Part 2 out of 7
"15 Arundel Crescent,
"_21st July_, 1876.
"My dear Nicholson,
"For more than forty years I have been in possession of a heart that loved
me ardently: that happiness is no more. But I kept my treasure ten years
longer than I had any reason to expect. Yesterday we committed my beloved
to the grave....
"I saw her declining in strength through failure of appetite, but ever
hoped for finer weather and change of air to restore her. But the fine
weather came too late to restore her. From want of blood her heart became
fatally weak, and she died just as her brother did, the late Sir John
Kennaway, through failure of the heart and consequent mortification of the
feet. I now believe that local death began on the night of the 5th. Her
sufferings in the feet were great, and we could do nothing to allay them.
Her breathlessness (also from weakness of the heart) we could aid by
fanning. She knew she could not recover, and only prayed for 'release.'
Her prayer was granted early on Sunday morning, 16th July.
"Of course I feel very desolate, and to live quite alone in declining
years [Footnote: Some few years later he married his first wife's devoted
friend and companion who had lived with them for eleven years, and who
took the greatest care of Newman till he died in 1897.] seems unnatural
and unhealthful; but I cannot form any decisions at present. I am
conscious of excellent health and unbroken strength, and after forty years
of happy love should be very ungrateful to repine.
"By God's help I mean to be cheerful and active....
"I am, your affectionate friend,
"F. W. Newman."
This is the epitaph Newman had placed over his wife's grave:--
"With no superiority of intellect, yet by the force of love, by sweet
piety, by tender compassion, by coming down to the lowly, by unselfishness
and simplicity of life, by a constant sense of God's Presence, by devout
exercises, private and social, she achieved much of Christian saintliness
and much of human happiness.
"She has left a large void in her husband's heart.
"Obiit, _16th July_, 1876."
Newman always spoke of his wife as "the most affectionate and tender-
hearted of mortals." There was always a very great affection between them.
His letters all show this. Their married life was a long intercourse of
happiness, _un_-"chequered by disputes." [Footnote: "Marriage is one long
conversation, chequered by disputes."--R. L. Stevenson.] Still, there was
not (as is shown, I think, in many ways) strong community of interests.
For in all Newman's laborious philological studies--his learned lectures,
articles, and researches, scriptural and literary, his speculations in the
realms of deep thought--she was to all intents and purposes practically
outside his mental door. She was never greatly inclined to join in the
society of his learned friends; but this was more from a sense of modesty,
because she was afraid of not being in sympathy with them; because she
thought that she was not clever enough.
She had the greatest admiration for her husband. It is easy, of course, to
understand that when Frank Newman came back from his missionary journey he
was just the sort of young man who would take a girl's fancy. It was a
thing not to be surprised at that she fell in love with him. She was
keenly interested in home missionary work among the poor villagers of her
own home. She knew that he had come through great dangers in his journey
to the Holy Land as a missionary. He had not then definitely cast aside
his old beliefs--that was to come later; _now_ he was on the brink of it,
and he was alone on this inward, personal brink. _She_ would not yet be
aware of it. Very probably he seemed a hero in her eyes, because of all
the dangers he had braved to preach the Gospel, and because he was one of
the most intellectual men of his day: had taken high honours at Oxford,
and had given them up for the sake of what he believed to be right.
In the beautiful little Devonshire town of Ottery St. Mary, very possibly
he was the greatest man who had come across her life's path. He very
evidently cared for her; the inevitable next thing seemed to be to care
for him. At that time his name was in everybody's mouth. Miss Frere wrote,
in 1833, that "the brother of Mr. Newman (John Henry Newman) is a young
man of great promise, who has left the fairest prospect of advancement in
England to go as a missionary to Persia."
At any rate, Destiny had brought them together, and they were married.
As a woman said once to me, "There is no choosing in love"--once the
_meeting_ has happened, all free choice is at an end.
Mrs. Francis Newman was not very strong, and later in life developed
greater delicacy. It will be remembered that Newman's mother and sisters
were living at Oxford at this time, and he was anxious some time later to
bring his bride to see them. Unfortunately she fell ill, and the treatment
given for her illness proved quite a mistaken one; consequently her
recovery was much slower than it need otherwise have been. The journey
was, besides, a tiring one for her in her state of health. They had to go
from Bristol to Oxford, for by this time Newman was settled at Bristol
College as classical tutor. He had previously been tutor in Dublin for a
In 1836 Francis Newman went through the ceremony of Baptism at a chapel in
Bristol. I say advisedly, "went through the ceremony," for I believe both
he and his brother had received the rite in early childhood, when their
father was alive.
Mr. George Hare Leonard, University College, Bristol, has kindly sent me
some information as regards Francis Newman's work at Bristol, as also has
Mr. Norris Mathews, the City Librarian of the Municipal Public Libraries
From them I learn that the college at which Newman was classical tutor
was, not "Queen's," as has once or twice been asserted, but Bristol
College. It was founded in 1831, and only existed ten years. Mr. Hare
Leonard tells me that it was held in a large house in Park Row, and that
it had some very distinguished pupils, Sir Edward Fry, the late Sir George
Gabriel Stokes, [Footnote: Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Lucasian Professor
of Mathematics at Cambridge since 1849, and Fellow and President of
Pembroke College, Cambridge, was born in 1819; senior wrangler, 1841.
President of Royal Society 1885. Contributed many mathematical papers and
lectures to the Royal Society and other societies at Cambridge University,
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, etc.] and Walter Bagehot being amongst them.
At this time Newman was a member of the historic Baptist chapel at
Broadmead. I think it must have been in this chapel, indeed, that he was
re-baptized (as I mentioned a little earlier), and some of the
congregation anticipated his becoming one of the sect of Plymouth
Perhaps it is not generally known that Bristol College undertook to give
religious instruction on Church of England lines to those boys whose
parents wished it (I quote now from Mr. George Hare Leonard's letter to
me): "This was not obligatory upon all, and there was a fierce attack on
the college by certain of the clergy, and Bishop Gray was hostile. In
1841, under the influence of Monk (Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol),
Bishop's College was founded close by, and the older and more liberal
college was unable to stand the competition, and came to an end."
I quote here [Footnote: By the kindness of Miss Humphrey, Lensfield,
Cambridge, who gave me this extract from a memoir of her father.] an
account of the school life of the Vicar of St. Mary Redclyffe, Bristol:--
"In 1835 he went to Bristol College, a school that no longer exists, of
which Dr. Jerrard, his brother William's friend and a mathematician of
some note, was principal.... He remained for two years at Bristol College,
and considered that when there he owed much to the teaching of Francis
Newman, brother of the Cardinal, a man of charming character and great
attainments (afterwards made manifest in many ways), who was then lecturer
in elementary mathematics, and subsequently corresponded with him" (the
Vicar of St. Mary Redclyffe) "on mathematical subjects when both had
This all seems to point, I think, to the fact that Bristol College had
certainly a distinguished roll of names in its short ten years' record.
1836 was the year of Mrs. Newman's death--Francis Newman's mother. His
wife was so alarmingly ill that he was not able to be present at his
mother's funeral; and so the last time he saw her alive was on the
occasion when he brought his bride to introduce to her at Oxford.
Miss Mozley says of his mother: "She was a woman content to live, as it
were, in the retirement of her thoughts. She had an influence, though not
a conspicuous one, on all about her. The trials of life had given a weight
to her judgment, and her remarkable composure and serenity of temper and
manner had its peculiar power. Under this gentle manner was a strong will
which could not be moved when her sense of duty dictated self-sacrifice."
A month after her death Cardinal Newman had written: [Footnote: _Letters
of John Henry Newman_, Anne Mozley.] "Of late years my mother has much
misunderstood my religious views, and considered she differed from me;
[Footnote: As of course she did.] and she thought I was surrounded by
admirers, and had everything my own way; and in consequence I, who am
conscious to myself I never thought anything more precious than her
sympathy and praise, had none of it." He goes on to say: "I think God
intends me to be lonely.... I think I am very cold and reserved to people,
but I cannot ever realize to myself that any one loves me."
Those who have read Miss Mozley's _Life of John Henry Newman_ will
remember how passionately devoted to her two sons Mrs. Newman was. Once or
twice she said that though "Frank was adamant" when she had wished to get
closer in touch with his interests and sympathies when he was quite a
young man, yet she was always _quite_ in sympathy with her eldest son.
Probably as time went on and she saw the latter drifting ever further and
further into religious views with which she had never been conversant,
insensibly to herself, her manner changed when he spoke to her of how
gradually the whole scope of his religion was widening and developing in a
direction in which she felt it impossible for herself to follow him.
One wonders if she had had any knowledge of the growing agnosticism of her
other son, but probably this was unlikely.
[Illustration: DR. MARTINEAU
FROM THE PAINTING BY A. E. ELMSLIE]
FRIENDSHIP WITH DR. MARTINEAU
In the year 1840 Francis Newman was made Classical Professor in Manchester
New College. That same year saw Dr. Martineau appointed Professor of
Mental and Moral Philosophy at the same college. It will be remembered
that for thirty-seven years Manchester New College had been at York, and
had now but just returned to its name-place.
Here then began the friendship which lasted unbroken until death.
Both men were keen searchers--each in his own way--after religious truth.
For both it was a subject that practically affected their whole lives. But
while in Martineau the result was a deep theology which found its
satisfaction in the fold of Unitarianism, in Newman dogma of any sort was
practically an unknown quantity. He drifted further and further from
revealed religion, until many of his letters and writings became to the
Christian minds of some who read them exceedingly painful. It is true that
before he died Mr. Temperley Grey, the minister who attended him in his
last illness, declared that there was a return to his original faith, but
still nothing can alter the effect of the written word, and there is a
passage in one of Newman's own letters which illustrates this fact very
clearly. "It is a sad thing to have printed erroneous fact. I have three
or four times contradicted and renounced a passage ... _but I cannot reach
those whom I have misled_." In those last nine words there is a world of
unexpressed regret--regret which no after endeavour can eradicate. Both
spoken and written words go to far mental ports, and very often-from being
out of our ken--unreachable ones for us. No later contradiction can reach
them and undo the once-made impression.
Martineau and Newman were not of one mind in the matter of religion. The
letters which passed between them show that; but they show, too, that no
dispute separated them. If for a time some painful passage in a letter of
Newman's troubled his friend, the matter was dealt with with
straightforward candour and unfailing forbearance and gentleness. There
were no harsh words between them. Both of them were naturally, innately
sweet and kindly in disposition. Even in matters of dispute which
concerned that subject which occupied so large a part in both their minds,
difference of opinion could not "separate very friends."
It will be remembered that the year before the regular correspondence
between the two began, Martineau had written a paper criticizing Newman's
_Phases of Faith_.
Before giving Newman's letters, perhaps a few words on Martineau himself
would not be out of place here. He came of an old Huguenot family. Mr.
Jackson, from whose biography of him I am quoting, says that Gaston
Martineau, who, tradition tells us, was a surgeon of Dieppe, came to
England after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and that
though first he went to London to live, yet that eventually he settled
down at Norwich, and here all his children were born. The youngest of them
became the father of James Martineau, the theologian. He was born in the
same year as Francis Newman, and died just seven years before he did.
In the bringing up and early training of both men there was a large
element of Puritanism. Many of the most severe Calvinistic doctrines held
sway in Newman's home life, and even if the atmosphere was a little less
thickly charged with religious thunderclouds in the early environment of
Martineau, yet certainly, from all accounts, Sunday was pre-eminently a
day that "hid its real meaning and brightness behind a frowning face." I
cannot help quoting here a story which a little reveals the sort of
religious atmosphere which brooded over the day and the point of view
brought to bear on it by James Martineau's mother when he was a boy. The
mother had gone to church one Sunday evening, and left word in her little
home circle that they were to read the Bible.
When she came back she put the probing question to James: "What had he
read?" His answer was: "Isaiah." She at once replied that he couldn't have
read the whole; and he answered promptly, "Yes, mother, I have, skipping
From eight years old to fourteen James Martineau went, as a day scholar,
to Norwich Grammar School. After school life he came to the conclusion
that he wished to give his life to the ministry, and as, of course, the
English universities were not open to anyone who refused to sign the
Thirty-nine Articles, he was sent to Manchester College. Here it became
evident to everybody that he was a student who would let nothing interfere
with his work. His masters were struck by his accurate habits of mind and
great perseverance in research.
In 1835 his ministry in Liverpool, as pastor in Paradise Street Chapel,
began, and to his work here was joined his work at Manchester New College,
which, as I mentioned before, began in 1840, the same year as Newman's own
connection with the college. But when, in 1853, the college was
transplanted to London, for four years Martineau continued to live as a
minister in Liverpool, and yet he kept up his classes at the college (six
hours by train from Liverpool).
In 1857 he was asked to come and live in town and devote his whole time to
his college work, and this he agreed to do. There were not then many
students, but among them were names which after years were destined to
make famous, and among these were Alexander Gordon, Estlin Carpenter, and
In 1858 he was appointed minister to Little Portland Street Chapel.
Formerly the congregation belonging to the chapel were rigid, unbending
Unitarians. With the advent of Martineau began the newer, broader views of
Unitarianism. Throughout the years which now were to be passed in London,
Dr. Martineau's labours were unceasing as scholar, thinker, and
theologian. It is said that, though he wrote and taught so much, yet he
never let his reading be interfered with; he was always adding to his
stores of knowledge. For fifty years he was recognized as one of the most
profound thinkers of his day, as well as one of the finest writers.
The first letter from Francis Newman to Martineau, from which I quote, is
dated December, 1850, from Brighton:--
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"I seem to be out of joint with you in the two highest interests of man--
Religion and Politics ... I am ... become a Republican by principle, for
the continent Jefferson always held that constitutional monarchy was a
simple impossibility in a large continental country where great armies
were kept up; and I think the history of a millennium in Europe
demonstrates it. All royalties were in their origin constitutional; but in
the long run no dynasty ever resisted the temptation to overthrow the
barriers which fenced it in. _Our_ liberties seem to me rightly ascribed
to the fact that we are insular, and need only a _navy_ for protection.
Sweden for the same reason is able to retain its liberties.... I think
that in the order of Providence, royal power has served the purpose of
uniting nations in larger masses than would else have held together.
"Where it has done this without destroying municipal organization it is
clearly good in its result--as in Great Britain, Sweden, Germany; ... but
having served this function, it seems to me that Royalty (unless it could
again become elective) has done its work, and ought not to be
regretted.... On doctrinaire grounds, either to unsettle it where it works
well, or to desire to enforce it where it has violated its pledges and
forfeited all claims to love and devotion, seems to me a mistake similar
* * * * *
"Must not a time of weakness come when Austria is bankrupt--when an
Emperor of Russia is a dotard or a child, when provinces of Russia become
disaffected, or an army mutinies; or again, when France and Austria
seriously fall out?... You see I am dosing you with some of my most
pungent stuff, in proof that I trust your strength of stomach ...
"Your affectionate friend,
"FRANCIS W. NEWMAN."
In the letter which follows, Newman touches on two well-known
personalities of his day--Frederica Bremer and Charles Kingsley. He
mentions the fact of his having been engaged to meet Kossuth as the reason
why the first attempt to meet Miss Bremer was unsuccessful. It will be
remembered that Miss Bremer came to England in order to collect material
for her _Life in the Old World_. (This year was also the date of Kossuth's
first visit to our shores.) Miss Bremer was Swedish by descent, but
Finnish by birth, for she was born in Finland in the year 1801.
As regards Kingsley, in 1850 he had published tracts on "Christian
Socialism." _Alton Locke_ had already come out and met with scorn on the
part of the Press, though working men--who recognized Kingsley as their
truest friend--welcomed it gladly. In 1851--a year of great trouble and
distress all over England--he thought out plans to drain parts of Eversley
(his parish), for there had been many cases of fever there, and Kingsley
was pre-eminently a _practical_ Christian. He was also far ahead of his
time (as all great men invariably are), and he saw clearly how inseparably
close in this present world is the connection between physical matters and
spiritual. He recognized that if a man is _living_ in unsanitary
conditions, it affects in a very real though inexplicable way his
spiritual life. He could trace the connection in a parishioner's life
history between bad drainage and drunkenness: later on--though it might
perhaps be very much later on--a "bee-in-the-bonnet" of his child: and he
saw in this unhappy, unfortunate Little Result the outcome of someone's
sinful failure in his duty to his neighbour in years gone by, when the
first insanitary conditions were allowed to live and be mighty.
In some senses drainage, therefore, has a decided effect upon the
spiritual life of men and women. Everyone probably will remember Dr.
Nettleship's resolute assertion, that "even a stomach-ache could be a
And so Kingsley pushed forward the drainage improvements in his parish,
and considered it, what in very truth it was, a fitting subject for the
energies of a parish priest, at work night and day for the betterment of
the souls and bodies of his parishioners.
I cannot avoid quoting here Francis Newman's own strongly expressed views
on drainage of the land:--
"Now, the drains being out of sight, it is morally certain that defects
will exist, or be caused by wear and tear, unseen. In one place evil
liquids and gases will percolate; in another evil accumulations will
putrefy. Instead of blending small portions of needful manure quickly with
small portions of earth that needs it, we secure in the drains a slow
putrefaction and a permanent source of pestilence; we relieve a town by
imposing a grave vexation and danger on the whole neighbourhood where its
drains have exit; we make the mouth of every tide river a harbour and
storehouse of pollution; and after thus wasting an agricultural treasure
we send across the Atlantic ships for a foul commerce in a material
destined to replace it....
"It was quite notorious forty years ago that the refuse of the animal was
the food of the vegetable, and ought to be saved for use, not wasted in
poisoning waters. How could well-informed men delude themselves into an
approval of this course? Only one explanation occurs: _they despaired of
returning to Nature_. They assumed that we must live by artifice, and they
entitled artifice 'Science.'"
I return now to the letter from Newman to Martineau:--
_Dr. Martineau from Francis Newman._
"_8th Oct._ 1851.
"My dear Martineau,
"Your interesting letter was sent to me by Monday afternoon, and first
told me that Miss Bremer was in London, which I learned only by a pencil
note on the outside, '142 Strand.' That evening I was going to see my two
sisters--one returned from the Continent, and one come from Derby. And on
Tuesday morning I was engaged to come hither to meet Kossuth! So I fear I
have missed Miss Bremer. But, from to-day's news, I fear there is no
chance of K. arriving till next Monday or Tuesday; and I shall probably go
back to-morrow. I will _try_ to see Miss Bremer immediately, but am much
"I have had a little correspondence with Mr. Kingsley lately--rising out
of a recent lecture of his, the practical results and practical principles
of which gave me great pleasure. He says he has 'done his work' of
protesting and denouncing capitalists, and now hopes to give himself to
_construction_ and practical creation; and much as I fear some of his
generalizations, I hope great good from his purely excellent aims, and the
amount of aid he can command. He agrees most heartily with my denunciation
of large towns as the monster evil, and takes the matter up agriculturally
thus: _No country can be underfed while it returns to the soil what it
takes out of it_"--[The italics are my own. Is not this sentence of
infinite value to us to-day?]--"for, in the long run, the soil will always
give back as much as it receives. Every country impoverishes itself which
pours into the rivers and sea the animal refuse which ought to be restored
to the soil.
"No community can avoid this prodigality, unless its inhabitants live upon
the soil. Therefore towns ought not to exceed the size at which the whole
animal refuse can be economically saved and directly applied to
"To me it seems that every reason--moral, political, agricultural,
economical, sanitary--converge to this same conclusion; and I apply
_Delenda est Carthago_ to every city in Europe.
"On the subject of masters and servants, he says, 'Masters should be
considered "_infamous_" who hired servants by the day or week, and not by
the year; or who dismissed old servants without any other reason than to
lower wages; but such a thing, to be possible and effective, must be
_mutual_. The servant must have no power to leave a good master in order
to _raise_ his wages. But at present, while the servant is under no bonds
to the master, and _does not like to bind himself_, it seems to me quite
impossible to treat the masters as having any moral responsibility for the
servants more than for foreigners. When we buy tea, we cannot ask whether
the Chinese get a comfortable livelihood by selling it at that price.'
That is an extreme and clear case to which we approach in every commercial
transaction in proportion as the other party claims that the relation
shall be one of mere marketing....
"Ever yours affectionately,
"Francis W. Newman."
The next letter, which is dated September, 1851, and which was written
just after Newman's return from his Swiss tour, goes on with the same
subject as the last, and also touches on the evils of _suddenly_
introducing machinery; while it shows clearly that, in the long run,
better wages are gained for the worker by its means--"Machinery is in
every light the friend of the poor." He says very truly, "The first great
want of the workmen is better morality and more thriftiness, _not_ better
masters or higher wages." Putting quite aside the question of whether
"higher wages" are not needed by the workman, nothing can be truer at the
present time than this fact, brought thus before us by Newman. It _is_,
beyond all question, these faults which run through the bulk of the
labouring classes (as we term them)--lack of the true spirit of morality
It is difficult altogether to account for the reason why the lack of these
characteristics is so much to the fore to-day, or to think of the remedy
which shall reach and cure them. But that it is a presence in our midst is
a self-evident fact. No one who has travelled much in France (to name only
one other country), but is aware how vast is the gulf which divides the
ways of living of our own labouring classes and of those which obtain
across the water. There, thriftiness is the rule. They use a far simpler
diet, and one which the land supplies them with, and are content. There is
a far more healthy tone about them, even if it be a rough one, than there
is among our own poor. I am constantly in France myself (it is the country
of my own ancestors), and I have never failed to be struck by the absence
there, in the country, of the vice which disfigures so often the home life
of our villagers. You do not see there the sights that make the streets on
Saturday evening in England a degrading scene. When the French villager is
happy, he can be it without the aid of drunkenness. And as far as the
cultivation of the land is concerned--well, we need only look at home in
our "French Farming" schemes to-day and we shall find that when we want to
come "back to the land," to find out how much care and industry will bring
out of it, we have to send for a Frenchman to show us his country's
secrets of manuring the land, so that the soil becomes precious and will
yield, even from so small a space as a quarter of an acre, incalculable
riches in the way of marketable goods.
As regards what Newman says about the work_women_ of England, it is
impossible to agree with him. It is most assuredly not the case in
thousands of instances that "there are _no_ good workwomen out of work, or
earning low wages," nor that "those who cannot get good wages are women
who have _spent their prime in idleness_ ... and sew badly."
One has but to refer to the statistics with which the Christian Social
Union supplies us, as well as other societies, to have this idea quickly
negatived. Mrs. Carlyle's experiences and Mrs. Newman's were evidently
There was a certain impulsiveness in discussing many subjects to which
Newman seems to have been peculiarly subject. He was sometimes so led away
by it as to dogmatize inaccurately or over-forcibly.
_Dr. Martineau from Francis Newman._
"My dear Martineau,
"... In a day or two I am meditating a visit to Froude, who is in Wales,
and too much in solitude." [Froude was then preparing or writing his
_History of England_. It will be remembered that Cardinal Newman's
influence over him at college decided him later on taking Holy Orders, but
he never went beyond the diaconate.] "Gladstone's letters just now are a
powerful stimulus to public opinion.... Not the Socialists only, but
numbers of workmen besides treat it as _an abstract wickedness_ in a
master to offer lower wages than are at any particular time existing. They
have never any objection to a _rise_ of wages; so I cannot say they treat
the existing rate as a divinely appointed amount; but they do not see that
if they are unwilling to bind themselves not to strike for a rise, they
ought to concede in the master a moral right to lower.... What is to be
done with those who will go on enunciating and propagating dangerous
general maxims as abstract axiomatic truth?... _Your_ method of making the
masters determine how many _shall enter_ a trade will succeed; but I do
not see that it will succeed in ejecting. In the years of railroad
excitement the London newspapers were enormously overworked, and a great
increase no doubt took place in the numbers of printers (perhaps also in
their wages); now the printers for some time have been in comparative
depression.... I do not contend that _all_ lowering of wages by masters is
merciful and just, but that _some_ may be; whereas the Socialists and Co.
instantly declaim against _all_ or _any_ lowering, without entering into
any details as to present or past history of the trade. When I said that
machinery is in every light the friend of the poor, I do not think I
overlooked the occasional mischief caused by its _sudden_ introduction....
The effect of machinery is in the long run a steady rise of wages as well
as a cheap supply of goods: the advantage to the poor is universal and
permanent, the evil is partial and transitory. Moreover, the evil is
immensely aggravated by their perverseness. Three generations of hand-loom
weavers have been propagated in spite of the notorious misery it must
cause. Machinery does _not_ raise the rate of profits or interest; it
_does_ raise the rate of wages: compare Manchester and Buckingham in
proof.... I do not think I am _at all_ carried into reaction by unjust
attacks on capitalists, but I am very strongly by the [right or wrong]
belief that the first great want of the workmen is better morality and
more thriftiness, _not_ better masters or higher wages. I have not dared
to print half of what are my convictions on this head.... The sufferings
of the poor from bad air and bad water are quite a separate chapter. High
wages do little to cure this. Indeed, in Manchester the workmen habitually
prefer to save a shilling a week in house rent and spend it in beefsteaks,
when the shilling would have got them a healthy instead of an unhealthy
lodging. Bricklayers' wages are at present high in London; what is the
consequence? I have at present a bit of a dwarf wall building in my
garden. The men leave their work; I complain; the builder replies: 'Men
will not come to work on a Monday without much trouble.' I fear this
_means_ that they drink on Sunday and are very 'seedy' on Monday morning.
The very men who are excited by high wages to drinking and idleness will
make a violent outcry when a fall of wages takes place, and _moreover_
will get the ear and sympathies of Maurice and Co. for their outcry."
"Maurice and Co." of course refers to Frederick Denison Maurice, who was
the principal mover in the Christian Socialism of the day, as he was in
all social reforms. He had met with much abuse and opposition, but still
there were very many who called him "Master." Amongst these last was
Charles Kingsley, who had been one of his pupils, and who had been very
greatly influenced by his opinion in religion and social matters.
[Footnote: Kingsley (see memoir) said to Maurice, when opposition was
fiercest against him: "Your cause is mine. We swim in the same boat, and
stand or fall thenceforth together."] Neither man could bear the
narrowness of "parties" in religion. They always demanded more toleration,
broader views, and refused to be bound by narrow creeds. It was owing
chiefly to Coleridge that Maurice took Holy Orders. He was born in that
year of great men, 1805, and by 1851 his socialistic ideas were well known
to the world.
"As to the milliners and tailors, my wife has the same experience as Mrs.
Carlyle, that there are _no_ good workwomen out of work, or earning low
wages. Mrs. Wedgwood tells me that the Ladies' Committee could not get
women to make the shirts.... Those who cannot get good wages are women who
have _spent their prime in idleness_, and cannot work well enough to
satisfy ladies. They sew badly, and get a poor pittance from the shops. As
to tailors, I give more for a coat by four or five shillings than I did
twenty-five years ago.... Until our national morality is much improved,
and our moral organization repaired, there must be a large body of persons
without any trade, art, or connection who will throw themselves into what
seems to be the easiest art, and by their numbers will swamp it....
"Ever your affectionate
"Francis W. Newman."
It should be mentioned here that in 1853 Manchester New College was moved
to London, but that it was not until 1857, that Dr. Martineau went to live
in town, in order to devote his time chiefly to the important work which
devolved upon him in connection with it. This he continued to do until
1885. Newman had been appointed in 1846 to the chair of Latin in
University College, a post he held until 1863.
The next letter of this period, addressed to Martineau, gives one an
insight as to the effect of beauty of scenery upon Newman. He was far
removed from the ordinary point of the rapid traveller of to-day, who only
seems to want to cover great distances at rapid speed, and can therefore
have no conception at all of what we might call the "atmospheric
environment" of a place, which can only be felt by quiet moving, as Newman
expresses it, "from point to point," to "see how aspects and proportions
_Dr. Martineau from Francis Newman._
"Patterdale, near Penrith,
"_31st July_ 1854.
"My dear Martineau,
"I have been faithless in not writing to you before now....
"We are more delighted than ever with Patterdale. Probably enough you know
the beauties of _your_ neighbourhood so well, and esteem them so highly,
that you turn as deaf an ear as I do to all praises of other parts. I have
so strong a sense of the inexhaustibility of beauty, that it aids me to
repress the restlessness which is kindled by other persons' praises of
what is unknown to me....
"Unless I had _my own_ carriage I get little pleasure from touring. What I
want is to stop at the beautiful places, and go from point to point and
see how aspects and proportions change; this in fact you seldom do well
except on foot and at leisure. The walks here are inexhaustible, for
persons who can carry with them their book or other occupation, and stay
out four or five hours; but you want reasonably dry weather, else indeed
the swampiness of the mountains greatly lessens the number of feasible or
pleasant walks, besides impairing the beauty.
"I only get a newspaper once a week, and in such a crisis feel hungry for
news as the week goes on." [The "crisis," of course, was the near approach
at this time of the beginning of those hostilities which were to end in
the Crimean war.] "Lest the Eastern question should flag in interest by
lingering, lo! the Spanish insurrection breaks on us. I do not yet dare to
hope European benefits from Spain: should such be the ultimate result, it
will be a striking illustration how incalculable is the _course_ of
events, while the general end is not very obscure.
"Mr. Charles Loring Brace, of America (who, you may know, was imprisoned
in Hungary), sent to me an introduction from Theodore Parker. It is highly
probable he had one to you....
"The post summons.
"F. W. N."
Harriet Martineau, sister of Dr. Martineau, was fifty-three years of age
when Newman wrote to her brother about her illness. Practically for the
whole of her life she had been more or less of an invalid. Even as a girl
she suffered so much from deafness and wretched health, that she was
hardly ever free from anxiety and depression. Nevertheless she did not let
her ill-health prevent her from earning her livelihood by writing. Before
she made her name by the publication of her stories on political economy,
she experienced endless difficulties in her efforts to get publishers for
her books. But no sooner had these stories appeared than her fame was
assured, and money came in, so to speak, by handfuls, so that all
financial troubles were altogether at an end.
From 1839 till 1844 she was so terribly out of health that no treatment
produced any effect, until someone suggested that mesmerism should be
tried, and this succeeded so well that she recovered a certain amount of
strength and was able to go on with her writing. Nevertheless, that it did
not wholly restore her health is evident from the fact that in 1855, when
Newman was writing to her brother, he mentions her "formidable fainting
fits" and daily pains in the head. "Her letter tells me," he says, "how
very bad she is, that every day she feels shot in the head"; but he goes
on to say that he does not despair of her better health because (as indeed
her numerous books testify), her "body is so subject to her mind." It is,
I think, necessary to remember that in 1844, when Miss Martineau tried
mesmerism as a cure for her continued ill-health, mesmerism was
practically taking its first steps in the English medical world. This
science of healing, which began to be recognized in England about the
middle of the eighteenth century, through the medium of the afterwards
discredited Mesmer, has "in its day played many parts" and had more names
than one. In the first instance it was called mesmerism, then animal
magnetism, while to-day, when it has forced its way through incredulity,
distrust, and opposition of all sorts, and come to the front in very
truth, it faces us as a power which bids fair to be more and more with us
as time goes on under the name of Hypnotism.
Perhaps few people remember the name of the man who really brought animal
magnetism into prominence in the middle of the last century. Yet James
Braid, the Scotch surgeon, who then lived at Manchester, and pursued with
untiring thoroughness and perseverance his studies in the then little-
known science, was really the shoulder that pushed hypnotism into our
midst. It was Braid, indeed, who caused the name of "hypnotism" to eject
that of "mesmerism" in England. He was never properly appreciated during
his lifetime. But if he was not, he was only one of numerous examples
which are always being brought up before our eyes (among those of our
countrymen who have rendered their country signal services), who
illustrate the famous English quotation, "Thus angels walked the earth
unknown, and _when they flew were recognized_"
Braid, however, proved effectually that the mesmeric phenomena depend
altogether on the physiological condition of the person operated on, and
not on the power of the operator.
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"_17th Feb._, 1855.
"My dear Martineau,
"You will believe that the state of your sister's health gives me much
concern. She has kindly written twice to me. The second letter tells of
formidable fainting fits, which I cannot explain away; yet, as I told her
in my reply to her first, her symptoms _in general_ are so similar to my
own that I cannot but hope her physician views them too seriously, and
_does her harm by it_. I, on the whole, believe that my own heart is
unsound organically (distended), but my experience certainly is that the
less I attend to it _in detail_ the better, though I must in prudence
avoid impure air and other evils. Her second letter tells me as a decisive
proof how very bad she is, that every day she feels _shot_ in the head.
"Now this is exactly the symptom I have for nine months been struggling to
subdue, and as my wife knows, I am, week by week, balancing whether to put
myself under a doctor for it.... The spasm which distresses me comes at
the crisis when I ought to go to sleep, and so wakes me up. I could not
get rid of it even in the summer, on days on which I had least mental
effort, and was in all other respects conscious of great vigour....
"I went to a physician to complain of _sleeplessness_ and got the reply
that it was my _heart_ that was diseased.... Your sister's body is so
subject to her mind that I do not despair that, either through mesmerism
restoring sleep or in some other way, she may rally far beyond her present
expectation. I know a lady who was dying of brain fever, and could get no
sleep until the physician called in a mesmerist; this gained sleep for
her, and by that alone she recovered without medicine."
Dr. Martineau was one of the founders of the _National Review_ in 1855,
and frequently contributed articles to it. This next letter treats mainly
of the proposed lines on which the magazine was to be run--its politics,
points of view, etc.
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"_14th June_, 1855.
"My dear Martineau,
"I have seen with interest that your scheme of the National Review is
resumed, and I am told that you and Walter Bagehot are the political
editors. Supposing that your politics are not essentially different from
those of the _Westminster_ the _Review_ is of _practical_ interest to me,
in spite of my unfortunate collision last year, for which I hope you have
forgiven me. I wrote in the last _Westminster_ the last article on the
"Administrative Example of the United States," and in the forthcoming
number I have written the second article on "International Immorality." I
wrote them freely, and indeed could not comfortably take money from
Chapman in his present circumstances, but I would much rather write for
the _National Review_ if I am admissible.... I value _forms_ of government
in proportion as they develop moral results in individual man; and if I
_now_ am democratic for Europe, it is not from any abstract and exclusive
zeal for democracy, all the weaknesses of which I keenly feel, but because
the dynasties, having first corrupted or destroyed the aristocracies, and
next become hateful, hated, and incurable themselves, have left no
government possible which shall have stability and morality except the
democratic. In England my desire is to ward off this result, to which, I
think, our aristocracy are driving fast by uniting their cause with the
perfidious immoralities of the Continent.
"Your political prospectus seems to me to be delusive by its vagueness. I
mean, that it is no sort of security after misunderstandings between
editors and writers. I think it is liable practically to lead to the
result that one man's mind seems undesirably to assume the authority of a
confederation;... but where Truth is sought, this is not easily borne.
Have you considered whether you may not do as the _Revue des Deux Mondes_,
which admits independent essays with the writer's name signed? I value the
convenience of anonymous writing, and I do not wish to see it destroyed;
but it is undoubtedly abused and overdone, and I think every movement in
the opposite direction has its use."
I think that when reviewing many of Newman's ideas--ideas considered as
strongly tending to socialism of a sort--it is wise to bear in mind these
words in this letter: "If I _now_ am democratic for Europe, it is not from
any abstract or exclusive zeal for democracy, all the weaknesses of which
I keenly feel." For they show very clearly that his was a mind which
refused any party labelling. The reform was the thing with him, and the
means by which this was brought about were only secondary and subordinate.
In September, 1856, Newman was at Ventnor; and though apparently still
suffering from his heart and indigestion, found that he was able to bathe
in the sea with much pleasure to himself. He gives voice to his surprise
that, in those days, there should be so strong a feeling against "mixed
bathing," as the term is: and he quotes articles and letters which he had
seen in which disgust was expressed at "ladies bathing within reach of
telescopes" and "at the indecency of promiscuous bathing"! This excessive
over-prudishness, which has always, since early Victorian days,
distinguished England, possesses as much vitality (even when, happily,
dying) as that of the conger eel, whom no killing seems really to kill!
The earlier part of the letter deals with the disputes of the "three
tutors against Dr. Hawkins," Provost of Oriel in 1830, and also with the
proposal that his brother, John Henry Newman, should be made third
secretary of the local Bible Society.
In the _Letters of Rev. J. B. Mozley, D.D._, edited by his sister in 1884,
there is a good deal of information given about the Oxford of that day,
and this account of the dispute in 1830 occurs in one of Dr. Mozley's
letters from Oriel College:--
"All sorts of rumours have gone abroad respecting the differences between
the tutors, and it has received a most amusing variety of versions. It has
been described as a strike for advance of wages or more pupils, which of
course has fitted well into the probable falling off of the college
consequent on the Heresy: at Tunbridge, a friend ... was told, the junior
fellows had combined to turn out the Provost! For my part, I think it no
more use trying to send abroad a correct account of it, for it is not easy
to make it obvious to the meanest capacities, and everybody nowadays seems
to feel himself justified in contending that to be truest which is the
most consonant to his understanding.... I take it there is little doubt of
H. Wilberforce being elected here, to Oriel, next year ... he is
considered sure of his Double First...."
Of the Rev. Mr. Hill, mentioned by Newman as the "old secretary of the
Bible Society," Dr. Mozley speaks in connection with the constant
opposition and ill-humoured references to Pusey which at that time were
rife at Oxford.
As regards "Bulteel" of Exeter College, Dr. Mozley thus speaks of him:
"Bulteel's sincere belief is that there is a new system of things in the
course of revelation now, as there was in our Saviour's time, and that God
has given him the power of working miracles for the same reason as He gave
it to the Apostles--in order to convince unbelievers.... There can be
little doubt that Bulteel is partially deranged. I should not be much
surprised if, before long, he attempts miracles of a more obvious kind."
As regards Hurrell Froude, Fellow and tutor of Oriel College, he, John
Henry Newman, and Pusey were all three close friends in 1822. Hurrell
Froude exercised a strong influence over J. H. Newman, and it was he who
was one of the leaders in the Tractarian movement in 1833. He was a man of
wonderful genius and originality, and it was a distinct loss to the world
when, in 1836, he died. I cannot help quoting here the "private critique"
written in 1838, and quoted by Miss Mozley in her volume, with reference
to his _Remains_:--
"It is very interesting and clever, but I must say I felt as if I was
committing an impertinence in reading his private journal-probably the
most really private journal that ever was written.... I am very curious to
know what kind of sensation his views will make, uttered so carelessly,
instead of in Keble's, or Pusey or Newman's grand style."
With respect to Dr. Hawkins, the Provost (whose influence was in many ways
a powerful one with J4 H. Newman), I quote two passages from letters of
Dr. Mozley. One is dated 1836 and the other 1847 (during the Gladstone
"The Provost alluded in the most distant way to the sore subject (the
condemnation of heretics) last Sunday. He observed that it was a
disgusting habit in persons finding fault with other people's theology.
Nothing so tended to make the mind narrow and bitter. They had much better
be employing themselves in some active and useful way. This is laughable
as coming from the Provost, who has been doing nothing else but objecting
all his life." And:--
"The Provost has behaved very characteristically. He has been for once in
his life fairly perplexed; and he has doubled and doubled again, and
shifted and crept into holes; at last vanished up some dark crevice, and
nothing was seen but his tail. One thought one was to see no more of him,
when, on one of the polling mornings, he suddenly emerged, like a rat out
of a haystack, and voted for Round. The Heads, in fact, have been
thoroughly inefficient. The election has literally gone on _without_ them.
They have done nothing."
_Dr. Martineau from Francis Newman._
"_18th Sept._, 1856.
"My dear Martineau,
"Your welcome letter finds me still here. I certainly did not contemplate
that I was speaking for the public ear on such a subject. I have a pain
from it (chiefly from a sense, perhaps, that I should not like my brother
to know or suspect that the information came from me), yet I cannot blame
your proceeding, or question your right, so carefully and tenderly as you
guard against objection.... The Rev. Mr. Hill, Vice-Principal of St.
Edmund's Hall, was the old secretary of the (local) Bible Society. The
Rev. Benjamin Parson Symons (now warden of Wadham College) is he who
proposed and carried that my brother should be a third secretary.
"I think I told you that Symons was the _second_ secretary; but I now
doubt whether the second was not Rev.---- Bulteel, of Exeter College, then
an evangelical preacher of St. Ebb's Church in Oxford, much attended by
Edmund Hall men. The after vote rescinding my brother's secretaryship was
proposed by Benjamin Newton, a young Fellow of Exeter College, if this is
of any importance.... The affair of the three tutors against Dr. Hawkins
was told me exactly as I had it from my brother's lips; but the whole must
have been strictly public. The other tutors were Robert Isaac Wilberforce
(since Archdeacon and Roman Catholic), Richard Hurrell Froude, known by
his _Remains_; and a much older man, Dornford, now a rector in Devonshire,
who adhered to Hawkins. This took place in 1830, when my brother was only
twenty-nine, Wilberforce his junior, and Hurrell Froude _my_ junior in the
University; probably my equal in age, i.e. then twenty-five; so it was
_young_ Oxford versus old. When the three tutors resigned (whose youth was
a result of the Oriel Fellows going off so quick), Hawkins brought into
the tutorship young Coplestone, as he was called--a nephew of the
Bishop;... I almost think that for a time he resumed lecturing himself:
but it will not do to say so.... I have here found out (after more than
ten years' cessation) that I can swim as well as ever, and without
discomfort to my heart. I am becoming quite zealous for my daily swim,
even when (as to-day) the south-west gives us rather too much sea, to the
chagrin of the bathing men. Perhaps you have seen various letters in _The
Times_, etc., on the indecency of promiscuous bathing, etc. I cannot
understand why they all direct their attack to the wrong point, and insist
on driving people into solitudes and separations very inconvenient,
instead of demanding that, as on the Continent, both sexes be clad in the
water. Last year I saw an article that expressed disgust at ladies bathing
within reach of _telescopes_! There is here such a colony of foreigners,
that I hope they may teach this lesson. Besides the Pulszkys, who are a
family of twelve persons, there are seven of Kossuth's household, a large
family of Marras (Italian), three of Janza (Viennese), two or more
Piatti's (Italian), who keep company together, and very many of whom bathe
statedly. Mrs. Pulszky is not well this year for swimming; but last year
she swam daily, with her husband and an intimate male friend at her side.
He will not let her swim in the sea without him, and is amazed at English
husbands consenting to abandon their wives as they do. Mrs. Walter, her
mother, is a devoted bather, and whenever the breakers are formidable has
the aid of one or other male friend. It is a new fact to me, that the
Viennese ladies, as a thing of course, are taught to swim in the Danube.
There are regular teachers of swimming for both sexes, and a sort of
diploma is granted to those who swim well enough to be at home in the
water." [This is a phrase that was used to me; it now occurs to me that it
may have been merely _metaphorical_, when the teacher says _Macte
virtute_, etc., and concludes his lessons.]
"Of course, our climate does not allow the facilities of tropical waters
(where alligators and sharks, however, are not facilities!); but the sea
is fit for bathing with us as many months as the Danube, though I suppose
never so warm as the Danube at its warmest.... If I could be with you at
Derwentwater again, I think I should be less indisposed to try an oar.
Indigestion or sleeplessness, not exertion, seems to be the chief enemy of
my heart, which yet cannot bear exertion when so suffering. I am giving
myself abundant ease, and never enjoyed myself with so much 'abandon.' We
both like this place extremely.
"With kindest regards to all around you,
"I am, very affectionately yours,
"F. W. Newman."
In 1857, as I mentioned before, Dr. Martineau came up to London to live,
having been asked by the authorities of Manchester New College to take
more share in the work there than he had hitherto done. He was made
Principal of the College in 1868, and held the post until 1885.
There is something in the letter which follows which must have made a very
special appeal to Martineau--for this reason: that there is in it a
passionate "abandon" quite foreign to Newman's usual style. He seems to
have given rein to a sudden impulse of enthusiasm for his friend, and his
letter, from start to finish, is full of it. He is evidently longing that
Martineau should find in his London audience all the appreciation which
his great talents deserved. And perhaps this is the thought which prompted
those sentences which seem to urge him to curb the powerful steeds of his
intellectual vigour, and not to give so lavishly or in such unstinted
measure as in his sermons he had hitherto been accustomed to do. Newman
says that in his preaching "there is _superfluous_ intellectual effort."
He adds that from "_intellectual_ persons "he has heard the complaint that
the "effort to follow is too great"; and he entreats him to prepare each
sermon "with less _intellectual_ effort, though, of course, not with less
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"_30th May_, 1857.
"My dear Martineau,
"Perhaps you are already pulling up your tent-pegs: rather a heart-
breaking work, especially to those who so love beauty and have surrounded
themselves within doors with so much. You _need_, dear friend, a broad and
fruitful field in London for your spiritual activity to recompense the
great--the very great--sacrifices you must make in parting from all that
you have loved in Liverpool. I have felt this so deeply that I never knew
exactly how to _wish_ that you might come to London; and, indeed, this
place, so emphatically _dissipated_," [that is, _mente dissipata
distracta_] "does not prize its great minds so much as smaller places
would. ... Beloved friend, you know that great expectations are formed of
you. It is hard, most hard, not to let this draw you into great
intellectual effort, from which I fear much. For your literary lecturing,
of course, I have no word of dissuasion. But let me assure you that in
your preaching there is _superfluous_ intellectual effort. It would be
spiritually more effective if there were far less perfection of literary
beauty and less condensation of refined thought and imaginative metaphor.
I hear again and again from _intellectual_ persons the complaint that the
effort to follow your meaning is too great, and impairs both the pleasure
and profit of listening to you. I myself am conscious that wonder and
admiration of your talent is apt to absorb and stifle the properly
spiritual influence, and when I _read_ your sermons, I often pause so long
on single sentences as to be fully aware that I could have got little good
from _hearing_ them. I know that no two men's nature is the same, and
habit is a second nature. Do not imagine that I wish you not to be
yourself. (There is no danger of that.) But I am sure that by cultivating
more of what the French call 'abandon'--by preparing with less
_intellectual_ effort for each separate sermon--though, of course, not
with less devotional purpose--and by letting your immediate impulse have a
large play in comparison to your previous study, there will be less danger
of overworking your mind and fuller effect on those who are to benefit.
... I dare say you received from me the new volume of _Religious Duties_.
Its author seems to me _primitively_ to have belonged to what you call the
class of ethical minds, but to have passed beyond it, and now to be at
once Passionate and Spiritual. And is not this the natural and rightful
thing, that though we begin with a fragmentary, we tend towards an
integral religion? This book has been to me most delightful and
profitable, and I trust you will also find it so. Such a revelation of a
pure, tender, ardent spirit is itself an inexpressible stimulus, and has
given me quite a flood of joy and sympathy.
"The doctrine of immortality so unhesitatingly avowed (?) affects me as
nothing from Theodore Parker on the same subject ever did. The love and
joy in God flowing out of it is so spontaneous and kindling as to make me
long to say,--I now no longer _hope_ only, but _I am sure_. In any case I
do rejoice that others can so believe, and I pray that if this be a mere
cloud over _my_ eyes, it may at length be taken away. Not that I have any
deficiency of _happiness_ from this, but I have a great deficiency of
_power_, and I am painfully out of sympathy with others by it.
"I want to cultivate, if I knew how, rather more free communication with
those who supremely love God as the Good One, and who will bear with me! I
much need this, if I could get it. But however shut up I may seem, believe
that a fire of love for you burns in my heart. With warm regards to Mrs.
"Your affectionate friend,
"F. W. Newman."
I should like to quote here words illustrative of this side of Newman's
personality, that side which reveals him "at once passionate and
spiritual," longing to attain to religious truth, and not railing against
the forms of dogma which have led other men into "the kingdom of heaven,"
as was his too frequent habit. These words were written by him when he
seemed to himself to have reached some measure of spiritual intuition, and
there is great beauty in them:--
"None can enter the kingdom of heaven without becoming a little child. But
behind and after this, there is a mystery revealed to but few, namely,
that if the soul is to go on into higher spiritual blessedness it must
become a _woman_. Yes, however manly thou be among men, it must learn to
love being dependent; must lean on God, not solely from distress or alarm,
but because it does not like independence or loneliness.... God is not a
stern judge, exacting every tittle of some law from us.... He does _not_
act towards us (spiritually) by generalities... but His perfection
consists in dealing with each case by itself as if there were no others."
And now, before concluding this chapter, I take two much later letters
written by Newman to Martineau; one is dated 1888 and the other 1892. The
first one is written quite clearly--which is wonderful when one remembers
that he was then eighty-three--and the other, four years later, is cramped
and not so easy to decipher. Still, in the first of these letters he
himself says, "I have to write as slow as any little schoolboy... and
cannot help some blunders." He had been to Birmingham on the 20th June to
see Cardinal Newman, and mentions how travelling by rail tried his head.
The latter part of the letter relates to a big dinner composed chiefly of
Anglo-Indians and their _attaches_. There is one lighted sentence near the
end which brings before one's mental eye his often-expressed "Mene, Mene,
Tekel Upharsin," with regard to the Indian Empire, our past
misgovernments, and our present failure to recognize old promises: "The
glorification of our Indian policy only made me melancholy."
The "degree" which Martineau was to receive was no doubt his "Doctor of
Divinity" degree which he took in 1884 (Edinburgh). Dr. Jowett, it will be
remembered, was, throughout his whole life, closely identified with
Balliol College. He was Fellow in 1838, tutor of his college from 1840
till 1870, when he was chosen as Master. Ruskin (to whom reference is made
in the second letter) gave the larger part of his originally large fortune
to the founding of St. George's Guild. This was intended to be a sort of
agricultural community of "old-world virtues" for young and old, "and
ancient and homely methods." One of his great aims was the promoting of
home industries. As regards Newman's reference to politics at the end of
letter No. 2 in 1888, Gladstone's Government was but just _breathing_
after the sharp tussle they had been through with the Home Rule party,
with Parnell at their head. In 1886 Gladstone had brought in the measure
which was to give Ireland a "statutory parliament." This was practically
the signal for a disastrous rent which tore his party in two, and was the
precursor of their defeat at the next General Election.
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"_6th July_, 1888.
"My dear Martineau,
"I did not know that the day of Oxford Convocation was June 20th. I was
engaged to the Worcester College Gaudy for the 21st. Had I known that on
the 20th you were to receive the degree, I should have been tempted to
come and 'assist,' though I have always had an instinctive hatred of such
"I was at Birmingham on the 20th to see my brother. The noises on the rail
greatly affected my brain and stomach. Noise was increased in the bedroom
at Oxford, beside which heavy goods went to the rail, and I had two bad
nights, partly from that cause, aided by the mental excitement up to
midnight." [It is not difficult to understand this "excitement." The
meeting between the brothers was never devoid of a certain mental
reticence. It must almost have been impossible to forget the fact that
about the subject on which each had always been most keenly exercised,
they were worlds apart.]
"When I reached home I thought myself _quite well_, but soon found I could
not write a word without one or more blunders in several letters, and a
needful epistle became a heap of unsightly blots. This is only
exaggeration of a weakness becoming normal with me. I have to write as
slow as any little schoolboy. My housemaid was alarmed without my knowing
it; but mere rest and sleep in some days removed my wife's alarms. But I
still am forced to write very slowly, and cannot help some blunders.... On
the morning of the 22nd I called on Jowett, who instantly said, 'Tonight
is _our_ Gaudy; you _must_ come to it.' I had to beg off from my Worcester
College host. (I was on my way to see friends in a neighbouring village.)
I sat down to dinner with 102 guests; such a company as I never before
_looked_ at. I name chiefly high Anglo-Indians and their various
_attaches_ (members of Balliol College): _oi peri_ Lords Northbrook,
Ripon, and Lansdowne, three Viceroys of India, and Sir Gordon Duff, late
Governor of Bombay." [It will not have been forgotten that the part played
by Lord Lansdowne and Lord Ripon in 1833, with respect to the Bill for the
discontinuance of the East India Company's trade, was not a very
"Many smaller stars, Mr. Ilbert of name well known, and (long ago to _me_
well known) General Richard Strachy, eager for bi-metallism. He began, but
alas! could not finish his elucidation to me, how it would relieve Indian
finance, without _anyone_ losing _any_thing, or any lessening of payment,
or dismissing officers, or the English Government paying anything, nor any
unlucky last holder of coin or paper losing. The miracle (as to me it
seemed) was to be wrought, not by a double standard--that was an ignorant
mistake--but by a _single standard metal_, composed of gold and silver in
fixed ratio. I was not happy enough (or unhappy enough) to _learn_ how
this was to result; but his eagerness and confidence were to me a
"A Worcester College man told me that your _Types of Morals_ had already
left a _strong_ impression on younger men. I think there has not yet been
time for the second great book and work.
"The glorification of our Indian Policy only made me melancholy. I hope
you now get full and real rest. Though I _feel_ as in perfect health, I
have to say to myself, _Non sum qualis eram_, and take warnings. Pray, do
you the same.
"Affectionately, to you and yours,
"F. W. Newman."
"In London vegetarianism seems going ahead. I have, still struggling
through the press, _Reminiscences of Two Exiles and Two Wars_. The Quakers
will be at once pleased and angry if that is possible."
_Dr. Martineau from Newman._
"_19th Aug._, 1892.
"My dear Martineau,
"I seem to have allowed you to get quite out of my sight. This is a result
of my practical renunciation of London, the place which seems too exciting
for me. I do not wonder that you so early take refuge in far Scotland. I
so mortified my dear friend Anna Swanwick last year by my sudden retreat
from the overstrain of her house, that I did not dare to repeat the trial
this year; indeed, I should deeply alarm my wife by attempting it, and,
alas! dear Anna herself proved unable to sustain herself--due, I suppose,
to the self-imposed task of her new book. Though I am myself (foolishly
perhaps) reprinting a tract on Etruscan, I see how many things are better
left to younger minds. I am here (near Bewdley, Worcestershire) to make
personal acquaintance with a remarkable man who has made marked advances
to me for more (I think) than three years. He _was_ a protege of Ruskin's
and member of St. George's Guild. As such he was (apparently) reared under
Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Carlyle more than under Ruskin, and heard
all the side of English Agnosticism. But with the growth of his own mind
he became dissatisfied, and now for fourteen years he has given himself to
a fruit farm of four and a half acres, with a cow and kitchen-garden and
pigs! and abundant poultry, and looks the type of the future English
peasant. His wife and one trusty woman manage dairy and cookery with
eminent success, and various sales, while he is cow-milker and gardener,
student also of fruit and of the soil. _It is to me an interest as a
foresight of the future_. He is a _student_ of our hardest literature, and
employs no labourer under him. Ignorant of foreign tongues, he reads
German translations and Jowett's _Plato_.... A school friend of Mr.
Braithwaite lately sought my acquaintance.... He tells me that Mr.
Gladstone lately gave to the world the utterance that among the
possibilities of the immediate future he now sees, rather than any general
Agnosticism, a simple recurrence to the simple Judaic Godhead. I _wish_
well to Gladstone's new Cabinet, but fear that the trickiness by which he
led Parnell's folk to aid Salisbury's overthrow will arouse a fatal
resentment. If he espouse the Indian claims, that may save him. My best
regards to all yours, and earnest wishes.
"Your affectionate friend,
"F. W. Newman."
Mr. Estlin Carpenter wrote lately to me to say that he does not know of
any evidence to prove that Newman and Martineau were "acquainted, or at
least intimate," before the former became tutor of Manchester College. He
says their correspondence ended in 1892, and he imagines that Newman's
"declining health during the last two or three years made further writing
impossible," but that their warm regard for each other, up to the very
end, was unalterable.
FRANCIS NEWMAN AS A TEACHER
Francis Newman was certainly one of the greatest mathematical and
classical scholars of his day. So that when the authorities of University
College secured him for their staff, they knew that they could have
obtained no better man for their purpose.
As a teacher he showed an infinite fertility of method in dealing with the
young men who, there for the purpose of learning, yet did not always
_want_ to learn! He had, in especial, that rather vague and narrow
definition of genius--"an infinite capacity for taking pains." He "took"
them always with any scholar who had failed to grasp his meaning in some
one of his instructions. He could put the whole matter in some absolutely
new light--take it from an utterly different point of view; so that, while
giving another chance to the slow-witted, he did not keep his whole class
waiting. The quality of teaching is not strained. It is doubtful if it is
capable of being learnt, if not in the first instance, in some measure,
innate. Lying dormant in a man's being--even if, perhaps, its presence is
unrecognized by its owner--it can certainly be developed by him when he is
conscious of it. But if the power in embryo be absent, it is a difficult
matter indeed to attain by effort any capacity of which one has not
already the beginnings in oneself. Indeed, a famous writer of another age
has written the word "impossible" against this attempt.
Frank Newman could, and would, take any trouble to help any dull student
over some mathematical or classical stile, but he was not an adept at
quickly getting into touch with that Presence which has moved, in
whimsical measure, through the ways and by-ways of this life since the
world began with coat of many colours, upon which the sun of merry
imagination was always sparkling, and cap and bells which could for the
moment ring sudden, spontaneous mirth across the shadows of the darkest
day. If in medieval days it could cross the cell of some grave and
reverend monastery, and guide the hand of some sculptor busy at his
gargoyle for some majestic church, surely it could, with the greatest ease
in the world, cross the threshold of some crowded class-room where a
learned, absorbed professor was endeavouring to gain the attention of a
number of young men rejoicing in their youth and on the look-out for the
first suggestion of the Spirit of Humour. Frank Newman was not quick at
appreciating the quips and cranks, the--to others--irresistibly mirth-
provoking sallies of humour. He was not quick at seeing a joke. And when
middle age was well past with him, he did not always see when he had
himself been provocative of an upset of gravity on the part of the
students. He did not always discover in time the pranks and designs for
diverting the course of true knowledge in which the average young
Englishman loves to indulge. He had not a very close focus for this sort
of thing, and probably the reason was, that he was so absolutely absorbed
in the subject which he was teaching or upon which he was lecturing. But
in teaching a mixed class of boys or young men it is a _sine qua non_ that
one possesses a "mind's eye" with easily adjustable focus, as in a
photographic camera; otherwise one cannot keep in mental touch with those
members of the class who "come to" play "and remain to" distract the
attention of fellow-students. Another reason why Newman did not appeal to
these non-studious ones was attributable to the fact that he was, in many
ways, very eccentric both in manner and dress. Now, everyone who knows the
average English boy at all, knows that if there is one thing he cannot
stand it is eccentricity. To be eccentric is to be taboo. As regards the
"correct" thing to wear, and the "correct" thing to do and how to do it,
he is generally quite as particular as the average young woman over
fashion. And anyone who offends in these respects has his name written
upon the ostracisic shell. If it happens to be a master--well, his
peculiarities are quite enough to divert the boy's attention successfully
from the weightier matters in which the master is vainly endeavouring to
Sir Alfred Wills, Mr. Winterbotham, Sir Edward Fry, Mr. William de Morgan,
and others, to whose kindness I am indebted for many reminiscences of
Professor Newman as a teacher, tell me that he had many eccentricities
which perpetually aroused their sense of humour. Sir Edward Fry tells me
that his manner, when he himself was at college in 1848, was "somewhat
nervous, perhaps even a little irritable, and he was not exactly popular
as a professor. But his lectures were very interesting and stimulating."
He adds that he was "a very brilliant scholar, with a tendency towards
This eccentricity showed itself in various forms, but one very noticeable
one was that of dress. I am told by a friend that he often dressed in the
onion fashion--three coats one over the other, and the last one--green!
That he often wore trousers edged with a few inches of leather, and that
his hats were not immaculate. Well, perhaps it has never been quite
understood from what part of old and unfashionable attire the Spirit of
Humour winks at one with such twinkling fun in the corner of its eye that
laughter is irresistible. But none the less, few there are of us who have
not--though it may be against our steadier and wiser judgment--at some
time or other caught sight of that wink, and laughed spontaneously. To
everyone who saw it, when the relics were collected and placed in his old
house in Cheyne Row, Carlyle's old 'top' hat was irresistibly funny.
Nothing loses caste more completely than a top hat when it is behind the
time, and the shine is off the silk.
Sir Alfred Wills mentions, in the reminiscences which follow, which he has
kindly sent me, that at one time Newman "took to walking from his house"
(in town) "to the college and back in cap and gown." This, however, was
not such a startling vagary of costume in a London street as was that of a
certain professor of my acquaintance, very absent-minded and dreamy, who,
intent on making some abstruse point clear to a young lady pupil, walked
one evening round and round a London square with her, talking earnestly,
and attired in his top hat and dressing-gown!
As regards Newman's teaching of Latin, Sir Alfred Wills says that "much
the best thing that" he "got from" him "was the practice in writing" it.
He tells us that his lectures showed signs of the most profound research,
and that he took untiring trouble in explaining any difficulty which had
arisen. If the difficulty had been that of some member of one of his
classes, he would not keep the whole class waiting while he went over the
difficult part of the lesson again, but he would approach the subject from
an altogether different point of view, and throw, for the class _in toto_,
a new light upon it.
Of course it was not only in Latin that he wished to make pupils think of
it as a "spoken language," for Mr. Darbishire tells us that "one of his
special endeavours was to accustom his students to deal with Greek _as a
spoken language_" [Footnote: It will be remembered that Francis Newman
introduced the "new" pronunciation of Latin.] (as, for instance) "in
reading Greek plays." Mr. Darbishire further tells us that Newman was
accustomed to have a series of meetings in his study for conversation in
As regards old methods of teaching Latin, I should like to quote from a
paper on "Modern Latin" which Francis Newman wrote in 1862, because there
is very much in what he says which shows where the failure of the old
system comes in:--
"In general the old method was one of repetition: _it dealt immensely in
committing Latin to memory_. Ridiculous as was the system of giving to
boys a Latin syntax in the Latin language, it at any rate did accustom
them to the reiteration of a small number of words expressed in very
simple sentences, and conveying knowledge of _immediate utility_.... While
I nevertheless believe that at most schools the boys still learn grammar
by heart, I venture to remark that the newer method of teaching, so far as
known to me, has immensely lessened the _quantity_ of Latin which is thus
"Further, it seems to me that we want what I may call a Latin novel or
romance--that is, a pleasing _tale_ of _fiction_ which shall convey
numerous Latin words which do not easily find a place in poetry, history,
or philosophy. Nothing has struck me as being so much to the purpose as an
imitation of the story of Robinson Crusoe, which brings in much that is
technical to special occupations--as in nautical affairs--carpentering,
fowling, pottery, basket-making, agriculture, etc.... If anyone had genius
to produce in Terentian style Latin comedies worthy of engaging the minds
and hearts of youth (for I can never read a play of Terence to a young
class without the heartache), I should regard this as a valuable
I pass on now to some reminiscences, kindly contributed by Sir Alfred
Wills, of the professor in relation to his University College students in
"I have a very distinct recollection of the personality of Mr. F. W.
Newman. He was appointed to the Professorship of Latin in University
College in 1846, and I entered the college in October, 1846, and attended
his first lecture and all those he delivered in the course of that
"He was of middle stature, very well made, with a face that always
reminded me of the type of the North American Indian, with which I was
familiar from Mrs. Catlin's book published in 1841. His complexion was
dark, his hair very black and with no tendency to curl, and he wore it
long, and his nose was aquiline. He differed from the Indian type,
however, in that his face was rather narrow than broad.
"His voice was particularly clear and 'carrying,' and every syllable could
be heard. I ought to have added to my description that his eyes were blue,
bright, very expressive, and his smile, not very often seen, peculiarly
sweet and engaging. He was decidedly eccentric. At one time, in dirty
winter weather, he wore trousers of which the lower six or eight inches
were of black leather; and at another time, upon what occasion I forget,
he took to walking from his house to the college and back in cap and gown.
There was a 'Cap and Gown' movement among the students, or some of them,
in the session 1847-8, but it was not upon that occasion, for I remember
seeing him in the streets in cap and gown, and during the session 1847-8,
I was at home in bad health, having overworked myself. He would now and
then, very seldom, ask some of the students to breakfast at his house. It
was an odd mixture of hospitality and formality. He never seemed quite at
his ease on such occasions, and I have a very distinct remembrance of one
of these occasions.
"It was in singularly gloomy and bitter weather in the winter or very
early spring of 1849. We were rather a large party. There was no fire
either in the room in which we assembled or in the breakfast room; and I
have not often been colder. There was only one guest who was not a
student, and he was a certain Herr Vukovich (that was how the name was
pronounced) who had been Hungarian Minister of Justice during the short
period when Kossuth was supreme in Hungary.
"When he came in, Professor Newman said: 'Gentlemen, this is Herr
Vukovich, lately Minister of Justice in Hungary,' and then turning to Herr
V., he added, 'I shall not introduce these gentlemen to you by name, as it
would be of no interest to you; and besides, you would forget their names
at once'; and then he went off at score with, 'I have never been able to
understand, Herr Vukovich, how it is that you have never introduced the
Bactrian camel into Hungary,' and then proceeded to enlarge upon the
admirable suitability of the Bactrian camel to the climate, soil, roads,
conditions of Hungary. Herr V. _looked_ very much as if he had never heard
of the Bactrian camel.
"During the whole of the session 1846-7, Newman's lectures were the wonder
of all who heard him. We read with him some of Cicero's letters to
Atticus, and his stores of information of every description--antiquarian,
philological, historical, and literary--were absolutely marvellous. I have
never destroyed or lost my notes of them, and I feel sure that they would
justify all that I have said. We all felt that we had secured for the
college an intellectual giant. I had the great advantage of being, during
my first session, in the senior class in both Latin and Greek, and we had
for our Greek Professor Mr. Malden, who, I should think, was unsurpassed
for sound and elegant scholarship, and in whose lectures I delighted from
first to last during my two sessions (1846-7 and 1848-9), but certainly
during the first session, Professor Newman's lectures were those which
made upon me the deepest impression, which remains unimpaired to this day.
It seemed as if no trouble was too great for him to take in preparing for
them and as if nothing which could throw any light upon a set of letters,
which are often obscure and difficult, ever escaped his eagle eye or his
profound research. When I returned to college in 1848, I met with a
profound disappointment. I have been asked for my recollections, and I
must make them truthful. Professor Newman was at that time much engrossed
with his theological and religious works.
"_The Soul_ was published in 1849, and whether that may account for the
change or not, the fact is that the lectures of that session presented a
marked contrast to those of the earlier session, and I don't think I am
exaggerating when I say that they were dry and jejune to the last extent.
And I felt throughout that session that much the best thing I got from it
was the practice in writing Latin, which was always an important part of
his teaching, and in which he was a master himself. I am sure it is true
that days often passed without there being anything in the lectures which
I cared to preserve or even to note. I had that year, however, the
privilege of reading the Nicomachean Ethics with him as a private pupil,
and found him as good in Greek and as interested in illustration as I had
previously found him in his Latin lectures.
"I forbear to touch upon his private character. That impressed itself
insensibly upon us as worthy of the highest respect. But it was simply
from the natural effluence of a noble character, for we came rarely into
anything like personal intimacy with him. He was reserved and even shy,
and I doubt if any of us knew much more of him privately than I did--which
was not much."
I think these reminiscences of Sir Alfred Wills bring before us very
vividly the sort of intercourse which existed between professor and pupil
in those days. It reveals Newman as a man with whom the pupil would not
feel altogether at his ease--towards whom he would not be moved to get
into close sympathy, and this, perhaps, very largely because of a certain
stiffness and formality of manner which unavoidably erects a barrier
before any natural, spontaneous conversation.
Sir Edward Fry mentions Newman's manner as a "nervous" one, but says that
his lectures were very stimulating, leading one to infer that even if the
delivery was not arresting or impressive, yet all this was made up for by
the force and brilliance of the matter itself.
It will be remembered that, at any rate, in his Oxford days, J. H. Newman
had not an impressive manner either.
We come now to some other keenly interesting recollections--those of Mr.
William de Morgan, who has kindly written them for this memoir. Mr. de
Morgan tells me that his father and Francis Newman were old friends, but
they were widely apart on religious questions, and that he remembers "when
the Martineau controversy was at its height" he said to him: "Newman and I
were very old colleagues, and I loved and respected him. But if I had been
supposed to have any official knowledge of Newman's views about
Christianity derived from my position as a Professor, I should have thrown
up my situation long ago." And Mr. de Morgan adds: "This had reference to
the absolute agnosis on religious views which was the banner U.C. nailed
to the mast in old days." He says he remembers, in his boyhood, that there
were many religious discussions between his parents and Francis Newman,
but that he was far too young to understand what they were about then, and
remembers them consequently but vaguely.
"When I came to see more of Newman as a Professor in class, I had arrived
at the condition of a pert and very foolish boy of sixteen who had made up
his mind to be an artist and failed altogether to take advantage of the
splendid opportunities before him. I attended Newman's classes; saw him
every day; might have acquired the knowledge of much of the Latin
classics. Somehow I missed my chances, and I cannot now recall a single
instance of my availing myself of the interviews he accorded so gladly to
any attentive student to get at difficult passages, and so on. In my time
I suspect his classes included a larger number than usual of bad and idle
young scaramouches, who deserved to be turned out of the class, instead of
the sort of over-forbearance their Professor showed. I feel sure now that
a more truculent character than his would have enforced order better, with
advantage to the weak and wavering pupils. He treated boys too much like
human creatures--and some of us were as mischievous as monkeys. I
recollect a particular instance illustrating this fact and his
"The weather was bad, and bad colds abounded. One day Newman ventured to
remonstrate gently with the victims of catarrh--indeed, the noise was
awful. But he had the indiscretion to add: 'Gentlemen, if you cannot wipe
your noses, I must really ask you to blow them outside the door.' Of
course the results were awful! The young imps rushed out incessantly into
the passage, and made noises like motor-cars. If the Professor committed
an error of judgment in his first edict, he certainly made up for it by
the way he kept his temper. In this he was really perfect. But the boys
presumed on it, of course. I remember that one of them, instead of
attending to his _Juvenal_, wrote a long poem about this nose incident,
which passed from hand to hand.
"There was another incident about that time which I fancy others may
remember better than I. It was snow time, and the schoolboys in the
playground were pelting papers in the college precinct. Newman passed by,
and a heavy volley all but destroyed his umbrella, which he used as a
shield. A few days after he came into the Common Room with a new umbrella.
'See what a beautiful present I've had,' he said, 'from my young friends
across the railings.' I have an impression that it was a guinea umbrella
bought with penny subscriptions; but this may be another story that has
got mixed with it."
Sir Edward Fry writes, in response to a request from me for his
recollections of Newman:--
"I attended Professor Newman's senior class on Latin literature for two or
three sessions in 1848, and I have a very vivid remembrance of him; at
that time he had not assumed a beard, and his clean-cut features were not
obscured by hair, as in later life. His lectures were very interesting and
stimulating. If I may venture to express an opinion on the point, I should
describe him as a very brilliant scholar, with a tendency towards
"We read whilst I was with him some three or four of the early works of
Livy, and some of the histories of Tacitus; and his expansion of the
Constitution of Rome, both at the early and later date, was of very
unusual excellence. Such was my memory, and this has been confirmed by a
reference to my notebooks which I have made in consequence of your note. I
think his estimate of character did not always agree with that of Tacitus.
Other subjects which I recollect as having been expounded were the
relation of Latin to the Celtic group of languages, and that everlasting
question, the relation of the Etruscans and the Pelasgi.
"Once a week Newman used to give out a piece of English prose to be
rendered into Latin; these he corrected, reading also to us his own
version. Since your note I have looked at such notes of his lectures as I
can find, and at his corrections of my Latin prose."
Mr. Talfourd Ely, writing on Francis Newman as a teacher, says "he was
most careful and conscientious in his work. He was refined and even
fastidious in literary taste. To the ordinary undergraduate, such as
myself, he seemed too little like other men. We did not understand his
genius, and were too apt to judge him by peculiarities of garb and speech.
Like many other scholars, he could hardly keep in touch with young
athletes, and probably did not care to do so. But personally I was greatly
indebted to him, and I can never forget his generous help and kindly
Mr. Winterbotham, also pupil of Francis Newman, says:--
"I was more keen on mathematics than classics, and was not what he would
have considered a promising pupil. My brother Edward, who was a year my
senior, was not much better.... My recollections are confined to the
peculiarities of his dress and manner: the rug with a hole in the middle
for his head, which formed his outer garment in winter. The complete suit
of dark grey alpaca, _tail_ coat, waistcoat, and trousers, which he donned
in warm weather.
"His remonstrance to the class on the indignity inflicted on him by the
boys at the adjoining school, who snowballed him and broke his umbrella,
was followed by his request that they would 'use their influence with the
boys' by way of protecting him in future, and his recognition of their
efforts next day, when he exhibited a new umbrella presented to him by the
boys.... For dear old De Morgan [Footnote: Father of the Mr. de Morgan who
contributes his reminiscences, and old friend of Newman.] I had a great
regard, and I was better able to appreciate his marvellous powers as a
Here is a short reminiscence by Professor Pye Smith:--
"Newman was a small, dark, slightly-built man, with black moustache and
beard, and a doubtful affected manner. He made us read long passages
without comment, and rarely went beyond the translation. I do not think I
ever spoke to him (or others of his class). The memory of his teaching
would, I think, be most valuable in correcting the Latin verses we made
for his comment and correction. The only professors at that time whom I
got great benefit from were Aston Key, De Morgan, and Masson."
The next reminiscence belongs to a much later date in the Professor's
life. In 1863 he was no longer teaching at University College. Mrs.
Kingsley Tarpey says she remembers him first in the summer of 1874 or
1875. Her descriptions of him, his opinions, and his life as she knew it
are full of keen interest.
[Illustration: FRANCIS NEWMAN
IN MIDDLE AGE
FROM PHOTO BY JOHN DAVIES, WESTON-SUPER-MARE]
In the quotation from a letter which follows, Professor Newman's own views
on teaching at the college are given:--
"You say there is a complaint that '_as the students cannot be got to
prepare their work_ the lessons _have come to be_ mere prelections from
the professors.' I am not aware of any change in the pupils since I have
been here, except that my classes are smaller, in part owing to the
removal of Coward College and the rivalry of the new institution in which
it is now comprised; in part (I happen to know) from dread of my personal
... influence; in part, I suspect, from the working of London University,
which I think bad; and others must add, whether worst of all is, my own
want of judgment in selecting subjects, and the mode of the treatment.
Undeniable it is that my classes are smaller, that my half-dozen best
scholars are decidedly below the half-dozen best I had in the first year
or two. But if I am myself to blame, it is, I think, _from the very
reverse process_ of that implied in the words above quoted, viz. I often
question whether it would not be at once wiser and more right to raise my
teaching to the small minority of my best pupils, and ignore the many who
come in on my classes unprepared. I have of late suspected that I allow
the University so to drag me down into school teaching that the abler and
advanced students are driven away from me. Moreover, I am getting quite
sick of going again and again over elementary books in mere school
"To vary this, I have this term given one day a week in my senior class to
lecture _on_ books, viz. 1st, on Horace's _Odes_, which nine out of ten
have already read, and which I myself read with the junior class last
session (having engaged to do this before I guessed that the University
would select the same year for B.A.), and many of the junior class being
this year in my senior class. 2nd, on the _Epistles_ of Cicero, which are
enormously too long and too difficult for pupils to read, and in which,
nevertheless, candidates for honours at B.A. are liable to be examined. I
conjecture that somebody has seen this announcement of mine in our
prospectus, and imputes it to a _relaxation of discipline_ in my pupils
(indeed there is little enough, and always was, in the majority of mine;
they only want to scrape through their degree, and the University kindly
keeps its real demands at a minimum). On the contrary, it is an effort of
mine to make the lectures less unworthy of my more advanced pupils. I may
add that I have _always_ lectured more or less in this way on Cicero's
_Letters_.... At the same time I avow my entire dissatisfaction with
things as I have them. In June I have to print and publish the books in
which I will lecture from October to June next, _while I have not the
slightest idea who will be in the classes_. In August, out comes the
statement of University books for the following year, which often
increases my confusion. It is easier to complain of this than to remedy
It is not difficult to understand Newman's point of view as regards the
almost impossibility of keeping in hand in one class a team of students--
some eagerly desirous of going forward into the real study of literature,
and others only anxious to "scrape through" for the purpose of obtaining
Mrs. Kingsley Tarpey's reminiscences begin thus:--
I think it was in the summer of 1874 or 1875 that Professor Newman first
came to visit us. My mother had been much interested in some articles of
his on vegetarianism, and had corresponded with him on the subject, and
when the Annual Conference of the Vegetarian Society was held in
Manchester later on, he stayed with us. This visit was the beginning of a
very warm friendship with our family, which lasted close on twenty years.
During that time my mother corresponded regularly with Professor Newman,
but unfortunately only some eighteen or twenty of his letters have been
preserved. There is scarcely one of these, however, that does not contain
something of permanent interest and value.
I remember very well, in the days when we used to have visits from him,
that Professor Newman was looked upon by very many as a mere faddist. His
extreme views on several subjects no doubt took him out of range of the
sympathies of the "man in the street." But it is strange to find, on
looking through these letters, how advanced opinion is coming into line
with his so-called outrageous ideas of a generation ago. It would have
given him keen pleasure, if he could have lived till now, to see the
strides that have been made of late years in the Women's Suffrage
movement, and the admission of women to public bodies. In social and moral
reform, and in the Temperance movement also, the progress has been very
marked, and we may soon have an Act prohibiting the smoking of tobacco by
young boys--a matter on which Professor Newman had very strong views.
Last, but not least, the Vegetarian movement, in which he took so keen an
interest, has gained new vigour from the advocates of the simple life.
I remember that on the occasion of his first visit we children regarded
him with mingled awe and curiosity. His quaint appearance and his formal,
deliberate manner of speech made him seem to us like a being from another
world. We were at once fascinated and repelled, and I think he became at
first the object of our constant, though furtive, observation. But his
unvarying gentle kindness and extreme simplicity very soon won our
confidence, and later on an accident made us his fast friends and
It happened that the second or third time that he came to Manchester for
the annual meeting of the Vegetarian Society, my father and mother were
away, and it fell to the younger members of the household to entertain our
distinguished visitor. It was an occasion looked forward to with
trepidation and misgiving, but we need not have felt alarmed. No one could
have been more genial in his attitude to the youthful housekeepers. He
would chat easily and pleasantly with even the youngest of us, and he
always managed to find some interesting topic. Sometimes he would give us
an account of the doings at the Conference during the day. I remember some
curious facts about some of the members. One man ate nothing but apples,
and considered them a complete and ideal food for man. Another varied his
diet between roots and nuts. He carried assorted strange nuts with him in
his pocket, and after his speech he presented some to the President. Our
Professor brought them home with him and wished us to try them, but I am
afraid that, with the conservative instinct of young animals, we
distrusted the unknown, and we did not venture. The Professor considered
that our molar teeth clearly indicated grain, roots, and nuts as our food,
and the incisors as clearly suggested fruit, but at that time he was in
some doubt about the canine teeth. At his request some of us gravely
cracked nuts with him, and after the experiment we agreed that human
beings more naturally crack nuts with the back teeth, where leverage is
most powerful. A suspicion remained that our pointed fangs _might_ have
been used to tear flesh!
During this same visit it was suggested that the Society should change its
name to one that would describe it more accurately, "Vegetarian,"
strictly, implying that the members would eat only vegetables. There was
much difficulty in finding a portmanteau word that would convey
vegetables, eggs, and milk. Professor Newman much disliked the idea of
calling it the VEM Society (the name that was afterwards adopted, I
think); his proposal was "Anti-creophagite," or "Anti-creophagist." But he
could get no support for this name; members objected that no one would
know what it meant or how to spell it. Professor Newman had been pained to
learn that only two or three people in the hall knew the Greek word.
He was very much interested in language, and it was characteristic of him
never to pass a word that he did not know. He had a great dislike and
contempt for _slang_, and he deplored the growing use of it, and the
impoverishment of the language that resulted. But dialect words, or old
words that lingered in some parts of the country, while they had dropped
out of common speech, interested him greatly. One day a younger sister of
mine brought him a footstool as he sat reading, and in offering it to him
called it a "buffet." It is not a word in common use, but I think we had
adopted it from the nursery rhyme about "Miss Muffett, who sat on a
buffet." The Professor was on the alert at once.
"That word is quite new to me," he said. "Did you say 'bussock'? I wonder
is that a Lancashire word, or does it come from Ireland? 'Bussock'! Will
you spell it for me, please?"
My sister was far too young and too shy to correct him, and after faintly
murmuring "buffet" again, she ran away in extreme confusion. I am afraid
"bussock" went down in the Professor's notebook as an interesting variant
In this connection some delightful stories were told by Dr. Nicholson, of
Penrith, an old friend of Professor Newman's and of my father's. The
Professor was staying at Penrith, and the two friends had been walking up
a steep path. When they stopped to rest, the doctor was regretting that
his climbing days were virtually over.
"The truth is," he said humorously, "we are neither of us as steady on our
pins as we once were."
"Pins, Nicholson, pins! What are _pins_?" asked Professor Newman gravely.
On another occasion they were out walking together and the first Lord
Brougham passed them in an open carriage. Dr. Nicholson remarked upon Lord
Brougham wearing "goggles," and Professor Newman said, in his gentle
deliberate way, "Now, Nicholson, may I ask what you exactly mean by
The Professor wore hats that in those days were considered amazing: large
white or light grey hats made of soft felt. On one of his visits to
Penrith he had walked up from the station to the house, and he was
followed by a crowd of little boys shouting "Who's your hatter?" which was
a catch-phrase of the time. The Professor described to Dr. Nicholson what
an extraordinary interest the boys had shown. "They repeatedly asked me,"
he said, "to tell them who was my hatter, and really, Nicholson, at the
time I could not remember the man's name."
Miss Nicholson, of Penrith, adds another story which should have place
"My own chief recollection of him," she writes, "is of a day when he and
the second Mrs. Newman came into Penrith with me, where I had some
shopping to do. On the way into the town Professor Newman said, 'You do
not seem to be very clear as to the history of John Brown and the battle
of Bull's Run.' I said I was not very clear about it, so he began from the
beginning, so to speak, and the story of John Brown lasted till we reached
home again. I went into shops to make my purchases, and on each occasion
as I came out Professor Newman took up his tale just where he had left
off. He showed no annoyance at the frequent interruptions or at my
inevitable lapses of attention. His wonderfully clear, distinct
enunciation, and his marvellous memory for facts, never faltered."
There was an extraordinary absence of humour about Professor Newman that
made him at times unconsciously very humorous. I wish I could remember the
quaint wording of an advertisement of his for a cook in a vegetarian
paper. There was a long and precise account of the services required for
"the smallest possible family," and application was to be made by letter
to "Emer. Prof. F. W. Newman," etc. We thought some of the cooks might be
puzzled to know what Emer. Prof. meant. I remember also an artless post
card he wrote after one visit explaining that he had forgotten his
_teeth_, and asking to have them sent after him.
He had a very odd theory about baldness in men. It sounds a little like a
joke, but I believe it was meant in all seriousness. He had observed that
men with a very strong growth of beard were more liable to go bald early
than those who had the hair on the face thin and scanty. He described this
as a kind of _landslip_, I remember, and his idea was that human beings
could only have a small crop of hair, and that a good crop on the chin
meant a failure higher up. And that, he thought, accounted for the fact
that women rarely go bald.
At the time of the visit I have described, our whole family had become
enthusiastic vegetarians--indeed, I may say the whole household of
fourteen, for the servants had followed suit. This was a great pleasure to
Professor Newman, for it was through his writings that my mother had first
become interested in the subject. He had great hopes at one time that she
would also share in some other crusades of his against alcohol, tobacco,
vaccination, etc. etc. He sent her a great number of leaflets and
pamphlets on all these subjects, but though my father was a non-smoker and
almost a total abstainer, he was so from habit and inclination and not
from any pledge, and I do not remember that the Professor made any convert
except myself. I came across a bundle of tracts of his which no one seemed
to be reading, and I devoured them all. For some years, from about the age
of fifteen, I was an enthusiastic follower of Professor Newman, even in
his most extreme ideas. I am afraid he never became aware of this,
however, for of course it was only with the older members of the family
that he would discuss such questions.
The most enjoyable visit we ever had from him was also the last of any
length that he paid us. I think it must have been in the summer of 1879 or
1880, when we were living in the country a few miles from Manchester. It
was then I first learnt what a delight a country walk might be. He joined
some of the younger members of the party who were taking the dogs out for
a run, and I do not think two hours were ever spent by us in a more
interesting and fascinating way. He had the rare and charming gift, in
talking to young people, of making them feel that he regarded them as
equals. And though he was imparting knowledge all the time, he had the air
of being really more interested in what they had to contribute. That walk
was a revelation to me, a kind of treasure trove of natural science.
Hitherto my love of nature had been almost entirely aesthetic and
poetical, and this walk with the Professor gave me a new pleasure and a
new interest in country life.
I should run into great length if I were to set down all the little traits
and incidents that go to make up the memory of that gentle and charming
personality. His eccentricities were entirely lovable, as we knew them,
and even when he meant to be severe his unconsciously humorous way of
putting things took away the sting, as when, one day at lunch, he pointed
at a jug of claret and asked, "What is that ugly black liquid? I say ugly
and black because I believe it to be some kind of wine."
He had kind and courteous ways with women, and he surprised one by his
thoughtfulness in domestic matters. There was no subject too small or too
remote for his consideration. I remember his showing us a new scientific
way to build a fire, lighting it from the top; and it is upon a lesson of
his on rural sanitation that I have based my own management of those
matters in our country home. I have a pleasant memory of his holding a
skein of wool for me to wind one wet afternoon, and of his telling me the
while of his observations of a family of _bugs_. He was travelling in the
East, and at some place where he stayed was much distressed by vermin. At
last he discovered that a procession of bugs came out nightly from a
certain crack in the plaster, and by removing the paper he could get a
very good view of the colony with the aid of a glass. He did not disturb
them, it is needless to say, but watched them during his stay, and learnt
many curious things about their habits and customs. He formed a very high
opinion of their intelligence, I remember.
One day he came in and found my mother and some of us sitting sewing; he
asked if he might read to us, and said that his mother and sister used to
like him to read to them when they had work to do. I do not remember in
the least what he read to us, though I am sure it was appropriate and
instructive; but I remember well that he stood while he read, and that his
delivery was as clear and as careful as if he had been reading to a large
After his second marriage we saw him but little, but my mother heard from
him now and then, and he often sent her articles he had written. In the
last years of his life he wrote but seldom. I give extracts from letters
over a period of about eighteen years.
FRANCIS NEWMAN IN PRIVATE LIFE
BY MRS. BAINSMITH, SCULPTOR
My father and mother were very great personal friends of Newman's,
consequently I saw a great deal of him during my early girlhood.
My father was the late George Bucknall, of Rockdene, Weston-super-Mare,
and for many years was a great invalid. He suffered from locomotor ataxy.
Professor Newman lived just across the road from our house: we could often
see him walking about his garden, or sitting at his library window, and
very often he came across to our house to discuss his books or letters
with my father.
As a young girl I remember the great fascination of his courtly, genial
manners. I shall never forget my first interview with him. It happened on
my return home from school for the holidays. Being much distressed at
having to change from the old pronunciation of Latin to the "new," it
occurred to my father that I should ask Professor Newman to help me. So I
went in to see him. He was sitting by the fire in large fur-lined boots
made of felt, and wearing two coats (for he always found it difficult to
keep sufficiently warm). When I stated my difficulty, he went to his
shelves with his wonderful smile (the room was lined from floor to ceiling
with books) and took out his translation of the _Iliad_, and read it to
me. Then he said quite casually, "Now I will read the same passage to you
in Latin." And he proceeded to read it aloud in a musical voice of
exquisite charm. I cannot express the pleasure which this gave me, nor how
it set me at my ease with him from that moment. He gave me a very warm
invitation to come again, and he would gladly help me in any holiday work
I wanted to do.
I was always specially struck with his way of talking about religion. He
was very reverent in what he said, and it was evident that he was at heart
deeply religious. I mention this because in later years it has been often
a shock to me to find him condemned by others for doubting revealed
The Professor's special views on foods were very strong, and he had a
great dislike for the custom of rearing cattle for food. Once he gave a
dinner party to show how many choice courses could be served with
vegetarian recipes only. As my mother was ill at the time, I was invited
to go with my father. I remember the delightful way in which he received
us. He presented the "youngest lady" (myself) to the "oldest gentleman"--
the late Professor Jarrett, who was an old college friend of his, and who
was staying with Newman. I remember the awe with which I gazed at him. Mr.
and Mrs. Dymond, Mr. and Mrs. Temperley Grey, and Mr. and Mrs. F. G.
Comfort were among the other guests.
Once, when he was talking to my mother, he said: "You are wearing a nice
coat" (a black fur one). "I suppose it is very dear? How much a yard do
you think it would cost?" As he spoke he looked down at his own coat (the
outside one of three), and said: "I have had this coat twenty years and
cannot match the cloth." This was not to be wondered at, for it was a long
hairy one--quite green with age. Another day I came into the room and
heard the Professor say to my mother quite seriously: "I never can
understand how it is that my hat always interests the idle little boys in
the street. They say as I pass them, 'Where did you get that hat?'
Everyone wears a hat of one shape or another, and I really fail to see why
_mine_ should be so very interesting."
He was wearing a soft felt hat with a very broad brim, set far back on his
head; and with his peculiar American-looking beard and thin grey locks
that came down over the high Gladstone collar which he always wore, and a
black and white shepherd's-plaid scarf wound round his neck and twisted
over in front with its ends tucked into his waistcoat, he looked
I remember once running as fast as I could to catch the post, and as I
started I saw the Professor in front of me, evidently bent on attaining
the same object. Great was his glee when at last I did overtake him
(though I had some difficulty, for he ran well even at the age of
seventy), and he said, "I thought I would give you a good race, but you
have caught me up after all!"
One day he called just as I was going for a ride. He gave me quite a
lecture on the dangers of the side-saddle, and said very earnestly that
women ought to ride "astride" (at that time this was a thing _incompris_
in England). He declared that women in other countries were accustomed to
riding thus, and that it was the only safe method of riding.
At the time of his brother's being made Cardinal, some ardent admirers of
the Professor's in Australia sent him a very beautiful silver inkstand.
His delight and pleasure in receiving such a present was great. But that
people should think of him in that way was a great surprise, for his
humility as regarded his powers was a very noticeable fact about him
always. The design of the inkstand was one of great beauty and good
workmanship. It represented ostriches standing under a palm tree, and
beside them was an exquisitely made silver feather for a pen.
[Illustration: FRANCIS NEWMAN
EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF LONDON UNIVERSITY
Enlargement of photograph of the bronze bust done from life by Mrs.
Georgina Bainsmith, sculptor, of St. Ives, Cornwall, which is now in
University College, London.]
One afternoon my father, mother, and I were all sitting reading, when the
door opened and the Professor walked in. He held his hat in his hand, and
a large rug was fastened round his shoulders like a shawl (over his three
coats), and in his hands he held a small brown-paper parcel. As he came in
he said, "I don't know why your maid did not announce me--I see she is a
stranger"; and then turning to my mother, who had been ill, he said, "My