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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Newman,' I was sly enough to say, very gently and clearly,
that I had before then had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Arnold,
for 1 had disputed with him in the Divinit}' School before his
B.]). degree, when he was appointed to PiUgby. At which
Baden-Powell laughed, and Arnold seemed a little awkward,
and said, ' Oh, I thought it liiul been Puse}'.' You nnist know
that in the said disputation 1 was doing him a favour, for he
could get no one to go in with him, when I volunteered ;
thougli in the event it tuiiied to my advantage, for I had not
to dispute before Hampden when I actually took my degree
[in 1836].

We then sat down to table, and I thought of all the matters
possible which it was safe to talk on. I recollected he had
travelled with William Churton, and that made one topic.
Others equally felicitous I forget. iUit 1 recollect the produc-
tions of North Africa was a fruitful sul)jet-t ; and 1 have some
dream of having talked of a great tree, the name of which I now
forget, as big as a hill, and which tluy bring as an argument
for the indefinite duration of the present earth a parfr <iittr.

In the Common-Pkoom 1 had to take a still more prominent
part, and the contrast was very marked between Arnold and
the Provost — the Provost so dr}' and unbending, and seennng
to shrink from whatever 1 said, aiul Arnold who was natural

442 f ohn llcnry Ahwniaii 1844

and easy, at least to all appearance. I was told afterwards
that on one occasion Baden-Powell made some irreverent
remark, and people were amused to see how both Arnold and
myself in different ways, as far as manner was concerned,
retired from it. At last the Provost and Arnold rose up to
go, and I held out my hand, which he took, and we parted.

I never saw him again; he died the June [June 12, 1842]
after. He is a man whom I have always separated from the
licople he was with, always respected, often defended, though
from an accident he got a notion, I believe, that I was a fire-
brand, and particularly hostile to ]^ iiii. There is no doubt he was
surprised and thrown out on finding I did not seem to be what
he had fancied. He told Stanley that it would not do to meet
me often. When Stanley tried to clench the remark, he drew
back, and said he meant that it was not desirable to meet
often persons one disagreed with, or something of the sort.
This is what I heard, to the best of my recollection, after his
death. For myself, I don't think I was desirous of pleasing
him or not ; but was secretly amused from the idea that he
certainly would be taken aback by commg across me in propria
persona ; at least so I think.

For Mr. Newman the sympathy of those nearest him was
a need of his nature, though as time went on he had to bear
the want of it in matters nearest his heart. A letter from his
sister, Mrs. John Mozley, shows that he had felt disappointment
in a seeming failure of response on her part to his confidences
on the state of his mind and feelings ; a suspicion certainly
ill-deserved as far as her heart was concerned, and which she
meets in the following answer.

Mrs. J. MozLEY to Eev. J. H. Xewmax.

Xovcmhcr 20, 1844.

Your letter to John (her husband) has given me great
concern, that part of it which imputes to me (though
indirectly) want of sympathy with your feelings, and it pains
me much to think I may have given you real cause for such

1844 Letters and Correspondeuee 443

an impression. ... In the present instance I really am not
conscious of having been intentionally silent on any one point,
except, perhaps, in one of your letters (last August), in which
you complain of the strangeness of feeling Avhen you enter the
college walls, kt. 1 hesitated whether to notice this or not ;
at last decided not — not because I could not enter into your
thoughts, but because I did so too much. I could not try to
persuade you that your feeling was fantastic, because I feared
there might l)e that on the part of the college towards
yourself that might justify your impression independent of
your having simply outgrown your _/<o.s/7/o//, of which I think
nothing at all. Also, there were passages in two letters to my
aunt which she showed me. . . . "Whatever may have been
the cause, I am exceedingl}^ sorry that anything positive or
negative on my part should have caused you pain, or made
3^ou think j'our confidence misplaced. You must know, dear
John, that your slightest act or feeling awakens my interest
and anxiety, and so I need hardly tell you what pain that
report a fortnight ago caused my aunt and myself — indeed, I
may say, our whole circle. I felt I could not do anything
while the sus^Dense lasted. I could Mrite no letters and ask
]io questions, and dreaded to be spoken to by anybody I saw.
I had just written to you, and if not, I could not have written
to ask you for the world. Yet I had some little hope and
consolation left, and did my best to impart it to poor aunt.
She is always thinking of you, and you have her prayers, as 1
believe those of many others, that you may be kept in the right
way, whatever that is. I hope I have said nothing to distress
you unnecessarily ; 1 believe not, for I know how you always
realise things you do not see. I am afraid I shall not at all
liave succeeded in justifying myself, because I know reserve
and all feelings and habits connected with it are a great fault
in me.

liEV. J. II. Newman to ^Iks. J. ^Iozley.

Xoiiinbcr 24, I S44.

I knew very well I should have a kind letter from you, as
has been the case ; but really you did — I dcm't say, consciously,

444 [ohu If envy N^civiuaii 1844

but from an unconscious feeling — in the most pointed way
pass over various things I said about my feelingp, taking hold
of one half sentence, leaving the other half; speaking of
BoAvden, not of myself, when I spoke of both at once. I knew
how very painful the whole matter was to you, and was far
indeed from blaming you, Init when it had gone on some time
I sincerely thought 3'ou wished me to drop the subject, and I
did drop it.

As to late reports, I did not properly hear them till they
were over — that is, I heard that there was a paragraph, but
did not realise its preciseness and plausibility. When I did,
I wrote to several friends, and should have written to you
but that I thought you had really, so far, given me up. And
I thought you would hear from James. It is astonishing
what little feeling certain people have. Golightly and the
newspapers would think it very wrong to put out a statement
on doubtful authority to the effect that I had broken my leg,
yet they have no remorse in circulating what is adapted to
shock friends indefinitely more. But the said G. is a man
literally without bowels. I doubt whether he has any inside,
or is more than a walking and talking piece of mechanism.'

' In a paper in the Guardian, Jan. 13, 1886, on Mr. Golightly, Dean Goul-
burn writes : —

' It had better be frankly admitted by those who, like myself, are desirous of
Ijaying a tribute of friendship to his great worth and many merits, that
Golightly sometimes lost himself in controversy. I saw a gi'eat deal of him at
the time of the publication of Tract XC. ; indeed we studied that famous
Tract together, and I had the benefit of his quaint, racy, and always shrewd
observations upon every part of it. And, in bar of a harsh judgment upon
certain things which he did and said in the heat of controversy, I may observe
that J do not think he loas quite Jdmself at that period. His mind, harassed
and excited by what he conceived to be the disingenuousness of the Tract, and
the danger to which the Church would be exposed, should such a method of
dealing with the formularies prevail and find acceptance, was momentarily
thrown off its pivot. One night, when our reading at his house was ended, and
I was returning to my college, and he on a visit to the rooms cf some friend
(the late Archbishop Tait, I think), he (quite seriously, for indeed he was in no
frame for joking) expressed his apprehension that at some street corner a party
of Tractarians might be lying in wait for him, with the view of doing him
some grievous bodily harm. All my laughing at him did not seem to dispel
t5ie illusion. He had Tract XC. on the brain. I only mention this incident,
because it seems to me considerably to extenuate certain parts of his conduct

1^44 Letters and Correspondence 445

I have gone through a great deal of pain, and have been
very much cut up. The one predommant distress upon me
has been this unsettlement of mind I am causing. This is a
thing that has haunted me day by day. And for days I had
a hteral pain in and about my heart, which I suppose at any
moment I could bring on again. I have been overworked
lately. The translation of St, Athanasius is, I am glad to say,
just coming to an end, and I shall (so be it) relax. I suppose
I need it. This has been a very trying year.

. . . Besides the pain of unsettling people, of course I
feel the loss I am undergoing in the good opinion of my
friends and well-wishers, though I can't tell how much I feel
this. It is the shock, surprise, terror, forlornness, disgust,
scepticism to which I am giving rise ; the differences of opinion,
division of families — all this it is that makes my heart ache.

... I cannot make out that I have any motive but a
sense of indefinite risk to my soul in remaining where I am.
A clear conviction of the substantial identity of Christianity
and the Roman system has now Ijcen on my mind for a full
three years. It is more than five years since the conviction
first came on me, though I struggled against it and overcame
it. I believe all my feelings and wishes are against chan<^e.
I have nothing to draw me elsewhere. I hardly ever was at
a Eoman service ; even abroad I knew no Eoman Catholics.
I have no sympathies with them as a party. I am givin<^
up everything. I am not conscious of any resentment, dis-
gifst, or the like, to repel me from my present position ; and
I have no dreams whatever — far from it indeed. I seem to be
throwing myself away.

Unless something occurs which I cannot anticipate I have
no intention of any early step even now. But I cannot but
think— though I can no more realise it than being made Dean
of Ch. Ch. or Bishop of Durham— that some day it will be,
and at a definite distance of time. As far as I can make out
I am in the state of mind which divines call intliff'nriitlu,

in controversy wliicli no one will be prepared to justify. I never knew a man
who was more public-spirited and had the Church's interests (as he conceived
of them) more at heart than he.'

446 fohu Henry A'cuniiau 1844

inculcating it as a duty to 1)C set on nothing, liut to Ijo willing
to take whatever ProAiclence wills. How can I at my age and
with my past trials be set upon anything? I really don't
think I am. "What keeps me here is the desire of giving every
chance for finding out if I am under the power of a delusion.
Yarious persons have sent me very kind letters, and I really
trust that many are bearing me in mind in their prayers.

I say to myself, ' What have I done to be given up to a
delusion, if it be one ? ' It is my full intention to give up my
Fellowship some time before anything happens. And now
what a deal I have said about myself ! I wonder how many
I's are in this letter.

This is a most abrupt letter, but I have no time, and am
tired and out of spirits.^

Mrs. J. MozLEY to Eev. J. H. Ij^ewmax.

Xovemher 29, 1844.
... I have felt comparatively satisfied while your health
and spirits bore up, as they seemed to do ; but what if the}'
fail, and you are left in the power of the painful alternation
of feeling of which you give so distressing an account ? . . .
This is my especial trouble, that I cannot defend you as I
would desire through everything ; and I have to throw a damp
of reserve and discouragement on unsuspicious and generous
spirits who are ready to answer for your steadfastness. I am
afraid of adding to your trouble, but I really do wish you
would take the whole matter into account, and consider it,
not merely as counting the cost, but, as Mr. Oakeley puts it,
whether such impediments as the troubling the minds of the
better sort of people and long chosen friends, &c., may not be
providential warnings of the course in which we should walk.
. . . For myself I cannot help going a little further, hoping,
<lear John, I shall not shock you by the confession. I cannot
help feeling a repulsion from that Church which has so many

' One who knew Mr. Newman well has written of this period: 'He was
(liif ting, fast drifting, and yet he was struggling against the current. And people
are hard to persuade that such a state of mind is possible, consistent with fair-
ness and honesty.'

1844 Letters and Correspondence 447

stains upon her. I do not, of course, believe all the vulvar
charges which prejudice and bad feeling have brought against
her during the last three centuries ; but things which Eoman
Catholics themselves admit, and which seem to me as contrary
to the spirit Christians should cultivate as the practices of ultra
Protestants, or, I would rather say, those most to be objected
to which have crept into our Church. I should not have said
this, but that I thought it fair that you should know how I stand,
or rather where, in these shifting days. But you must also
believe that I can, in spite of all this, appreciate the i)ain and
struggle which causes your suffering, and indeed sympathiso
entirely with it, looking upon it, in your case, as truly a matter
of conscience.

AYould it were not so, and that you were more like other
men ! though, I allow, your way of going on ought in justice to
do credit to a cause. AVe do reall}- seem in a desperate state of
things nowadays, when even Christ's little flock must bite and
devour one another. How difidcult it is to believe that our
times are not indeed worse than those that have gone before !

Many thanks for your kind promise, as I take it, that we
shall not be taken by surprise by anything you do — this gave
me hope before. I hope you will forgive anything wrong I
have said in this letter, and believe that my first wish is that
you should see the truth, whatever it is. I hope and trust I
desire this for you above all things. Worldly fame is a vulgar
thing enough — with your talents you are sure to have plenty
of that ; but I have valued for you the respect and admiration
of good people, but this I would give up if I could feel sure
you were in the right course. I trust you will have the
blessing of that conviction, and that one day we may all
approve ourselves in His sight who sees all our struggles, and
feels for them as having Himself condescended to partake in
some measure of human infirmity.

Aunt is pretty well, and for the present has got over her
alarm about you. I have not annoyed her by telling her how
poorly you are, hoping the next account may be better. I
should be very glad of a few lines soon, dear John, to say you
are better, but hardly like to ask it.

44S foil 11 Henry N^cwiuan ls44

Some apology may possibly seem to Ijc due for giving both
sides of a correspondence where the writers stand in such
different relations with the public, where one is of world-
wide fame, the other known only to a private and narrow
circle. But properly to understand and appreciate one side
of a correspondence it is really necessary to see both, and it
may be observed there is no sign either of condescension
or impatience in Mr. Newman's tone. He feels his sister had
a right to his fullest, most earnest, and most intimate revela-
tions of himself, and tliat she would understand him with the
comprehension of life-long intimacy.

It may be pleaded, too, that the correspondence between
brother and sister is carried on in a spirit surely rare under
such circumstances, and as such, from its gentleness, forbear-
ance, tenderness of tone, ma}^ not be without use as an ex-
ample to disputants.

The right and the wrong will be decided by readers accord-
ing to their convictions and habits of thought, but all will
agree in commending the spirit in which each party approaches
the other. Again, these letters in their fulness and confiding-
ness, written at such a time, are a telling illustration of Mr.
Newman's strong family feeling. Nothing was dearer to him
at any time than the sympathy of those connected by ties of
blood and associated with earliest memories, and where this was
missing it left a void of which he was always keenly conscious.

His aunt is frequently alluded to in this correspondence,
and among Mrs. John Mozley's cares was the dread of the
blow her brother's projected change would be to Mrs. Eliza-
beth Newman.'

' When, in late years, a young lady shortly to become his niece was introduced
by H. W. M. to Cardinal Newman, he gave her at parting a gold ornament which
had belonged to his grandmother, saying that to her he mainly owed his earliest
love of the Bible. Mrs. Elizabeth Newman must have had her share in this early
teaching, indeed her illustrated Bible bore emphatic marks of his intelligent
reception of her instruction. He ever retained a strong affection for her.

1844 Lcttc7's and Correspondence 449

In a letter to his sister, Mrs. J. Mozley, Mr. Newman speaks
of his health, which had been suffering under the mental
strain of this time. She had been anxious, and he answers :

Liftlrinorr : infest. S. Andr., 1844.

You will be pleased to know that I am to all appearance
quite well, I am thankful to say. ... I have had no relapse.
I have returned to my customary diet, and only have to be
careful in exercise, Sec, &c. About Epiphany I propose going
to see Mrs. Bowden at St. Leonards, and perhaps shall l)e away
from home about a month, but we are so few here that it is
a trouble to me to be absent.

I am not unwilling to be in trouble now, and for others to
})e — for it is what must be — and the more of it the sooner
over. It is like drinking a cup out. I am far from unmindful
of what you say about unscttlement of others being a provi-
dential intimation ; but there must be a limit to its force, else
Jews could never have become Christians in early times, or
Nestorians or Monophysites, Catholics in more recent. How
St. Paul must have unsettled quiet Jews who were serving
God, and heard nothing but ill of our Lord as a Samaritan and
' deceiver ' ! And this suggests what has ever been said against
the Churcli at all times— namely, that it was corrupt, anti-
Christian, Sec. This has ever been a note of the Church. And
I do believe the Church of Eomc has tlie imputation only in
this sense (allowing for. our Lord's parable of the Net). It
is no new thing that the Church has been under odium and
in disgrace. And I confess the atrocious lies — I can call them
nothing else — which are circulated against myself have led
me to feel how very false the popular impression may be about
Jesuits, Sec. I say this because one of the most plausible
arguments against the Church of Rome is, '"Wc do not under-
stand these things, but we are ([uite sure that there could not
be so much suspicion, so much imputation, without cause for
it at bottom, in spite of prejudice, exaggeration,' I'^-c. ; just what
l)eople may say, or do say, about myself.

But to return. I do think the unsettlement of (piiet people


450 John Henry Netvnmn ih44

quite a reason for not moving ^Yitllout a clear and settled con-
viction that to move is a duty. It throws the onus iirdbandi
on the side of moving, were it not so before. And this is what
has kept me quiet hitherto. Still there is a point l^eyond
which this impediment will not act.

Ever yours very affectionately,

J. H. Newman.

P.S. — Thank John for his kind letter before the last, and
for the last also.

Rev. J. H. Newman to Mrs. J. Mozley.

Liftlcmnre: December 22, 1844.

I do not wonder at anyone's first impression being, when
he hears of the change of religion of another, that he is in-
fluenced by some wrong motive. It is the necessary con-
sequence of his thinkmg himself right ; and I fully allow that
the onus irrohandi that he is not so influenced lies with the
person influenced. AMiile, then, I think you are rather hard
on the various persons who have joined the Church of Rome, I
think you are justified in being so, for they have to prove
that they do not deserve a hard opinion. I say the same of
myself. A person's feehng naturally is, that there must be
something wrong at bottom ; that I must be disappointed,
or restless, or set on a theory, or carried on by a part}-,
or coaxed into it by admirers, or influenced by any of the
ten thousand persuasions which are as foreign from my
mind as from my heart, but which it is easy for others to
assign as an hj'pothesis. I do not quarrel with persons so

But still I think that as time goes on, and persons have
the opportunity of knowing me better, they will see that aU.
these suppositions do not hold ; and they will be led to see
that m}' motive simply is that I believe the Roman Church
to be true, and that I have come to this belief without any
assignable fault on my part. Far indeed am I from sa.ying
' without fault ' absolutely, but I say without fault that can be
detected and assigned. Were I sure that it was without fault

1844 Letters and Correspondeuec 451

al-»solutely, I should not hesitate to move to-morrow. It is
the fear that there is some secret luicletected fault Mhich is the
cause of my helicf which keeps me where I am, waiting. But
I really can saj^ that nothing occurs to me indicative of any
such fault, and the longer the time without such discovery the
more hope I have that there is none such. I cannot detect
such. Some time ago I wrote down for Keble everything of
every sort I could detect as jiassing in my mind in any re-
spect wrong, or leading to wrong, day by day, for a certain
period, and he could detect nothing bearing on this particular
belief of mine. I have been as open with him as possible.
Now I am far from saying I can find in myself good motives
— I have not any confidence whatever that I am acting from
faith and love ; but what I say is that I cannot detect bad
motives, and I seem to realise to myself most completely St.
Paul's words, ' I am conscious of nothing to myself, 3-et am
I not hereby justified — ^but he tliat judgeth is the Lord.' Of
course I know that I am continually doing what is wrong ;
but what have I done, what has been my sin, which has
brought this judgment upon me — to take so awfully wrong a
step as to change my Chm'ch, if it be wrong '?

In saying this I am not saying that another is M-rong who
does not do the same. I am only looking at myself. If God
gives me certain light, supposing it to be such, this is a reason
for me to act ; yet in so doing I am not condemning those who
do not so act. There h one truth, yet it may not please
Almighty God to show everyone in the same degree or way
what and where it is. I believe our Church to be separated
from Catholic communion ; but still I know very well that all
divines, ancient and modern, Roman as well as our own, grant
even to a Church in schism, which has the Apostolical Succes-
sion, and the right form of consecrating ne sacraments, very
large privileges. They allow that Baptism has the gift of the
Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist the Beal Presence. What
they deny to such a Church is the power of inqmrtin;/ these
gifts. They say that the grace is locked up, though present
and is not fruitful to the souls of individuals. However, they
grant that unavoidable ignorance, and love, are efticacious in

452 John Hen7'y Newman 1844

removing the bar or ohcx. They consider all children re-
generated who die in infancy, and they allow that the Divine
mercy may overflow its own prescribed limits. I am then —
how can I be otherwise ? — far from denying that great grace
has been and is given to our members ; but the question is,
whether it will be given to one who is not in ignorance ?
whether it is not his duty, if he would be saved, to act upon
knowledge vouchsafed to him concerning the state of his
Church ; which acting is not required for salvation in those
who have not that knowledge ? Our Church may be a place
of grace and security to another, yet not to me.

Now, my dear Jemima, I am sure you will feel that I am
not arguing, but I wish you to understand where I stand, and
what I feel — for my own comfort. I have never wished there
should be any reserve between us — it is most repugnant to

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 37 of 47)