Page 3, 2nd August 1957

2nd August 1957
Page 3
Page 3, 2nd August 1957 — The Political Thought o

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Organisations: Stanford
Locations: Oxford


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The Political Thought o


By Fr. Herbert he!daily LETTERS OE JOHN HENRY NEWMAN A selection edited and introduced by Derek Stanford and Muriel Spark. (Peter Owen. 25s.)


MANY people think Of Newman as a scholar and something of a recluse. He was never embroiled in party politics it is true, but from his Oxford days he was concerned with

public affairs. „

long before and his friends launched their he famous Tracts. which %Vele a reaction to, the Reform Bill of 1832, he wrote shrewd comment on current affairs to his friends and to the Press. His pupils naturally considered him an unrivalled authority; one of them, Anthony Fronde. wrote of him: " Newman's mind was tvorld-wide. He was interested in everything which was going on in science. politics. or literature . he read omnivorously and seemed alwass to he better informed than an s one else present." Then and throughout a long life hich spanned the 19th century his concern St'fiti h religion in the wide as well as the personal scale. Few of his contemporaries were as sensitive ,0 the relation of politics to religion.


THIS is clearly shown in the new

selection from his vast correspondence Which has just been made by an unusual pair of editors. Mr. Stanford. an Anglican, has selected 50 letters from the tirst half of Newman's life, and Miss Spark, a Catholic. has chosen tinother 50 from the second. Catholic half.

Mostly short, they fulfil Newman's ideal, for dic■ make a lively introduction to his views and personality. He held that correspondence pros ides the best insight into character. These two selections will not fail to whet the appetite of many who do not yet know one of the great minds in thc, modern histur±; of the Church.

UNLIKE the letters. which are UNLIKE the letters. which are

very largely left to speak for themselves. Mr. Kenny's vtilume will he Well:0111e because it argues an unexpected case from scattered and little-studied sources. The author claims rightly that Ness mans political thought. his vigorous reaction to Liberalism in all its forms, was hound up with his religious development, and that his views are relevant to the present sit Ha lion This interesting thesis is somewhat dryly argued. perhaps aPart fi omit the famous " letter to the Duke of Norfolk." Newman seldom wrote formally about political issues.

Nevertheless it is very welcome. Far too many people have been eontent to dub Newman a reactionary. Mr. Kenn. following a number of modern specialists

engin. from Harold I eski RUS:sell Kirk, argues that for all his opposition to Liberalism he was a I I 11,• liberal at heart.

Newman," he concludes." is different from a great mans Catholic w titers by his resolute realism, w hich is shown very clearly in his acceptance of the modern democratic. secular. tolerant State, and it is here that he may have considerable influence amongst those Catholics who have yet to accept it as anything more than an unfortunate nevessits . . . and by many others than 'atholics."

This fresh approach to Newman will bring him a new set of readers, an them readers, an them

not demonstrate to em

readers, an them

not demonstrate to em

not only his versatility, but the hond that inescapably links the life of the spirit with public affairs in every age.

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