The following characterization of the Rev. John Barham, a Roman Catholic priest who converted from his chilhood Protestant faith, shows Trollope, who had first made his reputation writing about lives of the Anglican clergy in The Warden and succeeding novels, portraying one of those young men who followed Newman into the Church of Rome. — George P. Landow
man more antagonistic to the bishop than Father John Barham, the lately appointed Roman Catholic priest at Beccles, it would be impossible to conceive; — and yet they were both eminently good men. Father John was not above five foot nine in height, but so thin, so meagger, so wasted in appearance, that, unless he stooped, he was taken to be tall. . . . He had a high, broad forehead, enormous blue eyes, a thin, long nose, cheeks very thin and hollow, a handsome large mouth, and a strong square chin. He was utterly without worldly means, except those which came to him from the ministry of his church, and which did not suffice to find him food and raiment; but no man ever lived more indifferent to such matters than Father John Barham. He had been the younger son of an English country gentleman of small fortune, had been sent to Oxford that he might hold a family living, and on the eve of his ordination had declared himself a Roman Catholic. His family had resented this bitterly, but had not quarrelled with him till he had drawn a sister with him. When banished from the house he had still striven to achieve the conversion of other sisters by his letters, and was now absolutely an alien from his father"s heart and care. But of this he never complained. It was a part of the plan of his life that he should suffer for his faith. Had he been able to change his creed without incurring persecution, worldly degradation, and poverty, his own conversion would not have been to him comfortable and satisfactory as it was. He considered that his father, as a Protestant, — and in his mind Protestant and heathen were all the same, — had been right to quarrel with him. But he loved his father, and was endless in prayer, wearying his saints with supplications, that his father might see the truth and be as he was.
To him it was everything that a man should believe and obey, — that he should abandon his own reason to the care of another or of others, and allow himself to be guided in all things bv authority. Faith being sufficient and of itself all in all, moral conduct could be nothing to a, man, except as a testimony of faith. The dogmas of his Church were to Father Barham a real religion, and he would teach thern in season and out of season. [The Way We Live Now Chapter 16, pp. 149-50]
Last modified 2000