Apologia pro Vita Sua (1865)
John Henry Newman

Revised October, 2001—NR.

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Preface   xiv.
1.  History of my Religious Opinions up to 1833      1.
2.  History of my Religious Opinions from 1833 to 1839    36.
3.  History of my Religious Opinions from 1839 to 1841    92.
4.  History of my Religious Opinions from 1841 to 1845
Section 1  147.
Section 2  194.
5.  Position of my Mind since 1845  238.

A.  On page 14. Liberalism  285.
B.  On page 23. Ecclesiastical Miracles  298.
C.  On page 153. Sermon on Wisdom and Innocence  310.
D.  On page 213. Series of Saints' Lives of 1843-4  323.
E.  On page 227. Anglican Church  339.
F.  On page 269. The Economy  343.
G.  On page 279. Lying and Equivocation  348.

Supplemental Matter
1. Chronological List of Letters and Papers quoted
in this Narrative
2.  List of the Author's Works  366.
3.  Letter to him from his Diocesan  368.
4.  Addresses from bodies of Clergy and Laity  371.

Additional Notes
1. On page 12. Correspondence with Archbishop Whately 
in 1834
2. On page 90. Extract of a Letter from Rev. E. Smedley
in 1828
3. On page 185. Extract of a Letter of the Rev. Francis
Faber about 1849
4. On pages 194-196. The late Very Rev. Dr. Russell  389.
5. On page 232. Extract of a Letter from the Rev. John
Keble in 1844
6. On page 237. Extract from the Times concerning the
Author's visit to Oxford in 1878
7. On page 302. The oil of St. Walburga  391.
8. On page 323. Boniface of Canterbury  395.
Letter to the Very Rev. Canon Flanagan  396.

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Forward by Hilaire Belloc [from 1930 edition of Daniel M. O'Connell, S.J.—NR]

Life of Cardinal Newman, Chapter 20 [covers the period in which this book was written—NR]

Apologia [combined edition of Wilfrid Ward, includes 1864 material omitted in 1865 edition—NR]

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{v} THE following History of my Religious Opinions, now that it is detached from the context in which it originally stood, requires some preliminary explanation; and that, not only in order to introduce it generally to the reader, but specially to make him understand, how I came to write a whole book about myself, and about my most private thoughts and feelings. Did I consult indeed my own impulses, I should do my best simply to wipe out of my Volume, and consign to oblivion, every trace of the circumstances to which it is to be ascribed; but its original title of Apologia is too exactly borne out by its matter and structure, and these again are too suggestive of correlative circumstances, and those circumstances are of too grave a character, to allow of my indulging so natural a wish. And therefore, though in this new Edition I have managed to omit nearly a hundred pages of my original Volume, which I could safely consider {vi} to be of merely ephemeral importance, I am even for that very reason obliged, by way of making up for their absence, to prefix to my Narrative some account of the provocation out of which it arose.

It is now more than twenty years that a vague impression to my disadvantage has rested on the popular mind, as if my conduct towards the Anglican Church, while I was a member of it, was inconsistent with Christian simplicity and uprightness. An impression of this kind was almost unavoidable under the circumstances of the case, when a man, who had written strongly against a cause, and had collected a party round him by virtue of such writings, gradually faltered in his opposition to it, unsaid his words, threw his own friends into perplexity and their proceedings into confusion, and ended by passing over to the side of those whom he had so vigorously denounced. Sensitive then as I have ever been of the imputations which have been so freely cast upon me, I have never felt much impatience under them, as considering them to be a portion of the penalty which I naturally and justly incurred by my change of religion, even though they were to continue as long as I lived. I left their removal to a future day, when personal feelings would have died out, and documents would see the light, which were as yet buried in closets or scattered through the country.

This was my state of mind, as it had been for {vii} many years, when, in the beginning of 1864, I unexpectedly found myself publicly put upon my defence, and furnished with an opportunity of pleading my cause before the world, and, as it so happened, with a fair prospect of an impartial hearing. Taken indeed by surprise, as I was, I had much reason to be anxious how I should be able to acquit myself in so serious a matter; however, I had long had a tacit understanding with myself, that, in the improbable event of a challenge being formally made to me, by a person of name, it would be my duty to meet it. That opportunity had now occurred; it never might occur again; not to avail myself of it at once would be virtually to give up my cause; accordingly, I took advantage of it, and, as it has turned out, the circumstance that no time was allowed me for any studied statements has compensated, in the equitable judgment of the public, for such imperfections in composition as my want of leisure involved.

It was in the number for January 1864, of a magazine of wide circulation, and in an Article upon Queen Elizabeth, that a popular writer took occasion formally to accuse me by name of thinking so lightly of the virtue of Veracity, as in set terms to have countenanced and defended that neglect of it which he at the same time imputed to the Catholic Priesthood. His words were these:— {viii}

"Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which heaven has given to the Saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage. Whether his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least historically so."

These assertions, going far beyond the popular prejudice entertained against me, had no foundation whatever in fact. I never had said, I never had dreamed of saying, that truth for its own sake, need not, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue with the Roman Clergy; or that cunning is the weapon which heaven has given to the Saints wherewith to withstand the wicked world. To what work of mine then could the writer be referring? In a correspondence which ensued upon the subject between him and myself, he rested his charge against me on a Sermon of mine, preached, before I was a Catholic, in the pulpit of my Church at Oxford; and he gave me to understand, that, after having done as much as this, he was not bound, over and above such a general reference to my Sermon, to specify the passages of it, in which the doctrine, which he imputed to me, was contained. On my part I considered this not enough; and I demanded of him to bring out his proof of his accusation in {ix} form and in detail, or to confess he was unable to do so. But he persevered in his refusal to cite any distinct passages from any writing of mine; and, though he consented to withdraw his charge, he would not do so on the issue of its truth or falsehood, but simply on the ground that I assured him that I had had no intention of incurring it. This did not satisfy my sense of justice. Formally to charge me with committing a fault is one thing; to allow that I did not intend to commit it, is another; it is no satisfaction to me, if a man accuses me of this offence, for him to profess that he does not accuse me of that; but he thought differently. Not being able then to gain redress in the quarter, where I had a right to ask it, I appealed to the public. I published the correspondence in the shape of a Pamphlet, with some remarks of my own at the end, on the course which that correspondence had taken.

This Pamphlet, which appeared in the first weeks of February, received a reply from my accuser towards the end of March, in another Pamphlet of 48 pages, entitled, What then does Dr. Newman mean? in which he professed to do that which I had called upon him to do; that is, he brought together a number of extracts from various works of mine, Catholic and Anglican, with the object of showing that, if I was to be acquitted of the crime of teaching and practising deceit and dishonesty, according to {x} his first supposition, it was at the price of my being considered no longer responsible for my actions; for, as he expressed it, "I had a human reason once, no doubt, but I had gambled it away," and I had "worked my mind into that morbid state, in which nonsense was the only food for which it hungered;" and that it could not be called "a hasty or far-fetched or unfounded mistake, when he concluded that I did not care for truth for its own sake, or teach my disciples to regard it as a virtue;" and, though "too many prefer the charge of insincerity to that of insipience, Dr. Newman seemed not to be of that number."

He ended his Pamphlet by returning to his original imputation against me, which he had professed to abandon. Alluding by anticipation to my probable answer to what he was then publishing, he professed his heartfelt embarrassment how he was to believe any thing I might say in my exculpation, in the plain and literal sense of the words. "I am henceforth," he said, "in doubt and fear, as much as an honest man can be, concerning every word Dr. Newman may write. How can I tell, that I shall not be the dupe of some cunning equivocation, of one of the three kinds laid down as permissible by the blessed St. Alfonso da Liguori and his pupils, even when confirmed with an oath, because 'then we do not deceive our neighbour, but allow him to deceive himself?' ... How can I tell, that I may not in {xi} this Pamphlet have made an accusation, of the truth of which Dr. Newman is perfectly conscious; but that, as I, a heretic Protestant, have no business to make it, he has a full right to deny it?"

Even if I could have found it consistent with my duty to my own reputation to leave such an elaborate impeachment of my moral nature unanswered, my duty to my Brethren in the Catholic Priesthood, would have forbidden such a course. They were involved in the charges which this writer, all along, from the original passage in the Magazine, to the very last paragraph of the Pamphlet, had so confidently, so pertinaciously made. In exculpating myself, it was plain I should be pursuing no mere personal quarrel;—I was offering my humble service to a sacred cause. I was making my protest in behalf of a large body of men of high character, of honest and religious minds, and of sensitive honour,—who had their place and their rights in this world, though they were ministers of the world unseen, and who were insulted by my Accuser, as the above extracts from him sufficiently show, not only in my person, but directly and pointedly in their own. Accordingly, I at once set about writing the Apologia pro vitâ suâ, of which the present Volume is a New Edition; and it was a great reward to me to find, as the controversy proceeded, such large numbers of my clerical brethren supporting me by their sympathy in the course which I was {xii} pursuing, and, as occasion offered, bestowing on me the formal and public expression of their approbation. These testimonials in my behalf, so important and so grateful to me, are, together with the Letter, sent to me with the same purpose, from my Bishop, contained in the last pages of this Volume.

This Edition differs from the first form of the Apologia as follows:—The original work consisted of seven Parts, which were published in series on consecutive Thursdays, between April 21 and June 2. An Appendix, in answer to specific allegations urged against me in the Pamphlet of Accusation, appeared on June 16. Of these Parts 1 and 2, as being for the most part directly controversial, are omitted in this Edition, excepting certain passages in them, which are subjoined to this Preface, as being necessary for the due explanation of the subsequent five Parts. These, (being 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, of the Apologia,) are here numbered as Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 respectively. Of the Appendix, about half has been omitted, for the same reason as has led to the omission of Parts 1 and 2. The rest of it is thrown into the shape of Notes of a discursive character, with two new ones on Liberalism and the Lives of the English Saints of 1843-4, and another, new in part, on Ecclesiastical Miracles. In the body of the work, {xiii} the only addition of consequence is the letter which is found at p. 228, a copy of which has recently come into my possession.

I should add that, since writing the Apologia last year, I have seen for the first time Mr. Oakeley's Notes on the Tractarian Movement. This work remarkably corroborates the substance of my Narrative, while the kind terms in which he speaks of me personally, call for my sincere gratitude.

May 2, 1865.

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Title Page








"Commit thy way to the Lord and trust in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth thy justice as the light, and thy
judgment as the noon day."                                               






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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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