of the Late Reverend
Richard Hurrell Froude, M.A.
Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford,
Vol. I.
J. G. & F. Rivington, 1838

[Edited by Newman and John Keble in two volumes, the preface jointly written by themNR.]


{iii} THE Author of the Volumes now presented to the Christian reader, was the eldest son of the Venerable Robert H. Froude, Archdeacon of Totness, and was born and died in the Parsonage House of Dartington, in the county of Devon. He was born in 1803, on the Feast of the Annunciation; and he died of consumption, on the 28th of February, 1836, when he was nearly thirty-three, after an illness of four years and a half. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, having previously had the great advantage, while at Ottery Free School, of living in the family of the Rev. George Coleridge. He went to Eton in 1816, and came into residence as a commoner of Oriel College, in the spring of 1821. In 1824 he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts, after having obtained on his examination, high, though not the {iv} highest honours, both in the Literæ Humaniores and the Disciplinæ Mathematicæ et Physicæ. At Easter, 1826, he was elected Fellow of his College, and, in 1827, was admitted to his M.A. degree. The same year he accepted the office of Tutor, which he held till 1830. In December, 1828, he received Deacon's orders, and the year after Priest's, from the last and present Bishops of Oxford. The disorder which terminated his life first showed itself in the summer of 1831; the winter of 1832, and the following spring, he passed in the south of Europe; and the two next winters, and the year between them (1834), in the West Indies. The illness which immediately preceded his death lasted but a few weeks.

He left behind him a considerable collection of writings, none prepared for publication; of which the following two volumes form a part. The Journal, with which the first commences, and which is continued in the Appendix, reaches from the beginning of 1826, when he was nearly twenty-three, to the spring of 1828. The Occasional Thoughts are carried on to 1829. The Essay on Fiction was written when he was twenty-three; the Sermons from 1829 to 1833, when he was between twenty-five and thirty. His Letters begin in 1823, when he was {v} twenty, and are carried down to within a mouth of his death.

Those on whom the task has fallen of preparing these various writings for publication, have found it matter of great anxiety to acquit themselves so as satisfy the claims of duty, which they felt pressing on them in distinct, and, sometimes, apparently opposite directions.

Some apology may seem requisite, in the first place, for the very magnitude of the collection; as though authority were being claimed, in a preposterous way, for the opinions of one undistinguished either by station or by known literary eminence. That apology, it is believed, will be found in the truth and extreme importance of the views to the developement of which the whole is meant to be subservient; and also in the instruction derivable from a full exhibition of the Author's character as a witness to those views. This is the plea, which it is desired to bring prominently forward; nothing short of this, it is felt, would justify such ample and unreserved disclosures: neither originality of thought, nor engaging imagery, nor captivating touches of character and turns of expression. {vi}

Still more is this apology needed on the more grounds of friendship and duty. The publication of a Private Journal and Private Letters is a serious thing. Too often it has been ventured on in a kind of reckless way, with an eye singly to the good expected to be accomplished, no regard being had to the Author himself and his wishes. It is in itself painful, nay revolting, to expose to the common gaze papers only intended for a single correspondent; and it seems little less than sacrilege to bring out the solitary memoranda of one endeavouring to feel, and to be, as much as possible alone with his God;—secretly training himself, as in His presence, in that discipline which shuns the light of this world. To such a publication it were objection enough that it would seem to harmonize but too well with the restless, unsparing curiosity, which now prevails. No common motive, then, it may be well believed, was required to overcome the strong reluctance which even strangers of ordinary delicacy, much more kinsmen and intimate friends, must feel on the first suggestion of such a proceeding. It may be frankly allowed, that gentle and good minds will naturally be prejudiced in the outset against any collection of the sort. But the present is a peculiar case, a case {vii} in which, if the survivors do not greatly deceive themselves, they are best consulting the wishes of the departed by publication, hazardous as that step commonly is. Let the reader, before he condemns, imagine to himself a case like the following. Let him suppose a person in the prime of manhood, (with what talents and acquirements is not now the question) devoting himself, ardently yet soberly, to the promotion of one great cause; writing, speaking, thinking on it for years, as exclusively as the needs and infirmities of human life would allow; but dying before he could bring to perfection any of the plans which had suggested themselves to him for its advancement. Let it be certainly known to his friends that he was firmly resolved never to shrink from any thing not morally wrong, which he had good grounds to believe would really forward that cause: and that it was real pain and disquiet to him if he saw his friends in any way postponing it to his supposed feelings or interests. Suppose further, that having been for weeks and months in the full consciousness of what was soon likely to befal him, he departs, leaving such papers as make up the present collection in the hands of those next to him in blood, without any express direction as to the disposal of {viii} them; and that they, taking counsel with the friends on whom he was known chiefly to rely, unanimously and decidedly judged publication most desirable for that end, which was the guide of his life, and which they too esteemed paramount to all others: imagine the papers appearing to them so valuable, that they feel as if they had no right to withhold such aid from the cause to which he was pledged: would it, or would it not, be their duty, as faithful trustees, in such case to overcome their own scruples? would they, or would they not, be justified in believing that they had, virtually, his own sanction for publishing such parts even of his personal and devotional memoranda, much more of his letters to his friends, as they deliberately judged likely to aid in the general good effect? This case, of a person sacrificing himself altogether to one great object, is not of every day occurrence; it is not like the too frequent instances of papers being ransacked and brought to light, because the writer was a little more distinguished, or accounted a little wiser or better than his neighbours: it cannot be fairly drawn into a precedent, except in circumstances equally uncommon.

On the whole, supposing what in this Preface must be supposed, the nobleness, and rectitude, and {ix} pressing nature of the end which the Author had in view, the principle of posthumous publication surely must, in this instance, be conceded. The only question remaining will be whether the selection has been judicious. On this also it may be well to anticipate certain objections not unlikely to occur to sundry classes of readers. If there be any who are startled at the strong expressions of self-condemnation, occurring so frequently both in the journal, and in the more serious parts of the Correspondence, he will please to consider that the better any one knows, the more severely will he judge himself; and since this writer sometimes thought it his duty to be very plain-spoken in his censure of others, in fairness to him it seemed right to show that he did not fail to look at home; that he tried to be more rigid to himself than to any one else.

Again, it will be said, that many expressions and sentiments would have been more wisely omitted, as indicating and encouraging a dangerous tendency towards Romanism. Now this charge of Romanism sounds very distinct and definite, yet, in the mouths of most persons who advance it, it is perhaps the vaguest of all charges. However, it cannot be {x} an unfair way of meeting it, if we consider it as meaning one or other of two things: either a predilection for the actual system of the Church of Rome, as distinguished from other parts of Christendom, and particularly from the English Church: or an overweening value for outward religion, for Sacraments, Church polity, public worship,—such a respect for these, as renders a man comparatively inattentive (so it is surmised) to the inward and spiritual part of religion. If the charge of popery does not mean one or other of these wrong tendencies, or the two combined, in whatever proportion; it will be hard to say what it does mean.

Now, as regards the first; these Remains, it will be found, bear a peculiarly strong testimony against the actual system of Rome; strong, as coming from one who was disposed to make every fair allowance in that Church's favour; who was looking and longing for some fuller developement of Catholic principles than he could easily find, but who was soon obliged to confess, with undissembled mortification and disappointment, that such developement was not to be looked for in Rome. Let the following passages be well considered: they tell but the more decisively against the Papal, or Tridentine system, from the {xi} veneration shown in other places towards those fragments of true Catholicism, which Rome, by God's Providence, still retains.

"[On a friend's saying that the Romanists were schismatics in England, but Catholics abroad.]—'No, H. they are wretched Tridentines every where.'" vol. i. p. 434.

"I never could be a Romanist; I never could think all those things in Pope Pius' Creed necessary to salvation." ibid.

"How Whiggery has by degrees taken up all the filth that has been secreted in the fermentation of human thought! Puritanism, Latitudinarianism, Popery, Infidelity; they have it all now, and good luck to them!"—vol. i. p. 340.

"We found, to our horror, that the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church made the acts of each successive Council obligatory for ever; that what had been once decided could not be meddled with again: in fact, that they were committed finally and irrevocably, and could not advance one step to meet us, even though the Church of England should again become what it was in Laud's time, or indeed what it may have been up to the atrocious Council; for M.—— admitted that many things, e.g. the doctrine {xii} of mass, which were fixed then, had been indeterminate before. So much for the Council of Trent, for which Christendom has to thank Luther and the Reformers … I own it has altogether changed my notions of the Roman Catholics, and made me wish for the total overthrow of their system: I think that the only [topos] now is 'the ancient Church of England;' and, as an explanation of what one means, 'Charles I., and the Nonjurors.'" vol. i. p. 307, 308.

"I remember you told me that I should come back a better Englishman than I went away; better satisfied not only that our Church is nearest in theory right, but also that practically, in spite of its abuses, it works better; and, to own the truth, your prophecy is already nearly realized. Certainly I have as yet only seen the surface of things; but what I have seen does not come up to my notions of propriety. These Catholic countries seem in an especial manner [katechein ten aletheian en adikiai]. And the Priesthood are themselves so sensible of the hollow basis upon which their power rests, that they dare not resist the most atrocious encroachments of the State upon their privileges ... I have seen priests laughing when at the Confessional; and indeed it {xiii} is plain that unless they habitually made light of gross immorality, three-fourths of the population [of Naples] would be excommunicated … The Church of England has fallen low, and will probably be worse before it is better: but let the Whigs do their worst, they cannot sink us so deep as these people have allowed themselves to fall while retaining all the superficials of a religious country."—vol. i. p. 293, 294.

To these extracts may be added the following, from a letter (also from Naples) which did not come to hand until after the first volume had been printed.

"Since I have been out here, I have got a worse notion of the Roman Catholics than I had. I really do think them idolaters, though I cannot be quite confident of my information as it affects the character of the priests ... What I mean by calling these people idolaters is, that I believe they look upon the Saints and Virgin as good-natured people that will try to get them let off easier than the Bible declares, and that, as they don't intend to comply with the conditions on which God promises to answer prayers, they pray to them as a come-off. {xiv} But this is a generalization for which I have not sufficient data."

It is clear then, that whether his opinions were right or wrong, he felt himself to be no Romanist in this sense; nor perhaps will this be asserted by any candid reader. The form which the objection will assume will rather be this: that though a minister he was not a sound and attached member of the English Establishment; that he evaded its tests by a dry and literal interpretation of their wording, and availed himself of its influence and sustenance against itself. But the answer to this objection is also simple. The view which the Author would take of his own position was probably this; that he was a minister not of any human establishment, but of the one Holy Church Catholic, which, among other places, is allowed by her Divine Master to manifest herself locally in England, and has in former times been endowed by the piety of her members: that the State has but secured by law those endowments which it could not seize without sacrilege, and, in return for this supposed boon, has encumbered the rightful possession of them by various conditions calculated to bring the {xv} Church into bondage: that her ministers, in consequence, are in no way bound to throw themselves into the spirit of such enactments, rather are bound themselves from the snare and guilt of them, and to observe only such a literal acquiescence as is all that the law requires in any case, all that an external oppressor has a right to ask. Their loyalty is already engaged to the Church Catholic, and they cannot enter into the drift and intentions of her oppressors without betraying her. For example: they cannot do more than submit to the Statute of Præmunire; they cannot defend or concur in the present suspension in every form of the Chuch's synodal powers, and of her power of Excommunication; nor can they sympathize in the provision which hinders their celebrating five out of the seven daily Services which are their patrimony equally with Romanists. Again; doubtless, the spirit in which the present Establishment was framed, would require an affectionate admiring remembrance of Luther and others, for whom there is no evidence that the Author of these volumes ever entertained any reverence.

Next as to the other meaning which one may conceive the vague charge of Romanism to bear, {xvi} i.e. an undue preference of outward religion; it is conceived that the Journal and Sermons sufficiently demonstrate the utter injustice of such a suspicion in this case. For the Sermons, the later ones as well as the earlier, are, in fact, as far as they go, a record of the same process with which the Journal is entirely taken up; a constant effort of the mind, attended by a full conviction of its weakness and its need of Divine aid and forgiveness, to keep itself in order, to become meet for the Kingdom of Heaven, to reduce (if one may borrow the sacred words) every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Could the person so occupied be justly accused of neglecting inward and spiritual religion? Is it not plain that fasting and other outward exercises, strictly as he thought it his duty to observe them, were with him but as means to an end? His papers are a kind of documentary evidence, in favour of those views which it is believed he rightly called Catholic, in this very respect; that they show such views to be perfectly consistent, nay, inseparably bound up, with the most elevated notions of inward sanctification, of a renewed heart and life. In this sense, then, as in the former, the surmise of a virtual kind of Popery is quite untenable; more so, in {xvii} fact, than if those places had been omitted, which to persons whose scruples lie all one way may seem at first sight to warrant the suspicion. For by his assigning due weight to what is truly Catholic in Romanism, and to what is sacred and necessary in the visible part of religion, we are assured that neither in his censures of the papal system in other respects, nor in his expressions of anxiety about inward and spiritual self-government, was he deceiving himself and others by the use of mere words of course. The omission of what, to some, sounds questionable, would have made the picture of him as a Christian warrior altogether less complete and instructive.

Another ground on which censure may be expected, is what will be called the intolerance of certain passages; the keen sense which the author expresses of the guilt men incur by setting themselves against the Church. In fact, both this and the alleged tendency to Romanism are objections not to the present publication but to the view which it is designed to support, and do not therefore quite properly come within the scope of this Preface. To defend the severe expressions alluded to, would be in a great measure to defend the old Catholic writers {xviii} for the tone in which they have spoken of unbelievers and corrupters of the Faith. The same portions of Holy Scripture would be appealed to in both cases; those namely which teach or exemplify the duty of austere reserve towards wilful heretics, and earnest zeal against heresiarchs. Perhaps it may be found that the Author's demeanour and language on such subjects is a tolerably striking and consistent illustration of that sentiment of the Psalmist, "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee?" He hated them in their collective character, as God's enemies, as the anti-Christian party; but to all who came in his way individually, he was, as many of his acquaintance can testify, full of unaffected, open-hearted kindness; entering into their feelings, and making allowance for their difficulties, not the less scrupulously because he sometimes found himself compelled to separate from them or declare himself against them.

To judge adequately of this point we must further take into account a certain strong jealousy which he entertained of his own honesty of mind. He was naturally, or on principle, a downright speaker; avoiding those words of course and of compliment, which often, it may be feared, serve to {xix} keep up a false peace at the expense of true Christian charity. His words, therefore, (playfulness and occasional irony apart,) may in general be taken more literally than those of most men. It is easy to see that this would make his criticisms, whether literary or moral, sound more pointed and unsparing, than those in which a writer of less frankness would indulge himself.

And this introduces another point, not unlikely to be animadverted on as blameable in the present selection. Many, recoiling from his sentences, so direct, fearless, and pungent concerning all sorts of men and things, will be fain to account them speeches uttered at random, more for present point and effect, than to declare the speaker's real opinion; and, so judging, will of course disapprove of the collecting and publishing such sayings, especially on high and solemn subjects, as at best incautious, and perhaps irreverent. But they who judge thus must be met by a denial of the fact. The expressions in question were not uttered at random: he was not in the habit of speaking at random on such matters. This is remarkably evinced by the fact, that to various friends at various times, conversing or writing on the same subjects, he was constantly employing {xx} the same illustrations and arguments,—very often the same words: as they found by comparison afterwards, and still go on to find. Now maxims and reasonings, of which this may be truly affirmed, whatever else may be alleged against them, cannot fairly be thrown by as mere chance sayings. Right or wrong, they were deliberate opinions, and cannot be left out of consideration in a complete estimate of a writer's character and principles. The off-hand unpremeditated way in which they seemed to dart out of him, like sparks from a luminous body, proved only a mind entirely possessed with the subject; glowing as it were through and through.

Still, some will say, more selection might have been used, and many statements at least omitted, which, however well considered by himself, coming now suddenly as they do on the reader, appear unnecessarily startling and paradoxical. But really there was little option of that kind, if justice were to be done either to him or to the reader. His opinions had a wonderful degree of consistency and mutual bearing; they depended on each other as one whole: who was to take the responsibility of separating them? Who durst attempt it, considering especially his hatred of concealment and {xxi} artifice? Again: it was due to the reader to show him fairly how far the opinions recommended would carry him. There is no wish to disguise their tendencies, nor to withdraw them from such examination as will prove them erroneous, if they are so. Any homage which it is desired to render to his memory would indeed be sadly tarnished, were he to be spoken or written of in any spirit but that of an unshrinking openness like his own. Such also is the tone of the Catholic Fathers, and (if it may be urged without irreverence) of the Sacred Writers themselves. Nothing, as far as we can find, is kept back by them, merely because it would prove startling: openness, not disguise, is their manner. This should not be forgotten in a compilation professing simply to recommend their principles. Nothing therefore is here kept back, but what it was judged would be fairly and naturally misunderstood: the insertion of which, therefore, would have been virtually so much untruth.

Lastly, it may perhaps be thought, of the correspondence in particular, that it is eked out with unimportant details, according to the usual mistake of partial friends. The compilers, however, can most truly affirm, that they have had the risk of {xxii} such an error continually before their eyes, and have not, to the best of their judgment, inserted any thing, which did not tell, indirectly perhaps but really, towards filling up that outline of his mind and character, which seemed requisite to complete the idea of him as a witness to Catholic views. It can hardly be necessary for them to add, what the name of editor implies, that while they of course concur in his sentiments as a whole, they are not to be understood as rendering themselves responsible for every shade of opinion or expression.

It remains only to commend these fragments, if it may be done without presumption, to the same good Providence which seemed to bless the example and instructions of the writer while yet with us, to the benefit of many who knew him: that "being dead," he may "yet speak," as he constantly desired to do, a word in season for the Church of God: may still have the privilege of awakening some of her members to truer and more awful thoughts than they now have of their own high endowments and deep responsibility.

The Feast of the Purification, 1838.

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