THIS volume can hardly be called a book. "Encore ne saurait-on composer jamais un livre," says a recent French writer with native or acquired sense of form, "en remaniant des correspondances." Still less can you make a book by merely amassing a diary, letters, and some fugitive pieces of fourteen years ago. That is all that I have done. Then let the result stand, not as a book, but as a collection.
Why is the thing done? It needs justification, and this is the apology. Fourteen years ago, I took part in a certain course of action which was misunderstood at the time, and which is persistently misrepresented even to-day. Full explanation was impossible, because others with whom I had been acting were tied to silence, and I could not fairly use my greater freedom. How long the obligation lay upon them I do not know precisely, but some of them have now begun to speak, without doing much to dispel misconceptions, and thus set me free to speak for my own part.
This volume, then, contains my part of the record of what happened when the late Pope, Leo XIII, opened up to fresh investigation the old question of the English ordinations. A narrative newly written might have some advantage of form; but there is more safety in the mere production of what was written at the time. The collection is not quite chaotic, for it has a nucleus in the diary which I kept during two months of active work at Rome. This Diary is printed just as it was written, for it is produced as evidence.
There is much in it that gives me little satisfaction, much that is trivial, some evidence of bad temper, and some unpleasant indications of ignorance. It has been found necessary, for obvious reasons, to withhold some names, and half-a-dozen passages of a purely personal character, containing in all about two hundred and fifty words, have been omitted as affecting others than myself. Some things I should like to omit on my own account, but they are retained in order that the evidence may be entire. The Diary is intended to show what was done, what was said, and what was thought; to indicate also, by its silences, what was not done. For this purpose it must be produced as a whole; excerpts would be useless. Severe demands are therefore made on the patience of the reader.
The Diary must be left intact, but it seems reasonable to illustrate, and sometimes to correct it--sometimes also to apologize--in the margin. Reading it after these fourteen years, I observe with surprise how many things are noted which I have completely forgotten, how many which I vividly remember are unrecorded. I have not hesitated to draw upon j my memory for illustration; but such reminiscences cannot, of course, be considered evidence in the same measure as the notes made at the time. I have collected some extracts from letters for further illustration. This section of the volume might easily be enlarged; but it is hard to know where to stop, and it seems safer to draw the line rigidly at letters written by myself or addressed to me.
No excuse is needed for the addition of the text of Mr. Gladstone's Memorandum. The fifth section is concerned with the correction of a mistake, and, one may hope, with the settlement of a tiresome and foolish controversy. The sixth is needed for the explanation of some allusions; it deals with documentary matter the importance of which has been greatly exaggerated, but it also contains something about Reginald Pole that is not without a certain interest even now. This should be true also of the note on the Provincial Council of Mainz, which may possibly stir up someone to edit in convenient form a document of the Reformation period that will repay study.
Of the section De Re Anglicana enough has been said in the Introduction, but it may be necessary to explain how I came by the Risposta. One morning in September, 1896, the post brought me, without any indication of its source, a packet containing the uncorrected printer's proofs of this pamphlet. One hesitated; but the matter cried aloud for public comment, and I swallowed my scruples about using what was thus placed in my hands. Perhaps I was hasty in assuming its genuineness. But public notice was taken of it, and it was not disavowed. The text is now published for the first time. My copy, as I have said, is an uncorrected proof; finding it impossible to obtain any other, I have to-rely on this, correcting it to the best of my ability. One incorrigible sentence has been left obelized.
The remaining sections are aftermath. Let me have pardon for thinking it worth while to recall from oblivion some writings in which I dealt with the Bull Apostolicae Curae and its defenders. One final paper is added, in which an historical precedent was adduced to show that a pontifical utterance of this kind may pass out of sight.
At the suggestion of the publishers there have been added to the volume Appendices containing the Bull itself and the Responsio Archiepiscoporum Angliae. Monsignor Moyes, unmindful of ancient enmities, has been good enough to supply an authentic copy of the former. Some doubt was expressed about the inclusion of the latter, on the ground that it might seem to link up the action of the English hierarchy too closely with the adventure on which Father Puller and I were engaged. But the other contents of the volume make it plain, beyond the possibility of cavil, that we had no official sanction. My own bishop would not even grant me formal leave of absence. The benison of the Archbishop of York, which we valued highly, was purely personal. Moreover, the arguments of the Responsio are of another order than those which we employed. I have explained in the Introduction what was the weakness of the position which we personally occupied. The answer of the English hierarchy was free from that weakness, and it is hardly desirable to recall the incidents of the controversy without at the same time putting the question on its true and permanent footing. For this reason I am glad that the Bishop of Salisbury, who controls the copyright of the Responsio, has kindly allowed its inclusion. He has not, however, read my volume, nor was he in any way responsible for the action described in it.
I have also been enabled to give the text of a letter of Leo XIII, acknowledging the Archbishops' Responsio, a document hitherto, I understand, anekdoton. It may be defective, though the ladies of the Cambridge Type-writing Agency in the Adelphi have devoted much skill and industry to the deciphering of a clumsy manuscript. The copy in my hands was without signature, but I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the letter. A fourth Appendix contains a Bibliography, as complete as I can make it, dating from the time when the question was raised in a new form by M. Portal.
I have to thank the editors of the Guardian and of the Contemporary Review for leave to reproduce some articles. By favour of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the volume also contains two brief dissertations, originally published as tracts of the Church Historical Society. In every case the text has been carefully revised, but the arguments have been left as written, though sometimes guarded or corrected in the margin. I am indebted to Mr. Henry Gladstone for permission to print matter from Mr. Gladstone's pen, and to Mr. Tilney Basset for a copy of a letter of my own, drawn from the stores at Hawarden. To those who have been kind enough to read the proofs thanks are due for much help, but I will not name them lest they should seem to be responsible for things of which they disapproved. My friend Miss Christian Burke has relieved me of the grievous labour of preparing an Index.
HIGHGATE, October 14th, 1910.