Oxfordshire: The Rocket Press, 1985. Limited edition. Folio (11 inches tall), original illustrated gray paper boards, burgundy endpapers. Fine. Item #1246
"ON WHAT GROUNDS DO YOU STAND, O PRESBYTER OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND?"
Fine Press limited edition of John Henry Newman's Tract One—one of only 525 copies printed by The Rocket Press.
By the early nineteenth century, the Church of England was at a low ebb: "The Hanoverian years had seen the Church in torpor: the convocations were silent, daily services ignored, holy days unobserved, pastoral responsibilities neglected. The effect of this torpor as the decades of the nineteenth century progressed was to erode the authority of the Church" (Brian Martin). A crisis of authority erupted in 1833. A "newly constituted un-Anglican Parliament was claiming the authority to alter the ministry and government of the Church of England. The first of the Tracts for the Times posed the question to the clergy, 'On what grounds do you stand, O presbyter of the Church of England?'" (Geoffrey Rowell).
This edition of Tract One is preceded by a chronology of Newman's life and a short Introduction by the Rev. Dr. Alan Stephenson: "The most famous of High Church tracts are those of the Oxford Movement, which caused that movement to be called the Tractarian Movement. These were started by John Henry Newman in September 1833. One could that it was Tract One which really launched the Oxford Movement, though John Keble's Assize Sermon usually gets this honour. The Tracts began as eminently readable, crisp, short writings — Tract One is a brilliant literary composition."
Illustrated with a fine frontispiece portrait of Newman, after Maria Giberne's 1842 lithograph, and a facsimile page of the original manuscript (both have been tipped to the page). Bound in paper boards illustrated with a linocut of St. Mary's Church by John R. Smith.
"The Rocket Press started as the schoolboy hobby of Jonathan Stephenson, aged 13 in 1977, when he was introduced to the world of hand-typesetting and letterpress printing. When Stephenson left school aged 16, The Rocket Press became a professional printing studio equipped with Monotype casting machines and cylinder printing presses. In the two decades up to 1997 more than fifty books and pamphlets were designed, type-set and printed." Vincent Blehl. John Henry Newman: A Bibliographical Catalogue of His Writings, C54a, Brian Martin. John Henry Newman: His Life and Work, Rowell. The Vision Glorious: Themes and Personalities of the Catholic Revival in Anglicanism.