Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Part 1 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

E-Text prepared by Martin Adamson


by Lytton Strachey


THE history of the Victorian Age will never be written; we know
too much about it. For ignorance is the first requisite of the
historian--ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which
selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the
highest art. Concerning the Age which has just passed, our
fathers and our grandfathers have poured forth and accumulated so
vast a quantity of information that the industry of a Ranke would
be submerged by it, and the perspicacity of a Gibbon would quail
before it. It is not by the direct method of a scrupulous
narration that the explorer of the past can hope to depict that
singular epoch. If he is wise, he will adopt a subtler strategy.
He will attack his subject in unexpected places; he will fall
upon the flank, or the rear; he will shoot a sudden, revealing
searchlight into obscure recesses, hitherto undivined. He will
row out over that great ocean of material, and lower down into
it, here and there, a little bucket, which will bring up to the
light of day some characteristic specimen, from those far depths,
to be examined with a careful curiosity. Guided by these
considerations, I have written the ensuing studies. I have
attempted, through the medium of biography, to present some
Victorian visions to the modern eye. They are, in one sense,
haphazard visions-- that is to say, my choice of subjects has
determined by no desire to construct a system or to prove a
theory, but by simple motives of convenience and of art. It has
been my purpose to illustrate rather than to explain. It would
have been futile to hope to tell even a precis of the truth about
the Victorian age, for the shortest precis must fill innumerable
volumes. But, in the lives of an ecclesiastic, an educational
authority, a woman of action, and a man of adventure, I have
sought to examine and elucidate certain fragments of the truth
which took my fancy and lay to my hand.

I hope, however, that the following pages may prove to be of
interest from the strictly biographical, no less than from the
historical point of view. Human beings are too important to be
treated as mere symptoms of the past. They have a value which is
independent of any temporal processes-- which is eternal, and
be felt for its own sake. The art of biography seems to have
fallen on evil times in England. We have had, it is true, a few
masterpieces, but we have never had, like the French, a great
biographical tradition; we have had no Fontenelles and
Condorcets, with their incomparable eloges, compressing into a
few shining pages the manifold existences of men. With us, the
most delicate and humane of all the branches of the art of
writing has been relegated to the journeymen of letters; we do
not reflect that it is perhaps as difficult to write a good life
as to live one. Those two fat volumes, with which it is our
custom to commemorate the dead--who does not know them, with
their ill-digested masses of material, their slipshod style,
their tone of tedious panegyric, their lamentable lack of
selection, of detachment, of design? They are as familiar as the
cortege of the undertaker, and wear the same air of slow,
funereal barbarism. One is tempted to suppose, of some of them,
that they were composed by that functionary as the final item of
his job. The studies in this book are indebted, in more ways than
one, to such works-- works which certainly deserve the name of
Standard Biographies. For they have provided me not only with
much indispensable information, but with something even more
precious-- an example. How many lessons are to be learned from
them! But it is hardly necessary to particularise. To preserve,
for instance, a becoming brevity-- a brevity which excludes
everything that is redundant and nothing that is significant--
that, surely, is the first duty of the biographer. The second, no
less surely, is to maintain his own freedom of spirit. It is not
his business to be complimentary; it is his business to lay bare
the facts of the case, as he understands them. That is what I
have aimed at in this book-- to lay bare the facts of some cases,
as I understand them, dispassionately, impartially, and without
ulterior intentions. To quote the words of a Master--'Je n'impose
rien; je ne propose rien: j'expose.'

A list of the principal sources from which I have drawn is
appended to each Biography. I would indicate, as an honourable
exception to the current commodity, Sir Edward Cook's excellent
Life of Florence Nightingale, without which my own study, though
composed on a very different scale and from a decidedly different
angle, could not have been written.

Cardinal Manning

HENRY EDWARD MANNING was born in 1807 and died in 1892. His life
was extraordinary in many ways, but its interest for the modern
inquirer depends mainly upon two considerations--the light which
his career throws upon the spirit of his age, and the
psychological problems suggested by his inner history. He
belonged to that class of eminent ecclesiastics -- and it is by
no means a small class -- who have been distinguished less for
saintliness and learning than for practical ability. Had he lived
in the Middle Ages he would certainly have been neither a Francis
nor an Aquinas, but he might have been an Innocent. As it was,
born in the England of the nineteenth century, growing up in the
very seed-time of modern progress, coming to maturity with the
first onrush of Liberalism, and living long enough to witness the
victories of Science and Democracy, he yet, by a strange
concatenation of circumstances, seemed almost to revive in his
own person that long line of diplomatic and administrative
clerics which, one would have thought, had come to an end for
ever with Cardinal Wolsey.

In Manning, so it appeared, the Middle Ages lived again. The tall
gaunt figure, with the face of smiling asceticism, the robes, and
the biretta, as it passed in triumph from High Mass at the
Oratory to philanthropic gatherings at Exeter Hall, from Strike
Committees at the Docks to Mayfair drawing-rooms where
fashionable ladies knelt to the Prince of the Church, certainly
bore witness to a singular condition of affairs. What had
happened? Had a dominating character imposed itself upon a
hostile environment? Or was the nineteenth century, after all,
not so hostile? Was there something in it, scientific and
progressive as it was, which went out to welcome the
representative of ancient tradition and uncompromising faith? Had
it, perhaps, a place in its heart for such as Manning--a soft
place, one might almost say? Or, on the other hand, was it he who
had been supple and yielding? He who had won by art what he would
never have won by force, and who had managed, so to speak, to be
one of the leaders of the procession less through merit than
through a superior faculty for gliding adroitly to the front
rank? And, in any case, by what odd chances, what shifts and
struggles, what combinations of circumstance and character, had
this old man come to be where he was? Such questions are easier
to ask than to answer; but it may be instructive, and even
amusing, to look a little more closely into the complexities of
so curious a story.


UNDOUBTEDLY, what is most obviously striking in the history of
Manning's career is the persistent strength of his innate
characteristics. Through all the changes of his fortunes the
powerful spirit of the man worked on undismayed. It was as if the
Fates had laid a wager that they would daunt him; and in the end
they lost their bet.

His father was a rich West Indian merchant, a governor of the
Bank of England, a Member of Parliament, who drove into town
every day from his country scat in a coach and four, and was
content with nothing short of a bishop for the christening of his
children. Little Henry, like the rest, had his bishop; but he was
obliged to wait for him--for as long as eighteen months. In those
days, and even a generation later, as Keble bears witness, there
was great laxity in regard to the early baptism of children. The
delay has been noted by Manning's biographer as the first
stumbling-block in the spiritual life of the future Cardinal; but
he surmounted it with success.

His father was more careful in other ways. 'His refinement and
delicacy of mind were such,' wrote Manning long afterwards, 'that
I never heard out of his mouth a word which might not have been
spoken in the presence of the most pure and sensitive--except,'
he adds, 'on one occasion. He was then forced by others to repeat
a negro story which, though free from all evil de sexu, was
indelicate. He did it with great resistance. His example gave me
a hatred of all such talk.'

The family lived in an atmosphere of Evangelical piety. One day
the little boy came in from the farmyard, and his mother asked
him whether he had seen the peacock. 'I said yes, and the nurse
said no, and my mother made me kneel down and beg God to forgive
me for not speaking the truth.' At the age of four the child was
told by a cousin of the age of six that 'God had a book in which
He wrote down everything we did wrong. This so terrified me for
days that I remember being found by my mother sitting under a
kind of writing-table in great fear. I never forgot this at any
time in my life,' the Cardinal tells us, 'and it has been a great
grace to me.' When he was nine years old he 'devoured the
Apocalypse; and I never all through my life forgot the "lake that
burneth with fire and brimstone". That verse has kept me like an
audible voice through all my life, and through worlds of danger
in my youth.'

At Harrow the worlds of danger were already around him; but yet
he listened to the audible voice. 'At school and college I never
failed to say my prayers, so far as memory serves me, even for a
day.' And he underwent another religious experience: he read
Paley's Evidences. 'I took in the whole argument,' wrote Manning,
when he was over seventy, 'and I thank God that nothing has ever
shaken it.' Yet on the whole he led the unspiritual life of an
ordinary schoolboy. We have glimpses of him as a handsome lad,
playing cricket, or strutting about in tasselled Hessian top-
boots. And on one occasion at least he gave proof of a certain
dexterity of conduct which deserved to be remembered. He went out
of bounds, and a master, riding by and seeing him on the other
side of a field, tied his horse to a gate, and ran after him. The
astute youth outran the master, fetched a circle, reached the
gate, jumped on to the horse's back and rode off. For this he was
very properly chastised; but, of what use was chastisement? No
whipping, however severe, could have eradicated from little
Henry's mind a quality at least as firmly planted in it as his
fear of Hell and his belief in the arguments of Paley.

It had been his father's wish that Manning should go into the
Church; but the thought disgusted him; and when he reached
Oxford, his tastes, his ambitions, his successes at the Union,
all seemed to mark him out for a political career. He was a year
junior to Samuel Wilberforce, and a year senior to Gladstone. In
those days the Union was the recruiting-ground for young
politicians; Ministers came down from London to listen to the
debates; and a few years later the Duke of Newcastle gave
Gladstone a pocket borough on the strength of his speech at the
Union against the Reform Bill. To those three young men, indeed,
the whole world lay open. Were they not rich, well-connected, and
endowed with an infinite capacity for making speeches? The event
justified the highest expectations of their friends; for the
least distinguished of the three died a bishop. The only danger
lay in another direction. 'Watch, my dear Samuel,' wrote the
elder Wilberforce to his son, 'watch with jealousy whether you
find yourself unduly solicitous about acquitting yourself;
whether you are too much chagrined when you fail, or are puffed
up by your success. Undue solicitude about popular estimation is
a weakness against which all real Christians must guard with the
utmost jealous watchfulness. The more you can retain the
impression of your being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses of
the invisible world, to use the scripture phrase, the more you
will be armed against this besetting sin.' But suddenly it seemed
as if such a warning could, after all, have very little relevance
to Manning; for, on his leaving Oxford, the brimming cup was
dashed from his lips. He was already beginning to dream of
himself in the House of Commons, the solitary advocate of some
great cause whose triumph was to be eventually brought about by
his extraordinary efforts, when his father was declared a
bankrupt, and all his hopes of a political career came to an end

It was at this time that Manning became intimate with a pious
lady, the sister of one of his College friends, whom he used to
describe as his Spiritual Mother. He made her his confidante; and
one day, as they walked together in the shrubbery, he revealed
the bitterness of the disappointment into which his father's
failure had plunged him. She tried to cheer him, and then she
added that there were higher aims open to him which he had not
considered. 'What do you mean?' he asked. 'The kingdom of
Heaven,' she answered; 'heavenly ambitions are not closed against
you.' The young man listened, was silent, and said at last that
he did not know but she was right. She suggested reading the
Bible together; and they accordingly did so during the whole of
that Vacation, every morning after breakfast. Yet, in spite of
these devotional exercises, and in spite of a voluminous
correspondence on religious subjects with his Spiritual Mother,
Manning still continued to indulge in secular hopes. He entered
the Colonial Office as a supernumerary clerk, and it was only
when the offer of a Merton Fellowship seemed to depend upon his
taking orders that his heavenly ambitions began to assume a
definite shape. Just then he fell in love with Miss Deffell,
whose father would have nothing to say to a young man without
prospects, and forbade him the house. It was only too true; what
WERE the prospects of a supernumerary clerk in the Colonial
Office? Manning went to Oxford and took orders. He was elected to
the Merton Fellowship, and obtained through the influence of the
Wilberforces a curacy in Sussex. At the last moment he almost
drew back. 'I think the whole step has been too precipitate,' he
wrote to his brother-in-law. 'I have rather allowed the instance
of my friends, and the allurements of an agreeable curacy in many
respects, to get the better of my sober judgment.' His vast
ambitions, his dreams of public service, of honours, and of
power, was all this to end in a little country curacy 'agreeable
in many respects'? But there was nothing for it; the deed was
done; and the Fates had apparently succeeded very effectively in
getting rid of Manning. All he could do was to make the best of a
bad business.

Accordingly, in the first place, he decided that he had received
a call from God 'ad veritatem et ad seipsum'; and, in the second,
forgetting Miss Deffell, he married his rector's daughter. Within
a few months the rector died, and Manning stepped into his shoes;
and at least it could be said that the shoes were not
uncomfortable. For the next seven years he fulfilled the
functions of a country clergyman. He was energetic and devout; he
was polite and handsome; his fame grew in the diocese. At last he
began to be spoken of as the probable successor to the old
Archdeacon of Chichester. When Mrs. Manning prematurely died, he
was at first inconsolable, but he found relief in the distraction
of redoubled work. How could he have guessed that one day he
would come to number that loss among 'God's special mercies? Yet
so it was to be. In after years, the memory of his wife seemed to
be blotted from his mind; he never spoke of her; every letter,
every record, of his married life he destroyed; and when word was
sent to him that her grave was falling into ruin: 'It is best
so,' the Cardinal answered, 'let it be. Time effaces all things.'
But, when the grave was yet fresh, the young Rector would sit
beside it, day after day, writing his sermons.


IN the meantime, a series of events was taking place in another
part of England, which was to have a no less profound effect upon
Manning's history than the merciful removal of his wife. In the
same year in which he took up his Sussex curacy, the Tracts for
the Times had begun to appear at Oxford. The 'Oxford Movement',
in fact, had started on its course. The phrase is still familiar;
but its meaning has become somewhat obscured both by the lapse of
time and the intrinsic ambiguity of the subjects connected with
it. Let us borrow for a moment the wings of Historic Imagination,
and, hovering lightly over the Oxford of the thirties, take a
rapid bird's-eye view.

For many generations the Church of England had slept the sleep of
the...comfortable. The sullen murmurings of dissent, the loud
battle-cry of Revolution, had hardly disturbed her slumbers.
Portly divines subscribed with a sigh or a smile to the Thirty-
nine Articles, sank quietly into easy living, rode gaily to
hounds of a morning as gentlemen should, and, as gentlemen
should, carried their two bottles of an evening. To be in the
Church was in fact simply to pursue one of those professions
which Nature and Society had decided were proper to gentlemen and
gentlemen alone. The fervours of piety, the zeal of Apostolic
charity, the enthusiasm of self-renunciation-- these things were
all very well in their way and in their place; but their place
was certainly not the Church of England. Gentlemen were neither
fervid nor zealous, and above all they were not enthusiastic.
There were, it was true, occasionally to be found within the
Church some strait-laced parsons of the high Tory school who
looked back with regret to the days of Laud or talked of the
Apostolical Succession; and there were groups of square-toed
Evangelicals who were earnest over the Atonement, confessed to a
personal love of Jesus Christ, and seemed to have arranged the
whole of their lives, down to the minutest details of act and
speech, with reference to Eternity. But such extremes were the
rare exceptions. The great bulk of the clergy walked calmly along
the smooth road of ordinary duty. They kept an eye on the poor of
the parish, and they conducted the Sunday Services in a becoming
manner; for the rest, they differed neither outwardly nor
inwardly from the great bulk of the laity, to whom the Church was
a useful organisation for the maintenance of Religion, as by law

The awakening came at last, however, and it was a rude one. The
liberal principles of the French Revolution, checked at first in
the terrors of reaction, began to make their way into England.
Rationalists lifted up their heads; Bentham and the Mills
propounded Utilitarianism; the Reform Bill was passed; and there
were rumours abroad of disestablishment. Even Churchmen seemed to
have caught the infection. Dr. Whately was so bold as to assert
that, in the interpretation of Scripture, different opinions
might be permitted upon matters of doubt; and, Dr. Arnold drew up
a disquieting scheme for allowing Dissenters into the Church,
though it is true that he did not go quite so far as to
contemplate the admission of Unitarians.

At this time, there was living in a country parish, a young
clergyman of the name of John Keble. He had gone to Oxford at the
age of fifteen, where, after a successful academic career, he had
been made a Fellow of Oriel. He had then returned to his father's
parish and taken up the duties of a curate. He had a thorough
knowledge of the contents of the Prayer-book, the ways of a
Common Room, the conjugations of the Greek Irregular Verbs, and
the small jests of a country parsonage; and the defects of his
experience in other directions were replaced by a zeal and a
piety which were soon to prove themselves equal, and more than
equal, to whatever calls might be made upon them. The
superabundance of his piety overflowed into verse; and the holy
simplicity of the Christian Year carried his name into the
remotest lodging-houses of England.

As for his zeal, however, it needed another outlet. Looking forth
upon the doings of his fellow-men through his rectory windows in
Gloucestershire, Keble felt his whole soul shaken with loathing,
anger, and dread. Infidelity was stalking through the land;
authority was laughed at; the hideous doctrines of Democracy were
being openly preached. Worse still, if possible, the Church
herself was ignorant and lukewarm; she had forgotten the
mysteries of the sacraments, she had lost faith in the
Apostolical Succession; she was no longer interested in the Early
Fathers; and she submitted herself to the control of a secular
legislature, the members of which were not even bound to profess
belief in the Atonement. In the face of such enormities what
could Keble do? He was ready to do anything, but he was a simple
and an unambitious man, and his wrath would in all probability
have consumed itself unappeased within him had he not chanced to
come into contact, at the critical moment, with a spirit more
excitable and daring than his own.

Hurrell Froude, one of Keble's pupils, was a clever young man to
whom had fallen a rather larger share of self-assurance and
intolerance than even clever young men usually possess. What was
singular about him, however, was not so much his temper as his
tastes. The sort of ardour which impels more normal youths to
haunt Music Halls and fall in love with actresses took the form,
in Froude's case, of a romantic devotion to the Deity and an
intense interest in the state of his own soul. He was obsessed by
the ideals of saintliness, and convinced of the supreme
importance of not eating too much. He kept a diary in which he
recorded his delinquencies, and they were many. 'I cannot say
much for myself today,' he writes on September 29th, 1826 (he was
twenty-three years old). 'I did not read the Psalms and Second
Lesson after breakfast, which I had neglected to do before,
though I had plenty of time on my hands. Would have liked to be
thought adventurous for a scramble I had at the Devil's Bridge.
Looked with greediness to see if there was a goose on the table
for dinner; and though what I ate was of the plainest sort, and I
took no variety, yet even this was partly the effect of accident,
and I certainly rather exceeded in quantity, as I was fuzzy and
sleepy after dinner.' 'I allowed myself to be disgusted, with --
's pomposity,' he writes a little later, 'also smiled at an
allusion in the Lessons to abstemiousness in eating. I hope not
from pride or vanity, but mistrust; it certainly was
unintentional.' And again, 'As to my meals, I can say that I was
always careful to see that no one else would take a thing before
I served myself; and I believe as to the kind of my food, a bit
of cold endings of a dab at breakfast, and a scrap of mackerel at
dinner, are the only things that diverged from the strict rule of
simplicity.' 'I am obliged to confess,' he notes, 'that in my
intercourse with the Supreme Being, I am be come more and more
sluggish.' And then he exclaims: 'Thine eye trieth my inward
parts, and knoweth my thoughts ... Oh that my ways were made so
direct that I might keep Thy statutes. I will walk in Thy
Commandments when Thou hast set my heart at liberty.'

Such were the preoccupations of this young man. Perhaps they
would have been different, if he had had a little less of what
Newman describes as his 'high severe idea of the intrinsic
excellence of Virginity'; but it is useless to speculate.

Naturally enough the fierce and burning zeal of Keble had a
profound effect upon his mind. The two became intimate friends,
and Froude, eagerly seizing upon the doctrines of the elder man,
saw to it that they had as full a measure of controversial
notoriety as an Oxford common room could afford. He plunged the
metaphysical mysteries of the Holy Catholic Church into the
atmosphere of party politics. Surprised Doctors of Divinity found
themselves suddenly faced with strange questions which had never
entered their heads before. Was the Church of England, or was it
not, a part of the Church Catholic? If it was, were not the
Reformers of the sixteenth century renegades? Was not the
participation of the Body and Blood of Christ essential to the
maintenance of Christian life and hope in each individual? Were
Timothy and Titus Bishops? Or were they not? If they were, did it
not follow that the power of administering the Holy Eucharist was
the attribute of a sacred order founded by Christ Himself? Did
not the Fathers refer to the tradition of the Church as to
something independent of the written word, and sufficient to
refute heresy, even alone? Was it not, therefore, God's unwritten
word? And did it not demand the same reverence from us as the
Scriptures, and for exactly the same reason--BECAUSE IT WAS HIS
WORD? The Doctors of Divinity were aghast at such questions,
which seemed to lead they hardly knew whither; and they found it
difficult to think of very apposite answers. But Hurrell Froude
supplied the answers himself readily enough. All Oxford, all
England, should know the truth. The time was out of joint, and he
was only too delighted to have been born to set it right.

But, after all, something more was needed than even the
excitement of Froude combined with the conviction of Keble to
ruffle seriously the vast calm waters of Christian thought; and
it so happened that that thing was not wanting: it was the genius
of John Henry Newman. If Newman had never lived, or if his
father, when the gig came round on the fatal morning, still
undecided between the two Universities, had chanced to turn the
horse's head in the direction of Cambridge, who can doubt that
the Oxford Movement would have flickered out its little flame
unobserved in the Common Room of Oriel? And how different, too,
would have been the fate of Newman himself! He was a child of the
Romantic Revival, a creature of emotion and of memory, a dreamer
whose secret spirit dwelt apart in delectable mountains, an
artist whose subtle senses caught, like a shower in the sunshine,
the impalpable rainbow of the immaterial world. In other times,
under other skies, his days would have been more fortunate. He
might have helped to weave the garland of Meleager, or to mix the
lapis lazuli of Fra Angelico, or to chase the delicate truth in
the shade of an Athenian palaestra, or his hands might have
fashioned those ethereal faces that smile in the niches of
Chartres. Even in his own age he might, at Cambridge, whose
cloisters have ever been consecrated to poetry and common sense,
have followed quietly in Gray's footsteps and brought into flower
those seeds of inspiration which now lie embedded amid the faded
devotion of the Lyra Apostolica.

At Oxford, he was doomed. He could not withstand the last
enchantment of the Middle Age. It was in vain that he plunged
into the pages of Gibbon or communed for long hours with
Beethoven over his beloved violin. The air was thick with
clerical sanctity, heavy with the odours of tradition and the
soft warmth of spiritual authority; his friendship with Hurrell
Froude did the rest. All that was weakest in him hurried him
onward, and all that was strongest in him too. His curious and
vaulting imagination began to construct vast philosophical
fabrics out of the writings of ancient monks, and to dally with
visions of angelic visitations and the efficacy of the oil of St
Walburga; his emotional nature became absorbed in the partisan
passions of a University clique; and his subtle intellect
concerned itself more and more exclusively with the dialectical
splitting of dogmatical hairs. His future course was marked out
for him all too clearly; and yet by a singular chance the true
nature of the man was to emerge triumphant in the end. If Newman
had died at the age of sixty, today he would have been already
forgotten, save by a few ecclesiastical historians; but he lived
to write his Apologia, and to reach immortality, neither as a
thinker nor as a theologian, but as an artist who has embalmed
the poignant history of an intensely human spirit in the magical
spices of words.

When Froude succeeded in impregnating Newman with the ideas of
Keble, the Oxford Movement began. The original and remarkable
characteristic of these three men was that they took the
Christian Religion au pied de la lettre. This had not been done
in England for centuries. When they declared every Sunday that
they believed in the Holy Catholic Church, they meant it. When
they repeated the Athanasian Creed, they meant it. Even, when
they subscribed to the Thirty-nine Articles, they meant it-or at
least they thought they did. Now such a state of mind was
dangerous--more dangerous indeed-- than they at first realised.
They had started with the innocent assumption that the Christian
Religion was contained in the doctrines of the Church of England;
but, the more they examined this matter, the more difficult and
dubious it became. The Church of England bore everywhere upon it
the signs of human imperfection; it was the outcome of revolution
and of compromise, of the exigencies of politicians and the
caprices of princes, of the prejudices of theologians and the
necessities of the State. How had it happened that this piece of
patchwork had become the receptacle for the august and infinite
mysteries of the Christian Faith? This was the problem with which
Newman and his friends found themselves confronted. Other men
might, and apparently did, see nothing very strange in such a
situation; but other men saw in Christianity itself scarcely more
than a convenient and respectable appendage to existence, by
which a sound system of morals was inculcated, and through which
one might hope to attain to everlasting bliss.

To Newman and Keble it was otherwise. They saw a transcendent
manifestation of Divine power flowing down elaborate and immense
through the ages; a consecrated priesthood, stretching back,
through the mystic symbol of the laying on of hands, to the very
Godhead; a whole universe of spiritual beings brought into
communion with the Eternal by means of wafers; a great mass of
metaphysical doctrines, at once incomprehensible and of
incalculable import, laid down with infinite certitude; they saw
the supernatural everywhere and at all times, a living force,
floating invisible in angels, inspiring saints, and investing
with miraculous properties the commonest material things. No
wonder that they found such a spectacle hard to bring into line
with the institution which had been evolved from the divorce of
Henry VIII, the intrigues of Elizabethan parliaments, and the
Revolution of 1688. They did, no doubt, soon satisfy themselves
that they had succeeded in this apparently hopeless task; but,
the conclusions which they came to in order to do so were
decidedly startling.

The Church of England, they declared, was indeed the one true
Church, but she had been under an eclipse since the Reformation;
in fact, since she had begun to exist. She had, it is true,
escaped the corruptions of Rome; but she had become enslaved by
the secular power, and degraded by the false doctrines of
Protestantism. The Christian Religion was still preserved intact
by the English priesthood, but it was preserved, as it were,
unconsciously--a priceless deposit, handed down blindly from
generation to generation, and subsisting less by the will of man
than through the ordinance of God as expressed in the mysterious
virtue of the Sacraments. Christianity, in short, had become
entangled in a series of unfortunate circumstances from which it
was the plain duty of Newman and his friends to rescue it
forthwith. What was curious was that this task had been reserved,
in so marked a manner, for them. Some of the divines of the
seventeenth century had, perhaps, been vouchsafed glimpses of the
truth; but they were glimpses and nothing more. No, the waters of
the true Faith had dived underground at the Reformation, and they
were waiting for the wand of Newman to strike the rock before
they should burst forth once more into the light of day. The
whole matter, no doubt, was Providential--what other explanation
could there be?

The first step, it was clear, was to purge the Church of her
shames and her errors. The Reformers must be exposed; the yoke of
the secular power must be thrown off; dogma must be reinstated in
its old pre-eminence; and Christians must be reminded of what
they had apparently forgotten--the presence of the supernatural
in daily life. 'It would be a gain to this country,' Keble
observed, 'were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more
gloomy, more fierce in its religion, than at present it shows
itself to be.' 'The only good I know of Cranmer,' said Hurrell
Froude, 'was that he burned well.' Newman preached, and soon the
new views began to spread. Among the earliest of the converts was
Dr Pusey, a man of wealth and learning, a professor, a canon of
Christ Church, who had, it was rumoured, been to Germany. Then
the Tracts for the Times were started under Newman's editorship,
and the Movement was launched upon the world.

The Tracts were written 'with the hope of rousing members of our
Church to comprehend her alarming position ... as a man might
give notice of a fire or inundation, to startle all who heard
him'. They may be said to have succeeded in their objective, for
the sensation which they caused among clergymen throughout the
country was extreme. They dealt with a great variety of
questions, but the underlying intention of all of them was to
attack the accepted doctrines and practices of the Church of
England. Dr. Pusey wrote learnedly on Baptismal Regeneration; he
also wrote on Fasting. His treatment of the latter subject met
with considerable disapproval, which surprised the Doctor. 'I was
not prepared,' he said, 'for people questioning, even in the
abstract, the duty of fasting; I thought serious-minded persons
at least supposed they practised fasting in some way or other. I
assumed the duty to be acknowledged and thought it only
undervalued.' We live and learn, even though we have been to

Other tracts discussed the Holy Catholic Church, the Clergy, and
the Liturgy. One treated of the question 'whether a clergyman of
the Church of England be now bound to have morning and evening
prayers daily in his parish church?' Another pointed out the
'Indications of a superintending Providence in the preservation
of the Prayer-book and in the changes which it has undergone'.
Another consisted of a collection of 'Advent Sermons on
Antichrist'. Keble wrote a long and elaborate tract 'On the
Mysticism attributed to the Early Fathers of the Church', in
which he expressed his opinions upon a large number of curious
matters. 'According to men's usual way of talking,' he wrote, 'it
would be called an accidental circumstance that there were five
loaves, not more nor less, in the store of Our Lord and His
disciples wherewith to provide the miraculous feast. But the
ancient interpreters treat it as designed and providential, in
this surely not erring: and their conjecture is that it
represents the sacrifice of the whole world of sense, and
especially of the OldDispensation, which, being outward and
visible, might be called the dispensation of the senses, to the
FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, to be a pledge and means of
communion with Him according to the terms of the new or
evangelical law.

They arrived at this idea by considering the number five, the
number of the senses, as the mystical opponent of the visible and
sensible universe-- ta aistheta, as distinguished from ta noita.
Origen lays down the rule in express terms. '"The number five,"'
he says, '"frequently, nay almost always, is taken for the five
senses."' In another passage, Keble deals with an even more
recondite question. He quotes the teaching of St. Barnabas that
'Abraham, who first gave men circumcision, did thereby perform a
spiritual and typical action, looking forward to the Son'. St.
Barnabas's argument is as follows: Abraham circumcised of his
house men to the number Of 318. Why 318? Observe first the 18,
then the300. Of the two letters which stand for 18, 10 is
represented by 1, 8 by H. 'Thou hast here,' says St. Barnabas,
'the word of Jesus.' As for the 300, 'the Cross is represented by
Tau, and the letter Tau represents that number'.

Unfortunately, however, St. Barnabas's premise was of doubtful
validity, as theRev. Mr. Maitland pointed out, in a pamphlet
impugning the conclusions of the Tract. 'The simple fact is,' he
wrote, 'that when Abraham pursued Chedorlaomer "he armed his
trained servants, BORN IN HIS OWN HOUSE, three hundred and
eighteen". When, more than thirteen (according to the common
chronology, fifteen) years after, he circumcised "all the men of
STRANGER", and, in fact, every male who was as much as eight days
old, we are not told what the number amounted to. Shall we
suppose (just for the sake of the interpretation) that Abraham's
family had so dwindled in the interval as that now all the males
of his household, trained men, slaves, and children, equalled
only and exactly the number of his warriors fifteen years
before?' The question seems difficult to answer, but Keble had,
as a matter of fact, forestalled the argument in the following
passage, which had apparently escaped the notice of the Rev. Mr.
Maitland: 'Now whether the facts were really so or not (if it
were, it was surely by special providence), that Abraham's
household at the time of the circumcision was exactly the same
number as before; still the argument of St. Barnabas will stand.
As thus: circumcision had from the beginning, a reference to our
SAVIOUR, as in other respects, so in this; that the mystical
number, which is the cipher of Jesus crucified, was the number of
the first circumcised household in the strength of which Abraham
prevailed against the powers of the world. So St. Clement of
Alexandria, as cited by Fell.' And Keble supports his contention
through ten pages of close print, with references to Aristeas,
St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and Dr. Whitby.

Writings of this kind could not fail in their effect. Pious
youths in Oxford were carried away by them, and began to flock
around the standard of Newman. Newman himself became a party
chief-- encouraging, organising, persuading. His long black
figure, swiftly passing through the streets, was pointed at with
awe; crowds flocked to his sermons; his words were repeated from
mouth to mouth; 'Credo in Newmannum' became a common catchword.
Jokes were made about the Church of England, and practices,
unknown for centuries, began to be revived. Young men fasted and
did penance, recited the hours of the Roman Breviary, and
confessed their sins to Dr. Pusey. Nor was the movement confined
to Oxford; it spread in widening circles through the parishes of
England; the dormant devotion of the country was suddenly
aroused. The new strange notion of taking Christianity literally
was delightful to earnest minds; but it was also alarming. Really
to mean every word you said, when you repeated the Athanasian
Creed! How wonderful! And what enticing and mysterious vistas
burst upon the view! But then, those vistas, where were they
leading? Supposing--oh heavens!--supposing after all they were to
lead to--!


IN due course, the Tracts made their appearance at the remote
rectory in Sussex. Manning was some years younger than Newman,
and the two men had only met occasionally at the University; but
now, through common friends, a closer relationship began to grow
up between them. It was only to be expected that Newman should be
anxious to enroll the rising young Rector among his followers;
and, on Manning's side, there were many causes which impelled him
to accept the overtures from Oxford.

He was a man of a serious and vigorous temperament, to whom it
was inevitable that the bold high principles of the Movement
should strongly appeal. There was also an element in his mind
that element which had terrified him in his childhood with
Apocalyptic visions, and urged him in his youth to Bible readings
after breakfast--which now brought him under the spell of the
Oxford theories of sacramental mysticism. And besides, the
Movement offered another attraction: it imputed an extraordinary,
transcendent merit to the profession which Manning himself
pursued. The cleric was not as his lay brethren; he was a
creature apart, chosen by Divine will and sanctified by Divine
mysteries. It was a relief to find, when one had supposed that
one was nothing but a clergyman, that one might, after all, be
something else--one might be a priest.

Accordingly, Manning shook off his early Evangelical convictions,
started an active correspondence with Newman, and was soon
working for the new cause. He collected quotations, and began to
translate the works of Optatus for Dr. Pusey. He wrote an article
on Justin for the British Critic, "Newman's Magazine". He
published a sermon on Faith, with notes and appendices, which was
condemned by an evangelical bishop, and fiercely attacked by no
less a person than the celebrated Mr. Bowdler. 'The sermon,' said
Mr Bowdler, in a book which he devoted to the subject, 'was bad
enough, but the appendix was abominable.' At the same time he was
busy asserting the independence of the Church of England,
opposing secular education, and bringing out pamphlets against
the Ecclesiastical Commission, which had been appointed by
Parliament to report on Church Property. Then we find him in the
role of a spiritual director of souls. Ladies met him by stealth
in his church, and made their confessions. Over one case--that of
a lady, who found herself drifting towards Rome--he consulted
Newman. Newman advised him to 'enlarge upon the doctrine of I
Cor. vii'; 'also, I think you must press on her the prospect of
benefiting the poor Church, through which she has her baptism, by
stopping in it. Does she not care for the souls of all around
her, steeped and stifled in Protestantism? How will she best care
for them by indulging her own feelings in the communion of Rome,
or in denying herself, and staying in sackcloth and ashes to do
them good?' Whether these arguments were successful does not

For several years after his wife's death, Manning was occupied
with these new activities, while his relations with Newman
developed into what was apparently a warm friendship. 'And now
vive valeque, my dear Manning', we find Newman writing in a
letter dated 'in festo S. Car. 1838', 'as wishes and prays yours
affectionately, John H. Newman'. But, as time went on, the
situation became more complicated. Tractarianism began to arouse
the hostility, not only of the evangelical, but of the moderate
churchmen, who could not help perceiving in the ever-deepening,
'catholicism' of the Oxford party, the dread approaches of Rome.
The "Record" newspaper an influential Evangelical journal-- took
up the matter and sniffed Popery in every direction; it spoke of
certain clergymen as 'tainted'; and after that, preferment seemed
to pass those clergymen by. The fact that Manning found it wise
to conduct his confessional ministrations in secret was in itself
highly significant. It was necessary to be careful, and Manning
was very careful indeed. The neighbouring Archdeacon, Mr. Hare,
was a low churchman; Manning made friends with him, as warmly, it
seemed, as he had made friends with Newman. He corresponded with
him, asked his advice about the books he should read, and
discussed questions of Theology--'As to Gal. vi 15, we cannot
differ.... With a man who reads and reasons I can have no
controversy; and you do both.' Archdeacon Hare was pleased, but
soon a rumour reached him, which was, to say the least of it,
upsetting. Manning had been removing the high pews from a church
in Brighton, and putting in open benches in their place. Everyone
knew what that meant; everyone knew that a high pew was one of
the bulwarks of Protestantism, and that an open bench had upon it
the taint of Rome. But Manning hastened to explain: 'My dear
friend,' he wrote, 'I did not exchange pews for open benches, but
got the pews (the same in number) moved from the nave of the
church to the walls of the side aisles, so that the whole church
has a regular arrangement of open benches, which (irregularly)
existed before ... I am not today quite well, so farewell, with
much regard--Yours ever, H. E. M.' Archdeacon Hare was reassured.

It was important that he should be, for the Archdeacon of
Chichester was growing very old, and Hare's influence might be
exceedingly useful when a vacancy occurred. So, indeed, it fell
out. A new bishop, Dr. Shuttleworth, was appointed to the See,
and the old Archdeacon took the opportunity of retiring. Manning
was obviously marked out as his successor, but the new bishop
happened to be a low churchman, an aggressive low churchman, who
went so far as to parody the Tractarian fashion of using Saints'
days for the dating of letters by writing 'The Palace, washing-
day', at the beginning of his. And--what was equally serious--his
views were shared by Mrs. Shuttleworth, who had already decided
that the pushing young Rector was 'tainted'. But at the critical
moment Archdeacon Hare came to the rescue; he persuaded the
Bishop that Manning was safe; and the appointment was accordingly
made--behind Mrs. Shuttleworth's back. She was furious, but it
was too late; Manning was an Archdeacon. All the lady could do,
to indicate her disapprobation, was to put a copy of Mr.
Bowdler's book in a conspicuous position on the drawing-room
table, when he came to pay his respects at the Palace.

Among the letters of congratulation which Manning received, was
one from Mr Gladstone, with whom he had remained on terms of
close friendship since their days together at Oxford. 'I
rejoice,' Mr Gladstone wrote, 'on your account personally; but
more for the sake of the Church. All my brothers-in-law are here
and scarcely less delighted than I am. With great glee am I about
to write your new address; but, the occasion really calls for
higher sentiments; and sure am I that you are one of the men to
whom it is specially given to develop the solution of that great
problem--how all our minor distractions are to be either
abandoned, absorbed, or harmonised through the might of the great
principle of communion in the body of Christ.'

Manning was an Archdeacon; but he was not yet out of the woods.
His relations with the Tractarians had leaked out, and the Record
was beginning to be suspicious. If Mrs. Shuttleworth's opinion of
him were to become general, it would certainly be a grave matter.
Nobody could wish to live and die a mere Archdeacon. And then, at
that very moment, an event occurred which made it imperative to
take a definite step, one way or the other. That event was the
publication of Tract No. 90.

For some time it had been obvious to every impartial onlooker
that Newman was slipping down an inclined plane at the bottom of
which lay one thing, and one thing only--the Roman Catholic
Church. What was surprising was the length of time which he was
taking to reach the inevitable destination. Years passed before
he came to realise that his grandiose edifice of a Church
Universal would crumble to pieces if one of its foundation stones
was to be an amatory intrigue of Henry VIII. But, at last he
began to see that terrible monarch glowering at him wherever he
turned his eyes. First he tried to exorcise the spectre with the
rolling periods of the Caroline divines; but it only strutted the
more truculently. Then in despair he plunged into the writings of
the early Fathers, and sought to discover some way out of his
difficulties in the complicated labyrinth of ecclesiastical
history. After months spent in the study of the Monophysite
heresy, the alarming conclusion began to force itself upon him
that the Church of England was perhaps in schism. Eventually he
read an article by a Roman Catholic on St. Augustine and the
Donatists, which seemed to put the matter beyond doubt. St.
Augustine, in the fifth century, had pointed out that the
Donatists were heretics because the Bishop of Rome had said so.
The argument was crushing; it rang in Newman's ears for days and
nights; and, though he continued to linger on in agony for six
years more, he never could discover any reply to it. All he could
hope to do was to persuade himself and anyone else who liked to
listen to him that the holding of Anglican orders was not
inconsistent with a belief in the whole cycle of Roman doctrine
as laid down at the Council of Trent. In this way he supposed
that he could at once avoid the deadly sin of heresy and
conscientiously remain a clergyman in the Church of England; and
with this end in view, he composed Tract No. 90.

The object of the Tract was to prove that there was nothing in
the Thirty-nine Articles incompatible with the creed of the Roman
Church. Newman pointed out, for instance, that it was generally
supposed that the Articles condemned the doctrine of Purgatory;
but they did not; they merely condemned the Romish doctrine of
Purgatory-- and Romish, clearly, was not the same thing as Roman.
Hence it followed that believers in the Roman doctrine of
Purgatory might subscribe the Articles with a good conscience.
Similarly, the Articles condemned 'the sacrifices of masses', but
they did not condemn 'the sacrifice of the Mass'. Thus, the Mass
might be lawfully celebrated in English Churches. Newman took the
trouble to examine the Articles in detail from this point of
view, and the conclusion he came to in every case supported his
contention in a singular manner.

The Tract produced an immense sensation, for it seemed to be a
deadly and treacherous blow aimed at the very heart of the Church
of England. Deadly it certainly was, but it was not so
treacherous as it appeared at first sight. The members of the
English Church had ingenuously imagined up to that moment that it
was possible to contain, in a frame of words, the subtle essence
of their complicated doctrinal system, involving the mysteries of
the Eternal and the Infinite on the one hand, and the elaborate
adjustments of temporal government on the other. They did not
understand that verbal definitions in such a case will only
perform their functions so long as there is no dispute about the
matters which they are intended to define: that is to say, so
long as there is no need for them. For generations this had been
the case with the Thirty-nine Articles. Their drift was clear
enough; and nobody bothered over their exact meaning. But
directly someone found it important to give them a new and
untraditional interpretation, it appeared that they were a mass
of ambiguity, and might be twisted into meaning very nearly
anything that anybody liked. Steady-going churchmen were appalled
and outraged when they saw Newman, in Tract No. 90, performing
this operation. But, after all, he was only taking the Church of
England at its word. And indeed, since Newman showed the way, the
operation has become so exceedingly common that the most steady-
going churchman hardly raises an eyebrow at it now.

At the time, however, Newman's treatment of the Articles seemed
to display not only a perverted supersubtlety of intellect, but a
temper of mind that was fundamentally dishonest. It was then that
he first began to be assailed by those charges of untruthfulness
which reached their culmination more than twenty years later in
the celebrated controversy with Charles Kingsley, which led to
the writing of the Apologia. The controversy was not a very
fruitful one, chiefly because Kingsley could no more understand
the nature of Newman's intelligence than a subaltern in a line
regiment can understand a Brahmin of Benares. Kingsley was a
stout Protestant, whose hatred of Popery was, at bottom, simply
ethical--an honest, instinctive horror of the practices of
priestcraft and the habits of superstition; and it was only
natural that he should see in those innumerable delicate
distinctions which Newman was perpetually drawing, and which he
himself had not only never thought of, but could not even grasp,
simply another manifestation of the inherent falsehood of Rome.
But, in reality, no one, in one sense of the word, was more
truthful than Newman. The idea of deceit would have been
abhorrent to him; and indeed it was owing to his very desire to
explain what he had in his mind exactly and completely, with all
the refinements of which his subtle brain was capable, that
persons such as Kingsley were puzzled into thinking him
dishonest. Unfortunately, however, the possibilities of truth and
falsehood depend upon other things besides sincerity. A man may
be of a scrupulous and impeccable honesty, and yet his respect
for the truth-- it cannot be denied-- may be insufficient. He may
be, like the lunatic, the lover, and the poet, 'of imagination
all compact'; he may be blessed, or cursed, with one of those
'seething brains', one of those 'shaping fanatasies' that
'apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends'; he may be by
nature incapable of sifting evidence, or by predilection simply
indisposed to do so. 'When we were there,' wrote Newman in a
letter to a friend after his conversion, describing a visit to
Naples, and the miraculous circumstances connected with the
liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood, 'the feast of St. Gennaro
was coming on, and the Jesuits were eager for us to stop--they
have the utmost confidence in the miracle--and were the more
eager because many Catholics, till they have seen it, doubt it.
Our father director here tells us that before he went to Naples
he did not believe it. That is, they have vague ideas of natural
means, exaggeration, etc., not of course imputing fraud. They say
conversions often take place in consequence. It is exposed for
the Octave, and the miracle continues--it is not simple
liquefaction, but sometimes it swells, sometimes boils, sometimes
melts--no one can tell what is going to take place. They say it
is quite overcoming - and people cannot help crying to see it. I
understand that Sir H. Davy attended everyday, and it was this
extreme variety of the phenomenon which convinced him that
nothing physical would account for it. Yet there is this
remarkable fact that liquefactions of blood are common at Naples-
-and, unless it is irreverent to the Great Author of Miracles to
be obstinate in the inquiry, the question certainly rises whether
there is something in the air. (Mind, I don't believe there is--
and, speaking humbly, and without having seen it, think it a true
miracle-- but I am arguing.) We saw the blood of St Patrizia,
half liquid; i.e. liquefying, on her feast day. St John Baptist's
blood sometimes liquefies on the 29th of August, and did when we
were at Naples, but we had not time to go to the church. We saw
the liquid blood of an Oratorian Father; a good man, but not a
saint, who died two centuries ago, I think; and we saw the liquid
blood of Da Ponte, the great and holy Jesuit, who, I suppose, was
almost a saint. But these instances do not account for
liquefaction on certain days, if this is the case. But the most
strange phenomenon is what happens at Ravello, a village or town
above Amalfi. There is the blood of St. Pantaleon. It is in a
vessel amid the stonework of the Altar - it is not touched but on
his feast in June it liquefies. And more, there is an
excommunication against those who bring portions of the True
Cross into the Church. Why? Because the blood liquefies, whenever

it is brought. A person I know, not knowing the prohibition,
brought in a portion, and the Priest suddenly said, who showed
the blood, "Who has got the Holy Cross about him?" I tell you
what was told me by a grave and religious man. It is a curious
coincidence that in telling this to our Father Director here, he
said, "Why, we have a portion of St. Pantaleon's blood at the
Chiesa Nuova, and it is always liquid."'

After leaving Naples, Newman visited Loreto, and inspected the
house of the Holy Family, which, as is known to the faithful, was
transported thither, in three hops, from Palestine. 'I went to
Loreto,' he wrote, 'with a simple faith, believing what I still
more believed when I saw it. I have no doubt now. If you ask me
why I believe it, it is because everyone believes it at Rome;
cautious as they are and sceptical about some other things. I
have no antecedent difficulty in the matter. He who floated the
Ark on the surges of a world-wide sea, and enclosed in it all
living things, who has hidden the terrestrial paradise, who said
that faith might move mountains, who sustained thousands for
forty years in a sterile wilderness, who transported Elias and
keeps him hidden till the end, could do this wonder also.'

Here, whatever else there may be, there is certainly no trace of
a desire to deceive. Could a state of mind, in fact, be revealed
with more absolute transparency?

When Newman was a child he 'wished that he could believe the
Arabian Nights were true'. When he came to be a man, his wish
seems to have been granted.

Tract No. 90 was officially condemned by the authorities at
Oxford, and in the hubbub that followed, the contending parties
closed their ranks; henceforward, any compromise between the
friends and the enemies of the Movement was impossible.
Archdeacon Manning was in too conspicuous a position to be able
to remain silent; he was obliged to declare himself, and he did
not hesitate. In an archidiaconal charge, delivered within a few
months of his appointment, he firmly repudiated the Tractarians.
But the repudiation was not deemed sufficient, and a year later
he repeated it with greater emphasis. Still, however, the horrid
rumours were afloat. The "Record" began to investigate matters,
and its vigilance was soon rewarded by an alarming discovery: the
sacrament had been administered in Chichester Cathedral on a
weekday, and 'Archdeacon Manning, one of the most noted and
determined of the Tractarians, had acted a conspicuous part on
the occasion'. It was clear that the only way of silencing these
malevolent whispers was by some public demonstration whose import
nobody could doubt. The annual sermon preached on Guy Fawkes Day
before the University of Oxford seemed to offer the very
opportunity that Manning required. He seized it; got himself
appointed preacher; and delivered from the pulpit of St. Mary's a
virulently Protestant harangue. This time there could indeed be
no doubt about the matter: Manning had shouted 'No Popery!' in
the very citadel of the Movement, and every one, including
Newman, recognised that he had finally cut himself off from his
old friends. Everyone, that is to say, except the Archdeacon
himself. On the day after the sermon, Manning walked out to the
neighbouring village of Littlemore, where Newman was now living
in retirement with a few chosen disciples, in the hope of being
able to give a satisfactory explanation of what he had done. But
he was disappointed; for when, after an awkward interval, one of
the disciples appeared at the door, he was informed that Mr.
Newman was not at home.

With his retirement to Littlemore, Newman had entered upon the
final period of his Anglican career. Even he could no longer help
perceiving that the end was now only a matter of time. His
progress was hastened in an agitating manner by the indiscreet
activity of one of his proselytes, W. G. Ward. a young man who
combined an extraordinary aptitude for a priori reasoning with a
passionate devotion to Opera Bouffe. It was difficult, in fact,
to decide whether the inner nature of Ward was more truly
expressing itself when he was firing off some train of scholastic
paradoxes on the Eucharist or when he was trilling the airs of
Figaro and plunging through the hilarious roulades of the Largo
al Factotum. Even Dr. Pusey could riot be quite sure, though he
was Ward's spiritual director. On one occasion his young penitent
came to him, and confessed that a vow which he had taken to
abstain from music during Lent was beginning to affect his
health. Could Dr. Pusey see his way to releasing him from the
vow? The Doctor decided that a little sacred music would not be
amiss. Ward was all gratitude, and that night a party was
arranged in a friend's rooms. The concert began with the solemn
harmonies of Handel, which were followed by the holy strains of
the '0h Salutaris' of Cherubini. Then came the elevation and the
pomp of 'Possenti Numi' from the Magic Flute. But, alas! there
lies much danger in Mozart. The page was turned and there was the
delicious duet between Papageno and Papagena. Flesh and blood
could not resist that; then song followed song, the music waxed
faster and lighter, until, at last Ward burst into the
intoxicating merriment of the Largo al Factotum. When it was
over, a faint but persistent knocking made itself heard upon the
wall; and it was only then that the company remembered that the
rooms next door were Dr. Pusey's.

The same entrain which carried Ward away when he sat down to a
piano possessed him whenever he embarked on a religious
discussion. 'The thing that was utterly abhorrent to him,' said
one of his friends, 'was to stop short.' Given the premises, he
would follow out their implications with the mercilessness of a
medieval monk, and when he had reached the last limits of
argument, be ready to maintain whatever propositions he might
find there with his dying breath. He had the extreme innocence of
a child and a mathematician. Captivated by the glittering eye of
Newman, he swallowed whole the supernatural conception of the
universe which Newman had evolved, accepted it as a fundamental
premise, and 'began at once to deduce from it whatsoever there
might be to be deduced.' His very first deductions included
irrefutable proofs of (I) God's particular providence for
individuals; (2) the real efficacy of intercessory prayer; (3)
the reality of our communion with the saints departed; (4) the
constant presence and assistance of the angels of God. Later on
he explained mathematically the importance of the Ember Days:
'Who can tell,' he added, 'the degree of blessing lost to us in
this land by neglecting, as we alone of Christian Churches do
neglect, these holy days?' He then proceeded to convict the
Reformers, not only of rebellion, but'--for my own part I see not
how we can avoid adding--of perjury.' Every day his arguments
became more extreme, more rigorously exact, and more distressing
to his master. Newman was in the position of a cautious
commander-in-chief being hurried into an engagement against his
will by a dashing cavalry officer. Ward forced him forward step
by step towards - no! he could not bear it; he shuddered and drew
back. But it was of no avail. In vain did Keble and Pusey wring
their hands and stretch forth their pleading arms to their now
vanishing brother. The fatal moment was fast approaching. Ward at
last published a devastating book in which he proved
conclusively, by a series of syllogisms, that the only proper
course for the Church of England was to repent in sackcloth and
ashes her separation from the Communion of Rome. The reckless
author was deprived of his degree by an outraged University, and
a few weeks later was received into the Catholic Church.

Newman, in a kind of despair, had flung himself into the labours
of historical compilation. His views of history had changed since
the days when, as an undergraduate, he had feasted on the worldly
pages of Gibbon. 'Revealed religion,' he now thought, 'furnishes
facts to other sciences, which those sciences, left to
themselves, would never reach. Thus, in the science of history,
the preservation of our race in Noah's Ark is an historical fact,
which history never would arrive at without revelation.' With
these principles to guide him, he plunged with his disciples into
a prolonged study of the English Saints. Biographies soon
appeared of St. Bega, St. Adamnan, St. Gundleus, St. Guthlake,
Brother Drithelm, St. Amphibalus, St. WuIstan, St. Ebba, St.
Neot, St. Ninian, and Cunibert the Hermit. Their austerities,
their virginity, and their miraculous powers were described in
detail. The public learned with astonishment that St Ninian had
turned a staff into a tree; that St. German had stopped a cock
from crowing, and that a child had been raised from the dead to
convert St. Helier. The series has subsequently been continued by
a more modern writer whose relation of the history of the blessed
St. Mael contains, perhaps, even more matter for edification than
Newman's biographies.

At the time, indeed, those works caused considerable scandal.
Clergymen denounced them in pamphlets. St. Cuthbert was described
by his biographer as having 'carried the jealousy of women,
characteristic of all the saints, to an extraordinary pitch'. An
example was given, whenever he held a spiritual conversation with
St Ebba, he was careful to spend the ensuing ours of darkness 'in
prayer, up to his neck in water'. 'Persons who invent such
tales,' wrote one indignant commentator, 'cast very grave and
just suspicions on the purity of their own minds. And young
persons, who talk and think in this way, are in extreme danger of
falling into sinful habits. As to the volumes before us, the
authors have, in their fanatical panegyrics of virginity, made
use of language downright profane.'

One of the disciples at Littlemore was James Anthony Froude, the
younger brother of Hurrell, and it fell to his lot to be
responsible for the biography of St. Neot. While he was composing
it, he began to feel some qualms. Saints who lighted fires with
icicles, changed bandits into wolves, and floated across the
Irish Channel on altar-stones, produced a disturbing effect on
his historical conscience. But he had promised his services to
Newman, and he determined to carry through the work in the spirit
in which he had begun it. He did so; but he thought it proper to
add the following sentence by way of conclusion: 'This is all,
and indeed rather more than all, that is known to men of the
blessed St. Neot; but not more than is known to the angels in

Meanwhile, the English Roman Catholics were growing impatient;
was the great conversion never coming, for which they had prayed
so fervently and so long? Dr. Wiseman, at the head of them, was
watching and waiting with special eagerness. His hand was held
out under the ripening fruit; the delicious morsel seemed to be
trembling on its stalk; and yet it did not fall. At last, unable
to bear the suspense any longer, he dispatched to Littlemore
Father Smith, an old pupil of Newman's, who had lately joined the
Roman communion, with instructions that he should do his best,
under cover of a simple visit of friendship, to discover how the
land lay. Father Smith was received somewhat coldly, and the
conversation ran entirely on topics which had nothing to do with
religion. When the company separated before dinner, he was
beginning to think that his errand had been useless; but, on
their reassembling, he suddenly noticed that Newman had changed
his trousers, and that the colour of the pair which he was now
wearing was grey. At the earliest moment, the emissary rushed
back post-haste to Dr. Wiseman. 'All is well,' he exclaimed;
'Newman no longer considers that he is in Anglican orders."
Praise be to God!' answered Dr Wiseman. 'But how do you know?'
Father Smith described what he had seen. 'Oh, is that all? My
dear father, how can you be so foolish?' But Father Smith was not
to be shaken. 'I know the man,' he said, and I know what it
means. Newman will come, and he will come soon.'

And Father Smith was right. A few weeks later, Newman suddenly
slipped off to a priest, and all was over. Perhaps he would have
hesitated longer still, if he could have foreseen how he was to
pass the next thirty years of his unfortunate existence; but the
future was hidden, and all that was certain was that the past had
gone forever, and that his eyes would rest no more upon the
snapdragons of Trinity.

The Oxford Movement was now ended. The University breathed such a
sigh of relief as usually follows the difficult expulsion of a
hard piece of matter from a living organism, and actually began
to attend to education. As for the Church of England, she had
tasted blood, and it was clear that she would never again be
content with a vegetable diet. Her clergy, however, maintained
their reputation for judicious compromise, for they followed
Newman up to the very point beyond which his conclusions were
logical, and, while they intoned, confessed, swung incense, and
burned candles with the exhilaration of converts, they yet
managed to do so with a subtle nuance which showed that they had
nothing to do with Rome. Various individuals underwent more
violent changes. Several had preceded Newman into the Roman fold;
among others an unhappy Mr. Sibthorpe, who subsequently changed
his mind, and returned to the Church of his fathers, and then--
perhaps it was only natural-- changed his mind again. Many more
followed Newman, and Dr. Wiseman was particularly pleased by the
conversion of a Mr. Morris, who, as he said, was 'the author of
the essay, which won the prize on the best method of proving
Christianity to the Hindus'. Hurrell Froude had died before
Newman had read the fatal article on St. Augustine; but his
brother, James Anthony, together with Arthur Clough, the poet,
went through an experience which was more distressing in those
days than it has since become; they lost their faith. With this
difference, however, that while in Froude's case the loss of his
faith turned out to be rather like the loss of a heavy
portmanteau, which one afterwards discovers to have been full of
old rags and brickbats, Clough was made so uneasy by the loss of
his that he went on looking for it everywhere as long as he
lived; but somehow he never could find it. On the other hand,
Keble and Pusey continued for the rest of their lives to dance in
an exemplary manner upon the tight-rope of High Anglicanism; in
such an exemplary manner, indeed, that the tightrope has its
dancers still.


MANNING was now thirty-eight, and it was clear that he was the
rising man in the Church of England. He had many powerful
connections: he was the brother-in-law of Samuel Wilberforce, who
had been lately made a bishop; he was a close friend of Mr.
Gladstone, who was a Cabinet Minister; and he was becoming well
known in the influential circles of society in London. His talent
for affairs was recognised not only in the Church, but in the
world at large, and he busied himself with matters of such varied
scope as National Education, the administration of the Poor Law,
and the Employment of Women. Mr. Gladstone kept up an intimate
correspondence with him on these and on other subjects, mingling
in his letters the details of practical statesmanship with the
speculations of a religious thinker. 'Sir James Graham,' he
wrote, in a discussion of the bastardy clauses of the Poor Law,
'is much pleased with the tone of your two communications. He is
disposed, without putting an end to the application of the
workhouse test against the mother, to make the remedy against the
putative father "real and effective" for expenses incurred in the
workhouse. I am not enough acquainted to know whether it would be
advisable to go further. You have not proposed it; and I am
disposed to believe that only with a revived and improved
discipline in the Church can we hope for any generally effective
check upon lawless lust.' 'I agree with you EMINENTLY,' he
writes, in a later letter, 'in your doctrine of FILTRATION. But
it sometimes occurs to me, though the question may seem a strange
one, how far was the Reformation, but especially the Continental
Reformation, designed by God, in the region of final causes, for
that purification of the Roman Church which it has actually

In his archdeaconry, Manning lived to the full the active life of
a country clergyman. His slim, athletic figure was seen
everywhere in the streets of Chichester, or on the lawns of the
neighbouring rectories, or galloping over the downs in breeches
and gaiters, or cutting brilliant figures on the ice. He was an
excellent judge of horse-flesh, and the pair of greys which drew
his hooded phaeton so swiftly through the lanes were the
admiration of the county. His features were already beginning to
assume their ascetic cast, but the spirit of youth had not yet
fled from them, so that he seemed to combine the attractions of
dignity and grace. He was a good talker, a sympathetic listener,
a man who understood the difficult art of preserving all the
vigour of a manly character and yet never giving offence. No
wonder that his sermons drew crowds, no wonder that his spiritual
advice was sought for eagerly by an ever-growing group of
penitents; no wonder that men would say, when his name was
mentioned, 'Oh, Manning! No power on earth can keep HIM from a

Such was the fair outward seeming of the Archdeacon's life; but,
the inward reality was different. The more active, the more
fortunate, the more full of happy promise his existence became,
the more persistently was his secret imagination haunted by a
dreadful vision--the lake that burneth forever with brimstone and
fire. The temptations of the Evil One are many, Manning knew; and
he knew also that, for him at least, the most subtle and terrible
of all temptations was the temptation of worldly success. He
tried to reassure himself, but it was in vain. He committed his
thoughts to a diary, weighing scrupulously his every motive,
examining with relentless searchings into the depths of his
heart. Perhaps, after all, his longings for preferment were
merely legitimatehopes for 'an elevation into a sphere of higher
usefulness'. But no. there was something more than that. 'I do
feel pleasure,' he noted, 'in honour, precedence, elevation, the
society of great people, and all this is very shameful and mean.'

After Newman's conversion, he almost convinced himself that his
'visions of an ecclesiastical future' were justified by the role
that he would play as a 'healer of the breach in the Church of
England'. Mr. Gladstone agreed with him; but there was One higher
than Mr. Gladstone, and did He agree? 'I am pierced by anxious
thoughts. God knows what my desires have been and are, and why
they are crossed. ... I am flattering myself with a fancy about
depth and reality. ... The great question is: Is God enough for
you now? And if you are as now even to the end of life, will it
suffice you? ... Certainly I would rather choose to be stayed on
God, than to be in the thrones of the world and the Church.
Nothing else will go into Eternity.'

In a moment of ambition, he had applied for the Readership of
Lincoln's Inn, but, owing chiefly to the hostile influence of the
Record, the appointment had gone elsewhere. A little later, a
more important position was offered to him-- the office of sub-
almoner to the Queen, which had just been vacated by the
Archbishop of York, and was almost certain to lead to a mitre.
The offer threw Manning into an agony of self-examination. He
drew up elaborate tables, after the manner of Robinson Crusoe,
with the reasons for and against his acceptance of the post:

FOR AGAINST1. That it comes
unsought. 1. Not therefore to be accepted. Such

things are trials as well as
leadings.2. That it is honourable. 2. Being what I am, ought I

not therefore to decline it - (1)
as humiliation; (2) as revenge on
myself for Lincoln's Inn;

(3) as a testimony?

And so on. He found in the end ten 'negative reasons', with no
affirmative ones to balance them, and, after a week's
deliberation, he rejected the offer.

But peace of mind was as far off from him as ever. First the
bitter thought came to him that 'in all this Satan tells me I am
doing it to be thought mortified and holy'; and then he was
obsessed by the still bitterer feelings of ineradicable
disappointment and regret. He had lost a great opportunity, and
it brought him small comfort to consider that 'in the region of
counsels, self-chastisement, humiliation, self-discipline,
penance, and of the Cross', he had perhaps done right.

The crisis passed, but it was succeeded by a fiercer one. Manning
was taken seriously ill, and became convinced that he might die
at any moment. The entries in his Diary grew more elaborate than
ever; his remorse for the past, his resolutions for the future,
his protestations of submission to the will of God, filled page
after page of parallel columns, headings and sub-headings,
numbered clauses, and analytical tables. 'How do I feel about
Death?' he wrote. 'Certainly great fear:

1. Because of the uncertainty of our state before God. 2. Because
of the consciousness-(1) of great sins past, (2) of great
sinfulness, (3) of most shallow repentance. What shall I do?'

He decided to mortify himself, to read St Thomas Aquinas, and to
make his 'night prayers forty instead of thirty minutes'. He
determined during Lent 'to use no pleasant bread (except on
Sundays and feasts) such as cake and sweetmeat'; but he added the
proviso 'I do not include plain biscuits'. Opposite this entry
appears the word 'KEPT'. And yet his backslidings were many.
Looking back over a single week, he was obliged to register
'petulance twice' and 'complacent visions'. He heard his curate
being commended for bringing so many souls to God during Lent,
and he 'could not bear it'; but the remorse was terrible: 'I
abhorred myself on the spot, and looked upward for help.' He made
out list upon list of the Almighty's special mercies towards him,
and they included his creation, his regeneration, and (No. 5)
'the preservation of my life six times to my knowledge:

(1) In illness at the age of nine. (2) In the water. (3) By a
runaway horse at Oxford. (4) By the same. (5) By falling nearly
through the ceiling of a church. (6) Again by a fall of a horse.
And I know not how often in shooting, riding, etc.'

At last he became convalescent; but the spiritual experiences of
those agitated weeks left an indelible mark upon his mind, and
prepared the way for the great change which was to follow.For he
had other doubts besides those which held him in torment as to
his own salvation; he was in doubt about the whole framework of
his faith. Newman's conversion, he found, had meant something
more to him than he had first realised. It had seemed to come as
a call to the redoubling of his Anglican activities; but
supposing, in reality, it were a call towards something very
different--towards an abandonment of those activities altogether?
It might be 'a trial', or again it might be a 'leading'; how was
he to judge? Already, before his illness, these doubts had begun
to take possession of his mind. 'I am conscious to myself,' he
wrote in his Diary, 'of an extensively changed feeling towards
the Church of Rome ... The Church of England seems to me to be
diseased: 1. ORGANICALLY (six sub-headings). 2. FUNCTIONALLY
(seven subheadings) ... Wherever it seems healthy, it
approximates the system of Rome.' Then thoughts of the Virgin
Mary suddenly began to assail him :

'(1) If John the Baptist were sanctified from the womb,
how much more the B.V.!

(2) If Enoch and Elijah were exempted from death, why
not the B.V. from sin?

(3) It is a strange way of loving the Son to slight the

The arguments seemed irresistible, and a few weeks later the
following entry occurs-- 'Strange thoughts have visited me:

(1) I have felt that the Episcopate of the Church of England is
secularised and bound down beyond hope....

(2) I feel as if a light had fallen upon me. My feeling about the
Roman Church is not intellectual. I have intellectual
difficulties, but the great moral difficulties seem melting.

(3) Something keeps rising and saying, "You will end in the Roman

He noted altogether twenty-five of these 'strange thoughts'. His
mind hovered anxiously round--

'(1) The Incarnation, (2) The Real Presence, i.
Regeneration, ii. Eucharist, and (3) The Exaltation of S. M.
and Saints.'

His twenty-second strange thought was as follows: 'How do I know
where I may be two years hence? Where was Newman five years ago?'

It was significant, but hardly surprising, that, after his
illness, Manning should have chosen to recuperate in Rome. He
spent several months there, and his Diary during the whole of
that period is concerned entirely with detailed descriptions of
churches, ceremonies, and relics, and with minute accounts of
conversations with priests and nuns. There is not a single
reference either to the objects of art or to the antiquities of
the place; but another omission was still more remarkable.
Manning had a long interview with Pius IX, and his only record of
it is contained in the bald statement: 'Audience today at the
Vatican'. Precisely what passed on that occasion never
transpired; all that is known is that His Holiness expressed
considerable surprise on learning from the Archdeacon that the
chalice was used in the Anglican Church in the administration of
Communion. 'What!' he exclaimed, is the same chalice made use of
by everyone?' 'I remember the pain I felt,' said Manning, long
afterwards, 'at seeing how unknown we were to the Vicar of Jesus
Christ. It made me feel our isolation.'

On his return to England, he took up once more the work in his
Archdeaconry with what appetite he might. Ravaged by doubt,
distracted by speculation, he yet managed to maintain an outward
presence of unshaken calm. His only confidant was Robert
Wilberforce, to whom, for the next two years, he poured forth in
a series of letters, headed 'UNDER THE SEAL' to indicate that
they contained the secrets of the confessional-- the whole
history of his spiritual perturbations. The irony of his position
was singular; for, during the whole of this time, Manning was
himself holding back from the Church of Rome a host of hesitating
penitents by means of arguments which he was at the very moment
denouncing as fallacious to his own confessor. But what else
could he do? When he received, for instance, a letter such as the
following from an agitated lady, what was he to say?


'... I am sure you would pity me and like to help me, if you knew
the unhappy, unsettled state my mind is in, and the misery of
being ENTIRELY, WHEREVER I AM, with those who look upon joining
the Church of Rome as the most awful "fall" conceivable to any
one, and are devoid of the smallest comprehension of how any
enlightened person can do it. ... My old Evangelical friends,
with all my deep, deep love for them, do not succeed in shaking
me in the least. ...

'My brother has just published a book called "Regeneration",
which all my friends are reading and highly extolling; it has a
very contrary effect to what he would desire on my mind. I can
read and understand it all in an altogether different sense, and
the facts which he quotes about the articles as drawn up in 1536,
and again in 1552, and of the Irish articles of 1615 and 1634,
STARTLE and SHAKE me about the Reformed Church in England far
more than anything else, and have done so ever since I first saw
them in Mr. Maskell's pamphlet (as quoted from Mr Dodsworth's).

'I do hope you have some time and thought to pray for me still.
Mr. Galton's letters long ago grew into short formal notes, which
hurt me and annoyed me particularly, and I never answered his
last, so, literally, I have no one to say things to and get help
from, which in one sense is a comfort when my convictions seem to
be leading me on and on, and gaining strength in spite of all the
dreariness of my lot.

'Do you know I can't help being very anxious and unhappy about
poor Sister Harriet. I am afraid of her GOING OUT OF HER MIND.
She comforts herself by an occasional outpouring of everything to
me, and I had a letter this morning. ... She says Sister May has
promised the Vicar never to talk to her or allow her to talk on
the subject with her, and I doubt whether this can be good for
her, because though she has lost her faith, she says, in the
Church of England, yet she never thinks of what she could have
faith in, and resolutely without inquiring into the question
determines riot to be a Roman Catholic, so that really, you see,
she is allowing her mind to run adrift and yet perfectly

'Forgive my troubling you with this letter, and believe me to be
always your faithful, grateful and affectionate daughter,


'P.S. I wish I could see you once more so very much.'

How was Manning, a director of souls, and a clergyman of the
Church of England, to reply that in sober truth there was very
little to choose between the state of mind of Sister Emma, or
even of Sister Harriet, and his own? The dilemma was a grievous
one: when a soldier finds himself fighting for a cause in which
he has lost faith, it is treachery to stop, and it is treachery
to go on.

At last, in the seclusion of his library, Manning turned in
agony to those old writings which had provided Newman with so
much instruction and assistance; perhaps the Fathers would do
something for him as well. He ransacked the pages of St. Cyprian
and St. Cyril; he went through the complete works of St. Optatus
and St. Leo; he explored the vast treatises of Tertullian and
Justin Martyr. He had a lamp put into his phaeton, so that he
might lose no time during his long winter drives. There he sat,
searching St. Chrysostom for some mitigation of his anguish,
while he sped along between the hedges to distant sufferers, to
whom he duly administered the sacraments according to the rites
of the English Church. He hurried back to commit to his Diary the
analysis of his reflections, and to describe, under the mystic
formula of secrecy, the intricate workings of his conscience to
Robert Wilberforce. But, alas! he was no Newman; and even the
fourteen folios of St. Augustine himself, strange to say, gave
him very little help.

The final propulsion was to come from an entirely different
quarter. In November, 1847, the Reverend Mr. Gorham was presented
by the Lord Chancellor to the living of Bramford Speke in the
diocese of Exeter. The Bishop, Dr. Phillpotts, was a High
Churchman, and he had reason to believe that Mr. Gorham held
evangelical opinions; he therefore subjected him to an
examination on doctrine, which took the form partly of a verbal
interrogatory, lasting thirty-eight hours, and partly of a series
of one hundred and forty-nine written questions. At the end of
the examination he came to the conclusion that Mr. Gorham held
heretical views on the subject of Baptismal Regeneration, and he
therefore refused to institute. Mr. Gorham, thereupon, took
proceedings against the Bishop in the Court of Arches. He lost
his case; and he then appealed to the judicial Committee of the
Privy Council.

The questions at issue were taken very seriously by a large
number of persons. In the first place, there was the question of
Baptismal Regeneration itself. This is by no means an easy one to
disentangle; but it may be noted that the doctrine of Baptism
includes: (1) God's intention, that is to say, His purpose in
electing certain persons to eternal life--an abstruse and greatly
controverted subject, upon which the Church of England abstains
from strict definition; (2) God's action, whether by means of
sacraments or otherwise--concerning which the Church of England
maintains the efficacy of sacraments,' but does not formally deny
that grace may be given by other means, repentance and faith
being present; and (3) the question whether sacramental grace is
given instrumentally, by and at the moment of the act of baptism,
or in consequence of an act of prevenient grace rendering the
receiver worthy--that is to say, whether sacramental grace in
baptism is given absolutely or conditionally.

It was over this last question that the dispute raged hottest in
the Gorham Case. The High Church party, represented by Dr.
Phillpotts, asserted that the mere act of baptism conferred
regeneration upon the recipient and washed away his original sin.
To this the Evangelicals, headed by Mr. Gorham, replied that,
according to the Articles, regeneration would not follow unless
baptism was RIGHTLY received. What, then, was the meaning of
'rightly'? Clearly it implied not merely lawful administration,
but worthy reception; worthiness, therefore, is the essence of
the sacrament; and worthiness means faith and repentance. Now,
two propositions were accepted by both parties--that all infants
are born in original sin, and that original sin could be washed
away by baptism. But how could both these propositions be true,
argued Mr. Gorham, if it was also true that faith and repentance
were necessary before baptism could come into operation at all?
How could an infant in arms be said to be in a state of faith and
repentance? How, therefore, could its original sin be washed away
by baptism? And yet, as every one agreed, washed away it was.

The only solution of the difficulty lay in the doctrine of
prevenient grace; and Mr. Gorham maintained that unless God
performed an act of prevenient grace by which the infant was
endowed with faith and repentance, no act of baptism could be
effectual; though to whom, and under what conditions, prevenient
grace was given, Mr. Gorham confessed himself unable to decide.
The light thrown by the Bible upon the whole matter seemed
somewhat dubious, for whereas the baptism of St. Peter's
disciples at Jerusalem and St. Philip's at Samaria was followed
by the gift of the Spirit, in the case of Cornelius the sacrament
succeeded the gift. St. Paul also was baptised; and as for the
language of St. John iii 5; Rom. vi 3, 4; I Peter iii 21, it
admits of more than one interpretation. There could, however, be
no doubt that the Church of England assented to Dr. Phillpotts'
opinion; the question was whether or not she excluded Mr.
Gorham's. If it was decided that she did, it was clear that
henceforward, there would be very little peace for Evangelicals
within her fold.

But there was another issue, even more fundamental than that of
Baptismal Regeneration itself, involved in the Gorham trial. An
Act passed in 1833 had constituted the Judicial Committee of the
Privy Council the supreme court of appeal for such cases; and
this Committee was a body composed entirely of laymen. It was
thus obvious that the Royal Supremacy was still a fact, and that
a collection of lawyers appointed by the Crown had the legal
right to formulate the religious doctrine of the Church of
England. In 1850 their judgment was delivered; they reversed the
decision of the Court of Arches, and upheld the position of Mr.
Gorham. Whether his views were theologically correct or not, they
said, was not their business; it was their business to decide
whether the opinions under consideration were contrary or
repugnant to the doctrine of the Church of England as enjoined
upon the clergy by its Articles, Formularies, and Rubrics; and
they had come to the conclusion that they were not. The judgement
still holds good; and to this day, a clergyman of the Church of
England is quite at liberty to believe that Regeneration does not
invariably take place when an infant is baptised.

The blow fell upon no one with greater violence than upon
Manning. Not only was the supreme efficacy of the sign of the
cross upon a baby's forehead one of his favourite doctrines, but
up to that moment he had been convinced that the Royal Supremacy
was a mere accident--a temporary usurpation which left the
spiritual dominion of the Church essentially untouched. But now
the horrid reality rose up before him, crowned and triumphant; it
was all too clear that an Act of Parliament, passed by Jews,
Roman Catholics, and Dissenters, was the ultimate authority which
decided upon the momentous niceties of the Anglican faith. Mr.
Gladstone also, was deeply perturbed. It was absolutely
necessary, he wrote, to 'rescue and defend the conscience of the
Church from the present hideous system'. An agitation was set on
foot, and several influential Anglicans, with Manning at their
head, drew up and signed a formal protest against the Gorham
judgment. Mr. Gladstone however, proposed another method of
procedure: precipitate action, he declared, must be avoided at
all costs, and he elaborated a scheme for securing
procrastination, by which a covenant was to bind all those who
believed that an article of the creed had been abolished by Act
of Parliament to take no steps in any direction, nor to announce
their intention of doing so, until a given space of time had
elapsed. Mr. Gladstone was hopeful that some good might come of
this--though indeed he could not be sure. 'Among others,' he
wrote to Manning, 'I have consulted Robert Wilberforce and Wegg-
Prosser, and they seemed inclined to favour my proposal. It
might, perhaps, have kept back Lord Feilding. But he is like a

The proposal was certainly not favoured by Manning. Protests and
procrastinations, approving Wegg-Prossers and cork-like Lord
Feildings--all this was feeding the wind and folly; the time for
action had come. 'I can no longer continue,' he wrote to Robert
Wilberforce, 'under oath and subscription binding me to the Royal
Supremacy in Ecclesiastical causes, being convinced:

(1) That it is a violation of the Divine Office of the Church.

(2) That it has involved the Church of England in a separation
from the Universal Church, which separation I cannot clear of the
character of schism.

(3) That it has thereby suspended and prevented the functions of
the Church of England.'

It was in vain that Robert Wilberforce pleaded, in vain that Mr.
Gladstone urged upon his mind the significance of John iii 8.
['The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it
goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.'] 'I admit,'
Mr. Gladstone wrote, 'that the words might in some way be
satisfied by supposing our Lord simply to mean "the facts of
nature are unintelligible, therefore, be not afraid if revealed
truths be likewise beyond the compass of the understanding"; but
this seems to me a meagre meaning.' Such considerations could
hold him no longer, and Manning executed the resignation of his
office and benefice before a public notary. Soon afterwards, in
the little Chapel off Buckingham Palace Road, kneeling beside Mr.
Gladstone, he worshipped for the last time as an Anglican. Thirty
years later the Cardinal told how, just before the Communion
service commenced, he turned to his friends with the words: 'I
can no longer take the Communion in the Church of England.' 'I
rose up, and laying my hand on Mr. Gladstone's shoulder, said
"Come". It was the parting of the ways. Mr. Gladstone remained;
and I went my way. Mr. Gladstone still remains where I left him.'

On April 6th, 1851, the final step was taken: Manning was
received into the Roman Catholic Church. Now at last, after the
long struggle, his mind was at rest. 'I know what you mean,' he
wrote to Robert Wilberforce, 'by saying that one sometimes feels
as if all this might turn out to be only another "Land of
Shadows". I have felt it in time past, but not now. The theologia
from Nice to St. Thomas Aquinas, and the undivided unity suffused
throughout the world, of which the Cathedra Petri is the centre,
isnow 1800 years old, and mightier in every power now than ever--
in intellect, in science, in separation from the world; and purer
too, refined by 300 years of conflict with the modern infidel
civilisation--all of this is a fact more solid than the earth.'


WHEN Manning joined the Church of Rome, he acted under the
combined impulse of the two dominating forces in his nature. His
preoccupation with the supernatural might, alone, have been
satisfied within the fold of the Anglican communion; and so might
his preoccupation with himself-- the one might have found vent in
the elaborations of High Church ritual, and the other in the
activities of a bishopric. But the two together could not be
quieted so easily. The Church of England is a commodious
institution; she is very anxious to please, but somehow or other,
she has never managed to supply a happy home to superstitious
egotists. 'What an escape for my poor soul!' Manning is said to
have exclaimed when, shortly after his conversion, a mitre was
going a-begging. But, in truth, Manning's 'poor soul' had scented
nobler quarry. To one of his temperament, how was it possible,
when once the choice was plainly put, to hesitate for a moment
between the respectable dignity of an English bishop, harnessed
by the secular power, with the Gorham judgment as a bit between
his teeth, and the illimitable pretensions of the humblest priest
of Rome?

For the moment, however, it seemed as if the Fates had at last
been successful in their little game of shunting Manning. The
splendid career which he had so laboriously built up from the
small beginnings of his Sussex curacy was shattered--and
shattered by the inevitable operation of his own essential needs.
He was over forty, and he had been put back once more to the very
bottom rung of the ladder--a middle-aged neophyte with, so far as
could be seen, no special claim to the attention of his new
superiors. The example of Newman, a far more illustrious convert,
was hardly reassuring: he had been relegated to a complete
obscurity, in which he was to remain until extreme old age. Why
should there be anything better in store for Manning? Yet it so
happened that within fourteen years of his conversion Manning was
Archbishop of Westminster and the supreme ruler of the Roman
Catholic community in England. This time the Fates gave up the
unequal struggle; they paid over their stakes in despair, and
retired from the game.

Nevertheless it is difficult to feel quite sure that Manning's
plunge was as hazardous as it appeared. Certainly he was not a
man who was likely to forget to look before he leaped, nor one
who, if he happened to know that there was a mattress spread to
receive him, would leap with less conviction. In the light of
after-events, one would be glad to know what precisely passed at
that mysterious interview of his with the Pope, three years
before his conversion. It is at least possible that the
authorities in Rome had their eye on Manning; the may well have
felt that the Archdeacon of Chichester would be a great catch.
What did Pio Nono say? It is easy to imagine the persuasive
innocence of his Italian voice. 'Ah, dear Signor Manning, why
don't you come over to us? Do you suppose that we should not look
after you?'

At any rate, when he did go over, Manning was looked after very
thoroughly. There was, it is true, a momentary embarrassment at
the outset: it was only with the greatest difficulty that he
could bring himself to abandon his faith in the validity of
Anglican Orders, in which he believed 'with consciousness
stronger than all reasoning'. He was convinced that he was still
a priest. When the Rev. Mr. Tierney, who had received him into
the Roman Catholic communion, assured him that this was not the
case, he was filled with dismay and mortification. After a five
hour discussion, he started to his feet in a rage. 'Then, Mr.
Tierney,' he exclaimed, 'you think me insincere.'

The bitter draught was swallowed at last, and, after that, all
went smoothly. Manning hastened to Rome, and was immediately
placed by the Pope in the highly select Accademia Ecclesiastica,
commonly known as the 'Nursery of Cardinals', for the purpose of
completing his theological studies. When the course was finished,
he continued, by the Pope's special request, to spend six months
of every year in Rome, where he preached to the English visitors,
became acquainted with the great personages of the Papal court,
and enjoyed the privilege of constant interviews with the Holy
Father. At the same time, he was able to make himself useful in
London, where Cardinal Wiseman, the newly created Archbishop of
Westminster, was seeking to reanimate the Roman Catholic
community. Manning was not only extremely popular in the pulpit
and in the confessional; he was not only highly efficient as a
gleaner of souls--and of souls who moved in the best society; he
also possessed a familiarity with official persons and official
ways, which was invaluable. When the question arose of the
appointment of Catholic chaplains in the Crimea during the war,
it was Manning who approached the Minister, interviewed the
Permanent Secretary, and finally succeeded in obtaining all that
was required. When a special Reformatory for Catholic children
was proposed, Manning carried through the negotiation with the
Government. When an attempt was made to remove Catholic children
from the Workhouses, Manning was again indispensable. No wonder
Cardinal Wiseman soon determined to find some occupation of
special importance for the energetic convert. He had long wished
to establish a congregation of secular priests in London
particularly devoted to his service, and the opportunity for the
experiment had clearly now arisen. The order of the Oblates of
St. Charles was founded in Bayswater, and Manning was put at its
head. Unfortunately, no portion of the body of St. Charles could
be obtained for the new community, but two relics of his blood
were brought over to Bayswater from Milan. Almost at the same
time the Pope signified his appreciation of Manning's efforts by
appointing him Provost of the Chapter of Westminster--a position
which placed him at the head of the Canons of the diocese.

This double promotion was the signal for the outbreak of an
extraordinary internal struggle, which raged without intermission
for the next seven years, and was to end only with the accession
of Manning to the Archbishopric. The condition of the Roman
Catholic community in England was at that time a singular one. On
the one hand the old repressive laws of the seventeenth century
had been repealed by liberal legislation, and on the other a
large new body of distinguished converts had entered the Roman
Church as a result of the Oxford Movement. It was evident that
there was a 'boom' in English Catholicism, and, in 1850, Pius IX
recognised the fact by dividing up the whole of England into
dioceses, and placing Wiseman at the head of them as Archbishop
of Westminster. Wiseman's encyclical, dated 'from without the
Flaminian Gate', in which he announced the new departure, was
greeted in England by a storm of indignation, culminating in the
famous and furibund letter of Lord John Russell, then Prime
Minister, against the insolence of the 'Papal Aggression'. Though
the particular point against which the outcry was raised--the
English territorial titles of the new Roman bishops--was an
insignificant one, the instinct of Lord John and of the English
people was in reality sound enough. Wiseman's installation did
mean, in fact, a new move in the Papal game; it meant an advance,
if not an aggression-- a quickening in England of the long-
dormant energies of the Roman Church. That Church has never had
the reputation of being an institution to be trifled with; and,
in those days, the Pope was still ruling as a temporal Prince
over the fairest provinces of Italy. Surely, if the images of Guy
Fawkes had not been garnished, on that fifth of November, with
triple crowns, it would have been a very poor compliment to His

But it was not only the honest Protestants of England who had
cause to dread the arrival of the new Cardinal Archbishop; there
was a party among the Catholics themselves who viewed his
installation with alarm and disgust. The families in which the
Catholic tradition had been handed down uninterruptedly since the
days of Elizabeth, which had known the pains of exile and of
martyrdom, and which clung together an alien and isolated group
in the midst of English society, now began to feel that they
were, after all, of small moment in the counsels of Rome. They
had laboured through the heat of the day, but now it seemed as if
the harvest was to be gathered in by a crowd of converts who were
proclaiming on every side as something new and wonderful the
truths which the Old Catholics, as they came to be called, had
not only known, but for which they had suffered for generations.
Cardinal Wiseman, it is true, was no convert; he belonged to one
of the oldest of the Catholic families; but he had spent most of
his life in Rome, he was out of touch with English traditions,
and his sympathy with Newman and his followers was only too
apparent. One of his first acts as Archbishop was to appoint the
convert W. G. Ward, who was not even in holy orders, to be
Professor of Theology at St. Edmund's College-- the chief
seminary for young priests, in which the ancient traditions of
Douay were still flourishing. Ward was an ardent Papalist and his
appointment indicated clearly enough that in Wiseman's opinion
there was too little of the Italian spirit in the English
community. The uneasiness of the Old Catholics was becoming
intense, when they were reassured by Wiseman's appointing as his
co-adjutor and successor his intimate friend, Dr. Errington, who
was created on the occasion Archbishop of Trebizond in partibus
infidelium. Not only was Dr. Errington an Old Catholic of the
most rigid type, he was a man of extreme energy, whose influence
was certain to be great; and, in any case, Wiseman was growing
old, so that before very long it seemed inevitable that the
policy of the diocese would be in proper hands. Such was the
position of affairs when, two years after Errington's
appointment, Manning became head of the Oblates of St. Charles
and Provost of the Chapter of Westminster.

The Archbishop of Trebizond had been for some time growing more
and more suspicious of Manning's influence, and this sudden
elevation appeared to justify his worst fears. But his alarm was
turned to fury when he learned that St. Edmund's College, from
which he had just succeeded in removing the obnoxious W. G. Ward,
was to be placed under the control of the Oblates of St. Charles.
The Oblates did not attempt to conceal the fact that one of their
principal aims was to introduce the customs of a Roman Seminary
into England. A grim perspective of espionage and tale-bearing,
foreign habits, and Italian devotions opened out before the
dismayed eyes of the Old Catholics; they determined to resist to
the utmost; and it was upon the question of the control of St.
Edmund's that the first battle in the long campaign between
Errington and Manning was fought.

Cardinal Wiseman was now obviously declining towards the grave. A
man of vast physique--'your immense', an Irish servant used
respectfully to call him--of sanguine temperament, of genial
disposition, of versatile capacity, he seemed to have engrafted
upon the robustness of his English nature the facile, child-like,
and expansive qualities of the South. So far from being a Bishop
Blougram (as the rumour went) he was, in fact, the very
antithesis of that subtle and worldly-wise ecclesiastic. He had
innocently looked forward all his life to the reunion of England
to the See of Peter, and eventually had come to believe that, in
God's hand, he was the instrument destined to bring about this
miraculous consummation. Was not the Oxford Movement, with its
flood of converts, a clear sign of the Divine will? Had he not
himself been the author of that momentous article on St.
Augustine and the Donatists, which had finally convinced Newman
that the Church of England was in schism? And then, had he not
been able to set afoot a Crusade of Prayer throughout Catholic
Europe for the conversion of England?

He awaited the result with eager expectation, and in the meantime
he set himself to smooth away the hostility of his countrymen by
delivering courses of popular lectures on literature and
archaeology. He devoted much time and attention to the ceremonial
details of his princely office. His knowledge of rubric and
ritual, and of the symbolical significations of vestments, has
rarely been equalled, and he took a profound delight in the
ordering and the performance of elaborate processions. During one
of these functions, an unexpected difficulty arose: the Master of
Ceremonies suddenly gave the word for a halt, and, on being asked
the reason, replied that he had been instructed that moment by
special revelation to stop the procession. The Cardinal, however,
was not at a loss. 'You may let the procession go on,' he
smilingly replied. 'I have just obtained permission, by special
revelation, to proceed with it.' His leisure hours he spent in
the writing of edifying novels, the composition of acrostics in
Latin Verse, and in playing battledore and shuttlecock with his
little nieces. There was, indeed, only one point in which he
resembled Bishop Blougram--his love of a good table. Some of
Newman's disciples were astonished and grieved to find that he
sat down to four courses of fish during Lent. 'I am sorry to
say,' remarked one of them afterwards, 'that there is a lobster
salad side to the Cardinal.'

It was a melancholy fate which ordained that the last years of
this comfortable, easygoing, innocent old man should be
distracted and embittered by the fury of opposing principles and
the venom of personal animosities. But so it was. He had fallen
into the hands of one who cared very little for the gentle
pleasures of repose. Left to himself, Wiseman might have
compromised with the Old Catholics and Dr. Errington; but when
Manning had once appeared upon the scene, all compromise became
impossible. The late Archdeacon of Chichester, who had understood
so well and practised with such careful skill the precept of the
golden mean so dear to the heart of the Church of England, now,
as Provost of Westminster, flung himself into the fray with that
unyielding intensity of fervour, that passion for the extreme and
the absolute, which is the very lifeblood of the Church of Rome.
Even the redoubtable Dr. Errington, short, thickset, determined,
with his `hawk-like expression of face', as a contemporary
described him, 'as he looked at you through his blue spectacles',
had been known to quail in the presence of his, antagonist, with
his tall and graceful figure, his pale ascetic features, his
compressed and icy lips, his calm and penetrating gaze. As for
the poor Cardinal, he was helpless indeed.

Henceforward, there was to be no paltering with that dangerous
spirit of independence--was it not almost Gallicanism which
possessed the Old Catholic families of England? The supremacy of
the Vicar of Christ must be maintained at all hazards. Compared
with such an object, what were the claims of personal affection
and domestic peace? The Cardinal pleaded in vain; his lifelong
friendship with Dr.Errington was plucked up by the roots, and the
harmony of his private life was utterly destroyed. His own
household was turned against him. His favourite nephew, whom he
had placed among the Oblates under Manning's special care, left
the congregation and openly joined the party of Dr. Errington.
His secretary followed suit; but saddest of all was the case of
Monsignor Searle. Monsignor Searle, in the capacity of
confidential man of affairs, had dominated over the Cardinal in
private for years with the autocratic fidelity of a servant who
has grown indispensable. His devotion, in fact, seemed to have
taken the form of physical imitation, for he was hardly less
gigantic than his master. The two were inseparable; their huge
figures loomed together like neighbouring mountains; and on one
occasion, meeting them in the street, a gentleman congratulated
Wiseman on 'your Eminence's fine son'. Yet now even this
companionship was broken up. The relentless Provost here too
brought a sword. There were explosions and recriminations.
Monsignor Searle, finding that his power was slipping from him,
made scenes and protests, and at last was foolish enough to
accuse Manning of peculation to his face; after that it was clear
that his day was over; he was forced to slink snarling into the
background, while the Cardinal shuddered through all his
immensity, and wished many times that he were already dead.

Yet, he was not altogether without his consolations; Manning took
care to see to that. His piercing eye had detected the secret way
into the recesses of the Cardinal's heart--had discerned the core

Book of the day: