THE year 1841, though it had begun in storm, and though signs were not wanting of further disturbance, was at Oxford, outwardly at least, a peaceable one. A great change had happened; but, when the first burst of excitement was over, men settled down to their usual work, their lectures, or their reading, or their parishes, and by Easter things seemed to go on as before. The ordinary habits of University life resumed their course with a curious quietness. There was, no doubt, much trouble brooding underneath. Mr. Ward and others continued a war of pamphlets; and in June Mr. Ward was dismissed from his Mathematical Lectureship at Balliol. But faith in the great leader was still strong. No. 90, if it had shocked or disquieted some, had elicited equally remarkable expressions of confidence and sympathy from others who might have been, at least, silent. The events of the spring had made men conscious of what their leader was, and called forth warm, and enthusiastic affection. It was not in vain that, whatever might be thought of the wisdom or the reasonings of No. 90, he had shown the height of his character and the purity and greatness of his religious purpose; and that being what he was, in the eyes of all Oxford, he had been treated with contumely, and had borne it with patience and loyal submission. There were keen observers, to whom that patience told of future dangers; they would have liked him to show more fight. But he gave no signs of defeat, nor, outwardly, of disquiet; he forbore to retaliate at Oxford: and the sermons at St. Mary's continued, penetrating and searching as ever, perhaps with something more pathetic and anxious in their undertone than before.
But if he forbore at Oxford, he did not let things pass outside. Sir Robert Peel, in opening a reading-room at Tamworth, had spoken loosely, in the conventional and pompous way then fashionable, of the all-sufficing and exclusive blessings of knowledge. While Mr. Newman was correcting the proofs of No. 90, he was also writing to the Times the famous letters of Catholicus; a warning to eminent public men of the danger of declaiming on popular commonplaces without due examination of their worth. But all seemed quiet. "In the summer of 1841," we read in the Apologia, "I found myself at Littlemore without any harass or anxiety on my mind. I had determined to put aside all controversy, and set myself down to my translation of St. Athanasius." Outside of Oxford there was a gathering of friends in the summer at the consecration of one of Mr. Keble's district churches, Ampfield--an occasion less common and more noticeable then than now. Again, what was a new thought then, a little band of young Oxford men, ten or twelve, taxed themselves to build a new church, which was ultimately placed at Bussage, in Mr. Thomas Keble's parish. One of Mr. Keble's curates, Mr. Peter Young, had been refused Priest's orders by the Bishop of Winchester, for alleged unsoundness on the doctrine of the Eucharist. Mr. Selwyn, not without misgivings on the part of the Whig powers, had been appointed Bishop of New Zealand. Dr. Arnold had been appointed to the Chair of Modern History at Oxford. In the course of the year there passed away one who had had a very real though unacknowledged influence on much that had happened--Mr. Blanco White. And at the end of the year, 29th October, Mr. Keble gave his last lecture on Poetry, and finished a course the most original and memorable ever delivered from his chair.
Towards the end of the year two incidents, besides some roughly-worded Episcopal charges, disturbed this quiet. They were only indirectly connected with theological controversy at Oxford; but they had great ultimate influence on it, and they helped to marshal parties and consolidate animosities. One was the beginning of the contest for the Poetry Professorship which Mr. Keble had vacated. There was no one of equal eminence to succeed him; but there was in Oxford a man of undoubted poetical genius, of refined taste and subtle thought, though of unequal power, who had devoted his gifts to the same great purpose for which Mr. Keble had written the Christian Year. No one who has looked into the Baptistery, whatever his feeling towards the writer, can doubt whether Mr. Isaac Williams was a poet and knew what poetry meant. He was an intimate friend of Mr. Keble and Mr. Newman, and so he was styled a Tractarian; but no name offered itself so obviously to the electors as his, and in due time his friends announced their intention of bringing him forward. His competitor was Mr. (afterwards Archdeacon) Garbett of Brasenose, the college of Heber and Milman, an accomplished gentleman of high culture, believed to have an acquaintance, not common then in Oxford, with foreign literature, whose qualifications stood high in the opinion of his University friends, but who had given no evidence to the public of his claims to the office. It was inevitable, it was no one's special fault, that the question of theological opinions should intrude itself; but at first it was only in private that objections were raised or candidatures recommended on theological grounds. But rumours were abroad that the authorities of Brasenose were canvassing their college on these grounds: and in an unlucky moment for Mr. Williams, Dr. Pusey, not without the knowledge, but without the assenting judgment of Mr. Newman, thought it well to send forth a circular in Christ Church. first, but soon with wider publicity, asking support for Mr. Williams as a person whose known religious views would ensure his making his office minister to religious truth. Nothing could be more innocently meant. It was the highest purpose to which that office could be devoted. But the mistake was seen on all sides as soon as made. The Principal of Mr. Garbett's college, Dr. Gilbert, like a general jumping on his antagonist whom he has caught in the act of a false move, put forth a dignified counter-appeal, alleging that he had not raised this issue, but adding that as it had been raised and avowed on the other side, he was quite willing that it should be taken into account, and the dangers duly considered of that teaching with which Dr. Pusey's letter had identified Mr. Williams. No one from that moment could prevent the contest from becoming almost entirely a theological one, which was to try the strength of the party of the movement. Attempts were made, but in vain, to divest it of this character. The war of pamphlets and leaflets dispersed in the common-rooms, which usually accompanied these contests, began, and the year closed with preparations for a severe struggle when the University met in the following January.
The other matter was the establishment of the Anglo-Prussian bishopric at Jerusalem. It was the object of the ambition of M. Bunsen to, pave the way for a recognition, by the English Church, of the new State Church of Prussia, and ultimately for some closer alliance between the two bodies; and the plan of a Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, nominated alternately by England and Prussia, consecrated by English Bishops, and exercising jurisdiction over English and German Protestants in Palestine, was proposed by him to Archbishop Howley and Bishop Blomfield, and somewhat hastily and incautiously accepted by them. To Mr. Newman, fighting a hard battle, as he felt it, for the historical and constitutional catholicity of the English Church, this step on their part came as a practical and even ostentatious contradiction of his arguments. England, it seemed, which was out of communion with the East and with Rome, could lightly enter, into close communion with Lutherans and Calvinists against them both. He recorded an indignant and even bitter protest; and though the scheme had its warm apologists, such as Dr. Hook and Mr. F. Maurice, it had its keen-sighted critics, and it was never received with favour by the Church at large. And, indeed, it was only active for mischief. It created irritation, suspicion, discord in England, while no German cared a straw about it. Never was an ambitious scheme so marked by impotence and failure from its first steps to its last. But it was one, as the Apologia informs us, in the chain of events which destroyed Mr. Newman's belief in the English Church. "It was one of the blows," he writes, "which broke me.
The next year, 1842, opened with war; war between the University authorities and the party of the movement, which was to continue in various forms and with little intermission till the strange and pathetic events of 1845 suspended the fighting and stunned the fighters, and for a time hushed even anger in feelings of amazement, sorrow, and fear. Those events imposed stillness on all who had taken part in the strife, like the blowing up of the Orient at the battle of the Nile.
As soon as the University met in January 1842, the contest for the Poetry Professorship was settled. There was no meeting of Convocation, but a comparison of votes gave a majority of three to two to Mr. Garbett, and Mr. Williams withdrew. The Tractarians had been distinctly beaten; it was their first defeat as a party. It seems as if this encouraged the Hebdomadal Board to a move, which would be felt as a blow against the Tractarians, and which, as an act of reparation to Dr. Hampden, would give satisfaction to the ablest section of their own supporters, the theological Liberals. They proposed to repeal the disqualification which had been imposed on Dr. Hampden in 1836. But they had miscalculated. It was too evidently a move to take advantage of the recent Tractarian discomfiture to whitewash Dr. Hampden's Liberalism. The proposal, and the way in which it was made, roused a strong feeling among the residents; a request to withdraw it received the signatures not only of moderate Anglicans and independent men, like Mr. Francis Faber of Magdalen, Mr. Sewell, the Greswells, and Mr. W. Palmer of Worcester, but of Mr. Tait of Balliol, and Mr. Golightly. Dr. Hampden's own attitude did not help it. There was great want of dignity in his ostentatious profession of orthodoxy and attachment to the Articles, in his emphatic adoption of Evangelical phraseology, and in his unmeasured denunciation of his opponents, and especially of those whom he viewed as most responsible for the censure of 1836--the "Tractarians" or "Romanisers." And the difficulty with those who had passed and who now proposed to withdraw the censure, was that Dr. Hampden persistently and loudly declared that he had nothing to retract, and retracted nothing; and if it was right to pass it in 1836, it would not be right to withdraw it in 1842. At the last moment, Mr. Tait and Mr. Piers Claughton of University made an attempt to get something from Dr. Hampden which might pass as a withdrawal of what was supposed to be dangerous in his Bampton Lectures; and there were some even among Mr. Newman's friends, who, disliking from the first the form of the censure, might have found in such a withdrawal a reason for voting for its repeal. But Dr. Hampden was obdurate. The measure was pressed, and in June it was thrown out in Convocation by a majority of three to two--the same proportion, though in smaller numbers, as in the vote against Mr. Williams. The measure was not an honest one on the part of the Hebdomadal Board, and deserved to be defeated. Among the pamphlets which the discussion produced, two by Mr. James Mozley gave early evidence, by their force of statement and their trenchant logic, of the power with which he was to take part in the questions which agitated the University.
Dr. Hampden took his revenge, and it was not a noble one. The fellows of certain colleges were obliged to proceed to the B.D. degree on pain of forfeiting their fellowships. The exercises for the degree, which, by the Statutes, took the old-fashioned shape of formal Latin disputations between Opponents and Respondents on given theses in the Divinity School, had by an arrangement introduced by Dr. Burton, with no authority from the Statutes, come to consist of two English essays on subjects chosen by the candidate and approved by the Divinity Professor. The exercises for the degree had long ceased to be looked upon as very serious matters, and certainly were never regarded as tests of the soundness of the candidate's faith. They were usually on well-worn commonplaces, of which the Regius Professor kept a stock, and about which no one troubled himself but the person who wanted the degree. It was not a creditable system, but it was of a piece with the prevalent absence of any serious examination for the superior degrees. It would have been quite befitting his position, if Dr. Hampden had called the attention of the authorities to the evil of sham exercises for degrees in his own important Faculty. It would have been quite right to make a vigorous effort on public grounds to turn these sham trials into realities; to use them, like the examination for the B.A. degree, as tests of knowledge and competent ability. Such a move on his part would have been in harmony with the legislation which had recently added two theological Professors to the Faculty, and had sketched Out, however imperfectly, the outlines of a revived theological school.
This is what, with good reason, Dr. Hampden might have attempted on general grounds, and had he been successful (though this in the suspicious state of University feeling was not very likely) he would have gained in a regular and lawful way that power of embarrassing his opponents which he was resolved to use in defiance of all existing custom. But such was not the course which he chose. Mr. Macmullen of corpus, who, in pursuance of the College Statutes, had to proceed to the B. D. degree, applied, as the custom was, for theses to the Professor. Mr. Macmullen was known to hold the opinions of the movement school; of course he was called a Tractarian; he had put his name to some of the many papers which expressed the sentiments of his friends on current events. Dr. Hampden sent him two propositions, which the candidate was to support, framed so as to commit him to assertions which Mr. Macmullen, whose high Anglican opinions were well known, could not consistently make. It was a novel and unexampled act on the part of the Professor, to turn what had been a mere formal exercise into a sharp and sweeping test of doctrine, which would place all future Divinity degrees in the University at his mercy; and the case was made more serious, when the very form of exercise which the Professor used as an instrument of such formidable power was itself without question unstatutable and illegal, and had been simply connived at by the authorities. To introduce by his own authority a new, feature into a system which he had no business to use at all, and to do this for the first time with the manifest purpose of annoying an obnoxious individual, was, on Dr. Hampden's. part, to do more to discredit his chair and himself, than the censure of the University could do; and it was as unwise as it was unworthy. The strength of his own case before the public was that he could be made to appear as the victim of a personal and partisan. attack; yet on the first opportunity he acts in the spirit of an inquisitor, and that not in fair conflict with some one worthy of his hostility, but to wreak an injury, in a matter of private interest, on an individual, in no way known to him or opposed to him, except as holding certain unpopular opinions.
Mr. Macmullen was not the person to take such treatment quietly. The right was substantially on his side, and the Professor, and the University authorities who more or less played into the hands of the Professor, in defence of his illegal and ultimately untenable claims, appeared before the University, the one as a persecutor, the others as rulers who were afraid to do justice on behalf of an ill-used man because he was a Tractarian. The right course was perfectly clear. It was to put an end to these unauthorised exercises, and to recall both candidates and Professor to the statutable system which imposed disputations conducted under the moderator-ship of the Professor, but which gave him no veto, at the time, on the theological sufficiency of 'the disputations, leaving him to state his objections, if he was not satisfied, when the candidate's degree was asked for in the House of Congregation. This course, after some hesitation, was followed, but only partially; and without allowing or disallowing the Professor's claim to a veto, the Vice-Chancellor on his own responsibility stopped the degree. A vexatious dispute lingered on for two or three years, with actions in the Vice-Chancellor's Court, and distinguished lawyers to plead for each side, and appeals to the University Court of Delegates, who reversed the decision of the Vice-Chancellor's assessor. Somehow or other, Mr. Macmullen at last got his degree, but at the cost of a great deal of ill-blood in Oxford, for which Dr. Hampden, by his unwarranted interference, and the University authorities, by their questionable devices to save the credit and claims of one of their own body, must be held mainly responsible.
Before the matter was ended, they were made to feel, in rather a startling way, how greatly they had lost the confidence of the University. One of the attempts to find a way out of the tangle of the dispute was the introduction, in February 1844, of a Statute which should give to the Professor the power which was now contested, and practically place all the Divinity degrees under the control of a Board in conjunction with the Vice-Chancellor. The proposed legislation raised such indignation in the University, that the Hebdomadal Board took back their scheme for further revision, and introduced it again in a modified shape, which still however gave new powers to the Professor and the Vice-Chancellor. But the University would have none of it. No one could say that the defeat of the altered Statute by 341 to 21 was the work merely of a party. It was the most decisive vote given in the course of these conflicts. And it was observed that on the same day Mr. Macmullen's degree was vetoed by the Vice-Chancellor at the instance of Dr. Hampden at ten o'clock in Congregation, and the Hebdomadal Board, which had supported him, received the vote of want of confidence at noon in Convocation.
Nothing could show more decisively that the authorities in the Hebdomadal Board were out of touch with the feeling of the University, or, at all events, of that part of it which was resident. The residents were not, as a body, identified with the Tractarians; it would be more true to say that the residents, as a body, looked on this marked school with misgiving and apprehension; but they saw what manner of men these Tractarians were; they lived with them in college and common-room; their behaviour was before their brethren as a whole, with its strength and its weakness, its moral elevation and its hazardous excitement, its sincerity of purpose and its one-sidedness of judgment and sympathy, its unfairness to what was English, its over-value for what was foreign. Types of those who looked at things more or less independently were Mr. Hussey of Christ Church, Mr. C. P. Eden of Oriel, Mr. Sewell of Exeter, Mr. Francis Faber of Magdalen, Dr. Greenhill of Trinity, Mr. Wall of Balliol, Mr. Hobhouse of Merton, with some of the more consistent Liberals, like Mr. Stanley of University, and latterly Mr. Tait. Men of this kind, men of high character and weight in Oxford, found much to dislike and regret in the Tractarians. But they could also see that the leaders of the Hebdomadal Board laboured under a fatal incapacity to recognise what these unpopular Tractarians were doing for the cause of true and deep religion; they could see that the judgment of the Heads of Houses, living as they did apart, in a kind of superior state, was narrow, ill-informed, and harsh, and that the warfare which they waged was petty, irritating, and profitless; while they also saw with great clearness that under cover of suppressing "Puseyism," the policy of the Board was, in fact, tending to increase and strengthen the power of an irresponsible and incompetent oligarchy, not only over a troublesome party, but over the whole body of residents. To the great honour of Oxford it must be said, that throughout these trying times, on to the very end, there was in the body of Masters a spirit of fairness, a recognition of the force both of argument and character, a dislike of high-handedness and shabbiness, which was in strong and painful contrast to the short-sighted violence in which the Hebdomadal Board was unhappily induced to put their trust, and which proved at last the main cause of the overthrow of their power. When changes began to threaten Oxford, there was no one to say a word for them.
But, for the moment, in spite of this defeat in Convocation, they had no misgivings as to the wisdom of their course or the force of their authority. There was, no doubt, much urging from outside, both on political and theological grounds, to make them use their power to stay the plague of Tractarianism; and they were led by three able and resolute men, unfortunately unable to understand the moral or the intellectual character of the movement, and having the highest dislike and disdain for it in both aspects--Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, the last remaining disciple of Whately's school, a man of rigid conscientiousness, and very genuine though undemonstrative piety, of great kindliness in private life, of keen and alert intellect, but not of breadth and knowledge proportionate to his intellectual power; Dr. Symons, Warden of Wadham, a courageous witness for Evangelical divinity in the days when Evangelicals were not in fashion in Oxford, a man of ponderous and pedantic learning and considerable practical acuteness; and Dr. Cardwell, Principal of St. Alban's Hall, more a man of the world than his colleagues, with considerable knowledge of portions of English Church history. Under the inspiration of these chiefs, the authorities had adopted, as far as they could, the policy of combat; and the Vice-Chancellor Of the time, Dr. Wynter of St. John's, a kind-hearted man, but quite unfit to moderate among the strong wills and fierce tempers round him, was induced to single out for the severest blow yet struck, the most distinguished person in the ranks of the movement, Dr. Pusey himself.
Dr. Pusey was a person with whom it was not wise to meddle, unless his assailants could make out a case without a flaw. He was without question the most venerated person in Oxford. Without an equal, in Oxford at least, in the depth and range of his learning, he stood out yet more impressively among his fellows in the lofty moral elevation and simplicity of his life, the blamelessness of his youth, and the profound devotion of his manhood, to which the family sorrows of his later years, and the habits which grew out of them, added a kind of pathetic and solemn interest. Stern and severe in his teaching at one time,--at least as he was understood,--beyond even the severity of Puritanism, he was yet overflowing with affection, tender and sympathetic to all who came near him, and, in the midst of continual controversy, he endeavoured, with deep conscientiousness, to avoid the bitternesses of controversy. He was the last man to attack; much more the last man to be unfair to. The men who ruled in Oxford contrived, in attacking him, to make almost every mistake which it was possible to make.
On the 24th of May 1843 Dr. Pusey, intending to balance and complement the severer, and, to many, the disquieting aspects of doctrine in his work on Baptism, preached on the Holy Eucharist as a comfort to the penitent. He spoke of it as a disciple of Andrewes and Bramhall would speak of it; it was a high Anglican sermon, full, after the example of the Homilies, Jeremy Taylor, and devotional writers like George Herbert and Bishop Ken, of the fervid language of the Fathers; and that was all. Beyond this it did not go; its phraseology was strictly within Anglican limits. In the course of the week that followed, the University was surprised, by the announcement that Dr. Faussett, the Margaret Professor of Divinity, had "delated" the sermon to the Vice-Chancellor as teaching heresy; and even more surprised at the news that the Vice-Chancellor had commenced proceedings. The Statutes provided that when a sermon was complained of, or delated to the Vice-Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor should demand a copy of the sermon, and summoning to him as his assessors Six Doctors of Divinity, should examine the language complained of, and, if necessary, condemn and punish the preacher. The Statute is thus drawn up in general terms, and prescribes nothing as to the mode in which the examination into the alleged offence is to be carried on; that is, it leaves it to the Vice-Chancellor's discretion. What happened was this. The sermon was asked for, but the name of the accuser was not given; the Statute did not enjoin it. The sermon was sent, with a request from Dr. Pusey that he might have a hearing. The Six Doctors were appointed, five of them being Dr. Hawkins, Dr. Symons, Dr. Jenkyns, Dr. Ogilvie, Dr. Jelf; the Statute said the Regius Professor was, if possible, to be one of the number; as he was under the ban of a special Statute, he was spared the task, and his place was taken by the next Divinity Professor, Dr. Faussett, the person who had preferred the charge, and who was thus, from having been accuser, promoted to be a judge. To Dr. Pusey's request for a hearing, no answer was returned; the Statute, no doubt, said nothing of a hearing. But after the deliberations of the judges were concluded, and after the decision to condemn the sermon had been reached, one of them, Dr. Pusey's old friend, Dr. Jelf, was privately charged with certain communications from the Vice-Chancellor, on which the seal of absolute secrecy was imposed, and which in fact, we believe, have never been divulged from that day to this. Whatever passed between the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Jelf, and Dr. Pusey, it had no effect in arresting the sentence; and it came out, in informal ways, and through Dr. Pusey himself, that on the 2nd of June Dr. Pusey had been accused and condemned for having taught doctrine contrary to that of the Church of England, and that by the authority of the Vice-Chancellor he was suspended from preaching within the University for two years. But no formal notification of the transaction was ever made to the University.
The summary suppression of erroneous and dangerous teaching had long been a recognised part of the University discipline; and with the ideas then accepted of the religious character of the University, it was natural that some such power as that given in the Statutes should be provided. The power, even after all the changes in Oxford, exists still, and has been recently appealed to. Dr. Pusey, as a member of the University, had no more right than any other preacher to complain of his doctrine being thus solemnly called in question. But it is strange that it should not have occurred to the authorities that, under the conditions of modern times, and against a man like Dr. Pusey, such power should be warily used. For it was not only arbitrary power, such as was exerted in the condemnation of No. 90, but it was arbitrary power acting under the semblance of a judicial inquiry, with accusers, examination, trial, judges, and a heavy penalty. The act of a court of justice which sets at defiance the rules of justice is a very different thing from a straightforward act of arbitrary power, because it pretends to be what it is not. The information against Dr. Pusey, if accepted, involved a trial--that was the fixed condition and point of departure from which there was no escaping--and if a trial be held, then, if it be not a fair trial, the proceeding becomes, according to English notions, a flagrant and cowardly wrong. All this, all the intrinsic injustice, all the scandal and discredit in the eyes of honest men, was forgotten in the obstinate and blind confidence in the letter of a vague Statute. The accused was not allowed to defend or explain himself; he was refused the knowledge of the definite charges against him; he was refused, in spite of his earnest entreaties, a hearing, even an appearance in the presence of his judges. The Statute, it was said, enjoined none of these things. The name of his accuser was not told him; he was left to learn it by report. To the end of the business all was wrought in secrecy; no one knows to this day how the examination of the sermon was conducted, or what were the opinions of the judges. The Statute, it was said, neither enjoined nor implied publicity. To this day no one knows what were the definite passages, what was the express or necessarily involved heresy or contradiction of the formularies, on which the condemnation was based; nor--except on the supposition of gross ignorance of English divinity on the part of the judges--is it easy for a reader to put his finger on the probably incriminated passages. To make the proceedings still more unlike ordinary public justice, informal and private communications were carried on between the judge and the accused, in which the accused was bound to absolute silence, and forbidden to consult his nearest friends.
And of the judges what can be said but that they were, with one exception, the foremost and sternest opponents of all that was identified with Dr. Pusey's name; and that one of them was the colleague who had volunteered to accuse him? Dr. Faussett's share in the matter is intelligible; hating the movement in all its parts, he struck with the vehemence of a medieval zealot. But that men like Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Qgilvie, one of them reputed to be a theologian, the other one of the shrewdest and most cautious of men, and in ordinary matters one of the most conscientious and fairest, should not have seen what justice, or at least the show of justice, demanded, and what the refusal of that demand would look like, and that they should have persuaded the Vice-Chancellor to accept the entire responsibility of haughtily refusing it, is, even to those who remember the excitement of those days, a subject of wonder. The plea was actually put forth that such opportunities of defence of his language and teaching as Dr. Pusey asked for would have led to the "inconvenience" of an interminable debate and confronting of texts and authorities. The fact, with Dr. Pusey as the accused person, is likely enough; but in a criminal charge with a heavy penalty, it would have been better for the reputation of the judges to have submitted to the inconvenience.
It was a great injustice and a great blunder--a blunder, because the gratuitous defiance of accepted rules of fairness neutralised whatever there might seem to be of boldness and strength in the blow. They were afraid to meet Dr. Pusey face to face. They were afraid to publish the reasons of their condemnation. The effect on the University, both on resident and non-resident members, was not to be misunderstood. The Protestantism of the Vice-Chancellor and the Six Doctors was, of course, extolled by partisans in the press with reckless ignorance and reckless contempt at once for common justice and- their own consistency. One person of some distinction at Oxford ventured to make himself the mouthpiece of those who were bold enough to defend the proceeding--the recently-elected Professor of Poetry, Mr. Garbett. But deep offence was given among the wiser and more reasonable men who had a regard for the character of the University. A request to know the grounds of the sentence from men who were certainly of no party was curtly refused by the Vice-Chancellor, with a suggestion that it did not concern them. A more important memorial was sent from London, showing how persons at a distance were shocked by the unaccountable indifference to the appearance of justice in the proceeding. It was signed among others by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Justice Coleridge. The Vice-Chancellor lost his temper. He sent back the memorial to London "by the hands of his bedel," as if that in some way stamped his official disapprobation more than if it had been returned through the post. And he proceeded, in language wonderful even for that moment, as "Resident Governor" of the University, to reprimand statesmen and lawyers of eminence and high character, not merely for presuming to interfere with. his own duties, but for forgetting the oaths on the strength of which they had received their degrees, and for coming very near to that high, almost highest, academical crime, the crime of being perturbatores pacis--breaking the peace of the University.
Such foolishness, affecting dignity, only made more to talk of. If the men who ruled the University had wished to disgust and alienate the Masters of Arts, and especially the younger ones who were coming forward into power and influence, they could not have done better. The chronic jealousy and distrust of the time were deepened. And all this was aggravated by what went on in private. A system of espionage, whisperings, backbitings, and miserable tittle-tattle, sometimes of the most slanderous or the most ridiculous kind, was set going all over Oxford. Never in Oxford, before or since, were busybodies more truculent or more unscrupulous. Difficulties arose between Heads of Colleges and their tutors. Candidates for fellowships were closely examined as to their opinions and their associates. Men applying for testimonials were cross-questioned on No. 90, as to the infallibility of general councils, purgatory, the worship of images, the Ora pro nobis, and the intercession of the saints: the real critical questions upon which men's minds were working being absolutely uncomprehended and ignored. It was a miserable state of misunderstanding and distrust, and none of the University leaders had the temper and the manliness to endeavour with justice and knowledge to get to the bottom of it. It was enough to suppose that a Popish Conspiracy was being carried on.