The Late Mr. Serjeant Bellasis – August 1893

A Serjeant-at-Law (SL), commonly known simply as a Serjeant, was a member of an order of barristers at the English bar.  The Serjeants were the oldest formally created order in England, having been brought into existence as a body by Henry II. There were rarely more than 40 Serjeants. The Judicature Act 1873, removed the need for common law judges to be appointed from the Serjeants-at-Law, removing the need to appoint judicial Serjeants. With this Act and the rise of the Queen’s Counsel, there was no longer any need to appoint Serjeants, and the order ceased after seven hundred years.


The lives of men who have lived well, or fought well, or studied well, must always possess some interest for the student of human nature. Their struggles are probably akin to his struggles, their joys and sorrows are identical. In all creative and dramatic art, as in all literature, the human element is the centre of interest, —the actors on life’s stage command our deepest attention.

Light has been shed broadly and powerfully on all the leaders of the great Oxford movement. Their motives and main-springs of action have been analysed and dissected until little is left to analyse or dissect. The battle-field is still whitened with innumerable relics of a doubtful battle. Profoundly interesting as were those times, and profoundly momentous the issues of them, it seems hardly possible to learn anything fresh about them. ” Tracts for the Times, “ “No. 90, “ the Gorham decision, the Anglo-Prussian bishopric, the Anglican succession,—it is inevitable that all biographers of men who lived in those times should describe the same well- known facts and repeat the same well-worn phrases. There seems hardly space for another biography of an individual who played a part, though a comparatively small one, in a movement of which Dean Church and Mr. W. Ward have so lately recounted to us the principal events, giving us such brilliant portraits of the principal actors.

In the preface to this Memoir of the late Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, we read:— ” It has been deemed that some notice of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, beyond the two or three columns in the National Dictionary of Biography, would not be out of place among the memoirs of the time ; for the late Serjeant, although not one of the more conspicuous public men of his day, nevertheless played some part in the Tractarian Movement of 1833, in connection wherewith he has left papers of interest. He was also an able and, for nearly a quarter of a century, a notable member of the Catholic body. “

The Serjeant’s early life and legal career are dismissed in the first chapter ; the rest of the volume is chiefly taken up with theological arguments and writings on the questions of the day, and letters from well-known people. Some of these letters  have already appeared in Mr. R. Ornsby’s Memoir of James Hope-Scott. Edward Bellasis was born in 1800 at Basilden, a pretty village on the Thames, of which his father was the vicar. Dr. Bellasis died when his son was an infant, and shortly afterwards his widow married the Rev. Joseph Maude, a Low Churchman, whose intimate friends were chiefly Quakers and Evangelicals. The household was taught to pray against ” the machinations of Popery “ and the ” devices of the Bishop of Rome ; “  card-playing and theatre-going were forbidden. In spite of this prohibition, young Bellasis went to Drury Lane, and there ran against his step-father’s brother, the Rev. John Maude, in the pit, who remarked,—” If you tell of me, I’ll tell of you. “ He seems to have had a love of play-going all his life, and to have encouraged private theatricals in his children’s holidays. He was called to the Bar in 1824, and began a long and very successful career, being almost exclusively employed in Parliamentary business, often connected with railways, until his retirement in 1866. There is a graphic account of his receiving the ” degree of the Coif “ and the ancient forms and ceremonies attending the creation of a Serjeant-at-Law. His intimate friend, Mr. Badeley, was his ” colt, “ and presented the rings to the Lord Chancellor and the Judges. The Queen’s ring was ” large and massive enough to cover two joints of the finger. “ In conjunction with Mr. Hope-Scott, the Serjeant was appointed trustee of the Shrewsbury estates, a duty that both fulfilled with characteristic disinterestedness and high principle. ” There was a great deal in common in the dear Serjeant and Hope-Scott, “ wrote Dr. Newman; ” This similarity is what made them such great friends. “ The history of one is in great measure a counterpart of that of the other. Both were distinguished members of the Bar, both followed the Anglican revival with the greatest interest, finally both joined the Church of Rome, Bellasis in 1850, Hope-Scott in 1851, and Badeley, the third point in this friendly triangle, in 1852.  When the news of the conversion [of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis] reached Quernmore Park, the residence of Mr. Garnett,[his father-in-law] Mrs. Bellasis’ aunt, Miss Carson, as a sincere Evangelical, was naturally much distressed, and the old family cook, seeing her mistress in tears, inquired the cause.  ‘ Mr. Bellasis had gone over to Rome.’ Ah ! ‘ replied the cook, ” tis a pity. Isn’t it very cold there ? Hard nigh upon Rooshee, rye heard tell.’ “ Mr. Bellasis seems always to have had an inquiring mind in regard to religious matters, and to have started in life with a decided bias against ” Popery.” A visit to a Roman Catholic chapel in Moorfields in 1820 only ” impresses him with the superiority of the reformed Protestant religion. “ However, foreign travel corrected many of his ideas about the Roman Catholics. He notes the earnestness of the people at their prayers, and the admixture of devout observances with their ordinary daily occupations. He came home still a ” thorough Anglican,” but he could neither abuse, nor listen to abuse, of Catholicsor Catholicism. After his second marriage in 1835, Mr. Bellasis took a house in Bedford Square, and then began the intimacy with Mr. Oakeley, of Margaret Street Chapel, in whose footsteps, in religious matters, the Serjeant closely followed. Mr. Oakeley gave him letters of introduction to some of the most prominent leaders of the Oxford movement,—Newman, W. G. Ward, and J. B. Morris. He made several visits to Oxford, and got to know Hope-Scott, Badeley, Dr. Pusey, and Bounden Palmer ; he also stayed with the Yonges at Otterbourne, and met Keble and Wilberforce. ” We have had a rather pleasant, interesting man visiting us,” writes Canon James Mozley to his sister in January, 1840, ” a Mr. Bellasis, a barrister from London, very High Church, a friend of Ward of Balliol, who happens to be away just now, Newman and others have entertained him. It is amusing to see the variety of a Londoner in Oxford. Of the London element lie retains enough to make a change from what one commonly sees here ; though with none of the disagreeable features of it,—for example, he is so much more fluent, and can give regular narrations with spirit, showing a person who has been accustomed to argue and make speeches. “ In one of the Serjeant’s letters to his wife, there is a graphic account of Newman’s farewell sermon at Littlemore; he used to say afterwards that there was not a dry eye in the church, except Newman’s own. In 1845 the Serjeant wrote to his brother, ” I do not conceal from any one that I hold what you call ultra opinions; “ but he goes on to say, ” it has never occurred to me that it is the duty of persons holding such opinions to quit the Church of England. “ He had, however, thought much on the subject, as we read in the Memoir :—” The Serjeant himself had painfully gone through all stages, from Low Evangelicism to extreme High Churchmanship, until at length the time came when he found little of real difficulty in any Catholic doctrine. This is sufficiently illustrated, some time before his actual conversion, by a little paper of September, 1847, referring to Confession, perhaps a greater stumbling- block to Protestants inclined to Catholicism than anything else after Papal supremacy. “ The Serjeant was accustomed to weigh difficult questions, and to analyse the balance of evidence ; his excessive pains to get at the exact truth of Catholicism abroad gave Dr. Scholl, of Treves [Trier], the idea that he was too cautious ever to leave his own Church. “Ala, ce pauvre Monsieur Bellasis, it a taut de scrupules ; it n’entrera janmis dans l’Eglise.” Outward and visible signs and symbols. always attracted him—” believing himself to be a man without much sentiment or feeling, he said that he relied greatly upon externals in religion “—and he was always most exact in all outward observances. Much is said of his great industry and power of concentration. He writes of himself,—” It is my nature to be eager in whatever I take up, whether it is meteorology, geology, theology, or business ; “ but no recreation was ever allowed to interfere with business. His family life seems to have been particularly happy ; he was devoted to his children, and drew up many wise rules of conduct for their instruction, which are worth reading and copying. With one daughter, afterwards a nun, he kept up a playful warfare as to the amount of their mutual love. In 1871, he wrote to her:—” I have got a puzzle for you : St. Alphonsus says that of all love, paternal love is the strongest; now I think I have checkmated you.” There are many instances told of his unvarying kindness and courtesy to strangers, and to any one who served him or needed his help. Mr. Hope-Scott’s clerk, who saw him every day, said he never once knew the Serjeant ruffled or disturbed, and never heard him utter a harsh or unkind word. ” He died at Hyéres,” wrote his friend, Hope-Scott, during his own last illness, “l eaving an example to us all,” and Archbishop Manning and Dr. Newman echoed the words.

Such a life as the Serjeant’s does not contain much of deep interest to the general reader. His contributions to the literature of the day consisted of a few pamphlets, and the Memoir is naturally written from a devout Roman Catholic point of view ; but the surroundings of his life were interesting, and he was intimate with men whose names are written in Church history. It was probably Dr. Newman’s example and influence that finally led the Serjeant to abandon the Church of England. As Sir Francis Doyle has written,—” That great man’s ardent zeal and extraordinary genius drew all those within his sphere, like a magnet, to attach themselves to him and his doctrine.”

From The Spectator 5 August 1893, Page 18

Rome, May, 1879

Castel Sant’ Angelo


Rome, May 10, 1879.

The Vatican:  On Monday, May 5, a large number of visitors, Roman and foreign, were received at the Vatican. On the evening of the 6th, private audience was given to Monsignor David, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc, who presented to the Holy Father a large sum of money as Peter’s Pence from his diocese. The Bishop of Saint-Brieuc had the honour of introducing to the Holy Father his Vicar-General, Father Juventon, and four other priests who accompanied him. On the 7th (Wednesday) the Pope gave permission to twenty-three young workmen from Paris to attend his private Mass, at 7 a.m., and to receive Holy Communion from the hands of his Holiness. After the Mass, Leo XIII. received in private audience these young men, who were introduced by Comte de Boursetty, and conversed with each of them for some time, inquiring the particulars concerning their mode of life, their respective .trades, their wages and hours of labour. He accompanied them through part of the Pontifical galleries, gave them permission to visit the Vatican gardens, and presented each of them with a valuable memorial of their visit. On the 11th there was another large reception of strangers. On the same day Cavaliere Enrico Angelini had private audience of his Holiness and presented to him a large offering of Peter’s Pence, in name of Monsignor Tommaso Baron, Bishop of Chilasca, in Mexico.

In the evening, at half-past seven, the Pope entered the Basilica of St. Peter’s by the private passage, and remained in prayer before the tombs of the Apostles and the Altar of the Sacrament, for a considerable time. He was accompanied by the private Chamberlains on duty and by a few officials of the Vatican. The gates of the Basilica were of course closed.

Mass at the Quirinal:  It is stated that the Pope has granted permission for Mass to be said in the Quirinal. This is not quite correct. The interdict has not been removed from the palace of the Quirinal. But there is a building near the palace proper, called the Palazzina, which was restored and enlarged by Victor Emmanuel. Canon Anzino, chaplain to the Royal Family, presented a petition stating that Queen Margarita was greatly inconvenienced by crowds of supplicants when attending Mass at the Sudario, and pointing out that after the attempt at Naples and the more recent Garibaldian agitations there might be some peril to the Queen and her son in attending mass in the Sudario or in the passage to and from the Quirinal. Licence was consequently given to Canon Anzino to celebrate Mass in a chapel erected in the Palazzina for the benefit of Queen Margarita and the persons whom she might invite to attend.

Palazzo Quirinale, Rome

The Pensions to the Suppressed Orders: The pittances paid to the members of the suppressed Religious Orders by way of pensions in compensation for the loss of their homes and revenues are very small, and are moreover very irregularly paid. The Minor Conventuals in Mussomeli, Sicily, were paid on the 4th of May, the arrears which ought to have been paid to them in March. The local paymaster was in vain applied to by the Friars for payment of their pensions, and the Friars telegraphed to the Minister of Finance in Rome and to King Humbert, before they could obtain redress.

Cardinal Newman

Cardinal Newman:  After his audience with the Pope on Sunday the 27th of April, Dr. Newman scarcely left his apartments, being troubled with a severe cold and cough. Dr. Aitken was called in to see him, and at one time some anxiety was felt as to the condition of the illustrious Oratorian. However, no apprehension is now entertained, and it is believed certain that Cardinal Newman will be able to attend the consistory on the 15th to receive the hat.

The Advocates of St. Peter:  His Holiness Leo XIII. has been pleased to signify that he will receive the members of the Society of Advocates of St. Peter in audience on the 29th of June, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. This Society counts many members in England, and includes the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquises of Ripon and Bute, besides all the English bishops. The President, Count Agnelli dei Malherbi, has issued notice of the audience on the 29th of June, and it is expected several foreign members of rank will come to Rome for the occasion.

Dr. Woodlock: The Right Rev. Dr. Woodlock, bishop-elect of Ardagh, will be consecrated by the Pope himself to that see on Whitsunday next.

May 12.

Conversions:  On Sunday, May 11, Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, who had been a few days previously received into the Church by Monsignor Capel, were admitted to the Pope’s private Mass in the Vatican, and received their first communion from the hands of his Holiness. At this celebration were Mrs. Handley, who acted as godmother to Mrs. Cassell, Mrs. Pereira, and a few other persons. After the Mass Leo XIII. admitted Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, with Mrs. Handley, to private audience, and conversed with them for some time. Monsignor Macchi, the Maestro di Camera, presented the new converts with beautiful rosaries.

Peter’s Pence From Ireland:  At a recent audience Monsignor Kirby presented to the Holy Father the sum of £163 from the Bishop, clergy, and faithful of the diocese of Achonry in Ireland. Leo XIII. sent his special blessing to the donors.

Consecrations By The Pope:  On Whitsunday next the Pope will consecrate Cardinal Pitra for the bishopric of Frascati ; Monsignor Latoni, Auditor of his Holiness, for the bishopric of Senigaglia ; and Dr. Woodlock, for the bishopric of Ardagh in Ireland.

The above text was found on p.17,17th May 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

John Henry Newman becomes a Cardinal. May 1879

Palazzo della Pigna

Cardinal Newman:   On Monday morning [May 12]  Dr. Newman went to the residence of Cardinal Howard in the Palazzo della Pigna to receive there the messenger from the Vatican bearing the biglietto from the Cardinal-Secretary of State, informing him that in a secret Consistory held that morning his Holiness had deigned to raise him to the rank of Cardinal. By eleven o’clock the rooms were crowded with English and American Catholics, ecclesiastics and laymen, as well as many members of the Roman nobility and dignitaries of the Church, assembled to witness the ceremony. Soon after midday the consistorial messenger was announced. He handed the biglietto to Dr. Newman, who, having broken the seal, gave it to Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, who read the contents. The messenger having then informed the newly-created Cardinal that his Holiness would receive him at the Vatican the next morning at ten o’clock to confer the berretta upon him, and having paid the customary compliments, his Eminence spoke as follows:

Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la participazione che mi avete fatto dell’ alto onore che it Santo Padre si è degnato conferire sulla mia persona ; and if I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue, it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me. First of all, then, I am led to speak of the wonder and profound gratitude which came upon me, and which is upon me still, at the condescension and love towards me of the Holy Father in singling me out for so immense an honour. It was a great surprise. Such an elevation had never come into my thoughts, and seemed to be out of keeping with all my antecedents. I had passed through many trials, but they were over, and now the end of all things had almost come to me and I was at peace. And was it possible that, after all, I had lived through so many years for this? Nor is it easy to see how I could have borne so great a shock had not the Holy Father resolved on a second condescension towards me, which tempered it, and was to all who heard of it a touching evidence of his kindly and generous nature. He felt for me, and he told me the reasons why he raised me to this high position. His act, said he, was a recognition of my zeal and good services for so many years in the Catholic cause.

Moreover, he judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour. After such gracious words from his Holiness I should have been insensible and heartless if I had had scruples any longer. This is what he had the kindness to say to me, and what could I want more? In a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of saints—namely, that error cannot be found in them ; but what I trust I may claim throughout all that I have written is this—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve the Holy Church, and through the Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For 30, 40, 50 years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did the Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas ! it is an error overspreading as a snare the whole earth ; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world and upon the Holy Church as it is and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place if I renew the protest against it which I have so often made.

Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with the recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, as all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste—not an objective fact, not miraculous ; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant churches and to Catholic, may get good from both, and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings without having any views at all of doctrine in common or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you ? It is as impertinent to think about a man’s religion as about the management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society. Hitherto the civil power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force when I was young that Christianity was the law of the land. Now everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity.

The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone or is going everywhere, and by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure the submission of the mass of the population to law and order. Now, philosophers and politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church’s authority and teaching they would substitute, first of all, a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober is his personal interest. Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, they provide the broad, fundamental, ethical truths of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like, proved experience, arid those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society and in social matters, whether physical or psychological—for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, the intercourse of nations. As to religion, it is a private luxury which a man may have if he will, but which, of course, he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others or indulge to their annoyance. The general character of this great apostasy is one and the same everywhere, but in detail and in character it varies in different countries.

For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think, it threatens to have a formidable success, though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue. At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which on the Continent seems to be founded on infidelity ; but the misfortune with us is that, though it ends in infidelity, as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the union of Church and State, and would advocate the un-christianising the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful.

Next, the liberal principle is forced on us through the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population ; and recollect, our mode of government is popular. Every dozen men taken at random whom you meet in the streets have a share in political power. When you inquire into their forms of belief, perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions. How can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion were ignored. We cannot help ourselves. And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true ; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles. It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men—elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them. Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us ; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls ! but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the work of truth, to the Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, faithful and true, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain.

On the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise when it is witnessed, is the particular mode in the event by which Providence rescues and saves his elect inheritance. Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend ; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening ; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself ; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties in confidence and peace, to stand still, and to see the salvation of God. ‘ Mansueti hereditabunt terram et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis’  [But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.] .”

Cardinal Newman by John Everett Millais 1885.

His Eminence spoke in a strong, clear voice, and although he stood the whole time, he showed no signs of fatigue. After taking his seat, those present went up in turn to compliment him, Monsignor Stonor, at the request of Monsignor Cataldi, master of the ceremonies to his Holiness, presenting those with whom his Eminence was unacquainted. Among the many present were Dr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory ; Monsignor Lenti, Vice-gerent of Rome ; Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Dr. Giles, Vice-rector of the English College ; Monsignor Kirby, Rector of the Irish College ; Dr. Campbell, Rector of the Scotch College; Dr. Smith, of the Propaganda ; Dr. O’Bryen ; Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American College ; F. Mullooly, Prior of St. Clement’s ; Dr. Maziere Brady, Lady Herbert of Lea, Marchioness Ricci, Baroness Keating, Prince and Princess Giustiniani Bandini, Commendatore de Rossi, Count de Redmond, General Kanzler, Professor Blackie, Sir Hungerford Pollen, Monsignors Folicaldi, Rinaldi, de Stacpoole, and others, and nearly all the English residents now in Rome, both Catholic and Protestant.

The Times correspondent telegraphs the following account of the presentation to his Eminence, on Wednesday, of the gifts and the address of the English, Irish, Scotch, and American residents in Rome :— Wednesday May 14.

At 11 o’clock this morning his Eminence Cardinal Newman, attended by his train-bearer and gentleman of honour in full Pontifical Court dress and sword, and accompanied by the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory who are with him and Mgr. Cataldi, master of the ceremonies to his Holiness, was received at the door of the English College by the rector, Dr. O’Callaghan, the vice-rector, Dr. Giles, and Mgr. Stonor, and conducted into a large upper chamber, already crowded by ladies and gentlemen, Protestant as well as Catholic. At the further end were exposed the complete set of vestments, rich as becoming the intention, but plain in accordance with the Cardinal’s desire, the cloth of silver cope and jewelled mitre for State occasions, the pectoral cross and chain, and a silver-gilt altar candlestick, for which the English-speaking Catholics at Rome have sub-scribed as a present to his Eminence, together with a richly illuminated address. On each vestment was embroidered his Eminence’s coat-of-arms in proper heraldic colours, with the motto ” Cor ad cor loquitur.” The jewelled mitre is a facsimile of that presented to Leo XIII. Cardinal Newman having taken his seat on the throne, with Mgr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, Mgr. Woodlock, Bishop elect of Ardagh ; Mgr. Siciliano di Rende, Archbishop of Benevento; and Mgrs. Stonor, Cataldi, and de Stacpoole standing on the steps of the dais on either side, Lady Herbert of Lea read the following address

” My Lord Cardinal,—We, your devoted English, Scotch,. Irish, and American children at present residing in Rome,. earnestly wishing to testify our deep and affectionate veneration for your Eminence’s person and character, together with our hearty joy at your elevation to the Sacred Purple, venture to lay this humble offering at your feet. We feel that in making you a Cardinal the Holy Father has not only given public testimony of his appreciation of your great merits and of the value of your admirable writings in defence of God and His Church, but has also conferred the greatest possible honour on all English-speaking Catholics, who have long looked up to you as their spiritual father and their guide in the paths of holiness. We hope your Eminence will excuse the shortness and simplicity of this address, which is but the expression of the feeling contained in your Eminence’s motto, ‘ Heart speaking to Heart,’ for your Eminence has long won the first place in the hearts of all. That God may greatly prolong the years which have been so devoted to His service in the cause of truth is the earnest prayer of your Eminence’s faithful and loving children.”

His Eminence, having first descended to examine the presents, then replied as follows

“My dear friends,—Your affectionate address, introductory to so beautiful a present, I accept as one of those strange favours, of Divine Providence which are granted to few. Most men if they do any good die without knowing it ; but I call it strange that I should be kept to my present age—an age beyond the age of most men—as if in order that, in this great city, where I am personally almost unknown, I might find kind friends to meet me with an affectionate welcome and to claim me as their spiritual benefactor. The tender condescension to me of the Holy Father has elicited in my behalf, in sympathy with him, a loving acclamation from his faithful children. My dear friends, your present, which while God gives me strength I shall avail myself of in my daily Mass, will be a continual memento in His sight both of your persons and your several intentions. When my strength fails me for that great action, then in turn I know well that I may rely on your taking up the duty and privilege of intercession, and praying for me that, with the aid of the Blessed Virgin and all saints, I may persevere in faith, hope, and charity, and in all that grace which is the life of the soul till the end comes.”

A great improvement was manifested in the Cardinal’s appearance since the day before yesterday, and he may now be considered perfectly re-established in health.


Cardinal Newman attended the Consistory to-day, and received the Cardinal’s hat and his title of S. Giorgio in Velabro a church situated in the lower town of Rome, on the left bank-of the Tiber, near the foot of the Palatine. There was a large attendance of Cardinals.

The above text was found on p.18 – p.19, 17th May 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .