Front Page Titles (by Subject) J. H. Newman to Sir John Acton. - Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, Vol. I (Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone)
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J. H. Newman to Sir John Acton. - John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton, Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, Vol. I (Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone) 
Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, edited with and Introduction by John Neville Figgis and Renald Vere Laurence. Vol. I Correspondence with Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone and Others (London: Longmans, Gree and Co., 1917).
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J. H. Newman to Sir John Acton.
My dear Sir John,—
As to Manning, I cannot quite follow you. I am sure he has a great respect for you. His Lectures contain scarcely a sentiment surely which you could not accept. The Register spoke of them as if they even agreed practically with writers like Döllinger. In consequence he wrote a letter, which appeared in the Register of May 25, in which he so explained his views that it would be very difficult to find the fault of them. He said (if I recollect) that the possessions of the Holy See had been lost and recovered again and again—and so it would go on till the end of time. This quite removed any idea of his predicting the speedy end of all things. Then again, instead of any strong declaration on the subject of the temporal power, he said that two things were attributes of the Pope, first, that he could not rightly be a subject; secondly, that he had a spiritual jurisdiction over Kings. People who don’t know him well, seem to me to misunderstand him. He is most sensitively alive to the enormous difficulties, political, social, and intellectual, in which we are.
And now as to myself, since you evidently wish me to say that I am not an advocate of the Temporal Power. I really do not feel there is any call on me to give my opinion—rather, duty lies the other way. It is difficult to state all my reasons.
1. The Duke of Wellington said that a great power cannot have a little war—and I say that a great subject cannot have a little book. Such a theme would require a whole treatise in order to bring out what I thought and why I thought it.
2. I simply have no right to speak. I am not called to do so by position, or any external relation. Why should I speak more than another? If I had deeply studied the subject, that might be a reason, est cuique in suâ arte credendum. But what is the fact? Why, that my life has been cut up so that I have followed out nothing, and have got just a smattering of many things, and am an authority in none. I might have pursued history, or theology, or metaphysics; but I am at the end of life, and have no claim to give an opinion in any one of them. You can’t think how this weighs upon me. Every one has his primâ facie view of things, and I have mine. I have a right to have it, no right to obtrude it on others. This would not justify me to pretend to hold what I do not see my way to hold, but it does oblige me not to profess what I do not see my way to prove.
3. Accordingly I think I fulfil my duty in keeping silence. You may be sure that people wish me to speak on the other side, and to maintain the Temporal Power. That I have not done; and the omission itself is going a great way. People take words in the last Rambler to allude to me; and the very fact that I do not repudiate the sentiment ascribed to me there is in some measure avowing that sentiment myself. You may be sure that there are people watching me very narrowly, and who would rejoice if I brought out in any tangible form what they believe I hold in my heart.
4. I cannot but feel bound to consult for my body here. An imprudent act might get them into great trouble. To tell you something in confidence, already has Propaganda been on the point of inflicting a most serious injury on us, by altering, without telling us, our Rule, at the suggestion of others. It might destory us by a stroke of the pen. The Pope out of kindness appointed me Head fourteen years ago. If I died, Propaganda would have a precedent, if it chose, of dispensing with our Rule, and choosing a second head for the body (please not to mention this) and in a number of other ways it might be our ruin.
5. But lastly, who saved us, in our late danger? It was the Pope himself, and the Pope only. I am bound in gratitude to him.
But the post is going.—Ever yours affectionately,
John H. Newman.