Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 40.djvu/351

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one hand,’ he tells us, ‘I gradually came to see that the Anglican church was formally in the wrong; on the other, that the church of Rome was formally in the right; then that no valid reason could be assigned for continuing in the Anglican, and again that no valid objections could be taken to joining the Roman.’ So in a letter to a lady, written in 1871, he states: ‘My condemnation of the Anglican church arose out of my study of the fathers.’ And similarly in his lectures on Anglican difficulties, he testified that the identity of the catholicism of to-day with the catholicism of antiquity was the reason why he was induced, ‘much against every natural inducement,’ to submit to its claims. In 1843 he took two very significant steps. In February he published in the ‘Conservative Journal’ a formal retractation of all the hard things he had said against the church of Rome, and in September he resigned the living of St. Mary's. On the 29th of that month he wrote to a friend: ‘I do so despair of the church of England, and am so evidently cast off by her, and, on the other hand, I am so drawn to the church of Rome, that I think it safer, as a matter of honesty, not to keep my living. This is a very different thing from having any intention of joining the church of Rome.’ At the beginning of 1845 he commenced his ‘Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine,’ and was hard at work at it through the year until October. As he advanced in it, his doubts respecting the Roman church one by one disappeared. Before he reached the end he resolved to be received into the catholic church, and the book remains in the state in which it was then, unfinished. He was received in his house at Littlemore on 9 Oct. by Father Dominic the Passionist.

Lord Beaconsfield, some years after the event, described the secession of Newman as a blow under which the church of England still reeled. Mr. Gladstone has expressed the opinion that ‘it has never yet been estimated at anything like the full amount of its calamitous importance.’ One immediate consequence of it was the break-up of the Oxford movement, although the spiritual forces of which that movement had been the outcome soon manifested themselves under other forms. Newman himself quitted Oxford on 23 Feb. 1846, not to return for thirty-two years, and was called by Dr. Wiseman, the vicar apostolic of the midland district, to Oscott, where he spent some months. In October of the same year he went to Rome, where he was ordained priest and received the degree of doctor of divinity. On Christmas-eve 1847 he returned to England with a commission from Pius IX to introduce into this country the institute of the Oratory, founded in the sixteenth century by St. Philip Neri, whose bright and beautiful character had specially attracted him, and who, he writes in a letter dated 26 Jan. 1847, reminded him in many ways of Keble, as ‘formed on the same type of extreme hatred of humbug, playfulness, nay, oddity, tender love for others, and severity.’ After his return, he lived first at Maryvale, Old Oscott, then at St. Wilfrid's College, Cheadle, and subsequently at Alcester Street, Birmingham, where he established the Oratory, which was subsequently removed to Edgbaston. An important memorial of his activity during these first years of his catholic life is his volume of ‘Discourses to Mixed Congregations,’ published in 1849—sermons which certainly surpass in power and pathos all his former productions, and which reveal him at his greatest as a preacher. It was in 1849 that he and Father St. John volunteered to assist the catholic priests at Bilston during a severe visitation of cholera, taking the place of danger, which the bishop had designed for others. In 1850 he founded the London Oratory, which subsequently became an independent house, with Father Faber as its head.

In July 1850 Newman published his ‘Twelve Lectures,’ addressed to the party of the religious movement of 1833 on the difficulties felt by Anglicans in catholic teaching. The aim of the volume, as he explained in the preface, was ‘to give fair play to the conscience by removing those perplexities in the view of catholicity which keep the intellect from being touched by its agency, and give the heart an excuse for trifling with it.’ In October of the same year took place the restoration of the catholic hierarchy in England, popularly called the Papal Aggression, which at once produced a violent anti-catholic agitation. Among other means resorted to for fanning it was the employment of an apostate Dominican monk, named Achilli, to declaim in various parts of the country against the church of Rome. On the other hand Newman delivered to the brothers of the Little Oratory in Birmingham his ‘Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics,’ which were published in September 1851. In the course of one of them he was led to expose the moral turpitude of Achilli with much plainness of speech, and in consequence a criminal information for libel was laid against him. He put in a general plea of not guilty, and then a justification consisting of twenty-three counts, in which, specifying time, date, and circumstance, he charged Dr. Achilli with as many damnatory facts as those named in