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MEMOIR AND LETTERS OF FRANCIS W. NEWMAN
[Illustration: FROM A DAGUERREOTYPE OF 1851. PHOTO BY JOHN DAVIES,
MEMOIR AND LETTERS OF FRANCIS W. NEWMAN
I. GIBERNE SIEVEKING
_outos ge axios estin epainesthai ostis an tois hetairois os teleion ti on
protithae to eu neoterizein taen ton pollon katastasin_
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO MY MOTHER
TO THE READER WHO UNDERSTANDS.
I. FRANCIS NEWMAN'S ANCESTORS.
II. THE TWO BROTHERS--SCHOOL AND COLLEGE DAYS.
III. FRANCIS NEWMAN'S MISSIONARY JOURNEY TO THE EAST.
IV. HIS MARRIAGE: HIS MOTHER'S DEATH: HIS CLASSICAL TUTORSHIP AT
BRISTOL IN 1834.
V. FRIENDSHIP WITH DR. MARTINEAU.
VI. FRANCIS NEWMAN AS A TEACHER.
VII. LETTERS TO ONE OF HIS GREATEST FRIENDS, DR. NICHOLSON.
VIII. LETTERS TO DR. NICHOLSON FROM NEWMAN DURING THE FOLLOWING YEARS:
1850 TO 1859.
IX. LETTERS TO DR. NICHOLSON: CONTINUED.
X. LETTERS WRITTEN TO MISS ANNA SWANWICK BETWEEN 1871 AND 1887.
XI. THE STORY OF TWO PATRIOTS.
XII. FOUR BARBARISMS OF CIVILIZATION.
XIII. SOME LEGISLATIVE REFORMS SUGGESTED BY LECTURE AND ARTICLE
XIV. DECENTRALIZATION AND LAND REFORM
XVI. NATIVE REPRESENTATION IN INDIAN GOVERNMENT
XVII. VOTES FOR WOMEN
XVIII. FRANCIS NEWMAN AND HIS RELIGION
XIX. LAST YEARS, CHARACTERISTICS, AND SOME LETTERS RELATING TO THE
"EARLY LIFE OF THE CARDINAL"
XX. TOULMIN SMITH: AUTHOR, ANTIQUARIAN STUDENT, AND POLITICAL REFORMER
XXI. LANDOWNERS AND WAGE RECEIVERS
XXII. THE RIGHT AND DUTY OF EVERY STATE TO ENFORCE SOBRIETY ON ITS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PHOTO OF FRANCIS NEWMAN
From a Daguerreotype of 1851. Photo by Mr. John Davies, Weston-super-Mare.
Father of Cardinal Newman and Francis Newman. From an old portrait. By
kind permission of Mr. J. R. Mozley.
SEALE'S COFFEE HOUSE, OXFORD
Now demolished. Done from an old drawing in the year when Francis Newman
and John Henry Newman stayed there with Blanco White.
WORCESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD
Specially photographed for this Memoir.
WORTON CHURCH, OXFORDSHIRE
From an old print. By kind permission of Rev. W. H. Langhorne.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, WEST END, OVER WORTON
By kind permission of Rev. W. H. Langhorne, present Rector of Worton.
OVER WORTON RECTORY, OXFORDSHIRE
By kind permission of Rev. W. H. Langhorne, present Rector of Worton.
PHOTO FROM SKETCH OF THE NEWMAN FAMILY
By Maria Rosina Giberne. By kind permission of Mr. J. R. Mozley.
MARIA ROSINA GIBERNE
From a painting by herself.
PHOTO OF LORD CONGLETON
Leader of Syrian Missionary Journey. From his _Life_ by Groves.
One of those who went to Syria with Francis Newman in 1830. From a photo
by Messrs. Webster, Clapham Common. By kind permission of Mrs. Cronin.
PERSIAN LADY AND PERSIAN SMOKING, DATE 1827
From _Persia_ in "Modern Traveller" series, 1830.
Francis Newman's first wife. From a miniature. Photo by Messrs. Webster,
Clapham Common. By kind permission of Sir John Kennaway.
From the painting by A. E. Elmslie.
In middle age. From photo by John Davies, Weston-super-Mare.
PHOTO OF BRONZE BUST OF FRANCIS NEWMAN
Emeritus Professor of London University. By Mrs. Georgina Bainsmith,
sculptor, of St. Ives, Cornwall. The bust is now in University College,
ANOTHER VIEW OF THE BUST IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (OF FRANCIS NEWMAN), ON ITS
By Mrs. Georgina Bainsmith, sculptor, of St. Ives, Cornwall. This
reproduction is by Mr. J. C. Douglas, of St. Ives, Cornwall, and was
photographed from the clay before it was cast.
From a photo taken at Gottingen between 1855 and 1860. By kind permission
of Miss Nicholson, Penrith.
FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM FRANCIS NEWMAN, DECEMBER, 1855
20 WHITE ROCK PLACE, AND 1A CARLISLE PARADE, HASTINGS
From photos taken in 1909 by Valentine Edgar Sieveking.
From a portrait painted by Miss V. Bruce.
CERTIFICATE OF HUNGARIAN FUND
FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM KOSSUTH TO MESSRS. SIEVEKING, JANUARY, 1854
Enlargement from a photo. By kind permission of Miss Toulmin Smith.
From an oil painting by Miss Deane, of Bath. Photo by Messrs. Webster,
TO THE READER WHO UNDERSTANDS
MY DEAR READER,
Rightly understood, the two points of view, as regards Religion, of the
brothers, Cardinal Newman and Francis Newman, which most separated them,
would, together, have approached the realization of a great conception.
For the Cardinal, Authority was the _sine qua non_ without which there
could be no real faith. Authority was the pilot, without whose steering he
could not feel secure in his personal ship. But with Authority at the
helm, his fears dispersed, his doubts removed.
"I was not ever thus.....
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!"
Over Francis Newman, dogma and the authority of the Church had no sway. He
dimly discerned a religion which should move forward with men's advance in
knowledge. He imagined an unformalized inward revelation which should
reveal new truths to those who passionately desired Truth above all
things. And when all is said, the union of Authority given in the past,
with the very real mental development which makes for spiritual progress
in the present, is not antagonistic to a wise, strong breadth of view in
the conception of a perfect Church.
But in both points of view, carried to extremes, there are grave perils to
the man who thinks. And I find it impossible to avoid saying here that
Francis Newman did not realize this risk when he refused to "ask for the
old paths," and determined to "see and choose his path" alone and unaided.
We know what the endeavour to found a new church in Syria ended in. We
know how, later, he wrote, held back by no reverence for revealed
religion, no reverence for other men's belief in it. Many of his writings
therefore are painful reading. Though from very early boyhood he had been
really a keen seeker after true religion, an earnest student of the Holy
Scriptures, and a deep thinker, yet, very soon after he had reached young
manhood, it began to be realized by all who knew him that he was very
evidently breaking away from all definite dogmatic faith. He was bent, so
to speak, on inventing a new religion for himself.
Gradually every year made the spiritual breach wider between him and those
who held the Christian Faith. Soon he did not hesitate to say out, in very
unguarded language, what he really thought of doctrines which he knew were
precious to them. Sometimes to-day, indeed, in reading his books, one
comes across some statement in letter, article, or lecture flung out
almost venomously; and one steps back mentally as if a spiritual hiss had
whipped the air from some inimical sentence which had suddenly lifted its
heretical head from amongst an otherwise quiet group of words.
At the end of life it is said that he showed signs of some return to the
early faith of his boyhood. That he said, just before his death, to Rev.
Temperley Grey, who was visiting him in his last illness, "I feel Paul is
less and less to me; and Christ is more and more."
And those who knew that side of him which was splendid in its untiring
effort for the betterment of mankind--for the righting of wrongs to women,
and others unable to achieve it for themselves--cannot but hope that the
faith of earlier days was his once more, before he passed into the silence
that lies--as far as we are concerned in this world--at the back of Death.
I remember being told once, that of Stanley it was said by someone who
knew him well, that she had always felt that "he believed more than he
knew he did."
And when one thinks how Francis Newman looked up in faith--even though it
was an absolutely undogmatic, formless faith--to a God who watched over
mankind, one may hope that he too "believed more than he knew he did."
This life is only a short chapter in our existence. Personality is in its
essence immortal, though not unchanging in its presentment. Some of us
have many "phases of faith" even in this short existence. Some of us, like
St. Paul, only two. The first, fiery in its denunciations, and
persecutions and uncompromising attitude towards all who differed from him
as regards the Faith which afterwards, "when the scales had fallen from
his eyes," he was to champion. The second, just as splendid in its
enthusiasm for the doctrine he had formerly abused. Just as passionate in
righting the wrongs of the people, as once in his first phase of faith he
had been in enforcing persecution and injustice upon them. By now, Newman
may have gained _his_ second sight. Whatever was the shortsightedness of
Francis Newman's spiritual focus, there can be no manner of doubt that
_he_ was an earnest seeker after Truth, though his methods of search were
sorely to be regretted, in so far as doctrinal theory was concerned, as in
his judgments on his brother's career.
According to his lights he lived his life. It was a life spent always in
untiring, unselfish effort for the good of his fellows. He was always in
the forefront of Social Reform, of social high principle and justice. He
was, at any rate, one with St. Paul--that champion of Christian Socialism
--in his attitude towards that larger half of mankind whose wrongs need
righting. He, too, practically said by his life, "Who is weak, and _I_ am
not weak? Who is afflicted, and I _burn_ not?" to avenge the injustice.
To-day, if more of Francis Newman's social views were voiced again,
England might take a glad step forward. For, undoubtedly, he _had_ a
message to deliver. And, equally undoubtedly, he delivered it to his
This message of Social Reform sounded in men's ears fifty years ago.
In his memoir it sounds again to-day.
My very hearty thanks are due to the following persons who have most
kindly helped me in this "Memoir," by lending me letters and photographs;
by writing reminiscences, and giving information, etc.: Sir John Kennaway,
Bart., Sir Alfred Wills, Sir Edward Fry, Mr. William de Morgan, Father
Bacchus, Mr. Talfourd Ely, Mr. Winterbotham, the present Rector of Worton,
Mr. Norris Mathews, Mr. George Hare Leonard, Mr. George Pearson, Miss
Humphreys, Miss Nicholson, Mrs. Heather (_nee_ Wilson), Miss Bruce, Miss
Toulmin Smith, Miss Gertrude Martineau, Miss Elizabeth Pearson, Mrs.
Georgina Bainsmith, sculptor, Rev. Thomas Smith, Mrs. Kingsley Tarpey, Dr.
Makalua, and many others.
I. GIBERNE SIEVEKING.
1 EXMOUTH PLACE, HASTINGS.
MEMOIR AND LETTERS OF FRANCIS W. NEWMAN
Of all the influences which have most to do in the making of an
individual, heredity is perhaps the greatest. It is the crucible in which
the gold and dross of many generations of his ancestors are melted down
and remixed in the man, who is, indeed, "a part of all" from whom he
There is no more engrossing study than to trace back through many a
century of ancestors, the various--often conflicting--elements which go to
make up the character of someone whose life (without the clue given by the
history of his forbears) is often a strange contradiction. Unable to
understand some disability which spoils an otherwise fine personality, one
looks back and there is the explanation. One's finger rests on the _raison
d'etre_ of this disability. Long since it had its birth, its inauguration,
in the squeeze, so to speak, into that strange crucible, of the taint, the
essence, of some ancestor's moral lapses, or of the effect of his moral,
mental, or physical ill-health.
Dr. Maudsley says very definitely that the faults, the disabilities, of
men and women of to-day, are sometimes an undesirable inheritance. "Mental
derangement in one generation is sometimes the cause of an innate
deficiency, or absence of the moral sense in the succeeding generation."
I remember once hearing a London doctor strongly emphasize the need for
every family to keep a careful, conscientious family record book, which
from generation to generation should act as a _vade mecum_--showing what
failings must be fought at all costs, and what connections avoided, if we
would not perpetuate disease. Such a thing, if done universally, might
check many national evils in our midst to-day.
But even with no definite aim of this kind, the study of a long chain of
ancestors of some great man cannot fail to be of special interest. And
those of the subject of this memoir contain among their number many
honourable names--names of those who have done real and unforgettable
service to their country.
* * * * *
Francis Newman's father, John Newman, is said to have belonged to a family
of small landed proprietors in Cambridgeshire, who originally came from
Holland--the name having been formerly spelt "Newmann." Thus it will be
seen, as I shall shortly show, that Francis Newman had Dutch blood in his
veins, both on his father's and mother's side.
[Illustration: JOHN NEWMAN
FATHER OF CARDINAL NEWMAN AND FRANCIS NEWMAN
FROM AN OLD PORTRAIT. BY KIND PERMISSION OF MR. J. R. MOZLEY]
John Newman was the only son of John Newman of Lombard Street, London, and
of Elizabeth Good, his wife. The arms granted the family on 15th Feb.,
1663-4, were _Or, fers dancettee between 3 hearts gules_. John Newman, the
father of Francis Newman, was partner in the banking house of Ramsbottom,
Newman and Co. He married Jemima Fourdrinier, 29th Oct., 1799, at St.
Mary's, Lambeth. [Footnote: She died at Littlemore, Oxon, at the age of
sixty-two.] In the portrait of him, which is shown in this memoir, there
is a strong resemblance to his son Francis.
By this marriage there were seven children. John Henry (the future
Cardinal), was the eldest. He was born 21st Feb., 1801. Charles Robert was
the second son; and Francis William, the third son, was born 27th June,
1805. Harriette Elizabeth was the eldest daughter, Jemima Charlotte the
second, and Mary Sophia, who was born in 1809, only lived to the age of
Francis Newman's ancestry, on his mother's side, is proved to have reached
back as far as 1575; of this one can be reasonably certain. It was then,
that Henri Fourdrinier was born at Caen, in Normandy. He was made Admiral
of France in later life, and crested Viscount. ARMS: _per bend argent and
sable, two anchors, the upper one reversed, counterchanged._ His son was
also Henri Fourdrinier. Indeed, the name "Henri" seemed like some rare
jewel which was bequeathed from father to son in never-failing regularity,
for there was always a "Henri" among the Fourdriniers from 1575 until
It was during the lifetime of this Henri Fourdrinier, the son of Admiral
Fourdrinier, that the family fled from France to Groningen, in Holland. In
all probability this flitting took place during those endless civil wars
which disturbed France at that time. Possibly at the time when the heavy
taxes imposed on the people made it almost impossible to live. The
"Fronde" was ravaging the country too, in 1648, and for four years later.
Of course it is possible that he did not leave France until 1685, when the
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes took place. But at whatever date he
actually went, his reasons for going were certainly no small ones. For
more than a hundred years the Huguenots--and the Fourdriniers were noted
Huguenots--had found France more and more an impossible country to live
in. Persecutions, massacres, torturings pursued them relentlessly.
Thousands of French Huguenots emigrated to England, Holland, and Germany.
And great was the loss which their emigration caused to France. For they
were the most intelligent and hardworking part of the French population,
so that when Louis XIV drove them away, he found out, only too surely, the
truth of the old proverb, that "Curses come home to roost." Trade slowly
but surely forsook France. The emigrants taught their arts and
manufactures to the countries where they had taken refuge; and gradually
trade guided its ships in their direction, and changed their course from
France to Holland and Germany.
The next entry [Footnote: I quote from a copy I had made from _Miscellanea
Genealogica et Heraldica_, N.S. III, 385.--_Pedigree of Fourdrinier and
Grolleau_, by Rev. Dr. Lee, Vicar of All Saints, Lambeth.] is dated from
Groningen, and concerns the birth of Paul Fourdrinier, 20th Dec., 1698.
Now in the _Dict. Nat. Biography_ there occurs the name of Peter
Fourdrinier, of whom no mention at all is made in the _Miscellanea
Genealogica et Heraldica_, amongst the record of the other Fourdriniers.
It is therefore not very clear to what branch of the family he belonged.
But as far as I can make out, he and Paul Fourdrinier seem to have come to
England about 1720. Certainly, in October, 1721, the latter's marriage
with Susanna Grolleau took place, as far as one can discover, in or near
Wandsworth. Susanna Grolleau died in 1766, and was buried at Wandsworth.
Here, I think, a few words with regard to the Grolleau family seem to be
Louis Grolleau, early in the seventeenth century, lived at Caen; and later
emigrated to Groningen. To me, everything seems to point to the fact that
the Fourdriniers and Grolleaus were in some way connected, either in
friendship or relationship. First, we find them resident at Caen: later,
at Groningen; and then again, later on still, members of both families
marry at Wandsworth, and there both Paul Fourdrinier's wife and her
sister, who married the son of a Captain Lloyd, are buried.
This Peter Fourdrinier mentioned by the _Dict. Nat. Biography_ seems to
have been pupil to Bernard Picart, at Amsterdam, for six years. By
profession he was an engraver of portraits and book illustrations. I
believe there are portraits extant engraved by him of Cardinal Wolsey and
Bishop Tonstall, amongst others. There is certainly an engraving of his
called _The Four Ages of Man_, after Laucret.
Some authorities believe him to have been identical with the Pierre
Fourdrinier who married, in 1689, Marthe Theroude. But if this was the
case, then he was not the Peter Fourdrinier who accompanied Paul to
England in 1720. Other authorities, again, attribute the engravings I have
just mentioned as having been the work of Paul Fourdrinier. At any rate,
it is certain that Paul Fourdrinier belonged to the parish of St.
Martin's-in-the-Fields. He died in February, 1758, and was buried at
His son Henry--by now the English spelling of the name is adopted--was
born February, 1730. He married Jemima White, and died in 1799. Apparently
now for the first time the interest in the town of Wandsworth ceased, for
the records show that both Henry and his wife were buried in St. Mary
Woolnoth. And now we come to the direct ancestors of Francis Newman, for
Henry Fourdrinier and Jemima White, his wife, were the parents of Jemima,
who married at St. Mary's, Lambeth, in 1799, John Newman of the firm of
Ramsbottom, Newman & Co., and gave birth in 1801 to John Henry, the future
Cardinal, and in 1805 to the subject of this memoir, Francis William.
* * * * *
In _Civil Architecture_, by Chambers, it is mentioned that the plates were
engraved by "old Rooker, old Fourdrinier, and others," thus seeming to
imply that there was more than one Fourdrinier then in England.
Perhaps the most interesting of all the Fourdrinier family was the Henry
Fourdrinier, the eldest brother to the mother of Francis Newman. He was
born in 1766 at Burston Hall, Staffordshire, and lived until 1854. His
father was a paper-maker, and both he and his brother Sealey (born 1747,
and married Harriett, daughter of James Pownall, of Wilmslow) gave up
their time almost entirely to the invention of paper machinery. This
invention was finished in 18O7, [Footnote: _Dict. Nat. Biog._ Vol. XX.]
and then misfortune fell upon them: the misfortune that so often descends
like the "black bat night" upon those who have spent all their money,
thought, and labour on the effort to launch their self-designed ship upon
the uncertain sea of trade.
The Fourdrinier brothers had spent L60,000 upon this venture, and the
immediate result of the finished invention was bankruptcy to the
unfortunate inventors. Then, in 1814, the Emperor Alexander of Russia
promised to pay them L700 per annum during the space of ten years if he
could use two of their paper-making machines. Of this sum they saw not a
In 1840, Parliament voted the sum of L7000 to the Fourdriniers as a tardy
recognition of the great service they had rendered their adopted country
by their invention. The descendant of these gifted men showed no special
taste for invention along the lines taken by his ancestors, it is true;
but his brilliant intellect, no doubt, owed many of its qualities to their
inventive force and power. Where they made paper and spent their whole
energies in inventing machines for making it quicker, Francis Newman wrote
on it--used it as a medium for spreading far and wide his own splendid
aims and purposes for the betterment of existing social conditions. Before
all things, Newman was a Social Reformer. There was no possible doubt
that, as far as that question went, he left his country further forward on
the road to real progress as regarded conditions of life for her citizens,
and higher, broader ideas of her duty to other nations. As far as all
these questions went he did not live in vain, for to-day we are learning
the wisdom of his views for justice for the oppressed and for "the cause
that needs assistance."
He was essentially one of those rare men who _prefer_ to be on the weaker
side, and whose sword is ever ready for its defence and championship.
THE TWO BROTHERS--SCHOOL AND COLLEGE DAYS
Francis William Newman was born at 17 Southampton Street, Bloomsbury
Square, on 27th June, 1805. His father was a London banker. Rev. T.
Mozley, in his _Reminiscences of Oriel_, says he was partner in the firm
of "Ramsbottom, Newman, Ramsbottom & Co., 72 Lombard Street, which appears
in the lists of London bankers from 1807 to 1816 inclusive." He tells us
that the family of "Newman" (or, as it was originally spelt, "Newmann")
was of Dutch extraction. The father of Francis Newman had great schemes
for making England "independent of foreign timber by planking all our
In 1800 John Newman married Jemima Fourdrinier, and in the year 1801 John
Henry, the future Cardinal, was born. The latter and the subject of our
memoir were in effect the two sheaves before whom all the rest bowed down.
There were four other children: Charles Robert, Harriette Elizabeth,
Jemima Charlotte, and Mary Sophia.
[Illustration: SEALE'S COFFEE HOUSE, OXFORD
Done from an old drawing in the year when Francis Newman and John Henry
Newman stayed there with Blanco White.]
John Henry and Francis went to a school at Ealing (of which Dr. Nicholas
was head-master), then, as Mr. Mozley says, considered the best
preparatory school in the country. There were three hundred boys there at
that time, but none were so brilliant or showed so much talent as the two
Newmans. One after the other they rose to the top of the school. Frank was
captain in 1821. There was some talk of removing John Henry after he had
spent some years there, but he himself begged to be allowed to remain a
little longer. Miss Anne Mozley, in her _Life and Correspondence of John
Henry Newman_, quotes Dr. Nicholas as having said, "No boy had run through
the school from bottom to top as rapidly as John Newman." He was eight and
a half years at Ealing; yet during the whole of that time, it is reported
that his school-fellows declared they had hardly ever seen him play in any
game, though at that time games did not occupy the prominent place in the
curriculum of schools that now they do in our day.
It was not until his last half-year that one of the greatest spiritual
influences of his life began. It was one of those seemingly curious
chances which sometimes change a man's, or a woman's, whole outlook; and
beginning, as it seems at the time, quite casually, quite unconsciously,
lead not only the one chiefly concerned, but others, far afield into
absolutely new environments.
Quite, as it seems, by chance, the destiny of a lifetime approaches
through the conventional door of everyday life--steals up, lays the hand
that none can resist on the handle of some door which opens of itself into
a new, a wider world. Before one is aware of it, perhaps, one's feet have
crossed the threshold into the Land of the New Outlook, and "old things
are passed away."
In August, 1816, John Henry Newman found himself at school, in a sense
alone, because his special personal friends there had left, and thus he
began to be thrown more and more under the influence of the Rev. Walter
Mayer (of Pembroke College, Oxford), who was one of the classical masters.
Long religious talks with him had a great effect upon his mind, and he
himself traces much of his spiritual development to Mr. Mayer's point of
view in religion. He was what is known as a "high Calvinist." When school
was over for John Henry and Francis Newman, Mr. Mayer's influence was not
lost, for both the brothers wrote to him, and stayed with him, when some
time later he became curate to the Rev. William Wilson at Worton.
When his brother left school and went straight to Trinity College, Oxford
(though only fifteen years of age), Frank remained on at Ealing for a
time; and then, when he was seventeen, went up to Oxford to join him, and
be with him through the Long Vacations in preparation for entering
Worcester College in 1822. [Footnote: They lodged first at Scale's Coffee
House in 1821, then at Palmer's, in Merton Lane, in 1822. Both now are
pulled down.] In Anne Mozley's volume there occur several entries
regarding this time from J. H. Newman's letters. For instance, on 25th
Sept., "Expecting to see Frank. I am in fact expecting to see you all. I
shall require you to fill him full of all of you, that when he comes I may
squeeze and wring him out as some sponge."
It is necessary, before touching further on the college life of the two
famous brothers, to remember that early in life there was a strong
spiritual antagonism between them as regarded their points of view--
religious, social, political, etc. And this notwithstanding the fact that
a very real affection for each other existed in both, which made the
inevitable disputes in no sense unfriendly bouts, but only the exercise of
two keen wits of very different calibre.
[Illustration: WORCESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD
VIEW OF COLLEGE BUILDINGS FROM THE GARDENS]
[Illustration: WORCESTER COLLEGE, OXFORD
Both had been trained in a home of strict Calvinism. Both had eminently
religious tendencies. Both, when the time came for judging for themselves,
threw aside the grim tenets which they had been taught as children to
believe, and struck into absolutely different paths.
There is a very pathetic incident in their home life, which occurred just
before Frank Newman went to college, which reveals to the thoughtful
reader a world of information as to what was the attitude of thought in
I quote from J. H. Newman's diary:--
"Sept. 30, 1821. Sunday. After dinner to-day I was suddenly called
downstairs to give an opinion whether I thought it a sin to write a letter
on Sunday. I found dear F---- had refused to copy one. A scene ensued more
painful than any I have experienced." And adds, "I have been sadly
deficient in ... patience, and filial obedience."
I quote this chiefly to show that at sixteen Francis Newman [Footnote: In
later years Francis Newman declared that he had been "converted" in 1816,
and again confirmed in religious conviction in 1819, from the influence of
the writings of Dr. Doddridge.] was certainly under the Calvinistic
influence still, and that he was very dogged in upholding its rules and
restrictions. During the last months of the year 1822, the latter read
with his brother at Oxford, and from time to time, in his letters home, J.
H. Newman mentions him [Footnote: _Letters and Correspondence of J. H.
Newman_, by Anne Mozley.] as working and reading in preparation for
entering Worcester College.
"Frank ... seems to have much improved.... I am convinced that he knows
much of Greek as a language, in fact is a much better Greek scholar than
I.... Again, he is a much better mathematician than I am. I mean, he reads
more mathematically, as Aristotle would say."
It is necessary here to mention a great blow which fell on the Newman
family soon after John Henry Newman had gone to college. His father's bank
failed. There was no bankruptcy, and everyone was paid in full, but still
it naturally proved a time of great family trial; for though his father
took the Alton brewery and tried to make his way in this new line, yet it
was not a successful venture. Happily, by this time, J. H. Newman was not
only able to maintain himself, but also to help his people. Rev. T. Mozley
mentions that in 1823 Newman had been elected to a Fellowship at Oriel,
adding that "it was always a comfort to him that he had been able to give
his father" (who did not live many years after the bankruptcy), "this good
news at a time of great sorrow and embarrassment."
In 1826 Francis Newman took first-class honours in classics and
mathematics, and gained a Fellowship in Balliol College. The college
authorities described his as one of the best "Double Firsts" ever known.
As, however, he felt conscientiously unable to sign the Thirty-nine
Articles, he was obliged to resign his Fellowship, and could not take his
Many a man must have felt in his inmost self that a bona fide signing to
_all_ of the Articles was a task beyond his mental reach. There are points
in numbers 8, 17, 22, 25, for instance, which are difficult indeed to
reconcile with the highest ideal of the Christian religion. One looks at
the reprinted introduction (1562) which prefaces them, and one sees that
_it_ was traceable to that irreligious old sensualist, the father of Queen
Elizabeth. One sees that it dated back to the time when the Church in this
country began to be more especially "by _Law_ established," instead of "by
Christ established," as was the case in early ages of its formation. One
sees, too, that part of the reasons for this preface being set forth was
very evidently the reiteration of the kingly assertion that "We are
Supreme Governor of the Church of England," although the ostensible reason
was because of the "curious and unhappy differences" which seemed, in His
Majesty's opinion, to show the wisdom of decisive adjudication with
respect to those "fond things vainly invented," for which some of his
subjects had so great an affection.
Francis Newman by the time he had reached the age of twenty-five, however,
had been finding out, more and more, that he could not receive most of the
Church dogmas. While his brother and he had been practically re-adapting
to their needs and growing personal convictions the Calvinistic religion
(some writers, I am aware, consider that to have been more Puritan than
Calvinistic), given them by their mother in their childhood days, John
Henry Newman had drawn ever closer to the authority of the Church, while
Francis found himself seceding more and more from her, and more and more
drifting into undogmatic religion. It will be remembered that there had
been originally an idea that he should take Holy Orders. This, however,
very soon during his college life he found to be impracticable of
attainment, owing to his own pronounced and undogmatic views.
At that time, Cardinal Newman has said, earnest religious feeling among
the undergraduates was decidedly rare. Only one in every five could be
called religious-minded. So that the influence of these two young men,
whose very evident purpose was to attain some measure of spiritual truth,
was the more remarkable and powerful among their fellow students.
It was J. H. Newman, indeed, on one occasion who, on remonstrating with
those in authority, that the undergraduates should make their communions
at certain stated intervals because of the fact that he himself had seen
some of them get intoxicated at the college "breakfasts" on the _very_ day
after the service--was met by the remark that even if such a thing _did_
happen, they would rather not know of it!
Not far from Oxford there is a little village called Worton (or W_a_rton,
as I see in old papers it used to be spelt), or rather there are two
villages--Over Worton and Nether Worton, or Upper Worton and Lower Worton.
They lie between Banbury and Woodstock, near Oxford. Mr. Bateman, in his
_Life of Bishop Wilson_ (1860), says "their united population, consisting
of farmers and agricultural labourers, does not exceed two hundred." From
one village to the other is a distance of about three-quarters of a mile,
or perhaps a little less by the field path. Mr. Bateman says that before
Bishop Wilson came, "the church was much neglected, as a sporting curate
used to race through the services so as to get through in as little time
Mr. Wilson revolutionized all this. He was accustomed to preach straight
to "his people." He seems, indeed, to have preached too "straight" for
some, for after some sermon he had given in an adjoining parish, a lady
who had "sat under him" said to her vicar, "_Pray_ do not let Mr. Wilson
preach here again. He alarms me so."
I am indebted to the Rev. W. H. Langhorne, present Rector of Worton, for
the following information about the place. He tells me that the church is
of the thirteenth or fourteenth century; Early decorated, but so altered
by Derick in 1844 "as almost to destroy its identity." The chalice in Over
Worton Church has the date 1574 upon it. The rectory is about one hundred
years old. The low building attached to it on the left (in the photograph)
was added in 1823. The parish of the two Wortons has for years been a
family living in the possession of the Wilsons, so an old friend, a
relation of Bishop Wilson, tells me. It was at Worton Church that John
Newman preached his first sermon, 23rd June, 1825.
Rev. Walter Mayers went as curate, in 1823, to Rev. William Wilson, and
took charge of Worton parish. In the following year he met--and later
married--my aunt Sarah Giberne. She and her sister had been staying with
Rev. and Mrs. William Wilson, and it was there that Mayers first made her
acquaintance. Mr. Mayers asked Frank Newman, during the Long Vacation, to
come and help him in teaching the pupils who came to read with him at
Worton. Newman was then nineteen. He had been four years longer at the
Ealing School, under the tuition of Walter Mayers, than his brother, who
had gone to Oxford, according to the notion prevalent at that time, at
about the age of fifteen or sixteen. Francis Newman says, consequently, "I
knew him (Mayers) much better than did my brother.... He allured me to his
new curacy, three miles from Deddington, Oxon, to help him in mathematics
with his pupils; first 1822, and again in 1823, after his marriage."
It was in connection with this marriage of Mr. Mayers to Sarah Giberne
that the two families of Newman and Giberne first became acquainted, and
that friendship began which lasted throughout their lives.
Sarah Giberne was the daughter of Mark Giberne, who, in partnership with
Mr. George Stainforth, was court wine merchant in 1750. He came of an old
French family, descended from the noble Jean de Giberne, Sieur de
Gibertene, in the sixteenth century. The family owned two castles in the
country of the Cevennes, which were destroyed by the Camisards. In the
seventeenth century some of the family came over and settled in England,
and it was from this branch of it that Gabriel de Giberne, secretary to
Sir Horace Mann, was descended, and from his son Mark--Sarah Giberne--who
married Rev. Walter Mayers.
I shall now give extracts from the diary of Mrs. Benjamin Pearson (_nee_
Charlotte Elizabeth Giberne), to which I have access through the kindness
of my cousin, Mr. George Pearson. It was in the spring of 1823 that Sarah
and Charlotte Giberne spent a week with John Whitmore and his wife, Maria,
the daughter of their father's partner, Mr. Stainforth (of the firm
"Stainforth & Giberne"). Mrs. Pearson mentions that they both helped her
and her sisters to a "knowledge of the Scriptures and of the Christian
[Illustration: WORTON CHURCH, OXFORDSHIRE
FROM AN OLD PRINT
BY KIND PERMISSION OF REV. V. H. LANGHORNE]
[Illustration: HOLY TRINITY, WEST END, OVER WORTON, MAY, 1905
BY KIND PERMISSION OF REV. W. H. LANGHORNE, PRESENT RECTOR OF WORTON]
"We were introduced by Maria, Mrs. Whitmore, about June, 1823, to a good
clergyman who had lately come to reside at Walthamstow, about two miles
from our home" (they were living at Wanstead), "the Rev. William Wilson,
who received us into his friendship, and whose preaching we attended with
joy and profit for several years.
"It was on Christmas Day of this year, I think, that we first heard the
Rev. Walter Mayers preach from Nahum i. 7 a most beautiful experimental
discourse which impressed us very much. On making enquiry concerning him,
we found that he was Mr. Wilson's curate at Worton, in Oxfordshire, and
that he received pupils into his house. Later, their brother, Charles
Giberne, was sent for a year to him. This led to Mr. Mayers being invited
to dinner at our house. There he formed an attachment to Sarah, to whom he
was married the following year, 1824.
"In the midsummer holidays, 1825, I went to pay a visit to Walter and
Sarah, and it was then I first made acquaintance with John and Frank
Newman. The latter was spending the Long Vacation with Mr. Mayers to
assist him in teaching the young men, though he was only nineteen. Among
these pupils was Charles Baring, seventeen years old, afterwards Bishop of
(the Palatinate see) Durham.
"John Newman walked over from Oxford to breakfast one morning: he was then
twenty-four, and a most interesting young man; but him I only saw then
once, whereas his brother (Frank) was our daily companion, and took great
pains in instructing Sarah (Mrs. Walter Mayers) and myself in Political
Economy. His talents and piety attracted my admiration, for I had never
seen such young men before. They had both been pupils of Mr. Mayers at a
large school at Ealing (in which he was a master), and were considered to
be converted in very early life."
Later on is another entry:--
"In the midsummer holidays of 1825" (John Henry Newman was ordained priest
on 29th May, 1825), "I went to stay with Walter and Sarah Mayers, and then
began my first acquaintance with John Henry Newman and his brother Frank.
The former having walked over from Oxford, seventeen miles, to breakfast,
and repeating Milman's beautiful hymn from the _Martyr of Antioch_,
'Brother, thou art gone before us.'
"He was just twenty-four, and his brother Frank, who came soon after to
assist Walter Mayers with his pupils ... was only twenty, but as bright a
specimen of a young Oxford student as I had ever met with. They had both
been considered converted in early youth, and so uncommon an event was it
to me to meet with Christian young men" (men, that is, whose religion was
their motive power, and not only used in the conventional and cold
formality then usual in the case of so many families in England), "that my
admiration knew no bounds. Of course, I told my sister Maria ... all this,
and she was quite prepared to appreciate in like manner, when she went to
stay at Worton the following summer."
We come now to the time which, whether for happiness or regret, inevitably
enters into the lives of most men on this earth--the time when they first
meet "the Woman they Never Forget." It does not follow that they are able
to marry her, but it _does_ follow that, meet whom they may later, no one
will ever oust from her place that first woman in their memories.
Francis Newman was only twenty-one when he first met her.
Maria Rosina Giberne was a beautiful girl, possessing special charm of
manner. It was not long after his first meeting with her that Frank Newman
fell passionately in love with her. Long talks on scientific and religious
subjects passed between them. But though he cared for her, evidently her
feeling for him was only that of friendship and interest, for when, later,
he asked her to marry him, she refused. He did not, however, take this for
an absolutely final decision (as in effect it was), for five or six years
later, when he was on his missionary journey to Syria, and he wrote and
begged her to give him a different answer, she refused him again.
[Illustration: OVER WORTON RECTORY, OXFORDSHIRE
BY KIND PERMISSION OF REV. W. H. LANGHORNE, PRESENT RECTOR OF WORTON]
The extracts that follow are from her diary of the summer at Worton in
1826--the year she first met the Newman brothers. The extracts are taken
from an autobiography of hers, which was originally written in French for
the nuns of the "Order of the Visitation" convent at Autun, Saone et
Loire, to which she went, as professed nun, after her conversion to the
This is Maria Rosina Giberne's description of Worton (to which I have
access by the kindness of my cousin):--
"It was a delightful place; far from towns and quite country. There I
spent my days as much as possible under the trees, or in the fields
sketching the lovely views. My sister had told me that Mr. Francis Newman
and a friend were coming to the village to spend the vacation. I did not
pay much attention, being preoccupied with this delicious solitude. In a
while the two friends appeared, and I enjoyed hearing them talk, having a
great respect for learned men, although far from being learned myself. I
asked them questions and propounded religious difficulties which troubled
me. I was struck with his (Frank Newman's) piety, which had nothing
affected about it like the manner of some good people. We often talked
whilst I was sketching in the fields, and he explained to me many things
in Holy Scripture that I had not understood. Before leaving the village he
expressed a wish that I could become acquainted with his sisters.... This
idea pleased me much, and on returning home I gave our mother no peace
until she gave me permission to invite two of his sisters to spend a
fortnight with us.
"They accepted the invitation, and Mrs. Newman brought her three
daughters--Harriet, Jemima, and Mary. She left Harriet and Mary with us. I
was much taken at once with Mary, who was nice-looking, unaffected, and
only seventeen years of age. I was resolved to make friends with them,
otherwise should not have been greatly attracted by Harriet who had a way
I could not understand, and who embarrassed me greatly by her knowledge of
religious matters, because I had thought that I might be able to lead
_them_ to the good way, [Footnote: In some notes she expressly says this
was Frank Newman's suggestion primarily.] and behold, they seemed to know
all beforehand, and often showed me that I was mistaken in my
explanations.... I remember the first thing I opposed with all my might
was the idea of a visible Church, and it was not till long afterwards,
when I was staying with their mother in the country, that I took up this
idea. It was, I think, in the winter of 1827 that I embraced this
"Then in the summer the Newman family stayed some months at Brighton.
After John Newman's death the family had no settled home, but moved from
place to place. It happened that one of Maria Rosina's married sisters was
also at Brighton, and consequently it naturally followed that the two
families of Newman and Giberne met often.
"Naturally we called now and then to see Mrs. Newman, who invited us one
day to spend the afternoon and evening, and then, for the first time, I
became acquainted with Mr. Newman, now Father Newman. It was a great
pleasure, for I had heard so much about him, and I enjoyed seeing him
though he spoke very little to me, and paid me no compliments or special
attentions like most young men of our acquaintance, who neglected the
ladies of their families. The delicate and repeated attention of Mr.
Newman to his mother and sisters therefore aroused my admiration and
[Illustration: SKETCH OF NEWMAN FAMILY BY MARIA ROSINA GIBERNE
BY KIND PERMISSION OF MR. J. R. MOZLEY.
As one faces the picture, John Henry is sitting on Mrs. Newman's right;
Francis William to her left; Harriet to the right of John; Jemima below
To my mind there speaks, in this last sentence, something unusual too as
regards the writer, who, accustomed to the "compliments and special
attentions" which other young men paid her, could yet appreciate and
admire these delicate thoughtfulnesses which _this_ young man, who saw so
much further into the inner heart and meaning of things, loved to show to
his own mother and sisters instead of to other people's sisters, as was
and is the ordinary way of most young men.
In some other MSS. by Maria Rosina, sent me from the Oratory, Birmingham,
[Footnote: By the kindness of Father Bacchus.] there is a rather different
account, in which there is mention of Frank Newman having even then shown
a great tendency to free thought.
She adds: "I had not a suspicion that there was any danger of his getting
to care for me, for, firstly, he was two years younger than I was; and,
secondly, because I myself was occupied almost altogether with the thought
of how to rid myself of the narrow religion which was becoming every day
more unbearable, and also because I had no other thought for him than for
Robert." (Robert Murcott was a young man belonging to a family with whom
her people were intimate, and who had always wished to marry her. He went
out to India, and when he died left her all his money.)
In years to come, a great and lasting friendship began between her and
Cardinal Newman--a friendship which lasted unbroken to the end. When he
went to Rome for the red hat, he was too ill to call and see her at Autun
on his way home, but he had previously been to see her there.
The picture of the Newman family given here was drawn in chalks by her
when she was a girl at a little cottage at Horspath (near Nuneham, in
1829), at which the Newmans were staying. It had been offered them by Mr.
Dornford, Fellow, tutor, and proctor of Oriel, and afterwards rector of
In the book, to which allusion has before been made, by Rev. Thomas
Mozley, there is a description of Maria Rosina in later life. He says she
was "tall, strong of build, majestic, with aquiline nose, well-formed
mouth, dark penetrating eyes, and a luxuriance of glossy black hair. She
would command attention anywhere.... She was very early the warmest and
most appreciative of Newman's" (John Henry Newman's) "admirers.... Her
great power lay in the portraits she did in chalks.... Besides many
portraits of Newman himself ... she drew a portrait of old Mr.
The portrait of Maria Rosina in this volume was painted by herself in the
spring of 1827, to send to her eldest brother, George Giberne (at Dhoolia,
Candeish), afterwards Judge in the Bombay Presidency (East India Co.). On
the back of it her brother had written in pencil:--
"Yes, here's a silent, thoughtful thing, and yet
Her soft blue eye beams Eloquence: her lips
Oh! who could teach his spirit to forget
Their deep expressiveness, that far eclipse
All that kind nature to this world hath given,
All we can see of Earth, or guess of Heaven."
[Illustration: MARIA ROSINA GIBERNE
FROM A PAINTING BY HERSELF]
At this time she had taken many portraits of her friends, and I have, in
my own possession, one of Miss Wigram, and one, in a riding-hat, of her
sister Emily, both done in chalks, as is her picture of herself sent to
her brother. Later on she went to Rome, where for twenty years she studied
art and copied pictures "for the use," Mr. Mozley says, "of English
chapels." Years after, when my aunt was in the convent of the Order of
Visitation at Autun, she wrote an interesting letter to Cardinal Newman,
which is given by Miss Anne Mozley in her _Letters and Correspondence of
John Henry Newman_ alluding to the old days when their friendship, which
had never wavered during all the years which had gone by, was but just
"I do not want to talk of myself. I want to tell you of my entire sympathy
with you in what you say and feel about the anniversary of dear Mary's"
(the Cardinal's youngest sister) "death." (She died 5th Jan., 1828.) "This
season never comes round without my repassing in my heart of hearts all
the circumstances of those few days--my first visit to your dear
family.... Who could ever have been acquainted with the soul and heart
that lent their expression to that face, and not love her? My sister Fanny
and I arrived at your house on 3rd January, and sweet Mary, who had drawn
figures under my advice when she was staying with us at Wanstead, leant
over me at a table in the drawing-room, and in that sweet voice said, 'I
am so glad you are come; I hope you will help me in my drawing.'"
The next day she was taken ill at dinner, and on the ensuing evening--
She goes on to say: "Do you recollect that you and I are the only
survivors of that event?"
But to go back to the end of the college life of the subject of this
memoir. In the year 1828, Frank Newman was working amongst the poor at
Littlemore, near Oxford. His brother [Footnote: _Reminiscences of Oriel_,
by Rev. T. Mozley.] at that time was vicar of S. Mary's, the University
Church, and as the hamlet of Littlemore had then no church, [Footnote: A
church was built there later by Newman. In Ingram's _Memorials of Oxford_,
1838, it is said that in former days Littlemore was beautifully wooded,
and that in Saxon times there was a convent (of which there still remain
some ruins) which was called by the Saxon name of the "Mynchery," and
which belonged to the nuns of the Benedictine Order, and the church which
Alfred built on the site of the University Church of to-day, was known as
early as the Conquest as "Our Lady of Littlemore."] he attended to the
spiritual needs of the people there. Indeed, he considered it his duty to
go there every day; and Francis worked also constantly with him in
teaching the villagers. Some little time later, his mother and sisters
came to live at Horspath, in Iffley village, close to Oxford. They, too,
assisted in parochial matters, taught in the schools, visited the sick,
and generally helped the brothers.
By this time John Henry Newman's sermons were attracting great attention
in Oxford, and whenever he preached his University sermons, he had a
crowded congregation of undergraduates. The college authorities, however,
did not approve of his popularity with the undergraduates, and in Canon
Carter's _Life and Letters of Archdeacon Hutchings_, there is a note
showing this:--"I went to Christ Church in 1827.... Newman was at Oriel,
and for the last two years of my time Vicar of S. Mary's. But it was the
object of the college authorities to prevent our going to hear him preach,
and the chapel services were so arranged as to make it impossible."
In 1829 Dr. Pusey was Professor of Hebrew and Canon of Christ Church, and
as he had been for some years the close friend of Frank Newman's brothers,
it was inevitable that the former should see a great deal of him at that
time. He was delighted with Pusey's first books; but it was for the
"pietism and rationalism" which he found in them, more than for any hint
of the spirit of Churchmanship which distinguished his other works so
much. J. H. Newman had been a tutor at Oriel College since 1826. Oriel
College, Rev. Thomas Mozley tells us, was then "held to be in the very
front of academic progress ... with a Provost" (Edward Hawkins) "who owed
his election largely to Newman." Newman, Robert Wilberforce, and Froude
were close friends. Dr. Hawkins had a strong influence over John Newman.
Indeed, he had won love and respect from almost everyone; "he spoke
incisively, and what he said remained in the memory"--so much a part of
his own strong convictions and thought did it seem to be.
Yet Francis Newman was as convincing in his _writings_, at any rate, as
his better-known brother, who, as some thought, "overshadowed" him in the
eyes of the world to a large extent. A friend of mine, writing to me a
short time since, said that a statement had been made recently, by some
one entitled to judge of the matter, that Francis was the "greater of the
Be this as it may, certainly both were pioneers "in a world movement of
reconstruction." Both were prophets in a sense. Both were mental Samsons--
giants among the crowd of those who never see a yard beyond their own
narrow scope of vision. Both were inspired movers of the crusade of
purity, of new and original points of view, and of reformation in the old.
It is true neither could work with the other shoulder to shoulder. _But
they worked._ And it is possible to have a great brotherly affection
notwithstanding strong antagonism of views which render combined work
HIS MISSIONARY JOURNEY TO THE EAST
In 1826 Francis Newman gained, as it is said, with no special effort, one
of the best Double Firsts in classics and mathematics ever known. He had a
Fellowship in Balliol College, was Emeritus Professor later, and
considered to be one of the most promising, brilliant men at his
University. Many thought his intellect superior to that of his better-
known brother. Many thought also, later on, that, as I have said, all his
life he was more or less overshadowed by the fame of that elder brother.
Francis Newman never took his M.A. degree, and for this reason: he felt he
could not conscientiously sign the Thirty-nine Articles, in which all had
to profess belief. He could not reconcile this signing with his inner
convictions. Rather than do violence to them he preferred being without
the degree. No one could say of him that all his life long he did else
than bear his convictions boldly emblazoned on his shield. There could
never be any doubt of what he thought. He could not beat about the bush in
his beliefs--he would not keep them secret--he did not care for
unpopularity in the least. His great aim was to fight--at whatever odds--
for whatever he felt by dogged conviction. He was often wrong; but never
cowardly, never philandering, never vacillating. "I am anti-everything,"
as he said humorously of himself. And so he was. He _was_, in a sense,
"anti-everything," and though, sometimes through the training of previous
environments, sometimes through other reasons, he was "anti" things that
were right and of good report, he was never against social reform--never
against "the cause that needs assistance"; never against the oppressed
wherever and whenever they crossed his path. Newman thus gave up his
Balliol Fellowship, and with it--more or less--his chances of a brilliant
Briefly stated, these are the chief events of the years that followed the
taking of the Double First at Oxford. In 1827 he met Maria Rosina Giberne,
who was to strongly influence his life for the next six years. In 1828 he
was working with his brother at Littlemore; in 1829, I imagine, he met and
felt strongly in sympathy with some of those with whom, later, the
missionary journey to Syria was planned--Lord Congleton, Mr. Groves, Dr.
Cronin, and others.
People have said that Newman gave up all worldly hopes of fame for the
sake of this missionary venture. It may be that that is true in part. But,
for myself, I cannot help seeing too that there may very well have been
other powerful reasons which also influenced him in the matter. It was
about this time that he asked my aunt, Maria Rosina Giberne, to whom he
was passionately attached, to marry him, and was refused. I think it very
probable that this may have been a strong reason why he wished to break up
the old life and go for change abroad.
Originally there had been some idea that Francis Newman should take Holy
Orders, as well as his brother. This is evidenced by a poem by the latter.
Later, contrary tides swung the former from the mooring of the Anglican
Church. He could not sign her Thirty-nine Articles; he could not agree
with many of her doctrines. He drifted more and more away from her. Then
he fell in with Lord Congleton (then Mr. Parnell) and Mr. A. N. Groves--
both deeply religious men, though neither of them Churchmen.
Lord Congleton [Footnote: _Memoir of Lord Congleton_, by Henry Groves.]
had been given no definite religious training in his youth, though his
mother taught him to say daily prayers. Then, when a young man, he felt a
deep dissatisfaction with this vague religious teaching he had received,
and he began to read more and more in the New Testament, until at length
he became a Christian by sheer conviction. He felt his conversion as a
Mr. Groves, who was a well-known dentist in Devonshire, felt about the
same time a great stirring towards missionary work. He offered his
services to the Church Missionary Society. He often stayed in Dublin with
Lord Congleton. In 1828, when they were walking together, one of those
strange mystical approaches of soul to kindred soul took place.
"This, I doubt not, is the mind of God concerning us, that we should come
together not waiting on any pulpit or minister, but trusting that the Lord
would edify us together by ministering as He pleased." Lord Congleton
adds: "At the moment he spoke these words I was assured my soul had got
the right idea, and that moment (I remember it as if it were but
yesterday) was the birth-place of my mind as a 'brother.'"
He mentions here Edward Cronin (who in 1830 formed one of the missionary
party with which Frank Newman was associated), at that time an
Independent, "but his mind was at the same time under a like influence, as
I may say of us all."
[Illustration: PHOTO OF LORD CONGLETON
(LEADER OF SYRIAN MISSIONARY JOURNEY)
FROM HIS "LIFE" BY GROVES]
I should perhaps say here (I have the information from the _Memoir of Lord
Congleton_ before mentioned), that the special truths by which Lord
Congleton, Mr. Groves, and Dr. Cronin were led then, were: "The oneness of
the Church of God, involving a fellowship large enough to embrace all
saints, and narrow enough to exclude the world. The completeness and
sufficiency of the written Word in all matters of faith, and preeminently
in things affecting our Church life and walk--the speedy pre-millennial
advent of the Lord Jesus."
All three of the men just named had made surrender of all that the world
had to offer them, Lord Congleton giving the whole of his fortune to
missionary work. It was he who provided most of the things needed for the
In 1830 (September) the following party left Dublin:--Lord Congleton (whom
in future it will be simpler to call by his family name of Mr. Parnell, as
Newman thus mentions him in his diary, the _Personal Narrative_, which he
kept throughout this journey to the East); Mr. Cronin; his mother Mrs.
Cronin, and her daughter Nancy Cronin (to whom Lord Congleton was
engaged); and Francis Newman. There was also a Mr. Hamilton, but later on
he found the work not suited to him, and returned to England. [Footnote:
Mr. Groves had already gone as a missionary to Bagdad in 1829, and they
were to join him later.]
Mr. Henry Groves says in the _Memoir_ that the travellers started with an
enormous quantity of luggage. They had practically a small library of
books, a lithographic press in two heavy boxes (for printing tracts,
etc.), and a large medicine chest, which was Mr. Cronin's property (he was
a doctor). When one thinks how the more one travels, even in these
travelling-made-easy days, the more one wishes to abridge one's
requirements and whittle down one's wants, it is not difficult to
understand that in 1830 the difficulties of the rough travelling were
largely increased by these foods for the mind and for the stomach which
travelled in the wake of the little party, nor how they were hampered by
I now quote from Francis Newman's _Personal Narrative_ (published 1856),
which is one of the most interesting of travel books, and very graphically
written in the form of letters to his friends at home. [Footnote: Newman
and Lord Congleton were both at this time about twenty-three years of
At Anchor in Steamboat,
_23rd Sept._, 1830.
"We sailed finely on Saturday from Dublin, while sheltered by the Irish
coast; but in the evening we tasted the Atlantic with a south-wester,
which proved a bitter dose. For nearly fifty hours we tossed, with very
slow progress, until all our bones were bruised, etc., etc.... I have
never seen anything like the sea on the French coast.
"The Bay of Biscay fulfilled all its proverbial roughness: the whole sea
was dells and knolls. It was terrible to see the pilot jump aboard while
his boat was alternately tossed above our deck; he was caught by the
sailors in their arms.... The custom-house officers have detained the ship
so long that we are left here by the tide.... The officers were very
civil. They were all amazed at the number of our packages" (as well they
might be!)... "The prospect of our porterages is frightful. Think of us at
the top of a hotel and an army of porters carrying up the height of three
stories many hundredweights of trunks, chests, hampers, bags, baskets, to
stow into our bedrooms _for the night!_ And this misery is to be repeated
"I talk French clumsily, yet get on somehow.... My French having been
chiefly mathematical, I do not know the names of many common things...."
At Toulouse in October:--"I am already a Frenchman. If you doubt it, learn
that I take wine or raisins for breakfast, and never speak to a peasant
without raising my hat.... This _vin ordinaire_ is not 'bad,' in the sense
of intoxicating, but in another way. However, if it supplies the place of
tea, it is vain to rail at it."
The next entry is while they were staying at Marseilles on 13th October,
and concerns the cheapness of the provisions.
"All provisions appear within reach of the poorest. I have been in some
very low eating-houses here, and perceive apparently poor people breakfast
on meat. Nothing seems dear but milk and butter; we get none but goats'
milk here.... The finest purple grapes are here 1d. or 3/4d. a pound, and
as much bread as I can eat for 1-1/2d.... I had a provoking accident at
Beziers. On our leaving the barge, the carman drove off without securing
our boxes--he was in a violent passion against some girl porters (a
domestic institution of Beziers).... I roared out, 'Arretez! Arriere! Vous
n'avez pas attache la corde!' But in vain; and in an instant down came
from the very top the little medicine chest given me by M----. It fell on
its corner, which saved the glass bottles; but every dovetailing is
broken, the hinges wrenched off, the panels split."
Of course the travelling is chiefly by diligence and canal boat, and for
English ladies very often terribly rough and trying. But Mrs. and Miss
Cronin had resolved to face discomforts, etc., equally with their
companions, and would have no little ameliorations in the way of comforts
One great danger, too, occurred, from which they were only rescued by the
promptitude of Newman and Mr. Parnell (as throughout the diary Newman
alludes to Lord Congleton). Once, in travelling by canal near Marseilles,
Newman found the level of the canal-boat was "dangerously high, from the
arches. Once we had a narrow escape. There was a sudden cry of '_A bas_!'
We turned and saw we were rapidly nearing an arch which would knock off
our heads. The horses kept at a short canter. Old Mrs. C. was sitting
quietly on deck, wholly absorbed, and never dreaming that the sailors
could be calling to her. Miss C. was sitting on a box, fast asleep.
Several of us rushed at once towards them, and pulled them off their seats
on to the deck. Literally they fell upon me in a heap, and we just passed
safe under the arch. Mrs. C.'s bonnet and my hat got smashed."
Here comes a touch of what later on in life was to be the subject of his
keenest thought--the subject of statesmanship, the chief aim of which
should be _the people:_ how to make the land sufficient for the people,
how to make the people sufficient for the land--a counsel of perfection
far removed from the party spirit of politicians, who then, as now, did
not recognize that principles and a sacred sense of responsibility for
their country should be their motive power.
"We are delayed here" (Marseilles) "for a ship. We are likely to go to
Cyprus. The vintage was going while we were _en route_ hither. I was
interested to see men walking bare-legged, stained purple nearly to the
knee, _with treading the wine vat_. I then understood the Scripture
metaphor.... The men seemed to have been wading in blood.... I should
deprecate a whole district being dependent for its livelihood on the sale
of wine.... for as _some_ seasons are sure to be fatal to the crop, the
failure, when it comes, is universal.... To make each component part--I
mean each _local_ part--of society self-supporting, and self-relieving
even in times of calamity, ought, I think, to be the aim of every
As regards sight-seeing for sight-seeing's sake, it was _nil_. And for a
reason which seemed not to allow for any of the travellers having
discretion, "We make it a tacit rule never to go ten yards to see
anything; for if once we became sight-seers it is impossible to draw the
line. So in fact I see nothing but what I cannot help seeing."
The next diary-tic letter is not until 14th January of the next year
(1831), when the party had arrived at Aleppo.
Frank Newman had been studying Greek and talking it with a master, and
during the voyage from Marseilles landed for three days at Larnica. On the
ship was an old Greek, and he used to go and talk with him to practise his
"You may be amused to hear his judgment of my Greek dialect; he called it
'very beautiful and very funny'; that is, no doubt, because I am apt to
mix up too much of the old Greek, which seems grandiloquent on trifling
"Walking in the street at Larnica, I met a person whom I did not know,
who, to my extreme surprise, fell on my neck and kissed both cheeks quite
affectionately, I had not recognized my dirty acquaintance in this clean,
well-dressed gentleman, probably fresh from the bath."
Many were the difficulties Newman and his friends had to encounter in
hiring a vessel to sail to Ladakia [Footnote: Laodicea of Syria.] on the
opposite coast. At last a bargain was struck with a Turkish ship for five
pounds. But the ship had battled already against the contretemps of too
many voyages. She could no longer beat against the wind as once she used
to do. Four times they set sail, and four times had to put back again into
port. The captain had only an old French map "marked with crosses at
certain places, the cross meaning _porto_, as the captain explained." He
needed help, however, from his passengers to be quite sure which was
which! In this ship they lived with discomfort for a whole month. Still,
all of the friends kept well. The distance from Ladakia to Aleppo is about
120 English miles. And this journey added to discomfort, hardship, and to
hardship--lack of food for the mission party. It necessitated travelling
three miles into the hills, and when a lofty bleak plain was reached, the
muleteers made it clear that they were to spend the night there.
"We heaped our rudest boxes to make a wall, and on the lee side prepared a
sleeping-place, stretching over it some oilskins.... We had a small supply
of food in baskets.... All night the rain fell in torrents.... Our whole
floor was swamped; we had to sit on carpet bags and let them get wet.
Clothes, bedding, bags, baskets, were drenched, and we had to mount in the
morning in the midst of rain.... The roads were river-beds.... After
riding eleven hours without dismounting (the beasts never leave their
walking pace).... We had fasted the whole day, yet none of us suffered;
not even old Mrs. Cronin, for whom I greatly feared."
I should add here that Francis Newman was strongly in favour of women
riding astride instead of on the Early-Victorian side-saddle, which
necessitates a woman riding in an artificial, twisted position. Still, at
the period at which he is writing, Early-Victorian ideas about the fitness
of things were so much _de rigueur_ that Mrs. Cronin, when forced to ride
astride, was terribly disturbed.
"'Ach, Edward,' said she to her son, 'I expected they would persecute and
murdher us, but I never thought to ride across a mule!'... Three times did
her mule come down with her, poor lady, and all three in dangerous places.
"None of the rest suffered so many falls, nor, I think, any of the laden
beasts. Her son was in terrible distress at every fall, for he was
carrying his infant in his arms ... and he could not put the child down in
the mud without danger to it."
Indeed, it must have been a very distressful journey for all, and not
least for the poor little infant missionary! People may wonder what was
the necessity of taking this last at all. [Footnote: Dr. Cronin and his
wife were both engaged to come out to Mr. Groves. Then she died, and as he
felt bound to fulfil his promise and did not like to leave the baby, he
brought it too.] An old clergyman, however, once said to me, "I would
rather take an infant in arms with me, than go all by myself on a journey
At last Aleppo was reached. In his letter, on 10th February to his mother,
Newman says how long their stay there would be is quite uncertain. He "is
taking daily lessons in Arabic, and speaking French."
"I am afraid you will not think the better of me when I tell you that I am
become a smoker; and this though I had so great a dislike to it in
England. I do not mean that I am always smoking--certainly not; but I have
bought two pipes and amber mouthpieces, and all the apparatus; which shows
that I am in earnest. When a man in college smoked cigars in his room, and
we (the Balliol fellows) generally condemned it, I remember, in reply to
my remark that a man who smoked made himself a nuisance, one of them said,
'It would not do to generalize; for in Germany the man who _objects_ to
smoking is the nuisance.' ... If anyone calls on me I must offer him a
pipe and smoke one myself; and, conversely, when I call on anyone, I must
not refuse the pipe.... The pipe fills up gaps of time, and 'breaks the
ice' like an Englishman's remarks on the weather....
"Now I am in for it, I will make you perfect in the theory of smoking. We
have here three sorts of pipes, of which I use but one, viz. the long
straight pipe. It is generally a cherry stick, and reaches from the mouth
to the ground as you sit on a low sofa. The bowl is supported in a tin
frame on the ground to catch the ashes; and you smoke in it _tootoon_,
which means common dry tobacco.... Ladies, as far as I know, do not smoke
the straight pipe, though I have seen Mussulman females, evidently of
humble rank, with the long pipe and its smoking bowl protruding from under
their long veil as they walked. The second sort is called _Nargili_ ...
some pronounce it Narjili.... Nargili means a cocoa-nut, which is used in
this apparatus to hold the water through which the smoke passes.
Vertically out of the cocoa-nut rises a pipe which ends in a long bowl
holding the _Tambac_, which is a second species of tobacco having broadish
yellow leaves worked up with wet. It needs a piece of red-hot coal laid
upon it, and left there, to kindle it. Slanting out of the cocoa-nut
proceeds upwards a second tube, a mere cane, which ends in the smoker's
mouth. He grasps the vertical tube in his left fist, and, if sitting,
rests the cocoa-nut on his knee. This is the way my hostess smokes--an
elegant Levantine lady.... I cannot smoke through water; I find it demands
too much work for my lungs. The third sort is the _Hooka_, a word which, I
believe, means the very long flexible tube which is here substituted for
the cane, while a glass vessel, standing on the ground, does duty for the
cocoa-nut. The principle of the smoking ... are the same as in the
Nargili.... Unless it be overdone, I think the exercise from early youth
must enlarge the capacity and power of the lungs.... When people have not
a second pipe to offer you, they hand the pipe from their own mouth, and
to wipe the mouthpiece before you suck it would be an insult."
Newman says that the Turks are supposed to have a great tenderness for
animals. There is a popular saying, which he quotes, "A Turk cares more
for the life of a cat than of a man." The following curious scene was
witnessed by him in a town on his way to Aleppo:--
"A goat was to be killed, and we had some chance of a bit if one of us
would seize a part of the animal before it was dead. _There_ stood the
victim and its priest.
"In front was a row of cats, sitting up with all the gravity of Egyptian
gods, or like the regiment of cats which were the van of Cambyses against
Egypt. On the other side a regiment of dogs. When the scarlet flood
spouted on to the ground the dogs took their portion of it. I know not
what etiquette or what hint from the sacrificer suddenly dispersed them:
then the cats came in due order and took _their_ portion.... Peace was
wonderfully kept between dogs and cats; but when it came to dividing the
offal, the cats had plenty of screaming, and, I rather think, some
fighting. The number of these wild cats here is a real nuisance."
In May we get another insight into the carrying out of Newman's precept to
himself, always to "live in Rome as the Romans."
"I believe you know it was always our idea that we must put on native
habits wherever we went, so far at least as to encounter no needless
friction. I had not then considered how seriously such change may after a
time affect one's own character, and the thought sometimes crosses the
"We smoke. Well. I say to myself, 'I must try not to be wedded to this
practice: I hope to leave it off the moment it proves inexpedient.'.... I
have taken to the Syrian gown and slippers; to walk actively in these is
arduous and, I suppose, very singular. Here is a question: May not my
bodily habit change with it? and may not that affect my mind?... The gown
is ridiculously feminine, beyond what I had been aware; not merely in
length and amplitude, but above the girdle it is puffed out into two
_bosoms_, which are used as pockets" (no doubt the _sinus_ of the Romans).
"... Some things which in company we do as seldom as possible, such as to
blow the nose, or (worse still) to spit, seem to be utterly forbidden
here.... The natives are reserved in the use of a pocket-handkerchief as
the most fastidious English lady.... I believe Xenophon praises the
Persians for never spitting in company." (Would that our own working
classes could, in this respect, be more Persian in their habits!) "Are not
all Eastern manners probably a plant of very ancient growth?" Then, on
religion: "I did not understand till lately how unintelligible to people
here is a religion which is not external and almost obtrusive. We are
certainly thought much better of, because, two of our party having pretty
good voices, we commonly sing praises in daily worship.... To pray
standing, or, as I should rather say, lying flat, at the corners of the
streets is not ostentation here: for so many do it that it has no pre-
eminence.... I always looked to see a missionary church formed in these
countries; but I did not foresee what I now discern, that it would not be
recognized as Christians at all, but be esteemed a mere Anglicism, not by
papists merely, but by Moslems too. I do not know, after all, whether that
could be ever a _permanent_ obstacle. I believe not; for it is not the
name, but the goodness of Christianity that must prevail. However, the now
current idea here is, that the English are very good men, but have _no_
religion--which means, as I said, no exterior; and in so far _our_
exterior inspires something of respect.... I had resolved to read the
Koran through--not in the original, but in a translation--that I might get
some insight into the Mussulman mind.... But I confess to you I have
broken sheer down in the attempt, ... the book makes no impression on my
mind. I cannot find where I left off when I recur to it. That so tedious
and shallow a work can meet such praises gives me a lower and lower idea
of the power of mind in these nations. I now think that the Arabs are
captivated by the tinkle and epigrammatic point of an old and sacred
dialect, while Turks and Persians take its literary beauty as a religious
fact to be believed, not to be felt. How wonderful is the power of
In July, Newman and his party were still at Aleppo. By now they had become
well accustomed to the native foods, but had at last come to the
conclusion that the meat (mutton) was certainly not good; unfortunately it
formed a large proportion of the stews. One dish consisted of rice,
dressed with butter and salt This is called "Pilau" (pronounced "ow"), and
apparently is the same as that common in Russia to-day, which is
"This pilau is, fundamentally, rice dressed with butter and salt: the rice
is thrown into boiling water, and is boiled for twenty minutes only. This
is the highest luxury of the Bedouins. We saw a company of them dine on
it. They scraped the hot outside of the rice with the tips of their
fingers, squeezed it into a ball in their hand, and shot the ball into
their mouth. The dexterity of this, so as not to burn their fingers, miss
their mouths, nor drop about their garments, is astonishing.... Carrots
with lemon or sour milk make delicious fritters...."
It was during this month that the news came to them from Bagdad that Mr.
Groves (who, it will be remembered, had been there for some time,
expecting them later to join him) had just lost his wife from plague; that
she had been the only one who had caught the disease. Newman himself,
about this time, had a sharp attack of fever. Dr. Cronin was much alarmed
about him; indeed, he believed him to be dying, and leeched his temples
and bled his right arm. Then he tried calomel, and he said that he had
resolved on opening his temporal artery if his pulse had kept as rapid as
at first it was.
[Illustration: DR. CRONIN
ONE OF THOSE WHO WENT TO SYRIA WITH FRANCIS NEWMAN IN 1830
BY KIND PERMISSION OF MRS. CRONIN
PHOTO BY MESSRS. WEBSTER, CLAPHAM COMMON]
In Aleppo, he tells us in one of his letters home, "madmen are looked on
as sacred characters... there are no madhouses in the land.... Certainly
in England the results of turning all the mad loose would be awful.
"But when one sees the entire satisfaction there is here with so ugly and
revolting a state of things, and the inability people have to conceive the
inconvenience of it... I am driven to speculate.... Is insanity
excessively rare here, so that outrages, if they do occur, are naturally
very few? or is the insanity... always of the imbecile kind? Or is
insanity, at its worst, mollified by the respectful treatment which it
meets, as vicious horses by kindness?
"... Here is a people without lunatic asylums. Well, their lunatics are
few or harmless; what a comfortable coincidence! If insanity among _us_ is
caused by strong passions in one class and by intoxication in another,
while the Turkish populations are nearly free from both... it implies a
higher average morality.... Add to this there are no abandoned women
Five months after the first attack of fever Newman was taken ill of a far
worse one, which gave a great shock to his nervous system. He was in real
danger of losing his life this time, possibly because, Dr. Cronin being
absent, there was no one to treat him. He suffered, too, greatly from
continual sleeplessness. When he was recovering, Dr. Cronin, who by now
had returned, ordered horse exercise for him, and Mr. Parnell very
generously bought a horse for him.
In December, 1831, Mr. and Mrs. Parnell [Footnote: Mr. Parnell meant to
have been married to Miss Cronin at Bordeaux, but this was found to be
impossible, so he was obliged to wait till they reached Aleppo, where the
ceremony took place in the early part of the year 1831.] went to Ladakia
to help Mr. Hamilton, whose health had more or less broken down, secure a
vessel to take him to France _en route_ for England. He determined to see
him safely on board. Mrs. Parnell also insisted on coming with her
husband. But the travelling was rough, and she had had a bad fall from her
ass, and besides had been ill and had no doctor at hand.
Mr. Hamilton went away in the ship, but Mrs. Parnell became more and more
weak, until at last she died. Immediately on hearing of her death. Dr.
Cronin set out, full of sorrow at the loss of his sister, to see if he
could be of any help to Mr. Parnell. Newman writes:--
"The brother and mother here are so deeply afflicted, that I ask: What
does the noble-hearted bridegroom suffer, but so lately a bridegroom?
"I am astounded at the reverse. Two months back she was hanging over my
pillow weeping and kissing me as a dying man; now am I in youthful vigour,
and she is in her grave.
"What a meek and quiet spirit was she, active to laboriousness, though
refined in person. Affectionate she was, very dear to me also, but
unspeakable is the loss to others. This is the third wife taken from those
whom I desired as comrades: one died in Dublin, one in Bagdad, now one in
"No _blame_ against Mr. P. ought to be mixed with sympathy for this
melancholy event. His wife's brother, on medical grounds, saw no objection
to the journey.... Few English ladies are in body so well adapted as she
was to bear the inconveniences, the long weariness, or the dangerous
exposures of Turkish travel."
At last the time was come for the journey to Bagdad. Francis Newman and
his friends went with their own horses, and with European saddles and
"The native broad travelling saddle overlaps the animal's sides like a
table, and tilts both ways. To get up at the side without help is a feat
almost impossible. Many a time Mr. Parnell got off to search after some
article of food or convenience for old Mrs. Cronin. To get up again, his
most successful way was to make a run from behind and _divaricate_ on to
the horse's tail, like a boy playing at leap-frog; but the beast was
always frightened, and bolted before he was well on. You will imagine the
rest!... but we were all equally ludicrous, and indeed it is quite a
The next entry mentions the return of Mr. Parnell. He told them that Mr.
Hamilton seemed absolutely unable to learn a foreign language, and this
undermined his spirits and health, and made him a depressing companion.
On 25th April Newman and his friends started from Aleppo. They had not
anticipated such serious difficulties as befell them during this journey.
In the first place, they were not aware of the habits of the camel (at all
events, his habits in the spring of the year). They found to their
consternation that they work from two or three in the morning and travel
till ten. Many people, not natives, had assured them that camels never
travel by night, so they were the more unprepared for this unwelcome fact.
The night travelling might not have mattered for younger people, but on
old Mrs. Cronin the discomfort fell heavily. She had to be "forced out of
her bed at one o'clock in the midst of the sharp cold of the night, and
then have to ride when she ought to sleep. The effect of it on her (for
she did not sleep by day) frightened us so much that at last we bought the
drivers over to our hours.... The caravanserai at Aintab is so
disagreeable a place for Mrs. Cronin that we enquired for a private house,
and... we have hired one at the absurd price of three-halfpence sterling!
It has a large grassy yard, very convenient for our horses, We have now
only four, with the ass...."
However, they were not long at Aintab, for they were summoned before the
Governor and accused of selling four Turkish Testaments. Then, being
unable to deny having done so, the Governor said, "You must leave Aintab
immediately." He provided camels, and they had perforce to go, as they had
been so dictatorially bidden. But this was not all. A mob of fanatics
beset them, followed them out into the country, and then pelted them with
stones--first with small ones, but later with bigger ones, which could
easily have stunned anyone who was hit by them. Presently a man galloped
up and tried to seize Newman's horse's bridle, but he beat him off with an
umbrella. Some of the crowd called out that the Governor had ordered them
to be killed.
By the time Newman returned to his party Mr. Cronin was lying on the
ground, and his mother declared that her son was dying. He had been set
upon by men who had come to attack them, and beaten with fists, clubs, and
stones. They tried their best to kill him. However, to Newman's intense
surprise he was not hurt inwardly, only weak from exhaustion and pain.
This was an almost unhoped-for comfort, and it was even found that he
could continue his journey before evening. By this time the crowd had
entirely dispersed, for an official had been sent by the Governor, and
eventually he was able to quiet the people and send them off. Many of the
travellers' possessions were lost, many stolen, but, at any rate, though
discomforts and dangers undreamt of had been theirs, at least they were
none of them seriously hurt; and that in itself was a thing for which they
felt infinitely thankful. At last the Euphrates was reached.
"We saw it first in splendid contrast to a chalk desert, the most odious
place through which I have travelled. We had soft chalk crumbling under
foot, into which the beasts sank over their fetlocks or deeper.... When we
surmounted the last chalk hills the green valley of the Euphrates burst
"It runs in a lowland excavation, bounded by opposite lines of high
hills.... This valley was rich in the extreme, with trees scattered in it
like England; but the sides of the hills were well wooded.... The river is
very turbid, as if with white clay; it is unnaturally sweet, does not
taste gritty, and is painfully cold. We presume this is from the melting
of snow water.... The river is deep, rapid, smooth, and (I judge) as broad
as the Thames at Blackfriars...."
He thus describes the raft they were having made to take them down the
river to Bagdad:--"Rough branches of trees of most irregular shape and
quite small are strung together crosswise by ties of rope, and under them
are fastened a sort of flooring of goat-skins blown up like bladders....
On these is fixed a deck of planks. These rafts carry enormous weights and
draw very little water."
In the _Memoir of Lord Congleton_ the end of this journey is thus told:--
"They reached Bagdad on 27th June, and were met by Mr. Groves, who had for
so many months been anxiously waiting for their arrival, after sufferings
neither few nor light on both sides. It is hard to realize what such a
meeting would be after two such years of toil and suffering as the past
No sooner had the missionary party at length settled down at Bagdad than
more trouble fell upon them. Mrs. Cronin, who had suffered almost more
from the troubles, discomforts, and dangers of the journey than perhaps
her friends guessed, grew worse and worse. She told Mr. Groves "that she
was come hither to die," and it proved to be true; for only a few days
after her arrival she died, to the deep distress of her son. So already,
besides the unceasing discomforts, dangers, and disasters which had
befallen the missionaries, there had been the cost of these three lives--
Lord Congleton's wife, Mrs. Groves, and now old Mrs. Cronin, worn out by
the terrible weariness of their journeyings under such rough conditions.
There is one thing which has struck me very forcibly as regards Frank
Newman's _Personal Narrative_, and it is this: Throughout the whole book
there is no mention of actual missionary work--the aim and object of this
journey into Syria. There are, it is true, allusions to their own private
prayer-meetings (of course they were hardly what one generally understands
by the word "private," but still they could not be termed public) and to
the distribution of New Testaments, but no actual _teaching_ is mentioned.
Nor does Newman write his own views on the subject. The diary-letters are
chiefly filled with descriptions of the "perils of the way"--it is more or
less secular. To me this has always seemed strange, for there was no doubt
that he was, with the others, filled with a very real religious Christian
zeal _then_, although later his views unhappily underwent great change and
alteration, until a few years before his death, when his earlier faith was
restored. But this fact remains: but for one's own previous knowledge of
the aim of this journey, one would hardly recognize the _Narrative_ as a
missionary's diary at all.
In the _Memoir of Lord Congleton_ there is far more missionary spirit; but
still, even there, there is but very little detailed information as to
mission work. During their stay at Bagdad Lord Congleton and Mr. Groves
did indeed "develop plans for missionary work" which it was hoped would
soon prove successful. The former bought a large house in the midst of the
city for mission purposes. At first they thought of working among the
"Armenian and Roman Catholic Christian population," and also "among the
Jews," but they found the Mohammedans in Bagdad "peculiarly bigoted." And
they owned to themselves later that "Bagdad had proved a failure in a
missionary point of view." Mr. Groves, who wrote the _Memoir of Lord
Congleton_, indeed owns that, "To many who look at life superficially,
these years may seem lost; but He who often leads us 'about' (Deut. xxxii.
10) ... has purposes of which neither the one led, and still less the
lookers-on, have any conception.... Thus to some these years of toil and
sorrow _will_ appear a mistake."
It is impossible to doubt the earnest faith and missionary zeal of these
few who had come out to "do the Lord's work" in the East. But to many
Churchmen it will be difficult to reconcile the words of Mr. Groves, that
"the Coming of Christ, the powers of the Holy Ghost, were truths being
brought before the _Church of God_" when it is remembered that they had
practically severed themselves from the _visible_ body of Christ's Church
on earth, and were themselves (without Divine authority as delivered once
to the Apostles) celebrating each Sunday in their house the Lord's Supper.
Constant mention is made in the _Memoir_ of the open persecution which the
mission party suffered in Bagdad, and of "the impossibility of access to
the people." There were a few converts to Christianity made, but only a
few; and the disappointments were many and grievous.
Then, too, their party was lessened by the departure of Frank Newman and
Mr. Kitto for England. No reason is to be traced for this decision of
Newman's, and it is not easy to understand what it could have been. It
happened during the spring months of the year 1833, and shortly after his
second proposal to Maria Rosina Giberne and her second refusal. He had
written begging her come out to Bagdad, marry him, and work with them
there. No doubt her refusal was a bitter disappointment to him, and
possibly he wished to go back to England (he said in his diary he did not
know how long he might stay there), and try if he could not persuade her
personally. But if he thought this, he was again disappointed, for his
meeting with her (as I see from some papers written by my aunt and kindly
supplied me from the Oratory, Birmingham), was of no more avail than
before. She mentions having met him shortly after his return, and it is
evident that it was a meeting not devoid of awkwardness on her part and
disappointment on his.
To go back to the letters from Bagdad, after this digression, Newman gives
a very graphic account of the rafts used for travelling on the river from
[Illustrations: PERSIAN LADY AND PERSIAN SMOKING
FROM PERSIA IN "MODERN TRAVELLER" SERIES
BY JOSIAH CONDER (pub. 1830)]
"The rafts used for descending the river consist of a rude deck fastened
to a flooring of blown-up goatskins.... They are used for swimming
bladders as in the ancient world. They serve for barrels to carry
water.... The skins are also used in the bazaars ... for butter, treacle,
honey, etc.... The raft is not rowed, except barely to keep it in the
stream. It keeps twisting round and round, like a stone in the air;... but
... you have all the freshness and life of a vast streaming river and all
the tranquillity of a mere pond.... One day, a man who wished to go down
the river on our raft swam to us on a goatskin.... As a Thames wherry to a
Thames steamer, so is a goatskin to a raft.... It has no prow nor
stern.... If driven ashore it may burst many of the skins, some of which
indeed from time to time need to be blown and tied afresh.... The oars are
enormous, as in English barges. In our small raft two men at a time
rowed.... I cannot tell you now of Mr. Groves's plans. I have a great deal
to learn. The political state of this city, from within and without, is
the very reverse of satisfactory." Then there follows a sentence which
seems to imply that Mr. Groves was expecting too much from his "_monthly_
visits" to the Arabs in the way of moral results. Also there follows a
delightful account of the native doctor's methods of dealing with his
patients. He "contracts to _cure_ the patient ... for a definite sum,
which is paid to him at once. If the patient thinks the price too high,
the doctor lets him get worse; and when he applies anew, of course raises
his demand. Nothing can be recovered if not paid down. Mr. Cronin" (the
doctor travelling with them), "with all his practice at Aleppo, got fees
only once or twice the whole time. He and Groves both despair of it here."
English patients when they use to their doctor the familiar phrase, "I put
myself entirely in your hands," little think how completely and
practically this was understood by these Bagdad doctors, who considered
that a dollar in the hand is worth two promised _after_ treatment of a
case, and who, when they once had patients "in their hands," held them
It is clear, I think, from the following entry that Newman did not approve
thoroughly of Mr. Groves's methods of learning Arabic, any more than he
seems to do of his "monthly visits" to the Arabs. He says that a friend of
theirs, who had recently joined them, had studied Arabic and Persian
twenty-eight years, and is an accomplished Orientalist, yet he "ridicules
English notions of learning." Our religion, poetry, philosophy, science,
are so opposed to everything here "that, he says, nothing but long time in
the country can make an Englishman intelligible on religious subjects." To
confirm this theory that a perfect knowledge of the language of the people
to be taught is an absolute essential in a missionary--it is known, for an
absolute fact, that missionaries have been eight years in India preaching
until even they became convinced that sometimes they gave a totally wrong
impression of what they were trying to teach to the natives, and therefore
gave up all further efforts at teaching until they had learnt the language
more _thoroughly_, and had it at their finger's--or, to speak more
Eventually Mr. Groves came to the conclusion that for a long time to come
"the wisest method" was to "avoid controversy with the Moslems." He formed
schools not on the ground of "attending to the rising generation," but to
aid him in the language ... give him opportunities of "trying his wings
(as he calls it) against Christian errors, and exciting the attention of
Moslems. Indeed, several (chiefly Persians) have come privately and begged
New Testaments to send to their friends in Persia. At present I conceive
he has nearly the whole Christian population here in his hands." And
later, "Groves has not at all disappointed me, do not think that from
anything I have written. He is what I expected from his book, and a great
deal more. He has a practical organizing directing energy which fits him
to be the centre of many persons, especially since it is combined with
entire unselfishness and a total absence of personal ambition or _desire_
to take the lead which he does take. He is very sanguine.... I am apt to
be sadly faithless, and to see nothing but difficulties."
Perhaps his lack of conviction that this effort at missionary work _could_
make its way in spite of so many great difficulties, as well as his own
bad health (he states that he had not had a single day of real health
since they have been at Bagdad), had something to do with his decision to
return to England.
In August, 1832, Newman had a big class of boys every afternoon to whom he
taught English and Geography; he mentions that "into the latter" he puts
"a vast miscellany, physical, political, historical," from his knowledge
and power of talk.
On 18th Sept., 1833, he left Bagdad. There is no entry in his diary
between this and the last one in August, 1832, four months earlier. No
word of his parting with his friends; no word of his reluctance to give up
his missionary work.
But there is, I think, a good deal more in these words written on 18th
September than meets the eye:--
"I am on my way to England for reasons partly personal" (I think this
hints at a hope not altogether dead, which had been his close companion
through his two years of absence), "partly connected with the interests of
my Bagdad friends, _and my imagination is in England_."
In his journey through Teheraun and thence to Tabreez, he passed through
the celebrated rock of Besittoun. The sculptures there are said to
represent the conquest of Darius Hystaspis.
"Our caravan did not go close enough to see the sculptures; we were
probably half a mile off, but the muleteers were careful to point to them
and talk of them. So too in going from Babylonia into Media by the ancient
pass of Zagros, they were eager to draw my attention to the sculptures in
lofty, apparently inaccessible rocks. 'Your uncle made those,' said a
muleteer. At first I did not understand, but I found he meant by my uncle
some infidel. No true believer, he said, could have done it.... The pass
must be very ancient, and it is by far the noblest work I have seen in
The next letter is from Constantinople, 9th April, 1833.
"I am on my way to England, but do not know how long I may stay there." In
his journey from Erzeroom to Scutari, he says he "became a mere animal";
he could only think of his horse's feet and his horse's footing. He never
felt secure, for this reason: that the Tartar's horse, behind whom he
rode, in the "ladder road" [Footnote: A "ladder road" is made by the
horses all following each other in one track, and each trying to step in
the steps made by the first horse.] beside the precipices, through the
snow, "fell eleven times with him," and more than once fell over him.
Frank Newman says his fear of falling prevented him from being able to
admire the scenery, when, as often, it was grand and striking. "The Tartar
starts at a fast walk, gets gradually into a shuffle, and studies the pace
and power of all the beasts; at last he takes a sharp trot, but slackens
before any of them lose breath. His great problem is, that the _weakest_
horse of the set (who really sets the pace) shall come in well at last....
I never imagined I could have gained a power of sleeping for an hour, or
two hours, and at last even for ten minutes ... in our last week, in which
I had no regular night sleep. He" (the Tartar) "could not sleep, for he
had two horses carrying gold ... but he dozed famously while on horseback.
Dr. Kidd used to tell us that the wrist, the eyelid, and the nape of the
neck went to sleep before the brain--a charitable excuse for one who drops
a Prayer Book in church from drowsiness. I wish I could get Dr. Kidd to
tell me whether the knee does not (at least by habit) remain awake after
the brain is asleep, for I never saw the Tartar loose in the saddle even
when he was all nidnodding." Then comes again the suggestion of the doubt
which beset Newman that the way in which his mission party at Bagdad, and
some Church Missionary workers at Constantinople laboured, was not a way
which could long endure. That difficulties in the future inevitably must
come as lions in the path. "Constantinople itself looks to me like mere
card-houses--bright blue and bright red; and they are not much better. By
being perched up so steep, they force themselves on the eye.... Perhaps I
am out of humour: Constantinople is so dreadfully dear to one who comes
from Asia (I pay ten piastres, or half-a-crown, for my mere bed--full
London price). It is also very chilly and raw.... Yet I do enjoy the bed
_with sheets_, it is an inexpressible luxury. How I have longed for it,
but in vain, when suffering fever, to be able really to undress! But I
must not write of such matters, nor of more serious ones that distract my
judgment and distress me.
"I have seen the American Missionaries here. He" (Mr. Goodall) "gives
himself entirely to promote the _self-reform_ of the Armenian Church. This
fundamentally agrees with what Mr. Hartley, of the Church Missionary
Society, told me was the Society's proceeding against the Greek Church....
It also agrees with Groves's plan at Bagdad. I cannot censure it: I must
approve it: yet I have a painful belief that it cannot long go on in the
friendly way they all design.... This zeal of the Americans for Turkish
Christianity is a new and striking phenomenon."
The last entry in the _Personal Narrative_ occurs on 14th April, 1833,
before Newman had left Constantinople. Very shortly after he departed, and
not very long after, all his connection with this two years and a half
missionary journey was a thing of the past.
It had been more or less a failure as far as regards outward consequences.
Of that there seems no doubt. But there is also no doubt that it made its
mark in spiritual matters in the minds of many. No doubt that it altered
for some their spiritual landmarks and rubicons. No doubt that the subject
of this memoir came home seeing religion from a different standpoint.
Archdeacon Wilberforce reminds us in one of his sermons, preached at
Westminster Abbey, that the astronomers who built the pyramids of the Nile
pierced a slanting shaft through the larger pyramid, which pointed direct
to the pole-star. Then, if you "gazed heavenward through the shaft into
the Eastern night, the pole-star alone would have met your gaze. It was in
the ages of the past; it was when the Southern Cross was visible from the
British Isles. Slowly, imperceptibly, the orientation of the planet has
changed. Did you now look up into the midnight sky through the shaft in
the Great Pyramid, you would not see the pole-star. New, brilliant space-
worlds would shine down on you. But the heavens have not altered, and the
shaft of the pyramid is not lying, or unorthodox. A new view of the
heavens has quietly come, for the earth's axis has changed its place."
Very slowly too, sometimes, the axis of a personality changes its place.
It may be that an entirely new point of view faces it. Some other view of
life "swims into its ken." The mental eye can no longer see through the
old means which served it in years gone by for lens. It is, as it were,
looking at a new place in life's sky: for a time it is quite unable to
reconcile its old ideas of religious astronomy with the new ones. What
then? The sky is the same; but there are many ways of looking at it; and
many spiritual atmospheres which cloud the outlook. Frank Newman could not
reconcile at this time, nor in those which were coming, his old
Calvinistic tendency of thought with new ideas which were forcing
themselves in upon him. At the very end of life he saw the star of
Christianity again, but this missionary journey which had just, for him,
terminated, seemed to be more or less the rubicon which divided him from
his old faith, and from the rationalism to which he drifted during the
years while he was at Manchester, and University College, London.
HIS MARRIAGE: HIS MOTHER'S DEATH:
HIS CLASSICAL TUTORSHIP AT BRISTOL IN 1834
In Francis Newman's diary is this entry:--"On June 27th, my birthday, I
first saw Maria Kennaway at Escot." [Footnote: Escot, Ottery St. Mary, S.
Devon, now in the possession of the present Sir John Kennaway, M.P.]
Evidently the attraction between them was mutual, for the engagement
followed quickly, and they were married the same year.
Maria Kennaway was the daughter of the first Sir John Kennaway, who was
born at Exeter in 1758. In 1772 he sailed to India with his brother, the
late Richard Kennaway. In 1780 he received his captain's commission, and
in 1786 Marquis Cornwallis made him one of his aides-de-camp. I quote from
_New Monthly Magazine_ for 1836, which gave an account of some incidents
in the first Sir John Kennaway's life at the time of his death. [Footnote:
I am indebted for this account to the courtesy of the present Sir John
[Illustration: MARIA KENNAWAY
FRANCIS NEWMAN'S FIRST WIFE
From a miniature
PHOTO BY MESSRS. WEBSTER, CLAPHAM COMMON
BY KIND PERMISSION OF SIR JOHN KENNAWAY]
"In 1788 Lord Cornwallis sent him as envoy to the Court of Hyderabad to
demand from the Nizam the cession of ... Guntoor. In this mission he was
eminently successful, not only obtaining that which he came to demand, but
inducing the Nizam to enter into a treaty of offensive and defensive
alliance against Tippoo Sultan. For this service His Majesty was pleased
to create him a baronet (1791), and he received a mark of still further
approbation from the Court of Directors (East India Company) in a vote
which they passed to take out the patent of creation at the Company's
expense." Later, Sir John arranged a definite peace between the Nizam's
Commissioner and the Mahrattas with those of Tippoo Sultan. From this time
forward Sir John remained as Resident at the Court of the Nizam. But as
his health had suffered greatly from the Indian climate, he came back to
England in 1794, and the East India Company voted him "the unusual grant
of a pension of L500 per annum" on his retirement from official duties.
Soon after his return to England he met and married Charlotte Amyatt, and
went to live at Escot, Ottery St. Mary. Here their family of twelve
children was reared. Sir John, though his official life was over, yet
busied himself in many local matters. He acted as deputy-lieutenant and as
colonel-commandant of local militia and yeomanry. Then later, in advanced
age, there fell upon him a great trouble: he lost his sight entirely.
Curiously enough, his brother (who had served in the Civil Service of the
East India Company) suffered the same deprivation.
Everyone who remembers her describes Maria Kennaway, Sir John's daughter,
as possessing great beauty and attraction. She had hitherto spent her
girlhood in the daily service of the poor around her home. She and her
sisters started village schools in the neighbourhood, and taught the
children constantly the religious duties in which they themselves had
Maria Kennaway--a Plymouth Sister as regards her religious profession--was
a girl of deep and earnest faith. After her marriage to Francis Newman, it
became a real grief to her to find that he was drifting further and
further away towards agnosticism. Loving him devotedly as she did, her
constant prayer was that he might return to his former faith: that the
"cloud," as she called it, which was over him might be dispersed, and that
he should believe as she did.
Like Moses, she never in this life saw her "Promised Land" (she never
doubted that he would _die_ in faith), for when she died in July, 1876
(devotedly nursed by her husband), she knew that _he_ thought, as he bent
over her at the end, that it was probably a _last_ farewell for both.
I give here, as it seems an appropriate place, Newman's letter (to Dr.
Nicholson) on his wife's death:--