This article, which appeared in the Australian daily paper National Advocate, advances our current understanding of the relationship between Harkness and Cardinal Manning. Biographies of Harkness often acknowledge that it was she who visited Manning in September 1889, during the Dock Strike, to request his mediation between the strikers and dock directors — and Harkness testifies to this in the interview ‘A Slum-Story Writer’. Yet this short articles reveals that Harkness often visited Manning before the period of the Dock Strike, and that he provided feedback on her earliest novels.
The novel George Eastmont, Wanderer (1905), in which Harkness reflects on her own experiences in the labour movement and Dock Strike, includes a thinly veiled portrait of Manning as ‘Cardinal Lorraine’ and is dedicated to Cardinal Manning. Our summer serial, ‘Roses and Crucifix’, also represents Manning as a figure of support and comfort. Certainly, Manning’s close association with Harkness expands Lytton Strachey’s characterisation of the Cardinal as an effeminate and bespectacled Oxford man who lived his life in ascetic isolation.
Source: National Advocate, Saturday 30 April 1892, p. 2. Available from the National Library of Australia, via Trove.
One of the most interesting figures in the religion world has been removed in the person of Cardinal Manning. His career has been profusely described in the columns of the daily press, and read by all interested in the great convert. It is sufficient here to briefly summarise the leading parts of his life. Henry Edward Manning was the son of a merchant of large means, a [sic] M.P. for forty years, and at one time Governor of the Bank of England. His distinguished son passed from Harrow to Oxford in 1830. He took part in the great religions upheaval of the day. On leaving Oxford he entered the Colonial office, and married Caroline Sargent, who died after four years happy wedlock. In 1851 he was admitted to the fold of the Catholic Church, and in 1875 became Cardinal of that communion. But his work was in a great degree secular as well as religious, and he played a leading part in every social and philanthropic movement in London. His latest efforts were in the adjustment of the dock strike. His charity was unbounded, and not limited by creed. He took a lively interest in writers who in any way devoted their powers to philanthropic objects. The young author, a lady, who writes under the name of “John Law,” was a constant visitant to his room. He frequently went over her proofs, and gave her both advice and encouragement. He took the liveliest interest in her books, “The City Girl,” “Out of Work,” or urged her constantly to continue writing on the labour question. It was at her request he paid his first visit to the docks during the strike of the labourers. The result of his mediation is well known. The Cardinal’s household were much attached to him. His valet, Newman, had served Cardinal Wiseman in the same capacity, and at that prelate’s death he entered his successor’s service. He was watchful over his master in the little matters of personal comfort; the latter was apt to neglect or deny himself as a point of principle, fires being one of the luxuries he deemed a superfluity. When the cardinal passed from one room to another Newman would hasten before him and apply a match to the fire. He always carried a box of matches for the purpose, and achieved his purpose, unheeding his mater’s remonstrance.