Challenge and Response, 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.

  1. Numbers in brackets indicate page breaks in the print edition and thus allow users of VW to cite or locate the original page numbers.
  2. Where possible, bibliographical information appears in the form of in-text citations, which refer to the (a) bibliography at the end of each document and the (b) list of abbreviations.
  3. Note that in the correspondence Acton = A, Döllinger= D, N = Newman, and S = Simpson.
  4. Superscript numbers link only to documents containing substantial bibliographical information; the numbers do not form a complete sequence.
  5. not in print version indicates a link to material not in the original print version. [GPL].
  6. This web version is a project supported by the University Scholars Programme of the National University of Singapore. Scanning, basic HTML conversion, and proofreading were carried out by George P. Landow, who added links to materials in VW.

decorated initial 'T' HE new name of the transformed "Rambler" signified no change in policy: the personnel, the motto and the spirit of the Rambler were retained. The title of the Home and Foreign Review was adopted in order to allow a fresh start, free of the unfavourable associations which the name of the Rambler bore in the public mind, and incidentally in order to escape the censures which were expected from Rome (A to D, 26 May 1862, Woodruff MSS. Newman had advised this course: N to Wetherell, 21 March 1862, Newman MSS. Acton proposed the name Home and Foreign, which had appeared in the subtitle of the original Rambler.). The change to a quarterly was announced in the last issue of the Rambler:

Its aim will still be to combine devotion to the Church with discrimination and candour in the treatment of her opponents; to reconcile freedom of inquiry with implicit faith; and to discountenance what is untenable and unreal, without forgetting the tenderness due to the weak and the reverence rightly claimed for what is sacred. Submitting without reserve to infallible authority, it will encourage a habit of manly investigation on sub ects of scientific interest. ["Enlargement of the 'Rambler'," VI (May 1862), 43 1. Much of this was taken from Newman's prospectus for the bi-monthly Rambler in 1859. 3 A to N, 5 April 1862, cited in "Introduction" to Acton, Essays on Church and State p. 27]

The new title and format did not save the Liberal Catholic organ from the wrath of the hierarchy. A censure was being prepared in Rome, the news of which had led Wiseman to terminate the negotiations with the Rambler. Acton had had some intimation of this; in April 1862 he told Newman that "the violence of the feeling in the Curia seems to have reached its height.... They have lately attempted to do me a private injury, for the purpose of serving their public ends" (). 3 This appean to refer to an attempt by a Roman [186/187] monsignor to turn Acton's fiancée against him. In May, Cardinal Barnabò, Prefect of Propaganda, sent a circular letter to the English bishops, listing the offences of which the Rambler was guilty: "abstruse questions closely connected with the Faith are raised, and one of the principal writers often puts forward temerarious and scandalous propositions; the temporal authority of the Holy See is openly attacked and the administration of the Pontifical States; it is said that Paul III, Paul IV, Pius V, preferred temporal emolument to the good of souls, and were the cause of England's loss to the Catholic Faith" (Digest of the Propaganda circular, from the Oscott archives, by Butler, I, 322). Particular passages which had given offence were specified. The bishops were required, within three months, to publish pastoral letters warning the faithful against the Rambler. Some of the bishops were unwilling to deliver the required censure. Their resistance obtained a reprieve for the Home and Foreign (Friedrich, III, 299. See also N to A, 19 July 1862, in Ward, Newman I, 639). In August, however, the storm broke.

Wiseman had visited Rome in the spring of 1862, on the occasion of the canonization of the Japanese martyrs. The bishops assembled for this event decided to present an address to the Pope supporting the Temporal Power, and Wiseman was president of the commission to draft it. A rumour became current that there had been some disagreement over the terms of the address; and Acton mentioned the story, without confirming it, in the first issue of the Home and Foreign Review: "This address is said to be a compromise between one which took the violent course of recommending that major excommunication should be at once pronounced against the chief enemies of the temporal power by name, and one still more moderate than the present. The opening [187/188] paragraphs are certainly unfortunate" (I July 1862, 269). The Home and Foreign appeared on the first day of July; on the fourth and fifth, a more violent account of the address, harshly (and erroneously) criticizing Wiseman's conduct, was published in a French paper, La Patrie. Wiseman mistakenly saw a connection between these two reports, and he made this the occasion for censuring the Home and Foreign.

Addressing the clergy of Westminster on his return from Rome, Wiseman denied the account which had been published in La Patrie. Then he adverted to "a covert insinuation of the same charges, in a publication avowedly Catholic, and edited in my own diocese, consequently canonically subject to my correction." The conduct of the Home and Foreign, Wiseman said, was not surprising in view of

the antecedents of that journal under another name, the absence for years of all reserve or reverence in its treatment of persons or things deerned sacred, its grazing over the very edges of the most perilous abysses of error, and its habitual preference of uncatholic to catholic instincts, tendencies, and motives. In uttering these sad thoughts, and entreating to warn your people, and especially the young, against such dangerous leadership, believe me I am only obeying a higher direction than my own impulses, and acting under much more solemn sanctions. Nor shall I stand alone in this unhappily necessary correction. [Rome and the Catholic Episcopate: Reply of His Eminence Cardinal Wiseman to an Address presented to him by the Clergy Secular and Regular of the Archdiocese of Westminster (London, 1862), pp. 26-27]

Wiseman's prediction that the other bishops would join in his condemnation of the Rambler and its successor was soon fulfilled. In September and October, all but one of the bishops censured the Rambler in their pastorals. Bishop Cornthwaite, in Yorkshire, was the most severe, and he and Ullathorne required their clergy to read the condemnation from their pulpits. On the other hand, Acton's bishop, Brown of Shrewsbury, consulted with him before issuing his pastoral, which condemned only the Rambler, ignoring the Home and Foreign (A to S, 9 Oct. 1862, Downside MSS). Most of the bishops employed a common [188/189] formula in their pastorals, quoting Wiseman's remarks and adding a brief endorsement. The circular of Bishop Clifford of Clifton may be cited as an example:

We feel it our duty to call your attention to a periodical hitherto known as the Rambler, and now published under the title of The Home and Foreign Review. This journal professes to be a Catholic publication, and therefore, its readers are naturally led to suppose, that the opinions advanced by it, and the tone which pervades it, may safely be regarded as expressions of Catholic thought and feeling. We regret to say that such has not been the case for some time past, and it is our duty to call your attention to this fact, and, through you, to warn the faithful committed to your care, lest the), be led to conclude, from our silence, that they may safely follow the guidance of this professedly Catholic paper in the discussion of sacred and doctrinal subjects. . . . We fully concur in the remarks made by his Eminence, and we trust that you will prudently exert your best endeavours, to prevent any of those committed to your care, allowing themselves to be led astray by dangerous teachers. [Circular of Bisliop Clifford, 24 Sept. 1862, quoted in S to A, Sept. 1862, Woodruff MSS]

It was a curiously limited censure: the Rambler was condemned for general faults, and the faithful were warned against dangerous tendencies in the Home andForeIgn, which was deprived of its character as a recognized Catholic organ. This was neither a prohibition nor a formal theological condemnation; it was simply a strong expression of disapproval.

More than this was needed to counteract the influence of the Home and Foreign. A new attempt was made to revive the Dublin Review. Wiseman made over his rights in the Dublin to Manning, to whom he gave a complete freedoom which he allowed to nobody else" (Wiseman to Manning, 9 Sept. 1862, Manning MSS). Burns replaced Richardson as publisher of the Dublin and placed its finances on a sound footing. The editorship was given to W. G. Ward, the ablest and most extreme of Ultramontanes. "You will find me," he told his sub-editor, "narrow and strong-very narrow and [189/190] very strong" (Quoted by Ward, p. 223). Manning required that all theological articles be submitted to censors and exercised a strict control himself; but the spirit of the new Dublin was that of Ward, brilliant, logical, predominantly theological and devotional, always aggressively Ultramontane. Unlike the Rambler, the Home and Foreign Review had to contend with an effective rival.

* * * * * *

When Wiseman's censure appeared, Simpson proposed to publish a "confession," apologizing for the faults of the late Rambler, in order to enable the Home and Foreign to make a fresh start. Acton, however, was opposed to taking any notice of the Cardinal's denunciation. He spoke of Wiseman's statement as "a tissue of lies" but preferred to "submit to an unjust accusation of error [rather] than subject him to a true accusation of falsehood" (A to S, 27 Aug. 1862, Downside MSS). This letter is published by Gasquet, p. 292; but Gasquet altered the word "lies" to read "mistakes" and omitted the words "of falsehood." The Home and Foreign, Acton said, could not apologize for the tone of the Rambler, because it was not the tone but the principles that were at issue, and its principles remained unchanged. Any apology for the Rambler must involve Newman's article on "Consulting the Faithful," which was, "theologically, the most offending thing of all." Higher interests, "Newman's school, the future university (whether our own or at Oxford), and the whole interest of thought and science, are mixed up in our cause. In order to save them, I am persuaded that patience and a duck's back are the only safeguards" (Ibid)

Nonetheless, it was decided to publish a reply to Wiseman in the October Home and Foreign. Newman advised Acton to write "a counter-statement to the Cardinal" which would be "a manly, simple, eloquent avowal of what you aim at" (N to A, 17 Sept. 1862, cited in Woodruff, p. 27). and would reassure Catholics as to the future conduct of the review. Acton was less sanguine:

I remember how important I thought it to state in the reply to the Cardinal that Rome had virtually spoken, and that we [190/191] were going on in despite of her. We are in a position which obliges us to defy the thunders of the Vatican. Rome defends the political and temporal rights and possessions of the Church by spiritual censures. We say that if there is politically a sound reason against them we must incur excommunication. [A to S, 9 Dec. 1862, Downside MSS. Acton insisted that the Temporal Power was the essential issue. A to D, 26 Aug. 1862, Woodruff MSS.]

Acton's sharpness, however, was moderated by Wetherell; and the result was a cautious and respectful statement of the position of the Home and Foreign Review. Newman found it lacking in "warmth." Wetherell's reply (Wetherell to N, 6 Nov. 1862, Newman MSS) suggests, by its use of the first person, that Wetherell had written part of the article, which is usually assigned to Acton alone. Acton, however, wrote the major portion.

Acton's reply to Wiseman -- "Cardinal Wiseman and the Home and Foreign Review" -- began by describing his censure of the review as the result of a misapprehension. No criticism of his conduct had been intended in the report on the bishops' address to the Pope; it was stated only that "a rumour was current, not that its purport was true" (p. 443). The real difficulty lay, not in the erroneously censured report in the Home and Foreign, but in the prejudice against its conductors, founded upon the conduct and character of the Rambler. It was acknowledged that Wiseman's censure represented the views of Rome and was supported by a majority of the English bishops and clergy. The only response which could be made to this ecclesiastical hostility was a statement of the purposes and principles of the review.

The review existed for the service of the Church; if anything published in it was contrary to her doctrine or incompatible with devotion or respect to her authority, "we sincerely retract and lament it" (p. 447). But a literary periodical could only serve religion indirectly, by following the laws of the intellect which are independent of the authority of the Church. Independent politics and science support religion by discovering truth and upholding right; and whatever diverts them from their own spheres, even for religious interests, is ultimately subversive of faith and morals and [191/192] argues either a timid faith which fears the light, or a false morality which would do evil that good might come" (p. 454). This was the weakness of Ultramontane thinkers; but with the advance of learning and the development of impartial scholarship, the principles of politics and science

have become, not tools to be used by religion for her own interests, but conditions which she must observe in her actions and arguments. Within their respective spheres, politics can determine what rights are just, science what truths are certain. . . . Political science can place the liberty of the Church on principles so certain and unfailing, that intelligent and disinterested Protestants will accept them; and in every branch of learning with which religion is in any way connected, the progressive discovery of truth will strengthen faith by promoting knowledge and correcting opinion, while it destroys prejudices and superstitions by dissipating the errors on which they are founded. . . . The moment has come when the best service that can be done to religion is to be faithful to principle, to uphold the right in politics though it should require an apparent sacrifice, and to seek truth in science though it should involve a possible risk. Modern society has developed no security for freedom, no instrument of progress, no means of arriving at truth, which we look upon with indifference or suspicion. [Ibid., pp. 453, 456.]

Acton said that this was "the first time that the ideas of scientific method and political justice have been established from the Catholic standpoint in England . . . it is a standard, whereby parties will have to be defined from now on" (A to D, 10 Oct. 1862, Woodruff MSS). In intellectual matters, there was no necessary gulf between Catholics and Protestants; and a Catholic review could best accomplish its purpose by pursuing studies with which Protestants as well as Catholics could sympathize, following principles and methods which were common to both. Such was the programme of the Home and Foreign Review.

This justification of the principles of the Home and Foreign did not mollify the bishops. In particular, Ullathorne felt that something more was needed to counteract its influence: the reasons for the censure of the Rambler and its successor [192/193] must be clearly stated (see Newman's memorandum, 26 Dec. 1862, in Ward, I 550-51). Manning had suggested that the Rambler be put on the Index; Ullathorne preferred to leave its condemnation to the English Bishops. He therefore published a letter to his clergy, giving the reasons for his opposition to the Rambler and the Home and Foreign Review.

Ullathorne criticized the Home and Foreign for its unsound principles regarding the separation of science and politics from religion. He concentrated his criticism on two writings in the Rambler, both by Simpson: the letters on Original Sin in 1855 and 1856 and "Reason and Faith" in 1861. The passages he noticed in the former had been specified in Barnabò's letter to the bishops: Simpson was charged with denying that original sin comes by propagation and with making God the author of sin. Simpson's remarks on Adam's animal nature and on the possibility of descent from the apes had taken on a new interest in the light of Darwin's work and were included in Ullathorne's censure. The articles on "Reason and Faith" were criticized as erroneous in theology and rationalistic in philosophy. Ullathorne concluded by asserting that "in the Rambler, of which the Home and Foreign Review is a continuation, there are contained propositions which are respectively subversive of the faith, heretical, approaching to heresy, erroneous, derogatory to the teaching Church, and offensive to pious ears" -- A Letter on the "Rambler and the Home and Foreign Review." Addressed to the Clergy of the Diocese of Birmingham, by the Right Rev. Bishop Ullathorne (London, 1862), p. 42.

Ullathorne's pamphlet is most significant for its effect on Newman's attitude. Newman had read the early issues of the Home and Forei n Review with interest and admiration; he wrote friendly letters to its editors and deplored its condemnation by Wiseman. "I am very sorry," he said, "that the Bishops have set themselves against the ablest publication we have, though I can't quite trust its conductors" (N to Mrs. W. Froude, cited in Ward, I, 538-39). Nonetheless he advised Acton to continue the review despite Wiseman's censures, and he praised the reply to the Cardinal ( N to A, 17 Sept. 1862, and to Wetherell, 6 Oct. 1862, ibid., 539-541). Acton thought that he had finally won Newman [193/194] over to Liberal Catholicism, that Newman had "identified our cause with his own": "for the first time Newman declared himself completely on my side" (A to D, 26 Aug. and 10 Oct. 1862, Woodruff MSS).

Then, in October, Newman read an article in the Home and Foreign which seemed to "renew the worst faults of the Rambler" (N to Wetherell, 8 Nov. 1862, cited in Gasquet, "Introduction," P. lxxiii). Simpson, reviewing Döllinger's book on Heathenism and Judaism, found occasion to indulge in some Biblical criticism of his own. The first chapters of Genesis, he said, represented the creed of primitive religion and expressed primitive notions of the physical universe; "when the seed suddenly grew up into Christianity, . . . religion became entirely moral and metaphysical, without retaining a single fibre of physical speculation among its essential constituents" (Simpson, "Döllinger on Heathenism and Judaism," I Oct. 1862, 452). 28 Therefore Genesis should be read simply as a religious document, not as a treatise on astronomy or geology. Simpson was attempting to develop a Catholic answer to the problems posed by recent scientific discoveries; but Döllinger's narrative did not really justify the metaphysical structure which Simpson built upon it. Newman was extremely "put out" by the way in which "a theological discussion is lugged in without any occasion.' '29 He objected to the article as off-hand theological speculation which insinuated its conclusions without giving a reasoned argument. "If this article is to be a sample of the Home and Foreign, I hope the Review and I may henceforth be 'better strangers'" (N to Wetherell, 8 Nov. 1862, cited in Gasquet, p. lxxiii. Wetherell agreed that the article was bad: Wetherell to Newman, 15 Nov. 1862, Newman MSS.)

At this juncture appeared Ullathorne's condemnation of the Home and Foreign. Newman regarded Ullathorne's judgment as decisive in a manner in which Wiseman's was not. Ullathorne was Newman's own bishop; he had condemned specific faults, giving reasons for his censures; and he was acting with the sanction of the Holy See, inasmuch as the [194/195] passages he censured had been specified by Propaganda. Newman promptly wrote to Ullathorne to assure him of his submission. It was the duty of the writers and editors, he said, to repudiate the doctrines which were condemned and to withdraw the articles in which they were found. Newman also wrote to Acton, saying that Ullathorne's letter was "the voice of the Church" (N to A 29 Oct. 1862, Woodruff MSS). He regarded it as irrelevant whether or not the censured articles actually contained the propositions which Ullathorne found in them: they had been condemned by a competent authority, and the Liberal Catholics were bound to submit.

Acton regarded Newman's letter as "singularly absurd" (A to S, 31 Oct. 1862, Gasquet, Lord Acton and his Circle, p. 289) 32 Acton's own bishop had shown him the letter of Propaganda; Acton, had found nothing in it which required him to adopt a different course than that which he was following. The Propaganda letter possessed greater force than that of the Bishop of Birmingham, who had no jurisdiction over the editors of the Home and Foreign. Acton would only follow Newman's advice to the extent of making no protest or reply (A to N, 31 Oct. 1862, Newman MSS). Wetherell, however, was more seriously affected. Always cautious and inclined to follow Newman's views, he proposed to resign from the Home and Foreign. Acton "had all manner of difficulty in inducing the reluctant Wetherell to withdraw his resignation" (A to S, 4 Nov. 1862, Downside MSS). Wetherell told Newman that there were things in the Rambler, notably Simpson's remarks on Pius V, of which he had disapproved (Wetherell to N, 6 Nov. 1862, Newman MSS).

Ward and Manning rejoiced at the apparent change in Newman's attitude; and Acton feared that "we may lose him altogether this time" (A to S, 4 Nav. 1862, Downside MSS). But meanwhile Newman once again modified his views. He came to the conclusion, after reading the reply to Ullathorne which Simpson wrote in December, that the Bishop had misinterpreted Simpson)s articles in the Rambler. His own letter of submission, Newman found, had also been misinterpreted. Ullathorne had sent a copy to Monsignor Talbot in Rome, to show to the authorities [195/196] there as proof of Newman's loyalty. Newman feared that his submission to the Bishop's judgment had been taken to mean intellectual agreement with his arguments. He wrote to Ullathorne to make it clear that he had given only his submission and not his judgment on Simpson. While he disliked the tone of Simpson's articles, many of Simpson's views were also his own: "a certain sympathy with him has been at the root of my pain with his performances" (Draft of N's letter to Ullathorne, Dec. 1862, quoted by Ward, Newman, I, 553).

Acton and Simpson managed to convince Newman that he was not bound to regard Ullathorne's condemnation as decisive. Conscious of the importance of the work which the 116me and Foreign Review was attempting to do, Newman shrank from accentuating his differences with its conductors. Newman's position was a complex one. "A man who has been mixed up with two such different people as Ward and Simpson," he said, "cannot explain himself without writing a volume" (cited Ward, p. 205).

It was Simpson, however, who wrote the volume. Simpson was conscious that much of the hostility to the Home and Foreign Review was based on his articles in the Rambler. He proposed to disembarrass the review by publicly assuming responsibility for those articles, at the same time replying to Ullathorne's criticisms of them. His reply was to be a personal one, and it was arranged that Acton and Wetherell should have no part in it, so that the Home and Foreign would not be responsible for Simpson's remarks, and Simpson could assert that he was "writing without the sanction or knowledge of its conductors" (Bishop Ullathorne and the "Rambler", London, 1862, p. 3).

Simpson explained that his articles on "Reason and Faith" were not an exposition of the Catholic faith, but a reply to Essays and Reviews, a justification of the Catholic position in terms which might be understood by nonCatholics. This wasIthe cause of Ullathorne's misinterpretations. Simpson had not asserted that faith is opposed to reason, but the contrary. He had distinguished the "inward [196/197] core" of faith from its external appurtenances in order to demonstrate that faith was immune to scientific attacks and that Catholics were not committed to oppose the advance of science. The "inward core" of faith meant the entirety of the articles of the creed and revealed dogma; Simpson acknow*ledged the infallibility of the Church in defining faith and morals, although it was fallible in other respects. Simpson also defended his letters on Original Sin, which, he said, had been based on the Jesuit Perrone's lectures in Rome and were approved by priests before being published. Ullathorne had also criticized Simpson's remarks on Pius V; Simpson replied that "episcopal censures cannot change the truth of history." Insofar as Ullathorne had censured him in his capacity as a bishop, Simpson protested against his judgment, appealing "from the Bishop ill informed to the Bishop better informed." and to the public at large.

Newman regarded Simpson's pamphlet as a satisfactory reply to Ullathorne. Ullathorne, however, was not satisfied. He told Newman that Simpson's system "was one of Pantheism mixed up with the Catechism, etc., that Science was exalted against Religion; that an Hegelian transcendentalism was professed or implied; that political conscience is made at variance with moral; that Simpson was not the worst of the party; that he had wished to knock under and take Manning for his director, but there was a more subtle mind at the bottom; that various young men had left Sir John Acton and given out loose, half-infidel opinions" (Memorandum by N, 26 Dec. 1862, quoted by Ward, I, 551. Ullathorne described Simpson's mind as "at one time Kantian, at another pantheistic." Ullathorne to Newman, I Jan. 1863, in Butler, Life of Ullathorne, pp. 327-8.). Simpson's reply irritated Ullathorne and indicated to him that a more complete treatment of the subject was required. He therefore published a second letter to his clergy at the beginning of 1863.

Ullathorne's On Certain Methods of the "Rambler" and the "Home and Foreign Review": A Second Letter to the Clergy of the Diocese of Birmingham (1863) took no notice of Simpson's reply other than to observe that there was nothing in it which required him to modify what he had written. He concentrated his criticism [197/198] on the "rationalistic System" (30) of the Home and Foreign Review, which sowed the seeds of doubt and irreverence in Catholic minds. The methods and tone of the Home and Foreign were not Catholic; it seemed more like an enemy than a friend of the Church. Ullathorne mocked its scientific pretensions:

The position from which the reviewers prefer looking on their English Catholic brethren seems situated as it were in a misty dawn, through which the stars of German science are about to rise, and to search the obscure places of our faith. What we have faintly heard of, they have seen; and advancing through the twilight, they use the privileges of travellers to tell what they have seen to a simple hearted people. [pp. 31-32]

Ullathorne found the Home and Foreign guilty of a "tendency to pull down faith, diminish truth and dissolve authority" (p. 95). The controversy between Ullathorne and the Home and Foreign Review ended inconclusively. Simpson had succeeded in answering the gravest charges; Ullathorne's biographer acknowledges that he "had missed the point of Simpson's argument and had misrepresented his meaning" (Butler, Life of Ullathorne, p. 325). Butler considers, however, that many of Simpson's views were reckless and unsound and that he was affected by the philosophy of Ontologism. But, as Newman observed, if Ullathorne had misunderstood Simpson, the average layman was more likely to do so. Ordinary Catholics knew only that the Home and Foreign was a source of irritation and that it had been condemned by the bishops. Against such a prejudice, no effective reply was possible.

The controversy, indeed, had skirted the main issue. The principle which the Liberal Catholics upheld was the right of the individual Catholic to freedom of intellectual inquiry within the limits set by the defined dogmas of the Church. it was thus irrelevant whether their particular speculations were right or wrong; the issue was their right to speculate. On this issue "there was a consensus of Bishops to the point, that questions not yet decided ought not to be popularly [188/199] discussed" (N to A, 19 July 1862, Woodruff MSS). The bishops had failed to prevent the transformation of the Rambler into the Home and Foreign Review, nor had they succeeded in forcing the review to submit; but, by the mere fact of their hostility, they had isolated it from the sympathies of a majority of the English Catholics.

Acton was fully aware of the extent of his isolation. The years 1861 and 1862 had seen the first great crisis in his life. He was marked by the experience: "something in him had been bruised by the spectacles that he had had to witness" (Butterfield. p. 9). In 1861 he had experienced the shock of learning that he was separated on basic issues from all respectable Catholics, even Newman. By the end of 1862 he had come to the conclusion that the real ground of his isolation was a moral one and that his own Church had placed itself on the side opposed to morality:

The antitheses lie very deep, and I regard any reconciliation as impossible, since my article in October, in which I worked out my theory of science. All accusations against Simpson or myself are actually mere pretexts by which they want to conceal, so that it will not be recognized, the fundamental principle that the Church must be defended only by moral methods.... judge by this Ullathorne's principle, that souls must be won at all hazards. This is now the wide chasm between the Review and the Episcopate. [A to D, 7 Jan. 1863, Woodruff MSS]

Acton's principle that the Church may not fight with immoral weapons leads straight to the ethical rigorism of his later years; it is 'the characteristic sign of the mature Acton. In the crises of 1861 and 1862, Acton had reached maturity. (The distinction between the "early" and the "mature" Acton is the subject of debate among biographers. See Kochan [p. 45], who, however, dates maturity around 1870).

References

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

_______. Essays on Church and State. Ed. Douglas Woodruff.London, 1952.

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

Butler, Dom Cuthbert. The Life and Times of Bishop Ullathorne. 2 vols. New York, 1926.

Butterfield, Herbert. Lord Acton. London, 1948.

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.

Kochan, Lionel. Acton on History. London, 1954.

Ward, Wilfrid. The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman. London, 1912.

_______. William George Ward and the Catholic Revival. London, 1912.


Victorian Overview Victorian History Religion Next Contents

Last modified 14 September 2001