Essays: English and American. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
John Henry Newman
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN was born in London, February 21, 1801. Going up to Oxford at sixteen, he gained a scholarship at Trinity College, and after graduation became fellow and tutor of Oriel, then the most alive, intellectually, of the Oxford colleges. He took orders, and in 1828 was appointed vicar of St. Marys, the university church. In 1832 he had to resign his tutorship on account of a difference of opinion with the head of the college as to his duties and responsibilities, Newman regarding his function as one of a substantially religious nature.
Returning to Oxford the next year from a journey on the Continent, he began, in cooperation with R. H. Froude and others, the publication of the Tracts for the Times, a series of pamphlets which gave a name to the Tractarian or Oxford movement for the defence of the doctrine of apostolical succession and the integrity of the Prayer-Book. After several years of agitation, during which Newman came to exercise an extraordinary influence in Oxford, the movement and its leader fell under the official ban of the university and of the Anglican bishops, and Newman withdrew from Oxford, feeling that the Anglican Church had herself destroyed the defences which he had sought to build for her. In October, 1845, he was received into the Roman Church.
The next year he went to Rome, and on his return introduced into England the institute of the Oratory. In 1854 he went to Dublin for four years as rector of the new Catholic university, and while there wrote his volume on The Idea of a University, in which he expounds with wonderful clearness of thought and beauty of language his view of the aim of education. In 1879 he was created cardinal in recognition of his services to the cause of religion in England, and in 1890 he died. Of the history of Newmans religious opinions and influence no hint can be given here. The essays which follow do, indeed, imply important and fundamental elements of his system of belief; but they can be taken in detachment as the exposition of a view of the nature and value of culture by a man who was himself the fine flower of English university training and a master of English prose.