[ James Spencer Northcote, Roman Catholic convert. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('J. Spencer Northcote.'), as editor of 'The Rambler', to contributor Richard Simpson, discussing items for review, Daniel William Cahill, and the Oratory, Edgbaston.

James Spencer Northcote, Roman Catholic convert, President of Oscott College [ Richard Simpson (1820-1876); Daniel William Cahill (1796-1864); Oxford Movement ]
Publication details: 
The Oratory, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Undated [ 1854 ].
SKU: 18645

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium with mourning border. In good condition, on lightly aged paper. The Rambler was hugely unpopular with the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England for its liberal attitude and satirical emphasis. According to his entry in the ODNB, Northcote edited the journal between June 1852 and September 1854. Simpson (whose ODNB entry also see), under co-proprietor Sir John Dalberg Acton, would take over the editorship before turning it over to John Henry Newman, who would resign after a few months due to pressure from the hierarchy, and the magazine would be discontinued in 1864. The first part of the letter gives instructions, in five numbered parts, regarding a parcel of books Northcote has despatched to Simpson 'per Goods Train'. The parcel contains 'a book addressed to Bumstead, my old friend in High Holborn', as well as 'a small packet for Burns [ London bookseller ], which you can give him the next time you go into Town [...] In the parcel are divers books, none the least entertaining, & most, awfully dull. The great bulk are Chambers's School Series, & of course must not be separately noticed.' He gives instructions on how to describe these in a review ('all these dullities are to be done breviter, or rather brevissime'). 'The London Catalogues are Burns's, but he wd. like to have them noticed for their extreme convenience & completeness of arrangement for all literary purposes.' After dealing with the parcel he writes: 'So mhch for business. Your Short Notices continue to give immense satisfaction to the Editor [ i.e. Northcote himself ] & the discriminating portion of the public.' He next turns to the Oratory: 'I don't feel quite at home yet; but I shall get used to it by & bye [...] In a busy house, one is secure from interruption. Won't Cahill (or Cackle, as he is sometimes called) [Daniel William Cahill] give us a thunderer for our article upon him. Ruat caelum. I know high authorities & the most learned priests back the Rambler's judgment & am content.' According to his entry in the ODNB, 'Cahill's pseudo-scientific illustrations of transubstantiation distressed the English Catholic monthly The Rambler, conducted by Anglican converts to Catholicism (J. M. Capes, "Dr Cahill's letter on transubstantiation", The Rambler, new ser., 1, 1854, 169–77). Cahill dismissed his opponents as "a clique of converted parsons" and "the three parsons of Portman Street" (Cahill, Letters and Speeches, 402).' Northcote's papers are in the John J. Burns Library of Boston College.