Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Political economist, b. at Woodside, Old Windsor, England, of Protestant parents, 26 August, 1848; d. 6 November, 1906. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a first class in the honours School of Law and History. Before proceeding to the university he had been received into the Catholic Church and his subsequent career was entirely devoted to the service of religion. By treating political economy, both in books and lectures, from a definitely Catholic standpoint, he was one of the earliest to oppose the current teaching, which declined to consider history or ethics as relevant to the subject.

"The Groundwork of Economics" (1883), the first work published in his own name (for the translation into English of Hergenröther's "Church and State" was anonymous), attracted considerable attention and was translated into German in 1896 by Dr. Walter K&aauml;mpfe. The "Manual of Political Economy" (Stonyhurst Philosophical Series), published in 1892 (third edition, 1907), has achieved a more permanent success, and is now a recognised textbook in English-speaking schools and seminaries. In 1886 he published "Studies in Family Life", an historical inquiry into this branch of economics, with a view to justify the contention that Christianity is an essential factor in the problem of social well-being. This book was translated into German in 1887 by Paul Maria Baumgarten. In 1895 he published anonymously in London a poetical version of the story of Sintram.

Besides his books he wrote frequently for "The Dublin Review", "The Month", and other periodicals, both English and American, and read papers before The British Association, The Manchester Statistical Society, The Catholic Truth Society, and other bodies. A considerable number of his later essays and lectures dealing with modern social problems have been issued by The Catholic Truth Society in pamphlet form, and his premature death was a severe loss to English Catholics in the confusion of the controversies raised by Socialism. His last, and perhaps his most important, book, "The Key to the World's Progress", was published in 1906. This, unlike his earlier works, is directly apologetic, being an elaborate defence of the Catholic Church written with a view to meeting the difficulties and questionings of the twentieth century. A popular edition has been issued since his death.

In 1874 he married Eliza Mary Katherine, the daughter of Francis Ridout Ward. She died in 1889, leaving nine children. Devas was a man of singular piety, a zealous member of the Society of St. Vincent of Paul, and an active friend of the poor ; he had no other ambition except to propose the Catholic Faith to the reasonable acceptance of a troubled and sceptical age. He took a leading part in all Catholic enterprises of his time in England — notably in that which enabled Catholics to frequent the universities — and though always unwilling to make himself personally prominent, he exercised considerable influence over the thought and conduct of English Catholics. He was examiner in Political Economy at the Royal University of Ireland from 1889 to 1898.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:1-9
1 Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord -- that is what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 13-14
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and your faithful shall ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:22-30
22 Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 26th, 2016 Image

St. Bean
October 26: On December 16, there is named in the Roman ... Read More