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sented itself; and although they had almost all proclaimed beforehand that the Irish University question could only be settled on the principles laid down in the Bill, and although they had at first generally accepted it as a masterpiece of state-craft, the moment the Government seemed to be in danger it was accused, abused, taunted, warned, and above all advised in a way that would have moved the envy of Bildad and Elihu, if they were still in the flesh. In the House of Commons, meantime, ardent advocates of the Bill became first its feeble apologists then its unsparing denouncers. Rarely does the opportunity occur in politics for such a rapid, complete, and pronounced tergiversation as Mr. Horsman's, which no doubt will become a historical instance; but there were many honourable and right honourable gentlemen who, it is well known, had the same reversible temper, if not the same acrobatic audacity.

By the time the debate on the second reading commenced, the Bill had been condemned on all hands. A section of the English Radicals and the mass of the English Tories conjointly denounced it as an elaborate contrivance for placing the higher education of Ireland under the Pope's control. The Scot looked askance, though determined to vote straight. From Ireland the sounds were, though strange, not long uncertain. Trinity College stigmatized the Bill as spoliatory, and the Queen's University reviled it as obscurantist. Catholic opinion was naturally in a very confused and divided condition until the Irish Bishops having met, and having most carefully considered the measure having, in addition, as we are assured, taken particular pains to become informed as to its probable effect and operation upon existing Catholic academic institutions, adopted the following remarkable resolutions :-Resolutions of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, assembled for the consideration of the proposed University Bill :—

"1. That, viewing with alarm the widespread ruin caused by Godless systems of education, and adhering to the declarations of the Holy See, we reiterate the condemnation of mixed education as fraught with danger to that divine faith which is to be prized above all earthly things; for 'without faith it is impossible to please God' (Heb. xi. 6), and, 'What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Matt. xvi. 26).

"2. That while we sincerely desire for the Catholic youth of Ireland a full participation in the advantage of University education, and in the honours, prizes, and degrees intended for the encouragement of learning, we are constrained by a sense of the duty we owe to our flocks to declare that the plan of University education now before Parliament, as being framed on the principle of mixed and purely secular education, is such as Catholic youth cannot avail themselves of without danger to their faith and morals.

"3. That the distinguished proposer of this measure, proclaiming as be does in his opening speech that the condition of Roman Catholics in Ireland in regard to University education is 'miserably bad,'' scandalously bad,' and professing to redress this admitted grievance, brings forward a measure singularly inconsistent with his professions, because, instead of redressing it perpetuates that grievance, upholding two out of three of the Queen's Colleges, and planting in the metropolis two other great teaching institutions the same in principle with the Queen's Colleges.

"4. That, putting out of view the few Catholics who may avail themselves of mixed education, the new Bill, without its being avowed in point of fact, gives to Protestant Episcopalians, to Presbyterians, and to the new sect of Secularists, the immense endowments for University education in this country, viz., to Trinity College some £50,000 or more, some splendid holdings, library, and museum, to the new University £50,000, to the Cork College £10,000, to the Belfast College £10,000, while to the Catholic University is given nothing; and, furthermore, the Catholic people of Ireland, the great majority of the nation, and the poorest part of it, are left to provide themselves with endowments for their Colleges out of their own resources.

"5. That this injustice is aggravated by another circumstance. The measure provides that the degrees and prizes of the New University shall be open to Catholics, but it provides for Catholics no endowed intermediate schools, no endowments for their one College; no well-stocked library, museum, or other collegiate requisite ; no professional staff, nor the means for coping on fair and equal terms with their Protestant or other competitors, and then Catholics thus overweighted are told that they are free to contend in the race for University prizes, and other distinctions.

"6. That as the legal owners of the Catholic University, and at the same time acting on behalf of the Catholic people of Ireland, for whose advantage and by whose generosity it has been established, in the exercise of that right of ownership, we will not consent to the affiliation of the Catholic University to the new University, unless the proposed scheme be largely modified; and we have the same objection to the affiliation of other Catholic Colleges in Ireland.

"7. That now more than ever it behoves the Catholics of Ireland to con tribute to the support of the Catholic University, the one only institution of the kind in the country where Catholic youth can receive University Education based upon religion.

"8. That we address to the Imperial Parliament petitions embodying these resolutions, and praying for the amendment of the Bill.

"Signed on behalf of the meeting,

"PAUL, CARDINAL CULLEN, Archbishop of Dublin, Chairman. "GEO. CONROY, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois;

"JAS. M'DERMOTT, Bishop of Raphoe, Secretaries.

"Presbytery, Marlborough-street, Feb. 28."

These resolutions may certainly be said to have decided the fate of the Bill. But it is due to the Bishops and due to the Government as well, to observe in connection with what after

wards happened, that the resolutions of the Bishops did not impress upon the Irish Catholic members the duty of rejecting the Bill on its second reading. On the contrary the natural inference from the sixth and eighth resolutions, which state that without serious modification the Bill could not be accepted as satisfactory, and that their Lordships proposed to petition Parliament for its amendment, would have been that the Bill should be allowed to get into committee, as nowhere, save in committee, could such amendments be introduced. It is due, we repeat, to the Irish Bishops, who have been somewhat truculently assailed for having wantonly caused the shipwreck of a Government which had done and suffered so much for the Catholic people of Ireland, that the precise practical bearing of their acts should be fairly estimated and represented. There was absolutely nothing in the resolutions of the Bishops to prevent an Irish Catholic member of Parliament from voting for the second reading of the Bill, or from not voting at all.

But the debate on the second reading of the Bill had not long proceeded before it became apparent that the Government had become bewildered and unnerved. It was no secret that there had been more division in the Cabinet upon it than perhaps upon any measure which had engaged their care since they came into office. The views of Mr. Lowe on education in general are tolerably well known. The views of Mr. Fortescue, as to the degree of respect due to the conscientious convictions of the Irish Catholics, in regard to higher education in particular, have been not less openly avowed. So it was that when Mr. Lowe defended the Bill he did so in a tone which naturally alarmed and irritated Catholics. When Mr. Fortescue spoke on its behalf, he could not help conveying his persuasion and his hope that the Catholics of Ireland, long spoiled of the access and opportunity of liberal learning, would once more be enabled, through the gradual action of the Bill, to revindicate their ancient intellectual glory; and there were supporters of the Government who regarded such expressions with suspicion and anger. To and fro the debate ran for a week a devious and uncertain track. No Catholic member of eminence had as yet, on the night before it closed, spoken against the Bill. On the other hand, Sir Rowland Blennerhassett had made a very able speech in favour of its second reading, in which he announced, however, his intention of proposing serious amendments in committee. Late that night, Mr. Cardwell rose. He spoke for an hour, and as he spoke the Bill appeared to crumble under his touch. At the end there seemed to be nothing left of it that could be

regarded as essential or fundamental, except the dissociation of Dublin University from Trinity College. The clauses which were supposed to have been inserted with special reference to Catholic interests and principles, were treated merely as ballast. One was fatally reminded of the tone in which, when Chief Secretary, the right honourable gentleman had told the Irish people that Tenant Right would never be legalized by Parliament, and that the Established Church must be maintained. The tone, even more than the tenor of what Mr. Cardwell said, was fatal to the Bill. It was felt with anxiety and regret by Catholic members of the Liberal party, staunch supporters of Mr. Gladstone for many years, and who were not likely, on a question of such magnitude, to prefer that course which already promised to be the most popular, to that which they might feel to be the path of principle and honour, that the Bill must now be not merely not supported, but opposed. They felt that if there were to be amendments in committee, the Government were giving no indication that they would be of such a nature as the Irish Bishops had petitioned for, but the contrary. There has not been in our time an occasion on which the exercise of discretion on the part of an Irish Catholic member was more difficult or the responsibility of the decision greater. But for Mr. Cardwell's speech, there is no manner of doubt that many representatives of Catholic constituencies would have voted for the second reading with the few who still clung to the belief that Mr. Gladstone would make extraordinary efforts in Committee to render a measure, to which he had given so much thought, acceptable to those for whose welfare it was intended. We are as little disposed to censure those who clung to this hope to the end, and who, in doing so, had the letter of the Bishops' resolutions with them, as to deny that the majority exercised a legitimate discretion in utterly destroying the Bill. The history of University Education in Ireland has hitherto been a series of abrupt and violent checks just at the moment when some definite object appeared to be almost attained. It is a subject of which the solution appears to be as yet reserved by Providence, and on which the estimates of current opinion are little likely to anticipate correctly the judgment of history; and it is certainly a question which will yet furnish a very curious and instructive chapter of Irish Catholic memoirs.

The speeches with which Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Gladstone closed the debate were memorable, not only on account of the gravity of the immediate occasion, but because of the evidently carefully considered declarations which they contained as to the future relation of the two great parties in the State to the

Catholic Church in regard to education and endowment. These we shall take leave to record for future convenience of reference.

When Mr. Disraeli rose, it was certain that the Government would be, if not defeated, sustained by so slight a majority that perseverance with the Bill, and probably even continuance in office, would be impossible to them. As is his custom whenever he is engaged in any rather ambiguous stroke of party warfare, the right honourable gentleman veiled his attack with that air of cabalistic pomp, which reminds one of the mysterious rites with which Wizard Anderson used to screen the operation of converting a gold watch into a pancake. He spoke with solemnity of the rights of University Faculties, especially of Trinity College's "ancient and famous Faculty of Divinity." He imagined with horror the prospect of a university in which the religion of the Koran, the Vedas, or Zoroaster might be instilled into the minds of ingenuous Irish youths, forbidden to neutralize their effect by reference to the Thirty-nine Articles or the Syllabus. Then the danger of the classics so affected him that for ten minutes he spoke in a way that would have charmed the heart of Abbé Gaume. "In an age in which young men prattle about protoplasm to young ladies who, in gilded saloons, unconsciously talk Atheism," he imagined the effect on the young men of Stephen's Green and the young ladies of Merrion Square of a series of lectures delivered by some profoundly protoplastic professor about Mr. Munro's new edition of Lucretius. But anon his voice grew deeper and more solemn. It seemed to come from the very depths of his soul, if not from the very soles of his boots. Through its tones breathed, as it were, an unearthly echo of the past, a dim-resounding chord of Zion's harp. He imagined the position of the professor of ancient history, some Irish Olave, no doubt equally learned in the Talmud, the Maha-Bharata, and the Brehon law, and he shuddered as he said that he felt that he would "be involved in great peril." How in great peril?

I suppose the mind of Europe, and I believe I may almost say of America, has been formed by two of the smallest States that ever existed, and which resembled each other in many particulars. Both were divided into tribes; both inhabited a very limited country and not a very fertile one; both have left us a literature of startling originality, and both on an Acropolis have raised a most splendid temple. I can see the unfortunate professor in the new University, restricted in his choice on so many subjects, deprived of divine philosophy, not permitted to touch on the principles of ethics, looking around him at last with some feeling of relief and fixing on the inexhaustible theme of Athenian genius. He would do justice to the Athenian tribes

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