Newman, Francis William (DNB01)
NEWMAN, FRANCIS WILLIAM (1805–1897), scholar and man of letters, third son of John Newman (d. 29 Sept. 1824), banker, by his wife Jemima (d. 17 May 1836), youngest child of Henry Fourdrinier, and sister of Henry Fourdrinier [q. v.], was born in London on 27 June 1805. His father, of Dutch descent, was 'an admirer of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson,' and 'had learned his morality more from Shakspeare than from the Bible;' his mother, of Huguenot extraction, has been incorrectly described as a Calvinist (F. W. Newman, Contributions, 1891, p. 62). He followed his brothers to the large private school of the Rev. George Nicholas, D.C.L., at Ealing; in 1821 he was 'captain' of the school, and in the autumn of that year, having been confirmed by William Howley [q. v.], then bishop of London, whom he thought ' a made-up man,' he went to Oxford. He lodged with his brother, John Henry Newman [q. yj, the future cardinal, first at Seale's coffee-house, then from Easter 1822 at Palmer's in Merton Lane, with Joseph Blanco White [q. v.], who joined them at breakfast and tea. On 29 Nov. 1822 he matriculated from Worcester College. Going into residence in 1824, he found an 'engraving of the Virgin' on the wall of his room, and, directing its removal, learned that it had come by his brother's order. He notes this as the point at which he began definitely to 'resist' his brother's influence. In 1826 he took his B.A., with a double first in classics and in mathematics, and was elected fellow of Balliol. On his taking the degree, the whole assembly rose to welcome him, an honour paid previously only to Sir Robert Peel on taking his double first. His brother's verses on his twenty-first birthday (1826) show that he expected him to take orders ('shortly thou Must buckle on the sword'). From 1826 he saw no foothold for a doctrine of the future life apart from revelation. He was in Dublin (1827-8) as tutor in the household of 'an Irish peer.' Here he met John Nelson Darby [q. v.], and attended nonconformist worship for the first time. Returning to Oxford in the autumn of 1828, he aided in looking after the poor at Littlemore. Pusey's first books, on German theology (1828-1830), 'delighted' him by their mixture of pietism and rationalism.
In 1830 he resigned his fellowship, being unable to take his M.A. through unwillingness to subscribe the articles. Through Darby he had become acquainted with Anthony Norris Groves [q. v.], whom he followed (September 1830) on a mission to Bagdad with John Vesey Parnell [see under Parnell, Henry Brooke, first Baron Congleton] and Edward Cronin; his 'Personal Narrative' (1856, 12mo) consists of letters (23 Sept. 1830 to 14 April 1833) revised 'to suit the writer's maturer taste.' At Aleppo he fell in with a Mohammedan carpenter, and was impressed by his calm retort that God, in giving to the English great gifts, had withheld the knowledge of the true religion.
Leaving the East in order to obtain more volunteers for missionary enterprise, Newman reached England again in 1833, about the time of his brother's return from Italy, and was received 'kindly, if stiffly;' he had communicated with baptists, and was zealous for intercommunion of all protestants. His non-acceptance of an 'evangelical formula' estranged him from Darby. He became classical tutor (1834) in the Bristol College (an unsectarian institution, existing from 1829 to 1841), and was baptised (7 July 1836) in Broadmead chapel (though he was against making adult baptism a term of communion) and married. At Bristol he lectured also on logic; the 'Lectures' were published (Oxford, 1838, 8vo). In October 1840 he became professor of classical literature in Manchester New College (now Manchester College, Oxford), removed in that year from York to Manchester. His opening address was published in 'Introductory Lectures, Manchester New College' (1841, 8vo). He published an abridged translation of Hubert's 'English Universities' (1843, 8vo). His 'Catholic Union' (1844, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1854, 12mo) was a plea for a 'church of the future' on an ethical basis, leaving theological questions open. In 1846 he was appointed to the chair of Latin in University College, London. He further accepted, in February 1848, the principalship of University Hall (an institution founded by unitarians in Gordon Square), and delivered (20 July) an address on occasion of the laying the foundation stone, but resigned the principalship in November, through dissatisfaction with structural arrangements of the building. As professor of Latin literature his methods were in marked contrast to those of Henry Malden [q. v.], the professor of Greek; he succeeded in awaking interest in his subject rather than in promoting depth of study; his prelections, always without notes, were bright and vivid. He introduced the Italian mode of pronouncing Latin. Two of his favourite books for class translation were turned into Latin by himself,' Hiawatha' (1862, 12mo) and 'Robinson Crusoe' ('Rebilius Cruso,' 1884, 8vo). He had earlier published English versions of Horace's Odes in unrhymed metres (1853, 12mo; 1876, 8vo), and of Homer's Iliad (1856, 8vo; 1871, 8vo); the latter, specially intended to be read by working men, was severely criticised by Matthew Arnold, who, admitting Newman's 'great ability and genuine learning,' thought he had 'failed more conspicuously than any' of his predecessors, 'for want of appreciating' the 'nobleness' of Homer (Arnold, On Translating Homer, 1861, 16mo; Newman published A Reply, 1861, 16mo). Later, his philological publications extended to Arabic and to African dialects. He held the Latin chair till 1869, when he became emeritus professor.
Meantime he had acquired a special repute by bis writings on subjects of religion, of which the most important were his 'History of the Hebrew Monarchy' (1847, 8vo; 1853, 12mo), a study rendered obsolete by more recent research; his pietistic treatise on 'The Soul' (1849, 12mo; 3rd edit, 1852, 12mo), perhaps the most influential of his works; his 'Phases of Faith' (1850, 12mo; 1852, 12mo), an autobiographical account of his religious changes, which excited much controversy, producing 'The Eclipse of Faith' (1852,8vo), by Henry Rogers (1806-1877) [q. v.], with Newman's 'Reply' (1853, 8vo), and Rogers's 'Defence' (1854, 8vo); and his 'Theism, Doctrinal and Practical,' 1858, 4to. The working of his mind, which had gradually led him to the rejection of historical Christianity, left his theistic attitude unshaken, though of immortality he could not speak with certain voice. He occasionally conducted the service at South Place Chapel, Finsbury, and perhaps elsewhere. In 1876 he joined the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, and was made a vice-president in 1879.
In political questions, especially those bearing on social problems, he took a keen interest. He was the friend of Mazzini and Kossuth, and published 'Reminiscences of Kossuth and Pulszky' (1888, 8vo). Women's suffrage he warmly espoused; provincial councils he regarded as 'the restoration of the heptarchy.' To vaccination he was as keenly opposed as to vivisection, while he became a strong advocate of a vegetarian diet. On these, as on religious topics, he wrote much in later life. Some of his controversial pamphlets were produced under the auspices of Thomas Scott (1808-1878) [q. v.] With his eldest brother there was latterly no close intimacy, but no breach of friendly feeling; from 1852 they united in supporting their ' very eccentric ' brother, Charles Robert Newman (d. 1884). In 1877 John Henry Newman wrote, 'Much as we love each other, neither would like to be mistaken for the other' (Oldcastle, Cardinal Newman, 1890, p. 5). He published, after the cardinal's death, 'Contributions chiefly to the Early History of the late Cardinal Newman' (1891, 8vo, two editions), important for the biographies of both men, though it bears marks of defective memory, and some of its criticisms are more trenchant than just.
He died at 15 Arundel Ten-ace, Weston-super-Mare, on 4 Oct. 1897, and was buried in the cemetery there on 9 Oct. In the funeral address the Rev. John Temperley Grey, congregationalist, affirms that 'of late his attitude to Christ had undergone a great change,' an impression which seems at variance with the tenor of his last publication (1897). His slender form and acute physiognomy were often made more striking by peculiarities of dress. His habits were very simple; he regularly conducted family prayers after breakfast. He was twice married, but had no issue; his first wife being a daughter of Sir John Kennaway, British resident at Hyderabad.
Besides the works mentioned above, he published the following:
- 'A Collection of Poetry for … Elocution,' 1850, 8vo.
- 'Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice,' 1861, 8vo (reply to Matthew Arnold).
- 'The Text of the Iguvine Inscriptions,' 1864, 8vo.
- 'A Handbook of Modern Arabic,' 1866, 8vo.
- 'Translations of English Poetry into Latin Verse,' 1868, 8vo.
- 'Orthoëpy … Mode of Accenting English,' 1869, 8vo.
- 'Dictionary of Modern Arabic,' 1871, 8vo, 2 vols.
- 'Libyan Vocabulary,' 1882, 8vo.
- 'Comments on the Text of Æschylus,' 1884, 8vo; 'Supplement … and Notes on Euripides,' 1890, 8vo.
- 'Kabail Vocabulary,' 1887, 8vo.
- 'The Difficulties of Elementary Geometry,' 1841, 8vo.
- 'Mathematical Tracts,' Cambridge, 1888, sq. 8vo.
- 'Elliptic Integrals,' Cambridge, 1889, 8vo (an instalment had been published in the 'Dublin and Cambridge Magazine' forty years before).
- 'Four Lectures on the Contrasts of Ancient and Modern History,' 1847, 16mo.
- 'Regal Rome,' 1852, 8vo.
- 'The Crimes of the House of Hapsburg,' 1853, 8vo.
IV. Social and Political:
- 'A State Church not Defensible,' 1845, 12mo; 1848, 12mo.
- 'On Separating … Church from State,' 1846, 12mo.
- 'Appeal to the Middle Classes on … Reforms,' 1848, 8vo.
- 'On … Our National Debt,' 1849, 8vo.
- 'Lectures on Political Economy,' 1851, 12mo.
- 'The Ethics of War,' 1860, 8vo.
- ' English Institutions and their … Reforms,' 1865, 8vo.
- 'The Permissive Bill,' Manchester, 1865, 8vo.
- 'The Cure of the great Social Evil,' 1869, 8vo; first part reprinted as 'On the State Provision for Vice,' 1871, 8vo; second part reprinted, 1889, 8vo.
- 'Europe of the near Future,' 1871, 8vo.
- 'Lecture on Women's Suffrage,' Bristol , 8vo.
- 'Essays on Diet,' 1883, 8vo.
- 'The Land as National Property' , 8vo.
- 'The Corruption now called Neo-Malthusianism,' 1889, 8vo; 1890, 8vo.
- 'The Vaccination Question,' 5th edit. 1895, 8vo.
- 'On the Relation of Free Churches to Moral Sentiment,' 1847, 8vo.
- 'Thoughts on a Free and Comprehensive Christianity,' Ramsgate , 8vo.
- 'The Religious Weakness of Protestantism,' Ramsgate, 1866, 8vo.
- 'On the Defective Morality of the New Testament,' Ramsgate, 1867, 8vo.
- 'The Bigot and the Sceptic,' Ramsgate T1869], 8vo.
- 'James and Paul,' Ramsgate, 1869, 8vo.
- 'Anthropomorphism,' Ramsgate, 1870, 8vo.
- 'On the Causes of Atheism' , 8vo.
- 'The Divergence of Calvinism from Pauline Doctrine,' Ramsgate, 1871, 8vo.
- 'The Temptation of Jesus,' Ramsgate , 8vo.
- 'On the Relation of Theism to Pantheism, and on the Galla Religion,' Ramsgate, 1872, 8vo.
- 'Thoughts on the Existence of Evil,' Ramsgate , 8vo.
- 'On the Historical Depravation of Christianity,' 1873, 12mo.
- 'Ancient Sacrifice,' 1874, 8vo.
- 'Hebrew Theism,' 1874, 8vo.
- 'The Two Theisms' , 8vo.
- 'On this and the other World' , 8ve.
- 'Religion not History,' 1877, 8vo.
- 'Morning Prayers,' 1878, 8vo; 1882, 8vo.
- 'What is Christianity without Christ?' 1881, 8vo.
- 'A Christian Commonwealth,' 1883, 8vo.
- 'Christianity in its Cradle,' 1884, 8vo; 1886, 8vo.
- 'Life after Death?' 1886, 8vo; 1887, 8vo.
- 'The New Crusades; or the Duty of the Church to the World,' Nottingham, 1886, 8vo.
- 'Hebrew Jesus: His true Creed,' Nottingham, 1895, 8vo. Posthumous was
- 'Mature Thought on Christianity,' 1897, 8vo, edited by Mr. George Jacob Holyoake.
Several other lectures and 'lay sermons' came from his pen; three of them were reprinted in 'Discourses,' 1875, 8vo; three volumes of his 'Miscellanies' appeared in 1869-80, 8vo. He edited Kossuth's 'Speeches' (1853, 12mo, condensed), and Smith's 'Fruits and Farinacea' (1880, 12mo, abridged). He wrote much in 'Fraser's Magazine,' the 'Westminster,' 'Prospective,' and 'Theological' Reviews, the 'Reasoner,' the 'Index' (Boston, U.S.A.), and other periodicals.
[Times, 6 Oct. 1897; Inquirer, 9 Oct. and 27 Nov. 1897; In Memoriam, Emeritus Professor F. W. Newman, 1897 (portrait); Christian Reformer, 1853, p. 386; Letters and Correspondence of J. H. Newman, 1891; private information; F. W. Newman's works and authorities cited above.]