John Henry Newman.

Letters and correspondence of John Henry Newman during his life in the English church, with a brief autobiography ; (Volume 2) online

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them. Least of all would I be deficient in frankness to one
like yourself, who from general agreement with me, and from
your own earnestness, have a claim upon me. I think then
that we must be very much on our guard against what Cowjier
calls ' desperate steps.' ])o you recollect the sheep in ' Tlu'
Needless Alarm ' '?

Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.

A A 2

356 J*-^^^'^ llcnry Nciunian 1841

We are apt to engross ourselves with the present. Think
what ups and downs any course of action has ; think how
many hills and valleys lie in our way on a journey. One event
l)lots out another.

As to the Bishops' Charges, this too must be remembered,
that they have no direct authority except in their own dioceses.
A Bishop's word is to be obeyed, not as to doctrine, but as a
part of discipline ; only in Synod do they prescribe doctrine.
There is nothing to hinder anyone in the Oxford diocese
maintaining just the negative of what these particular
Bishops have said. Till truth is silrncrd among us, I do not
see that Catholic minds need be in a difficulty.

Having said this, I will go on candidly to own that the
said Charges are very serious matters ; as virtually silencing
portions of the truth in particular dioceses, and as showing
that it is not impossible that our Church jnaij lapse into heresy.
I cannot deny that a great and anxious experiment is going
on, whether our Church be or be not Catholic ; the issue may
not be in our day. But I must be plain in saying that,
if it does issue in Protestantism, I shall think it my duty, if
alive, to leave it. This does not seem much to grant, but it is
much, supposing such an event to be at our doors, for one
naturally tries to make excuses then, whereas one safely
pledges oneself to what is distant. I trust it not only is
distant, but never to be. But the way to hinder it is to be
prepared for it.

I fear I must say that I am beginning to think that the
only way to keep in the English Church is steadily to con-
template and act upon the possibilit}' of leaving it. Surely
the Bishops ought to be brought to realise what they are

But still, on the whole, I hope better things. At all
events, I am sure that, to leave the English Church, unless
something very flagrant happens, must be the work of years.

The reader will bear in mind that some fifty years have
passed since the following letter was written.

1841 Letters and Cornspoudcucc -^^-^

PvEV. J. II. Ni:\v:\iAN to lh:v. J, Keble.

October 31, 1 84 1 .

... I have no hope at all at present that certain persons
will remain in our Church twenty years, unless some accommo-
dation takes place with liome ; hut I see no sign at all of any
hnmcdiatc move, I think that men are far too dutiful; and in
twenty years things must either get much better, or the poor
Church must have got much worse or have broken to pieces ;
and then one's sorrow will be roused by greater events than
the loss of one or two of its members. 1 don't know whether
I am intelligible.

On the subject of the approaching election to the Poetry
Professorship, ls\v. Newman wi'itcs to Mr. Keble :

Xorrmhcr G, 1 84 1.

I have been always against "Williams standing, but I
cannot sny that he ought lightly to give up now. And Judge
('oleridge's letter, as far as it went, made one stronger against
liis giving up, because it seemed to show that people thought
very lightly of our prospective numbers, and. if so. ]-etiring
from the contest would gain us no thanks at all. Again, this
seemed to me to account for his tone, and it is a question
whether, under the circumstances, he would not think differ-
ently if he knew that AVilliams had a fair chance of success.
There is this to be taken into account, on the other hand —
these slanders in the ' Standard ' having already had the
effect of making some of our jiroiiiiscs draw back and beg off;
and, if this continues, we are done for, and it is impossible to
calculate how far it may extend.

]3ut here again pcoj^le say, and truly, that indepc^idently
of all consideration for Catholic opinions, the University, as a
point of principle, ought not to suffer itself to be bullied by
newspapers, and that, if wc give way, it will be ( sjablishing a
precedent of a very evil tendency.

But again, on the other hand, (Iladstcuie, v)v:c.. feel so
strongly on the subject, and seem so to luulrrtnLf t',.r Churcli

358 lo/ni Henry N' civilian ]84l

principles, if wc now 3'iolcl to tJirm [to Gladstone, &c.], that it
is in every respect -wise to eomiily with their wishes if we

I thinlc you might make Coleridge understand the facts,
and then I do not know why he should not come to agree with
you, and you with him. It really does seem a ease in which
all are agreed in their view, and, if all had the same know-
ledge of facts, one might hope that they would have the same
opinion of what is expedient. Anyhow, do not you think
that v/e should avoid closing the door at once to some measure
of peace, and should beg others to enter into our difficulties
and propose one ?

Suppose a number of men, like Gladstone, came forward,
professing themselves friends of Williams, and of his opinions
generally (not particularly), begging him to withdraw for
peace sake, and pledging themselves that it was no defeat of
principle, A:c.

The thing which sways with me, and has all along, is the
risk of a small minorit}^ (indeed of a minority at ail). I do
not think Williams's success is tanti for the risk of great
interests, but at present retirement seems equivalent to defeat.

Eev. J. H. Newman to J. E. Hope, Esq.^

Oriel College: Noremher 11, 1841.

I thank you with all my heart for the trouble you have
been at in my matter and for your advice. I have thought a
good deal of it, and wish I could take it. As yet I cannot get
my reason to see things differently, and I suppose I must go
by it. It is very difficult to analyse the mixed considerations
W'hich go to make me persist in my intention of a protest.
However, smce I shall have some hours more, I shall just take
the chance of your having something more to say.

I distrust Bunsen indefinitely. I could fancy even he had
ambitious views of reforming our Church. This is a great
crisis. Things slip through one's fingers by delay. Private
communications are among the best weapons of management.

1 Memoirs of J. E. HoiK-Scott, vol. i. p. 307.

1841 Letters and Correspondence 359

Be sure of this, il" you would be a MucchiavoUi. (ireat peoj^lc
whisper to Gladstone, and to Selwyn (men whom I resijcct far
too much to he pleased at your thinlcing it necessarj^ to defend
them, for they are above the need of it), and to Pusej', and
beg them to wait and see, and then half-promises are added ;
and meanwhile the business is done. This is what we call

Now, I know it is a most unpleasant, nauseous thing to
make this protest, but I cannot help thinking that the utmost
harm it will do is to make people think me a Ijitter fanatic.
I have nothing to lose, I o\\ e nothing (I could almost add I
fearnothhig), in certain quarters. On the other hand, I think
a i^rotest, in spite of the censure which would be heaped on
the author ^f it, might do good. They will believe n(jthing
but «c'^s. Representations have been made to them without
end. They act, why may not I ? SfinjJcr erjo auditor
tantiim ! Why may not I be troublesome as well as another?
— especially when thereby I seem to ease my conscience. I
do not like the very thought of the crisis passing unobserved.
One protest is enough for the purpose ; more would seem to
challenge counting.

A memorial must be formal, measured, private ; and such
an exposition as you propose, most desirable as it would be,
would be a Ijook. It strikes me I have facts enough to go
upon. And, to be closer to them, I propose to word my
sentence thus : * Whereas, it is reported that the Most llev.,
&c., have consecrated a Bishop, with a view to his exercising
spiritual jurisdiction over Protestants — that is, Lutheran and
Calvinist congregations — in the East (under an Act made in
the last session of Parliament to amend an Act made in the
twenty-sixth year of the reign of, t^c, intituled an Act to
empower, \c.), dispensing at the same time with, kc'

It is miserable to be in the forlorn situation in which I
fnid myself, and I know I have no ofifia tz/s -v/^f;^'//?, l)ut am
groping in the dark. Yet I do not see better tlian to do as 1

])o you know that Pusey is writing a kind of 'A7roXo'7za,
addressed t<j the Bishops al)out their Charges ? And now, my

360 John Jlcury Xczcuian 1841

(k'iir Hope, I have inflicted eiionp;h sadncsH, if not diilness^
on you.

J. 11. Hope, Esq., to llr.v. J. H. Xewm.vx.
6 Stone Bidldinfis, lAncoln'.H Inn : Xovniihtr 12, 1S41.

On considering your letter, received this morning, I was
not much surprised at your adhering to the Protesjt. Xor am
I aware that I can urge anything vahd against your view of
opposing acts to acts. If you are to protest, it had liotter h&
before the Bishops have acted collectively than afttr it. . . .

P.S. — I was amused at your warning about private com-
munications. I had just refused an invitation of Bunsen's to
discuss the whole scheme on this ground.

PiEv. J. H. Newman to Bev. J. Keble.

Xoveinher 13, 1S41.

I do nothing but distress you. After many changes of
mind, I have resolved on transmitting to the Bishop of Oxford
the accompanying Protest and shall make it public to the-
world. There are difficulties on all sides, in acting and not
acting. By this Protest I shall partly be doing what I com-
plain of in others : exciting and unsettling people. On the
other hand, unless a Protest is made, others will determine
that our Church is given up raid uncatholiciscd. A Protest
may moderate great persons and make them think twice, and
it is but fair and straightforward, and a duty to my lirethren,
to tell them how things are going, and a duty in itself to
mark the beginning of any deviation from our customary

The mode of acting will of course Ije censured ; I cannot
think of any way better, and, though it nia^^ make me seem
intemperate, nothing else has a chance of being effected.

P.S. — It seems there are certainly plans on foot in some
quarters (but I don't wish it mentioned) for effecting a great
extended union of Protestants, the Churcli of England being
at its head. I distrust Bunsen without limit.

1841 Letters and Correspondence 361

PiEv. J. H. Newman to J. W. ]3owdex, Esq.

Ov'ui: Xoi-einhcy 13, 1 84 1.

After mucli anxious thought, 1 have made up my mind to
the enclosed Protest, and have sent it to the Bishop of Oxford.
It is quite plain that our rulers can unchurch us, and I have
no assurance that there is not a great scheme aHoat to unite
us in a Protestant League — the limits of which no one can
see. I do not wish this mentioned.

I know well I shall he ahused for this act, hut if it hinders
their going so far as they otherwise would, it will be some-

PiEv. J. 11. Newman to the Bishop of Oxford.

It seems as if I were never to M'ritc to your Lordship
without giving you pain, and I know that my present suliject
does not especially concern your Lordship ; yet, after a gi'eat
deal of anxious thought, I lay before you the enclosed Protest.

Your Lordship will observe that I am not asking for
any notice of it, unless you think that I ought to receive
one. I do this very serious act in obedience to my sense of

If the English Church is to enter on a new course, and
assume a new aspect, it will be more pleasant to me hereafter
to think that I did ]iot suffer so grievous an event to happen
without bearing witness against it.

^lay I be allowed to say that I augur nothing but evil if
we in any respect prejudice our title to be a branch of the
Apostolic Church? That article of tlie Creed, 1 \urd hardly
observe to your Lordship, is of such constraining power, that
if ire will not claim it and use it for ourselves, otiit'r.s will usi;
it in their own behalf against us. Men who learn, whether
by means of documents or measures, whether from the
statements or the acts of persons in authority, tiuit our com-
munion is not a branch of the One Church. I foresee with
much grief, will be tempted to look out for tbat Clunch else-


62 Jofni JJcury Kcunnan 1841

It is to me a subject of great dismay that, as far as the
Church has lately spoken out, on the subject of the opinions
■which I and others hold, those opinions are, not merely not
sanctioned (for that I do not ask), but not even suffered.

I earnestly hope that your Lordship will excuse my free-
dom in thus speaking to you of some members of your Most
Eev. and Eight Eev. body. "With every feeling of reverent
attachment to your Lordship, I am, &c.


Whereas the Church of England has a claim on the allegiance
of Catholic believers only on the ground of her own claim to
be considered a branch of the Catholic Church :

And, whereas the recognition of heres}^ indirect as well as
direct, goes far to destroy such claim in the case of any re-
ligious bodj' :

And, whereas to admit maintainors of heresy to communion
without formal renunciation of their errors, goes far towards
recognising the same :

And, whereas Lutheranism and Calvinism are heresies,
repugnant to Scripture, springing up three centuries since,
and anathematised by East as well as West :

And, whereas it is reported that the Most Eev. Primate
and other Eight Eev. Eulers of our Church have consecrated
a Bishop, with a view to exercising spiritual jurisdiction over
Protestant, that is, Lutheran and Calvinistic congregations
in the East (under the provisions of an Act made in the last
session of Parliament to amend an Act made in the twenty-
sixth year of the reign of His Majesty King George IIL, in-
tituled, ' an Act to empower the Archbishop of Canterbury or
the Archbishop of York for the time bemg, to consecrate to
the ofi&ce of a Bishop persons being subjects or citizens of
countries out of His Majesty's dominions ' ), disi)ensing at the
same time, not in particular cases and accidentally, but as if
on principle and universally, with any abjuration of errors on
the part of such congregations, and with any reconciliation to
the Church on the part of the presiding Bishop ; thereby

1841 Letters and Correspondtuce


giving in some sort a formal recognition to the doctrines which
such congregations maintain :

And, whereas the dioceses in England are connected to-
gether hy so close an intercommunion, that what is done by
authority in one immediately affects the rest :

On these grounds, I, in my place, being a Priest of the
English Church, and Vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford, by way of
relieving my conscience, do hereby solemnly protest against
the measure aforesaid, and disown it, as removing our
Church from her present ground, and tending to her dis-

John Henry Xewman.

Novcrnbcr 1 1, 1S41.

The Bishop of Oxford's answer to Mr. Newman's letter
was not preserved. Its tenor may be gathered from the
following letter to Mr. Keble (just after November 13) :

I think you will like the enclosed letter of the Bishop of
Oxford's, which I have just received. Please burn it, as it
was not intended to be sent about. I accompanied my
Protest with so free a note that I expected to be reproved.

P.S. — The cat is let out from the Wadham bag : that if
the Protestant interest succeeds against "Williams, stringent
measures are to follow. It will be a very sharp contest.

In reviewing the alfair of the Jerusalem Bishopric, Mr.
Newman was disposed to attribute to it a strong influence on
his subsequent course of action. He writes in the ' Apologia
pro Vita sua ' :

Looking back two years afterwards on the above men-
tioned and other acts on the part of Anglican Ecclesiastical
authorities, I observed : * Many a man might have held an
abstract theory about the Catholic Church, to which it was
difficult to adjust the Anglican, might have admitted a sus-
picion or even })ainful d()ul)ts about the latter, yet never have

364 folni Jlciiry N^cwnian 1841

been impelled onwards, had our rulers preserved the quies-
cence of former years ; but it is the corroboration of a present,
living, and energetic heterodoxy, that realises and makes such
doubts practical ; it has been the recent speeches and acts of
authorities, who had so long been tolerant of Protestant error,
which has given to inquiry and to theory its force and edge.' ^

PiEv, J. H. Xewman to Mrs. J. Mozley.

NovcDihrr 16, 1841.

. . . The Jerusalem matter is miserable and has given me
f/rcat uneasiness. At length (what no one 3'et knows of) I
have delivered in a formal Protest to my Bishop, which, when
it comes to be known, will make a stir. It is to the effect
that I consider the measure, if carried out, as removing the
Church from her present position and tending to her dis-

I do not believe I can be touched for it ; and I have not
any intention of doing anything more. But future events
are quite beyond us. I assure you I fully purpose, having done
this, to sit quite still.

Do not believe any absurd reports. They talk in the
papers of secessions among us to Piome. Do not believe it.
Not one will go. At the same time I cannot answer for j/cars
hence, if the present state of things is persevered in. The
Heads are refusing testimonials for Orders. The effect in
time will be to throw a number of young men on the

Again, if the whole Church speaks against me, if the
Bishops, one by one, &c. &c., of course the effect ultimately
will be very fearful ; but I assure you, my dearest Jemima, that
every one I know tells me everything about himself, and
there is nothing done, said, or written but what in some way
or other I see (though I do not mean to make myself respon-
sible for everything), and, unless some strange change comes
over me, there is no fear at present.

' See Apologia, p. 146.

1841 Letters and Corrcspoudoicc 365

PiEv. J. II. Xi::\vMAN TO Piiiv. J. Kedle.

Xovriiilirr 17, 1S41.

It was a fjrcat relief aiul satisfaction to iiic to liear from
you that you thought my Protest had better not l)e pubh'shed,
so much so that I hardly like to tell you that Pusey is rather
strong for its publication. He does not concur in that part
which says that Lutheranisra is a heresy, but he thinks that
a very strong step now vtoji stop matters. The ' Standard'
of yesterday speaks out about the necessity of our coalescing
with the Ni'storiaiiH ; the i\Ionophysites we have alread}' heard
of; in short, before we know where we are, we shall find our-
selves in communion with heretics. I am told that an agent
of the Christian Knowledge Society writes them word in
their printed papers that he communicated in Xestorian

I am sorry you do not think my Protest respectful, but on
the whole I have greatly relieved my mind by it. 1 doubt
much whether others should make protests ; people will be
counting how many.

As to 3'our objection from the case of Dissenters, do not
the Canons prescribe some punishment, Sec, for those who
speak against the Church of England ? But, to tell the truth,
I fear our Bishops, &c.,liavo so recognised the Dissenters here
that they cannot simply be called an external body. "We take
their baptisms, they are buried in our churchyards, and they
have been countenanced to any extent by individual liishops.
Further, we have not goiu^ so far as to (/ire them Bishops
without any renunciation of error on ihc jmrt of (•on<irf(iation>iy
and that is what we are doing for the Lutherans and in the
East. It does seem to mo quite an unparalleled act of com-
munion, and at all events it is a new instance in a new lield.
I have sent the Protest to the Bishop of Oxford and to Harri-
son (the Archbishop's Chaplain) ; nothing further.

P.S. — I have learnt that the Bishop of Oxford knew nothing
■whatever of the Jerusalem matter ; had never been consulted.
The Act speaks of English or (ttlwr Protestant congregations.
I have been thinking of something of the kind for a month

366 John Ilcmj Ncivinan 1841

l)ast [a protest ?]. Palmer's [of Magdalen] intended protest is
what determined me. Pusey, Copeland, C. Marriott, Palmer
and Hope sa^Y it, l)nt of course I have the responsibility.

PiEv. J. H. Newman to J. Pi. Hope, Esq.

Olid: Xovcmhcr 19, 1 84 1.

Keble was frightened at my Protest, and against its publi-
cation. Pusey is disappointed if it is not published. I have
just heard from the Bishop of Oxford, and enclose a copy of
his note, icliich iway hum. I accompanied the Protest with a
strong note, for which I expected a rebuke, saying that we
were in some quarters not only not sanctioned but silenced,
and that if men who believed the articles of the Creed were
taught from authority that the English Church was not the
Church Catholic, they would seek it elsewhere. You see how
kind he is.

It also gives me hope. Does the Bishop of Exeter know
of the proceedings at Lambeth more than the Bishop
of Oxford '? Is he not likely to put a spoke in the wheel ?
The Duke of Wellington has disgusted him ; would that he
could get disgusted with Protestantism. Why should he
not split up this Bunsen league ? But I do not like to

Every nerve is being exerted against Williams. Wadham
is rising as a college, and has told one of its members that if
Williams is beaten, Convocation is to go on to other stringent
measures against us. I think all persons should know the
exact state of the case. Nothing would more dehght the
Heads, in their own dominions, supreme as they are, than to
drive certain people out of the Church. Mordecai can neither
do them good nor harm, and but annoy them. Whether the
Bishops, or at least some of them, would like it is another

P.S. — Our Provost {cntrc novs) has asked a man whj' he
was not at Chapel on November 5 , and because he did not
like the State Service has said he will not give him testi-
monials for Orders.

1841 Letters and Correspondence ^i^j

Rev. J. IT. XinvM.vx to !Mns. J. Mozlfa'.

Xovcinhcr 21, 1841.
Our present grccat discomfort is the matter of Williams's
election to the Professorship. I have been against his stand-
ing throughout, from a great dread of Convocation, but, con-
sidering I am the cause of the opposition by No. 90, it would
have been ungenerous to press my view, and I cannot com-
plain of the difficulty, though I foresaw it. I have a dread of
Convocation exceedingly great. And now we hear that if our
opponents succeed in this contest, which I fear they will,
there is already a plan to proceed to measures which are to
have the effect of ' driving us clean out of the Universit3\' I
suppose this means, when put soberly, something like a test
about the sense in which the Articles are subscribed, which
need not be retrospective. Xow the effect of W.'s failure will
be bad enough in itself ; and, I am sorry to say, I fear some
friends of mine, though they do not say so, would not be
sorry for it. . . . They look out, with some sort of relief, for
signs of our Church retrograding and withdrawing'' her
Notes. . . .

Mrs. J. !MozLEY to Rev. J. H. NEw:\rAX.

Xovcinhvr 23, 1^41.
Thank you very much for your interesting and important
letter. It is the darkest view I have seen of things a long
time. That does not show it is not a true one. But still . , .
there is so much good and hopeful around that I trust there
may, without presumption, be ground for hope. Indeed, I
cannot believe the mere rejection of Mr. "Williams would
embolden the University to act. At any rate, dear John, I do
not see how any decision of the University can affect you . » .
while you are protected by your Bishop. Certainly this
Jerusalem Bishopric seems a very superfluous wound to the
Church. May I keep a copy of your Protest '?

368 John Ifcnry Ncunuan 1841

PiEV. J. 11. Newman to J. It. Hope, Esq.

Olid Colh'fjc : Xocmitijcr 24, 1 84 1.

. . . ^^'hat has startled me in this reported measure is this :
the scttin;^ Bishops to preside over Protestant bodies. Those
who have been for centuries separated from the Episcopal
succession, and wlio are in the profession of heresy, require
reconciliation. They should come into the Church, not the
Church set Bishops over them as she finds them. Surely this
is an act not parallel to the mere admission of individuals
from them itito our communion sub silentio. Those individuals,

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanLetters and correspondence of John Henry Newman during his life in the English church, with a brief autobiography ; (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 47)