Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester.
Jan 31st 1866

MS British Library Add MSS 54920: 138-141

Dear Mr Macmillan
Thank you for your kind full letter. I feel great confidence in Dr Vaughan, and should consider his as a very safe name to sanction the Library; and I think all the arrangements shew great consideration for my views. I think I could well work under them. I believe that the toleration that you ascribe to me is rather for persons than principles. I do very greatly admire many persons who I think failed in or misunderstood the truth, and I do not think I ever shrunk from /putting forth\ a veritable biography of a good man, giving the facts and letting the moral come out of them, as it always will if they are fairly treated; and none suppressed. The things that I am afraid of are rationalistic comments on, or narrations from, the Scripture, in any way detracting from the Divinity inherent in it, and next to that any slight on prayerbook doctrines – in what a german young lady called in her letter to me ‘the ominous spirit of time’ – and popular literature sets so much in this direction that people are carried away by it before they are aware. But I believe we are perfectly agreed that this Sunday Library should be an attempt to raise an edifice of truth, without taking notice of error even to combat it. Did not Mrs Oliphant once write a very pretty little book on the Sacred Seasons of the year, as if to make them known to Scottish Presbyterians.1 I think there was a beautiful description of the Going up to Jerusalem, and another of the gathering the harvest among the Jews. Such an account of the Jewish feasts would be a beautiful thing.

Then I should like to ask Miss Wilbraham, the author of Kings of Judah to take a volume, perhaps of Assyrian or Persian history as connected with the Jews. Another friend Miss Peard, who has worked with me at a little Sunday School magazine would I think do some Scripture scenery, or early Church biography well, and I should like to propose it to them.

The other day the enclosed photograph was sent to me by Mrs Nightingale saying she liked it better as a likeness of her daughter than the statuette we have in the Golden Deeds. I did not think you would be disposed to alter as this is – though possibly more like – not near so expressive, having been done long before her greatness, but I felt it due to the sender to shew it to you, and pray let me have it again.

I hope I have expressed myself clearly that I shall be quite satisfied to work as you propose and much obliged to you for the arrangement. I think very good writing should be had for the terms. I think you have been very patient with my latent distrust of possible coadjutors.

If you ever happened to look at the list of ‘good women’ – whose biographies I put together you will see that they take in some who are far from holding the same doctrines with myself. But I own I am concerned at the tone of the article on Dr Pusey’s book in the Magazine this month.2 I am sorry because there is sneer and insinuation (i.e. as when implying a suspicion of exaggeration of the Mariolatry) – and for the conclusion I am specially sorry – for it is calling Rationalism a Christian foe – Whereas no one can misunderstand that it is to oppose Rationalism and Infidelity that Dr Pusey calls for Union, it is taking up their cause so to term the object of his hostility. I think the writer cannot know how many advances have been made towards communion with us by dignitaries in the Greek Church, and how much more they understand of us than at the time of Mr Palmer’s isolated endeavour.2 Nor is it at all fair to say that a union with Rome would undo the Reformation – as if the schism was its essence – when we see by the Greek Catholics and Maronites that Rome now will give without requiring conformity such as we [illegible] union never give. This seems too like raising a popular cry. I do not say I see the way to the union nor wonder at the book being attacked – but I am sorry for the tone, and it is such a sentence as that last /in the paper\ that distresses me among others as to the line /often\ taken by the Magazine. You have been very kind and candid with me, and on the other hand, I have thought it honest to give this as an instance of the kind of feeling that makes me some times hesitate about such employments lest I should be taking part with aught that however unconsciously was on the side of what the article terms ‘a Christian foe’. Pray forgive me.

Yours sincerely
C M Yonge

1The book referred to here was perhaps Margaret Oliphant, Sundays (London: Nisbet 1858).
2The Rev. William Palmer (1811-1879), elder brother of Roundell Palmer, had sought to reconcile the Church of England and the Orthodox Churches before becoming a Roman Catholic in 1855.
Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/2101/to-alexander-macmillan-70

One Comment
  1. Ellen Jordan says:

    “with ought that however unconsciously “: I think here I probably wrongly transcribed “aught” as “ought”.

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