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Ipsa est petra quam non vincunt superbæ inferorum portæ.—ST. AUGUSTIN.
Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1845, by
FRANCIS PATRICK KENRICK, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
THE HON. ROGER B. TANEY,
CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES,
AS A SMALL TRIBUTE
TO HIS EMINENT STATION, PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE, INCORRUPTIBLE INTEGRITY, PURE PATRIOTISM, AND DEVOTED AT
TACHMENT TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH,
THE FOLLOWING WORK
PHILADELPHIA, January 6th, 1845.
The publication, in the year 1837, of a work addressed to the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, by the Right Rev. John Henry Hopkins, bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the State of Vermont, induced me, towards the close of that year, to address to the author a series of letters “ on the Primacy of the Apostolic See, and the authority of General Councils.” I never have been honored with a reply ; but having, in June, 1841, emulated his zeal, by addressing the Protestant Episcopal bishops generally, urging them to promote the great cause of Catholic unity, as he had pathetically exhorted us, he took occasion, some nineteen months afterwards, to notice my former letters, which he strangely fancied had been suppressed, and to invite me to examine the actual position of his communion, in a public oral discussion. This I declined as indecorous, offering, however, to open a regular correspondence in two religious papers, and amicably to review all matters of controversy between us. My proposition was not accepted, and our temporary correspondence was broken off rather abruptly, with some intimation from him that he would follow up his original design of enlightening the public mind on the topics in dispute in such form as suited his own taste and convenience. Not long afterwards, appeared a course of lectures, on the Reformation, intended to have been delivered in some Churches in this city; but which contained no reference to my letters, although the lectures might be considered as supplementary to his former treatise. Our controversy was, of course, previously closed; nor is my present work at all designed to re-open it. The edition of my letters being exhausted, I was advised to throw the materials into a new mould, leaving Dr. Hopkins entirely out of view. I have not had his writings before me during the composition of this treatise, except for a moment, to verify one or two quotations. There can be little advantage to the cause of truth, or unity, from controversy, when personal feelings become enlisted, and it is safer to abstract altogether from the advocates of the cause, lest a grave and important discussion should degenerate into trivial personalities.