Newman – the real reason

I’m grateful to Margaret Lye for an extract from the diary of Very Rev. G T S Farquhar which explains – in the eyes of the Incumbent of Doune – the reasons for Newman’s defection:

Apr. 24 1893. Not for the first time lately I took the duty at Doune yesterday. Old Mr Cole, who is one of our Canons & Synod Clerk, is very poorly there. I enjoy a quiet Sunday in such a place. The old man was telling me some of his reminiscences—how he used to hear Newman preaching in Oxford. Particularly he remembered going with Bp Selwyn on S. Simon & S. Jude’s day and Newman’s silvery voice as he began the Sermon “Of S. Simon & S. Jude but little is known” remains with him to this day. He declares Newman never would have seceded if he had met with any sympathy from the Anglican authorities; he was of a sensitive disposition and needed some one to lean on and when instead of sympathy he got abused and prosecuted he was secretly wounded and couldn’t manage to hold out in spiritual solitude and went where they were kind to him. So thinks old Mr Cole. The latter also told me how he was of Bp Selwyn’s party, when he first set off for New Zealand. They did so in a vessel of 400 tons that wouldn’t be considered good enough for coals now. For 105 days they were out of sight of land. And then for a while they sailed within sight of Australia, shining in the sun. The Bp was arranging a thanksgiving Service for a Tuesday and had half his Sermon written: the rations were served out to the steerage passengers: in honour of the end of the journey they shared their spirits with the sailors: one of these, having taken too much, went up the mast and Mr Cole saw him fall plop into the sea from thence; the ship was brought to but the man was lost and one of the men in the rescue boat was drowned too. The Bishop held the Thanksgiving Service but of course made an alteration to its tone. I am trying hard to get the Doune people to appoint James Burton, the son of our late Provost, who has fallen into ill health and has to resign Peterhead to succeed Mr Cole. I have had the fortune as a reviewer for the ‘Scottish Guardian’ to become possessed of Liddon’s newly published ‘Analysis of the Romans’. It appears to be a very masterly work. Elaborate and lucid. A book beyond which I need not go for that Epistle. A great mercy to get that happy hunting ground of ‘justification by faith alone’-ists, properly expounded by a master hand.

Margaret tells me that this diary will be on display at the Open Doors Day at our Cathedral in Perth on Saturday.

I’m still catching up with myself after being part of the Lambeth and Westminster bits of the Pope’s visit … maybe tomorrow.


  1. All very well, but was Newman really persecuted and abused in the Church of England ? He was indeed secretly wounded but terribly sensitive or, if you prefer, touchy. Anyone in the public eye must receive some criticism – – but few were so overcome by it. And he was hardly treated kindly by the Roman Catholic authorities till late in his life – – there is something in the unkind comment of G.Faber “the stranger bought him and eyed his bargain with suspicion.” But there is a whole side of Newman which needs analysis – and has not received it.

  2. BANISH’D the House of sacred rest,
    Amid a thoughtless throng,
    At length I heard its creed confess’d,
    And knelt the saints among.
    J. H. Newman.

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