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