Francis William Newman

1805-1897. English scholar. Younger brother of John Cardinal Newman,* he was converted to the evangelical faith at fourteen, and in 1822 went to Oxford, where John was already an established don. Francis soon came to doubt the efficacy of infant baptism and so declined to take his M.A. degree. He associated with the early Brethren and joined A.N. Groves* in the mission to Baghdad; he was stoned by Muslims and just escaped martyrdom. Returning in England in 1833 to collect funds for the mission, he suffered intensely as a result of rumors of his “unsoundness,” which culminated in an attack by J.N. Darby* and exclusion from Brethren circles. Spiritually isolated for many years, though earnestly longing for Christian fellowship, he eventually lost his faith and, though remaining a theist, became for a time England's foremost anti-Christian writer. Newman, who became professor of classics at University College, London, was a highly original thinker, an expert in many fields, including mathematics. His knowledge was encyclopedic, but his judgment was often warped, and he became renowned as a defender of lost causes.