{117} [Rambler, May 1859.]

Contemporary Events

Judgment of the English Bishops on the Royal Commission

As we have given admission to the objections which have been felt—and that, we are bound to say, by many considerable persons—to the mode in which it was rumoured that our Bishops intended to meet the Royal Commission, we are called, not only by duty, but by simple justice, to insert the formal expression which they have given in their late pastorals to their decision on the subject of its provisions and their reasons for making it. To that decision we submit ourselves must sincerely and unreservedly, though it is superfluous in a magazine professedly Catholic to make such an avowal.

The Cardinal-Archbishop speaks as follows:

"There is no subject on which we have more frequently or more earnestly addressed you in our Pastorals than on that of education. It is one which is daily brought before our minds by the exigencies of our diocese, and even by its general interest in the public mind. We should indeed be happy if these were the only motives that impelled us now to return to this subject. But the enemy is choosing it for the field in which to sow the tares of division among Catholics. Deeply, indeed, do we deplore that any one should endeavour to lead you astray from the simple path of right and dutiful feeling, on a matter so obviously belonging to the ecclesiastical authority. The circumstances which have given rise to the dissensions to which we allude are briefly these: —

"Some time ago a Royal Commission was issued to inquire into the state of education. To the questions proposed by it, to be answered in writing, objections were not made, after they had been revised, provided they were communicated to schools through our recognised channels; but on deliberate consideration, the construction of the Commission was not considered by the Bishops fair towards Catholics, nor such as could be acquiesced in without modification. For the matter was considered sufficiently important to engage all the Bishops of England to come together at a most inconvenient period of the year. They met consequently in London, on the 9th of November last. They entered into a full consideration of the case. In the Commission, not only Anglicans, but Dissenters were represented; while not a single Catholic had been placed upon it. We knew by experience, as well as from the very nature of the case, how difficult, not to say impossible, it is for a commission to draw just inferences, or judge accurately where Catholic education is concerned, without any competent person assisting to give explanations. It was therefore considered all-important to obtain the addition of one single Catholic to the Commission. This was peremptorily refused, and all negotiations ceased.

"But further, this Commission named a number of sub-Commissioners, to inspect schools of every religion—ours, of course, included. Not one of these was a Catholic; yet the instructions issued to them enjoined as follows: 'The Commissioners wish you to ascertain, exclusively as a question of fact, what are in practice the difference(s) between the course(s) of religious instruction afforded by different religious denominations; what (if any) are the recognised formularies adopted by them, and how far those formularies are taught in such a manner that the pupils have such perception of their meaning as children of an early age and average intelligence may be expected to acquire' (p. 14).

"This rendered the difficulties of acquiescence infinitely greater. We recalled to mind how, from the beginning of our participation in the benefits of educational grants, we had made it a condition for accepting them, that Catholic inspectors should be appointed for the inspection of our schools, exclusive of all others; and that even {118} these should exercise no inspection whatever of their religious teaching. Now here it was proposed to permit Protestant inspectors to assume, not only the functions accorded hitherto solely to Catholics, but those jealously reserved from them. They were to examine if our formularies (that is, our catechisms) were taught in a way suitable to the understanding of our children. We need not ask how a Protestant, possibly abhorring every Catholic doctrine, could be intrusted to examine how far our children acquire a proper perception of the rosary, or of confession, or of invocation of saints, or of transubstantiation; for we cannot realise how we should be able to examine Protestant children, so as to ascertain whether they obtain adequate perception of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, or the Lutheran theory of works, or the Anglican latitude on the Eucharist. But, putting aside the mere absurdity of sanctioning such preposterous examinations, not merely to satisfy any curiosity, but to afford materials for a judgment on our religious teaching, the Bishops have felt that a sacred and religious principle was at issue, and that the concession demanded was equivalent to a surrender of the very ground on which Catholic inspectors had been demanded and obtained.

"Consequently, it being entirely optional whether or no these new inspectors should be admitted into our schools, it was decided that they should not. A circular was therefore drawn up, addressed by each Bishop to his clergy, cautioning them against permitting the proposed inspection; and every Bishop, without exception, forwarded it to his priests.

"This was, clearly, a joint and concurrent act of our entire hierarchy, enough to confute all vague and general insinuations of any difference in its action.

"We therefore exhort you, dearly beloved in Christ, not to be led away by attempts to detach this question, and the course which we have felt bound in conscience to pursue, from the great cause of Catholic education, and its broad and now established maxims. It is not a political, nor a governmental, nor a secular educational question. It is, in the true sense of the word, a religious consideration; whether, by sanctioning the introduction of inspection of our schools, even in religious matters, by Protestants, we should not completely wrest from its proper ground the principle hitherto strenuously maintained by us, of keeping Catholic education entirely in Catholic hands.

"To preserve intact this principle belongs to us, in virtue of our office; and we cannot commit to others, whatever connection they may have with secular education, the duty of directing the flock committed to us, on the course which has to be pursued in a matter so intimately involving the spiritual welfare of our poor. 'Let no one, therefore, deceive you with vain words' (Ephes. v. 6), but listen to the voice of your pastors; 'Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account for your souls' (Heb. xiii. 17). Be assured that they solicitously attend to every thing connected with the education of the poor, and with double earnestness to whatever regards their religious instruction. Their eyes are as open as others' can be to difficulties and obstacles, only they look, perhaps, more to providence and grace for overcoming them. 'As the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God' (Ps. cxxii. 2); our eyes are 'lifted up to the mountains, whence help will come to us;' for 'the Lord is our keeper, the Lord is our protector in our right hand' (Ps. cxx.)."

And the following is an extract from the Pastoral of the Bishop of Birmingham, who goes into the subject more at length:

"That you, dearly beloved, are not without that spirit demanded by our Lord, urged by His Apostle, and described by his holy Martyr [St. Ignatius,] we joyfully bear you witness in the Lord. Nor are you disposed to make any thing appear reasonable apart from your Bishop; to question his acts before you even know what those acts were, or what their motives; still less to discuss those acts before the world at large: this conduct would not be yours, only that one or two, here and there, using the public press as a weapon against the conduct of the episcopacy, might, had you been so disposed, have separated you from us, and that in a matter {119} which intimately concerns our duty and pastoral vigilance, and which involves a principle of ecclesiastical freedom, of episcopal prudence, and of religious discipline. And upon this subject it now becomes our part to give you correct knowledge for your guidance.

"You are well aware that we acceded to the Government system of education for the poor, and thankfully accepted its aid; but only with this express condition,—that the secular department of education alone should be inspected in our schools, and that only by inspectors previously approved by the Catholic Poor-School Committee. And as the Poor-School Committee is appointed by the Bishops, this was in fact an inspection to be exercised only by Catholics. The religious department of education was to be left entirely free from Government inspection. This was the only principle upon which we saw that we could safely accept the Government plan.

"In the course of last year, the Parliament prayed the Sovereign for the appointment of a Royal Commission, whose purpose should be to inquire into the state of popular education in England; and such a Commission was appointed. This Commission consists of seven members, lay and ecclesiastical, and of various denominations. The Commission, after its appointment, nominated ten Assistant Commissioners, deputed to collect, by local and personal examination, the facts on which their report is to be grounded. Yet, though every other important religious division of the community was either directly or indirectly represented, to our great surprise, we found that neither on the Commission nor amongst the Assistant Commissioners was there a single Catholic member; though, if there be a distinction in the country, in matters of secular and religious education, broad and deeply marked beyond all others, it is that which defines off the general body of Catholics from the general body of Protestants. And it is altogether impossible for the representatives of one of these bodies wisely and faithfully to investigate and report upon the conduct of the other, in the secular and religious training of youth, when acting apart from the members of that other body.

However estimable, and however well disposed to act fairly, these Protestant noblemen, clergymen, and gentlemen may be, can any of them, in the nature of things, be in a position to correct and obviate erroneous impressions once imbibed, as to what may be the spirit and the principles on which Catholic schools are conducted? If there is one thing in this world more clearly obvious than another, one thing which the events of every day score more deeply on the Catholic mind, it is this, that only a Catholic can understand the mind and spirit of a Catholic. The most enlightened and best-intentioned men are continually misunderstanding us and misinterpreting us, both as to our conduct and our principles. And were Catholic education to be put upon its trial before a tribunal so exclusively Protestant as not to have even one Catholic member to act as interpreter, it would be as a witness set before a court, standing alone, and without any friendly counsellor to correct the evidence elicited by his cross-examination.

"We now draw your attention to a point of considerable importance to the case in hand. The constitution of the Royal Commission expressly provides, that the managers of schools and others are perfectly at liberty to receive or not to receive the visits of the Assistant Commissioners, and to answer or not to answer their inquiries. We invite you to bear the fact in mind throughout the explanations which follow.

"About the close of last autumn, the Secretary of the Royal Commission wrote a letter to our Poor-School Committee, inviting its assistance in procuring the cooperation of the clergy, and others, connected with Catholic schools. This request led to an application from the Poor-School Committee for the introduction of a Catholic element into the composition of the Commission. The application was refused, and consequently the Committee declined to give their coöperation. Meanwhile circumstances arose which attracted the serious attention of the Bishops. The instructions given to the Assistant Commissioners became public; and some of these gentlemen were endeavouring to gain entrance into our schools with the view of carrying {120}

them into execution. From these instructions it became known, that they were not only to make a complete investigation into the secular instruction, but, what was of far graver importance, they were directed to make precise inquiry into the quantity and even into the quality of the religious teaching given in the schools. The following passage is quoted from the 14th page of those instructions: 'The Commissioners wish you to ascertain, exclusively as a question of fact, what are in practice the differences between the courses of religious instruction afforded by different religious denominations; what (if any) are the recognised formularies adopted by them, and how far these formularies are taught in such a manner that the pupils have such perception of their meaning as children of an early age and average intelligence may be expected to acquire.' Here, then, plainly and incontrovertibly, if we acceded to the request for coöperation with the Commission as now constituted, was our whole system of doctrinal teaching to be made the subject of visitatorial examination by Protestant Commissioners, some of whom were laymen, some clergymen; and from their impressions would be derived their report.

"While these things were occupying the attention of the Bishops, there was a difficulty found to exist in another quarter, which, though unconnected with the Royal Commission, failed not to throw its own light upon the plan of operations contemplated by that Commission. To our own surprise, we found a system of Protestant clerical inspection of our religious teaching actually insinuating itself into operation. This fact will require some brief preliminary explanation.

"Encouraged by the invitation and the aid proffered to all alike by the Government, the Catholics began, with no small cost and exertion, to establish Reformatory Schools for the recovery of depraved youth to honesty and virtue. And, on their first institution, they were put under the same rule of inspection as prisons, and as to their 'condition and regulations,' they were reported upon by the Inspectors of Prisons. But, soon after, the Committee of Council on Education offered to put them on the footing of Industrial Schools, and to have them inspected as such by the Inspectors of Poor-House Schools. However, on a representation made by the Catholic Poor-School Committee, the Committee of Council consented that the Reformatory Schools should be inspected by the Catholic Inspectors of Poor-Schools, limiting their inspection, as usual, to secular education, and not touching the religious element.

"At the close of the year 1857, another change took place. Government found it inconvenient that the same establishments should receive grants of money from two several departments of administration. The result was, that the Committee of Council withdrew their aid, and the reformatories remained exclusively under the Home Secretary; who directed, by a minute, 'the Inspector of Prisons shall discharge the functions hitherto assigned to the Inspector of Schools.' This, be it observed, did not put these reformatories on their original footing as to inspection; for they were now examined, not simply as prisons, but in the same way as other schools; and we very soon found that the inspector who visited certain of our reformatories, and who happened to be a Protestant clergyman, insisted on it, as a part of the duty enjoined upon him, that he should examine into the religious teaching of Catholics. Considering it his right to exercise this function personally, the inspector, as a matter of courtesy and consideration, is willing that the priest should examine the children in his presence, not, as he says, 'to criticise doctrines, but to see whether they are taught effectually and earnestly;' and whether those who teach religion are 'fit for their work.' You cannot fail to see how much this language sounds like that of a Bishop making his visitation. We except, indeed, the point of criticising doctrine, into which he might still consciously or unconsciously enter, having the field open to him. Yet it is a government inspector's recorded view of his duty. What follows is extracted from the same correspondence: 'It seems to me an essential item in the effectual inspection of reformatories, that I should be in a condition to certify to the public that the essentials of a Christian's faith and duty are taught, and well taught, in it. By essentials, I mean the great fundamental {121} points on which all Christians are agreed; no points of controversy need be brought in. Conducted by a Catholic teacher, as the examination would be, no opportunity for any objectionable questions would be given.' This, again, is a Protestant clerical inspector's view of his duty in a Catholic school. So that a priest, examining under his official superintendence, is to draw a distinction between fundamentals and non-fundamentals, and between what Catholics believe and what all Christians are agreed upon. In other words, the priest, when under the eye of a government official, is to lower his teaching down to that of the lowest of Christian sects, whatever that may be. What greater proof can there be that a Protestant is incapable of understanding the duty and work of a Catholic teacher? That the inspector claims the right of making the religious examination in person, is proved by his having done so already. For, in one case, as the priest declined to coöperate, with our catechism in hand, the Protestant clergyman actually did examine the religious teaching of a Catholic school. But the proposal to make the examination of religious teaching through the priest is even worse, on more than one important view of the subject, than if the inspector himself examined. For this would not merely be a religious inspection of the school, but would wear the unavoidable appearance of an inspection of the priest in the exercise of his clerical duty. No priest could submit himself to a position so ambiguous and objectionable.

"Such is an instance of the proceedings of a Protestant clerical inspector acting upon his instructions from higher State authority; and although it has no official connection with the Royal Commission, yet it involves an identical principle. And it throws light on the similar instructions which the Commission has given to the Assistant Commissioners, with reference to their inquiries into the formularies of religious doctrine, and the methods by which they are taught. But what Catholic can fail to see, that if we, with direct concurrence, admit the State to examine, inspect, and report upon our religious formularies and modes of teaching them, we not only compromise our religious freedom, but actually admit a species of visitatortal power in matters religious and Catholic on the part of the crown? Who sees not, even at a glance, that if Royal Commissioners, and Government inspectors, invested with this visitatorial authority, enter our schools to examine in what way the clergy and the teachers inculcate the doctrines of our faith, the impression on those rude, uncultured, simple-minded, poor children must be that, after all, the State must have some kind of rule and predominance over the Catholic religion? It is not so easy even for a well-educated mind to draw the subtle distinction between the visitation and inspection of religious teaching on the one hand, and authority exercised in such inspection on the other. Can they be separated? Does not official inspection essentially imply authority over whatever is officially inspected and examined? To a Protestant this causes no uneasiness, perhaps awakens no reflection; for he considers supreme authority over religion to lodge in the State. Not so can it be with a Catholic. A Bishop comes and inspects the religious teaching in a school; and the result is, a deep impression on the minds of the children, that he is one who exercises authority over the priest, the teachers, and the children, in matters religious. A Royal Commissioner, or a Government inspector, comes in the name of the State,—a Protestant, whether layman or clergyman,—and does the selfsame thing, and, according to all outward appearance, in the selfsame forms. Can this be done without leaving an impression of the State's exercising authority in matters religious?

"It is in vain to argue, as one or two Catholics have unwisely done, that the Royal Commission is not a permanent institution, but only an organisation for a temporary purpose. It is a precedent, and may be followed by others. The question is one of principle; and a principle given up once, is a principle for ever surrendered. By the very fact of that surrender, it ceases to be accounted for a principle. Once yield that principle, and, as already attempted in the reformatories, religious inspection may be forced upon every department of {122} Catholic education. What is to prevent its even entering our churches? Virtually, indeed, it would do so. For what is the religious teaching in our schools, but the work of the Church done in the school? In vain would be our efforts at resistance. We should be told that we had already practically admitted that no principle had been compromised. Nay; we have already been told this on the part of the Government with respect to the reformatories, notwithstanding all protests that inspection of religion had there crept in without our having any knowledge of what was doing. And the Secretary of State even declined making any change, on the ground that 'the course pursued had given general satisfaction.' One proof more, how totally incapable is the Protestant mind of understanding Catholic sentiments and feelings. But better far is it that we should be misunderstood negatively, and that our passiveness should be misinterpreted, than that we should give rise, by our active concurrence and by yielding of principle, to our old system of education being misapprehended; as assuredly it would be, if none but Protestants were our examiners and judges.

"The subject of the Royal Commission and of the reformatories combined, was considered of sufficient importance to engage all the Bishops to assemble in London, at whatever inconvenience, in the month of November last. They entered fully into the consideration of the question. The result we will give in the words of the Cardinal Archbishop, and will conclude this pastoral admonition with the words which his Eminence has addressed in his own pastoral letter to the faithful of his archdiocese."

[Here follows an extract from the pastoral of the Cardinal-Archbishop, which will be found in a preceding column.]

We do not consider, that any allusion is made to the Rambler in particular in these remarks. It is true that the Bishop of Birmingham speaks of the "public press" as having interfered in a question which belonged to the Bishops, and so far we are included in the censure: but the Catholic newspapers admitted letters from correspondents who spoke in the same spirit and tone as our own writer; and we are sure that what the Bishops allow to a weekly paper they allow to a magazine, and what they deny to a magazine they deny to a newspaper. Whether in regard to circulation or character of readers, there is no doubt which of the two is the more popular publication. Speaking, then, not simply in our own defence, but in that of the public press, we make two remarks.

1. Most certainly we did not consider that in any remark of ours we were opposing any episcopal decision; we should have been the last to take so indecent a step. For episcopal decisions are matters too serious to admit of being made except in form. We did not know the Bishops had spoken formally, and we do not know what is meant by an informal decision. We knew what they were likely to do; we did not know that they had actually put the question out of their own hands by any irreversible act or judgment; we are very sorry for our mistake, but we are not sure, from what is reported, that they have done so even now.

2. This leads us to our second remark. Acknowledging, then, most fully the prerogatives of the episcopate, we do unfeignedly believe, both from the reasonableness of the matter, and especially from the prudence, gentleness, and considerateness which belong to them personally, that their Lordships really desire to know the opinion of the laity on subjects in which the laity are especially concerned. If even in the preparation of a dogmatic definition the faithful are consulted, as lately in the instance of the Immaculate Conception, it is at least as natural to anticipate such an act of kind feeling and sympathy in great practical questions, out of the condescension which belongs to those who are forma facti gregis ex animo. If our words or tone were disrespectful, we deeply grieve and apologise for such a fault; but surely we are not disrespectful in thinking, and in having thought, that the Bishops would like to know the sentiments of an influential portion of the laity before they took any step which perhaps they could not recall. Surely it was no disrespect towards them to desire that they should have the laity rallying round them on the great question {123} of education with the imposing zeal which has lately been exemplified in Ireland, in the great meeting which was held at Cork. If we have uttered a word inconsistent with this explanation of our conduct,—if we argued in a hard or disrespectful tone,—if we put into print what might better have been conveyed to their Lordships in some other way,—we repeat, we are deeply sorry for it. We are too fully convinced of the misery of any division between the rulers of the Church and the educated laity,—we grieve too deeply, too bitterly, over such instances as are found, either in the present day or in the history of the past, of such mutual alienations,—to commit ourselves consciously to any act which may tend to so dire a calamity. It is our fervent prayer that their Lordships may live in the hearts of their people; of the poor as well as of the rich, of the rich as well as of the poor; of the clergy as well as of the laity, of the laity as well as of the clergy: but whatever be our own anxious desire on the subject, we know that the desire of the Bishops themselves is far more intense, more generous, more heart-consuming, than can be the desire of any persons, however loyal to them, who are committed to their charge. Let them pardon, then, the incidental hastiness of manner or want of ceremony of the rude Jack-tars of their vessel, as far as it occurred, in consideration of the zeal and energy with which they haul-to the ropes and man the yards.

Education Movement in Ireland

We just now alluded to the great education meeting at Cork; but so much is doing in Ireland at the present moment in various ways in the cause of schools, seminaries, universities, and other educational establishments or associations, that we have a difficulty in entering on a subject which will prove too great for the space we can afford to give it.

Before we draw attention to this meeting, it may be well to devote a few lines to a review of the state of the education question at this moment across St. George's Channel. Though the English people cannot endure the thought of a compromise between religious parties on that vital subject in their own case, and the introduction of a system of mixed education, they think it good enough, or the very thing, for Ireland; and both Conservatives and Whigs have played a part in its establishment there. The Whigs began it, thirty years since, under Lord Grey, by setting up the national system of schools for the population at large; Sir Robert Peel set up the three Queen's Colleges, at Cork, Belfast, and Galway, about fifteen years after; and Lord Clarendon, we believe, set up the Queen's University. Lately a commission has been appointed to inquire into the funds, and their application, of the endowed schools throughout the country, with a view of framing a large measure of intermediate education. At the same time, the gates of Trinity College have been opened wider than before, and certain emoluments placed within the reach of persons of every denomination. Such has been the gradual extension and advance of a scheme which, tending as it does, on the one hand, to educate all classes, on the other to detach all whom it educates from the Catholic Church, cannot be considered a Whig or a Conservative scheme, for it belongs to one as much as to the other; nor a Tory scheme, for it has never been acceptable to the Orange party; but which, as being a deep design of English statesmen upon the faith of Ireland, and that on a basis of operation which would not for an instant be endured by their own countrymen, may, from its bold and overbearing one-sidedness, be fitly called an English system.

However, even at the end of thirty years, the principle of mixed education has not taken root; and, in spite of its superficial progress, the establishments based on it seem falling to pieces. The system of poor-schools, commonly called the national system of education, we believe, was never approved at Rome; and, though for a time it worked well for Catholics, still, as time has gone on, it has become more and more distasteful both to the Church and to the Orange party. As to the Queen's University and Colleges, for the moneys they have consumed and the work they have done for it we refer our readers to a recent parliamentary return, of which we shall speak presently. The plan of intermediate education has not {124} yet got so far as to be brought before the legislature.

Here we are concerned with the opposition brought against these measures by the Catholic body. As regards the national system of education for the humbler classes, it remains as yet untouched; though from the present aspect of things, it would not be surprising if the Protestant prelate Dr. Whately, who was the instrument of the Whigs in commencing it, was destined to see its termination. The scheme of higher or university education was disowned and resisted by the national synod of Thurles, in 1850, when a decree was passed for the erection of a Catholic university; which, as our readers know, has now been in operation for several years, and that with such promise, that a charter is in prospect, of which we shall speak before we conclude. The principal object, however, to which Catholic exertions have been directed during the last few months, has been to anticipate and act upon the projected Government measure of intermediate education, to which the labours of the late Commission necessarily tend. The great meeting of Cork was held with this purpose.

Cork Meeting on Intermediate Education

Cork is the place in which the Queen's-College scheme promised most success; it is therefore significant that the demonstration against mixed education should proceed from that city. The meeting took place in the cathedral, on Wednesday, March 2d, on the requisition of the Catholic noblemen and gentry of the neighbouring counties; and was attended by the Bishops of Cork, Cloyne, Kerry, and Ross, by various ecclesiastical dignitaries, members of parliament, deputy-lieutenants, and magistrates, three hundred priests, and eight thousand of the Catholic population. The sacred building, though spacious, was filled, the area presenting, as the report informs us, "a sea of heads," though "there were scarcely any present below the rank directly interested in the question;" while the neighbourhood of the various entrances was filled by the crowds who had sought admission in vain. The meeting was addressed by the four Bishops, by Sergeant Deasy, M.P.. Mr. Maguire, M. P., and others, and passed unanimous resolutions, the most important of which was to the effect, "that no form of intermediate education is suited to a Catholic people unless it be granted to them in separate schools, and on terms always strictly in accordance with the teaching and discipline of the Catholic Church."

The place of the meeting was significant for more reasons than one. It was significant from the circumstance that the excellent prelate who fills the see of Cork, and presided at the meeting, has ever been remarkable for the extreme moderation of his views and conduct on the subject of education. He reminded his hearers of this circumstance in his opening speech. He appealed to them, that "the elder clergy of the city and neighbourhood, who, like himself, had grown old among them, had never on any occasion whatever exhibited the least leaning towards the curse of the country, bigotry;" and then he continued, "we are all united, bishops, priests, and people, in the matter. We will make one combined effort; and we are thoroughly determined to persevere till we are crowned with success. I therefore begin by asserting, that for Roman Catholic children separate intermediate Roman Catholic education is necessary." What is still more significant, he said, "I do not believe that, in the entire extent of this country, there are any Catholics to be found who will oppose us: and I am sure there is not one amongst those I know, and who are my friends, who may have supported mixed education, that will continue to do so."

These anticipations were repeated by other speakers. Sergeant Deasy said, "There is no doubt of the feeling of the Catholic population of this city and county. I believe all Ireland agrees with you, and I believe Protestants of the city and county entertain views of the same kind." Mr. Maguire, in like manner, spoke to the certain effect of the meeting upon the Government. There is not a line of the bill," he said, "yet drawn out; I believe that the Government are waiting for your pronouncement; I believe they are waiting for your unanimous verdict before they attempt to legislate."

These are not words of course: we {125} consider that the Cork meeting has by one effort decided the momentous question which called it together.

It is scarcely necessary to add, that the movement, formally inaugurated at Cork, is already making itself felt, as the speakers there announced, in other parts of Ireland. There are to be formal meetings on the subject in the south and west, Killaloe being the first of them; and allusions to it have appeared in the Lent Pastorals of the Archbishops of Dublin and Tuam, and the Bishops of Clogher, Meath, and other prelates.

Charter to the Catholic University

The same month which has witnessed the commencement of the movement in behalf of a Catholic system of intermediate schools, is also memorable for an important step in advance towards the secure establishment and legal confirmation of the Catholic University of Ireland. In a great undertaking such as this, to be simply recognized as existing is the whole of the battle; and the only protection which its enemies have against it, and their only weapon of attack, is to ignore it. This they have accordingly done, as regards the University, as long as ever they could. The English newspapers either did not seem to know of its existence; or it was "Dr. Cullen's College," "the seminary in Stephen's Green," or "the Ultramontane establishment." But now a cabinet minister, the leader of the House of Commons, has received a deputation of members of Parliament, Protestant as well as Catholic, on the subject of conferring on it the legal power of granting degrees. Here, then, the very fact of the deputation, and its admission to an audience, is the victory of the University. When they entered the Chancellor of the Exchequer's room, the battle was won: the present Government may refuse the request, there may be delay and trouble in carrying the matter through; but it will be simply the University's fault and no one's else, if it does not now get a charter: it is but a matter of time. As a record to look back upon hereafter, we proceed to give some account of what passed at the interview of which we have been speaking.

The deputation consisted of every section of opinion among the Irish members of the House; the speakers were Mr. Maguire, Mr. Deasy, and Mr. Bowyer. They represented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that an application had been first made to him on the subject by the rector and professors of the University, in the course of last July; then in January of the present year, by all the Irish Catholic members of the House of Commons but one,—that one, who otherwise would have taken part in it, being absent on the Continent. The deputation was now making a third application. No less a sum than 80,000l. had been raised by voluntary subscriptions for the University; this had been done, not in opposition to the Queen's Colleges, but because of conscientious scruples which Irish Catholics felt in availing themselves of the advantages which those colleges furnished. Even the vice-president of Galway College had confessed to the late Royal Commissioners that "the objections to the colleges by the Roman Catholic prelates were not altogether unfounded;" for "there are certain chairs in which the professors have opportunities of throwing out innuendos respecting the truth of revealed religion, and one of the textbooks used in the colleges speaks slightingly of certain doctrines held by the Romanists." The Queen's Colleges had cost the country already an outlay of 375,000l., whereas the deputation did not ask a shilling for the Catholic University. The University embraced five faculties, of which four were in active operation. The medical faculty was in possession of large buildings,—theatres, laboratory, dissecting-rooms; it had a library of 5000 well-selected and rare volumes in seven languages. It had last year as many as eighty students, with the prospect of increase; and had commenced a system of lodging-houses. The faculties of philosophy and letters and of science had a periodical of their own for the advancement of the subjects they profess, which brought them into correspondence with learned bodies in Great Britain, the Continent, and the United States; and, in a word, last year there were as many as 249 students attending the University lectures. This being the case, there was {126} force in the words of the University memorial of last year: "We hope we may, without presumption, ask for that recognition from the State which we are continually obtaining from the great centres of learning and science in Europe and North America. In referring to the Charter lately granted by the Government to the Roman Catholic University of Quebec, we both explain what we venture to anticipate, and our reason for anticipating it."

It was also mentioned, that as many as twenty-three [Note] Irish Bishops had written letters authorising the deputation to make use of their names. Of these, for instance, the Archbishop of Cashel wished the Chancellor of the Exchequer to know his earnest desire, in conjunction with "all the Bishops of Munster and Dr. Cullen," for the grant of a charter; the Bishop of Kildare said, that "success in the application would be most gratifying to the Catholic people" of Ireland; the Bishop of Waterford, that "there was nothing which he desired more;" the Bishop of Cloyne, that he "felt the warmest interest in the success of the great undertaking;" and the Bishop of Kerry, that it was "the strong determination of the Catholic laity to keep intermediate or secondary education under purely Catholic tutelage;" and that "a University was its necessary complement."

We quote these passages as a decisive answer to the rumour, which we know is even matter of gossip at Rome, that the Irish Bishops are lukewarm on the subject of an undertaking which they have themselves decreed in national synod, and for which they have collected such large sums.

We give Mr. Disraeli's answer at length.

"Mr. Disraeli said, he hoped the deputation would now excuse him for bringing their conversation to a close; but a Cabinet had been suddenly called that day at two o'clock: such, however, was his anxiety to have the honour of receiving them, that he had had it delayed to three o'clock. He begged to assure them that, since his attention had been first called to the Catholic University of Ireland last year by Mr. Monsell, the subject had engaged his earnest attention, and he had inquired into, and was quite aware of, all the circumstances of that institution. He had always felt that its existence was a memorable instance of the zeal and liberality of the Catholics of Ireland. In consequence of the weight to be attached to this deputation—of the importance of which he of course felt thoroughly aware—he should again bring the subject under the consideration of the Cabinet; and they might feel quite certain, that whatever the decision of the Government might be, the subject would be considered with a full sense of the importance due to it. He distinctly held that the question ought not to be dealt with as one involving any rivalry between the Queen's Colleges and the Catholic University, but on its own merits. And he had again to repeat, that fully recognising its importance, the Government would give the subject their most attentive consideration."

We add the following information, given by the Nation newspaper, which has an intrinsic probability:

"There is in the hands of the four Archbishops one of the most remarkable and important rescripts upon the subject of education that has ever emanated from the Holy See. The Propaganda, in proof of its solicitude and anxiety regarding the education of the Catholics of Ireland, gives an historical resumé of the various Bulls, Rescripts, and other official documents, which it has forwarded upon this subject for the last century. It sets forth the unfavourable reports which have reached it respecting the working of the ordinary National Schools, of Model Schools, and of the Queen's Colleges, and refers to the projected scheme of intermediate schools. The Archbishops are called on to reply to a series of categorical propositions in relation to those institutions; and, in so doing, to ascertain the opinion of their suffragan prelates, and inform the Holy See. Provincial synods and a council of the whole Irish episcopacy are suggested; and we have reason to expect that a national meeting of the prelates will be held at the earliest possible moment."


This number was soon increased to twenty-nine. The whole number of Bishops is thirty-one.
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