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From The Spectator. THE IKISH PEIESTHOOD.
The Keogh debate is evidently over. The Government will not fix an hour for its resumption, Mr. Disraeli spoke and voted on Thursday week against adjournment, and the few private members who, either from- principle, or fanaticism, or fear of constituents, are willing to recommence a discussion at once Bo irritating and so sterile, acknowledge themselves powerless to resist the tacit decision of the mass. The Gulway Judgment is to " slide," until it comes up once more as part of the great debate which must one day be held upon the prosecution of the Bishop of Clonfert and his priests. We return, however, not indeed to the Galway Judgment, but to the point which gives that judgment all its interest for British politicians, the political attitude of the Irish Priesthood. There is no subject of Irish, or, indeed, of Imperial politics upon which it is so important that English politicians and electors should form an accurate opinion, and none uj M ,u which they are so hopelessly astray. They do not understand the most patent facts of the situation, but reason, and what is worse act, upon a preconceived theory which never was wholly true even before emancipation, and is now almost entirely false. The popular theory in England about the Irish priesthood is, we take it, this, — that Ireland is cursed with a body of men trained in Catholic seminaries, more especially Maynooth, to act as the janissaries of the Pope; that partly from the historical circumstances and partly from the unscrupulous use of spiritual terrorism, they have acquired complete power over the Catholic population, and use this power under subtle guidance from Rome — the Vatican, in many respects the silliest of Courts, is in Protestant imagination almost superhuman in its subtlety — in the interests of the'Papacy, and against the interests of the heretical monarchy of the United Kingdom. A Brahmin caste, in fact, carefully instructed and perpetually renewed, guides and forces a Sudra population into paths which it would not choose, towards ends which it would not seek, for the sake of interests in which it has no share. A man named Paul Cullen, of one whom no one knows anything except that he is Cardinal, and necessarily therefore a foe of England, holds the strings of this vast conspiracy, passes orders to his Bishops, which are repassed to the parish priests, and then obeyed by the electors, who are thus formed into a
vast corporation alien from the Empire, and indeed hostile to its continuance.
This is, we believe, a fair statement of the popular English belief about the Irish priesthood, a belief perpetually cropping up, as it did in the wild enthusiasm with which Mr. James's speech was received on Thursday week, and so irresistible as to render the good government of Ireland by a popular and Protestant Assembly almost an impossibility. It is a delusion from end to end. There is not in any portion of Europe, except it be Scotland, a country where the priesthood is so little separated from the people so little above them, so entirely national, so completely swayed and governed by the popular voice, as it is in Ireland; nor is there one, unless again it be Scotland, wherein the priesthood, if it chances to be opposed by the people, is politically so powerless. The Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland, in 1798, dreading the intrusion of French ideas, and, as we strongly suspect, soothed by promises from British statesmen which the British people would not allow them to keep, resisted the plan of insurrection, lost its whole influence, was insulted, defied, and disregarded, and is to this day regarded as to some of its members as having in that year been forsworn. Knowing that without Ireland the Catholics of England would be as powerless in the Empire as the Quakers or the Irvingites, dreading Republicanism, and horror-struck by the spiritual effect of American influence on Ireland, that hierarchy is now opposed to Home Rule in any but the most municipal form, and in every election turning on that point is bidden to stand aside, serve in the pulpit and at the altar, and let politics done. In the most Catholic districts the priesthood united could not keep out a Protestant devoted to Home Rule except by producing a Catholic who professed the same opinion. No man in Ireland doubts that had the Church in the long agrarian war sympathized with the landlords, as might have happened if the Bishops had kept their estates, the priesthood would have been compelled to limit itself strictly to its spiritual duties, would have been aa powerless to return landlords to Parliament as the French priesthood now is to return Legitimists. Why, at this very moment the Catholic landlords, the majority of whom are as sincere in their faith as the peasantry, are saying to the priesthood, saying angrily, and with something of scorn, on every grand jury throughout Ireland, that as they are hostile to
landlords they shall not interfere in politics. At this very moment it is the popu
lar control over the priesthood which renders the enormous weight we could exercise at Rome useless for Irish purposes, because if we got the weapon, if Mr. Gladstone chose the Primate, the
weapon, although in our hands, would r, f , ,
have lost its temper. The electors, who partly by the extreme ignorance of the
are supposed to be so entirely in the hands people — there is no such thing even now
of the priests, would push them aside re- as a great paper in Ireland—partly by
spectfully but decisively, and go their own the scepticism to which men trained to be
way, — a truth we shall yet acknowledge critics usually tend, and partly by the
when we have seen the first vote under | radical vice of the Irish as of the French
homogeneous — been selected from among their foes. The Bar, to which the people have always turned with hope, elevating popular Barristers to Parliament with childlike admiration and faith, have been in the main too self-seeking; and the literary class, which in America takes up the "natural " leadership, has been paralyzed,
the B illot for the Home Rulers, — for the men, that is, who wish Ireland to govern herself as completely as Hungary or Norway. That the priests have on almost all occasiona, with the marked exception of '98, gone with and led their flocks is true, just as it is true in Scotland — where the Geneva gown has always been in the forefront not only of political, but of secular battle for liberty as Scotchmen understand it —just as it was true in our own Puritan time, and for precisely the same reason, that the priesthood is of the people, is the mo^t intense expression of its views, its likings, its prejudices, and above all, its hates. Drawn from the ranks of the peasantry, separately educated in Irish colleges, not admitted, like English, clergymen, into the landlord ranks, galled by social disparities, and brought intimately into contact with that most painful of all spectacles, the government of the poor by unsympathizing or rather hostile rich — a spectacle unknown in Great Britain till the recent agricultural strike — the priesthood has become, on every question but Home Rule, fanatically peasant, has supplied constantly and persistently the army of the people as against the upper class. So far are the people from specially desiring this, that they have always of themselves chosen laymen, \ery often Protestant laymen, for their leaders— had '48 been a success, a Protestant would have been President — have been through all their history the. dupes of any laymen of genius who professed to sympathize with their views; but leaders of genius are occasional accidents, the people need a class to lead them permanently, and there has been no class at once able, visible, and faithful to their cause except the priests. The landlords, as in France, have been their enemies. The officials, who might, as in France, have been their trusted friends — as one class of them, the Chairmen, are — have under our system — a good system only where the people are
literary character, —the temptation to sacrifice even success to rhetorical brilliancy. Very few English papers can vie with the Nation in literary excellence, but even to Irish Catholics the Nation seems no safe guide. It is in default of all other leaders, leaders, " natural," or imported, or developed, that Irishmen turn to the caste which, for three hundred years, has borne with them and for them and for them all that a foreign domination, for two centuries and a half cruel beyond belief, and even now unsympathizing, could inflict. In so doing they have no doubt deepened the gulf which divides them from Englishmen
— who are not so much anti-Catholic aa anti-clerical, and are as impatient of Dr. Wilberforce's politics as of Dr. Manning's
— but they have yielded to a necessity which English puritans and Scotch Covenanters under the same circumstances also obeyed. What does Dr. MacHale do from which Hugh Peters would have turned aside, or from which John Knox would have recoiled?
The remedy? If there is any truth whatever in all we have advanced, and have been advancing, amidst the endless misapprehensions of some of our Protestant friends, for the past five years, the remedy is revealed in the stating of the facts. Content the Irish' people and you content or paralyse — put it as you will — the Irish priesthood, which is but that caste of the people which happens, for want of other leaders, to be marching in the front. We have begun this work already. Already the Laud Act has given to Ireland a great body of peasant copyholders who, like the Catholic landlords above them, will decide on secular politics by secular lights, and will before long, if not driven wild by insults to their creed, discover or evolve lay leaders of their own, leaders whose objects will be neither the independence of Ireland nor the restoration of the temporal power, but perp
of tenure, the creation of a Civil
:tuity irvice which their sons will fill, and filling become the lenders of the people, and the thorough development of Irish resources through the agency of the State. We have but to press on in oar course, and the Irish priesthood will become what the French priesthood is, a caste reverenced and followed in everything but politics..
From The Spectator. THE MEETING OF THE THREE EMPEROES.
The three masters of Eastern and Central Europe, the Emperors of Germany, Austria, and Russia, with their Chancellors, are to meet iu Berlin within a few days, and the politicians pf the Continent are speculating anxiously as to the motive of such a gathering. Englishmen, and especially English journalists of the Liberal type, seem disposed to ridicule the notion that it can have any political object at all, declaring that the days of the Holy Alliance are past, and believing that in our generation nations govern themselves; but we suspect the Continentals are in the right. Great monarchs, and especially great monarchs whose interests diverge very widely, are not fond of meeting for social gossip, if only because they are apt thereby to disturb the minds of their subjects very much, and even to throw the politics of Europe into some commotion. They are much more comfortable apart, spending their holidays in watering-places like Ems, and Nice, and Ischl, where their crowns do not weigh so heavily, and they can obtain the mental relief which an interview in Berlin, with its ceremonial, and its negotiation, and its cares, will assuredly not bestow. They must be meeting for business, a:id as the meeting has been arranged for months, having been discussed more or less openly in April, the business must be important, and the wiseacres, in trying to spell out the business, are scarcely wasting their time. Nations may be governing themselves, as the newspapers say — and on some points, such as taxation, some of them no doubt are governin<* themselves — but their rulers can still do much, if it be only by initiating movements in which the nations will certainly acquiesce. The three gentlemen who meet in Berlin, for example, can, if they please, agree to guarantee each other's territories, — agree, that is, not to interfere with each other territorially, and not to permit a defeat of any one of them to be followed by loss of provinces. Their
advisers would not resist that proposal, — because they must have assented to it before it was made, and their subjects would ace in it a new security for their own independence; and yet, if accepted, it would beyond all question most seriously modify the policies of Europe. Such an agreement would render it almost impossible for France to attack Germany with any hope of success; for she wants Alsace and Lorraine back, not to fight Germany, then Austria, and then Russia, and then, after all, get nothing, and she would bo almost forced to strive for an alliance with England and Italy. It will set Russia free to pursue her schemes in Asia, some of which may yet be of the first consequence to Great Britain; it would relieve Austria of her fear of seeing her German subjects join their kinsmen to the ruin of her power in the Valley of the Danube; and it would leave Germany free to conduct to the bitter end her warfare with the Pope. Those are very important consequences, and they might easily follow from a morning's conversation among the three Emperors, who, if not absolute, are in foreign politics so trusted by their subjects that any defensive policy they may devise will be accepted without much opposition, except from minorities like the Poles, Czechs, or German Ultramontanes, whose power would be diminished or destroyed by the agreement itself. It is possible, again, for these three gentlemen, if not to settle what is called the "Slavic question," at least to give it an entirely new character, and make any great movement in Eastern Europe very nearly impossible, by simply agreeing to the arrangement we have suggested, and they have each of them one strong reason for so doing. Russia might wish to retain a hold over Bohemia and the Slavs of Hungary, and so be able to annoy Vienna at every turn; but she purchases that pleasure at a great price, — the risk of seeing the Hapsburg start forward some fine day, as deliverer and King of ancient Poland, a policy which since the downfall of France has greatly attracted some leading Poles, one of whom recently made at Cracow a speech in that sense of which we published an analysis. Austria, on the other band, may like to be sure of an internal ally in her contest with Russia Tor the mouths of the Danube, but she purchases that reserved power dearly, if Czech and Slav are encouraged to look to St. Petersburg as the ultimate capital of a Panslavic Empire, an empire which would attract to it all in Eastern Europe who are not Germans, or Magyars, or Moslem.
And Germany, though she might like to keep her hands free to operate in any direction — for example, to attract Holland into the federation, and Bo gain ships, colonies, and commerce at a blow — parchases her freedom dearly at the price of her liability to a combined attack from the West and the East at the same time. Each Power, therefore, has some strong and definite interest in an agreement which it is quite open to the three Sovereigns to make, which two at least of their advisers, Prince Bismarck and Count Andrassy, are understood earnestly to desire, and which is not of a kind that the remainder of Europe could resolutely attack. It would threaten nobody immediately, and if it did, while England continues to approve the policy of isolation. Kaiser William may fairly say to his brother Monarchs," Now we three have said it, it skills not much whoe'er impugns our doom." The agreement would not, like the old Holy Alliance, threaten liberty — except in Poland, — for no monarch now asks external guarantees against his own people; nor would it greatly anger the Revolution, which, if no nearer its end in consequence, would be no further from it, might indeed be a little nearer, in consequence of the increased attention the Germans, relieved from their fear of invasion, would pay to their internal affairs. There is, in fact, no force anywhere to resist such an alliance, except in the West, where France by herself is powerless, and England, which might make her powerful, is intent upon ends with which the politics of the Continent have no immediate connection.
It is quite possible that a league such as we have indicated might be arranged by the Sovereigns to be present at this meeting, and quite certain that the meeting, therefore, whether or not it be followed by consequences, is a most important event, but Europe bus still to discover whether the Sovereigns concerned are willing to arrange it. Count Andrassy, according to the Eastern Budget, which is a semi-official Austrian journal, thinks they will be, but there are some obstacles to be removed before foreign observers can share in his opinion. Of the three Sovereigns concerned, one gains everything, while the two others will be asked under the agree
incut suggested to give up a great deal, and may when the actual moment arrives be unwilling to give it up. The Emperor of Germany, it may be said, gives up nothing, for he is guaranteed in possession of Alsace and Lorraine, and has at present no desire for further acquisition of territory, not wanting more Catholic subjects yet awhile. But the Czar must give up his chance of weakening his gigantic neighbour by French aid; that is his best chance of securing Constantinople, an object which he could not abandon without danger to his Crown, his subjects desiring that possession even more than he does. He cannot agree to guarantee Germany and attack Germany, cannot make friends with Austria, and at the same time lay his hand upon the throat of the Empire, the mouth of the great river which drains it from end to end. He must in fact remain very much where he is, that is to say, shut out from the Mediterranean, and hemmed in on the West by powerful empires, from which he is protected only by a treaty, which they may observe and probably will, but also may not. He gains no new security except a promise. So also the Kaiser of Austria must give up a great deal — his chance, should war arise between Berlin and Paris, of securing the coveted Principalities, or of re-entering Germany, or, as might happen, of securing the Catholic States of the South for his own dominion. In a war such as that between Germany and France would be, heavy prices would be paid for alliances, and all things might be possible to the victor's allies. He must, moreover, forego finally all dream of the ancient crown, a dream very dear to the House of Hapsburg, and submit to see the Papacy reduced to term-t, without obtaining in return any guarantee that if, after the French danger has disappeared, the treaty is ever irok.cn, his subjects may not elect to join ;heir prosperous and powerful brethren of ;he North, and so make Germany safe igainst all Europe combined. He will lave, Catholic, Hapsburg, and defeated soldier as he is, to surrender much, and may, when the crisis comes at last, be unable to descend, as he will think, so many steps in the scale of the world.
No. 1475.—September 14, 1872.
1. The Middle Ages And The Revival or Learning.
II., ........ Macmillan's Magazine, . . 643
2. Off The Skelligs. By Jean Ingelow. Part XIV., Saint Pauls 655
8. Reform In Japan, Edinburgh Review, . . . 670
4. The Strange Adventures Op A Phaeton. By
William Black, Author of "A Daughter of
Heth." Part XIV., Macmillan't Magazine, . . 684
5. The Monarchy Of The Scillt Islands, . . Pall Mall Gazette, . . . 61)8
6. Italy, Saturday Review, . . . n>0
7. The Turkish Vizierat Spectator, 702
8i J'etais Petit Oiseau. By Herat*- I Life Shadows, 642
ger, 642 | Summer Winds 042
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