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these have no atmosphere of religion at all. They ask for a University in which they can receive instruction in the Catholic religion, and which shall be endowed by the State. This demand, says Mr. Arnold, is both natural and just. But it is met by the Liberal leaders with a non possumus, presented in the following formula: The Liberal party has emphatically condemned religious endowment. The Protestants of Great Britain are emphatically hostile to the endowment of Catholicism in any shape or form.' This attitude, says Mr. Arnold, contravenes the principles of true Liberalism so admirably defined by Mr. Lowe: The ideal of the Liberal party consists in a view of things undisturbed and undistorted by the promptings of interests or prejudice, in a complete independence of class interests, and in relying for its success on the better feelings and higher intelligence of mankind.' 'Well then,' Mr. Arnold continues, if the demand of the Irish for a Catholic University is perfectly just, if the refusal of it is perfectly illogical, how bitter must it be for a true Liberal to refuse it on the score of the futility of contending against the most rooted of popular prejudices !'
Now if we were to say that the ideal of the Conservative party consists in the preservation of all that is admirable in the past in conjunction with all that is excellent in the present,' we imagine that Mr. Arnold would subject our definition to some rather piquant criticism. In the same way, on our side, we must altogether decline to consider Liberalism as it exists in the ideas of Mr. Lowe or Mr. Arnold, and must insist on our right to determine its character by reference to its public actions. And we think that a very cursory examination of the nature of historical Liberalism will be sufficient to show that there are some pretty strong practical reasons for the non possumus which has so afflicted the apostle of Culture.
Religious endowments are the visible monuments of the once unbroken alliance between Church and State. So long as there was one recognized central authority, which could determine all questions of spiritual truth, the State, considering that the knowledge of this truth was of vital concern to the welfare of its subjects, made ample provision for the support of religious establishments. But at the Reformation came a great schism of the Church, and a denial on the part of the State of the authority of any central tribunal to decide on the truth in matters spiritual. Notwithstanding the great blessings which the Reformation bestowed upon Europe, it must be admitted that Protestantism, as the principle of negation, contained the germs of a large development. It began with an assertion of
the paramount authority of the State over the Church; it rapidly developed into an' assertion of the rights of the individual as against the State This was the origin of Religious Liberty. But the movement did not rest here. At first there was no question about the right of the State to maintain its religious establishments. Men were well content to secure for themselves the right of worshipping in their own way. But in time they came to think that there was a certain injustice in the laws that compelled them to pay for the maintenance of worship in other people's way, which according to their views was an erroneous way. This is the feeling which forms the foundation for the principle of Religious Equality. Both these movements are comprehended in the term Liberalism, and both have been used for political purposes by the Liberal party. They have been carried to different lengths in different times and countries; but, speaking generally, it may be said that the inevitable tendency of Liberalism gravitates towards disendowment. It does so for two reasons; in the first place, because Liberalism naturally allies itself with the individual against the State; and, in the second place, because the Liberal party always consists of an aggregate of sects, each one of which believes itself to be in possession of the truth, but is hopeless of persuading the State of the fact, and is only agreed with the other sects in desiring to destroy the supremacy of the Establishment which the State maintains. Hence, whether historic Liberalism be regarded as a Protestant or a democratic movement, one of its cardinal principles is Religious Equality-an equality arrived at, not by obtaining for all denominations advantages similar to those which the State guarantees to its own Establishment, but by bringing down the State Establishment to the level of other denominations.
The principle by which the Liberal party acts together must and can be nothing but negation. While many of its individual members hold strong spiritual opinions of their own, they understand that the truth of these is incapable of demonstration, and at the same time they are unwilling that any opinions but their own should be promoted by the authority of the State. Intellectual Liberalism, on the other hand, which conceives itself to have arrived at ideal truth, is so superior to all forms of religious belief, that it would gladly see them all in receipt of aid from the State. It has been said of the Romans under the Empire, that all religions were to the philosophers equally false, to the people equally true, to the magistrate equally useful. Mr. Arnold's attitude towards historical Christianity embraces these three relations. All forms of historical Christian belief,
in so far as they rest upon dogma, are to him equally false; all of them, in so far as they exhibit some aspect of moral beauty, are in his opinion equally true; all of them, as helping to constitute the scheme of many-sided Culture which he holds to be the goal of the human race, are equally useful. He is therefore perfectly ready to grant an endowment to the Roman Catholics. But the different denominations of Protestants in Great Britain and Ireland do not take the same superior view of Equality as Mr. Arnold. Each of them believes its own mode of religion to be true; they all agree in holding the Roman Catholic doctrine to be false; they are therefore not likely to be so selfdenying as to place the latter in a position of advantage which they have no hope of occupying themselves.
These considerations ought we think to show conclusively that, even though true Liberalism may be identical with the truth of things; though Mr. Lowe may hold it to be 'a view of things undisturbed and undistorted by the promptings of interests or prejudices;' and though to Mr. Arnold it may be another name for all that is beautiful and superior and cultivated; nevertheless any proposal from the Liberal party to endow a religious denomination would amount to a reversal of the great master principle which has always controlled their actions the principle of Equality. The Liberal leaders must be aware that they are debarred by all their antecedents from attempting to solve the Irish University Question in the same way as the O'Conor Don. And it was doubtless a perception of their situation which prompted the adroit attempt of Mr. Forster, in the debate on the second reading of the O'Conor Don's Bill, to subordinate the question of religion to the question of race. 'It seems to me,' said the author of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, that this difficult matter has to be considered not only as an educational, but also as an Irish question. It is not a question between the House and the Roman Catholic Bishops, but between the House and the majority of the Irish people.' Now we have the highest respect for Mr. Forster's honesty and independence. English Churchmen and Roman Catholics are both indebted to him for the sturdy resistance he made to the pressure put upon him by Secularists and Nonconformists to repeal the 25th section of the Elementary Education Act. His opinion on matters of policy connected with religion and education is therefore deserving of all attention. And though some of his recent utterances have been imbued with a violent party spirit, we are quite content to believe his declaration in the recent debate that he thought the question of providing a University
education for the Catholics of Ireland was not a party question.' But we must protest emphatically against his making it into a question of race. The question relates solely to the facilities to be granted to Irish Roman Catholics for obtaining University degrees. Degrees are granted by the State, and the State takes no account of the nationality of those who obtain them. Degrees, again, are marks of honour bestowed by the State on those who show themselves proficient in universally recognized branches of learning. Theology is only one among those branches. It is surely then scarcely ingenuous of Mr. Forster to say that he cannot see why it is just that Roman Catholic students should not have quite as good a chance of getting a degree, of obtaining quite as much State culture, as Protestant students.' What prevents Roman Catholic students from doing this? Trinity College has abolished every denominational test. The Queen's University imposes no religious disabilities. Nothing hinders any member of the Irish nation from proceeding to a degree, except his own determination not to reside in colleges connected with those Universities from which alone degrees can at present be obtained.
Let us look at Mr. Forster's argument in another way. He says that the O'Conor Don's measure for the endowment of a Roman Catholic University ought to pass, because we have practically to deal with the majority of the people and not with the Bishops, and because he believes the support of the measure is voluntary and spontaneous on the part of the people.' Very likely it is. But as endowments proceed from the State, what the measure wants is the support of a majority of the people in the United Kingdom, not merely in Ireland. Mr. Forster is a Liberal. He is committed to the principle of the sovereignty of the majority. He cannot escape from its consequences. It was on this principle that he played his part in the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. He says that the O'Conor Don's measure is supported by the Irish people, but he seems to forget that there is a considerable portion of the Irish people by whom it is vehemently opposed. Let him try to conceive what must be the feelings of the average clergyman of the Irish Church, when he considers the clauses of this Bill. In 1869,' such a man would say to him, 'you took away my position as a minister of the Irish Establishment; you destroyed the supremacy of the Church to whose service I was devoted; you deprived her of the endowments by which her position was supported. This you did by the aid of a majority composed of a host of allied sects, all of whom desired the destruction of the State Church, not because it interfered with
their liberty, not because the tithes by which it was maintained were extorted from their own earnings, but because its existence as a paramount institution was offensive to their and your grand principle of Religious Equality. And now in 1879 you come forward with persuasive arguments about the majority of the Irish people, and ask me-one of the Irish people-to vote the funds, of which you have unjustly deprived what I hold to be the true Church, for the support of a sect against whose erroneous teaching I have been protesting all my life. I admire the ingenuity of your reasoning. But you can hardly expect that, on this occasion, I shall not make common cause with the other denominations, by whose united numbers you succeeded in disendowing my own Church. For once in my life I find myself an ardent supporter of that religious equality which you on your side appear to have so completely abandoned.'
We really do not know what answer Mr. Forster could make to this reasoning, for it is certain that the Irish Church was disestablished by a mere majority of votes. Nor would the O'Conor Don himself find it easy, Catholic as he is, to escape from the dilemma. We have always thought that the Catholics committed a fatal error in joining in the attack on the property of the Irish Establishment. It can never be their interest to sanction the confiscation of Church property. And the retribution for their tacit recognition of the principle of Religious Equality has been not long delayed. It is understood that the O'Conor Don's measure, though initiated by the Catholic laity, has received the approval of the clergy, and it is certainly far more moderate in its stipulations than any proposal which has yet emanated from the Irish priesthood. The constitution of his University would appear primâ facie to afford proper guarantees for the influence of the lay element, which the Episcopate has hitherto refused to admit. But whether or no this moderation is only in appearance, whether the predominance of the Episcopacy would not gradually assert itself, it is immaterial to enquire, for the 19th section must effectually deprive the Bill of all support based on the claims of justice. This section runs thus:
For the purpose of carrying this Act into effect, the Commissioners of the Church Temporalities in Ireland shall, out of the property accruing to the Commissioners under the Irish Church Act, 1869, when and as required by the Senate, provide for the use of the Senate, either in cash or in securities or rent-charge of an equivalent value, such amount as the Senate shall estimate to be required for the purposes of this Act, not exceeding in the whole one million and a half pounds sterling.'