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Francis William Newman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Aug 1987

Biographical History

Francis William Newman was a British scholar and man of letters, and brother of the well-known churchman John Henry Cardinal Newman. A graduate of Oxford's Balliol College, he was Professor of Latin at Manchester New College and then at University College, London, and wrote on numerous topics -- among them logic, political economy, English reforms, Austrian politics, Roman history, diet, grammar, mathematics, Arabic, and oriental languages.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Francis William Newman Papers consist of a Subject File, Correspondence, and Writings.

The Subject File contains Newman's obituary from The Athenaeum, Oct. 9, 1897, and an undated photograph of Newman by Elliot & Fry signed "Prof. F. W. Newman."

Correspondence consists of 76 outgoing letters written between 1864 and 1897 to Moncure Daniel Conway and contains Newman's opinions concerning a wide variety of topics and individuals. The early letters concentrate heavily on the Civil War, including comments on the progress of the battles, and Newman's fear of French intervention in the form of an alliance between Napoleon and the South. In a letter written July 11, 1864, Newman criticizes Lincoln for his passive strategy of waiting for starvation to overtake the South: "Your people at length will understand that half measures cannot succeed, & you must have a thoroughgoing President." There is also considerable discussion of abolitionists, particularly Charles Sumner and William Lloyd Garrison. Concerning the possibility of permanent secession of the slave states, on Nov. 21, 1864 Newman writes: "You will but lose labour & reputation by seeking for anything but justice under the Union indivisible." Many of the post-Civil War letters concern Reconstruction policies.

An advocate of progressive causes, Newman mentions a number of individuals associated with the reform movement in America including Wendell Phillips and Lucretia Mott. Expressing his views on capital punishment, Newman writes in a letter of May 28, 1866:

But I maintain, against Wendell Phillips, that a murderer's life has no more sanctity than a wild beast's life, and we have as much a right to use it up as a cheap article for public good, as to confiscate his property.

Of his intention to contribute to the feminist cause, Newman writes: "I want to subscribe a donation by way of testimony to Lucretia Mott's movement in New York." (Dec. 8, 1866)

Newman subscribed to a number of American publications in order to keep abreast of current events on this side of the Atlantic. The Correspondence contains numerous references to articles from The Liberator, Commonwealth, The Anti-Slavery Standard, and The Freedman. As an observer of the American political scene, Newman offers comments on American Presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, writing of the latter: "I fear he is, like Sherman, fundamentally a negro-hater." (Jan. 7, 1867)

Newman also addresses a number of British political issues including independence for Ireland, slavery in the West Indies, temperance laws, free schools, and working conditions, stating his support of a shorter work week. Other topics include prostitution, marriage laws, population control, and various religious issues, including lengthy discussions about the concept of Free Will and the meaning of Christianity.

Correspondence also includes an item written in 1905 to M. D. Conway by an unidentified correspondent about Francis William Newman and his brother Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Writings contains a single item, "Running Comment an M.D. Conway's 'Cataract & Rainbow,'" a section of Conway's The Earthward Pilgrimage. It is likely that this undated piece was sent as an enclosure with a letter to Conway.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically, other material alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The library has extensive holdings relating to abolition and the anti-slavery movement, in both its rare books and manuscript collections. Please refer to Libraries Search for a complete listing of materials.

Subject Headings


Conway, Moncure Daniel, 1832-1907.
Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Mott, Lucretia, 1793-1880.
Newman, F. W. (Francis William), 1805-1897.
Newman, John Henry, 1801-1890.
Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884.
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874.


Abolitionists -- Great Britain.
Antislavery movements.
Capital punishment.
Free schools.
Free will and determinism.
Irish question.
Marriage law.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Scholars -- Great Britain.
Slavery -- United States.
Social reformers.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Francis William Newman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frederick Hier.

Table of Contents

Subject files