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ceremonial. Most men hold that and, though he does covet some of it is truth, and not prettiness, their advantages, they are adwhich is the relevant consideration; vantages which, like light, can but then very few men are as subtle be shared without diminishing as Mr. Arnold.
the original possessor's quantity. In brief, Irish Liberalism (as Now in all these things the Irish distinguished from Ultramontane university and intermediate school Irreconcilability) is only just strug- agitations are unlike the English gling into growth; and nothing movement. The agitators do want would more surely kill that growth help from the State, in the shape of than the concession to Ultramon both endowment and of privilege. tane clamour of the control of They do not, and cannot, rely on University education.
their own co-religionists, because The problem dealt with by Mr. the many have not the power, and Petre* has as little as possible to the few have not the will, to supdo with the particular Catholic port them. They do (whatever university question which has Mr. Matthew Arnold may think) just been considered. There is desire to take both the money nothing at all in common, except and the privileges of the that they are both questions relat. Protestant and the secular instituing to education, and to the educa tions. And, lastly, the very things tion of Catholics. Beyond this, Mr. Petre would share, if he could, indeed, it may be said that the with the Protestant institutions objects held in view by Mr. Petre, are just the things which the Irish and the methods he desires his co- Catholic agitator would ardently religionists to pursue, are diametri. desire to keep at a distance from cally opposed to the objects and his schools, his colleges, and his methods of the Catholic university University. It might seem, thereagitators. Mr. Petre's plans have fore, that Mr. Petre's writings nothing to do with politics. He could throw no light whatever on asks the State for nothing; neither the question of State denominafor endowments, nor charters, nor tional education, and that any dislegislative interference of any sort. cussion of them would be wholly His palatial university experiment irrelevant. But this is not preat Woburn Park is made upon his cisely the case. Mr. Petre's writown family property, and his raw ings do throw a light on the submaterial is the creme de la créme ject. Indeed, from the socioloof the society in which he moves. gical point of view, this is almost His arguments and his exhorta- the only use that can be made of tions are addressed wholly and them : for, whatever value they solely to his fellow-Catholics, and may have as addressed by a any action which may be taken at Catholic to Catholics, they can only his instance must be altogether be of service to non-Catholics by the action of the Catholic section clearing up the relations which subof English society. He does not sist between Catholicism as a creed want to take away from Protestant and education as a department of schools, colleges, or universities social science. What then is the any one thing they possess ; lesson that these writings teach?
* "Remarks on the Present Condition of Catholic Liberal Education." "The Problem of Catholic Liberal Education.” “The Position and Prospects of Catholie Liberal Education.” “Catholic Systems of School Discipline." By the Hon. and Rer. William Petre. London: Burns and Oates, 17, Portman-street, W. 1877 and 1878.
It is that the claim to possess and The author of these words, it to teach infallible truth in faith must be borne in mind, is comparand morals is fatal to the interests ing “ the highest and the cleverest at once of those who make the boys” at Catholic schools with claim and of those who submit to those at Eton, Rugby, Cheltenham, it. And that a standard of virtue and elsewhere. Mr. Petre goes on which places it in negative inno- to make certain comments of his cence rather than positive excel. own, the ultimate outcome of which lence, is fatal to strength of motive he thus expresses : and to robustness of character.
“ It is a melancholy but an inOf course Mr. Petre does not structive fact, that the clever boys say this. What he does say is scat- and promising young men of tered over four pamphlets, and is school and college life are largely obscured in no inconsiderable mea. —we do not by any means say sure by the very faults of style for entirely-represented in later life which he holds Catholic schools by such men as we have described ; responsible. But something of his while the real men of power seem drift may be gathered from a few in large part to be developed from extracts. The text and thesis of a boyhood not considered clever in his first discourse, he tells us, he any remarkable degree, from a has borrowed from a report on youth marked by eccentricity rather Catholic schools, an extract from than obvious promise ; who have which is prefixed to his earliest persisted in esteeming positive pamphlet :
knowledge, “what in truth she is, “I hold, first, that after twenty not as our glory and our absolute years' experience of one of the boast," but as materials out of largest of our Catholic colleges, and which the reflective mind can form some opportunity of judging of combinations and draw conclusions the results of education in our calculated to bring about new other colleges, that as schools for results in the world of thought, and boys our colleges do a great, and in so in the world of action. (See many respects most satisfactory D’Israeli's “The Literary Characwork. In morality they are infi- ter of Men of Genius," chap. ii. nitely superior to non-Catholic and iii.)”. schools ; they conscientiously train Now these words are either an all comers, the dull as well as the indictment of things in general, or elever, and secure a higher average they mean specially to imply that standard of knowledge in a wider these results are more common range of subjects. Still, if a com- among Catholic than among nonparison be made between the Catholic youth. In our opinion highest and the cleverest boys at they are chiefly an indictment of each respectively, I think we do not things in general. It is not the come near Eton, Rugby, Cheltenham, fault of any one system more than Wellington, and some other non of any other that “ clever boys” Catholic schools in three particulars, do not universally develop into viz., first in scholarship; secondly, “men of power.” An optimist and much more, in composition, would probably call this a benefisome varieties of which—for in- cent arrangement of Providence. stance, Greek verse—are utterly It is certain that if all the clever unknown amongst us ; thirdly, in schoolboys did turn out “men of expansion of mind, earnestness of power,” the world would be an even purpose, definiteness of aim.” more unpleasant place to live in (Report, &c.)
than it is already. There would be
crotchet-mongers without end; in danger of running counter to nothing would be allowed to be at the Church's teaching, he must rest. Probably, the solution of the give up philosophy, and at best difficulty may be found in limiting become a specialist in some narrow the production of “clever school walk of thought. Mr. Petre is boys." Certain it is that the much too good a Catholic to desire world's work has mostly to be done his students to be un-Catholicised; by the mediocre men, who are but all the time he covets for them, dunces in præsenti, whatever they and perhaps still more for their may have been in the past school teachers, qualities of mind which or college days. So, if Mr. Petre can be gained only through habits thinks that a man is more likely to of inquiry directed into the turn out an adult mediocrity for highest subjects. having been at a Catholic school, “ Catholics we must be, Catholics it may very well be that he was we will be ! Our faith is defined merely obeying a beneficent des- for us. Beyond and around the tiny, and that, if he had been at closed and inner sanctuary of those Rugby, Wellington, or Chelten- definitions there is another circle, ham, he would be a mediocrity still, on which be it far from us to enbut a mediocrity tormented by the croach with irreverent step; but memories of schoolboy cleverness. outside of these there is yet It may be, therefore, that the another region, composed of that Catholic schools are really doing bet- which simulates religion, of the ter work in cultivating the minds sentimentalities and illusions of of dull and mediocre boys than unformed minds. To make war in forcing beyond their strength within this is fair game, and it is in youthful prodigies, a large propor- the devastation and replanting of tion of whom will eventually go the this territory that many educational way of middle-aged dunces. So far, problems will be solved and their the reporter's charge against wreckage swept away." Catholic schools, and Mr. Petre's But, after all, the name of a recomments thereon, may be set strictive system does not make very down as indictments against things much difference. No more under in general. But there may be a dogmatic Protestantism than under deeper sense in which they are very dogmatic Romanism could the real indictments, not only against highest order of mind attain its the Catholic school system, but growth, except indeed by way of against the very creed of the revolt. Perhaps it may be that Catholic Church itself.
all really exalted intellect has reUpon this we need not dwell. volt for its inseparable condition. It is a familiar commonplace that Even Mr. Petre, devout Catholic as dogmatic systems of religion are he is, has some glimpse of this. unfavourable to intellectual de For in one place he expresses himvelopment, except where the intel. self thus-not only recording his lect spontaneously acquiesces in own thoughts, but confirming himthe dogma, and obtains exercise self in them by quotation from a not in challenging the dogma, but writer who is assuredly no dog. in working within its limitations. matist : We need not go so far as to affirm “ And that a necessary caution that a Catholic cannot have a should not come too late, let us philosophy, but it is certain that he here be warned that the path of a can have no philosophy save that of true intellectual life is beset with; the Church. If he finds himself difficulties, trials, dangers, which
only those who have experienced dead within them? Why? Bethem can conceive. If we are to give cause these are the minds which any rein to our intellectual crav. have seen further and penetrated ings and we are now permitted to deeper, and comprehended more, do so, to desire to be strangers to and deceived themselves less than no culture, to compete in the pro others; because precisely in professions, in public careers, in society, portion as their experience was with the best educated scholars in the profound, as their insight was kingdom '-let us at the outset im- piercing, as their investigations press on ourselves solemnly the were sincere, as their contemplafact that we are starting on a jour tions were patient and continuous, ney that will admit of no looking did they recognise the mighty vastback. We must push through to ness of the problem, its awful signi. the end, to the light which has ficance, and THE INADEQUACY OF become lurid and faded away in THE HUMAN FACULTIES TO DEAL the course of our journey, but WITH IT.' (Greg, Enigmas of which, towards that journey's close, Life,' pp. 16, 137.)”. has shone forth once again, and But there is no need to dwell on received us into the brightness of a this. After all, the duties of a sun which shall have no setting. schoolmaster must mainly lie
“The loftiest culture of the intellect among the mediocrities, by whom is not favourable either to undoubting the world's work has to be done. conviction of any truth or to unhesi. Enough if the master can feel sure tating devotion to any cause. The that he is not hindering a genius, greater the knowledge the greater if it is his lot to have one for a the doubt,' says Goethe. And the pupil. Viewing matters in this faithfullest thinkers have felt more light, the Catholic schoolmasters painfully than others that the would seem to have fair grounds deeper they go often the less easy for satisfaction, if, as Mr. Petre it is to reach soundings ;-in a thinks, their average pupils are not word, the more thorough their study intellectually inferior to the average of the grandest subjects of human pupils in other schools. interest, the further do they get, not In connection with this part of to, but from, certainty: the more the discussion, two points may be fully they can see all sides and noted. One is, that the English enter into all considerations, the Catholics seem to have no objection less able do they feel to pronounce to London University. Now the dogmatically or to act decidedly. Denominational agitator in Ireland
The tree of knowledge is not the is never tired of denouncing Lontree of life :' profound thought, if don University, and these denunciathoroughly honest and courageous, is tions are able to mislead even the deplorably apt to sap the founda- subtle mind of Mr. Matthew tions, and impair the strength of our Arnold. Another point to which moral as well as of our intellectual Mr. Petre calls our attention is convictions. . . . . Why does that an influential section of EngGenius ever wear a crown of lish Catholics lamented the setting thorns ?... Why does a cloud of up of a Catholic University College lofty sadness ever brood over the at Kensington, because it helped to profoundest minds? Why does draw away young men from a bitterness as of Gethsemane Oxford ! Truly the policy of the mingle with or pervade the produc- priesthood is the same, all over the tions of even the serenest intelli- kingdom, but they are very skilful gences, if all human emotion be not in varying their instruments. Catholic young men must be kept the Universities of Oxford and away at all costs from “ Pro Cambridge are placed farther out testant” universities. So in Eng- of reach of orthodox ambition.” land, London University is brought We pass to another side of Mr. into play, and a “ University Col. Petre's indictment against Catholic lege” founded to stand between schools : “ Our Catholic boys do the Catholics and Oxford. There is not come near their Protestant fel. no cry against London degrees, nor lows in expansion of mind, earnestagainst the London system of ex. ness of purpose, definiteness of aminations, because it is well un aim.” One would think that this derstood that no such cry would do was the most crushing indictment any good. But in Ireland it is easy that could be framed, not of a parto get up a cry. Four millions of ticular scholastic system merely, Catholics without a university! but of the whole Catholic Church. Four millions is such a fine round Surely if there is any advantage in number—but the fact is quietly an infallible guide (whether that ignored that there are not one guide be the Pope or the Church), thousandth part of that number of if there is any efficacy in Sacrafamilies that could or would send a ments, if in short being a Catholic son to any university. Besides, means anything at all, one has a once the work of - disestablishing right to expect a different result and disendowing begins, who from this. Protestants and scepknows what luck may be in tics may say that all this simply store for vigorous agitators ? Hit proves Catholicism false; but a Trinity and the Queen's hard devout Catholic like Mr. Petre canthey have no friends! It will not not say this. And, accordingly, he do, in this policy, to admit that tries to evade saying it, by making even London University supplies the words of the report he is quotany want. The poor Irish Catholic ing refer to some sort of intellecmust be represented as utterly des tual life distinct from the spiritual titute, and down-trodden. So Lon- life. According to Mr. Petre a don University is played off against man may be a good and saintly Oxford in England; but it is de character, and yet deficient in exnounced as totally unsuited to pansion of mind, earnestness of Ireland. It is the merest insanity purpose, and definiteness of aim. of psuedo-liberality to shut our In other words, the Catholic ideal eyes to facts like these. An inci. is harmlessness, not moral vigour. dental admission by a writer like And the means by which this ideal Mr. Petre is worth scores of formal is pursued (at least at Stonyhurst) assertions by advocates on the other are thus set forth: side. After Mr. Petre's pamphlets “What shall be said of that it will henceforward be impossible most lamentable and disgraceful to assert that Catholics as such of caricatures and excrescent need have any conscientious objec anomalies—the system of 'espiontion to a university of the London age.' type. And after the specific admis. « • Espionage' is supervision un. sion at page 7 of “ Remarks” it der panic, supervision dement. Eswill henceforward be impossible to pionage is yearly-we speak ad. assert that it is not “ the expressed visedly-irritating our boys out of will of the Holy See" that there balance of intellect, and out of should be a Catholic university all dignity of character. It is the college “by whose foundation the spirit of ignorance and narrowtraining influences of residence at mindedness temporarily clothed in