John Henry Newman.

Apologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions online

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" The atrocious imputation, out of which the late controversy arose, was felt
as a personal affront by them, one and all, conscious as they were, that it
was mainly owing to your position as a distinguished Catholic ecclesiastic, that
the charge was connected with your name.

** While they regret the pain yon must needs have suffered, they cannot help
rejoicing that it has afforded you an opportunity of rendering a new and most
important service to their holy religion. Writers, who are not overscrupulous
about the truth themselves, have long used the charge of untruthfulness as an
ever ready weapon against the Catholic Clergy. Partly from the frequent repe-
tition of this charge, partly from a consciousness that, instead of undervaluing
the truth, they have ever prized it above every earthly treasure, partly, too,
from the difficulty of obtaining a hearing in their own defence, they have gene-
rally passed it by in silence. They thank you for coming forward as their
champion : your own character required no vindication. It was their battle
more than your own that you fought. They know and feel how much pain
it has caused you to bring so prominently forward your own life and motives,
but they now congratulate you on the completeness of your triumph, as ad-
mitted alike by friend and enemy.

" In addition to answering the original accusation, you have placed them
under a new obligation, by giving to all, who read the English language, a work
which, for literary ability and the lucid exposition of many difficult and abstruse
points, forms an invaluable contribution to our literature.

" They fervently pray that God may give you health and length of days, and,
if it please Him, some other cause in which to use for His glory the great
powers bestowed upon you.

" Signed on behalf of the Meeting,

•*The Very Rev. J. H. Newman."

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The Secular Priests on Mission in 1864 in this Diocese
were 64,

" Durham, Sept. 22, 1864.
«* My Dear Dr. Newman,

'* At the aonaal meeting of the Clergy of the Diocese of Hexham
and Newcastle, held a few days ago at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I was commis-
sioned hy them to express to you their sincere sympathy, on account of the
slanderous accusations, to which you have been so unjustly exposed. We are
fully aware that these foul calumnies were intended to injure the character of
the whole body of the Catholic Clergy, and that your distinguished name was
singled out, in order that they might be more effectually propagated. It is
well that these poisonous shafts were thus aimed, as no one could more tri.
umphantly repel them. The * Apologia pro YitS snk* will, if possible, render
still more illustrious the name of its gifted author, and be a lasting monument
of the victory of truth, and the signal overthrow of an arrogant and reckless

'* It may appear late for us now to ask to join in your triumph, but as the
Annual Meeting of the Northern Clergy does not take place till this time, it is
the first occasion offered us to present our united congratulations, and to de-
clare to you, that by none of your brethren are you mor^ esteemed and vene-
rated, than by the Clergy of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

** Wishing that Almighty God may prolong your life many more years for
the defence of our holy religion and the honour of your brethren,

" I am, dear Dr. Newman,

'' Yours sincerely in Jesus Christ,


" The Very Rev. J. H. Newman."


" September 16, 1864.

" The undersigned. President of the Catholic Congress of Ger-
many assembled in Wiirzburg, has been commissioned to express to you. Very
Rev. and Dear Sir, its deep-felt gratitude for your Ute able defence of the
Catholic Clergy, not only of England, but of the whole world, against the
attacks of its enemies.

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'* The Catholict of Germanj unite wiUi the Catholics of England in testify.
Ing to yon their profound admiration and sympathy, and pray that the
Almighty may long preserve yonr ndiiable life.

**The above Resolution was voted by the Congress with acclamation.

'< Accept, very Rev. and Dear Sir, the expression of the high consideration
with which I am

« Yonr most obedient servant,


«* The Very Rev. J. H. Newman."


'* Hobart Town, Tasmania, November 22, 1864.

** Very Rev. and Dmt Sir,

** By the last month's post we at length recdved your
admirable book, entitled, * Apologia pro Vitd 8U&,' and the pamphlet^ * "What
then does Dr. Newman mean ?'

** By this month's mail, we wish to express our heartfelt gratiflcstioii and
delight for being possessed of a work so triumphant in maintaining troth, and
so overwhelming in confounding arrogance and error, as the ' Apologia.'

** No doubt, your adversary, reeling on the deep-seated prejudice of our
fellow-countrymen in the United Kingdom, calculated upon establishing his
own fame as a keen-sighted polemic, as a shrewd and trutii-loving man, upon
the fallen reputation of one, who, as he would demonstrate, — ^yes, that he
would, — set little or no value on truth, and who, therefore, would deservedly
sink into obscurity, henceforward rejected and despised !

"Aman of old erected a gibbet at the gate of the city, on whidi an
unsuspecting and an unoffending man, one marked as a victim, was to be
exposed to the gaze and derision of the people, in order that his own dignity
and fame might be exalted ; but a divine Ftovidence ordained otherwise.
The history of the judgment that fell upon Aman, has been recorded in
Holy Writ, it is to be presumed, as a warning to vain and unscrupulous men,
even in our days. There can be no doubt, a moral gibbet, full ' fifty cnbits
high,' had been prepared some time, on which you were to be exposed, for
the pity at least, if not for the scorn and derision of so many, who had loved
and venerated you through life I

** But the effort made in the forty-eight pages of the redoubtable pam-
phlet, * What then does Dr. Newman Mean ?'— the production of % bohl,
unscrupulous man, with a coarse mind, and regardless of inflicting pain on

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the feelings of another, has failed,— marrellouslj failed,~and he himself is
now exhibited not only in our fatherhmd, but even at the Antipodes, in fact
wherever the English language is spoken or read, as a shallow pretender, one
quite incompetent to treat of matters of snch undying interest as those he
presumed to interfere with.

'* We feq^ntlj pray the Almighty, that you may be spared to His Church
for many years to come,— that to Him alone the glory of this noble work
may be given, — and to yon the reward in eternal bliss !

'* And from this distant land we beg to convey to you, Very Rev. and Dear
Sir, the sentiments of our affectionate respect, and deep veneration."

{The Subtcripiiongfoilow, qfthe Bishop Vicar^General
and eighteen Clergy,)

** The Very Rev. Dr. Newman,

&0. &c &0."

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On application of the Editor of Dr. Whately's Corre-
spondence, the following four letters were sent to her for
publication : they are here given entire. It will be
observed that they are of the same date as my letter to
Dr. Hampden at p. 57.


« DubHn, Octob^ 2b, 1834.
** Mj dear Newman,

''A most shocking report concerning you has reached me,
which indeed carries such an improbability on the face of it that you may
perhaps wonder at my giving it a thought ; and at first I did not, but finding
it repeated from different quarters, it seems to me worth contradicting for
the sake of your character. Some Oxford undergraduates, I find, openly
report that when I was at Oriel last spring you absented yourself from chapel
on purpose to avoid receiving the Communion along with me ; and that you
yourself declared this to be the case.

« I would not notice every idle rumour ; but this has been so confidenUy
and so long asserted that it would be a satisfaction to me to be able to declare
its falsity as a fact, from your authority. I did indeed at once declare my
utter unbelief; but then this has only the weight of my opinion ; though an
qpinion resting I think on no insufficient grounds. I did not profess to rest
my disbelief on our long, intimate, and confidential friendship, which would
make it your right and your duty — if I did any thing to offend you or any
thing you might think materially wrong — to remonstrate with me ; — ^but on
your general character ; which I was persuaded would have made yon inca-
pable, even had no such dose connexion existed between us, of conduct so
unchristian and inhuman. But, as I said, I should like for your sake to be
able to contradict the report from your own authority.

** Ever yours very truly,


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" Oriel College, October 28, 1834.
"Mj dear Lord,

" My absence from the Sacrament in the College Chapel on the
Sunday you were in Oxford, was occasioned solely and altogether by my
having it on that day in St. Mary's ; and I am pretty sure, if I may trust my
memory, that I did not even know of your Grace's presence, there, till after
the Service. Most certainly such knowledge would not have affected my
attendance. I need not say, this being the case, that the report of my having
made any statement on the subject is quite unfounded ; indeed, your letter of
this morning is the first information I have had in any shape of the existence
of the report.

*< I am happy in being thus able to afford an explanation as satisfactory
to you, as the kind feelings which you have ever entertained towards me
could desire ; — yet, on honest reflection, I cannot conceal from myself, that
it was generaUy a relief to me, to see so little of your Grace, when you were
at Oxford : and it is a greater relief now to have an opportunity of saying so
to yourself. I have ever wished to observe the rule, never to make a public
charge agaitist another behind his back, and, though in the course of conver*
sation and the urgency of accidental occurrences it is sometimes difficult to
keep to it, yet I trust I have not broken it, especially in your own case : i. e.
though my most intimate friends know how deeply I deplore the line of
ecclesiastical policy adopted under your archiepiscopal sanction, and though in
society I may have clearly shown that I have an opinion one way rather than
the other, yet I have never in my intention, never (as I believe) at all, spoken
of your Grace in a serious way before strangers ;— indeed mixing very little in
general society, and not overapt to open myself in it, I have had little tempta-
tion to do so. Least of all should I so forget myself as to take under-
graduates into my confidence in such a matter.

" I wish I could convey to your Grace the mixed and very painful feelings,
which the late history of the Irish Church has raised in me : — the union of
her members with men of heterodox views^ and the extuiction (without
ecclesiastical sanction) of half her Candlesticks, the witnesses and guarantees
of the Truth and trustees of the Covenant. I willingly own that both in my
secret judgment and my mode of speaking concerning you to my friends,
I have had great alternations and changes of feeling, — defending, then
blaming your policy, next praising your own self and protesting against your
measures, according as the affectionate remembrances which I had of you rose
against my utter aversion of the secular and unbelieving policy in which I
considered the Irish Church to be implicated. I trust I shall never be forget-
ful of the kindness you uniformly showed me during your residence in
Oxford : and anxiously hope that no duty to Christ and His Church may ever

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382 KOTK ON PAGE 12.

interfere witii the cxprewioii of mj sense of it Howerer, on ilie present
opportunity, I Mn consdons to myself, that I am acting according to tiie
diotatee both* of duty and gratitude, if I beg yonr leave to state my per-
snaikm, that the perilous measures in which your Grace has acquiesced are
but the legitimate offspring of those principles, difficult to describe in ieir
words, with which yonr reputation is especially associated ; principles which
bear upon the very fundamentals of all argument and investigation, and afBBCt
almost every doctrine and every maxim by which our £uth or our conduct is
to be guided. I can feel no reluctance to confess, that, when I first wu
noticed by your Grace, gratitude to you and admiration of your powers wmofjbX
upon me; and, had not something firom within resisted, I should certainly
have adopted views on religions and social duty, which seem to my present
judgment to be based in the pride of reason and to tend towards infidelity,
and which in your own case nothing but your Grace's high religious temper
and the unclouded faith of early piety has been able to withstand.

'' I am quite confident, that, however you may regard this judgment, you will
give me credit, not only for honesty, but for a deeper feeling in thus laying it
before you.

** May I be suffered to add, that your name is ever mentioned in my prayers,
and to subscribe myself

^ Tour Grace's very sincere finend and servant,



'* Dublin, November 3, 1834.

** My dear Newman,

** I cannot forbear writing again to express the great satisfiic-
tion I feel in th^ course I adopted ; which has, eventually, enabled me to
contradict, a report which was more prevalent and more confidently upheld
than I could have thought possible : and which, while it was periiaps likely
to hurt my character with some persons, was injurious to yours in the eyee of
the best men. For what idea must any one have had of religion — or at least
of your religion — who was led to think there was any truth in the imputation
to you of such uncharitable arrogance 1

" But it is a rule with me, not to cherish, even on the strongest assertions,
any belief or even suspicion, to the prejudice of any one whom I have any
reason to think well of, till. I have carefully inquired, and dispassionatdy
heard both sides. And I think if others were to adopt the same rule, I
should not myself be quite so much abused as I have been.

'' I am well aware indeed that one cannot expect all, even good moi, to

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think alike on every point, even after they shall have heard both rides ; and
that we may expect many to judge, after all, very harshly of those who do
differ, from them : for, God help us ! what will become of men if they receive
no more mercy than they show to each other I But at least, if the rule
were observed, men would not condemn a brother on mere vague popular
rumour, about principles (as in my case) * difficult to describe in few words,'
and with which his 'reputation is associated/ My own reputation I know
is associated, to a very great degree, with what are in fact calumnious impu-
tations, originated in exaggerated, distorted, or absolutely false statements,
for which even those who circulate them, do not, for the most part, pretend
to have any ground except popular rumour : like the Jews at Rome ; ' aa
for this way, we know that it is every where spoken against.'

** For I have ascertained that a very large proportion of those who join in
the outcry against my works, confess, or even boast, that they have never
read them. And in respect of the measure you advert to — ^the Church
Temporalities Act — (which of course I shall not now discuss), it is curious
to see how many of those who load me with censure for acquiescing in it,
receive with open arms, and laud to the sides, the Primate, ; who was con-
sulted on the measure— as was natural, conridering his knowledge of Irish
affairs, and his influence — long before me; and gave his consent to it;
differing from Ministers only on a point of detai], whether the revenues of
six Sees, or of ten, should be alienated.

** Of course, every one is bound ultimately to decide according to his own
judgment ; nor do I mean to shelter myself under his example : but only to
point out what strange notions of justice those have, who acquit with applause
the leader, and condemn the follower in the same individual transaction.

** Far be it from any servant of our Master, to feel surprise or anger at
being, thus treated : it is only an admonition to me to avoid treating others in
a similar manner ; and not to ' judge another's servant,' at least without a
faur hearing.

** You do me no more than justice, in feeling confident that I shall give
you credit both for * honesty and for a deeper feeling ' in freely laying your
opinions before me : and besides this, you might have been no less confident,
from your own experience, that, long since — whenever it was that you
changed your judgment respecting me — if you had freely and calmly remon-
strated with me on any point where you thought me going wrong, I should
have listened to you with that readiness and candour and deference, which
as you well know, I always showed, in the times when *we took sweet
counsel together, and walked in the house of God as firiends;' — when we
consulted together about so many practical measures, and about alniost
all the principal points in my publications.

*'I happen to have before me a letter from you just eight years ago,
in which, after saying that ' there are few things you wish more sincerely
than to be known as a friend of mine,' and attributing to me, in the


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884 NOTE ON PAGE 12.

warmest and most flattering terms, a much greater sliare in the forming of
your mind than I coold presume to claim, jou bear a testimonj, in which
I do most heartily concur, to ihejireedom at least of our intercourse, and the
readiness and respect with which yon were listened to. Your words are :
'Mach as I owe to Oriel in the way of mental improvement, to none, as I
think, do I owe so much as to yourself. I know who it was first gave me
heart to look about me after my election, and taught me to think correctly,
and — strange office for an instructor— to rely upon myself. Nor can I forget
that it has been at your kind suggestion, that I have since been led to employ
myself in the consideration of several subjects, which I cannot doubt have
been very beneficial to my mind.'

*' If in all this I was erroneous,~if I have misled you, or any one else, into
' the pride of reason,' or any other kind of pride, — or if I have entertained,
or led others into, any wrong opinions, I can only say I sincerely regret it
And again I rejoice if I have been the means of contributing to form in any
one that * high religious temper and unclouded faith' of which I ndt only
believe, with you, that they are able to withstand tendencies towards infidelity,
but also, that without them, no correctness of abstract opinions is worth
much. But what I meant to point out, is, that there was plainly nothing to
preclude you firom offering friendly admonition (when your view of my prin-
ciples chMiged), with a full confidence of bdng at least patiently and kindly
listened to.

<* I for my part could not bring myself to find relief in escaping the society
of an old friend, — with whom I had been accustomed to firank discussion, — on
account of my differing from him as to certain principles, whether through a
change of his views, or (much more) of my own, — till at least I had made full
trial of private and affectionate remonstrance and free discussion. Even a
' man that is a heretic,' we are told, even a ruler of a Church is not to
reject, till after repeated admonitions.

** But though your regard for me does not show itself such as I think mine
would have been under similar circumstances, I will not therefore reject what
remains of it. Let us pray for each other that it may please God to enlighten
whichever of us is, on any point, in error, and recall him to the truth ; and
that at any rate we may bold fitst that charity, without which all knowledge,
and all faith, that could remove mountains, will profit us nothing.

** I fear you will read with a jaundiced eye,— if you venture to read it at all
— any publication of mine ; but 'for auld lang syne' I take advantage of a
frank to enclose you my last two addresses to my clergy.

" Very sincerely yours,


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«* Oriel, November 1 1 , 1834.

" My dear Lord,

*'Tbe remarks contained in yonr last letter do not come
npon me by surprise, and I can only wish that I may be as able to explain
myself to you, as I do with a clear and honest conscience to myself. Your
Grace will observe that the letter of mine from which you make an extract,
was written when I was in habits of intimacy with you, in which I have not
been of late years. It does not at all follow, because I could then speak
freely to you, that I might at another time. Opportunity is the chief thing
in such an oflSce as delivering to a superior an opinion about himself. Though
I never concealed my opinion from you, I have never been forward. I have
spoken when place and time admitted, when my opinion was asked, when I
was called to your side and was made your counsellor. No such favourable
circumstances have befallen me of late years, — if I must now state in expla-
nation what in truth has never occurred to me in thisfulnesSf till now I am
called to reflect upon my own conduct and to account for an apparent omission.
I . have spoken the first opportunity you have given me ; and I am persuaded
good very seldom comes of volunteering a remonstrance.

" Again, I cannot doubt for an instant that you have long been aware in a
measure that my opinions differed from your Grace's. You knew it when at
Oxford, for you often found me differing from you. You must have felt it, at
the time you left Oxford for.Dt(bfin. You must have known it from hearsay
in consequence of the book 1- have "published. What indeed can account for
my want of opportunities to speak to you freely my mind, but the feeling on
your part, (which, if existing, is nothing but a fair reason,) that my views are
different from yours ? ,

** And that difference is certainly of no recent date.- I tacitly allude to it in
the very letter you quote— in which, I recollect well that the words * strange
office for an instructor, — ' to rely upon myself t* were intended to convey to you
that, much as I valued (and still value) your great kindness and the advantage
of your countenance to me at tliat time, yet even then I did not fell in with
the line of opinions which you had adopted. In them I never acquiesced.
Doubtless I may have used at times sentiments and expressions, which I
should not now use ; but I believe these had no root in my mind, and as
such they were mere idle words which I ought ever to be ashamed of, because
they were idle. But the opinions to which I especially alluded in my former
letter as associated by the world with your Grace's name under the title of
* Liberal,' (but not, as you suppose, received' by me on the world's authority,)
are those which may be briefly described as the Anti-superstition notions ;
and to these I do not recollect ever assenting. Connected with these I would

C c

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instance the vndetraliiing of Antiqaity, and resting on one's own reasonings,
jodgments, definitions, &c, rather than authority and precedent; and I tliink
I gave Tery little in to this ;— for a very short time too (if at all), in to the
notion that the 3tate, as such, had nothing to do with religion. On the other
handy whatever I held then deliberately, I beUeve I hold now ; though per-
haps I may not consider them as points of snch prominent importance, or with
precisely the same bearing as I did then : — as the abolition of the Jewish
Sabbath, the nnscriptnralness of the doctrine of imputed righteousness (i. e.
our Lord's active obedience)— the mistakes of the so-called Evangelical
system, the independence of the Church ; the genius of the Gospel as a
Law of Liberty, and the impropriety of forming geological theories from
Scripture. Of course every one changes in opini<m between twenty and

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanApologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions → online text (page 32 of 33)