After twenty years of Catholic life, I feel no delicacy in giving my opinion on any point when there is a call for me,—and the only reason why I have not done so sooner or more often than I have, is that there has been no call. I have now reluctantly come to the conclusion that your Volume is a call.

Certainly, in many instances in which theologian differs from theologian and country from country, I have a definite judgment of my own; I can say so without offence to any one, for the very reason that from the nature of the case it is impossible to agree with all of them. I prefer English habits of belief and devotion to foreign, from the same causes, and by the same right, which justifies foreigners in preferring their own. In following those of my people, I show less singularity, and {21} create less disturbance than if I made a flourish with what is novel and exotic. And in this line of conduct I am but availing myself of the teaching which I fell in with on becoming a Catholic; and it is a pleasure to me to think that what I hold now, and would transmit after me if I could, is only what I received then. The utmost delicacy was observed on all hands in giving me advice: only one warning remains on my mind, and it came from Dr. Griffiths, the late Vicar-Apostolic of the London district. He warned me against books of devotion of the Italian school, which were just at that time coming into England; and when I asked him what books he recommended as safe guides, he bade me get the works of Bishop Hay. By this I did not understand that he was jealous of all Italian books, or made himself responsible for all that Dr. Hay happens to have said; but I took him to caution me against a character and tone of religion, excellent in its place, not suited for England.

When I went to Rome, though it may seem strange to you to say it, even there I learned nothing inconsistent with this judgment. Local influences do not form the atmosphere of its institutions and colleges, which are Catholic in teaching as well as in name. I recollect one saying among others of my Confessor, a Jesuit Father, one of the holiest, most prudent men I ever knew. He said that we could not love the Blessed Virgin too much, if we loved our Lord a great deal more. When I returned to England, the first expression of theological opinion which came in my way, was aproposof the series of translated Saints' Lives which {22} the late Dr. Faber originated. That expression proceeded from a wise prelate, who was properly anxious as to the line which might be taken by the Oxford converts, then for the first time coming into work. According as I recollect his opinion, he was apprehensive of the effect of Italian compositions, as unsuited to this country, and suggested that the Lives should be original works, drawn up by ourselves and our friends from Italian sources. If at that time I was betrayed into any acts which were of a more extreme character than I should approve now, the responsibility of course is my own; but the impulse came, not from old Catholics or superiors, but from men whom I loved and trusted, who were younger than myself. But to whatever extent I might be carried away, and I cannot recollect any tangible instances, my mind in no long time fell back to what seems to me a safer and more practical course.