Newman in America: Correspondence with J. B. Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati

By Elizabeth Huddleston
Published in History & New and Noteworthy
January 19, 2021
2 min read
Newman in America: Correspondence with J. B. Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati

On February 5, 1875 the Archbishop of Cincinnati, John Baptist Purcell, wrote to Newman that some in the United States were opposed to a pamphlet he published in a Catholic Liverpool paper. The letter reads:


"Dear Dr Newman,

Thank you from my heart for all your admirable writings in defence of Catholic truth. Thank you for your most able, and, it ought to be most satisfactory reply to Mr. Gladstone. Our sense of its great merits is imperfectly expressed in this week’s Catholic Telegraph. And now we are shocked by the tirade of a violent, half crazy, and it is said, drunkard’s abuse of that noble Championship of our rightful allegiance to the Church and to the State, by McMasters of the New York Free-man’s Journal. You disregard the persecution which foolish, or even wicked, men seek to make you suffer for your advocacy of justice and truth, but on Earth as in Heaven your reward is great indeed. An humble individual who enjoyed your edifying supper at the Oratory in Birmingham and heard one of your pious instructions, should probably ask pardon for this intrusion on your precious moments; but he could not bear his own reproaches if he did not make this amends for an American journalist’s violence. Go on, Dear. Dr. Newman, in the warfare until death, if necessary for the truth—In coelo quies.

Most respectfully Yours,
J. B. Purcell (Abp. Cin.)"

Newman acknowledged the letter from Archbishop Purcell in a letter to Mrs. W. Froude, dated February 23, 1875, which is included in Wilfrid Ward’s biography, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman:

"Dr. Purcell’s (Archbishop of Cincinnati) is very important too. It shows there will be some opposition to me in the United States—and doubtless in England too, for some one is moving against me, as regards portions of my Pamphlet, in a Catholic Liverpool Paper—but I trust they will not be able to do anything to hurt my views and arguments in the estimation of Protestants, by anything like a bold opposition to them."

See NINS Digital Collections for more historical figures and correspondence. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Previous Article
Fr. John Lingard (1771-1851): Between Enlightened Catholicism and the Newmanian Second Spring
Elizabeth Huddleston

Elizabeth Huddleston

Associate Editor, Newman Studies Journal

Elizabeth Huddleston is Head of Research and Publications at the National Institute for Newman Studies and is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Catholic Studies at Duquesne University.


Newman Today
New and Noteworthy
© 2024, All Rights Reserved.
National Institute for Newman Studies