New York: The Viking Press, 1953. First edition. Octavo, original light brown cloth, original dust jacket. Faintest toning to dust jacket spine. About-fine. Item #743
"IT IS THE DUTY OF THE SON TO COVER THE SHAME OF HIS FATHER; AND THE CATHOLIC OWES IT TO THE CHURCH TO DEFEND HER AGAINST EVERY ADVERSE FACT AS HE WOULD DEFEND THE HONOUR OF HIS MOTHER" First American edition of this selection of Lord Acton's historical essays, with a lengthy Introduction by the editor, Douglas Woodruff. John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, First Baron Acton, was the scion of an old Anglo-continental family and the most prominent lay Catholic in Victorian England. Denied the chance to attend Oxford University, Acton instead spent several years in Germany studying with Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger. In 1859, he returned to England and assumed editorship of the Catholic monthly, "The Rambler" (succeeding Newman) where "Acton and his group produced the most intelligent Roman Catholic writing of the century" (Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church). The book consists of: I. Ultramontanism, II. The States of the Church, III. The Political System of the Popes, IV. The Munich Congress, V. Mediaeval Fables of the Pope, VI. Bossuet, VII. Nicholas of Cusa, VIII. Fra Paolo Sarpi; IX. The Catholic Press, X. The Catholic Academy, XI. Political Causes of the American Revolution, XII. Notes on the Present State of Austria, XIII. Confessions of Frederick the Great, XIV. Notices of Books. Index. "At a time when there was great suspicion about the political agenda of Catholics in England, Acton became an eloquent apologist for the rapprochement between Catholicism and liberty. His slogan was 'A free Church in a free State'" (Robert Ellsberg). Woodruff was the longtime editor of the Tablet and at this time the chairman of Burns and Oates. His valuable Introduction, in seven parts, begins by addressing, in Acton's body of work, "the disparity between so much massive erudition and the absence of any large sustained work which would remain as a monument to his powers." First published in England by Burns and Oates in 1952, the fiftieth anniversary of Acton's death. Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses in Our Time.