TRACTARIAN MOVEMENT, THE. The Tractarian Movement, like other new and important movements in the history of the Church, WAS produced by a crisis. The Church of England was, or seemed to be, in a perilous condition. At a time when reforms were being demanded on all hands, a time when Reform was in the air, the time of the Reform Bill (1831), it is reputed to have been weak, spiritless, and impotent—so much so indeed that it appeared to be open to easy and successful attack and to be in danger of losing some of its privileges. Dean Church in his book "The Oxford Movement" gives a forcible description of the state of affairs. "The idea of clerical life had certainly sunk, both in fact and in the popular estimate of it. The disproportion between the purposes for which the Church with its ministry was founded and the actual tone of feeling among those re sponsible for its service had become too great. Men were afraid of principles; the one thing they most shrank from was the suspicion of enthusiasm. . . . The typical clergyman in English pictures of the manners of the day, in the Vicar of Wakefield, in Miss Austen's novels, in Crabbe's Parish Register, is represented, often quite unsuspiclously, as a kindly and respectable person, but certainly not alive to the greatness of his calling. He was often much, very much to the society round him . . . but there was much—much even of what was good and useful—to obscure it. The beauty of the Eng lish Church in this time was its family life of purity and simplicity; its blot was quiet worldliness." Dean Church points out that " the fortunes of the Church are not safe in the hands of a clergy, of which a great part take their obligations easily. It was slumbering and sleeping when the visitation of days of change and trouble came upon it." It is clear that great efforts were needed to strengthen and revive the Church at this critical period. In July 1833 Hugh James Rose (1795-1838), Rector of Hadleigh in Suffolk, Richard Hurrell Froude (1803-1836), William Palmer (1803-1885), and the Hon. A. P. Perceval met together at Hadleigh to discuss plans for putting new life into the Church. At this consultation, which lasted about a week, it was decided that a great effort should be made to maintain doctrine and discipline. Fronde was Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. Conferences were also held here, in which John Henry Newman (1801-1891), Fellow and Tutor of Oriel, and John Keble (1792-1866), Fellow and Tutor of Oriel and author of " The Christian Year " (1827), also took part. The result was an attempt to form an " Association of Friends of the Church." The objects of this Association were : " (1) To maintain pure and inviolate the doctrines, the services, and the dis cipline of the Church; that is, to withstand all change which involves the denial and suppression of doctrine, a departure from primitive practice in religious offices, or innovation upon the apostolic prerogatives, order, and commission of bishops, priests, and deacons. (2) To afford Churchmen an opportunity of exchanging their sentiments, and co-operating together on a large scale." This, however, did not prove to be the best plan, and was not attended by great success. In the same year, 1833, John Keble preached a sermon on National Apostasy which is supposed to mark the initiation of the Oxford Movement. In any case, it was decided by the " Friends of the Church " to follow up this line of teaching, and to do so by issuing " Tracts for the Times," the aim of which was to prove that the doctrines of the Church of England are identical with those of the primitive Catholic Church. On account of these tracts the movement became known as Tractarian. Keble, who wrote seven of the tracts, insisted upon " deep submission to authority, implicit reverence for Catholic tradition, firm belief in the divine prerogatives of the priesthood, the real nature of the sacraments, and the danger of inde pendent speculation " (Church). The first tract, pub
lished in 1833, was written by J. H. Newman. Others followed down to 1841, when Tract xc. put an end to the series. The chief writers, besides J. H. Newman and J. Keble, were R. H. Fronde, E. B. Pusey, and Isaac Williams (1802-1865). The latter wrote a remarkable tract, No. 80, on " Reserve in communicating Religious Knowledge." But Tract xc. is the most famous, or, according to bitter opponents of Tractarianism, the most infamous of all. It was an essay by Newman on the Thirty-nine Articles. " His aim was to determine how far as a matter of fact the Articles were capable of a ` Catholic' interpretation, and to what extent they were directed against Roman doctrine. He drew a distinction between Romanism as a popular working system and Roman authoritative dogma. While he did not go the full length of stating that the Articles were not directed at all against Rome's authoritative dogma, he pointed out that the Tridentine decrees had not been ratified when the Articles were first drawn up, and that there fore the Articles were not directed against them. The general drift of the tract was to show that the articles were directed against the dominant errors of popular Romanism, and not for the most part against Roman dogma. The general conclusion was that, after the gloss placed upon the Articles by Calvinists and other Pro testants had been removed, they were capable of a per fectly ' Catholic' interpretation, and did not condemn prayers for the dead, the doctrine of the ducharistic sacrifice, the belief in some form of purgatory, etc." (M. W. Patterson). The tract was at once repudiated (March 8, 1841) by four Oxford tutors : T. T. Churton, Henry Bristow Wilson (1803-1888), who afterwards contributed to " Essays and Reviews," John Griffiths (1806-1885), who afterwards become Warden of Wadham College, and A. C. Tait (1811-1S82), who afterwards became Arch bishop of Canterbury. Soon afterwards (March 18, 1841) it was condemned by the Hebdomadal Board. The Bishop of Oxford also, and later other bishops, expressed disapproval of the tract. In 1842 Newman retired to Littlemore, not far from Oxford, where he had estab lished a kind of monastery. Fuel was added to the flames in 1844 when W. G. Ward (1812-1882), an extreme Tractarian, who claimed the right, as a member of the Church of England to hold " the full cycle of Roman doctrine," published his book "The Ideal of a Christian Church." Newman had resigned the living of St. Mary's, Oxford, in 1843. In 1845 he was received into the Roman Church. But the Tractarian Movement could not be arrested. The Tractarians were reinforced by such notable men as W. F. Hook (1798-1875), who became Dean of Chichester, J. B. Mozley (1813-1878), who later became Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, R. W. Church (1815-1890), Dean of S. Paul's, W. E. Gladstone (1809 1898), Sir John Taylor Coleridge (1790-1876), and Sir Roundell Palmer (1812-1819). The centre of the move ment was no longer in Oxford. The Oxford Movement was ably opposed and denounced by such Broad-church men as R. D. Hampden (1793-1868), Bishop of Hereford, A. P. Stanley (1815-1881), F. D. Maurice (1805-1872), and Charles Kingsley (1819-1875). Whatever the merits of the movement, unless it is wisely guided, it is exposed by its insistence on authority to grave dangers. What D. Hampden said about the Tractarians has, at the least, an element of truth in it (Some Memorials of Renn Dickson Hampden, 1871, p. 90). See R. W. Church, Hist. of the Oxford Movement, 1891; W. Walsh, Secret Hist. of the Oxford Movement; 31. W. Patterson, Hist.; J. H. Blunt; Prot. Diet.