Monday, January 21, 2013

Froude's Conservatism

“It was not for me to solve the problems which surrounded religion and morality.  Like my own existence, they had their roots in mystery.  I had been born into the Church of England, and the Church of England was an institution of the realm.  It had grown into its peculiar form as the law and the constitution had grown, under historical conditions and influences.  It did not pretend to perfection.  Like the law, it had its local peculiarities.  But the interpretation which it offered of the mysteries of the universe, if perhaps mistaken in some points, was the growth of generations, the product of the thoughts of men as good and wise as had ever lived.  It was immeasurably more likely to be true than the speculations of a single individual, while, as a guide of life, it would be time to ask for fuller light when one had lived up, as one never could, to the rule it offered . . . The [Roman Catholic] Church must have strangely neglected her educational duties if she has allowed a generation to grow up in England, Scotland, Germany who had broken away from her in indignation.  The snakes which had stung her had been bred in her own bosom and nourished on her own breast.”

W. H. Dunn, James Anthony Froude, (Oxford:  at the Clarendon Press, 1961) pp. 169, 170

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