Chapter V. The "Rambler," the Bishops, and Newman, 1859

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


Chapter five 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 (a) the bibliography at the end of each document and the (b) list of abbreviations.
  3. Note that in the correspondence Acton = A, 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 'B' Y THE beginning of 1859 it had become clear that the proprietors and friends of the Rambler constituted a distinct party within the English Catholic body. The initial unity of the Catholic revival had broken down, and Cardinal Wiseman, who had been so anxious to prevent the formation of parties, had himself become a party leader. He was at this time at the height of his conflict with some of the old Catholics, led by Archbishop Errington; for this reason he was especially displeased to see the formation of a second opposition group led by Acton and Simpson. In this conflict with them, Wiseman could rely on the support of a majority of the English Catholics.

"The popular view," Acton observed with some exaggeration, "is that a crowd of converts have conspired together, half to become apostates the rest to remain [in the Church] in the hope that, as ostensible Catholics, they might do more harm through the Rambler" (cited Friedrich, III, 210). This reference refers to the reaction to the meeting of Acton, Döllinger, Simpson and Capes at Aldenham in September A more temperate statement of the grounds of opposition to the Rambler was given by The Tablet:

What we suspect to have been the actual ground of misgiving about the Rambler is not so much any isolated views which were identified with it (displeasing as these may have been), as its general tone and temper. It was felt, in one word, that there was an absence, or deficiency, of "religiousness" about it. Things were habitually discussed in it in a cold, hard, and worldly spirit. The grand mistake made in its administration seems to us to have been that of forgetting that Catholicism is an atmosphere, and not a mere creed; that it is a medium which colours, almost everything which comes before us, except pure mathematics. The intellectual state of [83/84] a man who considers all ground open to free discussion which is not closed up by the rigid terms of the Faith, is somewhat analogous to the moral state of those invulnerable but most unsatisfactory Christians who go to confession once a year. [The Tablet, 21 May 1859; cited in Butler, I, 313.]

In opposition to the principles of the Rambler, there was formed a party which emphasized the authority of the Church as the solution to intellectual difficulties and the guide for practical action. This Ultramontane party, largely composed of converts, was led by W. G. Ward and Father Faber. Manning, the future Cardinal, was in full accord with them, but at this time he was occupied with the controversy with Errington and the old Catholics. When Wiseman sought to counteract the dangerous independence of the Rambler, he came to rely on these Ultramontanes.

After he had rebuffed Acton's attempt to take over the Dublin Review, Wiseman sought the aid of Ward and his friends in rehabilitating the moribund journal. Faber was active in urging on these negotiations; but the poor state of the review, and Wiseman's insistence on retaining control, deterred even the Ultramontanes. It was not until the beginning of 1859 that they agreed to take over the Dublin. What principally motivated them, besides their "detestation of the Rambler" and their "wish to serve the Cardinal in his war against it," was a desire to secure Wiseman's support in the struggle between the converts and the old Catholics "to try that the Cardinal should feel that the converts would help him, and so tend towards keeping up that estrangement from Errington which seems the best thing under our deplorable circumstances" (W. G. Ward to Newman, 8 March 1859, quoted by Wilfrid Ward, I, 489-90; see, also E. Healy Thompson to Newman, 15 Feb. 1859, Newman MSS.).

The Rambler shared Ward's dislike of Errington and the conservative old Catholics, who overemphasized the national element in the Church in England; Acton regarded their "Gallicanism" as the product of "an imperfect state of learning impossible now-a-days in men who are up to the [84/85] mark."4 But Ward's Ultramontanism, Acton maintained, was equally unsatisfactory: it relied too much on ecclesiastical authority, and forgot that there are other truths than those of religion. On the issue of freedom versus authority there was a gulf between the Rambler and its Ultramontane opponents which could not be bridged. Newman attempted to occupy a middle position; deeply as he sympathized with the principles of the Rambler, he was bound to Ward and his associates by ties of friendship from the days of the Oxford Movement, and was always submissive to episcopal authority. He avoided committing himself, urged caution on Acton and Simpson, and declined invitations to contribute to the new Dublin and to Henry Wilberforce's Weekly Register.

Acton used the occasion of the re-organization of the Dublin to publish an article in the Rambler setting forth his views on what a Catholic review ought to be. This article, "The Catholic Press," published in February 1859, was actually a manifesto of the Liberal Catholic movement in the form of a critique of the Dublin Review. It must be admitted Acton said, that the English Catholics had produced no serious or durable literature of their own: "we have not half a dozen books which will bear critical examination, or which we are not ashamed of before Protestants and foreigners; and we contribute nothing to the literature of the Church" (Essays on Church and State, 262). This, Acton argued, was largely the fault of the old Dublin Review, which had accustomed Catholics to intellectual indolence. In its early days, it had performed a useful service in meeting the challenge posed by the Oxford Movement; but new opponents had arisen, and the Dublin had failed to respond to them. Instead, it had restricted its sphere to "safe" topics, forcing other Catholic journals to occupy the vacant positions. The Dublin had fallen behind the march of intellect and "encouraged the insane delusion that scientific infidelity is not, like heresy, an antagonist that it [85/86] behoves Catholics to encounter" (266). It had left Catholics unprepared to meet the new intellectual challenge presented by the advances of science.

It was the duty of a Catholic review, Acton said, not merely to uphold the Catholic cause and to command the respect of Protestants, but also to educate the Catholic public. It should keep Catholics informed of the progress of Catholic learning and of the state of Catholicism in other countries. It should serve as a guide and an example in literature. It should be a guide for Catholics in political matters, teaching them to consider principles rather than interests, to uphold representative institutions and to resist the increasing power of the state. Above all, it should teach Catholics to understand science and to accept it as the necessary ally of the Church, "claiming for the Church the principle of scientific investigation which seemed to threaten her" (271). It would combat scientific infidelity; but it would also wage war on those within the Church who feared the advance of science.

Here Acton found occasion to strike back at his opponents who had denounced the Rambler for its policy of free inquiry and discussion:

Solicitude for religion is merely a pretext for opposition to the free course of scientific research, which threatens, not the authority of the Church, but the precarious influence of individuals. The growth of knowledge cannot in the long run be detrimental to religion; but it renders impossible the usurpation of authority by teachers who defend their own false opinions under pretence of defending the faith.... They want to shelter their own ignorance by preserving that of others. But religion is not served by denying facts, or by denouncing those who proclaim them. [272]

The "one thing needful" was to accept science as the ally of the Church, to save Catholicism from the "twin dangers of unbelief and superstition. . . . Every branch of learning pursued for the sake of its own conclusions will result in the vindication of religion, and in the discomfiture of those who [86/87] believe in their antagonism." This was especially true in history, where impartial learning had achieved great results in vindicating the Church. "The impartiality of scientific research is our surest ally if we adopt it, and if we reject it is sure to cover us with confusion.... We must have confidence in the power of argument and reason to give victory to truth (273)."

Acton welcomed the new Dublin, hoping that it would prove a worthy representative of Catholic culture, adopting and teaching sound principles. In concluding the article, he made on behalf of the Rambler the statement, which Newman had desired, disclaiming any intention of dealing with theology; but he phrased it, not as an apology for previous indiscretions, but rather as a reaffirmation of the Rambler's principles:

We wish it to be distinctly understood that the Rambler is not a theological Review, and that we do not design to treat questions of theology, or to transgress that line which separates secular from religious knowledge. The principle of independent inquiry, within the bounds, and for the promotion, of the Catholic faith, it is our pride and our duty to maintain. [277]

The boldness and eloquence of this article concealed a certain sense of discouragement. Acton had been disillusioned about the character of the Catholic reading public and dismayed by its narrowness and ignorance. He was conscious that he had acquired a "questionable" reputation among Catholics by his journalistic activities. This consciousness reconciled Acton to the prospect of a "temporary disappearance" (Acton to Newman, 25 Jan. 1859, Newman MSS) from the English scene, which had become advisable for financial reasons: he had determined, as a measure of economy, to live on the continent for a while. Acton was quite wealthy; but there were many charges on the Aldenham estate, and it was too expensive to keep up the establishment unless the house were lived in all the time. His financial difficulty was (at least temporarily) relieved after his mother's death in 1860. Acton left his interest in the Rambler in the hands of Simpson, whom he regarded as "the only English Catholic possessing [87/88] the positive qualifications for conducting such a review as the Rambler strives to be" (Acton to Simpson, 4 Feb. 1859, Gasquet, p. 60).

Only a few days after Acton penned this tribute to his coworker, Simpson's qualifications as an editor were brought into question by the English bishops. The issue in this case was education, a subject on which the Rambler had clashed with the episcopate in 1848-9 and again in 1856-7. Catholic education was one of those "miked" questions which, because of their partially religious character, the bishops regarded as subject to their jurisdiction. The bishops had appointed a Catholic Poor School Committee through which they communicated with the Government on educational matters. Those Catholic schools which accepted Government grants were subject to Government inspection; but it had been arranged that the inspectors were to be Catholics, approved by the bishops, and restricted to the purely secular aspects of education, religious teaching being expressly excepted from their inspection.

In 1858 a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the condition of education in England. No Catholics were members of the Commission, which was to investigate Catholic schools as well as others. The Catholic Poor School Committee had failed to notice the appointment of the Commission until it was too late to change its composition or its instructions. When at last the bishops awoke to its existence, they misunderstood its character: they saw it as a breach of faith on the part of the Government, an attempt to force Protestant inspectors on Catholic schools and to subject religious teaching to inspection. Efforts were made to have the Commission reorganized with the addition of a Catholic member, or to secure the appointment of Catholic assistant commissioners. When these efforts failed, the bishops resolved to instruct the clergy to decline to co-operate with the Commission and to refuse its inspectors admission to Catholic schools (Circular to the clergy by Wiseman, 9 Nov. 1858; copy in Westminster) [88/89].

The decision of the bishops caused dismay among the cducated laity, who felt that the hierarchy had placed itself in an impossible position. This dismay was expressed in an article in the Rambler for January 1859 by Scott Nasmyth Stokes, one of the Catholic inspectors of schools and "undoubtedly the principal authority on the subject in the Catholic body" (Butler, I, 310). Simpson was aware that the bishops would resent a discussion of the subject, but printed the article on the advice of Acton, who was not "particular about accepting Stokes' seditious dissertation on education, as it cannot give more offence than the December Number" (Acton to Simpson, 12 Dec. 1858, Downside MSS. Acton thought the article "excellent"). In "The Royal Commission on Education, Stokes urged Catholics to co-operate with the Commission, in order not to risk the loss of government grants. He said that Catholics had been misinformed on the subject, and that false issues had been raised. He professed due submission to ecclesiastical authorities, but gave offence by a reference to those "whose infirm and baby minds are gratified by mischief" (XI Jan. 1859, 17).

Many of the converts sympathized with Stokes' article; but the bishops considered that he had attempted "to answer difficulties which he has not mastered" (Newman to Acton, 16 Jan. 1859 [dated 1858], Woodruff MSS). Newman himself regarded the article as "startling." The Tablet denounced Stokes' article, asserting that the question had been decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, and that Catholics were simply bound to carry out their plans. In the face of this criticism, Acton asked Stokes to write another article: "right or wrong, it is important that things so serious should be 'ventilated'" (Acton to Simpson, 19 Jan. 1859, Downside MSS. See also the letter of Jan.). Stokes' second article was published in the February Rambler.

Stokes asserted in "The Royal Commission and the 'Tablet'" that no decision by the bishops had been made public:

we decline to infer the sentiments of Bishops from hints in newspapers; respect for the hierarchy leads us [89/90] rather to regard as wisely tentative and provisional whatever views may have been entertained upon a question which avowedly involves no religious principle, and which we know from undoubted testimony to have been neither thoroughly discussed nor properly understood. [XI (Feb. 1859), 105]

This was no question of faith or morals, but one of politics, on which religious men might be mistaken. Stokes urged the bishops to reconsider their policies, and recapitulated his arguments in favour of co-operating with the Commission. He hoped the question would not be decided without ample discussion: "In doubtful questions, unanimity is best secured by discussion.... Concealed discontents injure more than avowed difference of opinion" (111). A note appended to this article (probably by Simpson) cited a similar discussion in America as an illustration of the consequences of losing state aid for Catholic schools. "It is to preserve us from this consummation . . . that we again respectfully and earnestly implore our authorities to weigh the arguments we have advanced, and to reconsider the determination which the newspapers assume they have come to" (113).

Stokes had maintained that he was not challenging the bishops' decision, but rather that no final decision had been made, and that he was merely offering them advice before they committed themselves. This argument failed to impress the bishops, who objectid to his articles on the ground that as a layman he had no right publicly to offer advice on the subject of education, which was reserved to the episcopate not only as to decision but as to discussion. This was a position which few of the laity were inclined to accept: even the Ultramontane Ward recognized the importance of "the right of a Catholic layman's independent thought" (Ward to Simpson, Feb. 1859, quoted Gasquet, pp. xlviii-xlix) and sympathized with Stokes' articles. But the bishops were primarily concerned with the need for unanimity of Catholic action [90/91], particularly in dealing with the Government. They decided that it was necessary to assert their authority by striking at the Rambler.

On 12 February 1859, a meeting was held in London of Cardinal Wiseman, his coadjutor Archbishop Errington, Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham and Bishop Grant of Southwark. They agreed that something must be done about the Rambler, that it must be taken out of the hands of its present management: "nothing short of Mr. Simpson's retiring from the editorship will satisfy, as he plainly cannot judge what is, and what is not, sound in language (Ullathorne to Newman, 16 Feb. 1859, quoted Ward, II, 245). It was agreed that Ullathorne should write to Newman, who was known to be in the confidence of Simpson and Acton, and that Newman should be asked to intervene to secure Simpson's withdrawal. It was made clear that, if Simpson did not resign, the Rambler would be censured in the Bishops' forthcoming Pastoral Letters.

The bishops' reliance upon Newman caused him some embarrassment. He had long thought that the Rambler's opposition to the bishops had placed it in a "false position": "if the Rambler perseveres in its present course, it will find it cannot hold on-but must come to an end" (Newman to Acton, 31 Dec. 1858, quoted by Ward, I, 484). On the other hand, he thought that its censure would be a disastrous blow to the growth of an intelligent and educated laity, and he felt much personal sympathy for Simpson: "I have a great opinion of his powers, and a great respect for his character, and a great personal liking for him" (Newman to Acton, 13 Jan. 1859, ibid., 485-6) He had sought to avert a collision between the Rambler and the hierarchy, and now he found himself the only possible intermediary between them.

Newman wrote at once to Simpson, informing him that the bishops were determined to act promptly and severely, and urging him to come to Birmingham as speedily as possible. Simpson went to Birmingham on 18 February, and [91/92] put himself entirely in Newman's hands. He agreed to resign the editorship of the Rambler:

With a protest against the Bishops' want of consideration in giving me no notice of their intentions . . . and of their want of openness in not making any definite accusations against me or my writings, I yield to their threats, but only provisionally, and on the condition of my being [able] to find another editor, and of the proprietors being able to carry on the magazine in the same or in a different form. [Simpson to Newman, 19 Feb. 1859, Newman MSS]

Simpson was under considerable mental strain at the time. His brother, a priest, had just been stricken with a severe illness, and Bishop Grant had sent him to be cared for by Simpson. He stipulated, in order to preserve the rights of his fellow-proprietors, that if his resignation should lead to the suspension of the magazine, he would be free to make public an account of the entire transaction; and he demanded that, if the March number of the Rambler, which was already in print, should be suppressed, the Bishops should reimburse his expenses on it. Newman, on behalf of the bishops, agreed to these conditions. Newman also agreed, on his own behalf, to take over the editorship himself, carrying on the Rambler as a bi-monthly to the end of the year, when a permanent editor could be found. Simpson engaged, for himself and his fellow-proprietors, to give their support and assistance to Newman. To Simpson, despite his bitterness about the manner in which he had been treated, it seemed that he had emerged triumphant over the bishops, having secured, through Newman's editorship, the continuance of the Rambler with its old staff and its old principles. "I rejoice greatly, because though I am conquered personally, they have got anything but their revenge" (Simpson to Acton, 20 Feb. 1859, Woodruff MSS).

Newman wrote about Simpson's resignation to Ullathorne, who appeared satisfied with it; but Wiseman was less disposed to accept the concessions Newman had made on his behalf. He would agree not to mention the Rambler by name in his forthcoming Pastoral, but he would not promise to refrain from mentioning the education controversy; and he refused to reimburse Simpson for his expenses on the [92/93] suppressed March issue. Furthermore, Wiseman said,

the whole compact will be nugatory if Mr. Simpson merely retires from the post of Editor for the purpose of disarming the Bishops, and yet he contributes in the same spirit as hitherto, or Mr. Stokes or others are allowed to write in the same strain. . . , Mr. Simpson's retirement will be worth nothing without some guarantee against the repetition of the same faults. [Wiseman to Ullathorne, 22 Feb. 1859 (copy), Newman MSS.]

29 When Newman was informed of this letter, he said to Ullathorne, "Then, my Lord, the whole negociation is at an end" (Memorandum by Newman, 25 Feb. 1859, Newman MSS. See also Newman to Simpson, 25 Feb. 1859, Newman MSS). But on the next day Ullathorne showed Newman another letter from Wiseman, in which the Cardinal stated the real ground of his objection, the fear that Simpson might be replaced by Acton, which would leave the management of the Rambler substantially unchanged. This immediately altered Newman's decision to withdraw. "The Cardinal's letter," he said, "I felt almost to force me to be Editor" (Note by Newman, n.d., in the "Simpson" volume of the Newman MSS. See also Newman to Wiseman, 21 March 1859, Newman MSS.). for otherwise he would be open to the imputation that he had evaded the real difficulty and had failed to effect a change in the management of the Rambler.

Newman had begun to have second thoughts about taking over the Rambler almost as soon as he had engaged to do so. His closest friend, Father Ambrose St. John, cautioned him against involving himself in a "somewhat perilous undertaking" (St. John to Newman, 28 Feb. 1859, Newman MSS.); and Burns, the Rambler's publisher, while urging Newman to take it over in order to prevent its collapse, warned him against working too closely with Simpson. Simpson offered Newman the entire.property of the Rambler, with complete freedom to do what he liked with it; but Simpson's very eagerness to have him take it over aroused Newman's suspicions. The result was that Newman spent an entire month seeking excuses to avoid taking the Rambler before he finally committed himself.

One difficulty which occurred to Newman was the relationship that would exist between the new Rambler and [93/94] the other Catholic periodicals. It was impossible for Newman to continue his work for the Atlantis while editing the Rambler, and he rejected Simpson's proposal to merge the two journals. The result was that Newman ceased to contribute to the Atlantis, which struggled along for a few years without his aid, and then died. The Dublin Review presented a more pressing problem. The bi-monthly Rambler in Newman's hands would be too strong a competitor for the Dublin, and the converts, who still revered the former leader of the Oxford Movement, would probably decline to write for a rival journal. Faber had already advised Ward that, if Newman took the Rambler, "the Dublin is a gone coon" (Quoted in Simpson to Newman, 2 March 1859, Newman MSS). Simpson frankly urged Newman to accept the editorship of the Rambler in order to "destroy the Dublin" (Simpson to Newman, 2 March 1859, Newman MSS). In the letter of 7 March, Simpson admitted that he could not help "feeling a satisfaction that this struggle, which has been all along one of rival editors, should end not in changing the Rambler alone, but in multiplying the difficulties of its rival also." This suggestion irritated Newman; it seemed that Simpson "had acquired an unusual aptitude for brushing Newman the wrong way" (CUL Add. MS. 4988). Newman had no intention of entering into rivalry with the Dublin, and he was beginning to fear that Simpson was using him as an instrument of party warfare.

Actually, Wiseman's project of rehabilitating the Dublin by giving it over to the Ultramontane converts had already collapsed. The news that Newman would edit the Rambler provided Ward and his friends with "a good excuse for retiring" (Ward to Newman, 8 March 1859, quoted by Ward, I, 489). 36 They were more in sympathy with the Rambler than with the bishops on the education question, and Wiseman's severity towards the Rambler made them less eager to support him. Indeed, things seemed to Ward to be "tending to a kind of union of converts against ecclesiastical authorities" (Ward to Simpson, I March 1859, cited in Gasquet, p. li). Edward Healy Thompson, who was to have been the sub-editor of the Dublin, withdrew from the scheme after learning how the Rambler had been treated by the bishops:

My sympathies are certainly with the smitten, and not with the smiters.... I am sure that with my notions of what the [94/95] Review ought to be ... I should have received a whack of the pastoral staff before six months had gone.

Ward notified Wiseman that he and his friends had withdrawn from the Dublin, which was left to continue its "precarious and scrambling existence" (Dr. Charles Russell to Wiseman, 7 April 1859, Westminster Archives) under the inefficient editorship of Bagshawe. Thompson had not entered into the party warfare against the Rambler. Simpson was so impressed by Thompson's friendly spirit that he suggested him to Newman as a possible subeditor of the Rambler.

Meanwhile the bishops had published their Lenten Pastorals, which did not mention the Rambler by name but alluded indirectly to the education controversy. Wiseman spoke of "the enemy" choosing education "for the field in which to sow the tares of division among Catholics," and regretted that there were those who sought to lead Catholics astray "from the simple path of right and dutiful feeling, on a matter so obviously belonging to the ecclesiastical authority" (Cited in Rambler, I [May 1859], 117). Ullathorne referred to "one or two, here and there, using the public press as a weapon against the conduct of the episcopacy" (118). Father Formby, in an article in the Weekly Register, termed this an allusion to the Rambler, and attacked its conduct in the education controversy.

Simpson regarded these statements as a breach of the bishops' engagement not to mention the Rambler, and threatened, if Newman did not accept the editorship, to put out a final issue of the magazine making public the entire story of its suppression. Although he had earlier described his surrender of the Rambler to Newman as absolute and unconditional, he now reminded Newman that "there was one condition of the surrender of the Rambler which neither of us named in writing, but both of us understood, namely that whatever else it gave up, it should preserve its independence" (Simpson to Newman, 10 Maych 1859, Newman MSS, See also the letter of 15 March.). Simpson subjected Newman to every possible pressure to persuade him to accept the Rambler. He sent him a letter from Acton, urging him not to withdraw, and adding [95/96] that Döllinger considered that the Rambler's disappearance would be "an irreparable loss" (Acton to Simpson, 8 March 1859, Downside MSS. Cited in Simpson to Newman, 14 March 1859, Newman MSS). Acton had assured Simpson of his full support for any arrangement which he might conclude with Newman).

Newman was growing restive under this pressure. Ward was urging him, if he took the Rambler, to change its name, so as to dissociate himself from the "detestable principles" of its former management. Newman rejected the idea of changing its name, as this would be an insult to its former conductors; his objection had not been to its principles, but to its tone (Newman to Ward, 10 March 1859, quoted by Ward, I, 490-1; see also a memorandum by Newman, 24 May 1882, cited Bouyer, p. 329). Then he received a letter from Wiseman, which stated that the Rambler in Newman's hands would render the existence of the Dublin "not only critical, but, I fear, impossible"; it would leave "no chance for a second periodical" (Wiseman to Newman, 14 March 1859, quoted by Ward, II ,247). Wiseman stated that he was prepared to accept the downfall of his beloved Dublin and had no objections to Newman's taking the Rambler; but Newman misinterpreted the letter, and thought that the Cardinal wanted him to withdraw from the Rambler. When, therefore, a letter by Simpson irritated Newman by reiterating the condition that he must preserve the independence of the Rambler, Newman replied petulantly, refusing to pledge himself to any principles, and proposing to terminate the negotiations; Newman to Simpson, 16 March 1859, replying to Simpson to Newman, 15 March, Newman MSS.

Simpson, in alarm, immediately went to Birmingham to discuss the matter with Newman in person. Newman evidently made his position clear to Simpson, who agreed to give the Rambler to him without conditions, in the confidence that he would preserve its essential principles. Newman only awaited the approval of Wiseman, to whom he had written explaining his intentions; when Wiseman did not reply, Newman understood that there was no objection to his taking the Rambler. On 21 March, he formally accepted the editorship. Acton, Simpson, and Frederick Capes were to [96/97] remain proprietors and contributors, leasing the magazine to Newman, who was to have full control.

From the day when Ullathorne had shown him Wiseman's letter insisting that Acton as well as Simpson should be excluded from the editorship, Newman had felt that he would have to take it over himself, in order to satisfy the bishops. The alternative would have been to put an end to the Rambler, but this he would not do, because he wished to preserve a periodical which had done, and might still do, much good. Yet he was hesitant, fearful of becoming involved in controversies, and unwilling to take on another burden; he had to consider the interests of his Oratory at Birmingham, and of the Edgbaston School which was about to open. For a month, he sought to evade the unpleasant task; and even in accepting it he did so only "for the present" (Wiseman to Newman, 22 March 1859, Newman MSS). Wiseman added that he would, after all, be able to keep the Dublin Review in existence.

Nonetheless, his decision satisfied all parties. Wiseman professed himself "perfectly satisfied about the future principles of the Rambler" (Newman to Simpson, 21 March 1859, Newman MSS.). in Newman's hands. Simpson delightedly expressed "the gratitude which I feel to you for having rescued me at so great a personal sacrifice from a position to which I was not equal" (Simpson to Newman, 22 March 1859, Newman MSS). And Acton, writing from Munich, was "persuaded that this revolution in our affairs will end by consolidating our party and strengthening our opinion and influence" (Acton to Simpson, I April 1859, Downside MSS). 150 Newman represented many things to many people.

References

Acton, Sir John. Essays on Church and State. Ed. Douglas Woodruff London, 1952.

Bouyer, Louis. Newman: His Life and Spirituality. Trans. J. Lewis May New York, 1958.

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

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

Lord Acton and his Circle. Ed. Abbot Gasquet. London, 1906.

Ward, Wilfrid. Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman. 2 vols. London, 1912.


Victorian Overview Victorian History Religion Next Contents

Last modified 8 September 2001