Imágenes de páginas

Dilemma of

Meanwhile the status of the

the French churches throughout France Priesthood.. where declarations have not been made is that of government buildings in which illegal meetings are being held every time a service is celebrated. The position of the 78,000 French priests, headed by the aged Cardinal Richard of Paris, now in his eighty-ninth year, is pitiable. The venerable prelate left his episcopal palace in Paris on December 17 amid expressions of respect and devotion, and almost all the other church dignitaries are reported as leaving their residences amid affecting scenes on the part of faithful Catholics. There can be no doubt that the words of the Abbé Moineau, of the Church of St. Blaise de Charonne, express the feelings of a large number of French clergymen, The Abbé, having caused a declaration to be made in accordance with the law by two members of his congregation, was told that he had acted contrary to the instructions of the Pope. He replied:

Listen to me. Above my quality as a priest submissive to Rome, I am French and a republican, and, believe me, there are many others like myself. I know some of them, but, unfortunately, there is no solidarity among us. We are constantly spoken to about the Pope. He is a long way off, and it is not he who will feed us. Do not believe that we are dupes of the manoeuvers of Rome. We all know that Pius X is the instrument of the German and Austrian cardinals. For that reason I refuse to give way. If the archbishop punishes me I may possibly do so. Perhaps I may go to see M. Clémenceau to ask support of the government. Whatever the consequences of my conduct may be, I regret

nothing, for before all I am a Frenchman.


It may be that, even admitting Significance all its attempts at conciliation, of It All. the French Government might have dealt a little more gently with the great, historic institution which has been bound up so much with the national life of the French people. It might have been possible to have negotiated more directly with the Vatican in the matter. And yet the real issue is not whether the church shall or shall not accept a certain form of organization in its purely material affairs. The form to which it now objects in France is practically the same as that which it has long accepted, and that under which it has enjoyed and is enjoying to-day great freedom and prosperity in other lands. The real question is whether in France, where the church was long superior to the state, the church shall now be subject to the civil power. Some years ago very much the same issue was fought out between



From the Inquirer (Philadelphia).

the state and the army. It was a bitter fight, and it threatened the stability of the republic, but in the end the republic won, and won absolutely.. Now it is to be seen whether the authority at Rome, which should be purely spiritual, instead of the civil power at Paris, shall, hereafter, be supreme in governing the republic.

For the first time in 13 years the Dissolution of the German German Parliament has been Reichstag. dissolved by the Chancellor, with the approval of the Emperor. The dissolution, which took place on December 13, was the result of an adverse vote on the question of the supplementary colonial budget desired for 1907. The new colonial director, Herr Dernburg, had addressed the Reichstag, pointing out the needs of Germany's Southwest African empire and pleading for the necessary funds to keep up the military establishment at its present figure of 12,000 men. Parliament, however, thought that 2500 men were sufficient, and stubbornly refused to loosen its purse-strings. By a vote of 178 to 168, the Centrists (the Clerical party, so called because they sit in the center of the hall), aided by the Socialists and the Poles, defeated the government; and the Chancellor, Prince von Bülow, had the alternative of following Parliament and resigning or of supporting the Emperor's view and dissolving the Reichstag. choice of the more unpopular course is a tribute to his courage and consistency,— however wise that course may have been. January 25 is set as the date for the new elections, and the Kaiser has declared that




in case Parliament (which will meet about a fortnight later) continues stubborn it will be again dissolved. The whole question is one of more than merely colonial policy. It it really the culminating protest of the entire German people against the tremendous financial burdens which have been imposed upon them by Emperor William's vast ambitions in world politics. Germany is very prosperous and the German people sympathize with the Kaiser's ambitions for national greatness, but a large and increasing number of thoughtful Germans believe that his pace is too rapid. Added to the tremendous burden of taxes for the military establishment and the heavy increase in the cost of food brought about by the tax on imports, came the revelation of scandals, corruption, and cruelty in German Southwest Africa, almost comparable with those charged against the Congo administration. This was too much, even for German patience, and the Parliament refused to sanction the two supplementary budgets asked for the African venture, aggregating $9,550,000,-the total budget for the year 1907 necessitated by the

war (not yet over) in Southwest Africa amounting to more than $26,000,000.

This dissolution, and the KaiThe Reichstag and Its ser's threat to dismiss the body Powers. again in case it does not prove obedient to his will, make interesting a brief statement of the constitution of the German Parliament. As it exists to-day the Reichstag is really the result of a compromise between Bismarck and the Liberals of more than a quarter of a century ago. Chief among those, the well-known Socialist, Ferdinand Lasalle, is generally believed to have persuaded the Iron Chancellor not to impose a property qualification for the franchise. Members of the Reichstag are chosen for five years, by direct universal suffrage and the secret ballot, the electors being 25 years of age and not in active military service or otherwise disqualified. Members are chosen in single electoral districts designated by law. The basis of population for these districts has not changed during the past 30 years, the government having resisted all attempts at revision, chiefly, it is believed,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

through the fear that such a change would Catholic members, which form the largest greatly increase the strength of the Socialist single group in the assembly, numbering representation. Present inequality is very 102 in the session just closed. It is signifinoticeable in the case of the large cities, cant that, just at the moment when France which have increased in population so rapid- is in the midst of her struggle with the ly, particularly Berlin, which has six mem- church, with Spain just entering upon her bers when it should have at least 20. It campaign of disestablishment, and England must also be remembered that in practically struggling with her state church over the every respect the Reichstag is subordinate to question of popular education, the German the Bundesrath, or Federal Council, each one Emperor, after all his overtures to Rome, of the 58 members of which has the right to should be deserted by the Clerical members sit in the Reichstag and to speak whenever of his own Parliament. he chooses. Almost all the bills, as well as the budget, are proposed in and first discussed by the Bundesrath, which then sends them to the Reichstag. The former body is not only the main source of legislation; it has also an executive function, including the power of appointment. The Reichstag cannot be summoned to meet without the Bundesrath, whereas the latter can sit alone. It should be remembered further that in Germany there is no such thing as ministerial or cabinet responsibility.

Socialism vs.

The new Reichstag is not likely to prove any more pliable in the Clericalism. colonial matter than the one just dissolved. The government could perhaps manage the conservative groups in Parliament. But it is the Socialist vote the Kaiser fears. In the face of the obstacles put in the way of a full and free representation, this party in the last general election (in 1903) polled 3,000,000 votes and returned 79 members. In spite of all that can be done to prevent it, close observers of German politics believe that the next Parliament will contain a still larger group of the followers of Herr

and the

It is significant, also, that the united Polish vote of the Reichstag should have gone with the rest of the Center in defeating the will of the Kaiser. This is the answer of the Poles to the long campaign against the school children in Posen and the other Polish provinces of Prussia. All the east of the empire is stirred by this language agitation. Count Ballestrem, president of the dissolved Reichstag, is a candidate from a largely Polish district in Silesia, and so fearful is he of defeat that he has declined to come out for re-election. On another page this month we survey the situation in Polish Prussia regarding the school matter. The decision of the Vatican, delivered during a special audience of the Pope with Cardinal Kopp, Bishop of Breslau


Bebel. For some

years the government has depended for the carrying out of its pet policies upon the Centrists,


If I pray in Polish my
teacher beats me.

If I pray in German my

father beats me.
From Ulk (Berlin).

If I don't pray at all the

priest beats me.

In the midst of reports of imperial ukases and edicts granting lands to the peasants, and of terrorist plots and famine-relief scandals, the one fact of absorbing interest from Russia is the approaching election for the new Duma and the evident intention of the voters of the empire, in spite of all sorts of obstacles in the way, to return a radical liberal body at the elections this month. On the eve of the elections the Stolypin administration is attempting by all possible means to strengthen the reactionary elements and bar out Liberals and Radicals. The Novoye Vremya, the semi-officially inspired daily of St. Petersburg, does not hesitate to justify the illegal acts of the administration, constantly reiterating its casuistic argument that the fundamental laws of Russia are still based on the autocratic principle. Premier Stolypin, on the one hand, is vigorously supporting reactionary parties and, on the other, coquetting with western European bankers, endeavoring to secure a new loan and promising that the coming Duma will settle all pressing problems. The administration press bureaus are trying to persuade the foreign journals that the heavy punishments by court-martial in Russia, during the past few months, have At the same time, Russian periodicals are full now almost entirely "pacified" the country. of horrible reports of famine in more than 20 provinces, of assassinations and arrests of innocent people, and of general disorder. Since October 31, 1905, a total of 24,239 persons found death in riots or at the hands of the executioner. Of these 1518 were "officially

and virtual head of the German hierarchy in this section, announcing that the church would keep neutral in the contest, while an apparent setback for the Poles has not discouraged them. The contest is a political one, says the church, and not a religious one. Therefore, the Vatican, cannot interfere. The position of the Polish churchmen and parents generally in this matter is indicated by the put to death." During the year, according closing paragraph of the last circular letter to the Strana, 31 provinces were wholly of the late Polish Archbishop Stablewski (of (state of war, or siege, etc.), while there and 46 partially under exceptional laws Posen), in which he says:

were 1629 agrarian riots. During the same period 183 secret printing offices and 150 depots of arms were discovered, containing thousands of rifles and revolvers, tons of powder and explosives, and several machine guns. Bombs to the number of 244 were thrown at officials, while no less than 1955


(Who has recently visited Rome for instructions in the matter of the use of Polish in the schools of


(who do not recognize the boundaries between Russia, Austria, and Germany, but claim kinship with all speaking their tongue), it was announced, on December 6, that their beloved University of Warsaw would be removed by the St. Petersburg government to some Russian city, thus leaving Russian Poland without a single university.


To the Emperor belongs the money, and this you pay without murmuring. In truth, you give yet more than this, you give your blood, your own sons, for the defence of the fatherland. But speech and faith are from God and for these gifts you have to make payment to Him.

The Coming

To increase the sufferings of the Poles armed burglaries were reported.



Africa in the


THE CZAR (to Premier Stolypin, who is standing by the ballot box): But, my dear Stolypin, if you manage things in that way we shall not get a single, solitary elector."

STOLYPIN: Ob, never mind, Your Majesty, we ourselves shall be there; and then, you know, you can choose a Duma to suit yourself."-From the Amsterdammer (Amsterdam).

[ocr errors]

The granting by King Leopold, with the ratification of the BelThe Congo. gian Parliament, of valuable commercial concessions, particularly for the production of rubber, in the Congo region, to an American syndicate, in which some of the chief interested parties are

One of the noteworthy facts of international politics during the month of December was the attention paid by European governments to African affairs. In the north, France and Spain have been watching Morocco, where the rebel chief Raisuli has been making trouble, while Europe is uneasily awaiting the date (early this month) when the Algeciras treaty takes effect. This convention, by the way, was ratified by the French Parliament on December 6, by the German Reichstag on December 10, and by our own Senate Mr. Thomas F. Ryan and Mr. Simon two days later. Interest in Abyssinia cen- Guggenheim, came almost on the same tered around the signing of the agreement day as the public statement of Sir Edbetween the Negus Menelik and Great ward Grey, British Foreign Minister, that, Britain, France, and Italy, guaranteeing the should negotiations with Belgium regarding integrity of the country, and granting rail- reforms in the Congo prove inconclusive, road privileges to the nations concerned. The and a continuance of the present régime be formal documentary granting of a constitution threatened, it would be the duty of Great to the Transvaal (the terms of which were Britain to sound the other Powers as to outlined by Under-Secretary of the Colonies what views they held on the subject. It Churchill in the British Commons on July will be impossible, said Sir Edward, "for 31, last, and at the time commented upon in the British Government to continue to recthese pages) was an event of the middle of ognize indefinitely the present state of aflast month (December 12). The great fairs." A resolution providing for an in


topic of African interest, however, was the Congo Free State and the world-wide concern over the alleged misrule of King Leopold of Belgium in this state.

« AnteriorContinuar »