Edmund Sheridan Purcell.

Life of Cardinal Manning, archbishop of Westminster online

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popular outcry against Newman and the writers of the
Tracts, the Archdeacon of Chichester fell not only into line
with the protesting bishops and the leaders of popular
Protestantism, but smote with his own hand them that
were down.

It must, however, be ever borne in mind, that in the
attitude which he assumed at that time, Manning was in
part constrained by the sense of responsibility imposed upon
him by his new office ; by his closer relations not only with
his own bishop, but with the dignitaries of the Church, and
last, but not least, by the weight of public opinion


In part, too, we may be assured lie was actuated by the
keen desire of bis heart to preserve in the Church of
England concord and unity, which were dear to him as the
apple of his eye ; and which were threatened, as he feared,
in that heart- searching day, by those whom the Record
denounced at the time as the " troublers of our Israel."



The Archdeacon of Chichester was now approaching a
most critical period in his life. To him the condemnation
of Tract 90 was the beginning of the end. Tractarianism
was a losing cause. To a losing cause Manning was never
partial, early in life or late. His nature instinctively shrank
from them that were failing, or were down. On the
winning side, he could render, as he knew, far more
effectual service to the Church — a thought ever upper-
most in his miud — by restraining extreme men on either
side. Untrammelled by party ties, he could assume the
character of peacemaker, and stepping forth between the
two hostile camps present the olive branch. It was, if
a critical, therefore, a period of highest interest as testing
character, as it can alone be tested aright, by trials and
temptations ; yet painful withal, as showing how Manning
in those tempestuous days was influenced and swayed by
external circumstances, by public opinion and popular

This period, which I have now to chronicle, is described
in his contemporary Diary by Archdeacon Manning as
follows: — "Declension — three and a half years — secularity,
vanity, and anger." ^ Again, " I was caught up in the
wilderness of London life, visions of an ecclesiastical future
came to me." On the 30th of January 1846 is the
following record : — " I do feel pleasure in honour, precedence,

* See Archdeacon Manning's Diary, 1844-47.


elevation, the society of great people, and all this is very
shameful and mean."

Such confessions were the reproaches of a sensitive
conscience under severe self-examination, made in the peace
and quiet of Lavington, on a return from one of his
periodical visits of three or four weeks to London. All
this means no more than that Manning for three and a
half years, dating from his final repudiation of the
Tractarians in his Charge, July 1843, to his illness in
1847 — cast in his lot with the winning and popular side.
He suspended for a time correspondence on his religious
doubts and difficulties with Robert Wilberforce. He entered,
as I have already related, into London society. Dined in the
company of great people in Church and State. Attended levies
and drawing-rooms. He followed, in a word, the leading of
his brother-in-law, Sam Wilberforce, then recently appointed
Bishop of Oxford. "What wonder then, that under such
influences, the hope of preferment, or what he called " ele-
vation into a sphere of higher usefulness," should have
entered for a time into the heart of the Archdeacon of
Chichester ?

There is no need or call to gloss over or suppress,
even if it were honest, this period of "declension and
secularity " ; it was followed by repentance and change of
heart, as is fully set forth in Archdeacon Manning's Diary

in 1847.

Newman's retirement to Littlemore brought matters to
a crisis in Manning's mind. It was a danger-signal. He
felt instinctively that Newman's " fall," as Mr. Gladstone did
not hesitate to describe it, would implicate not Tractarians
only, but the High Church party en masse, and be fatal to
their position as leaders in the future. Ultra-Protestantism
in its rage and jealousy, the civil and ecclesiastical authori-
ties in their blind following of popular feeling, would involve
with Newman the whole High Church party in a common
condemnation. Such a catastrophe, Manning felt, must
needs be averted at all hazards — even at tht hazard of
giving pledges to ultra-Protestantism.

On Newman's withdrawing to Littlemore, Manning wrote
VOL. I a


making inquiries, and in reply received a letter from Newman/
which both Manning and Mr. Gladstone interpreted as indi-
cating secession. On receiving from Manning his own and
Newman's letter, Mr. Gladstone, under date Whitehall, 28 th
October 1843, wrote as follows: —

My DEAR Manning — Alas, alas for your letter and inclosures
of this morning ! My first thought is " I stagger to and fro like
a drunken man, and am at my wit's end." But even out of the
enormity of the mischief arises some gleam of consolation. For
between four and five years he has had this fatal conviction ;
he has waited probably in the hope of its being changed —
perhaps he may still wait — and God's inexhaustible mercy may
overflow upon hira and us.

It is impossible for me at the end of a long day and near the
post time really to enter upon this subject, and indeed I am so
bewildered and overthrown that I am otherwise wholly unfit.
But I will address myself briefly to points which appear to me to

I cannot make his letter hang together. The licence to you
at the end looks like saying " 1 cannot bring myself to reveal
this — do you reveal it for me " — but surely this is contradicted
by his aspiration that God " may keep him still from hasty acts
or resolves with a doubtful conscience." This could have no
meaning — would be worse than nonsense — if the interpretation
of the concluding passage which I have suggested were adopted.

I cling to the hope that what he terms his conviction is not
a conclusion finally seated in his mind, but one which he sees
advancing upon him without the means of resistance or escape.
This is sad enough, more than enough ; but something of this
kind is absolutely required to make his conduct (I must speak
succinctly) honest. I am strongly of opinion, and I venture to
press it upon you, that you ought not to rest contented with the
bare negation in your P.S., but to write to him again — he cannot
be surprised at after-thoughts following upon such a letter. To
tell him as you tell me tliat you cannot put his letter consistently
together : that much more would be requisite in order to enable
you to come at his real meaning — not to say at any such view
of the chain of what precedes, as you could in justice to him
adopt — that you believe he never could intend you to make any
use, save the most confidential, of that letter — that if he could
for one moment be out of himself and read it as another man

^ This letter of Newman's is not in the "Collection of Letters" preserved
by the late Cardinal Manning



doesj, he would see it in a moment. (The description of his pro-
ceedings in 1841, of his letter to the Bishop of Oxford, of his
committing himself again, is, as it stands there^ frightful, — forgive
me if I say it, — more like the expressions of some Faust gambling
for his soul, than the records of the inner life of a great Christian
teacher.) Therefore you cannot take this ktter as it stands to bo
his. Reflect upon the constructions which that passage would
bear upon the mind of the country. It would lead men to say
— He whom we have lost is not the man we thought. It certainly
would damage and disparage his authority and character in the
manner which one perhaps should desire as to a confirmed
enemy to Truth, but which with respect to him it would be
most wicked to do otherwise than deeply lament.

I do not know whether out of these confused chaoti<; elements
you can make the ground note of a further note — or whether
you will think it right — but I feel that there are such imperative
reasons upon the face of his letter, reasons relative to himself
and his own good name, for your keeping it secret, that I am
very loath your refusal to divulge should stand without any
reason ; next I have the hope that he does not desire or con-
template abandonment of the Church ; and lastly, I would to
God you could throw in one word, glancing at the fatal results,
which I may seriously illustrate by the efi'ects that the horrors
of the French Revolution produced in a most violent reaction
against democratic principles in England. But even this, though
a great historic truth, seems cold for the matter we are now
dealing with.

I think you come to town next week — come to our house
and take up your quarters there, that we may communicate
freely. We may then, please God, talk of James Hope, and
other matters.

I am compelled thus abruptly to close. — Ever affectionately
yours, W. E. Gladstonk

Manning, we may be sure, did not "stagger to and fro
like a drunken man," at the thought of Newman's secession ;
nor, with Mr. Gladstone in the excitement of his intense
grief, regard Newman as a " Faust gambling for his soul."
Still less would prudence allow him, as Mr. Gladstone sug-
crested, to enter into controversy with Newman. Supreme
over private feelings was the public duty imposed upon the
Archdeacon of Chichester by Newman's letter, or the con-
struction put upon it, to break, and, on this occasion at all
events, in an unmistakable fashion, with the Tractarian


party and its illustrious leader. Manning knew better than
Mr. Gladstone did " the fatal results to all Catholic progres -
sion in the Church which Newman's fall would produce.*
To-morrow, when the fatal tidings, which to-day he held
locked in his breast, should become public, there would be,
as Manning knew but too well, an end to all Catholic progress;
an end to peace : an end to his own work and position. All
alike would be tarred with the same brush. Time pressed :
an opportunity was at hand : Manning was not the man, in
the Church's interests or his own, to shrink, no matter at what
sacrifice of personal friendship, from a public duty.

The necessity of things — a hard taskmaster, as he
found out to his cost, and not on this occasion only
— induced him once more at that period of acknow-
ledged " declension," to take a new departure and make
a fresh sacrifice. Archdeacon Manning was equal to the
occasion ; he was not afraid, in that evil day, to gratify the
Ecclesiastical and Civil authorities and to respond to the
popular " No Popery " outcry against Newman and the writers
of the Tracts by preaching a Fifth of November sermon in
the pulpit of St. Mary's, Oxford, but now abandoned by
the illustrious recluse of Littlemore.

In a conversation with Mr. Gladstone several years ago
about this forgotten 5th of November sermon, and about
Manning's declaration that, " unlike Newman, he had not
pages after pages of passionate rhetoric and of empty
declamation to retract on his conversion, but only, in all
his works, four pages — and those not of anti-Eoman abuse,
but — of calm and simple argument," Mr. Gladstone said :
*' Manning has forgotten his anti - papal sermon, which
created no little sensation at the time, and under the
circumstances of its delivery. I remember well the efifect it
produced." After some remarks upon his own intimacy
with Manning, Mr. Gladstone went on: "In 1843, just
after Newman's retirement to Littlemore, Manning preached
the 5 til of November sermon — a custom then kept up
at Oxford, and made a fierce attack on the Church of Rome.
In it, there is plenty of passionate rhetoric, as you will find
when you get it, for Manning to retract."


Afterwards Mr. Gladstone added, that "Manning's *No
Popery' sermon gave great offence to many at Oxford,
delivered as it was at St. Mary's and almost on the occasion,
though, of course, neither event nor name was mentioned, of
Newman's retirement. I know, not only that two or three of
Manning's personal friends refused to speak to him after
that sermon ; but, on his paying a visit to Littlemore shortly
afterwards Newman himself declined to see him."

Two or three passages from A Sermon ^preached on
5th November 1843, in commemoration of Guy Fawkes^ Plot,
under the title " Christ our Eest and King," is all that
I need recite to show that on his conversion Manning
had something more to recant than he was willing to
admit, and of a different character than pure argument ;
for the insinuations that the Gunpowder Plot was en-
couraged by the subtleties of Eoman casuistry, is a rhe-
torical appeal to the popular Protestant prejudices prevalent
in that day rather than to calm reason. The following
passages seem more suited to the heated atmosphere of
Exeter Hall than to that of St. Mary's, Oxford : —

The two events which are united in the acts of this day
(5th of November), different as they are in their circumstan-
tials, have this at least in common. They exhibit the mercy of
God in preserving the English Church and people from the
secular domination of the Roman Pontiff.

The conspiracy against the king and the three estates of
England was conceived, planned, and brought to the eve of
perpetration, by members of the Roman communion ; it was
designed to advance the interests of the Roman Church. It
was not indistinctly known that some such attempt was in
preparation. The intent was encouraged by the subtilities of
casuistry, being directly defensible on principles prevalent and
commended among the writers of that Church.

• ••••••

In the other event the " Most High " that " ruleth in the
kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will," con-
founded our adversaries in the very point wherein they had
usurped upon His sole prerogative. They who had claimed " the
power to bestow the empire on whom they listed," who also
said of themselves : ** We " (the popes) " are to this end placed
over the nations and kingdoms, that we may destroy and puU up


and plant '* — saw, in one hour, the secret labours anc] confident
expectations of many years scattered " as a dream when one

In a note the archdeacon says : —

No one can deny that the Revolution of 1688 was an erent
in Providence, nor that by that event the re-entrance of the
Roman influence was prevented, and no member of the English
Church can but look upon this as a mercy.-*^

Then the archdeacon goes on with his 5th of Novem-
ber sermon as follows : —

A special Providence appears to have shielded this Church
and realm from falling again under the secular dominion of
Rome. Every time it has re-entered, it has been cast out again
with a more signal expulsion ; every time it has seemed to
gather strength, it has been more utterly confounded. The
reign of princes alien from the English Church has been twice
brought to an end with a speed truly significant : foreign arma-
ments ignominiously bafiled, conspiracies at home laid bare,
the insinuation of secret emissaries detected and exposed, the
whole line of the House of Stuart repelled by steady and
uniform defeats. If a series of Providential acts may be read
in combination, and thereby taken to express the purpose of
the Divine Ruler of the world, it would seem to be the will of
God that the dominion of the Roman Pontificate may never
again be set up in this Church and realm.^

After stating that "there are many duties to which

* Referring to a note in Tract 90, Ward says, '* In the note it not obscurely
instructs us to look *at the judgment of King Charles's murder ' as brought
down by the crying sins of the Reformation." — A few more Words in supjoort
of No. 90 of the Tracts for the Times, by the Rev. W. G. Ward.

* In the Introduction (page 2) to tbo Temporal Mission of the Holy
Ghost, published in 1877, Cardinal Manning, after rectifying two errors in
his Anglican Sermons, the Rule of Faith and Unity of the Church, goes on as
follows : — "Thirdly, in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford on
5th November 1843, speaking of the conflicts between the Holy See and the
Crown of England, I used the words : * It would seem to be the will of Heaven
that the dominion of the Roman Pontificate may never again be set up in
this Church and realm.' Now I feel that I owe a reparation to the Truth
for these three errors. Beyond these, I am not aware that for any published
statements, I have any reparation to make. And I feel, that, as the state-
ments were not declamations, bnt reasoned propositions, so ought th«
refutation to be likewise."


this day of commemoration (5th of November) recalls us,**
the preacher proceeds to justify the Eeformers, showing
how, "for just causes and by a rightful authority, the
Eoman jurisdiction was finally removed *' ; and then he goes
on: —

The principle on which the Reformers rested their act, and
on which our relation to the Roman Church is still amply
to be defended, is this : — That there is no one supreme Prince
or Power in things temporal from whom the pastors of this
Church derive their apostolical succession, that both the spiritu-
ality and the temporality of this Church and realm severally
possess full authority and jurisdiction derived to them by
succession and devolution, and that both under Christ alone
are within their respective spheres perfect and complete. There
does not exist any fountain of jurisdiction below Christ the head
of all, on whose will and authority the acts of either for right or
validity depend.^

The preacher, it will be observed, does not stoop to
argue, but contents himself with laying down, in a tone of
infallible authority, a dogmatic assurance. His ipse dixit
was to be accepted as all -sufficing. This dogmatic cer-
tainty, combined with his earnestness and good faith, was
the secret of Manning's influence in that day when the
hearts of men were shaken by the forebodings consequent
on Newman's retirement to Littlemore.

Then, as befits the preacher of a 5th of November
sermon, the archdeacon launches forth against the Catholic
Church and the Popes : —

From two of the mightiest kingdoms of Western Europe
this generation has seen the Church all but blotted out. At its
very centre it rests upon the deceitful calmness of a flood, which
at any hour may lift up its lowest depths and scatter it to the
winds. They (the popes) who once claimed to plant and to
pluck up the thrones of kings, now hold their own unsteady seat
by the tutelage of princes.

Lastly, Archdeacon Manning relapses into the propheti-
cal mood — so common with him in those days — in which,
Cassandra -like^ he foretells evil days and terrible issues

* Christ our Best and King, p. 92.


for the Church of Eome. His eye piercing the veil of the
future, he sees visions and dreams dreams, and in winding up,
as seems to have been about this period a favourite habit
of his enthusiasm, his tongue utters a glowing prophecy as
to the coming glorification of the Church of England : —

The whole aspect of the world seems to be lodging cut
towards some new movement of the providential hand. It is
towards evening, and the day of its restless life seems well nigh
spent. The old institutions of the Christian world cast long
shadows on the earth — strange energies, spiritual and political,
issue from their relaxing frames, forming themselves into new
eombinations, and moving rapidly towards some unknown con-

If there be truth in the universal foreboding of Christendom,
days of trial for the Church must soon come — and who can fore-
tell what we, unworthy, may be raised up to fulfil, for what the
energetic acts of the sixteenth century may have been the
stern but necessary preparation ? It may be that our highly
favoured Church, amid many chastisements and rebukes of
heavenly discipline, shall be fashioned and perfected until it
becomes a principle of reconciliation between East and West,
and a law of unity and peace to mankind. It may be that our
task shall be to cast up the camp of the saints against the day
when the nations of Antichrist shall, for the last time, go up
and compass it about. AVe may be called to bear and break
the last assault of the kingdom of evil. God grant that we may
be kept unspotted from the world ; steadfastly cleaving to the
Unseen Hand, which has thus far preserved us ; ready to serve
Him in the Church where He has blessed us with our spiritual
birth, by all the powers of life and, through His strength, even
unto death.

Manning, who, up to the date of the condemnation
of Tract 90 — up to the time of his appointment as
Archdeacon — had been on terms almost of intimacy with
Newman, could not now but feel that he had placed himself
in an awkward, if not a false position. The 5th rf
November sermon was preached on Sunday ; on Monday
the 6th, Manning hurried down to Littlemore in the vain
hope of explaining away or extenuating his sudden change
of front. He was too late. The fatal news had already
reached Littlemore. Newman did not understand, or


bad no stomach for, the ways of diplomacy. Manning,
on his arrival, was met with the answer, " Not at Home." ^
He understood its meaning ; and so did all Oxford. The
5th of November sermon was extinguished in laughter. It
is not only in France that le ridicule tue.

Sam Wilberforce, on another occasion, received a like
rebuke ; had a like measure of poetic justice dealt out to
him for playing a double part. Wilberforce had made a
vehement attack on Pusey for his famous sermon on sin
after baptism, and shortly afterwards sent an article to the
British Critic, Newman, as editor, returned the MS. with
the message that he could not accept an article in support
of the Tractarian movement in Oxford from one who had
attacked it in London. Sam Wilberforce's disgust and
mortification may be imagined. After his 5 th of Novem-
ber sermon, Mauiiiug wrote no more for the British Critic}

In a letter to his sister, dated Oxford, 7th November
1843, speaking of Manning's 5th of November sermon,
J. B. Mozley says : —

Archdeacon Manning preached on Sunday a testification
sermon against the British Critic. I did not like either the

^ The door was opened by one of tliose young men, then members of the
quasi-monastic community, who had to convey to the archdeacon the un-
pleasant communication that Newman declined to see him. So anxious was
the young man to cover the slight, and to minimise its effect, that he walked
away from the door with the archdeacon, bareheaded as he was, and had
covered half the way to Oxford before he turned back, unaware, as was his
companion, of his unprotected state under a November sky. So strangely do
we change in these changing times, that it is hard to realise that the per-
plexed novice was James Anthony Froude. — The Century, vol. xxvi. 1883,
p. 129.

The writer in the Century, in speaking of Mr. Froude as a novice, was
under a mistake. Mr. Froude was at no time a novice per[)lexed or other-
wise at Littlemore ; he was not even an inmate. Like many another under
graduate at the time, he with other disciples was in the habit of walking
over from Oxford to Littlemore to see Newman.

^ In the beginning of the year, January 1841, S. F. Wood had written to
Manning congratulating him on his article in the British Critic: — "It is
most masterly and high-toned, indeed. How grand our three articles, all of
% row in the British Critic, look." The three writers were Manning, Wood,
and Rogers. Their articles were non- theological. Manning's article was, of
course, in the printers' hands before he was made archdeacon (2'lih December


matter or tone. He seemed so really carried aT^^ay by Uav of
Romanism that he almost took under his patronage the Puritans
and the Whigs of 1688, because they had settled the matter
against the pope. He did not indeed commit himself into a
direct approval of them and the means they used, but talked of
the whole movement as having had a happy event and being
providential. Yet he went up to Littlemore and saw J. H. N.^
yesterday. I suppose he wants to disconnect himself regularly
from the ultra party, and has taken this means. The Heads

Online LibraryEdmund Sheridan PurcellLife of Cardinal Manning, archbishop of Westminster → online text (page 23 of 66)