Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
THE HAMPDEN CONTROVERSY -- BLANCO WHITE'S
INFLUENCE--HAMPDEN, BAMPTON LECTURER--MORAL
PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR -- APPOINTED REGIUS PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY -- OPPOSITION -- DR. ARNOLD'S VIOLENT ATTACK ON THE TRACTARIANS--HAMPDEN DISQUALIFIED--DEAN CHURCH'S JUDGMENT ON THE
THE most important year in the history of the Oxford Movement was the year 1836. Several causes combined to make it so; but none so much as the controversy which was aroused by the appointment of Dr. Hampden to the Regius Professorship of Divinity. That controversy involved an appeal to first principles. It obliged men to ask themselves more seriously than before what after all was true; what they were prepared to defend as truth: it winnowed out the merely sentimental element from among adherents of the young Movement: it was at once a test of faith and a powerful incitement to action. The modern revolt against Christianity in Europe was, at least at the date of the Oxford Movement, traceable to two main sources. The French, or, more accurately, the Latin infidel, of the type of Voltaire, began by objecting to some indefensible feature whether of the creed or practice of the Church of Rome, and then proceeded to reject Christianity as a whole as being, in his view, responsible for what was really a foreign accretion to its faith and life. The infidel of the German type, on the other hand, possessed with boundless confidence in his capacity for judging all things Divine or human, seemed to fritter away whatever creed he might have had by a process of petty and incessant criticism. The English Deists, contemporary with the first, had much to do with the creation of the second school of unbelievers; but they were distinct from both.
Blanco White represented the Latin type of unbelievers. His visit to England, and the development of his mind in a progressively infidel direction after his arrival, have had an effect upon English religious thought which has been imperfectly recognized. Of his great ability, of his wide reading, of his absolute sincerity of purpose, there can be no question. When he first came from Spain he was welcomed very widely as an important witness to the truth of the principles of the English Reformation; and in Oxford he found himself among a company of able men, all of whom were, in various ways, interested in him. His mind was of an order to influence others by provoking antagonism as well as by commanding sympathy. Although he was on friendly terms with Newman and Pusey, they saw, after an interval of hope and hesitation, to what he was consciously or unconsciously moving. Thus he evoked in the Tractarian writers that reasoned and sensitive resistance to even incipient Rationalism which characterized all their writings. Of Blanco White's positive influence, it is not too much to say that he is the real founder of the modern Latitudinarian school in the English Church. Whately and Hampden were in different senses his pupils: Arnold and even Hawkins felt his positive influence,, though less directly. Many years before, he became a professed Socinian his eager, remorseless, unappeasable dialectic was gnawing away at all that. was fundamental in the Christian creed and life. To minds with a bias towards a meagre creed and an easy theory of living, he was a welcome teacher. Whately and Hampden sat at his feet, as he laid down his theories on subjects of which they knew nothing, or pointed out supposed corruptions of Christianity, Primitive, Anglican, and even Protestant, no less than Roman, with the confidence that among his hearers no one could answer him. Whately, indeed, was a nimble dialectician, but Blanco White's was a much more powerful mind than Whately's; and while Whately was entirely ignorant of any serious theological literature, and too scornful to make himself acquainted with it, Blanco White brought a vast mass of knowledge which may have silenced rather than interested him, and which he never assimilated. His influence on Whately was to sharpen the logician's anti-Church logic: his influence on Hampden was to provide a receptive student with new and ample material. The literature of Scholasticism, of which nobody in Britain, except one or two metaphysicians, knew anything, was to Blanco White perfectly familiar ground; and Blanco White not only directed Hampden's attention to this new field of reading, but furnished him with the bias with which he was to read it. It is within the truth to say that but for Blanco White's visit to Oxford, Hampden's Bampton Lectures could never have been written.
In the year 1832 Dr. Hampden had preached the Bampton Lectures on 'The Scholastic Philosophy considered in its relation to Christian Theology.' His purpose was to show that much of the public language and even of the faith of Christendom and the Church of England was not properly speaking Christian, but an accretion of later and foreign growth with which the simple creed of Apostolic Christendom has been overlaid. This foreign element he termed, with historical inaccuracy, Scholasticism; it was partly metaphysic and partly logic; it was, in his view, a product of the primitive and patristic, as well as of the mediaeval and scholastic theology. Accordingly in the Bampton Lectures he set himself to separate original Christianity, as he conceived it, from the overgrowth of later ages; and in doing this he certainly made havoc--as of other things too--of the authoritative language of the English Church. The Creeds, the statement of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and of the Atonement, at least as to its revealed effect as towards God, the Church's language about original sin, grace, faith, and the sacraments,--all were, in their Anglican no less than their Roman Catholic form, tainted by Scholasticism, by some deposits of a false philosophy and by an old-world belief in magic.
If Hampden was right, it would seem that much of the Prayer-book ought to be rewritten, unless indeed it is permissible to address to Almighty God language which it is wrong to employ when speaking about Him. Especially the Creeds, not only the Athanasian but the Nicene, require rewriting if Hampden's principles are to be accepted; since the Creeds employ terms which, although expressing truth taught in Scripture, are not themselves found in Scripture, and are the products of long discussion.
Hampden's lectures at any rate challenged those principles, the maintenance of which has been found in the long run necessary to that of the Christian faith. These are, the principle of dogma, in other words, of definite apprehension and statement of the object of faith; the principle of sacramental grace, that is, the communication of Divine force to the soul of man through covenanted channels; and the principle of the Church's authority in controversies of faith, whereby she provides, even if it be in a new terminology, such safeguards for the unchanging faith of her children as the everchanging circumstances of human thought may require. And in challenging these principles Hampden necessarily found himself confronted by the writers of the 'Tracts for the Times.'
It has often been asked, as by Arnold in the Edinburgh Review, why Hampden's lectures, which were delivered in 1832, were not answered or condemned at the time. It appears that: at the time they attracted little notice. They were not very animated compositions; and they were moreover believed to be the echo, if not something more than the echo, of the thoughts of a much more powerful mind than Hampden's--that of Blanco White.
But if Hampden was under great obligations to Blanco White, and indeed owed him the solitary element which imparted to his lectures whatever there was in them of original enterprise, he was not the man to go all lengths with his master, or even so far as some of his critics apprehended. His intellect was, in fact, too sluggish and unsympathetic; and, let it be added, his heart was too religious. He takes up Blanco White's theory of an early and corrupt addition to original Christianity produced by a false logic and metaphysic; he handles it with the delight that a new mental toy inspires in most men at a certain time of life; but, as it. would seem, he never assimilates it. Even in the Bampton Lectures, we may observe his new speculative solvent and his old religious mind lying side by side in a grotesque and illogical juxtaposition: and when the controversy about the Bampton Lectures was over, and he had become a Bishop, he dropped their most characteristic features as utterly as though they had never been present to his mind at all: he repeated the Creeds and used the accustomed theological language of the Church as though nothing were less possible than that any valid objection to them could possibly be urged. This would not have been the case with a mind of more consistency, thoroughness, and depth; or with a character in which intellectual eccentricity was unchecked by a sense of religious obligation. But even in the heat of the controversy Pusey, with mingled charity and acuteness, saw what was really Hampden's condition. After stating his belief that Hampden's 'personal faith still survives,' and his hopes that it would survive 'unharmed by the philosophical system which had been admitted into the intellect,' he goes on to observe that
'This is a very frequent case; it is a blessing annexed by God to religious education, and steadfastness in religious practice. The belief is there so fixed as not to be readily shaken or destroyed by what under other circumstances becomes fatal to it. Hence we see repeatedly in the history of the Church persons setting out at different times with the same maxims and principles, but the one following them to Socinianism or infidelity, the other restrained by the power of God within them, and stopping short in the communion of the Church, blessedly although inconsistently. The heart believeth, while the intellect ought consistently to disbelieve. In a yet extremer case, the Rationalists of Germany have at last seen what had long ago been pointed out to them by the believing writers, that their position was of all the most inconsistent; that they must, if consistent, return to a sounder faith, or plunge deeper into Pantheism. The division is now being made: some sinking into this form of atheism, others returning to Christianity. Yet they, for these threescore years, have been boasting themselves of what now appears to have been intellectually inconsistent.'
Indeed, Blanco White himself, who had anticipated great things from Hampden's lectures, was not slow to express his disappointment at the actual result.
At the time, then, of their delivery and publication the Bampton Lectures of 1832 had not, to all appearance, attracted more attention than such compositions usually do. They had indeed created great anxiety and provoked earnest disapprobation in some of their few hearers or readers; but men
'indulged themselves in the hope that no harm would come, and that it would be unnecessary for them to interrupt their own avocations and the peace of the place by a formal accusation, or a necessarily very serious controversy .'
This dream ought to have been dispelled in 1833 by the nomination of Dr. Hampden to the Headship of St. Mary Hall by the Chancellor of the University, and by his appointment to the Professorship of Moral Philosophy by the Vice-Chancellor, Proctors, and some Heads of Colleges in the following year. But with these appointments Convocation had no concern; and residents who were only members of Convocation were not called on to act, and only 'murmured in secret.' Of .this feeling evidences were not wanting but there were strong reasons of a personal character against doing anything. Hampden was connected by College ties with those who felt most strongly that his lectures were very mischievous. Newman could not forget that 'Hampden had been employed by the Provost of Oriel to oust himself and the other tutors, and this made it difficult, if not impossible, for him to attack Hampden's theology without at least the appearance of a personal motive.' Added to which there was the prescriptive orthodoxy with which the 'Bampton Lectures' were still invested in the minds of the majority of his hearers, and the dull untheological temper of the time, which was not of a kind to be easily roused on questions of doctrinal error. Nothing. more would have been heard of the lectures if Dr. Hampden had exchanged his tutorship at Oriel for a country living.
But Hampden was Professor of Moral Philosophy, and in October, 1835, he published a 'Course of Lectures introductory' to the study. Like his pamphlet on Subscription, which Newman regarded as the first act of aggression on the orthodox position, these lectures were not calculated to allow the objectors to his earlier course to forget him. On their appearance, Rose wrote to Newman:--
THE REV. H. J. ROSE TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
January 1, 1836.
Quousque tandem? How long are such books as Hampden's come forward from professors and Heads of Houses? How long are they to come forth unreproved?
Hampden's lectures are such an aggravation of the offence of his former book, are in themselves so mischievous, and so anti-Christian, that it does seem to me something very like a public calamity that they should be allowed to pass with no rebuke more weighty than an anonymous review.
For several years the same injurious policy has been pursued--the policy of silence--of trusting that the books would not be much read, and that the poison would not work. And in Hampden's case, if obscurity, harshness, and vagueness could cause a writer to be neglected, the defence would be in some degree valid. But it is forgotten that when books come forth from persons in a high official station with a whole University apparently at their back, if no remonstrance is made on the part of such a body, the sentiments conveyed must be taken (and pretty fairly) as those commonly received in the body itself. Ten years hence might not a student fairly suppose H.'s doctrines, delivered in a professor's chair, published, dedicated to his electors, and unreproved, to be the authorized ones--and might he not be fatally injured? Ought not something to be done--and how can it best be done? Equidem commoveor animo, as I suppose you will say, I need not tell you. But these repeated attacks on one's endurance are too much. Arnold versus Episcopacy and the Study of Divinity was our last New Year's gift. Now we have a Christmas-box (?Pandora's) from St. Mary Hall.
Newman forwarded this letter to Pusey with the observation that silence about such books as Hampden's was 'a deplorable evil; a breach, it seems to me, of Vincentius' great rule that--as a witness for posterity--error should be protested against on its first appearing.'
After this correspondence, it is hardly to be wondered at that the appointment of Hampden by such a minister as Lord Melbourne to the position of leading theological teacher in Oxford, should have been felt to be a summons to a University battle on behalf of English orthodoxy. In those days the University belonged to the Church: its members were all members of the Church, and its teachers the trusted guardians of their faith. Hampden's teaching seemed so plainly beyond the most liberal interpretation of the somewhat unscientific frontiers of the English formularies, that an emphatic protest was felt to be necessary. And in judging the tactics of this strange contest it is necessary to bear in mind the conditions of University life in those days, so different from what they are now. When in 1841, 1843, and 1845 two of the prominent assailants of 1836 were attacked by the same weapons, they had no remorseful regret for having themselves employed them. They only resented the unfairness of applying such methods to those who only claimed to teach what is legitimately contained in the formularies of the English Church.
Whether they were right in their contention is a question which must be left to impartial minds judging in the light of later experiences of the Church.
The beginning of January 1836 found Pusey on a visit to his mother at Holton Park. He had .completed the substance of his three tracts on Baptism in the preceding November; he had preached before the University on December 6th, and was writing the preface to the first edition of the tract. Dr. Burton, the Regius Professor of Divinity, had gone down to Ewelme for rest; had returned to Oxford with a fever, and had died on January 19th. On January 25th Pusey attended the funeral at Ewelme. Three days previously he wrote to Newman:--
'People here were very sanguine at the very moment when his spirit had actually left us: so it was a more than ordinarily great shock. I heard some brief account which Dr. Barnes had from Mrs. Burton, of a full conversation which our friend had had with her the preceding Sunday. It was very satisfactory, and bespoke a cheerful resigned confidence. After that he was kept necessarily very quiet, as the only earthly prospect of retaining life, but he was at that time fully persuaded of his approaching end.
'Everything everywhere seems dark: my great comfort is that I can do nothing and have nothing to do: it is comparatively easy to sit by and look on and wait the result; and this is a privilege rarely allowed one in these times, and so to be treasured the more thankfully. Rose wishes to have something done about H.: he seems much afraid of his being named. I should fear it was impossible to stir authorities here they are no theologians; and I suppose at all events we should hear some rumours before the office is filled up, and then it might suffice to bestir yourself and them. Rose wants you to " bell the cat." I am weary of reading in order to censure: it is a hurtful office, and my study of Zwingli, &c. in the summer was more than enough for some time. Yet, if you think it advisable, I could put something in my preface of Dr. H.'s views of the Sacraments; two statements of which I have noticed, although without the name, in the tract. This is a sort of protest, although little enough of one.'
These concluding words show well the reluctance with which Pusey entered on the contest, and how thoroughly he appreciated the dangers of the controversial attitude which, nevertheless, from time to time during his long life, the constraining sense of duty compelled him to adopt.
Newman replied to Pusey's depressed letter in terms of great buoyancy.
THE REV. J. H. NEWMAN TO E. B. P.
Richmond, January 24, 1836.
I had intended not to have written to you, but to have sent a message through Mozley--however, I change my mind. I cannot help fearing you are fussing yourself, which you must not do.
I do not look at things so sadly as you do: that is, doubtless we shall have a great deal to distress us, but it will rather be the bringing to light of what seems fair and is not, than a real declension. On the other hand rather, as error is brought out, the good will not only be disengaged and move freely and healthily, but be propagated by the agitation. Surely we have been for years in a very unsatisfactory deceptive state. We cannot regret, however we may be incidentally pained, that we should see ourselves as we are. Men like Ogilvie or others of the old Bartlett Buildings school are worthy of all reverence and. gratitude: but these have been the few. The mass of those called High Church have had no principles--their turning round now shows it. Can we say B., &c., &c., ever were fixed, ever saw the Truth? They go by expedience, because they have not ascertained, in those respects in which they veer about, any other guide. Is it not very clear that the English Church subsists in the State, and has no internal consistency (in matter of fact, I do not say in theory) to keep it together.? is bound into one by the imposition of Articles and the inducement of State protection, not by hqov and a common faith? If so, can we regret very much that a deceit should be detected? Surely not, though we might think we had no right ourselves to disturb what we found established.
The Heads of Houses do not see the difference between H [ampden] and orthodoxy. Very well! Then H. is not so far from representing their opinions. The authorities of the place virtually speak out, if he is made professor, what before was latent in their opinions and feelings. London is overrun with peculiarism--well and good--the facility of the change is a token of our former unsound state, when we seemed more orthodox. In such a state of things surely it is better for us to have the opportunity of speaking our mind. Poor Keble's spirit was vexed for years while he felt the evil but could not grasp it: he seemed visionary and eccentric, while he was eating his heart, unsuccessfully attempting to analyze his own presagings, and to express a disapprobation which he could not help feeling. Are we not better off? Is not ours a state of hope? Have we not started the game? Is it not better to fight in light than in darkness? To me there is this remarkable token (if I may venture to say it) in our recent loss: it is as if Providence were clearing the metaicmion, and forcing men to choose their side. He who has been taken represented and upheld more than any one else the middle party. There is no one to take his place in reputation, in learning, in good report. Were Shuttleworth appointed, which on the whole I should prefer, he could do nothing against us-- he has no popularity, no insight into antiquity, no clearness or grasp of mind, and (at his age) little energy or desire of contest. I cannot help thinking he would be nothing at all, and we might act as if sede vacante. On the other hand, were H. or other such appointed, numbers would approximate to us and open themselves to our views, from fear of him, who at present are suspicious of us. Really, thank God, it would seem as if for our comfort it were graciously explained to us by sight, what we know by faith, that all things must work for us. I seem to feel very easy and cheerful about it, though I doubt not, did a bad appointment take place, I should be for the time keenly pained, as with the smart of a wound, from natural feeling....
As for yourself, my dear Pusey, you have nothing to do but keep quiet in mind as well as body--you admit the latter. Pie repone te. I recollect when I was in at the examination for Fellowship at Oriel, and very much harassed and almost sinking, I happened to look up at the window and saw that motto on the painted glass. The words have been a kind of proverb to me ever since. Really we have nothing to fear: and, after all, it will be a great thing if 'in that Day' our own 'life 'be given us as a prey.'
I wish to say something kind and consolatory, yet do not know how.
With kindest remembrances to Mrs. Pusey,
Ever yours most affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.
On February 2nd Pusey writes to Mr. Gladstone:--
'We are under great anxiety as to our new professor. Rumour mentions Keble's name. But this would be too great a blessing for us to dare, in these days, to hope for, though we may pray for it.'
Meanwhile the Prime Minister had made up his mind. On the day of Dr. Burton's funeral, January 25, 1836, he had written as follows to Archbishop Whately:--
'I now beg leave to submit to you and ask your opinion on a list which has been given me by the Archbishop of Canterbury of persons whom he conceives to be best qualified to succeed to Dr. Burton:--
Mr. Pusey, the Professor of Hebrew.
Dr. Shuttleworth, Master (sic) of New College.
Mr. Ogilvie, late Fellow of Balliol College (one of the Archbishop's Chaplains).
Mr. Newman, of Oriel.
Mr. Keble, of Oriel.
Mr. Miller, of Worcester College.
Dr. Short, Rector of St. George's, Bloomsbury.
Dr. Goddard, Archdeacon of Lincoln.
'From another quarter there has been mentioned to me Dr. Cramer, Head of New Inn Hall.'
The names stand in the order of recommendation, and no one would have been more surprised than Pusey to learn that his name was first on the list. It will be observed that each of the three leaders of the Movement, as they subsequently became, was named by the Archbishop for the vacant Chair of Divinity. What might not have been the result on the future of the English Church had any one of them been chosen?
A very different event was in store for her. On the advice of Archbishop Whately and Bishop Copleston, all the names recommended by Archbishop Howley were passed over, and in their place Dr. Hampden was suggested. Lord Melbourne had already marked this clergyman out for preferment, and he now submitted his name to Archbishop Howley. The Archbishop at first approved; but he soon had occasion to regret that he had done so, when the agitation which followed the announcement of the appointment had brought under his notice features of Dr. Hampden's writings with which he was previously unacquainted.
The news of the appointment reached Oxford on Monday, February 8th.
'People,' wrote the young James Mozley to his sister, 'began to bestir themselves immediately. That very day Pusey gave a dinner to the leaders of orthodoxy in the University, at which Newman, and Hook of Coventry, 'who happened to be up as select preacher, and others, were present. A petition was agreed to, to be signed by the resident masters, expressive of their condemnation of Hampden's tenets, and their entire Want of confidence in him. However, a dinner-party was not to settle everything; and a public meeting was the next thing to think of.'
Hampden's appointment, it will be remembered, was not yet certain. Could it be averted? That question kept Oxford in incessant agitation for ten days. At this first stage of the matter Newman took the lead, and certainly did not spare himself. He sat up all night to compose his well-known 'Elucidations' of Dr. Hampden's teaching. The most important feature of the agitation was a series of meetings in the Corpus Common Room, the first of which was held on Wednesday, February 10th. A petition against Hampden's appointment, addressed to the King, was read and agreed on. By the evening it had received forty-five signatures, and the next evening it was sent to the Primate with seventy-three signatures--half the resident masters--for presentation to His Majesty. The petitioners anxiously disclaim all wish to interfere with the royal prerogative, but they apprehend the most disastrous consequences to the soundness of the faith of those whom Dr. Hampden would have to educate for the sacred ministry of the Church. It was essential to the discharge of the duties of the Regius Professor of Divinity that he should possess the full confidence of those who were engaged in educating young men at Oxford. The King was implored to listen to the representations which would be made to him by the heads of the Church.
On the 13th, Newman's 'Elucidations of Dr. Hampden's Theological Statements' appeared. The title of the pamphlet implied that obscurity was a characteristic of Hampden's writing; the pamphlet consists mainly of extracts from Dr. Hampden's works, grouped and prefaced with a few words of introduction, and intended 'to assist the judgments of those who are in doubt as to his doctrines, and to explain the earnestness of those who condemn them.' The Hebdomadal Board also was requested to summon Convocation with a view to sending a further petition to the King in the name of the University. Hampden himself was present at the meeting of the Board, which decided not to grant this request. Pusey wrote to Lord Melbourne what Newman calls 'one of his most earnest, weightiest, crushing letters'. Everything failed. The Ministry were unmoved, only Sir Charles Wood, afterwards Lord Halifax, opposing the appointment. The King made no sign; Lord Melbourne thought the 'Elucidations' 'abstruse,' and told Pusey, with reference to the memorial to the King, that 'another time it would be wise, if he wanted anything done, to go to those who could do it,' meaning of course the Minister, and not the King. The appointment was formally announced, bearing date in the Gazette of Wednesday, February 17.
But it was still possible for the University to express its disapproval of the teaching of the new Regius Professor. Accordingly several other meetings were held at Corpus, at which petitions were drawn up to the Hebdomadal Board, desiring that Convocation should in some way have an opportunity of expressing its opinion on the subject. A committee was also appointed to draft a Report and a public Declaration, and to select from Dr. Hampden's works such statements as would be seen to justify the opposition to his appointment. This Report and Declaration were soon circulated. They both betray Pusey's hand, but the concluding paragraphs of the Report are better worth reproducing than the more guarded and stilted language of the Declaration. The former runs thus:--
'After a most careful and systematic research, they [your committee] entreat you to bear in mind that the present controversy is not so much concerned with an individual or a book, or even an ordinary system of false doctrine, as with a Principle, which, after corrupting all soundness of Christianity in other countries, has at length appeared among us, and for the first time been invested with authority in the University of Oxford.
'This principle is the philosophy of Rationalism, or the assumption that uncontrolled human reason in its present degraded form is the primary interpreter of God's Word, without any regard to those rules and principles of interpretation which have guided the judgements of Christ's Holy Catholic Church in all ages of its history and under every variety of its warfare. It is the Theory of Rationalism (as set forth systematically in the Bampton Lectures of 1832, and still more recently in lectures addressed to students) which is to be considered the root of all the errors of Dr. Hampden's system.
'And, far as they are from imputing to its maintainer personally those unchristian doctrines with which it is clearly connected, or the consequences inevitably flowing from it, they cannot forget that the poison of unbelief (now working so deeply in another country) was first disseminated by a man piously educated (Semler), and who lived to deplore most deeply the effects of his successful rashness.'
The Declaration, which the Report recommended for signature, repeats in other words the language of these paragraphs.
It would be a mistake to suppose that the opposition to Dr. Hampden's appointment was confined to the writers of the 'Tracts for the Times' and their friends. It included all phases of opinion in the Church of England, except that phase which was in sympathy with Latitudinarianism; but the direction of the opposition fell by the force of things into the hands of Newman and Pusey. They saw more clearly than others what was really at stake; they brought to the controversy not feeling merely, but knowledge; they knew their own minds, and they knew, from their very different experience, the strength and the weakness of rationalistic theories. Moreover, they imported into the question a moral intensity which strong convictions alone can give; and so, whether other men would or no, they were, and were recognized by friend and foe alike as being, at the head of the opposition to the appointment--not merely by their intimate friends and pupils, but by many who had little or no sympathy with the Tracts. It may suffice to mention the Rev. Thomas Short, of Trinity, the Rev. R. L. Cotton, then Fellow and Tutor of Worcester, the Rev. C. P. Golightly, of Oriel College, the Rev. H. B. Wilson, Fellow and Tutor of St. John's, besides Mr. Hill, the Vice-Principal of St. Edmund Hall, who was a member of the committee. The Declaration was signed by eighty resident members of Convocation.
Meanwhile Dr. Hampden, as was perhaps natural, had taken measures of his own. He appealed to the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of the University, informing him that a statute was under consideration which, under cover of depriving the Regius Professor of Divinity of certain rights and powers attached to his office, would really pass a censure on his theological writings. The Duke was requested to institute an inquiry into the legal and statutable propriety of the measure in question.
'You,' replied the Duke, 'are a member of the Board of Heads of Houses; I, as Chancellor, at a distance from Oxford, have no voice at that Board. I refer the letter to the Vice-Chancellor'.
But before this answer was received, the Heads of Houses had decided, after no little hesitation whether anything at all should be done, to bring before Convocation the statute referred to by Dr. Hampden. It provided that the new Regius Professor, having so treated theological subjects, 'ut in h‰c parte nullam ejus fiduciam habeat Universitas,' he was not to be on the Board which nominated select preachers, and he was not to be consulted when a sermon was called in question before the Vice-Chancellor. The censure of Dr. Hampden's opinions implied in this proposal is sufficiently obvious. At the Hebdomadal Board thirteen Heads of Houses were in favour of the statute: eight opposed it, and they were reinforced by the two proctors. Among the members of the majority, besides the Vice-Chancellor, were Dr. Jenkyns (Master of Balliol), Dr. Routh (President of Magdalen), Dr. Gilbert (Principal of Brasenose), Dr. Gaisford (Dean of Christ Church), Dr. Symons (Warden of Wadham), and Dr. Wynter (President of St. John's). Dr. Hampden himself, as Principal of St. Mary Hall, voted with the minority, which contained one name of high distinction, that of Dr. Hawkins, the Provost of Oriel.
Convocation was summoned for March 22nd to consider this proposal. Copies of the proposed statute, together with the Declaration of the Corpus Committee, and appended names of signatures, reinforced by a long list of extracts from Dr. Hampden's works, were widely circulated among members of Convocation.
On March 12th, Pusey published a pamphlet which was intended to supplement Newman's 'Elucidations,' and consisted of extracts from Dr. Hampden's writings, introduced by a preface of his own. The preface is an able review of some leading characteristics of Hampden's teaching. Pusey compared him with Semler, a man of personal faith and piety who played with rationalistic principles but lived to deplore the havoc which they wrought. Hampden's main position, that every statement not presented in the language of Scripture is an addition to the naked truth of the Gospel, was shown to be that of every negative system that has assumed the title of Christianity. 'Scholasticism,' a term which had been historically used to describe the 'peculiar speculative theology of the Schoolmen' was applied by Dr. Hampden to the general teaching of the Primitive Church; every statement of the Creeds, not confined to the bare statement of a Scriptural fact, was condemned by him as 'Theory,' 'Scholasticism,' or 'Realism.' How Dr. Hampden's theory might lead on through Sabellianisin to Socinianism was shown by reference to the case of Mr. Blanco White; and the preface closes with a word of apology for the part the writer was taking. It was an invidious task which he would gladly have been spared: but events brought it into his way, so he could not shrink from it. Hampden's friends hardly did Pusey justice when they urged as they did that he was animated by motives of personal hostility, or even of disappointed ambition.
The body of the pamphlet consisted partly of brief propositions extracted from or alleged to be maintained by Dr. Hampden; partly of longer quotations designed to illustrate his phraseology; and partly of other passages from Dr. Hampden's works, arranged in parallel columns with the contrasted language of the Articles. Of these the propositions were the work of Pusey: the two following sections were contributed by Harrison.
'I have been myself,' he writes to Mr. Gladstone on March 8th, 'hard at work, chiefly on the Bampton Lectures, making extracts for Pusey, who will publish them with a preface, entering on the main points of Hampden's theological system, if indeed one can call such a farrago a system. My work has been to range passages from his writings in columns parallel with the statements of the Articles.'
Pusey however was responsible for the whole work; he probably corrected and enlarged it, and in his preface he accepts the responsibility. The short extracted propositions were sent round to members of Convocation with a view to influencing the vote of the 22nd of March, and thus they naturally challenged keen criticism. It may be that some of them are open to some of the objections which, ever since the days of Jansen, have been urged generally against the attempt to convey the true sense of an author by means of short extracts from his writings. The method, however equitable the intention, is liable to be inequitable in effect: the modifying and interpretative force of the context is often lost sight 'of; that which was incidental in the mind of the writers, assumes as an isolated extract a much higher order of importance; language is subjected to a strain which it was not originally intended to bear. An examination of the propositions themselves will show that Pusey was alive to this, and that he anxiously endeavoured to obviate it by introductory or supplemental words of his own. That he succeeded altogether it would be too much to assert; all that can be said is that if the extracts sometimes exaggerate the errors of certain passages in the 'Bampton Lectures,' they sometimes fail to convey an adequate impression of others, the real extent and colouring of Hampden's characteristic positions depending upon large sections of language for its complete representation.
Hampden's inaugural lecture was delivered on the 17th. It was not calculated to make any change in the situation. It certainly showed that he had no designs hostile to the central truths of the Christian Revelation: his language about the Sacraments may even have surprised some of his critics by its primitive tone. But it contained no expression of regret for statements which had evoked justifiable remonstrance, nor did it in any way remove the general impression created by the 'Bampton Lectures,' which was that he was capable of, so to speak, playing with rationalistic fireworks without understanding the dangers of such a pastime. He further allowed himself to refer to the opposition to his appointment in terms which seemed at least unworthy of the high position he now held.
Pusey at once issued a criticism on this inaugural lecture: it appeared on March 21st,--the eve of the great day in Convocation. Its contents' may be gathered from its title: 'Dr. Hampden's Past and Present Statements compared' He had, so Pusey maintained, 'set forth a general popular statement of religious teaching, portions whereof are. indeed in direct contradiction with what he before stated, but which in many cases does not even touch upon the questions his treatment of which had raised such serious apprehensions.'
On March 22nd Convocation met: at the least some 450 members were present; and the excitement was even greater than is usual on a field-day of this description. There was no doubt which way the voting would have gone; but the Proctors had announced, before the meeting, their intention of interposing their veto, which, according to the law of the University, would put an end to the proceedings; and indeed proceedings had been delayed for nearly two hours whilst the Hebdomadal Board discussed the question at what stage of the discussion the Proctors should intervene. In vain the majority sought some means of expressing their opinions. No sooner had the Vice-Chancellor put the question, Placet or Non-placet, than amidst a tremendous shout of 'Placet' from the area the decisive formula was uttered, 'Nobis procuratoribus non placet,' and the question of the statute was for the time at an end.
Pusey, Newman, and Keble were in the Theatre on that day. As Pusey walked up to take his seat among the Doctors in the semicircle he was hissed by some of Hampden's friends: they could only see in him a man 'who had attacked a friend who was his successful rival in the path of fame.' Newman and Keble were in the area; and the latter dryly observed on hearing the procuratorial veto that 'others too might play at that game.' Nine years afterwards, and on a much more important occasion, this saying was to be signally illustrated.
Foreseeing the action of the Proctors, the Corpus Committee had circulated a notice asking non-resident members of Convocation who were favourable to the proposed statute to meet immediately after the proceedings in the Hall of Brasenose College. At the meeting so summoned Pusey spoke. A resolution was agreed to, thanking the Corpus Committee for their 'wisdom, energy, Christian zeal and charity,' and pledging themselves to any exertions that might be necessary for continuing the struggle. At the same time, 385 signatures were attached to a petition addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, begging him to lay before the Hebdomadal Board, at the earliest opportunity, the earnest entreaty of the signatories that some measure might be again submitted to Convocation, to clear the University from the charge of sanctioning such principles as Dr. Hampden's. Among the names attached to this petition is that of almost every one connected with the University of Oxford who took any prominent part in the Church movement: on this occasion men are still working earnestly side by side who were afterwards deeply separated by the progress of controversy. On the 7th of April the Brasenose petition was presented to the Vice-Chancellor, who undertook to lay it before the Board on the first meeting in Easter Term.
The Easter Vacation was spent in a ferment, for it was felt on both sides that the Proctors had not ended the controversy by the veto of March 22nd. New Proctors were to come into office on April 13th, and they might be otherwise-minded than their predecessors. Accordingly Hampden's friends set to work in good earnest. They would repay Hampden's assailants in kind. They published 'Specimens of the Theological Teaching of certain members of the Corpus Committee at Oxford.' This was a collection of extracts from the writings of Newman, Pusey, and Sewell; but chiefly from Newman's 'Arians' and 'Parochial Sermons.' These extracts were introduced and followed by remarks apparently intended to parody the method, and to a certain extent the language, which had been employed by the editors of the extracts from the 'Bampton Lectures.' Pusey also was paraphrased into opinions which he certainly did not hold.
About the same time appeared 'A Pastoral Epistle from His Holiness the Pope to some Members of the University of Oxford, faithfully translated from the original Latin.' Of this discreditable production the author was Dr. Dickinson, a chaplain of Archbishop Whately, who afterwards became Bishop of Meath. The writer's patron does not appear to have viewed it with any marked disfavour, but 'its dishonesty of quotation, its unfairness, its irreverence, and low views of Christianity,' were pointed out by an Irish divine of real learning, the Rev. Dr. Todd.
In Dr. Dickinson's pamphlet the Pope is made to cast a favourable eye upon the Oxford Movement, and to quote so much of the 'Tracts for the Times' as might, with appropriate commentary and introduction, be made to point to a Roman Catholic conclusion. It may be questioned whether the Oxford writers might not well have agreed to take no notice of such a publication. They certainly could have afforded to overlook it, had its real author been known at the time. But current report assigned it to some writer nearer home of great influence; and Pusey hoped that as he personally had escaped the censures of the satirist his appeal would be listened to. Accordingly on St. Mark's Day, April 25, there appeared 'An Earnest Remonstrance to the author of the Pope's Pastoral Letter.' Pusey marks his sense of the character of the pamphlet which he was answering by the motto which he prefixes to his own. 'As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?' His own 'Remonstrance' is throughout a dignified rebuke, in which he points out that the use of banter on such serious subjects involves gross irreverence, unfair dealing with opponents, or even with the truth, and the imputation of dishonesty to persons whom the writer knew to be honest. Pusey quotes Warburton's address to the freethinkers on the employment of ridicule, and with great effect; shows that the implied charge of the 'Pastoral Letter' against the Tracts was in reality a charge against some of the greatest names in Anglican theology; and enlarges especially on the practice of prayers for the faithful departed as existing in the Primitive Church, and advocated by some Anglican divines, apart from any belief in purgatory. This portion of the 'Earnest Remonstrance' gave it a more than passing value, and probably led to its republication in the series of 'Tracts for the Times.'
But the most passionate attack upon the Corpus Committee, and especially upon Pusey and his friends, was an article that appeared during the vacation from the pen of Dr. Arnold. Arnold had long watched with increasing irritation the growth of Church principles at Oxford. For Arnold too had been and was keen about Church improvement; and he was committed to a theory of the Church's nature and functions which, however acceptable to certain phases and sections of modern opinion, had no real basis in the New Testament, and was in conflict with the principles which the writers in the Tracts were labouring to restore. Arnold divided the world into Christian and non-Christian; forms of Church government and means of grace counted for very little in his theory: to insist on them was to be narrow, antiquated, Judaizing, and what not. Arnold thought he had settled the matter; but he found men whose genius and character he could not dispute insisting upon an aspect of things which he thought he had disposed of, winning disciples, and commanding general attention. He, at Rugby, was out of the way: Oxford was the centre of this new and to him unwelcome enthusiasm; and the opposition to Hampden brought matters to a climax in his mind. For Hampden and Arnold were in substantial agreement. In both men the dislike of High Church principles was a department of their general dislike of political Toryism; both were endowed with a large share of self-reliance; both treated the commonplaces of Latitudinarianism as though they were precious and sacred axioms; both played for immediate objects with destructive arguments, the true drift of which they did not comprehend or even suspect, and which, as the event has too surely proved, lead in a second generation to downright unbelief. According to Arnold, Hampden was 'doing what real Christian reformers had ever done; what the Protestants did with Catholicism, and the Apostles with Judaism.' 'Hampden's Bampton Lectures,' he wrote, 'are a great work, entirely true in their main points, and, I think, most useful.' On the other hand, 'it is clear to me,' he also wrote, 'that Newman and his party are idolaters; they put Christ's Church and Christ's sacraments and Christ's ministers in the place of Christ Himself.'
With these violent sentiments Arnold sat down to write his famous article on 'The Oxford Malignants and Dr. Hampden'. The editor of the Edinburgh Review suggested the title; but the title gives, it must be said, only an imperfect idea of the tone and contents of the article itself.
'The article,' says his biographer, 'contains the most startling and vehement, because the most personal, language which he [Arnold] ever allowed himself deliberately to use. The offence caused by it, even amongst his friends, was very great.'
In fact, it almost cost him the Head Mastership of Rugby. It is partly a narrative of the events of March 1836, which an eyewitness has described as mythical and partly an outburst of personal animosity against Newman and his friends, which must be read throughout to be appreciated. They are 'conspirators,'--the epithet is again and again repeated; they are 'obscure fanatics'; they are worse than Roman Catholic, or any other fanatics, since theirs is the 'fanaticism of mere foolery.' They and their followers have indeed had their prototypes in the later English Church:--
'They are the very Non-jurors and High Church clergy of King William's and Anne's and George the First's time, reproduced with scarcely a shade of difference. Now, as then, this party is made up of two elements; of the Hophni and Phinehas school on the one hand--the mere low worldly clergy, careless and grossly ignorant-ministers not of the Gospel but of the aristocracy, who belong to Christianity only from the accident of its being established by law; and of the formalist Judaizing fanatics on the other hand, who have ever been the peculiar disgrace of the Church of England.'
This last epithet for the more immediate friends of Newman, Pusey, and Keble, or for themselves, was a favourite with Arnold: he expands what he means by it.
'Once, however, and once only in the history of Christianity, do we find a heresy--for never was that term more justly applied--so, degraded and low principled as this. We must pass over the times of Romanists, we must go back to the very beginning of the Christian Church; and there, in the Jews and Judaizers of the New Testament, we find the only exact resemblance to the High Churchman of Oxford. In the zealots of circumcision and the ceremonies of the law,--in the slanderers and persecutors of St. Paul,--the doters upon old wives' fables and endless genealogies, the men of soft words and fair speeches, of a " voluntary humility" all the time that they were calumniating and opposing the Gospel and its great Apostle ;--in the malignant fanatics, who to the number of more than forty formed a conspiracy to assassinate Paul, because he had denied the necessity of ceremonies to salvation,--the men of " mint and anise and cummin," who cared not for judgement, mercy, and truth,--the enemies and revilers of the holiest names which earth reverences, and who are condemned in the most emphatic language by that authority which all Christians acknowledge as Divine ;--in these, and in these alone, can the party which has headed the late Oxford conspiracy find their perfect prototype.'
After this it is almost' tame to be told that
'the attack upon Dr. Hampden bears upon it the character, not of error but of moral wickedness';
and that if conscience were pleaded as a reason for opposing him,
'it could only be a conscience so blinded by wilful neglect of the highest truth, or so corrupted by the habitual indulgence of evil passions, that it rather aggravates than excuses the guilt of those whom it misleads.'
Arnold's article disposed once for all of the notion that the Latitudinarianism which he represented means toleration, excepting on matters where its professors find toleration convenient. Such bigoted ferocity and insolence would have passed unheeded had they not proceeded from a man of high character and influence, who had had opportunities of learning for himself the real worth of the men whom he dared thus to vilify; who had sat in the common-room of Oriel with them; who had exchanged with them again and again assurances of respect, and even affection. Condemned as it was almost universally by those who shared Arnold's opinions, this unhappy paper, it is sad to add, was approved of by the man who should have been foremost in deploring it.
'The article,' wrote Dr. Hampden to the editor of the Edinburgh Review, 'is admirably done, and will contribute much, I have no doubt, to disabuse the public mind, and call forth the merited indignation against the authors of such outrageous proceedings'.
Those of Arnold's old friends who were the objects of his abuse could not but think with sincere regret of his production.
'A paper such as this,' wrote Pusey of the article, 'would not require notice from any Christian, and might be passed over in mere sorrow, but for one statement which is derived in some way from Dr. Hampden himself .'
Arnold had observed that what he calls a 'falsehood' had run through Pusey's theological statements as well as Newman's 'Elucidations': 'the technical language,' he says, 'in which truths have been expressed is carefully confounded with the truths themselves.' This led Pusey to re-examine the 'Bampton Lectures' more closely than before; and he shows triumphantly how utterly unwarrantable is Arnold's criticism. In fact, Hampden quarrelled not merely with the language of the Church, contemptuously described as 'technical,' but with serious truths which that language was expressly intended to guard and convey; truths which, in the judgment of the Church, although not in that of Dr. Hampden, were taught in Holy Scripture'. Indeed, Pusey infers from internal evidence that Arnold had never read Pusey's own pamphlet of theological extracts which he condemns: he had heard enough about it from some Oxford correspondent to describe some of its features, but his misrepresentation of its contents is too considerable to have been put forward by a writer who had made himself personally acquainted with it.
The Easter Vacation had ended, and on April 25th the Hebdomadal Board decided to re-introduce into Convocation the proposal which had been vetoed by the outgoing Proctors on March 22nd. A motion to this effect was brought forward in the Board by Dr. Cardwell, the Principal of St. Alban Hall, and seconded by Dr. Symons, the Warden of Wadham. On this occasion the new Proctors voted with the majority; the Senior Proctor was Mr. Robert Hussey, of Christ Church, whose learning and caution subsequently led to his becoming the first Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History. Convocation was to meet on May 5th, but the Corpus Committee anticipated the occasion by assembling on April 27th to adopt an address for circulation among Masters of Arts throughout the country. This address, besides repeating the general objections to Dr. Hampden's teaching, insists that his inaugural lecture had only made the protest more necessary. If the Bampton Lectures were to be viewed as only a history of the public phraseology employed by the Church in order to state and define revealed truth, they nevertheless did maintain that this phraseology was framed on a false and mischievous philosophy, foreign and injurious to the Gospel. It would follow, either that there were no realities corresponding to some of the most solemn language of the Church, or that the ideas conveyed by such language are unscriptural and false.
There were, of course, appeals from the other side. Members of Convocation were told that such a censure on the Regius Professor was of doubtful legality, and they were entreated to consider the effect of such disputes upon the outside world. Oxford was not less thronged than it had been seven weeks before; the Sheldonian Theatre was again the scene of the conflict, but on this occasion Bachelors of Arts and undergraduates were excluded. Five Latin speeches were made in Dr. Hampden's favour, one of them by Dr. Marsham, the Warden of Merton; two in support of the statute, one by Mr. John Miller, the Bampton Lecturer of 1817, and the other by Keble. Arnold was in the Theatre, and it may be presumed was reflecting whether, as he had said of Hampden's opponents, the conscience of this last speaker 'had been blinded by the neglect of the highest truths, or corrupted by the habitual indulgence of evil passions'. The statute was accepted by a majority of 380--474 against 94; and the Regius Professor of Divinity was, during the pleasure of the University, deprived of the right of sitting at the Board of Inquiry into Heretical Doctrines, and at the Board of Nomination of Select Preachers.
Young men are always generous, and some of Pusey's younger friends thought that Hampden had been hardly used. Why had he not been remonstrated with in private? And if his teaching was so unsound, was not the measure adopted by Convocation a very inadequate one? To these criticisms Pusey replies:--
E. B. P. TO P. B. DUNCAN, ESQ.
Christ Church, May 13, 1836.
Why should you assume that 'private remonstrance' was not used, and so our Lord's words (St. Matt. xviii. 15) acted upon, as far as they apply? .For this is not a case of ean amarthsh eiv se; it was not a private offence against us. Now, the fact is that 'private remonstrance' was used, and that by more than one individual, and very kindly; and in one case by a person whose intellectual powers every one here would respect, and who up to that time was living on terms of personal friendship with Dr. H. And the Corpus Committee did not proceed until it was stated to them that remonstrance was ineffectual. We seem then by the very passage which you have quoted, to be directed to go on to our Lord's other words (v. 17), eipe th ekklhsia.
With regard to the particular measure, we are not responsible for its selection; like most half measures, it pleases no party, except the middle party which originated it: we accepted it only because it answered the end of warning the rest of the Church, and especially young men. If they will not take the warning, it rests with them we have given it, and so 'their blood is upon their own heads, we are clean' (Ezek. xxxiii. 1-6). We think that our proceeding was the truest charity both towards Dr. Hampden and the Church; that however will be known on that day 'when the secrets of all hearts are revealed.' And to that day we would reverentially appeal, as to our great reluctance to take the course we did, and our general proceedings in it. I say general, in order not to seem to arrogate exemption from human infirmity, or to imply that any course of action could be altogether-pure in God's sight.
An opinion, signed by the Attorney-General and Dr. Lushington, was taken as to the legality and effect of the vote of Convocation, and it was strongly in favour of Dr. Hampden's supporters. Nothing, however, came of it, and Hampden submitted to the statute during his tenure of the chair. He preached sermons on the subject of the Atonement which would reassure the Low Church party, and he joined them in attacking the Tractarians when opportunity offered. In 1842 a considerable change had taken place in the composition or opinions of the Hebdomadal Board; the feeling against the Tractarians ran high, and an effort was made to abrogate the statute of 1836. A proposal to this effect was carried in the Hebdomadal Board, although without the sanction of Dr. Wynter, the Vice-Chancellor, who said that he 'disapproved of the measure as an act of inconsistency in itself, and not called for by any change of circumstances.' The proposal was rejected by a large majority in Convocation on June 7, 1842.
Pusey explained his own relations to the Hampden controversy--the motives which had animated him, the hopes which it had in the end fostered--in a letter to Tholuck.
E. B. P. TO DR. TH0LUCK.
Christ Church, March 6, 1837.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I must own that in writing to you about our controversy I had another motive beside your sympathy: I thought namely that you would probably be disposed against 'persecution' and think our strong measures such; and then your opinions come back again here, and strengthen liberal views in this country, so I wished you to have fuller materials to judge. I can easily conceive how to you, in Germany, much of our 'Polemik' must appear petty. But you must recollect our circumstances and position. We had not to dispute a point, or show whence the mischief arose, but we had to give the alarm and to cry 'Fire'; if people took the warning and ran to extinguish the fire, the end was secured. In our present state it was enough to show that Dr. H[ampden's] system, as a system, went counter to that of the Articles, to show the leprous spot, and warn people to flee the infection....
England and Germany are, in this respect, in a different state, that in England almost every one of the clergy wishes to be sound. Many idolize indeed the Reformers, and make them the Church; but still the appeal lies out of themselves: there is reference almost everywhere to a certain standard of faith, beyond private judgement: they do not set up 'each what is right in his own eyes,' however uncompromisingly they maintain the maxim that every one has a right so to do; and this is a basis of good Church principles, even though, for the present, many may be wrong in its application. This tendency has been much strengthened by the H[ampden] controversy: people have been made to act upon a principle, and so (as all action does) have been strengthened in their views to a degree which no teaching of principles could have done. Could something of the same kind have been done at the appearance of the 'Fragments' or any other of those works, Rationalism, I think, might never have gained a head among you.
The present looks prosperously: the Ministry are apparently alarmed at the rising energy of the Church, and the Bishops who have been recommended to the Capituli to elect have been respectable men; for the Chapters have the power to refuse to elect, and some have prepared themselves to refuse and incur the penalties: but I hardly suppose that any great good can be effected without suffering. Was it ever? Meanwhile, however, troops are gathering: people whom one would least have expected are coming to Catholic views, and leaving the narrowness of the so-called Evangelic party; or, often, adding to their previous warmth and energy the depth and reverence which belong to the old Church's view of the Incarnation as connected with the Sacraments. Young men are, as you would suppose, readily kindled by them, and our only fear is, can anything be lasting that spreads so rapidly? Did ever anything grow quickly (except amid persecution) and abide? Yet, on the other hand, everything in this day seems, as you said, to betoken a gigantic struggle, so there will be enough to mature men hereafter, enough of biting frosts to check over-luxuriance; and now God seems to be allowing men to pledge themselves to things they know not how great, and when the time comes for demanding this pledge, He, we trust, will give them the strength they will need: 'As is thy day, so shall thy strength be'.·
God preserve you and bless you, now and ever, in all things.
Ever your very affectionate friend,
E. B. PUSEY.
It is interesting to notice what estimate Newman was forming of Pusey's aims and character amidst all this painful controversy. Writing to a friend on April 9, 1836, he says:--
'If you knew my friend Dr. Pusey as well as I do--nay, as well as those generally who come tolerably near him--you would say, I am sure, that never was a man in this world on whom one should feel more tempted to bestow a name which belongs only to God's servants departed, the name of a saint. Never a man who happened unconsciously to show what many more (so be it!) have within them, entire and absolute surrender of himself, in thought, word, and deed, to God's will. And this being so, I shall battle for him when his treatise [on Baptism] is attacked, and by whomsoever'.
Before leaving the Hampden controversy, and in view of the great difficulty of appreciating at the present day its justifying circumstances, it may be well to quote Dean Church's valuable judgment on the matter:--
'We are a long way from those days in time, and still more in habits and sentiment; and a manifold and varied experience has taught most of us some lessons against impatience and violent measures. But if we put ourselves back equitably into the ways of thinking prevalent then, the excitement about Dr. Hampden will not seem so unreasonable or so unjustifiable as it is sometimes assumed to be. The University legislation, indeed, to which it led was poor and petty, doing small and annoying things, because the University rulers dared not commit themselves to definite changes. But, in the first place, the provocation was great on the part of the Government in putting into the chief theological chair an unwelcome man, who could only save his orthodoxy by making his speculations mean next to nothing--whose prima facie unguarded and startling statements were resolved into truisms put in a grand and obscure form. And in the next place, it was assumed in those days to be the most natural and obvious thing in the world to condemn unsound doctrine, and to exclude unsound teachers. The principle was accepted as indisputable, however slack might have been in recent times the application of it. That it was accepted, not on one side only, but on all, was soon to be shown by the subsequent course of events. No one suffered more severely and more persistently from its application than the Tractarians; no one was more ready to apply it to them than Dr. Hampden with his friends; no one approved and encouraged its vigorous enforcement against them more than Dr. Whately. The idle distinction set up, that they [the Tractarians] were not merely unsound but dishonest, was a mere insolent pretext to save trouble in argument, to heighten the charge against them; no one could seriously doubt that they wrote in good faith as much as Dr. Whately or Dr. Faussett. But unless acts like Dr. Pusey's suspension and the long proscription that went on for years after it, were mere instances of vindictive retaliation, the reproach of persecution must be shared by all parties then, and by none more than by the party which in general terms most denounced it. Those who think the Hampden agitation unique in its injustice, ought to ask themselves what their party would have done if at any time between 1836 and 1843 Mr. Newman had been placed in Dr. Hampden's seat.'