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The Oxford Movement by R.W. Church

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were responsible for the discipline and moral tone of the first
University of Christendom, and who held their conspicuous position on
the understanding of that responsibility. It behoved the heads of the
University to be cautious, even to be suspicious; movements might be
hollow or dangerous things. But it behoved them also to become
acquainted with so striking a phenomenon as this; to judge it by what it
appealed to--the learning of English divines, the standard of a high and
generous moral rule; to recognise its aims at least, with equity and
sympathy, if some of its methods and arguments seemed questionable. The
men of the movement were not mere hostile innovators; they were fighting
for what the University and its chiefs held dear and sacred, the
privileges and safety of the Church. It was the natural part of the
heads of the University to act as moderators; at any rate, to have
shown, with whatever reserve, that they appreciated what they needed
time to judge of. But while on the one side there was burning and
devouring earnestness, and that power of conviction which doubles the
strength of the strong, there was on the other a serene ignoring of all
that was going on, worthy of a set of dignified French _abbés_ on the
eve of the Revolution. This sublime or imbecile security was
occasionally interrupted by bursts of irritation at some fresh piece of
Tractarian oddness or audacity, or at some strange story which made its
way from the gossip of common rooms to the society of the Heads of
Houses. And there was always ready a stick to beat the offenders;
everything could be called Popish. But for the most part they looked on,
with smiles, with jokes, sometimes with scolding.[74] Thus the men who
by their place ought to have been able to gauge and control the
movement, who might have been expected to meet half-way a serious
attempt to brace up the religious and moral tone of the place, so
incalculably important in days confessed to be anxious ones, simply set
their faces steadily to discountenance and discredit it. They were good
and respectable men, living comfortably in a certain state and ease.
Their lives were mostly simple compared with the standard of the outer
world, though Fellows of Colleges thought them luxurious. But they were
blind and dull as tea-table gossips as to what was the meaning of the
movement, as to what might come of it, as to what use might be made of
it by wise and just and generous recognition, and, if need be, by wise
and just criticism and repression. There were points of danger in it;
but they could only see what _seemed_ to be dangerous, whether it was
so or not; and they multiplied these points of danger by all that was
good and hopeful in it. It perplexed and annoyed them; they had not
imagination nor moral elevation to take in what it aimed at; they were
content with the routine which they had inherited; and, so that men read
for honours and took first classes, it did not seem to them strange or a
profanation that a whole mixed crowd of undergraduates should be
expected to go on a certain Sunday in term, willing or unwilling, fit or
unlit, to the Sacrament, and be fined if they did not appear. Doubtless
we are all of us too prone to be content with the customary, and to be
prejudiced against the novel, nor is this condition of things without
advantage. But we must bear our condemnation if we stick to the
customary too long, and so miss our signal opportunities. In their
apathy, in their self-satisfied ignorance, in their dulness of
apprehension and forethought, the authorities of the University let pass
the great opportunity of their time. As it usually happens, when this
posture of lofty ignoring what is palpable and active, and the object of
everybody's thought, goes on too long, it is apt to turn into impatient
dislike and bitter antipathy. The Heads of Houses drifted insensibly
into this position. They had not taken the trouble to understand the
movement, to discriminate between its aspects, to put themselves frankly
into communication with its leading persons, to judge with the knowledge
and justice of scholars and clergymen of its designs and ways. They let
themselves be diverted from this, their proper though troublesome task,
by distrust, by the jealousies of their position, by the impossibility
of conceiving that anything so strange could really be true and sound.
And at length they found themselves going along with the outside current
of uninstructed and ignoble prejudice, in a settled and pronounced
dislike, which took for granted that all was wrong in the movement,
which admitted any ill-natured surmise and foolish misrepresentation,
and really allowed itself to acquiesce in the belief that men so well
known in Oxford, once so admired and honoured, had sunk down to
deliberate corrupters of the truth, and palterers with their own
intellects and consciences. It came in a few years to be understood on
both sides, that the authorities were in direct antagonism to the
movement; and though their efforts in opposition to it were feeble and
petty, it went on under the dead weight of official University
disapproval. It would have been a great thing for the English
Church--though it is hard to see how, things being as they were, it
could have come about--if the movement had gone on, at least with the
friendly interest, if not with the support, of the University rulers.
Instead of that, after the first two or three years there was one long
and bitter fight in Oxford, with the anger on one side created by the
belief of vague but growing dangers, and a sense of incapacity in
resisting them, and with deep resentment at injustice and stupidity on
the other.

The Bishops were farther from the immediate scene of the movement, and
besides, had other things to think of. Three or four of them might be
considered theologians--Archbishop Howley, Phillpotts of Exeter, Kaye of
Lincoln, Marsh of Peterborough. Two or three belonged to the Evangelical
school, Ryder of Lichfield, and the two Sumners at Winchester and
Chester. The most prominent among them, and next to the Bishop of Exeter
the ablest, alive to the real dangers of the Church, anxious to infuse
vigour into its work, and busy with plans for extending its influence,
was Blomfield, Bishop of London. But Blomfield was not at his best as a
divine, and, for a man of his unquestionable power, singularly unsure of
his own mind. He knew, in fact, that when the questions raised by the
Tracts came before him he was unqualified to deal with them; he was no
better furnished by thought or knowledge or habits to judge of them than
the average Bishop of the time, appointed, as was so often the case, for
political or personal reasons. At the first start of the movement, the
Bishops not unnaturally waited to see what would come of it. It was
indeed an effort in favour of the Church, but it was in irresponsible
hands, begun by men whose words were strong and vehement and of unusual
sound, and who, while they called on the clergy to rally round their
fathers the Bishops, did not shrink from wishing for the Bishops the
fortunes of the early days: "we could not wish them a more blessed
termination of their course than the spoiling of their goods and
martyrdom."[76] It may reasonably be supposed that such good wishes were
not to the taste of all of them. As the movement developed, besides that
it would seem to them extravagant and violent, they would be perplexed
by its doctrine. It took strong ground for the Church; but it did so in
the teeth of religious opinions and prejudices, which were popular and
intolerant. For a moment the Bishops were in a difficulty; on the one
hand, no one for generations had so exalted the office of a Bishop as
the Tractarians; no one had claimed for it so high and sacred an origin;
no one had urged with such practical earnestness the duty of Churchmen
to recognise and maintain the unique authority of the Episcopate against
its despisers or oppressors. On the other hand, this was just the time
when the Evangelical party, after long disfavour, was beginning to gain
recognition, for the sake of its past earnestness and good works, with
men in power, and with ecclesiastical authorities of a different and
hitherto hostile school; and in the Tractarian movement the Evangelical
party saw from the first its natural enemy. The Bishops could not have
anything to do with the Tractarians without deeply offending the
Evangelicals. The result was that, for the present, the Bishops held
aloof. They let the movement run on by itself. Sharp sarcasms,
worldly-wise predictions, kind messages of approval, kind cautions,
passed from mouth to mouth, or in private correspondence from high
quarters, which showed that the movement was watched. But for some time
the authorities spoke neither good nor bad of it publicly. In his Charge
at the close of 1836, Bishop Phillpotts spoke in clear and unfaltering
language--language remarkable for its bold decision--of the necessity of
setting forth the true idea of the Church and the sacraments; but he was
silent about the call of the same kind which had come from Oxford. It
would have been well if the other Bishops later on, in their charges,
had followed his example. The Bishop of Oxford, in his Charge of 1838,
referred to the movement in balanced terms of praise and warning. The
first who condemned the movement was the Bishop of Chester, J. Bird
Sumner; in a later Charge he came to describe it as the work of Satan;
in 1838 he only denounced the "undermining of the foundations of our
Protestant Church by men who dwell within her walls," and the bad faith
of those "who sit in the Reformers' seat, and traduce the Reformation."

These were grave mistakes on the part of those who were responsible for
the government of the University and the Church. They treated as absurd,
mischievous, and at length traitorous, an effort, than which nothing
could be more sincere, to serve the Church, to place its claims on
adequate grounds, to elevate the standard of duty in its clergy, and in
all its members. To have missed the aim of the movement and to have been
occupied and irritated by obnoxious details and vulgar suspicions was a
blunder which gave the measure of those who made it, and led to great
evils. They alienated those who wished for nothing better than to help
them in their true work. Their "unkindness" was felt to be, in Bacon's
phrase,[77] _injuriae potentiorum_. But on the side of the party of the
movement there were mistakes also.

1. The rapidity with which the movement had grown, showing that some
deep need had long been obscurely felt, which the movement promised to
meet,[78] had been too great to be altogether wholesome. When we compare
what was commonly received before 1833, in teaching, in habits of life,
in the ordinary assumptions of history, in the ideas and modes of
worship, public and private--the almost sacramental conception of
preaching, the neglect of the common prayer of the Prayer Book, the
slight regard to the sacraments--with what the teaching of the Tracts
and their writers had impressed for good and all, five years later, on
numbers of earnest people, the change seems astonishing. The change was
a beneficial one and it was a permanent one. The minds which it
affected, it affected profoundly. Still it was but a short time, for
young minds especially, to have come to a decision on great and debated
questions. There was the possibility, the danger, of men having been
captivated and carried away by the excitement and interest of the time;
of not having looked all round and thought out the difficulties before
them; of having embraced opinions without sufficiently knowing their
grounds or counting the cost or considering the consequences. There was
the danger of precipitate judgment, of ill-balanced and disproportionate
views of what was true and all-important. There was an inevitable
feverishness in the way in which the movement was begun, in the way in
which it went on. Those affected by it were themselves surprised at the
swiftness of the pace. When a cause so great and so sacred seemed thus
to be flourishing, and carrying along with it men's assent and
sympathies, it was hardly wonderful that there should often be
exaggeration, impatience at resistance, scant consideration for the
slowness or the scruples or the alarms of others. Eager and sanguine men
talked as if their work was accomplished, when in truth it was but
beginning. No one gave more serious warnings against this and other
dangers than the leaders; and their warnings were needed.[79]

2. Another mistake, akin to the last, was the frequent forgetfulness of
the apostolic maxim, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are
not expedient." In what almost amounted to a revolution in many of the
religious ideas of the time, it was especially important to keep
distinct the great central truths, the restoration of which to their
proper place justified and made it necessary, and the many subordinate
points allied with them and naturally following from them, which yet
were not necessary to their establishment or acceptance. But it was on
these subordinate points that the interest of a certain number of
followers of the movement was fastened. Conclusions which they had a
perfect right to come to, practices innocent and edifying to themselves,
but of secondary account, began to be thrust forward into prominence,
whether or not these instances of self-will really helped the common
cause, whether or not they gave a handle to ill-nature and ill-will.
Suspicion must always have attached to such a movement as this; but a
great deal of it was provoked by indiscreet defiance, which was rather
glad to provoke it.

3. Apart from these incidents--common wherever a number of men are
animated with zeal for an inspiring cause--there were what to us now
seem mistakes made in the conduct itself of the movement. Considering
the difficulties of the work, it is wonderful that there were not more;
and none of them were discreditable, none but what arose from the
limitation of human powers matched against confused and baffling

In the position claimed for the Church of England, confessedly unique
and anomalous in the history of Christendom, between Roman authority and
infallibility on one side, and Protestant freedom of private judgment on
the other, the question would at once arise as to the grounds of belief.
What, if any, are the foundations of conviction and certitude, apart
from personal inquiry, and examination of opposing arguments on
different sides of the case, and satisfactory logical conclusions? The
old antithesis between Faith and Reason, and the various problems
connected with it, could not but come to the front, and require to be
dealt with. It is a question which faces us from a hundred sides, and,
subtly and insensibly transforming itself, looks different from them
all. It was among the earliest attempted to be solved by the chief
intellectual leader of the movement, and it has occupied his mind to the
last.[80] However near the human mind seems to come to a solution, it
only, if so be, comes near; it never arrives. In the early days of the
movement it found prevailing the specious but shallow view that
everything in the search for truth was to be done by mere producible and
explicit argumentation; and yet it was obvious that of this two-thirds
of the world are absolutely incapable. Against this Mr. Newman and his
followers pressed, what was as manifestly certain in fact as it accorded
with any deep and comprehensive philosophy of the formation and growth
of human belief, that not arguments only, but the whole condition of the
mind to which they were addressed--and not the reasonings only which
could be stated, but those which went on darkly in the mind, and which
"there was not at the moment strength to bring forth," real and weighty
reasons which acted like the obscure rays of the spectrum, with their
proper force, yet eluding distinct observation--had their necessary and
inevitable and legitimate place in determining belief. All this was
perfectly true; but it is obvious how easily it might be taken hold of,
on very opposite sides, as a ground for saying that Tractarian or Church
views did not care about argument, or, indeed, rather preferred weak
arguments to strong ones in the practical work of life. It was ludicrous
to say it in a field of controversy, which, on the "Tractarian" side,
was absolutely bristling with argument, keen, subtle, deep, living
argument, and in which the victory in argument was certainly not always
with those who ventured to measure swords with Mr. Newman or Dr. Pusey.
Still, the scoff could be plausibly pointed at the "young enthusiasts
who crowded the Via Media, and who never presumed to argue, except
against the propriety of arguing at all." There was a good deal of
foolish sneering at reason; there was a good deal of silly bravado about
not caring whether the avowed grounds of opinions taken up were strong
or feeble. It was not merely the assent of a learner to his teacher, of
a mind without means of instruction to the belief which it has
inherited, or of one new to the ways and conditions of life to the
unproved assertions and opinions of one to whom experience had given an
open and sure eye. It was a positive carelessness, almost accounted
meritorious, to inquire and think, when their leaders called them to do
so. "The Gospel of Christ is not a matter of mere argument." It is not,
indeed, when it comes in its full reality, in half a hundred different
ways, known and unsearchable, felt and unfelt, moral and intellectual,
on the awakened and quickened soul. But the wildest fanatic can take the
same words into his mouth. Their true meaning was variously and
abundantly illustrated, especially in Mr. Newman's sermons. Still, the
adequate, the emphatic warning against their early abuse was hardly
pressed on the public opinion and sentiment of the party of the movement
with the force which really was requisite. To the end there were men who
took up their belief avowedly on insufficient and precarious grounds,
glorying in the venturesomeness of their faith and courage, and
justifying their temper of mind and their intellectual attitude by
alleging misinterpreted language of their wiser and deeper teachers. A
recoil from Whately's hard and barren dialectics, a sympathy with many
tender and refined natures which the movement had touched, made the
leaders patient with intellectual feebleness when it was joined with
real goodness and Christian temper; but this also sometimes made them
less impatient than they might well have been with that curious form of
conceit and affectation which veils itself under an intended and
supposed humility, a supposed distrust of self and its own powers.

Another difficult matter, not altogether successfully managed--at least
from the original point of view of the movement, and of those who saw in
it a great effort for the good of the English Church--was the treatment
of the Roman controversy. The general line which the leaders proposed to
take was the one which was worthy of Christian and truth-loving
teachers. They took a new departure; and it was not less just than it
was brave, when, recognising to the full the overwhelming reasons why
"we should not be Romanists," they refused to take up the popular and
easy method of regarding the Roman Church as apostate and antichristian;
and declined to commit themselves to the vulgar and indiscriminate abuse
of it which was the discreditable legacy of the old days of controversy.
They did what all the world was loudly professing to do, they looked
facts in the face; they found, as any one would find who looked for
himself into the realities of the Roman Church, that though the bad was
often as bad as could be, there was still, and there had been all
along, goodness of the highest type, excellence both of system and of
personal life which it was monstrous to deny, and which we might well
admire and envy. To ignore all this was to fail in the first duty, not
merely of Christians, but of honest men; and we at home were not so
blameless that we could safely take this lofty tone of contemptuous
superiority. If Rome would only leave us alone, there would be
estrangement, lamentable enough among Christians, but there need be no
bitterness. But Rome would not leave us alone. The moment that there
were signs of awakening energy in England, that moment was chosen by its
agents, for now it could be done safely, to assail and thwart the
English Church. Doubtless they were within their rights, but this made
controversy inevitable, and for controversy the leaders of the movement
prepared themselves. It was an obstacle which they seemed hardly to have
expected, but which the nature of things placed in their way. But the
old style of controversy was impossible; impossible because it was so
coarse, impossible because it was so hollow.

If the argument (says the writer of Tract 71, in words which are
applicable to every controversy) is radically unreal, or (what may be
called) rhetorical or sophistical, it may serve the purpose of
encouraging those who are really convinced, though scarcely without
doing mischief to them, but certainly it will offend and alienate the
more acute and sensible; while those who are in doubt, and who desire
some real and substantial ground for their faith, will not bear to be
put off with such shadows. The arguments (he continues) which we use
must be such as are likely to convince serious and earnest minds, which
are really seeking for the truth, not amusing themselves with
intellectual combats, or desiring to support an existing opinion anyhow.
However popular these latter methods may be, of however long standing,
however easy both to find and to use, they are a scandal; and while they
lower our religious standard from the first, they are sure of hurting
our cause in the end.

And on this principle the line of argument in _The Prophetical Office of
the Church_ was taken by Mr. Newman. It was certainly no make-believe,
or unreal argument. It was a forcible and original way of putting part
of the case against Rome. It was part of the case, a very important
part; but it was not the whole case, and it ought to have been evident
from the first that in this controversy we could not afford to do
without the whole case. The argument from the claim of infallibility
said nothing of what are equally real parts of the case--the practical
working of the Roman Church, its system of government, the part which it
and its rulers have played in the history of the world. Rome has not
such a clean record of history, it has not such a clean account of what
is done and permitted in its dominions under an authority supposed to be
irresistible, that it can claim to be the one pure and perfect Church,
entitled to judge and correct and govern all other Churches. And if the
claim is made, there is no help for it, we must not shrink from the task
of giving the answer.[81] And, as experience has shown, the more that
rigid good faith is kept to in giving the answer, the more that
strictness and severity of even understatement are observed, the more
convincing will be the result that the Roman Church cannot be that which
it is alleged to be in its necessary theory and ideal.

But this task was never adequately undertaken. It was one of no easy
execution.[82] Other things, apparently more immediately pressing,
intervened. There was no question for the present of perfect and
unfeigned confidence in the English Church, with whatever regrets for
its shortcomings, and desires for its improvement But to the outside
world it seemed as if there were a reluctance to face seriously the
whole of the Roman controversy; a disposition to be indulgent to Roman
defects, and unfairly hard on English faults. How mischievously this
told in the course of opinion outside and inside of the movement; how it
was misinterpreted and misrepresented; how these misinterpretations and
misrepresentations, with the bitterness and injustice which they
engendered, helped to realise themselves, was seen but too clearly at a
later stage.

4. Lastly, looking back on the publications, regarded as characteristic
of the party, it is difficult not to feel that some of them gave an
unfortunate and unnecessary turn to things.

The book which made most stir and caused the greatest outcry was
Froude's _Remains_. It was undoubtedly a bold experiment; but it was not
merely boldness. Except that it might be perverted into an excuse by the
shallow and thoughtless for merely "strong talk," it may fairly be said
that it was right and wise to let the world know the full measure and
depth of conviction which gave birth to the movement; and Froude's
_Remains_ did that in an unsuspiciously genuine way that nothing else
could have done. And, besides, it was worth while for its own sake to
exhibit with fearless honesty such a character, so high, so true, so
refined, so heroic. So again, Dr. Pusey's Tract on Baptism was a bold
book, and one which brought heavy imputations and misconstructions on
the party. In the teaching of his long life, Dr. Pusey has abundantly
dispelled the charges of harshness and over-severity which were urged,
not always very scrupulously, against the doctrine of the Tract on
Post-baptismal Sin. But it was written to redress the balance against
the fatally easy doctrines then in fashion; it was like the Portroyalist
protest against the fashionable Jesuits; it was one-sided, and
sometimes, in his earnestness, unguarded; and it wanted as yet the
complement of encouragement, consolation, and tenderness which his
future teaching was to supply so amply. But it was a blow struck, not
before it was necessary, by a strong hand; and it may safely be said
that it settled the place of the sacrament of baptism in the living
system of the English Church, which the negations and vagueness of the
Evangelical party had gravely endangered. But two other essays appeared
in the Tracts, most innocent in themselves, which ten or twenty years
later would have been judged simply on their merits, but which at the
time became potent weapons against Tractarianism. They were the
productions of two poets--of two of the most beautiful and religious
minds of their time; but in that stage of the movement it is hardly too
much to say that they were out of place. The cause of the movement
needed clear explanations; definite statements of doctrines which were
popularly misunderstood; plain, convincing reasoning on the issues which
were raised by it; a careful laying out of the ground on which English
theology was to be strengthened and enriched. Such were Mr. Newman's
_Lectures on Justification_, a work which made its lasting mark on
English theological thought; Mr. Keble's masterly exposition of the
meaning of Tradition; and not least, the important collections which
were documentary and historical evidence of the character of English
theology, the so-called laborious _Catenas_. These were the real tasks
of the hour, and they needed all that labour and industry could give.
But the first of these inopportune Tracts was an elaborate essay, by Mr.
Keble, on the "Mysticism of the Fathers in the use and interpretation of
Scripture." It was hardly what the practical needs of the time required,
and it took away men's thoughts from them; the prospect was hopeless
that in that state of men's minds it should be understood, except by a
very few; it merely helped to add another charge, the vague but
mischievous charge of mysticism, to the list of accusations against the
Tracts. The other, to the astonishment of every one, was like the
explosion of a mine. That it should be criticised and objected to was
natural; but the extraordinary irritation caused by it could hardly have
been anticipated. Written in the most devout and reverent spirit by one
of the gentlest and most refined of scholars, and full of deep
Scriptural knowledge, it furnished for some years the material for the
most savage attacks and the bitterest sneers to the opponents of the
movement. It was called "On Reserve in communicating Religious
Knowledge"; and it was a protest against the coarseness and shallowness
which threw the most sacred words about at random in loud and
declamatory appeals, and which especially dragged in the awful mystery
of the Atonement, under the crudest and most vulgar conception of it, as
a ready topic of excitement in otherwise commonplace and helpless
preaching. The word "Reserve" was enough. It meant that the
Tract-writers avowed the principle of keeping back part of the counsel
of God. It meant, further, that the real spirit of the party was
disclosed; its love of secret and crooked methods, its indifference to
knowledge, its disingenuous professions, its deliberate concealments,
its holding doctrines and its pursuit of aims which it dared not avow,
its _disciplina arcani_, its conspiracies, its Jesuitical spirit. All
this kind of abuse was flung plentifully on the party as the controversy
became warm; and it mainly justified itself by the Tract on "Reserve."
The Tract was in many ways a beautiful and suggestive essay, full of
deep and original thoughts, though composed in that spirit of the
recluse which was characteristic of the writer, and which is in strong
contrast with the energetic temper of to-day.[83] But it could well have
been spared at the moment, and it certainly offered itself to an
unfortunate use. The suspiciousness which so innocently it helped to
awaken and confirm was never again allayed.


[74] Fifty years ago there was much greater contrast than now between
old and young. There was more outward respect for the authorities, and
among the younger men, graduates and undergraduates, more inward
amusement at foibles and eccentricities. There still lingered the
survivals of a more old-fashioned type of University life and character,
which, quite apart from the movements of religious opinion, provoked
those νεανιεύματα ἰδιωτῶν εἰς τοὐς ἄρχοντας,[75] _impertinences of
irresponsible juniors towards superiors_, which Wordsworth, speaking of
a yet earlier time, remembered at Cambridge--

"In serious mood, but oftener, I confess,
With playful zest of fancy, did we note
(How could we less?) the manners and the ways
Of those who lived distinguished by the badge
Of good or ill report; or those with whom
By frame of Academic discipline
We were perforce connected, men whose sway
And known authority of office served
To set our minds on edge, and did no more.
Nor wanted we rich pastime of this kind,
Found everywhere, but chiefly in the ring
Of the grave Elders, men unsecured, grotesque
In character, tricked out like aged trees
Which through the lapse of their infirmity
Give ready place to any random seed
That chooses to be reared upon their trunks."

_Prelude_, bk. iii.

[75] Plat. _R.P._ iii. 390.

[76] _Tracts for the Times_, No. 1, 9th September 1833.

[77] _An Advertisement touching the Controversies of the Church of
England:_ printed in the _Resuscitatio_, p. 138 (ed. 1671).

[78] See Mr. Newman's article, "The State of Religious Parties," in the
_British Critic_, April 1839, reprinted in his _Essays Historical and
Critical_, 1871, Vol. 1., essay vi.

[79] "It would not be at all surprising, though, in spite of the
earnestness of the principal advocates of the views in question, for
which every one seems to give them credit, there should be among their
followers much that is enthusiastic, extravagant, or excessive. All
these aberrations will be and are imputed to the doctrines from which
they proceed; nor unnaturally, but hardly fairly, for aberrations there
must be, whatever the doctrine is, while the human heart is sensitive,
capricious, and wayward.... There will ever be a number of persons
professing the opinions of a movement party, who talk loudly and
strangely, do odd and fierce things, display themselves unnecessarily,
and disgust other people; there will ever be those who are too young to
be wise, too generous to be cautious, too warm to be sober, or too
intellectual to be humble; of whom human sagacity cannot determine, only
the event, and perhaps not even that, whether they feel what they
say, or how far; whether they are to be encouraged or
discountenanced."--_British Critic_, April 1839, "State of Religious
Parties," p. 405.

[80] Cardinal Newman, _Grammar of Assent_.

[81] The argument from history is sketched fairly, but only sketched in
_The Prophetic Office_, Lect. xiv.

[82] In the Roman controversy it is sometimes hard to be just without
appearing to mean more than is said; for the obligation of justice
sometimes forces one who wishes to be a fair judge to be apparently an
apologist or advocate. Yet the supreme duty in religious controversy is
justice. But for the very reason that these controversialists wished to
be just to Rome, they were bound to be just against her. They meant to
be so; but events passed quickly, and leisure never came for a work
which involved a serious appeal to history.

[83] _Vide_ a striking review in the _British Critic_, April 1839,
partly correcting and guarding the view given in the Tract.


NO. 90

The formation of a strong Romanising section in the Tractarian party was
obviously damaging to the party and dangerous to the Church. It was _pro
tanto_ a verification of the fundamental charge against the party, a
charge which on paper they had met successfully, but which acquired
double force when this paper defence was traversed by facts. And a great
blow was impending over the Church, if the zeal and ability which the
movement had called forth and animated were to be sucked away from the
Church, and not only lost to it, but educated into a special instrument
against it. But the divergence became clear only gradually, and the hope
that after all it was only temporary and would ultimately disappear was
long kept up by the tenacity with which Mr. Newman, in spite of
misgivings and disturbing thoughts, still recognised the gifts and
claims of the English Church. And on the other hand, the bulk of the
party, and its other Oxford leaders, Dr. Pusey, Mr. Keble, Mr. Isaac
Williams, Mr. Marriott, were quite unaffected by the disquieting
apprehensions which were beginning to beset Mr. Newman. With a humbling
consciousness of the practical shortcomings of the English Church, with
a ready disposition to be honest and just towards Rome, and even to
minimise our differences with it, they had not admitted for a moment any
doubt of the reality of the English Church. The class of arguments which
specially laid hold of Mr. Newman's mind did not tell upon them--the
peculiar aspect of early precedents, about which, moreover, a good deal
of criticism was possible; or the large and sweeping conception of a
vast, ever-growing, imperial Church, great enough to make flaws and
imperfections of no account, which appealed so strongly to his
statesmanlike imagination. Their content with the Church in which they
had been brought up, in which they had been taught religion, and in
which they had taken service, their deep and affectionate loyalty and
piety to it, in spite of all its faults, remained unimpaired; and
unimpaired, also, was their sense of vast masses of practical evil in
the Roman Church, evils from which they shrank both as Englishmen and as
Christians, and which seemed as incurable as they were undeniable.
Beyond the hope which they vaguely cherished that some day or other, by
some great act of Divine mercy, these evils might disappear, and the
whole Church become once more united, there was nothing to draw them
towards Rome; submission was out of the question, and they could only
see in its attitude in England the hostility of a jealous and
unscrupulous disturber of their Master's work. The movement still went
on, with its original purpose, and on its original lines, in spite of
the presence in it, and even the co-operation, of men who might one day
have other views, and serious and fatal differences with their old

The change of religion when it comes on a man gradually,--when it is not
welcomed from the first, but, on the contrary, long resisted, must
always be a mysterious and perplexing process, hard to realise and
follow by the person most deeply interested, veiled and clouded to
lookers-on, because naturally belonging to the deepest depths of the
human conscience, and inevitably, and without much fault on either side,
liable to be misinterpreted and misunderstood. And this process is all
the more tangled when it goes on, not in an individual mind, travelling
in its own way on its own path, little affected by others, and little
affecting them, but in a representative person, with the
responsibilities of a great cause upon him, bound by closest ties of
every kind to friends, colleagues, and disciples, thinking, feeling,
leading, pointing out the way for hundreds who love and depend on him.
Views and feelings vary from day to day, according to the events and
conditions of the day. How shall he speak, and how shall he be silent?
How shall he let doubts and difficulties appear, yet how shall he
suppress them?--doubts which may grow and become hopeless, but which, on
the other hand, may be solved and disappear. How shall he go on as if
nothing had happened, when all the foundations of the world seem to have
sunk from under him? Yet how shall he disclose the dreadful secret, when
he is not yet quite sure whether his mind will not still rally from its
terror and despair? He must in honesty, in kindness, give some warning,
yet how much? and how to prevent it being taken for more than it means?
There are counter-considerations, to which he cannot shut his eyes.
There are friends who will not believe his warnings. There are watchful
enemies who are on the look-out for proofs of disingenuousness and bad
faith. He could cut through his difficulties at once by making the
plunge in obedience to this or that plausible sign or train of
reasoning, but his conscience and good faith will not let him take
things so easily; and yet he knows that if he hangs on, he will be
accused by and by, perhaps speciously, of having been dishonest and
deceiving. So subtle, so shifting, so impalpable are the steps by which
a faith is disintegrated; so evanescent, and impossible to follow, the
shades by which one set of convictions pass into others wholly opposite;
for it is not knowledge and intellect alone which come into play, but
all the moral tastes and habits of the character, its likings and
dislikings, its weakness and its strength, its triumphs and its
vexations, its keenness and its insensibilities, which are in full
action, while the intellect alone seems to be busy with its problems. A
picture has been given us, belonging to this time, of the process, by a
great master of human nature, and a great sufferer under the process; it
is, perhaps, the greatest attempt ever made to describe it; but it is
not wholly successful. It tells us much, for it is written with touching
good faith, but the complete effect as an intelligible whole is wanting.

"In the spring of 1839," we read in the _Apologia_, "my position in the
Anglican Church was at its height. I had a supreme confidence in my
controversial _status_, and I had a great and still growing success in
recommending it to others."[84] This, then, may be taken as the point
from which, in the writer's own estimate, the change is to be traced. He
refers for illustration of his state of mind to the remarkable article
on the "State of Religious Parties," in the April number of the _British
Critic_ for 1839, which he has since republished under the title of
"Prospects of the Anglican Church."[85] "I have looked over it now," he
writes in 1864, "for the first time since it was published; and have
been struck by it for this reason: it contains _the last words which I
ever spoke as an Anglican to Anglicans_.... It may now be read as my
parting address and valediction, made to my friends. I little knew it at
the time." He thus describes the position which he took in the article
referred to:--

Conscious as I was that my opinions in religious matters were not
gained, as the world said, from Roman sources, but were, on the
contrary, the birth of my own mind and of the circumstances in which I
had been placed, I had a scorn of the imputations which were heaped
upon me. It was true that I held a large, bold system of religion,
very unlike the Protestantism of the day, but it was the concentration
and adjustment of the statements of great Anglican authorities, and I
had as much right to do so as the Evangelical party had, and more
right than the Liberal, to hold their own respective doctrines. As I
spoke on occasion of Tract 90, I claimed, on behalf of the writer,
that he might hold in the Anglican Church a comprecation of the Saints
with Bramhall; and the Mass, all but Transubstantiation, with
Andrewes; or with Hooker that Transubstantiation itself is not a point
for Churches to part communion upon; or with Hammond that a General
Council, truly such, never did, never shall err in a matter of faith;
or with Bull that man lost inward grace by the Fall; or with Thorndike
that penance is a propitiation for post-baptismal sin; or with
Pearson that the all-powerful name of Jesus is no otherwise given than
in the Catholic Church. "Two can play at that game" was often in my
mouth, when men of Protestant sentiments appealed to the Articles,
Homilies, and Reformers, in the sense that if they had a right to
speak loud I had both the liberty and the means of giving them tit for
tat. I thought that the Anglican Church had been tyrannised over by a
Party, and I aimed at bringing into effect the promise contained in
the motto to the _Lyra_: "They shall know the difference now." I only
asked to be allowed to show them the difference.

I have said already (he goes on) that though the object of the
movement was to withstand the Liberalism of the day, I found and felt
that this could not be done by negatives. It was necessary for me to
have a positive Church theory erected on a definite basis. This took
me to the great Anglican divines; and then, of course, I found at once
that it was impossible to form any such theory without cutting across
the teaching of the Church of Rome. Thus came in the Roman
controversy. When I first turned myself to it I had neither doubt on
the subject, nor suspicion that doubt would ever come on me. It was in
this state of mind that I began to read up Bellarmine on the one hand,
and numberless Anglican writers on the other.[86]

And he quotes from the article the language which he used, to show the
necessity of providing some clear and strong basis for religious thought
in view of the impending conflict of principles, religious and
anti-religious, "Catholic and Rationalist," which to far-seeing men,
even at that comparatively early time, seemed inevitable:--

Then indeed will be the stern encounter, when two real and living
principles, simple, entire, and consistent, one in the Church, the
other out of it, at length rush upon each other, contending not for
names and words, a half view, but for elementary notions and
distinctive moral characters. Men will not keep standing in that very
attitude which you call sound Church-of-Englandism or orthodox
Protestantism. They will take one view or another, but it will be a
consistent one ... it will be real.... Is it sensible, sober,
judicious, to be so very angry with the writers of the day who point
to the fact, that our divines of the seventeenth century have occupied
a ground which is the true and intelligible mean between extremes?...
Would you rather have your sons and your daughters members of the
Church of England or of the Church of Rome?[87]

"The last words that I spoke as an Anglican to Anglicans,"--so he
describes this statement of his position and its reasons; so it seems to
him, as he looks back. And yet in the intimate and frank disclosures
which he makes, he has shown us much that indicates both that his
Anglicanism lasted much longer and that his Roman sympathies began to
stir much earlier. This only shows the enormous difficulties of
measuring accurately the steps of a transition state. The mind, in such
a strain of buffeting, is never in one stay. The old seems impregnable,
yet it has been undermined; the new is indignantly and honestly
repelled, and yet leaves behind it its never-to-be-forgotten and
unaccountable spell. The story, as he tells it, goes on, how, in the
full swing and confidence of his Anglicanism, and in the course of his
secure and fearless study of antiquity, appearance after appearance
presented itself, unexpected, threatening, obstinate, in the history of
the Early Church, by which this confidence was first shaken and then
utterly broken down in the summer of 1839. And he speaks as though all
had been over after two years from that summer: "From the end of 1841 I
was on my death-bed, as regards my membership with the Anglican Church,
though at the time I became aware of it only by degrees." In truth, it
was only the end which showed that it was a "death-bed." He had not yet
died to allegiance or "to hope, then or for some time afterwards." He
speaks in later years of the result, and reads what was then in the
light of what followed. But after all that had happened, and much, of
course, disturbing happened in 1841, he was a long way off from what
then could have been spoken of as "a death-bed." Deep and painful
misgivings may assail the sincerest faith; they are not fatal signs till
faith has finally given way.

What is true is, that the whole state of religion, and the whole aspect
of Christianity in the world, had come to seem to him portentously
strange and anomalous. No theory would take in and suit all the facts,
which the certainties of history and experience presented. Neither in
England, nor in Rome, and much less anywhere else, did the old, to which
all appealed, agree with the new; it might agree variously in this point
or in that, in others there were contrarieties which it was vain to
reconcile. Facts were against the English claim to be a Catholic
Church--how could Catholicity be shut up in one island? How could
England assert its continuity of doctrine? Facts were against the Roman
claim to be an infallible, and a perfect, and the whole Church--how
could that be perfect which was marked in the face of day with enormous
and undeniable corruptions? How could that be infallible which was
irreconcilable with ancient teaching? How could that be the whole
Church, which, to say nothing of the break-up in the West, ignored, as
if it had no existence, the ancient and uninterrupted Eastern Church?
Theory after theory came up, and was tried, and was found wanting. Each
had much to say for itself, its strong points, its superiority over its
rivals in dealing with the difficulties of the case, its plausibilities
and its imaginative attractions. But all had their tender spot, and
flinched when they were touched in earnest. In the confusions and sins
and divisions of the last fifteen centuries, profound disorganisation
had fastened on the Western Church. Christendom was not, could not be
pretended to be, what it had been in the fourth century; and whichever
way men looked the reasons were not hard to see. The first and
characteristic feeling of the movement, one which Mr. Newman had done so
much to deepen, was that of shame and humiliation at the disorder at
home, as well as in every part of the Church. It was not in Rome only,
or in England only; it was everywhere. What had been peculiar to
Anglicanism among all its rivals, was that it had emphatically and
without reserve confessed it.

With this view of the dislocation and the sins of the Church, he could
at once with perfect consistency recognise the shortcomings of the
English branch of the Church, and yet believe and maintain that it was
a true and living branch. The English fragment was not what it should
be, was indeed much that it should not be; the same could be said of the
Roman, though in different respects. This, as he himself reminds us, was
no new thing to his mind when the unsettlement of 1839 began. "At the
end of 1835, or the beginning of 1836, I had the whole state of the
question before me, on which, to my mind, the decision between the
Churches depended." It did not, he says, depend on the claims of the
Pope, as centre of unity; "it turned on the Faith of the Church"; "there
was a contrariety of _claims_ between the Roman and Anglican religions";
and up to 1839, with the full weight of Roman arguments recognised, with
the full consciousness of Anglican disadvantages, he yet spoke clearly
for Anglicanism. Even when misgivings became serious, the balance still
inclined without question the old way. He hardly spoke stronger in 1834
than he did in 1841, after No. 90.

And now (he writes in his Letter to the Bishop of Oxford[88]) having
said, I trust, as much as your Lordship requires on the subject of
Romanism, I will add a few words, to complete my explanation, in
acknowledgment of the inestimable privilege I feel in being a member
of that Church over which your Lordship, with others, presides.
Indeed, did I not feel it to be a privilege which I am able to seek
nowhere else on earth, why should I be at this moment writing to your
Lordship? What motive have I for an unreserved and joyful submission
to your authority, but the feeling that the Church in which your
Lordship rules is a divinely-ordained channel of supernatural grace to
the souls of her members? Why should I not prefer my own opinion, and
my own way of acting, to that of the Bishop's, except that I know full
well that in matters indifferent I should be acting lightly towards
the Spouse of Christ and the awful Presence which dwells in her, if I
hesitated a moment to put your Lordship's will before my own? I know
full well that your Lordship's kindness to me personally would be in
itself quite enough to win any but the most insensible heart, and, did
a clear matter of conscience occur in which I felt bound to act for
myself, my feelings towards your Lordship would be a most severe trial
to me, independently of the higher considerations to which I have
alluded; but I trust I have shown my dutifulness to you prior to the
influence of personal motives; and this I have done because I think
that to belong to the Catholic Church is the first of all privileges
here below, as involving in it heavenly privileges, and because I
consider the Church over which your Lordship presides to be the
Catholic Church in this country. Surely then I have no need to profess
in words, I will not say my attachment, but my deep reverence towards
the Mother of Saints, when I am showing it in action; yet that words
may not be altogether wanting, I beg to lay before your Lordship the
following extract from a defence of the English Church, which I wrote
against a Roman controversialist in the course of the last year.

"The Church is emphatically a living body, and there can be no greater
proof of a particular communion being part of the Church than the
appearance in it of a continued and abiding energy, nor a more
melancholy proof of its being a corpse than torpidity. We say an
energy continued and abiding, for accident will cause the activity of
a moment, and an external principle give the semblance of self-motion.
On the other hand, even a living body may for a while be asleep.

* * * * *

"It concerns, then, those who deny that we are the true Church because
we have not at present this special note, intercommunion with other
Christians, to show cause why the Roman Church in the tenth century
should be so accounted, with profligates, or rather the profligate
mothers of profligate sons for her supreme rulers. And still
notwithstanding life _is_ a note of the Church; she alone revives,
even if she declines; heretical and schismatical bodies cannot keep
life; they gradually became cold, stiff, and insensible.

* * * * *

"Now if there ever were a Church on whom the experiment has been
tried, whether it had life in it or not, the English is that one. For
three centuries it has endured all vicissitudes of fortune. It has
endured in trouble and prosperity, under seduction, and under
oppression. It has been practised upon by theorists, browbeaten by
sophists, intimidated by princes, betrayed by false sons, laid waste
by tyranny, corrupted by wealth, torn by schism, and persecuted by
fanaticism. Revolutions have come upon it sharply and suddenly, to and
fro, hot and cold, as if to try what it was made of.

It has been a sort of battlefield on which opposite principles have
been tried. No opinion, however extreme any way, but may be found, as
the Romanists are not slow to reproach us, among its Bishops and
Divines. Yet what has been its career upon the whole? Which way has it
been moving through 300 years? Where does it find itself at the end?
Lutherans have tended to Rationalism; Calvinists have become
Socinians; but what has it become? As far as its Formularies are
concerned, it may be said all along to have grown towards a more
perfect Catholicism than that with which it started at the time of its
estrangement; every act, every crisis which marks its course, has been

* * * * *

"What a note of the Church is the mere production of a man like
Butler, a pregnant fact much to be meditated on! and how strange it
is, if it be as it seems to be, that the real influence of his work is
only just now beginning! and who can prophesy in what it will end?
Thus our Divines grow with centuries, expanding after their death in
the minds of their readers into more and more exact Catholicism as
years roll on.

* * * * *

"Look across the Atlantic to the daughter Churches of England in the
States: 'Shall one that is barren bear a child in her old age?' yet
'the barren hath borne seven.' Schismatic branches put out their
leaves at once, in an expiring effort; our Church has waited three
centuries, and then blossoms like Aaron's rod, budding and blooming
and yielding fruit, while the rest are dry. And lastly, look at the
present position of the Church at home; there, too, we shall find a
note of the true City of God, the Holy Jerusalem. She is in warfare
with the world, as the Church Militant should be; she is rebuking the
world, she is hated, she is pillaged by the world.

* * * * *

"Much might be said on this subject. At all times, since Christianity
came into the world, an open contest has been going on between
religion and irreligion; and the true Church, of course, has ever been
on the religious side. This, then, is a sure test in every age _where_
the Christian should stand.... Now, applying this simple criterion to
the public Parties of this DAY, it is very plain that the English
Church is at present on God's side, and therefore, so far, God's
Church; we are sorry to be obliged to add that there is as little
doubt on which side English Romanism is.

* * * * *

"As for the English Church, surely she has notes enough, 'the signs of
an Apostle in all patience, and signs and wonders and mighty deeds.'
She has the note of possession, the note of freedom from party-titles;
the note of life, a tough life and a vigorous; she has ancient
descent, unbroken continuance, agreement in doctrine with the ancient
Church. Those of Bellarmine's Notes, which she certainly has not, are
intercommunion with Christendom, the glory of miracles, and the
prophetical light, but the question is, whether she has not enough of
Divinity about her to satisfy her sister Churches on their own
principles, that she is one body with them."

This may be sufficient to show my feelings towards my Church, as far
as Statements on paper can show them.

How earnestly, how sincerely he clung to the English Church, even after
he describes himself on his "death-bed," no one can doubt. The charm of
the _Apologia_ is the perfect candour with which he records fluctuations
which to many are inconceivable and unintelligible, the different and
sometimes opposite and irreconcilable states of mind through which he
passed, with no attempt to make one fit into another. It is clear, from
what he tells us, that his words in 1839 were not his _last_ words as an
Anglican to Anglicans. With whatever troubles of mind, he strove to be a
loyal and faithful Anglican long after that. He spoke as an Anglican. He
fought for Anglicanism. The theory, as he says, may have gone by the
board, in the intellectual storms raised by the histories of the
Monophysites and Donatists. "By these great words of the ancient
father--_Securus judicat orbis terrarum_"--the theory of the _Via Media_
was "absolutely pulverised." He was "sore," as he says in 1840, "about
the great Anglican divines, as if they had taken me in, and made me say
strong things against Rome, which facts did not justify."[89] Yes, he
felt, as other men do not feel, the weak points of even a strong
argument, the exaggerations and unfairness of controversialists on his
own side, the consciousness that you cannot have things in fact, or in
theory, or in reasoning, smoothly and exactly as it would be convenient,
and as you would like to have them. But his conclusion, on the whole,
was unshaken. There was enough, and amply enough, in the English Church
to bind him to its allegiance, to satisfy him of its truth and its life,
enough in the Roman to warn him away. In the confusions of Christendom,
in the strong and obstinate differences of schools and parties in the
English Church, he, living in days of inquiry and criticism, claimed to
take and recommend a theological position on many controverted
questions, which many might think a new one, and which might not be
exactly that occupied by any existing school or party.[90] "We are all,"
he writes to an intimate friend on 22d April 1842, a year after No. 90,
"much quieter and more resigned than we were, and are remarkably
desirous of building up a position, and proving that the English theory
is tenable, or rather the English state of things. If the Bishops would
leave us alone, the fever would subside."

He wanted, when all other parties were claiming room for their
speculations, to claim room for his own preference for ancient doctrine.
He wished to make out that no branch of the Church had authoritatively
committed itself to language which was hopelessly and fatally
irreconcilable with Christian truth. But he claimed nothing but what he
could maintain to be fairly within the authorised formularies of the
English Church. He courted inquiry, he courted argument. If his claim
seemed a new one, if his avowed leaning to ancient and Catholic views
seemed to make him more tolerant than had been customary, not to Roman
abuses, but to Roman authoritative language, it was part of the more
accurate and the more temperate and charitable thought of our day
compared with past times. It was part of the same change which has
brought Church opinions from the unmitigated Calvinism of the Lambeth
Articles to what the authorities of those days would have denounced,
without a doubt, as Arminianism. Hooker was gravely and seriously
accused to the Council for saying that a Papist could be saved, and had
some difficulty to clear himself; it was as natural then as it is
amazing now.[91]

But with this sincere loyalty to the English Church, as he believed it
to be, there was, no doubt, in the background the haunting and
disquieting misgiving that the attempt to connect more closely the
modern Church with the ancient, and this widened theology in a direction
which had been hitherto specially and jealously barred, was putting the
English Church on its trial. Would it bear it? Would it respond to the
call to rise to a higher and wider type of doctrine, to a higher
standard of life? Would it justify what Mr. Newman had placed in the
forefront among the notes of the true Church, the note of Sanctity?
Would the _Via Media_ make up for its incompleteness as a theory by
developing into reality and fruitfulness of actual results? Would the
Church bear to be told of its defaults? Would it allow to the
maintainers of Catholic and Anglican principles the liberty which
others claimed, and which by large and powerful bodies of opinion was
denied to Anglicans? Or would it turn out on trial, that the _Via Media_
was an idea without substance, a dialectical fiction, a mere theological
expedient for getting out of difficulties, unrecognised, and when put
forward, disowned? Would it turn out that the line of thought and
teaching which connected the modern with the ancient Church was but the
private and accidental opinion of Hooker and Andrewes and Bull and
Wilson, unauthorised in the English Church, uncongenial to its spirit,
if not contradictory to its formularies? It is only just to Mr. Newman
to say, that even after some of his friends were frightened, he long
continued to hope for the best; but undoubtedly, more and more, his
belief in the reality of the English Church was undergoing a very
severe, and as time went on, discouraging testing.

In this state of things he published the Tract No. 90. It was occasioned
by the common allegation, on the side of some of the advanced section of
the Tractarians, as well as on the side of their opponents, that the
Thirty-nine Articles were hopelessly irreconcilable with that Catholic
teaching which Mr. Newman had defended on the authority of our great
divines, but which both the parties above mentioned were ready to
identify with the teaching of the Roman Church. The Tract was intended,
by a rigorous examination of the language of the Articles, to traverse
this allegation. It sought to show that all that was clearly and
undoubtedly Catholic, this language left untouched:[92] that it was
doubtful whether even the formal definitions of the Council of Trent
were directly and intentionally contradicted; and that what were really
aimed at were the abuses and perversions of a great popular and
authorised system, tyrannical by the force of custom and the obstinate
refusal of any real reformation.

It is often urged (says the writer), and sometimes felt and granted,
that there are in the Articles propositions or terms inconsistent with
the Catholic faith; or, at least, if persons do not go so far as to
feel the objection as of force, they are perplexed how best to answer
it, or how most simply to explain the passages on which it is made to
rest. The following Tract is drawn up with the view of showing how
groundless the objection is, and further, of approximating towards the
argumentative answer to it, of which most men have an implicit
apprehension, though they may have nothing more. That there are real
difficulties to a Catholic Christian in the ecclesiastical position of
our Church at this day, no one can deny; but the statements of the
Articles are not in the number, and it may be right at the present
moment to insist upon this.

When met by the objection that the ideas of the framers of the Articles
were well known, and that it was notorious that they had meant to put an
insuperable barrier between the English Church and everything that
savoured of Rome, the writer replied that the actual English Church
received the Articles not from them but from a much later authority,
that we are bound by their words not by their private sentiments either
as theologians or ecclesiastical politicians, and that in fact they had
intended the Articles to comprehend a great body of their countrymen,
who would have been driven away by any extreme and anti-Catholic
declarations even against Rome. The temper of compromise is
characteristic of the English as contrasted with the foreign
Reformation. It is visible, not only in the Articles, but in the polity
of the English Church, which clung so obstinately to the continuity and
forms of the ancient hierarchical system, it is visible in the
sacramental offices of the Prayer Book, which left so much out to
satisfy the Protestants, and left so much in to satisfy the Catholics.

The Tract went in detail through the Articles which were commonly looked
upon as either anti-Catholic or anti-Roman. It went through them with a
dry logical way of interpretation, such as a professed theologian might
use, who was accustomed to all the niceties of language and the
distinctions of the science. It was the way in which they would be
likely to be examined and construed by a purely legal court. The effect
of it, doubtless, was like that produced on ordinary minds by the
refinements of a subtle advocate, or by the judicial interpretation of
an Act of Parliament which the judges do not like; and some of the
interpretations undoubtedly seemed far-fetched and artificial. Yet some
of those which were pointed to at the time as flagrant instances of
extravagant misinterpretation have now come to look different. Nothing
could exceed the scorn poured on the interpretation of the Twenty-second
Article, that it condemns the "_Roman_" doctrine of Purgatory, but not
_all_ doctrine of purgatory as a place of gradual purification beyond
death. But in our days a school very far removed from Mr. Newman's would
require and would claim to make the same distinction. And so with the
interpretation of the "Sacrifices of Masses" in the same article. It was
the fashion in 1841 to see in this the condemnation of all doctrine of a
sacrifice in the Eucharist; and when Mr. Newman confined the phrase to
the gross abuses connected with the Mass, this was treated as an affront
to common sense and honesty. Since then we have become better acquainted
with the language of the ancient liturgies--, and no instructed
theologian could now venture to treat Mr. Newman's distinction as idle.
There was in fact nothing new in his distinctions on these two points.
They had already been made in two of the preceding Tracts, the reprint
of Archbishop Ussher on Prayers for the Dead, and the Catena on the
Eucharistie Sacrifice; and in both cases the distinctions were supported
by a great mass of Anglican authority.[93]

But the Tract had sufficient novelty about it to account for most of
the excitement which it caused. Its dryness and negative curtness were
provoking. It was not a positive argument, it was not an appeal to
authorities; it was a paring down of language, alleged in certain
portions of the Articles to be somewhat loose, to its barest meaning;
and to those to whom that language had always seemed to speak with
fulness and decision, it seemed like sapping and undermining a cherished
bulwark. Then it seemed to ask for more liberty than the writer in his
position at that time needed; and the object of such an indefinite
claim, in order to remove, if possible, misunderstandings between two
long-alienated branches of the Western Church, was one to excite in many
minds profound horror and dismay. That it maintained without flinching
and as strongly as ever the position and the claim of the English Church
was nothing to the purpose; the admission, both that Rome, though
wrong, might not be as wrong as we thought her, and that the language of
the Articles, though unquestionably condemnatory of much, was not
condemnatory of as much as people thought, and might possibly be even
harmonised with Roman authoritative language, was looked upon as
incompatible with loyalty to the English Church.

The question which the Tract had opened, what the Articles meant and to
what men were bound by accepting them, was a most legitimate one for
discussion; and it was most natural also that any one should hesitate to
answer it as the Tract answered it. But it was distinctly a question for
discussion. It was not so easy for any of the parties in the Church to
give a clear and consistent answer, as that the matter ought at once to
have been carried out of the region of discussion. The Articles were the
Articles of a Church which had seen as great differences as those
between the Church of Edward VI and the Church of the Restoration. Take
them broadly as the condemnation--strong but loose in expression, as,
for instance, in the language on the "five, commonly called
Sacraments"--of a powerful and well-known antagonist system, and there
was no difficulty about them. But take them as scientific and accurate
and precise enunciations of a systematic theology, and difficulties
begin at once, with every one who does not hold the special and
well-marked doctrines of the age when the German and Swiss authorities
ruled supreme. The course of events from that day to this has shown
more than once, in surprising and even startling examples, how much
those who at the time least thought that they needed such strict
construing of the language of the Articles, and were fierce in
denouncing the "kind of interpretation" said to be claimed in No. 90,
have since found that they require a good deal more elasticity of
reading than even it asked for. The "whirligig of time" was thought to
have brought "its revenges," when Mr. Newman, who had called for the
exercise of authority against Dr. Hampden, found himself, five years
afterwards, under the ban of the same authority. The difference between
Mr. Newman's case and Dr. Hampden's, both as to the alleged offence and
the position of the men, was considerable. But the "whirligig of time"
brought about even stranger "revenges," when not only Mr. Gorham and Mr.
H.B. Wilson in their own defence, but the tribunals which had to decide
on their cases, carried the strictness of reading and the latitude of
interpretation, quite as far, to say the least, as anything in No. 90.

Unhappily Tract 90 was met at Oxford, not with argument, but with panic
and wrath.[94] There is always a sting in every charge, to which other
parts of it seem subordinate. No. 90 was charged of course with false
doctrine, with false history, and with false reasoning; but the emphatic
part of the charge, the short and easy method which dispensed from the
necessity of theological examination and argument, was that it was
dishonest and immoral. Professors of Divinity, and accomplished
scholars, such as there were in Oxford, might very well have considered
it an occasion to dispute both the general principle of the Tract, if it
was so dangerous, and the illustrations, in the abundance of which the
writer had so frankly thrown open his position to searching criticism.
It was a crisis in which much might have been usefully said, if there
had been any one to say it; much too, to make any one feel, if he was
competent to feel, that he had a good deal to think about in his own
position, and that it would be well to ascertain what was tenable and
what untenable in it. But it seemed as if the opportunity must not be
lost for striking a blow. The Tract was published on 27th February. On
the 8th of March four Senior Tutors, one of whom was Mr. H.B. Wilson, of
St. John's, and another Mr. Tait, of Balliol, addressed the Editor of
the Tract, charging No. 90 with suggesting and opening a way, by which
men might, at least in the case of Roman views, violate their solemn
engagements to their University. On the 15th of March, the Board of
Heads of Houses, refusing to wait for Mr. Newman's defence, which was
known to be coming, and which bears date 13th March, published their
judgment They declared that in No. 90 "modes of interpretation were
suggested, and have since been advocated in other publications
purporting to be written by members of the University, by which
subscription to the Articles might be reconciled with the adoption of
Roman Catholic error." And they announced their resolution, "That modes
of interpretation, such as are suggested in the said Tract, evading
rather than explaining the sense of the Thirty-nine Articles, and
reconciling subscription to them with the adoption of errors which they
are designed to counteract, defeat the object, and are inconsistent with
the due observance of the above-mentioned statutes."[95]

It was an ungenerous and stupid blunder, such as men make, when they
think or are told that "something must be done," and do not know what.
It gave the writer an opportunity, of which he took full advantage, of
showing his superiority in temper, in courtesy, and in reason, to those
who had not so much condemned as insulted him. He was immediately ready
with his personal expression of apology and regret, and also with his
reassertion in more developed argument of the principle of the Tract;
and this was followed up by further explanations in a letter to the
Bishop. And in spite of the invidious position in which the Board had
tried to place him, not merely as an unsound divine, but as a dishonest
man teaching others to palter with their engagements, the crisis drew
forth strong support and sympathy where they were not perhaps to be
expected. It rallied to him, at least for the time, some of the friends
who had begun to hold aloof. Mr. Palmer, of Worcester, Mr. Perceval, Dr.
Hook, with reserves according to each man's point of view, yet came
forward in his defence. The Board was made to feel that they had been
driven by violent and partisan instigations to commit themselves to a
very foolish as well as a very passionate and impotent step; that they
had by very questionable authority simply thrown an ill-sounding and
ill-mannered word at an argument on a very difficult question, to which
they themselves certainly were not prepared with a clear and
satisfactory answer; that they had made the double mistake of declaring
war against a formidable antagonist, and of beginning it by creating the
impression that they had treated him shabbily, and were really afraid to
come to close quarters with him. As the excitement of hasty counsels
subsided, the sense of this began to awake in some of them; they tried
to represent the off-hand and ambiguous words of the condemnation as not
meaning all that they had been taken to mean. But the seed of bitterness
had been sown. Very little light was thrown, in the strife of pamphlets
which ensued, on the main subject dealt with in No. 90, the authority
and interpretation of such formularies as our Articles. The easier and
more tempting and very fertile topic of debate was the honesty and good
faith of the various disputants. Of the four Tutors, only one, Mr. H.B.
Wilson, published an explanation of their part in the matter; it was a
clumsy, ill-written and laboured pamphlet, which hardly gave promise of
the intellectual vigour subsequently displayed by Mr. Wilson, when he
appeared, not as the defender, but the assailant of received opinions.
The more distinguished of the combatants were Mr. Ward and Mr. R. Lowe.
Mr. Ward, with his usual dialectical skill, not only defended the Tract,
but pushed its argument yet further, in claiming tolerance for doctrines
alleged to be Roman. Mr. Lowe, not troubling himself either with
theological history or the relation of other parties in the Church to
the formularies, threw his strength into the popular and plausible topic
of dishonesty, and into a bitter and unqualified invective against the
bad faith and immorality manifested in the teaching of which No. 90 was
the outcome. Dr. Faussett, as was to be expected, threw himself into the
fray with his accustomed zest and violence, and caused some amusement at
Oxford, first by exposing himself to the merciless wit of a reviewer in
the _British Critic_, and then by the fright into which he was thrown by
a rumour that his reelection to his professorship would be endangered by
Tractarian votes.[96] But the storm, at Oxford at least, seemed to die
out. The difficulty which at one moment threatened of a strike among
some of the college Tutors passed; and things went back to their
ordinary course. But an epoch and a new point of departure had come into
the movement. Things after No. 90 were never the same as to language and
hopes and prospects as they had been before; it was the date from which
a new set of conditions in men's thoughts and attitude had to be
reckoned. Each side felt that a certain liberty had been claimed and
had been peremptorily denied. And this was more than confirmed by the
public language of the greater part of the Bishops. The charges against
the Tractarian party of Romanising, and of flagrant dishonesty, long
urged by irresponsible opponents, were now formally adopted by the
University authorities, and specially directed against the foremost man
of the party. From that time the fate of the party at Oxford was
determined. It must break up. Sooner or later, there must be a secession
more or less discrediting and disabling those who remained. And so the
break-up came, and yet, so well grounded and so congenial to the English
Church were the leading principles of the movement, that not even that
disastrous and apparently hopeless wreck prevented them from again
asserting their claim and becoming once more active and powerful. The
_Via Media_, whether or not logically consistent, was a thing of genuine
English growth, and was at least a working theory.


[84] _Apologia_, p. 180.

[85] _Essays Critical and Historical_, 1871.

[86] _Apologia_, pp. 181, 182. Comp. _Letter to Jelf_, p. 18.

[87] _British Critic_, April 1839, pp. 419-426. Condensed in the
_Apologia_, pp. 192-194.

[88] _Letter to the Bishop of Oxford_ (29th March 1841), pp. 33-40.
Comp. _Letter to Jelf_, pp. 7, 8.

[89] _Apologia_, pp. 212, 221.

[90] _Letter to Jelf_ [especially p. 19].

[91] _Walton's Life_, i. 59 (Oxford: 1845).

[92] No. 90, p. 24.

[93] The following letter of Mr. James Mozley (8th March 1841) gives the
first impression of the Tract:--"A new Tract has come out this week, and
is beginning to make a sensation. It is on the Articles, and shows that
they bear a highly Catholic meaning; and that many doctrines, of which
the Romanist are corruptions, may be held consistently with them. This
is no more than what we know as a matter of history, for the Articles
were expressly worded to bring in Roman Catholics. But people are
astonished and confused at the idea now, as if it were quite new. And
they have been so accustomed for a long time to look at the Articles as
on a par with the Creed, that they think, I suppose, that if they
subscribe to them they are bound to hold whatever doctrines (not
positively stated in them) are merely not condemned. So if they will
have a Tractarian sense, they are thereby all Tractarians.... It is, of
course, highly complimentary to the whole set of us to be so very much
surprised that we should think what we held to be consistent with the
Articles which we have subscribed." See also a clever Whateleian
pamphlet, "The Controversy between Tract No. 90 and the Oxford Tutors."
(How and Parsons, 1841.)

[94] See J.B. Mozley's _Letters_, 13th March 1841.

[95] _Scil._, those cited in the preamble to this resolution.

[96] J.B. Mozley's _Letters_, 13th July 1841.



The proceedings about No. 90 were a declaration of war on the part of
the Oxford authorities against the Tractarian party. The suspicions,
alarms, antipathies, jealousies, which had long been smouldering among
those in power, had at last taken shape in a definite act. And it was a
turning-point in the history of the movement. After this it never was
exactly what it had been hitherto. It had been so far a movement within
the English Church, for its elevation and reform indeed, but at every
step invoking its authority with deep respect, acknowledging allegiance
to its rulers in unqualified and even excessive terms, and aiming
loyally to make it in reality all that it was in its devotional language
and its classical literature. But after what passed about No. 90 a
change came. The party came under an official ban and stigma. The common
consequences of harsh treatment on the tendencies and thought of a
party, which considers itself unjustly proscribed, showed themselves
more and more. Its mind was divided; its temper was exasperated; while
the attitude of the governing authorities hardened more into determined
hostility. From the time of the censure, and especially after the events
connected with it,--the contest for the Poetry Professorship and the
renewed Hampden question,--it may be said that the characteristic
tempers of the Corcyrean sedition were reproduced on a small scale in
Oxford.[97] The scare of Popery, not without foundation--the reaction
against it, also not without foundation--had thrown the wisest off their
balance; and what of those who were not wise? In the heat of those days
there were few Tractarians who did not think Dr. Wynter, Dr. Faussett,
and Dr. Symons heretics in theology and persecutors in temper, despisers
of Christian devotion and self-denial. There were few of the party of
the Heads who did not think every Tractarian a dishonest and perjured
traitor, equivocating about his most solemn engagements, the ignorant
slave of childish superstitions which he was conspiring to bring back.
It was the day of the violent on both sides: the courtesies of life were
forgotten; men were afraid of being weak in their censures, their
dislike, and their opposition; old friendships were broken up, and men
believed the worst of those whom a few years back they had loved and

It is not agreeable to recall these long extinct animosities, but they
are part of the history of that time, and affected the course in which
things ran. And it is easy to blame, it is hard to do justice to, the
various persons and parties who contributed to the events of that
strange and confused time. All was new, and unusual, and without
precedent in Oxford; a powerful and enthusiastic school reviving old
doctrines in a way to make them seem novelties, and creating a wild
panic from a quarter where it was the least expected; the terror of this
panic acting on authorities not in the least prepared for such a trial
of their sagacity, patience, and skill, driving them to unexampled
severity, and to a desperate effort to expel the disturbing
innovators--among them some of the first men in Oxford in character and
ability--from their places in the University.[98] In order to do justice
on each side at this distance of time, we are bound to make
allowance--both for the alarm and the mistaken violence of the
authorities, and for the disaffection, the irritation, the strange
methods which grew up in the worried and suspected party--for the
difficulties which beset both sides in the conflict, and the
counter-influences which drew them hither and thither. But the facts are
as they are; and even then a calmer temper was possible to those who
willed it; and in the heat of the strife there were men among the
authorities, as well as in the unpopular party, who kept their balance,
while others lost it.

Undoubtedly the publication of No. 90 was the occasion of the aggravated
form which dissension took, and not unnaturally. Yet it was anything but
what it was taken to mean by the authorities, an intentional move in
favour of Rome. It was intended to reconcile a large and growing class
of minds, penetrated and disgusted with the ignorance and injustice of
much of the current controversial assumptions against Rome, to a larger
and more defensible view of the position of the English Church. And this
was done by calling attention to that which was not now for the first
time observed--to the loose and unguarded mode of speaking visible in
the later controversial Articles, and to the contrast between them and
the technical and precise theology of the first five Articles. The
Articles need not mean all which they were supposed popularly to mean
against what was Catholic in Roman doctrine. This was urged in simple
good faith; it was but the necessary assumption of all who held with the
Catholic theology, which the Tractarians all along maintained that they
had a right to teach; it left plenty of ground of difference with
unreformed and usurping Rome. And we know that the storm which No. 90
raised took the writer by surprise. He did not expect that he should
give such deep offence. But if he thought of the effect on one set of
minds, he forgot the probable effect on another; and he forgot, or
under-estimated, the effect not only of the things said, but of the way
in which they were said.[99] No. 90 was a surprise, in the state of
ordinary theological knowledge at the time. It was a strong thing to say
that the Articles left a great deal of formal Roman language untouched;
but to work this out in dry, bald, technical logic, on the face of it,
narrow in scope, often merely ingenious, was even a greater
stumbling-block. It was, undoubtedly, a great miscalculation, such as
men of keen and far-reaching genius sometimes make. They mistake the
strength and set of the tide; they imagine that minds round them are
going as fast as their own. We can see, looking back, that such an
interpretation of the Articles, with the view then taken of them in
Oxford as the theological text-book, and in the condition of men's
minds, could not but be a great shock.

And what seemed to give a sinister significance to No. 90 was that, as
has been said, a strong current was beginning to set in the direction of
Rome. It was not yet of the nature, nor of the force, which was
imagined. The authorities suspected it where it was not. They accepted
any contemptible bit of gossip collected by ignorance or ill-nature as a
proof of it. The constitutional frankness of Englishmen in finding fault
with what is their own--disgust at pompous glorification--scepticism as
to our insular claims against all the rest of Christendom to be exactly
right, to be alone, "pure and apostolic"; real increase and enlargement
of knowledge, theological and historical; criticism on portions of our
Reformation history; admiration for characters in mediaeval times;
eagerness, over-generous it might be, to admit and repair wrong to an
opponent unjustly accused; all were set down together with other more
unequivocal signs as "leanings to Rome." It was clear that there was a
current setting towards Rome; but it was as clear that there was a much
stronger current in the party as a whole, setting in the opposite
direction. To those who chose to see and to distinguish, the love, the
passionate loyalty of the bulk of the Tractarians to the English Church
was as evident and unquestionable as any public fact could be. At this
time there was no reason to call in question the strong assurances
given by the writer of No. 90 himself of his yet unshaken faith in the
English Church. But all these important features of the
movement--witnessing, indeed, to deep searchings of heart, but to a
genuine desire to serve the English Church--were overlooked in the one
overwhelming fear which had taken possession of the authorities.
Alarming symptoms of a disposition to acknowledge and even exaggerate
the claims and the attractions of the Roman system were indeed apparent.
No doubt there were reasons for disquiet and anxiety. But the test of
manliness and wisdom, in the face of such reasons, is how men measure
their proportion, and how they meet the danger.

The Heads saw a real danger before them; but they met it in a wrong and
unworthy way. They committed two great errors. In the first place, like
the Jesuits in their quarrel with Portroyal and the Jansenists, they
entirely failed to recognise the moral elevation and religious purpose
of the men whom they opposed. There was that before them which it was to
their deep discredit that they did not see. The movement, whatever else
it was, or whatever else it became, was in its first stages a movement
for deeper religion, for a more real and earnest self-discipline, for a
loftier morality, for more genuine self-devotion to a serious life, than
had ever been seen in Oxford. It was an honest attempt to raise Oxford
life, which by all evidence needed raising, to something more laborious
and something more religious, to something more worthy of the great
Christian foundations of Oxford than the rivalry of colleges and of the
schools, the mere literary atmosphere of the tutor's lecture-room, and
the easy and gentlemanly and somewhat idle fellowship of the
common-rooms. It was the effort of men who had all the love of
scholarship, and the feeling for it of the Oxford of their day, to add
to this the habits of Christian students and the pursuit of Christian
learning. If all this was dangerous and uncongenial to Oxford, so much
the worse for Oxford, with its great opportunities and great
professions--_Dominus illuminatio mea_. But certainly this mark of moral
purpose and moral force was so plain in the movement that the rulers of
Oxford had no right to mistake it. When the names come back to our minds
of those who led and most represented the Tractarians, it must be a
matter of surprise to any man who has not almost parted with the idea of
Christian goodness, that this feature of the movement could escape or
fail to impress those who had known well all their lives long what these
leaders were. But amid the clamour and the tell-tale gossip, and, it
must be admitted, the folly round them, they missed it. Perhaps they
were bewildered. But they must have the blame, the heavy blame, which
belongs to all those who, when good is before them, do not recognise it
according to its due measure.[100]

In the next place, the authorities attacked and condemned the
Tractarian teaching at once violently and ignorantly, and in them
ignorance of the ground on which the battle was fought was hardly
pardonable. Doubtless the Tractarian language was in many respects novel
and strange. But Oxford was not only a city of libraries, it was the
home of what was especially accounted Church theology; and the
Tractarian teaching, in its foundation and main outlines, had little but
what ought to have been perfectly familiar to any one who chose to take
the trouble to study the great Church of England writers. To one who,
like Dr. Routh of Magdalen, had gone below the surface, and was
acquainted with the questions debated by those divines, there was
nothing startling in what so alarmed his brethren, whether he agreed
with it or not; and to him the indiscriminate charge of Popery meant
nothing. But Dr. Routh stood alone among his brother Heads in his
knowledge of what English theology was. To most of them it was an
unexplored and misty region; some of the ablest, under the influence of
Dr. Whately's vigorous and scornful discipline, had learned to slight
it. But there it was. Whether it was read or not, its great names were
pronounced with honour, and quoted on occasion. From Hooker to Van
Mildert, there was an unbroken thread of common principles giving
continuity to a line of Church teachers. The Puritan line of doctrine,
though it could claim much sanction among the divines of the
Reformation--the Latitudinarian idea, though it had the countenance of
famous names and powerful intellects--never could aspire to the special
title of Church theology. And the teaching which had that name, both in
praise, and often in dispraise, as technical, scholastic, unspiritual,
transcendental, nay, even Popish, countenanced the Tractarians. They
were sneered at for their ponderous _Catenae_ of authorities; but on the
ground on which this debate raged, the appeal was a pertinent and solid
one. Yet to High Church Oxford and its rulers, all this was strange
doctrine. Proof and quotation might lie before their eyes, but their
minds still ran in one groove, and they could not realise what they saw.
The words meant no harm in the venerable folio; they meant perilous
heresy in the modern Tract. When the authorities had to judge of the
questions raised by the movement, they were unprovided with the adequate
knowledge; and this was knowledge which they ought to have possessed for
its own sake, as doctors of the Theological Faculty of the University.

And it was not only for their want of learning, manifest all through the
controversy, that they were to blame. Their most telling charge against
the Tractarians, which was embodied in the censure of No. 90, was the
charge of dishonesty. The charge is a very handy one against opponents,
and it may rest on good grounds; but those who think right to make it
ought, both as a matter of policy and as a matter of conscience, to be
quite assured of their own position. The Articles are a public, common
document. It is the differing interpretations of a common document which
create political and religious parties; and only shallowness and
prejudice will impute to an opponent dishonesty without strong and clear
reason. Mr. Newman's interpretation in No. 90,--new, not in claiming for
the Articles a Catholic meaning, but in _limiting_, though it does not
deny, their anti-Roman scope, was fairly open to criticism. It might be
taken as a challenge, and as a challenge might have to be met. But it
would have been both fair and wise in the Heads, before proceeding to
unusual extremities, to have shown that they had fully considered their
own theological doctrines in relation to the Church formularies. They
all had obvious difficulties, and in some cases formidable ones. The
majority of them were what would have been called in older controversial
days frank Arminians, shutting their eyes by force of custom to the look
of some of the Articles, which, if of Lutheran origin, had been claimed
from the first by Calvinists. The Evangelicals had long confessed
difficulties, at least, in the Baptismal Service and the Visitation
Office; while the men most loud in denunciation of dishonesty were the
divines of Whately's school, who had been undermining the authority of
all creeds and articles, and had never been tired of proclaiming their
dislike of that solemn Athanasian Creed to which Prayer Book and
Articles alike bound them. Men with these difficulties daily before them
had no right to ignore them. Doubtless they all had their explanations
which they _bona fide_ believed in. But what was there that excluded Mr.
Newman from the claim to _bona fides_? He had attacked no foundation of
Christianity; he had denied or doubted no article of the Creed. He gave
his explanations, certainly not more far-fetched than those of some of
his judges. In a Church divided by many conflicting views, and therefore
bound to all possible tolerance, he had adopted one view which certainly
was unpopular and perhaps was dangerous. He might be confuted, he might
be accused, or, if so be, convicted of error, perhaps of heresy. But
nothing of this kind was attempted. The incompatibility of his view, not
merely with the Articles, but with morality in signing what all, of
whatever party, had signed, was asserted in a censure, which evaded the
responsibility of specifying the point which it condemned. The alarm of
treachery and conspiracy is one of the most maddening of human impulses.
The Heads of Houses, instead of moderating and sobering it, with the
authority of instructed and sagacious rulers, blew it into a flame. And
they acted in such a hurry that all sense of proportion and dignity was
lost. They peremptorily refused to wait even a few days, as the writer
requested, and as was due to his character, for explanation. They dared
not risk an appeal to the University at large. They dared not abide the
effect of discussion on the blow which they were urged to strike. They
chose, that they might strike without delay, the inexpressibly childish
step of sticking up at the Schools' gates, and at College butteries,
without trial, or conviction, or sentence, a notice declaring that
certain modes of signing the Articles suggested in a certain Tract were
dishonest. It was, they said, to protect undergraduates; as if
undergraduates would be affected by a vague assertion on a difficult
subject, about which nothing was more certain than that those who issued
the notice were not agreed among themselves.

The men who acted thus were good and conscientious men, who thought
themselves in the presence of a great danger. It is only fair to
remember this. But it is also impossible to be fair to the party of the
movement without remembering this deplorable failure in consistency, in
justice, in temper, in charity, on the part of those in power in the
University. The drift towards Rome had not yet become an unmanageable
rush; and though there were cases in which nothing could have stopped
its course, there is no reason to doubt that generous and equitable
dealing, a more considerate reasonableness, a larger and more
comprehensive judgment of facts, and a more patient waiting for strong
first impressions to justify and verify themselves, would have averted
much mischief. There was much that was to be regretted from this time
forward in the temper and spirit of the movement party. But that which
nourished and strengthened impatience, exaggeration of language and
views, scorn of things as they were, intolerance of everything
moderate, both in men and in words, was the consciousness with which
every man got up in the morning and passed the day, of the bitter
hostility of those foremost in place in Oxford--of their incompetence to
judge fairly--of their incapacity to apprehend what was high and earnest
in those whom they condemned--of the impossibility of getting them to
imagine that Tractarians could be anything but fools or traitors--of
their hopeless blindness to any fact or any teaching to which they were
not accustomed. If the authorities could only have stopped to consider
whether after all they were not dealing with real thought and real wish
to do right, they might after all have disliked the movement, but they
would have seen that which would have kept them from violence. They
would not listen, they would not inquire, they would not consider. Could
such ignorance, could such wrong possibly be without mischievous
influence on those who were the victims of it, much more on friends and
disciples who knew and loved them? The Tractarians had been preaching
that the Church of England, with all its Protestant feeling and all its
Protestant acts and history, was yet, as it professed to be, part and
parcel of the great historic Catholic Church, which had framed the
Creeds, which had continued the Sacraments, which had preached and
taught out of the Bible, which had given us our immemorial prayers. They
had spared no pains to make out this great commonplace from history and
theology: nor had they spared pains, while insisting on this dominant
feature in the English Church, to draw strongly and broadly the lines
which distinguished it from Rome. Was it wonderful, when all guarding
and explanatory limitations were contemptuously tossed aside by
"all-daring ignorance," and all was lumped together in the
indiscriminate charge of "Romanising," that there should have been some
to take the authorities at their word? Was it wonderful when men were
told that the Church of England was no place for them, that they were
breaking their vows and violating solemn engagements by acting as its
ministers, and that in order to preserve the respect of honest men they
should leave it--that the question of change, far off as it had once
seemed, came within "measurable distance"? The generation to which they
belonged had been brought up with strong exhortations to be real, and to
hate shams; and now the question was forced on them whether it was not a
sham for the English Church to call itself Catholic; whether a body of
teaching which was denounced by its authorities, however it might look
on paper and be defended by learning, could be more than a plausible
literary hypothesis in contrast to the great working system of which the
head was Rome. When we consider the singular and anomalous position on
any theory, including the Roman, of the English Church; with what great
differences its various features and elements have been prominent at
different times; how largely its history has been marked by
contradictory facts and appearances; and how hard it is for any one to
keep all, according to their real importance, simultaneously in view;
when we remember also what are the temptations of human nature in great
collisions of religious belief, the excitement and passion of the time,
the mixed character of all religious zeal, the natural inevitable anger
which accompanies it when resisted, the fervour which welcomes
self-sacrifice for the truth; and when we think of all this kept aglow
by the continuous provocation of unfair and harsh dealing from persons
who were scarcely entitled to be severe judges; the wonder is, human
nature being what it is, not that so many went, but that so many stayed.


[97] Τόλμα ἀλόγιστος ἀνδρία φιλέταιρος ἐνομίσθη ... τὸ δὲ σῶφρον τοῦ
ἀνάνδρου πρόσχημα, καὶ τὸ πρὸς ἄπαν ξυνετὸν ἐπὶ πᾶν ἀργόν τὸ δὲ
ὲμπλήκτως ὀξὐ ἀνδρὸς μοίρᾳ προσετέθη ... καὶ ὁ μὲν χαλεπαίνων πιστὸς
ἀεί, ὁ δὲ ἀντιλέγων αὐτῷ ὕποπτος.--Thuc. iii. 82. "Reckless daring was
held to be loyal courage; moderation was the disguise of unmanly
weakness; to know everything was to do nothing; frantic energy was the
true character of a man; the lover of violence was always trusted, and
his opponent suspected."--Jowett's translation.

[98] One of the strangest features in the conflict was the entire
misconception shown of what Mr. Newman was--the blindness to his real
character and objects--the imputation to him not merely of grave faults,
but of small and mean ones. His critics could not rise above the poorest
measure of his intellect and motives. One of the ablest of them, who had
once been his friend, in a farewell letter of kindly remonstrance,
specifies certain Roman errors, which he hopes that Mr. Newman will not
fall into--adoring images and worshipping saints--as if the pleasure and
privilege of worshipping images and saints were to Mr. Newman the
inducement to join Rome and break the ties of a lifetime. And so of his
moral qualities. A prominent Evangelical leader, Dr. Close of
Cheltenham, afterwards Dean of Carlisle, at a complimentary dinner, in
which he himself gloried in the "foul, personal abuse to which he had
been subjected in his zeal for truth," proceeded to give his judgment on
Mr. Newman: "When I first read No. 90, I did not then know the author;
but I said then, and I repeat here, _not with any personal reference to
the author_, that I should be sorry to trust the author of that Tract
with my purse,"--Report of Speech in _Cheltenham Examiner_, 1st March

[99] οὐ γὰρ ἀπόχρη τὸ ἔχειν ἄ δεῖ λέγειν, ἀλλ' ἀνάγκη καὶ ταῦτο ὠς δεῖ
είπεῖν.--Arist. _Rhet._ iii. I.

[100] Dr. Richards, the Rector of Exeter, seems to have stood apart from
his brother heads.--Cf. _Letters of the Rev. J.B. Mozley_, p. 113.




The year 1841, though it had begun in storm, and though signs were not
wanting of further disturbance, was at Oxford, outwardly at least, a
peaceable one. A great change had happened; but, when the first burst of
excitement was over, men settled down to their usual work, their
lectures, or their reading, or their parishes, and by Easter things
seemed to go on as before. The ordinary habits of University life
resumed their course with a curious quietness. There was, no doubt, much
trouble brooding underneath. Mr. Ward and others continued a war of
pamphlets; and in June Mr. Ward was dismissed from his Mathematical
Lectureship at Balliol. But faith in the great leader was still strong.
No. 90, if it had shocked or disquieted some, had elicited equally
remarkable expressions of confidence and sympathy from others who might
have been, at least, silent. The events of the spring had made men
conscious of what their leader was, and called forth warm and
enthusiastic affection. It was not in vain that, whatever might be
thought of the wisdom or the reasonings of No. 90, he had shown the
height of his character and the purity and greatness of his religious
purpose; and that being what he was, in the eyes of all Oxford, he had
been treated with contumely, and had borne it with patience and loyal
submission. There were keen observers, to whom that patience told of
future dangers; they would have liked him to show more fight. But he
gave no signs of defeat, nor, outwardly, of disquiet; he forbore to
retaliate at Oxford: and the sermons at St. Mary's continued,
penetrating and searching as ever, perhaps with something more pathetic
and anxious in their undertone than before.

But if he forbore at Oxford, he did not let things pass outside. Sir
Robert Peel, in opening a reading-room at Tamworth, had spoken loosely,
in the conventional and pompous way then fashionable, of the
all-sufficing and exclusive blessings of knowledge. While Mr. Newman was
correcting the proofs of No. 90, he was also writing to the _Times_ the
famous letters of _Catholicus_; a warning to eminent public men of the
danger of declaiming on popular commonplaces without due examination of
their worth. But all seemed quiet. "In the summer of 1841," we read in
the _Apologia_, "I found myself at Littlemore without any harass or
anxiety on my mind. I had determined to put aside all controversy, and
set myself down to my translation of St. Athanasius." Outside of Oxford
there was a gathering of friends in the summer at the consecration of
one of Mr. Keble's district churches, Ampfield--an occasion less common
and more noticeable then than now. Again, what was a new thought then, a
little band of young Oxford men, ten or twelve, taxed themselves to
build a new church, which was ultimately placed at Bussage, in Mr.
Thomas Keble's parish. One of Mr. Keble's curates, Mr. Peter Young, had
been refused Priest's orders by the Bishop of Winchester, for alleged
unsoundness on the doctrine of the Eucharist. Mr. Selwyn, not without
misgivings on the part of the Whig powers, had been appointed Bishop of
New Zealand. Dr. Arnold had been appointed to the Chair of Modern
History at Oxford. In the course of the year there passed away one who
had had a very real though unacknowledged influence on much that had
happened--Mr. Blanco White. And at the end of the year, 29th October,
Mr. Keble gave his last lecture on Poetry, and finished a course the
most original and memorable ever delivered from his chair.

Towards the end of the year two incidents, besides some roughly-worded
Episcopal charges, disturbed this quiet. They were only indirectly
connected with theological controversy at Oxford; but they had great
ultimate influence on it, and they helped to marshal parties and
consolidate animosities. One was the beginning of the contest for the
Poetry Professorship which Mr. Keble had vacated. There was no one of
equal eminence to succeed him; but there was in Oxford a man of
undoubted poetical genius, of refined taste and subtle thought, though
of unequal power, who had devoted his gifts to the same great purpose
for which Mr. Keble had written the _Christian Year._ No one who has
looked into the _Baptistery_, whatever his feeling towards the writer,
can doubt whether Mr. Isaac Williams was a poet and knew what poetry
meant. He was an intimate friend of Mr. Keble and Mr. Newman, and so he
was styled a Tractarian; but no name offered itself so obviously to the
electors as his, and in due time his friends announced their intention
of bringing him forward. His competitor was Mr. (afterwards Archdeacon)
Garbett of Brasenose, the college of Heber and Milman, an accomplished
gentleman of high culture, believed to have an acquaintance, not common
then in Oxford, with foreign literature, whose qualifications stood high
in the opinion of his University friends, but who had given no evidence
to the public of his claims to the office. It was inevitable, it was no
one's special fault, that the question of theological opinions should
intrude itself; but at first it was only in private that objections were
raised or candidatures recommended on theological grounds. But rumours
were abroad that the authorities of Brasenose were canvassing their
college on these grounds: and in an unlucky moment for Mr. Williams, Dr.
Pusey, not without the knowledge, but without the assenting judgment of
Mr. Newman, thought it well to send forth a circular in Christ Church
first, but soon with wider publicity, asking support for Mr. Williams as
a person whose known religious views would ensure his making his office
minister to religious truth. Nothing could be more innocently meant. It
was the highest purpose to which that office could be devoted. But the
mistake was seen on all sides as soon as made. The Principal of Mr.
Garbett's college. Dr. Gilbert, like a general jumping on his antagonist
whom he has caught in the act of a false move, put forth a dignified
counter-appeal, alleging that he had not raised this issue, but adding
that as it had been raised and avowed on the other side, he was quite
willing that it should be taken into account, and the dangers duly
considered of that teaching with which Dr. Pusey's letter had identified
Mr. Williams. No one from that moment could prevent the contest from
becoming almost entirely a theological one, which was to try the
strength of the party of the movement. Attempts were made, but in vain,
to divest it of this character. The war of pamphlets and leaflets
dispersed in the common-rooms, which usually accompanied these contests,
began, and the year closed with preparations for a severe struggle when
the University met in the following January.

The other matter was the establishment of the Anglo-Prussian bishopric
at Jerusalem. It was the object of the ambition of M. Bunsen to pave the
way for a recognition, by the English Church, of the new State Church
of Prussia, and ultimately for some closer alliance between the two
bodies; and the plan of a Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, nominated
alternately by England and Prussia, consecrated by English Bishops, and
exercising jurisdiction over English and German Protestants in
Palestine, was proposed by him to Archbishop Howley and Bishop
Blomfield, and somewhat hastily and incautiously accepted by them. To
Mr. Newman, fighting a hard battle, as he felt it, for the historical
and constitutional catholicity of the English Church, this step on their
part came as a practical and even ostentatious contradiction of his
arguments. England, it seemed, which was out of communion with the East
and with Rome, could lightly enter into close communion with Lutherans
and Calvinists against them both. He recorded an indignant and even
bitter protest; and though the scheme had its warm apologists, such as
Dr. Hook and Mr. F. Maurice, it had its keen-sighted critics, and it was
never received with favour by the Church at large. And, indeed, it was
only active for mischief. It created irritation, suspicion, discord in
England, while no German cared a straw about it. Never was an ambitious
scheme so marked by impotence and failure from its first steps to its
last. But it was one, as the _Apologia_ informs us,[101] in the chain of
events which destroyed Mr. Newman's belief in the English Church. "It
was one of the blows," he writes, "which broke me."

The next year, 1842, opened with war; war between the University
authorities and the party of the movement, which was to continue in
various forms and with little intermission till the strange and pathetic
events of 1845 suspended the righting and stunned the fighters, and for
a time hushed even anger in feelings of amazement, sorrow, and fear.
Those events imposed stillness on all who had taken part in the strife,
like the blowing up of the _Orient_ at the battle of the Nile.

As soon as the University met in January 1842, the contest for the
Poetry Professorship was settled. There was no meeting of Convocation,
but a comparison of votes gave a majority of three to two to Mr.
Garbett,[102] and Mr. Williams withdrew. The Tractarians had been
distinctly beaten; it was their first defeat as a party. It seems as if
this encouraged the Hebdomadal Board to a move, which would be felt as a
blow against the Tractarians, and which, as an act of reparation to Dr.
Hampden, would give satisfaction to the ablest section of their own
supporters, the theological Liberals. They proposed to repeal the
disqualification which had been imposed on Dr. Hampden in 1836. But they
had miscalculated. It was too evidently a move to take advantage of the
recent Tractarian discomfiture to whitewash Dr. Hampden's Liberalism.
The proposal, and the way in which it was made, roused a strong feeling
among the residents; a request to withdraw it received the signatures
not only of moderate Anglicans and independent men, like Mr. Francis
Faber of Magdalen, Mr. Sewell, the Greswells, and Mr. W. Palmer of
Worcester, but of Mr. Tait of Balliol, and Mr. Golightly. Dr. Hampden's
own attitude did not help it. There was great want of dignity in his
ostentatious profession of orthodoxy and attachment to the Articles, in
his emphatic adoption of Evangelical phraseology, and in his unmeasured
denunciation of his opponents, and especially of those whom he viewed as
most responsible for the censure of 1836--the "Tractarians" or
"Romanisers." And the difficulty with those who had passed and who now
proposed to withdraw the censure, was that Dr. Hampden persistently and
loudly declared that he had nothing to retract, and retracted nothing;
and if it was right to pass it in 1836, it would not be right to
withdraw it in 1842. At the last moment, Mr. Tait and Mr. Piers
Claughton of University made an attempt to get something from Dr.
Hampden which might pass as a withdrawal of what was supposed to be
dangerous in his Bampton Lectures; and there were some even among Mr.
Newman's friends, who, disliking from the first the form of the censure,
might have found in such a withdrawal a reason for voting for its
repeal. But Dr. Hampden was obdurate. The measure was pressed, and in
June it was thrown out in Convocation by a majority of three to
two[103]--the same proportion, though in smaller numbers, as in the vote
against Mr. Williams. The measure was not an honest one on the part of
the Hebdomadal Board, and deserved to be defeated. Among the pamphlets
which the discussion produced, two by Mr. James Mozley gave early
evidence, by their force of statement and their trenchant logic, of the
power with which he was to take part in the questions which agitated the

Dr. Hampden took his revenge, and it was not a noble one. The fellows of
certain colleges were obliged to proceed to the B.D. degree on pain of
forfeiting their fellowships. The exercises for the degree, which, by
the Statutes, took the old-fashioned shape of formal Latin disputations
between Opponents and Respondents on given theses in the Divinity
School, had by an arrangement introduced by Dr. Burton, with no
authority from the Statutes, come to consist of two English essays on
subjects chosen by the candidate and approved by the Divinity Professor.
The exercises for the degree had long ceased to be looked upon as very
serious matters, and certainly were never regarded as tests of the
soundness of the candidate's faith. They were usually on well-worn
commonplaces, of which the Regius Professor kept a stock, and about
which no one troubled himself but the person who wanted the degree. It
was not a creditable system, but it was of a piece with the prevalent
absence of any serious examination for the superior degrees. It would
have been quite befitting his position, if Dr. Hampden had called the
attention of the authorities to the evil of sham exercises for degrees
in his own important Faculty. It would have been quite right to make a
vigorous effort on public grounds to turn these sham trials into
realities; to use them, like the examination for the B.A. degree, as
tests of knowledge and competent ability. Such a move on his part would
have been in harmony with the legislation which had recently added two
theological Professors to the Faculty, and had sketched out, however
imperfectly, the outlines of a revived theological school.

This is what, with good reason, Dr. Hampden might have attempted on
general grounds, and had he been successful (though this in the
suspicious state of University feeling was not very likely) he would
have gained in a regular and lawful way that power of embarrassing his
opponents which he was resolved to use in defiance of all existing
custom. But such was not the course which he chose. Mr. Macmullen of
Corpus, who, in pursuance of the College Statutes, had to proceed to the
B.D. degree, applied, as the custom was, for theses to the Professor.
Mr. Macmullen was known to hold the opinions of the movement school; of
course he was called a Tractarian; he had put his name to some of the
many papers which expressed the sentiments of his friends on current
events. Dr. Hampden sent him two propositions, which the candidate was
to support, framed so as to commit him to assertions which Mr.
Macmullen, whose high Anglican opinions were well known, could not
consistently make. It was a novel and unexampled act on the part of the
Professor, to turn what had been a mere formal exercise into a sharp and
sweeping test of doctrine, which would place all future Divinity degrees
in the University at his mercy; and the case was made more serious, when
the very form of exercise which the Professor used as an instrument of
such formidable power was itself without question unstatutable and
illegal, and had been simply connived at by the authorities. To
introduce by his own authority a new feature into a system which he had
no business to use at all, and to do this for the first time with the
manifest purpose of annoying an obnoxious individual, was, on Dr.
Hampden's part, to do more to discredit his chair and himself, than the
censure of the University could do; and it was as unwise as it was
unworthy. The strength of his own case before the public was that he
could be made to appear as the victim of a personal and partisan attack;
yet on the first opportunity he acts in the spirit of an inquisitor, and
that not in fair conflict with some one worthy of his hostility, but to
wreak an injury, in a matter of private interest, on an individual, in
no way known to him or opposed to him, except as holding certain
unpopular opinions.

Mr. Macmullen was not the person to take such treatment quietly. The
right was substantially on his side, and the Professor, and the
University authorities who more or less played into the hands of the
Professor in defence of his illegal and ultimately untenable claims,
appeared before the University, the one as a persecutor, the others as
rulers who were afraid to do justice on behalf of an ill-used man
because he was a Tractarian. The right course was perfectly clear. It
was to put an end to these unauthorised exercises, and to recall both
candidates and Professor to the statutable system which imposed
disputations conducted under the moderatorship of the Professor, but
which gave him no veto, at the time, on the theological sufficiency of
the disputations, leaving him to state his objections, if he was not
satisfied, when the candidate's degree was asked for in the House of
Congregation. This course, after some hesitation, was followed, but only
partially; and without allowing or disallowing the Professor's claim to
a veto, the Vice-Chancellor on his own responsibility stopped the
degree. A vexatious dispute lingered on for two or three years, with
actions in the Vice-Chancellor's Court, and distinguished lawyers to
plead for each side, and appeals to the University Court of Delegates,
who reversed the decision of the Vice-Chancellor's assessor. Somehow or
other, Mr. Macmullen at last got his degree, but at the cost of a great
deal of ill-blood in Oxford, for which Dr. Hampden, by his unwarranted
interference, and the University authorities, by their questionable
devices to save the credit and claims of one of their own body, must be
held mainly responsible.

Before the matter was ended, they were made to feel, in rather a
startling way, how greatly they had lost the confidence of the
University. One of the attempts to find a way out of the tangle of the
dispute was the introduction, in February 1844, of a Statute which
should give to the Professor the power which was now contested, and
practically place all the Divinity degrees under the control of a Board
in conjunction with the Vice-Chancellor.[104] The proposed legislation
raised such indignation in the University, that the Hebdomadal Board
took back their scheme for further revision, and introduced it again in
a modified shape, which still however gave new powers to the Professor
and the Vice-Chancellor. But the University would have none of it. No
one could say that the defeat of the altered Statute by 341 to 21 was
the work merely of a party.[105] It was the most decisive vote given in
the course of these conflicts. And it was observed that on the same day
Mr. Macmullen's degree was vetoed by the Vice-Chancellor at the instance
of Dr. Hampden at 10 o'clock in Congregation, and the Hebdomadal Board,
which had supported him, received the vote of want of confidence at noon
in Convocation.

Nothing could show more decisively that the authorities in the
Hebdomadal Board were out of touch with the feeling of the University,
or, at all events, of that part of it which was resident. The residents
were not, as a body, identified with the Tractarians; it would be more
true to say that the residents, as a body, looked on this marked school
with misgiving and apprehension; but they saw what manner of men these
Tractarians were; they lived with them in college and common-room; their
behaviour was before their brethren as a whole, with its strength and
its weakness, its moral elevation and its hazardous excitement, its
sincerity of purpose and its one-sidedness of judgment and sympathy, its
unfairness to what was English, its over-value for what was foreign.
Types of those who looked at things more or less independently were Mr.
Hussey of Christ Church, Mr. C.P. Eden of Oriel, Mr. Sewell of Exeter,
Mr. Francis Faber of Magdalen, Dr. Greenhill of Trinity, Mr. Wall of
Balliol, Mr. Hobhouse of Merton, with some of the more consistent
Liberals, like Mr. Stanley of University, and latterly Mr. Tait. Men of
this kind, men of high character and weight in Oxford, found much to
dislike and regret in the Tractarians. But they could also see that the
leaders of the Hebdomadal Board laboured under a fatal incapacity to
recognise what these unpopular Tractarians were doing for the cause of
true and deep religion; they could see that the judgment of the Heads of
Houses, living as they did apart, in a kind of superior state, was
narrow, ill-informed, and harsh, and that the warfare which they waged
was petty, irritating, and profitless; while they also saw with great
clearness that under cover of suppressing "Puseyism," the policy of the
Board was, in fact, tending to increase and strengthen the power of an
irresponsible and incompetent oligarchy, not only over a troublesome
party, but over the whole body of residents. To the great honour of
Oxford it must be said, that throughout these trying times, on to the
very end, there was in the body of Masters a spirit of fairness, a
recognition of the force both of argument and character, a dislike of
high-handedness and shabbiness, which was in strong and painful contrast
to the short-sighted violence in which the Hebdomadal Board was
unhappily induced to put their trust, and which proved at last the main
cause of the overthrow of their power. When changes began to threaten
Oxford, there was no one to say a word for them.

But, for the moment, in spite of this defeat in Convocation, they had no
misgivings as to the wisdom of their course or the force of their
authority. There was, no doubt, much urging from outside, both on
political and theological grounds, to make them use their power to stay
the plague of Tractarianism; and they were led by three able and
resolute men, unfortunately unable to understand the moral or the
intellectual character of the movement, and having the highest dislike
and disdain for it in both aspects--Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, the
last remaining disciple of Whately's school, a man of rigid
conscientiousness, and very genuine though undemonstrative piety, of
great kindliness in private life, of keen and alert intellect, but not
of breadth and knowledge proportionate to his intellectual power; Dr.
Symons, Warden of Wadham, a courageous witness for Evangelical divinity
in the days when Evangelicals were not in fashion in Oxford, a man of
ponderous and pedantic learning and considerable practical acuteness;
and Dr. Cardwell, Principal of St. Alban's Hall, more a man of the world
than his colleagues, with considerable knowledge of portions of English
Church history. Under the inspiration of these chiefs, the authorities
had adopted, as far as they could, the policy of combat; and the
Vice-Chancellor of the time, Dr. Wynter of St. John's, a kind-hearted
man, but quite unfit to moderate among the strong wills and fierce
tempers round him, was induced to single out for the severest blow yet
struck, the most distinguished person in the ranks of the movement, Dr.
Pusey himself.

Dr. Pusey was a person with whom it was not wise to meddle, unless his
assailants could make out a case without a flaw. He was without question
the most venerated person in Oxford. Without an equal, in Oxford at
least, in the depth and range of his learning, he stood out yet more
impressively among his fellows in the lofty moral elevation and
simplicity of his life, the blamelessness of his youth, and the profound
devotion of his manhood, to which the family sorrows of his later years,
and the habits which grew out of them, added a kind of pathetic and
solemn interest. Stern and severe in his teaching at one time,--at least
as he was understood,--beyond even the severity of Puritanism, he was
yet overflowing with affection, tender and sympathetic to all who came
near him, and, in the midst of continual controversy, he endeavoured,
with deep conscientiousness, to avoid the bitternesses of controversy.
He was the last man to attack; much more the last man to be unfair to.
The men who ruled in Oxford contrived, in attacking him, to make almost
every mistake which it was possible to make.

On the 24th of May 1843 Dr. Pusey, intending to balance and complement
the severer, and, to many, the disquieting aspects of doctrine in his

Book of the day: