Quartering the "Rambler", 1861-1862

Josef L. Altholz, Professor of History, University of Minnesota


Chapter ten of the author's The Liberal Catholic Movement in England: The "Rambler" and its Contributors, 1848-1864, which Burns and Oates (London) published in 1962. It has been included in the Victorian Web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.

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decorated initial 'T' HE warfare of parties among the English Catholics became more intense in the latter months of 1861. Former friends of the Rambler were turning against it. Northcote, once its editor, aligned himself with its opponents. Dr. Todd, who had assisted Simpson in 1856, was now opposed to his views. Other contributors were critical: Canon Macmullen remonstrated with Acton, and Ryley concluded that he was "treading in the footsteps of Lamennais" (A to S, 5 Dec. 1861, Downside MSS). Meanwhile the official antagonism to the Rambler increased. A rescript censuring the magazine was sent to the English bishops by Propaganda; Acton's bishop, Dr. Brown of Shrewsbury, described it to him as "a very solemn thing" (A to N, 10 Nov. 1861, Newman MSS).Brown vaguely suspected some unorthodoxy in Acton but was overawed by his erudition. He sent a cautious old priest, Green, to replace the too liberal J. B. Morris as Acton's chaplain at Aldenham; Green was warned "to be well up in all his points" to combat Acton's infidelity (A to D, 27 Dec. 1861, Woodruff MSS). Green, however, was won over by Acton's charm.

The hostility towards the Rambler affected its publisher, James Burns, whose business was largely dependent upon ecclesiastical patronage. Early in September 1861, Burns wrote to S (who was acting as editor again, due to Acton's absence and Wetherell's illness) urging that the Rambler be surrendered to a committee to be named by Manning, Ward and Northcote. Only thus, Burns said, could a Catholic periodical be carried on to the satisfaction of the public. If Simpson rejected this proposal, Burns suggested that he would have to find another publisher (S to N, 30 Sept. 1861, Newman MSS).

Simpson forwarded this letter to Acton, who recognized [172/173]in it "the compliment of Manning's insinuations"5 of two months earlier. Acton suggested, as an "ingenious dodge," that "I would agree to any arrangement by which Newman should be made editor, but that none of the other names give me a guarantee for Catholic principles in the conduct of the Review" (A to S, 10 Sept. 1861, Gasquet, p. 196). Acton was fairly certain that Newman would not accept the editorship, but he thought that the proposal of his name would either break the force of the opposition or bring it out into the open. Burns refused to have anything to do with Newman; he said that Newman's connection with any periodical would injure its chances of success, by reason of his unpopularity.

On 27 September, Simpson received a letter from Burns, saying that he was leaving on a journey to Rome. Burns had authorized Northcote to act on his behalf; he would be willing to publish the Rambler under any management of which Northcote and Manning might approve. "Of course you will not bring out another number with our name until this matter is settled" (Cited by S to N, 30 Sept. 1861, Newman MSS). This meant, in effect, that Burns refused to publish the next number of the Rambler unless the magazine were surrendered to Manning's control. It appeared that Burns wanted nothing less than the destruction of the Rambler. .

If the proprietors wished to carry on the magazine, they had to find another publisher; and since Catholic publishers were vulnerable to the pressure of the hierarchy, it was necessary to secure a Protestant publisher. Acton welcomed the independence which the Rambler might obtain by this means. It was not intended, however, that the Rambler should give up its character as a Catholic magazine. When one of the publishers to whom Simpson applied said that its Catholicity was the one objection he had to publishing it, [173/174] Simpson replied that "this 'Objection was insuperable" (S to N, 3 Oct. 1861, Newman MSS. The publisher was Chapman and Hall). While these negotiations were proceeding, Simpson, who was not aware of Acton's quarrel with Newman, applied to Newman for advice and support. Newman now informed Simpson of the "deliberate opinion" he had formed about the Rambler:

I thought it was in a false position-which it never would get out of-and I thought it was sure to be stopped, or to come to an end, in one way or another. Accordingly I said that it would be best for the proprietors to stop it themselves;-and at once, because if they did not, others would do it for them. ... I have had no reason up to this day to change this view of the matter. [N to S, 2 Oct. 1861, quoted by Ward, I, 535]

In Newman's opinion, no move which Simpson might make could retrieve the Rambler from its "false position." He expressed the same opinion, a few days later, in refusing a similar appeal for assistance made by Wetherell" (Newman to Wetherell, 5 Oct. 1861, Newman MSS). He said that he had not been able for several months to approve of the line taken by the Rambler, and he was thereby precluded from co-operating with its proprietors.

Simpson and Wetherell were not deterred. A Protestant publishing house was soon found which was willing to accept the Rambler on its own terms. In November 1861, the name of "Williams and Norgate" replaced that of "Burns and Lambert" on the title page of the Rambler. It was clear now that the Liberal Catholics were determined to maintain their organ regardless of official opposition. "The result of all this," Acton prophesied, "is that we shall soon have a regular opposition and open 'War declared by the other side" (A to S, 1 Oct. 1861, Gasquet, p. 202).

It was necessary for the Rambler to publish some statement announcing the change. Simpson, extremely bitter about the treatment the Rambler had received, wished to make this an occasion for a virtual declaration of war. He proposed to write a slashing article on "Catholic Liberty of the Press," giving a full history of the conflicts of the Rambler from 1856 to the present and exposing all the attempts to destroy it. Wetherell, who shared Newman's views on Simpson's "imprudence," resisted this proposal. Wetherell was still suffering from an illness which had prevented him from working on the Rambler for eight months, but he resumed the sub-editorship in order to restrain Simpson. Acton, writing from Munich, also urged moderation. He was alarmed by Simpson's "disposition to take advantage of the change for more vigorous and bitter polemics" and sought to check his "just indignation" and "highly cultivated pugnacity." A "manifesto" against the authorities would weaken the moral position of the Rambler, which must rely upon the slow process of influencing habits of thought. Acton proposed that the Rambler should simply announce the fact of its change of publishers and indicate that the magazine would go on "as before, regarding as open to free discussion all questions not decided by the authority of the Church" (A to S, 6 Oct. 1861, ibid., pp. 207-8). A statement to this effect -- "To Readers and Correspondents" -- based largely on Newman's prospectus of 1859, was published (VI Nov. 1861), 147-48). It was a declaration of independence, but not of war.

Simpson soon found a way to ventilate his indignation and pugnacity. Manning had been lecturing on the Temporal Power with more zeal than discretion, treating it as if it were a dogma of the Church and drawing his arguments from scriptural prophecies; he was in an apocalyptic mood and saw signs of Anti-Christ in the revolutions of Italy. Even in Rome Manning's sermons were regarded as i-iopportune. It was an excellent opportunity for Simpson to attack him. He did so with Acton's approval: some of his sentences were taken verbatim from Acton's letters. In "Dr. Manning on the Papal Sovereignty," Simpson criticized Manning for raising the external possessions of the Church to the same level as its internal truths. The Temporal Power was not an article of faith but a matter of ecclesiastical politics. Under existing political circumstances it was necessary to preserve it, but it was at best an imperfect means [175/176] of securing the freedom of the Papacy. "What the Pope wants is, not a positive right of governing, but a negative right of not being governed; not a centre of political power, but a basis of independence" (VI Nov. 1861, 111-12). This sentence was supplied by Acton -- see S to A, 22 Jan. 1862, Woodruff MSS. 114

Acton thought that Simpson's article was "not too severe" on Manning: "It is impossible to exaggerate the danger of such doctrines as his" (A to S, 9 Oct. 1861, Gasquet, pp. 211-12). Manning, however, was offended by the article: he saw in it both personal hostility and infidelity to the Holy See. He erroneously attributed the article to N, whom he regarded as the head of the English opposition to Roman influence. This error was largely responsible for Manning's hostility to N in subsequent years.

Acton was also writing on the Temporal Power. In July he had published an obituary article on Cavour, critical of his policies but respectful of his ability as a statesman. So exacerbated were the tempers of Catholics on the subject of the Temporal Power that a statement in Acton's article, "Cavour," to the effect that Cavour was not "consciously an enemy of religion" (Historical Essays, pp. 200-1; see Himmelfarb, pp. 83-84). was criticized as too eulogistic. In the November Rambler, Acton found another occasion to state his views on the Temporal Power, in a review of Döllinger's book on that subject.

The storm of criticism which had greeted Döllinger's Odeon lectures had come as a surprise to the lecturer. It was necessary for him to give a more complete statement of his views, which appeared in a book, Kirche und Kirchen, Papstthum und Kirchenstaat. Döllinger sought to explain the motive of his lectures: to reconcile Catholics to the impending fall of the Temporal Power, and to show how this apparent disaster was part of the historical development of the Church. Döllinger saw the crisis of the Catholic Church in terms of its relation to German Protestantism. Protestantism had [176/177] proved incapable of resisting the dissolving forces of modern infidelity; a reconciliation with the Catholic Church, on terms of mutual respect, was now possible. The great obstacle to reunion was the conviction that the Catholic religion was ineradicably bound up with abuses in the political sphere, connected with Temporal Power. Döllinger freely admitted the faults of the ecclesiastical government of Rome, though he explained them as innovations, not proceeding from Catholic principles, which Pius IX had tried to reform. He held that the Temporal Power was legitimate and necessary and prophesied that if it were overthrown it would eventually be restored. But the overthrow of the Temporal Power would not be an unmixed evil. It would remove from the Papacy the reproach of misgovernment and begin a process of purification of the Church. Döllinger urged the Pope to flee from Rome and take up his exile in Catholic Germany. His presence there would lead to the reunion of the Churches; it would also serve to teach the Italians who held the high offices of the Church the value of a Catholicism based not on compulsion but on freedom:

If the Court of Rome should reside for a time in Germany, the Roman prelates will doubtless be agreeably surprised to discover that our pebple is able to remain Catholic and religious without the leading-strings of a police, and that its religious sentiments are a better protection to the Church. ... Throughout Germany we have been taught by experience the truth of F6nelon's saying, that the spiritual power must carefully be kept separate from the civil, because their union is pernicious. [quoted in Acton, "Döllinger on the Temporal Power," History of Freedom, pp. 370-1; reprinted from the Rambler, VI (Nov. 1861), 1-62.]

The Papal sovereignty, originally designed to safeguard the spiritual independence of the Church, had resulted in a political dependence on a temporal institution. The remedy which Döllinger proposed was to distinguish the Temporal Power from the essence of the Catholic faith and to give renewed emphasis to the spiritual mission of the Church.

The coldly objective analysis of the defects of the Papal [177/178] government was perhaps the "first, unconscious, unpremeditated step" in Döllinger's process of detachment from Rome: "The historian here began to prevail over the divine, and to judge Church matters by a law which was not given from the altar" ("Döllinger's Historical Work," History of Freedom, pp. 415-16). His defence of the Temporal Power was in reality an exposure of its weaknesses. Nonetheless, Döllinger's exaltation of the Pope's spiritual authority and his critique of Protestantism disarmed resentment; much to Acton's surprise, the book was well received. The Pope said that it would do good, though he did not agree with all of it" (A to Döllinger, 26 Aug. 1862, cited in Friedrich, III, 269.) The Dublin Review virtually apologized for the harsh tone of Purcell's review of the Odeon lectures (See Charles Russell, "Dr. Döllinger's Protestantism and the Papacy," Dublin Review, III (April 1863), 467-503). Montalembert, a staunch defender of the Temporal Power, said that he would willingly subscribe to every word of Döllinger's book; and Lacordaire and Gratry were of the same opinion (A to S, 6 Dec. 1861 and 13 Jan. 1862, Gasquet, pp. 239, 257. See also A to Döllinger, 6 Dec. 1861 and 28 Jan. 1862, Woodruff MSS).

Acton reviewed Kirche und Kirchen in the leading article in the November Rambler, giving an extensive summary of the book. Acton interpreted Döllinger's thought in a Whig sense, stressing the suspicion of the State which was shared by both Ultramontanes and Whigs. The State most deserving of suspicion was the France of Napoleon III, which sought to dominate the Papacy under the guise of protecting it; it was better, Acton implied, for the Pope to lose the Temporal Power than to maintain it by the aid of French bayonets. He lamented that those who shared. Döllinger's views on the Temporal Power did not speak out: this was an allusion to Newman's conduct. Acton, differing slightly from Döllinger, held that the Temporal Power could not exist unless it was guaranteed by the Catholic Powers. The Powers, in turn, were entitled to a guarantee that the Pope's Government would be reformed so that the Roman people would not be faced with the dilemma of choosing "between the right of insurrection against an arbitrary government and the duty of [178/179] obedience to the Pope" (Acton, "Döllinger on the Temporal Power," p. 373). Acton shared DbIlinger's hope that the Pope would take up his exile in Bavaria. Privately he regarded this as the solution to the Rambler's conflicts with authority:

The time cannot be distant when the great source of hostility to us, the Roman question, will be solved for a time in a way which will be a confirmation of our views. Then the quarrel between us and the Roman party will have no interest, for we shall be as zealous as any in support of the dispossessed and fugitive Pope. . . . Of course, with the Pope in Bavaria our antagonism on the ground of freedom of inquiry will remain, though a German exile will soon effect a change even in this respect. [A to S, 11 Oct. 1861, Gasquet, p. 217]

The Pope, however, obstinately remained in Rome, and the Temporal Power survived almost another decade, during which the Liberal Catholics had to face an increasingly militant Ultramontanism. Acton, recognizing the isolation of his party, saw the need for allies. New writers, of the most diverse character, were recruited for the Rambler. Acton won over his chaplain, Green, a respectable old Catholic. On the other hand, there was John Moore Capes, the Rambler's former editor, who had left the Church and taken a position outside all religious communions. Acton willingly accepted Capes' offer to review books; perhaps he still hoped, by kindness, to draw Capes back into the Church. He felt considerable sympathy for those who found themselves in the limbo between Catholicism and Anglicanism. This was the position of the "corporate reunion" movement, which recognized the supremacy of Rome but discouraged conversions. Simpson and Wetherell had written against the Ccunion" movement; but Acton, without subscribing to its doctrines, valued it as a bridge between the Churches and wanted the Rambler to engage in friendly "Irenics with the Union party" (A to S, 3 Oct. 1861, ibid., p. 204). Their organ, the Union Review, showed marked friendliness towards the Rambler; and Acton obtained articles from a leading "unionist," E. S. Ffoulkes, an [179/180] eccentric convert. Another person of unionist views was the troublesome H. N. Oxenham, whom Acton hoped to make a leading member of the Liberal Catholic circle.

Acton had obtained for Oxenham a post at Newman's Oratory School at Edgbaston. At the end of 1861 there arose a difference between Newman and the headmaster, Father Darnell, over the special position accorded by Newman to the school's matron. The masters, including Oxenham, resigned in protest; Newman immediately recruited a new staff. Acton was inclined to favour Darnell and Oxenham, but he could not intervene in Newman's affairs. He was unhappy that Newman did not consult him, "although initially I contributed more than anyone to the founding of the school," and he felt that "Newman has obviously changed his views on education since the Dublin Lectures" (A to D, 28 Jan. and 9 Feb. 1862, Woodruff MSS. See also A to S, I and 5 Jan. 1862, Downside MSS). Darnell, a friend of Acton and one of Döllinger's translators, was replaced by Newman's friend Ambrose St. John. This tended to diminish the Liberal Catholic influence on Newman; but one of the new masters at the school was a contributor to the Rambler, Thomas Arnold, Jr.

Meanwhile the Ultramontanes were not idle. Wiseman was sending private reports on the Rambler to Rome (Wiseman to Manning, 23 Nov. and 26 Dec. 1861, and 25 March 1862, Manning MSS); he warned his clergy against the magazine and denounced it in a pastoral letter (A to D, 27 Dec. 1861, Woodruff MSS, and to S, 23 Dec. 1861, Gasquet, p. 251. Acton refused to notice Wiseman's denunciation in the Rambler). W. G. Ward was also active. On 21 January 1862, he delivered in the Catholic Academy a lecture on the intellect, which asserted the subordination of intelligence to the non-intelligent will guided by the Church; "his peroration was clearly directed against the Rambler" (S to Acton, 22 Jan. 1862, Woodruff MSS). Simpson, seeking an,opportunity to reply to Ward's lecture, moved that it be printed, and Ward agreed . The re view appeared in the May Rambler. It accused Ward of a want of charity to his opponents and a perverse tendency to press Catholic dogmas beyond their necessary consequences. [180/181] Ward's disparagement of the intellect was "unsound and un-Catholic," for "theologians consider that the ideal of man's perfection requires intellectual excellence in its highest degree" ("Dr. Ward on Intellect," VI May 1862, 487.

The May Rambler also contained a letter by Acton on "The Danger of Physical Science," replying to a correspondent who had argued that physical science was the great enemy of religion. Acton asserted that a conflict between the facts of physical science and the dogmas of the Church was impossible, for the facts alone could not contradict religion. The danger came from the importation into the physical sciences of theories drawn from the moral sciences; the solution was to confine each science to its own sphere, operating according to its own principles. Similarly, theology must keep itself free from obsolete opinions on the physical universe. "It is a religious duty as well as an intellectual necessity to strive continually to bring existing faith into agreement with increasing knowledge, to reconsider old solutions in obedience to new problems.... Thanks to this constant alternation of difficulties and answers, religious ideas expand and science advances" ("N.N." [Acton], "The Danger of Physical Science," ibid., 529.

* * * * *

The May 1862 issue of the Rambler was its last. Henceforth it was to be published as a quarterly review, under a new name. This change had long been mooted. There seemed to be a course of "natural development" for the Rambler, leading it to assume "a less ephemeral character" ("Enlargement of the 'Rambler'," ibid., 430), appearing less frequently but increasing in size and scope. Its tendency was to approximate the gravity of a quarterly review, to favour literature over journalism. Acton, in particular, had no liking for journalism, and wished to devote himself to more serious writing. As early as 1858, he had explored the possibility of transforming the Rambler into a quarterly. The idea had arisen again in 1861, when Acton had suggested changing the Rambler into a quarterly as a means of escaping the censure that was expected from Rome. [181/182]That possibility was kept in mind, but when, in 1862, Acton, Simpson and Wetherell decided to transform the Rambler, their primary motive was to improve the magazine (A to D, 28 Jan., 9 Feb. and 19 March 1962, Woodruff MSS).

The great obstacle to "quartering" the Rambler was the fact that this would bring it into competition with the Dublin Review and might appear to be an outright defiance of Cardinal Wiseman. By 1861, however, the Dublin was evidently in decline. Bagshawe, the editor, was ineffective, and the publisher, Richardson, unco-operative; Wiseman had ceased to contribute; issues were published at irregular intervals. In June 1861, Acton heard that "Ward and his friends talk of starting a new review, and that the Cardinal abandons the Dublin to its decline" (A to N, 19 June 1861, cited in Ward, I, 523). In November, Bagshawe received an appointment as a Welsh judge and had to resign the editorship of the Dublin. The sub-editor, Dr. Russell, assisted Bagshawe in carrying on the review until some new arrangement could be made; but he was not sanguine about its prospects. The Dublin was generally regarded as a dying publication. Under these circumstances, it appeared to the conductors of the Rambler that they could safely transform their magazine into a quarterly without seeming to set themselves up as rivals of the Dublin. In March 1862, Acton, Simpson and Wetherell began to make arrangements for the change.

Acton was concerned to disarm opposition to this move. Accordingly, he wrote to Dr. Russell, announcing his intention of making the Rambler quarterly, and assuring him that there was no intention of striking at the Dublin in making this "change, the great object of which is conciliation" (A to Russell, 26 March 1862, Westminster Archives). The change was designed to enable the Rambler to pursue its natural development and to allow of more adequate treatment of great questions and a wider comprehension of views. The "communicated" section of the new Rambler would be open to contributions from all sections of Catholic opinion, and the correspondence, which had caused so many conflicts, could be omitted. Acton expressed his desire to [182/183] come to an understanding with the managers of the Dublin. Russell accepted Acton's professions of good faith and proposed that the Dublin should be merged with the quarterly Rambler. Neither Wiseman nor Bagshawe, however, was willing to join with Acton and his friends. The news that the Rambler was to be made quarterly caused them to increase their efforts to save the Dublin, in order to prevent the Liberal Catholics from having the field entirely to themselves. Wiseman entered into negotiations with Burns to take over the publication of the Dublin and sought to find a new editor. These negotiations were not immediately fruitful, but they put an end to Russell's project of merging with the Rambler (Russell to Wiseman, 4 April 1862, Westminster Archives). The idea of merging was Russell's, not Acton's.

Acton regarded this development as a manifestation of opposition to the Rambler on the part of Wiseman. "Here is the end of the Dublin negotiations and the beginning of the fight; a stand-up fight it will be" (A to S, 5 April 1862, Gasquet, p. 267). It was necessary now to be the first in the field. An announcement was placed in The Times, stating that the Rambler would be enlarged to double its present size and become a quarterly on 1 July.

The notion of merging the two reviews was suddenly revived, however, by Burns, who was anxious to resume the publication of a magazine. He proposed that both the Dublin and the Rambler should give way to a new quarterly, which would be jointly edited by Acton and some member of Ward's party, such as T. W. Allies; the "communicated" section could be opened to all parties (Burns to S, 12 April 1862, Downside MSS). Wetherell was strongly opposed to dealing with Burns, and Acton regarded Wiseman's rejection of the merger as final. Nonetheless, Acton did not wish the Liberal Catholics to assume the responsibility for perpetuating Catholic factionalism. He therefore took a conciliatory line, writing to Canon Morris, Wiseman's secretary, offering to accept Burns' proposal and to merge the Rambler in a new quarterly open to all parties, provided that the Dublin should cease to exist (A to S, 16, 26 and 28 April 1862, Gasquet, pp. 268-69, 273-76). This Canon John Morris is to be distinguished from the Liberal Catholic John Brande Morris, sometime canon of Plymouth and Acton's former chaplain at Aldenham. Acton [183/184] insisted only that the review should preserve its independence and freedom of discussion: he "loved peace much, knowledge and honesty more" ( A to S, 26 April 1862, ibid., p. 274). Acton told Döllinger that the main point was the management of the Review, which "I can not give up now, because I alone afford security for freedom, scientific method and independexice." Acton to Döllinger, 1 May 1862, Woodruff MSS). Morris was willing to negotiate; but he was acting without Wiseman's approval, and Wiseman had no intention of sanctioning a Catholic quarterly independent of his supervision. Furthermore, Wiseman had learned that proceedings were pending in Rome which would lead to the censure of the Rambler (Russell to Wiseman, 29 April 1862, Westminster Archives). He therefore put an end to all negotiations and resumed his attempts to revive the Dublin.

Meanwhile an attempt had been made to detach Simpson from his party. His bishop, Dr. Grant, wrote to him, complaining that his articles in the Rambler did not tend to "save souls" or "draw wanderers to the sacrament of Penance," and urging him "to take henceforth the part of silence, or, if you write and publish, the choice of subjects that do not affect the Church and the Holy See" (Grant to S, Good Friday 1862, Downside MSS. Partially printed in Gasquet, p. 270n). According to Acton, Simpson's Redemptorist priests at Clapham had refused him absolution on account of his work on the Rambler (A to D, 1862, Woodruff MSS). Simpson's reply, drafted after consultation with Acton, was a justification of the Liberal Catholic point of view:

Being a Catholic, I cannot help writing as a Catholic-in matters defined, taking the one side defined; in doubtful matters, choosing my side according to my convictions....

I have written in a journal which deals necessarily with public topics, and cannot handle the private spiritual concerns of individuals, and so cannot lead men to contrition and penance -- a journal which is not theological, and so cannot deal directly with matters of faith. It is only left to me to try and take the side of faith by defending the truth, and by proving that a man may be sincerely Catholic and may defend his religion without suppresslo veri and suggestio falsi....

I am certain that the cessation of the Rambler, or its change, [184/185] would do great harm to the Catholic cause in England. I know, for I have experienced the thing, that the great prejudice against the Church among educated Englishmen is not a religious one against her dogmas, but an ethical and political one; they think that no Catholic can be truthful, honest or free, and that if he tries to be so publicly he is at once subject to persecution. The existence of the Rambler is more or less a reply to this prejudice. [S to Grant, 23 April 1862, Downside MSS. Portions of this letter are reprinted in Gasquet, pp. lvii-lviii, 270-271n. See also S to A, Easter Monday 1862 (Woodruff MSS.), and A to S, 22 April 1862 (Gasquet, pp. 270-1), containing some passages which Simpson employed in his reply to Grant.]

Simpson complained that his studies necessarily bore some relation to theology, and therefore he was accused of writing theologically; but when he tried to avoid theology, he was accused of ignoring the supernatural. The main objection to him, however, was his politics, his history, and above all his independence. Simpson explained his position:

I desire to see the Catholic doctrine professed by all the world. I know by experience that the great objection to it in the minds of educated Englishmen is the political objection. I know by history that it was very much by political measures and in the pursuit of political ends that the Holy See lost England. And I see that there still exists a widespread opinion among English Catholics that the same infallibility attaches to the dicta of the Holy See about political matters as attaches to its definitions in matters of faith. Hence there is a disposition to overlook the lessons of history, and the dictates of reason in politics, and to commit oneself blindly to the political guidance of an authority which has no promise of political wisdom.... I submit ex animo to the Church in all questions of faith, and interpretation of the divine law-But I assert a right to follow my reason in matters of science and experience of the senses and of practical reason and secular prudence. [Draft letter by Simpson, 1862, Downside MSS. It is not certain whether this draft was incorporated into the letter sent to Grant.]

This was the spirit in which the Liberal Catholics transformed the Rambler into its quarterly successor, the Home and Foreign Review.

References

Acton, Sir John. Historical Essays and Studies. Ed. J. N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence. London, 1907.

_______. The History of Freedom and other Essays. Ed. J. N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence. London, 1907.

Friedrich, J. Ignaz von Döllinger. 3 vols. München, 1901.

von Döllinger, J.J. I. Kirche und Kirchen. Papstthum und Kirchenstaat. München, 1861.

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics. Chicago, 1952.


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