« PreviousContinue »
but where the result is absence of rival institutions outside, stagnation may follow, and a traditional spirit arise that is a bar, instead of a help, to progress. If the new system involved residence at the university for a certain number of years, as part of the clerical course, it would obviously react in the best way on Maynooth itself, and insure that students paid some continuous attention to classics and other subjects of an Arts course.
Nor does there seem anything in such a change that conflicts essentially with ecclesiastic requirements. We do not dwell on the fact that a certain number of Catholic clerical students are now in residence in Oxford and Cambridge, for it may be said that in England the circumstances are not the same; but in Germany and Austria a large number of candidates for the priesthood attend universities which are under State control, and of which the professors are appointed by the Minister of Education. At Bonn, for example, where there are some two hundred clerical students (as appears from a return recently presented to Parliament), ' the Catholic Theological Faculty is an integral part of the • University ; its members and students are bound by the
constitution and rules of the University. .... Every regular member of the Faculty is not only entitled but • bound to take part in collegiate consultations and affairs.' * It is remarkable (as appears from the same return) that a State like Prussia, which is mainly Protestant, not only supports Catholic Theological Faculties in mixed universities, such as Bonn and Breslau, but also subsidises the Academy at Münster and the Lyceum at Braunsberg, which are practically entirely devoted to training candidates for the Catholic priesthood.f
* Reports from Her Majesty's Representatives abroad on Provision made for the University Education of Roman Catholics. “Miscellaneous,' No. 2 (1900), pp. 28-30.
† According to the Parliamentary return we have previously referred to, there were over 1,300 students attending the Catholic theological faculties at the various universities in Germany in 1892-93, and in Austro-Hungary 1,529 students. It is remarkable that at Bonn and Tübingen there is a Protestant as well as a Catholic theological faculty, working side by side, apparently without hostility or friction. This university training may account for the fact that the Catholic clergy in Germany have amply shared in the general intellectual activity of their country during the last quarter of a century. A summary of the literary and scientific work of the German Catholic clergy will be found in the Dublin Review' for January 1901, sub. tit. Catholic Literature during the Nineteenth Century, by the Rev. W. H. Kent, O.S.C.
Experience does not show that in Germany or Austria residence at a university makes clerical students less devoted to their faith or their duties; nor did the attitude of the clergy during the régime of the Falck Laws give evidence of subservience to worldly and material interests.
No doubt there is a certain body of opinion in Germany which prefers a complete seminary course, to partial residence in a mixed university; but if ever a university is established in Ireland for Catholics, it will be, in practice, both as to teaching staff and students, a university of the type of Louvain rather than of Bonn or Breslau. We may quote on the point we are considering, the weighty testimony of Bishop Keppler, of Rottenberg, in speaking of the Konvikt,' or clerical house of residence at the University of Freiburg (Baden): Thank God for the good ' and noble men it sends the bishops. ... Practical proof
shows that the academical institutions of education (i.e. * the universities) supply candidates for the priesthood in • equal numbers and in equal degree of scientific, moral and 'ascetic training as the Tridentine Seminaries.'*
One at least of the Irish Catholic bishops is alive to this aspect of the case. Dr. O'Dwyer, of Limerick, in a recently published pamphlet, deplores that priests are 'cut off from 'all association during their earlier years with the students of secular knowledge, and kept strictly to their ecclesiastical colleges and their own professional studies,' contrasting with thein Protestant clergymen, who have not been • brought up in watertight compartments,' but with their
characters broadened and strengthened by the free air of the universities in which they have been educated. He urges also, what we have dwelt upon at some length, that the influence of the priest is a fact, and a probably enduring fact, which wise statesmanship should endeavour to turn to good account. The strong ties between the clergy and their flock will remain as long as they have the common bond of origin and class feeling; and whilst a Catholic population is devoted to their religion, and respects its ministers, it would seem to be sound policy to perfect and utilise the machinery at hand, and to spare no effort to give Ireland an enlightened and cultured priesthood.
ART. VII.-Report of the Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke
of Portland preserved at Welbeck Abbey. Vols. IV. and V. (Harley Letters and Papers,' Vols. II. and III.)
London : Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1897 and 1899. In a previous number of this Review * the first two
volumes of the Harley Papers which were collected from the manuscripts at Welbeck Abbey were described, and we were enabled from them to give some details of the earlier life of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford. His career was surveyed from his boyhood to August 1710, when, on the fall of Godolphin, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister. The first two volumes of these papers thus carried us to a momentous tinie. The general election of October 1710 completed the overthrow of the Whigs and correspondingly strengthened their opponents. A Tory and High Church Ministry with Harley as its chief and St. John as Secretary of State was established in power and met the new Parliament on November 25. On May 24 in the following year Harley was created Earl of Oxford, and a week later was appointed to the supreme office of Lord Treasurer. He attained this high position by industry and sagacity; by a moderation of political opinion which placed him at the head of a Whig administration which was rapidly transformed into a complete Tory Government which, though its chief, Harley was incompetent to lead. That his capacity bas been unduly depreciated there can be no doubt, but his qualities were those which make rather a successful administrator and a capable Parliamentarian than a responsible leader of a great party in troubled and eventful times. He lacked the breadth of view and the personal force, the foresight to plan and the determination to compel. He was a man of detail, and to some extent the successes of his earlier parliamentary life are attributable to this fact.
The year 1710 is, however, memorable for another event in Harley's life, one not only of political but of literary interest. In that year Swift left his house at Laracor to return to the centre of political affairs in London. Disappointed at his neglect by the Whigs, he arrived in England as the change of government was in process of completion. Full of personal vexation, and without attachment to the policy of the Whigs, it was not surprising that he
conipletion the change of boy the w
* January 1898.
o suc Harlera conteie
turned to those who were now in the ascendant. On October 4 he writes in the Journal to Stella : "To-day I was brought privately to Mr. Harley, who received me with the greatest respect and kindness imaginable.' The gift of accurate perception of efficient non-Parliamentarian subordinates was a marked feature in Harley's character. He had the still rarer power of attaching them to him by a personal affection. For years De Foe's practical imagination and continual activity were placed wholly at Harley's service, his fertile brain continually evolving plans and suggestions political and financial. Swift's literary powers from 1710 were invaluable to him, and their friendship ended only with Harley's death. The accomplished Prior and the judicious Lewis were both trusted subordinates and friends. To retain the friendship of men such as these is sufficient evidence that there were traits in Harley's nature more admirable than were apparent to many of his contemporaries.
It is at this juncture, then, of public affairs, the main features of which have just been briefly noted, that the third volume of the Harley Papers commences. The correspondence in the preceding volumes, to wbich, however, it is necessary again to refer, ended in May 1711; that contained in the present volume begins in the following month. The ministry was firmly fixed in power, supported by a new House of Commons. The main object of their policy was to make peace with France and to strengthen the commercial position of England, though Harley had also to pose as the champion of the Church of England.
The third volume of the Harley Papers throws no new or strong light upon the political events of the period which it covers, and is less varied in interest than those which preceded it. Existing materials are amplified, and from time to time our knowledge of the persons who were prominent in the political world of the age of Anne is enlarged. It is important to have letters from St. John to Harley, and from this statesman to various other correspondents. In the collection of St. John's correspondence which was published by Gilbert Parke in 1798 not one to Harley is to be found, and of Harley's correspondence little remains. Whether this arises from accident or because he was anxious not to commit his views and wisbes to paper more often than he could avoid it is impossible to say.
We have already referred to the personal and political intimacy between Harley and his assistants as they may be called, De Foe, Prior, and Swift ; at the very beginning of the volume we come upon further letters from another of those on whose intelligence and judgement he used to rely, John Drummond of Amsterdam. One thing this correspondence makes clearer than ever, that Harley's confidences were given rather to some trusted subordinates than to colleagues. It was characteristic of the man. To know and to influence public opinion was a marked feature of his political methods, and for this purpose capable underlings were essential. It may seem unfair perhaps to regard Swift as a person of this character, but when he placed his pen at Harley’s disposal he put himself on the same level as any other subordinate. We see this characteristic of Harley just noted plainly shown in a sketch of him by Prince Eugene. It is difficult to understand how this could have come into Harley's possession, except through some underhand means, but it is probably only a précis of an overheard conversation. In it Prince Eugene says:
"The Earl of Oxford is an indefatigable man in business, of a lively and aspiring spirit, and manages the caballing parties with that dexterity that he keeps in with both. It was his good fortune to understand how to improve the indiscreet blunders of the late ministry to his own purpose, by using the Queen with all duty and respect imaginable, while they used her with contempt; and, while he was concerned with the public affairs, asked nothing contrary to her pleasure and good liking, whereby he engrossed to himself all her favour and esteem, and by his smooth tongue and winning mien got so great an ascendant over her that he has her approbation of all that he does, so that he now steers the helm of state with as great sway as ever Richelieu or Mazarin did in France; and to fix himself faster therein he has introduced persons (in a manner) subservient to him, some of low birth and small fortune, but good parts, and others of good birth and great fortune, but without experience, and of indifferent parts.' (Harley Papers, vol. iii. p. 157.) It was thus that we find Harley placing so much reliance upon the information of Drummond, a man of good parts,' but whose business at Amsterdain came to an untimely end. At the beginning of Harley's connection with him he passed as an important member of the commercial community of the wealthy Dutch city. In the present volume he becomes hopelessly bankrupt and a government agent at Utrecht.
Harley and St. John entirely dominated the councils of the new cabinet, and in the most open manner. These two and the Chancellor, Harcourt, who was probably present as a kind of legal adviser, used to meet in private, sometimes at what was known as the Saturday dinner. To this Swift was occasionally invited, as much for the sake of his good company as on account of his political capacity.