Henry Edward Manning Papers (MSS 002)

Cardinal Manning The Personal Papers of Henry Edward Manning (1822-1892) by no means cover every aspect and accomplishment by Cardinal Manning. Nevertheless they provide evidence that is necessary to understand many of the important events in his life: his conversion to Catholicism, his leading role in the adoption of the doctrine of papal infallibility, and the active part he took in effecting social change in England.

It is clear that Manning was devoted both to the Roman Catholic Church and to England. These two devotions were integrated and interacting. Often this integration was expressed in his sermons, speeches, and articles. His sermons were at times on topics such as education and poverty and his views on labor were within the context of his Christianity. For this reason no attempt has been made to divide them into secular and ecclesiastical subjects. For further information, please consult the finding aid.


Correspondence with Lady Alexander  

Correspondence with Reverend Arthur Baker  

Correspondence with Henry Brougham, Baron Brougham and Vaux, Lord Brougham  

Correspondence with Mary C. Byles (Mrs. Coventry Patmore)  

Correspondence with Mr. Campbell  

Correspondence with William Gladstone  

William Gladstone
William Gladstone

Correspondence with Mr. Charles Kent  

Correspondence with Mrs. William Manning  

Correspondence with Merivale  

Correspondence with Wilfrid Meynell  

Correspondence with Florence Nightingale  

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Correspondence with Coventry Patmore  

Correspondence with Talbot  

General correspondence  

Catholic Sermons of Henry Edward Manning  

Other material  

Biographical Sketch  

Henry Edward Manning (July 15, 1808 - January 14, 1892) was one of the most influential English Roman Catholic figures of his time. From his ordination in the Church of England in 1832, through his conversion to Catholicism in 1851, and to his death in 1892, his words and actions were powerful influences in England and in the Roman Catholic Church.

Manning was born the youngest son of William Manning and his second wife Mary (Hunter) Manning in Totteridge, Hertfordshire, England on July 15, 1808. His father was a wealthy West India merchant who held a Tory seat in Parliament from 1794 to 1830. Manning spent much of his youth at Coomb Bank, Sundridge, Kent, where he became a close friend of Charles and Christopher Wordsworth, later Bishops of St. Andrews and Lincoln. Befitting his father's position and influence, he attended Harrow Public School and in 1827 matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford. While at Oxford Manning developed close friendships with William Gladstone and James Hope (later Hope-Scott). He proved himself a distinguished speaker in the Oxford Union, serving as President in 1829 (Gladstone succeeded Manning as President). On December 2, 1830 he took a first-class degree in classics.

Manning's early ambition was a career in politics and with that goal in mind he assumed, through the Viscount Goderich, a post as supernumerary clerk in the colonial office. In 1832, he gave up his post and his political ambitions, due primarily to his father's substantial business losses, and resolved to pursue a clerical career. He returned to Oxford where he was elected a fellow at Merton College on April 27, 1832. Manning was ordained on December 23, 1832.

In 1833, Manning assumed a post as curate to the Reverend John Sargent, rector of Lavington-with-Graffham in Sussex. In that same year, following the death of the Reverend Sargent, Manning was appointed rector at Lavington and Graffham. On December 7, 1833 he married Caroline Sargent, third daughter of the late Reverends Sargent. The ceremony was presided over by the bride's brother-in-law Samuel Wilberforce, later successively bishop of Oxford and Winchester. On July 24 1837, shortly after Manning's appointment to the second rural deanery of Midhurst, Caroline died.

Though not directly involved with the Oxford or tractarian movement, Manning's own sentiments were increasingly High Church in character. He was a frequent critic of the social evils of his day such as abuses of wealth, poverty of the agricultural poor, and the lack of educational access for the poor and the new middle classes. In 1838, he took a leading role in the Church education movement. He was firmly convinced that a National system of clerically controlled education should be established. In December 1838, Manning and Gladstone visited Rome, where they met with Nicholas Wiseman (later Cardinal and Archbishop at Westminster) at the Vatican's English College.

By January 1841, Manning had been appointed archdeacon by Bishop Shuttleworth of Chichester. In 1842, he published The Unity of the Church a piece intended to compliment and to an extent correct, Gladstone's The State in It's Relations with the Church. That same year he was named select preacher at Oxford, where he came into close contact with the leaders of the Oxford Movement including: John Henry Newman (later Cardinal), William Ward, and Edward Bouverie Pusey. At that time Manning remained firmly a High Church Anglican, with no Roman Catholic sympathies. His anti-papal Gunpowder Plot sermon, given at St. Mary's on Guy Fawkes' Day, November 5, 1843, deeply grieved Newman, who by that time had strong Roman Catholic leanings.

When Newman and Ward converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845, Manning became one of the acknowledged leaders of the High Church Movement. However, during that period he was most closely associated with Gladstone and James Hope (later Hope-Scott). Following a serious illness in the Spring of 1847, Manning made an extended trip to the continent, traveling through Belgium and Germany on his way to Italy. While in Rome he met with Newman and had two audiences with Pope Pius IX. The trip left him favorably impressed with the vitality of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe.

On his return to England, Manning found the Anglican Church in disarray and deeply divided over the appointment of Renn Dickson Hampden to the See of Hereford. He quickly assumed a leadership role in the movement to protest that appointment. Manning's name headed the lists of Anglican clergy in opposition which appeared in the newspapers. Following the Hampden controversy, and through the influence of his brother-in-law Samuel Wilberforce, Manning was offered the position of sub-almoner to Queen Victoria, an assignment recognized as a steppingstone to the episcopal bench. He respectfully refused the position.

On March 8, 1850, the Gorham Judgment, handed down by the judicial committee of the privy council, ordered the Bishop of Exeter to install George C. Gorham in the livings at Brampford Speke. The judgment was issued despite the Bishop's concerns about Gorham, a Calvinist theologian, and his views on Baptismal regeneration. Manning saw this as a clear case of governmental interference in a wholly spiritual matter. He saw the issue as vital to the church, and worked vigorously to have the judgment over turned. After failing to have the judgment overturned he attempted to resolve the issue through legislation.

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