[Letter of John James Taylor to Francis William Newman.]
January 5th, 1848
Your letter reached me when I was from home, during our short Christmas vacation. I should, however, have replied to you before now, had I not thought it right previously to consult Thom. The fact is this. He had obtained previously a promise from another friend, Mr. H. Romilly, of an article on the Currency; and our hesitation was whether we could sufficiently rely on its fulfilment, to compel us to decline your valuable offer.—Some time ago a German friend put into my hands a work on "Communism"—treated apparently, after the usual German fashion, in a scientific manner. You have exercised your mind much of social questions; and this from the few glimpses I can get of it, seems one of the most startling and novel of the present day. Would you find it too great a task on your time, to look through it; and if you think the subject worth handling, to give us an article on it for May? As I understand Communism, it would revolutionise property and annihilate religion. It seems to differ from our vulgar Socialism by engaging thoughtful, learned and earnest men in its behalf. But I speak not from having read the book, but from what I have been told. The existence of such views among learned men in the heart of the most highly educated country in Europe, is a phenomenon well worth considering. I will send you the book by my son.—Thank you, my dear friend, for your kind and gratifying note about my son. There are few testimonies that I value more than yours. I have much reason to be happy in my boy. He is well principled and exceedingly industrious; and whatever he undertakes tries, I do believe, to execute thoroughly and faithfully, without any false appearance. Should his life be spared, I have great hope that he will pursue an honourable and useful course. I have no other ambition for him.