London: Burns, Oates, & Co., 1870. First edition. 12mo. (7 3/4 inches tall), original blind-stamped purple cloth, gilt spine, coated endpapers. Ex-Dominican library bookplate, endpaper inscription, small ink-stamp to verso of title. Uppermost margin of title page clipped (not affecting text), expert reinforcement to inner hinges, slight wear to ends of toned spine, gilt bright, corners sharp. A near-fine copy. Item #977
"NON IN DIALECTICA COMPLACUIT DEO SALVUM FACERE POPULUM SUUM" (ST. AMBROSE) First edition of John Henry Newman's defense of the role of "assent" or belief in Christian thought—one of only 500 copies in the original purple cloth binding. "The year 1870 saw the publication of one of Newman's major works, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent" (Vincent Blehl). Newman evidently labored over the Grammar for twenty years. "The Grammar is a work of philosophy, psychology and literature. His arguments are illustrated by numerous examples, sometimes possessing a force of poetic beauty, sometimes upheld by a biting humour rarely seen in his other writings" (Brian Martin). The text is divided into two parts: 'Assent and Apprehension,' which deals with believing what one does not understand and, 'Assent and Inference,' on the issue of believing what cannot be absolutely proven.
Printed by Gilbert and Rivington and published in March 1870, with title epigraph by St. Ambrose ('Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum') and with Newman's warm dedication to fellow Catholic convert Edward Bellasis: "From His Affectionate / J.H.N / February 21, 1870." Bellasis was "one of the most able and respected of that little band of English converts who in the later years of the Tractarian movement joined the Catholic Church from the ranks of the legal profession. After his death on the 24th of January, 1873, Cardinal Newman wrote: 'He was one of the best men I ever knew'" (Catholic Encyclopedia). The book was published by Burns Oates, but only after James Burns "reassured Newman that he would promote it as well as Longmans. Newman had, by this time...evidently had some doubts about the ability of Catholic publishers to push sales of this of his works which would be of interest to non-Catholic booksellers and readers" (Vincent Blehl).
Bound with a final leaf, the publisher's advertisement: "Works by J.H. Newman, D.D." with a concluding note: "N.B.—the volumes marked with an asterisk, written before the Author was a Catholic, are hereby especially submitted in all things to the judgement of the Church." Provenance: St. Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Abbey on the Isle of Wight was built in the Pugin-inspired Gothic style by architect Gilbert Blount in 1865 for the Lady Countess of Clare, a convert and Dominican tertiary. Nuns lived at the Priory from December 1866 to October 1989. Blehl. John Henry Newman: A Bibliographical Catalogue of His Writings, A24a. Martin. John Henry Newman: His Life and Work.