Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE NORTH BRITISH REVIEW - Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, Vol. I (Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone)
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THE NORTH BRITISH REVIEW - 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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THE NORTH BRITISH REVIEW
July 1, 1869.
The North British Review completes its 100th number at a time when the principle in which it originated has won a signal victory. Founded in connection with a movement which will always be memorable in the history of religious liberty, it has gradually extended its scope over the domain of general politics and secular learning; and through a quarter of a century it has upheld the supremacy of principle and conscience in the various spheres of human activity. The idea with which it is primarily associated has now, in a conspicuous instance, been adopted and applied by the State. And the same event which marks a new epoch in the national policy opens a new career to the Review, and invites it to a wider range in the field of literature, and a closer connection with public affairs.
The great measure which has occupied the present session of Parliament is not an isolated fact. It is one indication of a change which is beginning to affect all the nations of Christendom in all the departments of their life. The vast progress of the age in wealth and comfort has been exceeded by its progress in knowledge; and its intellectual conquests are less significant than its advance in intellectual morality. Perceiving that theory must be tested by experience, and practice regulated by theory, it is beginning to combine the precision of inductive philosophy with the constancy, the patience, and the flexibility which are learned by historical research. The new spirit has already established its ascendancy over those branches of learning which have perfected their methods in the study of nature, and over those departments of government which are subject to the doctrines of political economy. Their example is producing an analogous revolution in historical and political literature. And the great act of legislative justice which is growing to completion before our eyes bears witness to the consciousness that political obligation is determined, not by arbitrary maxims of expediency, but by definite and consistent principles—principles which can establish the policy of the State on a sure foundation, beyond the antagonism of classes and the tumult of fluctuating opinion.
A literary organ which is to take part in the serious culture of the time, and to exert an influence on the progress of affairs, must frankly identify itself with the conquests and demands of the new epoch. Passing beyond the narrow formalism of schools and parties, it must appeal to a wider range of sympathies, and a higher integrity of conviction. It must welcome truth from whatever quarter, and pursue justice at whatever cost. Its aim must be the victory of scientific truth over ignorance and error, over passion and interest, over the irresponsible authority of tradition, and the blind force of numbers. Its instruments must be those impartial methods of inquiry in which the strength and discipline of the intellect are sustained by an unflinching sincerity. And it must be animated by that spirit of genial tolerance and various adaptiveness which is taught by the analysis of human nature, and the manifold permutations of history.
Such is the ideal to which this Review aspires, not in forgetfulness of the responsibility it assumes, nor of the difficulties over which its path will lie, but drawing confidence from the magnitude of its objects, and believing that in politics, and in religious as well as secular literature, the moment is opportune for its endeavour.
The political connection which, in spite of many errors and shortcomings, has been identified with the development of our constitutional liberties, and with the advance of science in our legislation, has entered on a new phase of its existence. It has come forth from its contact with the enlarged constituencies, purified from the ignoble terrors and the wayward vanity which had justly reduced it to impotence in the immediate past. And it follows a wise and resolute leader, at whose call the nation has risen, for the first time in history, to the full height of its imperial vocation. To the policy symbolised by his name the Review will give that hearty support which is due to the beginning and the promise of a salutary and momentous reform. It will pursue in the blended light of history and reason the solution of those problems which lie before us in the sphere of government, and which constitute the danger and the hope of our society. Maintaining a foreign policy based on the knowledge of foreign countries, it will recognise the obligations of international morality, and the mutual fellowship of civilised States. And, looking beyond the external form of institutions, and the superficial resemblance of party designations and watchwords, it will sympathise abroad with the struggle and the progress of the same principles which it proclaims at home.
The advance of religious knowledge is signalised by a successive transfer of questions from the region of denominational controversy to the sphere of scientific discussion; and so far as they occupy this sphere they can be adequately treated, like other metaphysical and historical subjects, without the necessity of assuming or denying the postulates of confessional theology. The Review will not enter the arena in which ecclesiastical systems contend; nor will it, either expressly or by implication, disparage the issues of their struggle. But it will labour in the field of that religious science which exists apart from the conflict of Churches, and can be studied and promoted without immediate reference to their claims.
In dealing with purely secular literature, it will exclude no branch of intellectual activity which it has space and opportunity to treat with effect. The desire of the age is for substantial knowledge, and the pursuit of truth has divested learning of its academic character, and freed it from the restrictions of nationality. Its advance can no longer be followed within the confines of this or that particular language; nor can a competent criticism now exist without the concurrence of scholars of every country in which the spiritual and material sciences are cultivated with originality and independence. The Review is justified by the extent of its foreign as well as home relations in addressing itself to the work it has chosen. A change which will be made in its form will enable it, quarter by quarter, to combine with its longer papers a series of notices of important books; and, by means of these notices, it will endeavour to provide, by degrees, a systematic critical survey of the higher contemporary literature of our own and other countries.
At the outset of its new career, the Review invites the literary assistance of scholars who appreciate the principle on which it rests. Those who are best qualified to give instruction to others best understand to how small a portion of the field of knowledge their own qualification extends; and a Review which dedicates itself to the advance of scientific learning can only attain its purpose by the constant accession of new contributors in all the departments of research. It cannot become the literary monopoly of any given body of men, however numerous or energetic they may be. The pages of this Review, therefore, will be always open to those who, whether eminent or obscure, have acquired a mastery of the methods by which the results of science are obtained. Without allowing actual controversy between its writers, it will admit that wide diversity of view which is inseparable from the process of honest investigation. And, while fully recognising the importance of literary form, it will assign a higher value to the fruits of patient study and the evidence of systematic thought.
The 101st number will be published in London in October 1869.
[Page 100, note,]for “Is Healthful Reunion Possible?” read “Is Healthful Reunion Impossible?”