, for last Monday I got a letter from Propaganda saying that they {136} had heard that I had in my School here some youths preparing for Oxford, and solemnly ordering me neither directly nor indirectly to do anything to promote young men going there.

'You are too well acquainted with a soldier's duties, not to know that it is impossible for me to disobey the orders of my commanders in the Church Militant. So, what I must do as regards the School is, to my great sorrow, to relinquish those who go to Oxford for a short time before they go there, if I should find they need, in addition to the general instruction we give them here, any special preparation for the University.

'Now before proceeding, I will tell you my own opinion on the matter. I differ from you decidedly in this, viz., that, if I had my will, I would have a large Catholic University, as I hoped might have been set up in Dublin when I went there. But I hold this to be a speculative perfection which cannot be carried out in practice,—and then comes the question what is to be done under the circumstances. Secondly then, I say that Oxford is a very dangerous place to faith and morals. This I grant, but then I say that all places are dangerous,—the world is dangerous. I do not believe that Oxford is more dangerous than Woolwich, than the army, than London,—and I think you cannot keep young men under glass cases. Therefore I am on the whole not against young men going to Oxford; though at the same time there are those whom, from their special circumstances, of idleness, extravagance, &c. &c., I certainly should not advise to go there.

'Such is my opinion, and it will surprise you to hear that, be it good or be it bad, no one in authority has ever asked for it all through the discussion of the last two or three years.

'And now let me go on to the practical question of the moment. From that and other articles in the Westminster Gazette, and from the letters which have come to me from Propaganda, I am sure that more stringent measures are intended, to hinder young Catholics going to Oxford, and I think they can only be prevented by the laity. What I should like you to do then is not to withdraw your name from our subscription list, but to join with other contributors, as you have a right to do, in letting me know formally your own opinion on the subject. And for myself I can only say that, if I find the sense of the contributors is against my going to Oxford without their being let alone in sending {137} their sons there, I will not take their money, as I should be doing so under false pretences.
'My dear Sir Justin,
Sincerely yours,

Such scruples as those expressed in the concluding words of this letter were not regarded by Newman's friends. Contributions came in freely, and the establishment of an Oxford Oratory was spoken of as an assured prospect.

At last, then, after the three years of suspense, after all the ups and downs of the struggle, the pain caused by the opposition of old friends, the greater pain given by the charges against his loyalty as a Catholic, all seemed to promise well. The one position in which he felt he could, in the years that remained to him, do a real work for the Church seemed assured to him. He thought he saw God's Will clearly. If any fresh enterprise was at his age anxious and hard, to support him in this he had the conviction that it was to him a most suitable task and was assigned him by lawful authority. The clinging affection he ever preserved for Oxford, moreover, must make it a labour of love.

He was now actively engaged in discussing the site of the new church. Was it to be built on the ground he had? Or should a new site of which he had heard be preferred to the old?

'Our present piece,' he writes to Hope-Scott, 'is so situated as to be almost shaking a fist at Christ Church. It is ostentatious—no one can go in or out of our projected Church without being seen. Again it is not central—but New Inn Hall Street at one end of it leads into St. Ebbe's and to St. Thomas'—at the other end it opens upon St. Mary Magdalen's Church and Broad Street and Jesus Lane—and by George Lane upon Worcester College &c. and St. Giles' and Park Villas—and being approached in such various ways it is approachable silently. Again the Union Debating Room is on the opposite side of the street—and opens into the street at its back through its garden. There is a good (but ugly) stone house upon the ground flush with the street, which would save building as far as it goes—whereas our houses opposite Christ Church are lath and plaster. Of course the question occurs whether we can get our present ground off {138} our hands. Again, though I have not asked many people yet, still as yet I hear no one in favour of the new ground. Gaisford, Pollen, and Clutton the architect, are for keeping what we have got.'

Although the formal permission—so he was told—had come from Rome, the old Oxford priest, Mr. Comberbach, whose place the Oratorians were to take, seemed to be unaccountably slow in moving, and put the new-comers off with excuse after excuse. But this was regarded at the Oratory as only a rather tiresome eccentricity. Newman, impatient to make his plans, sent Father William Neville on March 21 to ascertain definitely the date of Mr. Comberbach's departure, and he at last announced that he should be gone soon after Easter. Neville was to go to Oxford again on Saturday, April 6—the eve of Passion Sunday. In the morning he packed his portmanteau, and then, in company with Newman, went for a long-remembered walk on the Highfield Road, past St. George's Church. The memory of it was handed on by Father Neville to the present writer, in more than one conversation. Newman, sunshine on his face, talked of the prospect. 'Earlier failures do not matter now,' he said; 'I see that I have been reserved by God for this. There are signs of a religious reaction in Oxford against the Liberalism and indifferentism of ten years ago. It is evidently a moment when a strong and persuasive assertion of Christian and Catholic principles will be invaluable. Such men as Mark Pattison may conceivably be won over. Although I am not young, I feel as full of life and thought as ever I did. It may prove to be the inauguration of a second Oxford Movement.' Then he turned to the practical object of Neville's visit. 'Have a good look at the Catholic undergraduates in Church. Tell me how many they are. Try and find out who they are and what they are like. Let me know where they sit in the Church, that I may picture beforehand how I shall have to stand when I preach, in order to see them naturally, and address them. Tell me, too, what the Church services are at present, and we will discuss what changes may be made with advantage.' Thus happily talking they returned to the Oratory. The servant, who opened the door to admit them, at once gave Newman a long, blue envelope, and said: {139}

'Canon Estcourt has called from the Bishop's house and asked me to be sure to give you this immediately on your return.' Newman opened and read the letter, and turned to William Neville: 'All is over. I am not allowed to go.' No word more was spoken. The Father covered his face with his hands, and left his friend, who went to his room and unpacked his portmanteau.

What the Bishop's letter told Newman was this: that, coupled with the formal permission for an Oratory at Oxford, Propaganda had sent a 'secret instruction' to Dr. Ullathorne, to the effect that, if Newman himself showed signs of intending to reside there, the Bishop was to do his best 'blandly and suavely' (blande suaviterque) to recall him [Note 2]. Mr. Comberbach's delay was explained. The Bishop had purposed going to Rome and getting this instruction cancelled. He trusted, therefore, that Newman would never hear of it, for he knew that he might easily interpret it as showing a want of confidence in him on the part of Rome.

The 'instruction' was evidently the result of a compromise between the parties who were for and against the Oxford Oratory. The friends of Ward and Vaughan had urged that Newman's residence in Oxford would attract all Catholic young men to the University. Yet a strong party favoured his scheme. To grant an Oratory, provided it did not mean Newman's permanent residence at Oxford, seemed a mezzo termine. The Bishop had mentioned when consulting Propaganda that Newman had disclaimed, in speaking to him, any intention of residing at Oxford. This had been urged by Newman's friends as a strong argument against inhibiting the scheme. If Newman did not mean to live at Oxford there was really no case for forbidding the new Oratory. This argument proved decisive. Newman's friends prevailed. Permission was accorded. But at the last moment the Holy Father had pointed out that the decisive argument rested on the rather precarious basis of a remark of Newman to his Bishop. The Bishop should be instructed to make sure that this part of the arrangement was carried out [Note 3]. But he was to {140} use the utmost courtesy and only to speak in case of necessity. Hence the secret instruction.

But while the Bishop had kept the affair secret, now it had leaked out in the papers. A Catholic layman, Mr. Martin, the Roman correspondent of the Weekly Register, had come to know of it privately, and had stated in a letter to that journal, published anonymously, that the Holy Father had 'inhibited' Newman's proposed Mission. He had, moreover, hinted at just that interpretation of this step which would be most painful to Newman—that it was due to suspicions at Rome in regard of his orthodoxy [Note 4]. The only possible plan therefore was to tell the whole story to Newman without delay, before unauthorised rumours could reach him. 'The letter in question,' Newman wrote to Canon Walker on April 14, 'is by Mr. Martin, the person whom Dr. Clifford and my own Bishop answered last year. He is of course nothing in himself—but he represents unseen and unknown persons. His interference has been most happy—for he has let the cat out of the bag—and a black cat it is. It may do a great deal of mischief—that is, the cat, not his revealing it—for, depend upon it, its owners are men of influence.' To the Oratorian community at large scarcely a word more was said. On the spur of the moment Newman wrote to the Bishop resigning the Oxford Mission. But those Fathers whom he consulted recommended delay, and the letter was kept back. A full explanation of the 'secret instruction' (these Fathers held) must be sought in Rome. Newman's own action must also be vindicated if necessary. And, for this, the coming visit of Ambrose St. John and Bittleston (in connection with the affairs of the school) offered an exceptionally good opportunity which Newman determined to utilise.

Meanwhile Newman's own sad and indignant feelings are given in the following letters to Henry Wilberforce and to Father Coleridge:

'Private.               The Oratory, Birmingham: April, 16th, 1867.
'My dear Henry,—Thank you for your kind letter.

'The Weekly Register letter has been my good friend as necessitating the disclosure of some things which Cardinal Barnabo hid from me, and which would have prevented {141} me from accepting the Mission of Oxford, had I known of them. No sort of blame attaches to our Bishop, who is my good friend—He hoped to have made these crooked ways straight, which he could not prevent existing, for they were not his ways; but Mr. Martin was too much for him, and, before he could gain his point, has let the cat out of the bag ... Do you recollect in "Harold the Dauntless" how the Abbot of Durham gets over the fierce pagan Dane? Since that time there has been a tradition among the Italians that the lay mind is barbaric—fierce and stupid—and is destined to be outwitted, and that fine craft is the true weapon of Churchmen. When I say the lay mind, I speak too narrowly—it is the Saxon, Teuton, Scandinavian, French mind. Cardinal Barnabo has been trying his hand on my barbarism—and has given directions that if I took his leave to go to Oxford to the letter, and did go there, I was to be recalled "blande et suaviter." Hope-Scott is so pained that he has withdrawn his 1000l.
'Ever yours affectionately,       JOHN H. NEWMAN.'


'The Oratory, Birmingham: April 26th, 1867.
My dear Father Coleridge,— ... When last Christmas I found the words "conditionate et provisorie" in the letter (of Cardinal Barnabo) to our Bishop, (though I had no suspicion at all of a secret instruction such as there really was contained in it) I told the Bishop formally my suspicions ... You may fancy how he felt what I said, being conscious, as he was, of the secret instruction—and so he said that I had better wait till he went to Rome in May, and I have waited, except that I have begun to collect the money. Also I was going to commence my personal work at Oxford on the second Sunday after Easter, intending to preach every Sunday through the term which, had I carried it out, would have led to a certainty to the Bishop's "blanda et suavis revocatio"; and thus, as it turns out, even though Mr. Martin had not written a word, things would have come to a crisis. The reason determining me to go to Oxford at once, in spite of the Bishop's advice at Christmas (though he fully came into the plan of the Oratory going to Oxford at Easter) when I after a while proposed it, was the delay that was likely to take place in beginning the Church, and all my friends kept saying: "You must do something directly to clench on your part Propaganda's permission to go, or the Archbishop will {142} be getting the permission reversed." When then I found it impossible to make a demonstration in bricks and mortar (which for myself I had, in consequence of the suspicions felt, deprecated) nothing remained but to make a demonstration by actually preaching at Oxford,—and this was to my view of the matter, far more acceptable because a counter order from Propaganda would have been serious, had we begun to build, but would have been of no consequence at all, had we done nothing more than preach in the Chapel at St. Clement's.

'However, as it has turned out, I am stopped both before building and preaching.

'It is perfectly true, as you say, that both sides have not been heard at Rome. The questions you speak of circulated in December 1864, were too painful to speak about. For myself, up to this date no one has asked my opinion, and then those who might, by asking, have known it, have encouraged or suffered all sorts of reports as to what my opinion is, instead of coming to me for it.

'It is my cross to have false stories circulated about me, and to be suspected in consequence. I could not have a lighter one. I would not change it for any other. Ten years ago I was accused to the Pope of many things (nothing to do with doctrine). I went off to Rome at an enormous inconvenience, and had two interviews with the Holy Father tête-à-tête. He was most kind, and acquitted me. But hardly was my back turned but my enemies (for so I must call them) practically got the upper hand. Our Bishop seems to think no great good comes of seeing the Pope, if it is only once seeing him. What chance have I against persons who are day by day at his elbow?

'For twenty years I have honestly and sensitively done my best to fulfil the letter and spirit of the directions of the Holy See and Propaganda, and I never have obtained the confidence of anyone at Rome. Only last year Cardinal Reisach came to England. I had known him in Rome. He never let me know he was in England. He came to Oscott, and I did not know it. He went to see my ground at Oxford, but he was committed, not to me, but to the charge of Father Coffin ...

'I have lost my desire to gain the good will of those who thus look on me. I have abundant consolation in the unanimous sympathy of those around me. I trust I shall ever give a hearty obedience to Rome, but I never expect in my lifetime any recognition of it.
'Yours most sincerely,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.' {143}

The utmost indignation was felt and expressed by Newman's friends at the anonymous attack in the Weekly Register, and by many of them at the 'secret instruction' on the part of Propaganda against his residing at Oxford. This 'instruction' could not be ostensibly attacked. But it was open to those who desired to convey to Newman the feelings it aroused, to express their indignation at the anonymous letter in the newspapers, and their loyal devotion to him. And at the suggestion of Mr. Monsell this course was adopted. An address was presented to him signed by upwards of two hundred names, including nearly all the most prominent members of the English laity, and headed by Lord Edward Howard, the deputy Earl Marshal and guardian to the young Duke of Norfolk.

The signatures were obtained with great rapidity, at a meeting convened at the Stafford Club directly Mr. Monsell had learnt the state of the case, and before it was known to Newman himself, who had not seen the letter in the Weekly Register [Note 5]. It was dated, indeed, as will be seen, on the very day of Newman's memorable walk with Father Neville before he received the Bishop's note. Its text ran as follows:


'We, the undersigned, have been deeply pained at some anonymous attacks which have been made upon you. They may be of little importance in themselves, but we feel that every blow that touches you inflicts a wound upon the Catholic Church in this country. We hope, therefore, that you will not think it presumptuous in us to express our gratitude for all we owe you, and to assure you how heartily we appreciate the services which, under God, you have been the means of rendering to our holy religion.
Deputy Earl Marshal;
'Stafford Club, 6th April 1867.' {144}

Newman's answer ran as follows:

'The Oratory, Birmingham: 12th April 1867.
'My dear Monsell,—I acknowledge without delay the high 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 their occurrence, since they have at once elicited in my behalf the warm feelings 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 limit of a formal acknowledgement, to express it.—I am ever your affectionate friend,

That this address was disliked by the extreme party both in England and in Rome, we know from an interesting exchange of letters between Archbishop Manning and Monsignor Talbot. Manning had his friends among the laity who agreed with him on the Oxford question. And it appears that Mr. Monsell, who at first intended to refer directly to it in the address, had to refrain from doing so in order to gain important signatures. W. G. Ward objected to the sentence, 'any blow which touches you inflicts a wound upon the Catholic Church in this country,' as clearly referring to the blow Propaganda had struck at Newman in preventing his going to Oxford—for the Register letter could hardly be treated as important enough to warrant any such expression. Monsell, however, declined to change this expression, and Ward did not sign the address.

It is clear that the Archbishop was in some alarm lest so influential an address might make Propaganda waver in its policy on the Oxford question, and he wrote to Monsignor Talbot with the object of stiffening its back: {145}

'8 York Place, W.: 13th Ap. 1867.
'My dear Monsignor Talbot,—You will see in the Tablet an address to Dr. Newman signed by most of our chief laymen.

'The excessive and personal letter in the W. Register has caused it.

'1. The address carefully omits all reference to Oxford.

'2. It is signed also by men most opposed to our youth going there, e.g. Lord Petre.

'3. But it will be used, and by some it is intended, as a means of pushing onward Dr. Newman's going to Oxford, and ultimately the University scheme. I only wish you to be guarded against supposing the Address to prove that the signers are in favour of the Oxford scheme. Do not let Propaganda alarm itself. If it will only be firm and clear we shall get through all this and more.

'But if it yield I cannot answer for the future.

'It will be necessary to take care that no such letters from Rome be sent to our papers. Can you do anything?—
Always affectionately yours,
H. E. M.'

A second letter written a week later gives some further particulars as to the drafting of the address:

'8 York Place, W.: Easter Monday, 22nd April 1867.
'My dear Monsignor Talbot,— ... This Address of the laity is as you say a revelation of the absence of Catholic instinct, and the presence of a spirit dangerous in many.

'1. It was got up by Mr. Monsell, always in favour of a College in Oxford, and Mr. Frank Ward, whose son is there after preparing with Walford!

'2. In the first draft the Oxford University question was expressed. Many refused to sign.

'3. It was then amended to "Oxford Mission." They refused still.

'4. It was then reduced to its present terms, and so got them, not without objection.

'5. As it stands it implies that in Dr. Newman's writings there is nothing open to censure, and that to touch him is to wound the Catholic Church.

'But if Rome should touch him?

'The whole movement is sustained by those who wish young Catholics to go to Oxford.

'The Bishop of Birmingham, I must suppose unconsciously, has been used by them. It is a great crisis of {146} danger to him. Only do not let him alarm Propaganda by the names and number of these lay signatures.

'Many have declared to me that they are as strong against Oxford as I am.

'The moment this point is raised the Address will go to pieces.

'I have taken care to clear you of all relation to Mr. Martin, and you may rely upon my not wavering. The affair is full of pain, but even this will work for good.

'Pray place me at the feet of His Holiness, and offer my thanks for providing a home so near to his own side, and by the Apostles.

'Once more thanking you, believe me, always affectionately yours,
H. E. M.'

W. G. Ward was in correspondence with Mgr. Talbot, and both in writing to him and in a letter published in the Weekly Register expressed the criticism on the address to which I have already referred. Mgr. Talbot wrote something of a scolding to Manning, of whose firmness he on his side appeared to have some doubts:

'Vatican: 25th April, 1867.
'My dear Archbishop,—I cannot help writing to you again about the address of the English laity. Although I am the first to condemn the correspondent of the Weekly Register for touching on such a delicate matter, I look upon the address of the English laity as the most offensive production that has appeared in England since the times of Dr. Milner, and if a check be not placed on the laity of England they will be the rulers of the Catholic Church in England instead of the Holy See and the Episcopate.

'It is perfectly true that a cloud has been hanging over Dr. Newman in Rome ever since the Bishop of Newport delated him to Rome for heresy in his article in the Rambler on consulting the laity on matters of faith. None of his writings since have removed that cloud. Every one of them has created a controversy, and the spirit of them has never been approved in Rome. Now that a set of laymen with Mr. Monsell at their head should have the audacity to say that a blow that touches Dr. Newman is a wound inflicted on the Catholic Church in England, is an insult offered to the Holy See, to Your Grace and all who have opposed his Oxford scheme, in consequence of his having quietly encouraged young men going to the University, by means of {147} his school, and by preparing two men, a fact which he does not deny.

'But I think that even his going to Oxford, which will induce many of the young Catholic nobility and aristocracy to follow, is of minor importance to the attitude assumed by the Stafford Club and the laity of England.

'They are beginning to show the cloven foot, which I have seen the existence of for a long time. They are only putting into practice the doctrine taught by Dr. Newman in his article in the Rambler. They wish to govern the Church in England by public opinion, and Mr. Monsell is the most dangerous man amongst them.

'What is the province of the laity? To hunt, to shoot, to entertain. These matters they understand, but to meddle with ecclesiastical matters they have no right at all, and this affair of Newman is a matter purely ecclesiastical.

'There is, however, one layman an exception to all rule, because he is really a theologian. I mean Dr. Ward. His letter is admirable, and he has attacked the address of the laity in its most vulnerable point.

'I was much pained to see the name of Lord Petre amongst those who subscribed their names. No doubt he did not fully see the bearings of the address, because I am told that he has the highest regard for ecclesiastical authority.

'Dr. Newman is the most dangerous man in England, and you will see that he will make use of the laity against your Grace. You must not be afraid of him. It will require much prudence, but you must be firm, as the Holy Father still places his confidence in you; but if you yield and do not fight the battle of the Holy See against the detestable spirit growing up in England, he will begin to regret Cardinal Wiseman, who knew how to keep the laity in order. I tell you all this in confidence, because I already begin to hear some whisperings which might become serious. I am your friend and defend you every day, but you know [Cardinal Barnabo] as well as I do, and how ready he is to throw the blame of everything on others ...

'Dr. Ullathorne has been the cause of the whole mischief. If he had only obeyed the letter of Propaganda and communicated to Dr. Newman the inhibition placed to his going to Oxford, he could not have sent forth a circular saying that the whole Oxford project had the approbation of the Holy See.

'Of course your suffragans are frightened by the address of the laity. You will find yourself much in the position {148} of Dr. Milner. I hope the clergy will not adopt the Rev. Mr. Waterworth's suggestion of getting up an address to Dr. Newman. That would make matters worse. Adieu.—
Believe me affectionately yours,

Archbishop Manning thus replied:

'8 York Place: 3rd May 1867.
'My dear Talbot,—I have not been influenced by fear or by neutrality, but by the following motives. I believe—

'1. That my first duty and work is to restore unity and concord among the bishops; and that this is vital, and above all other things necessary.

'2. That to get the bishops to act unanimously, as above stated, is a double gain.

'3. That the only way to counteract the unsound opinions now rising among us is to keep the English bishops perfectly united.

'4. That it would be fatal if the Stafford Club laymen could divide us, and get an Episcopal leader.

'5. That towards Dr. Newman my strongest course is to act in perfect union with the bishops, so that what I do, they do.

'6. That to this end the greatest prudence and circumspection is necessary. A word or act of mine towards Dr. Newman might divide the bishops and throw some on his side.

'7. That the chief aim of the Anglicans has been to set Dr. Newman and myself in conflict. For five years papers, reviews, pamphlets without number, have endeavoured to do so.

'8. That a conflict between him and me would be as great a scandal to the Church in England, and as great a victory to the Anglicans, as could be.

'For all these reasons I am glad that Cardinal B° lays on me the responsibility of the permission given to Dr. Newman to go to Oxford, and says that I did it "to serve an old friend." This has given me untold strength here at this time.

'I would ask you to make the substance of this letter known where alone I feel anxious to be understood. I have acted upon the above line with the clearest and most evident reasons. And I believe you will see when we meet that I should have acted unwisely in any other way. We shall have a trying time, but if the bishops are united nothing can hurt us. {149}

'Dr. Ullathorne has printed a statement of the Oxford affair, and sent a copy to Dr. Neve [Note 6] for Propaganda. Mind you see it. It is fatal to Dr. Ullathorne's prudence, and to Dr. Newman's going to Oxford.

'Father Ryder of the Edgbaston Oratory has published an attack on Ward's book on Encyclicals. Dr. Newman sent it to Ward with a letter adopting it, and saying that he was glad to leave behind him young men to maintain these principles.

'This is opportune, but very sad.—Always affectionately yours,
H. E. M.'

These letters reveal a state of feeling among active and influential counsellors of the Holy See in England, which made Newman's determination to take active steps to defend himself in Rome most necessary.

Newman forthwith drew up and sent to Ambrose St. John the following memorandum expressing his precise views on the Oxford question, in order to make misrepresentation impossible:

'I say in the first place that no one in authority has ever up to this time asked my opinion on the subject, and therefore I never have had formally to make up my mind on it.

'Next, I have ever held, said, and written, that the normal and legitimate proceeding is to send youths to a Catholic University, that their religion, science, and literature may go together.

'I have thought there were positive dangers to faith and morals in going to Oxford.

'But I have thought there were less and fewer dangers, in an Oxford residence, to faith and morals, than there are at Woolwich, where the standard of moral and social duty is necessarily unchristian, as being simply secular, than there are at Sandhurst, or in London—and especially for this reason, that there is some really religious and moral superintendence at Oxford, and none at Woolwich or in London.

'That the question then lies in a choice of difficulties, a Catholic University being impossible.

'And that necessity has no laws.

'That, as to the question whether Catholic youths should go to Protestant Colleges at Oxford, or that a Catholic College should be established, abstractedly a Catholic College {150} would be the better plan, for in that case they would receive unmixed (Catholic) not mixed education,—but I have thought greater difficulties would in practice attend the establishment of a Catholic College.

'That, under the circumstances, what I thought best was to leave things as they had been heretofore; that is, not to forbid Catholic youths going to Oxford, but to protect them by the presence of a strong Catholic Mission, such as a community of priests would secure.

'That I had ever been strong against a prohibition, as putting too great a temptation to disobey ecclesiastical authority in the way of the laity.

'But that this did not mean that I had ever positively advocated, or now advocate, Catholic youths going to Oxford, but that I wished the matter decided in each case, as it came, on its own merits; and I certainly thought that a residence in Oxford would be a great advantage to certain youths, if you could pick them.

'I added that, as to myself, I have ever stated and avowed to our Bishop: (1) that my going would draw Catholics there, (2) if there were not Catholics there, I should be at much disadvantage as seeming to go there directly to convert Protestants. Accordingly (3) I had ever been unwilling to go there.'

Armed with this document, Fathers St. John and Bittleston arrived in Rome at the end of April as Newman's ambassadors. Their mission and its results shall be described in another chapter.

NOTE.—Readers who desire to go further into the details of the ecclesiastical situation at this time will find much correspondence to interest them at pp. 313 seq. of the second volume of Purcell's Life of Cardinal Manning.

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1. Papal Infallibility.
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2. Patrem Newman si forte de sua residentia in urbem Oxfordiensem transferenda cogitantem videris ... blande suaviterque revocare studeas.'
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3. The Holy Father himself insisted on this point, see p. 161.
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4. For the text of the letter in the Weekly Register see Appendix, p. 543.
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5. The names of Acton, Simpson, and Wetherell do not appear in the address. It was significant of the general feeling against them that Mr. Monsell had to tell Wetherell that he had abstained from asking for their names at first as their presence in the list would prevent others from signing. Mr. Wetherell replied that this was equally a reason for his declining to sign at the last moment. Acton and Simpson were away from England.
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6. Rector of the English College in Rome.
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