HISTORY OF THE POPES
THE GREAT SCHISM
THE SACK OF ROME
I. AENEAS SYLVIUS
PICCOLOMINI AND THE RESTORATION OF THE OBEDIENCE OF GERMANY. 1444-1447.
II. NICOLAS V AND
THE AFFAIRS OF GERMANY . 1447-1453
III. NICHOAS Y AND
THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE . 1453-1455
IV. NICOLAS V AND THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING
V. CALIXTUS III, 14455—1458
VI. PIUS II AND
THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA. 1458-1460.
VII. PIUS II . AFFAIRS OF NAPLES AND
VIII. PIUS II .
FRANCE AND BOHEMIA. 1461—1464
IX. CRUSADE AND DEATH OF PIUS II. 1464.
I. PAUL II. A.D. 1464—1471.
II. PAUL II AND HIS RELATIONS TO LITERATURE AND ART.
III. SIXTUS IV AND THE REPUBLIC OF FLORENCE. 1471—1480.
IV. ITALIAN WARS OF SIXTUS IV. 1481—1484.
V. INNOCENT VIII. 1484—1492.
VI. BEGINNINGS OF ALEXANDER VI. 1492—1494.
VII. CHARLES VIII IN ITALY. 1494-1495.
VIII. ALEXANDER VI AND SAVONAROLA. 1495—1498.
IX. ALEXANDER VI
AND THE PAPAL STATES. 1495—1499.
VI AND CESARE BORGIA.1500-1502.
OF ALEXANDER VI.1503
XII. THE FALL OF CESARE BORGIA. PIUS III—JULIUS
XIII. FIRST PLANS OF JULIUS
LEAGUE OF CAMBRAI. 1506-1510.
XV. THE WARS OF JULIUS
XVI. THE HOLY LEAGUE. 1511-1513.
UNDER JULIUS II.
OF BISHOPS AND MONKS.1513—1515
XIX. FRANCIS I IN ITALY. 1515—1516.
OF THE LATERAN COUNCIL. 1517.
I. HUMANISM IN GERMANY
II. THE REUCHLIN STRUGGLE
III. THE RISE OF LUTHER
IV. THE IMPERIAL ELECTION
V. THE DIET OF WORMS
VI. THE DEATH OF LEO X
VII. ADRIAN VI
VIII. THE BEGINNINGS OF
IX. JUNE-JULY, 1525. THE SACK OF ROME
My aim in this book is to bring together materials for
a judgment of the change which came over Europe in the sixteenth century, to
which the name of “The Reformation” is loosely given. I have attempted to do
this from a strictly historical point of view,— by which I mean that I have
contented myself with watching events and noting the gradual development of
affairs. I have taken the history of the Papacy as the central point for my
investigation, because it gives the largest opportunity for a survey of
European affairs as a whole. I have not begun with the actual crisis itself,
but have gone back to trace the gradual formation of opinions which were long
simmering below the surface before they found actual expression. I purpose, if
opportunity should be given me, to continue my survey in succeeding volumes to
the dissolution of the Council of Trent.
I have begun with a period of general helplessness,
when men felt that the old landmarks were passing away, but did not see what
was to take their place. The period of the Great Schism in the Papacy was but a
reflection of similar crises in the history of the chief states of Europe.
Dreary as the history of the Schism may be, its records show that it gave a
great impulse to European thought. The existence of two Papal Courts doubled
Papal taxation and produced a deep-seated feeling of the need for some
readjustment in the relations of the Papacy towards national churches. The
attempts to heal the Schism led to a serious criticism of the Papal system by
orthodox theologians, and to an examination of primitive usage which was
fruitful for later times. The difficulties experienced in finding any way out of
the dilemma called the attention of statesmen to the anomaly of the existence
of an irresponsible and indeterminable power. The theological and political
basis of the Papacy was discussed, and Europe did not forget the results of the
discussion. The power of the State, which at least rested on intelligible
grounds, interfered somewhat rudely to heal the breaches of an institution
whose pretensions were so lofty that its mechanism, once disordered, could not
be amended from within.
The result of many experiments and much discussion was
the establishment of a General Council as the ultimate court of appeal.
Unsuccessful through its crudity at Pisa, the conciliar system asserted itself
at Constance, and was strong enough to answer its immediate purpose, and end
the Schism. But when it had done this, it could do nothing more. The abolition
of ecclesiastical grievances was beyond its power. Men could not discover the
interests of Christendom, because they were overlaid by conflicting interests
of classes and nations. The Council, which expressed in the fullest manner the
unity of Christendom, showed that that unity was illusory. The conciliar
principle was set up as a permanent factor in the organization of the Church,
and men hoped that it might be more fortunate in the future.
The condition of Europe and the fortunes of the Papacy
offered a brilliant opportunity to the Council of Basel. In some things it
succeeded; but it was helpless to reorganize the Church. It attacked, instead
of reforming, the Papacy : it proposed to hand over the Church to a
self-constituted parliament. The Council of Constance failed because it
represented Christendom too faithfully, even to its national dissensions. The
Council of Basel failed because, in its endeavor to avoid that danger, it
represented nothing save the pretensions of a self-elected, self-seeking body
The failure of the Council of Basel showed the
impossibility of reforming the Church from within. But though the General
Councils could not carry out a conservative scheme of reform, they succeeded
in checking movements which, in their attempts to remedy abuses, set up
new theories of the Church and of its government. Ideas originated by Wycliffe
in England afforded a basis for a national movement in Bohemia, which in
political as well as in ecclesiastical matters filled Europe with alarm.
Bohemia, victorious but exhausted, was drawn to a compromise, and the flame
was reduced to smoldering embers.
The pacification of Bohemia and the failure of the
conciliar movement gave the opportunity for a Papal restoration, which was
conducted with great ability by two remarkable Popes, Nicolas V and Pius II.
They succeeded in rooting out the remnants of opposition, in re-establishing
the Papal monarchy, and in opening out new paths for its activity. As the
patron of the New Learning, and the leader of Christendom against the Turks,
the Papacy was influential and respected. But the condition of European affairs
was not hopeful for any great enterprise. The death of Pius II left the exact
sphere of the future action of the Papacy still doubtful.
Such is the thread of connection which runs through
these volumes. The vastness of the undertaking is a bar to anything like
completeness in its execution. I cannot claim to have done more than given a
specimen of European history, even in its relations to my subject. Much that is
interesting has been omitted, much that is dull has been told at length. My
omissions and my details are intentional. I have enlarged on points, not because
they are interesting to the modern observer, but because they formed part of
the political experience of those who molded the immediate future. I have dwelt
at greatest length upon the relations of the Papacy with Germany and Italy.
German affairs are important as showing the experience of the German reformers
of the past dealings of the Papacy with the German Church and State. On the
other hand, the intricacies of Italian politics explain the secularization of
the Papacy to which the reformers pointed as their justification.
The circumstances of my life have not allowed me to
make much research for new authorities, which in so large a field would have
been almost impossible. What I have found in MS. was not of much importance.
Respecting the main points which I have treated, the amount of material
available is very large.
My work has been written under the difficulties which
necessarily attend one who lives far from great libraries, and to whom study is
the occupation of leisure hours, not the main object of life. I am conscious of
many deficiencies, yet I thought it better to commit my volumes to the press
rather than wait for opportunities which might never occur.
On the difficult question of the spelling of proper
names I am afraid that I have not been so consistent as I hoped to be. I have
tried to use the name by which I thought a man was called by his
contemporaries; but I see, when it is too late, that I have occasionally called
a man by different titles without explanation, and have sometimes wavered in my
spelling. In the case of Cardinals especially, who went by many names amongst
their contemporaries, it is difficult always to maintain consistency.
I have to thank many friends for their assistance.
Professor Stubbs was an unfailing refuge in case of difficulties. Professor
Mayor of Cambridge gave me valuable advice. Mr. Hodgkin’s friendly sympathy has
constantly cheered me. But my greatest debt of gratitude is due to Rev. M. H.
G. Buckle, who has employed the learning of a long life in the laborious task
of revising my sheets for the press.
Mandell Creighton was born at Carlisle on July 5, 1843. His grandfather, James Creighton, had come from the Scottish Lowlands to Carlisle as a young joiner. There he became a partner in his employer's business, which he developed and ultimately made his own. He is described as a silent man with a sound judgment, upright and honourable, and much respected; and it is recorded that his funeral was more largely attended than any other before that time in Carlisle.
His son Robert still further extended his father’s business. He moved to larger premises in Castle Street, opposite the Cathedral, where he had a furnishing and decorating esta- blishment, described as of high reputation throughout the North of England. Robert Creighton was a man of much natural shrewdness and business capacity, and ofan active and enterprising mind. He went largely into the timber trade, and was also much occupied with municipal business, taking a prominent part in the affairs of the city. He was long a member of the Council of the Corporation, and held the office of Mayor in 1 866.
Robert Creighton married in 1842 Sarah Mandell, the tenth child of Thomas Mandell, a yeoman farmer living on a farm called Carlisle Gate near Bolton in Cumberland Among the Mandells there were several, both of Sarah’s generation and of her father’s, who went to Cambridge, and distinguished themselves. An uncle of Sarah’s was Fellow and Tutor of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and a very able man. One of her brothers was ninth Wrangler and Fellow of St John’s. Sarah was living with one of her brothers at Wetheral. near Carlisle, when she came to know Robert Creighton, Brother and sister were devotedly attached, and he must have been a man of jealously strong affections, for it was assumed that he would never consent to his sister’s marriage. The young couple accordingly took what was no uncommon step in those days, and eloped to Gretna Green. They were afterwards married by special licence at Carlisle in St Mary’s Church, then the nave of the Cathedral. Sarah was not forgiven by her brother, who never spoke to her again. She is described as a tall woman, with a fine figure, good-looking and kind-hearted, but very quick with her tongue. She seems to have been capable of inspiring great devotion. To her children she could be but the dimmest of memories, for she died in 1850, but she left her husband broken-hearted, and he never married again.
Four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom one died in infancy, were bom to her. Mandell was the eldest, and seems to have been the most like his mother in appearance. No good portrait of her exists, but he was so unlike his father and brother and sister as not to seem to belong to the same family. He had little recollection of his mother. His father was very reserved, and never spoke ofher to his children; his daughter can only remember his once mentioning her. A sister of Robert Creighton’s came to take care of the desolate home. Her nephews and niece were much attached to her, and she was devoted to them; but Aunt Jane must have found her position one of anxious responsibility, for when I came to know her in later years, she was fond of saying that she could never recommend any one to undertake to bring up their brother’s children.
It was over the shop in Castle Street that Mandell’s childhood was passed. The windows of the living rooms looked on the Cathedral, and maimed fragment though it is, no doubt it exercised its influence on the boy’s mind and laid the foundation for that strong love of architecture and antiquity which characterised him in after life. To live in the border city was an education in itself. There is a strong local feeling in Carlisle, and Cumbrians always stand closely by one another. Carlisle has been a city of steady rather than of rapid growth. Its citizens have not, as a rule, been men who made large fortunes, or indulged in luxurious ways of living. The city has a somewhat grim aspect, befitting a border town. The object of its inhabitants is clearly work not pleasure, and the pleasure most easily accessible to those who seek for change is escape to the purple hills whose outline can be seen on the horizon.
Mandell Creighton grew up in a simple hardworking atmosphere, where strong Liberal principles prevailed. The work that came to hand had to be done as a matter ofcourse. There was not much outward show of affection in the home life. The father was very undemonstrative, and drew out no signs of affection from his children. He made them feel that he expected them to do their duty, and impressed them with the idea that he had a quiet ingrained contempt for those without force of character or capacity: those who, to use a favourite expression of his, had not ‘their head screwed on the right way.’ There is no record of his having had any special tastes or amusements ofhis own, except that he played whist and taught his children to play, treating their mistakes with remorseless severity. There were few books and pictures in the house, nothing to stimulate a love for literature or art. There was no spoiling or indulgence in the family. The younger son as a very small boy when overheard grumbling against one of his masters was at once silenced by his father’s remark : ‘If I hear any more such grumbling, I shall write a note for you to take to him to ask him to cane you.’ But if his children were compelled to respect authority, there was no undue interference with their liberty, and provided they did what was demanded of them, they were allowed to follow their own tastes and inclinations. He believed that a boy must be allowed to follow his own bent, so long as he worked, and worked hard.
A nephew of Mrs. Creighton’s, William Mandell Gunson, was a frequent visitor at the house. He was a distinguished member of the University of Cambridge, who graduated with high honours in the Classical and Mathematical Triposes in 1847, and was shortly afterwards elected to a fellowship at Christ’s College, where he served his University with unfailing devotion for thirty years. Mr. Gunson on the way to and from his mother’s house, Baggrow, near Carlisle, used to stop at Castle Street. He was not much younger than his aunt, as his mother had been her eldest sister, and a strong friendship united the two families. There was an academic flavour about Mr. Gunson’s visits, and they formed a link between the tradesman’s family and the learned world outside. The shrewd capable man of business knew how to admire the scholarship of the University don, and to see in his success too the result of hard work. Mr. Gunson took much interest in his bright little cousin, and amused himself with teaching him his alphabet.
But few anecdotes of Mandell’s childhood are preserved. From a baby he was a remarkably active, restless child, always apt to get into mischief, unless kept harmlessly employed. He was sent at an early age to a dame’s school kept by a Miss Ford, who tied him to the leg of the table in order to keep him quiet As soon as he learnt how to read, an unfailing occupation for his energies was found, and from that moment he was constantly absorbed in books. In 1852 he went on from the dame’s school to the Cathedral School. A new scheme has turned the Cathedral School into a Grammar School with a fine building. In those days it consisted of two spacious rooms grafted on to some old ecclesiastical building, just within the Close and perched on the old city wall. When Creighton first went to it, the head master was the Rev. C. H. Lowry, a man whose fine looks must have impressed even the small boy, for in years long after he used to speak of him as one of the best-looking men he had ever known. Mr. Lowry left Carlisle less than a year after Creighton joined the school, but he remembers the high opinion held by Creighton’s form master of his ability, industry, and good conduct.
A party of six boys hung together in specially close companionship in work and play during the early Carlisle school days : T. W. Cartmell, Tutor of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and his brother, now a Carlisle solicitor; the two Hetheringtons, one of whom was afterwards Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and the two Creighton brothers. It was then that Creighton received from his brother his first nickname, ‘Homer,’ which clung to him amongst old schoolfellows for many years. It was given because of the rapidity and ease with which he construed. One schoolfellow says that his most distinct recollection of Creighton was the way in which all the small boys went to ‘Homer’ ‘for help with their lessons.’
None of the six were great at athletics in the usual sense; but even then Creighton’s taste for walking and his love for the country had begun to show themselves. His mother had been a good rider and driver, and had been fond of taking her boys long drives, thus sowing the seed of that love for nature which only strengthened with every year of Creighton’s life. After her death the boys had a pony, but they had so many accidents that at last the pony was sent away; and though later on he made several trials, Creighton never cared for riding. Walking was the only exercise and amusement he desired. Even as a boy he led his companions for long rambles into the country, when tongues and legs vied with one another as to which could move faster. A younger companion who frequently accompanied him on these walks recalls ‘the talk and chaff and jokes, which though sometimes above his head were delightful to listen to, and stimulating even to a little boy’s intelligence.’
In November 1857 Creighton was sent to Durham to try for a King’s Scholarship at the Grammar School. The examination was conducted by the Canons Residentiary of the Cathedral and the Head Master of the School. In that year for the first time Latin verse was required, a fact of which the Carlisle masters must have been ignorant, and Creighton, who as yet had done no Latin verse, was forced to leave the paper blank. But when one examiner urged this against him, Archdeacon Thorp rejoined, ‘Ah, but what good answers he gave to the questions!’. He was elected in spite of his lack of Latin versification, a want which he soon supplied. On going to Durham in the beginning of 1858, he was placed in the fourth form, and he went rapidly up the school. In June 1859 he was in the head master's class, and in June 1861 he was head boy. A frequent prize winner throughout his school career, in his last term he carried off, besides his form prize, prizes for Classics, Hellenistic Greek (the language of the New Testament), Greek lambics, English verse, Greek prose, and English essay; besides being honourably mentioned for French, and Latin hexameters. In mathematics, he always did well, being second in his last term. But in after years he used to say that though he could do them all right, he never understood what they were about. His own later judgment on his school career was that he never worked steadily enough, but trusted too much to his natural cleverness, which always enabled him by putting on a spurt at the last to come out top.
He gained the school prize for English poetry, but his long poem on Sicily has nothing to distinguish it from other exercises of the kind. He did not become a scribbler of verse, and only very few poems of his remain, written at long intervals through his life.
His head master, speaking of the general character of his work, says that ‘the great distinction which marked his early days at school was his proficiency—I may say his superiority—in all kinds of composition, English, Latin, and Greek.... This is saying a great deal when I remember who were then his associates in the sixth form.'
He is said to have already shown a liking for history, and on one occasion he created some indignation by carefully preparing the history paper for an examination when the form generally had conspired to neglect it.
At school he made many friends. Some of their letters to him which remain, testify to the most devoted and romantic affection. He made no mark in games; already so short-sighted as to be obliged to wear spectacles, he could not see to play cricket, but his unbounded energy made him enjoy football. He did not in any way separate himself from the athletic interests of the school; he always scored at the cricket matches, and accompanied the eleven when they went to play elsewhere. Except for the ordinary childish ailments, he did not know what illness was, and used in later life to speak scornfully of these degenerate days, when schoolboys are so often in the sanatorium.
Long walks remained his favourite recreation. He explored every corner of the country round Durham, and began to take an interest in botany, making a collection of dried flowers which won the school prize. Though never in any sense a scientific botanist, this taste remained with him through life ; he always noticed the flowers on his walks, and could unfailingly be appealed to for their names. The Creighton family spent their holidays sometimes at Allonby or Silloth by the sea, or at Moffat among the moors. Wherever they were, Creighton would lead his brother and sister offto explore the country. Sometimes the tramps were too long for the others, and Creighton would go alone. He collected wild flowers, moths, and ferns, and always knew how to find his way across country.
As he grew older he would go for walking excursions of several days together with his friends, and the lake country was naturally their favourite resort. On one occasion four of them started together from Penrith, each with five pounds in his pocket, and in ten days saw all the lakes and climbed many of the hills, walking often further than was good for them. Shortly after he left school, Creighton with three companions went for a walking tour in Scotland.
Among other incidents of Creighton’s school days, it is recorded that he accidentally discovered that he had considerable powers as a mesmerist. For a time he used to practise these for the amusement of the boys; but the authorities naturally interfered, and he himself felt it to be a dangerous gift and entirely discontinued its practice. In after life he would refer to his schoolboy performances as a mesmerist, but he never again tried to exert his powers.
Mrs. Holden, the wife of his head master, says that her clearest remembrance of him is seeing him in his latter years at school, morning after morning, pacing the yards of the school playground, each arm stretched out over the shoulders of as many boys as could get near him, all turning round together like a wheel at the end of the walk. The small boys used to watch for his appearance, and would rush to take up their positions under his outstretched arms, each eager to be nearest to him. In just such a way up to the last months of his life did he pace his garden with arms resting on the shoulders of his children and their friends.
His own judgment, when in after life he looked back on his years at school as monitor, was that he was a terrible prig. If so, he got through the period of priggishness once and for all, for it used to be said of him as a man that, if such a thing were possible, he was too little of a prig.
No specially strong religious influence seems to have been brought to bear upon him either at home or at school. It was the Cathedral at Durham, with its beautiful services under the direction of Dr. Dykes as precentor, which not only cultivated his musical and artistic tastes, but was the strongest religious influence of his boyhood. The best music of the English school, the music of Purcell and Gibbons and others, was frequently heard at Durham in those days. Creighton loved it, and never lost his preference for it When in after life he was closely connected with other cathedrals, he used to deplore the way in which the modern sentimentalists had banished the school of music which seemed to him so typical of what was best in the English Church.
The deeper influence of the Durham Cathedral services was equally great. He said that to him it had been of permanent value that the school possessed no chapel, and that therefore on Sundays and Saints' days they attended service in the Cathedral, the King's Scholars in surplices as members of the foundation. This connexion with the Cathedral also led the Canons, who as professors at the University were men of intellectual distinction, to take a to personal interest in the King’s Scholars, which no doubt had a stimulating influence, and was the beginning of friendships which Creighton was glad to renew when circumstances brought him back to the North.
But though the Cathedral services undoubtedly nourished the religious life of the boy, there is no clue as to what led him first to decide to take Holy Orders. He told me that this had always been his intention from boyhood, and his schoolfellows record the fact that the resolution was already taken when he was at school. Home influence was not in its favour. His father, though himself a regular attendant at church, had a strong contempt for the clergy, founded partly on what he considered their unbusinesslike habits; and it must be owned that strange tales are told of the lives and characters of some of the Cumbrian clergy before the days of Bishop Harvey Goodwin. Anyhow, Robert Creighton was disappointed at his son’s decision to take Orders, though, true to his principles, he made no objection, and continued to give him every help and encouragement to make his life his own way. The decision appears to have been entirely the boy’s own, uninfluenced by anyone from without. Mrs. Holden remembers prophesying his future, and assuring him that he would some day be a bishop.
Creighton decided to try for a scholarship at Oxford, a decision which greatly vexed his cousin, Mr. Gunson, who wished him to go to Cambridge. It is clear that he was right in choosing Oxford as his university, for nothing could have suited the particular character of his mind better than the reading required for the School of Litterae Humaniores.
Creighton tried first for a classical scholarship at Balliol, when Mr. Paravicini was elected, and then at Merton, where he was elected to a classical postmastership in June 1862. He went into residence in the following October. His postmastership was worth 70l. a year : his father gave him no regular allowance, but he was free to ask for such money as he needed on the understanding that his Oxford course once ended, he was to look for no more help from home. He never got into debt, nor spent more than his father approved, and he had no remembrance of ever having felt stinted; but the impression produced, at least upon his richer companions, was that his means were narrow. He had no extravagant tastes, his home training led him to live simply, and he would not have considered himself justified in gratifying his love for beautiful things with his father’s money. His rooms, which were attics on the top floor in Mob Quad, were plainly furnished, and destitute of the usual adornments dear to the hearts of undergraduates.
There were only about forty men at Merton, when Creighton went up; but in 1864 the Merton New Building was opened, and the number of undergraduates increased to fifty-six. The majority were Eton men, brought there through the influence of the Warden, Dr. Marsham, men who loved hunting and other sports, had plenty of money to spend, and no particular intention of doing any work. The postmasters, as the scholars at Merton are called, formed of course a nucleus of reading men; but Creighton’s tastes were never exclusive, and then, as always, he liked, and knew how to get on with, all manner of men. Neither was there any tendency at Merton to break up into sets. The whole College formed one single wine club, meeting in turn in the rooms of the different men every night after dinner, which then took place at six. Dessert and wine were provided by the host, but not much wine was drunk; there was an immense deal of talk : most of the men stayed only from forty to fifty minutes, but a few would stay all the evening.
Creighton had a strong feeling for the common life of the College, and insisted that it was the duty of each individual member to contribute what he could to raise it morally and intellectually. His views on the subject are developed in his sermons in the College Chapel, preached as a young Fellow in the light of his own experience. As at school he had been interested in the younger boys, so at college he took every opportunity of getting to know the freshmen. Mr. G. Saintsbury, who was a year junior to him, remembers how they first made acquaintance because Creighton brought him his testamur for Smalls, ‘a friendly act, at least in the case of a freshman he hardly knew.’ Dr. Copleston (Bishop of Calcutta), who was two years his junior, tells how they made friends because he was drawn to row in one of the scratch fours got together in the October term to try the new arrivals, of which Creighton happened to be captain. Creighton at once asked him to walk down to the river with him, and this was constantly repeated. The opening of the New Building when he was entering his third year, gave Creighton a great opportunity for what Mr. Saintsbury calls his innocently Socratic habit of taking up ingenuous freshmen, whom, unlike most takers-up, he never put down again.
It was his custom to call on all freshmen, and he would take pains to be of use to them if possible. Mr. Saintsbury says that in the discussions which they used to have ‘on all things in heaven and earth, at all hours of the day and night, nothing came up so often as a pet idea of Creighton's about influence. He thought that everybody ought to try and influence others as much as he could. His ideas as to the way in which influence should be exerted probably changed very much with wider experience. In after life he certainly considered strong personal influence a thing to be avoided, as decidedly weakening to character.
All through his life he increasingly felt his responsibility to others. He wished to teach, to guide, to develop their character by affection and sympathy, to get them to think for themselves; but he always wished them to be themselves, and never tried to impress himself on them, or get them to take his views. Probably it was this same sense of responsibility, this same desire to help, which was expressed in his less mature days as a desire for influence.
Merton owned in those days three University oars, and the College eight, in which Creighton rowed seven, was one of the best boats on the river. This helped him to get to know men who were more given to athletics than to reading.
This harmless rowdyism reached its height with a famous bonfire in Mob Quad on November 5, 1865, a dangerous proceeding in so confined a space, among some of the oldest buildings in Oxford. Creighton was then in lodgings, and he took no part in the bonfire, of which his friend Booster was the hero.
The College authorities considered the bonfire too serious a breach of discipline to be passed over, and next day all the men in College were gated. I think it was on this occasion that the old Warden, Dr. Marsham, was asked by the tutors to speak seriously to the men about their unruly conduct. Thus urged, he addressed the assembled College, and rebuked them for behaving in such an ungentlemanly manner, concluding with these words: ‘And all I can say, gentlemen, is, that if you want to behave like barbarian savages, why,—ahem —ahem—you should come and ask leave first’
The undergraduates determined to show their indignation at what they considered unjustifiable conduct on the part of the dons, and organised nightly during the following week solemn processions round the Fellows’ Quad. Creighton, who, being in lodgings, had not been gated, was employed to fetch in after dinner a supply of penny whistles and other musical instruments, armed with which, with tea-trays as drums, making the most horrible din, and letting off squibs and crackers as they went, the undergraduates marched round and round the Fellows’ Quad. The dons had the good sense to remain quietly in the Common Room; they likened the performance to the procession round the walls of Jericho, and Professor Esson was fond of chaffing Creighton on the subject, and saying : You expected the walls of the College to fall down, but they stood firm.
On one occasion, however, the procession was stopped in a moment by a message brought by the porter from the Warden to say, that he would be obliged if the gentlemen would not make quite so much noise, as he had a party.
William Foster, the hero of the bonfire, was a tall broadshouldered man, with a fair beard, and blue eyes which looked out upon the world with the frank joy of a bright pure nature. He was the centre of a little group of specially close friends, consisting of himself, Creighton, R. T. Raikes, and C. Boyd (afterwards Archdeacon of Ceylon), the quadrilateral, as they called themselves; Boyd belonged to University, the rest were all Merton men. Foster seems to have possessed all those qualities which call forth the special admiration and affection of young men. It is told of him that when the undergraduates played a game, popular at that time, in which marks were given for the various qualities of the players, Foster always came out with head marks. Within the quadrilateral of friends, he inspired specially strong feelings of attachment The four were never happier than when together, whether in vacation or in term time. There was no lack of sentimentality in their friendship. They exchanged rings as marks of devotion, each of the four wearing a gold band set with three turquoises to symbolise the others.
One of Creighton’s closest friends was George Saintsbury, now Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, known to all his undergraduate friends as ‘The Saint’. Creighton’s own nickname was ‘The Professor,’ which was soon shortened to ‘The P.’ or ‘ P.’ alone, and was used among old friends during his whole life. Saintsbury and Creighton were amongst the very few men in Merton at that time reading for honours in Greats. They together took essays to Jowett, and went to W. W. Shirley’s and Jowett’s lectures. It was a chance attendance at a course of Shirley’s lectures which first roused Creighton’s interest in Ecclesiastical History, as he recorded many years afterwards in his inaugural lecture as Dixie Professor at Cambridge. Saintsbury and Creighton were fond of reading in one another’s rooms, as well as of sitting up talking till the small hours of the morning. In Creighton’s last year they shared for a term a lodging in the High.
As an undergraduate Creighton was a decided High Churchman. When he went up to Oxford frequent Communions were not yet usual in college chapels: Mr. Burgon had instituted an eight o'clock Communion at St Mary's, which Creighton attended, otherwise he seldom left his College chapel for a more elaborate service. Merton Chapel served as the church of St John's for a small parish of some 120 souls. In Creighton's days the Rev. H. W. Sargent had charge of this parish, and spared no trouble to make his choir and service worthy of the building in which it was held. The service is said to have realised very nearly the highest type of parish worship, at a time when such services were comparatively rare, and in after years. Creighton often spoke of the pleasure it had given him. The College services were simple enough, but the mere fact of worshipping in so noble a building was sufficient to stimulate devotion in one with a keen appreciation of architecture. Creighton was particular in his religious observances, and with a few other kindred spirits joined in observing the fasts of the Church. They absented themselves on Fridays and other fast days from dinner in hall, and had tea in turn in one another’s rooms, during which they read aloud St Augustine’s ‘Confessions.’ This proceeding was not altogether popular in College : they were sometimes called ‘the Saints,’ and once an attempt was made to screw them up. But the machinations of the enemy were heard, the ‘Saints’ sallied forth : their assailants fled before them, and locked themselves for safety into a neighbouring room.
Creighton was at all times reserved about his deeper religious feelings, ‘He took,’ says Dr. Copieston, ‘Church principles for granted, and did not talk much about them : if he did, it was to assert rather than to argue.’ He was interested in matters of ritual and religious observance, and was a severe critic of slovenliness in the performance of Church services.
A friend recalls that Dr. Caird said of him: ‘Creighton possesses common sense in a degree which amounts to genius.’
John Stuart Mill was then a predominant influence in Oxford, an influence against which both Creighton and Saintsbury rebelled. Under Dr. Caird’s guidance he imbibed Kant’s philosophy with much satisfaction, and also learnt something of Hegel. He developed what he called a theory of the unity of contradictories, about which his friends used to chaff him, but which he asserted helped to explain many difficulties.
Several times he spent portions of the vacation at Oxford in order to read in peace. He went up in January 1865, a week before term, to have ‘a private read with Sidg., which will be more or less entertaining.’ His friends could not understand how he got through all the reading that he did, but all his life he possessed an uncommon power of concentrated and rapid work. He read quickly, absorbed what he wished to retain, and left the rest. He would assert that he had not a good memory, and he did not consider an exceptional memory a valuable gift. But if his memory was not of exceptional quality it was a most useful one, for he always remembered all that he wished, or that it was useful for him to remember. He had the capacity, which he retained through life, of working at all times and amidst the most dis- turbing circumstances. He liked to read in his friends’ rooms, and on summer days carried his books out in a punt and read moored under the trees that overhang the Cherwell. He read from a genuine desire for knowledge, and with a strong feeling of the duty incumbent on every man to make the most of his capacities. Speaking of a man who took a lower view of the subject, he wrote : ‘ have never got over the feelings of horror with which I heard him tell me that he regarded his class merely as a means for procuring pecuniary emoluments in after life.’ Books of many and varied kinds besides those needed for the Schools were read and discussed with his friends.
He was a great lover of Tennyson as well as of Browning, and made early acquaintance with the poems of Morris and Swinburne. Mr. Saintsbury recalls bringing down to Oxford three copies of Swinburne's Poems and Ballads as soon as they appeared, and giving one to Creighton, who proceeded at once to read them aloud lying in a hammock in a friend's room from lunch to chapel, and went on again after dinner, till some one pulled away the book and took his turn at reading.
Portions of each vacation were spent at his home in Carlisle. There, as a rule, he managed to get through a great deal of reading. He did not get from the members of his family any sympathy in his special studies : he wrote, ‘Everybody at home knows that my point of view is absolutely different, so we don’t mind one another.’ He said of his father a few years later: ‘He never refused me anything in my life, though his manner made it difficult to ask for anything I did not decidedly want’. His sister, who was seven years younger than himself, was at school and much away from home, to his great regret. He interested himself in her studies and liked to direct her reading, and whenever she could she accompanied him on his long walks. His brother was in his father’s business, and had little understanding of academic pursuits. Creighton wrote of him, August 16, 1865: ‘He regards me as an impracticable dreamer—good enough at grubbing in books, but with theories utterly useless on every material point, and his only hope for me is that experience may put me right’ Ordinary society possessed no attraction for Creighton,
The society of his chosen friends was all he needed, and he had not yet felt the call to enlarge his sympathies, though his utterances about society showed much more violent feelings than anyone would have gathered from his conduct, for he was never a recluse, and was always lively and talkative when with others.
Creighton as an undergraduate felt no desire for any but male friends. The ‘grave tenderness’ of which his friends speak was shown to them only. It happened that his most intimate friends had no sisters, his own sister was considerably younger than himself, and he had no experience of friendship with women of any age, and did not amuse himself by falling in love. To his friends he showed almost passionate love and tenderness, but women had no interest for him.
The Oxford of 1867, when Creighton first became Fellow and Tutor, was in many respects very different from the Oxford of 1900. The days of married Fellows had not begun; and the advantages of Oxford as a residential place had not been discovered. The Parks were only just being laid out, and very few villas were to be seen on the roads which stretched out into the country. Young Oxford was then, as perhaps it still is, clever, omniscient, literary; but the keen interest in social questions which stirred Oxford some fifteen years later, had not yet shown itself.
The University took little or no part in civic matters. T. H. Green, who about this time was becoming prominent as a Tutor of Balliol, was one of the first among University men to realise his responsibility as a citizen of Oxford and take part in the affairs of the city, an example which has since been largely followed. In theological quarters the storms raised by the appearance of Essays and Reviews in 1861, by the disputes over Jowett’s salary as Greek Professor (1860-1865), and by the Bishop Colenso controversy in 1862, had passed away. They had left a feeling of uneasiness and suspicion. Dr. Pusey was looked upon as a mysterious power; it was known that he was privately consulted by many, and wielded in consequence a far-reaching authority, and he and his followers were apt to be suspected of having some ulterior object in whatever policy they pursued. Ritual controversies continued to disturb the country, but there was no special trouble at Oxford, and purely academic questions were not again mixed up with theological disputes, but were fought out on their own merits. The prevailing intellectual atmosphere of Oxford was distinctly non-theological rather than anti-theological. Probably one of the chief causes of intellectual agitation was the supposed opposition between science and religion. The old views as to the creation and the position of man in the animal world, had been rudely shaken by the revelations of the comparatively new science of geology, and by the publication of Darwin's great work on The Origin of Species. So unsettled were men's minds that Dr. Pusey wrote in 1871: ‘The fight is ... as to the existence of a Personal God, the living of the soul after death, or whether we have any souls at all.’ It is perhaps hard to realise now how great was the unrest, how deeply shaken the very foundations of religion seemed to be.
Creighton, though a true lover and careful observer of nature, was never much attracted by scientific studies ; and he was not seriously affected by these controversies. His was not a mind to be troubled because at the onset it might seem difficult, or even impossible, to harmonise seemingly conflicting truths. He saw that, wonderful though the revelations of natural science might be, it could not, as he said many years later, ‘prescribe limits to all other investigations and admit of no methods save its own.... Man has further questions to ask, to which no answer can be given by the methods known to natural science. He held then, what is now much more generally recognised, that there is no real antagonism between science and religion, so long as each remains within its proper sphere.
Side by side with the tendency towards materialism produced by the wonders of modern scientific discovery, went the aesthetic movement which aimed at making this life at least a thing of beauty. Aestheticism was strong in Oxford owing to the presence of Walter Pater, one of its most gifted exponents. Pater was thoroughly consistent in his love of beauty, and in his earliest writings maintained that the poetic passion, the desire for beauty, the love of art for art's sake, will enable a man to gain the greatest number of pulsations of pleasure in the little interval before death takes him. Creighton had considerable sympathy with the sesthetic movement. He wore neck-ties made of Helbronner's beautiful silks, and began to collect objects of art. But aestheticism was to him neither a gospel nor a fashion. He had a genuine delight in beautiful things, and liked to surround himself with them. But his taste was always both catholic and individual, not limited by the traditions or fancies of any particular school, and he indulged it solely for his own delight.
In politics young Oxford was in those days chiefly Liberal. It had been a great shock when, at the general election of 1865, Mr. Gladstone, who had represented the University since 1847, was thrown out by a Tory candidate. His defeat was mainly owing to the new regulation according to which voting papers could be sent by post. This gave a preponderance to the votes of the non-residents; the majority of the residents, including Pusey and Liddon as well as Jowett and Pattison, were in favour of Gladstone.
It was an age of reform, and reform in Oxford meant the emancipation of the University from the control of the Church. It followed that the Tory party and the Church were allied in resisting reforms in this direction. The Liberal party in the University was held together by the movement for the abolition of religious tests. The Act of 1854, which followed on the University Commission of 1850, had abolished religious tests on matriculation and on taking the B.A. degree; but the Liberals in both Universities wished to proceed further and abolish all theological restrictions on degrees. Petitions to this effect were sent up from Oxford in 1863 and 1868; and after a contest which lasted nine years, the Government in 1871 passed a measure through Parliament abolishing all University tests. The measure was viewed with much alarm by Dr. Pusey and others of his party, as likely to lead to the entire secularisation of the University, and its destruction as a place suited for the education and training of the clergy of the Church of England. Creighton, never a lover of restrictions, and at all times profoundly convinced of the paramount importance of liberty, was in favour of the abolition of tests. To him a University was primarily a place dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge; and the plea that nothing should be done to make Oxford less specially adapted to be a training place for the clergy in particular would have had little weight with him. But he took no active part in promoting the measure, beyond a sympathetic interest.
Not only with regard to the abolition of tests, but in all directions there was at this time an anxious desire for reform within the University. The Act of 1854 had done much to sweep away abuses; it had converted the University into a place of education, and had devoted its revenues partly to subsidise teachers and partly to scholarships and prizes to incite young men to be taught. The influence of these changes had done much to heighten the standard of education in England in general. But the results of the altered system did not give entire contentment to those who worked it. There were great activity and zeal among the teachers, and these very qualities helped to make them find their work unsatisfying. During the years which followed Creighton’s election to a Fellowship, a feverish desire for change seemed to possess the University, and the most varied opinions prevailed among the reformers. Creighton described life in Oxford as like ‘life in a house which always has the work-men about it’ Another, who had left Oxford for a most laborious post in practical life, said : ‘I can never come to Oxford for a holiday ; it is far too busy a place for that. It seems to me to be perpetual motion and no progress.’
Among the leading men in Oxford were Benjamin Jowett (elected Master of Balliol in 1870) and Mark Pattison (elected Rector of Lincoln in 1861). Jowett’s aim was to make the University more fitted to train those who were to play a part in the world afterwards, and with this view he tried to bring Oxford more into touch with the outer world. The attention which his Sunday parties excited shows that at that time the intercourse between Oxford and the great world of society was not so frequent as he and others helped it to become. Pattison, on the other hand, looked upon the University as primarily a place of learning. He put forward his views in 1868 in a ‘Memoir on Academical Reorganisation.’ At first they met with but little favour; but the principles which he there laid down germinated slowly, and an increasing number of persons in the University became ready to recognise the claims of research and to urge its endowment.
The teachers of Natural Science were also anxiously bringing forward their demands for more consideration in a university which till then had done but little to include in its organisation the necessary machinery for their studies. The New Museum and the Physical Laboratories in the Parks were the visible fruits of their exertions.
Dr. Pusey and his friends by the foundation of Keble College in 1868, laboured to counteract in some measure what they considered the general secularisation of Oxford, and to insure the existence of at least one decidedly Church of England college. The activity of the University in these years was also shown by the new buildings of more or less pretension, by which many colleges increased their accommodation for students. At the same time a class of unattached students was created, with the view of extending the advantages of university teaching to those who could not afford the expense of college life.
The Oxford Local Examinations had been started in 1857, and the germ of the University Extension movement could be seen in the formation in various towns of Associations for Promoting Higher Education, to which university men gave courses of lectures. In these ways Oxford was exercising an increasing influence on education in the country at large.
Within the University itself, the predominant influence of John Stuart Mill in matters of thought was slowly passing away, to be superseded by that of Herbert Spencer. At the same time the philosophy of Comte, which was brought forward by Richard Congreve and his pupils at Wadham, had attracted considerable attention. This was counteracted by the growing influence of the teaching of T. H. Green, who began to lecture at Balliol in 1866. He was a disciple of Hegel, and though his power was of slow growth, probably no teacher of his time made a deeper impression on the thought of the most serious among the undergraduates. A decided Liberal in politics and in secular matters generally, his influence made for a less negative attitude in theology than the influence of Mill or Herbert Spencer.
It was thus at a time ofgreat intellectual activity within the University that Creighton began his career as Fellow and Tutor. There may have been too much restlessness and desire for change, there certainly was a tendency to treat everything as an open question, which led to a general sense of insecurity in matters of opinion, but the intellectual atmosphere was free from the bitter party strife which had distracted the University some few years before.
Creighton did not take much part in university politics. ‘He always had, says a contemporary, rather a contempt for the business side of Oxford life, for the meetings and committees, and for the type of man that was wrapped up in them. He groaned over the long College meetings, and used to spend the weary hours they occupied in writing letters, while managing at the same time to attend sufficiently to what he called ‘the flow of the Warden's dulcet eloquence. His energies were mainly given to the improvement of the history teaching and to the work of his own College. The year that he became Fellow, Merton lost its most distinguished member by Mr. Caird's acceptance of a Glasgow Professorship. The health of Mr. William Sidgwick, the brilliant Senior Tutor, was not good, and before long it became necessary for him to give up much of his work. The Warden was growing very old; he was a survival of a former state of things, in temper and tastes an old-fashioned country gentleman, whose main ambition for the College was that it should be filled with young men ofgood county families. Among the Fellows the two most prominent perhaps were Mr. George Brodrick (afterwards Warden of the College), and Mr. C. S. Roundell, both non-residents, though they often visited Oxford and took a real share in College affairs. As they were men of decided intellectual and political interests, their visits did much to keep the Common Room talk from becoming absorbed by subjects of merely local importance. In i860 there had been hardly any Common Room life at Merton. Perhaps some three of the junior Fellows dined in Hall, but the rest dined alone in their own rooms. By degrees the College had grown more sociable, and the Common Room became famous for its brilliant talk. Oxford contained few better talkers than Mr. W. Sidgwick, and a contemporary says that Creighton soon challenged his hitherto unquestioned conversational primacy in the Common Room.
The College was for those days decidedly secular in character. Dr. Talbot (Bishop of Rochester) remembers that when he dined there he felt the tone very uncongenial. The Warden was then the only lay head in Oxford, and there were many laymen among the Fellows; Mr. W. Sidgwick laid aside his Orders about this time; the most prominent member of the teaching staff, Mr. Esson (Savilian Professor of Geometry), was a layman; and some of the older Fellows, though in Orders, belonged to the old-fashioned type of clerical Fellows, The most noteworthy among them was Mr. H. M. Wilkins, a first-rate scholar, and the author of many very successful school books. He was almost absolutely deaf, and in consequence lived the life of a recluse. But he liked to entertain his friends at sumptuous lunches and dinners, when he gave them rare and precious wines to drink, and indulged in witty and often cynical comments on his fellowcreatures. He took great interest in the College kitchen and wine cellar, and agitated for reforms in their management with the same seriousness and zeal as others gave to reforms in the Schools or the Church. Among the clerical Fellows the most prominent was Mr. N. Freeling, an Oxford parish priest, whose saintly life and character won him universal respect and made him a man ofweight in College councils. Mr. T. L. Papillon, a scholar of Balliol, had been elected Fellow of Merton the year before Creighton, and with many common opinions as to the needs of the College, they worked together most harmoniously as colleagues till Papillon left in 1868 for a Rugby mastership. Creighton was called upon to take up full tutorial work after only the brief pause of the Christmas vacation. He had had less than six months in which to study modern history, before he was called upon to teach it; so that he had to continue his studies and carry on his teaching side by side. The Christmas vacation was spent in preparing lectures for the coming term.
Though all his friends agree in describing Creighton as a man who changed extraordinarily little throughout his life, this was a period of great moral and intellectual development for him. He was for the first time independent, and possessed of what for a man with his habits were ample means. He was beginning to grow conscious of his powers, and was coming out from the narrow circle of undergraduate life into a larger sphere It seems as if at first he was inclined to indulge too much his tendency to sarcastic criticism, and to an intellectual contempt which later on he condemned with perhaps alj the greater severity, because he knew from personal experience its temptations.
Though his intention to be ordained was unchanged, he no longer retained the extreme High Church views which he had held as an undergraduate. This made some of those who had sympathised with him before, and regarded him as one of themselves, feel anxious lest he was drifting away altogether, whilst those who only knew him slightly did not realise that he cared much about religion at all. His social gifts made him a welcome guest in many common rooms, and his circle of friends and acquaintances constantly increased.
Merton was not in a very satisfactory condition when Creighton became tutor. A spirit of insubordination had prevailed since the disturbance over the great bonfire in 1865, and the dons hoped that Creighton would be able to help to bring about a better state of things. His position was not altogether easy, for he had still many intimate friends among the undergraduates whom he was called upon to reduce to greater order. He had no intention of giving up his friendships, and was in and out of the undergraduates’ rooms as much as possible. This led to some misunderstanding. The undergraduate mind could not understand a don who would walk or talk with him in the afternoon, sometimes with his arm on his shoulder as his custom was, and yet punish him for some misdemeanour at night. Even one of his most intimate friends remembers being ‘silly enough to be rather angry with him, because he did not get off some youngsters who were gated for an assault on some one’s windows.’ This mixture of friendliness and sternness continued to puzzle some of the undergraduates during the whole of Creighton’s career as a don. When he remonstrated, he appealed to reason and good feeling rather than to authority. ‘Do you not think you are a great fool?’ he said to a conceited youth, and then left him to answer the question for himself. Whether they understood him or not, the undergraduates could not help seeing that he understood them.
Creighton’s intimate knowledge of the life of the undergraduates made him keen about a number of reforms which he was soon in a position to carry out Mr. Robert Wilson had been elected Fellow of Merton at Christmas, 1867, was appointed Junior Bursar. Creighton, who had been elected Junior Dean in 1868, was made Principal of the Postmasters in 1869, an office which corresponds to that of Senior Tutor in other colleges. In Mr. Robert Wilson he found a colleague with whom he was entirely in sympathy, and during all his years in Oxford they worked together in pursuit of the same aims for the good of the College. One of their desires was to diminish the expenses of the undergraduates, and improve the domestic organisation of the College. For the first time the dons recognised their responsibility for the expenditure ol the men, and a number of sumptuary bye-laws were passed in 1869 by a committee appointed for the purpose. Private dinners in men’s rooms were forbidden, and a limit fixed to the expenditure on breakfasts and lunches. The laborious and lengthy business of reforming the kitchen was next undertaken. Creighton and Wilson undertook it mainly for economic reasons, and were warmly supported by Mr. Wilkins on culinary grounds. Mr. Wilkins took the matter very seriously.
Experience soon led him to see how much the history teaching would gain if there could be co-operation between the teachers in the various colleges. The first experiment of this kind had been tried by Mr. Esson in connexion with the teaching of mathematics, just about the time when Creighton became Fellow ; but he acted without authorisation from the College, and met with some disapproval in consequence. According to existing arrangements, a student could only attend the lectures of the history tutor in his own college, or of a University professor; if he needed teaching in historical subjects which they could not give, he had to engage a private coach. Creighton and Esson now joined in obtaining authorisation for a system of inter-collegiate lectures from a College meeting held in February 1868. In consequence, the history tutors of Merton, Oriel, and Corpus threw open their lectures to the undergraduates of these three colleges. Other colleges soon joined, and in 1869 an Association of Tutors was formed, which, beginning with the tutors of six colleges, included before long all the history teachers in the University. They met together once a term to arrange lectures for the following term, so as to cover all the teaching required for the History Schools. In 1874 it was agreed that the members of the Association should periodically dine together, and Dr, Bright (now Master of University) gave the first, and Creighton the second, dinner,
A great stimulus had been given to historical studies in Oxford by the appointment in 1866 of Dr. Stubbs as Regius Professor of Modern History. Creighton was glad to work under his leadership, and to aid, both by example and guidance, in giving the Oxford Historical School that turn in the direction of solid research which is still its leading characteristic.
Before the Act of 1854, the academical reformers, who laboured to improve the teaching at the University, had aimed primarily at increasing the number of professors. This had led to a general extension of the professorial method of teaching, and in Creighton’s teaching days the leading tutors became, to all intents and purposes, professors, and lectured to large classes in their college halls. The development of the intercollegiate system increased this tendency, and led, in consequence, to considerable discussion as to the part left to professors in the educational work of the University.
Having stated the problem, he proceeds to show how ‘the only real function which remains for professors to accomplish is that of research,’ and that, in consequence, ‘the increase of the professoriate is to be looked upon as a desirable step only because it is another name for the endowment of research.’ To recognise this as the primary object of the professoriate would, in his opinion, clear away many difficulties, and provide for that endowment of research for which Pattison and others were so urgently pleading. ‘The duties of the professor must be primarily duties of research, not educational work. If this were clearly recognised, they would be saved from vain competition with college tutors, and ‘ might be trusted to be willing and anxious to lecture whenever they could obtain a sympathetic audience.’
To Creighton himself, the necessity of teaching with reference to examinations was increasingly trying. On the one hand he was interested in research, in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake; on the other hand he was keenly interested in his pupils, and eager to kindle in them a thirst for knowledge. The examination system, he felt, could not do that, and was at best a means ‘of stimulating young men to acquire a great mass of varied information, and to develop readiness of thought and expression.’ He always attempted, as far as possible in his own lectures, to lead men on to study for themselves. He used to tell his hearers that they must not rely on him for correct facts and dates, those they could find in any text-book, but he wished to give them what they could not find for themselves. His lectures were never the mere contents of his note-books, read out slowly that his hearers might take them down easily. Neither were they carefully written out and polished. His plan was to have rather full notes, and then lecture extempore, with a quick delivery, but such perfectly clear enunciation that he was always easy to follow, though taking notes—and especially taking notes of his most striking and original utterances — was not so easy.
In those days there was not much attention given in Oxford to the style and manner of lecturing. Creighton happened to be once taken by his friend Robert Bridges, who was then studying medicine in London, to hear Sir William Savory lecture on Systematic Surgery at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Savory’s lucid style, his crisp sentences, his avoidance of everything slipshod, impressed him much, especially in comparison with the careless style of lecturing prevalent in Oxford. This led him to give much more attention to his own method. He always rather despised eloquence, and avoided carefully anything like wordiness or flowery speech. His aim was to be lucid, incisive, not so much to give information as to arouse interest, to make his hearers think, to show them the ideas which lie behind the facts of history, to get at the truth. He never used history as a vehicle for opinion. How fascinating it all was,’ writes an old pupil ; ‘how vivid and sparkling! He never sacrificed truth to effect, but he never suffered even truth to be dull.’
Always interested in women’s education, he was one of the first to admit women to his lectures: at first they had to sit in the gallery of the hall, quite apart from the undergraduates. About 1870 he accepted invitations to give courses of lectures to some of the newly formed Ladies’ Associations, and lectured on Dante and the Italian Renaissance, in Clifton, Birmingham, and Falmouth.
Early in 1868 Creighton moved into the rooms which he describes as ‘very jolly, and to me probably a permanent residence for many years to come.’ They were in the beautiful grey building which looks over Christ Church meadow, and consisted of a large room below, which he used as library, lecture-room, and dining-room, connected by a small private staircase with a sitting-room and bedroom above; vines climbed the grey walls, and festooned his windows, which looked out over the meadows. In these rooms he had space to gratify his taste for beautiful things. He began to frequent old curiosity shops and to buy blue china and old oak. He bought with much care and deliberation, and was very proud of his purchases. The oak bookcases which he designed himself were added to year after year as his library grew, and he remained always faithful to his first pattern.
Creighton’s were considered show rooms, and his friends brought their visitors to see them. He was always delighted to show hospitality, and many were the entertainments he gave. He invited the relations of his pupils when they were up, as well as the relations of his friends, and gave dinner parties to the increasing number of his acquaintances in Oxford. He was very particular about the arrangement of his flowers and his table, and attended to every detail himself. But his love for society in general did not increase.
Part of his vacations he spent at Carlisle reading, or when possible quietly in Oxford. But he was now in a position to travel, and from 1867 onwards his favourite holiday was a ramble on the Continent. He began, like everyone else, with Switzerland ; and the descent of a few days into North Italy revealed to him the country which was to give him the keenest joys and deepest intellectual interests of his life.
He used to tell an amusing incident in connexion with this journey. One of his companions was Mr. W. Sidgwick, a member of the Alpine Club. One morning they went out for a stroll together on a glacier with their ice axes, but without a guide. They came to a difficult place, where it was necessary to cut every step in the ice, and deep crevasses opened on either side. Sidgwick led the way, and Creighton had to follow ; it seemed to him extremely perilous, and as he put it, ‘I had to screw my head on tight and grind my teeth, but I was not going to give in.’ They got over the dangerous part, and walked back to their hotel without a word on the subject Some time afterwards, in an Oxford common room men were talking over Alpine experiences, when Sidgwick said, ‘I was never in real danger but once, and that was when I was with you, Creighton, on that glacier.’ Creighton exclaimed in surprise that he had thought from Sidgwick’s behaviour that he considered it quite an easy place, and so had not liked to show his own alarm. ‘ By no means,’ was the answer ; ‘but when you, a mere novice, said nothing, and took it as something quite simple, I was not going to show that I was in a funk.’
This was the only time Creighton attempted high Alpine climbing. He had found that he could do it, but it did not appeal to him. He always said that above the line where the chestnuts grew, the mountains began to lose their charm for him.
After three weeks in Switzerland he went through South Germany to Dresden, where he settled down for a while with some men who had come there to read with him.
In Dresden he heard some of Wagner’s operas, then unknown in England, and he was the first to introduce Wagner to his musical friends in Carlisle, for whom he brought back some pianoforte arrangements of the operas. He took much pleasure in music, and attended concerts whenever he could. In the Long Vacation of 1868, after hearing ‘Israel in Egypt’at the Crystal Palace Handel Festival, he rambled through the old towns in Belgium with a friend, and then up the Rhine to Heidelberg, where he waited for another friend.
His great object on these journeys was to study art, and wherever he went he collected photographs and engravings. He now felt that for the present he had got all he wanted out of Northern Europe, and turned his thoughts to Italy. In the summer of 1870 Mr. Hood married, and asked Creighton to join him on his honeymoon in North Italy. The outbreak of the war between France and Germany made travelling uncertain. Creighton went slowly, as he did not wish to precipitate his meeting with Hood, for fear it should bore Mrs. Hood.
This journey did much to fix the direction of his future tastes and studies. Books about art and the Italian Renaissance were then far from being so common as they have now become. Photographs were comparatively dear, and not as yet very good. Italy, except for the larger towns, was but little visited. Only the few in England read Dante. To Creighton a boundless field of study was opened out, which exactly suited his natural tastes and inclinations. He had found his subject, though it was some time before he defined it. At first the art of Italy attracted him almost more than the history.
His tastes in art and literature were absolutely catholic. He admired anything that was good of its kind, and objected strongly to such criticism as savoured of narrowness and exclusiveness. He had a keen eye for seeing what were the points of a picture, a statue, or a building. ‘He of all men whom I have known, writes his friend the Rev. H. G. Woods, took most to Italy, and therefore got most from it.’ He continued, as at all times in his life, to make new friends. He visited Mr. Alleyne at his home, and there made acquaintance with his sisters, and at once, with his constant educational tendency, began to direct their studies. His ways with the few young girls he knew in Carlisle, as elsewhere, were, according to his own confession, always didactic.
In Oxford itself his circle of friends was constantly increasing. He became intimate with Mr. J. R. Thursfield (then Fellow of Jesus College), and Mr. H. G. Woods (then Fellow of Trinity College), shortly after he took his degree, and with Mr. Andrew Lang, who was elected a Fellow of Merton in 1868. There were not many resident ladies in Oxford in those days, and Creighton knew few at all intimately, but he began to see a good deal of Miss Arnold (now Mrs. Humphry Ward), and of the sisters of Mr. Walter Pater.
Whilst during these years it is clear that he puzzled many by his love of paradox, by his occasionally rash and flippant speech, by the fact, as Dr. Copleston puts it, ‘that he did not give enough weight to the duty of showing on which side he was,’ the opinion in which he was held by those who really knew him may be illustrated by the following quotation from a letter, written in 1868, from one whose after career has shown that he possesses no common power of judging men.
‘Do you know, I think that some day, if you do not work yourself to death in the interval, you will be very great You are, in my eyes already, and very dear too. But some day you will have a great deal of influence, which will reach very far.’
Creighton was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Oxford in 1870. He doubtless waited so long because he felt that in the rush of new work and responsibilities, he could not find sufficient time for preparation. Dr. Mackarness, who was then Bishop, does not seem to have given much consideration to the Fellows of Colleges whom he ordained. Creighton saw nothing of him personally, and was not invited to spend any days at Cuddesdon either then or when he was ordained Priest.
His friends were not surprised, as they had always known what he intended; but as he talked little of his opinions and his plans, his ordination came as a shock to those who judged him by the extravagance of some of his talk. Dr. Copleston says of the previous years: ‘I was almost known in the openly churchmanlike set as Creighton's apologist I never said, “ He will come to us,” but always, ‘ He is really with us.” ’
He preached his first sermon in the spring of 1871 at Wolvercot, a village near Oxford, where Mr. Freeling, his brother Fellow, was Vicar.
It was in February 1871 that Creighton first met his future wife. His attention was attracted to her in a characteristic way. Yellow was a favourite colour of his, and was at that time little worn. At one of Ruskin’s lectures, his quick eye noticed a girl wearing a yellow scarf, and seeing Mr. T. H. Ward speaking to her, he rushed up after the lecture to ask him, ‘Who is that girl who has the courage to wear yellow?’. I was staying with Sir Benjamin and Lady Brodie, in the house which has now become St. Hilda’s College, and a few days after Mr. T. H. Ward, an old friend, invited me to lunch to meet Mr. Creighton. The easy hospitality of Oxford, the sight-seeing, the river—it was the time of the torpid races—provided us with opportunities of meeting. We at once found that we had many tastes in common. I had paid my first visit to Italy a year before, and was deep in the study of Italian art, so that at our first meetings we discussed Tintoretto and Titian; his store of photographs and his beautiful rooms were a great delight to me. In three weeks, the day before I left Oxford, we became engaged. He, however, refused to consider it an engagement till he had seen my father. He decided that it would not be right for us even to correspond before he had my father’s permission, and he thought it best to wait till he could come and see him in person. So for a fortnight after I left Oxford there was no communication between us, till he was able at the end of term to come to my home at Sydenham. Many of the early days of our engagement were spent looking at pictures in the National Gallery and the Kensington Museum, or studying early Italian engravings in the Print Room at the British Museum.
Creighton, as he wrote in 1868, had imagined himself settled for many years to come in his Merton rooms : now he was forced to consider what he could do to enable him to marry. His first idea was to get a mastership, and he wrote to a friend about a possible vacancy at Harrow ; but his Oxford friends were anxious not to lose him.
The College had already considered the question of married fellowships, and a statute had been drawn up which authorised the retention of a fellowship after marriage by a certain number of those holding college offices; but owing to the strong opposition of the older Fellows, the college meeting of March 1871 had decided that action should be postponed till their objections had been further considered.
Creighton was a born teacher: he used to say, ‘I am nothing if I am not educational;’ but he had no special desire for a schoolmaster's life. After meeting a successful schoolmaster, he wrote : ‘I infer that it requires more energy than thought or profundity to make a schoolmaster.’ He never had any ambition either for place or wealth; all he desired was enough to live upon quietly, so that he might carry on his studies and make use of those powers which he knew he possessed.
Early in May I went with Mr. and Mrs. Hood and one of my sisters to visit him in Oxford. We stayed in lodgings, but spent our days and had our meals in his rooms, and met most of his friends. In June he spent some days at Marlborough examining the school, and in July I went with him to visit his family. His father had been left a complete invalid after a severe paralytic seizure in the previous winter, and had been forced to retire from business. He had settled in a small house in the tiny village of Kirkandrews near Carlisle. There we spent some very quiet weeks. Creighton was working hard at Dante and the history of his times, in preparation for a course of lectures which he was to deliver at Falmouth and Plymouth in September. He began to teach me Italian, and I was able to help him with German. He was very quick at learning both to read and speak a new language. He did not trouble himself about grammar, and had no sensitiveness as to his accent or frequent mistakes, but was content so long as he could say what he wanted and make himself understood. He used to say that it was absurd to wish to speak a foreign language like a native, when one was an Englishman ; and that as all English accents were bad, it was needless to trouble if ones' own was a little worse than other people’s.
He read at this time much of Goethe’s poetry; he never cared for his prose works, and in after years even lost much of his admiration for his poetry. But during these months he interested himself in working out a theory of life which he called Entsagung (renunciation), and which he found indicated in some lines by Goethe and in Lewes’s Life of Goethe, and dwelt much upon it, as will be seen in subsequent letters. It meant to him the liberty which comes through the recognition of limits, as opposed to the view of life which consists in regarding duty as involving a constant call to self-sacrifice.
For relaxation he read the novels of George Sand, for whom he had a great admiration. Always a great novel reader, for many years he confined himself to French fiction. For German literature he never cared much; he considered the language ugly, and thought that the German poets only excelled in their songs, and the novelists in their short stories. Of course he valued and admired the work of German students in every science, and probably read more German than any other language for his historical studies.
During these quiet weeks at Kirkandrews, his recreation as usual was walking. We explored every footpath and lane in the neighbourhood, and made excursions to some of the more beautiful spots in Cumberland. At the end of August he settled in lodgings at Falmouth, and went each week to lecture at Plymouth. He had hoped to be able to get through a great deal of work in preparation for his lectures for the coming term, but the friendliness and hospitality of Falmouth made work difficult. He found in the various members of the Fox family a sympathetic and cultivated circle, anxious to see as much as possible of their lecturer. One of his first visits was to the beautiful garden of Mr. Robert Fox.
The Falmouth ladies admitted men to their course of lectures, and Mr. Howard Fox recalls being struck with his extraordinary command of language, and the fascinating way in which he treated the relations of Beatrice and Dante, so that he inspired his audience with his own enthusiasm for his subject, while he tried to lead them to seek with him for the moving motives in the history of the past. ‘In society,’ says Mr. Fox, ‘he bore the burden of learning so lightly as to make us forget he had any. He would ask questions, suggest paradoxes, and listen most attentively to anything that was said in reply. He certainly succeeded in making us think, and had a most companionable way with young men; his power to revel in pure nonsense was a striking characteristic’
He seems to have taken Falmouth by storm. Among other memories, he is spoken of as being the first to call attention to artistic furnishing, and to introduce the inhabitants of Falmouth to Morris’s wall-papers. He found the audiences at his lectures most appreciative, and some of his class did excellent work for him.
He helped the Rector of Falmouth on most Sundays either by reading the service or preaching. He even went to spend Sunday and preach twice at a country village, St Wendron’s, the Vicar of which was an Oxford man. ‘I have views about the duties of clerical Fellows,’ he wrote, and almost regard it as a duty at present to help any one who asks me. He walked a great deal about the neighbourhood with Mr. Howard Fox, and made expeditions with him to Tintagel, the Lizard, and other interesting parts of Cornwall. Picnics by land and sea were organised for him both at Falmouth and Plymouth.
Meanwhile, there was no certainty with regard to Creighton’s future prospects. Before the end of the May Term, Mr. Edwards, the Senior Bursar of Merton, had also become engaged, and hoped to marry under the new statute. Some weeks later he heard that two more of the Fellows of Merton had become engaged. On returning to Oxford for the October Term, he apparently found that people in general assumed that his election was fairly certain. On October 27 he looked at a possible house. Houses in Oxford were then not easy to get, and when at last he found one of suitable size, a commonplace semi- 88 detached villa just finished on the Banbury Road, he decided with many misgivings to take it, in the hope of being able to sublet it if, after all, he was not able to remain in Oxford. The house was taken on November 20, and it became an almost daily occupation to visit it and superintend the details of painting and papering, in which he took great interest. He had no desire to conform to any rules of taste such as were in those days being laid down with much dogmatism by the leaders of the aesthetic movement.
It was an exceptionally busy term for him in many ways, and he speaks repeatedly of his longing for the peace and quiet of married life. On October 21 he did what he called ‘a very hard thing,’ preached in College Chapel for the first time.
Creighton was nominated examiner in the Law and Modern History School, and this entailed much extra work, so that he was obliged to engage Mr. J. W. Diggle, an old pupil, to take some of his regular teaching. He made at this time his first small beginning in literary work, by reviewing some historical and other books sent him by an old College friend, Mr. C. P. Scott, editor of the ‘Manchester Guardian.’ He managed to pay two short visits to Sydenham, but otherwise was kept in Oxford by the Law and Modern History Examination till the College meeting on December 23, when his fate was decided. Mr. Wilkins liked to describe the result of that meeting by saying, ‘My dear fellow, there were four seats in the matrimonial coach, and they were all immediately taken.’
During these years he wrote very little to friends. In December 1870 he had written to R. T. Raikes, ‘I have lost my belief in the utility of letters at all,’