In 1892, near the end of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning’s life, he published an essay entitled “Courage,” which is the last-but-one chapter of his own longer collection of eleven essays modestly entitled Pastime Papers.His Chapter 10 on “Courage” is also a fitting complement to his profound Chapter 1, entitled “Honour.”
Because of the learning and depth and unmistakable variety of Cardinal Manning’s fresh insights concerning the concept and reality of courage, I propose now to present some of this wisdom and eloquence, that we too may thereby be inspired today and more fully fortified. It is my hope, moreover, that we shall also come to admire even more this Catholic Convert from Anglicanism who later became a Roman Catholic Cardinal of the Church. For he will take us on a journey from the Father of Greek History, Herodotus, to the Legend of Merry England, to the 1852 maritime disaster off South Africa of the Birkenhead, to the political insight of Horace the Latin poet, and to a somewhat surprising consideration of the foundation and expansion of the British Empire itself (its good sides and some of its vices and abuses, and thus the need for a course-correction and future caution). As we might expect, the underlying factors of religion and the sacred supernatural also deftly permeate Cardinal Manning’s thought and verbal expressions.