Part 3 out of 7
cook has made a new vegetarian dish for my lunch to-day, and I requested
her to make some for you, as I am quite sure it will suit you." The dish
turned out to be delicious--one of those which his wonderful vegetarian
cook was so constantly inventing. [Footnote: The parlourmaid, on being
reprimanded for not showing Newman into the drawing-room, said she thought
she was only to show "gentlemen" into the drawing-room!]
Newman had a theory that plants feel pain, and that we should treat all
vegetable life as if it were sentient, and care for it accordingly.
The Professor was always ready to respond to any appeals for the
advancement of the Woman's Suffrage movement. At that time it was very
unpopular, but whenever we had meetings in favour of it at our house he
was always the moving spirit.
At Weston-super-Mare Newman lived a life of great seclusion, and I believe
I was the only young girl who visited him constantly--indeed, ours was the
only house to which he came almost daily. Once when he was very ill, I
think I was the only visitor admitted; and as Hannah, his old servant,
ushered me in with a smile of pleasure, I heard a curious sound. On
looking back to the hall door I saw a huge netting hanging from where the
letter-box should be, trailing along the floor like a huge sausage,
crammed full of letters of enquiry for the Professor. Hannah told me "the
master had not been able to attend to them."
I had long possessed a great wish to devote my time to the study of
modelling, and my father's great wish was that I should devote myself to
Art. In 1885 I gained the distinction of a silver medal at Taunton
Exhibition for modelling some flowers in clay on vases, with low relief
panels. This pleased the Professor very much; and when, one day, I told
him how keenly I wanted to model a bust of his head and shoulders, he
smiled, and said, with an odd boyish, shy sort of pleasure, "Was he good-
looking enough to be immortalized?" and added he would be delighted to sit
to _me_ for his portrait, though he had always refused to sit to others to
So he used to come and talk to my mother, and thus I was able to work at
my modelling with ease. Great was my delight when I found I possessed
power over the clay, and was succeeding in making a portrait which
everyone considered a good one. The Professor insisted on my being very
particular over the collar and the scarf. (His collars always had to be
made for him, as he could not buy in shops the kind he wore.) In later
years of hard student life that followed, for me, with the added
distinction of other medals, nothing ever came up to the excitement caused
by my portrait of the Professor. The bust [Footnote: This bust is now
standing in the general library of London University, with this
"FRANCIS WILLIAM NEWMAN
(brother of the Cardinal),
Emeritus Professor of University College, London.
Natus June 27, 1805. Obiit October 4th, 1897.
As an expression of the great esteem and affection in which he was held
by all who knew him, this bust (modelled from life by the
Sculptor) is presented to this University by
GEORGINA BAINSMITH, Sculptor,
"St. Ives, Cornwall." Aug. 1907.] has always been one of my greatest
treasures; and after the lapse of years that have gone by since it was
first modelled, I still revere and reverence his memory and his truly
beautiful life. Whatever he wrote, _this_ is what his actual life and
deeds expressed strongly: "_he lived to do good_." This is what impressed
me most as a young girl, and my life has been richer and nobler for the
honour and privilege of knowing Francis Newman.
_nee_ Bucknall. St. Ives, Cornwall.
[Illustration: ANOTHER VIEW OF THE BUST IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (OF FRANCIS
NEWMAN), ON ITS PLINTH
BY MRS. GEORGINA BAINSMITH, SCULPTOR, OF ST. IVES, CORNWALL
The Reproduction is by Mr. J. C. Douglas, of Strives, Cornwall, and was
photographed from the clay before it was cast.]
LETTERS TO ONE OF HIS GREATEST FRIENDS, DR. NICHOLSON
Dr. Nicholson, a native of Barbadoes, was only fourteen years old when his
father, Rev. Mark Nicholson, came to England. [Footnote: I am indebted for
these facts of Dr. Nicholson's life to some printed data kindly sent me by
his daughter.] He was sent to a private school at Bristol, and went on to
Oxford, where he took his B.A. degree. Later on he went to study Oriental
languages at Gottingen; and there he became the pupil of the famous Dr.
Ewald, Professor of Oriental Languages. At the end of his work there Dr.
Nicholson obtained the Ph.D. degree. The Professor and he became close
friends, and a correspondence began between them, on Dr. Nicholson's
departure, which lasted unbroken till the Professor's death. He was
perfectly conversant with Latin and Greek, and also Arabic, while Hebrew
was almost as familiar a language; and as for his knowledge of Sanscrit,
Ethiopian, Gothic, Chaldean, Syriac, French, German, Spanish, Italian,
Danish, it was as perfect as could be. He had, in the truest sense, the
_gift_ of tongues. Sixteen languages, indeed, he had mastered besides his
own. He had, in very truth, a perfect genius for them. And it was no
slipshod attainment with him to learn any one of the sixteen; for by the
time he had mastered a language he practically knew it inside _and_ out.
He loved this study perhaps more than any other, because it gave him a
truer insight into Holy Scripture. Many articles on the Hebrew Scriptures
were contributed by him to _Kitto's Biblical Encyclopaedia_, and there are
many allusions to these in Newman's letters which follow. He translated
Dr. Ewald's _Hebrew Grammar_, and thus it became well known to Englishmen.
[Illustration: DR. JOHN NICHOLSON
FROM A PHOTO TAKEN AT GOTTINGEN BETWEEN 1855 AND 1860
BY KIND PERMISSION OF MISS NICHOLSON, PENRITH]
Dr. Nicholson lived for forty years at Penrith. He did not care to go much
in society; he was too true a student for that. For the two studies (and
social life _is_ certainly one) are so diametrically opposed regarded as
pursuits, that it is almost impossible to make the day long enough to
devote oneself to both. "Love to study" might very truly have been
recognized as his life motto, even as it was that of one of the greatest
students at Harrow a few years ago, Rev. Thomas Hancock, for both men
cared nothing for fame. Dr. Nicholson was a man of strong religious
tendencies, and though he was in no way narrow in his views of other
religious societies, yet he was decidedly most in touch with the Anglican
Church. As a politician he was a Liberal. Fifty years ago he married the
second daughter of Captain Waring, R.N., and had six children.
He died (in November, 1886), as Rev. E. W. Chapman, Vicar of Penrith,
said, "in perfect peace, with our Lord's Name and our Lord's last words on
his lips. His presence in the town, his loving sympathy with poor people,
his kindly greeting to all who knew him, we shall miss very much...." He
added that "his whole life was spent in the study of Holy Scriptures...."
Francis Newman was his lifelong friend, and the letters which follow will
plainly show that it was a friendship of kindred spirits: the friendship
of two who had a great many interests in common, and were therefore in
close touch with each other.
_To Dr. Nicholson from Francis Newman._
"_17th Feb._, 1843.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"I hope you will not bother your little boy with any foreign language too
soon. _Soak_ him well and long in his native English, or he will never
come to any good, I fear. If he sees a father in love with German, he will
of himself quite early take to it. The great difficulty (I should expect)
will be to secure that it may not be too early. Of course you see about
the Anti-Corn Law doings? I think I shall before long be as fanatical as
anyone about it: I rage the more inwardly because I have no vent. I am
eager to sign a solemn league and covenant about total and immediate
repeal, which I suppose and hope they will get up...."
The next letter in order refers to "Berber," a language bearing some
relation to the Arabic, over which Newman was at work with his dictionary.
It also touches on his own ill-health and enforced idleness. It is dated
from Manchester, October, 1843:--
"I have been suffering indisposition which was aggravated in reality by
overrating its importance. My medical adviser said it was organic
affection of the heart; in spite of my great incredulity ... I took other
advice afterwards in Derby, where I went to see one of my sisters, and am
now assured that it was nothing but 'the great sympathetic' that
disordered the heart. I was nearly three weeks in the country and in
idleness, and gained much benefit from it. I spent much indoors time in
learning to use water-colours, and got a nice pony to ride, and was a
great deal in the air, and very early to go to bed; and took no medicines
but tonics and a colocynth pill on occasion. Myself and wife both return
much better. I believe I knocked myself up by excitement of mind over the
Berber and working at my dictionary, At Prichard's advice I have lately
written to Bunsen to ask his aid in getting the dictionary published. I
think it may be of use, as adding one more known language in North Africa
to those already accessible, which are, I believe, Arabic, Coptic, Gheez,
In June of the same year he says, in respect of Kitto's _Encyclopaedia_:
"Your _Ahasuerus_ shows you to me as an invaluable contributor to him: I
could not have written that (if I had had the learning) without an attack
on Ezra and Esther about the word!... Mr. Jowett has sent me (at Bunsen's
and Prichard's request) the chief part of the transcript of the Berber MS.
in the possession of the Bible S----. I suppose I must do my best now to
get deeper into the language."
In May, 1845, Newman has been greatly interested in translating into
Greek, English verses "to test the _possibility_ of retaining any Greek
accent such as the books mark in singing." He has tried translating "Flow
on, thou shining river" in Greek, so that it might be sung to Moore's own
tune. One does not come across in his letters much reference to music, nor
does it seem as if he had any great taste for it--at any rate, not in the
same way as had Cardinal Newman, who had a real passion for it in earlier
The later part of the letter has to do with the much-vexed question of the
Newman writes from "4, _Cavendish Place_, 12th _May_ 1845":--
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"I venture to enclose two tunes for the Sapphic metre, Greek and Latin, to
which my sister, at my request, has added an accompaniment. Will you be so
kind as to get Mrs. Nicholson to play the piano while you sing it, and
tell me what is to be said to it? While dabbling in some of these tunes, I
have translated divers scraps of English poetry into Greek,
experimentally, especially to test the _possibility_ of retaining any
Greek accent, such as the books mark, in singing. It seems to me a clear
impossibility, whether emphasis or sharpness of note predominated in the
accent. I have translated 'Flow on, thou shining river' to Moore's own
tune, so as to retain Greek accent _as well as_ quantity in exact
agreement to the music ... the commonest metres puzzle me most....
"I wonder what you think of the Maynooth Controversy? To me it has been so
puzzling a one that I have been heartily glad that nothing obliged me to
express an opinion.
"Some things seem clear to me: (1) That a measure for cutting down the
Church of Ireland, as by Lord Morpeth's Bill, would have been, and would
now be, far better in every respect than this of Sir R. Peel; (2) that the
present is a mode of perpetuating the _sinecure_ Church of Ireland by
paying the Romish, and real Church, out of English and Scotch funds. Hence
it is popular with many Irish Protestants, of which Sir R. Peel _boasts!_"
[Francis Newman seems to forget, in his frequent allusions to
"Protestants", that there was a National Church in Ireland, as in England,
long before the word which sprang into being at the Reformation had found
"If they (the Government) were pleading that a Romanist people ought to be
allowed to support their own Romish clergy, they could justly claim that
we, as a Protestant people, would not interfere on the ground of our
dislike to Romish doctrine. But when they demand to support Romanism out
of common funds, they implicate _us_ in the question, whether (on the
whole) _that_ religion contains more truth or error; and I think they
_force_ those who see it in black colours to urge the No Popery cry. So
far, I am disposed to justify the Anti-Maynooth war. Sir R. Inglis may be
a bigot in his view of Romanism ... but I think he is _not_ 'out of order'
in intruding the religious demerit of Romanism into a parliamentary
discussion. If this measure had been thrown out, I fear Ireland would have
been awfully embittered. Yet I hope the fierce opposition will stop any
future scheme of keeping the sinecure church untouched and endowing the
priests with imperial money.... Thus I halt between two opinions."
In November, 1843, Newman touches briefly upon the Oxford movement thus:--
"You do not seem to know that the _Record_ has been making a fuss this
last month about the Bishop of Oxford's public declaration that he never
requested my brother to suppress Tract 90. All he did was to suggest that
'the publication of the Tracts be discontinued,' which meant that there
was to be no No. 91. The Bishop indignantly disclaims the idea that my
brother had been disobedient.
* * * * *
"I am, for a week past, resting from Berber, having written to M. d'Avezac
in Paris to ask whether a report I heard is true, that he is preparing a
dictionary of it. I have ordered an Amharic grammar, too, and want to
compare them, but I abhor the Ethiopic type!.... I cannot get Kitto to
tell me whether the sale of the _Cyclopaedia_ is satisfactory."
As regards Irish affairs:--
"I have lately spoken at a meeting of the Friends of Ireland, and have
sent to the _Guardian_ newspaper here, [Footnote: Manchester Guardian.] in
reply to their demand that I would specify some plan, a paper on _Fixity
of Tenure_ for the cottiers of Ireland. I feel no doubt that this must ere
long become the great Irish question, of even more interest than the
And in March he gives more news of his "Berber":--
"I am again at work at the Berber MS., which I have not touched since the
1st October. The Royal Asiatic Society have accepted my offer to edit it.
At present their pages are occupied with the history of Darius Hystaspis
from the rocks at (I think) Besittoon, near Hemadon--the most curious
document which recent research has brought to light, and, I am told,
confirming in detail the accounts of Herodotus."
The two following letters to Dr. Nicholson deal chiefly with matters
connected with John Sterling (who had recently died) and with Newman's
arrangements for adopting one of his children.
Perhaps most people are familiar with Carlyle's biography of Sterling, but
it may be as well to say here that he was a brilliant writer, a Liberal in
politics, and interested himself keenly in General Torrijos and his group
of Spanish exiles. When at college, at the age of nineteen, he came under
the influence of Julius Hare, his tutor. When he was twenty-six he again
fell in with Hare at Bonn, and here came to pass one of the mistakes of
his life. Chiefly through Hare's influence he took deacon's orders, and he
worked under Hare at Hurstmonceaux for the best part of a year. Very soon
afterwards he began to feel the breach growing wider between his own
convictions and those taught by the Church. He never, consequently, took
priest's orders. Through grievous ill-health his winters were passed at
Bordeaux, in Italy, or at Madeira. He died at Ventnor 18th Sept., 1843.
"While riding to-day I was meditating on the continual strain which the
pulling of my horse made on the left arm, while the right was idle; and it
struck me that this might conduce to the size of the muscles on that side.
Also my wife always leans on the left, as being stronger in her right
arm.... The hardest work I am put to is holding an umbrella against a
fierce wind; and in this my right hand certainly beats my left.... I have
had no bad nights since I left Manchester, except two which I attribute to
an excitement on meeting my sister, whom I had not seen for eight
years.... I mean to return home next Saturday. Since I left you an
important change of prospect in my domestic economy has occurred. I have
accepted the responsible office of guardian to the eldest son (thirteen
years old) of my dear dying friend Sterling, whom I went to see at
Ventnor, Isle of Wight. The lad will come to Manchester next week, and in
future live in our house, and I trust I shall love him as a son. He seems
a very affectionate boy. His mother died about eighteen months ago. I
found my poor friend on the whole stronger than I had expected, yet
steadily declining: long since convinced that his case was hopeless (and
indeed expecting his end sooner than those around him), yet thoroughly
calm and resigned to the gracious will of Him Who had so ordained it. Not
to mourn over talents so high and a will so upright thus prematurely to be
lost to us were impossible, even did I not know how truly brotherly in
affection is his heart to us. He will leave six orphan children. Yet this
calamity is relieved by the tenderness of his brother to them, and by the
existence of adequate supplies for all reasonable wants.... Tell your
little boy that I have to-day been out with a nephew of mine (Johnny
Kennaway) nearly of _his_ age, and he rides a little white pony. It was
almost too spirited for him, and I was once afraid it would run away with
him; but I could not do anything to help him but pull up my own horse
short and call to him to do the same....
"Believe me, my dear Nicholson,
"Your affectionate friend,
"Francis W. Newman."
This letter was written from Escot, Ottery St. Mary, Devon, [Footnote: His
wife's old home.] in September, 1844.
In 1841 Ward of Balliol brought out a very strong pamphlet, and accused
the Reformation of many changes in the English Church; as Rev. J. B.
Mozley says in his _Letters_, it was "a kind of strong interpretation of
No. XC, just as Pusey's ... is a mollifying one, proving that No. XC says
nothing but what our divines have said before." As regards "the statute",
the Hebdomadal Board had early in this year "proposed a new statute" for
the conferring of B.D. degrees.
"_30th Dec._, 1844.
"... I suppose you are busy with _Ewald's_ [Footnote: Dr. Nicholson was
the pupil of Ewald, and the first translator of his _Hebrew Grammar_.]
_Grammar_.... I shall be more at rest whenever circumstances put me into
that direct conflict with current opinion, which I dare not go out of my
way to provoke, and yet feel it to be my natural element. My antagonism to
'things as they are'--politically, scientifically, and theologically--
grows with my growth; and I believe that every year that delays change
more and more endangers destruction to our social framework."
I cannot forbear quoting here from a letter recently received by me from a
distant cousin of mine, Mr. George Grey Butler. He says: "I remember once
at table Mr. Newman saying (when asked his attitude on various public
questions), 'Oh! I am anti-slavery, anti-alcohol, anti-tobacco, anti-
_everything!_' with a twinkle in his eye which caused an outburst of mirth
amongst his listeners."
Rev. J. B. Mozley goes on to say, "Pusey will not take the test," (or
statute) "that he has declared publicly ... Hussey the Professor, Eden,
Baden Powell, and several Liberals, Price of Rugby, are all strong against
it.... Gladstone is very strong, and thinks every exertion ought to be
made against it."
On 7th Oct., 1844, Newman is expecting the arrival of the son of his old
friend, John Sterling. "Edward Sterling will probably come to us to-day;
his trunk is here already. I do not think you know that his father's
earthly career is over.... Sterling's will is like himself. He has so
strong a feeling of the wrong and absurdity of laying responsibility on
people, and yet fettering their discretion, that he has left the fullest
powers possible both to his brother as executor to manage his property and
the other children, and to me over Edward. He has directed L300 a year to
be paid me for Edward.... He was indeed a noble soul, and few know what a
loss it is; but those few rate it high. As Captain Sterling (his brother)
said, he had been accumulating wisdom all his life, and could he have
lived twenty years more to pour it out he would indeed have left behind
him a precious legacy.... Thomas Carlyle wrote a beautiful letter over
him. His little son knows not at all what a father he has lost; and as for
me, I want to tell him, but feel how hard it is."
In 1845 the taxes upon corn had caused great distress in England. But far
worse was the trouble in Ireland; for practically, through the potato
famine, owing to the thousands of acres which were blighted, there were
literally thousands dying of starvation. Cheap food was far more difficult
to get at there than in England, and at length at the close of the year
Sir Robert Peel said he would repeal the Corn Laws altogether. In 1846 the
Bill with this end in view passed through the House of Commons and House
of Lords and became law. But the consequence of this measure was in effect
the signal for Peel's going out of office, and his place was taken by Lord
To return to Newman's letter.
"You perhaps know that the Liberals at Oxford are likely to side with Ward
against the Heads. I do not see what else they can do; and I devoutly hope
that the tangle will be irremovable except by abolishing subscriptions.
Price of Rugby is all in a bristle about it. I much admire his spirit.
Baden Powell protests _in toto_ against the statute."
"_6th Nov._, 1845.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"Your news about the potatoes unfortunately is no matter of private
information, but rings through our ears, and I am increasingly doubtful
whether we are to hope for open ports. I believe the League is right in
saying that Sir Robert's _next move_ will be for an absolutely free trade;
but _when_ that next move is to be must depend in part on his colleagues;
and the country must perhaps suffer much before they come over, or he
gains boldness to defy their opposition....
"If you have been reading the _New Prospective_, I dare say you will guess
that the article on 'Church Reform' is mine. I was not sorry to get it
printed, even in such a quarter--(though I know no other periodical that
is free enough to dare to print it. The _Westminster Review_ is not enough
in religious circles),--because I want to send it to Churches of various
grades, and get their opinion. I fear I have expressed myself too
sanguinely of Dissenting Co-operation. They seem to say they will support
_nothing_ that does not go to length of alienating the whole Church
property to secular uses."
On 16th April, 1846, politics are touched on again.
"_16th April_, 1846.
"My dear Nicholson,
"I have sent one or two 'Leagues' of late to my brother-in-law in
Devonshire, thinking that they had in them matter of instruction to
him.... Does not Peel appear of late to have made himself as little as of
old? Yet I rejoice in his obstructing a mere Whig ministry of the orthodox
kind; and although his course has heaped misery on Ireland, nothing less
severe, I imagine, would brace England up to the stringent remedies which
alone can save that country;--nor are we _yet_ screwed to the point!...
"I have finished the Berber MS. as far as the Arabic had been translated,
viz. twenty-eight folio pages: four more remain, of which I cannot
understand either the Berber or the Arabic. I suppose neither could Mr.
Hodgson understand them; for while he professes to have translated the
whole of the Arabic, he has quietly omitted these. I naturally turn myself
to your aid. I have quite ascertained that the Arabic and Berber _do
"I am trying to move my house, i.e. to get into a new shell, further from
the smoke. [Footnote: Newman had not yet left Manchester New College.]
Edward Sterling's little brother, aged five and a half, is now with us;
and especially for his sake I desire to have pure air.... I am sorry to
say she" (Newman's wife) "is becoming more and more afflicted with
rheumatism. I am about to send her to Malvern, where one of her sisters
now is, to try a hydropathist physician there--a regularly educated man.
As she must take little Johnny S. and her own maid, and another to help in
bathings, and look after the child, it is quite a nomad eruption and
waggon-load of Scythians.
"My sister's child, a boy of Johnny S.'s age, fell into the fire six or
seven weeks ago, and was almost burnt to death. The poor little fellow
endured agonies, but is at last nearly recovered.... It seems a wonderful
The next letter notifies his election as Latin Professor in University
"_London. 6th July_, 1846.
"My dear Nicholson,
"A few words just to say that on Saturday I was elected Latin Professor in
L. U. C., and to thank you once more for your valuable aid. Hoping Mrs. N.
continues well, and with kind regards to her, and the children,
"I am, ever yours affectionately,
"Francis W. Newman."
LETTERS TO DR. NICHOLSON FROM PROFESSOR NEWMAN DURING THE FOLLOWING YEARS:
1850 TO 1859
The first of special interest in this series of letters is dated March,
1850, and concerns Newman's Latin studies and also Indian and China
"Sir Charles Trevelyan is doing his best to introduce the English alphabet
into Indian languages. He believes it, with me, to be of political,
educational, and religious importance; but he seems to be opposed by all
the English scholars. Edwin Norris says that even Sanscrit imported its
alphabet from a foreign tongue. The number of primitive alphabets is so
few, the diversity of languages so great, that nearly all tongues must
have adopted foreign alphabets. I cannot therefore understand the almost a
priori objections raised by the learned.... Do you attend to Indian
affairs? The disbanding of our Native Indian armies, the prospect of a
sure surplus in the Indian treasury, with the necessity of a conciliatory
policy to all the Indian princes as soon as we are disarmed, seem to me as
light pouring in through a dark cloud. But I am not easy (far from it)
until we get out of this Chinese scrape. I have for years maintained that
the more we fight against China the more we shall teach them the art of
war; and unless we tear the empire in pieces by aiding insurrections, they
must beat us at last, and become masters in the Indian seas. We cannot
contend against three hundred and eighty millions of ingenious,
industrious, homogeneous men under a single monarch with compact country,
splendid rivers and harbours, unsurpassed soil and climate--if once we
drive them to learn the art of war from America, as Peter the Great learnt
it from Europe. But I seem to be _insanus inter sobrios_, for nobody
accepts this thought from me.
"Hearty regards to you all.
"F. W. Newman."
It will be remembered that in 1851, though not until December, Louis
Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, had been successful in his aim of
becoming President of the French Republic. But he had practically led his
army through a sea of blood to reach this autocratic position. Later, in
1852, he made the French people designate him "Emperor of the French"
under the title of Napoleon III.
Lord Russell had, with his ministers, brought their time of office to an
end; and Lord Derby came in as Prime Minister at the head of a
Conservative Party. He only remained in office a short time, however, and
his successor was Lord Aberdeen, and Mr. Gladstone was Chancellor of the
In the letter which follows, Newman vindicates the honour of Kossuth,
whose friend and helper he was when Kossuth came to England for funds to
set going the new Hungarian revolution against Austria. With the views of
Charles Dickens, of course, Newman had not the slightest sympathy.
"_19th Dec._, 1851.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"I never see Dickens' _Household Narrative_, and therefore cannot answer;
but I do not believe there is any 'alternative side' against Kossuth's
character. (Dickens is, in my judgment, a foolish man; he writes on
centralization and despotism like an Austrian: however, so does Carlyle
often.) But all that can be said against Kossuth is, that up to the age of
twenty-two or twenty-three he was a thoughtless young man, who liked
hunting and gambling. Since that age he is irreproachable, the proof of
which is, that the Austrian _Times_ has not a word to say against him.
Their libel about the Orphan Fund was at once refuted by Count Ladislaus
Vay, but they would not insert Count Vay's letter, or even acknowledge it.
I think, indeed, the Continental Republicans may be proud of their
* * * * *
"Lord Palmerston seems to me to be entangled in _routine_ and old creeds,
so that he does not do all the justice he might to his better wishes; but
I also think he loves _place_ better than to carry out those wishes....
"Ever yours heartily,
"F. W. Newman."
The letter in January, 1853, which is next in order, is largely concerned
with Mazzini. As is well known, Mazzini was an Italian patriot and
Republican, born in the same year as was Newman. When he was only sixteen,
seeing the refugees who fled from the unfortunate rising in Piedmont, he
determined then and there to rescue his country when he should be old
enough to do so. He made "the first great sacrifice of his life" in giving
up the study of literature (which he loved) for direct political action.
He joined the Carbonari in 1829, though he was not in sympathy with their
aims or organization.
In 1830 he was imprisoned by the Sardinian police. There, in his prison
cell, he thought out his plan of action for his country, and on being
released he went and organized the "Young Italy Association." The object
of it was to teach the mass of the people first to know their rights, and
then to obtain them. The end of all his efforts for his people as regarded
himself was this:--
In 1832 he was expelled from the country, but he managed to remain hidden
at Marseilles; and from that time for twenty years he led "a life of
voluntary imprisonment within the four walls of a little room." In 1844
Mazzini accused the English Government of having opened his letters and
told their contents to the authorities of Italy. This set the whole of
England against him, but Carlyle defended him in great measure, and
testified to the worthiness of his noble struggle for his country's
freedom. Later, in 1848, when the Lombard revolt broke out, he took the
part of the revolutionaries with vigour.
In 1852 he planned the revolt at Mantua, and in 1853 at Milan. Others were
set going later. He had started in London (with Kossuth) the European
Association, and issued in September, 1855, its "republican manifesto." He
strongly condemned the agreement made in 1859 between Napoleon III and
Piedmont, because he foresaw its inevitable consequences. Mazzini,
Garibaldi, and Cavour were a trio who largely influenced their country's
destiny. Garibaldi has been called the knight-errant; Mazzini, the prophet
of Italian unity; and Cavour was the hub which formed the centre of the
wheel of Italy's fortunes.
[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM FRANCIS NEWMAN, DECEMBER, 1855]
"Friday night, _28th Jan._, 1853.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"As regards Mazzini, I am both glad and sorry. I cannot pretend to know
the _truth_, and fear to say what may unjustly disparage him; but he has
fallen a little in my secret judgment. I am _told_ (and I cannot test the
assertion) that Mazzini wrote to Italy to _implore_ his countrymen to be
patient, and not to make any attempts at resistance, even though the best
among them were slaughtered; and added: But if you will and must make your
attempt _now_, then by all means I shall come--not to conquer with you;
for of that I have no hope--but to die with you. Now I cannot learn
whether this was simultaneously with his writing to tell us that he was in
high hopes of success, and only wanted L3000 to turn probability into
something like certainty. If it was simultaneous, he is not the less
patriot; but he thinks 'the point of honour' requires he should tell a lie
to his English friends in order to get the wherewith to die a martyr's
death; and it makes it very hard to trust his simple truth in future. But
if (as one friend of his thinks) Mazzini's own opinion has changed, it
lowers one's notion of his discernment. In fact, it is scarcely credible
to _me_. There are those, I find, who have lately helped him to money,
expressly thinking it was a going to martyrdom, but believing he was bent
on it, and that possibly he may now do more good to Italy by his death
than ever he can do by his life. I cannot take this view. I believe the
tyrants would have the good sense to destroy him so secretly that no moral
effect should follow from his death; and if he utterly disapproved of an
outbreak, I do not understand the 'honour' which should make him go to
useless destruction when his life may be so valuable. It is not the same
thing to an exile as to a soldier in a rank, for the exile necessarily
comes too late. However, I do not know whether at this instant Mazzini may
be disguised in Italy: he is so retired and so stealthy. I expect he will
(be) betrayed sooner or later, if he plays so bold a game. Nevertheless I
am glad that (for whatever reason) the Italians are still quiet. Louis
Napoleon will certainly sooner or later get embroiled; and unless there
were new facts unknown to me ... I earnestly hope they will wait. The
Germans are a slow people; but they will move in time. Every German I see
believes this.... 'We without them cannot be made perfect,' seems to me
the clue to European oppressions. While stupid barbarism exists in masses,
it will be the tool of tyranny against the more educated and refined and
"F. W. Newman."
In November, 1855, he discusses public affairs, with relation to Louis
Napoleon, with Dr. Nicholson:--
"....I should indeed like to have the talk on public affairs which you
suggested; but things have moved on since then! Friends of mine dread that
the difficulties of French finance will precipitate Louis N. into a base
peace. I argue,--it will then be into one so base that the French will not
endure it. For the Russians _know_ the French difficulties; and if
proposals of peace come first from France, or if they see French action
become slacker, they will yield _nothing_, and make sure of a peace which
saves all their territory and reserves all their free action.... Only
yesterday came the news of Omar Pasha's 5th November victory. Even if it
be exaggerated, still the repulse at Kars and this new defeat make it
impossible for Russia to make peace _now_ without a humiliation such as L.
N. cannot attempt to remove. It _may_ so be that L. N. will be blown up by
his finance and by popular discontent; it may also be that his
difficulties will lead him to make popular concessions to the spirit of
freedom, as is usual when great sacrifices are demanded of a nation; or it
may be that he will get through with a struggle, putting French finance on
a healthier footing than has ever been yet. But I think, if he stands, he
_must_ carry on the war; and the more he feels his dangers, the more
vehemently will he resolve to stick at nothing necessary for success, and
will bid high to get Sweden to join us, which means to despoil Russia of
Finland and Poland.
"And if he is overthrown all Italy will rise, and after it Hungary, and
after it Germany and Poland....
"It grieves me much that Kossuth has united his name with Ledru Rollin's;
and altogether I think Kossuth is so _soured_ by the misconduct of the
Western Cabinets as to lose his soundness of judgment and fairness of
reasoning.... Through 1854 his tone became more demagogic, less dignified,
more defiant to authorities. He is now contemptuous to the British
_nation_ also, though I think it has throughout displayed precisely the
sound instinct which he so often ascribes to nations, and from which he
says a statesman must catch his inspiration. Our _nation_ did not know
what he knew--that Austria had given just ground of war to Turkey--that
Turkey was ready in October, 1853, to ally with Hungary against Austria;
nor could it know what were the military facilities for overthrowing
Austria, nor whether the stubborn resistance of Louis Napoleon was what
forced Aberdeen into his policy. But the nation since the Russian invasion
of Hungary has practically felt how dangerous to all foreign liberty is
the Russian power, and the absolute necessity of repressing and curtailing
it; and this determination of the people has made the war a reality, has
given power to that side of the Cabinet which alone was willing to go
forward, has displayed itself equally in our lowest distress and our chief
triumph, which Kossuth ought to honour....
"I doubt whether his union with Ledru Rollin is approved by any eminent
Hungarian in England.
"While I regret all this, I yet expect Kossuth to be great again whenever
action in Hungary recommences; but he cannot bear _in_action well; and,
alas! I make no doubt his private resources cannot bear delays. I almost
begin to fear that he _covets_ to be driven publicly to America by our
Government, as less ignominious than being starved into the same step. I
cannot understand ... how he fails to see that _if_ we weaken Russia we
strengthen the chances of liberty, though Aberdeen would not allow his
particular policy in 1853-4. We are doing _so very much_ more than he
asked of the Americans in 1852 that the tone he assumes is wonderful. And
then to scoff as he does, as though we had done _nothing_ in destroying
the Russian Black Sea Fleet and overthrowing the whole prestige of their
military superiority. To have been beaten by the Turks is still _more_
humiliating.... I wonder whether you have any alarm about America. I
_should_ have some alarm if Nicaragua and the Mosquito land were the topic
of quarrel; for I think the Americans would really fight us as a single
nation to hinder us establishing ourselves on American soil _south_ of
them. They sufficiently dislike our _northern_ position....
"Very cordially yours,
"F. W. Newman."
* * * * *
We now pass to Newman's letters in the year 1856; and the first of this
series speaks of the "Harry" who is mentioned elsewhere in this volume, as
having been Professor Alleyne Nicholson, of Aberdeen. He was coming to
stay with Professor Newman during term time:--
"7 P.V.E. R.P.,
"_28th Oct._, 1856.
"The grammar used in University College School is _Key's Grammar_....
Hitherto, no particular Greek Grammar has been used in the school, but
Greek has been taught through _Robson's Constructive Greek Exercises_,
which, I presume, Harry ought at once to work at.... A Greek Grammar by
Mr. Greenwood is expected to be ready by Christmas, and is to be brought
into the school. It will be new _to all_; and Harry will be on a par with
the rest about it.
* * * * *
"_Robson's Constructive Latin Exercises_ ... are used in the school....
Give him" (Harry) "my very kind regards, and say that his little bedroom
here looks to me desolate until he comes; but I cannot flatter him that I
have anything to fill up the emptiness of heart he will feel when he loses
not only papa and mamma, but also his faithful coadjutor in study--
_Annie!_ Seriously, you will have to consider about his evening
_amusements_, for it will not do to be studying morning and night. What
think you of giving a well defined time to _drawing_ every evening? He has
so much taste for drawing insects that he cannot fail in outline. We have
a little room which we call 'the boy's room,' where he can put any of his
Natural History collections which you think it well he should try, but we
have _no butterflies to catch,--few even in summer."
* * * * *
At the end of July, Newman went to stay with Dr. Nicholson and his family
at Penrith, and there are one or two notes concerning his journey tither.
The next letter is dated 24th Aug., 1856. He wrote therefore when the
Crimean War was still going forward. That war which, amongst mistaken
policies, blundering Government tactics, and aimless ambitions, holds a
foremost place. It was not till the end of the year 1855 that it came to
an end. After the attack on Sebastopol, the French--whose army had
suffered quite as much from the terrible winter and from disease, etc., as
our own--succeeded in taking the Malakoff Tower. This made it impossible
for the Russians to defend Sebastopol any longer, and in March, 1856,
peace was proclaimed. Then followed Russian promises, which were made as
easily as they were broken.
"7 Park Village, East.
"_24th August_, 1856.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"Events have proved that Russia, too, painfully knew her own weakness.
Probably he" (Louis Napoleon) "already in December knew that she knew it,
and the war was far too unpopular with the French to be continued except
on a different policy, with new necessities and new prizes to be won. Our
policy from March, 1853, to March, 1855, was so hollow and so silly, that
no wisdom could afterwards bring things right, or make the results of the
war worthy of the cost; but the _comparative_ result in March, 1856, is so
vast a gain over what nine out of ten of our statesmen (so called) were
projecting to accept in March, 1855, that I cannot open my lips against
the peace in itself. I could not in any case wish the war continued,
except on new principles for worthier objects. However, Russia has really
had a terrible lesson, and a great humiliation. That she could not take
Silistria or Kars against Turkish troops, except by the accident of
famine, will never be forgotten by German armies or statesmen.... The
native Russian peasants and low persons do not _yet_ know that the Czar
was beaten; they suppose him to have conquered with immense cost; but the
nobility knew the truth, and it will leak through to the lowest people, I
expect, in the course of a few years. I think Europe has a respite of a
quarter of a century from the incubus of Russia; and _if_ in that interval
the Hapsburgs are overthrown, all will yet come right. I fear we are still
forced again (in spite of Mazzini and Kossuth) to regard the French as
having the initiative of revolutions. I have resolved to give up all extra
and needless effort of the brain, until I can really get rid of certain
morbid symptoms, quite chronic, which distress me, so that my projected
Latin analysis lies in embryo.
"... I have had satisfactory approval of my _Iliad_ from my brother, Dr.
Newman, a fastidious critic and practical poet, as also from other private
quarters which I count much on; but reviews as yet do not notice me.... I
have no high expectation of the very existence of the book becoming known,
except slowly to many who might perhaps be glad of it if they knew it....
"Ever your faithful friend,
"F. W. Newman."
In October of the same year he thus speaks of the School of University
"... The School of U.C. is remarkably full of pupils this season. My
junior class has unusually _old_ pupils; I do not yet know their quality.
One (a Mr. Sassoon, a Jew?) [Footnote: Probably this was the father of the
present Sir Edward Sassoon, second Baronet.] I mistook for a German, but
he told me he is an Arab of Hindoo birth, and talks a little Arab and
Hindostanee, but knows more of English than of any other language. His
English is good, though the pronunciation is a little foreign."
In another letter, written this same month, he speaks of Mazzini as
knowing that the "liberties of Italy cannot be safe without revolution
either in France or Austria." That he feels it must come sooner or later,
so that it would be better for Italy to act and suffer rather than to
become "stupefied." Newman declares that the Governments know, and is the
reason why they "hate Mazzini, since ... success in Italy will cause
Newman goes on to say: "For myself I look at it thus. The deliverance of
Italy _cannot_ come by Governments (unless these are first
revolutionized); it can only come by insurrection. No one from without can
ever know or judge what is the time for hopeful insurrection: it must be
done from within, and generally without plan. My sole question is, Is the
cause legitimate? I find that it is. I leave Italians to judge of the
time. Meanwhile every year I would give of my superfluity to the aid of
patriotic effort.... To fail ten times may be necessary for success in the
eleventh. If they were losing heart and becoming denationalized, the case
would be bad; but it is the contrary. The fusion with Austria is
impossible. The more they bleed the more they are united, and the more
resolved.... My wife is cheered to learn that Harry will go to Mr. Bruce's
on Sunday. A black spot had rested on her heart, I find, from fearing that
he would go _nowhere_ to church. I am sending you a corrected copy of my
translation of the first chorus in _Antigone_, since you honour it by
putting it into your _Sophocles_....
"Ever your affectionate friend,
"F. W. Newman.
"To Dr. J. Nicholson, etc."
Another mention of the translation I also insert here. He had been able to
give far more time to it than if he had been in London, for he had in
September been spending some time at Ventnor. "A youth introduced to me by
Mrs. Pulszky is zealous in the Greek tragedians, and I have been helping
him to a little _Sophocles_ which put me up to translating the 1st Chorus
after I had been reading it with him...."
Here is the translation to which allusion is made:--
1ST CHORAL SONG
"O ray of the Sun, the fairest
That over the rills of Dirke
To Thebe the seven-gated
Wast ever of yore unveil'd
The eyelid of heaven gilding;
At length thy splendour on us was shed,
Urging to hasty reverse of rein
The Argive warrior white of shield
And laden in panoply all complete,
Who sped in van of the routed.
Stirr'd from afar against our land
By Polyneikes' doubtful strife,
He like an eagle soaring came,
Screen'd by a wing of snow unstain'd,
With many a stout accoutrement
And horse-hair crested helmets.
"At mouth of the portals seven
Above our abodes he hover'd
With lances that yawn'd for carnage;
But vanish'd, afore his chaps
With slaughter of Thebes were glutted;
Afore the flicker of pitchy flame
Might to the crown of turrets climb.
So fierce the rattle of war around
Was pour'd on his rear by the serpent-foe
Hard match'd in deadly encounter.
For Jove the over-vaunting tongue
Supremely hates. Their full fed stream
Of gold, of clatter, and of pride
He saw, and smote with brandish'd flame
Him, who at summit of his goal
Would raise the peal of Conquest.
"Foil'd in his frantic rush,
Though still with blasts of hate against us raving,
Down dropt he, torch and all,
And heavy struck the Earth, who upward spurn'd him.
Such auspice of the war
To us was fair; and elsewhere new successes
Befel, whereon the right
Great Ares routing wheel'd the chariot-battle.
For, posted at the seven gates,
Equals to equals, seven chiefs
To trophy-bearing Jupiter
Payments of solid brass bequeath'd.
Save that the gloomy-hearted twain,
Sprung from one mother and one sire,
Planted with adverse dint the spear
And earn'd a fate in common.
"But now, since Victory
Mighty of name at length is come, delighted
In car-borne Thebe's joy;
Henceforth forget we battle's past annoyance.
But through the livelong night
Let us in sacred band approach the temples,
And Bacchus to the dance--
The god who shakes the soil of Thebes--be leader.
"But hither Creon, lo! proceeds,
Son of Menoekeus, newly rais'd
The sceptre of this land to sway.
Now at new tokens of the gods,
Methinks, some sage device he plies.
Therefore to special parliament
Hath he by general summons fetch'd
This meeting of the elders."
The next letter largely concerns Persia. And it is necessary to remember
that, in the early part of the nineteenth century, she began, at the
suggestion of France, a most unfortunate war (as regards herself) with
In 1826 there was another war, and this cost Persia all the rest of her
possessions in Armenia. The taxation of the people, which the rulers
enforced to enable them to pay the expenses of the war, caused the former
to rise in insurrection in 1829. The death of the Crown Prince in 1833
seemed the crowning blow to the fortunes of Persia, for he had been the
only man who had seriously tried to raise his country from the depths to
which she had fallen.
In 1848 the son of the Shah, who had, through the assistance of Britain
and Russia, obtained the throne, came into office, and he resolved to put
forward claims to Afghanistan and Beluchistan. When the ruler of Herat
agreed that the Shah had claims, the English Government made the Shah sign
an agreement in 1853 that he would give up pressing his claims as regarded
Herat. But in 1856 the Persians retook this city, because they declared
that the Ameer of Kabul was planning an advance on Herat. Thereupon a
British army, commanded by General Outram and Havelock, was sent to
Persia, and defeat after defeat for the Persians followed their arrival,
and in July, 1857, they were compelled to give up Herat. Since then Persia
has not ventured to lay her hand on the "key to India."
"7 P.V.E., London,
"_19th Dec._, 1856.
"Dr. Barth, the African traveller, has been re-seducing (me) into the
Lingua Amazighana, which I had forsworn. I am not sure that something will
not come of it--to me at least. I have already built a castle in the air,
that sometime hereafter I shall become 'Professor of Libyan' to U.C.
* * * * *
"How dreadful is it that we should be able to get into a war with Persia,
proclaimed _at Bombay_ on November 1st, and nobody here knows why it is or
what it seeks after; and the country's honour is committed while
Parliament is not even sitting. And for this we throw up Italy and ...
Switzerland? Have you seen Cobden's recent letters on Maritime War? I
rejoice much in them, and think adversity has improved his tone. With
hearty regards to Mrs. N. and all,
"I am, ever yours,
"F. W. N."
The letters at which we have now arrived are those written during 1857.
The first is dated March, and I quote some passages from it to show the
Professor's own views as regards evening home preparation for boys who are
working at school during the day, because it seems to me that his opinion
in this matter should carry weight:--
"I much dislike a boy having _both_ his work at school and _then_ evening
work at home, when he is getting sleepy and ought to have relaxation. It
is the nuisance of day schools, and quite hurtful to study, if there is
nobody at home to answer questions. Besides, Harry" (this is Harry
Nicholson, mentioned two or three times in these letters as attending
University College School) "is so studious of himself that it is very much
to be desired that he should have time for _voluntary_ work. I regard this
as having been very beneficial to _me_ at school, where I never had work
enough set me to fill up half my time."
The letter which follows is dated April, and in it we find that "Harry"
had just returned home, and that his report had testified to his diligence
and progress. At the end of the letter comes this little touch as to some
of the schoolboy belongings which had been left behind in Professor
Newman's house. "Harry has left divers snail-shells fastened on
pasteboard. Perhaps he did not know how to carry them safely."
On 6th May mention of the owner of the snail-shells recurs again:--
"Mrs. Newman was rather disappointed at the unceremoniousness of my
parting with Harry. It seems like a dream his vanishing. I suppose she is
like Hecuba, grieved that she could not make the funeral of Hector. (I did
not even kiss Harry _by proxy_ for her!) Most gladly does she give him up
to Mrs. Nicholson; and yet, I fancy, she wanted a funeral ceremony on
Throughout these letters belonging to the year 1857, there is no special
mention of the Indian Mutiny. Yet it is impossible to doubt that it
occupied a great place in Newman's thoughts. No one who has written on
India and our relations with her as he has done, could have failed to have
written his own strong views on the lamentable mismanagement which led to
the Mutiny. But most probably the letters concerning it were either not
kept by Dr. Nicholson, or else Newman asked for them back, as in so many
cases he was accustomed to do with regard to his own letters towards the
close of his life. He had a theory that letters should not be kept, and
many people have told me that he asked for his letters back in order to
destroy them. Happily, however, this is _not_ the theory which everyone
holds. Indeed, to many of us, the Past lies so near the written word, that
_almost_ it re-awakens between the folds of a letter; indeed, in many
instances, the Past and Present only meet across it. In this sense it is
the only thing that holds up the picture of the past before our tired
eyes. _Litera scripta manet_ is a living truth. The next letter from
Newman to Nicholson was written on 20th June, 1857. On 8th June of this
year died Douglas Jerrold, dramatist, satirist, and author. Mr. Walter
Jerrold tells us that, in 1852, he had accepted the editorship of _Lloyd's
Weekly Newspaper_. It was said of this that he "found it in the street and
annexed it to literature."
His fortune as a writer began when he was only sixteen. His capacity for
work and his perseverance in working were enormous. In 1825 he wrote great
numbers of plays and farces; but beside all these, he contributed, as is
well known, to _Punch_ (at its first commencement in 1841), as well as to
hosts of magazines and political tracts, etc. Newman alludes to Jerrold
being in receipt of L2000 a year from _Lloyd's Weekly News_.
I pass over the discussion as regards the Newmans' proposed visit to the
Lakes, and also his expressed delight in a book, many copies of which he
had just given away--_Intuitive Morals and Religious Duty_.
"In truth, dear friend, I get happier and happier, and only am pent up and
mourn to feel how I live for self alone. I sometimes think with a sort of
envy how your knowledge of medicine and tender heart for young children
puts you into near and kind contact with the poor. However, we have each
his own talent, if only one can find the mode of wisely disposing it.
* * * * *
"I am sorry to see that Douglas Jerrold has not left sixpence to his
family, though he was in receipt of L2000 a year (they say!) from _Lloyd's
In November another letter alludes to his Latin translations. He says he
has been gradually inclining to the belief that Terence, Virgil, and
Horace had "damaged" the Latin language in very much the same way as Pope
did the English, as regards arbitrary style and method of writing
It is universally conceded that Horace was not a great thinker. As one of
our modern English critics has said: "His philosophy is that of the
market-place rather than of the schools; he does not move among high
ideals or subtle emotions.... He carried on and perfected the native Roman
growth, satire, so as to make Roman life from day to day, in city and
country, live anew under his pen.... Before Horace, Latin lyric poetry is
represented almost wholly by the brilliant but technically immature poems
of Catullus; after him it ceases to exist."
As regards Pope, the critics of the end of the eighteenth century
considered his style eminently artificial and forced. But to-day,
according to Father Gasquet, we cannot but recognize his services to
English poetry as invaluable. "He was virtually the inventor and artificer
who added a new instrument of music to its majestic orchestra, a new
weapon of expression to its noble armoury.... But one must admit that to
the taste of the present age there occurs a certain coldness and
artificiality in his portrayals alike of the face of nature and of the
passions of man. He appeals rather to the brain than to the heart. Ideas
and not emotions are his province.... To the metric presentment of ideas
he imparts a charm of musical utterance unachieved before his time."
"_30th Nov._, 1857.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"I have of late been urged by a particular circumstance to make various
trials of translation into Latin (lyrical, etc.) verse--an exercise I
always used to dislike, and have never much practised. I now find my
dislike was largely caused by the unsuitable and over-stiff metres which
used to be imposed on me when I was under orders.... In English and Greek
versification I have long been aware of the essential importance of this;
but I have looked on Latin as too inflexible a tongue to be worth the
labour, since nearly all the translations I have seen, pall on me as mere
flat imitations of the ancients instead of having a smack of the original.
I have been inclining to the belief that Terence, Virgil, and Horace have
done damage to the Latin language, or at least to our taste; just as Pope
was the ruin of English poetry so long as he was allowed to dictate the
style and cadences. In Plautus, Lucretius, and Catullus the language has a
flexibility and the metres a freedom which (as I think) academicians and
schoolmasters have not duly appreciated, and which ought to impart to us
(when we _do_ do anything so absurd as to write foreign verses) a freedom
at which we have not generally aimed. As to metre, I think it really a
_folly_ to insist on Horace's restrictions, which are entirely his own,
being neither found in the Greek, which he copied, nor in Catullus; and
which made the problem of _translation_ so much harder (and he did not
translate), that one has to sacrifice too much. I think we ought to
construct our metres by selection from the Greek, just as Catullus or
Horace did, not imitate them slavishly. I send you one specimen of my
translation, to ask whether so many as seven lines together the same is
_too monotonous_. If there were only four or five it would be as one of
Catullus's. I dare say you have the original....
"With truest regards to you all,
"Your cordial friend,
"F. W. Newman."
Pulszky, the friend of Kossuth and also of Francis Newman, was a Hungarian
author, politician, and patriot. In 1848 he was serving under Esterhazy in
some Government post; but when he was suspected of revolutionizing in his
native country, he took refuge in England. Pulszky went with Kossuth later
to America. In 1852 he was condemned to death by the Austrian Government,
but his fourteen years spent in Italy seem to have influenced the
Ministers to pardon him in 1867. While in England (I do not know if he
suffered from it elsewhere) he became a martyr to _tic douleureux_, that
most trying form of facial neuralgia which attacks in such paroxysms of
severe pain--attacks which seem brought on by the most trivial reasons,
such as a knock at the door or by a sudden shake to the chair on which the
patient is sitting, and which, as a rule, give no warning of their
"My dear Nicholson,
"You remember that you kindly furnished me with your prescription for _tic
douleureux_ to give to my friend Pulszky. He told me a few days back that
he sent it (I think a year ago) to the poor girl at Ventnor who was a
horrible sufferer from it, and heard no more of it until this autumn when
he was at Ventnor again. He was delighted to find she had been immediately
cured by it, had had no returns, was made competent for work, and is in a
servant's place. On my naming this, I have two urgent applications for the
prescriptions. If you will a second time take the trouble to copy out the
prescription I will keep it myself, and give copies to my friends without
further coming upon you.... I have ventured to assert that the Nicholson
who is so talked of as promoting the ballot in Australia is _not_ your
"Do you know, when I saw in the _Illustrated London News_ the face of the
late lamented Brigadier Nicholson of the Punjaub, I thought it _very_ like
you. Is he possibly a distant relative?
"Ever yours heartily,
"F. W. Newman,
"_20th December_, 1857.
This remark of Newman's that he saw a strong likeness in "the face of the
late lamented Brigadier Nicholson of the Punjaub" to his friend Dr.
Nicholson is one of those arresting suggestions which seem to strike
sudden light out of the flints of ancestry which whiten the road of life
along which we have come.
That there _is_ a distinct likeness in the two faces no one who had seen
the portraits in Captain Lionel Trotter's _Life of John Nicholson_, and
then looked at that of Dr. John Nicholson in this book, could have had a
doubt. But, as it seems to me, there is even more ground for the
likelihood of Newman's suggestion, if one tries to trace the lineage and
land of the families of Nicholson in years gone by. I quote the following
from Captain Trotter's _Life of John Nicholson_:--
"In the days of our Tudor sovereigns the family of which John Nicholson
was to be the bright particular star had made their home in the border
county of Cumberland." He goes on to say that the first to come over to
Ireland was Rev. William Nicholson (in 1589), and he married the Lady
Elizabeth Percy. Captain Trotter says there is a tradition that his two
brothers went over to Ireland with William Nicholson. One settled in
Derry, the other in Dublin. During McGuire's rebellion in 1641, his son's
wife and her baby boy "were the only two in Cran-na-gael" [now known as
Cranagill] "who escaped the common massacre by hiding behind some
brushwood. In their wanderings thence they fell in with a party of
loyalist soldiers, who escorted them safely to Dromore, whence they made
their way across sea to the widow's former home at Whitehaven...." What
became of this Mrs. Nicholson does not appear. "Her son William, during
his sojourn in Cumberland, had become a Quaker." This was very probably
due to his having been influenced by his intercourse with George Fox.
Later on the former went back to Cranagill. There were three sons born to
this William Nicholson, and Captain Trotter tells us that it was from the
eldest (also a "William") that the famous John Nicholson was descended.
Now, it seems to me that it is not at all unlikely that there may have
been some connection (as Francis Newman suggested) between the branch of
the Nicholson family to which John Nicholson, of Mutiny fame, was related,
who made their home in the "border county of Cumberland," and that to
which Dr. John Nicholson, the lifelong friend of Francis Newman, belonged.
The latter also belonged to a north country family who, I believe, settled
on the borders of England and Scotland. Dr. Nicholson himself lived for a
great number of years at Penrith, in Cumberland. So that, all things
considered, perhaps Newman's conjecture, after he had realized how strong
a resemblance there was in his friend's face to that of the hero of Delhi,
The next letters belong to the year 1858. In August, 1858, Newman was
again devoting much time to Latin versification:--
"My chief time this summer has been employed in a new _furor_--Latin
versification. I find that by choosing and adapting metres from the Greek
fountain and not sticking to Horace, or even to Catullus, the language
admits of translation from English closer than I at all conceived. I think
I have done 1500 lines in all. I only translate short pieces and pleasing
ones. I have been led to it by a practical object. I used to hate Latin
versification, and indeed the extreme poverty and ambiguity of the
language is laid bare shockingly by the process. Perhaps not really worse
than in prose translation, but every metre (or almost every) deprives you
at once of a sensible fraction of the already scanty vocabulary. One
learns also how essentially clumsy and prosaic the language is in its
vocabulary, though so compact in its structure.
"The Atlantic Telegraph, no doubt, already excites wild and impatient
hopes in our Australians, of which you will hear an echo. It is indeed a
critical event, as determining an immense extension of the telegraphic
"Ever yours heartily,
"F. W. Newman."
It will be remembered that the Crimean War broke up the Coalition Ministry
which Lord Aberdeen had formed. This was due to the fact that the motion
for enquiry into the state of our soldiers before Sebastopol was carried
by a great majority against the Government. Lord Aberdeen resigned when
this happened, and Lord Palmerston came into office, with Mr. Gladstone as
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Then, when Palmerston acceded to the demand
that a committee of enquiry should be appointed, Gladstone, who had
opposed it before, thought he ought not to remain in the Cabinet which had
now agreed to have the enquiry made. So he gave up office, but still
helped the Government generally until after Orsini's attempt in 1858, upon
Napoleon III's life. Perhaps it is necessary to recall here that Gladstone
had taken up the cause of the prisoners--especially political prisoners--
in the prisons of Naples in 1851. He spoke strongly on the terrible
cruelties which were perpetrated there. In _this_ effort to help forward
an enquiry Gladstone threw himself most heartily.
* * * * *
"I send you to-day a Latin Grammar which I have found on my shelves. By
the _binder's_ ticket 'Penrith' I infer it to be Harry's. I hope I may
congratulate him.... I never met Gladstone. He was a hero of mine for
about a year. I hoped great things of him. After the letters on Naples and
his Chancellorship of the Exchequer, I thought he had worked clear of the
errors of his youth and was 'the coming man.' But in the Russian war his
intense party spirit and endless mistakes have lowered his ...
* * * * *
"I am, ever yours heartily,
"F. W. Newman."
In December of this year Newman writes word that he has been working hard
at Arabic for some time, because he has undertaken to teach a friend
modern Arabic. He is again staying at Hastings, where he had been so
"20 White Rock Place, Hastings,
"_30th Dec._, 1858.
"My dear Nicholson,
* * * * *
"I am strangely thrown anew into sympathy with _your_ studies. I have been
working really hard at Arabic for some time--and why, do you think?
Because I had the temerity to undertake (for philological reasons) to
teach a friend modern Arabic. I could not have been so rash or so foolish
as to undertake to teach ancient Arabic; yet I am almost driven on
learning the ancient by the number of questions which have kept
arising.... I have been looking up all my old MSS., and am surprised at
the extent of my former attainments, very much indeed of which I had
forgotten. But words come back to me with a pleasant rapidity, and I am
delighted to find how much I have exaggerated to myself the gap between
old and new Arabic."
With this letter those belonging to the year 1858 come to an end.
With 1859 begin Newman's criticisms on the policy and unscrupulous methods
of Louis Napoleon.
The latter had made himself absolute ruler of France in 1851. Later on he
annexed Savoy and Nice. In his campaign in Lombardy against Austria he was
assisted by Great Britain. In May, when this letter following was written,
Napoleon's Manifesto had just been published in the London papers of 4th
"10 Circus Road, S. John's Wood,
"_5th May_, 1859.
* * * * *
"I dare say you read Louis Napoleon's Manifesto in yesterday's papers. I
wonder what you think of it. I find myself at variance with most of my
friends, and with nearly all the newspapers _that I see_; but the _Morning
Chronicle_ and the _Daily News_, of which I have only seen _one_ article
for a long time back, appeared to be maintaining what I hold. That we
ought to be strictly neutral (not armed and threatening neutrals) seems to
be an axiom; but at the same time I look at the crisis with much hope and
little or no fear. To declaim against L. N.'s treachery is only a way of
playing into the wrong hands, i.e. supporting Austria. He has pledged
himself to expel her from Italy and not to seek dominion in Italy for
France. If he fails he shatters his own power in Paris: so much the
better, I suppose. If he succeeds, Italy is a certain gainer, and Europe
through Italy. I say a certain gainer, because the existing oppression
(testified by Gladstone and Clarendon) rests upon the aid of Austria, and
is far worse than war, and worse than a transitory dictatorship of France;
and the mischief of Austria has been that her power has been confirmed by
European diplomacy; but if France proves treacherous, it will be against
the protest of Europe, and her rule _cannot_ be permanent. Besides, L. N.
must almost of necessity give some aggrandizement to Sardinia. Lombardy,
Tuscany, and Parma seem inevitably to rush into Victor Emmanuel's arms, if
not also Venice, if the Confederates are victorious. Hence a stout power
is interposed between France and Southern Italy. And is it not stupid to
think that because L. N. is a bad, unscrupulous man, therefore he covets
nothing but _territory_? He covets _stability_ and the glory of liberating
Italy; and acting with heroic moderation is the obvious way of winning to
his side republicans in France and the diplomatists of Europe. _If_ he
acts thus, I think his dynasty will be permanent; if not, not, or hardly.
The Papists already hate him, and he already distrusts them...."
It is impossible to read many letters of Newman's and not recognize the
unfailing unselfishness with which he constantly gives up his own plans of
seeing his friends, in order that his wife may go to those places for
which she has a special affection. Not infrequently he gives up a journey
much farther afield for the purpose of pursuing antiquarian researches
because he knows how great would be her ennui were she to accompany him,
and he is ever full of a tender concern that she shall suffer no
unnecessary discomfort or trouble.
"_13th July_, 1859.
"My dear Nicholson,
"I had really hoped we might spend a few days at Penrith and have a chance
of seeing you, for my wife talked seriously of Keswick and the
neighbourhood. But when she began to remember in detail the climate of the
Lakes, her courage broke down, and she said there was nothing did us good
but the seaside, and especially the coast of Wales. So now we are starting
for Carmarthen, Cardigan, Aberayron, Aberystwith, etc., a weary distance
"I told you I had undertaken the daring task of teaching modern Arabic
(somehow) to a young lady. My lessons began in October (the second week),
and ended with the second week of March, being broken by Christmas. About
a fortnight ago she sent me a written exercise, in which I corrected a few
grammatical faults, and then copied it out to transmit it to you, with my
translation into English. I should like you to see a specimen of my
_Roman_ (?) character, and also to hear what you think of the capacity and
power of the modern language as compared with the ancient.... I hope you
are hitherto well satisfied with Italian affairs. The pamphlet of Napoleon
III on Italy shows that in 1857 he definitely proposed to Austria a scheme
for the total secularization of the Papacy. I now feel sure he will not
stop at that. It also advocates a federation of all Italy--a wonderful
proposal from a French ruler. No democrat would have proposed that."
In September he writes from Aberystwith, and relates how he is busy
translating _Robinson Crusoe_ from the Arabic.
"I am constantly reminded of you by the study which I have been rather
closely pursuing here for nearly eight weeks, viz. the reading of
_Robinson Crusoe_ in Arabic. It is to me often difficult from several
causes: (1) It is not pointed, nor even the _Teshdied_ added; (2) I could
not bring Golin's with me, and the dictionaries which I have are very
imperfect; (3) the writer has most arbitrarily changed the details of
Robinson's story, and makes it often incoherent and stupidly impossible;
so that neither does the original help me much, nor can I rest on internal
congruity to help me out."
It should perhaps be remembered here that the Arabs had a great contempt
for the Grecian and Roman languages. Their own language was only printed
in ancient classical form, of which the Koran is the most famous example,
and the characters and symbols proceeded from right to left. In its most
ancient form it is named "Kufic." There are only symbols for sixteen out
of its twenty-eight consonants. Certain of our own words own patronymity
from the Arabic languages--words such as algebra, alcohol, zenith, nadir,
etc. These show clearly that the language did influence early intellectual
European culture in no small degree.
To go on with the letter:--
"I am greatly encouraged by my success in understanding it" [the story of
_Robinson Crusoe_ in Arabic], "for it is a far more ambitious style and on
far more various topics than I have ever before encountered; and when I
get my Golin's I expect to get to the bottom of many words that puzzle me,
though others are probably modern developments, especially quadrilaterals
and words belonging to special arts. But there is a religious formula
which recurs many times, every word of which is easy, and yet the whole of
it is to me unintelligible. I suspect it is elliptical and allusive, and
it occurs to me that it may be familiar to you; if so, I know you will
have pleasure in explaining it to me. Whenever Robinson falls into
distress and betakes himself to prayer, I meet these words:--
and then follows the matter of sorrow. I also three times meet [Arabic] at
the end of a sentence, where the meaning seems to be _et alia ejusdem
generis_. I suppose it is an abridgment by initial letters. Can you help
me to a solution? We have stuck here" [at Aberystwith] "longer than we
intended; in fact, we should have left nearly a week ago, only that Mrs.
N. caught a sharp cold, and the weather became suddenly so severe that I
have feared to let her travel.... Probably, like all the world and his
wife, you are yourself just now absent from home.... Do you not with me
see that the Italians already are showing how vast a benefit L. N. has
brought them? It is only the beginning of a vast revolution.
"I am, ever your true friend,
"F. W. Newman."
LETTERS TO DR. NICHOLSON
In 1860 Sardinia, because it happened to possess the clever, far-seeing
Count Cavour, had "dreamed against a distant goal"--the goal when his king
should be made King of Italy, instead of only Sardinia. He only had to
wait one year before his wish was attained. Victor Emmanuel, son of
Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, was in 1861 proclaimed King of Italy,
and nine years later he was head of the whole united nation. This is
briefly touched on in Newman's first letter to Dr. Nicholson in January,
1860. He also spoke in strong praise of a book of Mrs. Beecher Stowe which
he and his wife (then staying at Hastings to see the new year in, as they
did the year before as well) were reading together. Mrs. Beecher Stowe
was, of course, best known by her _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, perhaps the most
popular American novel ever written. _The Minister's Wooing_ was published
[Illustrations: 20 WHITE ROCK PLACE, HASTINGS
1A CARLISLE PARADE, HASTINGS
WHERE FRANCIS NEWMAN OFTEN STAYED, IN 1860 AND EARLIER
From Photos taken in 1909 by Valentine Edgar Sieveking]
"1A Carlisle Parade, Hastings,
_4th Jan_., 1860.
"My dear Nicholson,
"A Happy New Year to you all! We are here, in the same lodgings as a year
ago, having begun and ended the year in them. We have begun this year with
hopes for the future brightly contrasted to anything for ten years back.
For this, among men, I thank, first of all, Cavour and Victor Emmanuel,
and secondly, Louis Napoleon. The hatred which the last incurs with the
Austrian party and the Ultramontanists is, I think, a fair measure of his
services and tendencies.
* * * * *
"I cannot get any solution from any of my books of certain difficulties in
the Arabic phraseology of _Robinson Crusoe_, [Footnote: Hiawatha and
Robinson Crusoe were very much used for Latin translations at the college
by Newman.] and I want to ask your help; but I do not like to do so until
I learn that it would not encroach too much on your leisure.
* * * * *
"We have been here reading aloud Mrs. Beecher Stowe's new tale, _The
Minister's Wooing_ with very great pleasure. I regard her as a real
'prophetess,' and am delighted at the enormous circulation of her works. I
have been stimulated to try my hand at translating into Latin five of the
most eloquent passages in the book, as a trial of the possibility of
putting such things into that language. I am pleased with the result,
although it is clear to me that without a development of the Latin
vocabulary far beyond Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, and Seneca no one could ever
be _fluent_ and free to speak on modern subjects. One has to paraphrase
and go round instead of speaking outright. I am thinking I ought to know
something more about Arnobius and Lactantius, and see what sort of
_development_ they effected; and the resolution rises in my mind that I
will look to this, being hitherto quite ignorant of them.... I suppose the
'Volunteer Rifles' are talked of at Penrith as elsewhere. I regard it as a
breach of faith to transform these Volunteers into Light Infantry, which
seems to be the darling idea of military men."
Later on, in February, there is another letter relating to Newman's Latin
_Robinson Crusoe_ and his own difficulties as to how to find out when are
the times of spring and autumn in an equinoctial climate.
"I have been (as many others) a sufferer by the weather from slight
bronchitis, exasperated by the coughs and noseblowings of the students,
and by an ill-arrangement of the class-rooms. I had nothing serious, but
enough to force me to spend my evenings in bed, from seven o'clock almost,
and keep me three entire days away from college. I have been ... busy ...
with a Latin _Robinson Crusoe_, rewritten quite freely (not a
translation), that I have not been able to get back just now to Arabic;
and have buried your letter in papers so deep that I lost much time the
other day in a vain search for it.... In writing on Robinson's island I
found my botany sadly at a loss, and have hunted the _Penny Cyclopaedia_
diligently and uselessly to learn the simplest things, such as: To an
equinoctial climate, when is the spring and when the autumn? Do the leaves
fall twice, or not at all? When is the chief cold? Is it when the sun is
lowest, or when the clouds are thickest? Or does it depend on hail and
electric phenomena, or on local relation to great mountains?"
It will be remembered that in 1859 the outbreak of the war of the Italian
liberation took place. Garibaldi--the Knight of the Red Shirt--though he
had settled down as a farmer on the island of Caprera, was summoned by
Cavour to fight for Victor Emmanuel. He and his _Chasseurs des Alpes_ went
into Central Italy as chief in command, and helped to complete the
annexation of the Sardinian territories. It was in August, 1860, that he
made his military promenade through Naples. During the next few years he
was longing to march on Rome, but he also wished to foment the rebellion
in Hungary, and not to let it come to nothing.
"10 Circus Road, St. John's Wood,
"_10th Nov._, 1860.
"My dear Nicholson,
"I believe I have never so much as written from Wales or Clifton to you,
to denote that I was not killed on the rail. In old days I suppose that
every distant journey demanded this kind of 'receipt' from a traveller;
but we now travel too much to make it natural. I am reading the Book of
Proverbs in Arabic, in order to work myself up in the vocabulary of
morals, and am pleased to find that I know nearly all the words, although
the exact _form_ of some is new to me.
* * * * *
"We may now congratulate one another on the 'definitive' fact of a
constitutional King of United Italy. Louis Napoleon, in consenting to it,
appears to me to have surpassed the limits not only of ordinary kings, but
of ordinary statesmen. I find that even able and temperate French writers,
such as Eugene Forcat, are shocked at it.... Louis Napoleon's ... enemies
outside have been Germany, Spain, Russia, Austria, Naples, and the Papacy,
and inside, all the Catholic clergy and the politicians.... Do you see
Garibaldi's renewed solemn promise that his flag shall be joined to the
Hungarian in effecting their liberation from Austria? What I hear and
_know_ of Lord Palmerston's intrigues against Hungary and _threats to
Sardinia_ if she dares to assist Hungary ... fills me with indignation and
no small alarm. No doubt all that intrigue can do is now employed to
induce Austria to _sell_ Venetia, not in order to benefit Italy (though to
this they have no objection), but in gratuitous enmity to Hungary, which
(Lord Palmerston says) the English Government _will not permit_ to be
separated from Austria. This I _know_ he avowed to the Sardinian
Ambassador, and sent the English fleet into the Adriatic as a
demonstration. Happily the war is now likely to be deferred till
Parliament meets, and our ministry may be severely checked in time. I
trust we are only at the beginning of magnificent results in Europe and in
"Your true friend,
"Francis W. Newman."
1861 was a great year for the fortunes of America. Then it was that the
Civil War between the North and South (United States) first began. The
question seemed to be, how far the United States might really interfere
with the doings of any particular State of the Union. The North determined
that they would not allow the Union to be broken up, and so they fought.
But really the true point at issue was a far bigger question than that,
for it turned out that the real dispute had to do with whether slavery was
to be allowed to continue, or whether it should be put an end to for good
The North said it must cease, and after a war lasting five-years, this was
the final decision upon which peace was made. England very nearly was
brought into this war against her colonies, but happily not quite. It was
probably due to Abraham Lincoln (who was most wise in his Presidentship)
that this war was averted.
"_14th June_, 1861.
"The interest of American affairs almost swallows up with me those of
Italy, Poland, Hungary; though I am on the whole in decided good heart as
to them all, i.e. as to everything but India. Everywhere else the tide
seems to me to have turned for the better; but in India that is by no
means clear to me. I hope our Government has discovered its error as
regards America.... The glorious patriotism and unanimity of the North
none could absolutely foresee; but that the attempt to break up the Union
would goad the pro-slavery faction of the North into intense hostility of
feeling to the South, appeared to me so clear and certain that I predicted
it in print. That their backers and merchants should so lavish their
private fortunes for the war was more than I dared to hope. I think the
Union gets a new heart from this time."
"10 Circus Road, London, N.W.
"My dear Nicholson,
"I hope that the capture of New Orleans, now fully attested, pretty well
tranquillizes your mind, and justifies us in believing that we see the
beginning of the end.
* * * * *
"Events have not even yet taken the scale from the eyes of deluded people
here. I still hear on all sides the doleful lament that 'the successes of
the North are much to be regretted, since they _can only prolong the
war_.' Mr. Gladstone [Footnote: Then Chancellor of the Exchequer.] has
just printed his recent Manchester speech, in which he sympathizes with
the South, because he does not trust the soundness of the North in the
cause of freedom!... I am calmly told that it is not for the _interest of
England_ that America should be so strong, and it is better for herself,
and for us, that she break up! England may have all India, but the United
States may not have one Mississippi, or keep the mouth of her own river. I
have never felt so unutterably ashamed for my own country, for it affects
public men and the press of London _on all sides_, with exceptions which
may be easily counted. Are you not delighted with the progress of India
for the better? It appears in the public news in many ways; but besides, I
have papers from Oudh and Calcutta which interest me extremely, and give
me the most cheerful hopes of the future. The change introduced by the
extinction of the Company's rule is prodigiously beyond what I ever dared
to expect in so short a time. I am beginning to print (for very limited
circulation!) a Latin _Robinson Crusoe_--chiefly to please a lady-teacher,
my favourite pupil. It is not a translation, but an imitation. My wife is
just returned from Brighton, where I spent Easter--but did _not_ go to the
rifle review. I feel unable to take interest in it, until Secret Diplomacy
is abolished. At this moment there is no security that Lord Russell is not
intriguing against Hungary, while possessing liberal views for Italy."
It is necessary here, I think, to add that the Hon. East India Company
had, so long ago as 1833, been deprived of its commercial privileges; but
still its directors practically ruled India under the Board of Control,
which Pitt originated. Later, in 1858, Lord Palmerston brought in a bill
which was its death-blow. The Company was to be abolished, and the Home
Government reigned in its stead in India.
In July, 1863, Newman severed his long connection with University College,
and evidently looked forward with great pleasure to uninterrupted time for
writing and studying.
"I am finally severed from University College, but do not as yet know how
much difference that means, since this is my natural vacation. I suppose
that next October I shall begin to realize the greatness of the change for
good or evil. (The enclosed photogram makes my face dirty, and one eye too
dark; yet seen through a magnifier it is really good.) I seem to have an
Augean stable to cleanse in reducing my papers to simplicity, and burning
accumulations of thirty years. I am not likely to write less, but perhaps
more, in anonymous ways, which impedes one's concentrating oneself on one
subject, if that be desirable: as to which I cannot make up my mind. The
danger of overworking the brain I see to be extreme if one has one subject
and that all paper work and private work.
"I have now got my house, to keep on with right to leave at a quarter of a
As the following letters make much mention of the struggle through which
the United States was passing, it is perhaps as well to give, briefly, a
few details of the happenings which were then taking place.
In 1856, when the Republican army was first started to put an end to the
extension of slavery, Lincoln, who was the most prominent man against the
pro-slavery party, took the lead as the most active servant of the cause.
But there was another, working perhaps more quietly, but quite as
resolutely against slavery, whose name should never be forgotten. William
Lloyd Garrison--a man of the same age as Newman--started in 1831 a paper
called _The Liberator_, with no capital or subscriptions. This paper he
carried on for thirty-five years until slavery was abolished in the United
States, although he received constantly letters threatening his
assassination. He came to England in 1833, and on his return he started
the American Anti-Slavery Society. Before that was accomplished, however,
in every way possible he had spread over the whole of the States pamphlets
etc., urging on his people the pressing need of the abolition of the slave
trade. Then in 1863 (July) General Grant's success in capturing Vicksburg
gave back to the Union the full control of the Mississippi river. By 1864
Grant was in full command of the Union Army. But _the_ aim of the
Abolitionists had been triumphantly attained before then, for on 1st Jan.,
1863, President Lincoln declared that all slaves in the States then in a
state of rebellion should be free. Only two years later this man, who had
done so much to rid his country of a degrading trade, was assassinated.
The following letter is dated 4th Aug., 1863:--
"... I hope that you now, with me, believe that the era of Southern
'successes' (i.e. hard and HOPEFUL _resistance_) is finally past. I
believe nothing now remains but the resistance of despair, which cannot
long animate the masses. Hatred of the free negro may awhile move them.
But, the Mississippi once open, the N.W. has no longer a party favourable
to the South; and the exhaustion of the South is so marked and undeniable
that the real end may be much earlier than the people think.... General
Neal Dow (now a prisoner at Richmond) in his last letter to England
observed that the moral end served by the prolongation of the war had
notoriously been the immediate legal emancipation of the negroes in the
Gulf States; but the further prolongation of it is to determine the future
internal government and possession of landed property in these States as
the guarantee for the future. But it is a hard wrench on the politicians
of the North to consent to this. Lincoln and Blair evidently would still
much rather export the negroes _if they could_. Lincoln will not do
anything against the will of the blacks; but it is evidently his weak
point to deprecate them as equal citizens."
In September, 1863, Newman and his wife were spending their holiday at
Windermere. From there he writes:--
"I fear that the projects of Louis Napoleon in Mexico, and the consequent
sympathies of the United States with Russia against Poland and France,
make an imbroglio fatal to Poland. Now that, if the Russian Empire were
organized into States possessed of substantive interior nationality (as
the French plan is), this would seem to be a very lamentable result. The
two Western Cabinets have so acted as to ensure that Russia and the United
States shall each desire the aggrandizement of the other; and if Russia
take a lesson of imperial liberality from America, her empire may terrify
our grandchildren with excellent reason. But I believe that the interest
of the nations, of the true people everywhere, will prevail over Cabinet
ambitions as soon as slavery is effectually uprooted in America."
Never do the words "a" and "the" light up so vividly the significant gulf
which lies between the absence and the presence of Fame than when the
first qualifies in the first instance the name of some man at a time when
he is not specially distinguished; and then, much later on, the second
prefaces it as the mouthpiece of Fame. In 1863 Newman's mention of "_a_
Mr. Grace, the _recent_ celebrated victorious cricketer," proved that his
world-wide fame had but then been in its initial stage.
Newman's counsel to Dr. Nicholson in _re_ cigars as injurious to appetite
and inflaming to the eyes, reminds one that though, as I have shown by his
speech to Mr. Butler's family, he was "anti-everything," including smoke,
yet he mentions constantly in his _Personal Narrative_ that in Syria
during his missionary journey there in 1830-3, the fact was that he
himself smoked in the fashion of the country, and by no means disliked it
in his own young manhood. He begins on the Temperance and Teetotal
"_17th Sept._, 1863.
* * * * *
"I am reminded of it, by seeing to-day a statement made concerning
cricketers, that no first-rate cricketer takes beer, ale, or spirits,
which (it is said by the enthusiastic narrator) inevitably 'jaundice the
eye,' nor tobacco in any form, (!) which induces a kind of stupefaction or
negligence. The recent celebrated victorious cricketer, a Mr. Grace, it is
said, will not take even _tea_; but prefers water. (I hope the water is
better than that of Windermere!) Two months ago I was reading from a
sporting newspaper about a rowing match on the Thames, and there learnt
that if a rower is known to take beer or ale, it lowers the bets in his
favour. In fact, no habitual drinker, though he drink _only_ for health
and strength (as he thinks), is regarded to have a chance of the highest
"I cannot help thinking that both wine and alcohol and tobacco lower the
vital powers, and that men are strong _in spite_ of them, not by reason of
"Will you forgive me for suspecting that cigars lessen your appetite
(which is less keen surely than it ought to be), as well as inflame your
Newman goes, in his next letter, to a much more intricate subject: i.e.
He had been studying them for two months. Emanuel Deutsch, one of the
great authorities on cuneiform inscriptions, gives us the following
information as regards them:--
The writing itself resembles a wedge, and it has been proved that it was
used by the ancient peoples of Babylonia, Assyria, Armenia, and Persia, as
well as by other nations. It was inscribed on stone, iron, bronze, glass,
or clay. The stylus which impressed the inscriptions on them was pointed,
and had three unequal facets, of which the smallest made the fine wedge of
the cuneiform signs. The first cuneiform writing of which we know dates
from about 3800 B.C.
It was used first in Mesopotamia, and then in Persia, and the districts
north of Nineveh. When it became extinct, for nearly sixteen hundred
years, its very existence was absolutely forgotten. It was not until the
year 1618 that Garcia de Sylva Figueroa, ambassador of Philip III of
Spain, on seeing them, felt convinced that these inscriptions, in a
writing to which no one in the wide world possessed a key, must mean
something. Therefore he had a line of them copied. In 1693 they were
supposed to be "the ancient writings of the Gaures." Hyde, in 1700,
trifled with them, and gave them credit for being nothing more than the
architect's fancies. Witte saw in them nothing but the disfigurations of
many generations of worms. Others had their own speculations as to their
meaning. But Karsten Niebuhr took a big step higher and nearer to their
real meaning. He made out that there were three cuneiform alphabets,
because of the threefold inscriptions at Persepolis.
In 1802 Grotefend, of Hanover, put before the Academy of Gottingen the
first cuneiform alphabet. Then, among other great investigators, followed
The first of these alphabets is Persian; the second the Median; the third
Deutsch tells us that, originally, the cuneiform signs were pictures of
objects drawn in outline on a vegetable substance, known by the native
name of _likhusi_. He thinks it probable that the supply of this was not
equal to the demand, for early in the Babylonish history clay was used
instead of _likhusi_.
(This letter is undated.)
"My dear Nicholson,
"I cannot remember the longitude or latitude of my hearing from you or
writing to you, and do not know whether I have to apologize for neglecting
you, so absorbed (it seems) have I been. I cannot even tell whether I told
you of my two months' devotion to Cuneiformism, and my study of the Medo-
Persian and Scythian inscriptions as _promeletemata_ of an article in the
November _Fraser's Magazine_.
"I found the Assyrian useless to dabble in: it is so vast, so fragmentary,
so embarrassed by dogmatic hypotheses and assertions, and deterring
complications, that one must give oneself _wholly_ to it for any chance of
getting to its foundations. But I feel on perfectly solid ground in Medo-
Persian or Scythian. Difficulties in them are like difficulties in Greek
or Sanscrit: that is all. In the Assyrian, I do not yet know whether to
believe at least half of the characters, and many fundamental alleged
principles; and I get no satisfaction in what I read....
"The eight millions in the U.S. who are to be educated, stimulate me. I am
dying to get into relations with some who will be practically engaged in
it.... I was very gloomy about American affairs four or six weeks ago. The
President seemed running fast to ruin. But his plans have happily broken
down so early and so decidedly, that he is probably himself ashamed of
them, and the people have rallied to oppose them. I now trust that all
will come right."
"_20th Aug._, 1864.
"My dear Nicholson,
"I dare say you duly received a copy of my Iguvine Inscriptions [Footnote:
There is a town in Central Italy, Gubbio, which was anciently known as
Iguvium or Eugubium, which possessed many medieval palaces (the
Brancaleoni), and well-known Eugubine Tables.] which I directed to be sent
to you. For the first time in my life I have published with the secret
hope of what some call 'fame,' i.e. with the desire of gaining 'credit,'
because such 'credit' is of first importance to aid me in pushing on my
schemes in regard to modern Arabic literature in European type.... To put
forward an Easy Instructor in modern Arabic and an Anglo-Arabic
Dictionary, in European type, _with advantage_, I should greatly wish
another journey to Turkey, but as I have no children to leave with my
wife, and she would be killed with ennui if I took her, and would more
than double the expense, I have not seen how to do it. Besides, I want
money to publish my books.... General Grant's position between Petersburg
and Richmond is become terribly anxious (my last news was his loss of six
thousand men in attacking the fortresses behind the one which he blew up),
and unless ultimately successful, the longer he tarries, the more complete
will be his disaster.... I have always been despondent as to the Northern
scheme for forcing its way through Eastern Virginia; and am not the better
reconciled to it by Grant's campaign. There is no sound success for the
North now, unless they put the 'coloured' race politically on equal terms
with the 'whites,' and not to do so when 'colour' is legally undefinable,
and when the only loyal citizens in loyal provinces are 'coloured,' is an
alarming infatuation. I suppose they must suffer more and more, until they
resolve that the slave owners of Kentucky, and the colour bigots of
Illinois and Pennsylvania, shall be forced to yield to patriotic
necessities. Perhaps until they put down Slavery and serfdom within their
own limits, they are not to be allowed success against the rebels. Mr.
Lincoln's gratuitous establishment of serfdom in Louisiana, and
recognition of the pardoned rebels, as the only citizens worthy to hold
power, has filled me with despair of him. It is now clear from his own
avowals, that he will do no more justice to the coloured race than he is
_forced_ to do."
In a letter dated 24th November, 1864, he says:--
* * * * *
"I much rejoice that the Americans have made the Presidential election a
trial of principles, not of persons. Such a victory as 213 to 21 seems to
imply that the old 'democratic' party is henceforth killed, while the
Abolitionists, who have voted for Lincoln and Johnson, are left quite free
not to attack the Government as severely as they pleased for any
shortcomings. I hope you have seen, or will see, the speech of Andrew
Johnson at Nashville, proclaiming liberty 'full, broad, and unconditional'
to every person in Tennessee. It is in so hearty and outspoken a tone as
to double its value. '_Loyal_ men alone, _whether white or black_, shall
rule the destiny of Tennessee.' 'All men who are _for equal rights_ are
his friends.' Now that he is Vice-President-elect I cannot but hope a
great change for the better in Mr. Lincoln's policy towards the free and
freed negroes, for Johnson and Lincoln have been in intimate relations
from the beginning.... Have you read details about the U.S. Sanitary
Commission? It is a magnificent development of high historical importance
to the future of wars, carrying out Florence Nightingale's ideas and
wishes on to the vastest scale, and adding to it the tending of sick and
Newman's next communication to his friend alludes to the Permissive Bill,
and assures him that there is no fear that it can ever "hinder _legal_
methods of getting liquor (for medicine, for chemistry, for art)." He
adds: "The sole question is, whether by an agent of the public authority,
who makes no gain by an increased sale (which we think the sound mode), or
by a trafficker who gains by pushing the sale."
As regards America: "I now understand that the darkest moment for the
North--the repulse of Burnside at Fredericsburgh--was the _only_ thing
that at last decided Mr. Lincoln to issue his proclamation of freedom....
He has been born and bred under a slave-owner's interpretation of the
Constitution and of the negro-temperament, and ... seems to persist in his
publicly avowed preference of _gradual_ abolition. Could he have had his
way, I predicted, and would still predict, twenty years of misery,
confusion, with probably new war unfavourable to the North. Garrison has
done his worst to aid the President, but Sumner and Wendell Phillips have
(as I now take courage to believe) checkmated him. He will NEVER get his
Louisiana and Arkansas reconstruction approved by Congress, and _colour-
legislation_ will be declared to be a violation of 'Republicanism.'... Yet
Mr. Lincoln is a better President every half-year, and I fully count will
at last give way to truth and necessity with a good grace.
"I have been actively working up my _Handbook_ of Arabic. I also design a
_skeleton_ dictionary of Arabic-English. I have got a valuable book from
Algiers (if it had but vowel points!). But I cannot publish until I have
money to spare. Meanwhile I work hard to mature and perfect."
Late in September, 1864, he is again writing on American turmoils:--
"_Next June_, 1865, the debt of the U.S. will be about 400 million
sterling, only half of what England had at the end of the great French
War, when her population was not two-thirds nor her means one-fifth of the
U.S., who (if once freedom and order is established over the whole Union)
will be a focus of immigration three times as attractive as ever, with
wealth multiplying twice as rapidly as ever.... I have no anxiety about
anything _but the policy which is to prevail in victory_.... It is
frightful to me to hear President Lincoln avow that (against the morality
of his heart) his official duty is to do nothing for the coloured race
except under compulsion and to save the whole Republic from foundering. He
knows they are subjects of the Union, and _owe allegiance_ to it, to the
point of laying down their lives for it; yet he does not know that those
who owe allegiance have an indefeasible right to protection. He is
conquering rebellious States, and does not know that the conqueror is