John Henry Newman.

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

. (page 40 of 47)
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 40 of 47)
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have ever had (which is strange considering the differences of
the languages) is Cicero. I think I owe a great deal to him,
and as far as I know to no one else. His great mastery of
Latin is shown especially in his clearness.

Very faithfully yours,

John H. Newman.
The Ik'v. John Hayes.

P.S. Thank you for wluit you so kindly say of me in old

On the back of the following letter were written these
words : ' Copy of a letter in answer to Dr. Greenhill's inquiry
as to the exact meaning of the last two Imes in " Lead, kindly
Light," which I had discussed forty years ago with our dear
friend Charles :\rarriott. (Signed, J. TL X.) '

Jatniavij 18, 1879,

My dear Dr. Greenhill,— You flatter me by your ques-
tion ; but I think it was Keble who, when asked it in his own
case, answered that poets were not bound to Ije critics, or to

478 fohii Henry Newman

give a sense to what they had written ; and though I am not,
Uke him, a poet, at least I may plead that I am not bound to
ronciiiher my own meaning, whatever it was, at the end of
almost fifty years. Anyhow, there must be a statute of limita-
tion for writers of verse, as it would be quite a tyranny if, in
an art which is the expression, not of truth, but of imagination
and sentiment, one w-ere obliged to be ready for examination
on the transient states of mind which came upon one when
homesick or seasick,^ or in any other wa,y sensitive or

excited. . . .

Yours most truly,

John H. Newman.
On the death of Thackeray, Dr. Newman writes to Miss H. :

December 27, 1863.

My best Christmas greetings to you, and to Mr. and
Mrs. Leigh.

But I do not write to say what you will believe I feel,
though I do not say it, but to express the piercmg sorrow that
I feel in Thackeray's death.

You know I never saw him, but j^ou have interested me in
him, and one saw in his books the workings of his mind — and
he has died with such awful suddenness.

A new work of his had been advertised, and I had looked
forward with pleasure to reading it ; and now the drama of his
life is closed, and he himself is the greatest instance of the
text of which he was so full, Vanitas vanitatiim, omnia vanitas.
I wonder whether he has known his own decay, for a decay
I think there has been. I thought his last novel betrayed
lassitude and exhaustion of mind, and he has lain by apparently
for a year. His last (fugitive) pieces in the * Cornhill ' have
been almost sermons. One should be very glad to know that
he had presentiments of what was to come.

What a world this is ! how wretched they are who take it
for their portion ! Poor Thackeray ! it seems but the other

' When the poem in question was written, in 1833, the author was becalmed
on the Mediterranean.

Letters and Correspondence 479

day since we became Catholics ; now all his renown has been
since that — he has made his name, has been made much of,
has been feted, and has gone out, all since 1846 or 1847.

On being asked some questions about musical Tones, Mr.
Newman writes to Miss H. :

December 31, 1850.

I think with you that what is called Gregorian is but a
style of music — viz. before the fixing of the diatonic scale, and
the various keys as rising out of it. The Pagan and Jewish
tunes are neeessarilif in this style. And in this sense certainly
the Gregorian comes from the Pagan and the Jewish. The
names * Lydian,' ' Phrygian,' &c., look like Pagan. One
should think, however, some vuist be Jewish. I can't answer
your question about the genuineness of the professed specimens
of Pagan, as in Eousseau's Dictionary-. "Will Piousseau answer
your question ?

All true art comes from revelation (to speak generally), I
do think, but not necessarily through the Jewish Dispen-
sation. The Fathers look upon Paganism as preserving
traditions too : c.f/. the Sibyls. It seems to me a very con-
tracted view, and not borne out by facts, to trace Plato's
glowing thoughts on the religious rites of Paganism to

A tone of isolation characterises the following letter. The

reader will observe from the date, that it was written

immediately before the events occurred that produced the

* Apologia.'

A2)ril 28, 1863.

I myself, though I have a fixed place to live in, and so far
have a great blessing, am in the most strange way cut oft'
from other people. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose ; but
so it is that I know nothing of how things are going on, what
there is to do, and who is doing it. ^Vhen we get to heaven,
if we are worth5% we shall enjoy the sight of how all our
failures and disappointments, if borne well, have been for
God's glory and our own salvation.

480 JoIiJi Henry Newman

Passing from a definition of what the ' Grammar of Assent '
is, Dr. Newman meditates on old age and the limit of its

March 2, 1870.

You will be disappointed with my * Grammar,' and so will
everyone be. It is what it is, and it is not what it is not ; and
what it is not most people will expect that it is. It won't be
out for ten days or a fortnight yet. It is my last work. I
say * work,' for though I may fiddle-faddle, henceforth a real
piece of labour will be beyond me. This is what old men
cannot do ; when they attempt it, they kill themselves. An old
horse or an old piece of furniture will last a long time if you
take care of it — so will the brain ; but if you forget that it is
old, it soon reminds you of the fact by ceasing to be.

On Horace, and the lessons to be learnt from him. Dr.
Newman writes to Mr. Leigh :

November 24, 1873.

I have not forgotten your question through Miss H. It is
not difficult to answer, but to give satisfactorily the grounds
for that answer is difficult.

She tells me you have been interesting yourself in Horace,
and that you wish to know whether the lessons you get from
him are not learnt better from Thomas a Kempis. I think
not, because a heathen's experience of life is not the same as
a Christian's. Our Lord had a full knowledge and love of
fallen man. He came to save that which was lost. And St.
Paul had that love according to his measure after Him, and
so the great missionaries, as St. Francis Xavier. IVe may
gain from the classics, especially from the Latin, a good deal
in the way of that knowledge, both of man and of God. The
poems of Horace, I grant, are most melancholy to read, but
they bring before us most vividly and piteously our state by
nature ; they increase in us a sense of our utter dependence
and natural helplessness ; they arm us against the fallacious
promises of the world, especially at this day — the promises of
science and literature to give us light and liberty. It is most

Letter's and Conrspondcnce 481

piercingly sad to observe liow the heathen writers yearn for
some unknown good and higher truth, and cannot find it ; how
Horace in particular tries to solace himself with the pleasures
of sense, and how stern a monitor he has within him, telling
him that Death is coming. Lucretius is another author
teaching still more solemnly the same awful lesson. *We
should be happy,' he says, * were it not for that dreadful sense
of Eeligion which we all have, which poisons all our pleasures.
I will get rid of it.' But he could not, and he destroyed him-
self. Who can but pity such a race, so great and so little ?
Who does not recognise the abyss of misery which lies in
that wound which sin has made in us ? W^ho does not begin
to see from such a spectacle the Love of the Eternal Father,
who felt it in fulness, and sent His Son to die for His dear
rebellious children ? Have you seen Conington's Translations
of Horace ? If not, will you accept them from mc. Horace
is untranslatable, but I think they will interest you.

The following thoughts were written on Dr. Newman's

74th birthday :

Ftjlruarij 21, 1875.

... A birthday is a very sad day at my age, or rather I
should say a solemn day. When I call it sad, it is when it
brings before me the number of friends who have gone before
me ; though this is a most ungrateful sadness, since I have so
many affectionate and anxious friends left, who are so good tome.

I think what makes me low is the awful thought that
where my lost departed friends are, there I must bo ; and that
they can and do rejoice in their trial and their judgment being
over, whereas I am still on trial and have judgment to come.
The idea of a judgment is the first principle of religion, as
being involved in the sentiment of conscience, and as life goes
on it becomes very overpowering. Nor do the good tidings of
Christianity reverse it, unless wo go into the extreme of
Calvinism or Methodism, with the doctrine of personal
assurance. Otherwise, the more one has received, the more
one has to answer for. We can but throw ourselves on thi>
mercy of God, of which one's whole life is a long experience.


482 folin I Iciiry Newman

The Editor's task -svas undertaken for hall' a life, but,
nearing its close. Cardinal Newman could contemplate it as a
whole. There is no recognition of a Ijreak, in the thankfulness
which illuminates the last words of a correspondence with his
nephew, J. E. Mozley. Writing in March 1884, he closes his
letter with the words : —

For myself, now, at the end of a long life, I say from a
fall heart that God has never failed me, never disappointed
me, has ever turned evil into good for me, When I was young
I used to say (and I trust it was not presumptuous to say it)
that our Lord ever answered my prayers. And what He has
been to me, who have deserved His love so little, such will He
be, I believe and know, to every one who does not repel Him
and turn from His pleading.


Thk remarkable i^rediction that follows would Lave been placed
in what seemed a suitable position at the ' Start of the Movement,'
but there were reasons against this. Circumstances, however, having
changed, and it having appeared in a newspaper of the day, the
prophetic words may find a place hero. !Mr. Sikes was rector of
Guilsborough, a venerated leader of the old High Church party, and
died in the year 1834. The Rev. W. J. Copeland thus records his
prediction, and the occasion on which it was given : —

' I well remember good Mr. Sikes taking me one day into the
dining-room at the Rectory at Hackney, and telling me his \'iews
about the state and prospects of the Church. I wish I could re-
member distinctly his words ; but so far as I could I went over
them again and again in my mind, and I do not remember any
conversation in my whole life which made more impression upon
me at the time, or which I have had so often occasion to remember
since. So far as I recollect, it must have been about the year 1833
that the following prediction was made :

' " I seem to think I can tell you something which you who are
young may probably live to see, but which I, who shall soon be
called away otf the stage, shall not. Wherever I go, all about the
country, I see amongst the clergy a number of very amiable and
estimable men, many of them much in earnest and wishing to do
good. ])Ut I have observed the universal want in their teaching,
the uniform suppression of one great truth. There is no account
given anywhere, so far as I see, of the one Holy Catholic Church.
I think that the causes of this s'uppression have been mainly two.
The Church has been kept out of sight, partly in consequence of
the civil establishment of the branch of it which is in this country,
and partly out of false charity to Dissent. Now this great truth is
an Article in the Creed ; and, if so, to teach the rest of the Creed

I I 2

484 John Henry Ncmnan

to its exclusion must be to destroy the analogy or proportion of the
Faith, 7-)))' ara\i)y'iav rf/c Ti(T-£0)c. This cannot be done without
the most serious consequences. The doctrine is of the last import-
ance, and the principles it involves of immense power, and some
day, not far distant, it will judicially have its reprisals. And
whereas the other Articles of the Creed seem now to have thrown
it into the shade, it will seem when it is brought forward to
swallow up the rest. We now hear not a breath about the
Church ; by-and-bye, those who live to see it will hear of nothing
else, and just in proportion, perhaps, to its present suppression will
be its future development. Our present confusion is chiefly owing
to the want of it, and there will be yet more confusion attending
its revival. The effects of it I even dread to contemplate, especially
if it comes suddenly, and woe betide those, whoever they are, who
shall in the course of Providence have to bring it forward ! It
ought especially of all others to be matter of catechetical teaching
and training. The doctrine of the Church Catholic, and the
privileges of Church membership, cannot be explained from pulpits,
and those who will have to explain it will hardly know where they
are or which way to turn themselves. They will be endlessly
misunderstood and misinterpreted. There will be one great outcry,
of Popery from one end of the country to the other. It will be
thrust upon minds unprepared and on an uncatechised Church.
Some will take it up as a beautiful theory unrealised ; others will
be frightened and scandalised, and reject it ; and all will want a
guidance which one hardly Imows where they shall find. How the
doctrine may be first thrown forward we know not, but the powers
of the world may any day turn their backs upon us, and this
probably will lead to those effects I have described." '

Vol. II. P. 88.

For the benefit of some readers we may give the following
definition of ' Pra?munire,' taken from ' Hook's Dictionary ' :

' Praemunire in law is either taken for a form of writ, or for
the ofi'ence whereon the writ of Praemunire is granted. The writ
in question is named from its initial words, Prcsmunire facias, and it
is chiefly known in ecclesiastical matters from a persecuting use to
which it is applied by the statute of 25 Hen. YIIL c. 20, which
enacts, that if the dean and chapter refuse to elect the person

Appendix 485

nominated by the king to the vacant bishopric, or if any arch-
bishop or bishop I'efuse to confirm or consecrate him, they shall
incur the penalties of the statutes of the Praemunire. These pen-
alties are no less than the following : — From the moment of con-
viction the defendant is out of the king's protection, his body remains
in prison during the king's pleasure, and all his goods, real or
personal, are forfeited to the Crown. He can bring no action, nor
recover damages for the most atrocious injuries, and no man can
safely give him comfort, aid, or relief.'

Some extracts may be given fiom Mr. Newman's pamphlet on
Suffragan Bishops, printed in 1835, and reprinted in 'Via Media,'
vol. ii. :

' I will venture to say every thinking man will admit the over-
populousness of the existing Dioceses. Such vast charges must be
•distressing even to the most vigorous minds ; oppressing them with
a sense of I'esponsibility, if not rather engrossing, dissipating, and
exhausting their minds with the mere formal routine of business.
If they are able to sustain such duties, they are greater than the
inspired lawgiver of Israel, who said : "I am not able to bear all
this people alone, because it is too heavy for me." Nothing is more
necessary to the rulers of the Church than that they should have
seasons of leisure. A whirl of business is always unfavourable to
depth and accuracy of religious views. It is one chief end of the
institution of the ministerial order itself that there should be men in
the world who have time to think apart from it, and live above it,
in order to influence those whose duties call them more directly
into the bustle of it. So much was this felt in early times, that
places of retreat were sometimes assigned to the Bishops at a dis-
tance from their city, whither they were expected to betake them-
selves, during certain seasons of the year, for the purpose of
collecting their minds. Doubtless such leisure may be abused, as
everything else ; but so far is clear, that while leisure may become
an evil, an incessant hurry of successive engagements mn&t be an
evil, a serious evil to tlie whole Church, hurtful to anyone, and more
than personally hurtful, dangerous to the common cause, in the
case of those who are by oflice guides of conduct, arbiters in moral
questions, patterns of holiness and wisdom, and not the mere execu-
tive of a system which is ordered by prescribed rules and can go on
without them. . . .'

486 J o/iu [ Iciirv Nciuiiiaii

Vol. IL P. 114. — Mk. Newman's Address,

On occasion of luijinri the first atone of the Church at Littlemorc,
'jnl>j2\, 1835.

To MY Pakishioners.

My Brethren, — I do not like tins occasion to pass without
sharing with you one or two thoughts upon it.

Surely to build a house to God's honour and service is a good
work. It has been our purpose to do this, as you know, for some
months ; it is our prayer and hope that our hands may be
strengthened to fulfil it, and we have this day begun it. Let us
humbly say, ' Prosper Thou the work of our hands upon us,
prosper Thou our handy-work ! ' And God's holy word gives us
assurance, to our great comfort, that He will prosper it.

When Jacob was on his journey to Padan-aram, he saw angels
ascending and descending. You will find the account of it in
Genesis xxviii. When he awoke, he took the stone he had used as a
pillow and ' set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon it. And he
called the name of that place Bethel ' ; i.e. the House of God. And he
' vowed a vow. If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way
that I go, then shall the Lord be my God ; and this stone, which I
have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house ; and of all that Thou
shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.' He was at
length prospered so as to be able to fulfil this good purpose of his,
as you Avill read in the thirty-fifth chapter of the same book.
Again, we have the example of holy David, who brought together
the materials for building tlie Temple, ' gold and silver, brass and
iron, wood, precious stones, and marble stones in abundance,'
and drew a ' pattern of the porch and of the houses thereof, and of
the courts, and the chambers ' ; and God blessed his good design,
and fulfilled it to him in the days of his son Solomon, by whom it
was all built. You may read the account of it in i Chron. xxviii.,
xxix., and 2 Chron. ii.-vii. We are indeed beginning a very humble
work, not to be compared to the building of the Temple ; but Christ
praised the widow who cast in two mites into the treasury (Mark
xii. 41-44), and Ave trust He will not reject our offering, though it
be a small one.

Again, we read in the book of Ezra ii., iii., how, when the Temple
had been destroyed by God's enemies, some hundreds of years
after Solomon's time, ' some of the chief of the fathers ' ' offered
freely for the House of God to set it up in his place. They

-J o"-

Appendix 487

after their ability unto the treasure of the. work three score and oue
thousand drachms of gold and five thousand pounds of silver, and one
hundred priests' garments.' ' And when the builders laid the
foundation of the Temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their
apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with
cymbals to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David, king of
Israel. And they sang together by course, in praising and giving
thanks unto the Lord, l)ecanse He is good, for His mercy endureth
for ever toward Israel.' And here again God was gracious ; as
they began, so they finished under His protection ; and that Temple,
so raised, was honoured in the course of time with the presence of
our Saviour Christ, when He came on earth, as He had promised
by the mouth of His prophet Haggai at the time of its building :
' The Desire of all Nations (i.e. Christ) shall come,' said the prophet,
* and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. The
glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former.'

These are grounds of encouragement from Scripture that God
will bless our present undertaking.

The simplicity of this address was adapted to the rustic popu-
lation of Littlemore. As far as the Editor can remember there
was scarcely a house beyond the rank of cottage in the village. Mr.
Newman and his curates seem to have been the first gentry in the
place, and Mrs. and the Miss Newmans were certainly the first ladies
with whom the people had had any intercourse. And the welcome
given to these ladies was of the warmest nature, but the admira
tion and respect excited had to be expressed in their own vernacular,
as when tlic village schoolmistress, after some outbreak of the
children, addressed them : ' That if everybody was as good as the
Miss Newmans, there would not be so much robbing of orchards or
stealing of < oppers.' In a letter to Miss M. A. D., dated St. Giles,
Oxford, Jiuio 1849, A. M. writes: 'I had some little commissions
and calls to do for Jemima, which I was very glad to execute, and
to hear their lamentations over the changes, and their coimting up
all they have lost. "All the gentlemen they used to know that
never come near them now." I was hardly prepared for tlie strong
hold Mr. Newman seems to have gained over their affections — that
is, I imagined his power lay in a different class, though of course
all must value his care and kindness ; but his peculiar influence told
in the same way among these people, only expressed in ditferent
language. " We don't seem so comfortable now as we used to do,
I thinks," one nice old woman said to me so often. They don't like

488 fohn I loiry Newman

the changes that have taken place since, and evidently resent the
enlargement and alterations in the church as an injury to their
remembrance of Mr. Ne^vraan. It is undoing what he did. The
old women of Littlcmore talk of recent innovations very much in
the tone that elsewhere they resent "Puseyite" restoration to
primitive practice ; how keen these associations were I can
hardly describe. Nor shall I ever forget the truth and feeling with
which one woman described his last parting with her and her hus-
band the day before he finally left Littlcmore. Every thing he did
is remembered as if it were but yesterday. . . .' Not that these
were really old times, as is shown by the records of a much later
visit, when the writer went from Christ Church to make calls at
Littlemore, at the request of Dr. Newman on the one hand, and his
sister, Mrs. Mozley, on the other.

A. M. TO Mrs. John Mozley.

Christ Church: May 8, 1875.

You would hear fl probably told you) that Dr. Newman gave
me some names at Littlemore of people that would remember him.
It was, of course, a great thing to have something to do, and an
excuse for calling. My first call was on Mrs. Stroud, who was
Mrs. Palmer and schoolmistress after your time. Her recollections
of your brother were mainly of his visits to the school, and mamier
and influence with the children. As she and Humphrey had both
ad\ased my calling on Mrs. Crawley, and as he (Dr. Newman)
mentions her in his note, and sends remembrances, I called, and
had an interesting talk. Her husband's monument is in the
churchyard. She is venerable looking and very grave in matnier.
She and her friend spoke of the Phippses as people to call on. I
had heard of them before. It was an amusing call, beginning
with her exclamation of ' Lawkadaisy ! ' when she heard I knew
your brother, and was your sister-in-law. Her memory is unjust
in this way, that she calls your brother ' the old gentleman,' and
you and Harriett ' the young ladies.' She is full of really in-
teresting recollections ; flatters herself that your brother, in reading
the funeral service over her baby, which he did the last day that
he read the service at all, added some emphatic words to express
the strength of his conviction of her child's eternal blessedness
(of course the words, ' Come, ye blessed children of my Father,' &c.).
She looks back still to the solemnity of his voice and manner in
the service of the preceding Good Friday (of course in all these

Appendix 489

memories she was looking back at least thirty years). The old
man, her husband, sent his message : ' Tell him we be old too,
but we be still alive.' The wife put in, * Husband in his seventy-nine.
Lawkadaisy ! you be older than ]\Ir. Newman.'

But my most interesting call was on Martha K. So full of
enthusiasm for you all, so intelligent and so vivid in her recollec-
tions, and better able to express her feelings. It was evidently the

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 40 of 47)