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prelate of the Established Church had enjoyed,
while the middle and upper classes noted with
pleasure that, however Ultramontane in his
theology, he always spoke and wrote as an
Englishman upon non-theological subjects.

In this there was no playing of a part, for he
sincerely cared about temperance, the welfare of
children, the advancement of the labouring class,
and the greatness of England. But there was

Cardinal Manning 259

also a sage perception of the incidental service
which his attitude in these matters could render
to his church ; and he relished opportunities of
proving that a Catholic prelate could be not only
a philanthropist but also a patriot. He saw the
value of the attitude, though he used it honestly,
and if he was not artful, he was full of art.
Truth, for its own sake, he neither loved nor
sought, but, having once adopted certain conclu-
sions, doctrinal and practical, subordinated every-
thing else to them. Power he loved, yet not wholly
for the pleasure which he found in exerting it, but
also because he knew that he was fit to use it.
and could use it, to promote the aims he cherished.
To his church he was devoted heart and soul ; nor
could any one have better served it so far as
England was concerned. No one in our time,
hardly even Cardinal Newman, has done so much
to sap and remove the old Protestant fears and
jealousies of Rome, fears and jealousies which
had descended from days when they were less
unreasonable than the liberality or indifference
of our times will allow. Truly the Roman
Church is a wonderful institution, fertile beyond
any other, since in each succeeding age she has
given birth to new types of force suited to the
conditions she has to deal with. In Manning she
developed a figure full of a kind of charm and
strength which could hardly have found due
scope within a Protestant body: a man who never

2 6o Biographical Studies

obtruded a claim, yet never yielded one ; who
was the loyal servant of a spiritual despotism,
yet apparently in sympathy with democratic ideas
and movements ; equally welcome among the
poorest Irish of his diocese and at the gatherings
of the great ; ready to join in every good work
with those most opposed to his own doctrines,
yet standing detached as the austere and unbend-
ing representative of a world-embracing power.

Since these pages were written there has
appeared a Life of Cardinal Manning which, for
the variety and interest of its contents, and for the
flood of light which it throws upon its subject,
deserves to rank among the best biographies in
the English language. It reveals the inner life
of Manning, his high motives and his tortuous
methods, his piety and his aspirations, his occa-
sional lapses from sincerity and rectitude, with a
fulness to which one can scarcely find a parallel.
As was remarked by Mr. Gladstone, who was so
keenly interested in the book that for months he
could talk of little else, it leaves nothing for the
Day of Judgment.

It would be idle to deny that Manning's
reputation did in some measure suffer. Yet it
must in fairness be remembered that an ordeal
such as that to which he has been thus subjected
is seldom applied, and might, if similarly applied,
have lowered many another reputation. Cicero

Cardinal Manning 261

has suffered in like manner. We should have
thought more highly of him, though I do not
know that we should have liked him better, if his
letters had not survived to reveal weaknesses
which other men, or their biographers, were dis-
creet enough to conceal.

I have not attempted to rewrite the preceding
pages in the light of Mr. Purcell's biography, for
to do so v/ould have extended them beyond the
limits of a sketch. I have, moreover, found that
the disclosures contained in the biography do not
oblige me to darken the colours of the sketch
itself Taken all in all, these intimate records of
Manning's life tend to confirm the view that, along
with his love of power and pre-eminence, along
with his carelessness about historic truth, along
with the questionable methods he sometimes
allowed himself to use, there lay deep in his heart
a genuine and unfailing sympathy with many
good causes, such as the cause of temperance,
and a real tenderness for the poor and for
children. If he was far removed from a saint,
still less was he the mere worldly ecclesiastic,
crafty and ambitious, who has in all ages been
a familiar and unlovely type of character.


Edward Freeman was born at Harborne in
South Staffordshire on 2nd August 1823, and
died at AHcante on i6th March 1892, in the
course of an archaeological and historical journey
to the east and south of Spain, whither he had
gone to see the sites of the early Carthaginian
settlements. His life was comparatively un-
eventful, as that of learned men in our time
usually is. He was educated at home and at a
private school till he went to Oxford at the age
of eighteen. There he was elected a scholar of
Trinity College in 1841, took his degree (second
class in literae humaniores) in 1845, and was
elected a fellow of Trinity shortly afterwards.
Marrying in 1847, ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ fellowship, and
settled in 1848 in Gloucestershire, and at a later
time went to live in Monmouthshire, whence
he migrated in i860 to Somerleaze, a pretty
spot about a mile and a half to the north-

^ An excellent Life of Freeman has been written by his friend Mr.
W. R. W. Stephens, afterwards Dean of Winchester, whose death while
these pages were passing through the press has caused the deepest regret
to all who had the opportunity of knowing his literary gifts and his
lovable character.


Edward Freeman 263

west of Wells in Somerset. Here he lived
till 1884, when he was appointed (on the re-
commendation of Mr. Gladstone) to the Regius
Professorship of Modern History at Oxford.
Thenceforth he spent the winter and spring in
the University, returning for the long vacation
to Somerleaze, a place he dearly loved, not only
in respect of the charm of the surrounding
scenery, but from its proximity to the beautiful
churches of Wells and to many places of histori-
cal interest. For the greater part of his manhood
his surroundings were those of a country gentle-
man, nor did he ever reconcile himself to town
life, for he loved the open sky, the fields and hills,
and all wild creatures, though he detested what
are called field sports, knew nothing of natural
history, and had neither taste nor talent for
farming. As he began life with an income suf-
ficient to make a gainful profession unnecessary,
he did not prepare himself for any, but gave free
scope from the first to his taste for study and
research. Thus the record of his life is, with the
exception of one or two incursions into the field
of practical politics, a record of his historical work
and of the journeys he undertook in connection
with it.

History was the joy as well as the labour of
his life. But the conception he took of it was
peculiar enough to deserve some remark. The
keynote of his character was the extraordinary

264 Biographical Studies

warmth of his interest in the persons, things, and
places which he cared for, and the scarcely less
conspicuous indifference to matters which lay
outside the well-defined boundary line of his sym-
pathies. If any branch of inquiry seemed to him
directly connected with history, he threw himself
heartily into it, and drew from it all it could be
made to yield for his purpose. About other sub-
jects he would neither read nor talk, no matter
how completely they might for the time be filling
the minds of others. While an undergraduate,
and influenced, like most of the abler men among
his Oxford contemporaries, by the Tractarian
opinions and sentiments then in their full force
and freshness,^ he became interested in church
architecture, discerned the value which architec-
ture has as a handmaid to historical research, set
to work to study mediseval buildings, and soon
acquired a wonderfully full and exact knowledge
of the most remarkable churches and castles all
over England. He taught himself to sketch, not
artistically, but sufficiently well to record charac-
teristic points, and by the end of his life he had

1 The scholars of Trinity were then (1843) ^'^ High Churchmen,
and never dined in hall on Fridays. Fourteen years later there was not a
single High Churchman among them. Ten or fifteen years afterwards
Anglo-Catholic sentiment was again strong. Freeman said that his revul-
sion against Tractarianism began from a conversation with one of his
fellow-scholars, who had remarked that it was a pity there had been a
flaw in the consecration of some Swedish bishops in the si.vteenth century,
for this had imperilled the salvation of all Swedes since that time. lie
was startled, and began to reconsider his position.

Edward Freeman 265

accumulated a collection of hundreds of drawings
made by himself of notable buildings in France,
Germany, Italy, and Dalmatia, as well as in the
British Isles. Architecture was always thence-
forward to him the prime external record and
interpreter of history. But it was the only art in
which he took the slightest interest. He cared
nothing for pictures or statuary ; was believed
to have once only, when his friend J. R. Green
dragged him thither, visited a picture-gallery in
the course of his numerous journeys ; and did not
seem to perceive the significance which paintings
have as revealinir the thouehts and social con-
dition of the time which produced them. Another
branch of inquiry cognate to history which he
prized was comparative philology. With no
great turn for the refinements of classical
scholarship, and indeed with some contempt for
the practice of Latin and Greek verse-making
which used to absorb much of the time and
labour of undergraduates and their tutors at
Oxford and Cambridge, he was extremely fond
of tracing words through different languages so
as to establish the relations of the peoples who
spoke them, and, indeed, used to argue that all
teaching of languages ought to begin with
Grimm's law, and to base his advocac\- of the
retention of Greek as a si)ie (]ua iioii for an Arts
degree in the University on the im[jortance of
that law. But with this love for philology as an

266 Biographical Studies

instrument in the historian's hands, he took Httle
pleasure in languages simply as languages that
is to say, he did not care to master, and was not
apt at mastering, the grammar and idioms of a
tongue. French was the only foreign language
he spoke with any approach to ease, though he
could read freely German, Italian, and modern
Greek, and on his tour in Greece made some
vigorous speeches to the people in their own
tongue. He had learnt to pronounce Greek in the
modern fashion, which few Englishmen can do ;
but how much of his classically phrased discourses
did the crowds that acclaimed the distinguished
Philhellene understand ? So too he was a keen
and well -trained archaeologist, but only because
archaeology was to him a priceless adjunct one
might almost say the most trustworthy source
of the study of early history. As evidence of
his accomplishments as an antiquary I cannot do
better than quote the words of a master of that
subject, who was also one of his oldest friends.
Mr. George T. Clark says:

He was an accurate observer, not only of the broad
features of a country but of its ancient roads and earthworks,
its prehistoric monuments, and its earlier and especially its
ecclesiastical buildings. No man was better versed in the
distinctive styles of Christian architecture, or had a better
general knowledge of the earthworks from the study of which
he might hope to correct or corroborate any written records,
and by the aid of which he often infused life and reality into
otherwise obscure narrations. . . . He visited every spot upon

Edward Freeman 267

which the Conqueror is recorded to have set his foot, com-
pared many of the strongholds of his followers with those
they left behind them in Normandy, and studied the evidence
of Domesday for their character and possessions. When
writing upon Rufus he spent some time in examining the
afforested district of the New Forest, and sought for traces of
the villages and churches said to have been depopulated or
destroyed. And for us archaeologists he did more than this.
When he attended a provincial congress and had listened to
the description of some local antiquity, some mound, or
divisional earthbank, or semi-Saxon church, he at once strove
to show the general evidence to be deduced from them, and
how it bore upon the boundaries or formation of some Celtic
or Saxon province or diocese, if not upon the general history
of the kingdom itself. . . . He thus did much to elevate the
pursuits of the archaeologist, and to show the relation they
bore to the far superior labours of the historian.

Freeman was always at his best when in the field. It was
then that the full force of his personality came into play : his
sturdy upright figure, sharp-cut features, flowing beard, well-
modulated voice, clear enunciation, and fluent and incisive
speech. None who have heard him hold forth from the steps
of some churchyard cross, or from the top stone of some half-
demolished cromlech, can ever cease to have a vivid recollec-
tion of both the orator and his theme.

Freeman took endless pains to master the topo-
graphy of any phice he had to deal with. When
at work in his later years on Sicilian history he
visited, and he has minutely described, the site of
nearly every spot in that island where a battle
or a siege took place in ancient times, so that
his volumes have become an elaborate historical
guide-book for the student or tourist.

But while he thus delighted in whatever bore
upon history as he conceived it, his conception

268 Biographical Studies

was one which belonged to the eighteenth century
rather than to our own time. It was to him not
only primarily but almost exclusively a record
of political events that is to say, of events in
the sphere of war, diplomacy, and government.
He expressed this view with concise vigour in
the well-known dictum, " History is past politics,
and politics is present history " ; and though his
friends remonstrated with him against this view
as far too narrow, excluding from the sphere
of history many of its deepest sources of in-
terest, he would never give way. That his-
torians should care as much (or more) for the
religious or philosophical opinions of an age, or
for its ethical and social phenomena, or for the
studv of its economic conditions, as for forms
of government or battles and sieges, seemed to
him strange. He did not argue against the
friends who differed from him, for he was ready
to believe that there must be something true and
valuable in the views of a man whom he re-
spected ; but he could not be induced to devote
his own labours to the elucidation of these
matters. He would say to Green, "You may
bring in all that social and religious kind of
thing, Johnny, but I can't." So when he went
to deliver lectures in the United States, he de-
lighted in making new acquaintances there, and
was interested in the Federal system and in all
institutions which he could trace to their English

Edward Freeman 269

originals, but did not care to see anything or
hear anything about the economic development
or social life of the country.

The same predominant liking for the political
element in history made him indifferent to many
kinds of literature. It may indeed be said that
literature, simply as literature, did not attract
him. In his later years, at any rate, he seldom
read a book except for the sake of the political or
historical information it contained. Among the
writers whom he most disliked were Plato, Car-
lyle, and Ruskin, in no one of whom could he see
any merit, Plato, he said, was the only author
he had ever thrown to the other end of the room.
Neither, although very fond of the Greek and
Roman classics generally, did he seem to enjoy
any of the Greek poets except Homer and Pindar
and, to some extent, Aristophanes. His liking
for Pindar used to surprise us, because Pindar is
peculiarly the favourite poet of poetical minds ;
and I suspect it was not so much the splendour of
Pindar's style and the wealth of his imagination
that Freeman enjoyed, as rather the profusion of
historical and mythological references. He was
impatient with the Greek tragedians, and still
more impatient with Virgil, because (as he said)
"Virgil cannot or will not say a thing simply."
Among English poets his preference was for
the old heroic ballads, such as the songs of
Brunanburh and Maldon, and, among recent

270 Biographical Studies

writers, for Macaulay's Lays. The first thing
he ever published (1850) was a volume of verse,
consisting mainly of ballads, some of them very
spirited, on events in Greek and Moorish history.
It may be doubted if he remembered a line of
Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, or Tennyson. He
blamed Walter Scott for misrepresenting history
in Ivanhoe, but constantly read the rest of his
stories, taking special pleasure in Peveril of the
Peak. He bestowed warm praise upon Romola,
on one occasion reading it through twice in a
single journey. Mrs. Gaskell's Mary Barton,
Marry at's Peter Simple, Trollope's The Warden
and Barchester Towers, were amongst his
favourites. Among the moderns, Macaulay was
his favourite prose author, and he was wont to
say that from Macaulay he had learned never
to be afraid of using the same word to describe
the same thing, and that no one was a better
model to follow in the choice of pure English.
Limitations of taste are not uncommon among
eminent men. W^hat was uncommon in Free-
man was the perfect frankness with which he
avowed his aversions, and the absence of any
pretence of caring for things which he did not
really care for. He was in this, as in all other
matters, a singularly simple and truthful man,
never seeking to appear different from what he
was, and finding it hard to understand why other
people should not be equally simple and direct.

Edward Freeman 271

This directness made him express himself with
an absence of reserve which often gave offence.
Positive and definite, with a strong broad logic
which every one could follow, he was a for-
midable controversialist even on subjects outside
history. A good specimen of his powers was
given in the argument against the cruelty of
field sports which he carried on wuth Anthony
Trollope. His cause was not a popular one in
England, but he stated it so well as to carry off
the honours of the fray.^

The restriction of his interest to a few topics
wide ones, to be sure seemed to increase the
intensity of his devotion to those few ; and thus
even the two chief practical interests he had in
life connected themselves with his conception of

' Having had about the same time a brush witli George Anthony
Denison (Archdeacon of Taunton), and a less friendly passage of arms with
James Anthony Froude, he wrote to me in 1870 : "I am greater than
Cicero, who was smiter of one Antonius. I venture to think that I have
whopped the whole Gens Antonia first Anthony pure and simple, which
is Trollope ; secondly, James Anthony, whom I believe myself to have
smitten, as Cnut did Eadric swide rihtlice, in the matter of St. Hugh ;
thirdly, George Anthony, with whom I fought again last Tuesday, carrying
at our Education Board a resolution in favour of Forster's bill." Trollope
and he became warm friends. Froude he heartily disliked, noi, I think,
on any personal grounds, but because he thought Froude indifferent to
truth, and was incensed by the defence of Henry VHI.'s crimes.

It may be added that Freeman, much as he detested Henry \TH., used
to observe that Henry had a sort of legal conscience, because he always
wished his murders to be done l)y Act of Parliament, and that the earlier
and better part of Henry's reign ouglil not to be forgotten. He \sas fond of
quoting the euphemism with which an old Oxford professor of ecclesiastical
history concluded his account of the sovereign whom, in respect of his rela-
tion to the Church of England, it seemed proper to handle gently : " The
later years of this great monarch were clouded by domestic troubles."'

2'12 Biographical Studies

history. One was the discharge of his duties as
a magistrate in the local government of his county.
While he lived at Somerleaze he rarely missed
Quarter Sessions, speaking seldom, but valuing
the opportunity of taking part in the rule of the
shire. The other was the politics of the time,
foreign politics even more than domestic. He
was from an early age a strong Liberal, throw-
ing himself into every question which bore on
the Constitution, either in state or in church, for
(as has been said) topics of the social or economic
kind lay rather out of his sphere. When Mr.
Gladstone launched his Irish Home Rule scheme
in 1886, Freeman espoused it warmly, and praised
it for the very point which drew most censure
even from Liberals, the removal of the Irish
members from Parliament. He was intensely
English and Teutonic, and wished the Gael to
be left to settle, or fight over, their own affairs in
their own island, as they had done eight centuries
ago. Even the idea of separating Ireland alto-
gether from the English Crown would not have
alarmed him, for he did not thank Strongbow
and Henry II. for having invaded it; while, on
the other hand, the plan of turning the United
Kingdom into a federation, giving to England,
Scotland, Ireland, and Wales each a local parlia-
ment of its own, with an imperial parliament
for common concerns, shocked all his historical

Edward Freeman 273

In 1859 he was on the point of coming
forward as a parHamentary candidate for the
borough of Newport in Monmouthshire, and
again at the election of 1868 he actually did
stand for one of the divisions of Somerset, and
showed in his platform speeches a remarkable gift
of eloquence, and occasionally, also, of humour,
coupled with a want of those minor arts which
usually contribute more than eloquence does to
success in electioneering. I went round with
him, along with his and my friend Mr. Albert
Dicey, and few are the candidates who get so
much pleasure out of a contest as Freeman did.
He was a strenuous advocate of disestablishment
in Ireland, the question chiefly at issue in the
election of 1868, because he thought the Roman
Catholic Church was of right, and ought by law
to be, the national Church there ; but no less
decidedly opposed to disestablishment in England,
where it would have pained him to see the up-
rooting of a system entwined with the ideas and
events of the Middle Ages. In his later years
he told me that if the Liberal party took up the
policy of disestablishment in Wales, he did not
know whether he could adhere to them, much as
he desired to do so.

Similarly he disliked all schemes for drawing
the colonies into closer relations with the United
Kingdom, and even seemed to wish that they
should sever themselves from it, as the United


2 74 Biographical Studies

States had done. This view sprang partly from
his feeling that they were very recent acquisitions,
with which the old historic England had nothing
to do, partly also from the impression made
on him by the analogy of the Greek colonies.
He held that the precedent of the Greek
settlements showed the true and proper relation
between a " metropolis," or mother-city, and her
colonies to be one not of political dependence or
interdependence, but of cordial friendliness and a
disposition to render help, nothing more. These
instances are worth citing because they illustrate
a remarkable difference between his way of look-
ing historically at institutions and Macaulay's way.
A friend of his (the late Mr. S. R. Gardiner),
like Freeman a distinguished historian, and like
him a strong Home Ruler, wrote to me upon this
point as follows :

Freeman and Macaulay are alike in the higli value they
set upon parliamentary institutions. On the other hand, when
Macaulay wants to make you understand a thing, he compares
it with that which existed in his own day. The standard
of the present is always with him. Freeman traces it to
its origin, and testifies to its growth. The strength of this
mode of proceeding in an historian is obvious. Its weak-
ness is that it does not help him to appreciate statesmanship
looking forward and trying to find a solution of difficult
problems. Freeman's attitude is that of the people who

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